Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

1,683 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: 1,683 | Ratings: 4,837
Photo of TinusTime
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium reddish brown with a large slightly off white head that lasted a good while. Smell is fruity with a touch of white pepper sharpness and what seemed to be just a touch of camphor. Taste is malty and fruity strong at the beginning. The spicyness seems to come in just when the beer might seem to be getting too sweet. Some tartness at the end but not a lot. Over all a steady offering. I would drink it again, but at the price I might choose something with a bit more personality

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

750ml bottle. Been sitting in my fridge about a year (cork reads 03/03). I let it warm up a bit after taking it out, and it gushed out over the top when I popped the cork...what the heck? After I let it gush out in the sink, I poured a glass in a proper Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown with a good head of creamy foam.

Aroma: bready, yeasty aroma.

Flavor: Good malt, with strong estery notes (raisins, perhaps? plums definitely), though not as strong as many abbey ales, low hops. Alcohol slightly detectable but not strong. Nice body. Drier finish than I remembered, over fairly quick.

Though I prefer the Chimay Cinq Cents best of the line, I do try to get in a few Reserve's and Grand Reserve's a year. When I first tried it about 12 years ago, I found it shocking and nearly undrinkable; now it's just one of a number of trappist and abbey beers I drink regularly, and though it's not the most interesting one out there, its still a classic.

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

750 ml bottle.

Pillow-like, off white head that settles after a moment. Plenty of noticeable carbonation. Some yeast-floaties are also present. Thin, spotty lacing that has trouble sticking. Ruby red hue and light brown in appearance.

Faint nut-like aromas along with some dark fruit (cherry, grapes). Malty sweetness. Alcohol presence is also apparent.

A malty sweetness that isn't too sweet due to the carbonation that cuts through the dubbel. An oak flavor drives this ale. Some faint fruity esters that provide a mild tartness. A warming alcohol flavor is also present throughout.

Medium bodied; The carbonation is a bit high but doesn't override the flavors. Actually quite refreshing and not too heavy.

Very enjoyable. Not the best dubbel I've had but definitely worth a try. The heavy alcohol aroma/presence isn't hidden well at all and 'could' limit the amount of pints consumed. Otherwise a nice dubbel.

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Photo of DrJay
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, dark reddish-brown. Thick off-white head that settled to a fine lace after a couple minutes. Light clove and peppery spiciness, some malt sweetness, and fruity esters were present in the aroma along with some light phenolic character. Most of the aromas carried through into the flavour with much less spiciness and a little boost to maltiness. Additionally, there was a slight alcohol warming, the fruitiness was reminiscent of plums, and there was a light bitterness providing some balance. The finish was more malty, with little bitterness coming through. Medium/high carbonation adds to the medium body to produce a very smooth texture.

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

The bottle says it's '11,20 oz.,' which I'm guessing is 11.2 oz. Pours a cloudy reddish color, with a nice, thick bone white head that receeds a bit, but hangs around. Smell is lightly hoppy, and has a bit of a fruity aroma.

Taste starts out kinda sweet, but turns tart towards the end. Reminds me somewhat of like a grape juice, I think. A few other fruity flavors in there, as well, but hard to put a finger on. Feels crisp in the mouth, and pretty clean, but it feels a little bubbly around the edges.

All in all, it seems like a very good beer, for one of my early ventures into the style.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a cloudy dark amber / brown ale with a small beige head. A sweet fruity aroma with a spicey hop characteristic. The fruity sweetness tantilizes the tip of your tongue at first. Then a smooth spicey hop presence perculates on the middle of your tongue and the finish leaves a great tasty coating in your mouth.

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

Boom! I popped the cork, and poured this garnet (or darker - where's my home depot color match) liquid. There was little head formation, but the aroma of candied sugar, and raisins was enticing. The brew was light bodied, and well tempered. As dubbels go, it seemed mild but employed a palate of flavors to create subtle and shifting moods. The sugars and raisons were the dominate flavors, but some hints of banana and maybe even close made their way into the flavors. Each taste seemed slightly different but always enjoyable.

