Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,680 Reviews
Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium
chimay.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,680
Ratings:
4,825
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
10.98%
 
 
Wants:
291
Gots:
978
For Trade:
4
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Reviews: 1,680 | Ratings: 4,825
Photo of THSdrummer
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.

 565 characters

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.

 1,238 characters

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.

 795 characters

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.

 1,184 characters

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.

 278 characters

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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Photo of teromous
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The back label says "L16-130"

Appearance: It has a murky brown tea appearance. There is a nice golden brown hue around the corners of the glass. The head is thick and fluffy with some tight bubbles. The head is an eggshell white color. It doesn't leave any lacing but it has very good head retention.

Aroma: There is a nice spicy herbal aroma that smells like bay leaves and it has this dusty smell. There is this coriander aroma as well. I don't know if the beer is made with coriander but it has a similar aroma.

Taste: It starts out with a burst of this wonderful rich burnt caramel mixed with a thick crusty bread flavor. It comes right out of the gate with this big flavor that hits the palate. It maintains a bready flavor while drinking the beer. It isn't a doughy flavor but more of a toasted bread crust flavor. There is just a bit of a date flavor but not fruity; more of that earthy character you can get in some dates where it is a tad sweet but a bit bitter and woody. There is also a coriander flavor in the finish of the beer. Again I don't know whether it is made with coriander but I am getting a taste of it.

Mouthfeel: Very light and airy. It has a effervescent presence on the palate. There is just a touch of bitterness to cut back on the very light sweetness of the beer giving it amazing balance.

Overall: It is a wonderful beer to drink. I certainly did not get bored with drinking it and I enjoyed every minute of it. It is the kind of beer that you will sip and sip trying to pin down exactly what you are tasting. By the time you start to pinpoint what you are tasting the beer is nearly gone. I think this is a wonderful Dubbel and I would recommend it. I would drink it again.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep reddish-brown/mahogany color with 2+ fingers of head that slowly fades down to a decent cap that leaves spotty lacing

S: Malt and spices up front, a bit of a candied sweetness, and dark fruits make up most of the nose. Hints of caramel and brown bread in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a wave of malt, spices, and dark fruit. Moderate sweetness and spiciness give way to the caramel and brown bread. Some raisin notes linger. Finishes with the complex maltiness and spices

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A classic dubbel that is great year-round, fresh or aged. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Belgians, dubbels, or great beers in general

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Photo of ckornmannn
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle into a tulip glass. No bottling date, cork says 2014. Wonderful brown/orange/amber color. Initially a dense lacey head of foam but it dissipates quickly. A good amount of carbonation persists though. Excellent aroma of brown sugar, plum; herbal. Taste follows: dark fruit, a slight herbal astringency. All of this fades in a lingering aftertaste. Amazing beer! I think I prefer the Rochefort 6 for the style but it is close.

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Photo of OldSwampy
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I begin by saying that there was no "best by" date on this beer and there's a decent chance that it was not as fresh as it should have been. I've had Chimay before and this one did not seem as full-bodied as I remember. That said, this was an attractive beer, with hazy chestnut color and a light khaki head. The head left essentially no lacing on the tulip glass I used. The smell was great - woodsy, reminding me of dark hardwood and leaves. Some yeasty notes emerged as well. The taste was similar, with nutty and sweet flavors combining nicely. The balance was excellent, and the flavor became rounder as it got a little warmer. But the end of the flavor profile seemed thinner than I would expect for an abbey ale. Mouthfeel was sudsy and rich. Good, but by the standards of the true Trappist ales, not the greatest.

 821 characters

Photo of FBarber
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy brown with lots of yeast sediment in it - yumm! Frothy light tan head slowly dissipates down to a thin foam covering the whole beer. Gorgeous head and excellent head retention. as the head stays until the last drop.

Smell has aromas of brown sugar, dark fruits, dried prunes and raisins, with undertones of alcohol and a nice yeasty presence.

Taste has flavors of dark fruits, dried raisins, prunes, and dates. Some mild brown sugar sweetness coats the tongue nicely initially before giving way to a very robust yeast flavor that provides a peppery and ginger finish on the tongue. Lots of classic "belgian" character to this beer and its wonderful. As the beer warms some herbal flavors are noted as they become more pronounced.

