Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Grande Réserve (Blue)Grande Réserve (Blue)
Grande Réserve (Blue)Grande Réserve (Blue)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed as a Christmas beer in 1948, this dark ale has rich flavors of mulling spices and caramel, with a smooth palate and warming finish.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,432 | Ratings: 8,068
Photo of wisrarebeer
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I honestly haven't had this beer in about 20 years and heard that the quality has gotten a lot better. Great frothy head, nice estery nose, great taste and feel. Not as unique as some others like Rochefort, Westmalle, but very, very good.

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Photo of Vetbidder
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I’ve had this in the fridge a while. Tons of head and a cola look on this brew. Banana bread mixed with a malty nose. Waiting for this head to calm a bit... more banana bread mixed with slight alcohol and sweetness on the flavor. Pretty well carbonated. Quite decent.

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Photo of heydre
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

GREAT first sips but lost some points on further and warming to room temp. Malty and fruity (bit pruney) with a bit of bread. On tap at Primal Cuts...

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Photo of EMon81
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My absolute favorite beer. The taste, the mouthfeel, the head, the color... It is everything I look for. Malty, fruity, and effervescent, this beer has been brewed for over a thousand years in accordance to tue tradition of monks. Reddish brown in color, unfiltered, and bottle conditioned, it comes in a bottle with a cork on it not unlike a fine wine. A must try if you like malty beer.

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Photo of CTHomer
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: opaque; cola brown in color; less than a 1 finger tan head that receded to a splotchy cap; very little lacing;

S: sweet dark fruit, epecially prune, and caramel with a bit of spice; a little perfumy;

T: the caramel and spice carry over from the aroma; at the outset, the prune is noticeable as well, but by the middle, cherry takes over; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate, prickly carbonation; smooth; alcohol is noticeable, but appropriate for the ABV;

O: dangerously easy to drink; great complexity;

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
3.86/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Dark mahogany colored Belgian with a nice frothy tan colored thick head that's about three and a half fingers tall.
S- Heavy yeast, banana, nutmeg, stone fruits, coffee and bread. Sweet undertone.
T- Stone fruits like plum and cherry are picked up immediately, followed by heavy bread flavors and sweet spice. Very nice, not overly stated flavor. Nothing home runs for me, though.
F- A bit what you'd expect. Medium bodied with a good enough amount of carbonation. Nothing bad.
O- A very good Belgian strong dark. I wouldn't rate it as high as it is, but ehh. That's my own opinion I guess. I would try it out for yourself to see what you think... Which means I recommend you try it I guess. I can tell its wonderfully crafted, I've just had far better, and far worse.

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Photo of Gadzook
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip from a 12 oz. bottle

L: Dark dark ruby/amber. Nice 2 inch foamy head with great retention, leaving about 1/8 inch for most of the experience. Lacing is very pretty.

S: Dark malt, candy sugar, dark fruit (grape/raisin), touches of spice, cherry. No booze.

T: Not as sweet as the scent would indicate. Malt, cherry, raisin, clove-phenols, bready, grain/hay-like in the finish reminiscent of a German dunkel. There's a tad bit of booze at the end. The overall finish is similar to rich red wine with some grape and alcohol.

F: Medium-bodied. Very dry. Very present carbonation that makes the spice pop. Pleasant warming.

O: Man, this is great. Not as sweet as some others in the style. More malt present here as well (which I'm all about).
Very easy to drink. Goes great with roasted dishes. This is a great beer.

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Photo of octortus
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 mL Bottle. ABV 9%.
Appearance: Purple-Brown, Less than one finger of off-white head, Lots of sediment, Decent head retention.
Aroma: Grape, Malt, Bread, Plum, Spice, Slightly funky.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, Moderate carbonation, Slightly creamy, Slightly flat, Dry finish.
Flavour: Malt, Bread, Alcohol, Caramel, Plum, Grape, Slight Molasses.
Overall: Aroma and taste are difficult to describe, though pretty complex. Slightly underwhelming mouthfeel to be honest. I'll definitely enjoy this one again, but not quite world class.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated L18-422. Great Lakes Tulip.

A: pours a deep brown with a finger of frothy sandy head, really bubbling away. Great mousse like head retention. Not much lacing, though.

