Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
4,960 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: 4,960 |  Reviews: 1,721
Photo of Marty30
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served chilled,poured in a Chimay chalice.

A. Dark brown with ruby highlights,about a 1 finger tan head that dissapears quickly into a small cap. Lacing is stuck throughout the glass.

S. Smells of dark fruits,fig and raison,with a touch of earth.

T. Has a good fruity taste cherries, plums,maybe a touch of nuttiness in there.

M. Mouth is good and creamy,medium feel with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall this beer lives up to the name Chimay. I will always have some of this around. Maybe my favorite dubbel that I have had.

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Photo of aeolianshredhead
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep, murky, dark amber colour with an initial 2 finger head which dissipates WAY too quickly. I like the look of this, but sadly, I'm not as impressed as I thought I'd be.

S- A nice, complex nose of plum/raisin, caramel and light hops. The malt dominates the nose. Smelling this lovely array of scents, I am inexorably drawn to the first sip.

T- Excellent. There is that caramel maltiness present all the way through with, surprisingly, a reasonable level of hops. The raisin flavour is there but not quite a profound force here. There is a slight lingering sweetness on the tongue but nothing sickly or offputting. The alcohol in this is masterfully hidden. Overall, I would say the taste is bold, in that it clearly favours sweetness over balance, but very pleasant.

M- The body is a nice and velvety. Not too thin but easily manageable. The carbonation level is utterly perfect. Very impressive.

O- This is an excellent beer. It may not be the ultimate session brew but I had no expectation of that. Although, the alcohol is barely noticeable on the palate at 7%. This tastes great and feels great. What more could I say?

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Photo of woodychandler
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is unquestionably my favorite beer of all time since it was the one that paved the way for every drinking escapade in my life since January 1985.

I was almost 20 y/o and a lowly Deck seaman aboard the USS Fulton (AS-11) and I was hatin' life. I would not have minded being a Deck Ape, but I wanted to get underway and see the world and I was stuck on a floating combination machine shop and storeroom and we seldom left the pier, plus when we did, it was like riding in a big, lumbering Oldsmobile.

My attitude changed at my first overseas liberty port in Barcelona, Spain when my punk buddies and I were in what was elegantly named "The Gut". It was a place for sailors, women of loose morals and bars to fuel the madness. We were just wandering aimlessly until somebody spied a bar with a Sid Vicious mural and we piled in. I was the only bilingual person in our group with four years of high school French behind me and I called the bartender over. "Senor, cerveza, por favor!" "Si," he said, reaching into the cooler and pulling out a large corked and caged bottle. "No, no, pas de la vin!" I cried out. "Si, senor, cerveza!" and nodded again at the bottle. "Beer, biere, birra, cerveza," I reiterated. "Si, senor, cerveza!" as he became adamant. "Okay, let's do it!" I said as I pointed and nodded. The "Pop!" of the cork was unlike anything in any of our experiences and when he poured it into beautiful glasses like it was champagne, we were sold. Looking back, it was probably highly aged and we overpaid for it, but upon returning stateside and not being able to find anything comparable led me to stay in the Navy, always on the lookout for new and different beer.

From the bottle: "The registered trademark 'Trappist' certifies that this ale was brewed within the walls of an existing trappist monastery under the control of the trappist community. A major part of the sales revenue is used by the monks to support charitable works. The exceptional yeast isolated by Father Theodore, combined with the purity of the highly protected water of the abbey's walls, gives Chimay its unique richness. Since 1862, Chimay's secondary fermented ales have neither been pasteurized nor filtered and only natural ingredients are used. To fully appreciate the pleasant sharpness and the slight bitterness of the Chimay Red, serve slightly chilled, in a wide-mouthed glass."

My gentle pour from an 11.2 ounce bottle created a dense finger of tawny head with excellent retention. I could barely bring myself to look at it - I was and remain so unworthy that I was cowed by its presence. This is what it means to me to respect beer. The color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose was rich and malty and I got a cereal-like quality along with the underlying must. Mouthfeel was really full and soft and it caressed my tongue like it was welcoming me back after a long underway period. The taste was more caramel and toffee than anything else and even though I generally disdain sweetness in beers, I was game for anything. Finish remained very sweet with an underlying mustiness that I welcomed after the malt onslaught. It has been a long time since I last had Chimay Red and I am glad for the more reasonable individual serving although I might buy a big bottle for aging. Forget what St. Pauli Girl would have you believe - THIS is the beer that you will not forget your first!

