Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our own 'private reserve' beer tasting

My 5 friends and I gathered around our kitchen table a few Fridays ago to pop out some great beers from each one's cellar to do some beer tastings. We tried a vertical of the Chimay Blue from 2004, 2008 and 2009 (well, not exactly a vertical). We tried a 2007 & 2009 Allagash Curieux, which is a Bourbon- Barrel aged Triple and clocks in at 11%. Also on the list were Russian River's Damnation 23 and Three Floyds Dread Naught.

We poured the Chimays first. The 2009 was a bit cloudy, the 2008 less so and the 2004 was clearer but darker mahogany in color. The 2004 tasted of sweet caramel malts, roasted coffee, a bit earthy and went down smoothly and beautiful. The 2008, unfortunately was skunked, which happens, especially since these are all made in green bottles instead of brown. BUT we did find the perfect pairing with a 2008 skunked Chimay Blue- a Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk! Who knew? That cheese is great but so stinky it mellowed out the skunkiness of the beer. Pretty crazy how well and random that worked out. The 2009 still tasted like caramel and malt but way lighter, it didn't seem as strong at all. We were all in agreement that we liked the 2004 the best- it was almost a different beer how it aged so nicely!

The 2007 & 2009 Allagash Curieux- both poured a bit cloudy caramel color with a hint of orange. The 2009 aroma was mild but malty, sweet, a little boozy and a hint of oak. It tasted like sweet malts, some vanilla, light hops. In contrast,  the 2007 had way more of a whopping smell and taste of bourbon. It tasted like honey, bitter hops and bourbon! All in all the 2009 was again, a lighter beer in comparison to the aged 2007. I am not sure if they used the same barrels and the bourbon is being used up in each batch or what.

Russian River's Damnation 23 is an 11% triple. Russian River has some obsession with the number 23. It's printed on every bottle and for some reason, every 23rd batch of Damnation is oak aged and sold in the Damnation 23 bottles. It poured a cloudy yellow and left a massive lace. It smelled like citrus, earthy, yeasty, some spicy hops mixed in with some banana and clove. It tasted a bit sweet at first with a little grainy with a spicy hop flavor, slightly bubblegum, banana, some light oak notes. The alcohol seemed to be pretty well hidden in this beer.
Three Floyds Dread Naught is a 9.5% Imperial IPA. It pours a hazy golden amber color. It smelled of sweet citrus hops, mango (some got the mango some didn't), caramel, malty and earthy. It tasted more citrus hops than tropical and bitter. It was incredibly smooth for being 9.5% and had a light aftertaste.

All in all, it was a great night of drinking some fine beers. I look forward to our next one in January!


  1. Are all the Chimay Blue vintaged?? I am a huge fan but somehow missed that detail...

  2. No, the small bottles and 750 ml are not vintage dated. Only the 1.5 L and 3 L are vintage date. Hope this helps!

  3. Hi FemALEist – I enjoyed reading your post, as a lover of beer I think there’s nothing better than sharing it with friends. I found the idea of a private reserve beer tasting interesting professionally too – I’m part of BitterSweet Partnership in the UK, which was set up by Molson Coors to address the fact that only 13% of beer serves here are attributed to women. We want to debunk the myths surrounding beer that persist here in the UK (such as those about it having more calories than other alcoholic drinks), and get more females like yourself enjoying it too. We’re working on things like glassware, food pairing, and cooking with beer, but it’s a great idea to have a private reserve beer tasting of our own! Our website is http://www.bittersweetpartnership.com if you’d like to read more about what we do.