Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,320 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,320 | Ratings: 7,594
Photo of MrDanno96
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Chimay Goblet. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes after taking it out of the fridge.

A: Pours a muddy red-brown color that lets very little light through. A nice foamy head disippated after about 10 minutes, leaving about 1/2 a finger of head primarily around the rim of the brew. Almost no lacing.

S: Roasty malts and dark fruits like raisins and plums. Hints of molasses and alcohol are also evident.

T: Follows nose pretty closely. Lots of sweet dark fruits and sweet malts. Alcohol is also pretty apparent to the point that it detracts from the flavor just a little. Overall, however, a tasty Belgian Dark.

M: A pretty full body with just a hint of dryness in the finish. There are definite warming effects from the alcohol as it goes down.

D: A solid Strong Dark Ale overall, but I like Maudite just a little more I think. I wish the alcohol presence was just a little more subtle.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glowing chestnut and an athletic loose but creamy and lumpy beige head that fades to a puckering steady layer of film that webs. Muted nose - clove, spice cake and a bit of beeswax candle.
Ginger cake, light plum, some toffee crisp, hints of incense, and a kaleidoscope of spices to end.
Chutney finish and numbing clove linger. Light to medium, gently fizzy, some chew, creamy.

Beautifully seamless, like so many of the greatest beers. And yet I find myself wondering if that's the case here, or if there's actually not that much there. I know the rep of this beer has taken a hit over the years, and this is just not as deep, distinctive or compelling as it's classic status would suggest. The skill of the brewers is undeniable; the beer, sadly, is only very good.

Part smoke and mirrors, part real magic.

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Photo of BabaJohn
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful deep brown coloration with a good inch of light brown head fading fast to little clusters and circles of carbonation, but very, very inviting. Has a nice malty, bready nose on the subtle side with some vinegar/olive traces. Taste is vinegar up front, turning malty after the first swallow, carbonation is brought by the third and a nice balance arrived at in the fourth. Alcohol of course is detected in the aftertaste, and a bit of bitter hops on the back end. Some wine like qualities as in other dark Belgians. Chimay is right up there with the best of them.

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Photo of deaconoflove
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ap. Poured a nicely dark golden brown, cloudy.
Sm. Malty and caramel and spice.
Ta. Very sweet, malty, clove spice, and caramel.
Mf. Very smooth, with nice carbonation. Fills your mouth.
Dr. Very good, but I doubt I'd do more than one. It's more like desert than a "drinkin" beer.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Foggy translucent dark red/brown body that pours with creamy light tan head. Head slowly subsides to a big thick creamy collar and some lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Nose is heavy on dark fruit-particularly raisins, and has a big spicy yeast background.

T- Dark fruit, particularly raisins, are upfront with a big hefty spicy yeast backbone. Hints of sugary sweetness also come through. The finish is mostly spicy yeast with a big presence of alcohol. What lingers on the palate is a big spicy yeast profile and hints of alcohol and fruity sweetness.

M- High carbonation and medium weight body heavy on alcohol and yeast. The alcohol is hard to swallow but the yeast smooths it out.

D- I find this more drinkable as it warms. The 9% ABV does not hide in this one at all. It is a complex and enjoyable Belgian ale meant to be treated with care. Good and something I am willing to revisit-but not sure it is worth $5 for a 11.2 oz bottle.

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Photo of radshoesbro
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - looks almost like a stout but if you hold it up to the light it almost reminds me of coke. definately lets in some light, but not much. good head that leaves almost no lace.

s - alcohol! you can definately smell that this is 9% ABV. tiny amount of malt in the nose.

t - the alcohol you smell is actually quite milt but still prevailent. the malts have hints of brown sugar, plums, and i think that's a bit of coffee taste in the finish.

m - so much smoother than i imagined! this is definately a good heavy bodied finisher but has a very light quality to it.

i would recommend this to anyone that likes the style. be careful! if you have multipe glasses of this and don't just sip it you're going to be feeling it very quickly.

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Photo of SudNut
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like the strong dark ales this is one of my favorites. Not the best BSDA but at least 2nd or 3rd. Appearance is murky brown with a small foam head no lacing. This beer tastes great; with a 9% ABV it is pretty filling but the alcohol is well masked. Mouthfeel is light with a bit of a blueberry plum taste fading to caramel. Smell is of a caramel coated fruit orchard w/ lots of malty goodness, mmm. I could drink a lot of these even w/ the high ABV! WOOT WOOT!

