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Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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1,665 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: 1,665 | Ratings: 4,765
Photo of Hunter
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Admittedly, I'm coming into this one biased. Chimay produces my favorite beers, hands down. But hardly anyone will read this review anyway, so I don't care! I'll be honest in my assessment though, promise.

I loved the presentation of the large, cork-stoppered bottles when I first discovered these beers. Something's lacking in the small capped bottles; buy them only as a last resort.

OK, I'm unwinding the wire cage and popping the cork. Ah! Nice satisfying "pop".

The aroma immediately suggests earthy spices, like clove. I poured into a Gourmet (For connoisseurs, this is a must. Avoid the pint glass, and NEVER drink from the bottle). The head pours thick and creamy, but despite the cacade of bubbles it fades fast. The beer is a dark ruby color and slightly opaque, likely from the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It's clearer with a careful pour, but that's only for the aesthetically minded.

Aroma is complex as a good wine. Luxuriant waves of clove, butter, and dark berries. As the beer warms, the aroma takes on a complexity that my vocabulary fails to do justice. Just pour it and stick your nose in it.

Light, light hops and alcohol come through on the tongue first, replaced quickly by a medley of candied raisin, fruit, allspice, and buttered bread. Sadly, this doesn't linger but vanishes quickly after the swallow. Hops make a return in the aftertaste, combined with a slightly sharper astringency. Everything blends so well it's hard to discriminate between flavors, but the sum total is wonderful. High alcohol content warms you to your toes like a good snifter of brandy. The heavy carbonation adds a coarseness to the satiny mouthfeel, but it's a minor grievance.

Overall, this is one of the best I've tasted. Meant to be savored like a fine dessert wine. Those monks know what they're doing!

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Photo of psyco1
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a cloudy golden brownish with huge cream colored head.

It smells malty and fruity, like cider and apricots and just a hint of alcohol.

It's hard to define the taste, there's a lot of things going on at once. First there's sweetness and carbonation, then malts come out with the fruityness, then towards the end, it finishes dry.

This is a full feeling beer, there's a viscosity to it.

I've had some time to think this one over as I've gone through the 4 pack over the week.
I'd call this a dinner beer, it goes better with food than just about anything I've had. It even went well with chilidogs. There's something about that initial sweetness and food that made me savor every sip and bite.

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Photo of pootz
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving form: 750ml corked bottle, 2 years old;

Poured a dark clouded-ruby with a frothy cap that laced out perfectly and lasted the drink. Smells of clove, fruits,herbs and figs.

Started very bold with a large silken mouthfeel peppered with natural carbonation and a wonderful departure of the spices and fruit overtones; some brandy-soaked raisins, middle is mellowed by a honey-sweet maltiness.
The finish is drying with a bready sweetness and herbal after taste. This is a wonderful ale brewed with care and just begging to be served with a rich festive dinner. I like to buy the large bottles and let them cellar a while to bring up some more complex flavors.

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Photo of TerryW
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good looking opaque cider coloured beer with a big creamy soft head, no real lace. Tough job to pour this one into the glass as it literally exploded from the bottle.

Spicy, fruity nose with hints of vanilla. Just a whiff of alcohol as well. Sweet, but not overly so. Fun to inhale this one.

Taste is lots of fruit (oranges, raisins) and spice and malt. Gently sweet, slight hint of alcohol again to finish. Bread or yeast a quite noticeable characteristic.

Pretty decent beer, easy enough drinking, nothing to overwhelm you for better or worse.

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

Warm and fruity. The aromas and flavors of this bier speak of the Monks who have made brewing their lives work (second to God of course).

Pepper, clove, corriander and other spices all show through and blend harmoniously. The flavors are likewise. Poured in the correct glass and left to warm slightly, one can not imaginme a more peaceful existance.

Give thanks my bier fellows!


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

Poured from 330ml bottle. Strong aroma of cherries and currants. Head was creamy, with no lacing in my Chimay glass. taste of raisins and malt. Wet and smooth finish. The warming effect comes gradually, with no alcohol bite. This dubbel is nearly a perfect winter beer.

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

A: Opaque cinnamon-brownish color with a thin but lingering head.

S: Fruity and sweet. Some yeasty/bready undertones are noted. Aromas are a bit subdued until the beer warms a bit.

Taste: Sweet and fruity, raison tasting. Pretty well balanced.

M: Rich and full bodied. CO2 and alcohol levels are pretty well done. No real aftertaste to speak of.

D&N: Very tasty, nice aromas. Really fun drinking this one out of the proper glass.

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Photo of flaminghomer
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i just drank four PBR's so i'm sure that my taste buds are numbed and and that this review may be a bit off, but maybe not. smell is fruity with light grain. color is very nice. a deep copper amber. head is foamy large and loud bubbles that didn't stick too well. taste is fruity and citrus. i dont pick up very much hops. i'm glad i tried it, but it will be a long time before i buy it again.

