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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,332 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: 2,332 | Ratings: 7,632
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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Photo of hike20
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Pours cloudy, red-brown color. Nice head and pleasant aroma. Taste is strong and very good overall. Very complex, with some alcohol apparent, which is not surprising for an ale of this strength. Very enjoyable and will be a regular for me I think.

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Photo of minnunderground
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz lil bottle
Poured Into goblet at about 45*F
Dark brown amber color
Smell belgian yeast slight spice
Taste starts out sweet and kind of dry then gets into the clovey taste ends on a darker yeast note. With the carbonation doing its thing. Very very smooth after words just the slightest warming sensation in the throat. Wow I just had to had this and was a shame I have not had this before. I am going to be trying the white and red after this.

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

I have been drinking this stuff for ages. These monks have been making this stuff for as long as history has been written. I have been told the secret is in the yeast and the slow process. Others say it's the rock filtered waters in their wells. I dunno what it is, but these monks know how to brew and I never want to see the day this stuff isn't on the shelf.

To me, the sweetness and the hint of bitterness in this beer mix just right to create its own unique flavor, even among other great Abby ales. My palate summons grapes, dates and spiced apple.

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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 bottles....it'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 dhchatfield
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my wife's favorite beer. As a result, it's almost always in the house and I drink it quite often. I thought it was time to review...the biggest snow of the year is on the way, my Bengals are on tonight, it's my day off, ahhh

Poured into my La Chouffe mini-tulip. I bought this one chilled. In fact, over-chilled. It's been warming on the counter for over an hour. I'm guessing it's at about 50 degrees.

A - It's funny, as many of these as I've had, I've never really stopped to look. A beautiful dark ruby color. Barely translucent. Not much head, but I tend to pour this one very conservatively. No lacing whatsover.

S - Not much there at the start. A faint earthy plum aroma. A hint of alcohol. As things warm, they start to jump a little. Coffee candy, butterscotch?

T - Wonderful. Deep, rich and full. A good hoppy blast at the forefront that is chased by an earthy malt and yeasty alcohol blast. Very, very, dry at the end.

M - An adventure in itself. Very active across the palate. Muted at first, then the effervescence dances its' tiny bubbles across your tongue, washing everything to the side and making way for the alcohol.

D - Highly drinkable. I flat out love this beer. My wife and I have been known, (on rare occasions) to polish off three 750's of the delicious beer. As I mentioned above, it's always in the house.

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Photo of ThirdCoast
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown color with a large one inch head that difused quickly.

Smell: Sweet fruity aromas.

Taste: Barley wine, not as strong as Grand Cru, but still there.

Mouthfeel: Easy almost creamy feel.

Drinkability: Easy to drink, one of my favs....but price in the bars...

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

Poured the 11.2oz bottle into the widest glass I had clean...a pint glass. Shame on me but hey, I was thirsty. Being somewhat new to the world of "tasting beer", I have recognized the Chimay label quite often but never tried it. A creamy, off-white head atops this red-orange, cloudy brew. Fruit, caramel, and brown sugar aromas. The fruit aromas roll onto tounge. Figs. Raisins. Has a full-bodied mouthfeel. Somewhat dry also. The 9% abv is well hidden IMO. A great, flavorful brew. A classic from the other reviews I'm reading. I'd like to try the other Chimay colors before I revisit this one. Maybe even buy one of those expensive varitey packs that carry them all and then I can compare all three.

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Photo of RnRManifesto
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice/goblet/whatever.

Looks a bit like iced tea or prune juice with a half inch tan head that goes away fairly quickly and does not really leave much lacing to speak of.

The smell is of raisins, dark fruits, caramel, sweet malts.

The mouthfeel is exceptional. The taste is almost reminiscent of a wine. The dark fruits and sweetness shine through, with a bit of alcohol warmth on the back end. A damn fine beer. Maybe a bit above my level. I definitely like and respect it, but can't say it would be a regular in my fridge. It's a good winter warmer, for sure.

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Photo of dmatsui
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Beautiful off-white khaki 2-finger head that refuses to dissipate. Nice carbonation streaming from the sides of the glass. Brew is a deep brown/burnt orange.

Earthy hops, grainy malts, raisins, currants and savory spice all play a big part in the nose. Very complex aromatics.

Chimay Blue kind of slaps you in the face with it's presence. It's huge; flavors ranging from dark fruits and sweet esters to the thick, rich and almost chocolaty malty backbone. The hops play a bigger role than I thought they would, offering a perfect, bitter yet fruity and EARTHY quality. The booze offers some nice spice in conjunction with the spicy yeasts. The mouthfeel is very full, like a burger in every sip. It's rich, satisfying, and complex. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I swear there is a very ancient quality to this beer.

Chimay, in fact Belgians are not exactly my style of brew but I really enjoyed Chimay Blue. The only reason I bought it was because I found a Chimay goblet for $3 and figured I might as well break it in with a bottle of Blue. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these a night, but I wouldn't really want to. It's complex, sophisticated, and perfectly balanced. Worth a try even if you don't like Belgians.

