Bières de Chimay S.A. Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques (Cognac) – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.5% ABV

Bières de Chimay S.A. Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques (Cognac) Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.5% ABV (C$35.62 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 10-Aug-2016, acquired 13-Dec-2017, reviewed 6-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear brown with one finger of dense creamy tan head, excellent retention and  moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready yeast, cherries, raisins, brown sugar, wood, brandy. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (9/10) Palate: medium-full slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, sweetish warming spicy finish. (4/5)

I was a bit surprised to see that this was clearer than the Rum version, and maybe even slightly lighter in colour. I also found the aroma to be slightly milder, but not wildly different than the non-barrel-aged Blue. Again, the aromas are relatively mild compared to the flavours on the tongue, it drinks easily, and there is an impressive near-complete absence of alcohol. Triple the price of the standard Grande Réserve still seems like a bit of a steep premium, though. And on a completely unrelated note, this might well be the heaviest beer bottle I’ve ever seen in my life – and that includes the “we had way too much to drink last christmas eve so we’re only allowed to have two beers this christmas eve” 1.5 litre novelty beers I brought home for the brother-in-law. I’m not convinced I could actually break one of these, if I’m honest. Big chunk of glass for a big beer. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze

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