Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,347 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay 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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

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Reviews: 2,347 | Ratings: 7,683
Photo of DeliriumDuck
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark malaise color

Soft smell of licorice and fruit

Deep fig and plum resin come through with a sweet malty fresh finish

This beer compliments the complexatiy of the other Chimay's, providing the alcholhol of the white and the flavor balance of the red. It is indeed the top shelf beer that it is intended to be.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. Freshness date is listed as "2016" on the bottle.

Pours a darkened, reddish color that makes it look like a strong cherry cola. With its unfiltered look, barely any light shines through this glass. Poured a massive head definitely aided by the glass, and it sticks around for quite a while - making giving this beer a lovely presentation all in itself.

The aroma is malty as all hell, but there are definitely other wonderful complexities that come with it. Fruity aromas are all over, and this is a beer that people love to match flavors together. Molasses and raisins are pretty obvious here, but I'm definitely getting huge notes of cherries and plums in particular. The hoppy quality is superb here - I've been drinking Chimays for quite a while and nothing really smells like them due to the hops. Admittingly, this is the first time that I try this beer. Their dubbel is one of my all-time favorites, and the Grande Réserve only brings those aromas to a whole new beastly level. The extra ABV definitely helps, but it's not what this beer is all about. Here, we focus on malts first and foremost.

Moving on to the taste, did I mention malts?! Holy crap, this is more creamy than I expected it to be - I should have suspected so, though, as it is technically a quad. Nevertheless, the fruity flavors are more subtle than I expected them to be, and the same goes for the bitterness/sweetness variations that this brew is going for. The alcohol is not noticeable at all, which makes this a deadly beer indeed. It's an extremely well-balanced quad and doesn't try to overpower the palate. Instead, it relaxes and chills the tongue with a variety of flavors that come together in a fantastic way.

At first I wasn't going to call taste the forté of this brew, but it's so balanced for how ridiculous the recipe is that it's ultimately perfect, in the end. Great mouthfeel, too. The alcohol burns the throat a bit with each gulp, but it's on the warming side than the overwhelming side. Creamy, smooth, unique... how could you not enjoy drinking it?

Nevertheless, for all this beer has going for it, it's definitely not something I'd get any time of the day, on any week of the month. It's a truly special, life-affirming beer that should be consumed to be appreciated alone, like a nice aged bottle of wine or cognac. Treat it like a session beer and you will not appreciate it as much. Ultimately, treat it with respect. Abbaye Scourmont really displays their brewing techniques here with what is presumably the first pioneering quad to jump-start the style. It's beers like the Grande Réserve that make people understand what beer can be, and its unlimited prowess for achieving complex flavor and body like nothing else.

UPDATE: Tried a 1.3 year old 330ml bottle earlier, and while I don't think the other two by Chimay are superior when aged, this is completely true for Chimay bleue. The aromas resemble a thick raspberry-strawberry drink like nothing else, and the drinking experience is far maltier and yeastier, yet extremely smooth to the point of extreme relaxation. Highly recommended aging 750ml bottles of this for a year or two - you won't regret it.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from caged and corked bottle -no best by date visible.

Popped the cork and it went sailing across the room as if it were a bottle of champagne, poured a nice deep brown with four finger head that descended into a nice lacing that stayed all the way down ,moderate carbonation.

Taste - For a 9%abv brew I was expecting a hot brew that would be difficult to drink,That wasn't the case at all,This was smooth from start to finish,light malt flavors and some spices that combined makes this a extremely well blended and balanced brew.

Drinkabilty -Even though this is a high abv% brew ,It's drinkability is world class,some say it's a sipper but I couldn't drink it fast enough.

I would recommend this to anybody who is search of a great Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of raindog814
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Probably the most readily available take on the style, but it doesn't disappoint. I've had it several times before, but always served too cold and in the wrong glassware. It's a much different--and much better--experience when slightly chilled and poured in a proper chalice. This beer has fantastic flavor--notes of fruit and caramel, but enough spice that it's not cloyingly sweet. The taste belies the high alcohol content, but the booze gives off a nice warming feeling. An excellent choice for a cool night.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tried on July 27, 2007 at the 'Beer Bistro' in Toronto. The beer poured a deep dark brown into the Chimay glass with a generous off-white head that didn't last near as long as some other Trappists I've tried. The aroma is full of malt and yeast, with a tinge of sweetness. The mouthfeel was full-bodied with a champagne like carbonation feel. The flavour was a combination of malts and fruits. A very good beer.

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Photo of SargeC
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Hazy, dark brown brew with a fizzy, tan head that replenishes itself.

Smell: Berries, oak, wine, alcohol. Hop and malt backbone.

Taste: Very interesting. Tangy, and spicy malt. Blackberry and cherry undertones. Warming alcohol ties it all together.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Carbonation fills the body out. Flavor truly lingers.