S: sweet, malty, grape (not artificial) floral, delicate, and complex. I have a hard time describing the smells coming off this beer. Dried cherries. Most Belgian dark ales have an artificial grape aroma and high sweetness and alcohol. This is drier, more subtle, no alcohol on the nose.

T: dry, phenolic, malty arrival. Big spicy phenols. Light alcohol and then bubblegum with lingering spice.

M: active, tingling carbonation. Bubbly, frothy feel.

O: definitely the best Belgian strong dark ale I’ve ever had. I really have to be in the mood for these, but I could see buying a four pack of this and having this be a once a year treat. A must try for any beer geek, and for any fan of Belgian ales.

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

3/10/19 (Chicago): $27.99 plus tax for four pack 11.20 oz bottles purchased 7/2/18 at Binny's on Marcey street. Bottle poured into snifter, dark brown pour, light puffy generous off-white head leaves light lacing. Very sweet aroma, fruity and malt, very nice. Sweet but balanced taste, raisins and plums blend well with the malt, outstanding Belgian pour.Carbonation holds well, light texture, very easy drinking. ABV masked at first but comes out as drink warms. Overall excellent pour.

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Photo of officerbill
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A deep, rich brown with a thick and creamy dark tan head. Smooth and full over your tongue with a little bit of sweetness in the middle and enough tang at the end to clear it of of your tongue. Malt, fig, plum, some spices I can't identify, and maybe a hint of chocolate; it's easy to taste that this started out as a Christmas ale.
The blue Chimay edges out St. Bernardus as my favorite dark abbey ale because it goes with food a little better (this ale with a good reuben is a match made in heaven).
It is a little on the pricier side, but well worth it.
This will probably be the best Belgian dark ale you'll ever taste.

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Photo of Davedrinkinbeer
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Look is very dark red, almost black with an off-white 1/2" head that remains. Smell is vibrant-- mostly candy sugar, malt, spices, plum, fig, and other fruits. Taste is very complex and well blended, with all the ingredients coming together and only spice and malt come out at the middle and end of taste. Mouthful is very even, moderate carbonation, with little aftertaste and mild stickiness.

This is only my 2nd bottle of the Grande Reserve that I have tried, it is a little pricey (around $6.50 a 11.2oz bottle) but this is a very good ale. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Lamar
4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I aged a bottle for two years and it just keeps getting better. The caramel notes have begun to shift towards sherry like notes while maintaining a wonderful head. Great for aging.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy dark brown, almost black, with lighter brown highlights. Topped by a creamy off white head with great retention and streaky lacing.
Smells dried sweet cherry, plum, fig, date, brown sugar, honey, toffee, toast, caramel, and hay. Rich, sweet, and spicy.
Tastes of dried sweet cherry, plum, fig, date, raisin, brown sugar, honey, molasses, toffee, toasted brown bread, ginger, and hay. Fairly sweet and caramelized throughout, with a moderately spicy and lightly dry finish.
Creamy and pillowy, medium-plus mouthfeel with effervescent carbonation.
A fantastic Belgian ale! One of my favorites.

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Photo of Tomais
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 bottle. Today 2019-01-31.
I've tried this a few times and found it too sweet for my tastes: I'm no expert beer reviewer, and do have a preference for pils, so this is foreign to me. Then I tried it one time with a ripe characterful raw milk brie cheese, and I loved it.
This time round the bottle is a little older (not sure if that a factor). the cheese isn't so good, but I'm loving the beer:
sure it's sweet -- but it's complex sweet -- and there's a perfectly balancing bitterness comes through after.
Carbonation is very fine, like bottle conditioned, the phrase 'melt in your mouth' came to mind -- not logical yet I found myself sipping again and again to get that wonderful smooth prickly mouthfeel with that lovely bitter finish.

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Photo of KooVee
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, 2018.

Deep amber, lace.

Drive-by aroma is full of pear. Very strong and distinct. Taking a deeper sniff broadens that to phenols reminding me of Duvel.

Taste continues to concentrate on the fruit and the phenols with a bit of alcohol. Body is moderate, carbonation just right. A complex but not imposing bitterness envelopes the tongue, mixing a bit of hop-derived with yeast-derived notes. In a version this young, the phenols are still a bit rough around the edges, especially as the beer warms up. Alcohol is therefore a bit too prominent.

