Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
4,905 Ratings
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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Ratings: 4,905 |  Reviews: 1,708
Photo of tatterdash
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked 750 ml bottle, had this a lot but never reviewed it, here goes. Pours mahogany with a thick creamy off-white head. Aroma of cloves, biscuits, a bit winey and some dark fruits. Taste was some malt and fruit up front, with some spices and biscuit in the middle and a warming finish with a touch of hops. Mouthfeel was almost crisp at first, but grew creamy and smooth as it warmed. This is fine brew and very readily available, sure the white and the blue are even better, but this is a fine Dubbel.

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Photo of audzeejs
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bferber
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Metalsnota
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of milkbaby9
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into Chimay chalice, both from the gift pack, woohoo! 1cm off-white to pale straw head with reduces down to nothing. Hazy brown red color, I think I got a little of the sediment in the chalice. Also, maybe hazier than expected due to the width of the chalice which darkens the color since light has to pass through more beer...

Raisin citrus aroma with the lightest hint of malt. Tastes a huge yeasty malt pretzel, then a fruity hop bitterness and slight black peppery spice.

Sparkly carbonation makes for a very crisp start and just the slightest astringency. It lightens up the medium body and is a bit drying on the finish.

Finish is a great balance between malt and hoppy bitterness with slight warming feel from the alcohol, though the alcohol is not otherwise tasted/smelled.

Fairly drinkable though the snappyness of the carbonation starts to wear on me after a bit.

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Photo of Chrysostom
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 fl oz/330mL bottle, of a unique form factor, crown capped, not corked and caged like most Chimay (I have a 750mL of Chimay Red in the fridge). This beer was served a little cold (barely above fridge temperature, probably 35ºF), so I let it warm for a few minutes, and it continues to warm as I write my review,

As always, I am writing my review live, puzzling out the drink as it is being drunk, not from notes.

As always, I attempt to review "to style" (ala BJCP), with some admixture of personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste. However, when it comes to most Trappists, reviewing "to style" and "to taste" are identical for me, as Trappist (Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads, especially Dubbels and Quads) tends to be my favourite style.

Chimay has different flavours in 330s, 750s, and 1500s (magnums), so, here goes, with that being said: without further ado, a review.

A: Cloudy, mostly opaque dark brown (lots of sediment still in bottle) with reddish highlights at the bottom when poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet and held to the light. Sometimes I manage to pour Chimay crystal-clear, but not often, and not today. No head on delicate pour, one to one-and-one-half-finger head on moderately vigorous pour, quickly receding in to a "cap and ring" on the face and edges of the beer.

S: Massive malts, some dark fruit, and some quasi-citrusy-like flavours, such as tangerine and apricot, as undercurrents to the malt and dark fruit (not nearly as much tangerine, as, say, an English IPA... maybe 20% as much, if that). No alcohol in the nose. Some bread, lots of malts, a bit of spice, and very, very, extremely mild Belgian funk. There

T: Malt, dark fruits (as is typical for the style), mild spiciness, and the typical "Belgian Trappist character" which is impossible to describe, or, to put it more eloquently, ineluctable and ineffable (whoever is reading this should hire me since I was able to use those two words correctly). Very little alcohol. The bread character from the fallen (poured into glass) yeast is noticeable, but pleasant - it addeth to the character, it doth not take away. There is some spice, but the spice is lesser than St Bernardus, and not even one-twentieth as much as some Devilish concoction like Rochefort 8. Finish is dry to bitter.

M: Moderately high carbonation for the style, pretty full and a bit astringent. Not stingy in any way, nor thin. This is a full-bodied beer.

D: Very high, although not as compulsively high as the higher-ABV Chimay Blue (Quadrupel/Belgian Strong Dark Ale).

O: Excellent beer, one of the best representatives of the Dubbel style, second only to Westmalle.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light murky brown in color with a beautiful fluffy white head. The taste is creamy and smooth. Hints of spices come through and is a bit peppery. Very effervesant in the mouth. The aftertaste is very warming and smooth. I have been waiting to try the Chimay line for along time and they did not disappoint. Can't wait to sample the white and blue.

