Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,882 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

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Ratings: 7,882 |  Reviews: 2,393
Photo of Scoats
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For some reason, I thought the Blue Label was a triple. It ain't. It is a very dark brown beer.

Chimay has been getting rapped pretty badly these days for taking short cuts in the brewing process. If this bottle is typical of what Chimay is putting out these days, then that rapping is not fully deserved.

With the dark brown reddish color and the controlled but strong head, this beer was beautiful. Taste was full and interesting. I didn't get some of the nuances one can sometimes get from these sorts of beers. Instead it was a very tasty balanced interesting beer.

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Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was surpised to realize that I had not yet rated this third member of the Chimay trio. This is a well crafted, quality beer - no doubt. I have to wonder, though, it its wide availabiltiy and name recognition don't sometimes earn it a bit more acclaim than it deserves. Pours a nice cola-colored amber. Very lively carbonation. Not a great deal of aroma. The flavor is very clean and well balanced, but without the depth Belgian darks are capable of. Rum-soaked dark bread flavors - alcohol is proudly displayed but well integrated in the flavor. Finish is nicely clean and dry.

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Photo of BenConnery
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I first had this in a bar in Brussells. Can't be more specific, there where a few...
A deep brown in colour, the head was fairly shortlived. This is a very full bodied beer, with many flavours coming through, as with most of the trappiste beers.
Hints of fruit with a woody flavour also coming through. Some spicy overtones as are often present in Belgian beers.
This is a beer with strong ABV that is not too strong tasting, the Belgians certainly have that skill down pat...
I love trappist beers but their expense, especially here in Oz makes them a rare treat indeed...

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Photo of budgood1
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cork dated 09/01.

pours out a dark brown, slightly cloudy colour. short lived head and no lace. light musty, berry aroma...very inviting. tastes extremely awesome...vine ripened fruits...yeasty notes adding complexity...berry complexities are amazing. mouthfeel slightly lively...carbonation adding explosion of malt and yeast adding flavours beyond my comprehension. smooth and silky mouthfeel...regardless of my ability to soak up the 9% ABV...a great beer. highly regarded and highly recommended.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an impressive and somewhat intimidating looking ale. Big creamy/chunky beige head that recedes to a ring. A deep woody brown hue, cherry oak highlights around the edges of the glass where one can catch an unexpected flurry of carbonation and dark specks of suspended yeast. Like if you poured a bottle of Newkie Brown into your Sea Monkeys tank and then gave it a good shake.

The nose is definitely there but a breakdown becomes elusive, it is all so subtle. Cherries and citrus orange, a bit woody and spicy, yeasty booze resonance. It's quite inviting.

The flavour is bold and heavy, yet not overpowering, sort of like Baby Bear's porridge: it's just right. The taste of spice and wood chips is the first to make an appearance, a bit smoky in the middle with a boozy citrus finish.

I can see this being an ideal ale to sip at on a chilly winter's night in front of a fire, or an equally appealing distraction. It warms the bones from the inside and gives you a feeling of contentment. But that just might be the 9% abv talking.

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Photo of DarrellK
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Blue Cap is the best of the Chimay family. I have had it in Europe and in the US and feel that it traveled well. Visually it is quite striking, particularly when served in a goblet, with it's rich dark color, world class fine bubbled head and highly viscious body. As good as it looks, it gets better when you lift the glass and catch the nose which really starts the tastebuds to wake-up. The mouth is very full but doesn't overwhelm you with the alcohol which comes on more in the finish.

It is a brew for a special occasion that I rate rate as a 9.3 in my 1-10 scale but is fairly pricey as it comes in about 2.5 on my value factor. It is a pretty sophisticated brew that would not necessarily be the choice for a first timer to try a Belgian brew.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1987 Vintage: Tasted in March 2001

This was a bottle from 1987 that I had in 2001 at the Kulminator in Antwerp. My first impression was that this beer was still quite good. Had a bit of sherry in the nose, which I attribute to its age, as well as some dark caramel overtones. The taste was still quite chimay like (imagine that). The body was a bit thinner than younger version, and it was much more mellow with much of the esters, fruitiness, and bitterness having aged out. Overall if I had to guess I would say that a well cared for 8 year old must be fabulous.

33cl Bottle, Sampled December 2004
Pours a fairly clear, deep ruby-amber-brown color. It is topped by a tan head and is pretty well carbonated. The aroma is fruity and musty, with notes of prunes, alcohol, and raisins. The taste is sweet up front, with a rich malty center that moves to a fizzy rich finish. This is actually quite a bit better than I was expecting it to be. It is fairly light on the palate, especially given its strength, but it does have a slightly lingering rich malt note to it. It is pretty fruity with concentrated notes of raisin and fig, as well as some spicy yeast notes that hint at ginger, cardamom, and clove. The finish of this one reminds me some of sweet apple cider, it has a certain sharp, almost acidic fruity finish to it that is pretty interesting.

