1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) - Bières de Chimay S.A.

Not Rated.
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,340 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,340
Reviews: 2,150
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 278
Gots: 755 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,340 | Reviews: 2,150 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ellman
4.13/5  rDev -4%

The Pour: This trappist beer is a bark murky brown with a Tan long lasting head.

The Smell: A sour yeasty aroma at first then a bit of fruit. finally the musty smell comes through.

The Taste: Malt, yeast, and fruit and i dont want to forget the alcohol that is present that is noticable.

The Mouthfeel: light bodied for being this dark

One 750ml bottle should be enough for anyone. anymore then that is over doing it. I could drink this pretty regularly, but not in quanity.

ellman, Mar 29, 2003
Photo of Suds
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Clear, dark walnut color with a big, rocky stable head. This beer is really attractive, with a decent estery, peppery aroma. To be honest, the aroma could be a little more intense, but there's a lot of wonderful smells in there....dark, meaty fruit and spice...clove. Full, rich, and slightly dry....medium body. Despite the strength of the beer, the 9% stays firmly in the background, making this a very drinable beer. Not the best Belgian around, but solidy good.

Suds, Mar 01, 2003
Photo of scottfrie
4.13/5  rDev -4%

750ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a dark hazy iced-tea-apple-cider amber with a billowing dense crème brûlée colored head that sat motionless over the beer leaving streaks of lace down the glass.
S: Rich notes of dark fruit, figs, dark malts, Belgian spices and spicy yeast. Lots of clove and slight vanilla.
T: Light notes of dark fruits, pear, raisins and peppery spices dominate. Finish is spicy but has a fair amount of candied sweetness to it. Notes of maple, vanilla, tangerine, and nutmeg are present as well.
M: Mouth is lighter than expected due to the soft and creamy carbonation. Alcohol is slightly noticeable in the finish but pleasant. Very soft mouthfeel.
D: One of the best, although not as great as I remember. I'll try this again after some age. Definitely a world class beer.

scottfrie, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of hike20
4.13/5  rDev -4%

11.2 oz bottle. Pours cloudy, red-brown color. Nice head and pleasant aroma. Taste is strong and very good overall. Very complex, with some alcohol apparent, which is not surprising for an ale of this strength. Very enjoyable and will be a regular for me I think.

hike20, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Goddamn belgians and the gushing foam. Got head everywhere the second I opened this one. When I got it to settle down, it poured a dark hazy brown with little floaties about in a chimay glass. The taste is a of very dry dark fruits with a little spicyness to it. Its very smooth and easy to drink for the 9%. A very nice strong ale.

WeedKing4, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.13/5  rDev -4%

750ml bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Ruby red on the pour with some burnt orange hues. Creamy, fine-bubbled off white head retains well at a quarter of an inch. Lacing leaves a thin mesh-like coating on the glass.

S: Bread pudding. Candy Apple coating. Hints of sweet ripe cherries. A bevy of spices coming from the yeast; cinnamon, brown sugar, and subtle clove. Nutty yeast, brown cocoa, thin drizzle of light caramel.

T: Candy shell. Sweet cherries and plums. Bread crust, brown cocoa, and runny light caramel. Nutty yeast. Complex yeast-derived spice flavors. Clove, brown sugar, hint of cinnamon and pepper. Fleeting tropical passion fruit esters. Pear and sliced apple. More cocoa and crust. Hollow hop bitterness balances and adds perhaps just a slight grassy note. Finish dries a bit but leaves a lingering bready and brown cocoa flavor.

M: There is some substance and a slight sense of weight in the feel, but it is heavily downplayed by a high attenuation and ample carbonation that gently lifts and scrubs. All of this leaves an airy, rounded and slightly firm feel. Mild warmth too.

O: One of the more widely known and easily attainable Trappist ales. Highly complex and easily drinkable for its size. I think the Rouge is still my favorite in the Chimay line, but this is a hell of a beer too. A must-try for any beer aficionado.

ryan1788a5, Feb 13, 2014
Photo of jorg2619
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Christmas is here and I thought I would crack a Chimay Blue label. This beer pours very dark opaque brownish red. The head is generous at first and forms a thin solid line of foam after. The smell of belgium yeast and malt is a preview for the taste spicy clove and sweet maltiness. The mouth feel is good, smooth but by no means thin. the qualm I can find with this beer is that I found the alcohol burn to be a little pronounced, but after a glass or so I stopped noticing it.

jorg2619, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of pootz
4.13/5  rDev -4%

A great strong ale, but forgive me for not shamelessly fawning over it. It's a treat to drink this once in a while but thank Gambrinus there are more uncompromised belgian beers available. This is still a good beer but not as good as it was a few years ago. This is another beer that can have it's young 2 dimensional character changed slightly by cellaring for a year or more but it would never get to be that old in my cellar ;-)

Poured a dark slightly clouded amber with a smallish off white cap. Aromas of dates or figs or dried apricots. Started with a surprising big mouthful of sweet bready malts before the expected complex/layered banana-fig-hop undertones took over. As the beer sits on the palate the hop accent builds until the finish is surprisingly drying.

