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: 4,847
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque rusty brown color with a white fluffy head that hangs around and leaves lacing around the glass

Smell: Caramel malt backbone offsets a herbaceous, medicinal nose; banana and must; distinct yeast odor as well

Taste: Spicy clove and banana tastes are among the first flavors to make themselves present, followed by a subtle flash of bitterness after the swallow; some vague toffee sweetness and green apple also arrive to join the other flavors in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly watery compared to other dubbels; lively carbonation

Drinkability: Subtle and understated, but there are other dubbels I prefer

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Photo of RDAdams
2.4/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: A deep reddish brown beer with a very nice head.

Smell: Having already had Grande Réserve and Cinq Cents, I was disappointed with the aroma of Première. It was spicy, but the spices were overcome with the odors of yeast and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: was about average for an average beer, but not what one would expect from a $10/liter beer.

Taste: I was also average, except for the harshness of the first swallow.

Drinkability: Well I didn’t care for it. In fairness, I will try it again. There are others who rate it very high so it must have appeal I have not found.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pretty cloudy (though carefully poured) chestnut color with a dense head of foam at first pour. This head sustained pretty well, and was maintained by quite a few rising bubbles. Very little lacing.

Aroma: Through quite a bit of head, it has a seriously reserved aroma for a Dubbel. I get lots of malt, a bit of alcohol, and maybe a few raisins thrown in for good measure, but this example is really clean. I don't get any spiciness or higher alcohols.

Taste: The malt is the key player in the taste also, even above the fruity esters. There is no banana in this one, and there are no noticeable higher alcohols. It is well carbonated, so it makes this relatively heavy beer go down pretty light. It is seriously malty, but it manages to finish somewhat dry on the palate.

Opinion: This really is a pretty tasty beer. My impression of most Dubbels until now was that they were characteristically over the top with flavor and esters. This beer is like a Bock brewed a bit warmer with less Munich and Melanoidin malts. It has changed my outlook on Dubbels a bit, so I would certainly want to try this one again.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very young chimay red dubbel as it was bottled in february 2005.

I prefer this beer to be aged as the complexitiy that you get in the smell really comes out in the taste as it ages even a year later.

anyway on to this fine brew.

Smell was abundant and welcomed as this wednesday nightcapper was puncturing every channel of the snozzz. Spicey up front w/ some fruitiness in the background. I didn't notice much citrus wich helped the lingering aftertaste.

Carbonation in chimay seems to calm down with age because this brand new beer was full of zest almost overboard as it sizzles a bit. Not enough to sway my vote though as the caramel saucey mouthfeel comes through....This brewery and my palate have met often and I'll continue to patronize. Quality Belgian.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium brown color with luscious head. Some suspended particles are visible. Smell is strong of malt with dark fruits (figs, plums, prunes, dark cherries) Taste is very smooth in the mouth with a nice dark maltiness. Leaves a nice feeling in the mouth. Very drinkable, first class beer.Definitely lives up to its name.

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Photo of thechaacster
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky cola brown with a picturesque mound of foamy head. Spicy and slightly sweet aroma of clove and yeast. Thick and breadlike flavor, with clove, dark fruits, and very slight alcohol. Some have complained about the mouthfeel - it's thick and almost milky. I don't mind it at all. Not the most distinctive trappist ale, but certainly a nice sipper.

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Photo of amicar
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice burnt red- orange color with slight brownness to the head that laces nicely. Smells a slight noble hop (barely) underneath a sweet spiciness like maraschino cherry and ginger (no, that's good). Tastes quite nice. Good toasty maltiness and a restraines fruit- apricots, plums, dates, figs. Feels nice and smooth in the mouth with flavors evolving over the swallow, and then for a few minutes after. Nice. Not one to suck down while painting the gouse- nice for an evening in with friends and food.

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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 Viggo
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy red/brown, big white head forms, goes away quickly with a little lace, different from what i remember. Smell is spicy, yeasty, rich. Taste is full, malty, spices, some iron. Really not as good as I remember it. Carbonation is high, little bit of burn on the throat. Weird.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LIke many other people, this was my very first Belgian beer. When I first tasted it, I was blown away! That was ten years ago... now? I'm still blown away!

