Grande Réserve (Blue)
Bières de Chimay

Grande Réserve (Blue)Grande Réserve (Blue)
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Style:
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #2
ABV:
9%
Score:
96
Ranked #587
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 10.39%
Reviews:
2,438
Ratings:
8,087
From:
Bières de Chimay
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  562
Gots
  2,120
SCORE
96
World-Class
Grande Réserve (Blue)Grande Réserve (Blue)
Notes: 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.
View: Beers | Events
Reviews: 2,438 | Ratings: 8,087
Photo of Junior
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Cola brown with a foamy head.
S - Sweet malts, bread, caramel. Aroma is very muted.
T - Sweet malts, bready with caramel/toffee and spice. Warming alcohol on the finish.
M - Smooth and balanced. Full, very carbonated.
O - Excellent Beer. Not just one of the best Belgian Ales, this one is truly world class and can hold its own against any other style.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark soda brown with decent head and great lacing.
S: Malt, spice, bread, and wine.
T: Follows the nose, very nice wine/raisin flavors with a malt mix and a soft spice. Very smooth and pleasing to drink.
M: Medium
O: Exceptional beer, classic brewing and flavors are stellar.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep dark brown with a slight reddish hue (barely).
Smell: Sweet and malty, boozy. Some dark roasted grains.
Taste: Sharp bite of alcohol right up front. Sweetens up a bit after the alcohol subsides. Belgian yeast flavors blast in. Slight metallic tang. Some charred wood and nutty flavors.
Feel: Medium - thinner fell than expected.
Overall: Very very good beer. Not my favorite "Dark Strong" style beer but very enjoyable. Complex flavors.

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Photo of BenHoppy
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The king of all Belgians and Trappist brews. Tastes of figs, cola, dates, chocolate, malt, and other dried fruit. This beer is good fresh and aged for 5-10 years. I never had a bad drinking experience with this beer. Almost is better each time i have it.

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Photo of eberesford
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with a thick creamy off white head that settles to a creamy stable 1cm. Aroma: Brown sugar, cinnamon, anise, nutmeg. Flavour: Banana, toffee, raisins, spices as noted and s hint of bitterness. Smooth, rich, yet not overly full bodied.

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 2016 750ml bottle. Pours dark brown with big, fluffy head. Slightly sour smell with some sweet malt aromas. Medium feel. Very smooth taste with dried fruit, sweet malt, and yeast flavors. Very good.

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Photo of Phineasco
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Brown, clear, with large white head. Medium high carbonation.
Smell: Caramel, toffee, and raisins.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, banana, and clove.
Mouthfeel: Medium
Overall: A solid Belgian dark ale from Chimay.

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Photo of mizzydawg
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First Trappist ale I've tried. Unbelievably smooth. Smooth texture I've not found in anything else. Very balanced. Not too sweet not too bitter. Just right. Favorite dark ale

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Photo of Holderness
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L -- Pours a clear medium amber with a three-finger off-white head produced with gentle pour. Great retention and some lacing
S -- Warming sweet malts, blueberry, banana, fig, caramel, and raisin
T -- Lots of dark fruits, yeast, banana-like sweetness, clove, and brown bread. Teeters on the edge of being cloyingly molasses-sweet on the finish, but doesn't quite fall off
F -- Big and chewy. Well carbonated thanks to the bottle conditioning.
O -- Solid Belgian. Pretty expensive, though. I'd generally stick with Unibroue's Maudite

84/100

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Photo of Timothee
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

An outstanding beer. My personal favorite. The complexity of the taste is delightful and will suit amazingly well any type of red meat. - A Belgian guy.

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Photo of Bdubz94
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL, 2016 vintage.

Pours a dark reddish brown color. Opaque at first glance but light shines through when held up. Foamy 3 finger beige head. Huge retention but minimal lacing.

Smells of caramel, malts, and dark fruit. Sweeter than I was expecting.

Taste is roasty, malty, and sugary. Caramel and raisins dominate. Belgian yeast are present.

Feel is medium for the style (heavy relative to other beers). High carbonation. Some alcohol warming but surprisingly drinkable all things considered. Perhaps a bit thin.

Overall fantastic. Smooth and sweet.

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Photo of jkblr
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a Chimay chalice at fridge temp 9% ABV. Bottle code is L14-374. The beer pours bright and medium brown in color. There are ruby highlights if the glass is held to the light. Head is dense light brown in color and leaves significant lacing. Aromas of caramel, dark sugar, cherries, plums and raisins all take turns presenting themselves with each sip. The taste follows with waves of flavor. Dark sugar, dark fruit, cherry and malt all intermix for a unique flavor combination. This beer is neither sweet nor bitter. Mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied, gently carbonated from bottle conditioning, soft on the tongue yet finishes dry. Overall, excellent. This is great stuff and certainly not an experience to pass over.

