1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,805 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,805
Reviews: 2,187
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 339
Gots: 1,054 | FT: 12
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (4) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,805 | Reviews: 2,187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tewaris
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle with no freshness date poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice.

Appearance 3.5/5
Slightly hazy, burnt reddish brown with a tan to light brown head that's not rocky like a typical Belgian ale, but is dense and creamy nonetheless. The head retention is decent but lacing is disappointing.

Aroma 3.5/5
Warm and sweet aroma with hints of brown sugar, and caramel. Of course, the usual suspects are present but still the aroma is largely nondescript.

Taste 3.5/5
Nothing overpowering, contrary to what I expected. Nice malt character but overall weak; fruit, spice, and bitterness for the most part. The bitterness could certainly be from hops but has the slightly burnt sugar character of caramel to it.

Mouthfeel 4/5
Medium body; medium carbonation, that is prickly at times. Sweet to medium finish with a long aftertaste of fruit, malt, and spice.

Drinkability 4.5/5
Classic Belgian deceptiveness to it. Some alcohol warmth but alcohol can't be smelled or tasted. Very well done, in the manner only Belgians can!

Certainly good, but many other beers are deserving of being in top-100 in my opinion!

Photo of bamadog
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, like many other beers, this is one that I've been seeing on the shelves since I moved to this area and just never got around to picking it up. Since things have seemed especially slow in terms of cool new beers showing up on the shelves, I've caved and popped for it. Review is from notes taken on 10/6/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a relatively dark, cider-like brown; starts with a big 3 and 1/2 finger fluffy tan head with really solid retention; head slowly fades to a billowy cap and leaves thick patches of lacing here and there; body is pretty cloudy and murky;

Smell: Rich toffee/caramel maltiness; warm Belgium spices; a bit of a faint hoppy bitterness in there that's a bit grassy

Taste: An interested set of flavors, most not uncommon for the style -- nice rich and sweet caramel malts and warming Belgian spiciness (cardamom, nutmeg, cloves); bit of a faint (yet still very present) hop bitterness and a bit of an earthy/grainy/mulchiness; as the flavors swirl around in the mouth, towards the end the malts and spices take over the flavors and it becomes a bit more familiar; definite warming presence of alcohol as well.

Mouthfeel: Body is just a hair under what I would typically consider to be medium in weight; carbonation is strong and prickly, just shy of sharp, so the body comes across as lively; the mouth and belly are definitely left warm from the 9% ABV; a thin semi-dry sticky coating is left, particularly on the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability: A very good beer with an interesting hoppiness to it -- clearly, I'm not an expert on BSDAs or anything, but I've had quite a few and typically this ingredient is typically more subdued and I think that's a pretty cool take on it, especially from one of the older breweries in the world; very nice flavors and a nice smell (wish it was just a bit bigger, but still good) and a nice finish; it doesn't really sit all that heavy, so I would say the only thing that would slow anyone down on this beer is the ABV.

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown toffee like color, two finger tan head
S: Hint of alcohol and fruit aroma
T: bready, complimented by sweet malts. Definitely detect phenols, as well as fruity flavoring from the complex yeast, the most discernable of them being cherry.
M: heavy, decently carbonated
D: Very drinkable, almost dangerously so for a quad with such a high abv. If it was only more affordable. It is the perfect weekend beer, and is delicious.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep orange to brown-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dry, roasty malt, and small fruit hints. In the taste, roasty malts with nice fruit hints, and bit caramel like. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry big fruitiness in the aftertaste. A bit thin, but great flavor and aroma, hides the ABV.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into an Affligem goblet.

Hazy/murky brown body with hints of ruby. About a half an inch of off white head. Some lacing left behind, and decent retention.

Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, cloves, and dark fruits (prunes and raisins). Really complex.

The tastes hits with dark fruits first (raisins, prunes and figs), caramel, brown sugar, and cloves (probably phenols). Tasty.

Mouthfeel is big and really spicy. Quite smooth, but still a big beer and a little bit hot.

Quite drinkable and one of the three best quads of all time.

Photo of TheHammer
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally decided to finish off the last of my Chimay three pack, poured this into the Chimay chalice it came with.

Appearance: A deep opaque brown of which particles of yeast can be seen. A finger of carbonation is produced, that retains decentlyl although did not lace.

Smell: Lightly roasted malt provides the backdrop for the smell of plums, dates and figs with a yeasty undertone. There is a slight alcholic scent to it though. Warming however is needed to get the full effect.

