Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

4,883 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: 4,883 |  Reviews: 1,703
Photo of scottbrew4u
4.88/5  rDev +19%
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 -6.8%
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 +10.5%
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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Photo of JuggaloPhatMatt
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark and dense, like an unpasteurized cider; thin cinnamon-hued head

Smell: traces of spice--clove and nutmeg--from the yeast; malty with very low to non-existent hops

Taste: caramel and malt, with little to no hop presence; some hints of spice and pit fruit tucked just below obvious perception, with a slight metallic tang

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with full carbonation

Drinkability: As noted above, it had been a long time since I had tried this Chimay iteration. It was less complex than I recalled, but certainly not lacking in character. Probably the perfect beer to have started with years ago because although it promises hints of the complexity shared by its more complicated and sometimes difficult Belgian cousins, nothing in this beer is in your face. Refreshing, and a welcome beer to revisit from time to time.

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Photo of chaz01
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a couple sample pours at a beer tasting event in a local grocery store. Served in a champagne flute with Chimay Blue and Chimay cheese.

A: Orange/Light amber in color, nice head and a bit cloudy.

S: Fruity and floral aroma

T: Bready, biscuity with some dark fruits like plums and raisins.

M: Well carbonated with that Belgian yeast characteristics in the finish.

D: Very refreshing and smooth. Had a lot of the same flavors and characteristics of the blue, but much more mellower and softer. Could certainly drink a couple of these and they went well with the buttery cheese of Chimay.

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Photo of herman77
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky light mud/orangish color, can't see through it at all. Very interesting appearance. Huge light tan head. Hardly any lacing.

S: Slight spice and distinct yeast scent. A little fruity and a touch of hops. Not much of a nose, but what is there smells pleasant.

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/D: Lighter to medium body. Lots of very fine carbonation bubbles. Slightly smooth mouthfeel. Great drinkability. Very refreshing and easy to drink quickly, but I feel it should be savored.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. 10/08. Very active, yeast chunks, huge fluffy dirty white head lingers and loiters casually. Chestnut color. It's lighter in color than some brown ales, but it's darker than an amber. Dark amber/copper when backlit. Very attractive.

Malty sweet, yeasty, with very light esters and a hint of hops. ... It's all getting stronger and more complex as it warms, with some dark fruity inputs joining the mix. Really nice.

Same sort of elements as as the nose. Rich malty sweetness, light hop bitterness, abundant Belgian yeasty character, and maybe jsut a bit of dark fruit. Smooth, balanced and complex. Very good.

Strong carbonation, some warming, rich body and fairly thick viscosity. Finishes clean

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. I just don't remember enjoying this beer so much. It way more than exceeded my high expectations. This sample is delightful, going bye-bye way faster than I want it to.

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Photo of bsp77
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy brownish-orange with a head that almost instantly disappears. Looks a little dead.

Smell: Plum, raisins, molasses and soy sauce.

Taste: Plum and figs, dark musty fruit, light molasses. Some light clove and hops toward the end.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, a little fizzy (despite the dead look), medium body with a strange finish.

Drinkability: Decent Dubbel that, in my opinion, does not live up to its Trappist reputation. Still pretty tasty though.

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Photo of pwoody11
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that really got me started. I had enjoyed a craft beer here and there, but it wasn't until my future brother-in-law took me to Monks in Philly and demanded I start off with a Chimay, that I began to explore and appreciate beer on another level. Thanks Tony.

So I revisit it here for review. Had a bomber.

Poured a dark brown color with a nice two-finger ecru head. Decent lacing.

Aroma was of dark fruit and caramel with a slight breadiness to it.

The flavor was well balanced with bubblegum and Banana bread in the forefront. Fig and raisin are present as well.

Great brew. Recommend.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 33 cL bottle into a Chimay chalice.
A: Burnet orange and brown, it poured with a thick cream head that died to a thick film.
S: Musty brown sugar with grape juice, bright leafy hops, prunes, dried cranberries and raisins, molasses, licorice, but it is very bready.
T: Molasses and brown sugar with raisins, a slight dried cranberry bite, moldy "green" noble hops, and very yeasty.
M: Slightly syrupy and creamy, frothy, yet somewhat crisp.
D: I wouldn't want more than 750 mL in a sitting.

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Photo of cwc
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember drinking this years ago when I was essentially new to beer and finding it odd and difficult to drink. How times have changed. While indeed having a distinct taste - and perhaps more distinct for those of us who don't drink Belgian or Belgian style beers exclusively - it's a delicious and "solid" one.

