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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 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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Photo of whynot44
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium bodied, hazy rusty orange color with a robust creamy beige head and loads of tiny champagne style bubbles that last to the end.

Aroma is fairly mild but rich with sweet caramel malt, fruit (Dates?), spice (cloves?), hay, earthy, musty.

Taste is along the same lines - caramel malt, fruity, spicy - cloves, pepper, with a bit of hops bite at the end for a dry clean finish. aftertaste is dates and cloves with a definite alcohol warmth to round it out.

Very smooth. well balanced, and complex. VERY drinkable. I think I'll move to Belgium.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark-polished wood colored brown. Large cream colored head rests atop. Fair amount of lace trails. Fruity yeast scents, some sweetness. The taste is dominated by various fruit flavors, some malty sweetness. Pinch of hops, along with a drop of alcohol flavor. Full round body. Overall pretty nice.

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Photo of Zraly
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful honey brown color with a slightly off white head in my new Chimay goblet. Nice, spicy smells linger up, with a touch of alcohol to tickle my nose.

Tasty sweet malt flavors brush up against phenolic undertones in this tight, classic top fermenting ale. Spicy. Ripe fruit flavor is present. Clean, smooth finish, with the hops barely audible to the tongue. A carbonation that tingles, and an overall mouthfeel that is pleasant. Alcohol that is well masked...proceed with caution. Highly drinkable.

I'm having mine as an apertif before a nice BBQ dinner.

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Photo of medic25
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 750ml bottle. Pours a caramel-brown color with a good sized frothy white head. Pleasant, yeasty aroma. Very light, enjoyable flavor. Definitely dominated by malt, with a delicious sweetness that makes for an enjoyable aftertaste. The hops are barely distinguishable. The alcohol content is well hidden, making this an extremely drinkable beer.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a soft brown color with a moderately fluffy head atop. The head lasts for most of the drink.

Smell: The has a mixture of banana, sweet burnt sugars, malts and marmalade.

Taste: The alcohol is very present in this flavor and is pretty forward throughout. It is balanced nicely with sweet green grapes and pears.

Mouthfeel: This is very smooth, low carbonation body that seems to float in your mouth. Excellent.

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Photo of jdm
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always been a naysayer of fruit flavor in a beer. What I usually respect as a good balance between malt sweetness and hop bittering can be accomplished between fruity sweetness and hop spiciness as well. The malt flavor of a true beer is still here. I would guess that the wise monks use a butt ton (as versus a metric ton) of bittering hops in their boil. Bless those monks. I have been a moderate beer geek for a couple of years now. I am afraid that Chimay Premier has expanded my geekiness to full blown. I am ready to try about 100 other types of beer. Malt, fruit, and bitter balance combine to make this high gravity beer amazingly drinkable though a tad too dainty for my dopplebock tendencies. Go monks! One and a half finger head though difficult to pour the last half glass hard into the girly glass they served it with. The head gives way quickly even though the carbonation is quite evident to the tongue. It is not as heavy on the mouth as I expected from a beer of this strength. As a matter of fact it is really difficult for me to grasp that this is an ale and not some type of lager because of how light it is. Imagine mixing two-thirds Grolsch Premium Lager and one-third Moet and Chandon champagne and there you go. If I had stumbled upon the yeast responsible for this, I believe I would have founded a monastery myself!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice deep amber brown pour with a highly fizzy white head sitting nicely atop the brew. Looks good in my Chimay chalice. Caramel bread pudding with spices of cloves and pepper. Light fruitiness and maybe a hint of cinammon. An enjoyable nose here that's fairly complex.

First sip imparts a sweet caramel, bready malt along with a nice batch of spiciness. The yeast character comes through on the back of the palate as well as a slight sting from the spiciness. A tasty brew...however midway through it began to bore me a bit.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a champagne-esque amount of small bubbly carbonation that comes with each sip. The carbonation is really too much for me and I wish it was toned down a bit. Not one I'd actively seek out again...a good brew overall, just not my cup of tea.

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

Bottle. Pours dark dark hazy amber with reasonable white bubbly head which did not hang aroud for long. Plenty going on in the aroma, most notible is dried fruit and caramel. This transfers through to the flavour with a dry finish. Mouthfeel a little light for the style. Alcohol barely noticable, this is one that will sneak up on you.

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Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've only had the 750 ml corked bottles.

I think this beer defines the Trappist/abbey dubbel style. It has a full taste with a moderate body.

There is only enough bitterness to balance the sweetness, with little hop flavor. There is some nice malt flavour, but this beer is really all about the yeast. It has a depth of estery flavours, none of which are overpowering, just very subtle and refined.

It's not nearly as malty or heavy as some of the other dubbels. It seems a little more Belgian, and a little less German (dopplebock) than most.

I have brewed some "emulators" myself, but those monks really know what they're doing!

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Photo of scottum
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy browned brown color with a tan large full headskie that lasts and lasts. Fruity tang to the flavor which does not quite let up. Sharp hop attempts balance, but without a meaty maltness it isn't quite up to the task. Bold in flavor the taste isn't quite mellow enough for me.

