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 charlesbyrd
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass.

A: From the start I know I'm in for a treat. Pours a dark nutty brown that is almost opaque at the core with ruby accents at the edges of the glass. I got three fingers of a light-khaki, pillowy head that held together nicely. Columns of bubbles climb the sides of the glass. Beautiful presentation.

S: The most prevalent aroma is a funky Belgian yeast note, sort of floral and spicy. Next, I get a big helping of malt, molasses, and brown sugar.

T: Follows the nose, only kicked up a notch. As with most of the Trappist beers I've tried, there's a noticeable fruity characteristic (possibly from the yeast), although this is much darker than what you'd find in tripel or the like. Raisin bread comes to mind, although the bread note is more outspoken. Somewhat sweet, but not overly so. No real hop quality or bitterness to speak of.

M: It's definitely heavy on the palate, and rightly so with such a complex combination of flavors. However, it's also surprisingly refreshing. The alcohol isn't menacing at all, and in fact adds a nice warming to the palate. There's also this lovely tingling sensation thanks to the carbonation that coats the entire mouth for some time.

D: I imagine this is what I will offer to my friends who say, "I just don't like 'dark' beers." It has such a unique flavor profile, and the higher ABV is well hidden. A great beer to share with friends (although I kept this one to myself).

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Photo of shoop12
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable and definitely educational beer with the deep mahogany appearance, aromas of dark fruit and malt, and complex taste. Initial taste is sweet but well balanced between dark fruits and malts with yeast and earthy spices building. Finishes with a nice acidity that is clean and subdued. Opens up and becomes even smoother and complex as it warms. I highly recommend this beer to all ale lovers. It might be one of the most commercialized Belgium beers in the states but truly a great beer.

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Photo of BabaJohn
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful deep brown coloration with a good inch of light brown head fading fast to little clusters and circles of carbonation, but very, very inviting. Has a nice malty, bready nose on the subtle side with some vinegar/olive traces. Taste is vinegar up front, turning malty after the first swallow, carbonation is brought by the third and a nice balance arrived at in the fourth. Alcohol of course is detected in the aftertaste, and a bit of bitter hops on the back end. Some wine like qualities as in other dark Belgians. Chimay is right up there with the best of them.

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

A- Brown with great carbonation. More carb than I've seen in other belgians of similar style. Great head that lingers and laces the glass beautifully.

S- dark fruits and malt. slight smell of alcohol, but not up there with roch 10.

T- Balanced. The alcohol is masked greatly. tastes of dark fruits, slightly bready, smooth as silk. the carbonation adds a lot to this beer. It is a unique carbonation that I haven't experienced yet.

M- great mouthfeel. once again, the carbonation is masterful. alcohol is hardly noticeable. the dark malts really shine through.

O- I simply waited too long to drink this beer. one of my top 5 belgians. thanks to imperial gout for sharing his 750. it paired very well with the filet. I have another bottle in the fridge I can't wait to crack open. I will probably hoard it I think I can manage the entire bottle over a few hours.

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Photo of BeerFiend2002
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Chalice glass

A- Dark copper to mahogany murky body with a fluffy, two-finger khaki-colored head that hangs around.

S- Notes of grape, dark fruit, sweet malt. Smells kind of like wine actually.

T- Dates, figs, grapes, black cherry and a little bit of sweetness with a little tartness. Finishes with a slight, slight bitterness. You would never know it was a 9% until you finish a couple swigs that gave me the ever so slightest warming sensation in my chest.

M- Has a medium-heavy body with an oily feel. Not really resiny, but it leaves a little coating in the mouth. Not harsh despite it being a higher ABV beer.

O- Im a big fan of the pumpkin beers, stouts, and IPAs so Belgians arent really on my radar, but if Im going to drink will be Chimay. I've had the red and blue label and enjoyed them both.

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Photo of laramis
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: poured a murky brown with a 1 inch head the color was not only murky but also seemed to change in differing light

S: Dark fruits and a lot of spices very slight notes of yeast overall there is a very strong smell of alcohol but in a refined way like a nice liqueur or maybe a port

T: similar to the scent with the dark fruits upfront followed by the bite of spices again there is an overall alcohol character yet it is pleasant and deceptively subtle.

M:Thick almost creamy it compliments the flavor and rounds out the beer

O: really good i am biased i admit towards this style of beer and the Trappists perfected it this is everything i love about beer tradition flavor and strong alcohol it all clicks so nicely in this beer

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Photo of 0tt0
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, decanted into a Chimay chalice.

