Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,349 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed as a Christmas beer in 1948, this dark ale has rich flavors of mulling spices and caramel, with a smooth palate and warming finish.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,349 | Ratings: 7,696
Photo of Gregorious
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750cl corked bottle....poured into a chalice...

Paired with some nice cheddar and a baguette...

A - Dark maroon color...hints or scarlet and copper. Nice mellow tan colored head.

S - Released as the head dissipated. A rich aroma of roasted malt with a sweet overtone with the alcohol highly pronounced.

T - Everything the smell led me to believe. Most prominent flavor is roasted malt with a hint of caramel... Which was followed by a pleasant sweet aftertaste of berries, dried fruit, tart green apple, honey, and dates.

M - Made mouth happy... Carbonation was just enough and so not to be overbearing and a nice alcohol warmth lingers upwards into my nose.

D - No quarrels with this beer. Good alone and good with food. With its percentage (9%), it makes for not the best idea when trying to escape the summer heat, probably best for an evening bbq.

 869 characters

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

750 ml corked bottle served in a chimay goblet. The only way to go.
Just an awesome beer.

Deep dark brown color with a thick, rocky tan head.

Sweet dark fruit aromas such as plum, prunes, raisons as well as apple and pear. Also aromas of sweet brown sugar, and caramel malt.

Taste is an incredible balance of sweet fruit and brown sugar and roasty, toasty malt.

Med. mouthfeel with light carbonation and a nice alc. warmth.

Just an incredible beer!

 464 characters

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

From the squatty little 330ml. brown bottle pours a dark, reddish mahogany-brown ale, with a seriuos tan foamy head of two-fingers. The head finally settles to 1/4 inch leaving some small traces of fine lace behind. The vigorous carbonation keeps the head alive and well.

Sweet dark fruity malt nose, big and fuming with alcohol. Some notes of corriander and yeast come through as well.

Nice sweet malty intro, spicy and complex, yet smoothly balanced down to the finish. Very good taste with a decent alcoholic warmth to the finish.

A medium to heavy body with a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. This is very easy and enjoyable to drink, as a Begian of this style usually is, just beware of it's potentcy...Yeah! Wish I had bought a couple more...

 751 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 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 JBStith
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first Chimay and my first Belgian Strong Dark Ale. All in all, its a good beer, but I don't think this is one of my favorite styles. A bit too sweet for me, but here it goes...

A: Beaustifully dark brown and cloudy. Nice off white head with good retention and lacing.

S: Smells of malt and dried fruits. Not much in the way of any hop characteristics.

T: Nice malt backbone and bitterness. Strong underlying sweetness in the form of non-specific dried fruits. A bit too much for my taste. Sweet grows stronger as the beer warms toward room temp.

M: Nice medium to heavy body. A bit sticky, especially as it warms.

D: Avg drinkability. i would enjoy this on occasion as an after dinner drink. However, I would never have more than one per sitting.

Overall, a good beer, but not great. I need to try more offering in this style for comparison.

 862 characters

Photo of guitarmage
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful. Dark red like a wine, but bright almost pink highlights when held up to the light. Cloudy with sediment with an ample off white head followed by a nice ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, warming alcohol, fruity esters - ripe plum, apple, pear notes.

Taste: Sweet and toasty, very pleasant alcohol warmth, ripe fruit, finishes dry and clean. Citrusy hop notes. Faint unsweetened chocolate. Banana notes after you swallow.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and lightly carbonated, tingles on the tongue and fades, medium bodied. Not syrupy or sticky, it's so clean.

Drinkability: This beer is delicious. If i had a bunch of these infront of me, with a good meal, at %9 ABV I would destroy myself drinking it. It's smooth and complex, my mouth doesn't get bogged down or saturated with the flavor. Potentially the ultimate session brew, except you'd be hammered.

 894 characters

Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark carmel brown, cloudy, and some yeast floating that I couldn't decant. Light cream color head that retains pretty well.

S: Dark fruits and a nutty yeast aroma. Very slight alcohol. Very complex, I can't pick everything out.

T: As in most beers I've have, the taste up front is foreshadowed by the smell. Sweet Dark fruit and yeast taste, followed by some bitterness and more yeasty flavors.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation, which is relativly high, and definatly refreshing. Full mouthfeel.

