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 jt31914
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Red/amber color with 1/4 inch of head and little lacing.

S: Fruit and caramel; very burnt smell with dried grape aroma.

T: Dried grape and fig mixed with caramel maltiness.

D/M: Very drinkable and smooth, I like this beer, especially for a dubbel, I prefer it to the blue.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours oxblood with a loose but stiff lumpy beige head. Nose is Craisins, slight phenol and a bit of funk. Sugared plums and wholewheat bread in the malts along with followed by winter spice hops. Light to medium, fizzy, some burn.

Nice balance, but a bit thin. I could see where it pairs with food rather than trying to stand on it's own.

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

Pours cloudy light brownish-red. Aromas of fig, cherry, with bready notes. Flavor is dry with mild clove notes; more bread effects. A thin and wet feel. Chimay's basic offering: if you want the real deal, go for the blue or white: much more in the flavor department.

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

750ml into a snifter. Creamy fine bubble head dissipated rather quickly but retained surface head through out the session.

Belgians (brews ;) smell just wonderful and this is a fine example, malts, fruits and spices.

Taste follows the nose with an excellent slightly dry aftertaste which lingers. There is a lot of flavor here but it is muted, dulled from what they could be. Thin to medium smooth mouthfeel. Taste warms well.


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

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a Chimay chalice (the gift set was on sale at Cost Plus World Market for $10 - score!)

A: rusty reddish color, almost opaque; a thick one-finger head that quickly falls into a fine, long-lasting lace.

S: mmm... loads of sweet but complex malty and yeasty aromas.

T: I got the sweetness up front, but then quickly found clove, yeast, maybe some kind of toasty, sweet bread flavors, caramel, a bit of banana, and definitely alcohol; the hops make an appearance, and then linger and mingle with the other flavors in a long, satisfying finish.

M: Medium weight, mouth-coating, and satisfying.

D: This beer is complex, and needs to be enjoyed slowly. It is quite tasty!

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Photo of xylophonica
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 75cl bottle into a tulip.

A - Dark brown colour with loads of head. Very little lacing and head retention is average.

S - Strong sweet chocolate and caramel with roated malt. Touches of vanilla and licorice as well.

T - Definitely a dubbel. Mild phenolic hit. Sweet at first but fading nicely - only the most slight bitter aftertaste. Bit of a burnt caramel/brown sugar feel. This one grows on you slowly as you drink....

M - Basically smooth but with a strong sense of carbonation - fizzes all the way down.

D - As I mentioned above this one seems to improve as you drink (maybe it's the mix of sediment into the beer). Either way I want more.

Have had this before in the 33cl variety and liked it previously. This time however first drink was so-so, second was almost off the chart. I got nothing from the first glass but with the second the characteristics really started to shine through; the scent and taste both became very prominent (glad I'm reviewing a 75 and not a 33). Probably the best example of this style that I've had but this does strike me as a more modern take on the format than others - doesn't really feel like a beer brewed for monks. Either way it's great!!

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

First review where I won't describe. What's the point? This is ubiquitous for a premier beer.

As a starving exchange student in Europe, Chimay opened my eyes to what beer can be. (Must have spent my daily ration on one bottle!) Not my favorite style, but I picked up a bottle for posterity. I deeply respect this beer, the craftsmanship shows in the flavors, the complexity, and the quality of the ingredients. Perhaps most surprising (dangerous) is how smooth and subtle this is for an ABV beer of its high level.

A pillar of the beer world, what can you say?

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Photo of thetomG
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark and murky deep rich reddish amber color with just a bit of white head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma is an instant blast of dark fruits, and the flavor is quite similar but with a bit of a lingering warmth from the alcohol.

Light in the body with a fairly thin texture and some quite fizzy carbonation.

Excellent beer - I will definitely be drinking this again.

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Photo of tvljr
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass from the 750ml bottle.

Nectar of the gods.

Deep red color with a cloudy haze and the perfect Belgian lace.

Full bodied and full flavored. Not to be missed.

Have had both on tap and out of the bottle and it's always best out of the bottle. Seems to hold its flavor better.

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Photo of keithmurray
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beer pours a hazy copper colour with tan head that dissipated quickly

smell - red wine, plums, cherries, raisins

taste - similar to the nose, raisins, plums, currants

mouthfeel - highly carbonated, medium body, slight booziness in the aftertaste, not as sweet as some other dubbels

drinkability - this drinks fairly smoothly

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

Another great beer from the monks. Monks rule in general, but when they brew beer they become even more awesome.

I had this at the Legal Sea Food in the North Shore mall...if you are in the area, this Legals had an excellent selection of craft beer. I recommend it if you are taking your lady out and feel like having one. I was pleasantly surprised.

