Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,347 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: 2,347 | Ratings: 7,683
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.

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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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Photo of Jow
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The best chimay there is in the whole series.

Not a brown color but very very dark yellow and amber. Tastes very good as a trappist should be!

Always a pleasure to have this one.

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Photo of OlaB
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark mahogny color ,gives a delicious creamy head when i pour it in the glass that sticks to the glass inside

S: Dark fruits, ,like plum,figs,dates , sweet malts ,caramel

T:Dark fruits like dates,figs,plum ect:, also a hint of banana ,caramel , pepper and spices

F: Gives alomst imediatelly a warming feeling in the first sipp, very well balanced mouthfeel , medium bodied

O: a highly enjoyable dark ale that put itself in the top spot of the belgian beers .very easy drinkable with a lot of great flavour.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Murky/muddy dark brown color.
Smell - dark fruits, bready, Belgian yeast notes, sweet type caramel
Taste - Tons of glorious dark fruits on the palate, yeasty/bready notes, caramel sweetness

Overall - Up there with Rochefort 8 as my favorite Belgian. Delicious!!!

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Photo of howardrh10
4.98/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drinking this beer was like an epiphany to me, and every time I'm lucky enough to have another, there are always great memories and moments to savour. This is a complex and substantial beer, which has a masterful blend of flavours, not competing, but harmonising with each other like a fine symphony. Every Grand Réserve Blue is an historical occasion.

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Photo of sherillc
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a very unique beer. It has a light, effervescent mouth feel while expressing dark, malty, spicy, stewed fruit flavours and aromas. A touch sour and herbaceous on the finish which adds complexity.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a wine glass from a 750 mil bottle

A - a hazy nearly deep brown with a two finger almost ran off white head and little to no lacing

S - lots of yeast both bready and Belgium notes, floral hops, fruity hops, lots of sweet malts, sweet and dry grain, sweet booze note, oak, dead and living earth, crisp water and Caramelized bananas.

T - wood, green/brown earth, lots of soil, fruity/floral hops, sweet and toasted malts, dry and sweet grains, banana bread yeast, lots of fruit, rich malts,

M - light yet full bodied, well balanced, nice complexity, medium minus acidity, medium plus carbonation and a malty delight from start to end

D/O - really easy to drink with lots of flavor. Huge malt with a slight hop all while being very refreshing and pleasant to drink. Cracked one open on a cool humid night and is/was perfection. Pairs well with most foods and desserts but it pairs the best with itself (meaning opening more than one in a night). Great any day, any time of year and as often as you'd like to enjoy one.

Final thoughts - at $9-13 a bottle the price is quite high but the 9% abv will make sure you don't need more than two unless you're sharing with a friend or few

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

Poured from a 11.2 OZ bottle into a goblet. The appearance is a dark brown with a huge tan head. The aroma is caramel and yeast with some hops and fruit added. The taste is sweet caramel with some yeast or dough in the background. A great beer.

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Photo of CanadianBacon
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - This beer pours almost a black color but the edges appear redish brown in direct light. It pours a 3 aad a half finger foamy off white head that just does not fade. Carbonation is extremely lively and very visible.

Aroma - The first smells to hit your nose are dark fruits, plum, raisin and fig are all there. Then you get a soft slightly burnt caramel undertone followed by spice and fresh baked white bread.

Taste - Again fig, raisin and plum hit the tongue first followed by a medicinal phenolic taste. then you get burnt caramel and toffee followed by pepper and fresh baked bread. Apon swallowing you get a strong boozy warmth.

Feel - medium-light body with carbonation that tingles and is creamy at the same time, a boozy warmth finishes off this feeling.

Overall - This is a very good Belgian dark ale. As far as trappist ales go I've had some blondes and tripels that surpass it in my tastes. I prefer light fruits to dark fruits though, With that said this has to be up there with rochefort 8 as one of the better strong dark ales. The flavors mesh very well and It is rather smooth. I just feel like they could have hidden the boozyness better. Either way I guess this way it makes for a better winter beer to come home to on a cold day. Cheers!

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Photo of enrique_m
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

poured this into a snifer and it gave me lots of head that some spilled. the color is a dark amber and the head is a nice beige color. it has nice lacing and the smells is of dark fruits like plums, figs, and raisins. the taste is delicious and smooth. you can taste figs, dates and hint of nuts. overall this is very tasty and I am going to cellar one for a couple for a couple of years to see how it changes.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,683 ratings.
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