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
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
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.