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Photo of dsprainman
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle.
This beer pours a nice amber. Thick beige head. Sufficient lacing.
Smells of malt and plums. Rather bland to be honest.
Taste again brings memories of dark fruits and a sort of caramel/ brown sugar in the background. Not that outgoing.
Mouth-feel is somewhat lively. Not overly heavy.
All in all, This is alright but not really feeling it given the other two Chimay offerings and the many other dubels out there. Don't get me wrong, Its a stellar brew, just fell a little short of expectations.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep opaque amber-red in color, with a thick head and a little lace.

Nose says red fruit, yeast, spice. Very nice.

Taste is rich -- ripe dark fruits, a little tartness. Clove-like spice is also pronounced, and maybe a hint of cinnamon.

Very tasty and worthy drink here, with plenty of complexity. A proven favorite.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - swampy brown with tiny sediment, thumb of head dissipated fairly quick leaving thin lacing
S - dark fruity and yeasty aromas, some bready and toffee notes with lingering spice, all flavours generally mild
T - ripe and tangy plumb, all spice, toasty bread and molasses, some leafy accents, all medium to mild flavours but the resulting balance is outstanding
M - extremely smooth, creamy but not heavy, with a tangy full finish
O - this is what a Belgian is meant to be without the over the top ABV

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Photo of rowingbrewer
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light brown with a decent off white head. the smell is pleasant, a little fig/raisin. the flavor is pretty close but a little bit muted in comparison to other dubbels. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ok carbonations. overall just not worth the money you pay. would rather drink ommegang/allagash/unibroue.

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

Chimay Red has a medium, beige head and a cloudy, rust-red appearance, with lots of carbonation. The aroma is of prunes and sharp spice. Taste is likewise of prunes, cinnamon spice, some banana, sweetness, and water. Some alcohol is picked up as well. Mouthfeel is medium, and Chimay Red finishes wet, refreshing, and delicious. This was actually more light-bodied and easy-drinking that I had suspected. Overall, this is a terrific beer, and I rate it outstanding.


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Photo of VtBeerRun
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a very good beer. I poured to a very nice head. The taste was great for this style. This was very easy to drink, and was very well rounded. Very enjoyable and would recommend to anyone looking for a classic beer. It is easy to pair this with food and is not going to over power anything. Well Done!


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Photo of CPeterson
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- A burnt sienna brew that pours to a one finger white head and settles to a thin skim, leaving moderate lacing.

S -- Sweet malts and some spice notes, lightly phenolic.

T -- Solid malt character, essences of dark fruits, balanced by a twinge of alcohol and the aforementioned phenol notes with just enough hops to impart a bitterness to cleanse the palate and be refreshing.

M -- Smooth and creamy, silky, medium body, mid-high carbonation, a touch drying on the back end.

D -- There is no question why this is a classic and been enjoyed by many a lucky drinker over the years. If you haven't had it, you're missing out.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking reddish brown color. The head was fizzy and white, which also doesn't leave too much lacing either. The smell of the beer is a mostly earthy and a little spicy. The taste spicy upfront and suttles into a dry earthy sweetness in the end. The mouthfeel was about the same at the Grand Reserve. Overall this beer is good, I'm not a huge fan of the style but this one is worth trying.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber to brown-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, fruity and notes of alcohol. In the taste, small caramel like roast, nice fruity notes and a small alcohol note in the end. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry fruity and caramel like aftertaste. A bit more boozy than I remember, but a very nice dubbel nonetheless.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I buy this in a pretty good size bottle. Being that it's all that's available to me where I live. Poured into a large wine glass.
A - Beautiful in color. A coppery/burgundy color. Gorgeous! Reminds me of some home made apple cidar I drank as a kid(non-alco.). A hazy rust look which is remarkable. Cream white head that lasts only a few minutes.
S - Spicey and Fruity. Something I wanted to try instantly. Some apricot smell that I was told was due to the fermentation. Lovely.
T - Is what sets this brew off. The spices and fruity tastes are throughout and go well with the smells it produces. Silky smooth flavors all over with each sip.
M - Mouthfeel is well above average. I wouldnt say perfect, but it's a good dubbel mouthfeel.
O - This is one fine Trappist. I havent had many, but I like the ones I have. This tops that list for me. I buy this brew over and over again. I can drink it any time of year. Myself having certain types of brews for certain times of year cant say that about many brews. This is one I can enjoy whenever.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Beautiful looking beer. Mahogany in color. The head thick, rocky, and lasting. Seems to stay around forever. The head went down first around the edges and left a mountain of foam. Not much lacing though in the end. Smells amazing as well. Picking up lots of fruit and spiciness. White grapes, raisins, slightly sour berries in the background. I also get a pleasant clove spice with faint maple syrup and and soft Belgium yeast. Taste is well balanced. Floral hops along with dark fruits and caramel. The clove spice gives the finish a little kick. Everything melds together really well. The mouth feel is not to heavy not too light. Bubbly carbonation. Smooth none the less. Fantastic beer. No complaints. I enjoyed this one very much.

