Price: $4.95 (bottleshop), $12.50 (pub)
Manufactured: Baileux, Belgium
This is a beer that I have been trying to review for some time. As you may have noticed I have reviewed the other two beers in the series (red and white) which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I have enjoyed this beer in a social situation sometime back and had some great recollections of its flavour and power.
I must say that this is not the prettiest beer around in the glass. Similar to the other two beers in the series it has a very high level of sedimentation. The colour is dark (muddy) brown with a slight amber hue. The head pours large from the bottle but fairly quickly settles to a thin but persistent creamy yellow layer on the glass. The bubbles are fine forming a nice foam for the length of the drink.
The beer does not have a strong nose but still contains some detail. I notice sweet Belgium yeast, vanilla and candied sugar scents. Very nice but not overwhelming.
If the nose is slightly restrained this is made up in full by the flavour which is powerful and complex. It starts out with sweet dark brown sugar and candy flavour that is mellow and warming. The word rich keeps coming to mind. There are deep dark black fruits in there like blackberries and plums that build to a Christmas cake and booze hit. The mouth feel is amazing; verging on liqueur but still has delicateness achieved by the light carbonation.
Dark cherries that remind me of Christmas at the back of the pallet remain long after the beer has been consumed. I have finished the beer and yet still now tasting cherries and plums. There is warmth that is undoubtedly due to the large alcohol hit and a nice light hoppy bitter finish.
This is an awesome beer that I would strongly recommend to all. Due to the rich flavours and big alcohol hit it is more of a drink to be had in small measure. If you would like a change with your Christmas pudding this year, try a Chimay Blue. I reckon the beer and pud’ would be a sensational match. The only drawback with this beer is the appearance and I have a sneaking suspicion that the ‘Grande Reserve’ 750mL bottle would sort out some of those sediment issues nicely.
Go out, buy some, drink and if you are so inclined enjoy with a good cigar. You won’t be disappointed.