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Photo of soper2000
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Split a 750 of this with a friend over the weekend. It was my first Chimay product. It poured a deep orangish/brown color with a billowing white head into my Guulden Draak tulip glass. Smell was loaded with spice. Taste was nice but not overly complex. Hints of clove complement the strong yeast character of this trappist. Mouthfeel was a little bit thin, thus it didn't pair well with the taste. Drinkability would be one of this beers strong points. I could sip on these all night.

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

1 pt 9.4oz corked bottle, poured into a pilsner glass, sorry, it's the only one I have.
Apperance: Golden apricot/applecider. Changes from light to dark. Clear, but I have not added the yeast yet. The head is out of this world. One of the best ive seen. Rocky like crazy, khaki in color. Tiny little bubbles shoot their shoot their way up the glass trying to push the head out of thier way. The head does not go away, and the lacing randomly glazes the glass. Light rings.

Nose: Light sweet fruits, some alcohol at the end, raisins, sweet bread. Very sweet, but not cheap, more like naturally sweet.

Taste: I dont feel all of the bubbles i saw in this brew. At first it is pasty, or powdery. The first swallow brings a background of alcohol, while in the front I get some sweet bread, and light prunes or raisins. A little flat in the mouth.

Notes: An amazing beer. This is a good example of how monks made thier reputations. The apperance of this is almost perfect.

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Photo of daledeee
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the most common Belgian brands; a little pricey. $3.99 for the double and $4.99 for the tripel.

They call this a dubbel but the color is different than any I have seen-orange and rusty. An almost uncontrollable head. I will take a few sips before I can tell you about the nose. After all that, not as much nose as I expect from a Belgian. Some fruit, spice and vanilla. The mouthfeel is rather dry and astringent.

I must say I was a little underwelmed. The competition is very tough in the Belgian teritory.

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Photo of tjd25
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The head is wonderful. Very tiny bubbles form a remarkable white foam, that never disappears. It creates a nice feeling in the mouth while you drink the beer. The beer itself is of a nice cloudy copper color. a nice smell of yeast.

I found the taste really hard to define. It is such a great and smooth balance of all the ingredients. The yeast is fairly present, and I detected some citrus aspects, grapefruit, lemon and oranges. The lemon gives the beer a refreshing aspect, balanced with the hops. Hops come afterwards, but in a very natural way, like the normal following of the malts and the yeast.It's more about the flower and fruit aspect of the hops than about mere bitterness. A very enjoyable mouthfeel. Not my favorite among trappist beers, but stilla very good brew.

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Photo of Stimack
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from a 11.2 oz bottle to a cloudy deep orange amber color, almost red, with a nice fluffy white head that sticks around for the entire brew and leaves great lacing through out the brew.

The aroma from this brew seems quite raw with highlights of very sweet malt, a spicy essence, vanilla and figs/dates, a nice smelling brew.

The taste was highlighted the spiciness and malt. The start was of the sweet malt and then you could notice a nice bite of the spiciness in the middle to end and for me had nice alcohol finish. Also able to notice a hint of what seems to be vanilla and some other herbal flavors.

Over all this is a very nice brew. First experience with this brew and will have to try the 750 ml next and then on tap at Mahars. Also will open my eye’s to try some of the other offering from Bières de Chimay.

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Photo of ark57
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a rust brown color with a slight haze and a soft, creamy head. The aroma is spicy and fruity with some bread quality to it. It is malty and is balanced by the spicy phenols and alcohol. There is a slight metallic tinge in the taste as well. It finishes drier than I would have expected for such a malty beer.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber with gold highlights. Minor head develops with small amount of lace but amazingly delicate carbonation bubbles.
Aroma of grain, amber malt and classic belgian spice and some yeast.
Flavor of pale malt, grain, spciy yeast, anise, coriander.
Mouthfeel is very effervescent and alive. Sweet hit to start and moves to spicy, dry finish with some alcohol.
Drinkability is very good but again these beers are so infinitely better out of the 750ml bottles.

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

Comes from an 11.2 oz bottle purchased from Bacchus in
Chattanooga. This beer pours a murky, muted greyish brown. I can see millions of tiny bubbles rising up to form a robust, creamy finger and a half head that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Lacing sheets the glass with its cottony texture.

Smell is sweet malts, vanilla, and figs or dates. Slight wisp of a sweet alcohol odor arising from it as well.Taste is definately sweet and musty. One thing comes to mind and that is dates lightly powdered in confectioners sugar and dust. That's not a bad thing. As it starts to warm and open up I detect more of a sweet-brandy taste coming through. Mouthfeel is definately creamy which combines well with the other aspects of this beer. Alcohol taste is non-existant. I feel as if I'm drinking my desert.

