Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

7,717 Ratings
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: 2,354 | Ratings: 7,717
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of SethB2
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle in a Chimay chalice.

Beer looks nice. Deep brownish/red non transparent with a two finger head that leaves behind a small amount of lacing. Smell is of citris and melons and maybe some berries mixed in as well. Taste is fruit and malts with a little alcohol coming through as well, but not as a detriment. Mouthfeel was pretty good, but a little too carbonated for my liking. Drinkablity is very good. I wouldn't have a problem if forced to drink another. Actually, I'd very much enjoy that.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is dark red-brown color with a large head the color of malted milk. It is nicely sculpted but falls quicker that the heads of its siblings. The aroma is faint and I have to sniff hard to gaet anything but what I do get is sweet berries and fresh flowers. Wow.

The hops start the show here spicy, herbal, and floral. They dance around before being overcome by alcohol drenched yeast tinged with just a slight clove that transitions into what I think is a real woody almost whiskey-like sweetness.

The mouthfeel is thicker, slicker, and all-around heavier than other Chimay beers, but still stays springy. This is a great sippin beer. It makes me want to slip into a silk robe and start talkin like the ladies man.

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Photo of jabocu
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into oversized glass.

A - Very dark black coffee color. Thick light tan head that dissipated surprisingly fast, but left thin Belgian lace along sides of glass. Scattered lacings along surface.

S - Fruity sweetness, grainy and yeasty. Can smell raisin and dates touched with alcohol. Vinous like a deep burgendy. Very rich aroma with medium bouquet. No hops are apparent in aroma.

T- Wonderful raisiny sweetness with a hint of citrus. Lots of apples and brown sugar. Floral hops in middle that have a dry almost slightly more coarse finish. Flavor just lasts and lasts. Alcohol is apparent at first, but after two or three sips, the ABV disappears to very mellow, sweet, and smooth.

M – Full bodied from all the flavor. The carbonation fizzes and creates a deep warm feeling. Starts off feeling a lot of alcohol, but becomes smoother as you get to the bottom. Finishes with a medium level of dryness but the flavor just lingers and warms you up.

D – Very drinkable beer that warms you up fast. Lots of flavor and alcohol level to relax after one or two glasses. A must for trying the Belgian Trappist styles.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown, dark wood color...faint red/purple tones may be mixed in there. Nice 2.5 finger head bubbley head that would be white if not for a slight purple brown. I'm a little disappointed with the thin retention and non-sticking lace. Sweet malts and fresh spiced green and red apples blend seemlessly with a soothing alcohol and brown sugar aroma. When I smell I can almost taste sweet and sour green apples on the back of my toungue. Pretty awesome. I would absolutely love to smell an ultra fresh one of these. Taste is juicey with candy apples and other fruits, bitter fresh hops, sweet and mellow malts, various spicing, and a yeast that grounds the beer. Mouthfeel is quite nice.

An ocean of awesome, however I do love the smell and taste of apples a lot.

In this beer the alcohol smell is great. I forgot this was 9%.

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

Cork says 10/04.

Pours a deep, dark brown with some ruddy highlights. The head is smaller than I expected - big and foamy at first but quickly shrinks to a thin sheet. Aroma is light yet very full - sweet malts and dark fruit esters and a little spicy...spicy apples comes to mind. Very soft and full flavor - lots of dark fruit esters (with some apple again), sweeter than the smell, and semi-spicy. The alcohol is noticeable in both the nose and taste, but not in an unwelcome way. Smooth, warm, full mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish - and the 9% is very easy to handle.

This is my first Chimay and I like it. Maybe not super-complex, but pleasantly tasty.

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Photo of barleyman
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a cork finished 750 ml. brown glass bottle into my straight sided tumbler. Pours an incredibly thick dark, rocky and uneven, tan head. Leaves the proper Brussels lace at each level down the glass. Color is a hazy brown with a touch of red. Aroma is of bread, slight citrus and malt. Initial taste is of malt and hops with that citrus as well. Very slight characteristic Belgian sourness. Carbonation is pronounced. Orange and clove flavors, light mouthfeel for a beer of this gravity. Drinkability is very easy, for a fan of big beers. If my wife knew I paid $ 10.00 for a beer....
Wonderful beer, I buy it whenever I can.


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Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle Pours a clear brown with a large fizzy tan head. Head is lasting even though its very fizzy. Has a sweet fruity alcohol aroma. I get grapes, raisins, some apples a real fruit mix. Touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. The aroma is excellent on this one. Taste is on the dry side with a good mouthfeel. The 9% is hidden very well. Has a light feel. Verysmooth and extremely drinkable. The finish is subtle with a good duration. Leaves a very pleasent taste without a real aftertaste. This is a great beer. Drinks like water, goes down with total ease. If I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life this one deserves consideration.

