Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

BA SCORE
95
world-class
2,349 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:
2,349
Ratings:
7,696
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
10.51%
 
 
Wants:
515
Gots:
1,886
For Trade:
17
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Reviews: 2,349 | Ratings: 7,696
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500th beer reviewed...been saving this one the past week or so to take the honor. Small bottle w/o freshness dating. Pours very dark, cloudy and murky, almost black. Fairly large bubble head at first, puffy and lumpy. Head slowly morphs to a 1/8th inch thick tiny bubble film Thick sticky lacing left on the glass. Nose is of powered sugar, fresh fruit, and concord grapes. Smooth medium bodied Belgian, notes of yeast, peppery spicing, tons of sweet malt and more fruity notes, warming alcohol late seals the deal. World class, classic for good reason. Cheers!

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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.

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

Pulled one of these out of the fridge - haven't had one in a long time. Best before 2013, so about a year old. Served in my Darkness tulip.

A - Two fingers of quick-dissolving tan foam with minimal lacing. Opaque dark raisin-brown color, with streams of tiny bubbles visible at the edges. I wish there was a little bit more retention and lacing, but otherwise it's pretty solid looking.

S - Roast barley malt, caramel, Belgian yeast, berries, candy, and a touch of booze as it warms up. It's a very good-smelling brew, and probably the baseline for the style - it's just that after all the other crazy Belgians I've smelled this seems awfully tame.

T - Lots of caramel and bready malts, but with plenty of fruitiness and brown sugar elements, and maybe a bit of spice in there as well. The alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Lively carbonation on the upper lip and tongue, a little too much for my liking. Medium body, and with a surprisingly dry finish for something so sweet. There's definitely some warming that is quite nice.

D - I'm not sure I'd want more than one, but it's remarkably easy to drink for a 9% brew. Still, the carbonation and ABV would make this an evening-ender instead of a starter.

Like I said - it's the reference point for the style, and while it's been surpassed it's still a terrific and worthwhile brew, particularly in places like Ontario where there are limited options.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a chalice, the beer is a dark, hazed, almost opaque, amber-brown coloring with a tall, dense, yellowish head that starts around an inch and settles into a thick film. Aromas of richly sweet date and grapes, giving it a wine-like characteristic. Some subtle spicing of nutmeg and all-spice, with a tone of alcohol throughout, as well. Smells balanced and rich. Flavors are very rich, with heavy old-world fruit sweetness giving a rich and robust blast to the palate. Nutmeg and clove clean up the tail end of the palate, and there is a tangy toffee sweetness that carries through into the aftertaste. The carbonation keeps the beer light and crisp despite full flavors and a full body. Clean, smooth finish, with a tangy sweet and slightly boozy linger. Very solid, very balanced, and very tasty.

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Photo of Duff27
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a murky brown with an inch tan head. Good legs on the lacing with a swirl. Effervescene is never ending.

S- Slight grapes.

T- Follows the nose. Perhaps some green apples. Very complex.
Small yeast funk.

M- Carbonation fills the mouth. Beer itself is medium to medium-thin bodied.

D/O- 9% abv? Wow, wouldn't believe it. Could drink a few glasses if permitted. A real treat.

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

02/09/06- Received as a gift for Christmas of 2004 from a friend.

Presentation- 750ml caged and corked bottle. Not sure of the year. There is a mark on the bottom of the label, but I have not a clue what it means. It's at the very least a 2004 bottle. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Very dark amber in a color. Nice full inch head, a tad off white in color. About average lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits in the nose. In particular some plums and dates. Also has a heavy grape scent. Maybe a touch like some Welchs grape juice and some grape Jolly Ranchers. Nice smell with everything combined.

Taste- Pretty much right on the nose with the scent. Almost a tad vinous in nature. Big grape flavor..sugary grape with a heavy dose of plums and a light note of dates and figs.

Mouthfeel- Higher than average in carbonation. Lasting nice aftertaste.

Drinkability- About what I expected. Very good, but nothing spectacular. Worth the money and will probably pick up again at sometime. Definitely worth trying. Very tasty.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Goblet. I have to say before I get too far into it that this was my favorite of the three Chimays. I thought the red was going to be the best but this one was. I did not record the date but I'll assume it was a recent vintage.

Beer is brown with an offwhite / yellowish head made up of small bubbles that are collapsing slowly into one another into a medium and larger bubbles. Head has some good retention power, fueled by steady carbonation of small to medium bubbles that rise through the beer. Beer is ultimately hazy and the head leaves lacing on the sides of the glass.

Beer's aroma is sweet and bready. Good yeast character to it. I intentionally served the beer with some of the sediment, it didn't affect the clarity but I like a little yeast with my Belgians. Smells wonderful.

Beer is medium to full bodied. Sweet fruit flavors and some alcohol light up the front of the palate, beer is smooth leaving no aftertaste or anything. Second taste I pick up more yeasty character and a good breadiness. Mouthfeel is amazing, the carbonation is providing good connectivity and drinkability is really high. I absolutely slay this beer before I know it. I'm glad this is one of the more accessible Trappists, its a wonderful beer.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

A: Murky mahogany dark brown colored body with an extremely large fluffy and billowy off-white head. Tight carbonation bubbles make the formation and this keeps really no retention except with the occasional swirl to bring it back. Not much lace either however it's fairly traditional looking for the style.

