Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

1,687 Reviews
Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This copper-colored ale boasts flavors of apricots, brown sugar and nutmeg. Brewed since 1982, Chimay Première is the first beer ever produced by the Trappist monks of Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey in Belgium.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000

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Reviews: 1,687 | Ratings: 4,849
Reviews by doktorhops:
Photo of doktorhops
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally we come to Chimay Rouge! After trying the mighty Chimay Bleu for review #100 it has taken another 54 reviews to come full circle (well as full circle as it is going to get with Chimay; their remaining few brews I haven't tried being total rarities) . It has been a long ride and I've been purposely spacing out the Trappist brews as they are truly an absolute delight and quite frankly I don't ever want to run out of Trappist beers to review, but there will no doubt be a day where I've spent thousands on a case of Westvleteren 12 and there is nothing left to taste... let's not think of that day yet.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St Feuillien chalice.

A: Presents with a murky sepia body and cappuccino foam white head that hangs at 0.5cm. Not bad looking, if you like sepia of course.

S: Aroma is upfront dark fruits, hint of clove, ethyl acetate and bread yeast. The ethyl acetate is quite accentuated considering the alcohol content (at 7% ABV). Here's hoping it doesn't carry through too much in the flavour.

T: The dark fruit flavours are strong with this one (almost a Star Wars reference, I know). Dark fruits upfront (raisin, fig, and prune), with an accompanied hit of sugar, followed by a headstrong yeast and finishing with straight ethanol and light hop bitterness. The ethanol is the only thing that is clunky with this otherwise flawless brew (see: I told you that ethyl acetate would rear it's nail-polish-remover-smelling head).

M: Fairly tight and creamy body with a light but dense carbonation.

D: One can easily appreciate what Chimay is doing with their beers - they present three personifications of beer: gregarious (Blanc), contemplative (Bleu), and sanguine (Rouge). With such a variety it is hard not to like where Chimay is going, and has been, with the red only affirming my opinion of this brewery (and Trappists in general). It's a tough decision between this and the blue actually, and my final score has reflected this fact.

Food match: Easy to savour with a hearty game stew, or a rare Scotch eye fillet of beef with a side of celeriac mash, roast asparagus, wilted kale and Chimay Rouge jus. Could even work desserts as well, this is indeed a great between courses brew, such as sticky toffee pudding, or clafoutis with liquor cream.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 ml custom brown magnum, corked and crowned (old style label). Cork is imprinted with a March 2000 bottle date. Poured in an authentic Chimay glasses given to us by Manneken-Brussel Imports, Inc.

Appearance: Brown with a burgandy red hue with an infinite creamy white head from a tight tiny bubbled carbonation.

Smell: Raw sweetness, peppery spiciness and light phenols.

Taste: Soft powdery mouth feel with a crisp carbonation and medium body. Smooth. Very evident clove flavour up front and stays around throughout the beer. Hints of birch and ginger beer-like flavours, peppery medcinal phenols and light herbal tea hop flavour. Quite malty but it stays in the back. Fruitiness is likened to a delicate date sweetness and ripe plum. As the beer warms, there's also a suggestion of chocolate/carob. Finish dries a little though still a bit of residual sweetness leftover, herbal flavours also.

Notes: We can die now. It's okay. Drinking this beer has made the cylce of life complete.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Nice foamy head and a beautiful, light brown color.

Smell – Some malt and a deep clove aroma. Yes, it does get bigger if you pour it in the Chimay glass, swirl it, and let it sit.

Taste – The taste is too tight after the pour. Wait ten to fifteen minutes and it will deliver on the bouquet: complex mix of yeast, malt, the clove again, various fruits, and even some hops. There’s also something in there that reminds me of a stout but I can’t pin it.

Mouthfeel – Nice carbonation and smooth. A little too foamy for my tastes, yet very easy on the tongue.

Drinkability – Very good once it breathes. Someone could easily open up this beer, chug it, and never know what they had.

Comments – This beer is very complex; I couldn’t even begin to figure out all of the tastes. It is a real treat.

Update: In 2004 I haven’t had an overly foamy sample so I am raising the Mouthfeel rating by 0.5.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, leather shade of tan, highly opaque with tiny, tiny sediments that can be seen floating around when held to the light. Gray colored head stays thin and sits atop the beer. Aroma is packed with caramel malts, licorice, dates, figs, and warming alcohol. Taste isn't far behind, also full of toasted malts and dark fruits, with some burnt sugar that hits heavy on the tongue. Grape flavors start to come out in a medicinal, but not off-putting kind of way. Some peppercorns faintly in the background along with a spice that is hard to put my finger on, could possibly be clove. The aftertaste on my tongue is wonderful - deep, bitter chocolate, along with bread, biscuits, oats, and campfire charcoal. Medium body with a large amount of carbonation.

Another solid product out of Belgium, here. May not be the best, but it's certainly worth a try, and something I wouldn't pass up if offered. Highly complex, but right on the money.

