Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Chimay Première (Red) | Bières de Chimay

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,668 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,668 | Ratings: 4,781
Photo of Lilbeck23
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Looks like red juice. Fruity aroma, an array of different fruit blends. Tastes like a juice; very much full of fruit flavor. The flavor diminishes with a slight carbonic feel/finish! Overall a sweet and steady delight!

 218 characters

Photo of zonker17
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown, red with 1/2 inch head on draft pour. Lingers on the edge of the glass. Light candy nose with hint of tobacco and Belgian yeast. Drier than expected with bitter finish. Less mouthfeel than expected.

 205 characters

Photo of GuitarIPA
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - gorgeous, thick foamy head, lacing and foam cling throughout, plum red color
A - dark fruits - plum and dates, light root beer, sweetness
T - plum, date, a little malt, and some root or birch beer flavor
F - light to medium body, nice carbonation, lingering sweetness

 271 characters

Photo of MAFC_Trainer
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - pours dark brown with a half finger caramel head
Aroma - chocolate, nutty
Taste - fruity, nutty. As it worms there is a stronger cocoa after taste
Feel - lightly corbinated, coats mouth, really smooth
Overall - really good nutty chocolate Belgium ale. I put their blue slightly ahead of this one, but this is really good

 327 characters

Photo of Arthuros
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Your typical dark Belgian ale. A little extra sweetness to round the edges, which takes away some of the assertiveness so typical of that kind of beer, meaning that when cold it just slides down the throat very enjoyably.

Purely eprsonal opinio, but I rate it a notch higher than the likes of Maredsous and other dark Belgians.

 329 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A very well aged bottle, which sat at least 2 years, it pours blood red/dark brown color with a ton of sediment floating around in it and a very fizzy and foamy 2 finger tan head that faded on the quick side, making a lot of hissing noise as it dissipated. It left a foamy floating island on top that moves due to the active carbonation. Minimal spotty lacing, but there is so much activity in the glass it’s very cool to look at in the Chimay chalice.

Smells of caramel, toffee, toasted grains, brown sugar, candy like Gummy Bears, light yeast funk and a whole bunch of dark fruit mixed together. Overall it’s malty and sweet smelling with cherry soda, toffee and fruity candy coming out as the strongest notes. Very nice to inhale with just a hint of herbs or dry hops for balance.

Flavor is very similar to the nose but there are more pronounced fruit and grainy aspects with some dry cracker, chalky yeast, toasted wheat bread crust, syrup and berries like raspberry and strawberry mixed in with the brown sugar, caramel, toffee, barnyard funk, toasted grains, candy like Gummy Bears, yeast and dark fruit (cherry, plum and rotting pear come to mind). Tea leaf or dry floral hops show up towards the finish which is on the dry side, feeling clean and well balanced. This brew hides the ABV quite well and is much easier to drink than expected, and in fact very tasty.

Mouthfeel is slick and on the thin side with very mild carbonation, a medium body and a slight tartness before it fades off dry and close to clean. I thought it would be thicker seeing all the yeast particles floating around, but it was smooth and very easy to drink. Been a while since I had this and I will get this back into the regular rotation since it was excellent.

 1,754 characters

Photo of El-blanco
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

This is a difficult beer to score because I usually rank them by how often I would want to drink it. Despite the high alcohol content this beer is incredibly smooth and flavourful. I typically prefer lighter tasting beers that aren't as complex, which is why I only drink this once in a while. I don't see how people can drink this on a regular basis and that's where it loses points. That being said, the buzz on this is incredible and quite unique. Reminds me of the buzz you would get from scotch.

 505 characters

Photo of MikeCooke
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Chimay Premiere.... This pours an alluring burnt red color with a beautiful fluffy two finger white head. Although the beer doesn't have much lacing it does bring an aroma of nuts,figs,cinnamon and some kind of berries I can't put my finger on. The taste follows the smell as to be excepted. There's a tinge of bitterness towards the end. It has a highly carbonated yet drinkable feel. My overall feelings on this beer are its a good one but I don't feel the need to rush out and get more.

