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 rhoadsrage
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a Chimay chalice)

A- This beer pours a mahogany brown body that is very dense letting no light through. The head is a smooth creamy off-white that clings to the glass with lace on each sip.

S- A nice malt aroma with a hint of yeast and a hint of caramel malt. The note of prunes is very faint in the background.

T- The taste of toasted malt with a hint of crystal malt and some hint or raisins is not as strong as the smell. The finish is dry and the fizz really takes over. When chilled a bit more the fizz subsides and the prune hints come through in the finish, as does more of the yeasty characteristics.

M- The mouthfeel is medium-full and the fizz really tingles with each sip.

D- This is a very nice beer with good complexity but perhaps it should be served colder than cellar temps to cut down some of the fizz. The fizz tends to wash out some of the flavors especially in the finish.

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

I drank the white and blue first, just now having the red for the first time. i gotta say it's better than i thought it would be. i might like it better than the white, hard to say, and it definitely holds its own against the other dubbels i've had.

pours out the same color as the label. a lovely and mouth-watering maroon with an awesome tan head that won't leave. smells like toast! rye bread to be specific, hard to pinpoint more scents after considering toast, but probably some dark fruitiness, like prunes and a hint of spiciness.

this is tasty, smooth and soft, wonderful but quite understated, at a lower abv than the blue i consider this more drinkable and give it a high score. however, if you ask my wallet, the drinkability is quite low. awesome. the kind of beer that makes me wonder why the hell i would ever resort to drinking anything less

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Photo of DrZarkov
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pretty well on track with many of the other Belgians I have had. Nothing astounding about the smell or mouthfeel.
As far as taste there is a nice crispness to it. Obviously its carefully produced with natural ingredients from the taste and it looks great. Also a great bonus is that it is produced and sold to help fund a monestary....nice to know the some of the money is going to a good cause.

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

750ml Pours a nice deep amber color, not much carbonation, huge creamy head. tons of lacing afterwards. Scents of grapes, raisins, plums, kinda sweet. Very nice taste sweet, but with a nice tangy feeling as well. Medium body. Very drinkable, another goody from Chimay, Highly recommended.

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Photo of EStreet20
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce brown bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

A - A nice dark brown with some golden hue where the light hits it. A decent sized off whire head that reduces to a nice capper. Decent amounts of lacing.

S - A yeasty aroma. Reminds me of bread baking. Not much at all hopwise but a good clean aroma.

T - A nice smooth taste. Not overly sweet or bitter. Just a nice balanced flavor.

M - Feels nice and smooth on the tongue.

D - Not bad but nothing extremely great. Definitely a high quality beer but it doesn't leave you craving another sip. Still a drinkable beer.

Notes: Not bad at all but not all but not Chimay's best offering. I recieved their three pack as a gift (So now I have two Chimay chalices. Sweet!!!) but when I'm headed out for beer and I want Chimay I find it worth it to cough up an extra buck for the Grande Reserve.

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Photo of jamesdergen
2.81/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an amber-tinted iced tea with a small off-white head.

Smell: Some spice and grassy notes, but not much in the way of any perceptible aroma here.

Taste: Very dry and relatively bitter. Some dark, dried fruits, grassy notes and the alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel: Dry, but light. A bit too carbonated which really detracts from the flavors in this beer.

Drinkability: I suppose the taste and high carbonation are the main things detracting from the drinkability factor here. I will finish this 33cl bottle, but wouldn't hit another one even if I had it.

Disappointing. The blue and white Chimays are far superior in my opinion. I suppose it's worth trying to compare to the other two, but it's not a beer I would recommend to my friends.

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Photo of becktone
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I’ve had this beer sitting around just waiting to be reviewed for a few weeks, just sitting mind you. When I opened this beer it seemed as if someone had shaken it up. The bottle overflowed with foam. It pours to be a Carmel color. In fact, the color of it reminds me of wassail. To begin with it formed a nice huge healthy head, however that quickly dissipated into the vague film that barley exists in my glass now. The head is thickest, at present, to where it clings to the sides of the glass. The body of the beer is also quite interesting. I have never drank a beer where I could actually see sediment suspended in the brew.