Taste: The yeast and alcholic taste to this one really takes away from the experience as both are predominant throughout the entire beer. It starts with some doughy malt which then allows the dark fruit taste with notes of cherries and grapes kick in as the yeast goes into overdrive to then be well rounded out by earthy hops. Make sure you drink it at the right temperature, I tried a sip while cold and it's not so great.

Mouthfeel: Good creamy carbonation, good transitioning, subdued dough like aftertaste are all great things which help it's case. However the high alchohol content isn't disguised at all and it is a bit too solvent in nature.

Drinkability: Well, it does a lot of things right, and while the yeast doesn't try the beer out that much, it does take away from it. Sits down easy and if not for the high alchol content it would be a lot smoother.

Final Thoughts: While BA may regard this as Chimay's best offering, I find it to be their worst. It seems a bit too plain to be a high class beer like their other offerings, and the undisguised alchohol content isn't doing it any favours. It is certainly a good beer, but I much prefered their white over this one.

Photo of BogleHill
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been drinking "better" beer for almost twenty years, and I can't believe It's taken me this long to try a Chimay. I know this beer is a true legend. A very dark muddy brown color with big frothy head and good carbonation. I poured into a snifter and let it warm up a while. Dark fruit and earthy aromas and flavors. Slightly sweet and murky, bittering finish. Overall, this beer really deserves a lot of respect and praise.

Photo of foogerd
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- ruby brown opaque body with a khaki decent sized head
S-tons of malty sugars definitely some prominent phenols slight spice and flower notes intermingle with each other
T- tons of bread comes in at first followed by brown sugary malts same phenols as the nose tons of things going on here this fills up the whole palette its hard to discern all the things going on here but its all good things!
M- really smooth and creamy in a sense, full bodied.
D- the 9% in a 25 ounce bottle can creep up on you watch yourself

Photo of Dadoftwogirls
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is easily one of the best beers on the planet. If you consider yourself a beer advocate, it should be tried at least once in your life regardless of the style of beer you prefer.

This beer is stout to say the least. The color is dark, the head is thick and dark, and the rich complex taste matches everything that pours out of the bottle. It grabs you and slaps you around with it's depth and character in way few beers can. To me it has just a hint of sweetness. It is the perfect beer for a big meat and potatoes kind of meal or as an after dinner beer with a cigar. Strong. Shows why so many American beers are crap when compared to something like this.

Truly world class!

Photo of jhtipton
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the local French chain store in Spain. It was a 2010 dated bottle (no born on date). I poured the 0.33L bottle into a non-sanctioned chalice and was befuddled by the amount of creamy head that I was presented with. It started with about 3 fingers of head and within a minute I was left with about one finger. The smell is malty, almost caramel, but fairly intense. The flavour was very good and had tones of caramel and fruits and could taste the alcohol. The mouthfeel was warm from the alcohol-not too terribly syrupy for the darkness - and it lingered for a second gently nudging my taste buds until they resonded. It is very drinkable but due to the price (approx $3.00 US) and the alcohol content I would not consider it a session beer. Still, I will try it again-just not tonight.

Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Easily one of my all time favorite beers! Every sip is a treat and I need to just savor it. Pretty much perfect, so complex in flavor and smell with a mouthfeel like a storm of happyness on my tongue. So complex I can't really describe, try for yourself and you wont be disappointed. Nice dark color and head that likes to hang around and stick to the glass. Try with a washed rind cheese, ex. Limburger, Taleggio(even though they stink bad, get over it). Strong alcohol kicks in but is hidden by the overall taste, it will sneak up on you. I really could drink this beer until I'm dead...good for me it's too expensive to drink in quantity.

Photo of JMad
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle to a snifter...
The color is a very murky brown, nice tan head that reduced quickly.
Smells of caramel, toffee, fig, and other dark fruits.
The dark fruit comes though on the pallette along with malt, yeast and clove.
Mouthfeel has lots of carbonation, light -medium bodied and leaves the mouth warm and dry.
Drinkability is good and hides the alcohol very well.

Photo of AdamBear
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As far as belgian strong dark ales go, this is the bench mark. I've tried to find one that comes close but for the availability and ABV, i just can't find anything better and more satisfying

A-dark amber brown, light tan head

S-maple, beautiful but not over powered sweetness. light alcohol note, slight cherriness

T-matching taste hits up front, cherries after-taste, alcohol note barely present

M-medium but soft carbonation

D-I dont think there's any "common" beer as good as this. It never ceases to make me feel wonderful. The taste stays and is easy to drink. I can never have too much of this!!

