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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,331 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

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Reviews: 2,331 | Ratings: 7,630
Photo of becktone
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When poured into my glass this beer has an amazing appearance. The color is a dark brown/dark amber color and has a very large head. The head would have been bigger than 2.5 inches but I wasn't paying attention while I poured and my glass started to overflow. The beer appears to have a very full body. It also has excellent head retention, the head never gets smaller than a quarter of an inch. The head doesn't remind me of soap like any macro brew would, instead the color of the head is more of an off white/tea stain color. Its appearance also is much creamier than most heads on beer.

The smell of this beer reminds me of sparkling white grape juice. I also detect a hoppier smell behind the prevalient grape smell. As the beer warms up it is definitely easier to detect other smells and tastes, so here I wait. After waiting a bit I notice that the aroma of the beer has not become any stronger or changed that much, however it still smells extremely good.

The taste of this beer is amazing, I recommend this beer to anyone who loves beer. I can almost guarantee that you'll like it. The first thing I notice when I drink this beer is the slight bitterness that I feel on the back of my tounge, this bitterness is perfectly balanced by the sweetness/flavor of grapes that is left on the front of your tounge and in the entire mouth once the beer is swallowed. The taste of this beer is very complex, I really can't even begin to describe it except that it is amazing. Besides the sparkling white grape juice flavor and the bitterness there is a third flavor that is coming out now that the beer is getting warmer, maybe a butterscotch flavor, I can't really tell but it reminds me of the overall flavor of Leffe Blonde. I really think that this is the best beer I've ever had.

The beer feels great in the mouth it has a full body that fills up the mouth and the carbonation of this beer is perfect. The feeling of this beer is very satisfying in the mouth.

I will most definitely be buying more of this beer in the near future. I am very impressed by this beer, can't wait to buy some more of this stuff. I am very happy that I bought the one pint 9 ounce bottle after buying and drinking the small 11.2 ounce bottle. I just hope that the store I got the pint from still has some in stock. If I could I'd drink this all the time.

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Photo of WTexas
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml bottle with 03/05 stamped on the cork. The champagne-like pop set the tone for my drinking experience. This ale had a small but pleasant head that remained throughout. Initial aroma was pungent and sour (yet intriguing), not unlike a lambic. Taste was smooth with the presence of alcohol becoming more prominent as the ale warmed. Mouthfeel was agreeable with the carbonation never overwhelming the omnipresent fruit-like flavors. Easily drinkable, but at $7.99/bottle, it’s one to be saved for special occasions.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful golden bown....one of the nicest beers sitting in a glass ever.

The head was fairly huge but calmed down after a few minutes to a fine layer with wonderful lacing. The smell was a nice fruity-malty thing going on that I enjoyed spending some time doing.

The taste is malt and fruit with just a slight hint of cloves and the 9%abv is pretty well hidden. Good stuff.

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Photo of mattdavis452
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm generally an APA fan, but I knew this beer has quite a reputation, so I had to give it a try.

Poured into a glass from the bottle. Smells like it looks, a dark heavy Belgian. About 1.5 to 2 fingers of head, laced alright.

Taste almost has a hint of wine, just as the beer leaves the tongue, then dissipates fairly quickly. Nice and crisp, in this sense.

Drinkability...I wouldn't recommend having too much of it at once, it is a 9% alc/vol beverage. But if you're with discerning friends, then popping the cork on this one is more than worth it (yes, the bottle I got had a cork).

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Photo of Naes
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a murky dark brown with a large off white head.
The aroma is malty sweet with hints of dark fruit.
Its flavor is quite similar to the aroma. Dark fruit character and malty with just the slightest hint of alcohol and a bit of spice.
Mouth feel is medium bodied and generously carbonated with a bit of warming sensation due to its alcohol content.
This is a sipping beer indeed.

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Photo of EStreet20
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've always loved this stuff. 750 ml bottle poured into my Chimay Chalice.

A - What a Belgian strong dark should look like in my opinion. Dark brown with a tiny red tint and a nice thick head that shrinks a tiny tiny bit. However after shrinking to a centimeter or so the head goes nowhere for the rest of the drink and leaves a nice lacing on the chalice.

S - A sweet malt smell with some Balgian yeast. A bit of a smicy kick at the end of my "sniff" as well. Raisins and some other sweet fruits in there.