The aroma of this beer is very potent. When I first cracked the cap on this bottle I was surprised to already be able to smell the aroma of the beer. I can’t quite put a finger on the main smell of the beer, I know that it is something very familiar though. Overall the smell is not hoppy, rather it has more of a malt character to it. I believe that I also detected a faint medicinal smell in the aroma of this beer. Now that I think of it I can kind of smell a little bit of apple cider in this although, it has been altered in some way, but that’s the closest thing I can relate to this beer.

This beer tastes the same way as it smells, I can’t quite put a finger on it. I don’t detect much of any hoppy or bitter character in this beer. I guess the malt character is dominant over the hop character here making them quite the minority when it comes to flavor in this beer. When the beer first hits the lips the first impression of flavor I get is a sweet flavor followed by a weak bitter flavor on the back of the tongue. When swallowed the beer leaves a sweet taste in the entire mouth. The lingering after reminds me of apples and caramel.

This beer has a medium body in my opinion. It doesn’t take to much effort to drink one of these, basically it goes down easily. I’m not sure if I’ll buy this beer again. I mean Chimay Blue is one of my favorite beers but their I was hoping for more from the Red. When it comes to Dubbels I think I prefer Grimbergen Dubbel over this one.

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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 cardwel1
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It looks nice, has a nice head, but it's a little bit murky in a strange way.

A little too much carbonation for my taste. A bit more than in the Chimay grand premiere (blue label) or a Duvel, and it sort of takes away from everything else.

All that makes it above average, but for the kind of money you're spending, there are better options.

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Photo of Higravity
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer looked ever bit the part nice redish color with a heavy present head of white fluff that gave good lacing in its chalice. However, the smell was weak I really had to get close and draw at it. There was some caramel maltyness, and a belgiany yeast phenol smell, but just weak. The taste was bland and uninspiring. I could easily mistake this for an American attempt of a brew-pub. Middle of the road one-dimensional flavor that offer the same taste sip after sip, consistant but not interesting, zero depth. It had a decent mouthfeel and it is drinkable. Shrug no need to waste your money here, go on to better beer.

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Photo of BeerBeing
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 750ml brown glass semi-custom bottle, corked and caged, white on cherry red label

Appearance: deep reddish brown with huge off-white head, magnificent lacing all way to the bottom

Smell: sweetness and spiciness at the same time, "tigthly banded"

Taste: medium body, crisp mouth feel, strong clove, herbs, strong maltiness, dates, figs, plums, some chocolate, hints of yeast

Notes: one magnificent brew

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the only readily available trappist ale at the LCBO and its pretty cheap too ($6cdn for a 750 ml). I cant believe I havent reviewed this yet.

It pours a dark chestnut with an average head for a Belgian. Lacing is draping and the volatile carbonation is quite visible through the yeasty haze. The aroma is very sweet mix of dark malts and candy sugar. Theres also a nice fruityness that reminds me of a lot of Belgian Abbey Ales. The taste is equally refreshing. Very malty with deep flavors of fresh bread and tropical fruit mingling together. The maltiness is very thick and complex. Candy sugar is pronounced as well as is that characteristic fruity Belgian yeast. Hops are almost non existent throughout. The mouthfeel is elegantly thick with cascades of carbonation. Excellent stuff.

I recommend this very much. Though its not as good as the incredible Blue and White Chimays. Its also not as good as any of the other Trappists for that matter. Its still really good stuff.

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Photo of swid
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chimay Premiére pours an opaque brown color into my tulip glass. Nearly black at the widest part of the glass; when held up to the light, it becomes more of an dark amber. A 1", dark cream head forms, then slowly collapses down to about 1/8". Moderate carbonation, very little lacing. The aroma is fairly average for a beer of this type: caramel, slightly spicy, a hint of alcohol sweetness. There's a bit of funk here, but it seems very restrained and blends in with a generic fruit aroma.

