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

Not Rated.
Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)

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3,996 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,996
Reviews: 1,564
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 162
Gots: 355 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,996 | Reviews: 1,564 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gonzo46and2
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber or ruby red with a big white head. Retension and lacing is perfect.

Aroma is of figs, raisins, dark bread, honey, cloves, wheat, and more.

Flavor has notes of caramel and what's described in the nose.

Very good dubbel and easy to find too.

gonzo46and2, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blushing garnet red with a strong thirst for luminance when held up to the light. Its complexion is clear but a tad too dark to allow for a completely unspoiled transparency; from the other side my finger appears shaded and distorted. A luscious patch of rosy stained head simmers from the steady undercurrent of carbonation that continuously whisks its center.

A rather prolific yeast has bread an abundance of fruity esters and a sprinkling of perfumy, spice-like phenols. The stress seems to have been put on a withering cast of well over-ripened and already starting to spoil stone fruits. Plums in particular but also apple and pear. The yeast itself may remind one of baking bread and the spice character could come from anywhere on the kitchen rack, my guess would be peppercorns and sage.

The flavour is very much the same with no real dissension what so ever. It closely mimics the bready yeast character, the light perfumy spice, and definitely the decaying fruits. Apart from enjoying drinking Chimay Red, I've also had great success in cooking with it. It will compliment traditional Belgian dishes like Flemish Stew and whether in the sauce or on the side, can also flatter virtually any red meat dish - including even a smokey rack of pork ribs!

Thanks to the nature of the styles, bottle-conditioning and the ability to stand up to aging, most of Belgium's greatest beers can still be enjoyed in all their glory outside of Belgium; exported beer will maintained its quality. Likewise, most of Belgium's artisinal brewers have maintained their integrity and resisted the dilution of their product by giant conglomerates - Belgians have not lost their heritage. I find this distinct of the country and its beers.

Even with the example of Chimay - the largest of the Trappist breweries - there is a sense of tradition that, although sometimes exploited, is never compromised. Chimay Red is found on literally all corners of the globe - from Toronto to Sydney and Helsinki to Santiago - but it hasn't compromised the quality of the beer, the operations of the monastery, nor the lifestyle of those who live within it. To me, that's the true meaning of success.

biegaman, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of david131
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A deep red with just a bit of orange coming through around the edges. The carbonation keeps a white head alive with decent retention. The head is also very creamy looking. The label does a good job of setting up the appearance of the liquid inside.

S- Some maple syrup, brown sugar, fruitiness, honey, sweet bread, vanilla, caramel... This is wonderful.

T- The same flavors that are noticed in the aroma. This is like candy. Absolutely delicious and complex. Very smooth with a nice aftertaste.

M- Very creamy and smooth. There is a bit of a numbing aspect to this, but I doubt the alcohol has a lot to do with it considering the 7% ABV.

D- A very interesting and enjoyable beer. This beer has become the gold standard for a dubbel in my book. This beer is how it is done, it is easy to drink and it screams quality.

david131, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of lionking
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

lionking, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of douggoodavage
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: A 750ml bottle at 49 degrees F poured hard into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice very cloudy rich amber color with a touch of mahogany tint. Chunks of dark yeast settle slowly on the bottom of the glass.
A thick foamy head starts at three fingers and quickly reduces to 3/8". Thick lacing sticks to glass but does not last.

Smell: Honey, hops ,cloves, yeast, oak, apricots, & alcohol. Very complex and satisfying.

Taste: A nice balance of malt & hops. Tangy and sweet. Crisp citrus, spice and carbonation hits your tongue first, then honey, bread & cloves. The experiance then finishes with a mild hoppy lemon peel flavor that last long after you finish drinking it. World class brew very well done.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, foams up nicely on your tongue.

Drinkability: This smooth and complex brew made by Monks is an awesome experiance. I could drink only this beer for months at a time and be totaly satisfied. The cost may make this difficult but remember that a major part of their sales proceeds goes to support the great charitable works of the monastery. What a great deal: drink world class beer, get a nice beer buzz and help the poor!

douggoodavage, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of superdedooperboy
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at The Pizza Joint in Evans, GA. Thanks to the weekly "Beer-Me Tuesday" special and my favorite waitress for scoring this for a mere $2.00.

Poured from an 11.2 oz. stubby bottle into a goblet.

