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
2,331 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:
2,331
Ratings:
7,630
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
19.16%
 
 
Wants:
496
Gots:
1,813
For Trade:
15
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,331 | Ratings: 7,630
Photo of mgdeth
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark amber or light brown in color (it is about the colors of raisins). The head recedes quickly. Yeast from the bottle made its way into the glass.

Smell - Rich raisin/plum/prune and malty smells dominates the aroma profile. No hops are present.

Taste - The taste is a blend of malty sweetness, raisin/plum/prune, and spice. Alcohol taste is clearly present, and hops are not present at all. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel - This beer is really thick, so its name is well deserved. Anything thinner just would not seem right.

Drinkability - The alcoholic flavor is not particularly to my liking, as it makes the beer a tad rough. Otherwise the taste is good, so this tends to make the beer desirable.

Comments - This beer is definitely worth a try. This is not one of my preferred styles.

 810 characters

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

This is beer bliss. If I had to chose just one beer to drink for the rest of my life this would be it. I can remember the first time I had the Grand Reserve and always look for an excuse to indulge in the next.

The color is primarily dark walnut but a little on the ruby red side. The head is white, bubbly , and sturdy as it leaves traces of it's sticky residue on the sides of my Chimay chalice.

The complexity of the smell and flavor is overwhelming. Floral, fruity, yeasty, esthery, wine like, malty, and sweet, with hints of ginger bread, cinnamon, and clove. The moutfeel is creamey, smooth, and inviting. The ABV says 9% on the bottle but this beer really packs a wallop that I can't taste but certainly can feel.

God bless the Monks of Chimay. This beer is heaven on earth.

 791 characters

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.07/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby brown, bit hazy, with an off-white big head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

Very little hop bouquet in the aroma, musty yeast, earthy, bit spicy, perhaps clove.

Taste is somewhat sweet with decent balance. Starts sweet and finishes a bit sour. Dark fruits, raisins and prunes, and sweet malts are present.

Overly carbonated and medium body.

An average beer...Chimay remains very average all around for me.

 459 characters

Photo of makoshark
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers of all time. I found a great deal where you got a free glass with each bottle purchased for only $8.00.

Pours a dark reddish brown with an excellent head. Very nice lacing on the glass. This is definately one that should be enjoyed from the suggested glass. It helps to enhance both the aroma and taste. The slightly sweet taste helps to mask the high alcohol content. The overall drinkability is very smooth with great mouthfeel. This is always one that I use to introduce people to the world of better beers that are available to all.

 564 characters

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

Pours a murky brown brew with a decent-sized, dense, tan head.
The smell is fruity, complex and rather sweet with raisins, bread and some earthiness.
The taste is deep, dark and complex: plummy fruits, grapes, wood, bread and some notes of alcohol and malts near the end.
The mouthfeel is very nice, the beer is smooth, well carbonated and although the alcohol is traceable it's well hidden.
Very drinkable too considering the high ABV and complexness of this beer.

Overall, this is an incredibly solid beer that I often go back to, one of the best trappist brews there is in my opinion. My favourite in this style. Highly recommended!

 642 characters

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

Revieuwing one I drink so often is always hard.. what to say about a beer youre in love with! Great appearance with the darkbrown colour, good head that last during the whole drink. Nose is nicely balanced batle between (roasted)malts, hops an yeastfruits, great again. Full cara,roast and otherbarleymalts and candysugar( is it, anyway thats what I taste...) Together with a clean sweetbitter aftertaste makes this beer into an enjoyable sip.

 443 characters

Photo of beertaster13
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer totally changed the way I think of perfect. The apperance throws one off, a deep dark mohagany and brown with tan head. The smell however is light, fruity and floral. Hints of citrus zest and banana and apples with a slight earthy tone, thick bread smell. The taste is light and fruity, bananas and apples on the forefront and a nice herbal spice lingers, the rear is a nice complimentary light malt that brings you to want to drink again, as you continue to taste you will pick up on bread and earthy tones, very complex. Medium bodied and perfect to celebrate any occasion, or just perfect for a twilight evening.

 625 characters

Photo of baiser
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, hazy brown, with a foamy tan head. Yeasty, aroma of dark fruits, prunes and rum. Flavour is complex. Full of dark fruitiness, yeast, chocolate. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Drinkability is lacking at 9% abv. Alcohol is warming, but for me, there's just a bit too much.

 284 characters

Photo of chunkylover53
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found a few bottles of this in a nearby LCBO, much to my surprise and delight, and bought as many as I could carry on the subway. On the way home, a lady proclaimed me to be a sinner, citing my beer as evidence, and demanded that I not stand near her. I explained to her that I was disinclined to acquiesce to her request, so she mumbled and made creepy hand gestures in my direction for the rest of the trip.

After a mini-adventure like that, how could I not enjoy this beer?

Appearance: Very dark brown with a big foamy off-white head. And loud. It sounded like the head was full of a certain snappy, crackly and poppy cereal.