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Photo of Dmann
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another winner from Chimay. I don't know why I have waited so long to try this one...probably because I was afraid it could never measure up to the Blue. Anyways this one poured a very good looking dark amber color with a nice foamy head and great looks all around. The smell was awesome with a very inviting sweetness that was all honey and cloves. The taste was very good and very drinkable due to the great carbonation and nice mouthfeel. The light spices and hops were overshadowed by the very sweet malts and bready flavor but was still quite tasty. This would be a great crossover beer for people just getting into the Belgian style.

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Photo of beersarang
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty ruby amber with a tan head. Carbonation gives a hefty and frothy head with luscious lacing down the sides of the wine glass. Vinuous.

Smells like fruit and bread, with more fruit thrown in.

Tastes much like it smells, however the ending flavor had a slightly unpleasant yeastiness. Other than that the hop bitterness is appropriate for the style, which is very low. Also the malt character and roasted flavor is nice.

Rather thin to medium bodied and fairly drinkable, other than that yeastiness.

Good, but not $8 good.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25oz bottle, $7 from Premier Gourmet, Amherst, NY.

This pours with a large foamy tan head which settles to about 2" of large bubbles and clings to the glass. I get aromas of honey, caramel, and dark fruits (maybe cherry or current). Taste is sweet and fizzy up front with a little too much carbonation, fading to deeper notes including ginger in the middle, then smoky malt with subtle grassy and cinnamon notes in the finish. Although it is fairly complex, the lasting impression is mostly a muddy mix of grain and honey. It is enjoyable, but is lacking something to make it a truly excellent beer. I would consider buying this again.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.92/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Apperas to be a rusty brown color with a large white head, and lots of visible carbonation. Smells nice and earthy, slight banana and buutter scents, kind of musty. Taste is very sweet and changes flavors several times. The butter and bananas persist, as well as the funkiness. Very well carbonated, goes down silky smooth, just begging you to take another sip. Excellent.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dim orange russet stormy hues with a settling beige ¼” tight head cap containing some tiny floating suspended particles in a CHIMAY goblet, which continuously flows the bubbles to the surface center. Sediment flows to the pit of the goblet.

Light aromatic character of yeast and some delicate bread dough notes. Once warmed some sparse malty bouquet perks with a hint of awl-kee-hawl.

First swigs: Flavors first begin with Belgian yeasty bread dough qualities. Sugar and cake malt. Dry short ephemeral aftertaste. Light benign flavors that merely hint towards the Belgian style.
Mouthfeel is to the point of an instantly overly foamy carbonation. Like an old girlfriend, this is a drinkable brew that seems to always be at my door that can’t be turned away without a quick frivolous spin before acting like it’s beneath me.

Last swigs: CHIMAY Rood is steadfast yeasty slightly vanilla peppery foamy clean Belgian. CHIMAY beers are all a slight taster. Nothing bold bowls over the tongue. [CHIMAY requires a just-right temperature. Once there, it’s sure to please] The first beer that should be tried as a cross over towards the Belgian lands of no return. 7.0 % ABV is well hidden.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

33 cl bottle, at the White Horse at Parsons Green, London. Served in "appropriate" Chimay glass (whether those wide chalices really ARE the most appropriate for savouring complex beers, is a discussion of its own). Unfortunately served far too cold - you’d think White Horse waiters knew better. For good measure, the waiter poured the beer along the side of the glass, which prevented the beer from "opening up", the head disappeared quickly and the beer kept too much carbonation. The beer has a brown colour, aroma of leather, balsamico vinegar and barnyard. Flavour is quite dry, well hopped, elements of leather and tobacco. Hints of cardamom and ginger. Aroma and flavour improves somewhat as the beer slowly warms up, but altogether this remains my least favourite of the Chimays - give me a Bleu, please! Still a decent beer, but with the Trappists I expect more. Will re-rate when I personally control the temperature and the pour.

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Photo of edchef1850
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BELGIUM!!! what else can you say. These monks can make some beer. I have yet to meet a belgiun beer i didnt like, and Chimay Rood in a goblet poured from a bottle is so right on.I love the color, the smell, the flavor is perfectly balanced for me.I have always loved Chimay, since the first time i saw Michael Jackson, sipping his way through the trappist breweries of Belgium. It is quintessential, a must try .

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Photo of mjc410
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 33 cl bottle

Appearance: Hazy, very dark golden-brown. A spiraling, massive white head, and I tried to pour it lightly. It eventually receded to a few millimeters with patchy lacing high up the glass. The lacing is amazing to look at.

Smell: Spicy yeast, slight alcohol. Woody? Incredibly rich and full smell.

Taste: Spicy from the yeast, bitter and sweet (odd) in the finish. Taste improves greatly as it warms (and I thought that I'd waited long enough!) No hop hints noticed. Aftertaste lingers longer than I can wait until my next sip. I can't personally put my finger on the various flavors, but it really is simply GOOD.

Mouthfeel: Thick, coating. Carbonation is not really noticable, just thick and yeasty.

Notes: I almost gave this beer a mediocre review. Then I let it warm up more. This needs to be served at the correct temp. (10-15 degrees below room temp, I think). It's a lot of fun, and I hope to try some more and the rest of Chimay's offerings.

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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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