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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,332 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: 2,332 | Ratings: 7,632
Photo of AwYeh
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a (750ml?) bomber into a goblet. Bottled May 2010.

A: Cloudy mahogany-brown, with a strong finger or two of densely woven, Belgian tan head.

S: Malts, especially dark fruity ones- plums, currants, dried berries- stand out here. Not extremely yeasty (a recent influx of saisons may have ruined my ability to judge this fairly), but just enough to provide a light tang to the aroma. A light spiciness- cloves, very light black pepper- is also here.

T: Quite sweet, much like the aroma; I detect a lot of the same dark fruits, alongside brown and candy sugar flavors. Hints of chocolate, bread, and the aforementioned (still minor) yeast make this one complex and enjoyable. With warmth, the dark fruits take on a grapy/raisiny/winy flavor.

M: Medium/full-bodied with moderate carbonation (a little less than I expected from a Belgian). Somewhat smooth, with a light warming effect from the alcohol.

D: Not hard to have multiple glasses of this; this may not have been my favorite Belgian strong dark ale, but a good, enjoyable beer nonetheless.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Murky brown in color. Creamy head. Doesn't leave much lacing.

S-Roasty and toasty. Yeastiness, and a hair of hop bitterness.

T-Very sweet. Deep dark roastiness. Like the nose. Alcohol is masked well.

M-On the heavy side with good carbonation.

D-I found it to be more drinkable than the two St. Bernardus I tasted alongside it but was not as flavorful.

Can easily see why this beer is one of the first belgians people try. Great for someone just learning the style (like me).

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Photo of Furlinator
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours hazy rust-brown with a big 2 inch head that settles to a film on top and leaves thin spotty lace.

Smell is of raisins, plums and bananas with just a hint of earthy grass on the finish.

Taste is of sweet malt, raisin, plum, banana, a hint of caramel with a faint bitter aftertaste. Not overly sweet.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy with medium body and medium carbonation.

This beer is the blueprint. Several subdued flavors that when combined become large and impressive.

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Photo of nickthetick
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clouded brown into a chimay chalice with a finger of tan head that hangs around for the drinking experience. Not a whole lot of lacing left on the glass.

S: dark roasted malt translates into a dark roast coffee aroma. A little hop presence in the form of a blood orange or dark citrus.

T: coffee hints with a tad of anise. Toasty malts like a sweet overcooked biscuit. The hops are there but not a huge part of the profile. Dried dark pitted fruits are left hanging on the tongue.

MF: a nice middle of the row belgian, medium body wit just enough effervescence and not to astringent.

D: love this beer and if I can get it with a free glass I'll never pass it up but I would defiantly pick up a bomber of this if I saw it in a heart beat.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, Chimay. Dusty, expensive bottles lining the shelves of beer stores across the globe. What's inside? What could it be? Will cost prove to be predicate to excellence?

Poured into a chilled La Trappe goblet.

Appearance 4.0: Poured out a dark amber with a nice head...well over half an inch. Good lacing.

Smell 3.75: Bouquet is subdued and very strange for this style. I smell Belgian yeast, but phenols from different styles: banana, cloves. Also, there is a nice hint of earthiness.

Taste 4.0: Front is slightly sweet, but in a warming way. Middle is silky smooth and just delightful with hints of treacly malt and some light noble hops. Finish is smooth with a big wave of malt and some interesting tastes of adjuncts, specifically corn. Aftertaste is long and silky, but sticks to the basics: malt and...well, malt.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Smooth, well-balanced and lovely on the palate.

Overall 4.0: Outstanding Belgian Dark, but not the best I have ever had. The bouquet is a bit off and the taste is somewhat one-dimensional, but -nonetheless-- this is an excellent brew. So, my advice is to save up your sheckles and buy a bottle of this to try. Then once you have done so, save up some more money (less than Chimay, BTW) and buy a bottle of St. Feuillien Speciale instead. Or, go to your local Trader Joe's and buy 750ML of a comparable beer for $5.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a delirium tremens snifter. this beer was my eureka moment in craft beer, and remains a staple; finally getting around to a review.

pours a dark, opaque mahogany tone with a solid finger and a half of a beige-colored head. decent retention, good lacing, and a lasting cap. if not the prototype for how a BSDA should look, i'm not sure what is.

aroma, while pleasing, is not quite as robust as i remember; maybe i've been spending too much time with rochefort 10 (a quad, technically, but that's another debate). spice, yeast, and brown sugar evident.

flavor takes it up a notch. smooth and tasty, the nose characters pull through with greater strength and are accompanied by dark fruit and a very faint hops presence. very tasty. as with all BSDAs, as it warms the flavors really open up.

medium-plus bodied with appropriate carbonation. for a big beer i could definitely drink a lot of this so a high drinkability score. easily the best of the chimays, and a great trappist BSDA... that said, there are others i like better (which isn't a knock on grande reserve so much as a testament to said others).

original review on: 10-19-2010

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

Served in a snifter, a little too cold. Fantastic caramel appearance. Full head faded quickly to nice lacing. What a mouthfeel! Absolutely deduces the tongue, and lingers about for a long but light finish. The alcohol is never forward - this is simply perfectly balanced.

