Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,332 | Ratings: 7,632
Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Dark reddish brown, hazy. Thick white head and nice lacing.

S: Dark sugars, spice, dried fruits.

T: Strong taste of dark fruits and caramelized sugars. Intermittent bites of hops and alcohol.

M: Medium body, some carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, rich and complex.

 311 characters

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

Poured a deep chestnut brown with a huge head. Slowly faded but never completely leaving a nice lace. Smell was very spicy, nutmeg, cinnamon, fruiteness predominated. Very light smell. The taste was very lively, dancing around in your mouth. Figs, prunes, fruitness predominated the flavor, slight alcohol finish. Big carbonation on this one. This was a long time coming for me, and well worth the wait, loved every second of it and highly recommend.

 450 characters

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

A: Pours a cloudy medium brown in color with yeast particles in suspension towards the bottom half of the glass. The beer has a finger tall pillowy beige head that reduces to a thin film over the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate lacing is observed.

S: Overall, this beer has a rather sweet smell mostly dominated by dark fruit. There is a definite presence of plum along with a black cherry and grape. The aroma gets sweeter as the beer warms.

T: The taste follows the smell, with the beer having a good amount of sweetness. There is a dominant flavor of dark fruit - plum and black cherry - along with a light presence of spices. Very nice complexity.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Extremely smooth though slightly dry in the finish.

O: The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer, making it slightly dangerous if you have more than one... I think this beer is very enjoyable and a great sipping beer - with great complexity in the taste.

 1,046 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Shared a corked and caged bottle of this at the Market Cross Pub in Carlisle

A - Tan head sits atop medium brown body with compact bubbles and lasting lace.

S - Bready, strong smell of fresh yeast and sweet malt.

T - Lively, carbonation combines with malty presence. Slighly fruity, crisp ale with subtle flavors of apple and plum.


M - Dances on the tonque with its aggressive carbonation. Light and lively with round luxurious finish.

D - Superior, smooth and restrained for strength contained. Subtle, expressive and effervescent x 2.

 558 characters

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

A: A deep, dark amber color with a bit more weight on the brown hues. The head is initially fluffy and khaki colored and then settles down to a thin layer.

S: A lot of subtleties here in the nose. Dark sugary sweetness goes along nicely with some dark fruits and a bit of spicy esters. A mild banana and alcohol note to it as well.

T: A really nice bready malt flavor with a slight bit of sugar behind it. Some mild banana on the finish and sweeter dark fruits as well. Just a hint of spiciness on the finish.

M: A full body with a smooth and creamy carbonation. Despite the sweetness, a mildly dry finish.

D: Such a balanced beer and the mouthfeel is really exceptional and was possibly the favorite part of the beer. The alcohol is fairly well concealed and this is an all around great beer.

 797 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruddy red with a 2 fingers tan head. Head holds okayl& has minimal lacing

Smell: Iron. slight fruitnes & some oaky notes

taste: vanilla, oaky, fruitty, rye& a fruitty finish (too much going on)

mf: slightly syruppy & undergassed

Pretty enjoyable & drinks better than the ABV. If could only try one BE style beer this one brings a lot to the table...

 367 characters

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle, corked and caged with a vintage date on the cork.

LOOK: Deep garnet, very clear. Good lacing all around.

SMELL: Buckwheat honey, booze soaked raisins, tart apple, toasted bready, treacle, peppery

TASTE: Super smooth, creamy, full-ish body, date sugar, estery, warming, spicy, faintly medicinal, yeast, mineral, leafy hops, dried grass, toasted fruit cake, semi-dry finish

Still holds on to greatness as it is a few steps ahead of the middle of the pack, with that said there are other Belgian beers that easily surpass this but not so much that I would not keep on coming back.

 601 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color and cloudy. One finger head that dies quickly...no lasting lace.

Brown sugar aroma, some nice alcohol

Chocolate malt is the taste that appears on the first sip. Hop is far light than other Chimay's, but the malt is wonderful...think scotch ale in style. The body is lighter than I expected but the carbonation is perfect.

Since I like a hop presence, I personally prefer the Cinq Cents version, but knowing the traditional flavors of Belgians, this is superior.

 488 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chimay goblet.

Finally get to match the goblet to its namesake for the first time in almost four years! Damn. The beer pours a translucent dark brown topped by a quickly-dissipating finger of white micro-foam. The nose comprises figs, brown sugar, rye bread, grapes, plums, cinnamon, cane sugar, and some dark wheat. The taste holds notes of everything in the nosde, though the rye bread's strength has increased, pepper is added, and a slight bit of maple syrup appears near the end. The body is a hefty medium, with a high moderate carbonation and an ever-so-slightly chewy feel. Overall, a very good BSDA, especially considering its near-ubiquity. Get some!