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Photo of bogus564
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounces, poured into a Chimay chalice...

Let's get right to it - I've got ribs I'm trying not to burn.

A: Looks quite nice - dark amber in color, wheat colored head that holds for less than two minutes. Looking to get a good whiff.

S: Wow - fruity. When I say fruity, I'm talking about dark fruits, like raisins, plums (perhaps prunes), with a nice yeasty note in the nose. Kind of biscuity as well. Interesting, to say the least.

T: Yep, nice and balanced. I'm tasting what I smelled, and it's nice when that happens. There's a citrus fruit hiding in there, which could be orange or tangerine. I'd say tangerine, but the sugariness could be coming from a different source. Da-n good though.

M: Very good, not spectacular. Medium-bodied, carbonation seems just right, and there's a nice fruity finish. It makes me happy.

O: This 11.2 ounce bottle was just the perfect size for a quick one while cooking; I'd probably ruin dinner if I consumed the big bottle. Time to look in on my ribs and rice, which I'll be enjoying with my next bottle. Yum!

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Photo of mcallister
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Resembles rusty water really. Cork was luckily caged as it popped with tremendous force and large white head rises quickly and is loose bodied and fades just as quick. No real signs of carbonation in the liquid however.

Nose is fantastic, dark bready malts, raisin bread, mollasses, plum and prune, spicey belgian yeast, earthy and effervescent. Caramel, and burnt toffee with hints of brown sugar.

Fantasticly crafter beer. Layered, fluffy, light and delicious wth a long drying finish. Sweet raisin and plum in the middle, light oxidation qualities leaves a sherry like taste, caramel, belgan spice, earthy and rotund. Full bodied at the finsh. The sweet figgy, plummy middle is rounded out by a bitter hop that keeps things from cloying. Liquid raisin bread, deep dark bready malty goodness.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: stream from bottle to glass was light brown, in the glass it is brown mostly clear with a hint of red hue. The head was only a finger thick settling to a thin layer. The layer lasts partially to the chimay glass etching.

S: dark dried fruits, a good amount of malt sweetness along with yeast spice and general yeastiness.
T: sweetened dark fruit, a very light yeast clove and banana. Yeast also lends some peppery notes.
M: just a touch on the thin side but not bad, carbonation seem a bit fizzy and soda like.
O: I would put this the the category of a starter Trappist, for someone new to the style. Nothing to weird or overpowering.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried the Chimay Première on multiple occasions, but have thus far neglected to provide a review. Here goes:

This brew pours into a Chimay chalice a browned orange color with a mysterious murkiness. There is a two-finger head of off-white foam that forms, but lasts for only a minute or so.

The smells that I detect from this brew can be best described as fruity. Notes of fig preserves, apricot jam, thick maple syrup, and candies come to mind. There is an earthy background of yeastiness, as well.

There is a hit of spices at the forefront of the initial sip, followed by a malty sharpness. The fruity notes from the nose are relatively subdued. The yeast, however, makes up the background in the taste, as well.

The overall texture of this brew is grainy, with a medium body. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of heygeebee
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into oversized wine galss from 750ml.

