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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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BA SCORE
95
world-class
2,332 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium
chimay.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,332
Ratings:
7,632
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
19.16%
 
 
Wants:
496
Gots:
1,816
For Trade:
15
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,332 | Ratings: 7,632
Photo of MikeA21
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chimay is the reason I drink craft beer. I was turned on to chimay about 20 years ago and it was very hard to find a beer as good until the last few years when craft beer has really become popular. The Grand Reserve has a bold strong flavor that keeps you coming back for more. It has a strong malt smell and pours dark with a good head. Their are many great beers around today but not many have been brewing as long as Chimay.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This iconic Belgian strong dark ale pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a slight red tint and a very large tan foamy head. The smell is rich and malty with a hints of alcohol and dark fruit. The flavor is robust with a good kick of alcohol that hits you right away with flavors of dates, brown bread, and honey mixed in culminating in a spicy finish. The body is somewhere between medium and heavy. Everything about this beer is classic strong dark ale. It is really a nice drinking experience and everything is well balanced. My only criticism would be that it is maybe not as complex as I would have hoped. It’s rated 2nd for the style and I think it should undoubtedly be in the top 10 if not top 5, but it’s maybe very slightly overrated. I liked the Allagash Odyssey a little better for example.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a solid creamy head that lasts and leaves a film all over. Nose is dark malt and dark fruit, but not as pronounced or complex as expected. Taste has more depth with lingering spice, caramel, and dark fruit notes. Zesty feel on the tongue with high carbonation. Very good beer, but not my favorite in the style.

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Photo of jamesroses
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle

Appearance: looks like coca-cola, black with a 2 finger head of medium bubbles. Weak lacing. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: black fruits like fig and raisins with a touch of bitterness, brown sugar, sweet malts.

Taste: fig and raisin dry fruitiness, molasses, a bit of cocoa.

Mouthfeel: strong carbonation produces a somewhat fizzy initial feeling. Creamy. Strong alcohol presence. Bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Overall: nice beer, I liked it better that La Trape Dubbel and Quadrupel offerings for example, but it's still 2 steps under Rochefort 10.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.3 ounce bottle poured into a chalice

A: Pours a cloudy dark amber color with a big frothy head that did not last, bottle was gushing when I opened it, lots of yeast even with a gentle pour.

A: Dark fruits like figs, dates, raisins, plums, brown sugar, toffee, no alcohol at all on the nose, slight aroma of spice and banana, smells pretty good.

T: Like the nose, dark fruits, slight spice, hint of banana, toasted toffee, very smooth and easy to drink, semi-dry finish with a mix of flavors lingering in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with lots of carbonation

O: While the flavors don't punch as this bottle might be old, but overall a nice balance of flavors and aromas, very drinkable for 9% ABV, complex and deep, a beer I will definitely reach for again.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy and slightly murky dark brown with a two finger head of slightly tan foam and champagne like carbonation.

Red grape and apple skins, caramel, dates, figs, slightly herbal and spicy noble hops, and some slight funk.

Plums, dates, fig, raisins, caramel, and pleasant yeast spiciness.

Medium-bodied, high carbonation, bubbly, sweet, and creamy smooth.

Overall, masterfully layered and extremely pleasing creamy smoothness with a nice fizzy carbonation to wipe the palate clean.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.81/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Served at room-cellar temperature from 330ml bottle into tulip glass.

L) Dark brown, almost black colour, opaque. Started with a big off-white head, which diminished to a tan bubbly film.

S) Sour-tinged odour with a definite candy sugar. Over smell of very fresh fruit cake. Bits of coconut, and alcohol.

T) Quite sweet, nice deep sweet malt flavour, topped off with a hop bitterness hint to balance. Carbonation gives it a sourish edge.

F) Nicely carbonated. Very easy to drink at this ABV. No bitterness in the aftertaste, just a very easy drinking strong beer.

