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Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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1,665 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: 1,665 | Ratings: 4,765
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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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored the 11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice of course.
Pretty red with some brown and orange coloring mixed in. Offwhite/light brown head.
A bouquet of fruity aroma rides along a peppery spice quality.
The fruity character from the smell carries over in the taste. A metallic element pops out at the finish along with some dryness. Medium carbonation and body.

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Photo of bigdaddyd069
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown with an amber/ruby red hue from a bomber into my snifter glass. Nice head that last about a minute.

S - Sweet but very Dry, dark fruit (apricot, plums) with some light fruit (pear, apple)

T - Very bitter but sweet with dark fruits. Sharp tingly flavor. Alot of yeast/sugar

M - Very well carbonated, bubbly, crisp, sharp, dry.

O - Tastes very similar to a "brut" style champagne (dry but sweet, dry fruits with vanilla and little fruit) sugar added at the end of the brewing process but not too sweet. Very complex

Food pairing - I paired this with a sweet glazed chicken and a terriaki pork and both of these did not work with this beer. I hope to dry chili next which I think will work very well, will let you all know.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking reddish brown color. The head was fizzy and white, which also doesn't leave too much lacing either. The smell of the beer is a mostly earthy and a little spicy. The taste spicy upfront and suttles into a dry earthy sweetness in the end. The mouthfeel was about the same at the Grand Reserve. Overall this beer is good, I'm not a huge fan of the style but this one is worth trying.

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Photo of ark57
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a rust brown color with a slight haze and a soft, creamy head. The aroma is spicy and fruity with some bread quality to it. It is malty and is balanced by the spicy phenols and alcohol. There is a slight metallic tinge in the taste as well. It finishes drier than I would have expected for such a malty beer.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone snifter, Bottle says L09-087

A: Pours a ruby-red with a minimal amount of head in the glass. Not overtly carbonated.

S: There is a strong presence of malts with some caramel and toffee in there. Hints of cloves and a bit of yeast.

T: Pretty strong on the malt and yeast profile, with a bit of toffee. There is a touch of hops on the back end of this beer.

M/D: This beer wasn't very carbonated and that might have hurt its complexity. There just was not a lot going on and this beer never really kept my interest throughout the pour. Mediocre flavor. I would grab a Rochefort 8 or Westmalle dubbel anytime over this.

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Photo of adamette
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

poured from "wine bottle" sized corked bottle purchase at Giant Eagle in Painesville, Ohio into a clear glass

A 3-4 finger light brown head, pleasing amber body.

S Malty, complex, smooth, interesting, inviting.

T Nutty, grainy, woodsy, amber tones, Alcohol mid taste smoothes out in 3 seconds, leaving pleasing after taste. Despite these interesting occurrences I was not overly impressed with the taste. It was rather pedestrian for the big presentation promised by the large, corked bottle.

M full, it delivered with mouthfeel.

D Fair. It was just O.K.

Notes: complex, interesting but did not blow me away. Love the presentation in "wine" bottle with cork. My expectations were high and they were not met by this Ale which is so highly regarded and presented. Of course it is better than 95% of beers out there but again, my expectations were very high indeed.

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Photo of wedge
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

We have a gusher. Pours an understandably clouded dark reddened brown. Soft, creamy looking head that lasts as a wispy top and collar. Nice malt oriented aroma - doughy yeast, cherries, sweet bread, and a touch of chocolate. Thinnish flavor of fruity esters and phenolics with underlying chocolate and bread. A dusty yeatiness wraps up the flavor - dry and no real bitterness or lasting aftertaste. Medium body at the most, very smooth with low carbonation. Not very exciting, but not bad.

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Photo of expatsteve
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky brown, with red and orange hues. Big 3/4 inch head leaves no lacing. Low viscosity.

Aroma: Lots of bready notes, with a little sourdough present. Some golden raisins, caramels, and a hint of orange peel.

