The smell of Leffe
When savouring a Leffe, more than just our taste buds come into play. Smell is also an important way of discovering all of the beer’s aromas. Make the most of this ‘noseworthy’ experience by following the steps below…
First key step: select a beer chalice to preserve the aromas. Inhale the smell to immerse yourself in its so-called ‘bouquet’. Certain subtle aromas are concentrated in the foam head: take the time to discern them before the foam disappears. It’s best to start with a lighter Leffe, like Leffe Blond, and to then follow this up with the other varieties. When tasting, make sure you limit yourself to one sip of each variety.
Next, gently swirl the beer around in the chalice. Careful - too forcefully will ruin the creamy foam head. By softly swirling the beer around, air bubbles will form and the smell will become more pronounced. This will allow you to properly discern the complexity of aromas contained in a Leffe.
Time for the assessment…
Start with an overall impression: is it a strong, sweet (malt) or spicy (hops) smell? Malt is the most recurrent aroma in beer, but try and see if you can discern any others. The idea is to determine which kind of Leffe you have in your hands.
For example, Leffe Brown can be recognised by the noticeable whiff of malt as well as by its caramelised aromas, whereas Leffe 9° and Tripel are characterised by dashes of hops and citrus, and Leffe Ruby smells distinctly of forest fruit.
Leffe Blond, on the other hand, will surprise you with its powerful scent of malt, and the apple and clove fragrances.
To take this experience to the next level, learn to discern a beer’s dominant scent and its secondary aromas; the dominant scent, which is referred to as the “first nose”, overpowers the secondary aromas.