I enjoyed this while sitting in a park in Tokyo on a warm spring day. Delicious - I look forward to trying it again along with the other offerings from Bières de Chimay.

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Photo of littlekidlover
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured my bottle into a Chimay Chalice. It poured a ruddy, cloudy brown with a tan head that disappeared quickly. The nose has a bit of raisin bread, lemony citrus and spice. The taste has a bit of caramel malt, banana, dried fruit, and spice. The mouthfeel is especially fantastic on this one. It has a nice crisp carbonation that cuts straight through the richness of this beer. This is highly drinkable and refreshing for a darker beer, the carbonation does it. I've thought of red as getting the least respect of Chimay's outstanding line up which is truly saying something about the quality of this brewer.

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Photo of MikeGill
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75cl bottle poured into a chalice.

Pours a cloudy reddish caramel with plenty of sediment and wonderful sticky lacing. Lemon Iced tea and toffee on the nose along with some spice.

Medium bodied with bready malt and well balanced brown sugar sweetness. Was very effervescent at first but the Co2 quickly mellowed to the level of just slightly refreshing. Takes on a French toast character towards the end. The finish is where the alcohol warmth comes in, along with a distinct dried orange peel flavor.

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

A - reddish golden brown color, poured right will yield a one finger creamy head

S - some dark, some light notes, not the most complex aroma but definitely enough there to enjoy

T - good amount of complexity and balanced smoothness...slight malt and warm buttery notes play off each other well...especially for those wanting an introduction to what a beer of this level is about

M - small bubbles refreshing

D - highly drinkable overall...this was my introduction into the whole 'respect beer' thing and still serves as a standard

I enjoyed this beer in a snifter glass and with some good mellow and earthy cheese...Chimay has their own brand of cheese but have yet to find it in stores...I recommend Beemster...or Gouda...let the cheese (not the beer !) get to room temp to really appreciate.

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Photo of NA1NSXR
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Straight amber color, murky, with tons of carbonated activity after the pour. The murkiness and activity going on in the beer just looks amazing. Head is huge if poured into a glass (against the directions on the bottle but I don't have a goblet) and the bubbles are quite large. I rarely give out extremely high marks on appearance because I really do not know how most beers are supposed to "look good" beyond the confines of their style but this one certainly looks amazing. Head dissapates quickly, however.

Smell - Fruity aromas abound, but the smell could be a bit stronger overall, but maybe I am getting a bit greedy.

Taste - Wow. Starts malty and sweet, superbly balanced. Hops come in later in a very appropriate way and strength. I really is a progressive experience because its starts and ends very differently. At 7% abv I detect no alcohol at all in the taste, which is outstanding. Beer labels and marketing material have the tendency to embellish otherwise mediocre beers, but this one drinks exactly as it is described on the bottle - you get the fruity balanced flavor with the perfect light hop bitter finish. This is so good I am having trouble pacing myself.

Mouthfeel - Near perfect, but could use a slightly better carbonation retention. May feel slightly thin to some people out there but it is right up my alley.

Drinkability - The only thing hindering the drinkability it my relatively low alcohol tolerance. Its not exactly heavy but its not something I can drink as quickly as I want to. The price is also somewhat prohibitive. I can only score the beer itself though, and for drinkability it is about as drinkable as any beer I've ever come across.

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Photo of Thur123
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep reddish brown color that looks like it's got red clay suspended in it...very hazy. A moderate pours unleashes very little eggshell colored head. The smell is candi sugar and dark pitted fruits. I smell apricot and figs. There is a spiciness involved too. The sweet sugar smell reminds me of caramelized backed fruit and brown sugar. There is also an earthier smell, but it's faint to me.

Glug glug glug

The taste is sweet and complex with a layer of mellow fruitiness that comes off as banana and apricots to me. With that is the earthy spiciness that I wish I could describe better. Over all this is a classic and easy drinking beer, and one of the first non BMCs I tried. I imagine there's a better version of this tasty brew, but this is still delicious. The mouth feel is rich and thick.

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Photo of Crowls
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in cordial glass

Appearance: Reddish brown colored body not transparent at all. Nice head and lacing.

Smell: Various aromas, of fruit and nut with some spice notes.

Taste: Great flavor of spice and alcohol with mild sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel but not a silky smooth rich feel but a very full and pleasant feel.

Drinkability: One or two is about good at a time as it is an ale to be appreciated and not to consume in great quantities.