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Photo of metter98
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured cloudy brownish amber into a snifter glass with a very large head that quickly dies down into a thin, swirly head. Yeast particles are clearly visible floating near the bottom of the glass.
S: Malty, yeasty aromas dominate the smell.
T: There's an immediate sense of malty sweetness, followed by some spices. The finish is a bit dry, but is interesting because it counteracts the initial sweetness. The dry finish completely disappears as the beer warms up and the overall taste becomes sweet, but not in any way overpowering. The presence of alcohol is completely masked.
M: The beer has a light to medium body and feels smooth, mainly due to the level of carbonation.
D: It's very easy to consume, and becomes even easier as it warms up and becomes sweeter.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprised to see this on tap at the Liberty Taproom, Myrtle Beach. Served in proper Chimay chalice and a reasonable temperature. The beer seemed under carbonated, especially for a Belgian Trappist, and was evident in the thin foamstand and the more dull texture. The aromas are candy sweet, malty, fruity tart, and berry like. Flavors bring the same characteristics as the aromas, and add dark, dehydrated fruits, syrup sweetness, bread, yeast, and cherries. The body was firm and moderate despite the light caronation. Finishes quite sweet with a hop bittering. True to Trappist quality, this is one fine brew.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy opaque prune juice color with a small 1/2 inch head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. No lacing on the drink down. Yeast sediment in the bottom of the glass. Smells of dark fruits like plums and raisins, caramel, yeast. Tastes of dark fruits, caramel, honey, yeast, cloves and maybe cinnamon. Very tasty. Beer is somewhat highly carbonated. Crisp and clean in the mouth. Excellent drinkability on this very delicious dubbel.

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Photo of IvanJ126
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Chimay chalice fills with a murky brown copper beer (SRM 20). A half-inch, creamy beige head lingers all the while leaving fine lace.

The aroma is dominated by fruity spice. Fruits include plums, while floral notes a woven with light cherry, apple, and raspberry. Warmth brings out musty oak and new leather.

The flavor opens with oak, followed by rye bread with a balanced, but slightly bitter profile. Honey and vanilla linger in the background. The finish is mild in duration and flavor.

Explosive, fine carbonation dominates the palate before the medium-bodied, slightly oily texture takes over. Alcohol is as expected with some astringency accompanying warmth.

Chimay Red has earned its reputation and is good for relaxing with a creamy brie, but is less contemplative than I had expected.

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Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh a nice Sunday brunch beverage,pours a nice medium brown with a slight orange tint with a huge rocky head that leaves some incrdible lacingAroma is fruity and slightly smokey.The flavor starts out a little smokey but it semmed to get a little watery in the middle ending with a nice malty,bready flavor lingering.A very nice looking beer and tastes pretty good but would have liked a little more richnes.Still a extremely well made beer.

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Photo of Marty
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apples! That was the first thing that came to mind when I smelled this beer. It tasted fruity and a little tart, which may be why I initially thought "apple" instead of any other fruit. Very smooth and easy to drink, given its alcohol content. Medium-sized head that settled rather quickly. Deep red hue. Great beer.

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Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Bmm281
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of ricke
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of BRB1978
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.29/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Upon removing the cork cage on this bottle of vintage ' 04, the cork jumps out toally unprevoked. Wear your eye protection when opening this one. The Premiere is the darkest of Chimay's offerings, only a few shades darker than Grand Reserve. It has a big creamy classic Belgian head that ain't going anywhere. I have a weak sense of smell granted, but you'd think with all those gasses building up I'd have something to sniff. Alas, the nose is almost undetectable.

This is a very sugary beer that starts with a unique metallic quality like you would taste is some shrimp or other shellfish, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It is very mellow, and rounds out the sweetness and dark fruitiness that is this beer's main quality. It, almost has that same lifting carbonation as the Cinq Cents but its not quite there somehow.

This must have been my introduction to Chimay, because I remember tasting it for the first time and saying "whats the big deal?". While this is a good beer, I still feel that way. If you're springing beer this fancy, you can do better my friend.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay ale...Red label. 7% alcohol.
Let me start off with the fact that i had high expectations for this beer because i had tried the blue label first....and this beer is excellent!

A- Medium brown with all kinds of floating haze and a very active bubbly head that falls to a circle around the rim. Little to no lacing.

S- Smell is very interesting has a slight woody scent with hints of fruity musk. Also would like to note the smell is quite a pleasure to the nose.

T- Here is where the beer gets it edge... a mild complex of flavors that make this the choice Belgian beer for me! Has a light but present flavor of roasted raisins and barley with a touch of plums. Also i sence a small hint of hops and alcohol as well. Very tasty.

M-D- This is one of the easiest beers i had ever had to drink and one that packs more than enough flavor to keep me coming back. Very dry on the mouth and so drinkable i could easily have six. Great brew!

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Photo of weatherdog
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice

It pours a murky amber red with a creamy off-white head that lingers for a while before settling down to a tiny cap.

The aroma is pretty malty and full for a dubbel. Some light spicing in there but the finish also has some distinct oxidation notes. I couldn't decipher the date code or find out how to but I'm guessing this beer has at least a year plus of age.

The stale malt oxidation flavors come through much more in the taste than the aroma. Once I can get past the oxidation the sweeter malts, subtle fruitiness and distinct yeast bite come out. I can tell those flavors make up for a great tasting dubbel but the oxidation flavors are just getting to me. I'd really like to try and find a fresher bottle.

Mouthfeel is really great, a nice high carbonation but not distracting, finish is crisp and despite ABV drinkability is good and it's a refreshing beer.

 912 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,849 ratings.
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