Hiding in plain sight
A Review of Leffe Brune / Brown by Abbaye de Leffe S.A.
Posted on 6/20/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
Being a member of the better beer world will at some point present you with a situation that can bring some to a cold sweat: the grocery store dilemma. You know what I am talking about. You are in unfamiliar territory and have no idea where a good craft beer location is, so you have no choice but to hit the local supermarket in hopes that they have at least a few life raft brews to choose from. Now granted, many supermarkets have improved on their selections in recent years, but you still face an uphill battle in most cases. Here at BrewChief.com, we not only wish to educate you about some of the lesser known/available beers out there, but we also want to help you make quality decisions even in a pinch. One such beer that could help you out in a tight spot is the Leffe Brune from Abbaye de Leffe S.A. My guess is that you have passed it several times, as it is pretty much readily available at most anywhere that is a step above a mom 'n' pop corner gas station. What you may not know is that it's actually a pretty good beer.

In the glass, it has a dark brown, almost black coloration that looks more like mahogany like when held to a light source. A rocky, tan head forms when poured aggressively into a snifter before settling to a spotty film. Getting your nose in close introduces you to smells like sweet Belgian yeast, dark plums, light chocolate, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, and peppery clove. Given a bit of warming time, some more delicate notes of toffee, alcohol, banana, and raisins start to come through. The more it warms, the more this beer becomes a study in how temperature not only affects taste, but also aromas.

The first taste of it reveals a very malty profile, and it has a lot of staying power. Toffee, yeast, and the dark toasted bread detected in the nose greet you initially. Then a brown sugar sweetness comes in to join them, and it seems to have a thickness to it that almost reaches a syrup state. It slowly transitions to a fruity and dark chocolate blend, which seems to round out the flavor train, with just some slight hints of clove and pepper sting coming through to keep things from becoming overly sweet. The overall body comes across as just a bit thin even with the thick brown sugar moment, and a bit more carbonation would have gladly been welcomed. As it stands though, the finish is a bit sticky and the aftertaste is but a slight caramel sweetness.

When all is said and done, is the Leffe Brune a world class show stopper? No. Not even close really. It has a couple of spots where there could be some improvement, but let's focus on what it is, rather than what it isn't. When we do that, we see that it is a beer that deserves a little more attention that most of us tend to give it. It has some good flavors, and it goes down rather easily. So instead of recommending it to specific levels of beer drinkers, I think it is better served as a situational suggestion. If you find yourself in a bind, and all you can locate is a grocery store, feel free to grab it and hold on to it for dear beer life. It is far better than 90% of what is sitting on most of those shelves. But if you can find a nice craft brew location, I would say to leave it be. Any respectable establishment should have much higher quality offerings to choose from, and I am sure they would be more than happy to lead you in the right direction as far as finding some.

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Leffe Brune / Brown by Abbaye de Leffe S.A.
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