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Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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1,669 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: 1,669 | Ratings: 4,783
Photo of Swedes21
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml poured in a chilled pint glass...

Appearance - I love the sound of a cork when you open the beer. The beer pours with a LOT of head, i would say my glass is 3/4 full of head. The head is a nice light brown and comes through looking good. U can see a lot of carbonation in the head, however, hard to see when in the beer. Colour is a solid random auburn, looks delicious.

Smell - I can smell a bit of the hops as well a sweet background. For the first time, i can almost smell a hint of caramel.

Taste - This is a smooth beer, there is no aftertaste and goes down so clean. I can taste the sweetness in the beer and enjoy its overall composure. I can honestly say there is no hint of the 7% alcohol.

Mouthfeel - The beer comes to life a little more with the mouthfeel. The carbonation level increase the flavour of the beer. The beer is light but has a creamy hint to it.

Drinkability - Please continue to produce this beer. I have 2 Chimay so far on my beer trail and i think they are both amazing beers. I am so impressed with this beer and will stock it in my fridge, i can hand this out to anyone.

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Photo of adodds
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

L - Pours a hazy, dark brown with a massive ivory head.
S - Smooth, with some malty flavors.
T - Delicious cream and toasty malts! This is a great dubbel, no extra shenanigans going on here. When I close my eyes and sip, I get a very smooth "creamy-tan" color in my mind. I love how the ivory vanilla note balances with the dark-tan nut flavors.
F - Smooth, light body. Lets the flavors do the talking.
O - This was a great surprise! I have heard repeatedly that blue Chimay is the best, but I think that the red is a much easier everyday sipper. Sublime

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Photo of Kyle_Hanson
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Very malty and smooth with a slight bitterness way on the back of the tongue that lingers a bit. Creamy texture and a marvelous pillow head that receded quickly but remained right on the surface of the liquid. Very pretty, a dark cloudy ruby red that's nice to look at... but even better to drink.

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Photo of thirdeye11
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

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Photo of b3shine
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft to said chalice. The perfect appearance for a Belgian dubbel. Orange and hazy; fairly opaque for its color. Great citrus bouquet. Tastes the part, too, and is the quintessential beer of its type. Very subtly carbonated. Mouthfeel is good too. An oldie but goodie.

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Photo of pojo41
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Darkish amber color with a good, off-white head. Good lacing on glass.
Malty aroma. Tastes of caramel, malt and raisins with a touch of bitterness at the end. Another beer shared with my brother. This tasted great as did every beer we drank that night. Another great beer.

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Photo of erz316
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - a solid opaque brown, no chance of light getting in. a thin, one finger, head tops the crown of this beer, coloured light cream.

S - the most I can smell is a bit of the malt, mostly it is th metal from the ring around the rim of my Chimay goblet.

T - Great taste of malts, and a numb sweetness that stays with you throughout the drink. I think I detect a hint of fruity-alcoholness.

MF&D - one of the most amazing beers I've ever had the pleasure to drink. So incredibly smooth, goes down likes its nothing at all. the carbonation is noticeable but not an impediment to the drinking process, moreover, it helps one drink the brew.

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Photo of AaronRed
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clearly great beer by any standard. Unique in taste and smell. Subtle sweetness that evens out into a smooth and rich experience. Strong yeast presence. Becomes even better as it warms.

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Photo of Alexc11
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Lovely deep, dark reddish orange color that forms strong cream once poured. Just the right amount of bitterness (balanced with fruity overtones) on first sip allowing for nice finish as you swallow. Enjoyable strong ale.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a hazy cranberry-orange with a billowy beige head that cratered in the middle leaving a clean lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: The nose was yeasty with some candi-sugar and ripe fruit.

T: The initial flavor was sweet caramel, rum raisin, candi-sugar, bananas and cloves. Theres a nice dry booziness with some ripe prunes, cherries, and a touch of dry peppery spicing. The german noble hops provide a nice gently flowery bitterness against the clean pilsner malting.

M: a bright, crisp carbonation which was lively with spicy caramel, and a boozy alcohol warming. The body was medium full.

D: Drinkability was amazing and not much else to say.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a three finger pillowy light caramel head into a duvel tulip, great retention and lacing with a deep brown au jus color.

Sweet barley malt, yeasty sour dough bread, dark fruit.

Taste is sweet malt, belgian yeast and sugar, white wine grapes and figs, cherry, hint of chocolate candy. Medium body with some carbonation. Still very smooth and not overly bitter. Sweet and dry.

A classsic!

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Photo of dolzan
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown colour and a large, very thick head.

Smell is perhaps reminiscent of dried fruits The taste is sweet, but nicely balanced with some bitterness, but just enough that the hops don't overcome all other flavours. I could drink this all day long. Really one of the top, top beers.