 489 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- This beauty pours a reddish/copper color that is muddied throughout. The head is very interesting with a start point that is about 1.5 fingers thick but it settles rather quickly into a superb looking caramel colored film over the beer itself. The lacing is marginal but I'll let this go, as this is such a highly regarded brew....and proceeds go to charity for the large part according to the label, so marks for that!

S- Wow! This is a complex and deep smelling beer! Dark fruits such honeyed dates, figs, plums and figs. Muted cinnamon spice and an overtone of candied meat/leather keeps hitting my nostrils....awesome! Toffee/molasses/caramel malt sweetness is noted and there is also some aromatic maple in this as well....again....WOW!

T- Holy Moly!.......these flavors not only follow the aromas well, but kick up a notch! Rum & Butter/Butterscotch/Maple Syrup flavors that lean towards the astringent side for sure....not too sweet but the pure essence is there. Berries such as Raspberry and Blackberry are present and provides a muted tartness. Burnt brown sugar, toffee, blackstrap molasses and caramel notes galore....plus there's a note of sweet aged dark rum! Finish is pure gold that lingers on the palate.....

M/O- Medium/full bodied brew and plenty of creamy, mellow carbonation simply enhances the overall flavors and character that this beer embodies! Highly drinkable and the alcohol is well hidden for sure....as this warms, the overall roundness of everything intensifies and even becomes more enjoyable! These monks know what they are doing and would make Frier Tuck proud! Cheers!

 1,623 characters

Photo of Beermanic
4.98/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A:Brownish copper, with deep red hues. Semi tan creamy head, lots of little bubble close together.

S: Rich malty sweetness, some fruity phenolic esters. Toffee, plum, ripe cherry, biscuit, classic Belgian character.

T: A lot like smell, Rich malt body, make that a great body what I wish most beers had...body! Nice Belgian candy sweetness, complex fruity flavors. Balance is toward malt not toward the bitterness. Very little bitterness perceived. After taste has that great roasty toffee flavor, almost like burnt candy.

M: Full bodied Medium high carbonation

Overall: Fantastic Dubbel, probably why its been around so long. Personaly this is what a dubbel should taste like while most others fall short. If you really want a treat by a case and age one year, then have one a month, it will blow your mind. It become more sweet caramel flavored. Perfect commercial example, nothing negative.

 899 characters

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.

 189 characters

Photo of alexanderplatz
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Chimay Red is definitely a great beer. Unlike some other Belgian ale styles, however, it does not in my opinion have very strong flavors of Belgian yeast or the overall complex spice flavors present in some of the other Belgian styles. This may be a characteristic of a "Dubbel," I don't know.

 294 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Chimay chalice fills with a murky brown copper beer (SRM 20). A half-inch, creamy beige head lingers all the while leaving fine lace.

The aroma is dominated by fruity spice. Fruits include plums, while floral notes a woven with light cherry, apple, and raspberry. Warmth brings out musty oak and new leather.

The flavor opens with oak, followed by rye bread with a balanced, but slightly bitter profile. Honey and vanilla linger in the background. The finish is mild in duration and flavor.

Explosive, fine carbonation dominates the palate before the medium-bodied, slightly oily texture takes over. Alcohol is as expected with some astringency accompanying warmth.

Chimay Red has earned its reputation and is good for relaxing with a creamy brie, but is less contemplative than I had expected.

 802 characters

Photo of EricVonStein
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

pours to a thick creamy coloured head. Colour of aged honey. Brownish with amber hues. Very opaque.

Nose is sweet with a little baking spices in the distance. burnt sugar and caramel. maple syrup hint. I get a bit of malt yeast too. Not a strong aroma.

roasted grains and smooth sweetness of dried fruit stone fruit (i.e. prune, date?). dark whole grain rye bread. bit of molasses and christmas baking spices (very subdued). Super full bodied and long lasting finish to slightly bitter. tastes keep on going in your mouth long after the beer is gone. some alcohol is noticeable but not distasteful.