D: Highly drinkingable and tasty. I look forward to every sip, though the IBV makes this somewhat dangerous.

For the taste and the smell, I can't pin everything down in this brew. Maybe in a year or so I'll be able to indentify things. For now, at least I know it's delicious.

 802 characters

Photo of shererjt
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep, opaque brown with a nice tan head. Looked wonderful. Aroma was rich fruit with some phenolics. Malt was there, but it was subdued. Musty. (Note: be sure not to serve this one too cold if you want to fully enjoy the aroma.) Medium-full body, alcoholic, smooth. Somewhat earthy and yeasty. Mouthfeel was lively and amazingly drinkable for a beer this strong.

Very nice sipping beer. At its best when served at the right temperature and out of a wide-rimmed glass. Only thing I would criticize is it wasn't as flavorful as expected.

 547 characters

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

Presentation: 11.2 oz short fat bottle, no dating of any kind found, poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Poured a deep very dark brown color, almost black but not quite, completely opaque. The head formed about 1 finger thick, a nice cream color, and maintained wonferfully.

Aroma: Sweet and spicy with hints of the alcohol. (It is 9% after all.)

Taste: Extremely complex but so good. I noticed some caramel malts up front that gave way to some fruity flavors that I can't place in the middle. The finish is dry and peppery, the only point you really notice the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, carbonation in excellent balance.

Overall: I like the version that comes in the corked bottles a little more, but this would be a good option for someone who is unsure if they'll like it or not. Definitely worth a try if you've never had it before.

 864 characters

Photo of blodgetm
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the first Chimay beer I have had, and now I hope to try them all. Overall, it's a very solid beer, with great complexity that never gets overwhelming.

Appearance: A nice malty, dark brown finish

Smell: A mild fruity aroma, followed by an almost earthy scent

Taste: Here's where it gets interesting. At first, there was a complex malt presence that altered over the course of the beer. The malts were nice and not overpowering, and there was the slightest bit of cloves present. As the beer warmed up, and the pallet built up to the taste, the malts seemed to take on more of an earthy structure.

Mouthfeel: Meduim-heavy bodied, moderate carbonation. Alittle bit dry in the end.

Drinkability: High, granted I can afford more.

 748 characters

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

My first Chimay beer, quite a lovely experience. Pours a nice light brown color with a good head and retention. Aroma is sweet, malty and spicy. Complex and interesting. The taste follows with a spicy and malty flavor with a nice clean finish from the well-placed hops. Mouthfeel is nice, medium-bodied with a pleasing amount of carbonation and smoothness. This beer is quite tasty, and pretty drinkable for something with an ABV of 9.00%.

 439 characters

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

The blue pours a very dark brown, with dark red ruby tones, with a beautiful slightly off-white foamy head. The smell is fruity, with malty features coming through. The taste is sweet, malty, fruity, with no inclination of the alcohol contained within this fine beverage. The mouthfeel is nice, having a pleasant carbonated fueled fizz hiting the palatine taste buds, and the tongue enjoys a very mild coating of sweetness. A very nice brew. I will enjoy again and again. Certainly give this a try, if you have not already done so.

 531 characters

Photo of gemhooch
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a chilled 750 into an oversized tulip. Cork was dated 1/05.

A - Big head which dissipated within a minute or so. Dark auburn color.

S - Slightly smokey, but I'm not sure if it's just me after grilling. I also mowed the grass today and have mild allergies, so maybe my smeller isn't working very well today.

T- Very smooth, with a touch of malt, a wee bit of date (barely) and other dried fruits. But not overbearing in the fruitiness either. I mean it's not one of *those* beers. A delightful complex brew that's difficult to describe.

M - A bit creamy but not cloying. Very nice.

D - Very easy to drink. It had aged a year and some so perhaps that took the alcohol edge off it. Guess I'll have to drink one right away sometime to see the difference.

Initially I was a tad disappointed as I had very high expectations, but after consuming a few oz. and then a few more, I must say this is one fine beer.