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Photo of nota
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours mohogany/ dark amber in color. Big foamy head that made me wait awhile before I could finish filling my glass.My first thoughts about the taste was of dates. As I drank on some more I notice this beer was quite earthy with hint of wood. The 8% ABV was not to noticeable.

This was nice for a treat, but the price will always keep as just that.

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Photo of ChiPool
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

CB pours a medium brown color, with 1/2 inch of cream colored head. Not nearly as dark as most stouts, but the brown liquid does let a bit of light through. The nose is a bit non-descript: maybe a faint scent of brown sugar? Down the hatch, a lot more complexity than the nose suggests. Dark fruits: figs, brown sugar tastes. This is quite smooth: very little booze detected for a 9% brew. The moutfeel is the outstanding feature to be: just right, well balanced.

I think this had been on the shelf for a while, as the dust on the bottles would suggest. The apparent age did this well. Well done.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours exactly the color you would expect, with a lively spritzy head that dies down to a thin but solid film.

Despite bringing this up to temperature and decanting it into a Chimay glass, I'm left here wondering what happened to the aroma. Some raisin and caramel is present. But that's about it.

All is forgiven as soon as I take a sip. Very treacly yet rounded flavors of sour cherries and sweet prunes and spice, like nutmeg and clove, with a dry peppery finish. Warming alcohol lingers a bit on the aftertaste. No hops that I can discern. An interesting melange of flavors working together harmoniously.

Highly carbonated with a bite that lets this beer down a little. Still, it went down easy. Too easy.

I planned a Belgian Strong Dark Ale night thinking I would go from weakest to best, those being Unibroue's Trois Pistole, Gouden Carolus Classic, finishing with this. But it might have actually gone the opposite way in terms of my preference. But it's slight degrees of difference as these are all fantastic, world class beers.

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Photo of egohepar
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, stored in cellar for about a year. Drank in large snifter.

A-Dark brown color with some red in it, a bit like dark toffee.. Large foam which disappears rather quickly.

S-Somewhat less significant then what I expected. But the smell still has depth and some grapey, winelike tones. And there's sweet tones there as well.

T-The taste is round and full. There are dark fruits, raisins, spices and discrete malty tones of molasses. Also theres some bitterness and sourness but it's all balanced and complex. You can somewhat feel the alcohol presence.

M-Medium carbonation and presence all over mouth and throat. Relaxing and enjoyable. Feels nice and dry afterwards.

O-Nice beer which is perfect to sip during the evening. Feels like a treat. I think it's a really nice beer but there are examples of the style which are more fully evolved and fulfilled.

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Photo of BMoldy
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Looks a lot like the Red, but a darker shade of brown and more opaque. Mocha-colored head settles nice and slowly. No lacing, but that's likely my wet, overused glass.

S: Molasses and dark fruit. A little bit of alcohol.

T/M: Some smooth caramel malt mixed with alcohol. Much bolder than the Red, with more familiar flavors. Hint of vanilla. Warm, solvent alcohol on the finish. Medium/medium-heavy in body, with a very subdued and inoffensive carbonation. Alcohol can be a little much at times though.

O: Outshine its little red brother, but I'm still not the biggest fan. Too much alcohol and not enough other flavors to really make it worth it, in my opinion.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I expected stronger flavors from this beer (not sure why), but was instead impressed by how tasty the beer was without being powerful. I guess this is some definition of balance.

The beer was a dark amber, with decent carbonation and a fair to good head retention. The smell wasn't too strong, but a bit of raisin bread, maybe some fig.

The taste was very smooth and light, actually. There was a light sweetness, date-like taste over a typical abbey ale yeast flavor. There is also a nice carbonation to this pour which plays on the tongue with a light, neutral bitterness to end the taste.

Overall, I might say this is slightly on the sweet side, but it's distinction to me is in the balance and ability to produce a little depth in a balanced beer.

