Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,340 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: 2,340 | Ratings: 7,669
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

Photo of jtw5877
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brownish garnet kind of hue with an effervescent white head that lasts forever. Yeasty spicy aroma that matches the taste. Malty yeasty mouthfeel with a little bit of alcoholic spiciness. A classic beer that sometimes gets a bad rap as if it were a macro. don't believe the hype this is a quality beer.

 310 characters

Photo of KroMagnon
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a wicked high head with an off-white color over a deep brown beer. The head subsided gradually with a great textured look but not a lot of lace. The aroma was a little more subtle than I expected. The aromatics I did pick up were mostly slight hints of grainy maltiness and a little bit of raisin and fruit. The flavor was dominated by a complex maltiness, with a hint of caramel and some slight fruitiness and an alcoholic warmth. Some hop bitterness was present to balance but overall this was a malty beer. Some herbaly, wood-like notes at the end of the tasting add a nice touch. Tasty and complex but I'm afraid it isn't as interesting to me as it once was. Still, a classic and delicious.

 701 characters

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

Pours dark brown with a beautiful inch of head. Very small bubbles. Smell is clean with light fruit (plum?) aroma. Very smooth. Alcohol is evident, but not distracting. Spices and slight plum flavor. The best of the red/white/blue chimay trio. Not worth the price, but still a good (not great) ale.

 298 characters

Photo of trevorwideman
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with a half-inch head that subsided rapidly but stuck around with a minimal but lovely lace for the entire glass. Dark colour with lots of unfiltered goodness. Malty, pleasant aroma. Taste of dark fruits and slight alcohol, to be expected from a 9% beer. Complex, but not too much so. Tangy mouthfeel, very drinkable despite high alcohol, but the price is what would keep me from drinking more than one in a session. Lovely beer, I look forward to trying others from this brewery.

 487 characters

Photo of dgallina
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with bronze and copper tints. Minimal initial head that quickly dissipates into a thin layer of foam. Some lace on the glass.

Malty, toasty aroma with vinous undercurrents.

Sweet and fruity flavors. Banana with alcohol spice most prevalent Very smooth and rounded. Nice execution of the basic flavors, but not the most ambitious or complex of the Trappist strong dark ales in my opinion.

Nice weight, carbonation, and roundness in the mouth.

Very drinkable for a strong dark trappist ale. Deceptively strong.

 540 characters

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

The beer poured into the chalice a deep amber brown with a tall white head which lasted to coat the glass.

The aroma was fruity with belgian yeast spiciness. Also present was a dark fruit aroma, namely raisins, and a bit of caramel.

The flavor was deep, dark fruits (raisins and plums) with an ever so slight and complex molasses flavor. The belgian yeast spiciness was prominent and a slight bready/biscuit flavor was hiding in there somewhere. A definite alcohol warming was present and a caramel impression accompanied it.

The finish was dry with dark fruits and warming alcohol long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done. A nice complex and interesting beer.

11.2 ounce bottle, thanks poundboy.

 727 characters

Photo of etaggie09
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: muddy brown with moderate-high carbonation. off white-light tan slowly diminishing head. good lacing.

Aroma: brandy, red wine, some earthy, yeasty, malty, and fruity smells as well.

Taste: good balance and a nice sort of earthy flavor. not as good as the smell belied. I can't find much in here. There's some sweet malt and alchohol presence, but not a very significant flavor.

Mouthfeel: body is just a tad thin, but the carbonation is done well.

Drinkability: Easy. 9% keeps you from drinking too many though.

Notes: Now I know why a lot of people say Chimay is overrated. I must say I agree. It lacked the complexity and flavor that I was expecting. Not a bad beer by any means, but certainly not as good as advertised.

 749 characters

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

Pours a dark brown unable to see through, nice big head that lasted the entire beer with lots of lacing.

Scent is of friut, sweet malts, yeast, alcohol.

Taste is very nice, sweet rich malts, dark fruit, yeast, hops and finishes alcohol and dry. This is very complex and hard to describe, but it is very, very good.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, mouth warming, smooth, creamy and nice carbination on the higher side, makes it almost refreshing.

Drinkability is good. I would have another but I can only afford one at a time. The alcohol is a bit much, but only those two things make this beer less drinkable to me.

This is a very nice beer. I will try many more Chimay products.

 691 characters

Photo of WetCoaster
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Oxblood/mahogany with a fairly thin tan head. Decent duration. Some lacing. Fine, fairly mild carbonation. A bit cloudy.

