Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

2,350 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: 2,350 | Ratings: 7,698
Photo of daydesiang
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon opening the bottle, a very strong malt smell followed by dried fruit, clove, and hint of banana. Taste same as the smell, strong malty taste with a lots of dried fruits, clove and hint of alcohol. Surprisingly smooth for a 9% abv. Pretty good carbonation too. A sweet, fruity and non bitter after taste. Lovely.

 316 characters

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

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice to a deep brown with some mahogany highlights with a dense two finger dense head that retains well and leaves some lacing
S: Smells of dark fruits toasted malts, caramel and mulling spices.
T: Taste is caramel and toffee with some dark fruits and mulling spices. Swallow is caramel, more dark fruits, and spice
M: This beer has a full body with soft but adequate carbonation and a dry finish.
O: Overall this beer is a benchmark for the style. Great flavors and complexity keep this one enjoyable. This is a must try if you like Belgian Strong Dark Ales

 593 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A classic poured from the 750 ml bottle in a snifter. This fine Belgian pours a
dark brownish mahogany, lightly cloudy, with a fantastic head of off white foam
that subsides to a thick ring, nice thick layer, and sports the signature lacing known
for the Chimay brands. Nose of astringent booze, raisins, apples, and light candy
sugars. Flavors lightly exceed the nose with raisin, apple, and pear notes touched by
brown sugars and awash in cola and sweet malts with a touch of bitterness from hops
and a nice light yeast note on the back with a touch of Belgian spice. Excellent mouth feel, tingly
and invigorating, lively carbonation, subtle dryness on the aftertaste.....awesome.
I must admit, that while it is available at many grocery stores it is always a treat to be able
to enjoy fantastic craft that is available in wide distribution.

Always a pleasure.

Their cheeses are fantastic as well by the way.


 931 characters

Photo of goodsuds
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the best Belgian Strong Dark Ale's I've ever had. I'd say it takes a close second to Gulden Draak, which is my #1 in this style. It's more carbonated than most, but that's not a bad thing. There isn't a lot on the nose; sweet malt, dark fruit. Taste is bready, sweet, slight molasses flavor, barely detectable hops. Mouthfeel is medium-full. It pours a thin white head that recedes quickly, minimal lacing. Overall this is one heck of a beer. Perfect for a cool early autumn evening outside.

 514 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L - This one is all head, it pours a chestnut brown to form a dark chocolate black body, and upon first pour consists of only 10% body, the rest is head. After awhile that fades though and the beer is primed for drinking.

S - I'm actually not getting much on the nose for this one...maybe some freeze dried bananas, a little clove, some amaretto.

T - Flavor is punchy. Lots of cherry, dark wheat, following with peach, ash, and some metallic flavors.

F - Super creamy, nice carbonation to level it out. Dry finish.

Overall, it's not the knockout I thought it'd be. I'm not biased, I just write reviews on how i experience the beer. I think Chimay Blue is okay, but not legendary.

 687 characters

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

The beer poors nice in a glass, it is fizzy and it has a good head, 1.5 fingers. It is a dark beer, clear, and it looks a clear dark red when hold to the light. It smells sweet , I got notes of nuts, its got a bit of a caramel smell to it. Nice hoppy smell, notes of coffee and chocolate. The taste is nice and warm, hop flavor, I taste a bit of a sweet,l. Nice balance of flavors, you can't taste it's a 9% apv(!!) beer. It's very smooth on the tongue, nice warm feel in the throat. The aftertaste is of nuts and chocolate.
Overall I would return to this beer, it is nice example of a dark Belgium beer, it proofs once again trappist beer is on the top of the league, these monks know how to brew beer.
It certainly is a nice beer to drink when serving a meal with fish, or to enjoy when relaxing, and relief some stress.

 824 characters

Photo of GrumpyGas
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle drawn into a pint glass is a deep dark brown with only a slight filmy random collection of yiny bubbles inside the glass-clinging off-white ring.
Figs, prunes, and raisin bread aromas distinguish themselves from the malt.
To that add wine grapes, roasted malt, and spice at the end (or is that tannin?).
Full, but not heavy, mouthfeel, creamy and almost wet on the finish.
This was really nice after my ceviche.

 423 characters

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

So I'm nota huge fan of Belgian strong darks, more of a Belgian pale guy so take this with a grain of salt. This is definitely a good beer and top of the style in my opinion. Pours a deep brown color with a rich creamy head. Smells of fig and raisin bread. Taste of dark fruits, prunes, arisen and a bit of oak and port wine. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, juicy and a bit creamy.

