Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

1,682 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: 1,682 | Ratings: 4,836
Photo of mattcrill
2.42/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A dark and murky copper pour. Definite floaties in there and carbonation veins stream through the body of the beer. Head retention is nice. An ivory color with a sudsy character to it.

Smell: A stale and funky belgian yeast smell to it. This is the smell that turns me "off" on belgian beer. However, I will try to remain open-minded about this. Some alcohol esters here and there but that damn belgian yeast smell keeps dominating the game here.

Taste: Same belgian yeast taste, some wheat bread characteristics, possibly some dark fruit, a hint of carob, and a brush of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and nicely balanced carbonation.

Drinkability: I'm sure this is good for the style but I don't like belgians. Sue me, I don't care. Back to the American Craft Beer scene for me.

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Photo of PatandDavid
2.43/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

There's something about this brewery that promises so much, and delivers not enough.

Dark reddish/brown color when poured. Big fluffy head that disapears as soon as you look away.

Smell is lightly clovey, with a touch of sugar.

The mouthfeel is light. Tingle of small bubbles on your tongue. What I taste is slightly musty malt, a sugary sweetness, and it finishes so quick, you wonder why there's not more taste in your glass.

Maybe I'll get this again, but this so far has been a brewery that I am in no rush to drink from again anytime soon. Not horrible, but not the great beer experience I thought I would get from such a big name in beerdom. Pat

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Photo of justiceavocado
2.57/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Corked bottle into snifter.

A – Darker than many dubels, a deep auburn. Cloudy with a slight white-tan head, perhaps half a finger. The bubbles look tight and foamy, I expect this to be rather carbonated. The retention is good and the lacing is slippery.

S – Banana and raisins. A sweet smell, and not too strong. But perhaps that's just my sniffer.

T – Sweet right off, then a bit tart, with a sweet finish. The initial sweetness follows the nose, fruity and nutty, and the tartness is more like the rind of a fruit than its meat. The finish has a bit of wood in it? All in all, the flavors happening here are very subtle, and the booze is undetectable.

M – I was right about the carbonation. It feels good melting away down my throat. It's a very light feeling beer, not chewy at all.

O – Okee dokee. I'm trying to be objective about this, but I'm not blown away. What do I say? Maybe it has something to do with the temperature. I am drinking it right out of my American fridge, hardly ideal conditions. I'm not committed enough to this review thing to wait to submit it an hour from now after I've had it warm up. But then, I have every intention of drinking the whole 750 tonight, so it'll get plenty warm. My guess is I'll like it better twenty minutes from now. Okay. Enough.

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Photo of Brunite
2.6/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass. Sound is a factor here as well. You actually hear this one bubbling and popping in the glass.

Appearance: Hazy amber brown bordering on ruby red. Nice head initially but it settled quickly leaving no foam nor lace. Crazy intense carbonation off the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Dark, tart cherries. Also apple & pear notes. Some raisin and fig.

Taste: There is a definite sweetness to the beer. For me; it is almost cloying. It is saved by the tart/dryness on the finish. There is a lot of carbonation and a definite dry finish with some spicy pepper notes.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation on the tongue. Goes down like a dry wine.

Drinkability: This started out easy. The flavors were nice at highly drinkable. As time went got less interesting for me and left me craving something a nice stout, IPA, or rye beer. (Honestly....I may not finish this one. As it warms...not much left but carbonated cherry juice with a kick.)

Overall: I am sorta surprised here. I expected a little more but not sure what. This was something to be experienced but I doubt I'll go back for seconds...since I did not finish this one. Not earth shattering and almost unpleasant. I'd choose a nice bottle of wine, instead, to get the flavor profile and characteristics I get here.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A muddy brown color. Good head overall. Low aroma-malty with a yeasty profile. Somewhat earthy and bready. The earthiness comes thru in the flavor-almost seems dirt like. Malty enough backbone but the overall flavor is very muddy. Somewhat bitter and a lot of yeast to it. Ok body. Really nothing special here to speak of. I honestly think the whole Chimay thing is overhyped. The only time I can see buying this again is right at the source. Theres a ton of better dubbels out there.