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Photo of metter98
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured cloudy brownish amber into a snifter glass with a very large head that quickly dies down into a thin, swirly head. Yeast particles are clearly visible floating near the bottom of the glass.
S: Malty, yeasty aromas dominate the smell.
T: There's an immediate sense of malty sweetness, followed by some spices. The finish is a bit dry, but is interesting because it counteracts the initial sweetness. The dry finish completely disappears as the beer warms up and the overall taste becomes sweet, but not in any way overpowering. The presence of alcohol is completely masked.
M: The beer has a light to medium body and feels smooth, mainly due to the level of carbonation.
D: It's very easy to consume, and becomes even easier as it warms up and becomes sweeter.

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured into my Bell's Tulip with a dark crimson red hue and about a finger and a half of quickly dissipating head that leaves minimal lacing.

Smell - Very malty/sweet in smell with loads of dark fruit aromas up front. This is followed by a slight musty yeastiness and prevalent peppery spices.

Taste - At first sip the dark fruits are right there - raisins, plums, dark cherries. This is followed by yeasty/bready/malty tastes and finishes with a slight peppery spiciness. I am enjoying the melding of these flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability - The more I drink this and let it warm up, the sweeter it becomes. This takes down on the Drinkability for me, but overall I'm glad I was able to try this. Now on to its blue brother!

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Photo of Kelp
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown color to the beer, with a beautiful white head. Very little lacing.

A nice sweetness from the malts and some hints of fruit on the nose. Also some yeast and spices.

Nice and sweet up front with some fruits. The spices follow into the after taste and some breadiness at the end.

Loads of carbonation in this brew. A bit watery but still good.

This is good but not my favorite type. I would definitely have more of this beer, but wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of Flashsp2
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay red 33cl into chalice

Pours a clouded blood orange red with tangerine highlights. The head
is billowy and two fingers in height which drops down to a lasring
pancake topping. Leaves somw clingy lacing.

Lots of fruity aromas present, a mixed basket of light and dried dark
with a soft yeasty quality. An earthy quality and a subtle black

The body is malty sweet, belgian candi, some earth and pepper.

Mouthfeel is soft and well carbonated, well suited to the style.

This, my second favorite Chimay, is super approachable and easy to drink

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Photo of ThaCreep
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A few persistent foam and a slightly fruity nose (fig and red fruit) and sweet, especially candy. The palate is quite soft and silky but even if the palace reminds the roasted malt, we found a body with a little light level flavors. The finish follows this approach, it offers little bitter and very few flavors that, in addition, do not stay long in the mouth. Note, however, a little more acidity in 75cl or nitro-bottles. A beer that serves as an initiator in the way of Chimay beers.

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Photo of kirkpjr
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Had to open this one real slowly. It would have overflowed if I didn't.

A: Pours a full finger of head. Dark caramel color with plenty of floaters thanks to they yeast sediment I dumped in. Can't see through the caramel.

S: Sweet candied malts and Belgian yeast. A little vinegary almost. Apple and some other fruits come through.

T: Really wish this tasted more like it smelled. It starts with a sweet taste that is quickly kicked by a sharp bitterness. Only a faint fruit sweetness comes through.

M: Very high carbonation. Crisp and refreshing feel. The bitterness lingers.

D: Good to try but don't know how many of these I could drink in a sitting. A little too dry and bitter.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - A nice rich brown that's a bit hazy with medium beige head that recedes fast. This looks nice and creamy.

S - Malt, lots of malt. Dark fruit. Caramel. Yeast. Some spice.

T - All the nose and more. One of the most complex tastes I've encountered. There are so many things working and interacting here that it's incredible. Plum,chocolate, black cherry, raisins, a little citrus lemon, caramel, thyme, and some yeast. Despite all the flavors, the taste is not overpowering and by no means is this beer "fruity." Very interesting.

M - Perfect. Could not be better crafted. Carbonation is there but not overimposing and it is consistent through each sip.

D - Surprisingly drinkable and thank god for that. The abv is completely hidden and it's middling in the first place. I could drink 3 or 4 of these. Expensive though.

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Photo of carolinabeerguy
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark caramel brown with hints of golden amber. Has a 1-2 finger off-white foamy head which dissipates fairly quickly. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Nice malty sweetness with hints of spices and dried fruits.

Taste: Caramel up front with a small metallic bite. Toasted malt with a light hint spices throughout. Very subdued bittersweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a high amount of carbonation up front. Fairly dry finish.

Drinkability: Pretty high drinkability. Would be higher if not for the high amount of carbonation.

Overall: This is one of those beers that every beer lover should try. It isn't my favorite ale, but it is a good representation of the Dubbel style.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,883 ratings.
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