Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,354 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,354 | Ratings: 7,714
Photo of HoustonTX
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark caramel brown, large head that fades pretty fast.

S - Fruit/Alcohol/Hops

T - Wonderful and complex, several fruit flavors, and a very subtle bitter aftertaste. Warming aftertaste is also apparent.

M - Creamy, and fufilling.

D - Excellent.

Overall, an incredible beer, a must try.

 303 characters

Photo of BrSpiritus
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bought this from the Liquor store I work in. 750ml bottle dated 10/05 poured into a widemouthed wine glass. My first impression was a fruity aroma, cherries mixed with plums. The pour left an excellent head that lingered for quite some time. The taste was a superb mix of sweet malt, blackberries and cherries with a slight hop finish. This a beer I love to drink as a special treat. I look forward to popping into the 3 bottles I have laid down in the cellar from the '03 batch.

 479 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lovely pour. Head is a coarse brown the fizzes away in mere minutes. No lacing. Nose is muted, but what I do smell reminds me of maple syrup and plums. Taste is sweet brown sugar, plums, coriander and a meek hop presence. Mouthfeel is lively. Honestly, I'm not too thrilled with this. Sure, it's one of my favorite styles, but there are so many other beers out there that do it better imo. Save your money and buy a Ommegang or Trois Pistoles by Unibroue instead.

 463 characters

Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl. bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: It has the beautiful dark amber / copper color that I love, which even gets a little hazier due to the yeast that I poured in (not swirled but just tipped the bottle to the point where it dislodged and some got in). Maybe it's the temperature, as this is a dried glass that's been sitting by my sink, but there's not really too much head on this, and I don't know why. I figure it has to be something regarding the way I went about it. Either way, the scoring's doing a good job of keeping the head at about 1/2"; there just isn't much lacing.

Smell: Dark cherry, plum, slight fig and raisins, candi sugar, faint banana, tons of yeast, and a mild phenolic presence. Lots of stuff going on. I don't get much hops at all, but maybe it's curbing the fruitiness and balancing out the malt qualities a bit. Still very nice and balanced well.

Taste: The dark plum and cherry are at the forefront, with lots of awesome yeast in there too (I'm a fan of everything in the bottle going into the glass). Slight fig and raisin comes in midway, and it finishes with a faint coat of hops before sliding into dark tropical fruit which lingers on the tongue. Nothing extremely experimental with the style, but everything's done beyond right here, and that needs to be applauded.

Mouthfeel: Near perfect level of carbonation that provides a filling burst in a way, but not spritzy. It ends up adding to the body and filling it out, or slightly taking away a bit from the body. Either way, it's doing it's job, and this is a pretty silky brew.

Drinkability: Without a doubt in my mind this is the Chimay brew to drink and I know I definitely will again. This is a fresh bottle (as in I haven't cellared it), so I wonder what would happen over time. Perhaps I'll have to store one away. Certainly a great example of the style; nothing flashy but excellent and balanced and delicious on all accounts.

 1,956 characters

Photo of rodrot
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass, this beer had a murky reddish brown appearance with a huge frothy head. Strangely, I could not pick up much of an aroma other than a little bit of a malty, toffeeish smell. The taste was very nice however, quite malty and spicy with notes of chocolate, maple syrup, dark fruit and caramel. It also had a pleasing alcoholic warmth. This beer was full bodied and rich on the palate. Chimay blue is one of my all time favorites and I plan on cellaring a couple of bottles for a future review.

 560 characters

Photo of beermanbrian
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown color with nice thick off white head. Smell of dark fruits. Taste is very rich, nice maltyness with fruit and spice overtones. Mouthfeel is awesome, smooth. The best of the 3 Chimay offerings. Overall, just an enjoyable beer. I am now a fan of Chimay.

 275 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from a gift pack containing the white, red and blue along with a chimay goblet glass. pours quite dark and somewhat cloudy with a white head. malty, somewhat spicy odor. taste is pretty darn good. heavy malt character. chocolatey. belgian spices on the back end. mouthfeel is full and about right for the style. good drinkability and with a fairly hard hitting alcohol punch.

 375 characters

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This 2000 vintage magnum was generously shared by Texashammer. What a gal!

Rusty brown with deep red highlights. The off-white head is soft and generous. Sweet tart fruit introduces wine-like aromas, which touch also on lambic and apple cider. Sweet raisin fruit and dates appear on the palate, with boozy goodness before mid-palate to contribute a generous warmth. Bitterness and dark malt round things out. This regal melding of flavors drinks so nice and smooth.

