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Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Chimay (Trappist)
  • Website:
  • Country: Belgium
  • State:
  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
  • Malts:
  • Hops:
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • IBUs:
  • Tasting Notes:
  • Preferred Glass:
  • Food Pairing:
  • PHM Grade: A

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue)

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Michael: Late this evening, I padded down to the fridge and prepared to sip the much-anticipated Chimay “Blue.” Accompanying the sampler pack I had recently purchased was a brief, but informative and meaningful booklet, describing the true beauty behind the beer. As Tom so capably informed earlier, Trappist ales are unique, only six of these purebreds exist in the world. And I wished, upon reading the booklet, that every brewery could be as such, brewing with such purpose. Monks, living today as they did 150 years ago, continue to brew this beer with the same care and motivation that they did in years gone by. I gleaned, perhaps mistakenly, a bit of wisdom from their life’s work. Although they focus on their faith for seven hours a day, praying, reading and studying, they still find time to brew beer. Where as beer has caused such destruction in many parts of the world, at Chimay, it is crafted in order to sell and support the less fortunate and disenfranchised of the world. Talk about beer for a cause.

The taste is different for me. Not because of the malts and the hops and the yeasts, (I’ll get to that) but rather because I can envision, with the help of a few Chimay-provided pictures, monks, several thousand miles and years away, sipping from their Chimay chalice the very same brew that I’m sampling in the warmth of my kitchen on a cold Chicago eve. The yeasts are full on the nose and the ‘flowery touch’ they talk about is faint, but present. A bit of toffee perhaps, as well. Beyond that, I can’t decide. The taste is definitely that of a rich, strong ale, with a well-balanced feel and a lingering finish. There’s a sweetness that proceeds the finish, sandwiched between the smoothness and the alcoholic ending. In fact, the tastes, while complex and impactful, are so indistinguishable I feel inadequate to try. As it creeps up towards room temperature, the alcohol gets substantially more pronounced. I can’t name the ingredients used or even pinpoint the flavors, but it is good for a sipper and great to keep one warm in the draftiest of monasteries.

Note: Some say this review may be too deep for beer. Too deep? Tell that to the monks at Chimay, where brewing is second only to God. Now that’s deep. Grade: A

Tom: Jumping back to a darker malt Trappist brew, my palate fellvictim to the matriarch of the Chimay family.  This 9% quadruple is packed with great depth of sweetness and rich dark fruit notes.  I hate to say that a reknown Belgian trappist ale tastes like concord grape jam, but it truly does.  Fruity, roasty, and toasty, this brew is premium.  Deeper complextion than the Red and packing more of a punch from the abv it is sure to offer an enjoyable glass whether poured from the 750ml cork and cage or the 12oz bottle.  This mahogany/ruby red colored beer has a velvety texture which allows for the wonderful grain components to glide over your tongue.  It has brown and red ale qualities which make it very drinkable.  The hops are present by take a back seat.  Similar honey notes are the backdrop for lively yeast flavors that culminate in a somewhat white pepper finish (combinded with a plum-like taste).  Complex in providing various layers to explore, I’d argue that this is the best in the Chimay trifecta. Grade: A

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue), 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings
  1. I don’t know if this is exclusively a man site, but watching a man over here entering his beer review on the computer while a Vikings/Dallas game is in full swing leads me to believe this site must be very compelling. I think I’ve read that Stephen King book on writing–a great one recommended by Mark–and I am reading your reviews for that “deep” writing. After all, a beer is a beer is a beer, right Whitney?!(The monks would definitely cry “Heresy!”)

    Ruth Ann — January 17th, 2010, 3:08 PM
  2. I have the same sampler pack and I’m hoping to try the Red, White and Blue sometime this Winter. It’s neat to enjoy a beer for what it is, but its also cool to be able to appreciate the history, time, and craftsmanship that goes into a beer such as this too. Nice post.

    Scott-TheBrewClub — January 17th, 2010, 9:01 PM
  3. How can I tell the born date…..I have heard that the tast is better if I let it sit a bit. I can’t see a brew date.



    David Hawkins — May 25th, 2011, 7:58 PM
  4. David,
    If you have a corked bottle of Chimay the date stamp is on the cork (month/year I believe). However, if you have a capped bottle the date might be on the cap itself or on the back of the label (lower right side). I’ll check my bottles at home to confirm. In addition, I’m pretty sure Chimay cellars the beers for some time in between production and distribution.

    I’d say even if you don’t know the date you can go by when you purchased it for cellaring purposes. Buy two bottles (enjoy one right away) and mark the purchase date on a piece of tape on the other bottle. Age for desired time and compare tasting notes from initial bottle sampled.

    Tom — May 26th, 2011, 8:51 AM
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