SHIG (4060) - Wasilla, Alaska, USA - JAN 29, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown, with very little head. Pleasant fruit aroma with a bitter/chocolate taste and malt. Definitely a stocker in my fridge!
auderale (605) - Minot, North Dakota, USA - JAN 29, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2005 Bottle, 33cl. Dark brown pour with medium head. Clean fruity aroma. A malty hops flavor.
ALLOVATE (2727) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - JAN 29, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Who could honestly go past a bottle of Grande Réserve Chimay and say no thankyou! This is an ale that has been tasted by near everyone with any interest in beer whether they have any inklings towards its roots or not. A background favourite of mine I waited until I had cracked a 2001 before rating this.
2004- Poured into its own chalice at around cellar temperature. Extremely muddy with the yeast dispersing into a pulped fruit mess inside the cola brown body with an enormous, creamy beige crown raising up and persisting for the length to trail fine lacing down the glass. Heady aroma, quite woody almost oak-aged with fresh pulped zesty plums, red wine dryness, spicy yeast and an underlying earthy mustiness like old hops. Lovely smooth and almost creamy mouthfeel; vinous notes set it off and develop into an earthy woody mix of malt and hops. Plums and blueberries, driftwood, peppery alcohol and yeast phenols and a hint of pecan pie develop to linger long in the mouth hiding that 9% ABV. Warming and homely, this example seemed more woody than most that I have tried with a long finish that was like a well aged plum wine. Seemed to have more age than the 2001. Quite nice. (75cL, Nookenburra)
2001- Poured into its own chalice at cellar temperature. Quite clear, deep ruby red with a tinge of brown. Head formed off the pour; extremely dense and creamy beige, held in place by streams of very, very fine bubbles to leave a mist over the glass as I drank. Pungent and tart, port-like nose with an immense spicy waft of alcohol and the famous house yeast. Other dried fruits were there with a lick of bitter/sweet chocolate and a touch of polished Jarrah (?). Extremely wine-like in the mouth; mellowing, smooth and yet prickly across the tongue with a good dose of medicinal alcohol that didn’t hinder it at all. Blackcurrant’s, raisins and those distinctive plum notes abound, this was like an after dinner elixir to stir up the rawest of emotion, by the fire with a loved one perhaps. Finish is as smooth as silk letting the alcohol warm to its full extent along with a deeply vinous roundness and depth. I love a good strong ale, and Chimay delivers with fervour. (75cL, Vintage Cellars, Adelaide)
As I said ’who could go past a Chimay’!
TheBeerLover (1026) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 27, 2006
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Chimay Grand Reserve pours to a beautiful, deep garnet color with a thick, rocky white head, and a very vibrant carbonation. The nose is filled with complex aromas. Aromas of spicy/musty yeast, marry with fruity estery aromas of plum, candy sugar, sweet malt, peppery alcohol, and herby hop character. The palate is firm, with big sweet and dark malt flavors paired with flavors of rock candy, fruity esters, and a back drop of spicy yeastiness. This beer finishes with more of those complex flavors up front, then ends with a warming, peppery alcoholic burn.
Some age in the cellar has taken those raw, young aromas and flavors of a young bottle, and make them more complex and deep. The aromas are more yeasty and spicy in nature, with a bit more malt and alcohol aroma, and a more rounded estery fruit note. The plummy notes will become more vinous and port like. A few years of age will make a phenomenal beer even more complex, and delicious.
This is a world class Trappist ale, and one of the most accessible of all the Trappist ales. It should be available in most US markets. Chimay has done more than any Trappist brewery to make beer lovers aware of these very special beer styles. This beer is the perfect match for strong blue veined cheeses, cured or smoked meats and fish. It also makes a wonderful after dinner drink, and a warming winter brew. Remember you can consume this beer either young or old, I have enjoyed it both ways.
GreatLibations (1854) - Last Supper, Arizona, USA - JAN 26, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: FEB 5, 2007 Pours a deep waxy mahogany brown color w/ a full, semi creamy froth that recedes slowly to a clumpy lace. Aroma of rock candy, dried fruit and liver. Full nectar w/ ample residual effers. Mouthfeel is a bit clumsy w/ beachball effers clanging toether. Sweetnes factor is moderate w/ woodsy flavors, tobacco, ripe plums, slight rootbeer, dusty granite. Finish is long and bittered w/ peach pit. Very warming w moderate flavors of alcohol.
Bilzmoude (19) - Ferndale, Michigan, USA - JAN 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Smells great! Belgin, dubbel-style aroma... a fruity (apple?) malt smell. Head is thick and creamy. Color is brown and murky. Smooth, cherry flavors with a dry, alcahol aftertaste. Tingles the palate. I like it... I don’t think I can drink this every day, but it is definately good.
Quixote18 (236) - Johnson City, Tennessee, USA - JAN 25, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Deep hazy brown color and a foamy, long-lasting cream color head. The aroma was yeasty with some mellow malts. The aroma just screamed "Belgian" to me. I had a very difficult time deciphering the flavor...I think my palate was a little overworked then night. I’ll have to rerate later. I sampled this alongside the Red Cap, and needless to say, the Blue is much bolder. A little alcohol twinge in the finish, but still a very smooth beer.
Quevillon (2729) - Boisbriand, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 25, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 9, 2007 Ah les trappists, ils sont si méchants avec nous pour produir une délice comme ça. Un arome légé de fleur, une saveur délicieuse de malt roti. Un vrai péché. Et pour dire que c’est des catholiques qui font ça.
GG (2332) - NorCal, California, USA - JAN 24, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUL 5, 2008 While I must say spending $5.00 for a single bottle of beer is not something I do with regularity, I did so because of the fact this beer was Top 5 on many lists and it’s the only one on the list I had access to. So I headed up to BevMo with my best friend (who got a ticket on the way there HAH!), plunked down my money, took it home let it stay nice and cool in the garage overnight and opened it the next day. A HUGE head, I’m talking seriously HUGE. A wonderful aroma of raisins, dates, plums and a spiciness. The taste had a nice roastiness flavor, with nutmeg and a peppery flavor. It had some teeth on it with a 9% ABV, so you could taste that also, which put me off a bit (reminded me of this really crappy French beer I once had). While this was an excellent dark ale, I would not say it belongs in the Top 5 on these lists. Too expensive for what little you get and didn’t blow me away like I was hoping.
MacDaddyOJake (274) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - JAN 23, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Very deep, dark brown color with an average sized beige head. Floral hops and a touch of roasted malts present in the aroma as well as the taste. Very malty taste, quite good. Nice palate, good aftertaste, but it was just a fraction of a point less than the Red I think. A very delicious beer, but I think I’ll go to the Red over this one.