1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

4,190 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,190
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 178
Gots: 445 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay S.A. visit their website
Belgium

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)
View: Beers (4) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Chimay Première (Red) Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,190 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sjccmd
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay goblet

Dark red, lots of bubbles, forms a large light tan head that gradually fizzles away

very nice, molasses, brown sugar, hint of dark fruits, bready malts

not quite as exciting as the smell, less going on but still good, the bread character comes out more, not as sweet as the smell would suggest, nice malty finish

a little thin and watery, maybe too carbonated as well, it doesn't keep me from enjoying the beer, but it could be better

very easy to drink, I would have liked more umpf but the style is not always particularly umpfy as compared to Quads and SDA's

Photo of williamherbert
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is thick, murky dark cherry red, with a tinge of mahogany. Steady, thin off-white head resembling the ozone layer. Opaque as the deep oceans.

Spicy yeasts are glittery in the nose. Some orange peel, some bar soap. As it warms, it becomes more flowery.

The taste is spicy with a pretty bready base. Belgian yeast with a flowery hop. A spicy, spiky initial flavor, but a sweet citrus/fruity finish, which follows into the aftertaste.

The feel is fizzy and chewy. A big thick consistency, leaving a nice aftertaste. A really great beer, greater than the sum of its parts.

Photo of n0315
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks beautiful, tastes good, VERY drinkable. I could drink several of these, no problem. Basically what every other review says. A top notch brew, for sure. The best trappist? I don't think it is. Worth a drink, even if you need to go out of the way to get one? Indeed.

Photo of thirdeye11
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. My first pour I got a huge 3 finger head from this one that quickly fades to nothing, and no lacing on the glass whatsoever.

A: This beer is absolutely gorgeous. Yeasty sediment floats throughout the beer, and I think that yeast throughout only improves the taste so for me this is a positive. It is a medium dark brown with slightly red tone to the appearance and impossible to see through under any lighting condition.

S: At first when cold (40 degrees from my fridge) this beer has very little smell. Some dark fruits come through, although nothing like a quad. As the beer warms however there is a strong smell of brown sugar which is awesome. More phenolic smells become apparent even though this beer is extremely deceptive of its alcohol content in taste.

T: One of my absolute favorites to drink, and maybe my favorite Chimay over the blue. This beer is extremely well balanced. Never bitter, never too sweet, and you cannot discern the alcohol at 7% even in the slightest. I think that any beer drinker could appreciate this one due to the fact it isn't too sweet ever.

M: This is my only complaint about Chimay Red. It's a little thin on the mouthfeel and shows absolutely no lacing whatsoever on the glass. I wish it was slightly thicker, but this is a minor complaint. The one thing that brings its score back up for me is the carbonation which is absolutely perfect. In my Duvel tulip this is the first beer I've noticed "actively" carbonating itself from the "D" etched on the bottom of the glass all the way to the top of the beer. The carbonation is ridiculously perfect.

D: I could drink this beer all night. The yeast floating around in my opinion makes it all the more delicious, and it is never too sweet which is why I think drinking multiples would be no problem at all. It's also not too strong at 7% so you could have 3-4 without issue, at least I could. In fact I drank the entire 750ml last night and would have enjoyed another glass! This is one I plan to purchase semi-regularly for the house.

Overall probably my favorite Chimay, but the blue is close. Enjoy this one often!

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper, more on the brown side, with two fingers of frothy, off white head. Subsided reasonably quickly. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Bananas, clove, some kind of metallic/astringent note I couldn't place.

Taste: Very, very smooth. Chocolatey/banana notes up front, which fade to a nice sweetness in the aftertaste. Mild bitter hop notes, but the sweetness dominates. It's a mild enough sweetness not to become cloying, and instead remains rather pleasant. A little watery, overall, however.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, but like Chimay's other offerings, too highly carbonated. The high carbonation adds a harshness which takes away from the smooth taste.

Drinkability: Well, this was the only one of Chimay's three main offerings that I enjoyed finishing, so that counts for something. It's very smooth and refreshing - and to be honest, tastes more like a watered-down tripel than a dubbel.