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip glass

A: Looks "thick", colored like root beer, bright brown color, active bubbles but not too much head, just a foamy covering

S: Pretty mild but a definite caramel malt aroma, deep smelling though, hints of dark fruit for sure adds complexity

T: Similar to aroma, definitely a yeasty flavored beer, the malt provides a deep backbone, hops are not present, I taste figs and brown sugar, rich and complex

M: Light to medium body, decent carbonation for belgian, just pleasant overall

D: High, easy to drink for a complex beer

Notes: What is there to say about this beer. It is the quintessential trappist beer. If you've drank it you know what I mean, if you haven't, then try one.

Photo of Chaney
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As much beer as I've drunk in my life, this is actually my first Chimay product. Here goes:

I poured this into a sniffer.

A: Pours Coca-Cola brown, with a mean 1.5 inch + head, and carbonation to boot. Beautiful!

S: Caramel malts, plums, raisons, and hint of brown sugar.

T: I taste everything I just smelled, but also a hint of chocolate. The aftertaste is smooth as silk. This is the least "funky" Belgian I've had in a good while.

M: This is probably the smoothest beer in this style class I've ever tasted. The sugar is present without being syrupy, and the foaminess (and there is A LOT!) adds to the brew's charm.

D: 9% ABV huh? I couldn't taste it. Excellent beer!

Photo of scottfrie
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of satchmo91
4.87/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had high expectations for this beer, and I certainly was not disappointed.

A - Very hazy and brown with an orange halo and a very foamy head.

S - Delicious, first off. Medium to full bodied bouquet with a maple-honey sweetness and vanilla extract notes. It almost smells like being in a sweets shop. Very inviting.

T - Very well-balanced and delecate. Great sweetness and vanilla is perfectly accompanied by a soft bitterness. The balance of this beer can not be over-articulated; it was absolutely wonderfully crafted.

M - Medium bodied feel with soft carbonated bite. Again, vanilla and honey character is present.

D - This is a slightly heavy beer, not so in the light of a stout or heavy porter, but it is certainly heavy. I don't know how much of this I could have in one night. This is definitely a special occasion brew, and an excellent one at that!

Photo of Augustiner719
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a rich mahogany reddish brown color with a medium 1 finger head and some reddish hues when held up to the light. The head recedes quickly as expected and true ton the style. Aromas of caramelized sugars, Pete moss, some rich bready, raisins and some rum even come through. Sweet smelling with a slight booze kick. The taste has rich caramelized sugars, sweet raisin bagel breadiness. Alcohol esters come through but are contained with rich malts that are comforting and very smooth. Carbonated to the max, this cuts through my steak easily. Really pairs well but I bet this would be heaven with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Drinkability is perfect. Easy to put back, pairs well with rich dishes and really has that wow factor you look for in a Trappist ale.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle purchased by a good friend. Poured in to a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a maple brown sugar glaze, crystalline around the edges and perhaps crystalline farther in, but it's both darkly hued enough as well as slightly hazed (courtesy of some yeasties) that you can't really tell. An initial explosion of fizzy, sudsy head surges and gurgles and foams forth before collapsing just as quickly, exposing the source of that head - tons of burbling effervescence seething forth from the bottom of the snifter, straight up to the surface as well as rippling and bubbling up the sides of the snifter. Absolutely volcanic at first, though ultimately it does calm down significantly.

Aroma: Cherry juice, cardamom, clove, apple juice, raisins ... a bunch of sweet, fruity notes, bathed in heavily caramelized and toasty sugars, brown sugar, molasses, slight toast. Drastically improves as this one warms.

Taste: Much dryer. A dry but solidly malty beer, in terms of foundation. Well-attenuated brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and dessert bread notes, coupled with a nice handful of fruity notes - cherries, most strongly, but also raisins, dates, slight figs, and faint tropical fruits. Hints of citrus intermingle with cloves, cardamom, and other great medicinal phenols. Not a standout beer in terms of taste, but this is clearly a complex-tasting beer, with a dry (but varied) enough backbone to both keep things interesting and provide plenty of chances for everything to shine through.

