Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
4,905 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: 4,905 |  Reviews: 1,708
Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle into a Chimay goblet

A: Loosely formed 1 finger head. Deeply cloudy reddish brown in color.

S: Not a lot of aroma going on here. Sweet malt, some honey/molasses and dark fruit.

T: Bready. Soft pretzel-like flavors. A light metallic taste masks a lot of other flavors. Small clove/spicey yeast. A little fig.

M: Highly carbonated.

D: I have had Red before and thought it better then. Changing tastes or bad bottle, I don't know but I call it how I see it.

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Photo of ivanwatling
2.35/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Frothy head, that started to spew out of the bottle when I took the cap off.

Smell: Nothing special, typical of a trappist ale

Taste: A huge disappointment. It was simply unpleasant. Sure, it had characteristics typical of a trappist ale but something was not right. I tried several sups before pouring the rest away

Mouthfeel: Too lively

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Photo of uustal
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red/brown/orange combination with a two-finger cream/brown head. Aroma of dark fruits, sweet candied malt and a bit of Belgian spice. Flavor begins with the sweet candied malt. Plum, date and raisin dark fruit malt as well. Bread and caramel. Good sweetness. Belgian spice and a bit of earthy hopped finish to counteract the malt.

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Photo of richkrull
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark amber color with a big slightly off-white head. Lots of malt character in the nose. Also smells like fruit to me. Tastes like quite a bit of fruit coming through as well. Slight bitter dry aftertaste as well. Medium bodied mouthfeel. Goes down pretty easy. This is a pretty good tasting beer overall. I can't really think of any negatives against it.

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Photo of clayphilly
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this with John, Fatim. It pours great, not to heady, and the beer is well balanced, just not my taste for some reason. You can tell this is a "type" of beer, and the recipe is obviously perfected, but just not my style. Chimay Blue is heads and shoulders better.

-33cl bottle
-Flandes Bar, Oviedo, Asturias

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a medium copper color with a two finger caramel head. Very difficult to see through this beer, very cloudy. Head sticks around for a while, and leaves decent lacing. March 2010 vintage, so this one's a little over a year old. Served in my Chimay chalice.

S- The smell is really nice. Lots of spice- cinnamon, clove, along with yeast, malt and other light spices, maybe some honey. This beer has a really easy smell to recognize. Of course, I've had this one quite a bit as well.... Very pleasant, not too heavy or harsh. Very balanced.

T- Very good taste as well. It's got an earthy taste to it, w/ the spices making their appearance. Very balanced as well, nothing really is out of whack on this one. There's also a sweet malty flavor that tries to overwhelm everything, but disappears on the aftertaste. Aftertaste is nice and malty, and last a while.

M- Mouthfeel is really nice- very creamy and malty w/ a slight sweetness. Really great- It's not too heavy, and not too light- just perfect for this type of beer. Very complex as well. The warmer it gets, the more the flavors and complexity come out.

O- This is a great Belgian dubbel, and an easy one to drink. I tend to like the blue label a bit better, but for the style - this is a staple that I really enjoy. Easily available and worth the pick up if you enjoy great beer.

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Photo of FanofHefe
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with some slight orange hue and slightly hazy. Very carbonated - big bubbly light tan head that has decent retention.

A lot going on in the aroma. Dark fruit, bready yeast, caramel malt, and some Belgian spice.

The flavor is even more complex than the aroma. Plum, raisin, and some slightly tart citrus flavors. Spicy yeast flavors and some bready malt.

Very high level of carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. Chimay is legendary but this one comes in a little lower than the white and blue. Still a very good brew.

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Photo of drtth
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chimay challice. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a very lightly hazed brown color with an orange tinge to it. The 1/2" head is very light tan and fluffy. The head persists nicely and leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass. For most of the beer, sipping produces some lacing, most of which slides back down to the liquid.

Smell: The aromas include caramel and dark fruits (raisins, plums) with a hint of spice (clove?).

Taste: The flavors include the caramel sweetness, the dark fruits (plums and raisins) and all have a tinge of spiciness that is subtle but reminds me of cinnamon and clove.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth but is also a bit prickly with the active carbonation. The medium length finish begins in the sweeness of the malt. It then begins trailing off but seems reluctant to yield the stage to the hops. While the finish does get dryer to the end, the grassy hops never do really assert themselves here to end things off.

Drinkability and Overlall Impression: Quite drinkable this one. I've had it before but now think that I've not had it as often as it or I deserve. I'll be changing that. There is just enough loss of sweetness in the finish that taking the next sip is quite natural and easy. A bit more sweetness would bee too much. I'll be happy to have this one again as I think there's a good bit of complexity here that needs to be sampled several times to be fully appreciated. My overall impression is that this is a well made nicely balanced beer and well worth having.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330mL capped bottle, with bottle code of L10-734. no idea-bottled in 2010? poured into official Chimay goblet.

appears a cloudy orangish brown color, with foamy off-white head that condenses into tightly packed bubbles to form a thin covering. aroma is a bit herbal, with yeast

taste has a touch of sweetness, bready, with a fairly dry finish that's a bit fruity. just a bit off, odd aftertaste. body is a bit thin, moderate carbonation.

overall, disappointed. it didn't stand up to many of the other dubbels/belgian dark ales that I've had.

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Photo of b3shine
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft to said chalice. The perfect appearance for a Belgian dubbel. Orange and hazy; fairly opaque for its color. Great citrus bouquet. Tastes the part, too, and is the quintessential beer of its type. Very subtly carbonated. Mouthfeel is good too. An oldie but goodie.

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Photo of Jinholic
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very dark brown can't see through it at all, off white head only got 1 finger. Didn't get any lacing at all, but I am only using my little dollar store goblet (my kingdom for a westvleteren glass).

Smell - Nice yeast up front with lots of dark fruit in the back, grapes, fig, plum not all that powerful though.

Taste - All that yeast and fruit hit me at once with a nice earthy spice with sweetness from the malts to balance it out.

Mouthfeel - Rather smooth with the carbonation. For being 7% I was expecting a drier finish but it was pleasantly clean.

Overall - A balanced beer that has lots of flavor in it, I only wish it didn't cost so much. That said go grab one and see for yourself.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Medium dark bown cloudy body with a small barely offwhite head with good retention.

Smell - Dusty when it's too cold. After warming up slight banana. Some unidentifiable smell I haven't smelled since childhood and that I for some reason associate with the color purple and maybe some kind of hot grain cereal. Just for nostalgia sake, that gives the score a boost.

Taste - Very interesting and complex. Strangely, not exactly enjoyable. But not bad. First beer I've had that could be described as such.

Mouthfeel - Creamy with carbonation, medium full body.

Overall - Very interesting beer. Pretty good too. More interesting than good, but still good. Awkward wording, but that's the best way I can describe it.

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Photo of bskrtz
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle served in glass Chimay beer challis

A) Cloudy, unfiltered mahogany brown soup. Beige puffy head. Floaties, yeasties and sediment

S) Baked bread, coriander, raisons, figs & stewed plums. Opens up with mild esthers

T) Mild -- Chimay's Pater 6 version of their excellent Reserve (Blue). Sweet cooked fruits, caramel, root beer & mild hopps.

M) A bit thin for the style. Ample carbonation and bottle conditioned fizz. Alcohol is mild.

O) Chimay Red is mild version of it's big brother -- the stronger 'Blue'. The lower alcohol profile allows for a second one, which I find better than the first.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Deep brown, burnt sienna as I believe Crayola might call it. Thin buttermilk colored head retains well but leaves almost no lacing.
S- Malty, with some light milk chocolate and some dark fruits playing into it. I pick up some yeasty characteristics.
T- Mostly fruity, like figs, with some spicyness showing up here that didn't show up in the aroma. A touch of cocoa. A bit sweet throughout.
M- Significantly thinner and more carbed than most of style. This was a big downturn for this one.
O- A decent beer, but certainly the least favorite of the Chimay beers for me, and not one of the better Abbey or Trappist beers I've come across.

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Photo of antonlauter
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Personally i an not a huge ale fan, i am not big on bitter tasting beers, but this beer had a perfect balance for my pallet. I got more of the carmel aspect of the beer and it was totally new for me. i have read reviews on beer that i tasted before saying"the carmel flavor really stood out in this beer" but chimay delivered it in a way that helped me understand what people were referring to without the bitter. very smooth very enjoyable. excellent

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Photo of Intrinsic
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think I may have messed up the pour on this one, because its quite murky, a light brown that's almost opaque. Nevertheless, it looks really good. The head is beautiful, about 1/2" thick and very dense.

All sorts of smells are mingled together in Chimay Première. Unknown spices, fresh fruit, notable hops, and a slight maltiness all blend together very well.

