Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,353 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: 2,353 | Ratings: 7,709
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

Photo of ElGordo
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a 750ml bottle with champagne cork and bail. With no agitation in over a week, the beer still energetically bubbled over once I popped the cork. Pours a pretty garnet-brown color with ruby highlights, topped by a creamy khaki-colored head that dissipates a bit more quickly than I would like. Aroma of slightly sweet European malt, Belgian yeast, and notes of raisin and bread, with an underlying whiff of alcohol. Palate is understated - sweet, honeyish malt blended with a touch of Euro hops. Notes of spicy yeast, raisins, plums, and very faint caramel are present. Finish is nice and warm, so as not to let you forget the alcohol content. Body is nice and creamy, but also a tad foamy. Still, right on the mark for the Trappist style. All-around, quite drinkable for such a big beer.

 800 characters

Photo of sevineyes
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with a blue label.

A: Poured with a 1-inch head that's off-white and very dense. Leaves good lacing.

S: Not a big smell. Yeasty. Gives way to blueberry or gooseberry.

T: Huge. Cherries, plums, bananna that gives way to an alcohol evaporation and dryness. Mid-tones are more along the line of watery berries.

M: Very carbonated but with a dry finish.

Overall: The smell doesn't set you up propery for how the taste hits you in the mouth. I really love this beer. The complexity of the taste is worth trying again and again. The alcohol is very subdued and can sneak up on you.

 618 characters

Photo of Amar
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend and I split a tall bottle (750 ml) at a wonderful Belgian Beer Garden called Vol de Nuit in the West Village of Manhattan. (We paid $21)

Since the place was very dimly lit, I couldn't quite identify the colors but it appeared cloudy, dark and had a good head.

The aroma was distinctly yeasty with subtle hints of berries and other fruits that I couldn't fully recognize.

We were very excited to try this for the first time but once we sipped on this (very expensive) ale, it just fell short of all the hoopla. I am not saying it is not a good beer, it is actually quite refined in texture (crisp, medium body) and balancing of the high alcohol level but just lacked a full or deep flavor. Or, perhpas I should just say that it was a little too subtle for a Friday night at the bar. I suspect the mild sweetness and spiciness will pair well with rich and/or spicy food. I will give this ale another shot with some food this time and see if can identify any hidden flavors that just didn't come out last night.

 1,026 characters

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

Served right from the cellar into a Chimay goblet.
Appearance - Murky brown with a bunch of particulates. A big fluffy head and the carbonation keeps a good 1/4 inch of head throughout the drink.
Aroma - sweet and very yeasty.
Taste - Big and bready with a spicy yeast flavor. There is a nice clove and banana thing going on.
Mouthfeel - somewhere in the vicinity of excellent.
Drinkability - This is alot more drinkable than the red, not that the red isn't drinkable mind you, just that this is a little more balanced in my opinion.

 538 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was in Chateau Lacour in the heights of the Mastiff Central of Ardeche the last time I had this one. I was never much of a fan of Chimay Blue but for some reason, after several cheap bottles of Rochefort 10, I decided to give it another go. I marched up to my buddy at the bar and ordered a 750, wasn’t offered a glass nor did I want one. I took a few swigs and returned to the mosh pit where RATM’s “Know Your Enemy” was blasting. After quickly downing the translucent dark copper brew, I realized something. This had been the best tasting Chimay Grand Reserve I had ever had. The previous two dozen times I had considered it vastly overrated trite. Maybe it was just the after effects of the Rochefort messing with my taste buds, but this bottle of Chimay was vastly better then any I had ever sipped before. Heck, it was almost mediocre.

So here’s my beef with Chimay Blue. If I’m going to pay as much as this stuff costs, I would like a beer that I don’t have to age 3 years before I drink it. Every time I drink a bottle straight from the store or at a bar, I feel like it is an underdeveloped, uncomplicated baby of a beer. Sure it’s loaded with dark fruits, candied sugar, and lovely Belgian yeasts. They just aren’t very exciting. Liekwise, the body is reasonably depthful and lightly sour but it lacks vitality. Overall, I just can’t understand the hype surrounding this brew when masterpieces like Ommegang rival it so well at a fraction of the cost.

 1,475 characters

Photo of thepitch
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured the beer into a tulip glass, it displayed a large, foamy, tan colored head.

The aroma is strong, wheaty and sweet, with overtones of apple and cherry.

The taste is intially of sour cherry with a hint of bitterness and a wheaty, alcoholic aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is spicy with a slight yet well-balanced burn. Very interesting and inviting.

For the style I found it to be quite drinkable, but a bit too strong and too sour to drink one after the other.

Overall, a fine effort.

