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Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay S.A.

1,653 Reviews
For Trade:
Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay S.A.
Belgium | website

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000

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Reviews: 1,653 | Ratings: 4,704
Photo of Phelps
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tiny bottle poured into a globe glass.

Deep maroon, mostly hazy, with a full, puffy two-finger head of gorgeous foam that looks like it could hang out all night. It eventually becomes one finger of dense foam, leaving not much lace.

In the nose: cinnamon, raspberries, maple, strawberry syrup and some graininess.

The flavor is similar: maple, cinnamon, plums, cranberry, dark bread. Slightly dry finish with nice sweetness throughout.

Medium light body, moderate fizziness. Nicely velvety, but little light in body for what I like from Belgians. Dryish finish with no noticeable alcohol.

Chimay Red may not be as flavorful as other Belgian dubbels, but it's still impressive. When it's available at a bar in Vegas amidst a swath of BMC taps, all the better.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored the 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice of course.
Pretty red with some brown and orange coloring mixed in. Offwhite/light brown head.
A bouquet of fruity aroma rides along a peppery spice quality.
The fruity character from the smell carries over in the taste. A metallic element pops out at the finish along with some dryness. Medium carbonation and body.

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Photo of bigdaddyd069
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown with an amber/ruby red hue from a bomber into my snifter glass. Nice head that last about a minute.

S - Sweet but very Dry, dark fruit (apricot, plums) with some light fruit (pear, apple)

T - Very bitter but sweet with dark fruits. Sharp tingly flavor. Alot of yeast/sugar

M - Very well carbonated, bubbly, crisp, sharp, dry.

O - Tastes very similar to a "brut" style champagne (dry but sweet, dry fruits with vanilla and little fruit) sugar added at the end of the brewing process but not too sweet. Very complex

Food pairing - I paired this with a sweet glazed chicken and a terriaki pork and both of these did not work with this beer. I hope to dry chili next which I think will work very well, will let you all know.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking reddish brown color. The head was fizzy and white, which also doesn't leave too much lacing either. The smell of the beer is a mostly earthy and a little spicy. The taste spicy upfront and suttles into a dry earthy sweetness in the end. The mouthfeel was about the same at the Grand Reserve. Overall this beer is good, I'm not a huge fan of the style but this one is worth trying.

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Photo of ark57
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a rust brown color with a slight haze and a soft, creamy head. The aroma is spicy and fruity with some bread quality to it. It is malty and is balanced by the spicy phenols and alcohol. There is a slight metallic tinge in the taste as well. It finishes drier than I would have expected for such a malty beer.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone snifter, Bottle says L09-087

A: Pours a ruby-red with a minimal amount of head in the glass. Not overtly carbonated.

S: There is a strong presence of malts with some caramel and toffee in there. Hints of cloves and a bit of yeast.

T: Pretty strong on the malt and yeast profile, with a bit of toffee. There is a touch of hops on the back end of this beer.

M/D: This beer wasn't very carbonated and that might have hurt its complexity. There just was not a lot going on and this beer never really kept my interest throughout the pour. Mediocre flavor. I would grab a Rochefort 8 or Westmalle dubbel anytime over this.

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Photo of adamette
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

poured from "wine bottle" sized corked bottle purchase at Giant Eagle in Painesville, Ohio into a clear glass

A 3-4 finger light brown head, pleasing amber body.

S Malty, complex, smooth, interesting, inviting.

T Nutty, grainy, woodsy, amber tones, Alcohol mid taste smoothes out in 3 seconds, leaving pleasing after taste. Despite these interesting occurrences I was not overly impressed with the taste. It was rather pedestrian for the big presentation promised by the large, corked bottle.

M full, it delivered with mouthfeel.

D Fair. It was just O.K.

Notes: complex, interesting but did not blow me away. Love the presentation in "wine" bottle with cork. My expectations were high and they were not met by this Ale which is so highly regarded and presented. Of course it is better than 95% of beers out there but again, my expectations were very high indeed.

