Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,348 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: 2,348 | Ratings: 7,685
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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Photo of Chronofied
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank slightly chilled, about 50 degrees, from a goblet.

Appearance - Rather murky, with a distinctly darker center, mahogany in color. The edges are a dusty amber. Very royal thick, frothy head.

Smell - Quite malty, but peppery rather than sweet. A rough, rich, toasty aroma of yeast.

Taste - A snappy, unexpected dark fruit taste right away, sweeter than the smell. The after taste is much less sweet and has a bit of alcohol heat. The heat leaves warmth in its wake rather than reducing the drinkability. Flavor only improved in richness and complexity as the beer opened up and got a bit warmer.

Mouthfeel - Slightly thicker, syrupy, decent carbonation. Sticks to the inside of you mouth.

Drinkability - Pretty drinkable, pretty recognizable. The thickness makes it quite filling, so drinking a lot might get uncomfortable. It is definitely very easy going down, and quite
gratifying when it does. A 750ml bottle might be the perfect serving amount.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deep hazy brown color with hints of mahogany seen when held to the light. Upon pouring a one finger tan head is formed. The head fades with some swiftness to leave a nice amount lacing.

Smell – Dark fruits are heavy in the nose with nice prune, cherry, and raisin aromas. There is a yeasty, spicy, and malty aroma as well which meld nicely with the sweeter dark fruit aromas.

Taste- The taste starts out with a nice mix of dark bready malts and darker fruit flavors. These two tastes provide a very solid foundation with which the rest of the taste experience evolves from. More towards the middle the yeasty flavors detected in the nose come into fruition with some spice flavors coming into play as well. Toward the very end of the taste a lighter alcohol flavor develops along with a molasses flavor which when mixed with the bready malt and dark fruits leaves a rather satisfying aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body is creamy and smooth. It coasts the tongue allowing all the flavors to really sit on the tongue to be experienced. The carbonation is on the medium side adding some tingling excitement on the tongue, but not too high to take away from the creaminess of the body.

Overall – A fantastic abbey beer. It’s renowned and a classic for a reason.

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

I have to admit, I am a little baised when it comes to reviewing this beer, it happens to be one of my favs. I had a twelve oz bottle of this today and was pleased as usual. I highly recommend this beer to all my friends and do not skimp when purchasing, I still have a couple of bottles left and do look forward to drinking them. The only problem I have with this beer is the price and that is all

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


the 2000 magnum of grand reserve, graciously shared by Fishbone at Dwarbis Brooklyn BBQ was superior to the 2001 magnum...with more spicy notes and boozy flare!!!


Presentation - 1.5L corked and caged magnum bottle, of the american version. September 2001Vintage(about 1 & 1/2 years old)

--This vintage 1.5L bottle of Chimay is excellent! I thought that the 33CL and 75CL versions of this beer were excellent but this bottle is just perfection. The Chimay Grand Reserve from this aged Magnum bottle is fruitier, drier, richer, and creamier than its counterparts and is perhaps, my favorite beer to date!--

**Scratch that! I no longer have the same love for "fresher" Chimay than I once did, and I have found many better Dark Belgian ales. However, some 1993 Chimay Bleu at the Kulminator in Anterp restored my faith in this stuff!**

Perfection! This IMO, is much better than the 33cl or 75 cl versions of this beer. Is there an actual difference in the 3 beers? YES! This pours a franticly carbonated dark reddish brown earthy beer with a GIGANTIC fluffy white head into my chalice! This smells wonderfully like fruits, nuts, berries, sugars, malts, and almost everything else you can think of. The taste is more of the same, a beer that practically dances all over your taste buds. A super creamy and full mouthfeel back up this beers high drinkability factor as well. It is very expensive in the states(although quite cheap in Belgium)so I cannot savor it as much as I would like to(@ $30 or so a magnum bottle around here!!!)
A classic trappist ale, IMO, and perhaps the best beer in the world...EVER!!!

