Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,917 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: 7,917 |  Reviews: 2,398
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pourred a very dark brew with a huge withe fluffy head and small bubble coming on top. This one has less of the sweeter taste then the red and more roastiness. This beer also has a firm body and the alcohol taste is not too distinct. The spice are very complex. This one is also a classic and never can get enough of.

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Photo of Stingray5
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 corked/caged bottle. Pours a dark chestnut with a soapy off white head. A lot of sweetness in the aroma, along with some roasty malts. A certain brandy-like quality. Next comes a nice smoothness, tastes of rich malts and candy, and more fruitiness. Noticible hop presence in the finish, along with some alcohol warmth. Slight sugar lingers.

Overall an enjoyable ale, if not a little unbalanced. A little too much sugary sweetness at times. Otherwise very good. Just feels like it needs a little more time. Will try aging the next one.

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Photo of Lafe
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour of this beer started with a gentle chugging from the 750ML bottle. This resulted in a high, solid-looking head taking up the top third of my pint glass. I would love to sample this beer in the proper glassware, but I do not have any available at the moment...

The aroma is strongly of yeast and fruit, with a bit of an alcohol undertone. The appearance is dark reddish-brown that just barely allows a bit of light to sneak through it. As I drink this beer, it forms a persistent lace down the side of the glass.

The flavor is excellent. An initial sweetness assaults the tongue, with a strong carbonation sending the flavors fizzing all over the palate. It settles to a rich fruity and spicy taste, and leaves a sweet, malty coating on the tongue. There's an understated bitterness that keeps the sweetness from becoming cloying. The 9% alcohol isn't readily apparent, except as a bit of warmth in the mouth and stomach.

Finishing off the first 16 or so ounces, I am grinning happily, because I've only made it less than half-way through the bottle!

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

Oct 2003 i was lucky enough to sample a bottle of 1991 and a bottle of 1981 Chimay Blue from, where else, the Kulminator. My score represents the 1981 version.

The 1991 bottle poured just like a current bottle would minus the head of course. Alot of woody notes in the nose as well as the fruitiness of cherries and raisin with a pinch of spice. While there were many of Chimay's "beer" qualities in this bottle, you knew you were drinking something aged for 12 yrs. The beer as a whole was much more mellow and smooth...refined might be a good word. Still an excellent beer.

The 1981 version on the other hand was much different then a current bottle of Chimay. And what can expect after being cellared for 22 yrs? Much like the 1991 version there was plenty of grape, cherry and raisin in the nose, except this time there weren't "hints". This time everything was much more pronounced. The aromas and flavours jumped out at you. Grape & cherry sweetness. An oaky woddiness. A toned down spiciness. Exceptional smoothness. You could really tell the difference and make no mistake between the 1991 & the 1981.

The finsh lingered nicely but almost faded a little too quick. It left me always wanting more. While this beer taste less and less like a "beer" the more it was aged, it was still exciting to see how a beer can change in complexity and become a more refined drink. By refined i mean, smooth, complex & unique.

A fabulous drinking experience. Worth every penny.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On a rainy, dark November evening in Chicago, this beer is just the right drink for this moment. Settling in with Chimay is such a blessing, and a wonderful drinking experience.

After pouring my 11.2 oz. glass into my Orval goblet (forgive me Father Theodore), I was immediately struck by the lovely creamy head that poured out. As I took several looks at this lovely brew before tasting, I noticed the deep mahagony color (just barely translucent), and begin to sip.

Yep, never a letdown with Chimay Blue. The mouthfeel was just right, with enough body up front, but particularly in the finish. I did get some citrus-y notes, too, but the taste of raisons also came through in this sample.

After a few minutes of residuals lingering in the palette, I knew why this beer is so revered: it simpy an outstanding abbey beer, from one of the world's finest, with an abundance of beautiful flavors through and through.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.18/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color is a deep dark opaquely russet ruby color with a very tall off-white fluffy head, almost laughable and too big, took three separate times to pour it from the 11.2 oz. bottle into my Delirium Tremens goblet glass as the head just kept getting in the way, ridiculous head, let me get at it already.

Nose is dull and kinda light, not much going on besides some light lemon peel citrus and yeast, a touch smokey and meaty upon bigger wiffs.

Taste is short lived and a bit boring, complexity is not very forthcoming from this offering. Very dull citrus of melon husk and majorly dulled lemon and peels, lightly sweet malts and subdued spicy yeast with some strange uneven texture that I didn't care for all that much.

Feel is medium bodied with a weird texture I just couldn't get past. Where's the smooth? Where's the creamy? Blah, boring, yuk. Not impressed. The Chimay Red was much better. I'm not sure if I have a bad bottle or what, but I've been saving this bottle, plus a few others for nearly 4 months hoping a bit of aging would make for an interesting session, but nope. I guess I'll be letting those sit alot longer. I'm bored, can I have my Unibroue Trois Pistoles now?

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Photo of NickLovesBeer
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay is sweet and fruity with a deep amber color with red highlights. Hints of exotic spices and some fruits, perhaps raisins, permeate the taste. When poured into a glass Chimay forms a full tan head that dissipates slightly but never vanishes. Truly an excellent beer which grows more and more complex as it reaches room temperature.

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Photo of far333
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass. Dark chestnut color with ruby highlights coming out where the light gets through. Topped with a big, fat, chunky, foamy beige head that just hangs there and settles down, but never really goes away. Aroma is strong fruit and yeast. Flavor is rich and velvety. The flavor almost has texture. It's sweet and fruity and spicy and warm. There's lots here - honey and pear, plus some apple and butterscotch and caramel and plum. You notice more every time you sip. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. A pleasant hop bitter lingers, as does just a hint of alcohol. A pleasure.

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

Pours a dark cloudy ruby brown, with a large tan head that mostly lasts and laces in sheets. Aroma is fruity (raisin, plum), some yeastiness, sweetness, and a bit of caramel and/or toffee. Flavor is sweet, fruity, vinous, some honey, and some spiciness in the finish. Full bodied, slight hints of alcohol towards the end.

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Photo of jlervine
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brownish-black with a light tan head. There were brown and ruby highlights when held to strong light. I could make out orange and citrus notes, rum and dark fruits, and bready notes in the aroma. The smell was deceiving, as the tastes was very smooth, almost creamy. Everything blended very well together, and all I could make out were notes of alcohol and biscuity malts. A bit overwhelming. This was part 3 of a 3 part vertical Chimay tasting. All in all, I found all three were truly good beers, but overhyped by others. Because of that, I don't think I enjoyed any of them as much as I had hoped, and none lived up to their expectations

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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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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,917 ratings