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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,943 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,943
Reviews: 1,561
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 158
Gots: 337 | 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: 3,943 | Reviews: 1,561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of czfreeman
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet. Very foamy head that settles quickly, beer appears to have quite high levels of carbonation just from the appearance. Tea-like color with ruby tones. smells of mild alcohol phenols, raisin,plum,fig. Very good flavor, the fruits are apparent,ginger ale,clove. The mouthfeel is very clean because of the carbonation, it cleanses the palate without being too heavy yet has a long lingering sweet aftertaste. Wonderful brew!

czfreeman, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of joepais
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%

The 750 ml bottle poured in a Chimay chalice hazy amber brown with a small of white head that turns quickly to lace. Yeasty and apricot aromas are present in the glass along with sweet malt as well. Nice carbonation on the tongue with medium body. Flavors are really complex blend of malt, yeast, caramel, dried fruits (dates, raisins), citrus (orange, lemon), some spiciness, and a hint of hops in the finish .To me this is a good Dubbel and a great accompaniment to my meal of American Chop Suey if I don’t say so myself

joepais, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Deadstar
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Serving Type: I poured some out for my parents to try; my mom didn't really care for it (she's a wine person) but my dad liked it quite a bit. Anyways, after emptying some out into some small glasses for them I put most of the rest into a brandy snifter. (This was out of one of the small bottles)

Appearance: I think I stirred up a bit of the yeast that was left in the bottom when I poured a bit for my parents so I did end up getting some particles in my glass. The color of the drink is a nutty brown, little head which (for me) went away quickly.

Smell: Not too strong in this department -- read some of the other reviews for a better idea. My nose is still in training. (It is opening up more as it warms a bit sitting on my desk, some frutiness perhaps)

Taste: I liked this one a lot! Smooth too, very enjoyable to drink.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, the bubbles dance about in my mouth.

Drinkability: I could sip another bottle of this slowly. I feel that it would be easier to put down more of this than of the Chimay Triple.

Overall, a very enjoyable beverage. Cheers!

Deadstar, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev -3.4%

A - Poured a hazy amber color with a thin off white head

S - Is of malt with fruit and spice

T - IS much like it smells malt with fruits and spices

M - Theres a lot of carbonation in this brew

D - This is one of those beers thats good for sipping and relaxing with

armock, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of bigeyedfish
4/5  rDev -3.4%

12 oz bottle poured into the Chimay chalice. No freshness date on bottle.

A medium, hazy brown is framed up by a finger and a half to two fingers of sticky, really off-white head. The head leaves some lacing, and doesn't really recede evenly; the center is more gone than the outer edges of the beer. A pretty thick, solid (both around the glass and from top to bottom) ring of lacing is the only remnant of the once-massive head.

Some candied fruit on the nose initially, as well as some dark fruit, specifically plums and figs. The aroma is disappointingly under-whelming; I'm taken aback and offended by this. There have been a lot of less-pedigreed dubbel's that came through a lot bigger and robust on the nose. Hopefully it's just me.

...Ok, maybe it's just me. The taste is what I had expected and for a second was afraid I was not going to get. There's only the better of the two aroma's; there's some figs and some dates, with none of the fake, candied fruit. There's some caramel laced throughout There's some barley and some hops on the mid-palate, before the uneventful beginning goes to a finish of all the previously mentioned flavors. The finish is nice, but not something that inspires greatness. It's an amazingly subtle taste.

There's some serious mouthfeel in this beer, however. Just a huge grip, throughout the palate. Really attacks the roof and sides of your mouth. There is some carbonation on the mid palate, along with the injection of hop bitterness, but other than that it's just a really smooth drinking beer that gets to the outreaches of the palate. About as unsubtle as the flavors are subtle.

Is this beer drinkable? Yes. I can raise a glass to my lips, tilt the glass at enough of an angle so that liquid in said glass slides from the glass, through my lips, into my mouth and with some effort and practice (if you're a new-born baby) swallow the liquid, beginning the process of sending it to my stomach. Technically, it is drinkable. Unlike, for example, a live cow.

