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

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

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4,189 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,189
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 178
Gots: 444 | FT: 4
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)
View: Beers (4) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,189 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rudgers73
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a white wine glass it is ruddy brown with amber highlights. The head is large, but settles rather quickly into a thin layer over the beer. A few yeast chunks swirl around at the bottom of the glass. The smell starts out sour and sweet with a biscuity aroma right at the end. I smells as though it is delicate and lightly hopped. Raisins, candi sugar, flowers. The taste, IMO, is a classic example of a true Belgian style abbey ale: Sweet, smooth, delicate and complex. Everything about it is subtle and balanced. The wide range of flavors go from sweet, to bitter, sour to malty, raw to toasted. You just can't beat these real Belgian in mouthfeel either. Like silk. Almost as good as Prior 8.

Photo of theghost3
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a burgundy glass. Appearance is hazy, strong-brewed tea in color with an off-white head. Considerable lacing. Smells of bread, spices, alcohol, hint of malts. Taste is spicy--maybe nutmeg, with dried fruits that make up the sweetness, dark bread, and faint flavor of hops. Odd sort of bitter medicinal aftertaste. Mouthfeel is not what I expected. I thought it would be heavy, but it was actually somewhat watered-down, very little acidity. This beer is appropriate as an after-dinner drink, but not something I would indulge in regularly.

Photo of deereless
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Some serious head on this beer, acorn brown, maintains a constant layer of foam across the surface - 4.25, S: Bready, nutty, spicy, Trappist ale unquestionably - 4.75, T: Extremely smooth yet quite flavorful, wonderful crisp and somewhat tart, tinge of bitterness from what I can only assume is the hops - 4.50, M: Medium bodied - 4.25, D: An exceptional ale, easily one that I would recommend - 4.50

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

750mL bottle poured into a Chimay goblet

Pours a hazy, murky amber/mahogany with a small tan head. Little to no head retention and lacing left behind.

The smell is primarily of dark malt with doughy yeast. Caramel and toffee mixed with raisins, figs, and dates. Not a whole lot of depth on this one.

Heavy malts and dark fruit. Phenolic alcohol hides the earthy malts and any discernible hop profile. There is a bit of spicy clove in the finish. Overall, not bad, but really lacking in depth to blow me away.

High carbonation, with a medium-light body. Alcoholy/spicy finish bring this score down a bit.

It's definitely not a chore to drink at 7%, but not as balanced as I would like.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into a chalice.

A--Hazy deep wildflower honey, like maple syrup with some molasses dumped into it. Hints of ruby or garnet toward the bottom. Super active head, about two and a half fingers, with plenty of big bubbly fizz. Plenty going on here and plenty to stare at.

S--Very powerful magic here: mostly dried dark skinned fruits, notably prune and fig, with clove and some malt breadiness coming through. Nose doesn't give off so much sweet as rich deep spice.

T--Doesn't disappoint and mostly follows the nose, though with more of an earthy brown bread punch with the malt. Effervescent finish that's really nice after all the spice up front. A beer whose flavor remains much more complicated than any words can give justice to--like entering a cave of flavor: it's dark, and there's plenty of in there; you just don't exactly know what. I'd say it's mostly clove with sweet overripe purple skinned fruit that mulls into a pleasant molasses-based bread.

M&D--Much more sparkling and smooth than you would expect from the color and near syrupy viscosity. This could be like sludgy motor oil that zaps you of all energy, but turns out to be well-rounded with a sneaky warming alcohol creep. Can't help but be reminded of and summon up images of dank stone cave-like structures, as this would be a perfect fit for that environment.

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a murky brown-ish with what I would call some hints of red. It poured a nice light brown head that was well retained. The aroma was a bit light, but it was a little bready with some hints of citrus and a touch of alcohol. The taste was very good, but could not really put my finger on the flavors, but none-the-less, it had an excelletn taste. The beer had good carbonation and I could have had a few more pints if I had had a few more bottles. Overall, I will be buying this one again, without a doubt.

Photo of jdg204
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to my wife for this great Christmas Gift, after having the Red I'm excited for the White and Blue.

A: The appearance is dark with just a hint of burgundy with some cloudy residue, head is very thick holds on and has a tan appearance.

S: A bit light but the smell hinted of banana and alcohol, also syrupy sweet with hints of fresh baked bread.

T: Taste is complex and hard to explain but it started out smooth with a taste of wheat, followed by a fruity sweet explosion, and a nice smooth finish with just a small hint of bitterness.

M: Mouthfeel was full a creamy, nice and rich feel all the way through.

D: Glad to finally take a shot at a European classic, this was an excellent brew. Prob not one I'd get all the time, but a sipping brew for special occasions. Much props to the wife again for this gift!

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4



reviewing this in a duvel tulip. not too much difference, actually. the main thing is that i don't perceive the mouthfeel as so astringent anymore. still a bit fizzy and on the thin side however. i also would still prefer gentler phenols.

nice, but the grande reserve (blue) wins hands down, without much surprise.

the importer label says this was born on new years day, 2007

initial review, 10/25/2007


from a carrefour in beijing, china

relatively dark reddish brown, hazy. lots of foamy head. didn't have a chalice, so in my mug, it dissipated quickly and barely left any lacing.

