Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
4,944 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: 4,944 |  Reviews: 1,718
Photo of Augustiner719
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a small bottle into chimay Trappist glass.

Pours a strangely light reddish brown color with carbonation streaming everywhere. Very tan red head recedes quickly. Really much lighter than what I am used for for this style. Aroma is bready spicy malts with biscuity undertones. The flavor is light yet complex. Now I see why this is the model the other brewers try to copy. The spicy, bready and complexities finish to the backnpalate. Mouthfeel is very carbonated and full in the finish. Nice food beer. Drinkability is perfect. Great and a nice cold temp and gets more complex as it warms.

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

I drank this after a walk with the dog, but had the Chimay blue before the walk. An excellent beer, but just a few steps behind the blue.

Pouring out of the bottle I thought it would be lighter in color, but had a nice amber color once in the Chimay glass. A little light in the malts compared to the blue, but still quite tasty.

The lower ABV makes it possible to have more volume in a sitting, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Good color, nice head, very good taste.

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

So, I actually have had this beer many times, but I thought I would review it. This is a DELICOUS beer, but it's not as good as the blue or the white. I wish it had a little less of an iron taste to the finish, but I am a little particular about that taste. But it holds a great head, smells to me like brown sugar and it is worthy of it's title of being a Trapistte!

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Photo of zhanson88
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pleasant looking caramel color with dark amber highlights. There is an abundance of fluffy, open head that reduces to a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits and caramel are prevalent on the nose. Also a hint of pepper.

Taste: Nice maltiness, dark fruits and a hint of booze up front, followed by a bit of pepper at the end due to the carbonation. No hops to speak of at any point.

Mouthfeel: Great full mouthfeell with very nice, fine carbonation. Not an overabundance of carbonation to make it fizzy, but just right.

Drinkability: I understand where the hype comes from with this beer. Very nice dubbel style that hides it's ABV effectively.

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Photo of SnowLovesIt
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- an opaque, beautiful chestnutty brown, dark amber

Smell- subtle aroma or fruit, sweet and caramel-y

Taste- present alcoholic aftertaste in the back of the mouth, effervescence prickly on the tongue

Mouthfeel- medium body

Drinkability- while delicious, i wouldnt try to throw back more than 1 or 2 more of these, over a couple hours

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Photo of milkbaby9
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into Chimay chalice, both from the gift pack, woohoo! 1cm off-white to pale straw head with reduces down to nothing. Hazy brown red color, I think I got a little of the sediment in the chalice. Also, maybe hazier than expected due to the width of the chalice which darkens the color since light has to pass through more beer...

Raisin citrus aroma with the lightest hint of malt. Tastes a huge yeasty malt pretzel, then a fruity hop bitterness and slight black peppery spice.

Sparkly carbonation makes for a very crisp start and just the slightest astringency. It lightens up the medium body and is a bit drying on the finish.

Finish is a great balance between malt and hoppy bitterness with slight warming feel from the alcohol, though the alcohol is not otherwise tasted/smelled.

Fairly drinkable though the snappyness of the carbonation starts to wear on me after a bit.

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Photo of cnally
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my goblet. Drank while listening to Built To Spill. Perfect From Now On. Monday night.

What an awesome color, a barely transparent golden shimmery cherry mahogany. Never quite seen a body like it--but the head is a too-bubbly film after its initial burst.

Aroma sent straight from heaven, I believe. A golden raisin, currant, grapey one, with a lot of the impending malt filling it up.

The flavor is decently complex. Layered with a dose of malt right up front, caramel and a little nutty even, fading out to a little bitterness, but a surprisingly hot aftertaste. I've never had a 7% taste this hot.

The feel is really rambunctiously carbonated, an explosion of bubbles and frankly, a little wild.

Obviously good, and unique. A lot to like. I admit. Something is lacking, though, in the final product. A shade too hot. A little shallow in spite of the layers of flavors. Yeah, it's flavor is layered, but each layer takes you wading in the kiddie pool instead of base jumping into deliciousness.

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A capped and caged 750 mL from Corolla's Harris Teeter. I like the shiny new Chimay labels.

A: The dubbel is a rich crimson-brown color that is just plain murky. Opaque does the ale justice. A finger or two of white head quickly reduces to a thin band around the glass.

S: The dubbel has a strong fruity aroma, dark fruits like raisins and plums spring to mind. Dark sweetness, perhaps a healthy dose of candi sugar, perks things up quite a bit. A rich, warming aroma, perhaps a little out of place for a hot August night.