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Photo of wedge
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

We have a gusher. Pours an understandably clouded dark reddened brown. Soft, creamy looking head that lasts as a wispy top and collar. Nice malt oriented aroma - doughy yeast, cherries, sweet bread, and a touch of chocolate. Thinnish flavor of fruity esters and phenolics with underlying chocolate and bread. A dusty yeatiness wraps up the flavor - dry and no real bitterness or lasting aftertaste. Medium body at the most, very smooth with low carbonation. Not very exciting, but not bad.

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Photo of expatsteve
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky brown, with red and orange hues. Big 3/4 inch head leaves no lacing. Low viscosity.

Aroma: Lots of bready notes, with a little sourdough present. Some golden raisins, caramels, and a hint of orange peel.

Taste: bread, with a little fennel, some espresso and citrus sours. Some raisins and honey developments. The front palate malts and yeast are a little too much, leaves the other flavors a little muted.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, with only a mild malt aftertaste. Low creamy carbonation.

Drinkability: Good, but light for the style. A good beer to stick with for a night, though there are better options within the style and for the price.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into my new Chimay glass; I'd been putting off trying these until I found the gift pack.

Pours out a deep ruddy, murky brown with orange highlights, barely translucent. A fairly thin white head of creamy small bubbles that left a decent lace, but I was a bit disappointed at the size of the head and the lacing. I know the glass was clean, too. Odd.

Smell is interesting: extremely phenolic, and with some alcohol sneaking through, but also a tad doughy and with a little bit of spiciness. The most obvious fruit I pick out is plum, but maybe also some prunes.

Flavor is surprisingly light, I think, it's got the fruitiness about it, and there's a little maltiness, but it's not a hugely complex onslaught. The spices pepper the tongue a little bit, particularly what might be a tiny bit like nutmeg, and the alcohol pulls through just barely in the finish.

The mouthfeel is quite carbonated, but it's a pleasant little spritziness on the tongue.

Overall: I think I may have had overly-high expectations for this one. It's not bad, but for the price, it's nowhere near being worth it. St. Bernardus Prior 8 wipes the pavement with this one, I think, at a similar price in most places. Good enough, but not one I'll ever buy again.

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Photo of Mdog
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brownish-orange, ok head.

Smell: Floral, sweetness, clove.

Taste: Fruity, a tanginess that reminds me of cranberries, clove highlights.

Mouthfeel: Feels heavier than some other dubbels I've had.

Drinkability: Ok, not one of my favorite styles though.

#2 in the Chimay tasting is the dubbel. I've been somewhat unimpressed by dubbels in the past, but this one seems to trade in the breadiness for some more fruit flavors which was nice. Pretty good.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a gift pack...3 beers and a chimay glass.

Pours out to a cloudy sediment rich dark amber, forming a soapy beige head with excellent retention and lacing. Carbonation is brisk. The aroma is as I would expect for a dubbel....spicy, phenolic, a clean ferment akin to Unibroue with a touch of almonds in the nose. Some faint higher alcohols are appreciable. The mouthfeel is spritzy with a faintly dry finish and medium-light body. The taste is spicy as well with strong phenols and pepper up front. There is a moderate grassiness (for the style) in the middle with some saccharin wood, leather and metals in the finish.

This is a bit too much for me. It's spicy up front but quickly recedes and has a thin body for the style. It doesn't keep me interested, but is a decent example of the style, nonetheless. Wouldn't ever become a regular in my fridge. Get some Unibroue/Allagash/New Belgium/St.Bernardus instead.

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Photo of
3.66/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25oz. bottle.

Poured a clear, medium brown/dark orange color with a large, light brown head.

Aroma included candi sugar, spices and barnyard with a deep inhalation. Overall, scent seemed restrained.

Taste opened up quite a bit compared to aroma. Clove and other spices. Bitter more than sweet, but well balanced. Alcohol and phenol notes, fairly mild. Little bit of caramel and some candi sugar. Grassy at finish and in aftertaste. Very complex.

Medium body, seems just a bit coating. Medium + carbonation. Dry. Alcohol warming comes on fairly quickly.