A very delightful strong ale but every time I've tasted it fresh and it has appeared slightly different each time. This may be a matter of ingredient linearity or it could be the brewers equivilent to a "vintage" where there is some batch to batch character differences. All in all, a wonderful drink but may be over rated by some.

pootz, May 10, 2004
Photo of TripelJ
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Now Quaffing: Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Pours a deep reddish brown with only minimal traces of light through the glass around the edges. The head fills the glass and "fizzes" away slowly without much lacing. Smell is sweet--ripe plums. Taste is sweet with plums and dark grapes mingled with a hint of alcohol for a nice warming effect with each sip. The mouthfeel is full is body and there is a nice crispness with each sip from the fine carbonation. Drinkability is okay, but the high ABV certainly creeps up on you quickly. I keep getting outstanding 750mls of this, always good quality, and never a bad bottle.

TripelJ, Mar 02, 2004
Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Expiry 2013, so I think this has been in my cellar for about a year. Tan head, two fingers, steadily retreated to an island of tiny-bubble froth that heaved and boiled at centre glass. Since I was a bit anxious on the pour, there is a lot of sediment added to produce a plum or prune puree with lots of suspended particle matter. Good carbonation, only minor lacing.

Smell of dark fruit tort cake, candied fruit, prunes and with air and warming, a minty air about it. Taste is layered caramel, bitter sour fruit flashes, well balanced acidity. Smooth and even mouthfeel with a bitter finish and sour dark fruit aftertaste. Alcohol well integrated. With air and warming came better balance and a more even flavour profile, rich texture yet smooth and tasty. This could be my favourite of the Chimays I've tried, I could easily go for another right this minute if only I had one available.

ThatWineGuy, May 22, 2009
Photo of Kendo
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Bottle doesn't seem to have any dating information on it. It came as part of a holiday gift pack, purchased in December of 2007, consumed in January of 2009, so it's at least 1 year old. Bottle's been in my DBF probably for at least 3-4 months, maybe longer. . . .

A: Poured from the 33 cl bottle into a Chimay chalice. Holy cow there are a lot of chunks! Not particles, not sediment -- chunks. There's no way to decant this to avoid getting floaties, as they're everywhere and at times large chunks flow forth. The body is dark brown, with a lot of sediment and floaties in suspension. A small off-white head settles quickly, though it's reinforced with some rising bubbles.

S: At first it's not too strong -- ripe apples and fruit in general come to mind. As it warms, however, there's more -- raspberries and dried fruit and alcohol. At times it reminds me of a fruity, light red wine.

T: Follows the nose pretty much. Fruit and raisins and molasses in the body, with a hint of spice and then a drying finish from the alcohol at the back end. Warmth from the alcohol is felt in the belly. As it warms, I get berries and some sugary sweetness even more.

M: Light and spritzy. I write the word "airy" to describe the feel, which is affected by the very active carbonation. Call it medium-bodied, though it really feels even lighter in some ways.

D: Very good, especially for a 9% ABV beer. Sweetness is cut by alcohol, which is dry, not hot.

Notes: A good drink, but I expected a bigger body for some reason. An easy drinker and plenty of flavor, but I was surprised by the lighter heft and body of this one.

***Edit, 1/3/11***

Last week, thanks to MRMOJORISIN, I had the pleasure of sampling the "millenium" version of this - a 1.5 liter bottle with a 2000 sticker on it. Afterwards, we sampled a "new" bottle. I for one concluded that the 10 year old bottle was preferrable. The smell was very pleasant - toffee malt with grapes that reminded me of red grape juice. Taste was heavy on the sweet malt, with toffee and caramel malt coming to mind. However, it finished with a tannic-like bitterness. It would've gotten higher scores in both appearance and taste.

Kendo, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of sopor
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Coppery Brown brew that seemd to light from mahogany brown when poured. Tan creamy head dies down to a thin film that will regrow to a thin head at the slightest agitation.

I can smell this as soon as I begin pouring. A smell like ripe fruit.

A slight roasted malt flaovr with strong fruity sweetness and and a very slight sourness. As it warms the beer got drier and fruityier, with less sweetness.