Smell: Surprisingly little smell for a beer of this style. A hint of dark fruits, perhaps, but that's about it.

Taste: Yummy. Dark fruits, hops, caramel. Nice, big mouthfeel.

This is a fine beer. Hopefully there will still be some left next time I go. But will I have the courage to brave the hordes of anti-beer gesture-makers on the subway? If I drink a few of these first, then probably.

 1,036 characters

Photo of slitherySOB
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Belgian dark beer. A good beer, but did not go well with the crocodile meal I had with it. Oh well. Pours a dark, brown and black colour with a huge, white, firm head. Lace is sticky like tape. Smells of raising, figs, plums, malts and alcohol. Taste is sweet and a bit harsh. Lots of malts and dark fruits, blended with a phenol alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is a bit thick and chewy. Drinkable, but I prefer the chimay red. I still need a better appreciation of these dark ales. I like them, but I don't love them as much as the pales. Too sweet for me.

 549 characters

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

Had this a long long time ago, before my BA days, and recently just had a sip of my friend's and I was reminded how damn good this stuff is. So I went out and got some. 750ml corked bottle. Pours a transparent brown color, not too dark, nice and smooth looking with a huge tan head full of swiss cheese like holes. Smell is very inviting, very rich. Smells of sweet toasted malts and spiced fruits, perhaps a little dark rum thrown in, with a dash of mustiness. Taste is fabulous. Lots of flavors, lots of complexities. Very bready, but not like your standard loaf. More like pumpkin bread or banana bread or something else sweet like that. A tad woodsy too, with Belgian spices and a touch of bitter hops. Medium bodied but very smooth tasting, not light but not too heavy, despite the brown color. I would drink this beer all the time if it didn't cost as much. Despite it being one of the more popular/commercial/well-know Belgian beers out there, it's with out a doubt one of the best.

 989 characters

Photo of Opethsprite
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought this after seeing it on a list at a local bar/restaurant and hearing some good stuff about it....And I was not disappointed...

Appearance: Simple, elegant bottle. Pours very dark, an almost opaque brown with amber highlights. Very rich head of monstrous proportions that left a residual eggshell lacing.

Smell: A very subtle, poignant smell of creamy smoke and fire followed by a dusty woodiness.

Taste: Lovely hops are noticeable at first, followed by the warm, musky tang of over-ripened fruits. There seems to be layer upon layer of unique tastes here that beg to be explored!

Mouthfeel: A good amount of carbonation is the perfect contrast to the pleasant warmth of the 9% alcohol content.

Drinkability: This is the most perfect beer that I've ever had...and probably the closest to perfect that I'll have for quite some time. An unfailing choice, really. I would make this my beer-of-choice if it weren't for the $15 price tag on my single 1-Litre bottle! A must-try beer!

 1,002 characters

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

from the bottle. poured brown with tan head. aroma roasted malts, raspberries, plums, yeast alcohol, hints of citrus.flavor caramel,fruity, licorice, alcohol, hints of grapefruit, as this warmed the grapefruit got stronger. liked the bitterness. a good beer

 257 characters

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

First time having a Chimay of any color, and it was pretty tasty.

Nice hazy brown with a decent head that lightly stuck to the glass and left a nice amount of lacing on the surface all the way down.

Smell was of dark, ripe fruit with a nice malty backbone and a bit of the 9% abv.

Taste was good. I was expecting something a bit stronger but the sweetness and fruit were balanced nicely. Reminded me a bit of Trois Pistoles.

Mouth was smooth and rich. Left a bit sour but not dry, good carbonation takes care of the finish.

Overall a good choice to be had. I would drink this regularly if it wasn't so (comparitively) expensive.

 643 characters

Photo of tatterdash
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nice dark garnet with a thick off-white head that's rather lively. Aroma of biscuits, dark fruits, and a bit of sour yeast, slightly winey. Taste was quite complex, starts with dark fruits, malts kick in the middle and then some hops and bitterness in the finish. Very smooth, and not as sweet as I remembered. The high ABV is rather nicely hidden, making this dangerously drinkable... Considering popping one of these of New Year's if I can find one.

 457 characters

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty good beer, but not great. Nice dark color with nice initial head which quickly dissipates. Taste is malty sweet from residual sugar and spicy from typical Belgian yeast esters. Not overly complex. I finished almost the whole 750 mL bottle by myself and it was FREE at the office Christmas party. So I'm in an extra good mood about this. Pretty drinkable. Other non-beer people who had sips enjoyed.

 405 characters

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

Picked up an 11.2 oz bottle at Papago Brewing for $3.50 back in September.

This is a ruby brown ale that poured a 4 finger head that is leaving a bit of residue. It is cloudy with plenty of yeast sediment. Nose is of spicy Belgian yeast. Taste is of dark fruity malt to start fading into a smooth slightly detectable alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is good, lively but not overly carbonated. Overall drinkability is good. This is a very well put together brew. The high ABV and cost will limit me to 1 sampling but two samples are very doable!

