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Day #86 – Chimay Triple / Blanche (White)

March 28, 2011

Over the next 3 days I have the pleasure of reviewing authentic Trappist beers.  What is a Trappist beer you ask?  In general terms, it is a beer brewed by monks for monks.  The FUBU of beer you could say.

Here are some specifics:

  • Out of the 171 of the world’s Trappist monasteries only 7 produce beer.
  • 6 are from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel) and one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven).
  • These monasteries make up the International Trappist Association that monitors and controls what products may carry the name “Trappist”.

For a beer to qualify, it must meet the following criteria: (quoting wikipedia)

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
  • The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  • The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

Trappist beers are well regarded among the craft beer community.  In fact, the much debated “Best beer in the world” is brewed at a Trappist monastery,  Westvleteren.  Don’t bother looking for it at your local Kroger.  They only authorize sales of their beer at the brewery itself (in Belgium) and the monastery-owned bar across the street from it.  If you really want to try it you can find bottles of it on ebay, but you’ll pay a bit to get your hands on it!

Chimay Triple / Blanche (White)

The Chimay brewery is located in Baileux, Belgium at the Scourmont Abbey.  It is an authentic Trappist brewery and also produces cheese as well as beer.  They have 3 widely distributed beers that may be found in North Texas, and I will be reviewing all 3.  The street terms for these are Chimay Red, White and Blue.  How very American for a Belgian brewery.  🙂 Speaking of cheese, I think I’ll accompany this beer with a delectable cheese platter.

I’ll be starting with the white beer, which in actuality is an Abbey Trippel.  It rings in at 8% so this is no weakling.  A Trappist beer should always be served out of a Trappist glass, preferably from the brewery its made for.  I have my trusty Chimay goblet here, ready for pouring.

I poured this beer very slowly, so as to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle.   I am actually cultivating this yeast for a homebrew beer I am planning on doing later this week.  Even pouring it slowly, the beer still develops a nice frothy white head.  The color starts at a light orange yellow near the stem of the glass and gradually grows to a darker amber color as it nears the head.  Lots of suspended sediment can be seen in this as well.  That is to be expected however.

The aroma is fairly yeasty, with lots of banana and clove esters.  Very much a Belgian fruit aroma.  Sweet notes and fruit are the main things that I can smell for sure.

The flavor is fruity, like sugary fruit snacks that tingle the tongue.  The alcohol levels can certainly be felt through the tingles and it’s overall mouthfeel.  Flavorful and tasty, this starts off well and has a slightly bitter/fruity-dry finish.  Lots of other spicy notes in this, like clove and zesty flavors.  Very nice and better than I remembered.  The best has yet to come however….

Op uw gezondheid!  (cheers in dutch)

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