Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Well I have survived my trip to Belgium and have brought back with me a lifetime of memories and the aftertaste of Abbey goodness. With few exceptions, I tried to stick with the heavier bodied full flavor beers of the region. The first Trappist beer I'm going to review is probably the most well known in the states, Chimay.
I have to admit I was not very impressed with the more common blue label but i decided to give the triple a try anyway. It exceeded my expectations with it's slightly aged caramel flavor that lasts about a second or two before the hoppy bitterness kicks in. Like most Belgian beers, balance is always emphasized. And since the alcohol content is slightly higher than what you would expect in domestic brews, the malts tend to be very heavy and sweet. To balance it out, the hops are always noticeable but never overpowering like you would get in a Pale Ale.
The head on this beer was extremely thick and milky-like. The yeast used in most Belgian style beers tends to lend itself to the fruity smell that also contains a bit of grass from the hops.
The flavor comes in layers. First its the caramel followed quickly by the bitterness. Once the beer passes the back of the tongue, the fruity aftertaste kicks in.
Though the alcohol content is 8%, it dosent have the dark body you would expect from a triple malted beer. That is due to the sweet Belgian candies that are added to the brew. The 25% sucrose that is contained in the candies add an interesting sweet flavor and also adds to the abv.
The beer is also double fermented. Its first top fermented and then bottle fermented using the candies.