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Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

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1,664 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: 1,664 | Ratings: 4,764
Photo of stjarnflikka
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red and brown beer with thick foam and some carbonation.

Smell is fresh! Apples come to mind together with typical belgian yeast and just a touch of malts and alcohol. Nice and fruity with hints of grapes and anisette.

Taste is first a little malty. Yeast comes together with a faint sourness but a certain bitterness in there. Musty and filling with fruits in there to. Somewhat roasted with a finishing touch of roasted barley and soothing alcohol.

Really had a great memory of this, did not quite live up to that though.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I much preferred the Chimay red over the blue, contrary to the BA avg rankings. Perhaps the bottle of blue I had was skunked, because there was a HUGE different in yeasty taste as I took a step down the ladder to the red. The yeast in the red was present in the taste, but it was much better masked by the typical (if it could be called that) blend of spices, fruits, candy flavored malts. The alcohol content is significantly lower, thus making this much more drinkable, though it still weighs in at a rather hefty 7%. Even though this beer made up for my disappointment with the blue, I haven't been completely convinced that Chimay is worth all the hype. Nonetheless, I will definately revisit this one in the future when money permits (and I don't necessarily need to treat myself to something such as an ABT12 or Rochefort 8). I have already lined up another bottle of blue from an alternate source though, which will hopefully produce better results for me.

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

11.2 ouncer sampled, no freshness dating observed, but none needed here. Pours light brune and cloudy, with the well developed lace expected. Spicy, nutty, earthy. Full flavored, very tasty brew, nutty,yeasty, Belgian spicing, candy sugar glowing softly on the palate. Long tasty finish. Classy classic, seek and enjoy.

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Photo of joecast
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with a nice beige foamy head and the exact same color of the bottle/label. an attractive reddish-brown with plenty of yeast sediment floating around. very little noticeable carbonation.

malty sweet aroma, with a hoppy similarity to goldings. tiny bit of alcohol underneath.
flavor leaning heavily on the malty side with plenty of sweet dark (plum) fruits. very well balanced though, and seemingly provides a whole meal in its fullness.
mouthfeel is full but not terribly smooth. ill blame that on a young bottle though as its best before date is 2007.
overall, a seriously solid beer. give this a bit of aging, and id be ready to pledge monkdom.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Trappist beer and my first dubbel. 330 mL bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. A gentle pour delivers a 1 finger head that leaves nice lacing and a beautiful blanket of tiny bubbles. The beer is a dark orange/brown with a huge stream of bubbles from the etched bottom of the glass. Smells of cloves and pepper. Tastes are also cloves and pepper, with a lot of malt, some hop bitterness, and a hint of alcohol. Delicious. Carbonation is prickly at first, but becomes very smooth, almost perfect. If I could afford to drink this all the time I would.

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Photo of mgdeth
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark amber or light brown and highly carbonated, this beer forms a nice thick head on the pour. The beer appears to be cloudy with yeast from the bottle.

Smell - Rich malt aroma dominates the smell profile. No hop aroma is present.

Taste - Malty sweetness is king in this beer, with chocolatey and slight roasty flavors thrown in for good measure. There is just a hint of hops hiding in there as well.

Mouthfeel - Not too thick, and maybe even a bit thinner than I expected. It seems appropriate for the style.

Drinkability - Due to the smoothness of this beer, it is highly drinkable. The beer's flavor and body are very forgiving, so give your macro swilling buddies a few sips of this,

Comments - Overall, this beer is a pretty good experience. I am not a big dubbel fan, but this one is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 750, all to myself on New Years Eve. Pours beautiful garnet amber in color with a hazy glow, yeilding a magnificant pillow of head that remains throughout the beer, eventually settling into a creamy veil. Lucious dried fruit and yeast aromas, raisens, apricot, sweet spice, anise, bread,and honey. Taste is similar to aroma with lots of fruit, cherries, sweet malty bread, floral and herbal hops, and spicey yeast. Very rich and complex with a medium mouthfeel and ample carbonation. Finishes rather dry with an little nip to remind you that it's 7%. I've had this beer quite a few times now and this bottle is the best tasting I've ever had.

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Photo of ggroller
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay is one of the beers I simply can not live without so it stands to reason that I gave it a high score.

I poured the beer into a Chimay goblet with red and white letters and a silver rim. It pours a meduim coppery red color with an off white, tan, 1/8" thick head that stays in the glass right down to the last sip.

Cinnamon, cloves, tea, nutmeg, spearmint, and ginger make for that signature Chimay aroma that I love so much. All the above is also what I taste through the carbonation and slight hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth while slightly thinned by carbonation. I would drink this beer daily if it weren't so expensive.

