Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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Chimay Première (Red)Chimay Première (Red)
4,935 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: 4,935 |  Reviews: 1,716
Photo of Phocion
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay chalice with a deep, dark mahogany color, and a creamy contrasting head which quickly fades into a lasting, thin layer on the top of the beer.

Spicy malt scents with light citrusy undertones balancing it out. Smells just as delicious as I remember.

Spicy, mostly. Very malty, earthy taste, and a little sour, but not in a bad way. The alcohol is definitely there, but not overpowering. A little bit of fruity sweetness coming through as well. Nicely balanced, fairly complex.

Medium-heavy bodied, very creamy and filling.

This is a wonderful-tasting beer, but it's a little too heavy to get a higher mark as far as drinkability. Aside from that, it's very solid and one of my favorites. I'll usually pick up either this or the blue when I can't decide what else I want to get..

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Photo of FBarber
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy brown with lots of yeast sediment in it - yumm! Frothy light tan head slowly dissipates down to a thin foam covering the whole beer. Gorgeous head and excellent head retention. as the head stays until the last drop.

Smell has aromas of brown sugar, dark fruits, dried prunes and raisins, with undertones of alcohol and a nice yeasty presence.

Taste has flavors of dark fruits, dried raisins, prunes, and dates. Some mild brown sugar sweetness coats the tongue nicely initially before giving way to a very robust yeast flavor that provides a peppery and ginger finish on the tongue. Lots of classic "belgian" character to this beer and its wonderful. As the beer warms some herbal flavors are noted as they become more pronounced.

Feel had medium carbonation providing a tingle on the tongue initially. Nice smooth feel on this. Slight sweetness provides some coating on the tongue and the peppery yeast provides a drying finish.

Overall a very fine dubbel - not the best Trappist dubbel, but certainly in the upper echelon.

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Photo of confer
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From a .75 liter bottle. The color is caramel brown and cola like in the initial carbonation.
The smell is fantastic, plums, prunes sweet dark fruit. They should make an air freshen er of this smell.
The taste is again dark fruits. The finish is missing something it is dry and a bit watery.
The light finish is a little disappointing.
I like this beer a lot and will pick some up occasionally. I prefer it to the Blue.

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Photo of JamesGrove
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Patrick999
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a small bottle into a chalice. Dark purplish-brown, OK head, but to be fair I didn't really give it a good pour, I was too methodical.

Aroma is very nice, delicate and lightly spiced with an array of integrated fruits, the quintessential Trappist aroma.

Taste is of fruit & spice bread, yeasty and phenolic. Clove-y. A little alcohol burns the nose on occasion on the way down. Complex and excellent, exactly what you'd expect.

Feel really shines, the way it sits on the palate in such a light, positive manner. This could be said about all the Trappists I've tried, but this really has it down.

A pleasure to drink, you can keep going with this until your wallet begs for mercy or the 7% alcohol gets you, whichever comes first. The benchmark Dubbel, as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of Josievan
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber. Nice head and lacing. This one definitely has some floaties. The end of the bottle is especially murky and chunky.

Smell: Sweet malts and spices abound.

Taste: Quite malty, but in a heavy sort of way. Lots of spice, namely cinnamon. Hardly any bitterness to speak of. There's a definite breadlike yeast quality, almost in a pie crust way. The last bit of beer that's swirled and poured into my glass is extra yeasty, yum!

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation on a smooth medium-to-full body.

Drinkability: 7% is pushing it for having very much of this, but more than that, the only real detriment to drinkability is that the spice could become slightly tedious if one had too much of this.

Notes: This was my first authentic Belgian Abbey Ale, and also the maltiest Belgian beer I've had. I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but it turns out it's delicious! Those monks know how to brew right! I will be coming back to this and also seeking out more Dubbels (and eventually Tripels and Quads).

