Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,348 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: 2,348 | Ratings: 7,685
Photo of Mandrake
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with some slight ruby highlights around the edges, and forms a creamy, tan head that stays well, leaving great lacing as I drink my way down the Chimay goblet that came with the sampler pack that I found on sale at the local NSLC outlet. Smells of spicy fruits with a bready overtone and some alcoholic notes as well. Tastes beautiful, raisins and cloves with the classic belgian breadiness and not even a hint of the 9% ABV, which is hidden magnificently. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and nicely warming. Drinkability is excellent. If it wasn't closed I'd go to the liquor store and buy another right now. And it's -10 and snowing hard right now.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this beer, it is supposed to be the quintessential Belgian Strong Dark. Well, I've liked others of the style, but this particular offering leaves me wanting.
It pours nice and dark. The colour reminds me of a well-made cigar, actually.
It smells heavenly, wow, prunes, prunes, and more prunes with a light alcohol lacing. What more could you want?
The taste and mouthfeel is where this particular offering falls flat on its face. I mean, the taste isn't bad, just one dimensional. The mouthfeel is thin, very thin. I've noticed this with Belgians in general. Carbonation does not equal body!!! But, alas, I am of the germanic drinking tradition, where a nice thick mouthfeel is essential for a pleasant taste. Heavily carbonated and bubbly, it isn't a bad mouthfeel . . . just thin. No love here. The taste is OK. It makes me long for a Gulden Draak, or any of Unibroue's products.
Actually, it makes me want a Korbinian. Man, why do all dark belgians make me want that beer? They are close, but oh-so-far.
A good brew, don't get me wrong, but certainly not worth the pricetag!

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Photo of revdrjbob
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 vintage 750ml bottle, champagne cage sealed. A Christmas present 2 years ago from my malt supplier, and well worth the cellaring to be tasted. Sampled with Teaser in Leffe goblets.

Poured a dark red amber into the glass with a 1.5cm thick creamy head, that clung to the glass with heaps of lacing.

Aroma: Rich, malty, evident alcohol, earthy, rum and fruit. It has a very Chimay aroma to it, I love their yeast! Hints of aniseed and chocolate.

Taste: Rich, malty, toffee and caramel, bitter and sweet, and smooth as. I've had the 330ml bottles before, and a 2003 of this in 2003, but this aged perfectly. Hints of chocolate, plenty of phenolics, but not overpoweringly so. Finishes long, alcoholic, dry and sweet. Fruity and jammy with hints of pepper and spices. Very full mouthfeel.

I think someone just peed my pants.

This is awesome, can't wait to try the 2005 vintage in 2007!

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Photo of descartes
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Mahogony brown, with a nice quarter inch head.
Smell: Very rich malty smell, hint of nuts.
Taste: Rich chocolatey front with a nutty hue. Back is very alcoholic, you feel warmer after drinking. Heavy carmel aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Heavy and smooth.

Overall: A very good beer which I enjoyed. Put two of the in the cellar, hoping that time mellows the powerful presance of the alcohol.

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Photo of LordChesterfield
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, this beer is a little expensive, I had the 25oz bottle for $12. I never regretted it though. It's very dark red and has a rich rich malt with a slight raisin taste. It has that characteristic Belgian funk that really adds to the experience by making it taste and feel more substantial. I don't know what kind of hops were used, but they were fantastic. To top it all off, this beer is 9%ABV and doesn't taste like it at all and probably even adds to the thickness this beer exudes. After downing this and a few yuenglings I was glad I ate that steak earlier.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Already reviewed a bottle of this (, but this review is of a somewhat different sort of bottle. Had one at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, CO, that they had cellared since (!!!!) 1995!

Man oh man, you talk about complex and smoooth!!

Everything that the newer stuff has, this has more, better, deeper, richer and cleaner. Only two problems with beer like this: pretty pricey, and 9% alcohol render it a bit less drinkable, but still . . .