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Photo of Knuckles
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good 50% of what should be required for proper Belgian appreciation is desire. I received my 750 of Chimay Premiere for my birthday in July of 2001 (bottled date 11/00), and finally decided that Christmas Eve was the proper time to uncork it. I'd made a curry leg of lamb, asparagus and my own version of Bombay potatoes for dinner, and thought to myself, "Yes, it's time." Post-meal forensic analysis has proven that I made a spectacular decision.

Appearance: Damn, that is one beautiful beer. Deep orange, almost amber. I hadn't a proper dubbel glass, so I used a red wine goblet instead. The head poured about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, bubbles were evenly distributed and the head itself dissipated relatively quickly after my first sip.

Nose: I'm not hep enough to the BJCP guidelines enough to explain the smell that Belgian ales give off, but the thing that springs to mind immediately is 'bubblegum', but that's not right. It's a fruity smell, almost like opening a box of golden raisins. Zero hop aroma.

Taste: Again, the fruitiness is the most dominant flavor. I still like the golden raisin comparison, with just a hint of spiciness that I can't quite place. It's sitting there on the back of my tongue taunting me, and I just can't place it. No alcohol profile that you can detect, but it's still going to hit you about halfway through the glass. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: I'm continually surprised by Belgian beers, as I always expect them to have a much stronger mouthfeel than they do. This one isn't light, but it isn't overpowering. Light carbonation that you can sense when you sip.

Drinkability: I stand by my assertion that you really need to want this beer to drink it. I could have polished off three or four of the 750 ml bottles with my dinner, but I only had the one. Damn. Fortunately, I had started off the evening with an Ommegang. I'll save that review for later.

A great beer, and a brewery that is worth the appellation of 'classic'.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
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 Troyone
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in a bottle, poured a hazy amber darkish iced tea color with carbonation funnelling from the center, in my Chimay glass, and a half inch head.
Smell is light with hints of a cookie caramel malt, grapefruit resin hops, and a doughy bubblegum licorice aroma.
The taste is a moderate confirmation of the aroma with the difference being more of a pine grapefruit hops.
The mouthfeel is comfortable with medium to light carbonation and smooth.
The drinkability is excellent for this type and maybe my favorite in the Chimay family.

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

33cl bottle, Sampled December 2004
Pours a lightly hazy amber copper color that is topped by a pale amber head that is large and frothy. The beer is well carbonated with a steady cascade of bubbles rising form the bottom of my glass. The aroma is typical of the chime yeast with notes of bubblegum, alcohol, fruity notes of plum and raisin, some spicy notes of ginger, all-spice, and clove. The fruity notes are definitely the dominant ones in the nose.

The taste is lightly sweet, with soft fruity notes of plum, raisin, fig and clove up front. The beer then moves to a sharp note that is a mix of carbonation, and yeast derived esters, as well as a bit of alcohol in the finish. The beer is quite light on the palate, almost a bit too thin. There is a certain level of astringency in the finish, which I have always found a bit distracting in beer brewed with the Chimay yeast strain.

Overall this is not a bad brew, certainly nothing to get really excited about, but it is a solid beer. It really could use a boost in the malt intensity / body department though, it just seems a bit thin.

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

750 mL bottle poured in an oversized wine goblet. I was able to get the whole bottle in the glass, with room to spare. The glass is supposed to hold about 1000 mL of liquid. Still, it could not contain that head. Huge. Had to stop, let it settle, then pour again ever so carefully. When the final drop falls out of the bottle, I'm left with a not quite brown, somewhat orange nectar. With a head three fingers thick and creamy. When held very close to a light, the beer is a hazy orange, and I can see little bits of yeast floating around. Oh, I poured the yeast in. Smell is raw malts, bread, honey, alcohol and some floral hops. Very faint floral hops. Taste immediately starts out sweet. Honey and bread. The sweetness grows, as the honey becomes more pronounced and the bread changes to almost a pudding flavour. Bread pudding? I've had bread pudding once, a long time ago. This flavour reminds me faintly of it. Aftertaste is sweet, with a mild bitter zing. Throughout this flavourful experience, the hops are their in the background, adding just a mild balance for a terrific beer. Mouthfeel is excellent. Cannot be improved. It's creamy, thick, coats the tongue, mouth and throat, and yes has a light carbonation that teases the senses. Highly drinkable. I can sip this for hours. In fact, that's what I'm doing now.

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

Picked up an 11.2 oz bottle for $3.00 at the Papago Brewing Company back in September.