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Photo of hyuga
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An amber red-colored brew fills the glass and a very large off-white head forms on top. Stays very well with the help of the Chimay chalice's etched bottom, which creates bubbles that rise to the top, keeping the head perfect. Leaves a few dots of lace as it levels out. Beautiful spicy aroma. Dried plum and raisin dominate, along with a little yeast in the background. Maybe a bit of banana as well. Definitely a "dubbel aroma". There's a characteristic in there that I can't quite pinpoint, it's almost like a soft aged cheese aroma. Maybe a little bready. A slight Belgian pepper tingle greets the tongue with the first taste. Clove and a bit of banana follow. Rich yet delicate malt sweetness supports the fruity and spicy products of the yeast. As the liquid travels around your palate, it feels almost thick, like whipped cream. So smooth and creamy! This is just about the smoothest, creamiest beer I've ever tasted... or felt, if you will. A medium to light body, but the complexities and malt make this a pleasure to savor in the way that a more full-bodied beer would be. I can definitely see this one holding the monks over during a fasting. A delight to the senses. Another must-try from Chimay!

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Photo of elvisnj
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sat down at ESPNZone in NYC Time's Square for a business meeting.

I had low expectations for the beer menu until I saw Chimay Red.

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Goblet.

Looks good with a very small head due to careful pour. Appearance is dark. Hard to tell what color as it was not well lit but from what I can see it is a good looking beer.

Nose is all Belgian yeast and malt. Smells great. Taste is strong malt with dark fruits. Fig and raisin sweetness with a hint of bitterness. Candy sugar flavor and hops mixed just right with taste and effervescence. Mostly a clean finish with only a bare hint of malty bitterness at the end.

Carb is crisp and just right. Slight phenol warmth shines through. All in all a great representation of the style from a great brewery.

Lunch at ESPNZone was not bad. This beer was definitely the best part.

He shoots.... HE SCORES!!!

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle (cork says 03/10) poured into a Rochefort Chalice. Served with Thanksgiving meal (review from notes)

Appearance: Cloudy brown with orange and red highlights. Nice foam across the top, which leaves islands and strands of lace here and there. The lace refracts the light - almost sparkles when light hits it. Large foam bubbles for a beer in the lacing. Nice to look at.

Smell: Yeasty, boozy, sweet, and hints of something spicy all at the same time. As it warms up the yeastiness goes away and the sweetness becomes a bit more pronounced and fruit like - maybe cherries? I can't place it but I like it.

Taste: Very smooth and balanced beer. There is a definite sweetness to the beer, but it is not cloying, and it's just right. The sweetness combines caramel and some fruits (cherries again) but it's tempered with good yeast flavors and a nice mild sour counter to the sweetness. Or I think it's sour anyway - it's hard to describe. Overall from my notes I wrote that it reminds me of a yeasty fruit and birch beer combo, with a nice splash of alcohol thrown in. Once the beer moves past the "lightly chilled" temperature, the sweetness becomes more pronounced and caramel malts come out more strongly, as does the alcohol notes. A complex, but well blended flavor.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation on the tongue, but not so much that it obscures the flavors. Very tiny bubbles in the glass and on the tongue. The rest of the mouthfeel is a good smooth thickness that really coats the mouth but does not linger.

Drinkability: Went fantastic with Thanksgiving meal (Pot roast, potatoes, carrots, sweet potato biscuits) and I wish I had gotten two bottles. And yet, splitting the bottle with the Mrs. at dinner was perfect. The beer didn't go to my head and really complimented the meal well. I'll definitely have to pick up another bottle and see if I can tease out all the flavors here - this is a well crafted beer and was very enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of atr2605
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours brown with a slight reddish tint, cloudy with sediment, and a fluffy off white head with nice retention.
S-caramel, raisins, cherries, no hop aroma
T-more of the same with the caramel being up front leading to the raisin and finishing with the cherries. Hops provides nice balance but aren't contributing alot to the flavor. Finishes a little dry
M-medium light with quite a bit of carbonation
O-Excellent dubbel, great balance and flavor.

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Photo of elmore
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Gave it a brisk pour which created a beautiful thick creamy head which left thick sticky lace on the glass. Smells of baked bread - very yeasty - can actually see yeast sediment suspended within the beer when held up to the light. Taste is a very good example of the Belgium ale style - crisp and fruit with a light mouthfeel and nice tight carbonation and very drinkable. An excellent beer - what you would expect from an iconic brew like Chimay.