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Photo of usualpulp
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep amber color with a nice beige head that leaves a gentle lacing on the glass. The beer has wonderful smells, fruit, malt, earthy smells, all of them wonderful, the smell reminds me more of a wine than a beer. It is very smooth and very flavorful, very complex. One taste you taste the fruits, the next you taste the malts, all of these blends wonderfully. A new bottle leaves a slight twinge on the tongue from the alcohol, but the bottle I am reviewing is one I have been aging for 1 1/2 yrs, and let me say, it ages quite well, the overall flavors blend more, and the alcohol balances out and isn’t overwhelming. It becomes very very smooth. Aged or new, you cannot go wrong with this beer.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This unusual Trappist pours a deep mahogany with a frothy, foamy beige head and loads of clingy lace. The aroma is yeast, malty, hoppy with citrus and fruity notes. The body is heavy and a bit sweet and a little sour. Cloves, hops, over-ripe bananas and alcohol are in your face. A bit of spicy tastes lingers. This brew is really strong in most everyway. Well made, but lacking in harmony or balance.

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Photo of BierManVA
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle.

I am initially overcome with a musty odor. I wouldn't call it pleasant or unpleaant, just odor. Continued smell is that of alcohol and rubber.

The taste is crisp yet I find that the aftertaste is not all together pleasant. Well carbonated and a fine head that disapates relatively quickly.

This is the first Trappist Ale I have tried. I would say that for the hefty price you pay for this, I would stay with the American made Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Ommegang. I believe it is superior to this "classic"

I am not happy with this at all. maybe the bier I bought is suffering from performance anxiety!


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Photo of PZuke
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice brownish color with a medium sized tan head. It had a very complex flavor with a fruity malty smell with a nice touch of spices. Very smooth beer to drink even for the high content of alcohol. This is a beer that I could drink all the time and be happy with it. I would have to say this is one great beer. I have sampled this beer in both the small and large bottles. The larger bottle has a little better taste but either selection should make you a happy camper.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy brown mahogany with a creamy tan head. Aroma is malty, fruity, and there is a touch of tobacco. Taste is not as fruity as other Belgians I've had (the plummy flavor is missing.) Far more malty, and rather spicy. This is one complex beer, and I'm sure my inexperienced taste buds are missing out on a great deal. Fairly smooth drinking. Drinkability suffers because of the somewhat high price and abv.

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Photo of clvand0
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark brown color with a large head and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is spicy and fruity, but not too strong. The flavor was very spicy and complex. The malts were are the most flavorfull thing with the spices coming in close second. I really liked this beer because of the complexity of the taste, but it was so spicy that it gave me some immense heart burn. Good beer.

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Photo of grynder33
3.54/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured a brownish dark color, topped off by a surprisingly small head. The aroma was somewhat faint, I thought it would be a lttle more hoppy. I got a quick taste of what I would normally associate with amber beers, with just a touch of sweetness, that dissapated smoothly and with no harshness. Pleasant enough if your buddy is buying, a lttle too pricey for what you get

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Photo of beerguy101
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color, large head. Deeply malty and hoppy. Complex taste, blend of malts, spiciness (nutmeg, peppers, sandalwood) Nice flavor. Smooth and mellow. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste has a definite alcohol bite (9%) and is rather dry. Taste mellows as you drink.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted this right after the Premier for comparison purposes.

Appearance – Dark, rich brown color with a full, lacing head. The cloudy hue that comes out of this bottle makes your mouth water.

Smell – Opened up to a nice, fruity malt aroma and a brief ABV warning.

Taste – To my tastes, this is exactly what a Belgium Strong Dark Ale should be. The classic tobacco flavor compliments the huge malt and yeast. It all plays exceptionally well over the tongue. Of all the flavors to be found here, I enjoyed most the current, caramel, and dark toffee blend that seemed to kick in at the end, especially as the beer sat.

Mouthfeel – The conservative carbonation was suitable for the style. However, the foamy up front feeling was not to my liking.

Drinkability – This has to be one of the smoothest, easily-drinkable 9.0 ABV on the market. Again, the fizzy front end slowed things down a bit, but once I picked up the body is was quite drinkable.

Comments – I hate to go overboard on a brand available in half of America’s grocery stores (at least here in Seattle it is), but this beer is terrific. If I had the money, I would sip this every time I tasted another Belgium. IMHO, this is the standard by which all others must be judged.

Update: The 2004 vintage is more of the same. I haven’t been able to get a consistant “5” head over time so I’m dropping this rating to a 4.5.

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Photo of woemad
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A superb beer. This was the first Chimay I'd ever had, and still my favorite. Pours a murky, almost mud-like brown, with a head to match. Probably the darkest head I've ever seen on a beer. High level of carbonation. Smels of fruit, both sweet and dark. Tastes wonderfully complex, with dark fruity toasted malt, a sweet apple-like fruit and a crisp finish huddled together in one bottle. To think one buys this in the same area of a store that Budweiser is sold in!

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

750 ML bottle..

Pours out a raisiny brown with a small carbonated head. Smell is malty, with some yeast and bread overtones. Body was surprisingly undeveloped; I didn't get the distinguishable flavors I expected (like Rochefort 10 or St Bernardus 12). I had two bottles; I'm going to lay the other one down for a while. This was good, but for the hype and the price I was expecting "wow". I'll stick to the St Bernardus 12 until this baby ages a while..