The first impression comes from the slow volcanic eruption of foam from the uncapped bottle, a nice result of a good bottle-conditioned beer. Pours a deep burgundy-brown with a full, thick, light tan head that recedes ever-so-slowly and leaves thick traces of its past on the walls of the vessel.

A malty, butterscotch-and-clove-spice aroma is the calling card to the nose of what lies in wait for the tongue.

The medium-full body is built by a moderate level of carbonation with caramel maltiness toying with a bold clove character that is not overpowering but rather well-balanced; mixing things up a bit are some nice herbal, faintly bitter hop notes. All of this finishes with a rather dry yeast spiciness.

Bold-yet-balanced Belgian goodness. A tasty, drinkable classic whose strength is formidable yet far from overwhelming, with a complexity that is to be expected from a Trappist brewery. Despite its status and size, Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont has not lost its touch in crafting wonderful brews.

superdedooperboy, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of phantomwyse
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish almond body with a typical Belgian rocky two finger head of a dark khaki color. Active carbonation.

S: Sugary dark fruits, plum, date, fig, toffee, caramel, light medicinal alcohol aroma at the very end.

T: Caramel apple, dates, figs, raisins, beets, toffee, saccharine sweetness, slight vanilla character and just a trace of alcohol.

M: Medium bodied, tingly carbonation, a little creaminess.

D: As far as dubbels go, this is one of the elite. Sip, savor, enjoy.

phantomwyse, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of kurlare
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: 2 inch head of foam, threatening to get messy if I am not careful with it. Deep brown and reddish hues color the beer.

Aroma: Dried fruit, yeasty, very nice.

Taste: Dried apricots, malt, a sweet finish. Bitterness in the middle. This is delicious! Smooth malt, some tartness from the yeast. Hops shine through towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated. Can't complain about anything here.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable. I could easily have a lot more of this and enjoy it. 7% alcohol you say? I couldn't tell!

kurlare, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of DannyS
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in an Ommegang 14 oz. beer goblet, poured from a 750 ml bottle.

A - An almost opaque orange amber color, light but full colored. Gives me confidence in the quality of the beer.

S - A nice upfront malty aroma, an almost cereal-esque backing. A little sugary fruit on the nose too.

T - Slightly hoppy, but with a nice counteracting sweetness. It's got a very balanced taste, with floral and spicy notes adding onto the enjoyment. It's almost like what I think of when I first think 'beer.'

M - Just slightly thick in the mouth and smooth going down, but the carbonation's kind of excitable; it foams up in my mouth a lot every time I sip.

D - Very smooth with no offensive aftertaste. The only thing keeping this from perfect is the 7% ABV. Best to share this one with a friend.

Overall, a very enjoyable dubbel. Quite refreshing and drinkable despite its ABV, and definitely one I will purchase again in the future.

DannyS, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of MerkinMan
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Red / Brown ~ not entirely dark. Head fizzles more quickly than I thought it would.

S: Some raisin / plum esters with a small bit of alcohol scent. Berry scents too.

T: Malty with a dry finish with not as many fruity flavors as other dubbles. Raisin / berry note increases as beer warms a little. A little less complex and / or sessionable than many. As beer warms further, the esters take on a cherry note. Mildly phenolic.

MF: Light bodied, but not as effervescent as other Belgian offerings

D: Very drinkable dubbel. Though it lacks some of the expected complexity, it is terribly drinkable. I would not turn this one down, but would pass over it for the blue.

MerkinMan, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of ecoastman
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinkability - a great beer (one of my favourites to-date) that I prefer much more over the Chimay White. I will be having another for sure to finish off the 750 mL bottle. However, the acidity might be giving me mild heartburn... but that's probably just me drinking on a light stomach. You've got to give them credit for a great natural product based on age-old recipes. I'd age the other bottle but it won't last long. Freshness date is 2012.

Appearance - murky red-brown with a great head to start that quickly recedes to a thin patch as is typical of this style. No lacing in my rinsed chalice.

Smell - I was standing and walking to my chair while smelling the beer from my glass. I guess I was a little too close since the beer went up my nose as it rocked back and forth in the chalice. While the nuances are much easier to detect using this method, I can't recommend it for inexperienced novists.

Very mild and pleasant. Sweet candy and malty bread with caramel. Mild fruitiness and phenolics. I think I'm getting a faint smokiness in the start.

