Bières de Chimay - Grande Réserve (Whiskey Barrel Aged, 2018 vintage)
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Chalice, Tulip, Snifter, or Pinot Glass
This limited 2018 vintage saw Grande Réserve fermented and aged in wooden barrels, going through a triple fermentation and extended barrel maturation. This vintage Chimay release incorporates French oak, American oak, and whiskey barrels throughout the fermenting and aging process. We love the standard blue-bottle Chimay (it’s been a go-to when it comes to cigar pairings), and we’re thrilled to have secured two vintages of these barrel-aged Grande Réserve releases for our special offer this month. This 2018 vintage is otherwise gone.
This version of Grande Réserve pours a deep brown, reminiscent of rich maple syrup. This shows well-formed light-tan foam despite the high ABV, dissipating to a persistent lacing at the edges of one’s glass. Rich caramelization and brown sugar lead the aromatics, backed up by the lightly sweet impact of oak and darker fruit. The whiskey-barrel presence throughout serves to support and enhance an already exceptional base quad.
This barrel-aged Chimay release offers up a rich, full mouthfeel balanced out by the delicate, fine-bubbled carbonation that helps support all of these Belgian releases. Light effervescence balances the enormous amount of rounded dark malts, sweet whiskey, and vanilla-laden oak. This barrel-fermented and barrel-aged release brings forth a whole lot of that wood character as this is allowed to warm up: vibrant almond and vanilla, warming whiskey elements, and a touch of subtle tannins providing structure. The carbonation and a subtle burnt-sugar note help keep this balanced throughout. An exceptional twist on a classic Belgian strong ale.
Given the high ABV and Chimay’s reliability, this should continue to age gracefully in one’s cellar for a number of years. For pairings: we’d work with that deep caramelization, brown sugar, and whiskey notes, looking to brisket burnt ends or some fiery grilled steak fajitas.
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