Monday, April 13, 2015

Chimay Première

Chimay Première Premiere Chimmay Belgian Belgium trappist trapist European ale red label bottle beer low gluten lager free celiac intolerant test result
Beer: Chimay Première Trappist Ale 
Style: Abbey Dubbel
Brewing location: Belgium 
Originating country: Belgium
Alcohol by Volume: 7% 
Ingredients: Pilsner malt (French barley from Champagne); wheat starch or flour (10% - 15%); dextrose (5%); malt extract (0.1%); hop extract from German Hallertaur (aroma) & American Galena (bittering) hops.
Format tested: 750 ml bottle purchased in Los Angeles 
Beeradvocate rating: 93/100
Ratebeer rating: 99/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • The brewery was founded inside Scourmont Abbey, in the Belgian municipality of Chimay in 1862.
  • In 1948 Father Theodore isolated the unique yeast cells that today still form the basis for brewing the Chimay beers and creates the Chimay Red in 33 cl bottle.
  • Trappist beers contain residual sugars and living yeast, and, unlike conventional beers, will improve with age. Westvleteren 12 is often considered to be the single best beer in the world.
  • The brewery business pays rent for use of the property within the abbey, which is used to support the monastic community. The majority of the profit from the sale of the beer is distributed to charities and for community development around the region. As of 2007, sales figures for Chimay products exceeded $50 million per year.

Test result photo

Chimay Première Premiere Chimmay Belgian Belgium trappist trapist European ale red label bottle beer low gluten lager free celiac intolerant test result

Test result

Very High Positive at 20 parts per million (ppm), meaning it is more than 20 ppm. Though standards vary from country to country, according to the FDA, "In order to use the term 'gluten free' on its label a food must meet all the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 ppm gluten." It is said that products with a gluten content below 20 ppm are suitable for people with celiac disease.

My experience drinking Chimay Premiere

For many people - including me - this was their first introduction to Trappist ale. And I still remember being blown away because this was so different to anything else I had before - and it was served in a chalice! Chimay Premiere set the dubbel standards back then but the gap is closing. Many American breweries have managed to replicate the complex taste of Trappist ales. In fact, in early 2014, Spencer (brewed by the Benedictine monks of St Joseph's Abbey, Spencer MA) became the first ever American member of the select group of Trappist breweries.

I am not sure where I fall in the gluten tolerance spectrum; I am gluten intolerant but not celiac. I definitely know what it feels like to be “glutened” i.e. gluten exposure, but I have not deliberately pushed my gluten consumption limits with any food or beer. I consumed this 750ml bottle in 2 hours feeling no noticeable gluten effects.


  1. Thanks for listing the ingredients. People with serious gluten problems will want to avoid this beer brewed with wheat.

  2. You should make a YouTube channel. You can monetize your posts easier that way to pay for more beers. Do reviews and testing videos.

  3. This beer destroys me in terms of Gluten. Piraat is the only one similar that I can think of that is worse on my body. I love the taste of both though, so sometimes it is worth it.