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Photo of Offa
2.75/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

To me, this is a rather disappointing dubbel and I don't think it comes close to Westmalle.

This is dark reddish brown, somewhat fizzy and a little murky. It has a big light tan head that steadily dissipates to a thin ring, leaving weak lace.

The aroma is yeasty with a lot of orange peel, hints of clove and banana.

The taste is dry at first but then becomes quite sweet. It's noticeably alcoholic the whole way through, with a vague, light taste like German dark hefeweizen. Struggling to detect elements, I can find only faint hints of whole wheat and prunes in a character that is otherwise mostly 7-up and alcohol. The finish is mostly prunes and alcohol with a soft hint of whole wheat bread. In the end, this seems boring and bland, particularly for the clear alcoholic qualities.

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Photo of bditty187
2.77/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy, mashed cherry hue, brown in spots, darkish crimson around the edges… thick, frothy, bubbly off-white head… eye-candy in a goblet. Excellent head retention. No lace though. Average bouquet, kind of weak, kind of simplistic… yeast dominates (not very potent), slight candy-fruit, pepper, slightly horsey… apathetic. Empty and hollow palate… lackluster in the flavor department, yeasty and spritzy, light clove, peppery, very distant fruit. The alcohol is absent on all accounts. The lack of complexity hampers the enjoyment of drinking it… far too clean for a Dubbel. Where’s the malt foundation? The body is thin and watery… the finish is curt, distant peppery aftertaste… it’s hard to savor a beer that leaves no mark on your tastebuds. Medium-light body… airy mouthfeel. Chimay Red is a major yawner; skip it.

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Photo of _Froggy_
2.8/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2015 date on cork. 1/18/2016 I sampled this beer from the 75cl or (750ml) bottle
why do i feel this tastes close to a stout???? more than an ale??? it's not bad but I wouldn't recommend it to friends ...
bottle/cork/hood finish is super nice ~ everything about this beer was super promising
I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought it was basically a let down.

it basically comes down to tasting like an expensive red/amber Guinness...not that it is a bad thing but it's definatly not for everyone ~ cheers

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Photo of jamesdergen
2.81/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an amber-tinted iced tea with a small off-white head.

Smell: Some spice and grassy notes, but not much in the way of any perceptible aroma here.

Taste: Very dry and relatively bitter. Some dark, dried fruits, grassy notes and the alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel: Dry, but light. A bit too carbonated which really detracts from the flavors in this beer.

Drinkability: I suppose the taste and high carbonation are the main things detracting from the drinkability factor here. I will finish this 33cl bottle, but wouldn't hit another one even if I had it.

Disappointing. The blue and white Chimays are far superior in my opinion. I suppose it's worth trying to compare to the other two, but it's not a beer I would recommend to my friends.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Super Bowl XLVII

AROMA:Bread, nutmeg. Brown Sugar
LOOK:Silty Brown Color
Taste: is sour fruit, caramel. Not bad.

Similar to rochefort trappistes 8 I had earlier, but a lot more rough around the edges.

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Photo of Calico
2.93/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured lovely clear amber with slight lacy head. Gorgeous color.

The aroma was of slight fruity esters with a little sweet malty note.

Interestingly, the first thing I noticed upon drinking it was the alcohol warmth. Then that subsided and I really couldn't taste much of anything. A rather watery beer. I think I'm comparing it with the Blue, with which I am more familiar (been drinking that stuff on occasion for over 17 years). I was expecting the thick sweetness of the Blue and it just wasn't there. Not an utter disappointment; I would drink it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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Photo of laituegonflable
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quick back story. This was one of the first beers I ever reviewed on BA and gave it a score of 4.55 (with some juvenile notes from my uneducated palate thrown in). Since then I've failed to recapture the sensation of orgasmic ambrosia I thought this beer was at the time and when the re-weighting came in the score was bumped up to 4.8. Too high, I thought, so I put the challenge to my friends to serve me this blind some time so I could re-evaluate in fairness. BA @lacqueredmouse heeded the call, and this new review is the result.