T: Surprisingly the ale doesn't leap out of my glass at me. Instead, caramel malts and mild candi sugars vie for attention. Darker, sweeter fruits are few and far between. The ale is warming, a nice beer to spend some time sipping on, but the candi sugar strength of a dubbel just doesn't come through strong enough here.

M: The mouthfeel is lush, a good dose of sweetness and bite to go around. A fruity finish lingers long on the palate.

D: Larger sips reveal more depth, so perhaps small sips was not the best way to approach the ale. A good dubbel.

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Photo of NODAK
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown, cloudy color with a quickly disipating head. Aroma is full of dark fruits, molasses and thick, malty goodness.

Carbonation is prickly here. Taste seems to have some dark fruit immediately noticeable in it, with also quite a bit of yeastiness. A hint of nuttiness is also observed. There is a little fruit rind bitterness at the back, but not much. Some brown sugar sweetness hangs around after the swallow. Mouthfeel is also rather thin.

All in all, I enjoyed the beer, and it is definitely a classic of the dubbel style.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first dubbel. 11.2 oz into the Chimay goblet, proper!

Pours a hazy reddish brown, tons of sediment. Off-white head leaves a partial cap and ring, tiny bit of lacing.

Smell is pretty faint, gains strength as it warms though. If I poke my nose in deep I can get dark cherries, brown sugar, Belgian yeast.

Taste seems pretty faded (it's a '09 bottle) but not as much as the scent. Lots of smooth caramel, brown sugar, typical Belgian spices and yeast. Dark fruit but not much. A little funky tartness and white grape once I reach those last few slimy sips.

Mouthfeel saves this from being a bit TOO typical, very smooth and creamy and makes the flavors stand out nicely. Alcohol bite is non-existent. Carbonation is medium.

Good beer but a bit similar to a billion other dark Belgians. I liked it better than Chimay White or Blue (though I haven't had a 2+ years aged Blue yet..)

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Photo of rodenbach99
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This time from a 330ml brown bottle bought at the SAQ (I also drank the 750ml Première version) Copper with a beige head in appearence. A bit hazy, some sediment in the bottle. Spicy on the nose with some yeast. This beer is complex with some nice spices,good malt. Easy drinking for 7,0% alc. I love this beer.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was quite excited to find this one. Had yet to locate this one in Calgary, so was looking forward to this!

A - Pours a nice hazy golden caramel brown with a couple thumbs of off-white head, solid retention and lacing.

S - Scent is, again slightly, metallic, with spices overloading the scent (cloves, nutmeg, and coriander). Some caramel malts also come through nicely on the finish.

T - Classic Belgian flavours, with the spices (aforementioned) dominating the palette, though a nicely balanced cinnamon flavour lingers. Milk caramel malts come through nicely, leaving you craving more.

M - Light, vibrant and tingly bubbles tantilize the tongue, with a nice finish, leaving a nice moist feeling leaving you craving more.

D - Rather surprised and defintiely lived up to its expectations. Fitting of its ratings and highly recommended to any fan of a spice dominated Belgian.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chimay Réserve, I kind of fell in love with. It's the beer that convinced me to start reviewing. Hope the Première offers a similar experience.

Poured the 330ml into a big snifter.

A- Big airy beige head settles to a millimeter thick ''rough terrain'' layer. Red-brown, homestyle apple juice looking liquid is full of yeast particles. Almost opaque. Something about it looks satisfying but nothing incredible. I'm sure my glass was beer clean but I am not getting any lacing. Bummer.

S- Cider with a hint of caramel. Cinnamon. Alcohol. Unripe (green) tomato flesh and something that reminds me of dust or concrete. So I guess there's good and bad here.

T- Yes! Just got a little something that reminded me of the Réserve. That soft marshmallow you get mid-taste. Not really sure what else to say. Kind of feels like a light version of Réserve.

M- Like the Réserve, mouthfeel makes this beer. High carbonation thats starts of prickly then foams up and makes it all remarkably smooth and pleasing Feels like whipped marshmallows and warm milk. The liquid itself does not lack body but it certainly isn't thick. Finish is pretty dry.

D- Good. But for some reason I wouldn't want to drink too many. I was really craving a good beer before opening this one and now, with at least 4 sips left, I know I want to drink something else.

I will buy it again someday. I recommend it to anyone - whether you know the style or not. Quite good, just not amazing... like my dear Réserve.