O) Very easy drinking strong Belgian bier, huge value at Tesco at £2.49.

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Photo of teromous
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottle or import date that I can see. The bottle I am reviewing is the 750ml corked and caged version.

Appearance: The body is dark brown that is completely opaque. Even in the light I don't get any color pinpoints. There is a bit of light that makes it through the bottom edge of the glass showing just a lighter version of the brown body. The head is thick and fluffy with a light tan color. It stays up for a while then gently fades to a short cap leaving some fine lacing in the glass.

Aroma: I get some bubblegum and a very light date aroma. Overall it doesn't have a lot of aroma and the dominant scent is bubblegum.

Taste: Very light flavors here to match the aroma. A bit of that bubblegum flavor mixed with a touch of sweet brown sugar. The finish is a very faint tea leaf flavor. The flavors are nice but faint.

Mouthfeel: The beer is exceptionally smooth and easy to drink. It is very well carbonated and the carbonation really helps to push the beer across the palate and deliver the light flavors to the corners of the mouth. Again the beer is very easy to sit back and enjoy because it has no rough edges whatsoever. I do wish it has a bit more of a finish.

Overall: It's a decent Belgian Strong Dark Ale. There are many other Belgian Strong Dark Ales that I would prefer over this one but preference is subjective. The light simple flavor and character of the beer would make it easy for anyone to enjoy.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(33 cl bottle, code L15-688... no Chimay glass or wide goblet on hand, so I poured this into a teku)

L: vinous-purple hued liquid, sporting some central cloudiness, clearer around the edges... the pour puts up a messy tuft of suds, rocky at first... last ounce brings with it some relatively large chunks of yeast

S: dark sugars are immediately apparent, with a slowly emerging overtone of black grape and maybe even a hint of cola and/or licorice... sense of a thick smear of dark caramel drawn out across a baking pan gives an almost 3D quality to its smell

T: dense, subtly-complex malt foundation... finishes out with some burnt-caramel but not quite molasses, and a flare of a sort of chocolate-covered currant at the end... I couldn't readily tell whether any other breweries try to mimic this beer, but this beer's layered/stacked dark, fruity/roasty malt depth and lasting flavor is something the imitators often lack... while the malt underbelly is excellent, the fruity esters are a good bit smeared and foggy up top, kinda dying in the front of the palate and not contributing much to flavor structure definition, while a little bit of phenolic spice settles in the back... 4.25+

F: at first, a bit lighter and more spread out (centered flat) than expected... it loosens up and lends a more elastic flow as it warms... coiled viscosity, quiet heat, drawn out numbing... arguably unsung drinkability

O: haven't had this much in recent years, or even that much ever, to be honest - this might be the 4th or 5th time?... I could certainly see getting this again soon - the richness in its taste comes as a slight surprise, not something I remember... a delightful sipper

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Photo of nout72
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best Trappist/Belgian strong dark ale and overall the best beer I ever tasted. I only recently came to that conclusion.
Chimay blue is one of the 1st Trappist, stong beers I tried in my life. At that time, I was 17 years old, I liked beer, no matter what type and to me Chimay blue tasted just like a trappist, I couldn't exactly tell a difference with a Westmalle dubbel. Later I came to appreciate the differences, but to me Chimay still was just a trappist you could buy everywhere. Beers like Rochefort or St. Bernardus weren't readily available and just how it works in the mind, unknown, more rare beers always taste better. I have dismissed Chimay the last two decades, always chose Rochefort, St. Bernardus, La Trappe and recently Jopen Ongelovige Thomas over the blue labeled bottle.
But Chimay blue beats all of them in my opinion. And for the biggest part because it leaves no strong sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste isn't exactly dry, but it doesn't stick too long. All the other trappist/abbey beers to a certain extent blurr or flatten the taste after a while. The best example is the Rochefort 8, the sweet aftertaste ruins the experience to me.
Chimay has the ideal balance between sweet and bitter. It is smooth (non-boozy) like a Rochefort 10 and spicy like a St. Bernardus, and the amount of carbonation is spot on. True the sweetness isn't that round and smooth like a Rochefort 10, it is more stingy (for lack of a better word) but it leaves with little trace, therefore every new sip tastes great, not muted.