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Photo of BJ1833
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very excited to try this brew as I've read much about the trappist ales. Pours a light brown, almost gray color. Nose is very fruity, almost like a bowl of mixed berries, with a hint of spice. The mouthfeel is very smooth, but maybe a bit overcarbonated. This is full of different flavors, tasting something new with each drink. The first taste is yeasty with a strong date and raisin flavor. The spice flavors come through with the next drink as well as a slight banana flavor.

This beer is much of what I expected, very flavorful and complex. I can't wait to try the blue and tripel ales.

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Photo of mntlover
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a redish brown with a off white headthat doesn't last long. Aroma is good sweet fruity and malty with light wiff of alcohol. Tastes is malty with light fruit flavor and light yeasty bread flavors followed by lightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light medium drinkability is good but honestly for the price you can get so many better beers. I know lots of people think highly of Chimay but I fail to see why, still have the blue to go hopefully it will live up to the hype.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a 25.4 oz bottle of this for my birthday. Hell yeah!
Date on the cork says 11/03.

Pours out light orange with the biggest friggin head I've ever seen! Fluffy, frothy, and arrogant...this beer's got some class! Bread-like malts with light, flowery, perfumy hops. Also a nice fruity aspect to it. Apples, pears, and even some peach scents and flavors in there. Mouthfeel was a little chalky, but the drinkability is very high. I killed this sucked faster than I wanted to, but I enjoyed every second of it!

The only improvements that could be made to this beer would be to make it a little less carbonated and the mouthfeel is a little dry. Other than that, a top-notch beer that was very enjoyable. Can't wait to try the Chimay Blue...

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

Color: murky dark brown

Head: Bubbly, 2 fingers, faded to very thin.

Smell: slight floral

Taste: the dubbel really shows in this one. I was expecting more of a trappistes style. The result is a beer that in mouth feel is bubbly, but also seems like an ale. I think it is a median between the two in mouth feel. The flavor reminded me at first of a bubbly brown ale, then progresses into a little spicyness, and finishes very very clean with a little hopps. little lingering flavor.

drinkability: good, i could go through a bottle or 2 in a night.

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

Holy beer.

Pouring a dark amber, rich red, rosewood, dark oak colour. Untransparent, with a great deal of off-white, foamy, creamy head, which seemed to recede very quickly after sipping. The lacing is intensely sticky, staying like paint on the glass. Aroma is definite apricot and apple, with yeasty fruitiness and wood/oak smells. Immensely fruit-filled aroma which is heavenly. (Excuse the pun.) Cream, subtle spices, roasted sweetness of malt, and some very soft, buttery smells I find hard to describe. The taste is everything hoped for: strongly fruity, warmly alcoholic, yeasty, creamy and highly carbonated, dense, filling, and long-lasting. Apples, peaches, apricots, oak, aged cheese, sweet bread, musk, dust, and a sweet finish, yet one which leaves the mouth quite dry with a definite hop feel. It has a very "aged" feel to it, tasting like something that has been slowly developing in a dark mediaeval cellar for years and years. Tasting the last bit from the bottle, with the lees, makes for a superbly natural taste: supremely earthy tasting, ultra healthy, full of vital vitamins. The mouthfeel, for me, is perfect--literally. At first it is smooth and liquidy, but in the middle it becomes very foamy, but goes down incredibly easily. This, however, makes the drinkability quite dangerous: these can go down ever so easily, ever so quickly. But this is not a beer to be taken quickly, any more than a classic book is to be read with over-haste. Drinkability is still first rate. Enjoy every drop of this, slowly. These monks found a taste of heaven.

(Aged for two years, a bottle of this beer takes on an even better aroma, which is hard to believe. Now, strong pineapple aromas. Strong "meat" smells: not the roasted aromas of a burnt malt such as in a stout or porter, but a much cleaner, spiced meat smell. I cannot get enough of the aroma--there are so many nuances. Massively strong fresh bread/yeast notes dominate. Nuts, pine wood--it goes on and on. Ageing has also created a smoother mouthfeel, with more phenolic warmth. Upon my word, you have not truly tasted this beer until you have aged it for a few years. This makes me want to go out and buy 12 of these and cellar them, to save for very special occasions.)