This beer is much more refreshing than I initially imagined. Its quite light, and all the smells I mentioned previously are present in the taste, save the fresh fruit. The hops are very pronounced, but not too much for this particular beer. The balance is almost perfect. This is an absolute delight to drink. So creamy, so dry, I may just try this again next time I see it. Which shouldn't be too long considering its available at the SAQ. This beer is top notch.

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Photo of atlason
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with graceful head and light lacing.

Heavily carbonated, to the point of interfering with the characeristic doughy yeasty belgian notes.

Nose: Light, very pleasant yeast and caramel

Well integrated caramel on very subdued hops. Dark maltiness dominates and lingers in long aftertaste.

Overall very charming caramelly experience although less interesting than some of the other Trappiste beers (notably Orval), probably owing to excessive levels of carbonation and somewhat understated hops.

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Photo of MadCat
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy light amber brown color, with a small white head that goes down to an even layer quick, leaving some lacing

Smell: Sweet malts and bread with some Belgian yeast spicyness

Taste: More sweet malts, hints of plum, clove, bread, spice, and earthiness. Quite the complex brew, and quite delicious.

Mouthfeel: Thick with crisp carbonation, but something in there makes your mouth feel happy

Overall: One of my favorite beers. ABV is well hidden here, so it drinks easy, though it still encourages you to drink slow and savor it. I wish it was cheaper, because if it were I would always have it around. I do like the Grande Réserve better, but this has its place.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the corked bottle no. L10-506. Sampled on March 19, 2011. It pours a cloudy amber-brown with a burst of beige head with what looks like sediment floating about. Aromas of light toasted malts, plums and yeast. The body is smooth and creamy. The flavor boasts a little caramel sweetness with a noted yeast backdrop. The short descripton was that it was mellow and warmed the innards.

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Photo of Zimbo
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a Chimay'osceptic. There was a time when I was part of the enduring cult of Chimay but that was sometime ago.

It is fizzier and thinner (emptier??)than when I first drank it in 84 and there are many more clinging big bubbles too underneath the temporary reasonably foamy head. There's a slight metallic quality too. The trademark complex yet soft firm finesse backbone is long gone and there's very little interplay between the remaining elements. It is just rather duller than it should be.

Can't for the life of see why this beer is so loved on this site. Prime example of the Emperor's new beer.

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Photo of skypup
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

.33L Bottle served in a Chimay Chalice

Unfiltered reddish-brown; thick foamy head that lasts several minutes. Visual particulates at the bottom of the glass. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Definitive malt /Has a deep earthy smell like wild mushrooms.

You can taste the earthiness and malts in this beer; the carbonation doesn't fizzle out while the beer sits.

Exceptional drinkability; this is a great beer, that should be experiences and enjoyed. I served mine with some aged cheese.

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Photo of foogerd
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this so many times just never got around to reviewing this. 33 CL bottle.

This is such a classic dubbel and in my opinion probably the best one around the taste and aroma match each other perfectly. Sweet bready spicy thick and foamy this is a meal in a bottle. Seek this one out before drinking another Dubbel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy opaque prune juice color with a small 1/2 inch head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. No lacing on the drink down. Yeast sediment in the bottom of the glass. Smells of dark fruits like plums and raisins, caramel, yeast. Tastes of dark fruits, caramel, honey, yeast, cloves and maybe cinnamon. Very tasty. Beer is somewhat highly carbonated. Crisp and clean in the mouth. Excellent drinkability on this very delicious dubbel.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bomber

Appearance - Hazy red/brown colour with a large size beige coloured head. It's hard to see the carbonation level due to the haziness and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - wood, an earthiness, dark fruits, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a large amount of carbonation and it has a unique taste. I can pick up on a woodiness mixed with apples and malts. There are also notes of dark fruits and and a strong earthiness and even some champagne flavour. The beer finishes with a clean crisp malty slightly dry aftertaste.

Drink - This is one of the favourites of my good buddy Swedes21 and I finally got around to trying it. It has a very unique taste that was along the lines of an Orval mixed with a Westy 12. It's a excellent beer that is surely worth seeking out.

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Photo of chiccabeer
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark beer that pours nice into a bottle. There is a good amount of head with an average smell to the beer. To me the beer tasted watery, but it did have a good flavor to it. The after taste is sweet, but not too strong. It would be a good beer for dinner. Cheers.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 4,905 ratings
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