The taste is fairly malty up front, with a caramel and slightly roasted characteristics. Hints of fruit and clove. The alcohol is evident after a little bit, and any spiciness promised in the aroma does not show up in the taste. The mouthfeel is full without being syrupy; finishes smooth and sweet, with only a trace of bitterness.

This beer left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. It's decent enough, to be sure, but it simply lacks the hand-crafted character I've had in other dubbels. In any case, the red's relative tameness would make it a decent stepping stone to the wide world of Belgian-style ales.

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Photo of stodbrew
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a beautiful deep red, verging on brown, color. Clear. Thick white head that settled to about a quarter inch and lasted the whole glass.

Aroma is strangely lacking. There's a bit of spice but that's about it.

Flavor is a bit better, there's some more phenolic spiciness, but it disappears very quickly.

Mouthfeel was full with quite a bit of prickly carbonation.

Overall, its a good beer, but its a bit on the boring side.

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Photo of woemad
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $3.79. No freshness date. Yet another beer that I first sampled ages ago, yet haven't gotten around to reviewing until now.

Poured a dark garnet color with a big white head. Halfway decent amount of lace.

Smell is mildly spicy, along with a sugary sweetness. Pleasant without being all that interesting. If this was a little more amped up, that could change.

The taste is pretty much like the smell, and that's a little disappointing. It's well balanced, but it's somewhat anemic on both counts. I've had much more distinctive tasting dubbels.

A little thin bodied for the style. Again, a category where this is found wanting due to it's meekness.

This is okay. Beyond that it's outclassed by most other dubbels I've had. Definitely my least favored Chimay variety.

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Photo of thesilverhand
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy red in the Chimay chalice. There are tons of yeast particles suspended, rendering the beer nearly opaque. Near the bottom of the glass, a bit of light sneaks through, revealing an orange-gold tint. Thick, creamy beige head. Nice.

Yeast. In the best possible, fresh-baked kind of way. Yummy. And fruit. Sweet fruit. Baked apples, maybe pears, some raisins. Quite sweet. There's a nice spiciness, too, which I think might be clove. Overall, a pretty inviting aroma.

The taste isn't nearly as sweet as I expected. It's slightly tangy up front, partly I think from the very active carbonation. It tastes darker, too, than the aroma suggested. There's distinct maltiness, and it seems less fruity. The fruit is just a suggestion, here, not the main theme, as in the aroma. The spiciness carries through into a nice dry finish. Overall, however, it failed to "wow" me. There's just not enough depth here.

This is a very nice, creamy, delicious beer. I really liked the aroma; the taste just didn't seem to quite match up. Still, it's one that should be a staple for any lover of Belgian beer.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fancy big 75 cl bottle with the cage top. Happy birthday to my son: $8.49 at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, CO.

Unpasteurized, unfiltered, bottle-conditioned, with that "secret" yeast discovered by Father Theodore.

Huge head that mostly faded, but kept a lasting ring, with very little lacing. Smell is mostly of malts and complex phenols, some sugar, a little chocolate and figs/prunes. The aroma changes with the taste as it warms up and "breathes."

Taste is a bit wine-like, kind of a "dark" champagne. Some notes of o clove and grass -- in some strange ways reminds me of a good Hefe-weizen: grass, hay and citrus, but sharper and deeper. Lots of tiny bubbles. Gets more complex as it warms up. Don't rush this: even better at the last than at the first. It's way "too" drinkable for 7% -- it's so smooth and easy.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy burgundy-mahogany color with a thick tan head that retains ok...nice looking dubbel for sure. Aroma is candied sugar sweet, with a spicy pepper and clove in the background and some light phenols. The flavor begins with some spice notes of pepper and clove that segues nicely into a moderate candy sugar sweetness, followed by a light herbal hops character and a phenolic drying finish with a light alcohol bite. Also get some plum and fig character here and a slight hint of chocolate. The mouthfeel on this one is a standout, creamy and smooth but with moderate carbonation that cuts just enough to make it more drinkable. A very nice dubbel from chimay, much better than the tripel imho.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy dull brown with a nice head that settles into a thin, quiet foam. Aroma is slight but malty and yeasty, maybe a little candy sugar-sweetness.

