Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
2,315 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium | website

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,315
Ratings:
7,574
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
19.16%
 
 
Wants:
486
Gots:
1,774
For Trade:
17
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,315 | Ratings: 7,574
Reviews by Radome:
Photo of Radome
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oct 2003 i was lucky enough to sample a bottle of 1991 and a bottle of 1981 Chimay Blue from, where else, the Kulminator. My score represents the 1981 version.

The 1991 bottle poured just like a current bottle would minus the head of course. Alot of woody notes in the nose as well as the fruitiness of cherries and raisin with a pinch of spice. While there were many of Chimay's "beer" qualities in this bottle, you knew you were drinking something aged for 12 yrs. The beer as a whole was much more mellow and smooth...refined might be a good word. Still an excellent beer.

The 1981 version on the other hand was much different then a current bottle of Chimay. And what can expect after being cellared for 22 yrs? Much like the 1991 version there was plenty of grape, cherry and raisin in the nose, except this time there weren't "hints". This time everything was much more pronounced. The aromas and flavours jumped out at you. Grape & cherry sweetness. An oaky woddiness. A toned down spiciness. Exceptional smoothness. You could really tell the difference and make no mistake between the 1991 & the 1981.

The finsh lingered nicely but almost faded a little too quick. It left me always wanting more. While this beer taste less and less like a "beer" the more it was aged, it was still exciting to see how a beer can change in complexity and become a more refined drink. By refined i mean, smooth, complex & unique.

A fabulous drinking experience. Worth every penny.

 1,482 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted this right after the Premier for comparison purposes.

Appearance – Dark, rich brown color with a full, lacing head. The cloudy hue that comes out of this bottle makes your mouth water.

Smell – Opened up to a nice, fruity malt aroma and a brief ABV warning.

Taste – To my tastes, this is exactly what a Belgium Strong Dark Ale should be. The classic tobacco flavor compliments the huge malt and yeast. It all plays exceptionally well over the tongue. Of all the flavors to be found here, I enjoyed most the current, caramel, and dark toffee blend that seemed to kick in at the end, especially as the beer sat.

Mouthfeel – The conservative carbonation was suitable for the style. However, the foamy up front feeling was not to my liking.

Drinkability – This has to be one of the smoothest, easily-drinkable 9.0 ABV on the market. Again, the fizzy front end slowed things down a bit, but once I picked up the body is was quite drinkable.

Comments – I hate to go overboard on a brand available in half of America’s grocery stores (at least here in Seattle it is), but this beer is terrific. If I had the money, I would sip this every time I tasted another Belgium. IMHO, this is the standard by which all others must be judged.

Update: The 2004 vintage is more of the same. I haven’t been able to get a consistant “5” head over time so I’m dropping this rating to a 4.5.

 1,407 characters

Photo of nout72
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best Trappist/Belgian strong dark ale and overall the best beer I ever tasted. I only recently came to that conclusion.
Chimay blue is one of the 1st Trappist, stong beers I tried in my life. At that time, I was 17 years old, I liked beer, no matter what type and to me Chimay blue tasted just like a trappist, I couldn't exactly tell a difference with a Westmalle dubbel. Later I came to appreciate the differences, but to me Chimay still was just a trappist you could buy everywhere. Beers like Rochefort or St. Bernardus weren't readily available and just how it works in the mind, unknown, more rare beers always taste better. I have dismissed Chimay the last two decades, always chose Rochefort, St. Bernardus, La Trappe and recently Jopen Ongelovige Thomas over the blue labeled bottle.
But Chimay blue beats all of them in my opinion. And for the biggest part because it leaves no strong sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste isn't exactly dry, but it doesn't stick too long. All the other trappist/abbey beers to a certain extent blurr or flatten the taste after a while. The best example is the Rochefort 8, the sweet aftertaste ruins the experience to me.
Chimay has the ideal balance between sweet and bitter. It is smooth (non-boozy) like a Rochefort 10 and spicy like a St. Bernardus, and the amount of carbonation is spot on. True the sweetness isn't that round and smooth like a Rochefort 10, it is more stingy (for lack of a better word) but it leaves with little trace, therefore every new sip tastes great, not muted.