I wish this site allowed an easier way to review different ages of a beer. This one is still too clumsy to live up to its potential, yet it is already a very good classic. Having tried to clone Chimay myself, the nimbleness of this is actually quite impressive. The yeast very easily produces over the top aromas. Which gets tiring. Not here.

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Photo of sjrider
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is the Grande Reserve 2012. Pours a deep mahogany color with quickly dissipating khaki head. Nose is sweet malt and stone fruit with some holiday baking spices -smells really good. Taste is quite similar to nose. Finishes a little flat but it is 6 years old. It has held up quite well.

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Photo of nasty15108
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 1pt. 9.4oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

L - Poured a dark brown color with ruby edges. Had a nice rocky head of tan foam. Very impressive.

S- Slightly metallic with hints of bread, ripe fruit and baking spices.

T- Malty and slightly sweet with definite caramel and spice notes.

F - Medium bodied with a slight creaminess, slightly sticky, in a very good way.

A definite classic. Another one of my all time favorites.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Decanted from a 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a custom nonic pint; code L16-638, bottled in 2016.
A: Pours a clear, copper color with three finger, tan to light brown, foamy head with very strong retention, but modest lacing.
S: Lightly tangy/tart at first. Aroma of caramel to molasses malt and toffee.
T: Lightly sweet. Palate follows the nose. Bitterness a little in excess of what would count malty sweetness.
M: Light to medium bodied with solid, persistent carbonation.
O: Creamy, smooth, and delicious. Complex and flavorful. An excellent Abbey Ale.

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Photo of SleazySmurf
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Honestly one of the best overall beers I have ever enjoyed. Very pleasant sweet and spiced maltiness with virtually no bitterness. The smell is of spice and reminds you of holiday cookies. The deep bronze color and ample off white head signal you that you're in for a treat.

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Photo of Helluvaz
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful coffee color with creamy head
S: Malty scent with fermentation with an unique spice scent. A great scent of bakery was also notices. Slightly hoppy.
T: Sweet, light syrup taste. Premium malty flavor. Balanced taste. Creamy feeling in mouth. Excellent.
F: Balanced with rich body.
O: Smooth, sweet finish. A bit stronger and sweeter than Chimay Premiere.

Great Abbey bier, great buy. In the US, pilsner and india pale ale overwhelmingly dominate the market, but it feels good to go back to the basics and the fundamentals. Abbey bier for life.

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Photo of WJL2112
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Chimay goblet.
Look was a deep reddish brown, with a large head that hung around for quite a while.
Smell was of malt and spice.
Taste was again spicy, a little bitter, but great complex flavors.
Feel was silky smooth, good carbonation, easy drinking for 9% ABV.
Overall, a great dark ale true to the Trappist traditions, and so very enjoyable.

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Photo of singletary
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It pours a deep dark color with a foamy head that stays with it throughout the drink. Smell is sweet not sure from what but pleasant. Taste is where it shines, dark fruits coming in and a sweetness like molasses. The alcohol is there but it manly comes in in the aftertaste. Overall very good I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of elnachooo
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cerveza de color rojo intenso, con una gran cabeza blanca que perdura por bastante tiempo. En su aroma frutal se distingue ciruelas y cerezas además de almendras. En boca es una cerveza dulce, cremosa, con notas de pan y caramelo.

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Photo of Ahypercube
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the first Belgian Ale I have had that is decidedly tastier than La Fin Du Monde.

L: Pours with a deep red cola body, so dark it seems opaque unless held to light. If you don't stir the sediment, it comes out very clear. Beautiful arcs of fine bubbles lace the glass and the khaki film of head lasts forever.

S: Soothing, sweet and creamy, with soft notes of brown sugar, vanilla and coconut held up by rich almond and black cherry, prune and fig. The base of the finish is soothing oat bread with clove, tobacco and a hint of toffee, with toasted acidic notes trailing off like sourdough crust.

T: Nutty almond swirls dives into sweet vanilla and creamy macadamia nut, beaching on a shore of dried apricots and raisins where coconuts and tobacco are getting toasted nearby on an oak fire.

F: Nutty, creamy, fuzzy, and dry. Perfect.

O: My first time giving a beer full marks across the board. A delicacy, without a doubt. Then again, the price point is fifty cents an ounce.

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Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 8,068 ratings