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Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage. Pours a cloudy brown, pretty opaque, big off soapy white head forms, with plenty of chunkies floating around, lots of lace. Smell is molasses/brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, floral, iron, some yeast. Taste is chocolate, caramel, floral hops, and a clean bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, high carbonation, and some alcohol warmth. Not as complex as the other Trappists but a damn fine belgian.

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

What I never reviewed good old blue cap? Oh well, no time like the present.

The beer always seems to be beautifully crafted no mind what all the Chimay haters say. Dark earthy brown with a tapioca like head , the nose is old fruit and yeast. The taste is very refined and big with no rough edges.Albeit not as complex as St Bernardus or Westy this is one deep beer that is easy to find and a good value. Still one of my favourites years later.

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Photo of sockeye101
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great Bealgian!

Gorgeous dark color with a nice thick head. Nice soft aromas with hints of fruit and hops. Plenty of fruitiness with tones of chocolate and coffee....went down ohh soo smooth. My 750ml bottle went dry way too quickly. I will definitely be purchasing another...

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Photo of Finite
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very Dark brown, with a thick head with dissipates and leaves a unique looking solid foamy head.

Smell: Strong cherry smells and dark fruit smells. Notable alcohol hint with sweet malts.

Taste/ Mouthfeel: Gives you a nice hit of alcohol at the start of the experience. Thick chewy fruits like prunes and other dried dark fruits with spices cloves of cloves and some pepper. Sweetness comes next smoothing out completely as the carbonation dies down with hints of molasses. Finishes with a refreshing reminder and very course dryness on the centre of the palate with some bitterness. This brew leaves your lips sticky and your tongue dry as your taste buds beg for more.

Drinkability/Overall: A stunning brew a great beer to sip slowly and just enjoy. This is a beautiful beer for any special occasion.

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Photo of BamaScholar
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

needed an introduction to belgian strong darks....i got one! i've seen this in the stone many a time. it really is a benchmark.

one of the most beautiful pours i've ever witnessed. no cascading like a stout but what a gorgeous color and head. chestnut brown with garnet or ruby tones shining through with the light. maybe even a suede peeking through the thin portions at the light.

smell is dynamite...sweet/strong with grape-raisin-fig mashed in.

wonderful on the tongue. a little chocolately, a little molasses, plus the things detected in the aroma. a tad of spice but can't taste the 9% ABV.

smooth but delicate mouthfeel. full and carbonated.

so glad i picked this up. its filling though...hard to go above 4.0 on drinkability.

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in a dive that probably ordered it by accident or wanted to appear "educated" in the art of beer. The date was good though.
Beautiful auburn color pour with a fluffy, biege colored crown deminishing to a thin topping.
Pepper, among other spices, chocolate, and dates.
Some more pepper, cloves good malt with some sweet syrup flavors and then finished with the pepper. Usual Belgian finish. Good drink and if you're not used to high ABV's just make sure this is the only one you hit. :)

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Photo of whynot44
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Full bodied, rich dark chestnut red (nearly opaque and cloudy with yeast toward the bottom) with an impressively thick creamy head that subsides slowly to a layer of lace but never disappears.

Aroma is complex with fruits (plums, raisins, bananas) and spices (cloves, coriander, ?) with a background of biscuits and a hint of chocolate and smoke.

The taste is massive and has all of this and more, starting slightly sweet with a hint of brown sugar or molasses and then exploding with spices and alcohol warmth. Fantastic! This stuff could put a light beer drinker into shock.

Smooth, creamy and seductively easy to drink.

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Photo of BassBone
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and rich with a thick off-white head. Complex, sweet and spicy nose. The first sip of Chimay blue is always the best, but the rest aren't bad, either. Hints of caramel and cherries. This beer rolls over the tongue like liquid chocolate and goes down so smooth. Strong, though. I was feeling the effects after one .75L bottle.

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Photo of jaluria
3.3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Normally this is one of my favorite styles, so I was really looking forward to trying this. However, it was disappointing to say the least. The appearance was as expected; burgundy color with a lovely head that stays around. Aromas of plums, grapes, alcohol, and caramelized sugar come out, but they don't seem to be working together. This was my first inkling that I was in for a surprise. The taste was just too much with overwhelming sweetness upfront followed by a moist bitterness that left me not wanting anymore. The aftertaste was more sour and dry than would be enjoyable and the drinkability is low because I didn't want to finish my goblet. This is worth trying, but I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as other Trappist ales.