 376 characters

Photo of Jraiona
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 2012 into a tulip. Color was a beautiful dark brown with a cream color head with little retention. The aroma of malt, and molasses is quite prevalent with a subtle aroma of raisin. The taste is of prunes, malt and molasses with a subtle note of caramel on the back end especially as the beer warmed. In spite of it's higher ABV it does not come across as boozy. Overall a very good beer.

 396 characters

Photo of JoLight
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: deep, deep dirty brown, almost like prune juice but not as thick and with more brown hues than prune juice. The head is beige and soapy, very thick, and retains a half-finger's width, leaving some spots on the glass.

The aroma is of honey-wheat brown bread. It's got honey sweetness, and a background of yeast and banana chips. Maybe some raisin. As the beer warms, the banana chip aroma becomes more pronounced. No alcohol on the aroma.

The taste is the same as the aroma. No alcohol. The bitterness is mild to none.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy and carbonated.

The finish is somewhat dry.

Overall, this beer is more mild than, say, St. Bernardus Abt. 12, both in flavor and aroma, as well as alcohol level. Yet, it costs more in the areas in which I've seen both products. That's something to consider (and I mean that in a neutral way). Nonetheless, this is, hands-down, a world-class beer.

 917 characters

Photo of FLima
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have been celaring this for a few years, my mouth is watering like a dog looking forward to a steak.
The cork made a huge stomp that made a mark at my ceiling. So far, so good.
Brown orangeish color with a huge beige head with great retention. It got darker later.
Nice malty and fruity aroma with notes of prunes, molasses, orange marmelade, coconut, vanilla, figos and mild Port wine. Brazilian “manjar de coco” would be a fair description for what predominates in the nose.
Very complex flavor with notes of prunes, molasses, peppery yeast, cloves, noble hops, burnt coconut, umami, toasted malts, cinnamon, apple puree, candi sugar, rose petals, a bit of banana and vineous fruits. I should stop looking for fruther notes. Finishes smoothly dry with a medium bitterness.
Bordering full body with velvety carbonation. I didin’t feel its 9% alcohol at this point.
Excellent Belgian Dark Strong Ale. This is surprisingly elegant, complex and fruity without being overly sweet.
This is a treaty and a big reference for the style and it should be forbidden to be drank too young.

 1,086 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours - Deep dark brown with tiny tan head excellent lacing head lasts forever.

Smell - oak, plum, dark fruit, figs and dates.

Taste - Rich sweet plum, oak figs, sweet caramel.

Feel - Medium body excellent carbonation no alcohol presence at all.

Overall - An excellent beer, great smell taste and feel.

 306 characters

Photo of woomThomas
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer is hazy and dark brown in color. The foam is beige and will firmly. The foam has small to medium bubbles that hang around for a while. The foam leave direct track in the glass. Scents of some malt and dried fruit. Some floral and candied sugar with rum raisins. A little bitter orange and yeast with a little fruit cake. Very round in the aroma with a nice sweetness. The flavors are as scents. But with a little cocoa and a little caramel. There was a little lees. Is a real good balance in it all. Rich body. Moderate Carbonic. A little sweetness and a little small dry. Good roundness sitting on the palate just long.

 629 characters

Photo of matcris
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: A very opaque mahogany. Finger + of tan creamy, foamy, long lasting head. Good level of carbonation when rocking the glass.
AROMA: Floral, candied sugar, rum raisin, yeasty/bready fruitcake.
TASTE: Everything I get from the aroma plus a nice bit of toffee.
FEEL: Full on carbonation, very dry, medium body.
OVERALL: A delicious glass of beer. Letting it warm over the hour, and the flavors intensify.

 412 characters

Photo of MikeA21
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chimay is the reason I drink craft beer. I was turned on to chimay about 20 years ago and it was very hard to find a beer as good until the last few years when craft beer has really become popular. The Grand Reserve has a bold strong flavor that keeps you coming back for more. It has a strong malt smell and pours dark with a good head. Their are many great beers around today but not many have been brewing as long as Chimay.