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

Corked 750 ml bottle, had this a lot but never reviewed it, here goes. Pours mahogany with a thick creamy off-white head. Aroma of cloves, biscuits, a bit winey and some dark fruits. Taste was some malt and fruit up front, with some spices and biscuit in the middle and a warming finish with a touch of hops. Mouthfeel was almost crisp at first, but grew creamy and smooth as it warmed. This is fine brew and very readily available, sure the white and the blue are even better, but this is a fine Dubbel.

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Photo of audzeejs
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bferber
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Metalsnota
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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 Chrysostom
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 fl oz/330mL bottle, of a unique form factor, crown capped, not corked and caged like most Chimay (I have a 750mL of Chimay Red in the fridge). This beer was served a little cold (barely above fridge temperature, probably 35ºF), so I let it warm for a few minutes, and it continues to warm as I write my review,

As always, I am writing my review live, puzzling out the drink as it is being drunk, not from notes.

As always, I attempt to review "to style" (ala BJCP), with some admixture of personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste. However, when it comes to most Trappists, reviewing "to style" and "to taste" are identical for me, as Trappist (Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads, especially Dubbels and Quads) tends to be my favourite style.

Chimay has different flavours in 330s, 750s, and 1500s (magnums), so, here goes, with that being said: without further ado, a review.

A: Cloudy, mostly opaque dark brown (lots of sediment still in bottle) with reddish highlights at the bottom when poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet and held to the light. Sometimes I manage to pour Chimay crystal-clear, but not often, and not today. No head on delicate pour, one to one-and-one-half-finger head on moderately vigorous pour, quickly receding in to a "cap and ring" on the face and edges of the beer.

S: Massive malts, some dark fruit, and some quasi-citrusy-like flavours, such as tangerine and apricot, as undercurrents to the malt and dark fruit (not nearly as much tangerine, as, say, an English IPA... maybe 20% as much, if that). No alcohol in the nose. Some bread, lots of malts, a bit of spice, and very, very, extremely mild Belgian funk. There

T: Malt, dark fruits (as is typical for the style), mild spiciness, and the typical "Belgian Trappist character" which is impossible to describe, or, to put it more eloquently, ineluctable and ineffable (whoever is reading this should hire me since I was able to use those two words correctly). Very little alcohol. The bread character from the fallen (poured into glass) yeast is noticeable, but pleasant - it addeth to the character, it doth not take away. There is some spice, but the spice is lesser than St Bernardus, and not even one-twentieth as much as some Devilish concoction like Rochefort 8. Finish is dry to bitter.

M: Moderately high carbonation for the style, pretty full and a bit astringent. Not stingy in any way, nor thin. This is a full-bodied beer.

D: Very high, although not as compulsively high as the higher-ABV Chimay Blue (Quadrupel/Belgian Strong Dark Ale).

O: Excellent beer, one of the best representatives of the Dubbel style, second only to Westmalle.

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

Light murky brown in color with a beautiful fluffy white head. The taste is creamy and smooth. Hints of spices come through and is a bit peppery. Very effervesant in the mouth. The aftertaste is very warming and smooth. I have been waiting to try the Chimay line for along time and they did not disappoint. Can't wait to sample the white and blue.

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

375ml bottle poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Dark brown in colour, high carbonation which pours initially with an aggressive head. This head didn't appear for very long though (dirty glass?.

S - Slight nut and raisin smell although to me it wasn't very strong.

T - What it lacks in smell, it makes up in taste. Strong sweet fruity taste with very slight alcohol after taste. Not overpowering.

M - Strong carbonation dances around the tongue. Taste and mouthfeel are definitely the highlights

D - This is definitely drinkable, superb taste and mouthfeel. This is a great example of a dubbel although, I think Westmalle Dubbel wins by a nose if only I could get it more often.

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Photo of rdw84
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of nickthom24
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

A - Beautiful burnt-red/brown color. Fairly murky. Three finger head that lasts. Nice white lacing.

S - Lots of malt, spices, and raisin notes. Slight phenol smell.

T - Sweet and malty with a hint of cloves. The alcohol content is much more noticeable from the taste than the smell (but still not overpowering).