Drinkability: Impressive brew. Simple, yet complex. Classic.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark brown woth a copious tan head.

S - Immediate impression is fresh apples. Alcoholic spiciness follows, and a herbal hop background.

T - Much better than I remember it. Again the a soft apple comes through early, but is quickly overtaken by an assertive alcohol that is somehow not boozy. Fruity notes and bitterness seem intermixed, a little like the pith of an orange (but not orange flavoured mind you). I guess if you made citrus fruit out of a royal gala apple, it might taste a bit like this. It's not actually sweet, but the combination of flavours make it almost seem like it.

M - Definitely mouthfilling. A late, night sippin' beer if you ask me.

D - Much, much better than I remember from the last time I had this. I'll chalk it up to experience. Certainly the best of the Chimay's i've had.

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Photo of uno99
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2000 Vintage purchased at 400 beers/Beer Mania in Brussels. I've had this many times before, but never one with more than 2 years aging. Shared at Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.

A: Bottle was very difficult to open, I think it had been waxed to help the seal. the cap that the cage rests under was fused to the cork. Once this was removed with the help of a knife however, it made things much easier. I half expected a gusher, since the bottle had been jostled around a lot. That was not the case however and the pour went perfect into 2 large wine glasses. Much head generated from a heavy pour, and a slight lacing was left with no head retention. Body is a mahogany colored liquid with ruby accents. There was no chunkiness, residual yeast, or floaties of any kind.(3.5)

S: Michael Jackson called this the most port like of all beers. I have never agreed with this until I had this aged version of this beer. I had a couple glasses of port a few weeks earlier at a bachelor party and this Chimay definitely reminded me of that night. Slightly oxidized, but somehow not in a bad way. Almost like opening an old book. The usual apple, cherry, plum, marzipan and dark fruits are present as well (5.0)

T: Almost a wine/ grape like sensation here. Again a little oxidized, but still very pleasant. Fruit flavors are more subdued than a young bottle, but much less edgy. I think 10 years for this particular bottle was the right amount of time. any longer and I think it would have declined a bit. (5.0)

M: carbonation was perfect. Complaints of over carbonation in young bottles are common, but this one seemed a little on the still side which suited the flavors perfectly. Body was a little thin, and not sticky at all. surprising for a %9 beer. (4.5)

D: A drink that goes quite well with itself; a thanksgiving dinner; or one to spur conversation with friends and relatives. In this particular occasion it served all three purposes well, and as I sipped the last drop of this brown nectar, I was immediately reminisce. (4.0)

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Photo of jwc215
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled from small bottle into a Chimay glass.
It poured a deep brown with a beautiful, creamy, slightly off-white two finger head. The head was retained, with little loss until near the end, when it became a soft lace.
The aroma was fruity/berry like, with hints of alcohol in the background. It smelled more like red wine than beer, though.
The taste was simply exquisite. It had a well-balanced taste of fruity (though not citrusy) flavor, mainly of raspberry, along with a malty caramel flavor. The sweet and bitter were well-mixed, along with an alcohol flavoring that made it very complex and delicious.
The mouthfeel was refreshing. Along with the complexity, there was just the right amount of water to make it refreshing and drinkable. The alcohol taste does come through, but not enough to overpower any of the tastes. This is an excellent drink to have on a cold, cool, or mild day.
I could certainly drink many of these, had it not been for a combination of the high abv and the price.

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Photo of akdo
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: As perfect as the Trappistes Rochefort 8, which is also a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. While this body doesn't make a transition from ruby to amber, it still has a dark amber body with a reddish brown lower-end and a light brown head. Moreover, thanks to the carbonation, the head retention is perfect.

Smell: I could smell some hints of roasted, but not smoked, hops. You can sense the smooth bitterness.

Taste: Despite its high ABV, I didn't taste the alcohol, which is a good sign. The beer has a bouquet flavours which encompasses black currants, honey, caramel and roasted hops. There were also some hints of coffee at the back end.

Feel: The beer is not as creamy as Trappistes Rochefort 8 is on our palate. However, it is an easy drinking beer with a sublime taste.

Overall: This is the best beer from Chimay. It is the total package given its nice body and palate. The flavours manifested themselves individually when you know how to drink it slowly.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I must say that I'm very glad that I did not have a chance to taste this beer until now. I honestly don't think I would have appreciated the beer to nearly the degree I (now) do.

First pour shows a very dark beer with slight auburn highlights and a truly gorgeous creamy mocha head that diminished to a dense, sticky head that persisted to the last drop and lace that coated the inside of the glass.

Aromas are incredibly complex, with strong oak-aged madeira notes and hints of wheat/grain and some classic banana to balance it all. Now THIS is the way a beer should smell. My god - true perfection. It's hard to even think about tasting the beer as you suspect it simply cannot live up to the expectations set by these aromas.

