Alright, I figured I'd do another beer review tonight. Originally, I had intended to review the Chimay blue tonight instead of the Three Philosophers, but I saw that I hadn't put it in my fridge yet. My solution? Put the Chimay in the fridge, drink the 3P, and THEN drink the Chimay! Anyway, here's a picture of the bottle:
This ran me $10.89 for a 750 mL, so it was pretty costly. It is not quite as strong as the 3P, weighing in at 9% ABV. This bottle was under considerably more pressure than the 3P. The cork nearly flew off after merely twisting it gently. Not surprisingly, it had a larger head than the 3P:
The Chimay is similar in color to the 3P, but not in smell. I smell a little wood, plum, apple, a little more sweetness, and a few other things my olfactory isn't sufficiently trained to identify. Taking a sip, this is markedly sweeter than the Ommegang 3P, but not so much as to dominate. I definitely taste the plum and apple with the malt. The plum flavor is not like the reddish purple plums with the orange flesh. It's the Italian plums like I had growing in my backyard as a kid: purple with yellow-green flesh, and that my fat dog loved to eat as they fell off the tree. Now for the important part: how do I rate this relative to other trappists I've had? Well, this is strictly better than the Orval. It has much more flavor in all areas. Relative to the Rochefort 10, though, this tastes like a different sort of beer. The Rochefort was somewhat dry and very earthy, whereas the Chimay blue is somewhat sweet and a little fruity. I might say that the Rochefort is the trappist for people who love good Scotch, and Chimay blue is the trappist for people who love fine brandy/Cognac/Armagnac. Again, this beer wasn't quite in line with what I expected, having tried the Orval and the Rochefort, but it was in line with what I like -- Fairly strong flavor, good sweetness without being too much, and I like the fruit and malt. I'm going to go ahead and give this
and a half
. The flavor is great, but not quite so rich as to be ideal. This is not quite as good of a beer for people looking to find an in-road for non-beer drinkers as the 3P, but as a veteran beer drinker looking for new pleasures, I like this better. As far as value goes, I'd consdier this beer slightly overpriced. It's not outrageous for an import of this caliber to cost almost $11 from the store I was shopping at, but $11 is still a lot of money for a 750 of beer.
In summary, it's not quite as ideal as something sufficently rich to get the full 5
's, and it's not a particularly great value, but it's still a great beer. I'll keep searching for the ideal, though, and I'll love every sip