 929 characters

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

A dark brown, almost black beer, with a frothy head that disappears after minutes and leaves a small layer.
Smell was chocolate and a slightly burned smell, not the explosion I expected.
Taste was OK with burned coffee and caramel with a nice maltbitterness, some nutmeg and peppery notes which give the beer some complexity. Alcohol was not noticable. Body was rather thin and bland, aftertaste was dry.
The thin body and the low complexity do not live up to my expectations.

 478 characters

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

Finally got around to trying this one now that I've crossed most of the other Belgians at my local store off my list. In fact, this may be my last Belgian for a while, its just getting too hot for them now, I'll start again around thanksgiving or so.

Pours thick and heavy into my goblet with a full tan head that recedes to reveal impressively dense sticky lacing. Color is a mellow mocha that brightens considerably under the light. Nose is heavily fruity and drenched in alcohol. Hints of coriander and cherries.

Taste shows impressive restraint as far as alcohol and is much easier to drink because of it. Thick on the malt flavor but surprisingly clean finish for a Belgian dark with smooth but slightly overcarbonated mouthfeel. Still, a delicious, refined ale with unusual drinkability for nine percent on the booze-o-meter.

Definitely recommended, I'll be trying it again soon.

 900 characters

Photo of Beersignal
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small bottle reviewed, exhibits some differences from the 750 ml format I have been told but have never taken the time to fully discover the nuances.

Pours a deep maroon colour with hints of garnet glinting as it is held to the light. The foam is initially generous and spritzy and fades suddenly, leaving a dense film of tan bubbles to float statically atop the brew. No lacing.

The aromas are really what draw me into this beer. This is a cellared sample that I have aged for 3 years so some harmony has been gained in the aromas. It opens with a symphony of malty cocoa aromas, and alternates between firm notes of candied sugar, dried plums, some tanned hide, hints of earth and fungi, as well as mild spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Let the brew warm and traces of vanilla begin to surface through the complex of fruit, malt, spice and yeast. Very pleasant... I could sit here all night just whiffing this sample.

This sample has dried quite noticeably from the cellaring. The mouthfeel is firm but dry, giving ample space for the flavour profile to slowly develop as the beer gains in temp. I first notice malt and spices that fade quickly into a spiral of yeastiness and alcohol. The fruit aromas do not carry over as strongly into the flavours but are perceptible and lead nicely into the long and slightly sour finish. A lingering aftertaste reminescent of cigar smoke beckons me to light up a Partagas Mille Fleurs (available in Canada) and finish the sample with a smoke.


 1,510 characters

Photo of wke4estguy
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pretty slick, the trappist logo adds a little flair.
S- Reminds me of a raw sugarcane extract, mellow coffee, chocolate, black licorice, plums, and pecans.
T-Much more alcoholic than the cinq Cents white, cooked molasses, bitter apertif, chocolate.
M-Smooth, litte coating nice overall.
D-A little pricey for an everyday drink especially if you are drinking it by yourself.

 382 characters

Photo of jamie2dope
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lately ive been trying to review a different style of beer every time I come on here. I've had this beer quite few times, and after enjoying it more every single time, I feel that it is more then worthy of a review. Pours a dark color with an eggplant color, sort of black, purple and brown all at the same time. There was a large white head at first, that soon faded into a small white one leaving no residue on the side of the glass. Smell was of dark fruits: raisins, plums, cherries, some sweet sugars also. When i smelled this one i got a bit too close and actually snorted some by accident, oh well if there was ever a beer that I actually wanted to snort i guess it would be this one. Anyway, taste was very sweet and rich, with sugar, juicy fruit, figs, molasses, honey, literally a huge spectrum of tastes going to and fro throughout this beer. Mouthfeel was also exceptional, as it was full bodied and delicious. Let this one swirl around the palate, and notice how many new tastes come through with each taste. I would love to drink these as often as i can, it is that good. This is my favorite out of the other Chimays. Next time i'm gonna have to cellar one or two of these. Cheers

 1,194 characters

Photo of Backer2004
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Even though it's been available in NC for six months now, I finally picked this up to bring on a cruise as my one champagne style bottled beer. We enjoyed this one at about 1 AM sitting at the aft of the cruise liner with some Cubans (although I tried to note the qualities before I went for the cigar).

