Chimay Blue (Grande Réserve) Review

Unlike Chimay white, Chimay blue places more emphasis on fruit.

Appearance – Thick white head pour after pour. Leaves a nice lace on the goblet. Little bit darker than chimay white and I can’t see through it but no loss there. The bubbles are small, round, and eventually fall to a rocky, thin head after a few sips. They don’t stick around long enough to obstruct drinking.

Smell – Fantastic. There’s vanilla in there, almond, and apricot. No hops seem present in the nose. Bottle has a touch, and just a touch of funk which may be a result of aging.

Taste – It’s chimay, it has the chimay taste. If you like it, that’s good. I love it. There’s a bit of bitterness but nothing obviously hoppy, maybe some kind of dark fruit flavor and a bit of clover or honey. The Belgian Candi sugar really shines here – it’s not enough to go “OH SUGAR” but there’s enough there to get the yeast to make some neat flavors.

Mouthfeel – Sort of thin, probably the result of the candi-sugar. The carbonation can get in the way at times and lift the beer away from the tongue while tickling. It’s a neat effect, but makes the flavors less accessible.

Drinkability – See above. The carbonation makes this a really burpy beer. Considering in Brew Like a Monk the Chimay monks espoused the idea of “digestibility” to mean something compliments eating, this doesn’t quite work as advertised. If you treated it as an aperitif, and let the bottle breathe a bit, it would probably fly. Pairing it with spicy foods provided a good contrast but I felt the taste wasn’t strong enough and the spicy would overtake the subtle flavors.

Chimay White

I’m going to say this is my least favorite Chimay. It’s not that the style itself is hardup, but rather if Chimay did an IPA, it would be this. Somehow it doesn’t quite work.

Nose – Great nose. Hints of vanilla and almond once you get past the hops. Good Belgian nose, you know what you’re getting into. A good amount of funk to get past, expect the other scents to come along after some warming and after you smell it a bit to get past the funk.

Foam – Good head on the first pour, not so much on the second. Considering I was splitting the bottle, that was a bit of a disappointment. The head stuck around forever.

Taste – You can occasionally get major vanilla out of it when it warms up if it’s still foaming. But, and there’s always a but, the first glass comes off in typical Chimay style with no surprises. The second glass has a surprising amount of hop harshness.

Mouthfeel – A bit rockier than what I expected. Not quite as smooth. It feels like if I had cellared it for a few months it would have been better. As it stands, there’s a disconnect in the style.

Serving type: bottle