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Photo of JGS
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured well and had a nice brown color.While I enjoyed the yeasty aroma, it didn't seem that strong to me. The aroma didn't seem to carry much else, however I have recently quit smoking, and am only just getting some of my smell back. The taste was even, with a yeasty flavor predominate and a fruity flavor that seemed to be skirting the edge of the taste. There is that aftertaste I have noticed with Strong Belgian Ales, the sweet alcohol taste that will sometimes linger on your tongue briefly. I did enjoy the mouthfeel. It is a very carbonated beer with a lot of bubbles that play over your tongue. This is a solid Strong Ale with good characteristics. However, after trying it, I would be more likely to try something I haven't had yet. The flip side of the coin is that if I were offered this beer, I wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of rivethead23
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle Chimay Blue I cellared in my basement in a brown paper bag since I don't know when... the Code on it reads LAM-408 so I am assuming this beer is from 2004 thanks to a google search. I thought I had bought it in 2007 but I can't be sure. This beer was cracked open tonight because we sold the house (at a $40k loss.. ) where it was cellared and decided it would be a fitting celebration. (10-20-12)

Poured into a Chimay goblet (what else would be appropriate)

Appearance: Dark brown with a hint of red. Appears to have some nice globs of brown sediment in the bottom of the glass. May have poured too vigorously.

Smell - Vanilla and toffee

Head - when poured no head to speak of looked entirely flat.

Lacing - When swirled or imbibed a thick white lacing is left

Mouth Feel - Rich, Malty, virtually no carbonation.

Taste - Exactly as it smells - strong toffee and vanilla tastes with a hint of butterscotch when it hits the back of the throat that lingers for a long while.

My wife took one whiff and refused to drink it (she pretty much drinks pumpkin ales and blue moon belgian white so it wasn't unexpected)

Makes me wish I had cellared more than one bottle.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a Chimay goblet. I poured slowly, and about a finger's worth of light, bubbly head spring up. A little fizzy looking. The head receded pretty quickly and maintains a film. The head clings to the glass, but does not form any lacing. The beer is quite dark. Very dark brown with some nice highlights when the light strikes it right.

S - Honestly, I detect almost nothing here. Some faint semi-sweet malty tones.

T - Here is where the beer starts to pick up. Something of a dark fruit sweetness with a convincing bitter presence at mid-palate. The finish evolves significantly with a dry, almost tart flavor. Nice complexity. Just a bit of alcohol detectable on the finish.

M - Excellent. Medium-full bodied with some carbonation detectable. The dry finish is great, and leaves me wanting more. Not as a means for clearing some bizarre aftertaste, but because it really is that good.

O - Slow start, but I'm warming up to it. It doesn't knock my socks off in any significant way, but I appreciate the range of feel and flavors that you get from this beer. Nice sipper.

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Photo of blakesell
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750ml caged and corked bottle into a cube shaped tasting glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a cola dark with just as much head that appears and quickly vanishes. Beer itself is very cloudy and brown with no lacing.

Smell- Big 'ol Chimay bready yeast and darker malts but not so much roast. Hops are hardly detectable. Nuances are hard to come by here and the temperature is not a factor.

Taste- Creamy and yeasty with fruity under notes of dates, prunes, and fig. Hops are subdued at best. Warming alcohol is in with the phenols but it's welcome. Cant get past that trademark Chimay yeast too well overall.

Mouthfeel- Thick, phenolic, band-aid like and medium-full bodied. Highly carbonated and effervescent.

Drinkability- This originally was my favorite of all the Chimays, but after the vertical tasting, I'm not so sure.

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Photo of imscotty
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle in a Chimay glass. I love when I find these little pygmy bottles of Chimay, the Bombers are too much unless you are sharing with a few friends.

A: Color is a reddish amber. Pours with a strong head that settles down but lingers a bit, Fairly strong lacing. An attractive brew.

S: Light malt sent, figs and caramel. Some deep rich fruit.

T: Taste figs and dark fruit, caramel. On the finish there is a tart, almost astringent flavor (almost like pomegranate). A nicely balanced range of flavors.

M: The carbonation in this beer is fairly strong and course. I notice the more that I let it sit and warm up the more the flavors stay on the tongue. Nice body and a little pleasant heat from the alcohol.

O: A nice representation of the Belgian style.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Bottle exploded when opened. Then... Dark brownish red color, with a bunch of floating sediment. Huge 2 finger light tan fizzy head that quickly disappears into almost nothing. Can hear the head fizzing. No lacing to speak of.