Very smooth with lively carbonation and moderate body.

For as dark and strong, this is a very drinkable brew!

sopor, Aug 24, 2005
Photo of tony223366
4.13/5  rDev -4%

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 17, 2011.

A: Dark brown with a slight reddish hue. Very cloudy. Thick white head. 2 fingers quickly turned into almost nothing.

S: Sweet maltiness lies up front. Tons of dark fruits hit and then a definite sugariness. Tons of dark fruits turn into some alcohol leaking in at the end.

T: Follows the nose. Seriously rich malts up front followed by rich dark fruits. Big alcohol flavors carries you through.

M: Love the carbonation! It's needed to help you roll through this malty beast. Medium body.

O: Another great Trappist beer. Love it

tony223366, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
4.13/5  rDev -4%

1986 vintage courtesy of Sean.... Thanks man. This is a treat.

Cap breaks on opening

Pours a fairly clear light brown. Looks pretty decent.
Smells sweet and malty. Pretty light and nice on the nose. Tastes light and maybe a touch fruity. Malty, sweet, the mouthfeel is a bit weak. But tastes really nice.

Urbancaver, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of captainjferjado
4.13/5  rDev -4%

A: A half-inch head rests on top of an opaque chestnut body. The head fades quickly leaving a restful remnant in the center.
S: A rich alcohol smell comes quickly. It smells warm, sweet, and inviting.
T: Like the smell, it is sweet and warm leaving the taste of roasted chestnuts on the palate and in the throat. Alcohol warms the mouth and throat. Although seemingly simple it is pleasant to the senses and enjoyable.
M: Light carbonation is appropriate and pairs nicely with the high alcohol content and taste.
D: I'm a little concerned about my ability to finish this bomber by myself tonight, but with proper pacing, this should be a proper beer for a long night of reading.

captainjferjado, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of tbeckett
4.13/5  rDev -4%

I have great experience with this beer. My first was in Utrecht, Netherlands at a cafe. I ordered it because it wasn't available where I live. As I was drinking it, I was asked by the two men next to me if I enjoyed it. I told him I did and he immediately bought me a second. Cheers to the Dutch and to Chimay.

Small bottle into a snifter.

A - Dark, dark brown, nearly black. Very murky and muddy with tons of sediment. Two finger off white head that fades to a cap.

S - Boozy fruits, some yeast. Very inviting. Mild but nice.

T - Great malty, sweet body followed by a good dose of fruits and a sweet finish with some yeast.

M - Carbonation right where it should be. Medium to full body.

D - Slightly less booze would be good. Couldn't have too many but still very solid.

tbeckett, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.13/5  rDev -4%

2010 330ml bottle 9,0% ABV

Appearance: Hazy, dark brown in colour with great orangey-red highlights when held to the light. The head, as with most Belgians, is a thing of beauty. Massive, tan brown, great retention and lace, could one ask for more?

Smell: The nose is a mix of sweet fruit and the typical spiciness of Belgian yeast, with the spice coming out top in intensity. The first aroma noted is clove, followed by pepper. A little warming and the sweeter and fruitier notes start to come through. Dates, plums, cherries, currants, molasses, hints of dark sugar and rum all make an appearance.
Don't get me wrong, this is a great nose, but a little more intensity is needed to make it truly world class.

Taste: The taste follows on well from the nose, but has a better balance between the sweet and spicy notes. Dark fruits (currants, dates and plums) and spices (clove and white pepper) are present in equal amounts. Dark caramelized sugar, toasted brown bread and a touch of molasses also make an appearance. The alcohol is not as well hidden as in the nose, however it is well integrated into the flavour profile and does not detract from the beer.

Mouthfeel: Just fuller than medium bodied with massive carbonation (A tad too much for my liking). A gentle alcohol warmth is felt in the back of the throat.

Drinkability: A quality brew and one i will certainly have again. A 750 would go down very well over the course of a good meal.

I must admit I was a little disappointed in Grande Reserve, though I can't help but feeling that an aged bottle could well be the world class ale I was expecting. I will most certainly age my next one for 2 - 3 years minimum.

Thehuntmaster, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of goschool
4.13/5  rDev -4%

This was my first "good" beer. I had my first glass at Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C. and I drank it like it was going out of style for the next few months. This is my first bottle in about 18 months.

Appearance: The pour is dark mahogany with red highlights and a frothy tan head that soon fades to a ring of lace and a blotch in the middle.

Smell: The nose has dark fruits, light phenolic fruits, sweet malts, and a small amount of hops.

