Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

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2,315 Reviews
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium | website

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: 2,315 | Ratings: 7,579
Photo of klewis
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle

A: A hazy dark brown in color with a three-finger head. Fine sediment at the bottom of the glass. Lots of lacing.

S: Dark fruits, vanilla, and alcohol in the nose. No bready or yeasty aromas typical of most Belgians.

T: This beer has a very nice sweetness. Flavors of banana, pepper, and other spices. Very warm alcoholic taste in the finish.

M: Chewy and sticky, it coats your mouth nicely, allowing the flavors to linger. The carbonation is a little lively for my tastes, and the body seems a touch on the light side for a beer of it's ABV.

D: Overall, this is a beer of very high quality. It's not my favorite Belgian, but I anticipate drinking this one again.

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Photo of Beastdog75
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay Grand Réserve is supposedly the "crown jewel" of the Chimay line. I did enjoy this beer, but I thought there were many similarities to Chimay Red and it wasn't quite as complex as I thought it would be.

Chimay Bleu pours a dark murky brown color with two fingers of tan foam that last for about 5 minutes. Very appetizing appearance. The smell consisted of some "dry fruitiness," yeastiness, and some spice-like qualities as well (reminded me of cinnamon a little bit). Overall, a pleasing semi-sweet aroma. The mouthfeel was smooth on the palette and had some light carbonation. The taste itself was somewhat sweet, as the maltiness had a "dark fruitiness" to it. The spice-like flavors carry over too, and some light alcohol flavors appeared as well. Seeing how this was bottle-conditioned, it has a distinct yeastiness here too (very Belgian tasting). The overall flavor profile reminded me of the Rood, but this is a bit more flavorful and a bit dryer too. The fruity aftertaste lingers on for awhile as well as the dryness, and it finishes up with a good alcoholic warmth.

This was a smooth, flavorful beer, but I did expect a little more out of it. Perhaps a sampling of an aged bottle is in line for me...

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Photo of palliko
3.03/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is dark auburn with a foamy head and some lacing. Aroma has yeast, fruit, brown sugar. Initial taste is full of yeast, currants, ethanol and brown sugar. Foam is minimal with not much lacing. Body is thin, carbonation medium. Initial taste has notes of malt, yeast, plums, but little hops. Fruits increase as the temperature warms the beer. Finishes dry but with a peculiar aftertaste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Any opportunity to enjoy a chalice of Grand Reserve is a special moment for any beer drinker. I don't take these lightly as it as regal and reverent as any in the history of the world.

Dacanting the beer, a dance of growing effervescence and rich barley-soaked elixir separate with a dark ruby liquid that settles underneath a blanket of creamy and lightened tarnish foam. Retention and lacing are utmost prominent as both are displayed as well as in any beer consumed. Hazed with a vale of yeast, the beer is nearly as mysterious as it is handsome.

A world of aromas are displayed as each visit of the nose to the glass reveals wave after wave of aromas that include dried fruits, peppercorn, vinous grape, candied malts, alcohol zing, and thirst whetting acidity. Every swirl of the glass gives new impressions of aroma time after time.

Strong and sweet, the power of the beer is firm and proud while boasting a candy-coated taste of fruitcake, ripe berries, pitted fruits of dates and raisins, red wine must, red grapes, tart apples, and a plethora of candy-sweet fruit that go on and on. Balanced by the most simple hop additions but more so by the yeast-derived spices of freshly cracked peppercorn, white pepper, cinnamon, and a hint of hazelnut give the beer companion to its fruitiness and a reprieve from the candied sweetness.

Tremendously robust as the culmination of rich malt and explosive carbonation engulf the mouth with a sensation of alcohol warmth, powdered sugar, and hoppy/peppery zeal. As the beer seemingly dissolves before finish, it seems that the beer whimsically disappears on the palate for a fulfilled sip that ends in uninterrupted dryness yet full vinous flavor in aftertaste.

A special tasting of a well aged 16-year old versions (1996 vintage enjoyed in April '12) at the cellars of the Chimay monistary reveals less hop bitterness, less peppery bite, but heightened sherry-like vinous quality that melds together wonderfully with a smooth powdery finish and surprisingly creamy yet low-lying carbonation. This beer ages beautifully under the right circumstances!