I've been underwhelmed or disappointed by all of Chimay's offerings, but this is the best of the main group (Blue/Red/White). It was a bit watery, but overall, an enjoyable brew.

EDIT: Interestingly enough, I looked back, and rated the Blue higher than this one. I know I liked this better - might have to go back and give the Blue another try.

Photo of jlb307
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet.

A: Dark reddish copper. Hazy from the yeast sediment. An almost crisply light tan head which faded quickly. Left no lacing, which was a surprise.

S: Very light, but sweet and malty. Hints of berries.

T: Smooth and dry with little to no aftertaste. Finished very clean and crisp.

M: Very bubbly and thick. Not at all unpleasant.

D: Not something you want to drink fast. Not that the 7% ABV has to do with it, you just want to make sure you can enjoy this one.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle (thanks Tara!) this brew was a very cloudy chestnut brown color with tons of floating sediment in it. The head was two-fingers of khaki bubbles that displayed good retention and excellent lacing in curtains. The aroma was also excellent, toasted malt, caramel malt, ripe fruit, Belgian yeast and spices. The flavors were also complex and impressive. I tasted Belgian yeast, lots of dark fruits, cloves, cinnamon, raisins, apple cider vinegar and alcohol especially as it warmed up. Quite tangy. The mouthfeel was smooth and rich, the body full and the carbonation a bit foamy. A very good beer and a classic.

Photo of Foxtrot
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After reading some posts in the forums about beer advocates not liking Belgian beers, I thought I would give this one a try.

Poured a very murky brown brown color with a awesome white head and incredible lacing. The retention off this beer was something to behold; it stuck around the entire session.

Aromas ranged from very sweet to cloves and phenols and a dash of some plum.

Dark malt presence up front backed with a sold yeasty notes with cloves and phenols. Also detected some ripe plums and cherries that go very well with the beers medium body and wonderful carbonation.

Mouthfeel was a mild medium, but was still very good nonetheless.

I give this a good drinkability because of its low ABV. and spectacular carbonation.

PS: After having this, I will be sure to seek out more Belgian beers so that I can fully appreciate the style. Cheers!

Photo of Amalak
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had off the tap at Mothers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Graham Ave. Definitely worth the hype...but the price ($8) was somewhat steep for a 12 oz. beer.

It was quite bubbly with an average foamy head and decent lace. Fairly opaque in color. Dull brown and good citrus scent to it.

Citrus burst at first with a kind of vegetable aftertaste. Cider-ish, but really refreshing.

Photo of MrIncognito
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle

A - Very hazy reddish-brown body beneath a dark tan head that is nice and pillowy. Sticky head leaves sticky lace is it settles to a nice film on top of the beer.

S - Not as fragrant as I expected. Small of sweet dark malts and some yeastiness. Perhaps some toasted bread and hints of dried black cherries.

T&M - Nice and dry with champaign-like bubbles. The yeasty taste adds to the dryness. Quite malty up front, definite dark malts, and then followed by a lightly sweet cherry flavor. Cherry is more apparent as it warms. A little thin in flavor, not as complex and full-flavored as expected.

D - easy to drink and a nice beer. I would like to see more depth to this. I just wanted a more robust flavor that wasn't quite there. Very nice beer though.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown in color with only a slight head. Smell is somewhat laced with spices. Maybe some clove and a real faint cinnamon. Taste is highly carbonated and bubbly. There is some spice as well as some dark fruit in the taste. Perhaps just a bit too much carbonation. Not bad, an easy drinker.

Photo of joshuadlight
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. Light tannish brown with white head that goes away quickly but the chalice maintains a small film of foam on the top.
S - Dark and light fruits, I got plums all the way to raspberries. Not a deep strong aroma however.
T - Sweet malts, but you can pick up the hop bitterness somewhat along with the alcohol burn. Very complex, alot going on once again with many different flavors coming through.
M - I wouldn't call it a smooth beer, the alcohol and carbonation keep it from being too smooth. But it there is nothing offensive about it. Not flat or too fizzy.
D - Sip this one. Anything more than a bomber and you will feel it for sure. But, for what it is, of course it is drinkable.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but this is one of those beers that everyone should be able to get their hands on and well they should.

