375 ml corked & caged bottle, from Vinmonopolet, Nettbutikken. Bottled 02/2021. ABV is 10.5%. Deep ruby to mahogany colour, moderate off-white head. Distinct aroma of rum, caramel, brown sugar and oak. Slightly warming mouthfeel. The flavour has the same elements as the aroma, some vanilla too, but the rum dominates a tad too much, very few elements remain of the original Grand Reserve / Bleu. A good beer, anyway.
Bottle from Rubin77. Dark brown with beige head. Aroma of chocolate, rum, nougat. Taste, malt, nougat, rum, raw alcohol, wood. Good, but needs to be more aged.
Bottle at BBT 06/2021. Malty aroma and taste, spicy notes, caramel, light sweet, light to medium bitter. Medium to full body, malty spicy bitter finish. Ok.
This year’s edition of oak-aged ‘blue’ Chimay, the barrels in question being a combination of French oak, American oak and rum barrels – exactly the same as in 2017, so I wonder if this one deserves its own entry here; label-wise, the only difference is that four years ago, the proportions of the three barrels were shown, which is no longer the case now. So if that would differ – something no consumer is easily able to verify – then I guess it is a (very slightly) different ‘tick’, otherwise it only seems logical to merge this new entry with the 2017 one. Anyway: medium thick, moussy, off-white to pale greyish beige, cobweb-lacing, irregular head on a misty caramel brown beer with ruddy hue. Aroma of melting caramel, lots of vanilla-ish oak wood, lavender, rum-soaked raisins, candied figs, violet liqueur, toffee, green bananas rather than ripe ones, sugared tea, jasmin, hint brown soap. Sweet onset, raisins and figs sprinkled with brown sugar, medium carb, slick and full, bit resinous mouthfeel; deeply caramelly maltiness with somewhat soapy or even bubblegummy edges, sugary sweetness almost becoming sticky – but then the barrel ageing does its work, turning things to a drier side thanks to the tannic effects (and a ‘deep’ herbal hop bitterishness too). Retronasal vanilla, jasmin tea and violet perfume, with ongoing sugared dried fruit effects highlighted by indeed rum-like alcohol, though this beer never shouts “rum” from a mile away; instead it remains altogether subtle, as usual in this series, and as usual when traditional European companies (or monasteries in this case) tackle the craft beer hype of barrel ageing. I cannot compare with a 2017 vintage, alas, but it seems to me that this is, indeed, exactly the same thing…
Huge, dense, cream-coloured head, very stable over deep dark brown beer. Nose is sweet, rum-intoned, vanilla, young oak, intense. Sweet-ish, chocolatey, hint at fruity acidity, rum in the background. Plums, prunes, grapegums. Alcoholwarming, especially backthroat. Sticky in the finish, well bodied. Good carbonation. Chimay on steroids. But still very much Chimay. Thanks to Stef!