Bières de Chimay
Brewed by Bières de Chimay
Abbaye de Scourmont, Chimay, Belgium
Chimay is a Trappist Brewery produced at the Abbey of Our Lady of Scourmont, in the small town of Chimay, south west Belgium
It is one of six breweries in Belgium authorized to display the hexagonal Authentic Trappist Product logo guaranteeing that their products are made, on site, in a Trappist abbey, by or under the control of monks, operate as a non profit outfit and that part of the income from its marketing is devoted to charities.
In the summer of 1850, a small group of monks established a settlement on the wild plateau of Scourmont near Chimay. Around the monastery a farm, a cheese plant, a Church and Abbey came to be. Later using water drawn from the Abbey well, the monks started brewing in 1862. Today as one of the biggest Trappist breweries in the world, Chimay beers are now found all over the world, still operating out of the Scourmont Abbey under the supervision of the monks.
During World War II , the abbey was taken over by the Nazis who had the temerity to melt the brewing vats, the bastards! Luckily possession was restored after the War, but unfortunately the monks had to start everything afresh again as so much was destroyed.
This coincided with Father Théodore De Haene, in 1948, attending the University of Louvain where he learned beer making with Professor De Clerck. Together, they create the new brewer’s yeast for future Chimay beers. And the rest they say is history!
Their most well known beers are as follows….
• Chimay Bleue (brown — 9% Vol — 33 cl ), called Grande Réserve in 75 cl .
• Chimay Blanche (Triple) (blonde / amber — 8% Vol — 33 cl ), called Cinq Cents in 75 cl .
• Chimay Rouge (brown — 7% Vol — 33 cl ), called Première in 75 cl .
• Chimay Dorée (blonde — 4.8% Vol — 33 cl ), it is originally the table beer of the monks of the abbey.
• Chimay Bleue Aged in barrels (brown — 10%).
I got their most iconic bottles in a three pack, its red, white and blue collection, with a branded tulip-shaped glass and each bottle has been cellared for about 2 years.
Review: 0,33l bottle of Chimay Biere Triple, a Tripel Trappist Ale (Blanche/White): 8% vol.
Can come in 33l or 75l bottles, or on tap if you are lucky enough to be in Belgium, and only from about 20 or so elite hostelries after having met the brewery’s strict criteria! Named Cinq Cents in the 75l bottles
Has a massive score of 93 and with it an “Outstanding” remark, from a certain beer review site. I know this is bound to disappoint so, ha ha.
Chimay beer is neither filtered nor pasteurized, also its a high fermentation beer that re-ferments in the bottle.
Decent frothy head on the pour, all fine, white and creamy looking, with an amber golden colour to the beer. Looks pretty fine in the appearance.
Biggish frothy head. Amber colour. Fine creamy head. Looks ok.
The aroma has a very piercing smell, very strong on the nose, slightly citrusy and fruity esters, very strong, very yeasty with spicy hop aromas.
Onto the taste, oh wow, hit straight away with the taste, pretty hoppy for sure. That’s tough to stomach if I am honest. Earthy start, woody, barley malts from the beginning. Wheaty in the aftertaste too.
Sweet tastes from the malts, then the yeast and the bitter hops, not very enjoyable, kind of tastes like a bad medicine to take, with bubbles. Their is some sort of balance there between the sweet and the bitter, and there are a wide array of flavours, just I didn’t like all that very much!
Bitter tastes, urgh. Hoppy bite, very much so. Over more sips it becomes more manageable but its not very nice, not one to enjoy. Fruity tastes found, orange peel and citrus.
I know this is very popular, but fuck me I found it very hard to drink, and couldn’t enjoy it at all.
Yeasty, very strong in the taste, and the alcohol at 8% kicks you right in the bollix. Didn’t find any balance between the hops and yeast.