S: A very wine like aroma, slight alcohol. Big dark fruits, cherries, figs, raisins. Sweet malts. Belgian yeast. Light chocolate and vanilla notes.

T: Sweet dark cherries on the tip of the tongue with a slight alcohol sting. The rest of the dark fruits come next, with figs, raisins, plums and grapes. A peppery spiciness along with a faint chocolate in the finish. A alcohol bite after note.

M: Medium bodied. High carbonation. Alcohol sting.

O: A complex beer and a good beer. Not the hugest fan of Belgian's but they are growing on me. Will definitely give this a try again.

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Photo of TheBierBand
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I got a bottle of this (1PT, 9.4 FL. OZ.) at KROGER Grocery store! I paid $9.99 for the bottle. But I figured that hey.... you get what you pay for.... so, I tried it! The brown bottle has a CORK. The bottle label said "see vintage on cork" (My cork said 11/05.... does that mean November of 2005?)

I poured it into a goblet to produce a 1" light tan head that disappeared to a fizzy ring. The beer is the color of dark caramel. Cloudy. When held to light it is a deep red.

The aroma is rich and a bit fruity. Sweet caramel.

OK.... here goes the taste: WOW!.... This is strong stuff! Taste of plum with a big alcohol finish. A touch of caramel sweetness but a good bitterness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: A bit too fizzy for my taste.... this beer is highly carbonated. Also a bit thin for my taste.... I would prefer a bit more substance. Nice aftertaste and mouth coating.

Drinkability: This is a BIG BEER! 9% ABV. It was all I could do to finish the bottle.... best bet....share with a friend. I will buy this again and let it cellar to see the difference.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

The appearance stands out due to the thick, frothy head that resembles the top of a serving of espresso. The liquid is dark brown, cloudy, and almost murky looking with some slight carbonation.

I don't get a lot of aroma on this one. The dark fruit, plum and fig notes are there and I expect that, but not much else, just some slight yeastiness.

The taste is similar to the smell, with the heavy dark fruit, some malty sweetness and the lingering taste of candied syrup.

I was impressed by the mouthfeel, as there's some spiciness, only slight carbonation and chewy, creaminess in the middle. Most importantly, there's no alcohol burn.

Overall, it's a tasty beer, but I don't get the complexity and variety of tastes and aromas that the other Chimay offerings provided. Good but not great.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Chimay Grand Reserve was good....but not so good I would want seconds...thanks to the high ABV. The beer poured a darker brown color with virtually no head and no lace. The scent was a roasty Belgium sweet malt. The taste was a good combo of roast and caramel mixed with Belgium sweetness. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with subtle carbonation. Overall this was a tasty beer....but too big to try too much!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

4.5 A: Murky medium brown color. Two plus fingers of super creamy light tan head with great retention and good amounts of lacing. Very good so far.

3.5 S: The nose is too weak, but pleasant. Main aromas that can be picked out are yeasty clove, plum, and dark candi sugar.

4.0 T: The taste is a lot stronger than the nose, which is much preferred. Raisin, plum, and tobacco fruitiness. Clove and pepper spiciness. Nutty with a bit of toastiness. Solid.

4.0 M: Lighter body. Good spritzy carbonation. Goes down pretty easy.

4.0 D: Definitely a solid offering, but I think there are some US breweries making stuff just as good at lower non-import prices. Still, this is something to enjoy from time to time. Good all around, but could use an infusion of power into the aroma.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle vintage 05/05

Head was awesome and stuck around for a bit.

Smell was a little faint and alcohol was the biggest thing I picked up on.

taste was excellent. Nice malt complexities with some alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel was great. crisp and full bodied clings pretty well

This is a nice beer. easy to drink

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Photo of JackieKu
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. Poured into tulip.

A: Dark brown. Hazy. Poured with a lot of foam, and long retaintion.
S: Toffee, somewhat lychee. (Esters?)
T: Malty. Medium- sweet. Toffee. Some alcohol if warmed. Fairly bitter but other flavors pull it down, a.k.a. balanced.
M: Full to medium bodied. Medium carbonation.
O: World-wide generally available, still excellent beer. Have drunk and enjoyed it several times.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,594 ratings.
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