Taste is a dry roasty malt flavor, lightly sweet, with the bare presence of some yeast. More complex fruit flavors emerge as it warms, some plum and raisin, as the dryness morphs to a sugary sweetness but never cloying. Has a vague woodiness to it somewhere, maybe even a trace of tropical fruit.

Mouthfeel is lively and well-carbonated, doesn't weigh down on the palate. Not quite as complex as other Trappists but it holds its own. Its reputation probably suffers from a good distribution scheme, seen as too "pedestrian" for beer snobs, but it's a decent, if not good, beer and better than most US attempts at the style.

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Photo of fingolfin72
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color- Mahogany, with an off-white head that dissipated to lacy remnants in a couple of minutes.

Nose- Subtle. Brown sugar, loam, perhaps pecans or almonds.

Palate- Medium to lean in body. Brown sugar, quinine, almonds, smoke, coffee. Perhaps something reminiscent of leather on the finish.

This is a nice beer, rather intriguing. Not as voluptuous and instantly gratifying as I would like, however.

I admire the Trappists' skillful balance between body, sweetness and bitterness.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque rusty brown color with a white fluffy head that hangs around and leaves lacing around the glass

Smell: Caramel malt backbone offsets a herbaceous, medicinal nose; banana and must; distinct yeast odor as well

Taste: Spicy clove and banana tastes are among the first flavors to make themselves present, followed by a subtle flash of bitterness after the swallow; some vague toffee sweetness and green apple also arrive to join the other flavors in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly watery compared to other dubbels; lively carbonation

Drinkability: Subtle and understated, but there are other dubbels I prefer

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Photo of RDAdams
2.4/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: A deep reddish brown beer with a very nice head.

Smell: Having already had Grande Réserve and Cinq Cents, I was disappointed with the aroma of Première. It was spicy, but the spices were overcome with the odors of yeast and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: was about average for an average beer, but not what one would expect from a $10/liter beer.

Taste: I was also average, except for the harshness of the first swallow.

Drinkability: Well I didn’t care for it. In fairness, I will try it again. There are others who rate it very high so it must have appeal I have not found.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pretty cloudy (though carefully poured) chestnut color with a dense head of foam at first pour. This head sustained pretty well, and was maintained by quite a few rising bubbles. Very little lacing.

Aroma: Through quite a bit of head, it has a seriously reserved aroma for a Dubbel. I get lots of malt, a bit of alcohol, and maybe a few raisins thrown in for good measure, but this example is really clean. I don't get any spiciness or higher alcohols.

Taste: The malt is the key player in the taste also, even above the fruity esters. There is no banana in this one, and there are no noticeable higher alcohols. It is well carbonated, so it makes this relatively heavy beer go down pretty light. It is seriously malty, but it manages to finish somewhat dry on the palate.

Opinion: This really is a pretty tasty beer. My impression of most Dubbels until now was that they were characteristically over the top with flavor and esters. This beer is like a Bock brewed a bit warmer with less Munich and Melanoidin malts. It has changed my outlook on Dubbels a bit, so I would certainly want to try this one again.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very young chimay red dubbel as it was bottled in february 2005.

I prefer this beer to be aged as the complexitiy that you get in the smell really comes out in the taste as it ages even a year later.

anyway on to this fine brew.

Smell was abundant and welcomed as this wednesday nightcapper was puncturing every channel of the snozzz. Spicey up front w/ some fruitiness in the background. I didn't notice much citrus wich helped the lingering aftertaste.

Carbonation in chimay seems to calm down with age because this brand new beer was full of zest almost overboard as it sizzles a bit. Not enough to sway my vote though as the caramel saucey mouthfeel comes through....This brewery and my palate have met often and I'll continue to patronize. Quality Belgian.

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

poured a medium brown color with luscious head. Some suspended particles are visible. Smell is strong of malt with dark fruits (figs, plums, prunes, dark cherries) Taste is very smooth in the mouth with a nice dark maltiness. Leaves a nice feeling in the mouth. Very drinkable, first class beer.Definitely lives up to its name.

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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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