M - Medium mouth feel. Not nearly as heavy as you would imagine. Malty alcohol aftertaste.

O - One of my favorite beers from one of my favorite styles. This is what Ben Franklin was talking about...

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

The larger bottle, poured into a Chimay-branded chalice.

A nice light ruby hue, a half-inch of head that dissolves into a ring. A bit of lacing, but not much.

Nose of cherry, pear, bubble gum, a bit of spice, yeast.

Taste is excellent - sweet and fruity up front, bitter and peppery to the finish. A slight taste of alcohol at the end, but not enough to be jarring. Same tasting notes as in the nose. Delicious!

Mouthfeel is medium thickness, well-carbonated.

Always one of my favorites. Almost every time I walk into the LCBO I'm tempted to pick up a bottle. One of the best dubbels out there.

First rate!

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

Tasted 1/16/04 at our little Extravaganza Belgique.

Kicking off our little indulgence session was this beauty (as we decided to move through the Chimays in ascending ABV level), with a creamy white head over a soft, amber-brown brew.

Both in the nose and on the tongue, Premiere is soft and round, with entertwined sweetnesses of alcohol and fruit, with wheaty touch and an intriguing but subtle bitterness before a smooth finish.


Spoils of the 10/11/03 Knoxville Raid.

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

Just bought a gift set which includes a bottle of the Premier, Grand Reserve and the Tripel. Plus the awesome Chimay glass which I have wanted for a long time now.

A: Pours a cloudy copper with a medium light tan head. Nice lacing and fairly big carbonation.

S: This needs to set a bit and warm before the aromas come out. Fermented fruits (bananna), corriander, spices & rich malts.

T: Flavor is tartish malts, fruits, and light spices.

M: Pretty tart and sharp with a richness that balances everything out.

D: This is a style that I would not drink everyday. IMO it is meant to be savored and should be a treat every now and then.

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Photo of Samp01
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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 puboflyons
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the corked bottle no. L10-506. Sampled on March 19, 2011. It pours a cloudy amber-brown with a burst of beige head with what looks like sediment floating about. Aromas of light toasted malts, plums and yeast. The body is smooth and creamy. The flavor boasts a little caramel sweetness with a noted yeast backdrop. The short descripton was that it was mellow and warmed the innards.

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

The bottle tasted had a best before date of 2015, so that would make it roughly about a year old. 30cl bottle into a Orval glass.

Pours a slighty reddish brown, quite clear. The head disappears quite fast and leaves a small layer of foam.

Smell is quite light. Yeasty, green fruits, some spices and then a feint smell of smoke or burnt bread.

Taste is a bit sweeter than the smell suggests. Quite fresh, some fruits and a very light hint of cocoa and some spice. There's a more pronounced taste of roasted malt/bread with honey, then a nice bitterness. After the beer has warmed up a bit there's a slight sourness, like the green fruits (apples) in the smell. Everything works well together.

Mouthfeel is slighty thin, with a lot more carbonation than what's going on in the glass. Quite good.

Overall this is a really enjoyable beer, very balanced. Not a taste-bomb but more subtle and complex. Very good for the style.

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Photo of Dodo2step
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P- Market Cross Pub in carlisle.

A- pours a thick and foamy mountainous head. A nice crispy white lacing is left behind all the way up my glass. lots of bits floating in the glass. i dont know if that is yeast or the hopsor grains. color is thick opaque dark brown.with amber tints.

S- i get maltand dark candied fruits that pemeate the nose. very sweet and sugary.

T- a sour yet sweet bready doughy taste. the sweetness resonates on my tongue and hangs there for a bit. packs a nice lil punch. A nice lil peppercorn spice is at the tail end.

M- creamy and smooth. Carbonated sits on the tongue. Very nice feeling.

D- this seems easy toput down at only 7% but dont let it fool you it can come back around to get you. Very smooth and crisp on the alcohol.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 4,935 ratings
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