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Photo of djsmith1174
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark, opaque brown with massive tan head that hangs around for some time.

S - Wonderful. Smells of sweet figs, dates, yeast and hint of spice.

T- Tastes as it smells without being overly sweet.

M - Medium body with a ton of carbonation.

O - Impressed with this one as I had anticipated. Definitely a staple that I will return to from time to time.

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Photo of SpencerSauce
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bottle without any occasion whatsoever. Just wanted to wet my whistle ya dig.

A- Dark, still bubbly, nice head if poured right.
may be sediment floating but thats ok.

S- Slight yeast smell. dark fruits like black cherries, figs, dates, plum. something close to that.

T- dark fruits, slightest wine-like taste. May just be because of the abv. Nice yeast. Balanced beer.

M- crisp and bubbly slightly sweet.

D- i would say easy drinking.

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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 vikingmike
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally thought I should get around to reviewing my old standby, Chimay Blue. In Japan, this beer is probably THE most accessible of the Belgians (with Duvel a close second). You can pretty much buy this anywhere. Its also relatively reasonable...9 dollars for 750ml.

Appearance: Caramel brown.

Smell: Dark fruits, toffee. Grapes, with a hint of something zesty underneath that I cant quite put my finger on.

Taste: Simply excellent. More dark fruits with an enjoyable, lingering bitterness. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy drinking

Drinkability: A true classic that is deserving of all the accolades it has received.

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Photo of jamesm7485
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had high hopes going into this with all the reviews and it lived up to the hype. Pour was a dark red brown with a very quick to form thick head( could have been my pour) smell was somewhat fruity with big hints of yeast on the nose. Taste was wonderfull and the mouthfeel was very non offensive. Wish it wasnt 9 dollars a bottle but between this and delirium nocturnium id choose this any day of the week.

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Photo of haywire77
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew poured a muddy orange/brown with massive amounts of slightly off white head bubbling over the side of my snifter.

Smell is sugary sweet malts and maybe some fig and that classic Belgian yeast smell. Am I in a bakery in Belgium? When I think of beer, this is the scent that comes to mind.

Taste is bready sweet malts just like the nose. There is a little alcohol in here, but I want to say there is no way it's 9%. Dark fruit comes through the unwashed hop presence.

Mouthfeel is about as good as it gets for the style. Medium bodied and clean on the palate with a nice bubbly carbonation that tickles the nose and taste buds.

Overall this is up there with the great ones. I could drink this all night if it weren't for the fact it might put me on my backside rather quickly.

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Photo of Mardrommar
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

Pours a dark, blood orange color with light orange highlighting when held up to the light. Appears a maroon color when not directly exposed to a light source. Formed a finger-width off white head that dissipated within the first three minutes, shrinking to a centimeter or so in height. Beautiful lacing along the sides of the glass when swirled. Minimal lacing otherwise. There is a large amount of yeast sediment floating around in the beer. This could be due to the vigorous pour I gave it, or it could be due to the fact the beer has been sitting in the fridge for a year plus.

The Chimay blue has a very complex, pleasant aroma. No one scent stands out -- it blends together and highlights the fact it is a balanced ale. Dark fruits are present, such as plum and raisin, though it has the scent of pear and apple as well. A candied sweetness is underlying. Booziness tends to come through as well. Brown sugar may also be present.

The mouthfeel is the beer is big, coating the entire tongue. Carbonation is high. One of the most complex beers I’ve had. It’s hard to piece together the flavors. The initial flavor is a candied sweetness of sorts that is paired to a boozy flavor, which then transitions into a sharp bitter finish. The finish is crisp, and leaves a mildly bitter aftertaste with a dark fruit complement.

Although this beer is very smooth and easy to drink, it is heavy on the stomach. Its complexity is daunting, I think.

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Photo of Jasonkyeager
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

I was pleased with this one. It's hard to compare living in WV and not able to have a lot of great beer often. Tasted the floral hints after a sweet initial hit. Ended thick and wanting more. Had three with steak and stuffed shrimp. Excellent.

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Photo of worldsworstextra
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finished off a bottle that was aged for 5 years. Age likely impacted my experience but this was a great beer. The flavors are integrated very well, little heat, and the brandy comes through nicely in the finish.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I must say that I'm very glad that I did not have a chance to taste this beer until now. I honestly don't think I would have appreciated the beer to nearly the degree I (now) do.

First pour shows a very dark beer with slight auburn highlights and a truly gorgeous creamy mocha head that diminished to a dense, sticky head that persisted to the last drop and lace that coated the inside of the glass.

Aromas are incredibly complex, with strong oak-aged madeira notes and hints of wheat/grain and some classic banana to balance it all. Now THIS is the way a beer should smell. My god - true perfection. It's hard to even think about tasting the beer as you suspect it simply cannot live up to the expectations set by these aromas.