Taste - similar to what you smell. Faint strawberry fruit in the finish. What can I say? This beer is one of the standards for this style - built well, balanced between the ingredients, fits the style. Love it - especially after it warms up a bit. My only critisism is that the flavour is a bit mild and the acidity might be giving me mild heartburn... However, when I finished the 750 mL bottle I let the yeast go into the glass which I think brought out the complexity a little better.

Mouthfeel - medium body that is slightly course from the fine carbonation to start but finishes creamy smooth. The beer holds the carbonation exceptionally well as the beer looks flat until it hits your mouth.

ecoastman, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of EatsTacos
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy rusty reddish brown. A thin white head goes away pretty quickly to form a ring around the glass.

The smell is very sugary and heavy on malt. Dried dark fruits come to mind, prunes, raisins, there is some apple juice and grape juice. Lots of yeast and almost no alcohol smell.

Initially this beer is pretty sugary and sweet with a faint sourness on the sides of the mouth. The hops are spicey and add to the bitterness. The finish is sweet and spicey with a lot of fruityness.

Medium bodied with a crisp carbonation. Good drinkability.

EatsTacos, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of hopdog
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This rating is from tap.

Poured a reddish brown color. Fruity, floral tastes and smells with berry hints (was that raspberries I smell). Lightly yeasty as well. Very smooth to drink with a dry finish. Very easy and enjoayable to drink.

Notes from: 7/12/04

hopdog, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of cratez
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle from the LCBO, poured into a Chimay glass.

Appearance: cinnamon brown body with nearly an inch of head that subsides very quickly. No lacing, which tells me I may have poured the beer wrong (the chalice isn't dirty). Lots of yeast and sediment in the body - you can see it swirling at the bottom of the glass while drinking.

Smell: yeast, alcohol, and extremely fresh fruit, including pears, apricots, and a strong grape aroma. Lovely.

Taste: juicy malts, caramel, tart/bittersweet hops, and a warming alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: tangy and crisp upfront with a smooth body and wet finish. A diverse and complete mouthfeel.

Overall: Chimay Red is a fruity, aromatic, and warming abbey dubbel with some nice complexities. On previous tastes I didn't use the proper glassware and I forgot to let the yeast settle. This time I corrected both those errors and gained a new appreciation for the incredibly fresh smell of this beer. The flavour doesn't possess the metallic notes it had when, on a prior taste, I drank it almost immediately after pouring. It's a solid beer, though I prefer Westmalle Dubbel and St. Bernardus Prior 8 to this offering.

cratez, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of ricke
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008. Serving date: 2009-01-21. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 330 ml bottle with freshness date (Best before end of 2012) and recommended serving temperature, glassware and cellaring procedure on the label.

Appearance: Dark copper color with a 2,5 cm brown-shaded and sparkly head that dissipates rather fast and leaves some small lacings.

Smell: A general sweet and fruity smell (kind of like ripe apricots), soft chocolate nougat and notes or grass sits firmly on a backbone of yeast and spices.

Taste: First, sweet malts, fruits and bread hits the taste buds. Then, a mild yeast note and a distinct spicy flavor - primarily cloves - takes over for a while before the finish. It's just slightly vinous. The finish is characterized by a gentle bitterness, even more gentle tartness and spices. Towards the end, it develops a nice caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice and lively carbonation. Very nice mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A very well-composed beer with interesting, pleasant and sometimes subtle notes to be discovered. Highly recommended.

ricke, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brownish colored head that swiftly recedes to a thin layer of constantly renewing micro-bubbles. Super-cloudy red-brown in color, like mud or plumbing backup, can't get any more opaque without being black. The nose unfolds in a slow, if not sneaky, manner, surprising spine and hoppiness to frame the dark chocolate, caramel, coriander, ginger spice and candied plum and cherry fruit scents, banana bread, chooses balance over nostril penetration. Medium-bodied, the flesh is sculpted and hard, no jiggle. A good deal of the sense of momentum comes from the ever-present carbonation. The ginger and clove spice almost turns to cumin, pairs up with grass and grain notes. Without excess sweetness, there's raisin, fig, date notes and fresher cherry fruit. Bready like fruit-bread or cake not a loaf of bread, leesy as well. Even with nothing out of place, does sort of spin off at the end. Good drinkability.

farrago, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of beerthulhu
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a hazy cranberry-orange with a billowy beige head that cratered in the middle leaving a clean lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: The nose was yeasty with some candi-sugar and ripe fruit.

T: The initial flavor was sweet caramel, rum raisin, candi-sugar, bananas and cloves. Theres a nice dry booziness with some ripe prunes, cherries, and a touch of dry peppery spicing. The german noble hops provide a nice gently flowery bitterness against the clean pilsner malting.