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Photo of Gattopardo
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep, dirty brown with a lighter color around the edges. The head dissipates quickly and leaves thin lacing.

Smell: Sweet fruit scent with spicy highlights.

Taste: First hits one with the strong and slightly chocolatey presence of malts and a touch of citrus. Not bitter at all and the alcohol content is not really noticeable except for on the finish. Lots of carbonation sticks to the tongue along with a pleasant fruity essence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with just enough creamy texture.

Drinkability: A complex and nice to sip brew. Swirling this beer around the mouth is a cherished experience. Indeed, it is so pleasant that the alcohol can easily sneak up on you.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours to the top of the letters on the Chimay chalice. Deep reddish-brown with bubbly -fine carbonation, heavy in body enough to produce large bubbles that form just below the head. It looks a lot like Gulden Draak, perhaps a bit darker.

The smell is yeast and bubble gum with clove; banana bread, and a faint touch of raisins.

Upon first taste, and mine was slightly chilled, the carbonation sits right in the middle of your tongue and will not let the beer meander around your mouth. The mouthfeel and carbonation here are perfect; alive, vibrant- yet subtle, and certainly not watery and apple-juice type feel of a stout; this is more like a cross between pepsi and mineral water.

The alcohol present on the first few sips does create a medicinal, and I have read, I must note correctly, a “menthol” taste. This bitterness balances the sweetness factor. But... as the beer warms, the sweetness wins and the menthol subsides, however, there is always bready-yeasty dryness at the end of each sip; a superb bittersweet hint of apple skin and cappucino.

Compared to the other big Trappist products, the Rochefort 10 and (I’ve never had Westy 12) but
St. B Abt 12, and the like; I would say that this beer is not inferior, neither by style nor the fact that it is marketed and accessible; There is a subtlety in this beer that makes it tremendous, and an accessibility to the Trappist genre that makes it a great “gateway” to beer appreciation.

Perhaps what this beer has that some of the huge quadruples can’t achieve is drinkability- This is a world class beer with truly high drinkability. This is a certain “must try” for all beer enthusiasts.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a Chimay chalice)

A- This beer has the body of a deep dark walnut color that is to opaque to see through. The head is a creamy smooth light tan color that gives a nice lace with each sip. There is not enough light to see the carbonation but the head last and last.

S- The slight yeasty smell develops into a bready aroma with a hint of toasted and fresh grain. The finish has a slight rose perfume quality in the background with a very faint hint of dried cherries as it warms.

T- This beer has a nice toasted malt taste with some caramel qualities in the roast. The slight sour hint of cherries is in there aswell. There is a hint of dark fruit or red wine that is very subtle but is enhanced by the fizz.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a hefty fizz in the texture which adds some carbonic bite. There is no real alcohol warmth despite the high ABV.

D- This is a dry yet complex beer in the background. The fizz takes over in the finish and the malt complexities are very subtle. It would be nice to have those stand out a bit, and perhaps that is the case when it is fresh.

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Photo of bunn4funn
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a snifter

Appearence was a beautiful caramel color pour with a thick, fluffy, cream colored head that deminished to a thin topping. Very bubbley

The aroma was of pulms and sweet grapes, and brown sugar it seems also shows itself also. Pretty complex to say the least with a nice little alcohol and no hops to be found.

The taste was just as the smell had indicated, except i didnt feel that it was as complex as i was led on to beleive. This could be solved by a little cellering. The plumish fruit tastes were very evident up front leading to a malty backbone that was enhanced by a sweet flovor of brown sugar and maybe caramel. Finished off with a little warming sensation

Mouthfeel was complex to say the least. Very rough on the tounge and at a medium weight still leaves your mouth clean and happy
I found this ale to be very drinkable dispite its higher abv%

Overall a grand example of a strong dark Belgian and will go to when my wallet allows, beautiful in appearence and taste great to say the least. You will not be dissapointed.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a nice brown with ruby opaqueness to light. The head was a large creamy off white color. Moderate amounts of spider web laceing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Smells spicy coriander and pepper play with undertones of chocolate.