My sampled poured a deep copper color with an off-white head that left a small amount of lacing.

The aroma was mostly Belgian yeast - some spicy phenols and an interesting, complex ester profile.

The taste? Exceptional! What a balance of malty sweetness, subdued hop flavor, and yeasty spiciness. Bravo.

Mouthfeel? Great! I love the fact that the carbonation level is so high; it adds a unique dimension to the beer.

This is a very drinkable brew and I have and will continue to seek this beer in bottles and on-tap across the globe.

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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 alexgash
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33 cl bottle. Pours a dark coppery apricot, with some murk. Topped by a rocky, large, creamy tan head. Nice. Gotta like bottle-conditioning. Nose is graham cracker sweet malts with notes of tin and pepper. A little fruit is in there too (raisins and banana), but isn't overly noticeable. Tempered with yeasty bitterness. Taste starts more bitter and roasty than sweet and malty. That's okay. Wheaty malt is there, but the sweetish fruit flavors are very subdued. Bitterness stays strong as alcohol flavors increase. Finish is yeasty, warming, and missing some malt sweetness. Medium-bodied and drier than expected. Not bad, but not as good as most Trappists.

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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 scooter231
3.29/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark red, cloudy color, with a good amount of tan head that disappears fairly quickly. Looks heavy. Smells quite nice- floraly, citrusy, some chocolate notes, some spices. A bit of black pepper coming through.

Taste was kind of disappointing for me after the smell. I hate it when that happens- it looks good, smells good, and then doesn't taste nearly as good. It's a little sweet, a bit of spice in it, but... overall, it's kind of boring. Bland, even. Mouthfeel is awfully watery, though not completely distasteful. Pretty drinkable just because there's not much going on, so you can keep chugging them down if that's your desire.

Overall... a lot of hype, without a lot of delivery.

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Photo of TPSReports
3.22/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruddy brownish color into my chalice forming a half finger head the settles into a surface cover.

Smells are of carmel, cloves, brown suger, and malt.

The taste is unique. I think I served this beer a bit too warm and the malt is quite full.

there is little carbonation in this beer.

The mouthfeel is decent, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from the Vineyard, Belfast...

Pours a deep coppery red / brown colour. Creamy tan head pours pretty foamy and rocky but fades very quickly to light ring around the edge... loads of big carbonation bubbles shoot to the surface.... no real lacing...

Aroma – Light toasted / biscuity malts, sharp fruitiness (raisins, apples, some blackcurrent hotes), strong saltiness, some metallic notes, yeasty, peppery, very light toffee / brown sugar sweetness, light nuttiness...

Taste – Some very light toasted malts, light fruitiness (raisins, apples, light blackcurrent hints, some citrus notes also), metallic, strong saltiness, very little sweetness, some hops just coming through.... flavours all seem very washed out or diluted...

Feel – Pretty sharp and dry.... Light to medium body....

Overall – Pretty disappointing.... flavours all too diluted for me - no real body to this one... Worth a try maybe once...

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good stuff. Poured out to a cloudy amber color with good carbonation, reminding me of Duvel. Great aroma, with notes of smoke, barley and yeast. Sediment was also noted in the bottom of the bottle. Flavor was that of a very well crafted brew. Notes of sugar cane, barley and spice were noted, along with hints of dark fruits. Carbonation on the mouthfeel was very good. Finished slightly dry, but still refreshing. Recommended.

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Photo of necoadam
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured out a muddy garnet/brownish color with a big head which had to settle down. Smell consisted of malts mostly, which some sharp spices (just like in the tripel), with some dark fruit and caramel? Seemes to be on the sweet side as well Taste was decent enough. Good malt backbone with some sweetness as well as some spiciness. Some dark fruit and yeast mix in the middle along with some earth tones. Mouthfeel was medium-full boded with some lively carbonation. Pretty good. Much better than the tripel that they make, and a solid choice for a dubbel.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2 ounce bottle poured into a goblet; couldn't find any freshness date.
This is a pretty beer. Pours a ruby color with an offwhite/tan foamy, sticky head.
Smells pretty delicious, too. Lots of spices going on, clove being the one I can pick out most distinctly.
Doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells, and the mouthfeel is outright watery. The alcohol comes across way too strong for something 7% by volume. I find myself struggling to find positive qualities in the flavor and I don't come up with too much. I'd like to think that a known fresh sample would make a difference. Not much in the way of impact at all. Some might say it's just subtle but at the moment I think it's bluffing.
It's pretty drinkable because of the lack of impact and there are some pleasant flavors to be found.
As it stands, a recurring thought as I was drinking this was "I could have gotten over twice the quantity of Ommegang abbey for the same price."

