Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chimay Grande Reserve

Brewery: Bieres de Chimay
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 9.0%
Country: Belgium

This looks to be the first authentic Trappist ale to be reviewed on this blog. I had thought I had talked in depth about Trappist ales before, but couldn't find any posts mentioning them. Essentially a Trappist ale is a style of ale brewed in a monastery by monks. Trappist monks are also known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance , a Roman-Catholic order. Essentially these monks produce goods to be sold to support their monastery.

Of the 171 Trappist monasteries in the world, seven produce beer as their offering. Six are in Belgium and one is in the Netherlands. These beers are the only ones allowed to carry the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo on the bottle. The beer making monasteries are: Chimay, Rochefort, Orval, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Archel, and Koningshoeven. These beers are some of the most highly renowned beers in the world. I've had Westmalle. I have three different Rocheforts cellared. Westvleteren is rated by both beeradvocate and ratebeer as the top beer in the world. That being said, I had high expectations for the Chimay Grande Reserve.

Pour was a dark cloudy brown with a thick, bubbly, tan foam. I couldn't pick up too much aroma surprisingly. What I found was some sweetness present with a bit of chocolate near the end.

The first taste was syrupy sweet, lots of raisins present. There was a pleasing clove spiciness that showed up as well. No bitterness to speak of. The moth was nice and velvety and not too carbonated. Went down quite well and the alcohol is totally masked.

While this was a good beer, I feel that it was a bit over-hyped. Frankly I was expecting more from it. I'd drink it again for sure, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. B

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