Mouthfeel: Initially a fizzy, crisp, over the top, uneven mess, this one really does even out nicely, at least, as of the time I'm typing this. We'll see if it turns in to a syrupy mess soon. Nope. Not yet. Still very nice!

Drinkability: A beer that I was a little less impressed by than I'd hoped. Don't get me wrong - it's a well-crafted beer. But it's a little too subtle, a little too subdued, a little too quirky - process wise - to be a true standout, even with its complexity. I appreciate the balance and the dryness, as well as all the great yeasty notes, but there are a few things missing here that could improve this beer, and I would have hoped and assumed Chimay would have done those things by now (maybe my tastes are just funky). Regardless, it's still a solid well-made beer, and one I'd be happy to have again if the right pairing came along.

Photo of kbnooshay
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark murky brown color with a fizzy but frothy tan head. This is making a lot of noise, similar to a poured can of coke. Aroma is full of nice hints; raisins & other dried dark fruits, yeast, sweet caramel malt. A very nice typical belgian strong dark ale nose. Taste is full of spice brown sugar sweetness. I do think the mouthfeel is a bit different for the style; on the thin side of moderate with a thin fizzy feel. A very enjoyable strong dark. Drinkable, but after 1 330ml of these i would call it quits due to the cloying sugars. Also, its not as complex as most other trappist beers.

Photo of bamojr
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely pour with speckled appearance.
This has a very sweet fruity taste with some super complex notes. I am never disappointed with any Chimay, as they always have excellent taste in their well crafted brews. It has a bit of a IPA taste to it with its hop notes.

Photo of Brez07
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Dark pour with some ruby highlights. Huge 3 finger fluffy off white head; not much retention though. Minimal lacing left on the glass. Poured the whole bottle, so there's some floaties

S: Dark fruit - raisin, grape, fig. Fruit provides a light sweetness. Some yeast mixes in here. Slight twinge from alcohol

T: The fruit and accompanying sweetness are most present. There is a spice also present. Slight smokiness in the finish

M: One of the better beers I've had from this standpoint. Full bodied, with carbonation tingling the tongue. Also coats the mouth. Slightly dry finish

D: Not much more I can say about this beer that hasn't already been stated. Amazing, complex beer that drinks very easy. Try if you haven't already

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have waited for a truly special occasion to drink this beer. In this case, that happened to be friends and home-cooked Italian food. After pulling the beer out to warm from being chilled in the fridge, I noticed the cork beginning to wedge its way out of the bottle. Incredible power. It was right then I knew this beer would be comparable to a good champagne. My tulip glass is happy to have true Belgian contents swirled and wafted.

The beer pours a dark brown mahogany, but the light reveals it is cherry in color. An outstanding head forms that's almost light brown/tan. Lacing down the glass and ample carbonation (needless to say after almost shooting a hole through the ceiling with the cork). It looks incredibly rich and inviting, not like any beer I've seen.

Quick wafting releases a fruity, almost wine-like essence followed by a more subtle yeast undertone. Not a heavy aroma at all, more sweetness seems to be hitting the olfactory. I am also reminded of raisins, cherries and roasted fig with the brim suctioned to my face until my nose starts giving me answers...

Unique. This must be some heavily guarded water because they are helping to produce a masterpiece. There are no doubts in my mind that I'm drinking a well balanced beer with deeply protected complexity. There is almost no hint of the 9%abv while drinking, everybody is keeping their mouth shut. It's a good beer and tastes like one, especially if you enjoy Belgians as much as I do.

Feels wonderful. Its caramel smoothness is followed by a refreshing rush of tiny bottle fermentation bubbles. Yes, I have been drinking this beer while reviewing it...but, that's the only way to do it. My first impression from taking a sip is a sweet malt without any bitter in the swallow.

Drink responsibly. This beer is highly drinkable and highly enjoyable chilled -> RT. You will grow with this beer and it's safe to base your first impressions of a good Belgian ale on this particular interpretation. Drink up and make sure you fully experience everything these wise Trappist monks have to offer.

Photo of captainjferjado
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

Photo of JamisonM
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A dark murky brown color light tan head

S: dark fruit figs with plums and slight alcohol smell

T: less alcohol in the taste then then smell complex deep malts with dark fruits and some yeast in there as well.

M: fairly light mouth for a 9% beer I will say its light to med

D: very drinkable and enjoyable

overall: a great quad deep and complex beer that is consistently great! My highest recommendation!

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
96 out of 100 based on 6,805 ratings.