Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,352 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: 2,352 | Ratings: 7,699
Photo of JimiTheBastard
3.34/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From a 750ml bottle

Nice rich color... reddish dark amber... cloudy... fine bubbles

Plain on the nose... some spice... cloves and raison

Not nearly as flavorful as I was expecting... yeasty/hoppy... crispy... a bit bitter... dry... cloves and sliced green apples

Feels light to medium body in the mouth

Overall... I was a little disappointed... I think it tastes better from a tap

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Photo of matty
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored ale with a high rapidly fading foam.Aroma is spices and alcohol.Taste is raisins,bread and alcohol.I did not enjoy this one as much as the other belgians I've had the past couple of weeks.I am by no means saying this is bad!!Overall a decent ale that I would try again.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Maybe cause I've started a new love affair with barley wine ale in the last few weeks. Maybe cause I still prefer the Rochefort Trappistes family as far as Belgian ales are concerned. Maybe...just maybe cause I've also grown fond of beer straight from the tap rather than the bottle too in recent weeks.

For whatever reason, I found this beer to be good, not great. Maybe it's not fair as my comparison of styles is not a true "apples for apples" comparison. The blending and subtleties of flavor of the Rochefort Trappistes family as well as barley wine have captured my attention.

However you cut it, this beer isn't has a nice monolithic flavor but not as complex as the beers mentioned above. Ooops there I go again in the unfairness department. I'd perhpas try this again if I could get it on tap but with the other options out there in from similar styles, I would call this beer overrated.

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lovely pour. Head is a coarse brown the fizzes away in mere minutes. No lacing. Nose is muted, but what I do smell reminds me of maple syrup and plums. Taste is sweet brown sugar, plums, coriander and a meek hop presence. Mouthfeel is lively. Honestly, I'm not too thrilled with this. Sure, it's one of my favorite styles, but there are so many other beers out there that do it better imo. Save your money and buy a Ommegang or Trois Pistoles by Unibroue instead.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.37/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - poured into a chalice, it appears somewhere between brown and a muddy purple. Flaky sediment evenly dispersed throughout the glass. A brief head ends up with only a few stray bubbles around the edge. Unique look for a brew.

Aroma - spicy yeast, some light fruit sweetness at first, then everything kind of dissipates. After a few moments any smell is completely gone. Bummer.

Taste - light malt, lots of bready, yeasty taste, a bit of sweetness, and plenty of alcohol. The active carbonation gives it a sweet/salty blend. A vinous swallow, like a medium red wine. Finishes with a bite, a little background hop grapefruitiness, and alcohol warmth in the back of the throat. Not as impressive as I anticipated, but some decent dimensions and tasty.

Mouthfeel - bubbly, of course, somewhat dry, but leaves a thin coating. Well done for this style.

Drinkability - I don't remember what I paid for this some 2 years ago, but to look at it as many times as I did before finally opening it, I gotta say I had higher expectations. Not unfair for a highly rated beer as this. Nothing wrong with it, but I don't see myself buying it again.

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Photo of tone77
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Pours a cloudy, dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smells of alcohol and sugar. Taste of yeast, a bit sour, and alcohol. Feels great in the mouth and has decent drinkability. Overall a good beer, but not great like the other reviews here.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark brown, almost black beer, with a frothy head that disappears after minutes and leaves a small layer.
Smell was chocolate and a slightly burned smell, not the explosion I expected.
Taste was OK with burned coffee and caramel with a nice maltbitterness, some nutmeg and peppery notes which give the beer some complexity. Alcohol was not noticable. Body was rather thin and bland, aftertaste was dry.
The thin body and the low complexity do not live up to my expectations.

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third and final Chimay I have yet to try. By far the highest rated and most widely available. Here is my review:

A: Pours a real murky brown. Lots of suspended sediment. Head is pretty fizzy as it dissipated rather quickly. Lacing is non-existent.

S: Smell is pretty faint. I get a bit more dark fruit than the other two. Maybe hints of cherry or plum. Malt is there as well. Smells okay.

T: Flavor is pretty sweet. You get more spice in this one compared to the other two. A little dark fruit like cherry and raisin. The malt is there with the caramel and toffee notes I got in the other two. Alcohol is present in the finish. No flavor dominated this beer and everything feels a little subdued and underwhelming. Feels like something is missing. Might be my least favorite tasting of the three.

M: This one is definetly more fizzy than creamy. Medium-light bodied. Seemed a little lacking.

D: I think it is a little too carbonated and fizzy. Flavors are okay, but this beer left a lot to be desired. The mouthfeel isn't as rich as the other two.

I got to say, I am quite disappointed. I was hoping for a stronger, more flavorful version of the Red. This may have been a bad bottle, but I got it in the same sample pack as the other two Chimay beers, which tasted fine. I personally feel the Red was the richest and most flavorful. Don't get me wrong, this is a good beer, but this one lacks the creamyness and flavor the other two had.

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Photo of Krakistophales
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark plum color with a two fingers of cream colored head that sticks around.

S: Grapes, lots of malts, and a hint of some other fruits like apple

T: Slight fruitiness, lots of malt, a hint of spice with a little carbonation bite, but overall pretty bland.

O: Rather disappointed with this. People rave that this is amazing, but I've had much better.

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Photo of frognot
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick, creamy head that lingers

Smell: Pleasant blend of fruit, yeast and malts. However, nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste: Lots of malt with some fruit balancing it out with the warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a lingering creaminess

Drinkability: Medium drinkability.

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Photo of RCane1
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, if I'm drinking a strong dark ale, I expect it to be strong and to meet all my needs in one glass. This is a very drinkable and pleasant beer but it lacks depth of character and leaves me vaguely unsatisfied.

Disturbingly frothy white head over a highly seductive and darkly impenetrable body. Not much aroma to my nose. The taste seems very one-dimensional in comparison to other strong dark ales and is not particularly strong to my taste. The froth persists in the mouth and feels more substantial than it is.

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Photo of danielplainview
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy shade, burnt reddish brown. The head is there but lacing is subpar

Warm and sweet aroma with hints of brown sugar, and caramel. Of course, the usual suspects are present but still the aroma is largely nondescript. I was expecting much more.

Nothing stands out, again I was expecting more given the hype. Nice malt character but overall weak; fruit, spice, and bitterness for the most part. The bitterness could certainly be from hops but has the slightly burnt sugar character.

Medium body; medium carbonation, that is prickly at times. Sweet to medium finish with a long aftertaste of fruit, malt, and spice.

Drinkability not a beer that I could have more than 1 of at a sitting.

Good beer. But I do not feel that this is among the best Belgian brews I have had. Like so many things in our culture that are popular, its not really offensive in any way but it doesn't do much to set itself apart.

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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.

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

For some reason, I am not a Chimay fan...
That's just a personal palette thing, I'm sure.
Pours a moderately dark amber with a smallish head that melts very quickly to a mere white ring.

Aromas of burnt dark fruits and dark sugary malts with a bit of alcohol in the nose.

Taste is smooth burnt dark fruits like raisins and prunes but less sugar than in the nose and almost immediately the tongue encounters a pleasant hops bitterness balanced well with the malt. Alcohol follows and alcohol warmth follows that as you swallow.

Aftertaste is dry and slightly bitter but mostly alcohol.

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

Maybe i got a bad batch or something, but i didn't think this beer was that good. The beer itself looked great in glass, and smelt pretty good, i could taste everything that was there (i think). I was suprised to find i couldn't really taste the alcohol much in it. It had a nice clean crisp (albiet early) finish.Maybe it's just me, but i really didn't have much to say about this beer.

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Photo of Mando603
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml Poured into a Chimay glass.

A - Murky brown with a tight one finger mottled tan head that dissipates quickly
S - Grapes, tart cherries, wine,
T - A lot different from the nose. The dark fruits are at the front but they go away almost as soon as you realize they're there. After that it gets really complex with a sour hoppiness to it. I had a hard time pinning down exactly what I didn't like about it.
M - Champagne like fizz and a cola mouthfeel
O - Since I'm a rookie in the craft beer world I plan on revisiting this beer after I've developed my palette a bit more.

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

Granted this is a limited review. I prefer to drink as I type. But I had this at a decent bar here in Gainesville with some fun people nearby, so I'm working off of memory. Off the start it's definitely a belgian, it looks great in the chalice in which it was poured. Dark; if you mixed purple, black and brown you might find this color. It had a tan/light brown head. Tasted as it smelled with dark aged fruits and spice, mostly clove, very tasty. This was rather drinkable and certainly wouldn't be offensive for even the unexperienced palate. A very high gravity feeling though. It wasn't quite my style. It reminded me of a lighter colored unibroue (which creates belgian style ales). Although I've seen and tried this style, this was my first actual belgian trappist ale. I have more belgians sitting in my fridge (westmalle, st. bernardus). I look forward to them but hope that belgian beers have more versatility, because this sorta gave me what I might have thought it would taste like... it did not deceive my pre-concieved notions.

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

I am not much of a belgian beer kind of person. But even the few I have tried I would rank this good but not the best (IMO Hennepin).

Color is dark brown with slight red tint in the light. Thick of white head.
The smell is slightly sweet/spice/yeasty aroma. The flavor is not as complex I I would have liked. More alcoholic and carbonated, but the spice/yeast/sweet flavors try and get through. OK mouthfeel. Overall, I will not buy this again. The next time I feel like a belgian beer I will go with the Hennepin.

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Photo of Aiptasia
3.41/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried my first Chimay Blue with a hummus and tahini wrap at European Street Cafe in Jacksonville, FL. 12 oz. bottle in a glass beer tumbler.

A: Pours a nice deep red/brown with very little head and a slight halo of lacing. Murky brown in the glass with micro-carbonated fizz.

S: Subtle, there are notes of pine hops with cinnamon caramel hops.

T: Not sweet. Again, subtle and restrained. Perhaps a little too balanced. Alcohol is masked with a dry finish.

M: Medium bodied, goes down nicely with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and paired nicely with my dinner. There just wasn't enough flavor as the meal completely overwhelmed this beer.

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Photo of ralree
3.41/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Deep caramel with a nice head that dissipates slowly leaving a great 1/4 inch lace.

S: Fruity but smooth - not too sweet or too alcoholic. Alcohol is there, but acceptable given the other flavors. Lots of spices and maltiness.

T: Pretty good, even though I'm not a fan of this style. Very alcoholic and fruity flavor up front with a nice alkaline sub-taste. Some great plum and apple flavors after the swallow. Finishes with a bit of yeast and continuing fruit/sweet/alcohol.

M: Medium-light bodied with pretty good carbonation. A little to carbonated for me. Fairly non-astringent.

D: Still a little too sweet for me - I don't think I will buy again. The red Chimay is much better in my opinion.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.41/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cork Date: August 2001. Pours a very dark tea color that is slightly hazy. Produced a three finger head that is slightly off-white with staying power. The smell was very faint with the only detectable aroma being a slightly sweet yeasty smell. The taste was definitely remnant of old as it had a musty book smell type taste with raisins and yeast. Very well balanced and the higher alcohol was not even noticeable by taste. Bless the monks! Op uw gezonheid!

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Photo of stoutman
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well. A high rated beer, but not for me. It has a bit too much alcohol finish for me, and it has an aroma and flavor like most strong belgian ales, but it also has a bad aroma and flavor of "old, wet laundry", that I don't like. The yeast overpowers, as is typical for these types...

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Photo of bditty187
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy, a few shades short of black at its darkest, ruby around the edges… light brown head, reached a finger’s worth but faded quicker than it should, slim, wispy residue… disappointing amount of lace (almost none). Limited nose that’s short on depth and lacks potency: alcohol and rich maltiness surpasses the plums, apples and candy aromas. Still it’s inviting. Tasty palate with a fair amount of depth, excellent balance as well. The flavor profile is richly malty, plums and apples too, yeasty… bready, caramelized candy-sugar, spiciness of figs, clove, and pepper. The alcohol is hidden on the tongue. The finish is tart and heavy on the carbonation… pretty nice but its too abrupt and only the pepper remains on the aftertaste. Disappointing… its hard to savory a beer that disappears from your tongue so quickly. Medium light body… spritzy carbonation. The high abv is noticeable on your mind. Chimay Blue lacks a certain complexity needed to be truly outstanding. If I have this one again, I’d go with the smaller capped bottle and not the corked rendition. I think this beer is highly overrated… try one if you must. Yawn...

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured a beautiful maple syrup color with an awesome head, at least an inch.

After it died down, not much lace left in the glass. I smelled a sugary, syrupy, almost molasses type aroma.

Taste is smooth, a candied sweetness that does a remarkable job of hiding the alcohol.

Other folks picked up a few different flavors, but I really only got a sugar and syrup.

Would like to try again in the larger bottle to see if anything else is going on. Not bad, but not the best Belgian ever.


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Photo of bowersdm
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice

A - dark brown/ruby like color, it's hard to describe. perhaps the color of a darkly stained piece of cherry wood or mahogany? It had a small head (<1cm) that dissipated quickly into a slight film of carbonation that still retained lumpy pockets of head no more than 0.25cm in height.

S - raisins, yeast, cloves, other spices, alcohol.

T - slightly sweet, with hops in the finish accompanying a dryness. suggestions of vanilla, lemon grass and spices. it wasn't particularly spectacular and I don't quite understand the praise for this one.

M - on par with every other BSDA

D - I'd drink it again, but I'd pick plenty of other BSDAs before this one. It's not even my favorite Chimay beer. Stick to Rochefort 6.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,699 ratings.
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