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Photo of ericsdawson
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this wonderful brew pours into the goblet dark opaque with hints of amber color. beautiful thick off-white head tops this delight. some lacing and amazing head retention. smells fairly mild, mostly sweet and bready. tastes fruity up front, hint of bananas. it finishes with a slight bitterness and mild burn of alcohol. this delicious treat was quite rich and smooth, only complaint would be a little over carbonated. if i had any money, this beer would be a weekly event.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.83/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, mahogany color. Great big head on top. Decent lacing. Sulfury and yeasty aroma. Reminds me of the dregs of a fermenter. Not a lot there that stands out. A lot of malt upfront flavor wise. Spicy and peppery throughout. I find it fairly one dimensional. The typical "Belgian" yeasts flavor dominates the whole thing. Theres nothing too discernable. Ok body for the style. An average beer overall. Theres some much better beers of this style out there. This just seems like the Sam Adams of Belgians to me. Nothing special and doesnt take too many chances.

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

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

Creamy and pillowy lightly tan head with wonderful retention. Due to the chimay arrowhead at the bottom of the goblet, there's a tornado of carbonation rising to the center of the glass creating a rise in the middle of the head (quite eye pleasing). Thin and condensed lacing with great strength. Deep mahogany in color.

Moderate candied sweetness; brown sugar, nutmeg, pepper, saffron, and a whole other host of spices too intermingled with one another to really identify. Raisin, dates, and dark cherry.

Nice candied sweetness; light hints of mellow dark chocolate. A wall of warming alcohol follows the initial sweetness along with a range of spices: pepper, saffron, etc. Hints of grape, apricot, cherry, and raisin. Finishes dry with touches of oak. The complex alcohol character is very present in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied; bold in flavor but mellow on the palate. Almost honey-like in its coating effect.

Overall a fine Trappist Ale; good flavor, great mouthfeel, and wonderful eye candy. The alcohol presence isn't overpowering, but it does keep this ale from session status in my book.

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

33cl Bottle from the Vineyard in Belfast

Poured a dark brown coppery colour with a hint of red. Quite a big head which settled down after a couple of minutes to a thin layer on top.

Aroma of chocolate, malt and some citrus. Maybe some cinnamon too ??

Taste – Sweet and malty with a hint of nutty roastiness… also dark fruits (plum, blackcurrent ??)

Mouthfeel – medium to full bodied, quite smooth..

Overall – a world class beer. Unfortunately the bottles I have tasted so far haven’t been very old…. Have a couple cellared now though…

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

What better beer to select for my #100. Poured from a 750ml bottle that opened with explosive force.Color is deep ruby-copper color with smallish head. Smell is slighty fruity (raisins) with some malt undertones. Taste was nice and creamy and felt excellent on the tongue. A great beer to enjoy with friends. Goes great with a juicy steak done on the grill.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this with Lunch at Cassis on Stone Street in lower Manhattan. Our hostess was very into this beer but served it in a frosted glass and poured it for us. I graciously accepted and suggested that for future reference she consider a room temperature glass and allowing the customer to pour due to the sediment preferences. She was grateful for the advice and the next round arrived in this manner.

Pours a dark chestnut with a thick and creamy tan head that left lots of lacing. Aroma was fruity, yeasty and sweet. Taste was rich dark malts, caramel and slight hop tang. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and was a perfect compliment to the "Steak Frites." Lunch was nirvana. Staying awake til five is going to be a challenge. Cheers.

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

A 22oz bottle served at 48 degrees from my cellar. The is no date on the bottle but a marking of LAM-465, whatever that means.

Pours handsomely into my chalice with a nice finger and half brown head -- mix of small and medium bubbles. The head dissipates over the course of a minute unti is a slight coating on the surface.

This is a fairly dark beer -- not black but seemlingly eggplant dark. (I'm colorblind so not telling what it really looks like to everyone else.)

This a delightful beer that is overpowering the screaming of my 2 year old upstairs. Well, almost. This There is a slight hint of alcohol is in the taste, but not overpowering or unenjoyable. Up front, a doughy malt flavor combined with the yeast. Not as much fruit as I expected to linger on the palate.

This is a smooth drinking brew with just the right tingle of carbonation and hops in the finish. I'm glad that I have this whole bottle to myself for my first experience with Chimay. I will buy this Reserve again, but will look for it in smaller bottles.