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Photo of SimmoGee
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Dark brown in colour, high carbonation which pours initially with an aggressive head. This head didn't appear for very long though (dirty glass?.

S - Slight nut and raisin smell although to me it wasn't very strong.

T - What it lacks in smell, it makes up in taste. Strong sweet fruity taste with very slight alcohol after taste. Not overpowering.

M - Strong carbonation dances around the tongue. Taste and mouthfeel are definitely the highlights

D - This is definitely drinkable, superb taste and mouthfeel. This is a great example of a dubbel although, I think Westmalle Dubbel wins by a nose if only I could get it more often.

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Photo of rdw84
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of nickthom24
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lancecenter
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful burnt-red/brown color. Fairly murky. Three finger head that lasts. Nice white lacing.

S - Lots of malt, spices, and raisin notes. Slight phenol smell.

T - Sweet and malty with a hint of cloves. The alcohol content is much more noticeable from the taste than the smell (but still not overpowering).

M - Medium mouth feel. Not nearly as heavy as you would imagine. Malty alcohol aftertaste.

O - One of my favorite beers from one of my favorite styles. This is what Ben Franklin was talking about...

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The larger bottle, poured into a Chimay-branded chalice.

A nice light ruby hue, a half-inch of head that dissolves into a ring. A bit of lacing, but not much.

Nose of cherry, pear, bubble gum, a bit of spice, yeast.

Taste is excellent - sweet and fruity up front, bitter and peppery to the finish. A slight taste of alcohol at the end, but not enough to be jarring. Same tasting notes as in the nose. Delicious!

Mouthfeel is medium thickness, well-carbonated.

Always one of my favorites. Almost every time I walk into the LCBO I'm tempted to pick up a bottle. One of the best dubbels out there.

First rate!

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted 1/16/04 at our little Extravaganza Belgique.

Kicking off our little indulgence session was this beauty (as we decided to move through the Chimays in ascending ABV level), with a creamy white head over a soft, amber-brown brew.

Both in the nose and on the tongue, Premiere is soft and round, with entertwined sweetnesses of alcohol and fruit, with wheaty touch and an intriguing but subtle bitterness before a smooth finish.


Spoils of the 10/11/03 Knoxville Raid.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - swampy brown with tiny sediment, thumb of head dissipated fairly quick leaving thin lacing
S - dark fruity and yeasty aromas, some bready and toffee notes with lingering spice, all flavours generally mild
T - ripe and tangy plumb, all spice, toasty bread and molasses, some leafy accents, all medium to mild flavours but the resulting balance is outstanding
M - extremely smooth, creamy but not heavy, with a tangy full finish
O - this is what a Belgian is meant to be without the over the top ABV

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Photo of brewbucker
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just bought a gift set which includes a bottle of the Premier, Grand Reserve and the Tripel. Plus the awesome Chimay glass which I have wanted for a long time now.

A: Pours a cloudy copper with a medium light tan head. Nice lacing and fairly big carbonation.

S: This needs to set a bit and warm before the aromas come out. Fermented fruits (bananna), corriander, spices & rich malts.

T: Flavor is tartish malts, fruits, and light spices.

M: Pretty tart and sharp with a richness that balances everything out.

D: This is a style that I would not drink everyday. IMO it is meant to be savored and should be a treat every now and then.

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Photo of Samp01
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a nice tan head and good lacing. Aroma of caramel malts, some dark fruits. Taste is sweet malts, some belgian yeast, some plums and dates, some cherries. Palate is nice medium bodied, good carbonation. Finish is sweet malt, plums, dates, raisins, sweet spices, ending in a long nice sweet nutty aftertaste. Overall a nicely balanced and drinkable brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the corked bottle no. L10-506. Sampled on March 19, 2011. It pours a cloudy amber-brown with a burst of beige head with what looks like sediment floating about. Aromas of light toasted malts, plums and yeast. The body is smooth and creamy. The flavor boasts a little caramel sweetness with a noted yeast backdrop. The short descripton was that it was mellow and warmed the innards.