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

Bursting with flavor, history, and excitement, the Chimay Red always finds a special place in my heart (and beer fridge!). It never ceases to astound me each and every time I taste it. The rich body, complexity, liveliness, and the combination of sweet and savory flavors make this beer unmistakable, and also one of the greatest beers that I have ever tasted. Every time I have some extra cash I try to grab a bit bottle and throw it in the cellar. This beer is only going to get better with age!

Chimay is one of seven authentic Trappist Breweries in the world residing within the Scourmont Abbey Monastery in Belgium since 1862. Something very unique to Trappist Breweries is that their beers are only sold in order to financially support the monastery and its good causes; all of the profit from the sale of beer is distributed to charities and for community development around the region.

The Chimay Red, also known as the Chimay Premiere, is a 7%, unpasteurized, top fermented and bottle conditioned ale which is now available both corked 750ml bottles and capped 330ml bottles. My experience with the two variations is that they are really the same beer; however, on occasion I find an older corked bottle (in a beer store or in my cellar) which exemplifies great age and maturation which I have yet to see in the smaller capped bottle.

I try very hard to always serve the Chimay beers in their own chalice - lucky for me I have many of them! Also, I prefer the Red served cool between 45 and 54F which should allow you to enjoy the refreshing characteristics of the beer, but also absorb the rich flavors as it gently warms. The Red pours smooth with instant vigor and life; be cautious as you pour this beer, it is literally alive, so give the glass a good tilt and be gentle and patient with the beer - it will reward you. As the beer slowly fills the glass, a significant and dense tan colored head forms lifting rich aromas instantly to your nose. Depending on your pour the head will raise anywhere from a half inch to over the edge of your chalice. Optimally the Chimay beers should be served with around one inch of head.

Resting in its chalice, the beer is a rich and deep maroon brown. It shimmers with mahogany and red flakes and is completely opaque. There is a lot of action in the beer with bobbles forming and aggressively fighting their way to the head. You may also notice small flakes of sediment at the bottle of the glass; this is the yeast which was added to the beer immediately before it was corked (or capped) so that it would continue to grow and age as it rests in its bottle. Everyone has a different take on whether or not the yeast sediment should be consumed or not - personally I enjoy the rich funkiness and often times sweet tartness that it adds to the beer. Others disagree; it will be up to you to determine which you prefer.

The nose it big with dried fruit, plums, earth, cinnamon, and a yeasty mustiness; it's very enticing and very complex. Once you bring the beer to your lips the first think you notice on your palate is the liveliness and sweetness of it. It's very effervescent and flows easily across your palate. Sweet rich plums and raisins dance across your tongue paired with more dried fruit, chocolate, cinnamon and clove like spice. There is also a tart cherry sensation that so nicely matches the natural funk of the beer which I choose to believe is just history pouring itself out in the beer itself. And there is still so much complexity! As the beer warms my palate begins to enjoy caramel malt, roasted almonds, more rich plums and dried fruit, roast, more spice and bitter chocolate.

The immense flavors in the beer are perfectly balanced by a light and crisp dry hop finish making this beer thoroughly quenching, perfectly satisfying, and marvelously enjoyable. As mentioned earlier I have had great experiences with bottles aged anywhere from six months to two years, and I highly recommend either finding old bottles which have been well stored, or testing your discipline by setting down a bottle for a year.

Try the Chimay Red with red meat, grilled poultry, rich or funky cheeses, meaty pasta, chocolate cake, nachos, or lasagna. Most importantly though, try it on its own!

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Photo of scott451
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Two finger bubbly tan on a clear dark reddish caramel colour. The head shrinks but sticks around to the end. Good lacing.

Dark Christmas cake fruit smells. Taste is fruity up front. Complex but smooth. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and smooth. Only the high ABV keeps this from sessionable territory. Don't let any yeast get in the glass.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a short 12oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. Paired with some crackers and slices of sharp provolone. Pours a brownish color with tons of "floaties"! A nice 2 finger size creamy off white head rises immediately and dissipates relatively quick, settles to a very thin rim around the outside of the glass. Appearance continues to be cloudy/hazy with lots of sediment.

Aroma is great. Another great quality Belgian trappistes beer! Lots of dark fruits, over-ripe fruits, belgian yeasts, toasted malts, slight booze.

Flavor follows the aroma perfectly. Raisins, figs, and dates...belgian yeasts, mildly malty. Medium body, high carbonation, low booze feel in the mouth...very drinkable! Chimay makes great beer, there's no doubt about it! I've had this beer numerous times before this review...and will continue to drink it because it never lets me down!

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Photo of BMoney575
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 8-7-10

Pours an extremely cloudy amber/brown color, with a fizzy tan head that lasts for a long time. Bubbly, foamy lacing slides quickly down the sides.