Mouthfeel is awesome. super creamy almost buttery! smooth and even with nice carbonation.

Overall, great rich heady beer with super smoothness. Like a fire stone oven baked rye bread with molasses. Definitely will drink this one when i get the chance again!

 862 characters

Photo of twage04
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Malty with the fruity bubblegum flavor from the yeast. I'd take the chimay triple over this but it was still pretty good. I was hoping for more complexity and depth but it was still enoyable. Probably just my second try at the style.

 233 characters

Photo of Dikfour
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Heavy light tan head dissipates quickly to a short light froth. Hazy deep amber in color. Not much lacing.

Smell: Caramely malts. Light light roast. Lightly syrupy

Taste: Caramel, fig, bready malt, bright candy sugar. Little bit of sour finish as well.

Feel: Syrupy, Dry finish, and beautiful effervescence.

Overall: Fairly complex and a beautiful beer. Will revisit again

 382 characters

Photo of danmouer
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Every. Now and then it isuseful to revisit the classics recalibrate one's yardsticks. Today for me it is Chimay Premier (red cap), a Belgian Abbey style Dubbel aleat 7 % abv.

The beer poured from a 750 cork-finished bottle was a beautiful, slightly hazy mediam amber with a burst of huge foamy head that settled quickly to an eighth-inch blanket of fine fizz leaving volatile lace on the sides of my Chimay goblet. Perhaps because it is pollen peak sedason here in Virginia, I found the aroma more understated than I remember. Light malt hints mingle with cinnamony spice and a touch of fruit, but my nose had to work to find it.

The flavor was not so reticent. Chimay's dubbel is drier, more balanced than some of the competition. Caramel, candy, a touch of bitter fruit all are balanced delicately, but decisively in the mouth. A nice warming touch for a beer of only 7%. Yummmmy.

The mouthfeel is supreme: velvet pillows on the tongue, ticklIng every corner ofthe mouth with very fine efforvescence. The finish is long, balanced, a lovely bitter touch. Wonderful.

Yep...this is the real thing. A classic. Not perfect, but pretty wonderful.

 1,146 characters

Photo of majorbase2
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel color with a smaller light brown head that recedes quickly. A thin head remains with a very small ring of lacing around the edge. Small amount of lacing.

Dark fruits, caramel malts, and a bit of alcohol on the nose. Aged cherries and fig. Some sweet, bready malts as well.

Taste is a mix of light and dark fruits. Plum, cherry and fig play on the tongue first. Apple and pear as well. Bready malts. Candied sugars, as well as some brown sugar. Very sweet. Some bitterness on the back end.

Medium bodied. A little more carbonation than expected. Not much alcohol. bite, granted it is a little low of an ABV for a Dubbel.

Overall, a little let down by this one. A very good dubbel, but the Chimay moniker didn't quite live up to the hype.

 763 characters

Photo of Neorebel
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chimay Premiere Dubbel pours a shade of brown similar to raw umber, with a frothy, off-white head. Each whiff of the aroma reveals consistent fruit esters, particularly plum and banana, as well as a tiny hint of clove spice. The flavor is a malty, grainy treat with brown bread, oatmeal, brown sugar, earthiness, clove, and some slight hops as well. It is medium-bodied, with a soft mouth feel. A little yeast and alcohol warming closes out the tasting experience. Overall, an absolute classic Dubbel and Belgian beer, generally. Essential.

 540 characters

Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Old notes dated Feb 2010. I know I reviewed this before and have no idea why they are no longer here. Here we go again with very abridged notes.

Smells like cheese, apple, alcohol. Taste much of the same with a highly carbonated feel that is easy drinking and tempers the alcohol impact. My least favorite Chimay offering but still fairly good.

 345 characters

Photo of kitch
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a 330ml bottle that was dated best before end of 2018 and poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: It poured a very hazy brown colour with a very nice thick cream coloured two finger head that dissipates very slowly but when it does, leaves a nice curtain lacing.