Poured a cloudy reddish brown color, with a nice 3 inch creamy head that dissapated quickly. Nose is of fermented fruits. Taste starts off with a blast of double fermented malts and finshes with a slight subtle hop. The whole trip is pretty smooth! Mouthfeel is very fulfilling and is also lively enough to keep things very interesting. Overall drinkability is pretty good, a very enjoyable beer!

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Photo of MrNuggets
3.29/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The head is almost tan, but not quite. Starts out big and full and dies way to quick. Smell is fruity with a nice yeast kick at the end. I was expecting more from the taste. Everything was there, but nothing really grabs me. Mouthfeel is thick and dry. One bottle is plenty for me, there is certainly nothing wrong with this beer, I've certainly enjoyed many bottles, but there is something lacking in the flavor.

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

Poured a hazy brown color with a thick white head that left rather quickly, but still had substantial lacing down my goblet.

Smells of dark fruits like dates, raisons, and plums along with a slight yeasty odor.

Taste is much more subdued than the smell would leave you to beleive. Has a nice Nutty maltiness to it without being sweet. Balances very well with a nice dry earthy finish.

Mouthfeel is a very full warming feeling along with a slight dryness, overall pretty nice.

Drinkability is pretty good, the more I drink this the more I like it.

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

This one poured out a cloudy brown beer with a good-sized tan head, in appearance somewhat similar to the Grande Réserve.

The aroma was quite different, however, with mostly sweet dark malt dominating. Hints of caramel and a bit of honey seemed to hover in the background.

The taste was of darker malts, with more than a hint of nuttiness. There was almost none of the musty quality that many dubbels I have tried seem to have. It did give that pleasing warmth on the way down.

Good body to this one, somewhat chewy. A good dark beer for a winter's day.

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Photo of oggg
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an orange brown with a small quickly receding head. Leaves decent lace. Aroma is mild floral. On the tongue this beer is very smooth, a bit thin, minimal bitterness. Nice Belgian yeast character. Alcohol subtle. Overall, a little thin but I had this after the Blue (9%) -- quite nice.

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Photo of cncbofh
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark clotted blood color into my chimay goblet. Nice thick off-white head that stuck around the entire drinking session.

Smell: Halls Menthol drops, orange candy, bananas and cloves.. nice esters.

Taste: Dare I say jolly rancher sweetness, apple tartness, lots of great fruit and candy sugar flavors. Much sweeter than I thought. But it's not overpowering and has a sharp bite followed by a real mellow aftertaste that is not entirely unpleasant. Good Stuff.

I could (and will) drink lots more of this. Moving on to the Blue and Cream labels later.

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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 sacfly
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown pour. Dense, thick head. Very small bubbles that lace well. Slightly fruity, musty smell. Smooth and creamy start, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Good dubble, but not great. Flavor is a bit too subdued compared to other examples of this style.

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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 beerceller99
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

33 cl.with a "LAK 345 J-9" bottling code; sometime in 2002. Pours a orange-red color with an off white head. Has a vinous smell with a very dry, malty, grape sweet and spicy flavor. Light bodied with a lively bubbly mouthfeel.
Not my favorite style,but a decent brew nonetheless.

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

Poured a murky brown with a good sized bubbly tan head. The head had some staying power to it, and never completely disappeared.

Has a faint cherry smell, with a bit of alcohol to it. I also think I may detect a bit of raisin to it.

The taste is dark and sweet, with a bit of a sour cherry finish. It is fairly pleasant.

This beer is pretty easy to drink. It has a good balance of carbonation and body. Though not a beer I'd have all the time, it's not something I'd hesitate to buy again.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear crimson coloration, with busy fizzing above in the beigish head, which dies quickly..nose is spicy, sweet, caramel, and cola, dark fruits and more, but, really, not enough...these days, I expect more from a dubbel.
In the mouth, tasty enough, but not much more than average...nutty, slightly chocolatey, very light, very lean, leaves the palate quickly, though...and a dull fuzz remains on the tongue, and dies...pretty average, really.
Boy, this used to be a good beer, I mean, a really good beer, but, this is just kind of dull. Medium bodied, dull, soporific finish...fizzy cola-ish taste...very dull, compared to other Belgian, hey, even, no, especially American offerings!!!
I am damned disappointed in the dullness of this rather dreary, lackluster, coasting- on -the- coattails- of- it's- past-kind of brew.
It's been several years since I've had a bottle of this, and it may be many more, now that I've had it again. It's like you get a glimmer of the taste, but it dies too quick, and does nothing...this should never be thought of as an exemplar of this style, if you really want to try the real stuff...even Maredsous is better than this!
A better beer than, say Milwaukee's Best, but not a match for St. Bernardus or even Allagash!

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Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,764 ratings.
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