Initial taste shows you wrong. This is an outrageously complex beer. Trying to describe it ends up with you sounding like you're a wine dork. "Initial flavours of oak, leather and firm tannins soften to reveal deep cherry fruit." But seriously, that's how it tastes to me. I taste hints of sherry, of chocolate, some solid phenols and banana leading to the hot alcohol finish. There are just SO many things going on on the tongue with this beer. Wow.

Truly one of the greatest beers in the world. A brilliant brew and a must experience for any fan of fine beverages.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh, the Trappist ales. Can't get enough of them. The blue-label Chimay pours a thinner head than expected, but that thin layer sticks around awhile. Ample carbonation with a super-dark caramel color.

I thought I knew my spices, in the kitchen and in the beer world, but there's something in this aroma that I can't describe. It's like an Indian spice, a bit sharp, but sweet too. I'll call it clove, anise, cinnamon and ginger, with some raisin and rum in the background.

A strong anise flavor hits the tastebuds first, followed by a light milk chocalate-soaked raisin flavor that lingers a good while. All spice elements noted in the aroma above come through in the mouth, subtle but clear. A creamy, milky mouthfeel takes the flavors to another level, and I just can't say enough good things about this one. Certainly nothing bad. Even the high 9% alcohol is incorporated well enough that you only notice it in context of everything else that's going on. Superb, superb, superb.

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Photo of Generik420
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't have a true chalice style glass to use to drink this, so substituted large wine glasses instead, and they worked out pretty well. This pours a deep brown color and there is a lot of evervescence noticeable the entire time. The aroma is fantastic and somewhat hoppier then I expected from a Belgian ale. This beer drinks more like a wine then a beer, and I think should be sipped and savored slowly to truly appreciate it. Very complex flavors, some malty sweetness, a little sourness, and more then a hint of hops present. What I thought was particularly interesting was if you take a good sized sip and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, you can feel the carbonation on your tongue. Almost reminiscent of the effect Pop-Rocks or champagne would have. Fantastic beer, but I find it a little pricey to drink on anything other then a special occassion.

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Photo of dstc
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown/red cloudy color with full tan head that never seemed to fully disappear. Little or no lacing on glass.

S: Fruit, alcohol and earthiness.

T: Fantastic. Nice strong flavor with a hint of fruit and noticeable alcohol.

M: Bubbly and smooth with the alcohol coming out.

D: Very drinkable. I love this beer. I know it's a little mainstream and I can even find it at my local Heath Food store but I still love it. Simple as that.

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Photo of weeare138
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2005 vintage.
Appears a dark, hazy, murky brown with a 2 finger light tan head that retains nicely. Lots of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of raisins, plums, figs, cocoa, candy sugar, and yeasty bread with gentle spices swirling in this mix.
Taste is of the same aromas but I can't put it down. The nice caramelized sugar and malt, along with the yeast makes this a right on winner.
Mouthfeel is a tad zippy with the carbonation but still remains smooth for the most part, hiding the 9% well in the slightly sweet brew.

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Photo of Poser
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nothing to complain about. A dark pour wth heavy carbonation that keeps the head around forever. Aroma reminds me of a Belgian waffle. Taste is also bready and sweet. Perfect balance. It starts off seeming a little too sweet but has a perfect finish.

I wish I could be more descriptive, but "nearly flawless beer" is about as good of a summary as I can give.

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Photo of joshuadlight
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's just something about a beer in its proper receptacle, so I poured from the small crown cap bottle into a Chimay goblet.
Even a slow pour yields a pretty head that the glass helps to maintain. All kinds of beautiful stuff in the nose and mouth. Earthy notes along with ripe fruits and sugary sweetness. There is also some bitterness and alcohol kick, but only slightly. This is the Chimay flagship offering for a reason. Its complex and full of different flavors and aromas, but still manages to be very delicious. This is one of my favorite belgians without a doubt.

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Photo of haywire77
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew poured a muddy orange/brown with massive amounts of slightly off white head bubbling over the side of my snifter.

Smell is sugary sweet malts and maybe some fig and that classic Belgian yeast smell. Am I in a bakery in Belgium? When I think of beer, this is the scent that comes to mind.

Taste is bready sweet malts just like the nose. There is a little alcohol in here, but I want to say there is no way it's 9%. Dark fruit comes through the unwashed hop presence.

Mouthfeel is about as good as it gets for the style. Medium bodied and clean on the palate with a nice bubbly carbonation that tickles the nose and taste buds.

Overall this is up there with the great ones. I could drink this all night if it weren't for the fact it might put me on my backside rather quickly.

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Photo of jabocu
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into oversized glass.

A - Very dark black coffee color. Thick light tan head that dissipated surprisingly fast, but left thin Belgian lace along sides of glass. Scattered lacings along surface.

