Friday, June 14, 2013

Chimay Grande Réserve (2010 vintage)

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (904) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 14, 2013
I poured a 750ml bottle (dated 4/10) into the official Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Deep shade of burgundy/brown proper. Forms a small, dark beige, soapy head which eventually dissipates and doesn’t lace the glass.

Smell: A veritable cornucopia of fruits, some spice, and confectionery sweetness.

Taste: When I first reviewed Chimay Blue in December of 2009 I liked it, but thought it was too intense and a bit overrated. I’ve had a lot of experience with beer over the last three and a half years and was eager to try this vintage bottle from my cellar collection. It’s amazing how my perspective on it has changed and also how well the beer itself has improved.

What was intense and spastic is now smooth and refined, yet still plenty complex and robust. I think this palette is inherently drinker-friendly, it just needs some time to ensure a smoother delivery. I can’t imagine not being amazed by these flavors. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors at the beginning with slight bitterness through the middle and a delicious rush of dark fruits to the finish line: plum, cherry, fig, raisin, red grape, etc. There is still a hint of alcohol which adds a subtle warmth and ties the flavors together like a Oriental rug to a living room. This is by far the best of the Belgian quads I have ever had and makes me appreciate the style much more now that I’ve experienced a true vintage.

Drinkability: I’ll admit that Chimay Blue and most of the bottle-conditioned Trappist beers are pretty intense when they’re fresh. After three years in the bottle, the carbonation has settled nicely. The mouthfeel is calm, on the thicker side, but not sticky or cloying. It goes down quite smoothly, though I was still getting some CO2 stuck in my throat even after all this time. The 9% ABV hasn’t completely disappeared as there’s a faint warmness, but it works well with the delivery this time. I was able to drink the entire 750ml bottle myself without any struggle.

Grade: 10/10

Watch my 2009 review here:

Read my 2009 review here:

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