Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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BA SCORE
95
world-class
2,315 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,315
Ratings:
7,579
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
19.16%
 
 
Wants:
486
Gots:
1,775
For Trade:
17
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Reviews: 2,315 | Ratings: 7,579
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.

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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 WoodBrew
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Chimay Grand Reserve was good....but not so good I would want seconds...thanks to the high ABV. The beer poured a darker brown color with virtually no head and no lace. The scent was a roasty Belgium sweet malt. The taste was a good combo of roast and caramel mixed with Belgium sweetness. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with subtle carbonation. Overall this was a tasty beer....but too big to try too much!

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1987 Vintage: Tasted in March 2001

This was a bottle from 1987 that I had in 2001 at the Kulminator in Antwerp. My first impression was that this beer was still quite good. Had a bit of sherry in the nose, which I attribute to its age, as well as some dark caramel overtones. The taste was still quite chimay like (imagine that). The body was a bit thinner than younger version, and it was much more mellow with much of the esters, fruitiness, and bitterness having aged out. Overall if I had to guess I would say that a well cared for 8 year old must be fabulous.


33cl Bottle, Sampled December 2004
Pours a fairly clear, deep ruby-amber-brown color. It is topped by a tan head and is pretty well carbonated. The aroma is fruity and musty, with notes of prunes, alcohol, and raisins. The taste is sweet up front, with a rich malty center that moves to a fizzy rich finish. This is actually quite a bit better than I was expecting it to be. It is fairly light on the palate, especially given its strength, but it does have a slightly lingering rich malt note to it. It is pretty fruity with concentrated notes of raisin and fig, as well as some spicy yeast notes that hint at ginger, cardamom, and clove. The finish of this one reminds me some of sweet apple cider, it has a certain sharp, almost acidic fruity finish to it that is pretty interesting.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into my New Belgium snifter.. cost about $4.50.

Big but shortlasting head with little lacing... color is hazy dark brown/walnut.

Aroma is dark malts with caramel and dried fruits.. lightly spicy with dried sweet cherries... light cloves.

very active carbonation.. medium sweetness for the style... dark fruits dominate with light caramel.. dates and raisins come to mind although the raisin notes are lighter... spiciness is more toward the late middle to the finish... as it warms the alcohol is more evident in more spiciness.

I've always loved the blue, but I think there are much better BSDA's out there... nothing really wrong with it, just there are some better ones.

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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 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 Halcyondays
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bottle, 2007 Vintage,

A: Pours a purple brown into a Chimay chalice with a fair off-white tan head, fair retention, fizzy.

S: Smells heavily of dark fruit, fig, and sugar.

T: Big malt flavour hits you at first then comes the fruit, grape juice, almost winey, prune, and fig, with complex yeast esters.

M: The carbonation gets in the way of the flavour too much sometimes in this one, but not bad for a BSDA, medium-bodied, smooth.

D: Chimay's best beer, a classic, I think there are better examples of the style out there, but this is still really good. Serve at a minimum of 55 degrees.

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