I have to say that this is definately a good beer, although I feel I may not be experienced enough to recognize some of the complexities here. The lack of a definable hop presence also puts me back a little, but I feel I could grow to enjoy the style in time.

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Photo of cypressbob
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750m bottle, corked and caged

Nice aroma perpetuating from the glass. Drunk from a chimay goblet.

Nice white creamy head which disappates soon after it is poured leaving a nice frothy brew.

Smell, whiffy bready malt, little touch of sweet brown sugar. Bourbon biscuits, yeasty aromas

Taste, crisp and slightly fizzy mouthfeel, thick cloying yeast tinged bready malt, some slightly sweet raisins and prunes

A solid dubbel, not really up to par with the smaller trappists

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Photo of merlin48
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle here, poured at cellar temperature into a St Bernardus goblet. It looks like iced tea, a hazy, chestnut brown, with virtually no head. Belgian lacing is abundant, however, and coats the goblet politely. Aroma begins with a surprising, nuttiness, followed by plums, concord grapes, fresh banana bread, and a plethora of spices. Nice!
Mouthfeel begins with fizzy, carbonation but smooths into a velvet coating.
Taste immediately conveys the complexities of a fine Trappist dark ale. There is a malt dominance, with plum and fig fruitiness, some yeasty wet cat hair, and a solid bitterness from the noble hops. Alcohol warmth is soothing near the end. Finish is both dry, and mildly fruity.
An excellent Trappist ale, among Belgium's finest. I wish I could afford to support these nice Monks on a more regular basis.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's easy to forget how good a beer is when you haven't had one for a while. The Chimay Red pours a brown to ruby red with a clean white head and some lasting lacing. It has a crisp aroma with hints of the malt and clove as well as some alcohol accent. The taste is simply great. This in my opinion is one of the best beers made. It has a multiplicity of taste that is hard to find in other beers although it is a classic Abbey beer. The strongest taste is of malt, a little smoky but not like a porter or stout. There is a hint of clove and carob, but just a hint. There is a fruitiness that reminds me of grapes and that back of the mouth bitterness of hops. This feels great in the nose, in the mouth, and going down. This may be addicting.

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Photo of stewart124
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby/golden color with a thick foamy head and decent lacing. Smells of sweet and spicy notes and a yeasty character. Tickles the nose. Very sweet smooth taste but a little watery in the feel. The body is lacking that kick. Spices and herbs are very present...mainly ginger comes to mind. Tastes a bit of candied sugars. Nice sweet aftertaste but it's missing something, still a quality brew.

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Photo of GnomeKing
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had Chimay Red many times, but, since I just decided to write a review of it, last night was the first time I scrutinized it. Realizing that the smell and taste were so floral and fruity surprised me. Red does not have the cloying taste of many beers with a strong taste of fruit. The fruit tastes are very well balanced with the malts and hops, so they only serve to enhance the taste. Overall, it's a very unique beer, but also one that is easy and pleasant to drink--it's not a novelty beer by any stretch. The carbonation and hops are slightly sharp, which is especially noticeable in the aftertaste.

The aftertaste is also a little sour, but otherwise, this is a great beer.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 33 cl stubby bottle, poured into a Chimay Goblet. Pours a medium brown with a slight red/orange cast. Slightly translucent, with a 1-finger high white head with small bubbles. Aroma is very gentle, nice, not strong and overpowering. Slightly sweet with sweet fruit-candy aroma (raisins/dates) and maybe a little chocolate. Flavor is slightly sweet like the aroma, but has a firm bite of hops. As the drink warms in the mouth, an unpleasant medicine-like sharpness comes aroound that ruins the nice flavors that come before. Overall, I was unpleasantly surprised after all the good things I had read about Chimay. This is my least favorite of the Trappists that I have tried so far.

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

Pours a hazy, rusty brown. One finger creamy off-white head and lots of lace.

Aromas of sweet dark fruit, bready yeast, and cloves.

Taste is well balanced between fruit, malt and spices, with cloves slightly dominant.

Smooth, medium mouthfeel. Crisp, dry finish adds to drinkability.

A very good beer to have around, and my second favorite among the Chimay beers.

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Photo of WesWes
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a thick off-white head that lasts. The aroma is good. It has a malty, yet very spicey scent. It smells like there are some crystal malts and ginger used. It has a strong rootbeer type aroma. The taste is good. It is light with a watery finish. It has a decent belgian brown flavor to it. It is smooth going down. There is no sign of an elevated abv. taste. The mouthfeel is great. It is a low/medium bodied beer with good carbonation . This beer drinks well; an excellent sessions beer.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The big, bubbly, khaki head leaves a little lacing. Ruby brown colored beer that seems to glow. Nutty, malty, mellow plums mix in the aroma. Light fruit, not apricot maybe apple, with dose of yeast, some caramel maltiness and some alcohol. Fizzy mouthfeel makes the body feel lighter then it is.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,765 ratings.
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