Photo of unclejimbay
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chimay Première (Red)
Bières de Chimay (Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont)
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.00 %

Reviewed @ home 1/11/09, bottle>chalice,
A 3.0? - no lacing? Deep amber color, good 2 finger head, very short head retention
S 4.5 - intense complex aromas. Plum and dark fruit notes, almost like a rich fruitcake, brandy and licorice notes
T 4.0 - very complex, palate gets all the notes as they smell. Deep fruit notes are more dominant than malt base.
MF 3.0 - low on carbonation, medium+ on body
D 3.5 - very rich complex beer. It's a sipper for sure. I personally would prefer more malt tastes and carbonation, but it seems very appropriate for a Dubbel. After all I think Chimay beers are a benchmark for any style! This one is my least favorite out of the 3 Chimays though.

Photo of jmw141
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of my Authentic Trappist beers. I'm pretty pumped about this one.

Serving: 11.2 oz bottle poured into my Chimay glass. 08-314 stamped on label.

A: Pours a dark brown/copper. Very cloudy and hard to see through. Fine beige head. Floaties big and small but not numerous. Definite lace work.

S: Malty sweet aroma. Reminds me of cheap whiskey aroma. Toasty. Complex. There is a aroma I can't put my nose on. Slight hops too, but not too noticeable. Spice, clove.

T: Fruity and sweet with a touch of hops. There is that whiskey malt again. Earth and wood, maybe a tad whiff of smoke too. A slight alcoholic bite, but not bad at all. Very flavorful.

M: The carbonation is nipping at my tongue. A longish finish makes me want to take another drink right away to replenish what I'm tasting. Just a tad dry and bitter.

D: Very drinkable for 7% ABV. Its not overly expensive for being a beer from one of the six Trappist breweries.

Overall, I am very pleased with my first true Trappist brew. I have read that Red is not the best from Chimay, but that ok because I bought the gift set with all three plus my awesome goblet. So, I only have two more to look forward to!

Photo of captenaj
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this at the Total Wine shop in Ft Myers, Florida.

Appearance: Rich reddish-brown color with a thick, one-fingered head.

Smell: Malt, cherry, yeast.

Taste: Delicious. Very slight hops but the malt was more prominent. Although there was a slight cherry aroma, very minimal fruitiness was present in the taste. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with a very smooth finish.

Drinkability: Goes down smooth without a hint of the 7% ABV.

Photo of Riccymon
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a hazy purply-ruby color with some sediment. A small quarter inch of head quickly fades as bubbles issue from the etching at the bottom of the Chimay goblet. Smell is at once pleasantly of tart cherries and some sweet honey.

I taste plenty of fruit--the cherry from the nose along with grape and honey. I also get clove in a dry, herbal spiciness. The beer is tart and medium-bodied, leaving my mouth dry and tingling just a bit at the finish. On the whole, the flavor and mouthfeel are a little more subtle than other dubbels I've had, such as Ommegang's Abbey, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it really boosts the drinkability.

Photo of dukedevil0
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 11.2oz from a gift set with Chimay goblet.

A: pours a reddish brown with little white head

S: smells like dark fruits, raisins, caramel malts

T: similar to smells

M: high carbonation and full bodied

D: pretty high, not much alcohol in the taste

Photo of bowersdm
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cL bottle poured into a Chimay chalice (or goblet). The yeast was also poured into the beer.

A - cloudy apple cider color, dark brown-like with a 1cm sand color head made up of really, really, really tiny bubbles.

S - yeast, bread, spices, grass, earth, caramel, apples

T - caramel, vanilla, spices, apples with grass and earth coming through on the pretty dry finish. this beer reminds me a lot of St. Bernardus 8.

M - great. the beer was slight overcarbonated which created an interesting tingling feeling in the mouth.

D - it's a pretty good beer, but I think there's a few other Belgian Dubbels I'd pick up before I pick up this one.

Photo of matty
3.15/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is faint dark fruit.Taste is honey,dark fruit and sugar cane.I was disappointed in this beer not because it's bad but because I was expecting more.Overall decent,it's worth a try but as for me I am OK just drinking this once!!

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of david131
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Photo of lionking
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of douggoodavage
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
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!

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 4,190 ratings.