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 office888
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle, dated 11/07 on the cork.

Unfortunately, I lacked a chalice or goblet, so I had to use a red wine glass. Less than perfect, but better than a solo cup.

A: Pours a deep burgundy color, with slight bubbles coming to the surface. A heavy, thick head instantly develops, but dissipates fairly quickly into a light lace.

S: Sweet, smells of fresh fruit, like a wine almost with a spice on the end.

T: Soft mouthfeel with a crisp carbonation. Very smooth. Almost immediately, fruit flavors appear. I catch maybe the tart of a green apple, coupled with pear. A flowery hops note appears towards the end. Finish tapers off slowly with no harsh aftertaste. Just a clean, clear, smooth finish

It is official. This is one of the greatest beers I've ever tasted. There's no harsh characteristics about it. It's purely art in a bottle, that an artist has blended into a masterpiece.

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Photo of iamntbatman
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nut brown in color with a big, thick head. The beer is definitely cloudy, even with a fairly gentle pour. The lacing is the only thing that takes away from the appearance of the beer, as it could have been even stickier.

Smell: The smell here is all about the unique yeastiness. The malt and especially hops here take a back seat to that yeasty goodness. Fruity esters from the yeast abound.

Taste: Quite mild, with a sweet nutty flavor. The yeast is the big player in the flavor, as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and syrupy with no alcohol burn to speak of. Nice tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink this all day! Although at double the ABV of my typical session (some sort of English Dark Mild or Bitter is usually the order of the day) it would probably be a big mistake.

I gotta say, I put off drinking a Chimay for far too long. For some reason, the beer is extremely readily available in my area but the high price kept me from ever giving it a shot until I read a little more into it. Well done, Trappist monks!

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Photo of tjd112
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation - Poured into Chimay glass at Bar on A in East Village

Appearance - Dark brown reddish colour with well retained but thin head, but little lacing

Smell - Very malty with a hint of clove

Taste - Bananas and dry fruit (ie: raisins) as well as aforementioned cloves

Mouthfeel - A very smooth, medium bodied beer with a somewhat dry finish

Drinkability - Less of a sipper than most Belgians

Overall - One of my faves

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Photo of dutchboognish
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful creamy white head on top of a redish brown body.

Smells very sweet with little or no hops present.

Tastes fantastic. Tons of malt sweetness. Very easy to drink and with 7% you can drink it for a while without feeling too much effect.

Loved this beer and will certainly have it again.

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Photo of JohnMeinhardt
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So, I've never reviewed a beer for this site. I came here to get advice about wading through the world of beer. I planned to just read what others like and experiment for myself, but I have been compelled to speak my mind. This beer is heaven in a glass!!! I tend to like dark and funky beers, usually German, but this is so crisp and strong with an amazing balance of flavors. I just had to pick up the laptop and spread the good cheer. YAY BEER!!!

I drank it from a red wine glass because I don't have one of those half-globe Chimay glasses. I really like how the alcohol and carbonation in the beer give it a sharp strength which is still easily drinkable. As it warmed up, it sweetened a little and delivered even more ineteresting flavors. Since I am still a novice beer-geek I don't have much more than that to add, but what I can say is that this beer is absolutely stupendous.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Another winner for Chimay! Poured a hazy golden brown with a medium off white foamy head. The smell of fruits and spices were outstanding. The taste of fruit and spices was well balanced and pleasant all around. The sweetness was perfect to set of this near perfect beer. Again, WOW!

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Photo of davewrona
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has a light hint of carmel flavor and is just delicious. Rather expensive, but worth the money! You will love drining this beer for its taste and nouthfeel. You will appreciate even more if you a have a couple domestics lights before sampling this one!

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Photo of Cresant
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this 11.2 oz. into a Duvel glass. Received three fingers of head which faded rather quickly. Body was a unique prune/leather/rust color and semi-opaque.

Smell was of spicy plums and sweet grains. Rich and interesting.

