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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,823 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 7,823 |  Reviews: 2,379
Photo of Zimbo
3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


I really want to like this. No, actually, I really want to love this. But I can't. It sure pours an easy head with an appetising hazy brown chestnut colour but it struggles to retain that head for the duration of the drink.

Seems quite advanced for a 2010. Fairly thin and dilute and pretty carbonated. The taste is pretty one dimensional. Gives a sharpness which is not entirely developed. But structually this is just too soft and sweet for what it is supposed to be. And this beer doesn't have the stuffing to be for the long haul. Far too simple.

It's been well over twenty years now but please, please bring back the Brew House Copper and the open squares.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Dark mahogany color with khaki head

smell - cocoa, raisins, plums

taste - not quite as good as the smell, cherries in the finish, raisins, plums, grapes

mouthfeel - body is a bit light for the style, medium carbonation , no booziness to speak of

drinkability - this is a decent beverage

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Photo of noel2977
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle I had cellared for a year... into an Ommegang chalice.

A - hazy, coppery, reddish tint. Opaque. Decent head that dissapates quickly. No lacing on the glass. Sediment noticeable in the bottle.

S - interesting... dank, earthy, with a hint of subdued dark fruit.

T - here's where it gets interesting. I wanted to see what a year in the cellar would do... First wave of belgian spices, slightly subdued. Flavors of apple and fig cascade into pear, and then another layer of spice. Sweet maltiness on the finish. Great character of fresh Chimay, but more 'mature'. Interesting - compleixtiy is maintained, but the alcohol burn isnt present.

M - Craemy, bubbly, yet not oily or mouthcoating.

D - 9% alcohol and such a complex bomb - one's enough.

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Photo of crafbrewwhore
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened a 25 oz. bottle, from 2009.

Was alittle leary being it the first bottle I have cellared and opened. Put it in the fridge overnight to bring to temp. Once opened it was pure joy.

-It poured a nice dark brown/red tint.

- Taste for being aged was exceptional, def. had a bit more kick to it than usual. The alcohol didn't over power the taste though which was nice.

My mom was even impressed and shes become a fan of Chimay over the years.

If this was how good my first aging experience went, I am very excited to try out the others that I have down there now.

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Photo of phideltashaggy
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a standard pub glass.

Poured a dark red/brown with a light tan head. Decent lacing

Smells and tastes of dark fruits and malt. Slight spice and alchohol burn. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nice, there's a slight thick creaminess due to the sediment and fluffy bubbles. I would'nt drink more than one or two at a time.

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Photo of orz
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip glass.

A: Dark and cloudy. Head a bit irregular, stays for long.

S: The smell is incredible, sweet and complex.

T: I could feel dark chocolate, pepper and citrus. Alcohol nicely masked.

M: Lacks something - the taste is concentrated on the back of tongue.

D: Easy, however after a bottle you feel dizzy, so be careful ;-)

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Photo of Fatheranderson
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good solid entry into the Belgian Strong Ale style. It's spicy and smooth and slightly sweet but overall just amazingly complex and well done.

Appearance: Dark, rich, succulent. It looks like a mahogany wood finish when poured into a glass.

Smell: Complicated... layered... apple maybe? No not really. Stewed prunes mixed with a hint of apple and pear is the best I can describe it and even that doesn't really strike to the heart of the smell. It really just smells smooth.

Taste: Smooth, complex, deep, rich. There's just a tiny hint of alcohol, but overall it tastes almost exactly like it smells... and it's very hard to explain. There's definitely some plum in there now that I taste it again. Maybe plum, pear, and a hint of hickory wood would be a better description of what it tastes like. Add a hint of cocoa and just a little caramelized sugar and you've got a decent approximation of what it's like. There's a whole lot going on with this beer's taste at the same time, and it's really something you have to experience to completely understand. Also, the taste apparently evolves as the beer warms up, unlocking more levels of flavor like gentle hints of vanilla, maybe a little Irish creme?

Mouthfeel: just enough bite from the carbonation to keep it from feeling flat without being overbearing.

