Dismiss Notice
Get FREE shipping on all US orders of $25 or more from the BeerAdvocate Store.

No promo code required. Offer valid through 4/30.

Ready to gear up? Start shopping →

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

1,644 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

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,644 | Ratings: 4,685
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.

 1,266 characters

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.

 465 characters

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.

 937 characters

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.

 646 characters

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.

 621 characters

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.

 991 characters

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...

 664 characters

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!

 678 characters

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.

 553 characters

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.

 592 characters

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.

 1,098 characters

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.

 604 characters

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.

 554 characters

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.

 713 characters

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.

 1,143 characters

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.

 524 characters

Photo of MJR
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle with a cork dated 02/06.

Appearance: Underneath a massive, fluffy, light tan head is a burgundy body with touches of amber, red, and peach. The head fills half of my goblet on the pour, and takes quite a while to shrink. Leaves decent lacing on my glass.

Smell: Aroma of sweet fruit intermingled with a strong spice note. This one has a very distinctive smell.

Taste: Flavorful with lots of fruit and spice in an acceptable balance. A bit heavy on the yeast flavor... The finish has a really slight smokiness that I haven't ever noticed before. While it starts off nice and rich, it's aftertaste leaves something to be desired, as it's a bit thin and lacking in complexity.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin body with a crisp, dry mouthfeel. Finishes with a tart dryness that, unfortunately, seems to highlight the subpar aftertaste. A bit watery...

Drinkability: Fairly good. It's fairly drinkably for a 7%abv brew, but it's watery body and 'not-nearly-as-complex-as-before' flavor does hurt it.

This beer comes across much better in my memory, as it seems much less flavorful and complex as other examples from years past. Is this brew being dumbed down?... Disappointing...

 1,196 characters

Photo of Jesstyr
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Gingerman in South Norwalk in a Chimay chalice and paired with mussels. Chimay was the ultimate beginners dubbel, but I wonder if I have now outgrown it a bit. It lacked the distinction of the other trappists and big time belgians. To be fair, I've had better Chimay's than tonight, but not taking notes - I'll have to re-review.

Pours a maroon with little light head and decent lacing. Quite indicative of the variety of dubbel, and a very attractive brew. Smell struck me initially of cherry, which was quite interesting, and also had heavy malt and caramel. Taste led off as a dry malt, with slight hints of chocolate and cherry, but nothing excessively robust, which is disappointing. Mouthfeel is dry, but not overly so, and doesn't affect the drinkability. Alcohol level is not particularly high, but it almost feels higher than other dubbels - an oddity. It goes down very easy, and particularly smooth.

Altogether this is an enjoyable brew, but there are better ones out there...

 1,000 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Opened with a pop and a trail of smoke climbed from the rim of the bottle...always love that. Poured into Chimay chalie. Nice deep dark purple with creamy head with nice lacing. Classic for the style.

S - Grapejuice, alcohol spicy crispness. Smells pretty sweet.

T - Spicey alchohol with the dark fruits more in the background. Enjoyable and good flavor, but all in all not too exciting.

M - Creamy and soft with a bitter tangy afterbite that transitions to a super cooling feel.

D - Not bad and easy to enjoy, but for me, there are many better dubbels that are more to my tastes.

 588 characters

Photo of smurder187
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been a big fan of Chimay white for a while, so I got a 3 pack this Christmas to try out its siblings. When poured in a glass, it has a gorgeous slightly cloudy amber tone with subtle carbonation. It smells very fruity and a bit of caramel. It tastes solid, very drinkable and laid back. I was hoping for a little more spice to pop out, but it left me wanting a bit more. Overall a good beer.

 396 characters

Photo of thebarracuda
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

another corked beer (vintage jan 2006) pours a medium brown with a thick head that settles quickly, leaving some lace around the rim. Its got a very light carbonation, with creamy undertones, very clear and light, almost a thinned out version of Grand Reserve. With its darker color and fair amount of sediment, and as mellow and smooth as this beer is, you'd never guess its a 7%

 380 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from an 11oz bottle into a Chimay glass.

The beer pours medium tea colored brown with lots of carbonation. The very light tan head rises about 4 fingers then falls relativerly quickly. A soapy full head stays for a while. The retention is ok.

The aroma is pretty strong with lots of balance. There is dark fruit, light alcohol, caramel and lots of yeast.

The taste is a little boring and light. It starts off with some caramel then gets very yeasy.

The feel is really light.

This is one of the worse trappist beers and a terrible dubbel. Westmalle, westy and achel destroy this.

 597 characters

Photo of descartes
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Dark ruby brown with lots of sediment, with thin head.
Smell: Malty, chocolate and nut smell, very earthy.
Taste: Very carbinated front with a weird nut carmel mix in the middle. Very murky taste.
Mouthfeel: Over carbination, almost feels like champagne. Which for me is not a good thing.

Overall: A dssapointment, not really a clear taste with too much carbination.

 414 characters

Photo of Yagman3000
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a small bottle into a fluted British pint glass.

Appears rather hazy with a blend of rust and ruby with mostly orange browns. A tiny head rests on top.

Smells a bit of citrus with more cumquat flowing through. Wondering if its taste will shine through on the lighter side.

Tastes as the smell was described with some wangy overripe citrus in there from the yeast.

Mouthfeel is a bit dusty from a slight hop bitter. There's some dull fruit resonance too.

Overall it didn't rock my world. I wish the flavors were a little more sweet, subtle, and less musty.

 577 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Still haven't tried this beer up until now. Pours a medium brown color with a fluffy off-white head. Aroma is strong and malty upfront with a hint of raisin and even some breadiness. Taste is malty and somewhat too smooth at first. Goes down well but doesn't leave much on the tongue. Raisin/breadiness in the aftertaste. A second sip confirms some chewiness and the malt is somewhat stronger. No dryness to be detected. Just really smooth.

In my opinion, the taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma. It's smooth, it's drinkable and that's about it to me. I'd still recommend you try this for yourself.

 604 characters

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
92 out of 100 based on 1,644 ratings.