Taste: bread, with a little fennel, some espresso and citrus sours. Some raisins and honey developments. The front palate malts and yeast are a little too much, leaves the other flavors a little muted.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, with only a mild malt aftertaste. Low creamy carbonation.

Drinkability: Good, but light for the style. A good beer to stick with for a night, though there are better options within the style and for the price.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into my new Chimay glass; I'd been putting off trying these until I found the gift pack.

Pours out a deep ruddy, murky brown with orange highlights, barely translucent. A fairly thin white head of creamy small bubbles that left a decent lace, but I was a bit disappointed at the size of the head and the lacing. I know the glass was clean, too. Odd.

Smell is interesting: extremely phenolic, and with some alcohol sneaking through, but also a tad doughy and with a little bit of spiciness. The most obvious fruit I pick out is plum, but maybe also some prunes.

Flavor is surprisingly light, I think, it's got the fruitiness about it, and there's a little maltiness, but it's not a hugely complex onslaught. The spices pepper the tongue a little bit, particularly what might be a tiny bit like nutmeg, and the alcohol pulls through just barely in the finish.

The mouthfeel is quite carbonated, but it's a pleasant little spritziness on the tongue.

Overall: I think I may have had overly-high expectations for this one. It's not bad, but for the price, it's nowhere near being worth it. St. Bernardus Prior 8 wipes the pavement with this one, I think, at a similar price in most places. Good enough, but not one I'll ever buy again.

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Photo of Mdog
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brownish-orange, ok head.

Smell: Floral, sweetness, clove.

Taste: Fruity, a tanginess that reminds me of cranberries, clove highlights.

Mouthfeel: Feels heavier than some other dubbels I've had.

Drinkability: Ok, not one of my favorite styles though.

#2 in the Chimay tasting is the dubbel. I've been somewhat unimpressed by dubbels in the past, but this one seems to trade in the breadiness for some more fruit flavors which was nice. Pretty good.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a gift pack...3 beers and a chimay glass.

Pours out to a cloudy sediment rich dark amber, forming a soapy beige head with excellent retention and lacing. Carbonation is brisk. The aroma is as I would expect for a dubbel....spicy, phenolic, a clean ferment akin to Unibroue with a touch of almonds in the nose. Some faint higher alcohols are appreciable. The mouthfeel is spritzy with a faintly dry finish and medium-light body. The taste is spicy as well with strong phenols and pepper up front. There is a moderate grassiness (for the style) in the middle with some saccharin wood, leather and metals in the finish.

This is a bit too much for me. It's spicy up front but quickly recedes and has a thin body for the style. It doesn't keep me interested, but is a decent example of the style, nonetheless. Wouldn't ever become a regular in my fridge. Get some Unibroue/Allagash/New Belgium/St.Bernardus instead.

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Photo of
3.66/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25oz. bottle.

Poured a clear, medium brown/dark orange color with a large, light brown head.

Aroma included candi sugar, spices and barnyard with a deep inhalation. Overall, scent seemed restrained.

Taste opened up quite a bit compared to aroma. Clove and other spices. Bitter more than sweet, but well balanced. Alcohol and phenol notes, fairly mild. Little bit of caramel and some candi sugar. Grassy at finish and in aftertaste. Very complex.

Medium body, seems just a bit coating. Medium + carbonation. Dry. Alcohol warming comes on fairly quickly.

Nice and complex. Taste profile didn't wow me, but I would happily have again.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful dark amber with lots of crimson. Head leaves something to be desired. No lacing to speak of. Kind of weak in the nose. Some toasty malts, some dates, some booze. Nothing bad about it, just lackluster. Flavor is a big improvement over the smell. Starts off with toasted and roasted malt, which leads into a fruit and brown sugar middle with just a whisper of yeasty phenolics. Finish comes back with some more of the higher kilned malts and a kiss of the hops. The weight of the beer in the mouth is about moderate, but the carbonation is harsh. Decent drinker, but, really, the weakest of the 3 Chimays.

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,765 ratings.
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