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Photo of saboliver
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sweet, rich aroma with dried fruit notes – figs, dates, raisins. Not especially powerful, but very nice indeed. Wonderful first taste. Very smooth, without too much carbonation (though the carbonation may have been reduced on opening). Buttery, sweet, with some roasted malt and the fruits that were evident in the nose. A breadiness in the background and perhaps some caramel and brown sugar. A warming and sumptuous beer to savour.

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Photo of briandschorr
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best dark ales that I have had the pleasure of enjoying. The spices and caramel come through with a great balance. This beer has a smooth and warming finish. For me, this is my go to when having Shepard's Pie.

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Photo of MKV
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: clean brown, fair head
Smell: dark and grainy, nothing spectacular
Taste: full bodied grain and roast flavors
Feel: a bit acrid on occasion, oddly enough, but nothing horribly unpleasant

The Blue is a beer best served with a good food accompaniment. I had mine with a burger with Chimay cheese on it - it was an absolutely fantastic pairing.

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Photo of craigbelly
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fragrance of fresh yeast with a light, flowery rosy touch. Its flavour only accentuates the pleasant sensations perceived in the aroma , while revealing a light but pleasant touch of roasted malt. Nice carbonation.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance had a dark brown colored body with a massive three finger white head. The head must last for about a good four minutes before it died. Minimal spider web lacing speckled the sides and slid fairly quickly down the sides of the glass. The smell had raisins and cherries with light pears and caramels in the background, slightly in a bready sort of way. The yeast is very subdued, but its there. The taste takes all of the previously mentioned flavors and combined altogether in a sweet bready yet somewhat earthy sort of way. The palate sat about a medium with nothing remotely close to having any sort of harshness on the tongue. As many times as I’ve had this, this is probably the smoothest most Belgian beer on the market. It leaves a sweet sticky aftertaste and a slightly dry finish. Though at 9%, I’d still say fairly sessionable. Overall, this is a Belgian I like, probably because the yeast is tamed well. Nice dessert and night cap!

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Photo of SpongeHop
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - red-brown beer, with a ruby glow when held against the light. Big hazelnut head. I almost didn't want to drink it.
S & T - raisins, slight candi sugar, milk chocolate on the back-end, toasty maltiness. Rum-raisin chocolate bonbons.
F - nice and creamy, so so smooth.

O - Take your time when drinking this. The tastes evolve and you discover more and more as you sip it over half an hour. It was quite the experience, and I'm not even that big a fan of the Belgians.

I do recommend this one.

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Photo of SmokySignals
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Uncorked 2016 into Mountain Layers Belgian Goblet. Pop! What a smell!

Head galore! 3/4 ths of the glass was fine light tan rich dense foam. Crumbling down to a nice even layer, it puts off a rich decadent brandy or port-like scent; dark sweet fruits and quite boozy (9% abv).
Deep dark golden brown appearance is perfect. It glows a fiery red orange with a phone light behind it, while tiny bubbles race to the top.

Taste follows nose; sweet, rich candied plums with and added alcohol punch, but a perfectly crisp dry finish. Decadent.

My favorite aspects of Chimay Grande Reserve Ale are its crispness and dryness, which fight to overcome the rich sweetness. A little too sweet out front and a bit too much alcohol smell for me, but certainly top notch for sure.
I should have warmed this up a bit longer, I think. The malts seem to start showing up as it warms.

May be perfect for a Christmas or New year party, after smashin favorites first.

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Photo of stortore
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. Had 1/13/17.

Pours a dark brown, a little garnet on the edges in the light, fairly opaque, with a huge three inch foamy head on an average pour. Lots of foamy lacing. The smell is Belgian yeast, candi sugar, caramel, dates, figs, malt, some spices- cloves, for one. Light black pepper in the head, a little cola aroma. The taste is also strong on the yeast, much more malt than the nose, caramel, figs, candi sugar, dates. A quick flash of light bitterness up front. Smooth, creamy, a solid, medium body, well carbonated- a little on the high side.

A classic and top notch Belgian Strong Dark, with well blended flavors and a big, complex aroma. This is a beer everyone should try.

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Photo of cipherbreak
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice bright and lively brown with a foamy head that rises and dissipates quickly.
S - Sweet malts, bread, caramel, and nuts dominate here.
T - Sugars. with a mildly bitter aftertaste. Sharply carbonated.
M - Smooth and balanced. It flows with ease.