Do note: with this beer it really is important to serve it at a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celcius, not any colder, because when served too cold the taste is watery and muted. I usually drink this beer at (slightly lower) room temperature, 17 up to 19 degrees Celcius works great for me.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look--Pours a unique murky-copper with faint maroon highlighting that suggests a "fruitiness" right out of the gate. The highlighting isn't "off-putting" but it is a bit strange. The head and lacing dissipate almost immediately, which isn't uncommon with this style, so no "mark down" for that.

Smell--Agressive nose of dried fruit--fig, raisin, (prune perhaps?) with bready and banana notes that stay forward throughout the drinking experience. Almost reminds me of a banana bread with dried fruit. Unlike some better strong Trappists (i.e. Rochefort 8 or 10) this doesn't modify much as the beer warms.

Taste--Very smooth and drinkable considering the alcohol content, but is rather sweet and boozy compared to even stronger similar offerings. Unlike some others that develop a subtle bitter-chocolate note as they come up in temperature, this one just gets sweeter. The carbonation doesn't have quite enough staying power to provide some balance.

Feel--Warming in a very pleasant way, and very drinkable.

Overall--I like this one, but wouldn't rate it as high as a Rochefort 8 because it lacks that extra "nuance," and stays a little too sweet throughout the drink. Still an excellent Trappist.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

During the course of my career, I have had this ale at least a dozen times. I kept this bottle for almost five years, about the length that some claims it is at its richest, fruitiest stage.
I agree.
What I might have done wrong is that its high carbonation (its only flaw in my book) does recede after a ten minutes... so the second half of this bottle was better than the first.

MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" gives Chimay 4 pages, but then, he really likes the Trappists.
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 4 of 4 stars (very rare) and talked at length about how the fruitiness mellows with age.
As one of the most frequently reviewed beers in the world, it deserves to be on the "!001" list.

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Photo of LampertLand
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Chimay 'Blue Cap' @ 9.0% , served from a 330 ml bottle purchased for $4.50
A-pour is a murky gold from the bottle to a murky amber in the glass with a medium size beige head leaving a streaky lace along the chalice
S-big & boozey
T-similar to the smell big & boozey
MF-ok carbonation , big full body
Ov-not the best Belgium Strong Dark Ale I've tasted , just ok
prost LamperLand

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Photo of rex_4539
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good beer but overhyped and overpriced.

Don't get me wrong, it is a very tasty beer and better than 90% of what you usually find on the average supermarket shelf.

Would I buy it again? Sure, if there was nothing better. But there are so many other options that this falls way down my list :)

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Photo of FinestCityBeerGuy
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This beer is fizzy. Aggressive head, but dissipated very quickly. Spritzy, bubbly.

The appearance is what I think “malty chewy beer” would look like. Light brown for a traditional Belgian strong dark ale.

Smell: cinnamon, banana, yeasty, faint pepper/spice. Bitter snickerdoodle. Aroma is subtle, can’t smell from more than a few inches away.

Taste: cinnamon, banana Belgian-like. Subtle but distinct alcohol finish. Can definitely taste the 9%.

Mouthfeel: holy carbonation, Batman ! super fizzy, bubbly, effervescent, aggressive.

Overall, a great Belgian Dark Strong Ale. Definitely a sipper, to be enjoyed slowly.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought from Tamura's $7.29 11.2oz bottle
Cloudy dark brown color
High carbonation
Heavy creamy mouthfeel
Taste of plums, raisins.
Overall a nice beer to have on a cold night. The high alcohol will warm you up, but it doesn't have that strong alcohol taste that other beers with similar levels have. Its nice to just sip, relax, and enjoy. I would drink again.