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Photo of qbushido
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must say this is the best beer I have ever had in my few years of existence. I was fortunate enough to be put onto this beer at DBA in downtown manhattan.

I'm not sure as to how aged this bottle of Chimay was but I must say it had a different taste then expected. When poured I expected it to be a much stronger taste but it is not so. The taste is actually much more refinined then I am used to with a wonderful smell and texture. This is one that I intend on drinking again whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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Photo of granger10
3.89/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a burgandy color with an unbalanced, airy head that did not look too appealing. The aroma was pleasant with notes of Belgian yeast, plums and bread. The taste had some very unmature flavors to it. Raisins, caramel, oats, alcohol spicyness and yeast were what I experienced. This beer seems like it needs to be aged so the flavors can come out more. This could be phenomonal if aged well, but it's just good right now. At $14/750ml bottle good is not good enough.

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Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle.

Poured a very dark translucent brown with a very big thick white head. Lots of lace.

The nose was classic belgian. Yeasty, fruity, raisons, plums, currants, an alcohol punch and hints of spice.

The beer was very thick yet smooth at the same time. Yeasty, bready. A firm alcohol warmth. Lots of fruit flavors. Plums, apples, currants, some dark malt, even some dark sugar tastes.
Smooth even bitterness with little to no apparent hop flavor. Spice flavors dominate over the hops.

What's really interesting is how this beer flows. It starts off very smooth and then has this sharp bump of bitterness then mellows and finishes with a very smooth aftertaste.
Great beer, one of the best examples of a belgian dark ale.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought locally (Steve's Liquor & Fine Wines refrigerators) as part of the Chimay gift pack (Red, White, Blue + chalice). A few months in my fridge.

The head is medium-sized in the chalice, gray-beige and denser. Not much lacing. The color is a dark red-brown, with major yeast swirls. Spice, candy, caramel, grapes, toffee and loads of bread in the nose. Fruit and spice dominate the front, leading to a fruity caramel middle with a touch of chocolate. Buttery at temperature. Alcohol in the fruity finish and a nice bready aftertaste.

This is very good. Better than the White for me, but I'm not sure it's better than the red for me.

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If the red is like solera calvados and black cherries, and if the white is like great, overripe Sauvignon Blanc like the ones Didier Dageneau makes, then this is young vintage port. Slate-infused fruits with thick black skins appear immediately. There is a suggestion of winter rye as well. Smart yeast here, using one grain to impersonate another. It is a perfect, and I mean perfect windup to a session featuring one 33cl bottle of each color. The red bears contemplation, which I did as I planned my menu. The white: aperitif heaven, but used tonight to accompany pan-grilled shrimp with garlic and beer-sauce of Red and White dregs. Alongside it there was flash-infused garlic oil used to sear fresh, organic summer squash from Yale MI's Maple Creek Farm, finished with a pile of wilted romaine from same...and steamed, nutty, fresh broccoli, also from the Lutz'...So the point is my palate has been lavished with living things. And then comes this. As it warms up it brings palate-heated aromas of raw cocoa, whole vanilla pods, new leather. Wonderful texture, just like the others...think of whipped cream melting furiously from applied heat. Wow. I hope Paterno protects this work of art from conglomerate beer snatchers. It must be allowed to live.
Warmer still and crazy XO cognac sensations become noticeable. Hennessy Paradis tastes a little bit like this...all candied orange peel and spicy, essential chocolate. What a beauty.

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Photo of bditty187
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy, a few shades short of black at its darkest, ruby around the edges… light brown head, reached a finger’s worth but faded quicker than it should, slim, wispy residue… disappointing amount of lace (almost none). Limited nose that’s short on depth and lacks potency: alcohol and rich maltiness surpasses the plums, apples and candy aromas. Still it’s inviting. Tasty palate with a fair amount of depth, excellent balance as well. The flavor profile is richly malty, plums and apples too, yeasty… bready, caramelized candy-sugar, spiciness of figs, clove, and pepper. The alcohol is hidden on the tongue. The finish is tart and heavy on the carbonation… pretty nice but its too abrupt and only the pepper remains on the aftertaste. Disappointing… its hard to savory a beer that disappears from your tongue so quickly. Medium light body… spritzy carbonation. The high abv is noticeable on your mind. Chimay Blue lacks a certain complexity needed to be truly outstanding. If I have this one again, I’d go with the smaller capped bottle and not the corked rendition. I think this beer is highly overrated… try one if you must. Yawn...

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

It poured a murky brown, with a somewhat thin but persistent head. Though it shrunk a little, it survived as long as the beer was in my glass.

The aroma was sweet, malty, yeasty, and alcoholic. There are some floral notes.

The flavour was somewhat sharp and fresh. There is a sweet malty and fruity aspect, with lots of herbal and hops tones, some citrusy orange peel, lots of nice yeasty qualities. It is quite complex, though I think this particular one could use a little more age.

It's rich and lively in the mouth, a lovely feel.

Overall, this is a fine beer. I'd give it a year or two to mellow, but otherwise it's wonderful.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,882 ratings