Posts Tagged ‘leffe’

Beer Review: Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown

20 April, 2008

A WHILE ago, I tried a bottle of Leffe Blonde. And it was one of the best beers I’ve ever had. So it’s with considerably optimism that I move on to try Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown. A drink I think is probably a brown ale.

Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown bottle

In Tesco and most of the off-licences near me, this modestly priced beer usually only comes in very large bottles. But after a bit of searching, I did manage to track down this review friendly 33 centilitre bottle. Whether it comes in cans or not, I don’t know. But why anyone would choose a can over a civilised bottle is beyond me.

On the outside, they’ve stuck to the same formula as with Blonde/Blond. Except that the golden yellow colour scheme is replaced with brown. The neck-label and the main front label keep everything the same as with Blonde/Blond apart from that colour.

Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown neck label

Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown front label

The Germanic typeface is still there. The 1240 date is still there. The quirky duplicating of every word in Dutch and French still happens. The stained glass style illustration of the Leffe Abbey is still there too. As is the foil wrapping around the top of the bottle. Everything is intact, but with touches of brown here and there.

Over on the back label, and it’s even more similar to that of Blonde/Blond. In style and layout at least.

Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown back label

There isn’t much story on there. Just the usual small print repeated in lots of different languages. To save you the bother of trying to read it, here are those small print details… It has a surprisingly strong 6.5% volume. Apparently, it contains “approximately 1.7 standard drinks”. And it is best served between 5 and 6 degrees C.

Now to see if Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown maintains the outstanding Belgian beer track record.

Be careful pouring Leffe Brown, or you’ll end up with a gigantic frothy head like I did. Fortunately, it settled down to enough to drink after a few minutes.

Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown in s glass

As per the billing, it is brown. Very dark brown in fact. But it’s the smell that interests me. Leffe Blonde was outstanding in its malty aroma. And I’m pleased to say that Leffe Brown isn’t too much of a disappointment. It doesn’t smell as insanely, richly malty as Blonde. And you wouldn’t expect it to, as this is a different beer. And that’s reflected in the smell. It’s still very rich and malty. But different somehow. In a more rounded sort of way.

A couple of gulps in, and just like the smell, it is a bit like Blonde. But also a bit different. Brown shares some of the deep, rich, smooth maltiness. But, it hits you with a bitter taste. And a bitter and sour lingering aftertaste.

There’s a lot of Leffe’s trademark quality in here. It’s smooth. It’s got a good amount bitterness. A full-body and character are both in evidence. And it’s very very drinkable. I reached the end of this bottle much too quickly. Another bonus is that it’s very strong.

There are however, downsides. It’s gassy. So you’ll be burping in between gulps of this beer. And even though it’s not very bitter, it’ll still put some people off. Me for example. Bitters just aren’t to my taste.

How can I sum up Leffe Brune/Bruin/Brown? Well it is very good and very drinkable. But the bitterness means that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Blonde. Even so, a lot of you out there will like the bitterness. And even I found it palatable. But on the shelf next to a bottle of its sister beer, Leffe Blonde, I’ll choose the blonde instead of the brunette.

Rating: 4.3

What did you think of Leffe Brown?
Have you got any suggestions of anything similar that you think I should review?
If so, leave a comment in the usual place. The comments box. Obviously.


Beer Review: Leffe Blonde/Blond Beer from Belgium

18 February, 2008

AFTER slumming it with Tesco Value Lager, I decided to move upmarket for my next beer review. That move upmarket led me to this: Belgian Blond(e) beer.
Bottle of Leffe Blond(e) Beer

Like Ostravar Premium Czech Lager, we can tell that Leffe is premium because of the gold wrapping around the top. Ostravar however, was a letdown, so can Leffe do any better?

The labels on the bottle don’t tell us an awful lot. That might be because the little it does say, it says in half a dozen European languages. Most prominent among those are Dutch and French. In fact, the entire bottle is split between Dutch and French names and descriptions. Not surprising, when Belgium itself is, more than ever, splitting apart at its French and Dutch seams. As a consequence, we have ‘Blond’ also spelled at ‘Blonde’. ‘Bière Belge’ as ‘Belgisch Bier’ and ‘Abbaye de’ as ‘Abdij van’. This final duel wording, referring to Leffe’s origins at an abbey. The ‘1240′ date on the label at the shoulder of the bottle is something of a mystery. That couldn’t possibly be the date that brewing started there. Maybe it’s the date that the Leffe abbey was founded? If you know, leave a comment in the usual place.

Leffe Blonde front label

Around the back, if you look carefully at the multilingual jumble of text, you can make out a small number of facts. We learn that it is an authentic Belgian abbey beer. But we learnt that from the front of the bottle. It is 330 millilitres, so be prepared for either overfilling your half pint glass, or leaving your pint glass looking unfulfilled. Malted barley is the only listed ingredient. The only pleasant surprise the rear label tells us is that this beer has a 6.6% volume. Pleasant because that will make it more potent than most of the ales and cheap lagers I’ve tried recently.
Leffe Blonde back label

Impressions of the outside are of its yellow-ness. Presumably playing on the blond(e) connections, this is a distinctively yellow package. And continental European too, going by the text and red roof-topped abbey.

Poured carefully into a glass, we are treated to a thick creamy head. And one that stays around. The colour is yellow-ish, but not as luminescently bright yellow as the labelling has led me to believe. Still, it does look appealing being a dark shade of gold.
Leffe Blonde poured into a glass

Giving this a thorough sniff, as I recommend that you do, you will be treated to something special. Leffe has the richest and maltiest smell I have seen so far. And not in a bad way. You will have to smell it for yourself to see what I mean.

The smell carried over to the taste. It is rich, creamy and malty. Unlike nearly every other malted barley brew I have tried, it is not the barley that comes through. With Leffe, it is the malt. This is by far the maltiest beer I have ever tried.

It is, however, somewhat gassy, causing me to burp once or twice. You also have to be particularly careful how you pour it into a glass, if that is your preferred method of drinking. Whilst pouring the remainder into the glass, with rather less care than the first portion, it was very easy to end up with a big pile of foam atop a tiny layer of drink.

The flavour, also, might not be to everyone’s taste. It is fairly strong, so if you don’t care for malt, you may not be impressed with this. Me however, I enjoyed every drop. Leffe, is different, but not unpleasant. It is actually quite drinkable. And like the many ales that I have tried, this lager manages to match them on smell and flavour. A rare accomplishment indeed.

Does Leffe deserve to play the ‘Premium’ card in the same way as Ostravar? Unlike Ostravar, Leffe doesn’t just look quality, it is a quality drink. And it does what it does differently to the others. For that, I think it is well worth your time trying a bottle for yourself.

Rating: 3.75 to 4.25 depending on how much you like strong maltiness

Have you tried Leffe? What did you think of it? And have you tried any other Blond(e) beers? Leave me and the other readers a comments!

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