Aroma: Aromas are fruity, mainly of dark fruits like plum, cherry, and fig. There is also some pear, apple and candied sugar and a hint of nuttiness.

Taste: Fruity cherry and plum upfront with hints of banana and pear. There’s also some light malt caramel and bready sweetness followed by a nice light bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth creamy and slightly sticky.

Overall: Admittedly, I used to think that this was just ok but I’ve grown to enjoy this beer the more I drink it. When I first tried it maybe ten years ago, Chimay Blue was far and away better and so I mostly bought that. However, clearly my taste changed and the last few years Chimay Red became one of my staple beers.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Beric
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle into teku
Served: 20 May 2015

Appearance: Pours a deep, hazy brown color with a soft semi-tan head which pours to a two finger crown and then collapses to a half finger head that sticks around forever. Looks nice.

Smell: Soft nose with lots of fruity esters, really surprised by that. A bit of sweet malts evident in the background. Really digging the fruity nose.

Taste: Soft fruitiness again- sweet dates and plum- but very subdued. On the midpalate you get some of the full caramelly maltiness typical of a dubbel, and it finishes of with a soft somewhat bready finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with medium-low carbonation makes this one really soft and silky.

Overall: A really great beer, and a dubbel unlike many others. I love the Belgian yeast characteristics in here- this showcases yeast flavors more than any dubbel I've had, even if it detracts from some of the caramel malt that others love. A really great beer.

 944 characters

Photo of akdo
4.94/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I poured it from a 750 ml bottle. The beer was mostly brown with a few shades of red and a nice white head.

Although some would recommend you to shun watery beers, the Chimay Premiere is made from an outstanding water that comes from a well. Once you drink the beer, you will be surprised. The beer is soft. Despite being bitter like any beer, the Chimay Premiere has a few hint of sweetness. It almost tastes like a fruit. Moreover, it is so complex it will have you guessing.

All in all, it is one of the best beers I have tasted. It can be enjoyed alone or with a cheese.

 577 characters

Photo of MrDell
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Chimay Brune (Red) – bottling date unknown - Best Before 2018

Aroma: Figs, cooked bananas, alcohol.

Appearance: Dark brown with a deep red tinge. 1 finger off white head which quickly dissipates. Relatively low levels of carbonation despite being extremely lively and losing some upon opening.

Taste: first thing I noticed that the carbonation levels seem higher in the mouth than when looking at the beer. Taste is quite sweet, malt, dark fruits. Alcohol is very well hidden. Ever so slight hop tang late in the finish which is pleasant and to my tastes (not being a fan of hugely hop forward beers). This is a very well balanced dubbel from the mother land!

Mouth feel: Fairly low in body for a Belgian but it works with this one. While I love the tastes and aroma of La Trappe dubbel (the closest beer I've had in the past to this) I find the Dutch beer to be lacking in body and although this Chimay red is of about the same consistency, I find it works here. Overall the mouthfeel is balanced as well - it's not too dry, not too carbonated, not too bittering etc etc.

Overall: I drank quite a lot of this on a recent holiday in Spain as it was one of the very few decent beers I could find in the area and there while I did enjoy it, I know notice that I must have been drinking it too cold as it's much more flavorful at the temperature I'm drinking it at this time around (17 degrees C.) It could also be that it's a beer that is more suited to Swiss Autumn temperatures than Spanish summers. Either way, it is very enjoyable and one I will be sure to continue to consume - at this higher temperature. Chimay recommend serving at 10 - 12 deg. C. but I am really enjoying the quads and dubbels a little warmer than that at the moment so I'll stick with my 17 degrees! 9/10.

 1,796 characters

Photo of Wilshade
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

ABV: 7%
Glassware: chalice (brewery recommended)

Appearance: Opaque dark copper with thin but firm and creamy tan head.

Smell: Fruity, possibly apricot.

Taste: Slightly to the bitter side.

Mouth feel: almost silky smooth

Overall: Beautiful beer. Satisfying and memorable. For me, just a small step down from the "Blue Cap".

 328 characters

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,781 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!