Now, is it drinkable in the sense of, 'could i drink this beer all night?' Again the answer is technically yes, however with the substantial, but not earth-shattering alcohol, sessioning this beer will produce some less-than-pleasant-next-mornings. But the real question with this beer is do you spend an entire night with a beer that is undeniably well made and awesome, but is at the same time, very subtle, refined, classic; in short, the kind of beer that inspired and forced brewers to take liberties with and re-define the style: why try and brew something like this beer when you won't be able to make a better example of the style. It's a beer you can enjoy, but only if you are committed to enjoying the beer; it's a beer that's on par with the master works of literature; it's not an everyday beer, and when you do drink it, you need to drink it with it a mind focused on the beer. With all that said, it's quite possible I completely dropped the ball on this one; the glass I drank it out of (a chimay chalice) has been sitting around for a week or so; it's clean, I just haven't used it in awhile. I had music on at a level where I noticed I had music on, and there was more light than normal. So yeah, maybe the elements had some factor. Still, elements and outside variables be damned, you won't find a better example of what it means to be a beer, despite what my low score on this beer suggests.

bigeyedfish, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%

Bready, fruity, intense flavor… prunish brown head frothy head carbonation… rich flavor, banans, fruit, cream, … clean finish, no bitterness… toffee-like..caramel sweetness, full-bodied flavor… sweet finish, sweet lingering aftertaste… goes down smooth… excellent drinkable… full of flavor… bready aroma and taste… caramel/toffee taste… crisp, clear… malty, honey flavors… burgundy hue… 11.2 oz short, fat, bottle, copped in a gift set from gary’s in Madison included chimay glass… strong 7% alcohol percentage not noticeable behind fig-fruit, sweet finish.. recommended…

dsa7783, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of Brad007
3.6/5  rDev -13%

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.

Brad007, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%

Standard Chimay little bottle from the Coop for about $4.. poured into my Kasteel tulip.

Popped the top and it was a "fizzer".... not a "gusher", but after letting it sit down for 5-10 minutes I could pour.

Shortlasting but creamy lite tan head.. above a very hazy Amber/red brew.... For as much carbonation as there is, there is nearly no head and no lacing... but you can "hear" the bubbles ... Psss

Aroma speaks of toasted raisin bread with a brown sugar crust.. yeasty esters are present but restrained.. I swear I am getting some sweet cinnamon aromas.

Huge prickly carbonation (completely unexpected) ... lite/medium body ... caramel and figs.. toasted malts and low Belgian spiciness... interesting but not engaging at all... uninspired.

I overlook this brew because I take for granted it will always be available.. I will buy again, but only when I want to compare a round of dubbels.

Edit: I've gone thorough the notes, and have never put the Red on the same par as other Dubbels... just too much carbonation.

JohnGalt1, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of Lukie
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

It has been a while since I have partaken in a Chimay Brune.
Poured out with a soft head that didn't grow to any great lengths and quickly disappeared with a slight lingering on the top of the dark brown liquid. Hints of ruby were caught on the light, but the lack of a lively head detracted from the appearance.

The aroma is quite fruity with only subtle hints of spice. Alcohol is pretty much non-existent; Raspberry and strawberry seem to be the key aromas, with raspberry the standout. Some slight sweet cherry is finished off with some bready yeast.

Slight Raspberry and cherry flavours seem to give the fruitiness of the palate, while very mild alcohol and bread flavours finish it off. There is very little spice character in the taste, but it still manages to finish nice and dry.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and mild. Very smooth and easy to drink.
Very easy to drink, and for the price, is something I may have to start drinking more of as a night time after work sessioner.

Lukie, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%

A good example of a belgian dubbel for those just getting into belgian brewing. although for an experienced drinker it may be found to be a little watery. very smooth though and not overcarbonated. great taste with little nuttiness but good dark fruits and bread dough flavors. a good belgian if you are looking to drink it all night. great with cheese or cheesecake and cookies. I am fond of it, but get tired of it quickly. It is my choice at most college bars ( mostly cause its the only belgian they have besides grande reserve, and it takes immature college kids hours to get wasted on budmilloors, so the lower abv helps me stay interested and competitive on the pool tables.

AKBelgianBeast, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of rxdrewthejew
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Well, I've had the Blue and I've had the White, guess it's finally time to crack open the red. I think I've had this for about 3 months. Dunno how I managed to not drink it before.

A: Deep brown with some red hints. Plenty of bubbly head though most of it fades, although tiny bubbles come up from the bottom to leave a thin layer going.. Lots of sediment ended up in the glass.