S - Fruity sweetness, grainy and yeasty. Can smell raisin and dates touched with alcohol. Vinous like a deep burgendy. Very rich aroma with medium bouquet. No hops are apparent in aroma.

T- Wonderful raisiny sweetness with a hint of citrus. Lots of apples and brown sugar. Floral hops in middle that have a dry almost slightly more coarse finish. Flavor just lasts and lasts. Alcohol is apparent at first, but after two or three sips, the ABV disappears to very mellow, sweet, and smooth.

M – Full bodied from all the flavor. The carbonation fizzes and creates a deep warm feeling. Starts off feeling a lot of alcohol, but becomes smoother as you get to the bottom. Finishes with a medium level of dryness but the flavor just lingers and warms you up.

D – Very drinkable beer that warms you up fast. Lots of flavor and alcohol level to relax after one or two glasses. A must for trying the Belgian Trappist styles.

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Photo of theformula
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep mahogany, nearly opaque body. The tan head fomaed up madly into a billowing, huge and attractive brew. A looker for sure.

S: Initial scent at about 45 deg. is fruity w/ esters. Plums, rasins and light phenolic/medicinal scent. Those super complex, dark malts dominate. A noticeable but balanced scent of alcahol.

M: Velvety soft, and luscious mouthfeel. Feels like a coating of whipped cream on the tongue. A modest dose of carbonation is refreshing.

T: While straight-laced at around 40-45 deg. or so with high malts and dark fruit, this beauty opens up once it warms up a bit like a dame should. It is so malty sweet, like maple syrup sweet, with a tasty yeast layer that lingers. This is followed by a little chocolate, alcaholic spiciness, with a little diacetyl as well (butterscotch? Rasberry?) and caramel. Raisins and plums of course are the first notes to mention, but this is a complex, big ale. Not much hop presence obviously, just in the finish slightly. Such a great brew...

A: Incredible. A night-sipper, and it's amazing how subtle it is for a 9% ale. This is one of the best Belgians IMO, and is a gift from the heavens. This alone would justify a flight to Belgium.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look merkey brown with solid 2 finger head
Smell deep sweet malts with alcohol
Tastes starts with dark fruit sweetness than transitions into a bit of yeasty funkiness with the typical Belgian yeast characteristics and finishes a bit dry and with an alcohol flavor that lingers.
Feel medium or light medium body with heavy carbonation. Leaves you wanting another drink.
Overall I tried rochefort 10 a while back and didn't care for it. I'm glad I didn't give up on the style this beer is great.

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Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown color, with a nice creamy mocha chocolate colored head. Mixtures of alcohol malt and spice in the nose. Taste starts lite, with roasted malt on the tongue. Finishes with a strong dose of alcohol bite, which leaves a tingle on the taste buds as it fades away ever so slowly. Outstanding!

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Photo of DaveCS
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork is dated 05/10

Pouring this beer into a chalice I immediately smelled a sweet, fruity smell, almost like bananas. There is a smell hint of vanilla, and the alcohol is present as well. The malt smell is so delicious, the scent is making my mouth water just smelling it. The color of the beer is a little darker than I expected for a Belgium, however it is a strong dark ale, so it should have been expected. The beer is a little cloudy, but again, should be expected as it is bottle conditioned and non-filtered. The head retention is amazing, 3-4 minutes after pour I still have at least three centimeters. Tasting the beer I was a bit surprised. It was a lot crisper, cleaner, than I expected. It is very well balanced, to say the least, starts with a sweet/fruity twang than the malts mellow out to the end. I didn't really taste the alcohol until the finish, but it is present. The beer also has a warming effect on the finish, with a medium body. The carbonation in the mouth was around par, not overly abundant but still very noticeable. The creaminess of the beer, mixed with the carbonation, mixed with the body and warmth of the alcohol was really a nice combination.

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Photo of Brabander
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one hell of a Chimay. I was surprised with this one after a had a disapointing Orval this week. A nice and very smooth beer which gives a nice broken white head. You can smell the quality of this beer. Drank it in my Westvleteren chalice. The alcohol is strong but very pleasant.

Drank this one again in 2011 and i must say that i am very impressed by this beer. I had a Westy 12 yesterday which was not as good as this one! The westy was fresh however and this one is three years old. Still, this is a very good trappist!!

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Photo of Zadok
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured a nice deep amber with an off-white 2 finger head, no lacing once the head dissipated.

S-Fruity and hoppy at first smell, then relaxes into a mild fruit wine.

T-All kinds of flavor present, somewhere in there I can taste a dark red wine. Fruits and hops explode at first then instantaneously back off to not wear out their welcome.

M-Nice light to medium body, low carbonation.

D-Very nice drinkability, almost like sipping a nice brandy. Possibly the best tasting beer I have ever had...absolutely delicious.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,683 ratings.
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