A rare treat.

 486 characters

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a big ass bomber purchased in Belfast (Maine not Ireland) Pours ruby red/brown, smells of dried fruit, like apricots. Tastes the same with some hoppy characteristics and alcohol, but seems to fade out quickly. Moputhfeel is ok, but a bit thin for a Belgian like this. Overall it's pretty good and will have it again and again but it's not great.

 350 characters

Photo of clickpush
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: 750ml bottle to wide mouth wine glass. Pours the color of then coffee with a half inch of light brown head that melts down to a thin, soft looking coating with plenty of lace.

Nose: somewhat fruity like cherries and plum. I was kind of dissapointed that it wasn't stronger though.

Mouth: Excellently strong carbonation with warm, alcoholic exhale that was strong enough to make my ears tingle. Tastes of toffee, coffee, and malt.

 441 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So it's been a year since I tried one of these and fortunately I still had a bottle from the group that I purchased for my last review. Many of the qualities that I found in my previous tasting still exist, but overall it's a much more mellow beer. The dominant characters now seem to be a pleasing caramel and toffee malt component along with raisins and figs. The yeast has receded a bit, but there's still a fair bit of breadiness. Overall, it's quite smooth and malty - to me it's improved with a bit of aging. I've still got one more bottle from that bunch, so I'll see if I can hold on to it for another year.

 615 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled from small bottle into a Chimay glass.
It poured a deep brown with a beautiful, creamy, slightly off-white two finger head. The head was retained, with little loss until near the end, when it became a soft lace.
The aroma was fruity/berry like, with hints of alcohol in the background. It smelled more like red wine than beer, though.
The taste was simply exquisite. It had a well-balanced taste of fruity (though not citrusy) flavor, mainly of raspberry, along with a malty caramel flavor. The sweet and bitter were well-mixed, along with an alcohol flavoring that made it very complex and delicious.
The mouthfeel was refreshing. Along with the complexity, there was just the right amount of water to make it refreshing and drinkable. The alcohol taste does come through, but not enough to overpower any of the tastes. This is an excellent drink to have on a cold, cool, or mild day.
I could certainly drink many of these, had it not been for a combination of the high abv and the price.

 1,009 characters

Photo of jettjon
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: Nose, taste
Lows: Dregs on pour

Pours dark purple/raspberry with some dregs evident. Head is one finger tan with tiny bubbles, fading slowly to a nice thin sheet of lacing. Nose is of apples, cherries, grape juice or grape candy. Taste is apple/grape juice to a grape Jolly Rancher or grape candy. Can you say, “grape?” Mouth is bubbly sweet and refreshing. Finish has a bit of alcohol and a brief bite, not bad, but lets you know it’s there. Drinkability is very good: this is a sweet and smooth brew, and is quite refreshing.

Overall: An excellent fruity Belgian dark, heartily recommended.

 609 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruddy red with a 2 fingers tan head. Head holds okayl& has minimal lacing

Smell: Iron. slight fruitnes & some oaky notes

taste: vanilla, oaky, fruitty, rye& a fruitty finish (too much going on)

mf: slightly syruppy & undergassed

Pretty enjoyable & drinks better than the ABV. If could only try one BE style beer this one brings a lot to the table...

 367 characters

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

This and the Abbaye des Rocs Gran Cru are my favorite in this style. Pours dark brown, almost black. Aroma of cherries and dark fruit. Also lots of roasted malt. It just smells rich. Taste is incredibly well balanced. I look forward to every taste as I enjoy this baby. Chimay is not as sexy as other, harder to find Belgians, but it's hard to do better than this one.

 368 characters

Photo of vanrassel
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a Chimay goblet, this beer looked like it should: dark, almost opaque with ruby highlights. On top sat a majestic one-finger head that lasted as the beer dwindled, leaving ample lacing on the glass as I drank.

The smell I picked up was of alcoholic esters with some figs. The taste was a fine balance between a roasty malt and more yeasty characteristics. Overall, smooth and well-balanced for a beer that's 9 per cent ABV. Taste-wise, I prefer Trois Pistoles, but this one felt better going down: less abrasive carbonation while still being every bit as warm in the belly. A classic.

 597 characters

Photo of EvilKeith
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce brown bottle

Pours into the snifter somewhere between a hazy dark brown and a deep ruby color. Begins with a fluffy sudsy camel colored head, lace is fine and slides slowly back down the glass.

Smell is earthy, nutty, sweet dark fruit with a hint of smokiness.

Taste is ...a must try experience.

