Style: Belgian dark ale
Chimay is a brewery at Scourmont Abbey, a Trappist monastery in Belgium, and is one of the thirteen breweries worldwide that produce Trappist beer. The brewery was founded in 1862, and Chimay blue is considered to be their flagship beer. In 1948, Father Theodore began the first test brews with a new yeast, but it wasn’t until 1956 that it was bottled with its distinct blue top. In 2018 when I began the club I put aside some bottles to have in a later tasting, as I wanted to see how the beer would change and mature over the time. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to open them up and compare them to some fresher 2022 vintage beers. It was surprising just how big a difference there was between the two sets of beer!
Both were dark amber to ruby with a thick off-white head that lingered for a long, long time. High carbonation was noted as it bubbled up the side of the glass in the 2022 version, but was noticeably less in the 2018 beers. When swirled, a lovely rich, thick body was displayed as it rolled around the glass. The familiar aromas of raisins, brown sugar, metal and a dash of orange were released from the 2022 vintage glass and smelt delicious. The 2018 edition had an aroma that was milder, with a less prominent metal aroma and more dried fruit. The unmistakable candy sugar notes hit the tongue first upon sipping both the vintages, closely followed by dried fruit, honey, syrup and plums. Again, the 2018 was more mellow, with a slightly creamier body. The aftertaste of both was rather drying, with them leaving a slightly sticky coating on the palate.
I was so happy that there was such a big difference between the two versions. The 2022 was more vibrant, but the taste was slightly harsh compared to the more relaxed 2018 edition. Both were amazing though, but I think the 2018 had the edge due to the beer having those extra few years to mature. This is such a classic beer in any edition, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Excellent.