Drinkability: it's a very complicated beer which, like any good brandy requires multiple tastings to truly experience all of it.

Overall: this beer is a rich, complex, delightful ale that evolves as it warms. It isn't boozy, but it isn't completely beer either. It's a very unique, well balance ale that requires an experienced beer connoisseur to completely appreciate.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A murky dark brown-orange body capped by two fingers of creamy off-white head that burn out quickly and leave little lacing. This is a noisy beer, from the loud pop as it opened to the fizzing head burning itself out.

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit and clove-like spice over brown sugary malt. It's understated, but elegant.

Flavor: On the palate, it's a mix of rum-soaked dark fruit, peppery spice, Belgian yeast over a nutty and brown sugary malt backbone. The alcohol is masked well, contributing just a hint of spice as it warms. Dark fruit and nuttiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with spritzy carbonation and a sweetish finish. Not much sign of the alcohol in the mouth.

Drinkability: Easily quaffable, especially considering the high alcohol content. You could easily drink a 750ml bottle by yourself during and after a nice dinner.

Verdict: Chimay Grande Réserve is a beer that comes with a lot of expectations, and I'm happy to report it lives up to the hype nicely. It's solid fresh, but I think a few years of aging might bump this up a third of a grade.

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Deep, rich, cloudy brown color, completely opaque. Maybe a finger's width of slightly off-white head that fades pretty quickly to a thin layer which covers most of the surface of the beer. There is almost no lacing to speak of.

S: Really great aroma. Smells deeply sweet with hints dark fruits. The yeast gives it a great bready aroma as well. Smells exactly like a good belgian should.

T: Tastes much like it smells: hits first with the malts and a sweet, grape-like flavor which gives way to the yeast, and finishes nice and (surprisingly) dry. This beer hides the 9% ABV very well, and is only evidenced by the slight warming sensation in the back of the throat. Well balanced, really tasty beer.

M: Medium bodied, relatively light on the carbonation. The carbonation that it does have are small bubbles, which are pleasantly tingly.

D: It has been a few years since I had this beer, in the time before I really started getting into Belgians, and it is much, much better than I remember. The flavor is neither too dry or too sweet, and the mouthfeel is light and pleasant. I was surprised by how good it is, and it is absolutely worth buying.

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Photo of windypete
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a 330ml bottle, not my first chimay blue & won't be my last either.

Poured into a chalic leffe glass, a nice dark brown like all trappist beers will with a small
light creamy coloured head.

Aroma was fruity & bready & very balanced.

Taste was at first bready followed by rasins,plums with a slight alcohol taste at the end.

Drinkability is gd for an 9% beer & it goes down very easy if you allow it to, but i found it wise to
slowly drink these beers & to respect them cos to much to fast can make your head throb lol.

As with all the chimays! they are all great beers & i for one would tell everyone to try these great beers.


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Photo of mikeg67
3.76/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours hazy brown with a thick, long lasting tanned head. Aroma is of dark fruit, yeast and brown sugar. The body is full and smooth. Taste is dark fruit, brown sugar and Belgium yeast. Long lasting, dry finish. I used to like this brew much more. Must be my taste has changed over the years.

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Photo of Lerxst
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky dark chestnut with a tremendous khaki colored head that has great retention and leaves nice lacing.

S-Bready/caramel malt, grapes, raisins, maybe a slight dark cherry note, brown sugar. Smells good.

T-Slightly sweet dark fruit, bready malt, also an apple like flavor, a hint of alcohol.

M-Medium body, crisp carbonation yet still a bit silky and creamy.

D-Goes down easily and another is certainly a possibility

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Photo of imbibehour
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into what else... a Chimay glass. Lord knows I have had plenty of Chimay but it is about time I got around to reviewing it on record.

Chimay Bleu in appearance is first a simple off cream/brow two finger head with bubbles that fall at a slow clip. Body is a nice dark red/brown consistency. Beer leaves a collar throughout the entire glass.

Mild malted feel on the nose with a clean sense of nuttyness. Faint butter as well.