Feel had medium carbonation providing a tingle on the tongue initially. Nice smooth feel on this. Slight sweetness provides some coating on the tongue and the peppery yeast provides a drying finish.

Overall a very fine dubbel - not the best Trappist dubbel, but certainly in the upper echelon.

 1,042 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy brown with thick medium head that lasts and eventually leaves a film and ring with spotty lacing. Nose is a mix of yeast, dark fruits, and syrup, but also dusty. Flavor is slightly bitter raisin, like the stem portion, with a little sweet malt. High carbonation. Overall, a good beer, but not really one of my favorites in the style.

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Photo of PorterPro125
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: 330 mL Bottle

A- Pours a Hazy Brown-Copper with a fizzy slightly off-white cap. Head disappears fairly quickly. No lacing. The remains of the head form a fizzy ring around the glass.

S- Sweet notes of caramel and dark fruit (prunes, dates), as well as a classic Belgian yeasty banana aroma

T- Big hit of sugared Dates upfront followed by the clove/banana note present in the aroma. Tapers off with a bit of caramel sweetness.

M- Moderate Body and moderate-high carbonation. Not overly aggressive carbonation, just gives the brew a liveliness. Very fine bubbles.

O- Classic Trappist beer. Offers a great range of Belgian Ale flavours without being overly pressing like some Tripels and Quads can be. Must try for fans of Trappist beers or otherwise.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly murky and dull red brown with a two finger head of plump off-white reddish brown foam.

Caramel, toffee, plum, dates, banana, and spicy yeasts.

Yeasty, banana, clove, toffee, figs and dates, and slight caramel sweetness.

Medium-bodied, high carbonation, soft, creamy.

Overall, another top of the line Belgian. Can't go wrong with a Chimay.

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Photo of vladdswrath
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mud brown, like apple cider with a big foamy head. Aroma is all malty sweetness, with banana notes, dates and figs. Taste is amazing and just as sweet as it smells, but not overbearing. Lots of yeast and bread. There is also a delicious creaminess to the brew that makes it go down quite smoothly. Mouthfeel is as I said smooth and creamy, but with a ton of carbonation that creates an interesting contrast to the creaminess.

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Photo of Ferb
4.92/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

There is something special to me about Trappist beers, much probably is emotional. Monks being actively involved, using the labor as a means to a spiritual end, surplus wealth going to charity and of course, centuries of history in a land far away.
What I like most is the taste. This Chimay is all malt, bread and yeast tempered with dark fruits like fig, prunes and some pineapple with just a.whisper of clove. Aroma is easy echoed in
The tasting

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Photo of rex_4539
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Murky brown with some golden tint. 3-4 finger off-white head. High carbonation.

S: Nice, sweet, malty.

T: Great taste. Leaves malty aftertaste.

F: Fantastic feel on the palate due to high carbonation.

O: Outstanding beer. Better tasting than the blue Chimay.

 265 characters

Photo of Guppy314
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really wanted to taste something special because this wasn't cheap, but no not really, just simply good. Reddish brown with an unusually frothy head. There is a malty or toffee sweetness with some plum-like fruitiness and clove flavors.

 239 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler into pint glass. Pours a beautiful reddish-honey color with a modest off-white head. Initial impression is smooth, malty sweetness - maybe I'm prejudiced by the honey color, but it has a distinct honey flavor with (in decreas brown sugar or molasses, dark friut, and a very slightly bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Very drinkable. Nice.

 370 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a shining ruby brown with a very large head. The aroma offers up banana, brown sugar, and fig. The flavor follows the same course, tasting of rich fig and brown sugar, with notes of molasses and ginger also apparent. The mouthfeel is full and fluffy. Overall this a a sensationally tasty beer. Wonderfully fruity and complex, this may be my favorite Chimay.

 373 characters

Photo of jrsqc7
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bright sunshine beginning of summer William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful For What You Got" playing kids at the neighborhood playground screaming about chocolate bars. Frothy malt lingers introduces spices warmth. Fantastic.

 220 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed in "Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium", this awaits my review with another tasting.
Reviewed also in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,825 ratings.
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