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Photo of necoadam
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a deep shade of copper with some good ruby highlights. Big head as well with this one which had to settle down. Smell consisted of yeast at first, but some big dark fruit aromas surge forth. Some underlyinng of malts and roasted aromas. Taste was good. Complex flavors which included dark fruits, yeast, nuts, malts, slight hops, chocolate and roasted flavors. Finished dry which was good to see. Mouthfeel was medium-full boded with good carbonation. The best out of the Chimay lineup for sure. No problems with this beer whatsoever. Recommended.

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

Tasted bottle on 6th June 2005, best by date "before end 2009" batch number LAM-377 (2003).
Poured into Chimay chalice a pleasent dark brown (touch red) with cloud from the contained yeast sediment. A wonderful creamy head formed, a little reminiscent of draught Guinness. This head was quite unlike the other two Chimay Trappists. Appearence reminded me of a large Irish Coffee!

The smell was surprisingly faint, hard to know what it reminded me of; not unpleasent though.

The taste was fairly complex, with roasted malt, slightly burnt blackcurrant with a nice aftertaste lingering. Not too alcoholic despite the 9% present.

The mouthfeel was quite the smoothest I have tasted.

Overall this is one of the best crafted beers I have sampled. In that I mean the full gamut from taking the glass to one's lips, through taste, mouthfeel, swallow and aftertaste are a seemless flow. Excellent.
Hey! My glass is empty!

NOTE: tasted 2004 batch on 31st Oct 2005. All of the above notes apply except for an improved smell. Very nice beer; DO NOT OVERCHILL!

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

11.2 oz. bottle sampled at a small little cafe in Florence. Pours a dark, raisiny murky cola brown with a cobweb-lace-inducing light brown head. Muy nice looking. Nose is dark fruits: plums, raisins, vinous grapes. Some chocolate and roasted notes come through. Light, but crescendo-ing bitterness leads to a yeasty, sherry-ish finish that's drier than you'd think. Full bodied and rich with a nice, creamy feel that never gets cloying. Not my favorite Trappist, but plenty good and you have to appreciate the availability.

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Photo of theozag
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

start to finish, this brew looks exactly the same. it'd be a good pint to hide behind, in fact, because it is totally opaque. its color is a slightly-dark brown and it sports a beige-to-tan head that remains a few minutes after pouring.

aroma of this beer is not particularly noticable, but it does have a very pleasant dark chocolate note.

chimay blue starts outstandingly sharp with its roasted malt flavors immediately obvious. it hits your tongue with a distinct bite and from the first sip your tastebuds are "off to the races." settles on your tongue with a distinctly full body and all the richenss you might expect from a high-end after-dinner chocolate. flavors of this brew include carmel, whipping cream, cinnamon, coffee - all over a chocolate-like foundation. finishes much sharper than it starts or settles, as it rolls from the tongue with a strong hop bite and leaves behind a creamy but markedly long-lasting aftertaste (which thankfully isn't too oppressive).

in a single sentence, the best way i can explain this beer is: "like drinking a coffee-dipped chocolate bar that finishes stronger than it starts."

pour and enjoy!

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Photo of Brian700
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark brown with a tan head that sticks around for a long time. Excellent aroma. It smells of dark fruit, alcohol, and a little spice. The taste is also a little spicey with flavors of some of the darker variety fruits such as dates, plum, and raisins. The mouthfeel is good. Perfect amount of carbonation for this brew. I would say this is a very drinkable beer considering the Alcohol content. I would definately recommend this beer to anyone who likes great beer.

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Photo of Andreji
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've finally managed to age a beer for further than 6 months.

Poured from a year old 75cl cork-top bottle.

As always, the appearance is as stunning, a creamy tan top, with a good retention, the remaining foam stuck to the sides of my glass, no internal fizzyness, quite a still head.

The smell is fantastic. alcoholey, yes, but with a scent of fruits, just a slight astringency that is nonetheless discarded, i dunno how to say this, but I'm definetly taken to my mother's christmas dark cake....

The taste...I wish I was more eloquent in my english. the bitterness comes ahead rather than at the end, but blends with a beautiful fruity sweetness, a bit cola-ish, a bit citrusy at times...even a bit floury.

The mouthfeel is just right for the style. the alcohol shows off undiscrete, around a fizzy, yet medium to heavy mouthfeel...

The drinkability, well, as always. i've said it- the alcohol is there, no one's hiding it. but god, don't I crave for another?

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

From a 750 ml brown bottle that I have had in my fridge for a while.