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Photo of coasterfreak75
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this 750ml bottle vintage 05/05 today and just couldn't wait. Poured into a goblet dark brown with a two finger white choppy head that quickly dissapated and left a little lace on the glass.

The smell was quite complex. Heavy in malt with mixed fruit smells, citrus, dates and various other fruit. An almost nutty undertone in the rear of the nose.

The drink started clean and fruity with just a hint of hops in the middle and a lingering dried fruit flavor to finish.

Quite the tasty trappist. Clean mouthfeel, heavy in carbonation at the start but this dissapates and leaves just good beer to speak for its self.

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

A 750 ml bottle into a Chimay goblet ... I can't believe I had not reviewed this one heretofore. Pours a slightly cloudy brown color with a boisterous off-white head and sporadic lacing. Head is not well retained, except from a swirl of the glass. Nose is of sweet malt, dried fruits, and yeast. Taste is consistent with the style and quite good ... very earthy, rich, and complex with the yeast/malt interplay. This one (blue label) has a considerable hop profile as well, adding complexity and a balance to the sweet malt and fruits. This ale has a pleasing warmingeffect and is quite "alive" with carbonation and alcohol. Finish is silky and well balanced with a lingering warmth. I've always favored the Chimay blue for some reason, over the others. A standard in my book. If you've not tried it, try it. Among the best in the world? No, but very good and worth the price for sure. Among the best "everyday" tripels perhaps.

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

Poured a deep brown, almost black color with a medium tan head into a Duvel tulip glass. The aroma is sweet, carmelized malts and some floral notes in the background. There are also spice notes throughout. The taste gave me more of the caramel and malts that I enjoy and a goog balance with hops. This beer, as expected, has a nice taste that lingers in the mouth a bit and definitely warants having a few.

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Photo of weeare138
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2005 vintage.
Appears a dark, hazy, murky brown with a 2 finger light tan head that retains nicely. Lots of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of raisins, plums, figs, cocoa, candy sugar, and yeasty bread with gentle spices swirling in this mix.
Taste is of the same aromas but I can't put it down. The nice caramelized sugar and malt, along with the yeast makes this a right on winner.
Mouthfeel is a tad zippy with the carbonation but still remains smooth for the most part, hiding the 9% well in the slightly sweet brew.

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

02/09/06- Received as a gift for Christmas of 2004 from a friend.

Presentation- 750ml caged and corked bottle. Not sure of the year. There is a mark on the bottom of the label, but I have not a clue what it means. It's at the very least a 2004 bottle. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Very dark amber in a color. Nice full inch head, a tad off white in color. About average lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits in the nose. In particular some plums and dates. Also has a heavy grape scent. Maybe a touch like some Welchs grape juice and some grape Jolly Ranchers. Nice smell with everything combined.

Taste- Pretty much right on the nose with the scent. Almost a tad vinous in nature. Big grape flavor..sugary grape with a heavy dose of plums and a light note of dates and figs.

Mouthfeel- Higher than average in carbonation. Lasting nice aftertaste.

Drinkability- About what I expected. Very good, but nothing spectacular. Worth the money and will probably pick up again at sometime. Definitely worth trying. Very tasty.

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Photo of doctorjoeyboey
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is brown and heady. The smell suggests grain and carbonation.So far so good but the taste actually isn't that great. It is moderate as far as complexity goes.and the taste of grain is evident. The alcohol taste is also noticeible and less than ideal. The mouthfeel is a little sharp and not full bodied. Personally, I don't think this beer is that great and would compare it to Duvel. My trappist favorite is still the Westmalle Tripel.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml "Grande Reserve" cellared for over one year- Pours a slightly hazed dark amber/garnet color. An off-white, soapy head rushes above three fingers then falls to a thick cap of dense foam with good retention. Spotty lacing. Fusel alcohol in the nose, some roasted malt and dark fruit aromas, and belgian phenols. Sweet dark malt flavor, a hint of plum, and a faint grape skin taste make up a complex palate. Phenols are strong in the aftertaste, and the fusels become spicy- leaving the mouthfeel a touch dry. The carbonation is mild, and the body is medium to full- but subtle hops and spicy alcohol give it a delicate crispness. Some phenols will carry into the finish, and bit of residual sweetness from the roasted malt, but mostly clean and very drinkable considering the style. Overall, an excellent balance of flavor that showcases the marvelous belgian character.

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Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,717 ratings.
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