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: 4,848
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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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.09/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a sort of raisiny chestnut color, with a rather unspectacular head that dies down and in the end it looked flat.

The aroma is fruit and sweet malt. A lot of yeasty funk. is a Chimay and I feel like I should be picking up a lot and saying things like "notes of this" and "nuances of that" but really, brought up to temperature and right until the end where it was practically room temperature, the aroma just seemed muted.

The most notable thing about the taste is it's a bit astringent with a slightly metallic like quality to it. Sweet sugary malt and raisins are rounded out with a bit of spice and Belgian yeast. Finished quick. Estery and medicinal. Dry but almost a tinge of sugar sticks around. The alcohol hits the back of my throat in not a good way.

Medium body. Good carbonation. Probably the best part of this beer.

This wasn't at all the wow beer I was expecting.

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Photo of kkipple
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this in the Chimay gift set. Being as I'm a huge fan of Chimay's Tripel, I had high hopes for this one...

At first glance the beer doesn't disappoint. It's an unfiltered light brick red, with a fat head and many yeasty floaties in the center of the glass -- looks tasty enough.

Smells like malts, mixed fruit (cranberries?), yeast and hops.

Hmm... the taste isn't really what I was expecting. A bitterness hits me first, followed by a vague fruit flavor that I can't identify and an oakish, woody taste. The bitterness is eventually cut by the fruitiness. It's rather watery and, dare I say it, unmemorable. The whole bottle tasted mild and diluted to me.

Mouthfeel is thin and dry, with some mild sweetness breaking through the initial bitterness. Lots of little bubbles that lend it a nice fizziness.

This isn't an awful beer, but I was very disappointed as I know Chimay can make some great brews. This one really needs to lose the watery blandness. I will try this again, perhaps the second bottle will fare better.

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Photo of Vvall
3.12/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought this in a three pack gift set,one Red,one White,and one Blue,along with a chalice.I was not impressed,but then I prefer Stouts,so this was not my cup of tea so to speak.I may give it another chance if it is bought for me,but I do not see myself buying it again.

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Photo of Globetrotter
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found this in a supermarket on the western outskirts of Moscow. Brown 33cl stubby with a red and white label featuring the shield from the brewery and "Trappist beer" in English, Italian and Spanish. Ingredients include "wheat starch" and sugar. Best before the end of 2007, I opened it on 5/22/04.

Pours a murky cola brown under a reddish brown two finger head that settle a bit too quickly, lacks contour and leaves no lace. The nose is mild, with a hint of sweet fruit (raspberry?) and yeast. The mouth is light and quite prickly. The taste is disappointingly thin. There's a bit of fruity sweetness and a healthy portion of yeast, but little else and nothing particularly noteworthy. There's a touch of hops once it starts to warm, but this is remarkably bland for the style. It's not bad, but compared to its siblings and cousins, this is definitely a weak sister.

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Photo of matty
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is faint dark fruit.Taste is honey,dark fruit and sugar cane.I was disappointed in this beer not because it's bad but because I was expecting more.Overall decent,it's worth a try but as for me I am OK just drinking this once!!

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Photo of becktone
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I’ve had this beer sitting around just waiting to be reviewed for a few weeks, just sitting mind you. When I opened this beer it seemed as if someone had shaken it up. The bottle overflowed with foam. It pours to be a Carmel color. In fact, the color of it reminds me of wassail. To begin with it formed a nice huge healthy head, however that quickly dissipated into the vague film that barley exists in my glass now. The head is thickest, at present, to where it clings to the sides of the glass. The body of the beer is also quite interesting. I have never drank a beer where I could actually see sediment suspended in the brew.

The aroma of this beer is very potent. When I first cracked the cap on this bottle I was surprised to already be able to smell the aroma of the beer. I can’t quite put a finger on the main smell of the beer, I know that it is something very familiar though. Overall the smell is not hoppy, rather it has more of a malt character to it. I believe that I also detected a faint medicinal smell in the aroma of this beer. Now that I think of it I can kind of smell a little bit of apple cider in this although, it has been altered in some way, but that’s the closest thing I can relate to this beer.

This beer tastes the same way as it smells, I can’t quite put a finger on it. I don’t detect much of any hoppy or bitter character in this beer. I guess the malt character is dominant over the hop character here making them quite the minority when it comes to flavor in this beer. When the beer first hits the lips the first impression of flavor I get is a sweet flavor followed by a weak bitter flavor on the back of the tongue. When swallowed the beer leaves a sweet taste in the entire mouth. The lingering after reminds me of apples and caramel.

This beer has a medium body in my opinion. It doesn’t take to much effort to drink one of these, basically it goes down easily. I’m not sure if I’ll buy this beer again. I mean Chimay Blue is one of my favorite beers but their I was hoping for more from the Red. When it comes to Dubbels I think I prefer Grimbergen Dubbel over this one.

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Photo of Graham21
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- descent head that dissipated to almost nothing. orangish amber in color.
nose is flowery, slightly sour, alcoholic, fruity, sweet, malty and citrusy.
tastes of malt, wood, sour, *slightly bitter. god carbonation
taste is nothing exceptional...

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Photo of cokes
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little disappointed here.
Pours a glass of murky brown-amber. Nice foamy pale-beige head lasts awhile and leaves lovely lacing.
Aroma is muted. Honestly not much there. Some clove is noted, as well as an occasional solvent-like alcohol. Dark fruits seem like they are there...but I am not so sure. a word, "yeasty"(must be the theme for the night). In fact, the yeast seems to dominate the entire palate. It bashes the other flavors into submission. There are some pronounced doughy (yeast) flavors. It is like a decent dubbel filtered through bread. Musty too, but not in itself negative. Plums are in the distance. Peppery at time and always quite woody. Hops are more grassy and grainy than anything. Yeasty sour finish with some herbal sweetness
All in all, however, not very complex.
Light-med bodied, perhaps too thin. Not bad at first, but turns sort of mushy and..guess what..yeasty.
This is decent at best...leaves alot to be desired.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a large wine glass. Pours a cloudy, thick with yeast, reddish brown with a moderate tan head which head dissipates slowly.

The smell is interesting, malty with some dark fruit, alcohol, and a bit of sourness. The taste is sweet and malty, but also a bit sour. The alcohol is warming and a bit spicy. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Overall, I don't like it as much as I hoped I would.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cork said 01/05, so I assume that this one is a year and a hlf old - I've had it in the basemenet for 8 months. About a half inch, light-brown head that mostly diminished. Color was a nice brown.
Aroma was light malt, bread, yeast and a little roasted. Taste was thin and there really wasn't much to it. Not much matliness that I would've expected. Carbonation was still lively, but it had a bit of a metallic taste. I think I need to find a freash one of these and compare.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,848 ratings.
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