Initial taste shows you wrong. This is an outrageously complex beer. Trying to describe it ends up with you sounding like you're a wine dork. "Initial flavours of oak, leather and firm tannins soften to reveal deep cherry fruit." But seriously, that's how it tastes to me. I taste hints of sherry, of chocolate, some solid phenols and banana leading to the hot alcohol finish. There are just SO many things going on on the tongue with this beer. Wow.

Truly one of the greatest beers in the world. A brilliant brew and a must experience for any fan of fine beverages.

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Photo of Guzzler78
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brown with orange hues. A nice light tan head that doesnt retain for to long. Leaves nice creamy lace.
Smells of chocolate and caramel malty goodness. A faint hop spice. Some alcohol on the back end.
Tastes great. A rich maltiness with cocoa and faint spice and hops.
A nice velvety, medium mouthfeel. Luxurious
A very enjoyable drinker. or should I say sipper.
A slight edge over Chimay Red (Dubbel).

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

The single best beer I have ever had. Full stop.

Even the BOTTLE looked special! "Trappist" was painted on the neck and the labels were extra-thick, colorful and without flaw.

Opening it up, The first thing I was hit with was the unmistakable scent of dry red wine. This lasted for quite some time before I noticed smokey oak wood, plenty of barley malt, cherries and a BIG amount of estery alcohol mixed in with all of it.

Taste... All I can think of is the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing "Oh Holy Night" where it gets to the "FALLL! ON YE KNEEE! OH HEARRR THE ANGEL VOOOIIIICCEESSS!" part.

Oh sweet revelations! Words fail me! This shows itself first as fruity, with grape and cherry notes, followed by the big malt, a mild amount of floral hops with a warming and very present alcohol following through the entire experience.

It could be used as a replacement for wine at a dinner. Something to be sipped and savored, but begging you to fininsh the entire bottle.

It's worth the $13.

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Photo of johnmichael712
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured out of an 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet. There is no freshness date on the bottle. This beer pours a dark, rosewood brown that has orange highlights when backlit with a lamp. The gorgeous, fluffy, whipped head is an off-white color and is supplemented by a ridiculous amount of small carbonation bubbles rising from the depths of the glass. The head lasts for an absolute eternity, and a thick layer of foam remains on top of the beer throughout the entire drinking experience, but it leaves no lace behind.

Smell: The nose of this beer has an exceptionally strong clove smell, and it's no secret that both this yeast strain and this beer comes Belgium. There is also an abundance of sweet malt in the nose, and it brings with it hints of caramel and toasted bread. Despite the appearance of pale hops in the taste, they don't show up in the nose.

Taste: Chimay Blue starts out with a rich infusion of pale, spicy hops mingling with the same clove yeast that was so pushy in the aroma. Following this, the toasted malt comes into play, and it is moderately sweet and very rich. There are also notes of raisins or prunes, and perhaps a bit of molasses, and this leads to a strong taste that is very reminiscent of the crust of fresh toasted bread, eventually culminating in a slight alcohol taste and a spicy, clovey finish that is slightly drying on the palate.

Mouthfeel: This beer has an absolutely fabulous mouthfeel, and it is heavenly soft and creamy on the tongue. There is moderate carbonation, but no carbonic acid "bite"; one of the reasons for the excellent mouthfeel. Medium body, perhaps not as full as it could be, along with a good dose of alcohol warmth, this beer is like a nice, warm bed for the tongue.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink, and these 11.2 oz disappeared much faster than expected. The pleasant, spicy taste and the wonderfully soft mouthfeel make for one easy drinking beer, and when you combine that with the 9% ABV this little guy boasts, Chimay Blue becomes one deliciously dangerous beer.

Notes: This is definitely the best of the Chimay offerings, and it's a damn fine beer. Further tastings of other Belgian Strong Dark Ales must follow this one in order for me to make a claim on if it is overrated like most other BA's seem to think, but right now, on a cool spring night, I can't see how this beer could be called anything but excellent.

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Photo of ocmpoma
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a delicious, dark brown with a great tan head of foam into my trusty Duvel tulip. The head faded to a film in the center with thin filming on the edge. Great lacing. A gorgeous beer to look at, with hints of amber... guess I could stop staring at it and start drinking it.

This beer has a very distinct aroma -- lots of malt and toastiness, with a hint of mustiness that, rather than finishing up as is typical, dances around the edge of the nose the whole time. A wonderful aroma. The taste mirrors; nuttiness and spice mixed with the malt. There's also a strong hints of raisins on the end, and again the mustiness is there throughout.

I have to admit that the beer was a little too carbonated for my liking; that might be the glass's fault, though... but I've had enough Chimay Blue in my days to think that it's more of a bottling issue than anything else. The mouthfeel is good, and this is definitely a very drinkable beer. World-class.

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Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown toffee like color, two finger tan head
S: Hint of alcohol and fruit aroma
T: bready, complimented by sweet malts. Definitely detect phenols, as well as fruity flavoring from the complex yeast, the most discernable of them being cherry.
M: heavy, decently carbonated
D: Very drinkable, almost dangerously so for a quad with such a high abv. If it was only more affordable. It is the perfect weekend beer, and is delicious.

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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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