S: Belgian yeast is immediate up front, followed by some spice, black pepper and lightly present dark malts. A touch of hay sweetness is towards the end, finishing with some very doughy and bready elements. It's not a powerful smelling beer and doesn't seem to have many stand out aromas.

T: Darker flavored malts and bread initially, pumpernickel and slightly earthy, almost "dirty" flavored hops. Towards mid-palate, big yeast flavors and dry alcohol notes come to the forefront and leave themselves well into the linger. It's not unpleasant, it's good, but as complex as this beer seems it all is quite boring in nature.

M: Highly active carbonation, bubbly and prickly. Through and through the flavors are delivered all over, finishing a touch dry into the linger. It's again evidence of some bottle conditioning and for the style, rather typical and acceptable.

Certainly my least favorite of the Chimay labels, although Belgian Strong Dark Ales are not my cup of tea. Coming out of this though, this is certainly one of the better beers in the style and I did quite enjoy this. I couldn't do more than one glass at a time but it's one to try.

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Photo of stevoj
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pure superlatives here...nothing I can add to what hasn’t already been said about this beer. Near perfection! This was my gateway Belgian beer, and never fails to please.

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

ours a beautiful deep red brown color with long lasting tan head. Sweet malt, light and dark fruit aroma. Dark fruits and spice to start, middle somewhat dry with more hops present, nice hop and spice dry finish. One of the world's great beers. Looking forward to comparing this to an aged one next year

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

Appearance: pours a dark mahagony / brown color with a 1" head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: loads of malt sweetness with some dark fruits and a bit of hop presence.

Taste: nice malt profile with prunes, raisins, a hint of molasses, a bit of milk chocolate, and a moderate bitterness are the main flavor components.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Aftertaste is long as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: this is a slow sipping beer. Nice and malty, a nice change from the hop heavy beers dominating today.

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Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO giftpack. 330ml served in my Chimay chalice.

Poured a dark brown/mahogany with a few fingers of creamy, light tan head. Tons of suspended yeast in this one. Great head retention. Nose is quite "soft and subtle" with some dark fruits, plums, light raisin and grape skins. Alot of the notes arise from the yeast as well. Taste is sweet and warming, with a slight acidity; in most respects similar to the nose in terms of the fruits. Relatively high carbonation, but the mouthfeel just hits the nail on the head for me. Smooth and sweet with a bit of stickiness. Drinkability is ideal given the ABV. Great stuff. 45/4/45/45/5

Re-reviewed November 13, 2011: part of the QuadShowdown, 2006 vintage. Nose of overripe grapes, sweet brown sugars, lightly vinous and slightly funky notes. Taste is lightly spicy, plums, grapes, and dark fruits. Vanilla and brown sugar. Gentle carbonation, solid feel, fairly low carbonation. Creamy and fairly sweet. Very nice with age, just as grapey as I recall it being when young, Still some good flavours and great complexity.

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

Sure its a little weaker, but this tastes just like a Quad to me, Three Philosophers especially, but without the cherry lambic. Got a bottle with dinner at La Cena in Fayetteville (just outside Syracuse), The sweetness of the beer went great with the lamb and sweet potatoes. Smells of raisins and dry dates. Tasted more tart and bitter with some cherry, white grape, and brown sugar. Very drinkable, just make sure you don't serve it too cold. This beer comes alive at cellar temp.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium glossy and hazy brown. big head, foamed up nicely, some chunks.
Smell is weak. Not sure what's going on. Yeast and soft fruit seem to come out, but can't quite detect anything strong.
Taste is also a bit weak. Belgian yeast and spice, some dark soft fruit and raisin. Where's the taste?
Kind of flat and syrupy in the feel. Not impressed with this one, overpriced for sure.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle to snifter. Best Before 2018.

A - Deep amber with a slight copper glow around the bottom; otherwise opaque. One finger of tan coloured head.

S - Belgian yeast esters, clove and spice are dominant with dark fruit, brown sugar and raisins.

T - Yeast, spice and clove notes with brown sugar, toffee and raisin.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of tone77
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Pours a cloudy, dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smells of alcohol and sugar. Taste of yeast, a bit sour, and alcohol. Feels great in the mouth and has decent drinkability. Overall a good beer, but not great like the other reviews here.

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

750ml bottle. Pours a dark brown/ruby color, very nice carbonation with a huge creamy head that lasts a long time. Very nice lacing afterwards. Scents. of malt, raisins/grapes. Very nice sweet/bitter taste with a slight alcohol warming feel. Medium body. This is a very drinkable brew from Chimay (my first by the way) at 9% ABV the alcohol is hidden very well. Highly recommended.

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

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a rich Belgian style scent with a number of crystal malts and fruity yeast. The taste is great. It is full of malts and Belgian spice. It has a raisin/ molasses taste that is excellent. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine drinking Belgian style. It's dark and robust, but damn good; a real good beer.