Pours a dirty red colour with much floaties. Head is off-white, nice and dense with a whipped-egg texture. Lace is sticky and provides a nice sheen. Quite good; not sure about floaties.

Smells very musty and slightly mouldy, a bit weird. Lots of grain on there and yeast esters as well. Hint of white bread and brown sugar, maybe some acetyldehyde as well. Slightly cidery, slightly bready. Can't say I'm a big fan.

Taste also lacks a lot. Plenty of sweetness to it with barley and some brown sugar notes. hint of honey on there and some herbal notes coming through late. Mild grass and some myrtle with some light thyme and medicinal phenols on the back. Sweetness on the front and spice on the back don't quite merge seamlessly with one another, and overall I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Thin mouthfeel, little bit of texture but lacking a bit as far as making its presence felt.

Quite disappointed. There's just not a lot to this.

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Photo of gnoff
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Swedish "Systembolaget".

Brown color, brown head.
Belgian beer scent.
Very metallic taste.

A bit unpleasant, and it's not just this one bottle, I've felt it when I've tried it (the red) before as well.

I love the Blue Chimay, but the red one is just not glass of beer at all.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.96/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The Chimay Red poured a cloudy copper-gold. It had a fizzy fine-bubbled white head that had decent retention.

The aroma was very vinous (red wine / champagne) with some sour notes.

The flavor was strong pear and champagne with smaller notes of alcohol and a little sourness. Some yeastiness and bitterness came out as it warmed. The mouthfeel was pretty smooth, but a little fizzy.

Overall, I personally didn't care for the flavor at all (pear and champagne). I really don't like champagne and this was way too similar for me. It was pretty well made and did get a little better as it warmed, but I was already tuned into the flavors I didn't care for.

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Photo of JDV
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, dark reddish brown color with an off white, dingy yellowish quickly diminishing head, and floating yeasty sediment. Has a fruity, sweet, and sour nose similar to a flemish sour ale. Initial taste strikes me as fairly dry and bland and then opens up into a spiced fruitiness, with a clove-like coriander flavor with an almost dull numbing effect. This could also be the intense over carbonation that almost strips and dries the tongue. Overall, quite drinkable for a fairly high alcohol beer, but I'm not a big fan of the clove spiced flavors in this and in hefeweizens.

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Photo of Klassicchris
3.01/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured our of bottle into glass. Cost was not worth the taste. Sour fruit is all I can taste even after an hour. Not my kind of beer. Prefer IPA/porter so I may be a little spoiled. Not into fruity tastes.

Poured nice caramel w light head.

Taste-sour fruit

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Photo of yelterdow
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at cellar temperature in the Chimay chalice.

Appearance- Pours a deep chestnut/garnet, with a finger of bone white head. Good cling... a thin mat and foamy center island remain standing.

Smell- Spices and dark fruit, plums, figs, a mild aroma of shoe leather. No real alcohol nose going on here... more notes of briefcase and bowling ball bag. Flan.

Taste- Extremely weak for a dubbel... not much character at all. Very diluted tastes of dark fruit and malts, with a light hop bite in the very finish.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Quite thin but nicely carbonated... a very easy drinking dubbel. For the style, it doesn't interest me nearly as much as St. Bernardus or Westmalle, but it certainly isn't bad.

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Photo of palliko
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is a cloudy burgundy, massive foam and long lived lace. Aroma is my least favorite spice, and the reason I avoid Belgian beers – clove. Doughs and yeast mixed with light fruits are there also. Body is medium with complimentary carbonation. Initial taste consists of phenols and bitter hops offset by fruit, malt, yeast, ethanol and esters. An expensive beer. For those who like cloves, go for it.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one gushed a little when opened, nothing wild though, just a slow rise up and over flowing. in the glass it is a semi-hazy reddish orange tint with a finger of off white head.
nosing into the glass shows mostly soft spices, similar to what a rye would impart, and some clean pears and light fruits.
Flavors are a mellow malt backbone with earthy noble hobs over the top, and some spices.
Mouthfeel is medium thin, not a really long finish either.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.04/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a gorgeous ruby amber, with great lacing. The nose didn't overwhelm me by any means. Taste was mainly graham cracker, and quite sour. Mouthfeel was light and very carbonated.