Do note: with this beer it really is important to serve it at a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celcius, not any colder, because when served too cold the taste is watery and muted. I usually drink this beer at (slightly lower) room temperature, 17 up to 19 degrees Celcius works great for me.

 1,840 characters

Photo of likethetaste
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wanted to try this beer because it is so highly rated! Well it is not the type that i would normally go for but I must say this is a good beer. The fact that I like it and it is not a type I usually like says a lot!

Nice lookiing dark amber with nice head.

Spicy smell.

Wonderful spicy flavor with strong but not overpowering or alcohol taste! This would be a great winter warmer beer!!!

Lots of alcohol but very drinkable with good mouth feel. I like this! And will drink it again on a cold snowy night. WATCH out this is very drinkable but STRONG! Be warned :) What a great beer just perfect for cold nights. MUST BE DRANK AT THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE and the older the better! :) Also drink from the proper glass!

An incredible beer that has become one of my all time favorites. After drinking this (and the other Chimay's) all my other beer reviews seem like straw! This is an incredible beer that blows away everything else I have ever tried.

 954 characters

Photo of JackRWatkins
2.52/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

BOOOOOOOOO

one of the most fantastically over rated beers of all time

the main point I want to stress here is that this beer is overwhelmed by its astringency it's just not that good, sorry. it tastes like what I would imagine a store brand trappist would taste like. It is not that interesting, and if it is complex, it is not enjoyable enough to justify savoring or investigation. I have given this beer chance after chance after chance, IMO the only thing it is good for is cooking. I love belgian beer and I hate this ale sooooooo very much 2 thumbs down and downright unpleasant

 585 characters

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%

Review taken from notes Spring 2014. I've jotted down notes on more than 7 occasions with this brew.

750 ml brown Chimay trapping style bottle. Corked and capped in typical Chimay style. Label is blue in color featuring many great Belgian trappist monk artwork I have no less than loved from the beginning of kt craft beer days. Poured into an authentic Chimay trappist goblet.

A - massive head on the pour which displays a very unique tan color which you'll only find on authentic trappist dark ales. It settles after what seems like forever and leaves a thick ring of lacing leaving incredible like stick. Body color is trappist brown with hints of the brown side of dark, mahogany ruby gleaming through when held to the light. Yeast sediment and particles are at full force and only add to the experience.

S - doughy bread like yeast with a buttery sweet caramel note that's simply a trademark of Chimay. A nice semi hoppy note of orange peel and a faint whiff of ripe apple. The more Chimay Blue warms dark fruit really sets within the nose. A mild whiff of alcohol and spice in the background. A simple yet pleasing trappist aroma.

T - the flavor really takes on the simplicity of the nose and hammers home great monk style taste. Sticky, sweet, buttery caramel let off a near candy corn note within the mouth. Doughy Chimay style yeast with big dark fruit flavor. A soft candied orange note creeps up followed by a mild alcohol and spice finish. Delightful flavor.

M - upper medium in body. Displays spot on thickness as intended in this monk brewed ales. Just a perfection of a body for the style. A semi dry spiciness in the finish. Mild alcohol warming that adds even more depth and complexion to the mouthfeel.

O - Chimay Grand Reserve or Chimay (Blue) as most refer to it as, is a simple yet world class Belgian Strong Dark ale and really the perfect option to begin with exploring bigger Trappist ales. It's been a real favorite of mine since our first encounter, and one I'll grab on a few more than special occasions every year. Just a classy ale from a classy brewery. Chimay offering are all world class, but the blue is their way of showing you how talented and perfected a beer recipe can be.