Nice dark pour, full bodied, full flavored. Has a nice amount of foam, light and fluffy qualities to it but also has a nice malty flavor to it. Taste the yeast heavily and it gives a great quality to the beer, subtly sweet. I have only had a few Belgians since I started reviewing, but comparing this to them and against all other beers I think this was excellent, very easy drinking and refreshing but has alot of flavor at the same time. I will definitely try more.

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Photo of Vixie
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep copper color with a full, long lasting tan head.

Nice smell, mainly malt, but also yeast as well. Reminds me of a sweet bread smell, and there is just a hint of citrus.

Quite a bit of malt in the taste, as expected. A bit of spice in there, mainly pepper. There is a hint of hops bitterness at the end, Offsetting the malt flavor nicely. A very well balanced blend of flavors here.

Good feel, high carbonation helps. Nice and solid in my mouth.

A very nice beer overall. Has a lot of flavor, and it's all well balanced. I don't know why I waited so long to finally try this one, I have been missing out on a top notch beer. One I would gladly have again.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Lighter, honey chestnut brown with some orangish hues. Fairly large, foamy, bubbly white head with average retention and a nice thin bubbly layer of lace.

S - Strong caramel and bready malt aroma. With a sweet toasted aroma and some nuttiness. Some light aroma of raisin and plum. Some spiced aroma is present too with cinnamon, some clove, and other spices. This is a bit lighter than what I expected, but it is nice none the less. A sweet, dark, toasted bread aroma.

T - Similar to the nose. A sweet, dark bready malt taste provides for the base and a lot of the flavor. Mid sip to the finish some fruitiness comes out with raisin and plum being the strongest with it being on the lighter side of a dark fruit flavor. Some spice, cinnamon and clove, along with a hint of bubblegum also come out. Like the aroma, it reminded me of a sweet dark bread with some pieces of fruit in it.

M - On the lighter side of medium body with average carbonation. A little watery, especially for the style, but pretty smooth.

D - Fairly complex and well balanced, but has a subtlety for the style in that it isn't overly powerful. All this makes for a pretty easy to drink beer. The flavor is good, but not strong or overpowering on the palate.

Notes: Vintage 2009. This was a bit lighter and subtler Dubbel. The flavors were enjoyable even though it didn't taste like other Dubbels I have had. Overall it was an enjoyable beer that I would gladly drink again. It didn't blow me away, but it was somewhat unique.

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Photo of BabyBastard
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a small bottle into the chalice. Dark amber in color, though the head seems to be missing in action. Seems as though I poured all the sediment once again, though this does not seem to detract from the appearance at all.

Smells of sweet malts and banana notes. A touch of alcohol also makes way to the nose.

This has a very rich, malt filled taste, very yeast filled. It is hard to pick up anything over that rich, malt sweetness.

Feels smooth, very easy to drink. Carbonation seems to be a bit lacking, though this bottle has been sitting around for awhile. Other than that, I would certainly enjoy having this again.

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Photo of ryoung66
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the best Belgian Ale for making Carbonnade (Belgian beef stew). The sweetness and strong malt flavors are right for this dish. Ingredients are stew beef, browned onions, olive oil, garlic, chicken broth, beef broth, Belgian Ale, thyme, bay leaf and cider vinegar.

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

Bottle pour at a restaurant (Bullfinch's in Sudbury, MA - huge props on the beer menu, plus well deserved Zagat rated excellent food).
11.2 oz. Served (as appropriate) in a Chimay Chalice. Had this beer, many, many, times so I figured it's time for a revue.

Appearance: Light brown, almost amber, very nice thin (as in < 1/2 inch) head, and great Belgian lacing.

Smell: Mild with some richness, good but not incredibly deep.

Taste: Very good dubbel a great Trappistes example of what the style is all about with equal notes of both sweetness and a wonderful mild bitterness; however it falls short of great.

Mouth feel: Perfectly carbonated, extremely smooth and well balanced.

Drinkability: Very good, again, a very, very good example of what a Dubbel is all about.

If you want the best of breed, Westmalle Dubbel (although more expensive) is in fact a superior beer. Chimay is solid and worth a try, it just won't blow you away.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled January 2009.

Pours a cloudy dirty copper color with one finger of short lived fizzy off white head.

Scent of sweet dark fruit, sugar, oats, caramel, and earth. Fruity and earthy, but further aging may not benefit the scent.

Taste of sharp yest, dark fruit, hay, earth, and some sugar. A tasty beer, but as the scent let on, much more age and this may not taste quite as pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation with a crisp dry finish.

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

Pours out to a murky tannish amber with a tan head that subsides rather quickly.

Smell is of pears, sweet.

Taste is fantastic, of sweet fruits balanced by the decent bitterness of the hops.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than what I had expected, a bit too carbonated for my taste.

Drinkability is high on this one, and I will get this again (although I seem to prefer the blue bottle more).