Nice and complex. Taste profile didn't wow me, but I would happily have again.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful dark amber with lots of crimson. Head leaves something to be desired. No lacing to speak of. Kind of weak in the nose. Some toasty malts, some dates, some booze. Nothing bad about it, just lackluster. Flavor is a big improvement over the smell. Starts off with toasted and roasted malt, which leads into a fruit and brown sugar middle with just a whisper of yeasty phenolics. Finish comes back with some more of the higher kilned malts and a kiss of the hops. The weight of the beer in the mouth is about moderate, but the carbonation is harsh. Decent drinker, but, really, the weakest of the 3 Chimays.

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Photo of GbVDave
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a translucent rusty reddish-brown color. 1/4 finger head with a tiny amount of lace.

S: Aromatic yeast, chocolate, and roasted malt in the nose.

T: Take everything from just above and add in raisins, lightly bitter hops, bready malt, and a soft metallic taste.

M: Warmer temps are the key. When served cold it's very bright and harsh, but as it warms it softens out and thickens up.

D: Quite drinkable due to its' low abv and inoffensive aromas and flavors. Unfortunately those traits help the Drinkability score, but hurt the Smell and Taste scores. I was hoping for more adventurous qualities to this Dubbel, but I was taken aback by how average and pedestrian it was. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good beer from a legendary brewery. I just hope that someday Chimay decides to tinker with the formula to fully elevate this one to legendary status-to match the reputation of excellence that Chimay posesses.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First of my Chimay tasting and not a terriffic start. Poured from bottle into Chimay chalice. Pours a deep dark orange in color with off-white head. Good 2 finger head but quickly dissolves leaving a thin layer behind for the remainder of the beer, no lace. Smell is of some fruit, alcohol, and a touch of grain. Taste is pretty good, better than the look or smell. Has a slightly bitter yet malty taste with some fruit notes (though I cannot distinguish) and some alcohol. Very crisp and light mouthfeel but the carbonation is too high for me, I find it distracting fromt the true taste. Overall not a bad beer, I think I just expected more. "White" is up next...

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Photo of brystmar
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from 33cl bottle into the Chimay wide-mouth glass that came in the gift set. Lots of carbonation, a fair amount of head; beautiful copper look.

S: mmmm, cinnamon! Lots of spice overtones too. But the smell of cinnamon lingers in my glass even after the beer's gone. Delicious.

T/M: hello carbonation! The spice and sweetness hit you first, but not too sharply in either direction. A smooth finish and mild aftertaste leave you wanting more. Well balanced.

D: certainly smooth enough to session, but watch that ABV. Drinkability isn't a concern of mine when I sit down with this beer, and fortunately Chimay Red doesn't present any challenges in this regard. Cheers!

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Photo of lionking
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a short Chimay bottle into a Chimay goblet. Poured about a one and a half finger head. Dark red ale color.

Sweet malty nose along withe some sort of spice.

My first impresssion is that it taste kind of like a lot of beers. It taste like beer. Sweet taste along with some spices but its definitely a beer.

Mouthfeel is warm and smoothe. This definitely has a kick to it.

Drinkability is solid. This is more of a one or two shot to be sipped.

Overall, I was expecting a lot and this beer kind of came up average on the craft brew scale.

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Photo of Zadok
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured nice cloudy amber with a spritzy head that dissipated in seconds. The appearance of an unfiltered cinnamon apple juice.

S-Main smells are of light fruits, apple, pear, peaches maybe.

T-After the first couple drinks and tasting mainly pears and apples a strong bourbon flavor overtook the rest of the beer. Almost a form of Beam and apple juice.

M-Light and spritzy, borderline a champagne consistency with high carbonation.

D-Doesn't hold a candle to the Chimay blue but is definatly a quality product. Moderate ABV makes having a couple of these in a setting probably the limit.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle, Sampled December 2004
Pours a lightly hazy amber copper color that is topped by a pale amber head that is large and frothy. The beer is well carbonated with a steady cascade of bubbles rising form the bottom of my glass. The aroma is typical of the chime yeast with notes of bubblegum, alcohol, fruity notes of plum and raisin, some spicy notes of ginger, all-spice, and clove. The fruity notes are definitely the dominant ones in the nose.