 673 characters

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

A: Bottle foamed a little upon opening. Pours deep brown/mahogany color with a nice tan head on top, tight foam. Moderate retention and lacing, though not as much as the other two Chimays.

S: Fruity with some raisins and red grapes, and a little bruised apple. A little bit of spicy yeast and an earthy aroma in a sort of musty way.

T: Sweet to open up with a rich malty backbone. A good bit of fruit flavor with grapes, apple, and prunes. The yeast and spice aren't as strong as the aroma, but are there in the background.

M: Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth. Can't taste the alcohol, but there is a slight warming in my stomach.

O: Fantastic beer. Reading over my notes, it didn't really come out, but this is really good. Nothing wrong with it, and easy to pick up. My store always has this, don't know why more people don't try it...ok, well price for one, but I have no problem paying for this beer once in a while.

 954 characters

Photo of billab914
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into my Westvleteren chalice. Poured brown in color with an active tan head filling half of the glass at first. The head settled down quickly to leave a creamy khaki colored foam resting on top of the beer.

The aroma shows a yeasty, spiciness to it with some dark fruit notes an and a moderate malty sweetness coming through. Pretty flavorful and complex aroma to it overall.

The taste is malty sweet with some notes of dark fruit, caramel and brown sugar to it. The finish has just a bit of spices and yeast to it with nutmeg being one of the spices I seem to be getting. A bit of alcohol in the finish but not bad at all. All the flavors come together very nicely and make for a great tasting beer.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation. The frothy head that lasted well into drinking it really adds a nice creamyness to the beer that I love.

Drinkability is good, it's a very good beer overall and a great example of the style. The mouthfeel was pretty much perfect which really helped the drinkability for me. It didn't hurt that it was very good tasting either.

 1,115 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a deep brown color with 2 fingers of off white head. No lacing and little bit of carbonation evident.

s - Smells sweet of dark fruits, yeast, some spices, and a little bit of alcohol.

t - Dark fruits, yeast, alcohol, malts, and hints of spice. Pretty nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Feels pretty good.

d - A very nice Belgian. Considering the somewhat low price and the fact that it is readily available in many grocery and beer stores, this is a great beer. Very nice dark fruit and yeast smell/taste, and has a great feel to it. Will definitely have again sometime.

 643 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jeff. Thanks man!

A: Slightly hazy brown color with hints of orange. Moderately sized head with a little lacing.

S: Belgian yeast, scents easily identifiable as a quad, subtle dark fruits, toffee.

T: Chimay is a great brewery and this is a great beer. Heavy Belgian yeast character with notes of dark fruits soaked in alcohol. Raisin and toffee notes are very tasty as well.

M: Moderately high carbonation. Nice feel with a slight note of alcohol in the finish.

D: One of the best quads in the world. I am very glad that this is readily available throughout the country.

 592 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If I was unsure about ever having had Chimay Blanc yesterday, no such question exists today for Chimay Bleu. I remember many years ago, during the original iteration of the State College Brewers Expo and when B. United was the east coast distributor for Chimay, they actually had some on tap! The reps recruited some lovelies to help them pour and at the end of the first session, I went off to dinner. When I returned for the start of the second session, only one of the reps was there, although they had three people initially. When I inquired, I was told this rhyme - "Chimay, Chimay not, but with Chimay, she definitely may!" With all due respect to Billy D. Williams, he should shill for Chimay Bleu if he is going to proclaim that a beer "Works every time!"

Another fond memory was from Dec 2001 and I was in Bruxelles, having scattered some of my late Pops' ashes in Paris, per his request. I was staying in a youth hostel and the attached downstairs bar had 11.2 oz. bottles on the cheap and I partook every night that I was there.

Finally, I will never forget the yahoo at The Sharp Edge who came in and yelled at the duty server, "Hey, darlin', gimme some'a that Chimmy (hard ch-sound, not sh) stuff! I hear it's supposed to be real good!" She looked at him quizzically until he started pointing at the bottles of Chimay in the coolers. The regulars, including myself just snickered and filed that gem away for just such an occasion as today.