 2,222 characters

Photo of dikebrewery
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So I'm nota huge fan of Belgian strong darks, more of a Belgian pale guy so take this with a grain of salt. This is definitely a good beer and top of the style in my opinion. Pours a deep brown color with a rich creamy head. Smells of fig and raisin bread. Taste of dark fruits, prunes, arisen and a bit of oak and port wine. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, juicy and a bit creamy.

 376 characters

Photo of archyquaffer
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the magnum bottle into a schooner glass. A moderate pour produces a creamy tan head of about an inch. The beer is a hazy yellowish-brown of moderate depth.

The aroma is bready, earthy, fruity and minerally. The flavor has a distinct maltiness, suggesting a gingerbread cookie. Also apparent is a spicy apple-raisin fruitiness, and a lemony tartness on the finish. A peppery bit of spice and pucker punctuate the flavor, while a light earthy funk underlies it all. A little boozy warming is apparent, and perhaps a touch of spicy alcohol bite. Vinous, port-like notes and dark fruit hints become more pronounced as the beer warms. The mouthfeel is frothier than one might expect.

This is obviously a world class beer worthy of its reputation. I'm on a bit of a Belgian kick at the moment (this style becoming more available in my area), and am enjoying this and other Belgian beers very much this Thanksgiving weekend.

 944 characters

Photo of MikeA21
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chimay is the reason I drink craft beer. I was turned on to chimay about 20 years ago and it was very hard to find a beer as good until the last few years when craft beer has really become popular. The Grand Reserve has a bold strong flavor that keeps you coming back for more. It has a strong malt smell and pours dark with a good head. Their are many great beers around today but not many have been brewing as long as Chimay.

 430 characters

Photo of enrique_m
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

poured this into a snifer and it gave me lots of head that some spilled. the color is a dark amber and the head is a nice beige color. it has nice lacing and the smells is of dark fruits like plums, figs, and raisins. the taste is delicious and smooth. you can taste figs, dates and hint of nuts. overall this is very tasty and I am going to cellar one for a couple for a couple of years to see how it changes.

 410 characters

Photo of sherillc
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a very unique beer. It has a light, effervescent mouth feel while expressing dark, malty, spicy, stewed fruit flavours and aromas. A touch sour and herbaceous on the finish which adds complexity.

 203 characters

Photo of TheDoctor
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Service: Bottle
Best before: Dec-2020


A:
Pours a rich, impenetrable ruby brown with a big beige head that airily drops to a decent film. Good retention; speckled lacing. (4)

S:
Dark bread and spices. Berries, leather, rubbery phenols, cloves/cinnamon. (4)

T:
Dark fruits and dough. Slightly sweet with a woody/hard water taste underlying it all, lots of dark dough, light pepper, dark fruits. (4.25)

M:
Rich, medium-full bodied, with soft carbonation and a smooth finish, well-hidden alcohol, pretty drinkable. (4.5)

O:
Great beer, a classic strong dark ale.
Very lively yeast flavors with layered fruitiness and breadiness. Rich and creamy feel with a smooth, clean finish. Roses, cherries, brandy and cream. The booze is there and there is the slightest garden hose quality to it, but it is a very good beer on the whole. Absolutely will have again. As I already said, it's a classic. (4.5)

 922 characters

Photo of whatthehull
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a wine glass from a 750 mil bottle

A - a hazy nearly deep brown with a two finger almost ran off white head and little to no lacing

S - lots of yeast both bready and Belgium notes, floral hops, fruity hops, lots of sweet malts, sweet and dry grain, sweet booze note, oak, dead and living earth, crisp water and Caramelized bananas.

T - wood, green/brown earth, lots of soil, fruity/floral hops, sweet and toasted malts, dry and sweet grains, banana bread yeast, lots of fruit, rich malts,

M - light yet full bodied, well balanced, nice complexity, medium minus acidity, medium plus carbonation and a malty delight from start to end

D/O - really easy to drink with lots of flavor. Huge malt with a slight hop all while being very refreshing and pleasant to drink. Cracked one open on a cool humid night and is/was perfection. Pairs well with most foods and desserts but it pairs the best with itself (meaning opening more than one in a night). Great any day, any time of year and as often as you'd like to enjoy one.