O - Excellent Belgian Ale. Very enjoyable. Let it sit a bit before the first sip, as it shines when a tad warm.

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Photo of Bombelsky
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle.
L17-0 05
Best before: 12/20/22

Clear, deep amber reddish. Huge frothy off-white head, leaving very good lacing. Persisting. Moderate malty and yeasty notes. Plenty of bread and mild, peppery tones. Some soft, floral hops. Light prunes. High malty, bready, rich sweetness, medium-low bitterness. Full body. Medium carbonation, oily, spicy. Medium dry finish, but there are some sweet notes getting in. Smooth, warm alcohol, gets edgy.

Great.

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Photo of wmartin
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chimay Blue, one of the world's great beers, or so they say.

I've been trying various versions of this beer over the last 2 years. I've had 5 samples of it, each one has been different in some way. Review rating is based on the 750ml bottle dated 2017 sourced direct from Belgium in March. This version has a different label than 750ml bottle bought at the same time in the U.S. dated 2016, which was imported into Texas.

The first copy of the beer I had was a 12 oz bottle from a bottle shop. I was disappointed as it had a cardboardy flavor. Cardboard flavor is indicative of a beer well past its prime, yet this beer should store well for half a decade. Perhaps it had been on that shelf in the bottle shop for a decade, or stored at 80 degrees F for awhile. Both those things are possible.

The next sample was from a 12 oz bottle in a restaurant. I found this quite good, but not one of my favorites. The characteristic Trappist yeast flavor and fruity nose, combined with some maltiness; is what made it good. Still, I wouldn't say it was spectacular. Hard to see what all the fuss was about.

But I persevered. The next sample I had at a tap room in Seattle that had around 150 taps. I asked what version of Chimay they had. When the waitress came back and said "Chimay Reserve, Blue"; I immediately bought a glass. It came in a Chimay chalice. The person I was with, who doesn't like beer, stated that it really looked good. It was quite a site with it's glittering glass, frothy foam, and brownish orange color. And drinking it was a fantastic experience. One of the best beers I've ever had. The memory of it lingered the rest of the week, despite having a couple other great beers afterwards.

On that, I obtained a couple 750ml bottles from a US distributor hoping that the larger size would be more resilient to storage issues, and more like the draft version. While I initially enjoyed these bottles, a soapiness to the flavor began to bother me, and left a disagreeable memory. I was beginning to despair at being able to repeat the Seattle experience. These bottles were dated "2016" on the cork.

I found a Belgium site that would ship direct to the U.S. and got a 750ml bottle of the Belgium version, which I just drank moments ago. This bottle was dated on the cork and label as "2017". And it had no soapy taste whatsoever. I wouldn't say it was up to the level of the Seattle version as the fruity notes were not as pronounced, but I loved it and will probably get some more (direct from Belgium if possible). I don't know if the difference between this one and the US labeled one was because one was 2017 and one was 2016, because they ship inferior stock to the US, or because of storage issues; but I think that the fact that the Belgium-sourced sample was a year younger is a good sign for getting things direct from Belgium.

The Seattle on-tap sample would be a 5; but obviously consistency is something of a problem.

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Photo of Jtee
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From a 330ml bottle served at 14 degrees Celsius into a chalice. The bottle has been cellared for a good handful of months however I lost track :)

Look: Excellent appearance from the colour to the head (given the style). It pours a clear dark brown with red highlights. One finger of foamy, tan head that settles to an impressive cap after three minutes. The cap remains until your last sip. Poor lacing... and here I thought my glass was beer-clean...?

Smell: Quite strong an aroma with notes of caramel, banana, Belgian yeast, brown bread, and dark fruits. Hints of peppery spice and herbal hops to improve the overall balance. There's no doubt the malts and esters are here to shine.

Taste: Exactly what the aroma promises. Intense and balancing towards sweet. Not cloying. Prominent estery notes of dark fruit and banana as well as bready malts, and caramel. Absolutely delicious.

Feel: Medium-full body with high carbonation. Creamy, warming, and prickly with a smooth alcohol-warmth.

Overall: Fantastic example of the style. Malty-rich with strong esters and a hop character that brings it all together. I'm a little sad the vessel is empty... I better buy another one.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should've tried this 10 years ago. Pours a dark mahogany color, relatively clear, tan head. Aromas are heavy funky yeast and Belgian sugars. Yum.

Taste is the Belgian sugars first, then the funky yeast reminds you that you're drinking a Belgian Ale. Magnificent.

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Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 8087 ratings