Trappist brewery Chimay has barrel aged their Grande Reserve Ale (Blue) for the first time. Historically, the Grande Reserve was Chimay’s Christmas Beer.
I don’t have a bottle yet, but here’s a video from
It’s no secret that Santa’s favorite Christmas beer is De Dolle Brouwers’ Stille Nacht. It’s a Belgian Strong Ale made with brewing equipment from a long-defunct brewery in the eastern Belgium town of Esen. Several friends bought the equipment in the 1980s called themselves the Mad Brewers (De Dolle Brouwers) and began to brew beers with life – yeast – still in them. The little guy on the bottle is often mistaken for a snowman, but is actually a yeast, representing the living nature of bottle-conditioned beer.
Stille Nacht Reserva was birthed after an accidental yeast overdose in 2000 exploded bottles as
Last year I bought a few bottles of several Christmas beers to age. Tonight I pulled a bottle of Corsendonk Christmas Ale to see how aging affected this beer.
It pours reddish brown with a two-finger head that stays firm. Obviously, the year of aging hasn’t changed the carbonation.
It tastes very much like a fresh batch (see my review here), but the whole beer is knit together and the flavors are better integrated. The carbonation is smoother, the dark fruit notes pop, and the “sharp” edges of a fresh Corsendonk are aged off in this year old ale. I like it better.
Throw a few bottles in your cellar and taste a aged Corsendonk for yourself… next year.
Another Belgian, this time from Brasserie Des Légendes in Ath, Belgium. Noël Des Géants is an unpasteurized, unfiltered, bottle conditioned Belgian spiced strong ale.
Noël Des Géants pours golden rose with a white head of fine foam. This is a spiced beer, but the aroma begins with
The brewer is Slaapmutske; the brewery is De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium. This is a malty Christmas beer called Kerstmutske Christmas, which means Christmas Nightcap.
Kerstmutske Christmas Nightcap pour cloudy mahogany with a cream head that reduces to what looks like
Stille Nacht Reserva is a legionary ale with an accidental beginning. De Dolle Brouwers (The Mad Brewers) began brewing in the early 1980s and used yeast provided by Rodenbach. In 1999, the new owners of Rodenbach discontinued selling yeast to De Dolle so a batch of Stille Nacht was made with a new yeast – that exploded bottles after a while.
What to do? De Dolle couldn’t sell bottles that were exploding due to over carbonation from bottle conditioning. Instead, the brewers poured the beer into used wine barrels and aged it for 18 months before
De Struise Brouwers from Oostvleteren, Belgium has made quite a splash with their very agreeable beers. Tsjeeses a colloquial pronunciation of “Jesus” and this is their Christmas beer. Actually, Struise makes several versions of Tsjeeses. There’s the Bourbon Barrel Aged Reserva and this is the Port Barrel Aged Reserva.
I purchased this 2011 vintage in Belgium last Spring and carried back to the North Pole.
Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva pours translucent copper, a little lighter colored than the Bourbon Barrel Aged, with a fine foam head. It’s unfiltered and unpasteurized. The nose has candi sugar, caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and raisins. It tastes, well, yummy! It’s has sweet malts, vanilla, white pepper, yeast, and a touch of orange peel from the bitter hops. Tsjeeses is sweet but it’s not syrupy or jammy. It’s a satisfying mouthful of candied fruit, finishing with warmth that spreads down your throat from the 10% ABV.
Struise is related the Flemish word for “ostrich” (one of the brewers also runs an ostrich farm), which are thought by locals to be sturdy, thus De Struise Brouwers means “The Sturdy Brewers.”
Despite it’s age, Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva 2011 is still available on store shelves. The brewery does much of the aging before it released this beer.
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