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

Here's the final stage of the Chimay Invitational, and I'm in for the long haul on the Grande Réserve; I have a 750 ml magnum waiting to be popped. The other two Chimay beers I've had have been neck-to-neck, so will the blue label break away from the pack? Find out after the review:

Poured into an oversized wine glass, this beer is dark brown, alittle darker than their dubbel, with a good head like its siblings. I smell dark fruits like plums and raisins, with a hint of chocolate. Taste: Holy Shit! It melts in your mouth like warm butter. Ahhh! Liquid ecstasy! Mild tone of carbonation plays a big role balancing out the dark fruits, phenols, and other flavors. I'd go as far as saying it's comparable to a fine wine. As much press as this beer already gets, I'd say it's still underrated. Wow, I made a good call getting the larger bottle.

The moment of truth has arrived here in the Chimay invitational, and now to reveal thge wineer. The winner of the Chimay Invite goes to...

Grande Réserve!

The Chimay trilogy is complete. All three beers are worthy of a purchase, but the Grande Réserve stands above the other two. If you've been following my invite theme, you know I'm going to say to "look at my previous reviews to see what you missed". Good night everyone!

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Photo of Mora2000
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the small bottle into a pint glass. I had heard a lot about this beer and it definitely lived up to the hype. I had it with a nice grilled ribeye steak and the two compimented each other perfectly.

The beer poured a dark reddish/brown with a thick head. The aroma was very pleasant and the taste was perfect. You can taste the alcohol in the beer, but it is not overwelming. For a beer with 9 percent ABV, this is a very drinkable beer.

I waited a long time to try this beer but I will definitely have more soon.

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

Appearance: 2008 Vintage. Poured from a small bottle into a Chimay chalice. Amber brown body with bubbles hanging in suspension. A soapy head forms on the luscious body.

Smell: Dusty yeast and a whiff of alcohal, with some malt and fruit nuances lurking. Hard cider comes to mind too.

Taste: Ah, my favorite part. Malty up front. Bitter chocolate. Light fruits coupled with warming bourbon notes. A lingering noble hop is there on the edges. As it warms, a clean fusel alcohal character arises more prominately. It really brings out more of the malt too, roasted and woody. All of the flavors unite and do the dance.

M. Full bodied, a bit of a bite. Also sports a dry chalky finish.

D. This is a beer to settle into so to speak. Divinely crafted and really quite fantastic. It recieves a high score because this beer is fun to drink.

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Photo of dar482
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The color is caramel and brown, like dark brown iced tea.

The aroma has boozy, dark fruit, malt, with a decent head.

With the taste, there is a smooth and booze taste. There is malt, Belgian yeast, and bread. It really is a light beer for the style. There’s the obvious quad fruits of plums and stone fruits. Easy drinking.

There is a light body for a quad.

In the end, I had this with St. Bernardus 12 and Rochefort and it fell in the last place. Fine beer. Not my favorite, but probably the most drinkable of the three.

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

First beer that I ever drank with the lady who would become my wife, 13 years ago now, and I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. I've always loved this beer. Some say that it is a shadow of its former self- I can't say for sure one way or another, as it has simply been too long since I've had some. I will say that I think it may lack a little sweetness and depth I thought it once had, but whether that is me or the beer I simply can't say. Pours a hazy brown with a decent head. Aromas of spicebox, alcohol, cream, and dark fruit. Not quite seemless, and the alcohol heat is definitely there. The taste is a bit deper, with some breadiness added to the equation and the flavors are more flawlessly integrated than the aromas as well. Nice mouthfeel with a bit of creaminess. Nice, but I think I prefer most of the other Trappist quads at this point over this beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle poured into a Chimay goblet, been meaning to try this one again for some time.

A- A loud hiss once the cap was popped, this one is certainly active with rising bubbles. With a very careful pour I still got a bunch of sediment in my beer. A flimsy off white head appeared as I put some distance between the bottle and glass, it did not last long only leaving some white fluff in the middle. The liquid is a murky red mahagony look, it's not blue at all.

S- A very nice Belgian scent coming from blue from all that wonderful yeast. Getting some malt sweetness plus dark fruits. Some additional sugar in this. Some mild spices in the mix as well with raisins. This could have a fuller scent though it was a bit light.

T- Belgian yeast up front giving off a candy taste, cotton candy. Raisins make a bigger step then in smell. Dark fruits with plums. Some residual sugars as well. Getting some light taste of banana and sweet caramel from the malt. Well rounded but kind of light in taste for me.

M- This one is a smooth ride even though the carbonation is high which gets in the way giving off a certain crispness. The body is much lighter than I expected, I would say its perfectly medium bodied. The candy sweetness sticks around a bit, im not complaining.

D- Very drinkable, I kept going back for more, I just wish the taste was a bit bolder. The alcohol is hidden extremely well, I did not sense it at all. I really need to try this and other chimays with their cheese as well, it probably makes the experience better. While I liked blue and could of drank a ton more of it, the flavor is quite tame compared to other and more acce$$ible offerings.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,696 ratings.
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