Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,332 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,332 | Ratings: 7,632
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium glossy and hazy brown. big head, foamed up nicely, some chunks.
Smell is weak. Not sure what's going on. Yeast and soft fruit seem to come out, but can't quite detect anything strong.
Taste is also a bit weak. Belgian yeast and spice, some dark soft fruit and raisin. Where's the taste?
Kind of flat and syrupy in the feel. Not impressed with this one, overpriced for sure.

 391 characters

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.07/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby brown, bit hazy, with an off-white big head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

Very little hop bouquet in the aroma, musty yeast, earthy, bit spicy, perhaps clove.

Taste is somewhat sweet with decent balance. Starts sweet and finishes a bit sour. Dark fruits, raisins and prunes, and sweet malts are present.

Overly carbonated and medium body.

An average beer...Chimay remains very average all around for me.

 459 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.08/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 11/24/2005 (bottle):

The pour creates a pours a dark brown colored body, with an off-white head. Has an aroma of spices. The taste also has that same spiciness, with some roasted notes. Some floral taste too. Good, but, not as good as the red in my opinion.

 267 characters

Photo of flyerduke
3.1/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When opening the bottle, I damn near punched a hole in the wall with the cork. Beer pours a hazy brown color with a big ass fluffy off white head. Way over carbonated. The aroma smells like a Bud after just poppin’ a can open. Flavor isn’t much better. Light malt sweetness with some background esters. The bitterness seems to linger. Medium body. Slight alcohol warming. Very disappointed with this beer. Hope the wife will drink the rest.

 442 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.14/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

11.2oz bottle poured slowly into a St. Bernardus (the blasphemy [SP?] !?!!?!!?!) goblet.

A: Slightly chill hazed, slight bit of sediment made its way into the beer, but otherwise clear and dark, sort of cola-like with just as much head and just as lasting. Sort of dissapointed with the look of this one so far.

S: Doughy sweetness, figs, dates, and cloves.

T/MF: Tight, prickly carbonation, full bodied but quite a bit bubbly, like champagne bubbly. Spicy, not too sweet, there is some bit of it in the close but spice and a mild alcoholic heat take up most of the stage with this beer. Bit of black pepper, more booze that I would care for in a beer. Finishes a bit grainy and leaves the tongue a bit prickly with the sides of my tongue (the sour taste buds right?) acting up.

D: I think the look of this beer may have killed the rest of the drinking experience for me, I was expecting big things and was dissapointed with the end results.

Note: I am getting frustrated with my glassware and/or the way this beer might have been sitting on the shelf for a bit too long. I've got no head and no lacing on a beer that should have tons of both. I hand washed the glass with lots of baking soda and hot water and rinsed and rinsed, still the head just evaporates. I don't think my method of washing is off because this process has worked wonders before, I just don't get what is going on here. My only chance is to grab another, new looking bottle, somehow, and give this beer the second chance that I know it deserves.

 1,522 characters

Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.15/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a cloudy, dark brown color with 1/2 inch tan head. It has a fruity aroma with a hint of brown sugar. The flavor is banana with chocolate and malt sweetness. The chocolate intensifies as it warms. It's got a very full mouthfeel. Chimay Blue is a good beer overall but is very filling which limits it's drinkability to just one. Recommended.

 355 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.18/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color is a deep dark opaquely russet ruby color with a very tall off-white fluffy head, almost laughable and too big, took three separate times to pour it from the 11.2 oz. bottle into my Delirium Tremens goblet glass as the head just kept getting in the way, ridiculous head, let me get at it already.

Nose is dull and kinda light, not much going on besides some light lemon peel citrus and yeast, a touch smokey and meaty upon bigger wiffs.

Taste is short lived and a bit boring, complexity is not very forthcoming from this offering. Very dull citrus of melon husk and majorly dulled lemon and peels, lightly sweet malts and subdued spicy yeast with some strange uneven texture that I didn't care for all that much.

Feel is medium bodied with a weird texture I just couldn't get past. Where's the smooth? Where's the creamy? Blah, boring, yuk. Not impressed. The Chimay Red was much better. I'm not sure if I have a bad bottle or what, but I've been saving this bottle, plus a few others for nearly 4 months hoping a bit of aging would make for an interesting session, but nope. I guess I'll be letting those sit alot longer. I'm bored, can I have my Unibroue Trois Pistoles now?

 1,194 characters

Photo of waughbrew
3.2/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mohogany with a fizzly big-bubbled head that doesn't last long (could it have been the glass? jeez, that was not a good head) The beer continues to sizzle like a soda for a long time. Aroma is very metallic at first in its chilled state, much less so as it warms. A bit of fig, but more of date. Decent peppery phenolics. Rhubarb. The flavor is sweet, with too much root beerishness, probably helped by a vinous quality. Carbonation is also reminiscent of soda, and at the end there is a sugar/alcohol coating in my mouth. Overall a bit hot, yet soda-like. I have had this a few times and, while I don't remember being thrilled with it (I always preferred the red), I do not remember the blue being this lackluster. Improves a lot as it warms to room temp, so DRINK IT WARM, but still not anything memorable.

 808 characters

Photo of bled
3.2/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Like a cloudy mid to dark brown. Medium head that does not last long.

S-Sweet and malty. I can catch a hint of the alcohol in there.

T-A lot of malt in there with some sweetness. The alcohol tends to linger with each sip as well.

M-Carbonation level is on the high side but I do not mind that. Otherwise fairly balanced.

D-There is a bitter aftertaste that tends to linger and they did not do the greatest job hiding the alcohol content. I would say the drinkability here is below average.

Comments- Not really a strong dark ale kind of guy, but I have had others that I liked better. I would probably drink one of these again if given to me but I would not look to buy one. I think Chimay has done better with their Red and White offerings.

 748 characters

Photo of cokes
3.21/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated 09/01.
Throws a nice-looking glass that is both golden-amber and hazed dark brown, depending upon which part of the glass one is viewing. Sizeable head fades out somewhat quickly...sticks around though.
Aroma mostly of cardboard and other paper products. Dark fruit lies below this. But there is alot of recycling to do before the fruit hits.
Taste is intially of the dark fruit, with raisin and plum standing out. Sour grapes are pushes back, but are evident. Yeast is a big soggy monster. Musty and dank. Sometimes I find that attractive, but not here. Mushy, and wet after the fruit burst. Like bread soaking in water.
Spice is not up to what I expect. Lightly clovey. Otherwise not much.
Let me go on record as saying that I hate whatever yeast strand Chimay uses. I'll go off the record and say that Chimay may be the most overrated brewery on the planet.
Mouthfeel is once-again musty. Spritzy up front, but fades rapidly. Like a mouth full of potatoes....with just as much pizazz.
Alcohol is a nonfactor...so if that is your key to drinkability..then this is sublime...however I would fall asleep first from boredom rather than the ABV.
Though, I must say that this is my favorite Chimay offering.

 1,240 characters

Photo of BMoney575
3.21/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 4-17-09

Pours an excessively deep red color, impossible to see through unless held to a bright light. A fizzy off-white head settles to a nice layer, leaving rings of short-lasting lacing.

Smell is dark fruit, lots of raisin, very clean with not a lot going on. With some effort, I pick up blueberry and a slight vanilla.

Taste is very clean, thin, with an soapy flavor. Not complex, not even flavorful, if not for the alcohol that comes in at the very end. What a disappointment.

Mouthfeel is extremely thin and watery, with quite a bit of carbonation, which doesn't help.

Drinkability is decent, but not what I look for in a $13.99 beer.

Overall, I've wanted to try this beer for a long time, and I was better off before.

 740 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.24/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ruddy brown pour. Lots of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Floaties. Small 1/4" off white head. Dark fruit and cherry smell. Lots of alcohol.

So much alcohol. Dark fruit. Raisins, plums, the usual suspects. Its just a style I can't get that down with. Brown sugar in smaller supply. Caramel, burnt. Carbonation good. I dunno, there's just a bitter toffee, overripe spoiled dark fruit thing going with pronounced alcohol that always has me wondering how this got to be so almost universally loved.

 515 characters

Photo of jwilli7122
3.24/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark, murky, blackish orange/peach. The color of...an empty beer bottle, or a nightcrawler's back. very large, bubbly white head, that fades eventually.

smells very strong of cloves, fruit, and sweet alchohol, as in champagne.

taste of cloves dominates, with some wood, and sweet alchohol flavors. Huge clove aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan.

mouthfeel is full in texture, but light in weight. good.
acceptably drinkable for a 9.0. This tastes very unique and...formal - like it would be appropriate whenever a bottle of wine would be. if i was blind folded, i would not know this was beer. an interesting beverage, but i can't say "clove" is one of my preferred flavors, and i don't forsee myself drinking this beer often.

 744 characters

Photo of AlXalone
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well this is the first of this type of ale that I've tried and I can't say that I'm a big fan based on the Chimay Blue.

A: The ale is of a unique very brown, cloudy raisin colour. Does look delicious. Head is very strong off the top but dissipates fast. Very little to eventually no lacing.

S: Malty, strong fruitiness, some plum, slight metallic whiff and hints of alcohol. Smell is somewhat sweet and has some breadiness.

T: To this point I was loving this beer. However the overly sweetish, yeasty alcohol taste was too much. Especially the very strong alcohol kick at the end was something I didn't enjoy. The Chimay' s taste is full, malty, hoppiness is low to medium, acidity the same. Mouthfeel was ok, though quite light with strong initial carbonation and not much in the finish.

D: Not my mug of beer. Apparently I'm not a fan of this style at all. Maybe I'll try one again later to make sure. Anyway, the high alcohol level which manifests so blatantly in the taste make the Blue a no-go. I loved the Chimay Trippel, so this was a real dissapointment.

 1,066 characters

Photo of manchester0325
3.26/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Good beer overall but nothing to get crazy about. I'm really glad to say I have tried it and it is under my tasting belt, but there are many other beers that have much fuller flavor and much better scent that I would go back to before I got this again.

 252 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.26/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice caramel color with a tightly knit head and effervescence welling from the depths of the beer.
I was surprised at little or no lacing.
I'm puzzled-- generally this beer's flavor profile is much like its head-- tightly knit brewing. But where's the beef? I mean-- OK, it's not a stout, it's not an Ale, it's a Belgian--- but where's the flavor? I taste a hint of caramel, alcohol's dryness, and a teensy weensy peep from the yeast but maybe it's me-- nothing else to speak of. There's flavor body-- but no "wart on the miller's nose". There's a nice clean lasting finish, but once again, I can't coin anything that sparks my imagination-- or my accolades. When browsing the wares at my fave "packie" and I see this beer, will I stop and remark "Oh that one's enjoyable" or do I pass to the next goodie? So far I move along.
I'm still straining to find something to clap my hands over... nice bottle with a cork 'n' cage.

Mouthfeel is congenial. Very nice I keep sipping and straining to taste the Belgian countryside.

Drinkability-- If I were any place other than home, I don't think I'd quaff another pint. Why bother? Well OK, if I was after the side-effects of the 9% ABV but this stuff's expensive.

Maybe the beer's too young to really flower, perhaps a few years in the cellar might suddenly unleash this beer's potential. But generally my sentiments are, ho hum and a yawn... and $11 for 750ml? My eleven bucks are better spent elsewhere... I'll try it again but let the beer age for a few years and report back then..

 1,540 characters

Photo of longbongsilver
3.27/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Figured I'd try another Trappist brew.

Mug fills a dingy brown, huge creamy tan head makes a decent pour kinda difficult. Random floral type smells, plus tangerine, orange, & a slight biscuit backbone. Finally get to taste, and...comes off a bit flat for the complexity it gives off before the first swig. The sweetness and slight heat evokes rum, oddly enough, and it goes down smoothly without being watery. Character is what I'd call average.

For the presentation (and price), this was a bit of a letdown IMO. Wouldn't say it's crap, but I've had better.

 559 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
3.28/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out cloudy brown with ruby highlights and a generous brown/tan head that holds okay, but doesn't leave a ton of lace.

Smell is dark fruits, bubblegum, alcohol, and a little bit of maltiness. The yeast is pronounced, too.

Taste is interesting, it's certainly got a nice little spicy kick to it, some bubblegum flavors at the front, liquor-soaked dark fruit, but overall, the flavor has a bit too much alcohol in it and is a little too hot at this young age for me. It's okay now, and it might turn positively fantastic if I'd aged it for a few years. But...I just thought this one tasted okay. Especially in such a fantastic style, I'd much rather pick up a 750 of Ommegang for basically the same price as what I'm paying for a small bottle of this. The flavor just doest settle out, and the thin mouthfeel is less "spritzy" and more, well, thin.

Overall: Not terrible, but I can't see ever seeking this one out again. I thought the red and white were not-quite-stellar, but I far preferred them to this one.

 1,025 characters

Photo of bulletrain76
3.28/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a 33cl botle in Lund. A beautiful dark opaque chestnut color with a big and wild off-white head that leaves a delecate layer of foam after a few minutes. The Aroma is of brown sugar and spiced apple, with a hint of bitter orange peel topping it off. The flavor is sweet with lots of maltiness and some citrus, but the finish imparts some bitterness with the high ABV showing up to close it off. The mouthfeel is syrupy and thick, with good carbonation. This is a good beer, maybe great, but I might like Chimay Red better because of its great balance of flavors. Blue is definitely a complex and intense beer. I'm looking forward to trying another (8 4 8 4 16) - - - rerate: 750ml bottle, served in a Chimay glass. This time around, I didn't pick up nearly as much of the flavor that I remember from before. There was less sweetness and more yeastiness, and thats about it. I really wasn't impressed. It's possible that this was a consequence from coming across the pond this time, but a brew like this should stand up to that. Disappointing. Next up. I need to cellar some to see if it improves for me, like so many people claim that it does.

 1,148 characters

Photo of echdk3
3.29/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 11,2oz bottle into a snifter

A_Dark chestnut brown color with barely off-white head that dissipates very quickly. Disappointed with the head retention (I swear it was a clean glass), but it was a nice surprise having a beer this color with a head as white as it was

S_Very alcoholic and a bit fishy. Smelled almost like a fine vodka

T_Woody and earthy with a slightly sweet and mouth-puckering aftertaste. Mellow and a bit flat

M_Very chewy, coats the mouth very well. Medium carbonation

D_Fairly filling and high ABV, coats mouth and begs for a water or refreshing brew afterwards.

 601 characters

Photo of jaluria
3.3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Normally this is one of my favorite styles, so I was really looking forward to trying this. However, it was disappointing to say the least. The appearance was as expected; burgundy color with a lovely head that stays around. Aromas of plums, grapes, alcohol, and caramelized sugar come out, but they don't seem to be working together. This was my first inkling that I was in for a surprise. The taste was just too much with overwhelming sweetness upfront followed by a moist bitterness that left me not wanting anymore. The aftertaste was more sour and dry than would be enjoyable and the drinkability is low because I didn't want to finish my goblet. This is worth trying, but I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as other Trappist ales.

 736 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I’m re-rating this beer as I had it a long time ago, and had it again alongside the other two varieties of Chimay commonly available in the US (white and red) yesterday. And I have to say that with the benefit of quite a bit more beer experience since my last rating, that I significantly over-rated this beer in my previous rating. Yesterday, I found this beer is extremely mild, and while certainly not unpleasant or bad, I found it to be a bit boring. Of the three varieties I had yesterday, this was definitely my least favorite.

Appearance was a dark brown/almost black color with a decently-formed whitish head with limited staying power. Aroma was very mild and faint. I got roasted malt and a bit of alcohol, but not much else. Flavor was the highlight of this beer, but even that I found mild-mannered and rather unremarkable compared to other dark Belgian (or Belgian-style) beers I’ve had. A bit of roastiness and some alcohol, but not much else that you might expect like spiciness or fruit. Mouthfeel was not bad, but unremarkable.

So I’m left to explain why so many think so much of this beer while I’m the odd-duck who’s unimpressed. And my hypothesis is this - that many folks (me among them) try this beer when first expanding their beer horizons, are wildly impressed by the difference, but haven’t yet revisited (as I’m now doing) to compare against the craft/import beer adventures they’ve had since breaking out with Chimay Blue. Sound plausible?

 1,477 characters

Photo of shbobdb
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this beer, it is supposed to be the quintessential Belgian Strong Dark. Well, I've liked others of the style, but this particular offering leaves me wanting.
It pours nice and dark. The colour reminds me of a well-made cigar, actually.
It smells heavenly, wow, prunes, prunes, and more prunes with a light alcohol lacing. What more could you want?
The taste and mouthfeel is where this particular offering falls flat on its face. I mean, the taste isn't bad, just one dimensional. The mouthfeel is thin, very thin. I've noticed this with Belgians in general. Carbonation does not equal body!!! But, alas, I am of the germanic drinking tradition, where a nice thick mouthfeel is essential for a pleasant taste. Heavily carbonated and bubbly, it isn't a bad mouthfeel . . . just thin. No love here. The taste is OK. It makes me long for a Gulden Draak, or any of Unibroue's products.
Actually, it makes me want a Korbinian. Man, why do all dark belgians make me want that beer? They are close, but oh-so-far.
A good brew, don't get me wrong, but certainly not worth the pricetag!

 1,109 characters

Photo of cproioi
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown body with a greyish head that disipated rather quickly and left the signature Belgian style lacing. The beer was very loud it can be heard cracking and popping with out having your ear right next to it. The taste and aroma followed each other. It was a very raisiny sweetness with other dried fruit notes. The mouthfeel was extremely dry and bubbly with carbonation popping on the tounge. This was a slow sipping beer that must be handled with respect.

 471 characters

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Spicey, yeasty. Dark fruit.

Looks: Deep, dark brown/black. Big beige head with poor head retention. When tilted on edge against a light background, you can see that it is quite murky.

Taste: Cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar. Cherries, raisins. Banana. Some alcoholic warmth.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation. Medium bodied.

Overall, I actually prefer the red.

 377 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,632 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!