From the bottle: "The registered trademark 'Trappist' certifies that this ale was brewed within the walls of an existing trappist monastery under the control of the trappist community. A major part of the sales revenue is used by the monks to support charitable works. The exceptional yeast isolated by Father Theodore, combined with the purity of the highly protected water of the abbey's walls, gives Chimay its unique richness. Since 1862, Chimay's secondary fermented ales have neither been pasteurized nor filtered and only natural ingredients are used. To fully appreciate the strong character of the Chimay Blue, serve slightly chilled, in a wide-mouthed glass."

I was going to bow and scrape before this beer, loudly proclaiming "I'm not worthy!" until I popped the cap and it began to foam up through the neck. This is MUCH too precious a beer to allow to go to waste and so I sprang into action, decanting it into my Westmalle glass so that I could stop the foaming. I created a dense finger of light-tan head with excellent retention. Color was a deep brown with cola highlights, but it was too dark in its color to be able to gauge clarity. I could still see the lees in the bottom of the bottle, so I would guess that I did okay. The nose on this beer is worth the price of admission! I have stated many times over that I am a self-avowed hophead and do not generally like malty beers, but this is an exception. The initial waft is of dried dark fruits, followed by a healthy smack of alcohol heat and then chocolate and nuts. I could sit with my nose buried in the glass for a while, but a) you get the idea, b) there are plenty of other, better reviews and c) I am anxious for a sip. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with an initial sugary/malty sweetness and some big heat, followed by caramel and toffee, then dried dark fruit and finally a touch of yeasty must. Finish brought the heat then settled back for a slightly dry aftertaste. Right after that, the mellow began to set in and I felt sleepy, very sleepy. My my, what are they doing at Scourmont?

 3,526 characters

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

Bottled 02/03 Appearance: Deep murky brown Mohogany with a silky creamy tan head nice and thick lacing just as thick on the sides very nice. Aroma: Vinous grapes, raisin, bread dough, and dark roasts create mild chocolate tones. Effervescent fruit is the backbone of the aroma. Taste: Once again flavor has a wine like air about it with doughy mild sweet bread, raisiny sweet tones, and decadent grape profile nice. Mouthfeel: Fluffy medium body spritzy but smooth carbonation. Drinkability: Is excellent a masterpiece can't tell it's 9% abv.

 542 characters

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

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a good head that quickly recedes. Nose is heavy on the alcohol with a large sweet tone to it. Small yeast edge to it. Taste is smooth and sweet with a malty undertone. Feel is bubbly. Probably the smoothest drinking BSDA I have had to date. Extremely drinkable. Even with a 9% ABV. Overall it's good, but it isn't my favorite of the style.

 370 characters

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter. The brew pours a clouded mahogany to brown color with a rich khaki head that lasts supported by constantly rising bubbles through solution.

The aroma includes noted of yeasty clove, banana, raisins, prunes, plums, molasses and an overall sense of dark belgian candy sugar with a mild touch of alcohol. Nothing to complain about here, everything smells enjoyable.

The taste is spicy like clove with belgian candy sugar hinting towards a sweeter side of the brew with a flavoring of banana, molasses and more burnt sugary notes. More sips reveal a fruited quality like plum and raisins or dates. Plenty of dark over-ripe fruit with every sip.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A mild warmimg alcohol feel and overall very well balanced. This is one of those brews that I have drank countless times and never bothered to review. Sad how it is taken for granted since it is always available in nearly ever real beer store you visit.

 992 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
2.79/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought this in a 3-pack which included one of each Chimay variety plus a glass for around $11.00. Yesterday, I tried their Tripel and didn't really like it. I like this Blue better than the Tripel, but I can definently tell Belgian ales aren't my thing. Appearance is really dark, not quite coffee colored, but close. Head is moderate height, but quite creamy. The head never quite goes away and leaves a thin layer on top of the beer. Smell is of spices, slight apple smell. Taste is mainly of spices, reminds me of something I'd have around Christmas. Smoother than the tripel I had yesterday, but similiar. 9% alcohol is barely tasted, but noted by a warming of my stomach. Overall, I now know this isn't a style of beer for me, so I probably won't get it again.

 765 characters

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

Pours a solid dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light, and a decent sized off white head that dissipates too quickly leaving a cap on top. The aroma is filled with prunes, plums, raisins, and lots of dark and burnt sugars. Slight aroma of ethanol and a hint of yeast, with just a touch of earthy spicy hops. The flavor is rich and sweet with a full complement of dark dried fruits as well as some complex dark sugary flavors. Slight vinous quality as well as some bready yeasty flavors round this one out quite nicely. Medium to thick body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet syrupy burnt sugary mouthfeel. Nice brew, its been so long I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this ale.

