Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

1,682 Reviews
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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Reviews: 1,682 | Ratings: 4,836
Photo of VoodooBrew
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished orange-brown body with a generous tan head. The nose shows herbal -- almost Indian -- spices, dried fruit, and malt. For some odd reason, the flavor reminds me of hot dogs. Yeah, hot dogs. There's malt mid-palate with a mild bitterness in there too. This one drinks soft and easy. It's perfectly drinkable but I'm not sure that it offers too much.

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Photo of joshk
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm new to belgian ales, dubbels/trippels and what not, so take this review for what it's worth. Certain things about certain belgian ales and their smells remind me of some 'interesting' times I spent up in Montréal before I was supposed to start school, so I'm biased, haha.

A: Pretty damn good looking beer, poured into a chalice like glass. Pretty big head that went down quick but apparently beers with relatively high abv's don't have good head retention. Nice thick reddish brown color. You can see yeast and other debris floating around in the bottle.

S: Smelled kinda like Unibroue La Fin Du monde (a beer of which I'm not too particularly fond, hence my bias). I'm not quite sure what you call it, "phenolic" maybe? (If you've ever had choloroseptic throat spray, it's got phenol in it)... Sure, I'll go with that. Phenolic and fruity.

T: Cherry like bitterness, a little yeasty, mild alcohol taste. Has a wine like evanescence, but I prefer beer to wine so... Has a Weissbier like aftertaste, reminded me a little of Hoegaarden, or Leffe Blonde. The taste is quite different from the Chimay Grande Réserve.

M: smooth, but it's a sipper.

D: pretty good for a beer with 7.0 ABV. Dogfish Head "Indian Brown Ale" tastes more like alcohol than this beer.

Give it a try, especially if you like belgian beers, or Hoegaarden. I think this beer is a bit complex for me, but what do I know? =]

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Dull hazy brown body with noticeable carbonation going up. Bubbly ivory head with low retention.
S- Brown sugar, dried fruits, raisins, some cinnamon.
T- Dried fruits, sugar, bread, belgian yeast.
F- Smooth, slightly fizzy.
O- Nice beer, ABV was hardly noticeable. Not very fond of this style but this was fairly good.

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Photo of Viggo
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy red/brown, big white head forms, goes away quickly with a little lace, different from what i remember. Smell is spicy, yeasty, rich. Taste is full, malty, spices, some iron. Really not as good as I remember it. Carbonation is high, little bit of burn on the throat. Weird.

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Photo of A380
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark red with a rocky beige head that lasts quite some time, good lacing, smell.. not so crazy impressed.. but it is okay, smells better than the average beer.. smells kinda sweet thats about all i can pick out. Carbonation very strong! Tastes slightly sweet with a nice spice to it and some alcohol ester taste. overall i would say this is pretty ok. not exactly what i thought it would be because of its high rating but i dont really have much to complain about either so i say give it a shot.

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Photo of RedBear84
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle into tulip glass with great expectation. The brew was a slightly reddish amber color and had a creamy off-whit head that dissipated quickly. There was a malty and slightly honey sent that was pleasant, not awesome. The beer had a little sweet, malty, spicy, citrus flavor and had a mild hop feel. This is a good beer. At $7/six pack it would have really been remarkable. Unfortunately, it cost nearly $7/bottle leading to expectation not realized.

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Photo of ryanocerus
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a Christmas sampler with chimay chalice. Poured a cloudy dark amber color with 1/2 inch of caramel head. Head dissipated quickly with minimal lacing. The aroma is characteristic Belgian in nature with hints of banana. The taste has a yeast/malt initial flavor with an astringent mineral finish. Nice carbonated full mouthfeel. Overall an above average beer, but there are other Belgian style beers I would drink before this.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured to a dark red and brown color with a massive head. It's leaving a reasonable amount of lace behind, too.

The smell is of dark malts, caramel, and a bit of alcohol. The taste brought more of this, with some amount degree of esters as well. It's a well blended and balanced brew, although it's lacking the complexion found in some of the competition.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a goblet with Thanksgiving dinner 2010.

Pours a medium brownish-crimson color with a single-finger white head with a touch of lacing. The retention isn't the best either, though it's certainly a nice color. Nose is dark caramel, purple plum, dates, raisins, and a touch of booze.

The flavor brings forward some notes of lightly-sweetened dark fruits, raisins, and malt along with a fairly strong presence of dates and a nice yeasty character. Medium body with low carbonation and a bit of booze. Drinks fairly well but doesn't have all that much depth.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Uncorked a bottle giving way to a glorious smokey haze rising out of the top. Poured into a chalice, producing a 2.5 finger head that mostly dissipated over the next minute or two.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy caramel/copper color.

Aroma: Really couldn't pin down any one smell. Some malt and a little yeast in the nose. No off odors.

