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 dcotom
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 330 cl bottle into a Chimay logo chalice. Hazy, dark caramel color with a couple of fingers of off-white head that fades away in short order, leaving minimal lacing. Aromas and flavors of light toffee, caramel, yeast, and dark fruit. This is not very assertive on either the nose or the palate, although some estery alcohol characteristics begin to come through as it warms. Mouthfeel is medium, with a little sticky tartness on the aftertaste. Might pair well with lighter fare, due to its light and non-assertive character.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

(11.2 oz bottle, code L16-165... poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: dark orange-garnet, fairly-clear liquid... a loose tuft of cottony foam builds and slowly crumbles, leaving a thin, slovenly cap... no lacing

S: demerara syrup, red vinous notes, subtle hints of grassy hop, burnt caramel, black grape... have to strain to smell these though, and with the dregs poured in, the aromas get a touch nutty and also die off a good bit, though the vinous booze and some vaguely clove-like phenols slowly cut back through... not all that appealing though - robustly-scented meal would easily snuff out any

T: dense, medium-dark sugar, with a finish featuring hints of wet granite, mildly-tannic grape skin, lingering hearth ash... long vinous-y esters in the aftertaste... the malt/sugar does seem to lack definition - some melanoidins that hint at roasted nut, dark dried fruit (prune?), maybe even light molasses - there's certainly some depth and density to it, but altogether somewhat dulled and static

F: smooth, medium-light body, with a delicate syrupy viscosity that could in part be the 'legs' of the hot booze sliding back... good bit of firm heat flaring up through the finish... the one little speck I missed in the glass has the carbonation broke, giving a bit of a sharp sting on the tongue... as it flattens, it ends up reclaiming some sultry silkiness

O: maybe my 5th or 6th time having this... good bit more heat than I recall - I'll have to check the code to see how old this was... this has been better in memory, but has never quite come close to Westmalle or Achel or even the Ommegang abbey ale

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Photo of The_Bujon
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not initially a fan of the Chimay Red, but each time I go back it grows a little more on me. I think is best described as an acquired tasting brew.

It looks good, with a rich full bodied copper appearance and a nice thick foamy head.

Doesn't give too much away on the aroma, and the taste grows with each mouthful, and while I found the first sip a little tart, three or four sips in and those sips were full throttle quaffs! A slight caramel aftertaste finishes the job nicely.

Overall a slow burner, a nice well rounded beer, not one I would describe as World Class to be fair. I'll maybe come back and update the review, as this was definitely the best experience of the Red I have had.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned
Pours a very dark brown body with huge foaming off white head that pretty much sticks around
Aroma of brown sugar and mouldy cheese
Red liquorice and chianti flavour

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Photo of EMV
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet

L: Nearly clear dark copper pour. 2 fingers of creamy white head that lasts forever... sticky lacing all around the glass.

S: Dark sugars and darker fruits... plum, raisin, and fig. Spice... clove and nutmeg.

T/F: Follows the smell... lots of candied sugars and dark fruits... yeast and spice. Plum... clove and allspice. A bit of vanilla. Creamy in mouthfeel... ample carbonation. Mild hop bitterness at the finish to clean up the palate.

O: A classic Belgian dubbel... great representation of the style and always a pleasure.

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Photo of PSanger
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I drank this beer among other ipas. I enjoyed the taste but didn't get much smell wise. I am not sure if thus due to drinking so many smelly and delicious iPas or not. It was just bland. The look and feel though as everyone says is awesome. Enjoy.

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Photo of BuccoFan
3.51/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice off-white head and medium brown color, with malty aroma. Taste is bland, however. Mistake I made here was to have had the Chimay and Westmalle dubbels the same week I had a St. Bernardus, and the St. B was vastly superior to both. But even independent of the St. B, I think the Chimay is too bland to have again.

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Photo of steveh
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I used to enjoy Chimay beers often, back in my early days of sampling. So when I saw some smaller, single bottles for sale, I thought I'd treat myself on a Friday.

Poured into my Libbey tulip glass. Guessing by the code, it appears this was bottled on September 30, 2016.

L - Clear, deep copper color with a dense and resilient, creamy, light tan head.

S -- Sweet malty notes with caramel and light breadiness. Some mild perfume-like fruit esters and distinct pepperiness from alcohol. Light banana character with warming.

T -- Rich and sweet, almost candy-like flavor with dark fruits and alcohol pepperiness. Some mild clove, even allspice, blends with the peppery phenols and a floral bitterness in the finish. Rich malts and dark fruit characters encore for the aftertaste.

F -- Mouthfeel is soft to spritzy with a medium to medium-full body.

O -- A very complex beer that grabs all of your attention. Flavorful and bold, yet refined and easy to drink. As mentioned, a nice Friday treat.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.66/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours a muddy copper brown color with a one finger, beige head of rocky foam.