T - Sweet malty flavors. Some hints of berries coming through here. A bit of a spicy finish, like a peppery character you get in a lot of belgians. A great tasting beer overall.

M - Very smooth, a beer you can "chew on". The carbonation gives it a bit of a tingle too. Not much of a warming sensation, as the alcohol is masked in the feel as well as in the flavor.

D - A great sipper. As far as Belgian strong ales go this drinkability is full speed ahead, but it's obviously not one to pound due to the 9% ABV.

Notes: Basically my banchmark for this style at this point. Can't wait to pick up the Rochefort 8 and compare it.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chimay has got another soild brew here. Poured out to a dark cider like color with a nice 1/2 inch head of almond cream foam, and some lace. Medium high carbonation. Impressive. Aroma of yeast that has been sitting, dark fruits, and some roasted nuts. Taste was along the same lines; Flavors of earth, herbs, spices, malt and yeast are noticeable, with nuances of roasted nuts and aged tobacco. Mouthfeel was smooth and rich, giving no indication of the 9%ABV. Drinkability for some reason doesn't seem all that high, as I think this brew is one you'd only want every once in awhile. Nonetheless, it's a superior brew that's well made, and worthy of your hard earned money. Recommended.

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

A: Ruby-black, off-white head, enough retention for some nice lacing.

S: Caramel and dates with a hint of chocolate.

T: Dark caramel, treacle, fruity raisins, port-like warming finish. Very well rounded, beautiful symphony of flavours. Balanced slightly toward the sweet side, bitterness provided by the dark malts, no appreciable hop flavour.

M: Moderate body, moderate to high carbonation.

D: There isn't any particular flavour that's overwhelming, very smooth, should be approachable by anyone. Slight taste of alcohol could be a barrier to the newbie... but VERY drinkable, considering it's strength!

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

Appearance: Pours a dark, translucent coffee color with a respectable fizzy head that sticks around for awhile.

Smell: Definitely a lot of caramel and some darker fruits, dates and raisins.

Taste: Follows the smell, lots of fruit and caramel with the trademark Belgian malitness. Dryer than some other similar brews.

Mouthfeel: A lot more carbonated than I was expecting. A medium-bodied brew for one of the darker Belgians I've had.

Drinkability: Obviously, the ABV and cost of this brew will limit me to drinking a max of one bottle. Definitely a sipper and a brew to share, especially if you plan on driving in the near future.

Overall a nice dark Belgian that's definitely got some unique traits. The only thing that would keep me from buying it again would be the price tag.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL. Dark, thick brownish red coloration. Rich head comprised of a billion tiny uniform bubbles, not foamy.

Mild, spicy, malty nose. I'm not getting as much as I expected here. Could be that I just stored/served the bottle too cold.

Rich flavor with plenty of component flavors to consider. Fruity, wine-like, but with a definite malt presence. Spicy like many Belgians I have had, but not as sweet as I expected, based on word of mouth, other reviews etc. I get some brown sugar hints, but it's much more about spice than sugar. The alcohol is there, but not obtrusive, mildly warming.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but mildly chewy. Not heavy, but certainly no light lager, either.

Drinkability is good overall. This bottle drank easily, but I was not left wanting for more. Next time I want a Belgian, I will go for the White or Red Chimay, (which I have not yet sampled), or have a Rochefort.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the draft into a Chimay wide mouthed goblet.
A light grape like amber color with a perfect head that stays throughout the entire beer. A very pleasant looking beer on a rainy North Carolina autumn day.
Excellent fruitiness and hoppines in the aroma. Smells a bit like berries, maybe raspberries and blueberries. Terrific spiciness to the hops with citrus aroma and a touch of peppermint and molasses. Raisins rear a head as well.
Quite a hoppy beer. Great balance between the fruitiness of the hops and the power with the fairly strong alcohol. The alcohol doesnt really become an issue until the end of the beer. But at that time it is welcome as it has changed flavors once again; melding and changing and evolving more and more after each sip. Hops are not as strong at the end where the alcohol is, but the malts and the fruit flavors are enhanced quite dramatically. This beer is best at the end or served slightly cooler than room temp.
Wonderful nouthfeel with the hop bite and the alcohol to soothe. Very pleasant. I would drink this beer all day if I could.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gobbled many chimay blue's over time and I'm due to review it. This beer pours a perfect 2-3 finger head that is tan and full of frothy goodness. Sticky and arrogant all the way down. This bitch has an attitude.