Smell: Complex, but somewhat faint. Yeast funk, spice, red apple and plum; sweet and a bit sugary overall with a slight hint of rum alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Again, it's correct, adaquate, but not particularly compelling. There's yeast, spice, earth, perhaps a bit of tobacco, and a caramel apple fruitiness. It's surprisingly citrus/hoppy bitter at the finish. Also a surprise is its thin body, although there's a pleasant creaminess. Carbonation peeks in at the finish.

Drinkability: It's a nice enough beer, and lighter than its 9% ABV might suggest.

I'm not overwhelmed by this beer, which is surprising, because I'd always counted it among my favorites before I tasted it objectively. I should note that this bottle was fairly fresh and the less desirable 11.2 size.

I'll come back to this one, no doubt. As of right now, though, I much prefer their red label dubbel.

 1,020 characters

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

My first Chimay.
I picked up a big bottle of this at the liquor store with the promise of a free glass with the purchase. They were fresh out of glasses but I got the brew anyway, and boy am I glad I did.
The beer is dark brown in color with some hints of red. If I didn't know better i'd think I was looking at a glass of bourbon.
The off-white head dissolves quickly but leave a few bubbles around the edges resembling a glass of Pepsi or Coke.
The scent is apples, pears, grapes and cinnamon and the flavor is the same with caramel and a great malty taste.
The mouthful is tinglingly perfect. Light but not thin.
The aftertaste is fruity and malty but not very intense.
The nine percent alcohol content is fairly well hidden.
I'll definitely be returning to this one.

 781 characters

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

Pours a cloudy, dark reddish-brown. Smallish, tight head with very littel lace.
Smell is malt and a light cherry fruitiness. A bit weaker than expected.
Taste is smoky, malty, cherry, hops then alcohol late.Great complexity.
Mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy, full bodied and warms the mouth and throat.
Drinkability: If it weren't 9% ABV, I could drink this all day long. Yet another fine beer from the Belgians.

 419 characters

Photo of frazbri
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep red brown topped with a thick tan head. Orchard full of aroma apple, blueberry, and cinnamon. Flavors of dates, apples and oak with a dry warm finish. Mild carbonation and tongue coating mouth feel.

This is still a very complex beer. A special occasion calls for a beer like this.

 294 characters

Photo of crookedhalo
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

75 cl bottle, cork dated 04/03. Pours a yeasty deep chestnut color with some rust colored highlights. Greyish beige colored foam. Yeasty, dark candi sugars and malty, some ripe fruit esters, and lighter, toastier malts are all traits of the nose. Dark malty taste, with a pungent yeastiness and dark fruit notes with a light astringency in the finish that is cleansing. Higher carbonation level keeps the beer feeling airy on the tongue. I feel this is the most tasty and complex brew of the Chimay line. I'm not sure why Chimay is treated unfairly; sure they may have tweaked recipes over time, but all of their beers are still world class. I'm not a beer snob, I just like good beer... and this is good.

 705 characters

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

Pours a brown with mahogany highlites. Nice off white head that grows and grows. The head is magnificent. Spritely carbonation rises up the chalice. Its almost a shame to drink it and spoil the picture. Aroma is of spice and a rich fruitcake doused with liquer. Taste is nice. Fruity malts up front followed by the Chimay spicyness and peppery notes. ( is it the yeast) Alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Nice and smooth mouthfeel-- full but not chewy. You would never guess it is 9%. Of all the Chimays I liked this one the best. Very drinkable. I would like another soon

 576 characters

Photo of mntlover
2.83/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

My last Chimay it pours a dark reddish brown with nice light tan head. Aroma dark fruits, grape wine like with hints of alcohol. Taste of alcohol with a sudden burst of carbonation obscures most of flavor that is present. Malt hints of dark fruit, grape, and candy like about all I could find threw the alcohol. Mouthfeel is fine to much carbonation otherwise pretty good. Drinkability is bad could of had 2 12oz of Trois Pistoles for the price of this one 11.2 oz and they would have been more the twice as good.

 513 characters

Photo of Padron4KM
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml Bomber:
Pours a dark brown with a good sized tan head that disapates to a thin cap.
Aroma is mostly smokey, a little fruity, a little spicy. Flavor is slightly sweet, dark dried fruit (somewhere between a raisin and a prune) a little spicy (clove) with just a slight touch of bitterness on the back end.

 313 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,669 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.