Aroma: There is a very clean alcoholic smell to the nose, almost like a fine plum or fig wine with notes of caramel and creamy malted barley. Spicy notes of coriander, orange rind, clove and white pepper play a role in the background. There are also aromas of cherries, banana and licorice.

Taste: Like most offerings from Chimay, I like to let this warm to room temperature or slightly below to really let the flavors open up. If you drink this ice cold you will be missing out on some of the beers key subtleties. The beer has a very creamy, caramely, almost chocolate like barley malt backbone, it's rich and luxurious but soft enough so as to not dominate the palate. Rich notes of figs, plums, cherries, licorice and even tamarind follow suit. Yeasty notes of clove, coriander, orange peel and white pepper linger throughout the tasting experience.

Feel: The body is creamy but not overtly so. Mid weight with low carbonation. Alcohol is detectable, but in a very pure and soothing way, at no time is the beer hot or abrasive.

Overall: Very heady and intoxicatingly delicious. Hits all the right notes I look for in a good dubbel, it's nice and malty with a creamy, fruity, dry and yeasty aftertaste.

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Photo of Gregaroo
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

1-17-17 - Not sure why I've never captured this one, but I had a few tonight. Bottle poured into Chimay chalice (barkeep went and got me one from the front bar) at Pappilon in NYC. Just as I remembered with nice off-white head and dark brown/copper color. So tasty, but not The Reserve. I now ask for a bottle of Chimay if the taps don't tease me.

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Photo of Zet
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Okay, this makes me confused. I've had some great Chimay beers in the past and judging from other ratings, this beer's just as great. But all I tasted was a mediocre belgian dubbel. Slightly hazy orange/red colour with a modest but steady head of foam. Weak smell of yeast. Lots of yeast in the taste again, with some hints of banana, cloves and tangerine. Mouth feel was too foamy and a bit watery. I'm questioning my own judgement here. There will be a rematch in the future.

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Photo of Ginger-tipple
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank the Premiere with meal of cold and smoked meats, a perfect accompaniment. It is all you could expect from Chimay. Only down was too much foam at the recommended temperature.

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Photo of nobledust
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: hazy, unfiltered, average head retention

S: 5/5 - Earth, pepper, spice, banana - the best part of this beer

T: Too much banana for my taste. I love Orval and Rochefort because they don't have this stereotypical Belgian banana thing. This Chimay is still one of the better Belgian beers if you take Orval and Rochefort off the list, though.

F: smooth, not boozy, full bodied

O: Chimay is the mainstream trappist ale. So of course it's good, but it's not the best out there.

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Photo of mkh012
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle pours murky golden brown into a tulip. Hints of red, as the name suggests.

Nose is yeasty fruit and spice, and the taste follows. Crisp carbonation to start, and cranberry, apple, and toffee mid-palate. Notes of yeasty funk and clove. Very easy drinking.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. Probably my favorite in the Chimay series at the moment. Good stuff.

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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 Red5StandingBy
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle with no bottling date into stein glass.

L: Unfiltered brown, two finger head sits there all fluffy for longimm
amounts of time.

S: Malt sweetness, phenols and some spice i.e. Clove, Coriander and pepper.

T: The balance and complexity of this beer is unmatched to anything I have tasted so far. Sweet malts float through right away, some spice like nutmeg and clove, slight hop bitterness. Insanely delicious. I can't rave enough about how delicious this beer is.

F: Super smooth on the palate. Medium bodied, crisp and refreshing. Perfection.

O: An exquisite brew by Chimay.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a murky burgundy with two fingers of white, foamy head that eagerly forms and is reluctant to leave. A foamy layer sticks around for a long while. Lacing is bubbly, and forms just over where the last sip of beer was. Aroma is muted, with notes of Belgian yeast esters, toasted malts, and clove. Flavor profile is thin, with notes of clove, yeast esters, and plum. Mouth feel is thin, and watery, which makes it easy to slurp, but tough to sip and savor. Overall, Premiere is a fantastic authentic Belgian beer, but feels lacking.

Served in a Chimay chalice.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is probably my 20th time drinking this beer, so I figured I should probably review it, as it is one of my favorite dubbels. A very crisp start and finish (medium high carbonation) with fruity tones of apricot-dried fruit followed by a toffee-esque-malty flavor that lingers. What a great bread and yeast punch as well that is so distinct to Chimay ales. The ABV is only at 7%, so it hides well... This is very refreshing. I could down these easily, but I savor each bottle....And hopefully you will too.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey, dark brown with a fluffy head.

I seem to be an outlier, but I find this one to be quite divisive. My immediate impression is the aroma, which smacks of this musky, fox urine character. Pondering over this reveals an odd background combination of apricot, cardamom, nutmeg and malt – but with each sip there’s this immediate hit of warm urine that I can't get out of my head.