Taste: Bit of a hop bite up front then transitions into smooth malt and spicy flavors as it goes down. Get some notes of banana and pear. Also some spice I can't quite put my finger on. Really nice taste overall. Reminiscent of a Hefeweizen.

Mouthfeel: The slightly high carbonation makes an impact right away but fades quickly allowing for the flavor to be savored. No hint of the 7%abv, drinks like a much lighter beer.

Final Thoughts: This was the first Trappist beer I have tried. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will be trying the other Chimay offerings. Although there is a lot of hype concerning 'Trappist' beers, Chimay Premiere does a good job of living up to it's reputation. I'm not the biggest fan of wheat beers or hefeweizens, but the average beer enthusiast should enjoy this one.

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Photo of JOaikido
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

0.33 L bottle.

A- Brown with amber highlights. OK beige head of slightly large bubbles.

S- Thick malt. Fruity notes of plum and pear.

T- Strong caramel flavour with a bit of a burnt touch. Slight bitterness. Sweet finish.

MF- Fairly thick. A bit too syrupy (sticky sweet).

O- Good beer, but not as good as I had hoped. Too much sweetness/stickiness, though the caramel taste is nice.

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Photo of vitesse
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

served in small brown bottle.
nice appearance and smell. nice sticky head and rich nutty smell. taste was good, too. nice yeasty/clove notes. slightly spicey and nutty. no aftertaste at all, though
the mouthfeel killed it for me. the body of this beer just seemed to totally drop out too quickly.
a decent dubbel but i think there are better out there.

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Photo of BamaViper1
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.5 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet.

The Chimay dubbel pours opaque brown with an off-white head. The head dissipates leaving tiny, and few, whisps of lacing.

The beer smells of roasted caramel malt.

This beer immediately has a a caramally malt center that mellows into more of a burned caramel/sugar taste. The finish is long but a little sour. There are hints of that sour/tartness in the overall taste of the beer when inhaling though the beer.

The mouthfeel of the beer is a litle lighter than I was expecting. Especially in the finish. But the body has good carbonation.

Honestly I could probably drink a lot more of this beer; however, I feel like there are better dubbels out there. The slight sourness of the beer doesn't compliment the malt as much as I had hoped. Good work from Chimay, but honestly speaking, the Blue Grand Reserve is the Chimay for me.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cloudy brown color, a thin layer of off-white head that never goes away. The head leaves behind many full rings of lacing.

S: Yeast up front with a sweet honey aroma and a small amount of alcohol. Also spices.

T: A small amount of sweetness up front before my mouth was hit with an incredible amount of spicy, peppery flavor. The flavor doesn't have many hops, but it doesn't feel out of balance because of it.

S: Medium bodied paired with a ton of carbonation. Feels fairly light.

D: A drinkable beer, but not one of my favorite Belgian or Trappist ales.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - dark honey brown initially gives way to copper red
s - fruity, spicy, a little hoppy in the background
t - malt, spice, some hoppiness and fruit
m - too carbonated for my tastes
d - not my favorite Chimay, but drinkable enough

It was my first Chimay, and I had pretty high expectations. In the end I have found Tripel and Blue to be far superior.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I was a bit disappointed in this brew. There is pretty much nothing wrong (maybe appearance with lack oh sustaining head), but nothing that made me think highly of it either.

The beer is a nice clear amber, but has no sustaining head. I also don't get much from the nose. Maybe a light plum, but anything is weak. The taste is nicely balanced with a little body. It's mildly sweet with some hints of plum, but pretty much is straightforward.

I hope maybe I just got a bad or old bottle, because otherwise I can't see the rating being so high for this one.

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Photo of shererjt
3.69/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy brown with moderate carbonation. Head was tan, creamy, and long-lasting. Rich, yeasty aroma with raisins, malt, spice, phenolics, and brown sugar. Lots of character. Body was medium. Rich flavor--raisins and malt early with a lingering bitterness late. Taste had much less complexity than the aroma. Also a bit of sourness. Creamy mouthfeel, but a little lighter in body than expected and desired. Still, rather tasty and the drinkablity is quite good for a beer this potent.

Overall, a quality beer. I've had it many times before and recall it being better than this "vintage", which is dated 09/05. A pretty decent introduction to Belgians for those who are ready to take the plunge!

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Photo of bilbobrewer
3.69/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've seen this one in every beer section of every grocery store here, so I decided to try it.
Meh. Nothing outstanding about it, and there are too many to try for a do-over anytime soon.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper, more on the brown side, with two fingers of frothy, off white head. Subsided reasonably quickly. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Bananas, clove, some kind of metallic/astringent note I couldn't place.

Taste: Very, very smooth. Chocolatey/banana notes up front, which fade to a nice sweetness in the aftertaste. Mild bitter hop notes, but the sweetness dominates. It's a mild enough sweetness not to become cloying, and instead remains rather pleasant. A little watery, overall, however.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, but like Chimay's other offerings, too highly carbonated. The high carbonation adds a harshness which takes away from the smooth taste.