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Photo of veech
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second of the brews that I have tried from this impressive trappist brewery. 11.2 oz bottle poured into a Kapittel goblet.
A: Just an immaculate head with freakish retention. dark cupperic, golden color
S: Yeasty malted sweetness with mutiple floral and fruity undertones.
T: Up front, a touch of citrusy tang, with some candylike sweetness (is candy sugar used in the recipe?) accompanying the malts and contrasting low levels of hopped bitterness and a hint of an alcohol presence. The flavors all round out very nicely and the smoothness is unparalleled. Man have the Trappists got this beer brewing thing down or what.
M: Yeasty with a minimal graininess as velvety smoothness is the prevailing texture. Enough body to coat the palate and provide flavor, but light to medium bodied
D: Due to the medium bodied feel and alcohol content a session of this is tempting, but would likely prove painful on the wallet and the liver. I still found this to be supremely drinkable.
I become more intriqued and impressed with Belgian styles with each example I try.

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Photo of hopdog
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This rating is from tap.

Poured a reddish brown color. Fruity, floral tastes and smells with berry hints (was that raspberries I smell). Lightly yeasty as well. Very smooth to drink with a dry finish. Very easy and enjoayable to drink.

Notes from: 7/12/04

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Photo of burntoutphilosopher
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay Ale Premiere

A: Cloudy, Amber. A lot of yeast suspended. I poured the Lees in, so it has a LOT of particles.
S : citrus. Yeasty like tangerine.
T: very little bitterness, until the very end. It’s softly flavored, not strong like most trippels etc.
M: thick, washes away nicely though.
O: an incredible amount of sediment. The bubbles are very small.
This beer is fresh and soft. There is no sweetness. It is completely fermented… it’s has a fruity feeling like a South African dry Riesling, I’m not sure if this is the autolyzed yeast for a spice in the ingredients. It has a great dry wine taste at the end. Nothing like the American cascade hops… the bitterness I would interpret as dryness, it has a very wine feeling that would seem more than only the 7% that it is.

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Photo of phantomwyse
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish almond body with a typical Belgian rocky two finger head of a dark khaki color. Active carbonation.

S: Sugary dark fruits, plum, date, fig, toffee, caramel, light medicinal alcohol aroma at the very end.

T: Caramel apple, dates, figs, raisins, beets, toffee, saccharine sweetness, slight vanilla character and just a trace of alcohol.

M: Medium bodied, tingly carbonation, a little creaminess.

D: As far as dubbels go, this is one of the elite. Sip, savor, enjoy.

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Photo of Herrbrokt
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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%

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Photo of Rschis16
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks and smells like carbonated apple cider with a healthy and bold cream-colored head. It's an opaque flat brown color with some sediment floating around. Definitely cloudy. Apple cider is the first thing that comes to mind for the smell. That is mingled with a slight alcohol aroma and the sweetness of sparkling cider.

Full-bodied and hearty with a nice hoppy front side and a somewhat apple-like ending. A nice healthy twinge of booze hits the palate with a nice ring as well, letting you know that it's there, but backing off enough to not get in the way. The hops are understated, but present in a nice way. The malts are sweet and apple-like, not quite the apple cider that I smelled, but definitely fruity and sweet. This beer is beautifully balanced in all aspects. The beer smells so sweet and pleasant, but tastes so hearty, yet light and refreshing. The finish is dry and somewhat clean, with a nice reminder of the alcohol presence in zest form.

The time and effort put into this beer are noticeable in so many ways, but no way better than that balance. I'm so glad I picked this up, and I can't wait to try its' brothers, yellow and blue. I highly recommend.

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Photo of chefelf
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love the smoothness of Chimay, the tiny Champagne-style bubbles, and the Belgian flavor. This was my first introduction to Belgian beer and it is still one of my favorites.

I enjoy this beer so much that I decided to purchase the large bottle and it was twice as good! This is one of my favorite go to Belgian beers and even though I'm a lightweight it's very easy to polish of one of the larger bottles in one evening.

Also, I drink it in the Chimay glass that has the little etching in the center so the bubbles rise from it. I have no idea what the purpose of that is but it's got to be good for something.

It certainly looks cool.

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Photo of RussK
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - reddish golden brown color, poured right will yield a one finger creamy head

S - some dark, some light notes, not the most complex aroma but definitely enough there to enjoy

T - good amount of complexity and balanced smoothness...slight malt and warm buttery notes play off each other well...especially for those wanting an introduction to what a beer of this level is about

M - small bubbles refreshing

D - highly drinkable overall...this was my introduction into the whole 'respect beer' thing and still serves as a standard

I enjoyed this beer in a snifter glass and with some good mellow and earthy cheese...Chimay has their own brand of cheese but have yet to find it in stores...I recommend Beemster...or Gouda...let the cheese (not the beer !) get to room temp to really appreciate.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,783 ratings.
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