Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,315 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium | website

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: 2,315 | Ratings: 7,574
Photo of jamesroses
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 sourness, black sugar and alcohol.

Taste: figs and raisin fruitiness with the alcohol very present in the mix. Starts sweet and ends sour. The mix of flavours is not so sounded as I'd like it to be.

Mouthfeel: pretty strong carbonation produces a somewhat fizzy initial feeling. 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. Lacks a bit of fruitiness in my opinion.

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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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Photo of leeenglewood
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from a 750ml, cork said 3/03 on it, bottle and pours a dark chestnut with white head that sticks around for a few minutes but fizzles out to a slight lace, being a high alcohol brew was quite amazing, albeit I wasn’t drinking out of the proper glassware though. The smell was of dark malt and was not astringent in any way compared to the beers overall darkness. Tasted exceptional with a thorough maltiness and subdued hops that kept it in a somewhat balance but the malt is the predominant flavor with alcohol not being apparent at all within this elixir. All together a very drinkable beer that I find to be rewarding experience each every time I drink. Only problem I find with this beer is that it is much to drinkable given its high abv.

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

I have an 18 month old bottle of Chimay sitting around, but before trying it out I had to have a brand new bottle, so I bought one and tried it out.

A: Poured into a Snifter a very dark brown color, with a tan head about a centimeter thick that didn't stick around too long but left a nice crown around the edges and put a tad bit of lacing on the glass. On a second glance I figured I'd also use the word cloudy to describe it too.

S: This was really, really interesting. My first impression was raisins or clove, but then I started to think I caught a whiff of alcohol, something like a white rum, as well as a malty sweetness. Definitely, on further reflection, fruity with some caramel too it, floral and yeasty, and I'd have to say it's got a spice character to it. Lots of adjectives to throw around here.

T: Awesome. Starts off kinda sweet and almost spicy, with a caramel like character, and then follows with a floral, light bitterness, with hints of hops in the background and on the aftertaste. You've definitely got the malt character here, and the apparent spiciness is something that's really got me going. I'd also mention that you can feel a slight alcoholic burn at the back end.

M: Medium-bodied, very, very smooth, with a good amount of carbonation there to make it interesting, but never too much. I'd venture to say that, as part of mouthfeel, you have to include the alcohol that lingers on the backend.

D: Can't talk about this like it's a session beer, so any drinkability comment has to revolve around my willingness to drink it. It looks good, tastes great, and exists as a very complex, interesting beer. It's very enjoyable, but I'm sure that if you had more than a 750mL to yourself, the strength and sweetness of this beer might overwhelm you. I'd recommend it in moderation, so that you can enjoy it more. That said, it's always drinkable.

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Photo of Caesar1pup
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say that has not already been said. Excellent! Outstanding! Bravo!

Thank you to our legislators here in NC for popping the cap and allowing us the opportunity to enjoy beer greater than 6% abv!

Color, flavor, aroma, and drinkability were all great! The depth and complexity were amazing and at one point I wondered what my life might be like as a monk in Belgium.

Overall: This is one to have every once in a while especially since it’s $4 for a small bottle here. Something to enjoy on special occasions or when you really want to treat yourself to one of the best. You deserve the best so go ahead and enjoy!

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Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
2.34/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I bought this to try because it continues to be so highly rated. I was disappointed. I poured it into a glass so I could observe the head and it was quite nice. It smelled pretty good too. The thing that really turned me off was the taste. I swear it tasted like someone put about three packets of Sweet-N-Low in every bottle. I just couldn't shake the saccharine sweetness from my palate. This one is popular, but definitely not for me.

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Photo of AllFineThings
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice thick viscous type of body with raisin, overtones, the ABV is well hidden considering it
is 9%.

Thick body as mentioned above, with floaties that you can chew on, as well as drink.

Maybe all brewers should take a vow of silence, it seems to have worked for the monks.