The taste is lightly sweet, with soft fruity notes of plum, raisin, fig and clove up front. The beer then moves to a sharp note that is a mix of carbonation, and yeast derived esters, as well as a bit of alcohol in the finish. The beer is quite light on the palate, almost a bit too thin. There is a certain level of astringency in the finish, which I have always found a bit distracting in beer brewed with the Chimay yeast strain.

Overall this is not a bad brew, certainly nothing to get really excited about, but it is a solid beer. It really could use a boost in the malt intensity / body department though, it just seems a bit thin.

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Photo of jera1350
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a Chimay chalice a murky beef gravy brown with slowly moving bits. Nice susdsy head that reduces after a minute to a tan ring.

Effervescent like smell that tingles the nostrils. Lemon zest, yeasty, hops, bready and roasted malt. Picking up some sweet lilac as well.

Malty, some toasted biscuity flavors. Deep, deep roasted malt, almost burnt. Hop bitterness, but not as pleasant as the nose. Hint of chocolate and coffee bean.

Really active carbonation. Pretty harsh and rough on the tongue. About medium bodied.

My least favorite Chimay by far. Not as complex, flavorful or easy drinking.

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Photo of TerryW
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good looking opaque cider coloured beer with a big creamy soft head, no real lace. Tough job to pour this one into the glass as it literally exploded from the bottle.

Spicy, fruity nose with hints of vanilla. Just a whiff of alcohol as well. Sweet, but not overly so. Fun to inhale this one.

Taste is lots of fruit (oranges, raisins) and spice and malt. Gently sweet, slight hint of alcohol again to finish. Bread or yeast a quite noticeable characteristic.

Pretty decent beer, easy enough drinking, nothing to overwhelm you for better or worse.

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Photo of eberkman
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby portlike brownish red. Cloudy. A fiery red when held up to the light. A thick tan head reduces very quickly to a thin island on the surface, but lacing remains on the glass.

The smell is not remarkable or particularly strong. Faint skunkiness at first whiff with some fruity malts. The taste is a sweet-sour with a mildly bitter finish. Again, some fruit sensations in there. Decent flavor.

Mouthfeel is rather thin and highly carbonated. Decent drinkability because of its exceptional smoothness.

This ale is objectively very good. Definitely worth trying, but it's probably my least favorite of Chimay's big three and not one I'm going to go out of my way for when a lot of variety is available.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz bottle with my Chimay Chalice naturally
Notes from 01/25/14

A: Deep amber color. Rusty brown tones and a bit of yeast haze across the body. Thick two fingers of dense khaki suds forms atop. Near perfect retention efforts with some light dots and streaked lace travelling down the glass. Looks expertly crafted.

S: Dusty minerals and some mild Trappist yeast character on the nose. There are some soft bready notes and a light toffee sweetness. Not incredibly pungent aromas. Some distinct banana and clove materialize as well.

T: Toasted dark breads with some dried fruit and Belgian yeast notes. A light combination of banana peel, clove, and peppery spice. There is a subtle toffee sweetness to the beer by and large. Not particularly bitter to me and the alcohol is pretty much nonexistent. Wet earthy minerals at the finish. Not bad but not terribly exciting.

M: A bit watered down and thin in feel. Medium to lighter body. Some soft drying at the finish.

D: This is a decent Belgian Dubbel with some nice and easy drinkability. Definitely starts off strong but tends to fall apart at the seams for me. Good but not great.

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Photo of chunkylover53
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a corked 750mL bottle, into a Rochefort chalice.

Pours an amberish brown colour with a foamy, but quickly dissipating head.

Very little smell compared to other Trappistes I've had. A slightly sweet note, but that's about it.

Taste is a little weak, also, but the candy sugar is fairly prevalent with a bit of caramel and a vey slight floral note.

Overall, it's not nearly as complex as, say, a Richefort or a Westvleteren (But then, what is?), but that makes it a whole lot more drinkable, overall.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
92 out of 100 based on 1,653 ratings.