Pours a chocolately brown with amber/ruby highlights at the edge of the glass. 1/4 inch of off-white head, loose but sticky. Malt dominates the nose, with the most notables scents being toffee, raisin, and freshly baked bread. A slight, slight citrus note as well. Much like the nose, the taste is of a slightly burnt sugar, raisins reconstituted in dark rum, and something akin to passion fruit. Finish is slightly dry, with some tongue-tingling carbonation in the middle and a medium decay. Mouthfeel is chewy and creamy, almost velvet-like. I am enjoying this one on the porch on one of the first cool nights of fall, and its ideal in these circumstances. Alcohol is extremely well cloaked. Not as complex as others in the style, but its no slouch at all and highly enjoyable given its drinkability. As an added incentive, its readily available at most decent bars and liquor stores, so there is always a terrific belgian close at hand. A consistently great beer.

Side note: I once paired this with some pulled pork and tomato barbecue sauce featuring molasses and it was outstanding. One of the better pairings I've encountered. The spiciness and sweet malt blend perfectly.

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Photo of GoreStorm
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - very nice color, very little head here which is odd as previous bottles have yielded an ample head.

S - awesome, light caramel, lots of dark fruits. smells great.

T - similar to the scent, there's some spice near the end maybe due to the alcohol

M - excellent.

D - high alcohol makes it necessary to be modest. but then again, who's counting?

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Photo of muskabeatz
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 330ml bottle. I believe this is only the second time I've ever had this. I was driving around with this in my car earlier, so it may have been a bit shaken up, because this one was a bit of a gusher.

A- Rich mahogany in color, with an off-white/faint khaki head that plumes to two fingers above the body of the beer. The head subsides leaving a thin covering over top of the beer that is dancing with carbonation. Very pretty.

S- This throws out a burst of malt and raw grain up front that is interlaced with brown sugar, raisins, and prunes. There is only the slightest presence of alcohol in the background. The aroma is nice, but could be a bit more pronounced.

T- Similar to the smell, but with a much more noticeable yeast presence, and a faint bitterness on the finish. The yeast embodies everything that comes to mind when thinking "belgian" or "trappist", however, I wouldn't have guessed it to taste this good based on the smell.

M- Lively carbonation that's a little overbearing until the beer settles for a bit. A little more than medium bodied.

O- Overall, a very respectable, very drinkable beer. I have one that I'm going to put in the cellar until I can't stand to keep it down there anymore, and I'll see what it turns into.

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Photo of Tartarus
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip.

A&S: Pours an opaque reddish brown with about two fingers of head that bubbles and disappates quickly leaving small patches of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Smells of fruit and malts.

T&M: There is a lot going on with the taste: tons of fruitiness, a little hops, malts, a very delicious blend of flavors that mask the alcohol content well. Mouthfeel is very bubbly, carbonated, and light.

O: Very delicious. Very pricey, but very delicious.

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

Joyfully explosive "pop" of the cork and dark sedimentary red pour invites to a highly drinkable well balanced beer with a steadfast head smelling of fruit and wood, tasting of cherry and ceder with a dry earthy finish. The alcohol in this beer perfoms a masterful dance with the flavor and fragrance of it all. Made for many, but contains something special just for you.

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Photo of gbarbee
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Appearance: Amber
Smell: Fruity and malty
Taste: Caramel and slight chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Full
Drinkability: A great beer and the makes me think of the classic Belgian Style. My favorite out of the three Chimays.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of techtatu
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice dark caramel brown color with a finger width cream colored head. Floral aroma is very present and very pleasing. It goes down very smooth, and sweet tastes of caramel hit my taste buds with a hint of milk chocolate. It's not too sweet, its just right.

A very good beer to drink when found and something I would definitely drink again. It is one of the few beers that is quite pleasant to drink.

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

A: Pours a dark brown caramel type color with a little bit of head on it, probably one half finger. Appears to be half carbonated, and lively as the yeast is coming out.

S: Very pleasant malt smell to it. A hint of fruit, but the malt is where it is at here.

T: Very complex and malty taste to it, has some fruits behind it. Taste seems to finish off with the fruit so that is a nice touch. You can taste a bit of the alcohol to it. This gets better as it calms down and sits for a bit in my opinion.

M: Complicated and tastes heavy, finishes nice. Nice carbonation on there. More than I would prefer, but it doesn't bother me in this beer.

O: A very good and widely available Trappist. If I need a beer to go to, this one is always good for a try. If you prefer a Rochefort, or even a St. Bernadus, those beers are better, but harder to find. This one is worth a try when you can find it all over and for cheap.

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Photo of C3likesbeer
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Golden to amber with caramel brown. Not much head or lace. But a good overall abbey ale hazy look. Looks great in the Chimay chalice.

S- Someone said bananas and sure enough you can smell bananas. Also some yeat and raisiny. Nice abbey ale spice. Banana smell not unpleasant.

T- Nice spice notes. Fruity and chewy with a classic abbey ale long finish.

O- Very solid trappist ale.

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Photo of ficknish
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark hazy brown. Nice white head.

S - Stone fruits. Grapes. Light grains.

T - Tart grapes. Apples. Dark malt.

M - Sweet. Mild carbonation.

