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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chimay Blue Cap Peres Trappistes Grande Reserve Ale

I remember Chimay being one of the first non-American beer that caught my interest, with an air of mystery and  exoticism surrounding the ale.  Monks brewing special beer, far from the prying eyes of the world?  Awesome.  Champagne-like bottle design?  Fancy.  9% alcohol?  Amazing (to my inexperienced mind).  Looking back, I mostly remember the "I'm drinking champagne" levels of carbonation, crispness, and a distinct "otherness" about the ales when compared to the ales and lagers I was used to.  It certainly couldn't be as funky or wild as the ales I have grown to love over the years, but it's time to open up a bottle of Chimay Peres Trappistes Grande Reserve Ale to see how it stands up to memory.

Chimay Blue Cap poured a black tea brown into the glass, topped with a huge, foamy tan head fed by almost violent carbonation.  The nose was almost pure clove aromas, with the slightest hints of dried fruit and slight phenols.  

Chimay Peres Trappistes Grande Reserve Ale opened with dried stone fruit notes and dark sugar.  Despite the heavy carbonation, there was a slight heaviness to the ale that carried much of the sugar but never managed to become too sweet in the nix.    The clove and pepper notes were decidedly more tame upon tasting, and sat just above the slightest bit of yeast twang.  The ale ended on a decidedly confusing mix of airy dryness with a lingering, stewed fruit thickness more tasted than felt.  

Chimay Grande Reserve Ale is well regarded for a reason... it is ultimately accessible by almost anyone, dangerously drinkable considering the ABV, and isn't too bold in any area to be considered offensive.  At this point in my beer journey, Chimay Blue Cap is more an interesting experience (akin to Delerium Tremens) than a final destination I want to stop at. 

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