Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

4,884 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: 4,884 |  Reviews: 1,703
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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Photo of afinepilsner
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown bottle
7% abv

Chimay Red was brown in color and cloudy with fine particles floating about. It had a large off-white head that soon becomes only a thin ring with little lacing. The smell was dark malt and yeast aromas. The taste was dark fruit, malt, yeast, peppery spice, and a little hop flavor. The finish was long and dry. The mouthfeel was good with a medium body and medium-high carbonation. Drinkability was good as well. This is a good Dubbel and worth a try.

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

Appearance: Dark and dense, like an unpasteurized cider; thin off-white head, about a finger thick at its height

Smell: traces of spice (clove, nutmeg); also a malty, bready aroma; alcoholic notes also present

Taste: caramel and malt, with little to no hop presence; some hints of spice and dark fruit tucked just below obvious perception, with a slight metallic tang; a touch of alcohol as the brew warms

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with full carbonation

Drinkability: Too strong for more than 2, but beautifully complex and enjoyable; one of the best drinking experiences I've had

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Photo of chefelf
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love the smoothness of Chimay, the tiny Champagne-style bubbles, and the Belgian flavor. This was my first introduction to Belgian beer and it is still one of my favorites.

I enjoy this beer so much that I decided to purchase the large bottle and it was twice as good! This is one of my favorite go to Belgian beers and even though I'm a lightweight it's very easy to polish of one of the larger bottles in one evening.

Also, I drink it in the Chimay glass that has the little etching in the center so the bubbles rise from it. I have no idea what the purpose of that is but it's got to be good for something.

It certainly looks cool.

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

Usually poured in a snifter glass from bottle or on-tap. Dark hazels brown with a half inch of a nosily bubbly head, lots of small chunks float everywhere, very tasty looking beer. Sharp yeast, smooth banana, a touch of alcohol, and cherries fill the nose, beer smells better and better when beer warms to proper temperature. Banana, and sweet malts comprise most of the flavor, there seems to be a slight smoky aspect to it as well, the flavor is very good but seems slightly watered down. Quality has gone noticeably down and I prefer the bigger brother (Blue) over this one.

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Photo of Brunite
2.6/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass. Sound is a factor here as well. You actually hear this one bubbling and popping in the glass.

Appearance: Hazy amber brown bordering on ruby red. Nice head initially but it settled quickly leaving no foam nor lace. Crazy intense carbonation off the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Dark, tart cherries. Also apple & pear notes. Some raisin and fig.

Taste: There is a definite sweetness to the beer. For me; it is almost cloying. It is saved by the tart/dryness on the finish. There is a lot of carbonation and a definite dry finish with some spicy pepper notes.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation on the tongue. Goes down like a dry wine.

Drinkability: This started out easy. The flavors were nice at highly drinkable. As time went got less interesting for me and left me craving something a nice stout, IPA, or rye beer. (Honestly....I may not finish this one. As it warms...not much left but carbonated cherry juice with a kick.)

Overall: I am sorta surprised here. I expected a little more but not sure what. This was something to be experienced but I doubt I'll go back for seconds...since I did not finish this one. Not earth shattering and almost unpleasant. I'd choose a nice bottle of wine, instead, to get the flavor profile and characteristics I get here.

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

The colour of the label is not picked at random- the beer is a light brown, somewhat reddish colour. A dirty white head of some size sits atop. The yeast smell is very apparent, and perhaps a bit of toffee.

It took me awhile to place the taste, but bizarrely enough, it reminds me a great deal of unagi, the lightly barbequed Japanese eel dish. I realize that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but i love unagi, so this was in no way a bad thing! I can also taste raisin. You cannot tell that this beer is as strong as it is.

The carbonation is slightly too apparent for me, but generally the beer feels very nice. Carbonation aside, it drinks very well indeed.

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Photo of Samp01
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a nice tan head and good lacing. Aroma of caramel malts, some dark fruits. Taste is sweet malts, some belgian yeast, some plums and dates, some cherries. Palate is nice medium bodied, good carbonation. Finish is sweet malt, plums, dates, raisins, sweet spices, ending in a long nice sweet nutty aftertaste. Overall a nicely balanced and drinkable brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber with nice fine head, slow fade and creamy rings of lace. Beautiful.

S- Spicey. Sour belgian yeast, banana notes, and clove. Musty notes.

T- Bold spicy character. Slightly more watered down than the blue label. fruity. Cherry and banana. Mellow and nice.

M- Creamy and medium bodied

D- Easy to drink. A sipper due to spice and alcohol content.

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Photo of JMforman
3.47/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed. I've heard a lot about this beer, but I wasn't real thrilled. Not bad though.

A- Deep amber, good head, good retention

S- Cherries, must, alcohol

T- Malt, dark fruit, cherry, black pepper

M- Thinner than I was expecting. Medium to light. It was a bit over carbonated, but it could've just been this bottle.

D- Not bad

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Photo of flipper2gv
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy boring brown color with big beige head. Retention is ok but lacing is lacking.

S: A lot of spices upfront. Cinnamon and cloves are the dominant ones, accompanied by pepper and coriander. Strong malts are also present. Molasses are very present as well as buckwheat honey, maple syrup, spiced bread. A little bit of fruits too: passion fruit, candied oranges, red apples and lemon zest. Quite complex.

T: Very much the same as the nose. The spices are upfront again: cinnamon and cloves first, then pepper and coriander. Again the strong malts are very present with strong molasses, buckwheat honey, maple syrup and spiced bread. Less fruity than the smell though: I got candied oranges, red apples and very slight lemon zest. Some light earthy and herbal hops at the end.

M: Medium to heavy body with medium carbonation. Fits well the beer.

D: Complex taste, balanced taste, what you'd expect from belgium. Very drinkable.

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

Poured into a Chimay official glass giving a two finger head of antique white. Head falls but at a slow pace on to the cloudy indian red body color. Good collar throughout the glass also. Lord knows I have had plenty of Chimay so it is time to finally get my notes in order.

Bouquet on Chimay Première is of classic yeast and sour honey like florals. Gives off scents of rising yeast bread dough also just ready to be kneaded. Very impressive, it's as if bread is rising on the counter in front of me.

Taste is a good carbonation and faint weak cherry finish. A lingering cocktail cherry sense on the tongue, but it has a weak somewhat wet mouthfeel also.

Drinkability is a solid good, easily available and at a good price point.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours hazy amber with a thick, long lasting off-white head. Aroma is of dark fruit, yeast and brown sugar. The body is full and crisp. Taste is a lot of dark fruit, brown sugar and spicy hops. Long lasting, dry finish. I used to like this brew much more. Must be my taste has changed over the years.

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Photo of rpardon7
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured fron the bottle into chimay chalice. Pours a deep reddish brown with a thick tan head with a bit of yeast floating around. Smell is dark fruit raisin plun and fig with a faint spiciness of clove. Taste is sweet bready malt raisin dark molases and brown sugar followed by a dry yeasty and clove bite. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy but light due to a nice amount of carbonation. Drinkability is great the only problem about chimay is the price!

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

Poured a nice shade of brown with only minimal head that dissipated quickly. Smell is powerful and fulsome; fruit and spice are detectable. Cola flavor is evident in the taste, as are sugary malts and pepper. Mildly sweet, yeasty, creamy and dry. Medium body with high but soft and smooth carbonation. Finishes crisply with no bitterness whatsoever. Alcohol is hidden nicely for a 7.00. And for those who are into sessionability, this is an extremely sessionable beer. I only wish the waitress had brought me a clean glass with each additional bottle....

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,884 ratings.
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