M: a bright, crisp carbonation which was lively with spicy caramel, and a boozy alcohol warming. The body was medium full.

D: Drinkability was amazing and not much else to say.

beerthulhu, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of steeler
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well i finally got around to trying this, and I'm sure glad I did! Pours out a hazy dark copper red, with a VERY bubbly thin head, that recedes to nothing. Looked very inviting, looked very good! Smell was great, no off smells what so ever, the hops came through, and you could smell some of the sweetness, I cant put my finger on it exactly, but it defiantly smelt great! Hands down, this was one tasty beer! It goes down real smooth, finishes with mild hop bitterness, and then you feel a warming sensation from the alcohol. Very interesting and very well done. I enjoyed this one immensely! The only downfall i saw with this beer was, the mouthfeel. It felt very thin, and tad over carbonated, with the same sensation as pop would leave in your mouth. Not too bad, but at the same time i was very disappointed. I could honestly drink more than a few bombers of this beer, it is of high quality, and well balanced, it went down easy, and the higher ABV was a nice added bonus. Overall this was worth the money I spent, I have to defiantly try the other Chimay variants. Overall this is a very interesting beer, and I HIGHLY enjoyed this! World Class.

steeler, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in Dec. 2007 and aged at room temperature in a closet (I don't have a cellar).

Poured chilled into a glass (not goblet).

A: Dark mahogany with orange highlights. Generous head that recedes slowly into a ring that leaves glass lacing.

S: Dark fruits, bready malts, apricot, banana, caramel.

T: Figs, raisins, apricots. Hints of nuts and a very strong taste of chocolate that wasn't present in the young flavor. Finish is of cloves and slight bitterness.

M: Very chewy, full-bodied, but not particularly sticky.

D: I was not very impressed with the aging experiment. Either I did not do it right, or the beer should have been had much younger than this. I will buy a bottle and try it sooner to confirm. Regardless, their blue and white labels are much better.

Arbitrator, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of theboozecruise
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Caramel color with some red tinges to it... small creamy head. The smell was what I've come to expect from good Belgian ales... spicy, sweet, very well balanced. Delicious taste to this one as well. Malt with the spices picked up in the aroma all coming through.

This might be my favorite Dubbel to date.

theboozecruise, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caramel with reddish tint. Great head,bubbly and hold well.
The aroma of malts,spice and fruits. Some yeast residue.

The taste of sweet malts,fruits and some hops.This is done just right with enough complexity to enhance the balance and character.
The feel was medium body perfectly carbonated and some yeast.
A very smooth, easy to drink beer. This is what it's all about.

Notes: Fire in the belly,but not overdone. A top notch beer that must be had more frequently than not.

Lexluthor33, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of bonkers
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. It pours the color of rum with a big white head. The head settles to leave a wispy covering over the brew and bits of lace are left on the sides of the glass. Phenolic notes are prevalent on the nose along with figs and raisins. The flavor is of dried fruits and is slightly sweet. The finish has a light alcohol feel to it, I do not taste any hoppy bitterness. The beer is medium bodied with adequete carbonation. The brew is fairly quaffable for a dubbel. A good beer but others provide a better value for the style.

bonkers, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of Vengeance526
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color that produces a lively white head which soon dies down to a light ring but leaves plenty of lacing along the glass.

Rich aroma of dark fruit and some slight smokiness.

Tastes of figs and raisin, bread with a slight nutty character and a lingering sweetness in the background. Also some cloves are evident.

An exceptionally smooth beer that comes off fairly medium bodied. Would have expected it to be more full bodied but overall was a great brew that I will be sure to enjoy again.

Vengeance526, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of bonk420247
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served by bottle, pored into glass...Chimay Glass. Good feel and better taste, easy drinkability. I had hard time with cost associated though. There where some slight fruity tones, associated with the head, bitter at the end though. I highly recommend for the starter Dubbel Style brew.

bonk420247, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of froghop
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark brown with an orange tint when held up to the light, large tan head, very good lacing.

smell is of toffee, grass, fruit, some cocoa, few spices, some malt, and a touch of brown sugar.

taste is light, slightly sweet, a little bitter, some caramel, dark pitted fruit, some spice, touch of cocoa, ends dry and slightly bitter.

froghop, Jan 03, 2009
Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
92 out of 100 based on 3,996 ratings.