 503 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this in the correct Chimay glass in the Grand Duke Pub in Geneva. Actually this is only the latest time I tried it, I've had it many times and never remembered to rate it.

Pours with a nice thick off-white foam on top of burgandy colored liquid. You can see the floating yeastie flavor particles. Smells bready and yeasty, competing with Westvleteren 12 and St Bernardus 12 for aroma in my opinion. Really appetizing appearance and aroma.

Tastes fruity and complex, with the flavor moving from sweet to slightly bitter as I drain the glass. I like this every time I try it.

By far my favorite Chimay offering. The Cinq Cents is good in its own right I guess, but the red label leaves you wanting something more substantial. Go for the blue any chance you get.

 773 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a Chimay Bleu, 750 ml C&C bottle, poured into a corresponding Chimay goblet. The ale is at room temperature.

Appearance: The ale pours with a moderate head, leaving little lace around the mouth of the goblet. The ale has a color that reminds me of muddy creek water. That is to say it is it has a deep brown color with a high level of sediment. I am reviewing this off of the last pour so there is an abundance of sediment in the glass.

Smell: There is a heady alcohol smell on first sniff. After that, a fruity aroma emerges, driven by figs and raisins. There is also a light cookie/malty aroma.

Taste: The ale has a full-bodied, deep taste. First notes to hit the tongue are those of a semi-sweet, rich malty flavor, like a good chocolate chip cookie. From there, some of the fruit flavors emerge, including the raisins as well as some esters from the yeast. On top of all of these flavors, the alcohol is clearly evident, providing a warming sensation with each sip.

Mouthfeel: The ale warms the body as one sips it. The overabundance of flavors can, at times, overload the palate. Overall though, the ale is very pleasant to sip.

Drinkability: The ale is severely limited by both the price tag ($11 for a bomber) and abv. Despite those factors, this ale is a true gem and stands well amongst the family of Trappist ales.

 1,353 characters

Photo of dogfooddog
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Screen-printed bottle, Chimay Grande Reserve 2001 on label. This is not the normal grande reserve presentation, and I am not sure if I should be reviewing as a separate beer. I bought this from belgium, and I have had it at least 2 years. It is served in a chimay chalice at 50f. Cork is hard to get out (I used a corkscrew) and pops with some violence, prob 50ml beer or more escapes to my counter and floor.

Pours 33% head. Smells very bready, sweeter than I recall normal blue label smelling. (I have never had the beer in this presentation before)

Mouthfeel is very nice - beginning to get the 'mouthglow' i associate with some aged strong belgian beers. The chimay taste/yeast is distinct but this is much smoother than a green version of their beer, and it is far sweeter. Also a greenish taste character present, not sure what that is about.

Aftertaste is not special but very nice, once again sweeter than i recall chimay products being.

I am not a big fan of the chimay beers but my 2 experiences with older versions of the red and blue have both produced notably better beers.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Ego
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled... 12/05 (big bottle)
this is one I have had more times than I can count (and I can count pretty high with my shoes off).. what's the point of reviewing a beer that has been reviewed a million times? I dont know, but then again what the hell else should I do on a monday night? (it isnt football season yet) )

super huge fluff of offwhite head crackles in the chalice... 2 full fingers of foamy foam foam. dark amber brown and murky, the head retreats to one finger and holds there but where the head was it still sticks there on the side of the glass... pretty damn awesome looking brew.

pollinated hops, honey, bread, not very stong but so lucious, very nice.

taste etc...
luxurious. I would marry this beer if it was legal (it probably is legal to marry a beer in alabama). Silky... The ABV is subtle but does let you know it is there (not harsh in any way). The carbonation works here, uber gassy as it may seem I aint burpin up a storm. Nice and drying on the tongue with a yeasty hint in the aftertaste... makes you keep sipping.. and man this is as smooth as a frosh girls ass (prior to the freshman 15). This is flat out awesome, the subtle fruity notes are delectable.

I guess I answered my own question about why I reviewed this beer. Sometimes a beer is available all over the place for a good reason.. this one sure is in that category. It is all over the place and unlike my ramblings on this site ... it all comes together near perfectly.

 1,502 characters

Photo of bruachan
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

one of my tour beers from the winking lizard (brought home...i know)

i think i let some of the sediment in so i'll be a little generous with my appearance score. the head on top is quite nice: tight, creamy, with ample lacing. below is a dark mahogany color

banana aroma from a distance, but not up close. up close i do get a yeasty and slightly bready smell. smells well carbonated

mmm...tart breadiness. fruit flavors are subdued; instead it's the bready/yeasty/nutty-type flavor profile. i do get some dark fruit, but minimally

good mouthfeel: creamy enough for the flavor compounds to stick around but not knife-and-fork worthy

 643 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,709 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.