 708 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - upon opening the bottle, foam came spilling out; dark, brownish, caramel amber with a big, off white head that fades quickly to a thin lacing

S - caramel, candy sugar, some baked apples

T - baked apples, caramel, some sugar, a bit sweet at times, some warming alcohol in the finish

M - warm, full bodied, a bit crisp but well carbonated

This is a very nice, balanced beer that is subtle but complex. This is a very malty beer that reminds me more of a quad or a trumped up dubbel. There are hints of candy sugar but the flavor is mostly dominated by rich caramel malts. There are some fantastic esters that add depth to the flavor and really make this is a solid beer. I am impressed also at its drinkability with such a high ABV. This is definitely worth a try.

 770 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled from small bottle into a Chimay glass.
It poured a deep brown with a beautiful, creamy, slightly off-white two finger head. The head was retained, with little loss until near the end, when it became a soft lace.
The aroma was fruity/berry like, with hints of alcohol in the background. It smelled more like red wine than beer, though.
The taste was simply exquisite. It had a well-balanced taste of fruity (though not citrusy) flavor, mainly of raspberry, along with a malty caramel flavor. The sweet and bitter were well-mixed, along with an alcohol flavoring that made it very complex and delicious.
The mouthfeel was refreshing. Along with the complexity, there was just the right amount of water to make it refreshing and drinkable. The alcohol taste does come through, but not enough to overpower any of the tastes. This is an excellent drink to have on a cold, cool, or mild day.
I could certainly drink many of these, had it not been for a combination of the high abv and the price.

 1,009 characters

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

Poured from the bottle into what else... a Chimay glass. Lord knows I have had plenty of Chimay but it is about time I got around to reviewing it on record.

Chimay Bleu in appearance is first a simple off cream/brow two finger head with bubbles that fall at a slow clip. Body is a nice dark red/brown consistency. Beer leaves a collar throughout the entire glass.

Mild malted feel on the nose with a clean sense of nuttyness. Faint butter as well.

Upon tasting, a fantastic mouthfeel that give way to subtle fruit chews of cherry and other berry notes. A bit prickly though however with the carbonation and on the mid palate and slight malt, but easily handable. Hardly alcohol booming as well for nine abv.

A simple example of the style, good looking, and easily found and affordable makes drinkability very high.

 818 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Pop!" goes the top, the resounding sound of cork's release a tease of what lies in store.

Color, a ruddy brown, tawny and opaque.
Head is off-white, fuzzy and activley bubbly.

Aroma: playing it quiet, actually spare, arid, I'm getting nothing at all! Light echoes of nuts and toffee, wafts of maltiness. Not too happy with this aspect.

On first sip, a big blast of hops, with malt following immediately on it's heels. We find that this is a brew that must be allowed time to open up, give it a little time and space...shows off earthy, nutty, chocolatey flavors, with a generous amount of zippy, zingy spark on the palate. Taste becomes better, richer, more complex and fruity. Excellent effervescence, featuring that special Belgian spark and yeasty taste. Smooth, though before long the alcoholic component kicks in and rides tall in the saddle.

I've neglected Chimay for quite some time, perhaps after encountering Ommegang, a better tasting ale, in my opinion, when fresh, and at 1/2 the price. Perhaps I've got to try this cellaring business to see what an older sample might offer up to us.

On this tasting, a pretty nice drink, but didn't blow me away.

 1,176 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle opened in 2013.

A - Nice looking brew. Deep brown body with cranberry highlights. Light khaki head with low retention and lace.

S - Soft and well integrated. Chestnut, banana, nutmeg, brown sugar, caramel, pumpernickel bread.

T - Raisin, fresh pumpernickel bread, banana, roasted chestnut, white booze, black pepper, and caramel.

M - Medium body with nice carbonation.

O - One of the original quad archetype. It reminds you how well balanced and restrained this style used to be before American brewers started brewing the style on steroids.

 558 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, cork ejected with barely a touch.

A - Great looking deep, prune juice brown. A creamy whipped foam head. just enough to coat the top, with sticky lacing.

S - Brown sugar, poundcake, fruit syrup, alcohol, fruity esters. Hints of yeast and bitter grain.

T - Rich and full flavored. Dark sweet caramel, hearty bread, toasted grains. Mild apple flavors, like watered down apple juice and also apple skin. A clear alcohol note and warm on the way down.

M - Soft medium bodied, slightly dry on the palate. Smooth creamy carbonation and a nice warm end.

O - A solid, well rounded brew. This beer hits the style well, and is a solid choice every time.

 663 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe