Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

4,873 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: 4,873 |  Reviews: 1,696
Photo of MinnesotaRIS
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle. Pours with average body. Probably too cold but I did not get a great deal of head on this one. Very little lace and residual foam. Red color, darkened amber, slight haze though that can be attributed to bottle trub. Bubbly.

S malt, low, earthy hop aroma. Smells Belgian.

T - a touch of alcohol on the tongue that rounds out into the Belgic tartness and sl. sourness. Very full mouthfeel, bubbly on the palate and low hop flavor. Aftertaste that leaves one wanting to savor this one rather than drink it quick. Very balanced beer.

I would have this again and it makes me desire to try all the Abbey beers.

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Photo of Outchillen
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers, and probably my favorite belgian
A: Nice reddish amber, nicely carbonated, head fades quickly
S: Nice and lightly malty, sweet and floral
T: Sweet and smooth, nice malty and great yeast flavor
M/D: nice and light, very good example of a dubbel, I could drink this all day

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Photo of cpmichael
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone snifter, Bottle says L09-087

A: Pours a ruby-red with a minimal amount of head in the glass. Not overtly carbonated.

S: There is a strong presence of malts with some caramel and toffee in there. Hints of cloves and a bit of yeast.

T: Pretty strong on the malt and yeast profile, with a bit of toffee. There is a touch of hops on the back end of this beer.

M/D: This beer wasn't very carbonated and that might have hurt its complexity. There just was not a lot going on and this beer never really kept my interest throughout the pour. Mediocre flavor. I would grab a Rochefort 8 or Westmalle dubbel anytime over this.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Making my way into the land of the Trappist Ales.

Chimay Red, poured from a stubby into a New Belgium globe.

Pours the color of hazy ice tea, a deep amber hue. A finger or so off-white head settles slowly into a consistent ring. Alcohol legs are ok. Attractive beer.

Smell is instantly of green apples and white grapes and white wine. Spicy and sweet, a little alcohol, a little bready/yeast character. Floral too...nice.

Medium bodied, good carbonation. The immediate flavors are spices; ginger, clove, and a mint-like numbness to the tongue. The malts contribute some breadiness and blend together with the yeast character. At the end of the mouthfeel there are some hints of powdery dark chocolate. The apple rind/white wine/funk from the nose show up on the aftertaste, with a lingering sweetness...tart maybe? The alcohol warms you up as the beers temperature rises.

Overall a good beer, drinkable but not overly so...Dubbels are not my favorite style so far, I need to try a few more to compare this one to.

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Photo of SirSketch
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby brown color and a fizzy head, which fades quickly. Nose is surprisingly spicy and yeasty with a bit of heat and a great grain character. Smells a little of unfermented wort (which is not such a bad thing). Some fruity esters come out in the taste. Roasty and caramel flavors appear, too. Very enjoyable, straightfoward, and archetypal example of a dubbel.

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Photo of nickshep7
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle (7/20 date on the cork) poured into Chimay Chalice. 3 fingers of gorgeous creamy of white head. Excellent retention w/ a little less lacing down the glass. Smell was caramel and Belgian yeast (mmm). Taste was similar to nose, but had a little bit of a lingering metallic taste/feel. I've had this with 18 months of age on it in the past and remember it being much, much better (A+ quality). Overall, I like this brew a lot. I think I may pick up a few to cellar for football season -- seems like a great fall sipper.

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

750ml bottle with 02/10 stamped on the cork. Just over a year old at this point.

Opened with a loud pop of the cork and poured in the glass with a hazy crimson color, filling it up to form a nice light brown body with rusty red highlights. Beige colored head fills the glass for about an inch thick and hangs around for quite a bit.

Aroma is greets you with a phenolic spice of cloves before a fruity note of raisins and plums comes along. Malty sweetness steals the show but leaves room for just a bit of the yeast profile to come through.

Taste reveals a bit more complexity but still remains strong with the dark fruit flavors, giving it a flavor similar to that of grape juice. Yeats profile adds a bit of spice as expected with some clove and medicinal notes.

Mouthfeel is rather light but quite lively. Overall, you can't go wrong with this dubbel. I feel dubbels do not get the attention they deserve in the world of Belgian beer and while this is not my favorite of the style (Westmalle is pure greatness), a beer like this should surely get more love.

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

A&S - Beautiful cloudy amber with a 2 finger creamy tan head with a lot of lacing. Bready aromas, coriander, roasty malts and lots of stewed dark fruit.

T&M - Super sweet and malty with a bitter finish and some great carbonation. Medium body.

D - Not to bad for a beer with a cork.

Go out and buy this one. So much to say. Great looking bottle fascinating backstory about the Trappist brewery and the Monks. I believe the Blue is darker than this one, but this beer is great for getting into craft brews. The Blue might be too strong for some in that category. The appearance is amazing as well as the mouthfeel. Despite the cork this has ton of carbonation making a medium bodied mouthfeel. Go support the Monks and buy this beer. Makes a great centerpiece haha. Stay Thirst My Friends!

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

This beer pours a rich murky amber and builds up a nice beige prickly head. It leaves some lacing on the glass, but not as much as I expected.
The smell is very aromatic and announces fruitiness and good malts.
The taste is quite remarkable and greets you with plums, prunes, some apple and raisin up front, followed by caramel ,brown sugary malts and being nicely kept in check by a great selection of hops, just the right amount. The yeast adds nice creamy feel. The alcohol is nicely hidden and will hit you at some point hard.
Very drinkable brew with good carbonation and freshness. Very good brew!

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Photo of arghbowl
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay goblet

A - Poured a very dark amber to copper with a nice fluffy 1/4" or so head.

S - Raisin and caramel up front, with a slightly spiced scent lingering in the nose.

T - Looks are deceiving. This tastes nothing like it looks, as it tastes like a very welcoming, but looks like it could be rather harsh. Again, rasins, and caramel dominate, but there's also a nice spiced finish. Very pleasant, and certainly invites another sip. Great aftertaste that isn't unpleasant at all. Sweet and savory at the same time.

M - Pleasant but somewhat syrupy. Nice level of carbonation - not too much or too little.

D - Almost too drinkable. Taste will leave you wanting more, and a large bottle would most likely be the perfect amount. Not a beer you can drink too many of, but with a beer this good you shouldn't want to.

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

The pour was really well done here with a nice amber color with a light hint of caramel around the edges, big head comes up and over the top and settles down gently into a firm and long lasting pillow with loads of side glass lacing. Aroma is nice, much sweeter then I was expecting. Lots of caramel and malts right up front here, light hint of an herbal note boucning around as well, but not terribly strong. Warming brings out a yeast note that is quite intresting and adds a light fruit touch to it, but very sweet still. Flavor again is very intresting and not what I was expecting. Rich notes of caramel and almost candied like sugar abound here. Light touches of hops play on the tongue now as well, very intresting. Comes across almost like an amber ale to me, has that bready maltiness and caramel flavor I associate with it. A bit thin on the feel but the carbonation really saves it and gives it that little bit of pop to pull you in. Soo nicely done that it goes down like candy and really just a smooth and really nice drinking beer.

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

A - Poured from a corked n caged bottle into a Chimay goblet. Pours a dusty ruby color with with hazy blond highlights. A creamy khaki head settles atop the beer and slowly fades to a low fog.

S - Aroma has got that Belgian malt profile bigtime, sweet brown sugar, raisins, caramel.

T - Up front is really raisiny, little spicy reminiscent of brown spiced rum, faint green grass taste.

M - Velvety, slightly chewy, good carbonation.

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Photo of dbaker61
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A deep coppery-brown color, just a hint of haze. Poured with a huge (+2") light tan head, which settled down to a ring in a couple of minutes. Left minimal lacing.

Smell: Overripe fruits, plum, currant, cloves, a little yeast.

Taste: Malty but not very sweet. The malts and hops are well balanced. Just a little bitterness after the malt flavor leaves.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a ton of carbonation. Slightly sticky. A hint of alcohol.

Drinkability: Very nice, but I don't want too many of these. I can come back to it day after day, but not one I'd pound down multiples of. One of the tall bottles would be perfect (I had the 330mL one here, left me wanting just a few more sips).

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Photo of desiderius
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful caramel color (brown-red against light); little transparency; little carbonation evident; head dissolves quite quickly and leaves no lacing. Fine sediment in the glass after pouring in the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: Much less aroma than I had hoped for, though overall balanced and pleasant. Hints of dark fruit, malt and alcohol.

Taste: Softer than expected, and almost delicate. Hints of indeterminable dark fruit; mild hops at the background; mild typically belgian malt basis. Flavors are less complicated and rich than expected for a trappist brew, but balance perfectly. Both sweetness and bitterness are minimal and just as much needed for correct balance (for my taste). More bitterness and hops after pouring the sediment in.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body contrasted nicely to some crisp carbonation, rolls pleasantly on the tongue.

Drinkability: Exceptionally drinkable brew; doesn't show its 7% ABV; could be compared to a lager (well, almost) and I could definitely drink it in a warm summer night (though not day). My 330 mL bottle was not enough.

This may be a less complicated and seductive drink than other trappist brews, but I suppose a good beer doesn't have to be robust and overwhelmingly complex. I could call it a great combination of trappist quality and drinkability.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance; light tan head, quickly dissipates with little lacing. Hazy tawny colored body.

smell; mildly sweet plums mixed with yeasty bread dough. Caramelized brown sugar with some spiced hops, just a hint of allspice and dried dusty lentils.

taste; plums wrapped in a buttery coat with some earthy notes. Like butter fried fresh morels and plum preserves. The hops are subtle but add a citus note that blends well with some mild sours in the finish.

mouthfeel; very rich, with a stinging carbonation, mellowed out with alcohol warmth and numbness. Sticky and slick in the finish.

drinkability; very drinkable and pleasant, has a numbing warmth from the alcohol that gives a sense of well being, I like this much.

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

Pours a nice caramel brown. Full off white head that was rich but didn't last too long.

Aroma is full of Belgian fruitiness. Not sure how to describe it, but it's a distinctively Chimay smell. Whenever I use the Chimay strain in brewing, I get the same aroma I can only describe as Belgian fruitiness. Otherwise, a bit plain aroma-wise.

Taste is better than the aroma. Bready malt with more of that Belgian fruit and a little herbal hop spiciness.. Nice complex beer for one that's also very easy drinking. Quite a light body for a rich beer. Carbonation helps the mouthfeel be fuller, but this is a pretty light drinking beer that it would be easy to down too quickly. Very nice beer.

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Photo of vkv822
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into chalice.

Pours a murky dark caramel brown with a frothy off-white head.

The nose is bready, with hints of clove and caramel.

The taste has notes of apple and faint dark fruit as well as some faint pepper and clove with a malty caramel sweetness.

The mouthfeel was pleasant, with a medium body and subtle carbonation. It does feel just a bit thin at times though.

Overall a well done and easy drinking beer, though I didn't really feel that anything stood out in particular for me.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The brew pours a rich, caramel brown color. The head stands two fingers high, and is composed of elegantly stacked, tiny white bubbles, with islands of bigger, frothy tan bubbles bobbing about. This disappears at a medium pace, with little lacing left to remind us of it. While the color acts to take the translucency away, there is an additional yeasty haze to the look. No outright sediment is noted, and carbonation looks light to medium. The nose is serious, with bready malts playing loudly over a robust yeasty background. There is faint grassiness that falls somewhere between sour and sweet. Orange rind also periodically dips in and out of the nose. Tasting, we begin with malts, malts, and malts. At the inset they seem overly mild, but as the flavor settles on the tongue a bitterness is revealed. This is from the fusion of the yeast with the malts, which seems to be inseparable, and boldly represented. Through the middle some further bittering clovey phenols mix in, along with a hint of citrus. We finish with a mouthful of yeast, and a washing of clean malts to the end. The aftertaste is bitter to the feel of the tongue on the palate, and breathes with malts, an odd hint of molasses, and booze. The body of the beer is medium and the carbonation is extreme. With each sip the tip of the tongue is attacked by biting bubbles, with the rest of the mouth filling up with foam. The frothiness was pleasant, and the beer was very creamy, if not overly so. The abv is appropriate and the beer drinks fine.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew is how no-nonsense it is. Many dubbels can run the risk of presenting as too sweet or syrupy, but here we find one that is bold in its malting and yeasting, and not afraid to highlight them. It is quite a simple brew, but it leaves the drinker happy. The one downfall is the over carbonation. It is equitable to drinking a highly fizzy glass of champagne, mouthfeel wise, which acts to detract from the beer's otherwise pleasantness.

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Photo of WAN2RIDE
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

An off white head of fine bubbles sits atopa translucent brown/amber brew.