 430 characters

Photo of Bierliebhaber3
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This iconic Belgian strong dark ale pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a slight red tint and a very large tan foamy head. The smell is rich and malty with a hints of alcohol and dark fruit. The flavor is robust with a good kick of alcohol that hits you right away with flavors of dates, brown bread, and honey mixed in culminating in a spicy finish. The body is somewhere between medium and heavy. Everything about this beer is classic strong dark ale. It is really a nice drinking experience and everything is well balanced. My only criticism would be that it is maybe not as complex as I would have hoped. It’s rated 2nd for the style and I think it should undoubtedly be in the top 10 if not top 5, but it’s maybe very slightly overrated. I liked the Allagash Odyssey a little better for example.

 817 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a solid creamy head that lasts and leaves a film all over. Nose is dark malt and dark fruit, but not as pronounced or complex as expected. Taste has more depth with lingering spice, caramel, and dark fruit notes. Zesty feel on the tongue with high carbonation. Very good beer, but not my favorite in the style.

 338 characters

Photo of jamesroses
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle

Appearance: looks like coca-cola, black with a 2 finger head of medium bubbles. Weak lacing. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: black fruits like fig and raisins with a touch of bitterness, brown sugar, sweet malts.

Taste: fig and raisin dry fruitiness, molasses, a bit of cocoa.

Mouthfeel: strong carbonation produces a somewhat fizzy initial feeling. Creamy. Strong alcohol presence. Bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Overall: nice beer, I liked it better that La Trape Dubbel and Quadrupel offerings for example, but it's still 2 steps under Rochefort 10.

 564 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.3 ounce bottle poured into a chalice

A: Pours a cloudy dark amber color with a big frothy head that did not last, bottle was gushing when I opened it, lots of yeast even with a gentle pour.

A: Dark fruits like figs, dates, raisins, plums, brown sugar, toffee, no alcohol at all on the nose, slight aroma of spice and banana, smells pretty good.

T: Like the nose, dark fruits, slight spice, hint of banana, toasted toffee, very smooth and easy to drink, semi-dry finish with a mix of flavors lingering in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with lots of carbonation

O: While the flavors don't punch as this bottle might be old, but overall a nice balance of flavors and aromas, very drinkable for 9% ABV, complex and deep, a beer I will definitely reach for again.

 770 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy and slightly murky dark brown with a two finger head of slightly tan foam and champagne like carbonation.

Red grape and apple skins, caramel, dates, figs, slightly herbal and spicy noble hops, and some slight funk.

Plums, dates, fig, raisins, caramel, and pleasant yeast spiciness.

Medium-bodied, high carbonation, bubbly, sweet, and creamy smooth.

Overall, masterfully layered and extremely pleasing creamy smoothness with a nice fizzy carbonation to wipe the palate clean.

 491 characters

Photo of Malt_Man
3.81/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Served at room-cellar temperature from 330ml bottle into tulip glass.

L) Dark brown, almost black colour, opaque. Started with a big off-white head, which diminished to a tan bubbly film.

S) Sour-tinged odour with a definite candy sugar. Over smell of very fresh fruit cake. Bits of coconut, and alcohol.

T) Quite sweet, nice deep sweet malt flavour, topped off with a hop bitterness hint to balance. Carbonation gives it a sourish edge.

F) Nicely carbonated. Very easy to drink at this ABV. No bitterness in the aftertaste, just a very easy drinking strong beer.

O) Very easy drinking strong Belgian bier, huge value at Tesco at £2.49.

 648 characters

Photo of teromous
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottle or import date that I can see. The bottle I am reviewing is the 750ml corked and caged version.

Appearance: The body is dark brown that is completely opaque. Even in the light I don't get any color pinpoints. There is a bit of light that makes it through the bottom edge of the glass showing just a lighter version of the brown body. The head is thick and fluffy with a light tan color. It stays up for a while then gently fades to a short cap leaving some fine lacing in the glass.

Aroma: I get some bubblegum and a very light date aroma. Overall it doesn't have a lot of aroma and the dominant scent is bubblegum.

Taste: Very light flavors here to match the aroma. A bit of that bubblegum flavor mixed with a touch of sweet brown sugar. The finish is a very faint tea leaf flavor. The flavors are nice but faint.

Mouthfeel: The beer is exceptionally smooth and easy to drink. It is very well carbonated and the carbonation really helps to push the beer across the palate and deliver the light flavors to the corners of the mouth. Again the beer is very easy to sit back and enjoy because it has no rough edges whatsoever. I do wish it has a bit more of a finish.