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Photo of Maakun
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle tasted had a best before date of 2015, so that would make it roughly about a year old. 30cl bottle into a Orval glass.

Pours a slighty reddish brown, quite clear. The head disappears quite fast and leaves a small layer of foam.

Smell is quite light. Yeasty, green fruits, some spices and then a feint smell of smoke or burnt bread.

Taste is a bit sweeter than the smell suggests. Quite fresh, some fruits and a very light hint of cocoa and some spice. There's a more pronounced taste of roasted malt/bread with honey, then a nice bitterness. After the beer has warmed up a bit there's a slight sourness, like the green fruits (apples) in the smell. Everything works well together.

Mouthfeel is slighty thin, with a lot more carbonation than what's going on in the glass. Quite good.

Overall this is a really enjoyable beer, very balanced. Not a taste-bomb but more subtle and complex. Very good for the style.

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Photo of Dodo2step
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P- Market Cross Pub in carlisle.

A- pours a thick and foamy mountainous head. A nice crispy white lacing is left behind all the way up my glass. lots of bits floating in the glass. i dont know if that is yeast or the hopsor grains. color is thick opaque dark brown.with amber tints.

S- i get maltand dark candied fruits that pemeate the nose. very sweet and sugary.

T- a sour yet sweet bready doughy taste. the sweetness resonates on my tongue and hangs there for a bit. packs a nice lil punch. A nice lil peppercorn spice is at the tail end.

M- creamy and smooth. Carbonated sits on the tongue. Very nice feeling.

D- this seems easy toput down at only 7% but dont let it fool you it can come back around to get you. Very smooth and crisp on the alcohol.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I served this from a proper Chimay chalice. It pours reddish amber. The nose consists of fruit and biscuits.

Strong sweet fruit and grain flavor up front, with a bit of honey maltiness lurking in the background which becomes more prominent as the beer crosses your palate. The high level of carbonation goes extremely well with the flavor and complements the finish very nicely.

Not for everyday consumption, but a nice way to treat yourself once in a while.

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Photo of FieldingWater
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I decided to get the Chimay gift pack (an 11.2oz bottle of red, white & blue plus a goblet for $12). Quite the deal, I thought, and it gets me one step closer to having a glass from wach Trappist brewery.
The brew pours a moderately-deep brown with a fluffy tan head that settles down to a skim and doesn't leave too much lacing. The body is opaque from the yeast sediment.
Smell is on the mild side, but super yummy. Sweet but fruity smells waft up, and the subtle smell of dark candi sugar is evident.
The taste is super smooth and well balanced. It's not the sort of beer that will kick you in the face -- it's on the milder side, but wow is it ever tasty. And drinkable! Smooth mouthfeel with those super-tiny bubbles that you occasionally find in a Belgian. This is a darn fine beer.

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Photo of bob3701
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a gift pack poured into Chimay chalice that was provided. Rich hazy amber color with reddish highlights. Thick bubbly head that quickly disapates into a film with no real lacing. Rich aroma of fruit and spice plus alcohol. Taste not as intense as the blue, very enjoyable still rich in dark fruit and spices and alcohol can still be tasted. Another beer to be sipped.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversize wine glass.

A. An average pour got a finger and a half of foamy yet somehow thin head. Cloudy dark amber body with hints of orange, light comes through the sides when held up. A little bit of sediment is noticed.

S. Malt then hops. Spices, a hint of alcohol, dark fruits and just a whisper of sweet caramel.

T. Malt and dark fruit up front, it transitions to a mild hoppiness with a bit of caramel stuck in between. The spicy finish is just what the doctor ordered. De-licious.

M. Medium bodied, but the high carbonation washes it right down, almost too fast, as this is a beer to savor. The spicy finish is a bit dry, but it still has it good in all the right places.

O. Phenomenal beer. This was the first Trappist beer I ever tried, and I've been loving them since. I had to come back around to this one and review it.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 4,905 ratings
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