Taste was everchanging and complex. Sweet, yeasty, cloves, and raisin bread. Non-cloying sweetness balanced with a mild tartness. Alcohol was well hidden.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and pleasantly tingling with carbonation. Not a "challenge" to drink; complex yet approachable.

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Photo of BubbaNJ
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is hands down my favorite Belgian Ale . First time I had this it was in my cooler for a year . Had not had a Belgian yet , was afraid of the dark I guess . Poured a beautiful dark cloudy amber color that looked amazing . Smelled of dark dried fruits and a bit bready . Tastes like heaven in a goblet to me , have not yet had it's equal . Just a slight bitterness which I like , not to hoppy at all . When I get near the bottom of the bottle I swirl it to loosen the yeasty sediment and pour it into my glass . I just love the cloudy look in my beer glass and the taste in my mouth . This is what I've been told a Belgian Dubbel is supposed to be . Definitely prefer this to the other 2 Chimay brews . I currently have a full case cellaring in my basement and may soon have another if I can keep from drinking it .

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

when i walked into the beer cooler at giant eagle (something i haven't done for a long time) i pissed in my pants a little when i saw red white and blue chimay bottles on the top shelves. if the bros love it, i gotta try it. i really...REALLY had no idea what i was in for.

A- poured from a crowned and corked 75 centiliter brown bomber into my pint glass, this ale was hazy with an opaque column of burgundy (like the label) going down the center with a translucent amber orange toward the sides of the glass. as soon as i popped the cork i anticipated champagne like carbonation and though i consider myself to have the master pour, foam filled nearly the entire glass. bubbles popped everywhere making lots of noise and when it settled, i filled the other half creating 2in of loose soapy beige head similar to cola that settles fast to 1/8 in leaving sporadic lace behind.

S- fruity esters like raisin and prune with CO2 that tickles the nose. white wine barrel came next with a more pronounced dried fruit, aromatic bark like cedar or sandalwood, oak, granola, and alcohol.

T- very unexpected. mildly fruity, an perfectly balanced. its so fuckin neutral that i have to think hard to realize what i'm tasting. i don't even wanna taste, i just wanna drink this whole bottle then go buy another one. watermelon, well water (like the label says!) peppermint, raisin bran, earth, stone, concrete, clay, ohio night air, lightly roasted barley, that "exceptional" yeast from my new best friend father theodore, and a very slight unoffensive white grape-peach aftertaste.

MF- medium bodied yet thin crisp and refreshing. the seemingly heavy carbonation hits your tongue right away then fades almost immediately pushing the beer into my belly urging me to drink more.

D- if this wasn't $8 a bottle i'd drink it all the time and with every type of food and i'd drink it first thing in the morning instead of water or gatorade.
it's only 7% abv but i'm pretty sure the first sip had my head spinning. thank you trappist monks!

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Photo of Outchillen
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers, and probably my favorite belgian
A: Nice reddish amber, nicely carbonated, head fades quickly
S: Nice and lightly malty, sweet and floral
T: Sweet and smooth, nice malty and great yeast flavor
M/D: nice and light, very good example of a dubbel, I could drink this all day

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Photo of freditoj
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Yellow-brownish color, somewhat cloudy. Amazing look, good 1 inch head.

Smell - Malty sweet smell , resiny. Very clean aroma.

Taste - Amazingly built smell, great flavor. The ingredients are very balanced.

Mouthfeel - Smooth feel, well built. The afterflavor is intense and good.

Overall - Great beer, you must at least try trappist beers and this is a safe choice.

