Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Session (Aug 2008) Celebrate one gift from God by enjoying another

I've been a little dormant on the blog for a week or so as I have had more pressing matters in my life. My wife (the "Alewife") gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, he is a handsome, happy and healthy young lad, and we feel truly blessed to have him in our lives...

A tired yet proud father after three solid days spent in the hospital...

That being said, while taking a break from the feedings and changings that seem to take place every two hours, I did a little beer blog surfing and stumbled upon this month's Session.

Enjoy that special beer you normally only open on your wedding anniversary or birthday. Either way, tell us about it. Why is it a beer you may only drink once a year? Why is that brewery’s annual release the one you selected?

This was the last Chimay Blue on the shelf, and it was covered in dust... A little vintaged, but I wonder how good of a find this was? Either way, a great beer to enjoy on my boy's one week birthday!

I actually HAVE a birthday to celebrate, and instead of hitting up an anniversary beer, I chose a dusty bottle of Chimay Ale Grande Reserve that was hiding on a lonely shelf at the local package store. (Vintage October, 2006) Apparently Chimay Blue ages very well, this one sure was delightful! The idea of quality beers made by men of God really appeals to me on many different labels. And I could not think of a better way to celebrate my baby boy's one week birthday then by enjoying one gift from God in celebration of a greater gift from God. Read more about my thoughts on beer and Christianity here.

I'm all class, with my Target brand "Dirty Monk Pub" T-Shirt and my Simpsons's Duff Beer hat, the perfect outfit for sipping a truly magnificent Belgium Ale, made by real honest to goodness monks.
Take note of the feeble attempt at growing a beard during my "paternity leave", all it does is show off my double chin... Time to rethink that idea...

Beer: Chimay Ale Grand Reseve

You gotta love men of God that make beer to enjoy and to raise money for charity...
Read up on the holy men of
the Notre-Dame de Scourmont abbey in southern Belgium.

Some words from Chimay:

75 cl, 33 cl (25.4 fl.oz., 11.2 fl.oz.), 9% alc. vol.

Named Grande Réserve in 75 cl (25.4 fl.oz.) bottles, it is principally distinguished by its character of a strong beer.

This is a beer whose fragrance of fresh yeast with a light, flowery rosy touch is especially pleasant.

Its flavour, noticed when tasting it, only accentuates the pleasant sensations perceived in the aroma , while revealing a light but pleasant touch of roasted malt.

This top fermented Trappist beer , refermented in the bottle, is not pasteurised.

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: On the same path as the Belgian Dark Ale but obviously higher in alcohol with more of an all around character. The alcohol character can be deceivingly hidden or can be very bold and in your face. Look for lots of complexity within a delicate palate. Hop and malt character can vary, most are fruity and some many have mild dark malt flavors. Phenols will range from minimal to high and most will be light on the hops. All in all most are spicy and alcoholic. Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 7.0-15.0%

(In this case, 9 % abv)

I don't have the right glassware for this sort of beer.
The closest thing I have is an old glass from a tropical drink enjoyed in Hawaii. Is this blasphemy?

How was it served? From a bottle
Glass: A unique glass, lets call it a brandy snifter, yeah that's it... It's the best glass I could find!
Location of tasting: In the dining room and the office
Reviewer: Bryon

Good stuff.... nuff said!

On to the Review

Holy cork batman!

1. Appearance -
Dark and cloudy amber/carmel brown with a light tan head with some lacing.
Fabulous head retention.

2. Smell - A malty smell with some cherry undertones. Reminds me of those cherry filled chocolates. (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt... That being said, my nose must have been working that day!)

3. Taste - Malty, sweet like raisins bread and a hint caramel with some nutty and oak undertones. Damn tasty, better when it's not so cold, only slightly chill this brew. As it warms the flavor improves, but hints of the alcohol sitting beneath the surface become slightly more detectable.

4. Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy bodied, perhaps a little chewy, and moderately carbonated. Crisp yet creamy. Goes down fairly easy, but should be savored.

5. Drinkability - I love this beer. I could easily enjoy a number of these, so keep them coming, but be there to cut me off, as the delightful flavor masks the 9% ABV. Sip this baby, enjoy it, love it, think about the Monks and how you hard earned money spent is helping them with their charity work, then enjoy the beer some more... God bless these monks, they can brew...

Drinkability Scale from 1-10: 9 (A religious experience!)

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