(*will re-review later with at least a wine glass or snifter)

malty and spicy aroma, more of a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg, rather than the clove others have described. some apple and citrus peel.

taste is spicy pears, apples and caramel, not too sweet, gentle hop bitterness which lingers along with the fruit notes.

somewhat astringent and fizzy. not bad, but nothing really impressive.

not exactly a cheap habit to have out here in china, but when rice adjunct lager just won't cut it for you, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do...

Photo of kshankar
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Chimay chalice. 11.2 bottle

Appearance: Brown, with a nice head. Very deep brown too, and a layer of foam stays at the top. Actually, the foam gets thicker as it approaches the middle of the drink.

Aroma: Sweetish. I can get the caramel malts, dark fruits, and other such aromas from it. Its not too strong. Dark fruits..predominantly raisins.

Taste: Malty, and fruity. The raisins come through here. There is barely any hop bitterness, or much of an "alcohol" taste.

Mouthfeel: Good overall. Smooth going down, feels a little light though. Watery somewhat, but goes down well.

Drinkability: Not really made for this. Chimay in general is meant to be sipped...like wine, maybe as a dessert drink or with dessert.

I prefer the Blue, personally.

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a generic goblet. Have tried this one a long while back and never since.

A: Cloudy orange color, darker hue. Big puffy white head that wasnt quick to fade.

S: Caramel malts and dried fruits. Standard fare for the style but gets points for hitting the key metrics. Nothing though out of the ordinary.

T: Dried fruits, raisins and dates. Spices and alcohol are present but not too much than warranted. Not the most complex of beers but again, hits all key points and is a solid concoction. Malty sweetness more connected as it warms- good trait.

M: Heat from the alcohol is there, carbonation is also present through the drink. In total, good smooth creamy mouthfeel.

D: A good solid beer, nothing that will blow you away but a good standby. The smooth nature of this one makes it very drinkable and goes really well with foods of all types and offers you the ability to have several with the abv.

Photo of SmithwicksNut
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a tea brown/cloudy with a nice creamy head. Head retention did not last very long. Lacing was okay.
Smell: Had a sweet/floral aroma. It was not overpowering.
Taste: had a sweet kind of rich taste. Had a light hint of bitterness. A bit of an after tasted which I expected.
Mouthfeel: I was surprised by the lightness. It made the sides of my tongue tingle.
Drinkability: I was very impressed with the beer. It was very easy to drink even with a bit higher alchohol content.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy brown-amber w/garnet hue, thick beige-copper head, and decent retention. Active tiny bead-laces of carbonation. Light tracing.
Aroma is sweet dough and spice, faint stewed apple, candy sugar, toffee.
Flavor is lightly phenolic, spicy esters upfront also carrying sweet toffee malt, which dominates midway, and leaves the finish to toffee and spice. There is a faint emergence of hops at the end that balance, but quickly fade.
The finish features warming alcohol that slightly and momentarily numbs the tongue. The carbonation is a perfect complement for the robust carbonation, and the balance is excellent.
I waited a while to try Premiere, the last of the trio I hadn't had. It is extremely drinkable, and of the type where you feel good afterward. The total drinking sensation is warming, satisfying, and enriching. Not my favorite of the three, but only because this is not my preferred style.

Photo of wiseguy142
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice rich head at first dies down to a frothy film after a minute. Dark peach colors, very hazy from the yeast. Smells of dust, orange and vinegar. Very warming alcohol presence. Very subtle and sweet hops presence working with the yeast. Slight dried bananas, not banana-y like a hefeweizen but a lot less sweet. A lot of maltiness of front with the slight fruity sweetness in back. Put all these together and this is very refreshing.

Photo of treyrab
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the stumpy 11.2 bottle into my Ommegang chalice...

A: The appearance is extremely hazy and murky. The color is a nice red/orange/light maple syrup color with a one finger off-white head that leaves a ring and laces slightly. This appears like a great Trappist dubbel or Belgian strong dark ale, very, very nice looking.

S: The smell is very interesting of dough and spices. It has an odd grassy scent too that catches me off guard for the style. Overall though, the smell is only mediocre in that sense.

T: The taste is pretty light for a Belgian dubbel. The flavors are there - toffee, caramel, dough, Trappist yeast, bananas, clove...but only for a split second. I felt as if this beer had that "watery" taste towards the finish that I was not expecting, nor can I say was fond of. Oh well...

Overall, a solid brew, not a solid Trappist brew, but a solid brew I would say. It was a little light and a tad watery on the finish for me, but overall pretty decent.

Photo of JRed
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An auburn beer with big, frothy head and it looks great. Earthy with a little bit floral aroma. The taste is somewhat medicinal with noticeable alcohol that slicks the tongue. This is a sipping beer that would be great accompanying food, especially indian cuisine.

Photo of Proteus93
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A tea brown, hazy and full. Head is quick and rather fizzy. It doesn't have much retention, taking a few moments to all but disappear.

