Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leffe Blonde (2011 original review)

Have we really reached episode #550 already!? Feels like I just reviewed Founders KBS yesterday for episode #500! I suppose this is a special enough beer for the occasion - and probably the last big-name Belgian beer I haven't reviewed yet: Leffe Blonde. As you know by now I'm not a big fan of Belgian singles/blondes/pale ales so I've never been in a rush to review this beer. But as part of "All Viewer Request Month" user requested I review Leffe Brown - but that's a tap-only beer from what I understand. So hopefully he will be okay with me reviewing this beer instead.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 8, 2012
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Pretty clear dark golden/light orange body with plenty of carbonation visible. Forms a large, white, frothy head which laces and lingers for a while.

Smell: A very strong and pleasant aroma of banana, citrusy hops and a hint of clove spice. Has a typical Belgian yeast ester as well - a very lively, inviting beer like a clean perfume.

Taste: I’ve never been a big fan of the Belgian "single" or blonde or pale ale or the general ballpark of beers. I often find them to be mild and all the same, but Leffe Blonde is quite different. The palate begins with an immediate and strong taste of fresh ripe banana fruit. It’s sweet, borderline juicy even. Then it turns into a more American-style citrusy blend of hop bitterness. Slightly tart, slightly sweet and just the right level of bitterness before finishing with a resurgence of banana candy and clove spice. What a complex palate! Very distinct flavors here and each are quite delectable, but they work very well together in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than your average "light" Belgian beer. Full-bodied to be sure, but not sticky or syrup. Very soft and smooth - not riddled with carbonation fizz like most Belgian beers of the style.

Drinkability: It’s very rare I encounter a beer with a body of 6.6% ABV and a thick mouthfeel that’s actually refreshing - but that’s exactly what Leffe Blonde is! I drank this on a hot night and it really hit the spot. The great taste combined with the smooth body made it a very quaffable brew. The challenge lies in NOT chugging it down all at once.

Overall, Leffe Blonde is a surprising departure from the usual dry, thin, fizzy Belgian blondes and pale ales. A great beer to appreciate for its taste and an excellent choice for a meal pairing.

Grade: 8/10

NOTE: See my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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