As anyone can see from the hundreds and hundreds of reviews on this site that this is a damn fine Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Try it for yourself, you won't be disappointed.

 494 characters

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

Poured a deep , maroon/brown with aburn edges. An inch and a half of super creamy and dense , baige foam formed a inpenetrable layer on top , with walls of lacing left sliding down the chalice. Aroams of sweet and ripe dark fruits , blackberry , blueberry etc , chocolate , yeast , and alcohol are in the nose. Taste is a pleasantly complex and rich blend of dark fruits , malt , some medicinal taste , a bit of chocolate , and some warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a dry , yeasty , and lingering aftertaste. A very tasty and rich Belgian strong dark ale. Very drinkable

 590 characters

Photo of Bsmith
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I recently opened a bottole of this that I had purposely saved since August 1999.

I was very concered that this would have gone bad, I was pleased to find out that it wasn't. The cork popped open with authority. The aroma was wine-like but it still carried the characterisitcs of caramel and burnt butterscotch(?). The ABV was way above the normal 9%, I guess the yeast had done its job. All hoppiness was understandably gone and the finish was fairly dry.

It was an exceptional experience and can't wait to save a couple of more bottles to open in the next 5-10 years.

 577 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 750ml bottle with the date 1/06 stamped on the cork. It was a dark brown color with a very small head. It had a sweet, fruity (?raisin, ? banana) odor with a bit of spiciness. I thought the taste would be a little more complex, but it wasn't. It had a spicy, malty flavor, with some mild hop bitterness. A good beer, quite drinkable despite the 9%Abv.

 362 characters

Photo of nickss
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle boured into a large wine glass.

Pours a deep opaque brown... very nearly black. Huge 1.5" head... very rocky, very loud, very nice.

The first thing I notice in the aroma is yeasty breadiness. A bit of clove and some banana is noticeable. Big and rich aroma. I dig it.

The taste is certainly more subdued than I was expecting. A bit of yeast, a bit of malt...a touch of doughy breadiness.... kinda boring though.... not exactly bad... just... eh.

The mouthfeel is a bit too crisp and thin for my taste.

Very drinkable for a 9% brew.... I just remember this one being more memorable.

 611 characters

Photo of Freshie
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice dark auburn hue, with head that laces thick to the sides of the glass.

The aroma is very packed with complexity. Spicy, with a smokey character. I detected a sweet malt quality as well, possibly from a fruit influence.

The taste is very reflective of the aroma, with spice, and very smooth malt flavour. I detected some sort of fruitiness, that I could not describe, there is alot going on there. Suffice it to say, it was still excellent. Good blance, and good carbonation.

Very easy to drink. I had people who are not avid beer drinkers, citing how good it was, so that says a lot. It appeals to more than just craft beer fans. You do not need an accquired taste, just drink and be merry.


 725 characters

Photo of tomParis
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, dated 12/05 on the cork.

Color is dark auburn, hazy, almost opaque. Big light brown head.

Smells mostly fruity with a little bit of spice and hops. Cherries, plum, clove, and alcohol. Taste is similar; cherry, plum, caramel, spice and a little tartness and bitterness in the finish. Very complex, very tasty.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, full bodied but not syrupy at all. I could definately have a couple more of these.

 444 characters

Photo of Rezzin
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark red mahogany color - I can't see through it. This thing must be bottled conditioned because it's hazy. I'll remember to be more careful with my pour next time. Rocky biege head.

S - Sweetness from the malt and a strong spiciness and yeast. This one is difficult to describe.

T - Spicy and malty with an alcohol sweetness. Much like it smells. As it warms up it gets spicier. Slightly fruity.. plums maybe? I'm pretty new to Belgians so this one is big one for me - will take some time to get used to.

M - Well carbonated, fairly smooth in the front and surprisingly crisp and tart in the back.

D - Overall not a bad beer but for me personal preferance, will take some time to get used to.

 709 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a darm mohogany color with a light tan head. The head is thick and fluffy. It fades slowly, leaving a massive amount of laces.

This beer has a spicy aroma. I can smell some cloves. Also, I detect some yeast aroma. It has a caramel malty aroma also. The alcohol content is hidden well in the aroma.

This beer tastes slightly spicy. Some cloves lead into coreander. It has an earthy yeast flavor also. It tastes just a tiny bit sour..I can also taste some fruit. Cherries.

This beer is highly carbonated, complimenting the style. It goes down smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste.

I think this beer would make a good session beer, except that it is just a little high in alcohol. But the flavor is great, and I can see myself having a few. Thanks David for hooking me up.

 795 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,714 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.