One of my more enjoyable Belgians lately, especially versus the white Chimay. No alcohol taste present, and hint of roasted chocolate was evident. Nice and easy to enjoy, definitely worth picking up again. My non-BA friends loved it as well.

 548 characters

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

Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a chalice.
No freshness or best before date on label.

Pours a dark caramel brown color, with some nice looking amber highlights. A decent oatmeal colored, half inch head forms. Quickly fades, leaving some very spotty lacing, not much. Refreshing green apple smell combined with spices, cloves, and a touch of alcohol. Taste pretty much mimics the smell and finishes with some hop bitterness. Leaves that nice alcohol warm feeling in the gut. Excellent mouthfeel, very smooth, very creamy and full bodied, a bit chewy. An easy brew to drink, even with the 9% abv. An absolute pleasure, let this one warm up to room temp. My first from Chimay, and a good impression was made!

 711 characters

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

A - Dark caramel brown, large head that fades pretty fast.

S - Fruit/Alcohol/Hops

T - Wonderful and complex, several fruit flavors, and a very subtle bitter aftertaste. Warming aftertaste is also apparent.

M - Creamy, and fufilling.

D - Excellent.

Overall, an incredible beer, a must try.

 303 characters

Photo of BrSpiritus
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bought this from the Liquor store I work in. 750ml bottle dated 10/05 poured into a widemouthed wine glass. My first impression was a fruity aroma, cherries mixed with plums. The pour left an excellent head that lingered for quite some time. The taste was a superb mix of sweet malt, blackberries and cherries with a slight hop finish. This a beer I love to drink as a special treat. I look forward to popping into the 3 bottles I have laid down in the cellar from the '03 batch.

 479 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lovely pour. Head is a coarse brown the fizzes away in mere minutes. No lacing. Nose is muted, but what I do smell reminds me of maple syrup and plums. Taste is sweet brown sugar, plums, coriander and a meek hop presence. Mouthfeel is lively. Honestly, I'm not too thrilled with this. Sure, it's one of my favorite styles, but there are so many other beers out there that do it better imo. Save your money and buy a Ommegang or Trois Pistoles by Unibroue instead.

 463 characters

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

33 cl. bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: It has the beautiful dark amber / copper color that I love, which even gets a little hazier due to the yeast that I poured in (not swirled but just tipped the bottle to the point where it dislodged and some got in). Maybe it's the temperature, as this is a dried glass that's been sitting by my sink, but there's not really too much head on this, and I don't know why. I figure it has to be something regarding the way I went about it. Either way, the scoring's doing a good job of keeping the head at about 1/2"; there just isn't much lacing.

Smell: Dark cherry, plum, slight fig and raisins, candi sugar, faint banana, tons of yeast, and a mild phenolic presence. Lots of stuff going on. I don't get much hops at all, but maybe it's curbing the fruitiness and balancing out the malt qualities a bit. Still very nice and balanced well.

Taste: The dark plum and cherry are at the forefront, with lots of awesome yeast in there too (I'm a fan of everything in the bottle going into the glass). Slight fig and raisin comes in midway, and it finishes with a faint coat of hops before sliding into dark tropical fruit which lingers on the tongue. Nothing extremely experimental with the style, but everything's done beyond right here, and that needs to be applauded.

Mouthfeel: Near perfect level of carbonation that provides a filling burst in a way, but not spritzy. It ends up adding to the body and filling it out, or slightly taking away a bit from the body. Either way, it's doing it's job, and this is a pretty silky brew.

Drinkability: Without a doubt in my mind this is the Chimay brew to drink and I know I definitely will again. This is a fresh bottle (as in I haven't cellared it), so I wonder what would happen over time. Perhaps I'll have to store one away. Certainly a great example of the style; nothing flashy but excellent and balanced and delicious on all accounts.

 1,956 characters

Photo of rodrot
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass, this beer had a murky reddish brown appearance with a huge frothy head. Strangely, I could not pick up much of an aroma other than a little bit of a malty, toffeeish smell. The taste was very nice however, quite malty and spicy with notes of chocolate, maple syrup, dark fruit and caramel. It also had a pleasing alcoholic warmth. This beer was full bodied and rich on the palate. Chimay blue is one of my all time favorites and I plan on cellaring a couple of bottles for a future review.

 560 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,696 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
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.