Clearly the work of masters at their art.

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

Poured from one of the short fat chimay bottles into a chimay goblet and it is from the 2005 batch.

A - the beer seems to from the bottom of the glass towards the top to be at first a deep, dark, purplish red and then it seems to lighten up as there is an deep orange hue in the middle of the beer. There is a small head that sits on the top and never formed at all. See a lot of carbonation going up to attack the head from all sides and in the middle as well.

S - Smell is a dark grape flavors, also reminds me a bit of a red wine except sweeter and not as big either. That was the prevalent smell that came to me. There was also a hint of bread in there as well.

T - Hmm there seems to be a little bit of everything in here as I get some tart citrus orange and there is also the taste of candied dates that comes in a bit later and also get a bit of a bready yeasty flavor in there as well. Get a nice taste of the alcohol in there as well and with the fruity flavors reminds me of a brandy or brandy soaked dates. The flavor could even possibly be described as rum raisin bread pudding. This gives the beer a bit of a bite in the end of the taste as the alcohol makes itself known. Everything seems to transition together well and the beer is rather balanced.

MF - The beer seemed to have a good bit of carbonation which comes on strong at the beginning and comes with the orange flavor that I found so prevalent. That carbonation really adds some zing to this beer and to the initial feeling in the mouth. It then faded away as the deeper, darker candied, alcoholic date flavor came in. The after feeling is a nice warm feeling in the mouth that just chills out there and not much else.

D- Overall a good beer but not one that really seemed outstanding. It is balanced well and would be good to grab to maybe have with some duck or a dinner party or even to pop open to have with some cheese and fruits. It is one of the easiest to find Belgian strong dark ales but not one of the best, yet still good.

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

11.2 oz bottle with Chimay Goblet

2007 vintage.

This one is a dark brown amber color, very active and lively, especially the yeastie bits in the center of the glass. Gyser-like bubbles rushes to the surface to create a classic, brown-tinted, tight, soft, sticky three-fingers deep head. Disspates in moderate fashion for the style but leaves plenty of surface foam.

The nose is of sour-fruity yeast, toffee and mild chocolate malt with fresh, veggie, grassy scented hop.

THe balance of flavors is sublime. A clean, semi-sweet malt hits first. There's a rich fruity tanginess from the wonderful Belgian yeast. The hops come mostly in the finish with a very herbal and earthy effect.

This is a smooth, full-bodied feel but very clean on the palate. Lively carbonation keeps this crisp to the fisnish.

high quality stuff.

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Photo of nicnut45
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-A dark ruby brown color. Seems to be a bit hazy. The head was not as big as I thought it was going to be. It has settled to a fine off white layer and it looks amazing.

S-Earthy, these beers have always reminded me of a pile of wet leaves in the fall. Dark dried fruits, apricots, blue cheese, a bit of toffee and pepper.

T-When I taste this gorgonzola cheese comes to mind. Alcoholic and peppery flavors dominate. Despite this it goes down relatively easy. Alot of tangy spicyness going on. Bread crust, sour apples. Im picking up dirt/mud flavors (wierd I know). Finish is dry.

M.F.-Carbonation is high, wish it was a bit lower so I can experience the flavor a more, instead it just kind of gets pushed out of the way. A bit watery, but most likely because of the attenuation of the yeast.

D-I like the dryness of this beer. The alcohol is high but doesnt leave you bogged down. However it has a strange twang to it that I just cant get used to.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mixin' up the glassware...from 750 ml bottle to Reidel Extreme Pinot Noir glass - let's see what happens...

Big, bready 2-finger head with muffin tunnels. Carbonation clings to glass, similar to champagne. Head has life of its own from carbonation.

A great deal of yeast with a faint touch of alcohol. Some ginger, more sarsparilla. A little tin; needs warmth. There's a hint of salt - similar to a club soda scent.

Very clean - a little glove leather, some husky braised/boiled malt; alcohol accompanied with mild spice. Again, some salt in context with carbonation - leathery baked apple feel. This is a bit more mild than expected.

Slightly unbalanced mouthfeel - heavier than expected with carbonation. Needs a little more chemistry. Not what is expected but still pleasant.

By no means unenjoyable - a complex effort. Heavier than desired for mild flavor profile. Definitely sippin' material.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chimay has got another soild brew here. Poured out to a dark cider like color with a nice 1/2 inch head of almond cream foam, and some lace. Medium high carbonation. Impressive. Aroma of yeast that has been sitting, dark fruits, and some roasted nuts. Taste was along the same lines; Flavors of earth, herbs, spices, malt and yeast are noticeable, with nuances of roasted nuts and aged tobacco. Mouthfeel was smooth and rich, giving no indication of the 9%ABV. Drinkability for some reason doesn't seem all that high, as I think this brew is one you'd only want every once in awhile. Nonetheless, it's a superior brew that's well made, and worthy of your hard earned money. Recommended.

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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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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,632 ratings.
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