S: Strong, rich and sweet with a sense of Belgian spices. Nice mix of fruity and spicy in the smell.

T: Deep malt flavor in the front and a hint of bitterness in the finish. In between is a nice earthy or maybe bready flavor, spicy pepper, and a touch of sweetness. Very nice balance to the flavor. This isn't as sweet as it smells and everything blends very well.

MF: Typical Belgian snap to it, a blend of the fizz, pepper and alcohol. Maybe not as thick as I expected, but still big and filling.

D: Good flavor, great balance, enough alcohol to warm a bit but not so much that it really hits. I'm still partial to the Blue, but this is a very good beer. I could go for a bit more sweetness but really can't complain too much. Easy to drink and hard not to like.

rxdrewthejew, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of BarryNL
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%

A: A good head - fades to a thin white layer which lasts well. The beer itself is a muddy reddish brown, filled with yeasty particulate despite careful pouring.

S: Yeasty, carbonic, some strange cereal hints - for some reason I'm thinking Weetabix.

T: Malty, yeasty, with a bit of a carbon dioxide bite - almost a fizzy soft drink sensation.

M: One of the better aspects of this beer - there's a full bodied sensation. Nothing watery about this one.

D: Yeah, it's nice - I could drink a few, but not if there's Westmalle to be had instead.

BarryNL, Dec 11, 2007
Photo of Antilochus
3.85/5  rDev -7%

Poured from a 750mL fresh from the cellar. Shot the cork and almost broke my scotch collection :O.

Appearance is dark ochre-ruby, nearly opaque. Very bubbly tan head that sticks around for a while.

Aromas are cherries, spice, metal, sweet malt, burnt sugar, moderate yeast, bit of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated, but otherwise fairly medium-bodied.

Taste is very bready, elements of cherries and other dark fruits. Candylike and very sweet. Almost mushroomy finish.

Fairly drinkable, but easily my least favourite of the Chimay 3.

Antilochus, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of SargeC
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%

Appearance: Hazy brown-red with a fizzy tan head.

Smell: Cherries, spice, yeast, hops, malt and alcohol.

Taste: Subtle malt with fruit notes. Acidic hop flavors rush to a warm alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. The natural carbonation adds to the fullness and character of this brew.

Drinkability: Extremely tasty and interesting. The body and the flavors this brew offer support its drinkability.

SargeC, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of beeragent
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Goblet. The beer poured a dark ruby, forming an off-white 1 inch head, when fading, left light spots of lace. Very strong aroma of yeast, along with a light hint of fruit. Many more aromas present, however too complex to seperate them all. The taste is highly interesting and enjoyable. Once again, very yeasty up front, slight dark fruit flavor, and a noticeable balance between the hops and malts. Complex and good. Nice smooth medium mouthfeel. Great flavor, and not so high abv. make for a highly drinkable and enjoyable Belgian dubbel. Overall, having never drank a Chimay product, I was impressed. I know they have the reputation, but so many times, the reputation proves to be wrong. However, I enjoyed this brew, and can see why they are among the best brewers of Belgian Ales. Highly recommended!!!

beeragent, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of JohnMeinhardt
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%

So, I've never reviewed a beer for this site. I came here to get advice about wading through the world of beer. I planned to just read what others like and experiment for myself, but I have been compelled to speak my mind. This beer is heaven in a glass!!! I tend to like dark and funky beers, usually German, but this is so crisp and strong with an amazing balance of flavors. I just had to pick up the laptop and spread the good cheer. YAY BEER!!!

I drank it from a red wine glass because I don't have one of those half-globe Chimay glasses. I really like how the alcohol and carbonation in the beer give it a sharp strength which is still easily drinkable. As it warmed up, it sweetened a little and delivered even more ineteresting flavors. Since I am still a novice beer-geek I don't have much more than that to add, but what I can say is that this beer is absolutely stupendous.

JohnMeinhardt, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of hwwty4
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured a stubby into a Chimay Chalice. Pours a beautiful hazy auburn color with a nice size off white head, which leaves a gentle lacing on the glass. Smell is of yeast, spices and cherries. Taste is about the same but I detect a hint of apples in it to. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light carbonation. What can I say, its a Chimay.

hwwty4, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of drinkininthewood
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%

Served from a 330ml brown stubby type bottle into a Chimay glass. BB 09

A- Big foamy off white head leads to frothy lacing. Murky red/brown in color.