Smell is lighter and fruitier than I expected, with the malt adding a nice sourness in the very back. Notes of clove and banana are complex but also delicate, and very enjoyable.

Taste is sweet malt, flavors of caramel and a little alcohol, but otherwise a bready sourness dominates. The finish is decently bitter, with the sourness coming through again in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is way too thin, and the fizzy carbonation doesn't help at all. It really detracts from the flavors, and is the low point of this beer.

Drinkability isn't bad, but the mouthfeel makes things difficult.

Overall, I've had better dubbels, but I might give this one another shot.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky brown with a large lasting head.
Nose shows golden syrup and brown sugar along with spicy phenolic yeast and some light fruity esters.
Flavours are very doughy (overwhelmingly) with more spicy yeast and alcohol.
Carbonation is low, especially for the style. Probably the first time I've said a Belgian doesn't have enough carbonation actually.

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

Sliightly cloudy mahogany with thin foamy head with no retention or lacing. Brown sugar with yeast notes and a bit of dried fruit . A mixture of brown sugar with a drop of molasses, dried fig, and slightly grassy with a sourdough finish. Well balanced with subtle flavor and a clean vodka-like aftertaste. An interesting foamy and chewy mouthfeel with a tingle that tends to linger on.

The flavors are all quite subtle and balanced in this. Wonderful to sip and just roll around.It's a little foamy but not overwhelming like some other abbey ales. All in all, you just can't go wrong with this one.

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

Dark brown colour and a large, very thick head.

Smell is perhaps reminiscent of dried fruits The taste is sweet, but nicely balanced with some bitterness, but just enough that the hops don't overcome all other flavours. I could drink this all day long. Really one of the top, top beers.

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

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip. 03/10 printed on the cork.

(A)- Pours a deep mahogany brown color with tiny reddish hue tints. Produced a good bubbly off-white head with decent retention behind it.

(S)- Primarily a dry, earthy clay/yeast profile with a tiny bit of banana in front of some subtle dark fruits.

(T)- Backwards from the smell. Some good dark fruits up front of a grape/currant/berry-like taste. Flows into a dry yet rich earthy middle. Finishes in a light creamy banana.

(M)- A lively carbonation level that dances to life on the tongue. A solid balance of fruits and earthy dryness. Rather smooth with almost a light crispness within its rich core.

(D)- A solid example of the Dubbel style. Has everything you would expect from the style. Not harsh, overcarbonated, or boozy; in fact, this is rather smooth. A definite staple that I look for when reaching for a good Dubbel. An easy drinker for the style too. Cant really go wrong with any trappist brew.

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Photo of Bravo4
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a Duvel glass.

A- Pours a dark, opaque amber with lots of carbonation. It has a thick tan head of about 2 fingers that quicklyy disipates into a thin ring around the glass and leaves no lacing.

S- It has that typical Belgian yeasty smell with some fruitiness.

T- It has a slight caramel taste with some fruitiness but I can't quite figure out which friuts. It has a slight bitterness at the end.

M- Highly carbonated but leaves a warm silky feeling. It has a little more carbonation than I like in a Belgian.

D- I would rate this as highly drinkable because of the relatively low abv for a Belgian and it still has a great Belgian taste.

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Photo of DionysusII
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a toffee hued light brown with an off whitish two finger head that fades away leaving no lacing.

S- Slighty bitter, very sweet yeasty smell with figs, and rich caramel. Im excited.

T- Wow. This overall delicious beer tastes of the signature trappist yeast strands with lots of fruity sweetness and a very slight bitterness in the end. Amazing.

M- A little less weighty and more carbonated than what I prefer, but still a delicacy to my tastebuds.

D- With the low ABV and high taste, I could drink this beer all night long. One of my favorites to date. An exceptional gift to my palate.

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

god i love this beer. i've been sampling many many many belgians trappist/abbey ales and american versions of that style over the last few years and this is one of the best. it's kind of the perfect belgian dubble. if you don't already know what a belgian trappist tastes like then my review (slim as it is) isn't going to help you anyways. so either trust me or don't, but there's a reason why this has an A rating from not just me.

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Photo of Schwarzwald
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is very impressive in its bottle. Popped the top and poured it into a large pils glass, only thing I had at the time. I like the Chimay beers pretty cool. This particular species has a lot of rich fruit flavor and is very drinkable even though it has a higher ABV. I think that the overall richness of the beer must be enjoyed with some desert or something sharp like a hard cheese. Definitely try this awesome Trappist!

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 4,944 ratings