Not nice. Don’t like it, too harsh and not enjoying it at all. To all the fans sorry but I am just a regular beer drinker with a well worn out palate, simple tastes here, no pretensions, so the Belgian tripel’s are just not up my street…
Review: 0,33l bottle of Chimay Biere Brune, a Brown Ale (Rouge/Red): 7% vol.
Can come in 33l or 75l bottles but not on tap. Known as Première in 0.75l bottles, “Red Cap” in 0.33l. Bottle conditioned, in that Chimay Rouge is a high fermentation beer that re-ferments in the bottle, “beer fermented in the bottle”.
Another Chimay with a massive rating on that beer review site. Another “Outstanding” score.
Chimay Red (Brune) is the oldest of the Chimay Trappist beers, first brewed back in 1862, but after WW2 it had slight tweaks in the flavour but still remaining true to the old recipes.
Colour is of a dark brown appearance, with a very small dark chocolatey coloured tan head that didn’t fill the tulip glass which was a little disappointing, perhaps I didn’t pour it correctly.
Smell is piercing, the fruits, especially of apricots, attacking straight off the bat, but doesn’t last, also of sweet malts, and a yeasty aroma. Ok but light.
For the taste I am getting a very fruity flavour, light and not as hoppy as the Blue, more manageable for me anyway.
Getting caramel and brown sugar especially in the aftertaste, it lingers and hangs around on the tastebuds.
Their blurb states that this should taste of a “fruity taste accompanied by a slight bitterness”, I would say that’s spot on. Mild bitterness and lots of dark fruits. Yeast and sweet malts found in the taste too. A lot of malt in fact!
Still a light kick with the alcohol, feeling it after, bit light in the head after a couple of these bad boys.
Overall its ok, nothing amazing and to be honest I found it a little bit dull.
By the end of the beers they did start to grow on me a little more, and I can see how they could be nice to relax with over a long night. I might return, not sure!
Review: 0,33l bottle of Chimay Grande Réserve, a Strong Ale (Bleue / Blue) 9% vol.
Chimay Bleue which in the large 75 cl bottle is called “Grande Réserve, bottle conditioned.
And another high ranking beer from Chimay on the old beer review sites, scored as World class on one……. Jesus they are fairly popular alright!
On the pour, well fuck me, the carbonation is out of control, loads of it, not leaving a whole lot left in the glass to finish off when most of it is gone to the bubbles. FFS.
When it all settles, a massive froth and creamy white head appears, with a dark purple look, like a plum. Looks pretty good once it all calms down.
Very good lacing, all over the glass, expected what with all that foam.
Left the second one on the fridge for a bit to see if it made any difference to the pour. It did, much better on the pour, still though not getting the Chimay tulip glass full, which is a tad bit disappointing, and a much smaller head than the first bottle. Still creamy though and pitch black in colour. Looks very smart…
On the nose it is very, very fruity, getting a really nice aroma, very pleasant. Also hints of black currant/red berry/plums.
Yeasty and dark malts, with toffee and caramel, lovely. Nice on the nose.
Onto the taste, very, very sweet taste coming from the barley malts and caramel, also very hoppy, overly hopped, which I find pretty hard to digest. True to form, a Belgian sour. Also can get the dark fruits.
Later on it all goes a bit flat, and its another Belgian I can not seem to get acquainted with. Not enjoyable for me.
The yeast is also strong, hitting you near the end, bit light headed after these two bottles. I think if I had a good few of these in a pub I’d be off my head and I might even enjoy them! Very strong!
Bit dry in the mouth. Like a red wine, a hard hitting version. Fruity, plumy and cherry kind of taste. My mother, a big red wine drinker, loved this beer. A glass of wine, but stronger.
Taste is so so but top marks to kickability, powerful stuff. Overall, by the end I did get into it a little more and started to enjoy it, so perhaps I need a crate of them to sample next time, over a long evening. Have to revisit then, perhaps a good beer to get for a special one off celebration or for Christmas.