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Photo of heidelbeerg
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy, dark reddish caramel color with a large off white head. The smell is fruit and yeast. Reminds me of red wine. The taste is good but I was a little disappointed. I was expecting something more complex. I tasted a nice cider and wine taste along with yeast. Hop flavor was almost non existent. This beer is smooth and the carbonation is good. This beer is absolutely better than most, but does not quite live up to the price it commands. If you have the chance to try it, do so.

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Oxblood with rust undertones. Slightly cloudy. Both fine and large carbonation--that's a first. White, loose head with moderate retention. Thick lacing and legs.

Smell: Immediately yeasty and musty. Next is honey followed by a bracing spiciness. Clove is most obvious, with allspice and perhaps a bit of ginger. A thin cabernet smell floats over the top, with hints of black fruit. As it warms, there is a sense of bready malt followed by an increasingly strong red apple scent. If THAT'S not complex, I don't know what is.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Yeast and spice are heavy, perhaps even overpowering, up front. There is a definite peppery flavor as well. The alcohol provides a bit of heat. It's sweet overall, though not necessarily malty. It's a bit disappointing--at first. However, as it warms and decants a bit, many of the flavors from the scent come though, and each sip is a bit different. Eventually, it blends into a lovely brandy flavor. The mouthfeel is less interesting, surprisingly thin, a bit coating (especially with the yeast added) with crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: Too spicy (at least while it's fresh) and high ABV to drink too much of. It's terrific as an after-dinner cordial, though.

Patience is key, grasshopper. At first, this beer comes off as a bit overspiced and too upfront. However as it warms and decants, it really reveals itself and provides layer upon layer of unique flavors. This is a beer to savor over the course of an hour or so; otherwise, I think much of what it offers is lost. Complex and rewarding for those with the time and self-control to do it right.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent Beer here. Enough Said! The appearance and aroma were a perfect example of a belgian abbey. Nice thick head that remained until the last wonderful sip. The only way to enjoy one of these is with the silver tipped chimay chalice. I am very excited because I had this at a new bar/club so they may have just found my weakness for their business.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this Belgian very slowly in order to keep the sediment in the bottle and not to create a glass full of foam. Used a large wine/water fluted glass. After pouring an off white, foamy head of about a finger and a half was left over. Throughout the life of the beer in the glass, a small amount of lace lingers on the sides and gently rolls back down into the liquid.

The aroma is fabulous, one of the things I like best about this beer. It is fruity, much like a dry wine. The taste is very pleasant and mildly spicy. It leaves only a slight, and again, very pleasant after taste. The mouthfeel is wonderful, made possible by the excellent combination of carbonation and yeast.

A very good beer and one of my new favorites. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Globetrotter
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found this in a supermarket on the western outskirts of Moscow. Brown 33cl stubby with a red and white label featuring the shield from the brewery and "Trappist beer" in English, Italian and Spanish. Ingredients include "wheat starch" and sugar. Best before the end of 2007, I opened it on 5/22/04.

Pours a murky cola brown under a reddish brown two finger head that settle a bit too quickly, lacks contour and leaves no lace. The nose is mild, with a hint of sweet fruit (raspberry?) and yeast. The mouth is light and quite prickly. The taste is disappointingly thin. There's a bit of fruity sweetness and a healthy portion of yeast, but little else and nothing particularly noteworthy. There's a touch of hops once it starts to warm, but this is remarkably bland for the style. It's not bad, but compared to its siblings and cousins, this is definitely a weak sister.

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

Solid brown color with amber hues, a full pillowy beige head, awesome carbonation, and sheets of lace. Strong clove spice aroma with apple-ish fruit aromas underneath and a nice yeasty note. Nice spicy clove flavor with figs and raisins to balance it out. Medium-full bodied and warming with a strong finish.

PURE DELIGHT ! One of the best Belgian breweries in the world... hands down.

Per Label: "Authentic Trappist Product"

Note: #11 in Stuart Kallen's "The 50 Greatest Beers in the World"

Cork Date: 10/03
Tasted: 05/20/04

($7.49 / 25.4 oz Brown champagne style bottle corked and caged)

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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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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,837 ratings.
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