Taste: The flavor profile starts out with semi-sour dark fruit, phenols bring lighter fruit to the middle to go along with a hint of anise, followed up by a spicy, yeasty finish with a touch of warming alcohol. The taste has that musty Unibroue character (I know Unibroue is considerably newer than Chimay, but they do the musty flavor as good as anybody).

Mouthfeel: The body is on the lighter end of the medium spectrum. It has good carbonation and warming alcohol.

Drinkability: It's still a good brew, but it doesn't wow me the way it once did. This one doesn't deserve the anti-Chimay sentiment that's prevalent among BAs (Red and White probably do). It's nice to revisit an old friend.

goschool, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of goblet
4.13/5  rDev -4%

poured it to a goblet
,and let it sit.

A, deep reddish brown (let it warm a bit)with a light foamy head ,little to no lacing .

S,the scent is pleasing,malty dark fruity prunes ,raisins .

T,deep rich malt and hops jump at you,yet it`s light and sweet even a creamy taste to it .

M, malt,alcohol flavor and creamy with a bitter sweet after taste ..

D, this is very drinkable easy to find and even easier to drink a great beer over all.

goblet, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of jmperez
4.13/5  rDev -4%

poured my 11oz bottle into my sniffer.
It poured a hazy mahogany with a thin, short lived, off white head.
Fruity aroma, reminds me of raisons, also a bit of alcohol
Taste is of malty, caramel, spicy, slight alcohol warmth
medium body medium carbonation

This is a wonderful ale. Easy to drink, not so easy to pay for.

jmperez, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of markaberrant
4.13/5  rDev -4%

A - very dark red, but brilliantly clear. Effervescent, with thick tan head. No lacing.

S - raisin and spice. I'm not getting a lot of aroma.

T - What's lacking in aroma, is more than made up for in flavour. Big dark fruits, bready malt and a smooth spiciness throughout.

M - Noticable alcohol, very warming, but smooth. A little too carbonated to start, gives everything a "sting." Light body and ample carbonation gives the feeling of a fluffy fullness.

D - This is pretty good, but still no Rochefort.

I drank some of this on it's own, and then had it with some Chimay cheese... oh my god, the combination is fantastic. The cheese has a smoky burnt flavour, and then you taste the beer and the wonderful sweetness comes shining through.

markaberrant, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of Boto
4.13/5  rDev -4%

You almost can't call this beer:
It's in its own class. Re-rate: Drank an old (3 year late 90's vintage) bottle that I put away. Smoother (if you can even believe it) with age. Somewhat sweet, with an incredible smoothness. Yet another re-rate. This one was bottled in 01/03. I have to agree with some of the others who have noted the decline of this beer. It is still very good, but I just can't call it exceptional anymore. Some of the subtleness and complexity has left it.

Boto, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of gonzogambler
4.13/5  rDev -4%

3 of the bottles out of the holiday chimay pack and I like this the best of the three, but I'd say the red and this share the same weaknesses keeping me from giving them a higher rating.

Appearance is similar to the red (red/orange hues with some light head). The smell is sort of muted; it has some dark fruit and a bit of spiciness, but it isn't coming through very strong.

The taste has some more punch to it which is welcomed. It has the spices and dark fruit with light carbonation. There is also a bit of alcohol on the finish, but its hidden pretty nicely.

Mouthfeel is a little weak at first but has a nice crisp finish, and the drinkability like the other chimay's is very high. Overall I'd say if you're gonna go Chimay go Blue, or if you're eating and want something a little tamer go with the White.

gonzogambler, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of PorterLambic
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Pours a cloudy, dark reddish-brown. Smallish, tight head with very littel lace.
Smell is malt and a light cherry fruitiness. A bit weaker than expected.
Taste is smoky, malty, cherry, hops then alcohol late.Great complexity.
Mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy, full bodied and warms the mouth and throat.
Drinkability: If it weren't 9% ABV, I could drink this all day long. Yet another fine beer from the Belgians.

PorterLambic, Sep 15, 2004
Photo of AlexLMS
4.13/5  rDev -4%

Appearance: very dark brown colour. Opaque with a reasonable amount of floating yeast. Foamy brown head, medium to low in size. Good retention with some lacings.
Aroma: vinous alcohol, molasses, sweet malts, spices and citrus.
Taste: sweet malts, dark chocolates notes, spices and molasses.
Mouthfeel: unctuous, medium carbonation, high but well disguised alcoholic strength and full body.
Finish: very long finish of warming vinous alcohol.

Overall: great beer. Very seasoned and spiced. Quite complex.

AlexLMS, Dec 05, 2010
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
96 out of 100 based on 6,340 ratings.