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Photo of derekmorris7
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A = nice deep brown with a tannish head..lots of bubbles

S = light aroma of gentle molasses, very light smell

T = Very nice rich flavor with molasses and alchohol as the immediate tastes very clean

M = nice linger of the sweetness with a hint of the high alcohol

O = I think this is a great beer. Top 5 in my book. seen it a hundred times but didnt buy always went with the Rochefort 8 or 10..this time i got it and was well rewarded. cannot drink more than a couple but sooo worth the investment.

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Photo of seabass87
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A slow pour reveals a healthy, but fizzy head that dissipates rather quickly with little retention. The color is really nice, light brown at the bottom fading into medium-dark brown up top. By the time you are 3/4 of the way done with your glass, it looks light copper. A small amount of visible carbonation.

S- Belgian yeast, dark fruits, an interplay of sweet and sour - as seems to be the norm with Belgian strong dark ales. Scent is more subtle than many of this style... Hard to tell what to expect.

T- A fair amount of carbonation is very noticeable up front, followed by a surprisingly mild array of ripe fruits (grapes, granny smith apples). Carries into a slightly yeasty taste. No alcohol taste or burn. In fact, it is among the sneakiest I have yet to try.

M- Medium body, but a rather large amount of carbonation makes this lighter and crisper than many of this style. Finishes dry.

O- I'm going to admit, my expectations were maybe too high for this beer. However, it ultimately is tasty and quite easy to drink. It's the most mild of this style I've yet to try. With the 9% ABV, this could deceptively turn into a session beer (albeit rather pricey).

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Photo of dsprainman
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is one hell of a beer. Reviewed freshly bought from Monoprix, un-aged. An aggressive pour yield plentiful head, which dissipates rather quickly. Dark brown body that allows some light through. The nose gives hints of caramel and slight smokiness. Of course on the flavor, said notes of caramel and smokiness come through, in addition to a slight nutty flavour. Mouth feel is lively, complete but not overly heavy. Overall, the complete package sets this beer apart from others. Truly unique and world class Trappist product. Surely it gets knocked for its popularity and availability compared to some of the other Trappist products, but the beer really speaks for its own cause. Highly recommended.

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

When I first tried Chimay Blue it was like nothing I've ever tasted. It has a special "homemade" flavour that I have come to associate with true trappist beers. The flavours are subtle; earthy yeast and roasted malts with gentle hops. Fresh from the bottle it has a lot of sweetness, and I get the impression that it is designed to be aged before it is enjoyed. For a stout packing 9% ABV it is very smooth drinking, and definitely one of my favourite beers.

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Photo of Curtis
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Boulevard Brewing Co tulip glass I use when reviewing special beers, primarily Belgians. Nice plop from the cork, a strong indication of the carbonation level to come. Nice fizz with a thick head that dissipates very quickly. Very dark amber color, hints of ruby red. when held up to the light. Mouth feel is a little excessive from the carbonation. It could mellow a bit with more cellar time, like several months: I bought this one only two weeks ago and have been itching to try it.. Not real sure about this at first, wasn't at all what I expected. Starting to like it more and more with each sip. Noticing sherry, caramel, VERY mild hops, dark Belgian candy sugar. Nicely blended, well-crafted, a very good desert beer with chocolate. Alcohol content is hidden well, but still present. The only "knock" for lack of a better term would be very mild smell, and the slight over-carbonation of this particular bottle at this time. Smell would take away from the complexity of the blend. I really can see it mellowing with age and moving up a couple of notches. As the glass sits for a couple of minutes and the carbonation dissipates, the true nature of this beer comes out, especially the sherry, caramel roasted malt and the complexity of the blend..

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Photo of demon
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I have been eying the Chimay Blue on the store shelf for ages.

I knew holding the bottle that which was awaiting me would be an experience to be remembered.

Love at first sip. An amazing complexity. Very yeast and caramel malt forward, with the perfect balance of dried dark fruit--raisins, plums, cherries.

This is why I drink beer.

Instant favorite.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
95 out of 100 based on 2,315 ratings.
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