Huge dark fruit complexity that is balanced by caramel and a slight bitter twang. Warming is not shy and welcomed for this brew. Smooth creamy mouthfeel thats not too rich and fairly drinkable when taking the style into consideration.

Notes: For the price tag this is one of the premiere beers in the world. National distribution, great complexity, world class offering at a reasonable price. Never gets boring.

Notes: My favorite offering from this brewery so far. One to go.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely beer.

One of those that I've had many times, but never reviewed until now. Pours a dark brown with hints of light shining through and gold around the edges. The head dissipated rather quickly. Much faster than I remember it in the past. Just a bit hanging around the glass.

The aroma is perfect. Very complex and yummy. Sweet with maple and raisins... allspice, apricots, fig brown sugar, molasses... absolutely brilliant.

The alcohol is in the forefront on the palate... it smoothly trickles back to a malty finish. Sweet and fruity. After the third drink I remembered I had fresh figs... wow. This pairs so nicely with the fresh figs. Tasted of dried fruits and very slightly nutty.

A good mouthfeel, as well. Bubbly.

An excellent beer.

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Photo of radshoesbro
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - looks almost like a stout but if you hold it up to the light it almost reminds me of coke. definately lets in some light, but not much. good head that leaves almost no lace.

s - alcohol! you can definately smell that this is 9% ABV. tiny amount of malt in the nose.

t - the alcohol you smell is actually quite milt but still prevailent. the malts have hints of brown sugar, plums, and i think that's a bit of coffee taste in the finish.

m - so much smoother than i imagined! this is definately a good heavy bodied finisher but has a very light quality to it.

i would recommend this to anyone that likes the style. be careful! if you have multipe glasses of this and don't just sip it you're going to be feeling it very quickly.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy, murky brown (looks like sewer water) with a massive spillover head that settles into a thin layer on top of the beer. Aroma is malt, candy sugar, apple, some molasses and a small amount of yeast and/or banana.

Taste is sweet and complex. Dark macerated fruit flavors, plums, raisins, maybe a fig or two. Very rich, very bready, malty sweet, almost like a cola. Brown sugar, cherries in syrup, maybe a touch of brandy and cigar flavors. A twinge of yeast at the end. Not much bitterness to be found.

Mouthfeel is lively despite its heft, well-carbonated. Alcohol flavor is not apparent but this is a sipper, nice for winter. Not bad, but I've found better in this style; I'd be curious how aging affects this one. Would pair nice with a cigar, as it might balance out this beer's sweetness.

Small 12-oz bottle. I think the Red is still my favorite of the Chimay brands.

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Photo of SteveO1231
3.56/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown/red color.
Very thick frothy head light tan in color.
Nice winelike smell.
Very light when it first hits the palate. I expected it to be a little stronger.
Very nice light spice finish. I can taste fruit in there as well.
I'm Pretty new to the Belgian game so I'm not sure what I'm tasting here, but I like it.
Quite a bit of carbonation, I expected a little less.
This beer is very light despite the color and ABV and I find it quite drinkable.

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

Thanks to AlexJ for this one...the man knows great beer indeed.
Pours a dark mahogony w/ a full finger and a half of off-white head after a gentle pour...lacing is tight, but quite thin.
Gentle aromas of sweet malt, caramel, vanilla and some carbonation in the nose.
Taste is very enjoyable...a hefty dose of carmelized malt, raisins, cherries, and a touch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied at first, yet firms up with warming...prefer this one at room temperature. The carbonation could be a touch less, but does not distract from the drinkability one bit.
A fine brew and one I will revisit again.

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Photo of cardwel1
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Have to poor this nice and carefully, and get the right kind of glass to let it air properly.

It's a deep brown, but not quite as murky as the Chimay premiere (red label) and doesn't have quite its bitterness. Something smooths out the taste and makes it a bit more drinkable.