 540 characters

Photo of elricorico
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy brown with what seems like a touch of purple in it. It has a big bubbly tan head that I'm watching slowly shrink. The head never faded away completely and the drink leaves some lacing as it goes.

Has a black pepper and cherry type smell. A little bit of alcohol apparant in the aroma.

Taste is sweet up front with a spicy alcohol finish. Dark fruits to begin and pepper at the end.

Mouthfeel is good, full bodied enough and not over carbonated. Putting into consideration the alcohol content, this beer goes down easy too.

It's good, a beer that I wouldn't mind having again soon.

 611 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sample is in the little stubby bottle. I like the medeival looking writing and logo on the neck, classy.

This beer pours a deep chocolate color with an invincible head and swathes of lace that coat the glass like shaving cream. The aroma is of dried dark fruits dusted in cocoa powder, fresh plums and caramel malts. The taste is malty with a clear dark candy sugar flavor. Theres and chocolate and all spice flavors, maybe some cloves as well. Hoppiness is very minimal and the alcohol is subdued for the lofty ABV. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly tingly from a plethora of little bubbles. This is a near perfect dark Belgian beer. Excellent.

 656 characters

Photo of gentlebubbles
2.09/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle. Bottle-conditioned. No sign whatsoever of a vintage date. Perhaps the code LAM - 088 on the back means something?

Despite the enticing pop of the cork, only a reluctant tan haze briefly passes for a head. The beer itself is a deep chestnut with an amber glow at the bottom and a hint of ruby at the brim.

Strong unpleasant yeasty smell, like a starter of baking yeast. As it warms the alcohol comes out in powerful winey port with overtones of raisins.

Hardly any flavor to fight off the alcohol, just a bit of sweetness up front more like maple syrup than malt. Thin and fizzy and that yeast taste pops up again in the finish.

Supposedly it benefits from aging. It could only get better.

 718 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tobacco leaf brown with an infusion of orange. The beer contains a great deal of yeast and a wealth of vigorous carbonation rushing up to an expansive, ecru colored head. The foam is so soft and pillowy that I'd be surprised if much lace actually sticks to the chalice. There's very little as it turns out.

The nose smells overwhelmingly of clove. There's an undercurrent of musky, dark fruit that doesn't really have a chance to shine due to the olfactory spiciness. Blue's mouthfeel is lighter than expected; a sensation that is heightened by a generous amount of hyperactive carbonation. If I can get past the physical sensation of the beer in the mouth, this is a pretty tasty BSDA, although I've had better.

The flavor profile consists of sweet dark fruit (currants and dates) that has been soaked in a mixture of dark rum and molasses. It isn't overly sweet beer, but there is a light viscousness underlying the otherwise airy, active mouthfeel. Alcohol isn't masked all that well; not a deal breaker by any means. Whereas clove spice dominated the nose, it's much more subdued on the palate.

Grande Reserve is my favorite of the three Chimay beers (as I was pretty sure it would be), but I can't help feel that it doesn't quite deserve its reputation. The best thing about it is that it's pretty widely available. There are quite a few BSDAs, however, that I like a whole lot more.

 1,397 characters

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

This was a cloudy brown ale with a good-sized foamy tan head.

The aroma was of medium to dark malts, overlaid with slightly floral aromatic hops.

The flavor was of rich, slightly musty malt. There were traces of oak and toffee. There was also a lovely warm afterglow, which seems to be a hallmark of Chimay ales.

There was some good body to this beer, and it was the most drinkable of the Chimay line IMHO. Overall a pleasurable experience.

 449 characters

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

This poured to a nice brown color with a modest head that lasted very well. Lacing is minor but attractive.

The smell is somewhat subdued but appealing, consisting mainly of malts with some degree of fruity esters. The taste was similar, with a hint of alcohol coming through as well.

The mouthfeel is very good, being both full and pleasing. Drinkability starts high and only seems to get better as I consume more.

 421 characters

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

This beer pours a medium brown. I didn't give it time to settle after transport, so the sediment was in suspension and gave it a murky look. Small head. Appropriate level of mild carbonation. Aroma is earthy and somewhat musty. Perhaps some grape too. Flavor profile is moderate malt with that Belgian yeast character, not a strong candi sugar presence. Minimal bitterness but detectable. A little rough. Medium to full bodied. Alcohol is subtle. Overall, surprisingly complex, non-offensive, surprisingly drinkable.

 516 characters

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

This is one of the best beers ever brewed. It pours a dark, hazy brownish color and has a ton of fine carbonation and a fat off-white head that leaves little lace on my glass. The aroma is as complex as the flavor and you would need a book to properly describe it. It has a very sweet, spicy malty character that is a mind blowing experience. The only thing holding this beer back is it's price... $13 at my local liquor store. That said, I buy it whenever I feel the need to pamper myself with a great Belgian beer. This is brewing at it's pinnacle.

 550 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,630 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

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

    Subscribe