Drinkability: Well, this was the only one of Chimay's three main offerings that I enjoyed finishing, so that counts for something. It's very smooth and refreshing - and to be honest, tastes more like a watered-down tripel than a dubbel.

I've been underwhelmed or disappointed by all of Chimay's offerings, but this is the best of the main group (Blue/Red/White). It was a bit watery, but overall, an enjoyable brew.

EDIT: Interestingly enough, I looked back, and rated the Blue higher than this one. I know I liked this better - might have to go back and give the Blue another try.

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Photo of Phatz
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Simply put, Chimay is classy. Even non craft beer Savants will appreciate a Chimay whether it is the Red White or Blue. Personally, I prefer the Blue and I would not call this beer (the Red) one of my favorites, there are so many other classy beers for celebratory occasions; but this one does have its time and place.

Appearance: Served in my goblet the appearance is party translucent (but not transparent) amber / brown, with a decent head and nice lacing.

Smell: The smell is sweet & malty with suggestions of caramel and plums. It also has some fruity characteristics and hints of yeast.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This beer is very carbonated. It is sweet and bubbly in the mouth. The taste seems a bit straightforward and simple for a Dubbel. It is pleasant but not extremely exciting. Sweet malts and flavors of dark fruits and caramel sugars dominate the mouth. The hop notes are very subtle but present. It is very crisp. Maybe the high carbonation is partly responsible for the thinness in the taste. As it sits and warms the over carbonation fades and its best aspect seems to be the sweet aftertaste that lingers in your mouth for a very long time. Nice.

Drinkability: For a simple bubbly beer this is a great choice for graduation parties and anniversaries with a wide variety of drinkers. It is simple enough on the palate that few people will find it objectionable. It will successfully accompany a wide variety of food selections and it goes down very easily. So, like I said before, Chimay Première (Red) does have its time and place.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a completely opaque medium brown. Very little head to speak of, which is a bit disappointing. No lace either. Nose is basic dark malt, nothing really stands out.

A quaff indicates some extant yeast and a smooth, creamy finish but nothing too out of the ordinary. Maybe my expectations were too high but this really isn't doing much for me. The malt is tasty; chocolate, dark fruit, maybe a little oily, but not really anything special.

This is a good beer, but nothing earth shattering. certainly worth trying, I just wasn't feeling it, I don't know, maybe it's me because everyone else loves this stuff...

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Photo of guinnessfan
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Deep, cloudy brown, with yeasties floating. One finger head quickly recedes and leaves little lacing.

S: Very mild, dark fruit and virtually no spice. Slightly sweet.

T: Very mild, again. Similar to smell. Slight yeast. Mild alcohol taste.

M: Very carbonated. Slight prickley sensation. Medium body.

D: Very sessionable taste, mild, but slightly strong in ABV.

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Photo of necoadam
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured out a muddy garnet/brownish color with a big head which had to settle down. Smell consisted of malts mostly, which some sharp spices (just like in the tripel), with some dark fruit and caramel? Seemes to be on the sweet side as well Taste was decent enough. Good malt backbone with some sweetness as well as some spiciness. Some dark fruit and yeast mix in the middle along with some earth tones. Mouthfeel was medium-full boded with some lively carbonation. Pretty good. Much better than the tripel that they make, and a solid choice for a dubbel.

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Photo of mpyle
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color, somewhat cloudy. Big slightly off-white head that was creamy and long lasting.

Fairly little aroma - a little vanilla sweetness and a little peppery spiciness.

Complex malty sweetness with a hint of bubble gum or cotton candy. Finishes with the lingering candy sweetness, but sweetness never becomes completely overpowering. Very slight oxidation character as warms. Less sweet and more spicy in a 2011 retasting.

Medium body with medium/high carbonation. Very creamy mid-tongue, and minimal alcohol warming.

A reasonably nice beer. Drinkable, but with time the candy sweetness became all that I was tasting. This one-dimensionality would get tiresome.

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Photo of Phelps
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tiny bottle poured into a globe glass.

Deep maroon, mostly hazy, with a full, puffy two-finger head of gorgeous foam that looks like it could hang out all night. It eventually becomes one finger of dense foam, leaving not much lace.

In the nose: cinnamon, raspberries, maple, strawberry syrup and some graininess.

The flavor is similar: maple, cinnamon, plums, cranberry, dark bread. Slightly dry finish with nice sweetness throughout.

Medium light body, moderate fizziness. Nicely velvety, but little light in body for what I like from Belgians. Dryish finish with no noticeable alcohol.

Chimay Red may not be as flavorful as other Belgian dubbels, but it's still impressive. When it's available at a bar in Vegas amidst a swath of BMC taps, all the better.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,836 ratings.
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