Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chimay Dorée (2015 re-review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1269) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 28, 2015
Chimay Dorée is the “patersbier” of Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont – a Belgian pale ale or “single” if you will. I first reviewed this beer back in 2011 when a friend in Belgium sent me a bottle. Drinking it again nearly four years later, it’s almost nothing like I remember. The first time around it was quite dry and tasted of white grape; this time it’s remarkably fruity, citrusy and spicy – almost like a witbier. It seems like a completely different beer to me (it’s possible they changed the recipe for export). Whatever the case may be, it’s a really good Trappist brew.

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into the official Chimay chalice. It was bottled in 2014 and cost $7.99 ($0.71 per ounce).

Appearance: Clear golden/amber hue with plenty of effervescence visible. Pours to a one-finger, white, soapy head that retains and laces well.

Smell: Strong citrusy notes with a clean floral bouquet. Light esters also present.

Taste: Like any good classic Belgian ale, the first thing I notice about this beer is how lively it is. An immediate sensation of carbonation, quickly followed by light fruity flavors, especially orange and lemon. There’s an almost American hop presence of flowers and citrus, though not nearly as bitter. The Trappist yeast esters create for some banana character as well, and maybe even a hint of vanilla. On the backend I get a firm spicy character from the coriander, plus more orange zest from the orangepeel. Not much in the way of white grape or any kind of wine-like character. This is essentially a witbier but without the wheat. It’s not the kind of beer I would normally associate with a Trappist monastery, which is probably what makes it all the more appreciable.

Drinkability: Since this beer is bottle-conditioned, it’s no wonder it’s so vigorous across the tongue. Frotunately, there’s no carbonation bitterness. The body is fairly light, and it’s remarkably refreshing while in the mouth. It finishes mostly clean with a slightly dry, starchy aftertaste. At only 4.8% ABV, Chimay Dorée would be easy to session the beer in warmer settings if only the price tag weren’t so high. 

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