Taste: This beer taste spicy with peppery goodness dancing upon waves of malty goodness.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied ale. There is a cleaness to the overall mouth sensation.

Drinkability: I have always liked Chimay products in general. This is eminently drinkable. I do think that this beer does gain from cellaring.

This bottle was dated 2003.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark honey brown in the middle, a lighter candy apple red towards the edges and a light gold and cherry around the very edges of my glass. The head is a soft tan film that is instantly revitalized with a swirl.

Smells of honey and pastry dough with a slight walnut and a light carbon dioxide sour sting. There’s also a little bit of alcohol that drifts through, especially when it warms.

Tastes of gooey pastry dough, honey and again, the light CO2 like sting. In the finish a dry mossy oak makes its self known. After a few seconds, a dry and nutty honey flavor is left lingering on my tongue.

The mouth feel is extremely light and it tends to sting just a little.

Very tasty. I wouldn’t mind having a case of this lying around.

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

Chimay Peres Trappistes (Blue)
11.2 oz brown bottle
Served in a wide mouthed wine glass

Pours a hazy deep brown color. Spotted sticky lacings all over the glass.

Whiffs of Belgian funk, plums and raisins.

Pressured mouthfeel with a natural, funky Belgian yeast kick. Sweet prunes with a brown sugar blast flavor and a clean finish. Very, very drinkable and a perfectly constructed beer.

Great beer. Complex in different flavors and very tasty. What else can you say? This is a real beer. It's a landmark in craft brewing. One of the best Chimay has to offer and worth seeking out. Recommended.

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Photo of davidchollar
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i just had the chimay white, but i am eating some crackers and cheese and looking forward to the blue.

dark clear mahagony, big beige head with some large bubbles and not much lacing. smell is obvious from a distance. complex, strong, a definite scent of alcohol but an overall raisin apple juice - maybe even some banana? - pleasantness with a hint of smokiness.

tastes so smooth and clean. wow. i would normally - for example see my unibroue reviews - prefer the lighter trippel, but in this case i like the dark better. this seems better balanced, no big surprises, very drinkable for how strong and dark it is !

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Photo of Weizenmensch
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From 330mL bottle 2004 vintage, best before 2008 (no specific date available on bottle. Served slightly warmer than usual.

Appearance: Warm mahogany colour with a trace of red inside. Good head retention, particularly given the high serving temperature and ABV. Looks good in a Chimay chalice, some fine sediment at bottom of glass. Seems to have low but consistent carbonation.

Smell: Rich and fruity. Christmas pudding (possibly due to rum, raw sugar or stone fruit esters), molasses, dates, and maybe some rye. Festive!

Taste: Immediately, what tastes like refined sugar, or maybe it's raw sugar of some kind with the souring effect of the carbonation. Not as complex as the smell, and more watery than expected (though this again may be due to the serving temperature). A faint but long lemon sweetness on the tongue, lasting onto the palate. Mildly bitter hops add a nice complexity. Generally sweet and rich but rather thinner than I would have expected. I guess that's mouthfeel though.

Mouthfeel: Disappointingly thin for such a rich-smelling ale. Some sharpness is imparted by hops and sour esters, but it's generally not as full-bodied as I remember. Maybe it's been served too warm and might have gone a little flat as I write this. Not bad but not great.

Drinkability: On a cold night, great. If you can afford it, a few of these would go down well. Not a huge session beer for summer, though... one as your second beer would be best, if at all. Full of flavour, but not as gelatine-thick as some other strong Belgian ales.

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Photo of sinistermadman
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy prune juice color with a nice foamy lace. Smell is of ripened fruit and yeast.

Taste is received first by the malts. Very creamy malt flavor followed by alcohol warming and a wet newspaper taste. Hop bitterness is not as evident as the astringency of the alcohol. Not bad, but not that memorable in my opinion.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,685 ratings.
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