I was very disappointed and underwhelmed by this. Love the Chiimay quad, but this one just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of BMoldy
3.04/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

33 cl. bottle with 2015 on the label.

A: Super dark amber in color with the slightest ruby tinge. Glows rather nice when held up to the light. A large tawny head puts up a fight as it slowly slides into the beer itself. Lacing is patchy but could certainly be worse.

S: Maybe I'm still getting over my cold, or maybe the beer is too cold, but I'm really not getting too much out of this. Some spices and an interesting nuttiness? A few fruity esters float around in the background, but otherwise this has very few of the normal characteristics of a dubbel.

T/M: As the label states, this beer boasts some very mild fruit flavors and a similar bitterness. Pretty weak (i.e. very light) body. Bland, barely caramelized malt makes up most of the flavor, with some very faint spice notes. Ends with a slight husky dryness. About the best thing I can say is that the carbonation is good and the alcohol is nowhere to be found.

O: I've never been a fan of Chimay really, except for perhaps the White. This beer just exudes lackluster. The flavors and aroma are muddled and weak, and I'm detecting some bizarre things that seem off (a bit of seafood on the finish? I must be crazy...). By far my least favorite Trappist brewery, though it might be a good intro to Belgian beers for those who don't want something too bold.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330mL capped bottle, with bottle code of L10-734. no idea-bottled in 2010? poured into official Chimay goblet.

appears a cloudy orangish brown color, with foamy off-white head that condenses into tightly packed bubbles to form a thin covering. aroma is a bit herbal, with yeast

taste has a touch of sweetness, bready, with a fairly dry finish that's a bit fruity. just a bit off, odd aftertaste. body is a bit thin, moderate carbonation.

overall, disappointed. it didn't stand up to many of the other dubbels/belgian dark ales that I've had.

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Photo of woemad
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $3.79. No freshness date. Yet another beer that I first sampled ages ago, yet haven't gotten around to reviewing until now.

Poured a dark garnet color with a big white head. Halfway decent amount of lace.

Smell is mildly spicy, along with a sugary sweetness. Pleasant without being all that interesting. If this was a little more amped up, that could change.

The taste is pretty much like the smell, and that's a little disappointing. It's well balanced, but it's somewhat anemic on both counts. I've had much more distinctive tasting dubbels.

A little thin bodied for the style. Again, a category where this is found wanting due to it's meekness.

This is okay. Beyond that it's outclassed by most other dubbels I've had. Definitely my least favored Chimay variety.

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Photo of seanyfo
3.07/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

33cl bottle poured into appropriate Chimay chalice, at local specialised beer bar.

A- Dark copper brown body with excellent clarity and a tan creamy 2 finger head. Head retention is poor with poor lacing also.

S- Subdued to be honest, a hint of raisin/pluminess and belgian yeast. Light clove in there too.

T- Subdued like the aroma, a little raisin with clove, some belgian spiceness. Semi dry to dry finish.

M- High carbonation and medium body

D- Promised so much but delivered little. Didnt look the part and the flavour/aroma profile was subdued. Definitely lacked the rich maltiness this style is known for. Not one to savour.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not thrilled with this beer. It was a gift from someone and I had heard good things about this brew. When I drank it though, I thought it was kind of flat and lacked any distinctive flavors.

I got a faint smell of malts and bread. The taste was more of the same along with a little bit of sweetness. I kept waiting for a more powerful flavor to come out as the beer warmed but it never happened. Even if the beer wasn't as bold as I hoped, if it was easy drinking, I could find a place for something like this but it just didn't go down that smooth either. I know this beer isn't overly expensive but it costs more than what I would be willing to pay for it so I most likely won't be drinking it again anytime soon.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,836 ratings.
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