Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,881 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: 7,881 |  Reviews: 2,393
Photo of leeenglewood
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from a 750ml, cork said 3/03 on it, bottle and pours a dark chestnut with white head that sticks around for a few minutes but fizzles out to a slight lace, being a high alcohol brew was quite amazing, albeit I wasn’t drinking out of the proper glassware though. The smell was of dark malt and was not astringent in any way compared to the beers overall darkness. Tasted exceptional with a thorough maltiness and subdued hops that kept it in a somewhat balance but the malt is the predominant flavor with alcohol not being apparent at all within this elixir. All together a very drinkable beer that I find to be rewarding experience each every time I drink. Only problem I find with this beer is that it is much to drinkable given its high abv.

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

This is one rich looking beer,a masterpiece to look at.Pours a nice amber/brown with with a slight of white frothy head that of course left some beautiful lacing.The aroma was malty sweet of dried fruit.The taste to me was wine-like with a raisiny quality,there is some slight bitterness in the finish.A very complex beer but not easy to drink for me,but a classic for sure.

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

"Pop!" goes the top, the resounding sound of cork's release a tease of what lies in store.

Color, a ruddy brown, tawny and opaque.
Head is off-white, fuzzy and activley bubbly.

Aroma: playing it quiet, actually spare, arid, I'm getting nothing at all! Light echoes of nuts and toffee, wafts of maltiness. Not too happy with this aspect.

On first sip, a big blast of hops, with malt following immediately on it's heels. We find that this is a brew that must be allowed time to open up, give it a little time and space...shows off earthy, nutty, chocolatey flavors, with a generous amount of zippy, zingy spark on the palate. Taste becomes better, richer, more complex and fruity. Excellent effervescence, featuring that special Belgian spark and yeasty taste. Smooth, though before long the alcoholic component kicks in and rides tall in the saddle.

I've neglected Chimay for quite some time, perhaps after encountering Ommegang, a better tasting ale, in my opinion, when fresh, and at 1/2 the price. Perhaps I've got to try this cellaring business to see what an older sample might offer up to us.

On this tasting, a pretty nice drink, but didn't blow me away.

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

Well, I thought I should probably get down to reviewing my first favorite Belgian beer since I've moved so far beyond just drinking Chimay. I may have strayed from the Chimay fold quite a bit but this beer is still one of my favorites, especially of this style.

The Chimay Blue pours a rich, dark amber-brown. The beer glows around the edges. The off-white head is tall and very active. As a classic Belgian beer should, the head left a sticky lace as it retreated. The beer just looks like it tastes good.

The aroma is quite complex, a heady mixture of sweetness (brown sugar, malt), fruit (plums, carmelized apples) and distant alcohol. The flavor is very much a continuation of the aroma, dominated by a heavy sweetness and fruit that almost completely hides the alcohol. This, this beer gets a high drinkability score from me.

I know there are more "perfect" Belgians out there and Chimay gets a bad rap from some who are not as enchanted with it as they used to be, but this beer to me is a classic. The king.

Ultimately, it tastes damn good and I can't think of a better recommendation than that.

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

I've waited until now to review this beer, despite the fact that I've had it a few times since I joined BA, for a very special reason. I had, up until last night, a magnum of this. Figuring that it might be more fun to review this from such a unique bottle, I waited until I had an opportunity to share it with a few friends. So last night, we broke into 1.5L of pure bliss...

The cork read "03/93," so I was quite overjoyed since I didn't think I'd ever had anything much older than a year previously. I was ready to go, and there certainly was no disappointment. What a fine, mellow, subtle beer this has become. Definitely lighter than I remember Chimay Grand Reserve being, the contents of this bottle were an almost red-wine color -- a slightly off shade of brown that sees a great deal of light shining through the murky territory found beneath the half inch or so of fluffy off-white head -- a head that disappears very quickly.

The aromas coming off this beer are subtle and very well blended. Very sweet-smelling notes of candi sugar, raisins, and just the slightest tingle of an alcholic aroma. The flavor is a magnificent continuation of the aroma. Sweet malts, light notes of prunes and raisins blend to a *very* slightly bitter middle-to-end -- the alcohol and potential hop bitterness have been reduced to a slight bitterness reminiscent of the skin of a plum. Exceptionally mellow and easy to drink. I had a little over half of the bottle myself and left the rest for two friends to share.