Purple-brown cola like color forms a 3-5 mm head of active foam which is of a violet tint. Settles quickly.

Berry-currant mixture on the nose with some mustiness. Smell is milder than most Belgians of this style.

Fairly smooth floral taste with some grassiness present also. There isnt a real dominant maltiness or hoppiness with this beer. It does finish slightly sweet but not sticky. Pretty tasty actually. Mouthfeel is better than average for this style. It doesn't blow you away with excessive carbonation but it does have some prickly feeling on the back of the throat. No 9% abv heat either. Pretty well done.

Its a tad better than average on drinkability for this style. A little too strong abv-wise for me to really consider it very drinkable.

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Photo of misterscooter
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It is odd. As I was tasting this beer for the first time, I wasn't sure if it lived up to the expectations but as I look at my ratings for the five categories, it really was a great beer.

This is a great looking beer, especially poured into the right kind of glass. Big, healthy head with a dark chocolate color on the beer. I expected it to look lighter but this one poured dark. The smell is lightly sweet and malty. Nothing too much but simple and pure, with perhaps a bit of flower fragrance.

This beer feels great in your mouth. You notice the carbonation but only because it is there, not because it gets in the way. The bubbles are very fine, like champagne, and add to the feeling. It is smooth and chocolatey, a great malt flavor when it first hits your tongue. As it moves back and you swallow it, the light, dry hops add some bite. This is the reverse to a lot of beers I've had where the dryness leads and the malt finishes. The alcohol content wasn't noticeable, either. It blends in well. And since it is a beer you want to slow down and savor, it shouldn't be a problem as you enjoy it.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had been on the fence about this beer because of all the Trappist beers, this seems to be the one I see the most. I guess that's a good thing considering the quality of the beer.

A truly beautiful appearance, creamy head that took a minute of so to setting. Gave off wonderful aromas- peach, clove and that unmistakable Trappist trademark of alcohol esters. Tremendous lacing.

Phenomenal taste. I find myself inhaling the vapors before every sip. Each sip starts robustly and ends smoothly, tickly on the mouth. Warming me on a miserable late spring New England afternoon.

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Photo of DrainBamage
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish copper with a about an inch of head. Half of the head fades away. It's highly carbonated and there is lots of yeast floating in it. The smell is awesome, quite strong and you can instantly smell malt and fruit. The taste is very smooth and strong with hints of fruit. Mouthfeel is smooth and nicely carbonation.At first I didn't really care for this ale, but after just a few more sips it grew on me rather quick. The only thing that might turn some people off is the amount of yeast in the beer. I've never seen so much yeast before, but I definately still enjoyed this one.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark purply brown. Foamy head, light carbonation. Not much in the nose. Smells like a sugary Belgian. Taste is citrusy, plum and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, I expect more fullness from a strong dark. Despite the alcohol bite, this is a smooth beer. I prefer the red over this, but I wouldn't pass one up if offered.

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

Bottle. Poured a slightly hazy (as far as I could tell) dark chocolate amber with a good creamy head and plenty of lacing. Aroma was much more subtle than expected, with very little hint of the high alcohol content. Subtle sweet caramel malty notes. This extends through to the taste which starts sweet and malty and finishes with a slightly dry alcoholic bite. Mouth is quite creamy, I think the carbonation is about right. This is a very smooth, subtle strong dark which seems to improve with each sip.

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

Tonight was my Belgiam night. This was teh second and probalby should have been the finisher rather than the Triple.

This pours into a Chimay glass with a big frothy light brown head. The head is long lasting and has good lacing. This pours with a light cloudyness.

It has a mild aroma of malt and some alcohol.

Thhis is a malty full bodies beer with a creamy mouthfeel and soft carbonation. It has an average flavor duration with a moderate to heavy sweetness. Light acidity and bitterness offset by the sweet malt that has a caramel flavor that lasts as a nice aftertaste.

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Photo of gotbeer
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 bottle with a 10/03 date aged one and a half year.

This was the first Trappist ale that I ever tasted, and it is still a solid choice. It may not have the mystique of Westy 12, or the incredible complexity of Rochefort 10, but it's flavor may be overlooked due to it's availability. It has a lot of flavors and complexity. It has great fruit flavors, and nice complexity. It's a great beer all around.

It's easy to find bottles on the shelf that have been aged for a year or two, and they are great with a couple years under their belt.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
95 out of 100 based on 2,315 ratings.
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