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 Chimay showing the barreling process.
Here’s information from Chimay about their new barrel aged Grande Reserve Ale.
EDITION NOVEMBER 2015
The choice of barrel blends gives the beer organoleptic qualities that are specific to each batch of bottles.
Ageing provides it with a strong taste different to that of its original version. Although the beer retains its dark colour, the head is more refined and lighter. This vintage beer has a woody aroma with a few mild notes of vanilla. It also reveals ester aromas (banana, pear, apricot).
To the palate, it is a rounded, creamy beer. Amongst its sweet and roasted accents, it shows perfect balance, despite a higher alcohol content than its predecessor. Its refined sparkling properties add the finishing touch to the unique character of an exceptional product.
TYPES OF BARREL
The idea of course is based on using different types of wood, however for this first batch, all the barrels are new and made from oak.
64% of this oak is sourced from France and 36% from America.
Chimay presents its BATCH NO. 1. This beer is exclusively produced in 15,000 bottles. It has fermented in new oak casks for nearly 6 months. It has therefore acquired a beautiful dark colour over time and has become a well-balanced product.
The refined bouquet of this batch is at its best when served at a temperature of between 10 and 12°C. Alc. vol.: 10%
I also have a hint about the March 2016 Edition. They are reusing the barrels from the first Edition and adding cognac and chestnut barrels as well. It’s unknown if ales from these new barrels types will be labeled and sold as such. We’ll know in 6 months!
Type of Barrels
38% french oak – second utilization
22% american oak – second utilization
22% new cognac
18% new chestnut