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Photo of cracgor
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I took the cage off and pulled the cork (labeled 08/04) out of this bottle. A white cloud emmerged smelling in my opinion great.

Appearance: A little hazy. Yeast floculant floats near the bottom of the bottle and a pretty sediment sits on the very bottom. The beer itself is dark amber. Not much yeasty chunks made it into my glass. Through the beer, waves of carbonation just flood toward the surface. Smooth light head almost white in color with tiny bubbles sits on top, but not as easily pouring as others I've had. Still it has great retention of a thick crown of bubbles that stick lightly to the glass.

Smell: Has a very good "beer" aroma. A little sweet like barley, fruity, yeasty, and the aroma of well chosen hops.

Taste: Light and fruity (cherry like) and spicy (like cinammon) in taste. Not very bitter at all. The flavors all compliment each other very well, and cover the alcohol flavor completely.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very carbonated in the mouth. Barely alcoholic. Velvety smooth.

Drinkability: Very Drinkable. If I keep drinking Belgian style ales, I'm going to have to change my favorite style. Just so smooth, tasty, and aromatic.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml form Whole Foods.

I was pretty excited to try this beer because I absolutely loved Chimay Blue. Now don't get me wrong, this is a good beer, but in no way is in a league of premier Trappist beers.

Poured brown to dark gold as the glass progressed. One-inch head that kept its retention to settle out at a respectable 1/8 inch.

This beer does not hold its characteristics that well. Although it has them, they are not very pronounced. Oranges, caramel, peaches and plums, dominate the tastes, high alcohol content, but unfortunately is not very apparent.

A good draft beer that in its own world would be unbeatable, but it's not.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an undated 11.2oz into a chalice.

Brown with a large white head that has great retention and stickiness.

Banannas, cloves, and slightly spicey yeast make up the nose.

Earthy malts, quick note of dark fruits, with hops and yeast paired in a dry finish. Very well balanced.

The mouthfeel is full without being chewy. Very drinkable.

Better than the blue label, especially in the nose and taste. Seems like there's more going on here.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy brown into a wide goblet. Some foam, some lacing. Nose is malt and candi yet oddly soggy like wet gingerbread. Taste is carbonic malts initially, a hint of brown sugar and some medicinal hits. Finish is steely. Mouthfeel is medium full and satisfying. A nice beer, a touch pricey, but I'd never refuse one.

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Photo of SetarconeX
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

My word, this beer's got an impressive little cult following, doesn't it?

Almost all of which is justified. Nice reddish yellow color, with a very nice, fruity scent. Unlike a lot of Belgian ales, this one doesn't try to create any strange and unique flavors, instead just focusing on being a nice, high quality dubbel, something it pulls off completely.

Very malty, very yeasty, both good things in my opinion. If I were to complain, I'd have to say it's perhaps just a tad acidic, but not too terribly. Overall, a very good ale. Highly recommanded.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured a dark red-brown color into a snifter, with more than a finger head. Retention was very good. It showed off a light to moderate amount of carbonation. The scent was very sweet, with slight floral notes as well as dark, roasted malts. It almost came across as a red wine on my nose. It was very pleasant and created a lot of anticipation.

Tasting: Chimay Red came across somewhat sweet, but also a little bit dry on the tongue. It had a little bit of hop bitterness, but it was drowned out by malt sweetness as well as a slight fruity flavor, true to style. It is a medium-to-full-bodied beer with plenty of viscosity on the tongue. But it didn't really coat the inside of my mouth as well as I would have liked it to have. The higher than average alcohol content also makes this a little bit less drinkable. But it certainly went well with my meal. It almost came across more as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale rather than a Dubbel.

I would recommend this beer. It's my first time trying a Chimay product, and I was satisfied with it!

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,847 ratings.
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