Upon tasting, a fantastic mouthfeel that give way to subtle fruit chews of cherry and other berry notes. A bit prickly though however with the carbonation and on the mid palate and slight malt, but easily handable. Hardly alcohol booming as well for nine abv.

A simple example of the style, good looking, and easily found and affordable makes drinkability very high.

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Photo of Blanco
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours a brown/burgundy color with light tan head that quickly dissolves into a light film that lays on top. smell is of dark fruit, coupled with some spice notes. hint of candy/sweetness in the background that I cannot quite identify. while taste is similar to the smell and the dark fruit shines through, the beer is pleasantly dry. the beer livens up the mouth with some zip from the carbonation with a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat, but pleasant and warming. Drinkability is very high.

Blue is my favorite of Chimay's offering and my first "great" craft brew. A classic, I'm surprised it took me so long to review.

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

Vintage 2007 magnum shared with friends. Poured into stemless red wine glasses.

A- Cork came out with a loud pop and lots of gunsmoke. Pours a dark brown with burgundy highlights . No head.

S-Musty sweetness, fruity esters, aromas of molasses, candi sugar and raisins.

T/M-4 years has done wonders for this beer. There is still plenty of vibrant, peppery carbonation, and the sweet candied fruit flavors which I found slightly overbearing in younger bottles are muted, resulting in a more subtle flavor profile. I especially enjoyed the body, which was much thinner and concentrated than I remember it fresh.

D-A great beer young, even better with some time.

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Photo of wilkowski
3.57/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. Served at 54'F per packaging.

A: Rich chestnut body. Beige head vanished too soon leaving only a small ring of foam in the center.

S: Light, soft, yeasty bread. Perhaps banana. Very pleasant.

T: This is too light for the style. Faint dried cherries and banana. Slightly sour on the finish. It opened up a bit after a few minutes and seemed to benefit from pouring the yeast sediment into the glass.

M: Smooth, lush feel. Thinner than I'd like.

D: Hides the 9% very well. I'd enjoy another, but would rather sit back with the Chimay red or white labels. This is a good beer, but not what I want from a BSDA.

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Photo of gopens44
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark, dark brown and hazy. 1/2" foamy head that runs off after a few minutes.

S - Sweet plums and dark cherries interlaced with a yeasty presence. Sharo twang running up the nostrils as well, but not necessarily from the alcohol. Just a little sharpness.

T - Similar to the nose but the fruits take on a more gentle complexion as their presence is overpowered a bit by the alcohol taste. I believe that I read a comparison to Cognac, and I would have to agree that this is a good comparison. Finishes a touch yeasty and boozy with a hint of cigar smoke.

M - Very thin with a decent amount of carbonation

Nice beverage to be certain. I'm going to look forward to aging the next few I get to see if the alcohol presence mellows enough to alow the fruity notes to take center stage.

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Photo of DuncanIdaho
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light head quickly dissolves, cherry-brown colored but very dark, consistently cloudy. Small puddle of foam remains in the center.

S: Delicate smell, flowers like clover and a hint of orange.

T: Well rounded, flowers again and slightly bitter. The carbonation is very noticeable and pleasant.

M: Slight caramel aftertaste, taste is very subtle

D: Easily drinkable, tasty but not my favorite Trappist. Will drink this more often though.

Would go well with peanuts or salty crisps.

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Photo of leedorham
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured a dark brown with tons of off-white head. Foaming out of the bottle after opening.

S - Caramel sweetness, banana, some breadiness to it.

T - Very nice. Complex & spicy but not overpowering in any one category. Lots of caramel character behind the characteristic banana and clove.

M - Fairly thin for this big a beer. Highly carbonated. Still comes across as full-bodied.

D - Very drinkable for this abv. Sneaks up on you. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 75cl bottle at 18th Street Lounge and Marvin in DC (two separate occassions). Pours dark brown with a small, fast disappearing head. This is very aromatic stuff, with a "big chew" grape strongly asserting itself then some raisin, sugar. The flavour is of grape, raisin, dark cherry, with alcohol, and maybe bubblegum. Mouthfeel is medium with very little in the way of carbonation. Drinks down really nice. My favorite of the Chimay beers. Quality has gone down noticably over the years...