No urine on the tongue, thankfully (I hope I never have to say that in context). Overall, this is like the Blue, in that the flavours are distinctive but subdued – yeasty bread, sugar, and mild notes of classic Belgian clove and banana. Very prominent metallic notes straight out of the tap, so I do wonder if there was an issue there.

Not unpleasant, but not what I was hoping for after the Blue.

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. Very fresh. Served in a chalice at cellar temperature.

Light amber colour. Big out-of-control head, but it dissipates quickly. Only a slight bit of lacing.

Aroma is dried fruit and bread dough.

What can I say? This is the ur-dubbel in terms of flavour. Sweet toffee and dried fruit to begin with. After that it's sweet yeasty brown bread dough and a bunch of complex spicy yeast esters, especially clove. The finish is surprisingly dry.

Medium body and moderate carbonation. No booze perceptible.

This is a classic, truly one-for-the-ages, world-class dubbel. That said, I'm beginning to think there are more interesting takes on the style available. Maybe it's a case of over-exposure.

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Photo of m_hall
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip. A very hazy, tea-colored ale topped by a dense, tightly bubbled 1 finger head that falls away into a light film.

Aromas are quite complex- sweet bread-y malts, dark fruits (dried cherries, plums,) banana, along with apricots, dried apples, and a faintly woody undertone.

Flavor starts out with caramel, and is then quickly joined by spicy notes (cloves, coriander) and then stone fruit (plum especially). Some tart green apple comes in after, along with a rather oak-like, boozy note that leads to a finish that's dry, though with a touch of lingering toffee sweetness.

Mouth-feel is medium-light, with a fairly strong carbonation that tingles throughout. The alcohol, even though it's only 7%, is surprisingly apparent, and its warmth contributes to the overall experience.

You can't talk about Belgian Abbey Ales without talking about Chimay. And while this one isn't quite as lordly as the Grande Réserve (Blue), this is still near the top of the mountain when it comes to Dubbels. It has every ingredient that should be expected of the style- the spicy yeast bite, deep fruit flavors, and the dry, slightly dusty finish. Every Belgian ale enthusiast should try this one, no doubt.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice to a deep brown with some reddish highlights dopped by a dense two finger light tan head that retains well and leaves decent lacing
S: Smells of light toffee and dark fruits with some plum notes. There are some hints of bananas as well.
T: Taste is light toffee with some dark fruits and some banana. Hints of caramel sweetness as well with some light spices. The swallow on this one is more toffee and dark fruits with some lingering spice.
M: This beer has a medium mouthfeel with carbonation that is just slightly prickly. The beer has a slightly drying finish.
O: This beer is top notch. It has great flavors and some really nice complexity. I'd call this one a benchmark for the style. if you like Belgian beers this is one to get your hands on.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a cranberry/prune color with brick red tints, having a pinkish white head of 3 fingers, gradually reducing to a fluffy finger with patches of lace left behind. Lots of depth to the body despite its opacity.

Aromas of ripe plums, sticky bourbon or scotch (?), oak, blackberry, caramel stickiness or kettle corn.

Lots of dark fruit and booziness out front that quickly washes away to a wet, grainy finish. Prunes lightly dipped in bourbon, blackberries, oak, tannins, seeded grapes, and a touch of bright melon rind at the very tail end. Caramel Malt (60-80 lov) base. Spalt Hops. More scotch, tannins, and caramel surface as it warms to room temp. Starting to taste more like a scotch ale or a grapey barleywine.

Feel is refreshing, wet, quenching even, drying out halfway through with a sandy parch.

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed. Maybe I was expecting too much, but Dubbel beers have a ton of capability to shine. Unfortunately that just didn't happen here. I'll take New Belgium's Abbey over this overpriced bottle anytime. On the right day, I can get a whole six pack of Abbey for ONE of these. I'm not fanboying, I just think it should be thrown out for consideration.

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Photo of Vader444
2.26/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle pour into tulip.

Not at all sure about this one. Pours a nice orange/brown. Mouthfeel is pleasant enough but, truth be told, all I can smell and taste is yeast. Like drinking raw fizzy pizza dough.

If that floats your boat then great but this did nothing for me. Sorry.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 11.2 fl oz bottle poured into a Spiegelau beer tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy copper brown with a billowing head of off white, multi-size bubbles. Foam dissipates but leave a nice patchwork of lace.

Smell: Yeasty brown bread, warm and peppery spice and dates.

Taste: Gently roasted grain, dark caramel, apricots, honey and warm spices (cinnamon, clove). Finishes earthy, herbal and drier, with just some residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, silky smooth with fine carbonation, though almost too effervescent.

Overall: Sweet, spicy and delicious while surprisingly drinkable.

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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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