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Photo of BeerBeing
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 750ml brown glass semi-custom bottle, corked and caged, white on deep blue label

Appearance: dark copper with huge beige head, magnificent lacing all way to the bottom

Smell: toasted maltiness, fruitness, hops, alcohol

Taste: medium to full body, very crisp mouth feel, malt and yeast, dates, figs, raisins, prunes, hoppy bitterness in background, and you can feel alcohol in it

Notes: the best of Chimay (and my favorite)

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Photo of waldowin
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Poured a wonderful nut brown, with a *massive* head that took forever to fade. Had to pour half a glass at a time, as the other half of the glass would just be foam for ages.

Smell - Hints of citrus, and mostly a dark malt, and roasted nuts.

Taste - Man, this is a complex brew. When it's colder, you get mostly malts and a hint of roasted nuts and dark fruit. As it warms, a sense of raisins/dates comes to the front, and the nuts take on complexity. Extremely tasty, and very rich.

Mouthfeel - This is definitely an unfiltered beer. You can feel the thickness of it as you drink, lots of malts have gone into creating the effect. A pleasure to drink, but so rich you have to take your time.

Drinkability - As wonderful as this beer is, I challenege you to finish a bottle in an hour. It took two of us the entire length of a movie to finish a half bottle each. It's just *so* rich and thick that one glass feels like two to your stomach. Unfortunately, I had to dock it for that, but otherwise this beer is fantastic.

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Photo of delmet
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It tastes like this... It smells like that... I don't think I can add anything to the scores of people who came before me on that front. What I can say is that this beer grows on you real time. As I started to drink it, I thought it was a little thin, but when I got to the end of the bottle I forgot all about this or that or ratings or 3-4-5, or whatever. The taste became more and more palatable, but more importantly, this beer offers a clean buzz (something unfortunately not discussed in these pages), that is really divine. Every drink has its own way with the brain cells, and this one is particulary gentle. My advise is that you should try it at least once in a life time, if not once a day.

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Photo of Luigi
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rich ruby brown color and light brown lace around the glass. The aroma is filled with grape like fruits and sweet maltiness. A full body with a syrupy mouthfeel. Sweet and roasted malts. Nutty fruit flavors roll around the tounge. Slightly dry and bitter finnish. Truely a work of art. Finer than any wine in my book!

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

Sampled: 9.10.05

The appearance of this ale displayed a decent head of tan foam sitting on a dark apple cider liquid. Little to no lacing as the head was big bubbled goodness; not sticky.

The smell held funky malts. A twang of the suitable Belgian aroma yielded a light presence of barley malt. Deeper whiffs uncovered a sense of baked banana bread.

Flavor was malty and nutty, with more of the suitable Belgian funk. This brew was rich in taste and feel. A light bitterness in the finish created incredible balance for the never overwhelming sweetness. For it’s dark presence, it was remarkably light in the mouth, carbed perfectly.

This brew is smooooth; EASY to drink, but it should be respected and savored. It’s highly worth it.

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Photo of kgotcher
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had been hanging on to this one for a couple months. It is my first Trappist. Poured from a large corked bottle, Cork says 03/05. I love corked beers, it adds a little style.

Color is a very dark amber, head is creamy with nice light lacings.

Smell is powerful, malty, spicy, fruity. Very complex.

Mouthfeel has very good medium body, creamy with noticably carbonation.

Taste is complicated but very smooth. Fruit and spice balance each other nicely, achohol is noticable but not overpowering. Fruit is more on the Estery side. Rarely does a beer overwhelm my tounge the way this beer does. It hits every part, sweet, salt, bitter, sour, but in a way that does not overpower any part.

Overall this is a serious beer. Powerful, potent, tasty, but balanced. I look forward to trying more Trappist style beers soon.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've neglected Chimay for quite a while, basically since I noticed that I could rather enjoy Ommegang for only $5). I was in the mood for something special last night, after wandering into Chesapeake Fine Wine in the mood for antipasti and pizza. Poured heavily into a thick Chimay chalice, you get a beautiful dark reddish brown brew with a fluffy off-white head. Could have used a bit better retention or lacing, but that could have been the glass. Delicious malty aroma that was both fruity and nutty. Creamy, malty, delicious fruits, nuts and berries dance around with a perfect combonation of carbonation. Highly drinkable, the 750 didn't stand a chance. The only thing holding it back is the price here in the states...

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,630 ratings.
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