Final thoughts - at $9-13 a bottle the price is quite high but the 9% abv will make sure you don't need more than two unless you're sharing with a friend or few

 1,196 characters

Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is one rich looking beer,a masterpiece to look at.Pours a nice amber/brown with with a slight of white frothy head that of course left some beautiful lacing.The aroma was malty sweet of dried fruit.The taste to me was wine-like with a raisiny quality,there is some slight bitterness in the finish.A very complex beer but not easy to drink for me,but a classic for sure.

 374 characters

Photo of davemarc87
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of aszatk01
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of cam477
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bmm281
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was in Chateau Lacour in the heights of the Mastiff Central of Ardeche the last time I had this one. I was never much of a fan of Chimay Blue but for some reason, after several cheap bottles of Rochefort 10, I decided to give it another go. I marched up to my buddy at the bar and ordered a 750, wasn’t offered a glass nor did I want one. I took a few swigs and returned to the mosh pit where RATM’s “Know Your Enemy” was blasting. After quickly downing the translucent dark copper brew, I realized something. This had been the best tasting Chimay Grand Reserve I had ever had. The previous two dozen times I had considered it vastly overrated trite. Maybe it was just the after effects of the Rochefort messing with my taste buds, but this bottle of Chimay was vastly better then any I had ever sipped before. Heck, it was almost mediocre.

So here’s my beef with Chimay Blue. If I’m going to pay as much as this stuff costs, I would like a beer that I don’t have to age 3 years before I drink it. Every time I drink a bottle straight from the store or at a bar, I feel like it is an underdeveloped, uncomplicated baby of a beer. Sure it’s loaded with dark fruits, candied sugar, and lovely Belgian yeasts. They just aren’t very exciting. Liekwise, the body is reasonably depthful and lightly sour but it lacks vitality. Overall, I just can’t understand the hype surrounding this brew when masterpieces like Ommegang rival it so well at a fraction of the cost.

 1,475 characters

Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of ricke
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008.

Serving date: 2009-01-10.

Served in snifter.

Presentation: 330 ml bottle. Freshness date on label (Best before end of 2013).

Appearance: The pour is dark-brown with red hues around the edges. There are lively bubbles and an off-white 2 cm head that stays around for a while but then settles into a nice layer of creamy foam. Some lacings.

Smell: Aromas of dark fruits, primarily cherries, are present. There is also a smell of wood, and a slight sting of alcohol hits the nose.

Taste: This is amazing and clearly triumphs the smell of the beer. Up front are tastes of ripe fruit - cherries and apples - and raisins. Perhaps, there are also some notes of spices here. The malts provide a sweetness to the brew. A slight bitterness accompanied by pleasant alcohol characterizes the finish. Towards the end the alcohol becomes more prominent.

Mouthfeel: The beer is medium-bodied. Carbonation is lively and the bubbles coupled with the creamy foam provides a nice mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very good. This is a very complex beer, unlike anything I have ever tried. Since ABV is 9%, it should perhaps reduce drinkability a bit, but actually, the alcohol hides rather well and primarily adds to the complexity of this outstanding beer.

 1,254 characters

Photo of ExtraStout
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this from a bottle in Shanghai. I was glad to find some quality over there. It pours a very dark reddish brown with a thick, tannish head. Very nice lacing throughout the drink. The aroma is malty with definite fruity undertones. The taste is exceptional even for a Trappist ale. It starts with a sweet maltiness that has real grapey undertones. The taste ends with an alcohol hit that is ameliorated by the fruitiness. It feels almost perfect in the mouth with some real body, nice carbonation, and a lingering taste of fruit. I rate this down a little in drinkability just because of the alcohol content. It is drinkable from first drop to last.

 651 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -6.5%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
95 out of 100 based on 2,315 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe