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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,331 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: 2,331 | Ratings: 7,630
Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ten years ago my wife bought me a bottle Chimay for Christmas. She went to the beverage staore and asked for the best beer on the shelf. Chimay is what they sold her.

a - Dark amber color with a lot of head. Head lasts and eventualy becomes lace which lasts forever on the sides of the glass.

s - Fuity alcohol aroma, full of carmel malt and hops.

t - Taste is full of malt with fruity hops tingling the tongue.

m - Mouthfeel is perfect. Viscous without feeling slimey or thick. Fine carbonation leaves the pallette clean and refreshed and waiting for more.

d - I would drink this any time anyplace. It goes with everything. I think it would be a great ale to serve someone who never drank anything but "yellow fizz". It has taste, character and drinkability. The worst part of drinking Chimay is getting to the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.03/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a snifter. The color is murky brown with a nice head that dissipates very fast. Decent active carbonation. Lacing is unremakrable. The smell is sort of faint, somewhat fruity with the aroma of belgian yeast. Taste is of sour apple and spice intitially, there is a hint of cloves present also. The finish is dry and alcoholic, not very bitter, it actually tastes like Bourbon, suprisingly. The beer has a medium thickness on the palate, is adequately bubbly, but could use some more body. This beer was not what I had expected. Not that exquisite, not all that drinkable for a Belgian.

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Photo of sauron681
2.19/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I have been looking forward to trying this beer for a very long time. What a dissapointment.
750ml. bottle corked and caged. Vintage: 10/05
Poured very nicely, dark burgundy/ruby color, excellent thick head. A very inviting smell, and mouthfeel. Perhaps a hint of raisins, and a bit spicy. The taste however was almost like drinking Methyl Ethyl Keytone. Very harsh, strong, chemical alcohol taste to it. I could not finish the whole bottle. I will try this beer again, but will let it age a couple years and then see.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was tasted in a goblet from a 750mL corked bottle.

The beer pours a dark burgandy color with a sizeable off white head with good retention and lacing. The beer smells of berry-like fruits. Most likely grapes, raisens, and cherries. The taste also exhibits these qualities in larger amounts. The beer feel quite thick and is balanced with a nicely generours amount of carbonation. I would love to drink this all the time.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Crack of the bottle marked 09/05 on the cork itself; Pours a dark mahogany ruby color that glows in a subtle way with red light when held up to illumination. A frothy tan head bubbles up and slowly recedes to a dished concave centimeter-thick, being visibly fed by streams of bubbles appearing in the depths and climbing up the sides. They're doing their best to keep the head up and look to be doing their job.

Plum, citrus peel on the scent; Lazily fruity zing and zip with just a tiny bit of tartness and some crisp malty scents; It reminds me of Trois Pistoles but isn't so in-your-face, and has a little more malt scent, too.

Wow, that's weird... The first thing I think when I sip it is that it tastes... like Trois Pistoles. Exactly like it, actually. Hell, I'll even be so bold as to cut and paste from that review. Sour-sweet flavors on the palte. Citrus peel, sour grapes, plums, rhubarb, raisins, with a gently warming alcohol that doesn't affect taste, only feel.

The carbonation is zippy and swishy, medium-sized bubbles that swirl around... Some syrupy flavors and tastes left behind.

Okay, I'm really weirded out. I keep going back to my review of the Unibroue beer and have decided that these are almost exactly the same. The only difference is that the Trappist version I now hold in my hand holds a better head and has a little less sour, more malty scent.

This is a great beer and I'm reviewing it with the respect it deserves; But my experience has been seriously diminished by the fact that I can get the same thing for less money from a closer brewery than Belgium.

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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.

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Photo of Calico
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This used to be my favorite beer, back in the late 80s and early 90s. My first introduction to the style. Now I've found others I like more, but this is still a pretty good one.

This particular bottle was quite fresh tasting, surprising as it was bought at Beers of the World who are not known for rotating stock quickly.

Poured dark brown with a nice head but poor head retention. I can't see through this beer - very thick and cloudy. Musty nose, pruny and a little winey. Taste is cherry, raspberry, apricot and a tiny bit of raisin. Alcohol and phenols very apparent in mouthfeel, as is tannin. Astringent. Alcohol burn in the back of the mouth. Sugary finish.

Back in the day, I used to get horrible headaches from too much of this stuff so it was a rare treat. This particular bottle seemed very drinkable, but overall I would recommend taking this beer easy.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.67/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mahogony brown with a good head but poor longevity and lace. Smells of caramel, toffee, raisin, plum and mild chocolate. Main taste of raisin and plum with toffe and chocolate. Decent bitterness and not much alcohol flavor. High carbonation. Somewhat smooth and creamy. An OK beer but I think this one will improve greatly with cellaring. I think I will but more and give it a try.

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Photo of Mandrake
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with some slight ruby highlights around the edges, and forms a creamy, tan head that stays well, leaving great lacing as I drink my way down the Chimay goblet that came with the sampler pack that I found on sale at the local NSLC outlet. Smells of spicy fruits with a bready overtone and some alcoholic notes as well. Tastes beautiful, raisins and cloves with the classic belgian breadiness and not even a hint of the 9% ABV, which is hidden magnificently. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and nicely warming. Drinkability is excellent. If it wasn't closed I'd go to the liquor store and buy another right now. And it's -10 and snowing hard right now.

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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!

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Photo of revdrjbob
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 vintage 750ml bottle, champagne cage sealed. A Christmas present 2 years ago from my malt supplier, and well worth the cellaring to be tasted. Sampled with Teaser in Leffe goblets.

Poured a dark red amber into the glass with a 1.5cm thick creamy head, that clung to the glass with heaps of lacing.

Aroma: Rich, malty, evident alcohol, earthy, rum and fruit. It has a very Chimay aroma to it, I love their yeast! Hints of aniseed and chocolate.

Taste: Rich, malty, toffee and caramel, bitter and sweet, and smooth as. I've had the 330ml bottles before, and a 2003 of this in 2003, but this aged perfectly. Hints of chocolate, plenty of phenolics, but not overpoweringly so. Finishes long, alcoholic, dry and sweet. Fruity and jammy with hints of pepper and spices. Very full mouthfeel.

I think someone just peed my pants.

This is awesome, can't wait to try the 2005 vintage in 2007!

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Photo of descartes
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Mahogony brown, with a nice quarter inch head.
Smell: Very rich malty smell, hint of nuts.
Taste: Rich chocolatey front with a nutty hue. Back is very alcoholic, you feel warmer after drinking. Heavy carmel aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Heavy and smooth.

Overall: A very good beer which I enjoyed. Put two of the in the cellar, hoping that time mellows the powerful presance of the alcohol.

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Photo of LordChesterfield
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, this beer is a little expensive, I had the 25oz bottle for $12. I never regretted it though. It's very dark red and has a rich rich malt with a slight raisin taste. It has that characteristic Belgian funk that really adds to the experience by making it taste and feel more substantial. I don't know what kind of hops were used, but they were fantastic. To top it all off, this beer is 9%ABV and doesn't taste like it at all and probably even adds to the thickness this beer exudes. After downing this and a few yuenglings I was glad I ate that steak earlier.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Already reviewed a bottle of this (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/215/2512/?ba=ColoradoBobs), but this review is of a somewhat different sort of bottle. Had one at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, CO, that they had cellared since (!!!!) 1995!

Man oh man, you talk about complex and smoooth!!

Everything that the newer stuff has, this has more, better, deeper, richer and cleaner. Only two problems with beer like this: pretty pricey, and 9% alcohol render it a bit less drinkable, but still . . .


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Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage. Pours a cloudy brown, pretty opaque, big off soapy white head forms, with plenty of chunkies floating around, lots of lace. Smell is molasses/brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, floral, iron, some yeast. Taste is chocolate, caramel, floral hops, and a clean bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, high carbonation, and some alcohol warmth. Not as complex as the other Trappists but a damn fine belgian.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What I never reviewed good old blue cap? Oh well, no time like the present.

The beer always seems to be beautifully crafted no mind what all the Chimay haters say. Dark earthy brown with a tapioca like head , the nose is old fruit and yeast. The taste is very refined and big with no rough edges.Albeit not as complex as St Bernardus or Westy this is one deep beer that is easy to find and a good value. Still one of my favourites years later.

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Photo of sockeye101
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great Bealgian!

Gorgeous dark color with a nice thick head. Nice soft aromas with hints of fruit and hops. Plenty of fruitiness with tones of chocolate and coffee....went down ohh soo smooth. My 750ml bottle went dry way too quickly. I will definitely be purchasing another...

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

Appearance: Very Dark brown, with a thick head with dissipates and leaves a unique looking solid foamy head.

Smell: Strong cherry smells and dark fruit smells. Notable alcohol hint with sweet malts.

Taste/ Mouthfeel: Gives you a nice hit of alcohol at the start of the experience. Thick chewy fruits like prunes and other dried dark fruits with spices cloves of cloves and some pepper. Sweetness comes next smoothing out completely as the carbonation dies down with hints of molasses. Finishes with a refreshing reminder and very course dryness on the centre of the palate with some bitterness. This brew leaves your lips sticky and your tongue dry as your taste buds beg for more.

Drinkability/Overall: A stunning brew a great beer to sip slowly and just enjoy. This is a beautiful beer for any special occasion.

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Photo of BamaScholar
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

needed an introduction to belgian strong darks....i got one! i've seen this in the stone many a time. it really is a benchmark.

one of the most beautiful pours i've ever witnessed. no cascading like a stout but what a gorgeous color and head. chestnut brown with garnet or ruby tones shining through with the light. maybe even a suede peeking through the thin portions at the light.

smell is dynamite...sweet/strong with grape-raisin-fig mashed in.

wonderful on the tongue. a little chocolately, a little molasses, plus the things detected in the aroma. a tad of spice but can't taste the 9% ABV.

smooth but delicate mouthfeel. full and carbonated.

so glad i picked this up. its filling though...hard to go above 4.0 on drinkability.

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in a dive that probably ordered it by accident or wanted to appear "educated" in the art of beer. The date was good though.
Beautiful auburn color pour with a fluffy, biege colored crown deminishing to a thin topping.
Pepper, among other spices, chocolate, and dates.
Some more pepper, cloves good malt with some sweet syrup flavors and then finished with the pepper. Usual Belgian finish. Good drink and if you're not used to high ABV's just make sure this is the only one you hit. :)

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Photo of whynot44
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Full bodied, rich dark chestnut red (nearly opaque and cloudy with yeast toward the bottom) with an impressively thick creamy head that subsides slowly to a layer of lace but never disappears.

Aroma is complex with fruits (plums, raisins, bananas) and spices (cloves, coriander, ?) with a background of biscuits and a hint of chocolate and smoke.

The taste is massive and has all of this and more, starting slightly sweet with a hint of brown sugar or molasses and then exploding with spices and alcohol warmth. Fantastic! This stuff could put a light beer drinker into shock.

Smooth, creamy and seductively easy to drink.

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Photo of BassBone
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and rich with a thick off-white head. Complex, sweet and spicy nose. The first sip of Chimay blue is always the best, but the rest aren't bad, either. Hints of caramel and cherries. This beer rolls over the tongue like liquid chocolate and goes down so smooth. Strong, though. I was feeling the effects after one .75L bottle.

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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.

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Photo of Gattopardo
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep, dirty brown with a lighter color around the edges. The head dissipates quickly and leaves thin lacing.

Smell: Sweet fruit scent with spicy highlights.

Taste: First hits one with the strong and slightly chocolatey presence of malts and a touch of citrus. Not bitter at all and the alcohol content is not really noticeable except for on the finish. Lots of carbonation sticks to the tongue along with a pleasant fruity essence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with just enough creamy texture.

Drinkability: A complex and nice to sip brew. Swirling this beer around the mouth is a cherished experience. Indeed, it is so pleasant that the alcohol can easily sneak up on you.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours to the top of the letters on the Chimay chalice. Deep reddish-brown with bubbly -fine carbonation, heavy in body enough to produce large bubbles that form just below the head. It looks a lot like Gulden Draak, perhaps a bit darker.

The smell is yeast and bubble gum with clove; banana bread, and a faint touch of raisins.

Upon first taste, and mine was slightly chilled, the carbonation sits right in the middle of your tongue and will not let the beer meander around your mouth. The mouthfeel and carbonation here are perfect; alive, vibrant- yet subtle, and certainly not watery and apple-juice type feel of a stout; this is more like a cross between pepsi and mineral water.

The alcohol present on the first few sips does create a medicinal, and I have read, I must note correctly, a “menthol” taste. This bitterness balances the sweetness factor. But... as the beer warms, the sweetness wins and the menthol subsides, however, there is always bready-yeasty dryness at the end of each sip; a superb bittersweet hint of apple skin and cappucino.

Compared to the other big Trappist products, the Rochefort 10 and (I’ve never had Westy 12) but
St. B Abt 12, and the like; I would say that this beer is not inferior, neither by style nor the fact that it is marketed and accessible; There is a subtlety in this beer that makes it tremendous, and an accessibility to the Trappist genre that makes it a great “gateway” to beer appreciation.

Perhaps what this beer has that some of the huge quadruples can’t achieve is drinkability- This is a world class beer with truly high drinkability. This is a certain “must try” for all beer enthusiasts.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,630 ratings.
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