Pours a dark-red, with a one-inch head, subsides leaving good lacing. Plenty of floaty bits.

Aromas of raisins, malts, nd Belgian yeast. A bit funky.

Smooth malt taste, a real taste of Belgium.

One of my favourite beers..

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Photo of psuKinger
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Chimay Chalice.

A: Pours a hazy murky reddish-brown with a decent white head that probably could have benefitted from a bit more vigorous pour. To-date I'm inexperienced with pouring into a chalice.

S: The nose has raisins and other "dark fruits" mixed in with a touch of "yeastiness".

T: Spicier than the nose would indicate, this beer has a touch of "tang" to go with flavors of raisins and dates, and a good biscuity/bready yeastiness underneath. My guess is that the spiciness can be attributed to the yeast as well.

M: This beer is a bit on the 'high side' with regard to carbonation... lively and bubbly, light in the mouth, and leaves a light-but-pleasing sugary tongue coating on the finish.

D/O: A good quality brew with a fun spice, this is reasonably drinkable and a good overall experience.

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

Appearance: pours a clear dark amber color with a 2" head that slowly breaks apart.

Smell: caramel, ripe fruits, and some earthy qualities come through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, red apples, plums, and a bit of pepper are up front. Some softer earthy tones, spicy yeast, and a decent bitterness arrive late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is long lasting as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Overall: this beer is very easy to quaff, and a bomber bottle is enough for a session. Great flavors and well balanced, this beer is just plain old enjoyable.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chimay goblet.

Appears a very dark brown/red colour, verging on completely black. The head explodes, but settles down to a layer of a few mms of bubbly foam.

Smells like dessert, dark fruit and also like a fruit pie...

Tastes back up the smell, more dark fruit mixing with caramel esque malts and an alcohol provided warmth.

Overall a great beer. Not quite my favourite dubbel but excellent in quality nonetheless.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from the local grocery shop.
Look: pours a dark-brown reddish color with a thick white head.
Smell: Spicy Belgium yeast up front, followed by sweet malts, candy sugar, clove and some dark fruits.
Taste: Malts, sweet dark fruits, honey, spicy clove and pepper.. Herbal medium dry finish
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation with a medium body
Overall: Nice dubbel, one of the better ones out there.

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

Poured into an oversize wine glass.

A. An average pour got a finger and a half of foamy yet somehow thin head. Cloudy dark amber body with hints of orange, light comes through the sides when held up. A little bit of sediment is noticed.

S. Malt then hops. Spices, a hint of alcohol, dark fruits and just a whisper of sweet caramel.

T. Malt and dark fruit up front, it transitions to a mild hoppiness with a bit of caramel stuck in between. The spicy finish is just what the doctor ordered. De-licious.

M. Medium bodied, but the high carbonation washes it right down, almost too fast, as this is a beer to savor. The spicy finish is a bit dry, but it still has it good in all the right places.

O. Phenomenal beer. This was the first Trappist beer I ever tried, and I've been loving them since. I had to come back around to this one and review it.

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

Chimay Red pours a really nice amber color, with a light hint of caramel around the edges, and a 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.
The aromas begin with lots of caramel and malts right up front here, more than I remember from the first time I has this beer; quite sweet to be honest. There is also a light hint of herbal notes presumably from the hops, but not terribly strong. As it warms you get more of a yeast note that is quite interesting and adds a fruity, spicy and doughy characteristics, but overall quite sweet.
The tastes begin with rich notes of caramel and candied/brown sugar sweetness. Light touches of hops play on the tongue now as well, very interesting. The yeast flavors, mainly spice, come into play as it warms to room temperature. This beer has a nice bready maltiness and also becomes more apparent as it warms as well.
The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I remember, but at 7%ABV this is probably appropriate. Finish is nice and dry but much less than I remember as well.
Overall this is a great, readily available Belgian Dubbel. I was down the shore and I was pleased to find this in the little po-dunk liquor store to save me from having to drink the other available "choices" at my grandparents house. Not as delicious as I remember when I first sampled it, but that it was one of my first craft beers so my palate was quite impressed by anything at that time. Quite nicely done; it goes down like candy and really just a smooth and really nice (almost dangerously so) drinkable Belgian beer.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 4,960 ratings