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Photo of danieelol
2.85/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Chimay chalice. 2010 vintage.

A: pours with a bit of head which rapidly diminishes. Some lacing but not too much. For the style the lack of head retention is pathetic. And after 10 minutes there's no lacing left either. 2.5

S: Nose is not potent at all. This follows a Bernardus Abt with a best By of 06/08/14 and the flavour in the St Bernardus was just so much more potent to the extent that the beers are not comparable in any way. There's a bit of yeast and some winey notes and alcohol but apart from that the nose is simply incredibly weak. I think partly it's that the head dies down too quick to get any lasting flavour notes. 2.5

T: Some sort of Belgian chemically solventy flavours mainly. Not unpleasant but not really impressive or enjoyable in any way. At least there is some flavour here, unlike in the nose. Also some yeast. 3

M: Relatively thick and creamy actually. 4

D: Honestly not an enjoyable or well flavoured beer. Can certainly drink it but it lacks flavour. This is the second bottle I've had of the 2010 vintage, and the first (a 750mL) ended up being a drainpour. I've previously enjoyed Chimay Blue. I also enjoyed both the Chimay Red and White which came in the same tasting pack. I just don't know what's wrong with the Chimay Blue now, it's supposed to be their flagship beer but I can quite honestly say it's just a bad beer at present. Carbonation dies down too quickly (I'm staring at the glass within 10 minutes of opening the bottle and there is 0 head left, a far cry from the Bernardus Abt where the head lasted for 50 minutes or so), flavour is muted. Maybe there's been some problems in bottling but they've occurred repeatedly and I've no problems marking down this most overrated of beers. 2.5

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Photo of frognot
3.38/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick, creamy head that lingers

Smell: Pleasant blend of fruit, yeast and malts. However, nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste: Lots of malt with some fruit balancing it out with the warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a lingering creaminess

Drinkability: Medium drinkability.

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Photo of jds1469
2.34/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

I was excited to find an aged bottle at a local store (only thing is they had it in the back of the cooler not at the temp of the other crafts. Got it home, popped the top, poured into my New Belgium globe...

Apperance - PERFECT, dark, rich and cloudy amber color, for an ALE this is perfect. The head was about one inch tall and went away quickly.

Smell - This reminded me of a cheap, woody cognac to start with. I actually sat this down and came back to it after a few minutes, afterwords I could still smell the woodiness but the fruit and florals started to become more prominent.

Taste - All I can say is watered down whiskey. Just NOT IMPRESSED.

Mouthfeel - TOO thin, no feel at all. It has the feel of water.

Drinkability - I would get something else. Very poor overall.

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Photo of cbgbslev
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a Chalice. Pours a dark color with a huge light tan head with excellent retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a lot of dark fruits, spices, dark cherries. Amazing aroma.

T- Like the aroma is malty up front with dark fruits, spices, little yeast, and some alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with a mild carbonation.

Overall, amazing beer! Great beer, highly recommend it! A bit pricey but my favorite beer.

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Photo of weatherdog
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured in a Chimay chalice

It pour a deep auburn with some yeast murkiness. A vigorous pour gives me a very generous head filling the chalice and then settling down to a nice layer of bubbles.

The nose instantly fills me with some tart cherries, much more tart than I remember from the last time I had this beer. It's a much welcome smell as it's one of my favorites in Belgian beers. Behind that some sweet malts and some yeast spice.

That tart cherry flavor doesn't transfer over to the taste very much, it is replaced with mostly some sweetness and dark fruits. On the backend I can taste some alcohol and with the sweetness and Belgian spice I'm drawing comparisons to a mildly spiced rum.

Mouthfeel is medium with a semi-dry finish and high carbonation. As the beer warmed the alcohol made itself more noticeable which dinged the drinkability a bit.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,823 ratings
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