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

Sat down at ESPNZone in NYC Time's Square for a business meeting.

I had low expectations for the beer menu until I saw Chimay Red.

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Goblet.

Looks good with a very small head due to careful pour. Appearance is dark. Hard to tell what color as it was not well lit but from what I can see it is a good looking beer.

Nose is all Belgian yeast and malt. Smells great. Taste is strong malt with dark fruits. Fig and raisin sweetness with a hint of bitterness. Candy sugar flavor and hops mixed just right with taste and effervescence. Mostly a clean finish with only a bare hint of malty bitterness at the end.

Carb is crisp and just right. Slight phenol warmth shines through. All in all a great representation of the style from a great brewery.

Lunch at ESPNZone was not bad. This beer was definitely the best part.

He shoots.... HE SCORES!!!

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

Poured from a bottle into a chalice

A: Pours a reddish brown, can't see through it at all. Very interesting appearance. 1 finger light tan head. Hardly any lacing.

S: Slight spice and distinct yeast scent with a little fruit (black cherries and figs) and a touch of hops. Not much of a nose, but what is there smells pleasant. Slight musty smell lingering underneath.

T: Pretty complex, lots of flavors going on here. A little sweet, a little bitter, a little sour, a little spicy. Slight sweetness to start, that goes a little spicy/yeasty and then a little sour and bitter. Finishes slightly dry, and crisp. None of the flavors are overpowering, they are all in a great balance.

M: Lighter to medium body. Lots of very fine carbonation bubbles. Slightly smooth mouthfeel.

D: Great drinkability. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Alcohol is pleasantly masked.

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Photo of tigg924
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay glass

Appearance: 1 inch head that goes quick, cloudy, red/brown in color, high carbonation

Smell: grape, dark fruit, bread, and a touch of apple

Taste: dark fruit, apple, Belgian spices, and bread

Mouthfeel: semi-sweet and tart, high carbonation, light bodied.

Drinkability: This one is a classic and yet is so complex. The alcohol is well hideen and I could have several glasses. Hits all the high points of the style.

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

Chimay Premiere (Red label) pours a dark ruby red with a big, creamy white head on top. The foam dissolves slowly to a thick sheet on the surface leaving behind some netted lace on the glass.

The aroma is faint with notes of bready yeast, raisin, some orange peel and a touch of spice (clove?). The aroma comes out stronger as the beer warms.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate, with a effervescent fizz and a dry finish. The flavor is malty/bready with some fruity notes. Sweet caramel malt, toast, red grapes, and figs. Almost wine like. None of the flavors dominate and they all work together wonderfully. It finishes with a touch of bitterness. Once gone the sweet malt, toast and fig flavor lingers on the palate.

This is a very tasty, well balanced easy drinking beer. Would go great with an expensive dinner out on the town.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours into Chimay chalice an amber to light brown color with some haze. Fluffy tan head rises and slowly settles. Head stays all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

S: Honey, ripe berries, currants, toasted malt and fresh bread, coriander and clove spice from yeast. Hops are floral and herbal.

T: Toffee, plums, currants, and toasted malt. Flavors keep unfolding, vanilla, candi sugar, and other fruity esters. Some spice of coriander and clove stand up through the malt complexity. Hops are floral and spicy.

M: Medium to full body with small, crisp carbonation. Some alcohol warmth comes through.

D: IMO one of the best beers in the world! So well balanced and amazingly complex. Very drinkable at 7% ABV!

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

11.2 oz bottle.

Appearance: Light brown in the tulip after the pour, but held to the light, its perfectly clear and a bright dark orange to red color. The head is frothy but really fades fast (I did pour it from the fridge) and leaves no lacing.

Smell: After sitting in the glass for an hour, things are coming around. Sweet fruit and spicy clove dominate. Yeasty bready and a hint (a hint) of sourness. Really good.

Taste: Very clovey and fruity. Quite spicy. Lots of yeasty flavor like sourdough. The finish is sweet and sourdough-ish.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is disappointingly low in this bottle. Otherwise its nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: Its a good dubbel, with a lot of smell and flavor complexity, but I don't love all of the flavors (too much sour yeast taste in the finish). Its been a year or two since I've had one of these, and I've had many better dubbels in the interim.

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Photo of ncfranklin
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet.

A : A cloudy brown to red with a solid, fizzy, tan head. Carbonation bubbles roll to the top in great quantity.

S : Spicey, dark fruit, not very powerful, but pleasant.

T : Rich in spice and malt. Touches of prune and raisin. I can't feel the hops, but the balance is evident so i'm presuming they're their.

M : Medium to heavy with lots of carbonation, and a nice silky feeling leftover. Carbonation is frisky in the mouth.

D : Well I had a whole 750ml bottle so I'd say pretty damn good. the amount of carbonation is a little too much, But I can't dock for that.

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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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