Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,957 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: 7,957 |  Reviews: 2,405
Photo of anders36
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very, very dark amber colour into the glass. I didn't have the right glass, but wanted to drink the beer anyway. It has a thick creamy head. The smell is fruity and spiecy. A little burned smell and smell of brown sugar. The taste is lovely, with some sweetness and not much bitterness. A little roasted taste of fudge. This is a beer that i like very much. I have tasted it from a 75cl bottle and it was even better than the 33cl bottle that i bought.

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

This beer has opened my eyes to what great beer should really be like. Drinking this beer is like a religious experience (appropriately, since it is brewed by monks). Unbelievably beautiful and majestic appearance, with a thick creamy head that dissipates ever so slowly leaving an enticing lace. Constant bubbling, and an aroma that can only be described as sensuous. Tastes like nothing I have ever experienced before. Smoky, almost cognac like, it is a beer to be savored and cherished. A bit pricey ($ 12 for a 750 ml), but well worth every penny. This beer will also sneak up on you very seductively, with it's 9% ABV, and before you know it, you will be inebriated, but HAPPY. VERY HAPPY. Do yourself a favor and splurge for a bottle of this excellent beer. These monks can brew!

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.24/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark, murky, blackish orange/peach. The color empty beer bottle, or a nightcrawler's back. very large, bubbly white head, that fades eventually.

smells very strong of cloves, fruit, and sweet alchohol, as in champagne.

taste of cloves dominates, with some wood, and sweet alchohol flavors. Huge clove aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan.

mouthfeel is full in texture, but light in weight. good.
acceptably drinkable for a 9.0. This tastes very unique and...formal - like it would be appropriate whenever a bottle of wine would be. if i was blind folded, i would not know this was beer. an interesting beverage, but i can't say "clove" is one of my preferred flavors, and i don't forsee myself drinking this beer often.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temperature, in a Chimay chalice. The cork had a date of 07/03. It poured a dark brown, with a light tan head. Aromas of clove, ginger, malt, and sugar. The tastes were maybe not as complex as, say something from Ommegang or Unibroue, but still a good representation. Ginger, clove, malt, leather, lemon, and caramel all swirled around on my happy tongue. The mouthfeel was light, with small, fizzy carbonation. It finished up with clove, caramel, and leather. Very tasty, indeed!

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet, brown just like the bottle, moderate bubbly head. Condenses and becomes more foamy.

Pleasant but not particularly strong aroma. Alcohol, fruits, light sweetness and almost raisin-like aromas come through.

Nice full body, medium carbonation. Almost red-wine like flavors. Slight alcohol notes with a light fruitiness, but not citrusy.

Slight lacing down the glass, an excellent beer. I don't think I can describe well enough how good this beer is, just try it.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bomber with 07/03 on the caged cork.
Aroma: A wine like smell with a strong dose of yeast, pepper, alcohol and a bit of malt.
Appearance: Dark brown/black with ruby edges in backlight. As the level dropped a more clearly brown color took over. Tan head that formed a short lasting largish sized bubble froth before dying down to a thin coat. Got an odd head pattern in my goblet, the very center had an active plume of carbonation, which after sips formed a distinct eye shape with a bubbling iris. Ok, it IS 9%, but that’s what it looked like.
Flavor: A red wine like taste, again with the strong yeast flavor and a small dose of plum. My description isn’t adequate to describe this wonderful beer. The yeast taste is a cousin of the Unibroue line and complements the fruit tastes nicely.
Mouthfeel: Perfect medium body with a slight prickle before it vanishes. Nice and dry with a silky smoothness.
Overall Impression: An amazing beer. It improved as it warmed, so I suggest starting off near cellar temperatures. This has wonderful mouthfeel and a very enjoyable taste. The high alcohol rules this out for any kind of session beer, but as for drinkability, I was disappointed when the bomber was gone (and more than a little inebriated). Not a lot going on in the aroma and it’s not exactly easy on the eyes, but I’ll be stashing more of these babies away next beer hunt. I recommend you do too.

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

Dark brown and slightly hazey. Head is light and doesn't stick around long.

