belgian trippel


Review: Chimay Grand Reserva, Trippel, and Premiere

By Niko I (FF)

We have never really reviewed multiple beers in one post before but since I tried all three of these guys within a few days of each other I thought this would be much more convenient. Anyway Chimay is one of the six trappist breweries in Belgium brewed by the Cistercian monks of Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey. I won’t get into the details of how the monastery came to be because it’s a little boring and doesn’t really have anything to do with beer. All you need to know is that they’re monks who make beer and cheese since 1860-ish. Sounds like a winning combination. 

Grand Reserva (Blue)

Pouring a dark plum brown the aroma is one of cider, spice, booze and dark fruit. On the tongue it’s much more malty with caramel and toffee sweetness, some thick chocolate, and a touch of roasted coffee coming through in the roasted hop flavor. Now I originally assumed since it is called the Grand Reserva that this guy was aged in oak barrels or something much like the Pannepot Grand Reserva from Struise, however that doesn’t seem to be the case. Looks like it’s just bottle aged. Either way it’s quite tasty, though not nearly as flavorful as Pannepot.

Niko I (FF) Score = 9/10

Premiere (Red)

The Premiere is the oldest of all the Chimay brews, making it the most popular and “flagship” beer. Unfortunately, it’s also easily the most boring of the three. Mild flavors of citrus, honey, apricot, malt and some roasted hops make for a drinkable ale that is in no way offensive but fails to inspire. If you’re new to craft beer you’ll like this a lot. If you’ve had a lot of big bold flavorful beers, Premiere will be too thin. It’s decent but nothing special.

Niko I (FF) Score = 7.5/10

Trippel (Gold)

The newest of the three brews, this beer is simply fantastic. Brewed for the first time about 100 years after the debut of Premiere, the Trippel is an extremely clean, crisp, and refreshing beer. The yeast flavor is scaled back a little compared to other trippels giving way to a creamy light mouthfeel of banana, orange/apricot, honey, zest, and considerable grapefruit/pine hops. It’s more of a summer beer, but I tried this guy after a work out and it was refreshing as hell.

Niko I (FF) Score = 9.25/10

So overall I was pretty impressed with Chimay. The red was a little disappointing but the yellow and blue are right up there with the rest of the great trappist ales.