S: A sweetened iced tea, with a sprig of lemon. An excellent candy sugar and yeast aroma

T + M: Candied dark fruits, soft and mellow. A malty backbone offering a roasted, somewhat smoky touch. Smooth, silky mouthfeel, as a good Belgian will provide.

D: A nice sipper with cheeses - smooth and easy going. Easy drinking, and stands up well on an evening overlooking the beach!

Photo of scottyshades
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall a VERY solid Belgian
A: Pours a medium brown color with golden highlights...the head is fluffy and slightly off-white...The lacing is decent and the retention is good

S: An interesting combo of fruit and spice; clove and cinnamon. A malty brew that produces a warming feeling which is aided by a sweet profile

T: Very similar to the nose...Spices and maltiness really show themselves as the temperature warms

MF: Medium in body, very silky and smooth

D: High despite its ABV

Photo of changeup45
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark brown color with an amber tint to it. It is topped with a fizzy moderate sized head. Head tapers off a bit but a bunch of frothy lacing remains. There is a spicy fruitiness to the aroma but it's faint. The flavor is malty with a sugary dark fruit flavor. Some spice mixed in. Pretty well balanced and smooth. I'd rank this third among Chimay beers behind the White and Blue but this is excellent.

Photo of engisch
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a three personal bottle size pack of the 3 Chimay ales with a matching large chalice shaped glass. The plan is to try each one on different days during the same week starting with Red and ending with Blue with the tan/white as an intermediate.

Pours a dark brown color with tremendous head. Smell is subtle but delightful. Has a pleasant bitter taste with a silky smoothness from the bubbles that lace the glass. The amount of bubbles from this pour is amazing. They add much character to this ale. I expected a much stronger beer, but it was very tasteful and delicious.

I would definately have this beer again. This is my second favorite of the Chimays trailing just slightly behind the Blue. I think I'm probably going to get larger bottles next time.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A single 11.2 ounce bottle pours a deep cloudy leather brown. A vibrant khaki head rises well above the beer and slowly fades throughout the drinking experience.

The scent is a distinctly Belgian in character. The nose is fruity and a yeasty. There is a mild spice that competes with a caramel sugar scent.

The taste is sweet and malty with a lot of the same characteristics of the nose. Smooth yet rich with hints of molasses and crisp apple and pear fruits. A moderate spice with a slight astringency but that can be chalked up to the carbonation too which is a very fine and bubbly.

I feel like the carbonation is a little heavy, almost like a champagne fizz. Very balanced as the nose and flavors work well together painting the whole picture. Not the best Belgian but a very decent beer worth checking out.

Photo of cpn920
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this in Philly at dinner. Was really surprised to find this because everything else offered was the usual suspects. Had a nice head on it that laced the glass nicely as I consumed it. Really enjoyed this as it had a nice balanced taste and finish. I ended up having two of these and would have loved to have had a few more but this was a business dinner and with 7.00% I didn't want to get stupid.

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

Solid beer.

Great all around. I just remember thinking this is a beer. It was hearty but not too over the top, nice think head. I liked the ABV and espicially since it didn't come through in the taste. The same from the first sip to the last. Shared half the bottle but I wanted more and easily could have drank the entire thing.

Photo of Haybeerman
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Fairly cloudy deep, dark amber. Big two inch lumpy off white head that persisted nicely. Ample lacing

S: Apricot, dark fruits then rich caramel malt followed by citrus and spices. Very complex beer.

T: Bready up front then rich dark fruits. Citrus bite, but got sweeter as I drank more. Finish was dry and crisp. As in the nose, taste was equally complex; changing over time. Many subtle, mellow falvors.

M: Medium full body; thick and sweet. Carbonation provided nice balance to this big beer.

D: Very drinkable; doesn't drink like other beers of this ABV. Pleasant, warming finish gets you ready for drink after drink.

Photo of Herrbrokt
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 11.2 oz bottle no fresh by into wide wine glass

Nice hazy ruby brown color beautiful nut brown head. fizzes out thin to coat the top

smells of spiced dough mmmm. nice yeasty clove

beautiful yeast taste. wonderful fruity flavors. banana/tart apple
clove and brown sugar. ends with warm alchohol

awesome balance. doesn't slap you in the face. you can sip heavily. isn't overly carbonated. huge fan

I'll be having a few more of these. but perhaps not in the same night at 7%

Photo of CanuckRover
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. Best before 2012.

Pours a murky brown, plenty hazy. Big, giant, rocky, bubbly head. Quite lively. Lacings are present but rather thin.

Smells quite fresh, like a tart cider. Combined with a foreward yeast aroma, it brings to mind a hefeweizen.

Don't know I have much else to add. Apples, apples, apples. Herbal, it really does have characteristics of a wheat, just missing the citrus sweatness. Cloves are stand out. Cinnamon comes through like apple pie. That famous yeast slightly drying and combines with some well balanced hops for a little biterness. Subtle alcohol.

Slightly creamy. Perfect carbonation. Slightly dusty from the yeast.

As I usually say when I review these types of beers... a classic. A great introduction to what the Belgian ales are all about. Some can be a bit overwhelming to a newbie, but this goes down easy and isn't to over the top with the yeast and alcohol.

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 4,189 ratings.