Overall: It's a decent Belgian Strong Dark Ale. There are many other Belgian Strong Dark Ales that I would prefer over this one but preference is subjective. The light simple flavor and character of the beer would make it easy for anyone to enjoy.

 1,427 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(33 cl bottle, code L15-688... no Chimay glass or wide goblet on hand, so I poured this into a teku)

L: vinous-purple hued liquid, sporting some central cloudiness, clearer around the edges... the pour puts up a messy tuft of suds, rocky at first... last ounce brings with it some relatively large chunks of yeast

S: dark sugars are immediately apparent, with a slowly emerging overtone of black grape and maybe even a hint of cola and/or licorice... sense of a thick smear of dark caramel drawn out across a baking pan gives an almost 3D quality to its smell

T: dense, subtly-complex malt foundation... finishes out with some burnt-caramel but not quite molasses, and a flare of a sort of chocolate-covered currant at the end... I couldn't readily tell whether any other breweries try to mimic this beer, but this beer's layered/stacked dark, fruity/roasty malt depth and lasting flavor is something the imitators often lack... while the malt underbelly is excellent, the fruity esters are a good bit smeared and foggy up top, kinda dying in the front of the palate and not contributing much to flavor structure definition, while a little bit of phenolic spice settles in the back... 4.25+

F: at first, a bit lighter and more spread out (centered flat) than expected... it loosens up and lends a more elastic flow as it warms... coiled viscosity, quiet heat, drawn out numbing... arguably unsung drinkability

O: haven't had this much in recent years, or even that much ever, to be honest - this might be the 4th or 5th time?... I could certainly see getting this again soon - the richness in its taste comes as a slight surprise, not something I remember... a delightful sipper

 1,683 characters

Photo of nout72
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best Trappist/Belgian strong dark ale and overall the best beer I ever tasted. I only recently came to that conclusion.
Chimay blue is one of the 1st Trappist, stong beers I tried in my life. At that time, I was 17 years old, I liked beer, no matter what type and to me Chimay blue tasted just like a trappist, I couldn't exactly tell a difference with a Westmalle dubbel. Later I came to appreciate the differences, but to me Chimay still was just a trappist you could buy everywhere. Beers like Rochefort or St. Bernardus weren't readily available and just how it works in the mind, unknown, more rare beers always taste better. I have dismissed Chimay the last two decades, always chose Rochefort, St. Bernardus, La Trappe and recently Jopen Ongelovige Thomas over the blue labeled bottle.
But Chimay blue beats all of them in my opinion. And for the biggest part because it leaves no strong sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste isn't exactly dry, but it doesn't stick too long. All the other trappist/abbey beers to a certain extent blurr or flatten the taste after a while. The best example is the Rochefort 8, the sweet aftertaste ruins the experience to me.
Chimay has the ideal balance between sweet and bitter. It is smooth (non-boozy) like a Rochefort 10 and spicy like a St. Bernardus, and the amount of carbonation is spot on. True the sweetness isn't that round and smooth like a Rochefort 10, it is more stingy (for lack of a better word) but it leaves with little trace, therefore every new sip tastes great, not muted.

Do note: with this beer it really is important to serve it at a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celcius, not any colder, because when served too cold the taste is watery and muted. I usually drink this beer at (slightly lower) room temperature, 17 up to 19 degrees Celcius works great for me.

 1,840 characters

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look--Pours a unique murky-copper with faint maroon highlighting that suggests a "fruitiness" right out of the gate. The highlighting isn't "off-putting" but it is a bit strange. The head and lacing dissipate almost immediately, which isn't uncommon with this style, so no "mark down" for that.

Smell--Agressive nose of dried fruit--fig, raisin, (prune perhaps?) with bready and banana notes that stay forward throughout the drinking experience. Almost reminds me of a banana bread with dried fruit. Unlike some better strong Trappists (i.e. Rochefort 8 or 10) this doesn't modify much as the beer warms.

Taste--Very smooth and drinkable considering the alcohol content, but is rather sweet and boozy compared to even stronger similar offerings. Unlike some others that develop a subtle bitter-chocolate note as they come up in temperature, this one just gets sweeter. The carbonation doesn't have quite enough staying power to provide some balance.

Feel--Warming in a very pleasant way, and very drinkable.

Overall--I like this one, but wouldn't rate it as high as a Rochefort 8 because it lacks that extra "nuance," and stays a little too sweet throughout the drink. Still an excellent Trappist.

 1,209 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,698 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.