Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

4,864 Ratings
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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Ratings: 4,864 |  Reviews: 1,693
Photo of bombadil
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of tat2dhllblly
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of BeerMe42
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of KidRagnarok
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of IpeeA
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of BearsDitkaBears
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of dhutton44
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of nightwing002
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Adamostella
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of nanobrew
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of CellarGimp
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of celticfutblclub
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of garuda
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of justintcoons
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of magictacosinus
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass out of a 330ml bottle. Freshness date is listed as "2015."

I've actually had this more out of 750ml bottles than the 330ml ones. Might be one of the main reasons this beer has always had a special place in my heart. It was also, like others I've already reviewed here, a beer that introduced me to great quality recipes.

I find this to be the most unmistakable dubbel that I've seen yet. It pours a deeply murky, reddish-brownish color with tons of carbonation and alcohol leggings on the glass. The head is creamy, bubbly and quite unbelievable in appearance. A great looking beer.

The smell is extremely diverse - more so in ways that not even the most over-the-top Belgian quads can match. There's caramel everywhere here, sugary and spicy aromas, and absolutely excellent fruity esters resembling raisins and dried fruits. The yeast, which in my view is the best part about Chimays, truly shines here. It smells funky but extremely fresh, wholeheartedly resembling fresh bread - or, if you want to get more technical, fruit cake that has just been baked.

The flavor and mouthfeel are massive here as well. This could be as scrumptious as dubbels get. It tastes of fruits at first, but it's extremely malty in the middle. The hops develop a nicely bitter end to the initial sweetness. Chewy, creamy and refreshing. There may be a slight watery feel and excessive carbonation at times, but I feel that it balances out the diversity of flavors in between the malts and the hops. Through this, it manages to be complex yet not antagonizing - which, to me, makes it a premier redrinkable beer.

Chimay Rouge is one of my favorites due to all of the different sides that it takes. It manages to be sweet yet still hold a bitter end. It's very malty yet diverse in fruitiness. It's thick in body yet dangerously easy to drink. The alcohol level is just right, as well. Have I had more intense beers? Yes, yet few are as revisitable as this. Beer excellence all around!

 1,995 characters

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

Pours a dark amber brown, almost opaque, but with some lighter tan/gold highlights near the edges. Maybe two fingers of off-white, light tan head. Dissipates slowly, but eventually its a very thin cap. Pretty much no lacing.

Very dry, bready smell. Very light caramel sweetness, and very very mild spice and fruit esters. More alcohol as it warms. Very reserved, past the point of subtlety. A little more here would go a long way.

Mouth follows the nose closely, but there is a bit more to it here. Caramel/spices/toasty bread meld nicely, almost gingerbread like. A touch of booze. Very subtle tartness in the fruit as it warms, a hint of apricot. Nice dry finish, sort of a mineral profile. Sweetness is not overdone, hops are barely perceptible. There is some vague bitterness, but it might be the medicinal phenols instead of the hops.

A bit too carbonated for me, but that is apparently characteristic of the style. It's otherwise got just enough body and balance.

Overall this is a beer that matches the Dubbel definition almost word for word, but it's all a little too subtle for me. Nothing stands out too much which is good and bad. It's well balanced, but conservative and traditional. A good beer, but not the best trappist, and definitely not the best of the style.

Edit: After a second tasting it's grown on me a little bit, but I maintain my overall rating. Good, but not great.

 1,400 characters

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

330cc bottle poured into a Chimay goblet
A: Hazy caramel brown with lots of carbonation and a one-finger lingering head.
S: Nondescript sweet fruit and malt, a hint of spice.
T: Complex with spice (clove in particular), herbs, fruit, malt, and a bitterness on the finish.
M: Crisp and a bit tart.
O: Certainly unique but in a good way. I love the complexity, am not a fan of the bitter finish, but I would not hesitate to get this again.

 437 characters

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

Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a Chimay chalice at Firkin.

Appearance: The pour is a caramel brown color with a general opaque nature and a medium sized tan head.

Smell: The nose is mostly smooth caramel malt, some soft orchard and dark fruits, and some Belgian spice.

Taste: The taste flows well from the nose. Caramel malt, cherry, plum, a bit of raisin and red grape notes go along with a nuanced Belgian spice. The finish is still sweet, but not as much as the start of the sip.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the light side of medium for the style. It is creamy, but also a bit fizzy. Clean and smooth,

Overall: There is a good reason Chimay beers have been around forever. They are delicious.

 701 characters

Photo of match1112
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a murky reddish brown with a two finger off white thick sudsy head that slowly fades to a thin cap of froth. smells very sweet, dark fruits (plums, raisins) malts, yeasty with a touch of clove. taste is pretty much the same as the nose. mouthfeel is crisp and lively at first, then fades into a long dry finish. overall i'm not sure what all the hub-bub is about with this beer. it's decent but not one of my favorites.

 425 characters

Photo of jonb5
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle from 2004. Poured into a palm glass. Dark ruby colour. 2 finger tanned head. Strong fruity aroma. Tasted strong hints of cherry, chocolate and mousse au chocolat. The beer had a great feel to it, it had aged well, so easy to drink but it was a sipper rather than one to drink fast.

 294 characters

Photo of orock25
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a challis...

Appearance - A dark glow. nice head with the our that fades. carbonation persists.

Smell - Sweet to the nose. you can really smell the belgium uniqueness here. I'm now getting excited to drink this beer.

Taste - Sweet with the right amount of bite. again, loving the Belgium style especially the yeast.

Mouthfeel - crisp with very little aftertaste. could be a little smoother. but gets better at the right temp.

Overall - Fantastic. I could drink this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 514 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle served in a chalice. Improved with some warming.

My favorite Belgian, as of a few years ago, but never rated and not sampled for some years.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a grand, creamy tan head that reduces to a durable top coat. Full lacing washes down the side of the glass with every sip. The head, at least, deserves a 5.

Plenty of fruity yeast in the nose, with some sweet malt, a hint of tartness, and light notes of cloves and dark fruits.

T: a tart and fruity dubbel, featuring fig and apricot notes, with a fine balance of sweet, sour and light bitter. Some mild alcohol esters complement rather than detract from the flavor. Hard to criticize, but perhaps a tad more yeasty and earthy than ideal in the finish -- or this can be part of its charm.

M - rather lively carbonation, but perfect for the medium-full body. Slight dryness in the finish.

 881 characters

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

A: Poured a glowing amber with a creamy, lingering beige head that left a thin trail of lacing all the way down the sides of the glass.

S: Dry, malty aromas reminiscent of dark bread are immediately noticeable on the nose. They are joined by faint fruity aromas reminiscent of figs, dates, and prunes before a pleasant vanilla creaminess asserts itself.

T: Opens malty and smooth with notes of chocolate, figs, prunes, dates, caramel, heavy cream, vanilla, and dark bread. The finish is sweet, smooth, and long with notes of dates, figs, caramel, and cream.

M: Medium-bodied, off-dry, and gently effervescent. Very drinkable and balanced for the style.

O: An excellent Trappist ale. I've often felt that many of Chimay's detractors are more critical of the popularity of these ales than of their quality. This exceptional beer does nothing to change my opinion.

 865 characters

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,864 ratings.
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