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Photo of GodLovesBeerMan
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ahh to pour this beer is truly a blessing. It sits in the glass with the firmness of a high gravity beer. Yet with a bit of agitation in will move quickly. It bubbles for the life of the beer with a slight wobble it will reveal that it is not a quad... but close. It has many of the characteristics. A rich flavor profile, complete with the dark sweet flavors or currants, raisins and some lighter sweet notes of toffee. It's color is almost entirely dark, except for the brown to deep ruby reds hinting at the edges. Indicating the rich malt bill that builds this miraculously fine beer. Good to the last gulp.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Once the cage is undone there is almost no need for a corkscrew, a lot of pressure behind that cork. Pour dark reddish brown with a lovely head. Liquid bread with a strong malty finish, very nice. Plenty of carbonation to tickle the tongue.

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Photo of adodds
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

L - Pours deep dark brown. Massive, creamy head.
S - Smooth and creamy smell, a little oak and vanilla with raisin and malt present.
T - Mellow. Deep caramel and nutty flavor with a little vanilla on top. A smoky date-like aftertaste exists, but without the sweetness.
F - Flat and heavy body. Not my favorite.
O - I like how creamy this beer is, but I feel the flavor bottoms out just a bit too "low" for my tastes. It feels out of place. I would say 80-85% of the flavor is perfectly in place, with just a faint hint of it "off," like a flat note in a song.

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Photo of Jbagel1
3.51/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is my first time having the chimay Granda Reserve. I can say that i wasn't sure if it was something i was gonna like. I got this Chimay as a gift so I am lucky to be trying it, since I probably would never buy this beer for myself. Now onto the beer. This beer has to be the hardest beer I've had to open, but it didn't spray all over the place. ( like my stone enjoy after brett IPA) The reserve pours nice and dark, i was surprised by this. I was thinking that it was gonna be a light color. As soon as you open this beer you can smell it from across the room. I feel like this beer is gonna grow on me if i was to have it again. Scored low this round, next time might be better.

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Photo of EMH73
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with some cloudiness and a three finger head. Smells slightly sweet with some malts coming through. Tastes of dark fruits, bananas, caramel and spices. Well carbonated and balanced, an outstanding beer.

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Photo of LennyOvies
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L- Very dark mocha brown, very small bubbly head with extremely low retention. Looks like wine or liquor.
S- Prune, raisins, earthy notes. Well mixed, subtle, not strong.
T- Red wine, dry fruits, orange, cinnamon, some alcohol. Extremely well balanced. 9% ABV and one can barely taste it.
F- Silky, smooth.
O- Amazing. I'm not fond of most Belgian styles but this was so smooth and well balanced that I was really impressed.

 424 characters

Photo of gautch726
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, nut brown with an extreme amount of head. Heavily carbonated as these beers usually are. Possesses a sweet complex smell that I can't even begin to unravel. Tastes of dark fruits and an arc of banana. The carbonation reveals some nutty character as well. Mouth feel is moderate. Not very full bodied, but leaves a satisfying percolation behind.

Overall another great beer that I would never say no to.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Amber color. Aroma is Belgian yeast and a sweet banana like smell. Flavor is nice. Has that classic Belgian yeast flavor with a mild note of ripened bananas. Has a nice finish and overall is very good.

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Photo of Zythophile
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: sometime in 2015
Palate Contaminants: none

Appearance is surprisingly dark and slightly cloudy.

Smell doesn't really stand out, slightly sweet grain from the field.

Taste reminds me a bit of rye whiskey, with a bit of banana and spices. Sweetness doesn't hit for me until toward the end.

Feel is mildly carbonated, with some nice creaminess.

Good, but maybe don't let it sit too long before consuming. My recollection of earlier bottles is that there was more sweetness.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,632 ratings.
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