S- belgian yeast, some very fruity and spicy aromas, cherries, some alchohol in the nose.

T- Nice spices and yeast. Fairly fruity with flavors of cherries and dark fruit. Some clove. Bready malts with some earthy hops balancing things out. Fairly sweet, candy like, warming alcohol finish.

M- fairly smooth and medium bodied. Felt somewhat overcarbonated or "fizzy" mmm odd. Fairly sweet mouthfeel.

D- Enjoyable beer with good drinkability.

Overall a great brew. Not as complex as some of the incredible Unibroue beers but still really fun to drink. A Trappist beer definately worth your time.

drinkininthewood, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of Dansting
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Let me start out by saying that when I first had Chimay Red about 10 years ago, it was the worst beer I had ever had. I had never had a beer before or since that was worse than that first Chimay Red. Now, ten years later, and a more "sophisticated" beer drinker, it was time to give it another shot. And the result...it's a pretty good beer. The aroma isn't much, as it is slightly fruity and yeasty. It is a great looking beer, as it poured a cloudy amber color with a nice off-white head. It has a nice full mouthfeel. Flavor is sweet with a nice caramel, brown sugar, and fruity flavor to it. Not one of my favorite beers, but a much better beer than I thought it'd be.

Dansting, Nov 22, 2007
Photo of Overlord
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

I actually enjoy this one quite a bit more than the "white."

Appearance is a reddish murky brown. Small head that vanishes quickly. Some lacing. Not the most attractive beer, frankly.

Smell, and taste, is wonderfully complex Yeast, sweet malt/candi, some oak, walnut, and other earthy flavors, plus a hint of sweeter fruits. I swear there is papaya, banana, or some other tropical foliage in here.

Enjoyable and very quaffable.

Overlord, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of srandycarter
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Into the tulip by Stone

A - Reddish brown murky. Thin head that leaves quickly. Sudsy lacing that lasts.

S - Belgium standard smells.

T - Yummy. All you expect in Belgium. I like the banana character.

M - Maybe too carbonated???

D - Good to try.

srandycarter, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of mat5175
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%

This pours a very cloudy reddish brown. Nice finger thick head, that lasts a while with some lacing.

The nose on this one is fairly underwhelming. A very faint smell, slight sweet malt, with no floral or spicy component.

A great lively carbonation. A light mouthfeel, very refreshing on the palate.

As far as i am concerned this is the standard bearer. Light, sweet fruit with great bubbles. Very pleasant mild finish that is really only an extension in character of the overall taste; just a hint of bitterness on the back of my tongue. This seems consistent throughout the chalice changing very little. i like this cold, but it holds up really well as it warms. This is the belgian ale.

This is probably the most drinkable of any of the style. Once you get into the white and red, the ABV can get a little high to be having too many of these. But the red is so refreshing and light, that you can have a few of these back to back with no real fatigue. Enjoy.

mat5175, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
4.18/5  rDev +1%

Red-brown with a funky smell and a nice candy, fruit flavor. Very easy to drink, God bless these monks. This is a perfect trappist abbey ale and I wished I had bought a 750ml bottle instead of a 330ml. I need to drink the white and the blue very soon.

ArrogantB, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of likestoswallow
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

650ml bottle from Vons. Pours a dark brown,cloudy unfiltered, with a tan head that dissipated quickly. The aroma was rich with caramel and dried plums and a hint of spice. Taste was complex with chocolate in the forefront, other flavors--oak, pine, caramel, and walnuts rounded out the sides. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with an elegant fizz. The finish was long and smooth with a caramel aftertaste. Overall: this is a good beer suitable for all occasions. Recommended.

likestoswallow, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of thierrynantes
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Beer bottle (3, 75 cl), tasted in 1999.
Appearance: red copper, smooth foam
Smell: bodied flavor and spicy
Taste and mouthfeel: fruity and roasting
Drinkability: Good dark, the less strong Chimay beers

Review added 11-11-2007, translated from french 2-26-2008.

thierrynantes, Nov 11, 2007
Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
92 out of 100 based on 3,943 ratings.