O - Classic Belgian. Has its fruity yeast esters and sold malt backbone. Good beer, but I swear I'm not super crazy about. Would drink again.

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Photo of Briancaldel
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(Easy wind)
Dark brown look with a Nice creamy white head, complex flavor Carmel malt and floral with a smooth finish. Style Hides the high alcohol level well.

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Photo of mmthompson33
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer demands respect. To fully appreciate it, it should be drank at the proper temperature, and hope that you have a good bottle, because the quality can vary. But if you get one of the good's heaven. Incredible head and aroma, with a surprisingly light, fruity complex taste for its dark color. And some serious 9% kick. Drinking this beer at a campground near the brewery in Chimay, Belgium (where a 750ml bottle is $2.50) was a religious experience.

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Photo of uconnalum2
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a hazy, dark brown with a one-finger tan head. The head subsides a bit but some lasts throughout. The smell is a rich combination of malt and candy sweetness. The taste is excellent. It is a delicious mix of malt, dark fruit (mainly figs) and a little sweetness. The aftertaste is dry but lingers a bit. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with some tingly carbonation. Drinkability is very good. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste but the effect adds up so this limits the amount. Overall, an excellent dark Belgian that I'll certainly have again.

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Photo of SudNut
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like the strong dark ales this is one of my favorites. Not the best BSDA but at least 2nd or 3rd. Appearance is murky brown with a small foam head no lacing. This beer tastes great; with a 9% ABV it is pretty filling but the alcohol is well masked. Mouthfeel is light with a bit of a blueberry plum taste fading to caramel. Smell is of a caramel coated fruit orchard w/ lots of malty goodness, mmm. I could drink a lot of these even w/ the high ABV! WOOT WOOT!

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Photo of Schwarzwald
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great Belgium! I, being the dork that I am, poured this beer into a red wine glass. Give me a break, it was the best that I had. I am writing this after drinking the entire bottle, well, it was very very good. Great drinkability and look and feel. I am not one for useless (sorry) adjectives to describe the beer, but man, it was great. Drank it with some burgers and potato salad... mmm mmm good. The head was light cream with nice carbonation. I also really like the yeast in the pour, leave it in the bottle if you like, but it really adds to the depth, I think. Great if you are looking for high alcohol and great taste. It's a winner!

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Photo of JJBlanche
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a classic. Even non-beer geeks know the greatness of Grande Réserve.

A - I love the unfiltered yeast menagerie, which is part of the reason why I gave this an exceptional it or hate it, it's part of Chimay's distinction.

That aside, deep reddish brown. Big, light head that sticks around for a while. Heavy carb.

S - It's got that unique Chimay thing going on. Perhaps some herbal notes from the Trappist yeast. Good.

T - Sometimes I love it, sometimes not so much. Really depends upon my mood. Every so often I catch that herbal, clove-like aftertaste that's characteristic of Belgian yeast. It can be somewhat off-putting, but only in the rare instance where the planets align and I get the full force of it. Otherwise, quite good. Alcohol masked very well.

M - Only gripe in this regard is perhaps a bit heavy on the carb, but that's part of the style. Surprisingly light.

D - Again, surprisingly light and refreshing. Almost dangerous in this regard, and exceptional given the ABV.

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Photo of RobertTheRogue
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown, cloudy and opaque, but I can see my finger through the end of the glass. Amber and orangish hues are coming through the light. Head is beautiful, crème brûlée colored and pillowy, dissipates rather quickly. Lots of tiny little bubbles that you can barely see-4.5

Smell: Has that dark fruit, yeasty, spicy aroma that is typical of the smell. Plums, figs, bananas, citrus, vanilla, chocolate and coriander are what I get. Slightly astringent alcohol notes come through. I love it already.-5

Taste: Dark fruits, dark baking chocolate and some spices.-4

Mouthfeel- Consistent sharp, warm bubbles throughout, medium bodied, dry.-4

Overall: A great, great beer. One I would definitely recommend. This is my favorite style so far in my beer drinking adventure and this one would definitely be on my list of top BSDAs to try.

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Photo of brodericksloth
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

dark brown; ample head; disappears gradually; minimal lacing

alcohol burn; not well hidden. multitude of sweet molasses, rum, fruit cake, dark spices

not overly filling but taste is full malty; bakery smell

not a good value for the money, much better beers out there that are much more affordable.

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Photo of rxmk
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark murky brown with a big creamy head. Like most belgians moderate carbonation with lots of yeast, sugar and hops on the nose. IMO this beer is way overrated as i have had better tasting belgians than this. Smell- yeast, soil, dried raisins, leather,brown sugar, malt.
Taste- fizzy. Moderate carbonation. bitter alcohol, malt, yeast. No sweet aftertaste. Surprisingly an easy beer to drink at this ABV. Dry and yeasty. Strong Dark murky ale that makes you almost taste murky monk's underground cellars.

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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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