Scent of alchohol and berries. Hops come through as well and give it a warm smell.

Sweet in mouth. Flavor is strong with grassy notes. Grain comes through along with some mild bitterness in finish. Overall it's good but not as good as I would expect.

Carbonation levels are good. Coats tounge well. Overall feels really nice.

I was a little let down by the flavor of this. Alchohol content is high and you can taste it. I think that would make it hard to drink a lot of these.

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Photo of BierReise
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Corked bottle with 01/03 on cork. Poured a reddish brown with a creamy tan head that settled down to a thin film. Aroma is spicy and with lots of yeast present. Peppery and slightly floral. Body is smooth and creamy and with an even carbonation. The flavor is a fruity malty one with yeast and sugar notes. Overall a fine Belgian that is the most available one I can think of.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting Chimay's brews is always a treat, but the amazing thing is how much the taste changes in a year's time or less. Terrific sales on Chimay at the local store so it's hard to resist, and there's really no point to trying. A year ago, I preferred the red. Now, I like this one (Blue) much better.

It pours a very dark reddish brown with a thick, tannish head. Very nice lacing throughout the drink. The aroma is malty with definite fruity undertones. The taste is exceptional even for a Trappist ale. It starts with a sweet maltiness that has real grapey undertones. The taste ends with an alcohol hit that is ameliorated by the fruitiness. One of the few beers that I rate a 5 in taste. It feels almost perfect in the mouth with some real body, nice carbonation, and a lingering taste of fruit. I rate this down a little in drinkability just because of the alcohol content. It is drinkable from first drop to last, but one, even splitting one, is enough to affect the motor skills.

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Photo of TripelJ
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now Quaffing: Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Pours a deep reddish brown with only minimal traces of light through the glass around the edges. The head fills the glass and "fizzes" away slowly without much lacing. Smell is sweet--ripe plums. Taste is sweet with plums and dark grapes mingled with a hint of alcohol for a nice warming effect with each sip. The mouthfeel is full is body and there is a nice crispness with each sip from the fine carbonation. Drinkability is okay, but the high ABV certainly creeps up on you quickly. I keep getting outstanding 750mls of this, always good quality, and never a bad bottle.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle. Dark brown with loads of floating yeast. Beautiful appearance. Big bubbly off white head that left rings of lace. The smell was very musty and yeasty. Also quite fruity. The taste was less sweet than I expected considering some of the other strong dark ales I've sampled, but that's not disappointing in the least. Dried raisons and plums and wild musty yeast flavors filled my mouth and nose, followed by a generous amount of warming alcohol. Quite pleasing. Mouthfeel was very creamy and thick, also quite carbonated and filling. Drinkability was hampered by the richness, although I still say it's good considering I'm almost done with the 750 as I write this. An amazing offering from one of the big 6 true Trappist Abby's. I suggest you try it if you can.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice variety of bubbles top this warm red/brown beer. Smell is flowerly and spicy. The initial flavor is full of hops and then hints of fruits and spices hit the mouth and warm it up. The bitterness of the hops blends really well with the pear fruits and flowery herbs that accompany it.

Oddly enough, the taste changed with additional sips, which was nice - it invited you to keep experiencing the beer...sort of like reheating left over italian foods.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 750ml bottle, into the Chimay goblet. The beer is brown, darker than you'd expect. Sweety smell of fruits and dissimulated alcohol. The taste is yeasty, sweet (toffee?) and malty, pretty complex and very enjoyable in mouth. You don't taste alcohol so much, you just enjoy the brew. Great beer if not a top belgian nor what it used to be.

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

Poured into a Chimay goblet, this beer is an opaque black/brown. Topped by a healthy tan head.

Aromas of roasted malt, dark fruit, slight spices, and a shot of yeast.

Taste: Substantial fruity malt beginning that easily melds into hop spiciness, with a toasty dry finish. This beer easily makes my Top Ten on taste alone.

Full, smooth, velvet mouthfeel. Clean finish and adequate carbonation bolster the drinkability despite the high alcohol content.

