broke out a 750ml bottle from my cellar and poured it into the official
Chimay chalice. The cork indicates it was bottled in December of 2009.
Appearance: Beautiful red hue, though seemingly light brown. Hazy but
carbonation can be seen. Forms a small, white, soapy head which mostly
dissipates and doesn’t lace the glass.
Smell: Noticeably vinous aroma plus some dark fruit and a hint of confectionery sweetness.
Taste: I haven’t had this beer since, ironically enough, 2009. Back then
it seemed like carbonated red wine to me. Four years later it drinks
like a true Trappist dubbel. Actually, it’s almost quad-like in its
complexity and robustness. When it was fresh it was quite vinous and
fruity, but with three years under its belt it’s become remarkably
sweet. Lots of confectionery flavors, but retains the classic Trappist
core to keep it quite familiar.
The palette is confectionery in its introduction: sweet (but not
cloying) flavors of chocolate, toffee and caramel - almost like a liquid
candy bar. Some dry bitterness through the middle - not too intense,
but bitter enough to notice and to transition to the fruit-like finish. I
get hints of dry red wine, fig, prunes and plums on the back end. Not
quite as robust and delectable as a vintage Chimay Blue, but this
vintage Chimay Red is so much more refined coming out of the basement.
Drinkability: When you drink a Chimay 750ml bottle fresh it’s quite
spastic and energetic across the tongue and down the throat. With 3.5
years of waiting, Chimay Red has calmed down to an extent. The mouthfeel
is noticeably calm, neither thick nor thin, but still effervescent
enough that carbonation sticks in the throat a bit. It leaves a slightly
yeasty aftertaste, though it’s easily tolerable. At only 7% ABV, Chimay
Red was never all that big of a beer to begin with and after time the
alcohol has virtually disappeared. It does not feel or drink like a
heavy beer at all and there is no heat or warmth whatsoever.