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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.

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