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Photo of brdc
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My review of Cimay Premiere should be taken with a grain of salt. I am very partial with this beer, after all, a sip of it a long time ago turned me into "real" beer.
Having said that, this time I honestly tried to put away my prior impressions and taste it slowly, really and carefully thinking about it - which is probably the only reason why I did not simply put a bunch of 5's there.
Anyway, here it is:

Appearance: Beautiful, hazy dark red with a very light tan head that dissipates quickly, with minor lacing.
Smell: Complex, sweet, estery, peppery. Very pleasant.
Taste/mouthfeel: Full bodied, sweet yet not overpowering sweetness likely due to the crisp carbonation and minimal hoppiness. Malty, with tastes of cloves, sugar and herbs. It is also fruity, mostly plums. The taste keeps improving as the beer warms up in my hands (I go very slowly with this one), and chocolate and caramel hints surface.
Drinkability: For such a complex and tasty beer, is remarkably easy to drink.
A masterpiece!

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml. bottle poured into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber-brown color with noticable carbonation. The thick fluffy tan head dissipates relatively fast into a thin film.

Smell: Has an aroma of malts and sweet breads. Some spices and fruits, such as pears and figs, are noticable as well.

Taste: Flavor is very much in line with the taste, with the addition of a slight alcohol flavor combined with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, medium-bodied feel with light carbonation.

Drinkability: An extremely drinkable beer -- alcohol content is just perfect and it goes down great.

Quite a tasty dubbel -- and one of the easiest to drink too. Very enjoyable and it works great on it's own or with a variety of foods.

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Photo of IdeaSpeeder
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type - 750ml bottle, poured into a snifter (due to lack of a chalice)

Appearance - Pours an amber color. Dark red-ish brown. A white head sticks around for a while but dissipates quicker than I'd like. Still quite the eye-candy while it lasts.

Smell - Overwhelming. So many things going on here. The most prominent is...'spice'? Pepper maybe. After that some fruit-like smells. It smells...sweet. Over my head I think.

Taste - Spice is coming through here as well. What exactly that spice is beats me. But it tastes damn good. Fruit flavours are coming through here as well. Some grape-esque flavours perhaps. Complement the spice flavour very nicely.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation, falls of the back of the tongue like rainbows. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Scooter77
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is quite a wonderful brew. Pours a cloudy orange/brown color. Has a rich, creamy head, which leaves a lace that clings to the glass for the entire duration. Wonderful malt aromas emerged with a spicy hint of cloves and sweet citrus. The carbonation seemed to dance on my tongue, like that of fine champagne. This brew has an exceptionally well-balanced taste of plums, raisins, and touch of pepper-like spiciness. This is a wonderfully complex, yet balanced beer. It’s by far my favorite of the three Chimay’s.

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Photo of stevoj
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

You can’t go wrong with a Chimay Red. Beautiful poured into a Chimay goblet, thick, creamy head, sour/tart snappy mouthfeel...wonderful flavor explodes in the mouth. One of my faves!

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Photo of ClashmoreMike
4.79/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of an 11.20 ounce bottle into a pint glass (sorry, that's all I have for now).

Appearance = Very cloudy, dark caramel color, like the color of a very dark apple cider. One finger's worth of off-white head (I did pour this gently), that dissipates down to a thin lacing that hangs in there throughout.

Smell = Love the smell. Very nice smell of apples and figs with a bit of alcohol and malt in the background. Some clove in there, but not as assertive as in hefeweiss beers.

Taste = Just like the smell (see above) with the malt more pronounced. Nice, light bitterness balances out the fruity sweetness. Some more fruitiness (sort of like apricot or a fruit sweeter than apples and figs) as it warms.

Mouthfeel = Nice amount of carbonation. More than I expected. Not overwhelming, but definitely there. Smooth, medium body.

Drinkability = Very delicious. It's just a very nicely balanced, well put together, substantial beer. Don't know if I'd be downing a lot of these in one sitting (it is a substantial beer), but I'll definitely be buying more of these. They're a treat. These monks sure know what they're doing.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle
7.0% ABV

I tried this beer on February 21st after purchasing from my local LCBO outlet. The beer poured a reddish brown colour with a large, long lasting, rocky head. The aroma was malty and yeasty with some hints of dark fruit. The mouthfeel was full-bodied with mild carbonation. The flavour was sweet malt, with some yeast, and a small amount of bitterness. A great beer.

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Photo of rarevos
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 33cL bottle into Chimay goblet.

A: Deep, opaque, dark brown with amber/ruby highlights. Two fingers of fluffy tan head that stuck around a good long while. Sticky trails, and a solid layer of foam on the surface once the head subsided.

S: A malty sweetness combined with a sour port quality. Robust earthiness and spiciness as well.

T/M: Caramel/toffee up front with some bright, lively spices (black pepper, clove) moving toward the middle. Finish is nicely dry, mildly bitter, and has a long, spicy tail with notes of dried banana, plums and mango. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and lightly chewy.

D: Oh, man. This is just terrific stuff. The malt is balanced with a bunch of other flavors, and the finish is just dry and bitter enough where you get some beer-like qualities so you know you aren't drinking a sweet-malt soda. This is a wonderful beer, not too malty, not too fruity. Very warming and comforting beer. A personal favorite.

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Photo of Evocatus
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Has a appearance of a mix of a dark cider and caramel. The head dies quickly to about 2-3 mm and then lingers on to the end. Smells like a mix of spices and apples. The taste pretty much resembles the smell; a sense of spice mixed with a fruity and slightly sweet flavor. The flavors stand out more after sitting, so don't drink this right out of the fridge. It has just the right thickness and carbonation, not feeling too thin, and the bubbles tingle when you first drink it. No lingering bitterness to it either. Overall, one of my favorites.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is part one of three this evening. I'm going to try all three Chimays tonight.

A: It pours brown with just a hint of red. The beige head is kind of a bit smaller than I expected - but it looks good anyway. The beer is cloudy with some residual lacing.

S: Well, it's a very sweet malty smell that first hits the nose. But there is also a rich roasted fruit smell to this complex beer. I can taste the caramell-malt.

T: Very complex - there are so many different flavours that hits my mouth I don't know where to begin: Sweet, sweet caramel-malt, but also a bit of dryness to it. Fruity (dark and dried fruit), and of course hops. The aftertaste is fruity, sweet and more bitter the longer you wait. It's a really long aftertaste.

M: Powerful and creamy, a bit dry.

D: The monks at the Trappist-monasteries sure know what it's all about. This is a fantastic beer - if you can get your hands on it - BUY it!!!

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Photo of emd
4.76/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Simple yet elegant bottle with not particular art. Corked.

Pour & Appearance:
Tons of head that sticks around for a while and leaves lacing. Dark brown with a bit of golden to it.

Very complex scent with notes of nuts, dark and rich spices and more things that I can't even pinpoint.

Quick to foam, Chimay Red MUST be sipped or taken in small amounts. Extremely filling due to the carbonation level but incredibly rewarding at the same time. While I have downed an entire bottle of this way too quickly before, it is certainly a treat that should be savored or split with a friend.

Chimay Red presents a complex and detailed taste that evolves from start to finish with each tasting. Hints of apricot, nuts, and spices come out at various points during the tasting. Brilliantly complex and never disappointing.

When I'm in the mood for a complex beer, Chimay Red is one of my favorites. If you want something to pound down with some buddies, this isn't for you. If you want to relax with a friend or by yourself and pay attention to the subtleties and nuances of a beer, this is a must taste.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Smell: fruity, some caramel and sherry notes, plum, spice. Taste: fruit, caramel and faint cola. Mouthfeel: This has a medium body with a creamy effervescence.

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Photo of ChristopherWIU-UTPA
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This finely, abbey produced Belgian Dubbel will puts some hair on your chest, that is for sure. It pours dark brown, with a large dark tan head that slowly dissipates (slower than usual). It has a strong aroma of caramel and fruit, which goes along with the similar taste. it leaves a sweet after taste, has an edge because of the ingredients alcohol content, and is very filling.

Widely available in the United States...

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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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