My favorite among the Chimay offerings. There’s always room for a Grand Reserve or two in the beer fridge.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.62/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 bottle served lightly chilled in a Westmalle goblet.

Appearance: Murky cola colored liquid topped by a initially healthy and thick off-white head. Recedes to a short layer of foam pretty quick. Not much in the way of lacing.

Smell: Candi sugar and sweet malts dominate. Cloves with some medicinal-esque hops. Pleasant, but not exquisite aroma-wise.

Taste: Anise twinged sweet dark malts with clove aftertastes. Not a very complex taste, but still pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a mild cotton candy-like sensation on the palate.

Drinkability: Pleasant overall, certainly a well-made beer, but I like the other, more obscure, Trappist beers out there. A good intro to the style, though, and readily available.

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Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a rich Belgian style scent with a number of crystal malts and fruity yeast. The taste is great. It is full of malts and Belgian spice. It has a raisin/ molasses taste that is excellent. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine drinking Belgian style. It's dark and robust, but damn good; a real good beer.

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

It pours an opaque milk chocolate brown. There's an explosive, hellacious off-white head, like a pillowy mousse, that comes and stays for a good long time, with just awesome retention. There's descendingly thicker, winding ribbons of rich lacing.

The aroma carries a heavy malt backbone, along with a yeasty sour note, delivering a grainy, doughy aura. There are lighter notes of clove and cinnamon, with a distant dry citrus at the end, all wrapped around an indistinct vapor of alcohol.

The flavor is malt first, and substantially so, with an earthy sweetness rounded by a mellow caramel note. The yeast lends a biscuity character, and a light, dry grapefruit note mingles with cloves to compliment and mitigate a considerable alcohol presence. The finish is a swirling melange of all the flavors, fading slowly and luxuriantly.

It's medium bodied, clinging across the tongue and mouth, making a strong name for itself. It seems to be an ideal compromise between light and heavy, coating just long enough.

It's a long-time standard, and justifiably so. The flavor and aroma are full and balanced enough to really grab and hold your attention, but not so busy as to lose its identity at any point. This is one of my wife's favorites, and it always puts a smile on her face when I bring it home. In spite of the strong ABV, it's drinkable because you just have to taste it again. There's nothing like a pair of worn slippers, a loyal dog, or a trusty Chimay Blue.

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

Purchased an 11.20 ounce bottle at the Arcata, California Co-op.

I pour slow and the head literally erupts. "Respect me!" it says, and I do.

Color is a nearly opaque, deep mahogany.

A gorgeous bouquet greets my nose. Rich, hearty malt sweetness, surrounded by savory fruit -- I pick up hints of raisins, prunes, dried figs -- and there's a refreshingly earthy undertone, like a forest after a rain storm, with a tinge of yeast.

The taste opens with bright notes of the fruity, earthy malts so blatant in the nose, followed by a pronounced hop kick along the circumference. Aftertaste is malt and a very balanced alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is creamy and leaves no stickiness on the palate -- clean.

A high ABV is the only reason I'm not giving drinkability a 5.

I'll definitely try this again, along with the other Chimay brews. It's perfect for a rainy winter evening, like tonight.

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Photo of theo692
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A wonderful beer, from the moment you decide to take it off the rack until the last sip. Opening it is a ceremony in itself, like deciding to crack open a fine champagne. The aroma hints that it will be a heavy beer, as do the dark color and dense head. But the taste surprises - a hint of malt, to be sure, but it's not cloying in any way. A smooth flavor that warms as it goes, and a clean finish.

I have tried other beers of this type that attempt to replicate Chimay's remarkable flavor and balance (while packing quite a wallop). I won't name names, but I've found them to be far too aggressive in their flavors (nutty, oaky, or just plain alcohol-y).

Remarkably, this beer feels at home on a night before the fire or a spring afternoon; with a strong cheese or by itself; one or several. You'll find better "seasonal" beers, made specially for Xmas or for a hot summer day, but there is no better all-around beer than the Grande Reserve.

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Photo of jtfest
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured dark with chocolate highlights - virtually opaque in the glass - with a creamy, small to moderate light tan head. The aroma was of sweet, roasted malt. The carbonation gave the mouthfeel almost soda pop-like resemblances, and it seemed to leave a coating on the palate that lingered after swallowing. The flavor was sweet and yeasty, with sort of a toasted highlight. It's a pretty beer and everything was good, but it didn't leave me wanting another one immediately, so it lost a few points in the drinkability department.

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Photo of claytri
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Grand Reserve poured a fine opaque brown with a 1/2 a finger of tan head that dissipated to a nice lace. The smell was of malt, yeast, and alcohol. The taste was a fizzy alcohol with a nice shot of yeast and malt in the finish. It's feel was smooth and foamy with some iron in the aftertaste. Initially it seemed as it might be a good session beer, but the carbonation was just too much. A good beer to finish the night off after a good meal.

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Photo of joecast
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

wow, what a beer!
crack open the top and watch it work. its like the yeast gets into overdrive and starts working again (ok so its probably only co2, but its cool to watch), to the point that the sediment gets disturbed and redistributed throughout the bottle.

a head starts forming in the bottle forcing me to pour before i am finished admiring the action of whats happening inside.
pour into what i think its a sufficiently large glass. no, the head is enourmous! and that color. beige always seemed like such a dull color before.

the aroma is mesmerizing. sweet malty and faintly of concentrated fruit syrup (berries?). maybe some brown sugar as well.
the beer itself is a deep mahogany color. just light enough to see the sediment floating around at the edges of the glass. almost a dark ruby color when held up to light.

again a sweet malty taste, and strong, but not a harsh alcohol flavor for 9%abv. just a warming finish at the back of your mouth.

easily the best beer ive ever had (yet). everything about it is just done right, not too much not too little. more please???

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Photo of benmiliron
3.55/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Paid $7.99 for a 22 oz. bottle I think? "11/02" printed on the cork.

Good looking dark brown, which I didn't expect. Foamy head that vanishes and doesn't come back.

Smells fruity, yeasty and of alcohol. Good malt and hop presence in the aroma too.

Taste is good. Alcohol soaked fruit, a hint of licorice, candied something. There's a little bit of an astringent taste in there though.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard, a rush of foam then clear bubbly beer.

Drinkability - not worth the price, but a good brew. Would buy more if it were half the cost.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presented in the signature stubby brown bottle with the blue label, Chimay's top-of-the-line beer had a murky dark brown hue and a compact, resilient off-white head that grudgingly faded to a small cap, leaving behind wispy lace.
The smell was an understated blend of bready malt, candy sugar, and some alcohol-soaked dark fruit. A hint of nuts briefly surfaced after it warmed a bit. The taste had an earthy maltiness and some raisin and candied plum notes for a sweet opening. A yeast infused nut bread flavor and light chocolate and toffee also played across the palate. Unfortunately, a harshly astringent alcohol flavor grabbed the back of the tongue, resulting in a rather unappealing metallic taste, something I noticed in all of Chimay's offerings. The feel was medium-bodied, well carbonated and dry.
Well, I've had all three of the Chimay brews I've seen and none, including the Grand Reserve, have shown me anything to make me get all excited over them. This beer definitely gets better as it nears room temp but never quite reaches the mark for me. Maybe it should have sat in my cellar longer. Somehow, I don't think that would have helped all that much. Overrated, over-hyped, and over-priced, this flagship offering from Chimay doesn't meet the standard set by St. Bernardus' Abt 12 or Rochefort 10.

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

Tasted 1/16/04 at our little Extravaganza Belgique.

Now we moved to the grandaddy of them all, so to speak. It had been way too long since I tasted a Grande Reserve (back in May, in Brussels).

This Blue poured very, very dark brown, with a thinner than expected white head, given the relative furiousness of carbonation. Dark, fruity aromas bubbled up from the depths and into my nose. Tasting revealed a smooth, complex ale with a nice, bitter kick and a sweet, alcoholic finish. Sooo good.

Every time I taste this beer, I'm surprised yet again by how good it is. One day, I'll learn.

Spoils of the 10/11/03 Knoxville Raid.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,957 ratings