Smell is of caramelized sugar and browned apples.

Taste is spicy/peppery upfront with a lightly toasted and candied nut flavor following, not really nutty but somewhat praline
actually. Not much belgian yeast flavor, which surprises me, and a very slight hops/alcohol dryness and astringency after swallowing and waiting a moment.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated and refreshing.

Very nice and not too heavy or too biting.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into a chalice.

Pours a deep rich reddish-brown color, small head that fades fast and no much lacing on the glass.

Smell is a mix of peppery spice, candied sugar, light fruity esters and a sweetness from the malt.

Taste has an aggressive carbonation that pricks the tongue, bit on the high side for me, definitely picking up the peppery spice in the forefront with the candied sugar adding a touch of sweetness in the aftertaste, the alcohol feels stronger than I would expect, finishes very dry.

Can't believe it took this longer for me to try something from Chimay.

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Photo of pburland23
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into my Chimay chalice.

Enjoying a night cap on a Friday night after a busy week. Couldn't have picked a better brew.

Pours a hazy crimson red with an aggressive, effervescent off white head that lingered before settling into some world class lacing. Smell is inviting, it's peppery but sweet with cloves and some fruitiness...bananas, peaches, apricots.

Taste is spot on for a Belgian dubbel. Taste is fruity and spicy with a great balance between the sweetness of the malt and some slight hops bitterness. There is definitely some fruit flavor (plum) and more cloves. The traditional Belgian yeastiness appears in the background of each sip and it ties the whole taste experience together well.

The mouthfeel is middling and the carbonation is sublime. It was constant throughout the entire beer. As for drinkability, the 7% is hidden quite well. I could stand to have a few of these in a sitting although I'd be paying for it in the morning. All in all, another wonderful beer from the trappist monks at Chimay.

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Photo of BinaryBeer
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice. Dark reddish-brown hue, a slight head appears shortly after the beer settles.

S: Sweet & Spicy. Hints of cherry, white pepper and malt.

T: It doesn't seem like the taste matches the smell. Slightly sweet, not as spicy as expected, some bitterness to the aftertaste.

M: Some carbonation, very light feeling, almost foam-like.

D: Definitely not a session beer, but did go down very easily. Could definitely drink a few without problem.

Would recommend for anyone that enjoys a decent Dubbel.

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

I had the big bottle of this Chimay and poured some into my tulip...

It pours a murky reddish brown, There is a thick, off white, bubbly head that is very active.

You can smell tart cherries, white grapes, and a touch of sweetness and maybe plum.

It's just a bit sour, a hint of cherry, a little lemon and grass and a yeasty aftertaste.

This feels a lot lighter than I expected, there is lots of carbonation and a tart, dry finish.

I thought Cimay Premiere's flavor was a little mellow, the smell was great, it drinks very easy and I would definitely drink it again.

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

A: deep dark hazy and cloudy mahogany into a chimay chalice. A thin khaki head hang around for the experience and leaves spotted lacing.

S: wet leather, in a good way, belgian candi sugars and bready dark malts.

T: more of the candi sugars and yeast. There isn't any discernible hop profile and minimal malt notes. The sweetness is almost cloying.

MF: heavy body and a little thick and chewy.

D: I wouldn't pick up the singles but wouldn't pass up the mixed pack with the glass.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle

A- Hazy and slightly murky light brown. One finger off-white head that quickly recedes to a very thin top-covering layer. Moderate lacing

S- Sweet malts and yeast combination: slightly bready, caramel, brown sugar. Some alcohol in the mix giving it a faint rum-like feel. Some dark fruit notes on the back of things

T- Sweet malts as the smell suggested. Caramel and bready notes whit the faintest hint of roastiness. Yeast definitely plays an important role in this beer, with a persistent sweet, sugary feel and some light spicy notes (expecially clove) on the back of things. Dried dark fruit background notes as the smell suggested: plum, raisin, maybe peach

M- Medium body and carbonation. Nicely smooth. A bit too dry for the style, expecially on the palate, not fitting very well with it's creamy, malty character.

O- Straightforward dubbel. Not the most complex out there, but still quite peculiar as Chimay yeast is pretty easily detectable. Drinkability and overall balance are quite nice. Felt a bit heavy on my stomach

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,873 ratings.
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