This was an absolute treat -- and something of a surprise. I didn't know this bottle was going to be ten years old. But I'm sure as hell glad it was!!! Great experience.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, with slight off white head. Gentle aroma of dark bread. Bready moderately hoppy long laswting sweet flavor. Heavy mouth feel with restrained bubbles. This was not an amazing beer and I was quite underwhelmed by this beer. Perhaps this focuses on finess as opposed to intensity.

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

Originally sampled on 8 June 2002. Chimay Blue pours a large, dirty white colored head w/ an amber body. It has a nice smooth taste. It's alcohol level sneaks up on you. In my area, this beer is quite easily found, I'd suggest this to be the first belgian for any beer novice looking to experience a world class beer.

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Photo of SheepNutz
3.77/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this brew in an 11.2oz. bottle poured into a Leffe Chalice glass. The color is a deep brown, speckled with yeast. There is about 1 finger of head that has a pretty good retention, leaving a bit of lace on the glass. The aroma is very spicy, mostly cloves. The taste has a pretty good spicy bite to it, but it could use a little bit more hops. The finish seems to be a little weak. The mouthfeel is only average and the drinkability is not too high. Not too bad overall.

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

$9.99 for a 750ml corked and caged bottle. Originally reviewed 5/4/03, re-reviewed 8/24/10.

Pours out to a cloudy mahogany, forming an effervescent light tan head which forms a 2" peak above the rim of the glass after the pour. The head is of a soapy thin meringue consistency and sits atop small to medium sized bubbles with excellent retention and delicate lacing. Little bits of yeast and debris are mixed in the head and frantically dance in the brisk carbonation, reminding me of spice sprinkled on a pumpkin pie. The aroma is sharp, with a distant smoked cheese & clove aroma, raw applejuice which is starting to ferment, and distant seared meat. I am not picking up on any fig, prune, date, raisin or anything of the like mentioned in other reviews. Mouthfeel is cidery and effervescent with a medium-light body despite it's strength. Taste begins spicy, with lots of phenolic cloves, perhaps nutmeg...the malts are bready with a moderately-strong cookie sweetness. The finish is lightly yeasty, and semi-sweet with a very mild bitterness and cidery, lightly cloying, semi-dry mouthfeel. Distant metals linger in the finish. I still fail to detect any dark fruits here. Alcohol is never perceived in flavor or aroma...a mark of quality at this ABV.

A well-crafted brew. This isn't an amazing beer, as there are better examples of the style, especially for the price. For a few bucks cheaper, Unibroue's Trois Pistoles is just as good. However, this is my favorite Chimay out of the three. What is interesting is that after having had these three beers (the red, white, and blue), I have a very high index of suspicion that Unibroue uses this exact same yeast strain. The similarities are uncanny.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I must say that I'm very glad that I did not have a chance to taste this beer until now. I honestly don't think I would have appreciated the beer to nearly the degree I (now) do.

First pour shows a very dark beer with slight auburn highlights and a truly gorgeous creamy mocha head that diminished to a dense, sticky head that persisted to the last drop and lace that coated the inside of the glass.

Aromas are incredibly complex, with strong oak-aged madeira notes and hints of wheat/grain and some classic banana to balance it all. Now THIS is the way a beer should smell. My god - true perfection. It's hard to even think about tasting the beer as you suspect it simply cannot live up to the expectations set by these aromas.

Initial taste shows you wrong. This is an outrageously complex beer. Trying to describe it ends up with you sounding like you're a wine dork. "Initial flavours of oak, leather and firm tannins soften to reveal deep cherry fruit." But seriously, that's how it tastes to me. I taste hints of sherry, of chocolate, some solid phenols and banana leading to the hot alcohol finish. There are just SO many things going on on the tongue with this beer. Wow.

Truly one of the greatest beers in the world. A brilliant brew and a must experience for any fan of fine beverages.

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

This poured a beautiful maple syrup color with an awesome head, at least an inch.

After it died down, not much lace left in the glass. I smelled a sugary, syrupy, almost molasses type aroma.

Taste is smooth, a candied sweetness that does a remarkable job of hiding the alcohol.

Other folks picked up a few different flavors, but I really only got a sugar and syrup.

Would like to try again in the larger bottle to see if anything else is going on. Not bad, but not the best Belgian ever.


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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a wonderful creation to be called beer. This really raises the bar of beer excellence into the complex levels of fine wines. The murky liquid poured out into the glass like a rich molasses with less fullness. After several attempts at identifying the huge aroma that wafted freely from the glass I finally concluded that it is mostly like a prune smell - full and rich and wholesome. The flavors, of course, are quite complex and balanced. In attempting to grasp the predominant flavor, I bounced a sip on the front of my tongue for several seconds. The affect was simply amazing. There was an enormous sense of hot pepperiness. Not unpleasant, in fact, quite the opposite. There was an element of dried fruit in the taste along with almond oil, nuts, and roasted grain. Astonishing.

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

750ml bottle, 11/01 on the cork (perhaps bottling date???)

Duvel introduced me to great Belgian ales, Chimay made me love great Belgian ales. This beer reminds me why I drive 2 hours to the nearest retailer that sales Chimay; it also make the trip completely worthwhile.

The complexity in smell and taste are unmatched by any beer I've sampled (I do have a Westvleteren 12 yet to be tried). Pours dark garnet in color with an initial sizeable sand colored head. I can smell the sweetness of the malt mixed with the floral Belgian yeast aroma. I also capture a hint of the alcohol contained in this magnificent beast. The carbonation is rather lively on the tongue and lightens the beer quite a bit, expecially for a beer of this gravity. At first, it is sweet followed by a balanced sourness. The alcohol bite demands quick attention. There is a bready/biscuit-esque quality to the taste. The Chimay yeast provides the benchmark Belgian yeast flavor addition. Floral, estery, malty, sour, slightly hoppy. This beer runs the gamut of the beer desciption. Finishes somewhat dry.

Just an incredible beer. If this beer were readily available, I'd have a home stock at all times, but, unfortunely, wouldn't value this beer as much. Let me say it one last time, an incredible beer.

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

11.2 ounce bottle, poured into a brandy snifter (it was the closest thing to a goblet I have).

Pours a very dark amber, with a thick, creamy tan head. Smell is very complex, with distinct fruit flavors coming foward. Taste is simply incredible. A bit malty and a bit spicy, and again the fruit flavors dominate. A supreme Trappist ale, and highly recommended.

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Photo of ellman
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Pour: This trappist beer is a bark murky brown with a Tan long lasting head.

The Smell: A sour yeasty aroma at first then a bit of fruit. finally the musty smell comes through.

The Taste: Malt, yeast, and fruit and i dont want to forget the alcohol that is present that is noticable.

The Mouthfeel: light bodied for being this dark

One 750ml bottle should be enough for anyone. anymore then that is over doing it. I could drink this pretty regularly, but not in quanity.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The third and last of my most excellent Chimay adventure dude!

This is the darkest of the three, a dark , rich loamy earth-tone brown, with a slight rubyish tone at the bottom of the chalice.Again a wonderful light tan , creamy head adorns the beer..beautiful stuff.
Smell? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh best of the bunch, a rich plummy even figlike fruit smell.Mmm Plum pudding doused in good brandy comes to my mind.A sharp scent of blackcurrant shines through!
A lovely taste to this brew, deep and rich, complex..yet again the plum and figs show up with a good alcoholic warmth taste,.This even tastes a lot like a good Port and lemon..very intrigueing to drink!!!
Feels very silky and comfortable on the tongue..not too dry..just nice.
overall great drinkability a very intrigueing beer, draws one into it's own world of sensation..a very good "sipper"

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

11.2 ounce stubby brown bottle. It's very murky dark brown, and a huge off-white head fluffs about. There's a very yeasty aroma immediately, and then some dark fruits and malts. Medium bodied smoothness is a pleasant greeting. Carbonation is perfect. Caramel maltiness, yeast, and dark fruits all treat the palate like a king. 9% ABV isn't noticeable at all. This beer kicks ass. So enjoyably smooth and tasty.

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Photo of TheDM
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer is characterised by a nice head with small bubbles and some medium sized ones. The head is long lasting and has a nice tan color. The aroma is non-offensive and mild. It's color is a dark non-transparent brown with some particles suspended. The flavor is mellow and very much top my liking. it is not overly strong though and does not have that immediated feeling that other strong beers can give. All in all one of the better beers I have rated. GF gave is an alright rating. I later rerated this brew. I had an extremely upset stomach after trying this beer. I had noted previously that there were others who experienced this problem. Hence, my rating was lowered.

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Photo of Maestro
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 fl. oz. bottle poured into Chimay gold-rimmed chalice.

Now I understand things a little bit better. This beer's nose alone kept me satisfied. The first taste brings up memories of tastes throughout my entire life. Strong tastes that left some sort of memorial behind. There are hints of citrus, and berries, and apples, and all sorts of stuff. The alcohol comes through only in feeling, not taste. The beer is incredibly strong, in all senses of the word. Pinnacle.

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

A really interesting color--much like fresh-pressed apple cider. Dark and somewhat cloudy with a minimal, soda-like head. Nose's pirincipal character is its full, malty sweetness with a bit of alcohol detectable. Taste is wonderfully full, starting malty sweet and warming up quite markedly. Crisply carbonated in the middle, and drying as the alcohol warmth takes over. A pleasant, clean mouthfeel and a substantial beer I could wrap an evening around.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Despite the fact that I have been fortunate to try several other great dark Belgian or Belgian style ales, Grand Reserve still rates as my favorite of the style due to it's great balance. There are stronger tasting, more potent (and possibly even more complex) dark ales, but they can be a bit overwhelming. For a beer that is 9% ABV, this goes down extremely easy. Pours a huge, foamy head. Wonderfully spicy aroma and taste. Creamy, smooth and prickly (at the same time) mouthfeel. Tastes somewhat fruity and dark - malt, hops, and sweetness in near perfect balance. One of the absolute elite beers in the world. (and I can buy it in the grocery store down the street!) RE-review -
As time has passed, and I have grown to appreciate beers like Rochefort and Westleverten, I have not enjoyed Chimay as much. It's still an excellent beer, but somewhat thin and carbonated compared to a few of the great dark Belgian ales that I now prefer. I can now understand why many people are less impressed with Chimay these days. Excellent, yes, but there are better beers to be had.

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Photo of Suds
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark walnut color with a big, rocky stable head. This beer is really attractive, with a decent estery, peppery aroma. To be honest, the aroma could be a little more intense, but there's a lot of wonderful smells in there....dark, meaty fruit and spice...clove. Full, rich, and slightly dry....medium body. Despite the strength of the beer, the 9% stays firmly in the background, making this a very drinable beer. Not the best Belgian around, but solidy good.

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Photo of Denali
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Package: 750 ml corked bottle. Vintage September, 2002.

Appearance: Clear dark brown – reddish brown when held up to light. Beautiful tan head that laces really well.

Smell: Dark fruity aroma. Spices are also present, along with a slight yeasty smell. Alcohol presence is also detected.

Taste: Very complex. Dark fruity flavor up front (raisins, plums?). Spices kick in next, along with yeast and malt flavors. Some bitterness also comes through. Alcohol taste is there as well. The flavors that come through – there’s so many and they don’t come through all at once. The tastes come through on a timeline, almost like in waves. I feel like I could spend a lifetime trying to figure out all of the flavors in this beer. Hmmm…. I wonder what a graph of the flavors vs. time of this beer would look like?

Mouthfeel: Very high in carbonation, which can be a bit distracting at times, but it also has a nice creamy finish.

Drinkability: Although there is some alcohol presence, the flavors cover it well.

Comments: There’s a lot happening here. Very complex and enjoyable. I’ve had this a number of times and will continue to do so.

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

Many of you have tried Chimay in it's various forms - However I have lucked out at our local liquor store where they have a stash of the 2000 millennium Chimay blue - special reserve. 1.5 litre (Half magnum) bottles. And it can be denoted by the "special reserve" label that is attached on the neck of the bottle. This is a special ale that is given fresh live yeast at the bottling stage. This beer is super fine. The hops are perfect and the malt is just there below the hops. Exceptional balance of nose and taste. The taste is exceptionally smooth and clean. the fact that this bottle conditioned ale has had some time to mature in the bottle is what gives it the exceptionally clean taste. This is a real treasure beer that everyone ought to try but unfortunately only a few can.

2001 Reserve - 3 litre Magnum. My firend had this one - or rather we all shared in it as his 200th beer at the Flying Saucer. That bigger bottle does make a difference. The beer has more body and a smoother flavor. Plus this is just a gigantic frgiign' beer!

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

Simply said, this beer is awesome.
750 mL corked and caged bottle.
Now….It poured into the glass a rich Corinthian leather brown that was crystal clear and well carbonated. The head was rich and full. Creamy tan in color that had great staying power that left behind a beautiful delicate lace. The aroma first reminded me of champagne, fruity and bubbly, but the aromas of dark malt, wood, apples (like an apple barrel), spices and alcohol soon came forward. Then the taste. My tongue was alive. Flavors of a rich dark malt, apples, wood (again like it came from a wooden apple barrel) light spices to accompany the apples and the boom of the alcohol weaved itself all through the other flavors. A warming alcohol glow was left after you sip this beer. Very good beer three times over. Very satisfying and pleasing. So many words can describe the feelings after drinking this, but I will refrain and steer you back to the first line where this review started.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,881 ratings