Mmmm. I had a 750 of 1986 Chimay Blue at the Kulminator a week or two ago that was simply out of this world. Vinous as all hell and as complex as anything else out there. This one REALLY improve with age!

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

I had an aged bottle from 1999 at Bierhuis Kulminator in Antwerp. It was served at cellar temperature in a Chimay chalice. They had bottles of Chimay Blue all the way back to 1981.

Appearance: Pours a hazy brown-ruby with a creamy beige head that fades to a thin film, leaving patches of lace.

Smell: This definitely smells aged. Rich and malty with notes of caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. There are also vinuous notes as well as some alcoholic spiciness.

Taste: Malty upfront with toasty flavors as well as sweet caramel and dark fruit, sweet, but not too sweet. The finish has a light tartness with pepper, alcohol and a very light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and thick, with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Smooth and full flavored, but mellow.

Overall: This is definitely one that improves with age. I think that it might be worth it to buy a case of Chimay every year just to cellar.

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

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into Samuel Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown/red color that just the smallest bit of light can be seen through. There is a tan two-finger head that seems to dissipate rather quickly. There is, however, a nice amount of lacing left on my glass as I drink.

Smell: I seriously smell brownies. Maybe hints of cocoa mixed with a biscuit-like odor create this brownie smell? There is also a slight bit of fruit essence in the back, with a barely discernible zest.

Taste: Wow, delicious indeed. Dark malty goodness, cocoa, dark cherries/fruits, slightly roasty, definite biscuit flavor. Very minor bitterness that stops as soon as you swallow. The alcohol burn is there, but the taste is excellently hidden!

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, moderate to light body, slightly smooth and creamy. It works perfectly and goes down surprisingly easy!

Overall: One of my new favorite Belgian Dark Ales. This is one hell of a beer, with dark fruity flavors and rich, but tamed, sweetness. Highly recommended.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark carmel brown, cloudy, and some yeast floating that I couldn't decant. Light cream color head that retains pretty well.

S: Dark fruits and a nutty yeast aroma. Very slight alcohol. Very complex, I can't pick everything out.

T: As in most beers I've have, the taste up front is foreshadowed by the smell. Sweet Dark fruit and yeast taste, followed by some bitterness and more yeasty flavors.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation, which is relativly high, and definatly refreshing. Full mouthfeel.

D: Highly drinkingable and tasty. I look forward to every sip, though the IBV makes this somewhat dangerous.

For the taste and the smell, I can't pin everything down in this brew. Maybe in a year or so I'll be able to indentify things. For now, at least I know it's delicious.

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

Purchased in a 33 CL bottle, the back of the label appears to read "LAN - 167", but again... no idea what this means.

Poured into a snifter a deep, very dark almost purplish brown. Head disappeared quickly, though bubbles remain along the rim. Spotty lace. When the head was gone the bubbles formed what looked like a radar screen's view of a hurricane in the center of the snifter.

Robust Earthy scent. Hints of caramel and sweet malts.

Rustic caramel flavor. Alcohol is more evident than in the white. Very deep complex flavor.

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Photo of ahommell
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark Brown. Opaque. Deep orange. Lots of carbonation. Fantastic head that if you let sit becomes a sticky finger head.

S: Malty. Yeasty. Carmel. I get the sense of some fruit: Prunes. Raisins. Malty. Nothing overpowers.

T: Malty. Yeasty. Spicy. Smell mirrors the taste. Like other Chimay products, this one has a taste that could be an amazing bread as well.

M: Creamier than I expected, yet the carbonation leaves that to be short lived. Spicier than I expected as well. Alcohol ends the overall feel and I am not disappointed one bit.

O: Well, I cannot say I am disappointed. Drinkable in any quantity. Wonderfully Belgian. Not giving it 5's across the board... BUT DAMN GOOD BEER.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,685 ratings.
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