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Pelforth Brune | Brasserie Heineken

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Pelforth BrunePelforth Brune

Brewed by:
Brasserie Heineken

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerResearcher on 03-24-2003

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 130
Photo of magictacosinus
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Dutch pint glass somewhere in Paris out of a bottle.

Pours a brownish color with some light carbonation. Maintains a ring throughout the sitting at the top of the glass. Contains an unfiltered look, but overall looks pretty decent.

Smells very grainy and malty, as expected. There's some notes sweetness around the edges, and other notes of bitterness. Kind of a clash between coffee beans, dark bread, and dark fruit. Mainly, however, this is far more on the breadier side than anything else. For an unfiltered beer, it definitely smells funkier than I expected.

Taste manages to be pretty grainy and malty as it smells, but far more on the bitter side than the sweet side. Interesting, as darker beers tend to be sweeter on premise alone. However, this holds up quite well in its apparent double malted result. The alcohol is barely noticeable, and it retains a smoky, woody taste that keeps it interesting. Manages to stay creamy enough, and the interesting variation of bitterness and smokiness makes it a very drinkable beer.

While not the most impressive brown ale I've had, this holds up well, especially in terms of flavor and drinkability. While at times it can be kind of brittle, it manages to be bitter and funky enough to hold long enough interest to drink several times throughout the evening.

 1,325 characters

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a pounder can into a shaker pint.

Nice amber color and very clear. Thin head.

Lots of caramel malt in the aroma. Not much in way of hops.

Taste is very malty lots of malt syrup taste to it.

Beer really falls apart in the taste. To bad.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured chilled in ale glass, imbibed and discussed with buzzlitebier

A: dark amber, good head, small carb bubbles, lacing-conducive
S: sour smell, not much else
T: malty; Euro dark/strong (and resembling something between a porter and Scotch ale); few hops; simple, straightforward flavor; bit of fig and plum

Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of atis
2.93/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear dark brown with large tan rocky head that fades rather fast, some patchy lacing. Aroma is low toasted malt, some nuts.

Taste is stronger roasted bready malt, slightly sweetish, alcohol is rather evident, especially towards the end of the glass. Dry finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium, medium carbonation.

Overall, average Brown Ale.

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Photo of sfprint
4.04/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

A: Fairly dark brown, but not Guiness dark. Almost no head.

S: Smokey and heavy, but there's also a listerin tinge to it. Unique for sure. Very Porter-like.

T: Porter-like but lighter. Quite pleasent, like a cross between an amber and a porter. Very pleasing flavor.

M: Nothing special and barely carbonated.

O. Really excellent beer. Best of both porter and amber worlds.

 376 characters

Photo of Mar02x
2.31/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought this beer in France when I was there on holiday in 2011.

A - A brown clear beer with an off white head.

S - Old malts, not really fresh smelling.

T - Watery, like a Porter with some sweetness. Not a good brown ale.

M - Low to medium carbonation, light sticky.

O - A standard, light in body, brown ale.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful mahogany with a single finger of light tan head that, sadly, dissipates quickly.

S- Malt. Tons. And a bit of grain, not much else. Good and to style. Very faint hop aroma.

T- Initially rich and malty, with a good bit of roastiness following quickly. No hop balance, but a hint of roasty bitterness to balance the malt. Has a distinct grain flavor, like that of grains being steeped for brewing. A hint of mild cigar tobacco, and a bit of caramel.

M- Creamy, chewy, fairly highly carbonated. An almost perfect mouthfeel for the style.

D- Quite good. An excellent high-end session beer. Recommended.

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Photo of tjd25
3.07/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't know how I feel about the "good for a French beer" comment in the previous review...

Pelforth was apparently the first "brown beer" introduced in France back in the days. The beer was initally called Pelforth 43 because PELican was the name of the brewery, because the beer was FORTe (strong in French) and the TH is from thames, like they got ingredients from London, but I forgot the exact story. 43 was from the number of kilograms of malts used in the brewing process (for every hectoliter I believe), far higher than for other beers at the time. They changed the name to just Pelforth after the war cuz 43 sounded too much like the years of war.

The head was dense and foamy and didn't fade too quickly. The body had a nice dark mahogany color. The smell was malty, nicely nutty and slightly sweet. The taste is extremely malty and the roasted coffee aspect was a bit over the top for me.It has some character, but it's kind of harsh on the palate. Similar to the Adelscott brewed by Fischer. Quite chewy, with hints of sourness too. Mouthfeel is creamy at first, and a bit sweet and soda-like after, although the beer is not overly carbonated. Not quite drinkable. Not (too) bad, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

 1,238 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
2.86/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Roasted malt nose but no other noticeable flavor. The mouth is still highly diluted and it feels like to drink flavored water, slightly bitter. This bitterness is also to forget unless you like the artificiality. Not really tasty and little to enjoy. In the same style of beer, the English models are light years away.

 318 characters

Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dark brownish-red but clear color w/light brownish-red head, okay retention.

S-Bits of fruity esters: red apple, raisins, fig, sweet roast malt.

T-Like aroma. Blend of esters w/sweet malt, and bits of bitter hops in the finish offer a little balance, but the aftertaste is still a tad sweet.

M-Little on the sweet side, restrained carbonation, light and smooth but slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

D-A good, satisfying drink. This is not my favorite style, but it's still pretty decent, and it matches up pretty closely with style guidelines, although personally I could use a little more hops.

 603 characters

Photo of sloejams
3.15/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seeing it on the shelf and curious, I grabbed a can of this at the local convenience shop in the Bastille area of France. I poured into a wine glass as it was the most appropriate glassware at the flat I was staying. Colorwise and aromawise - everything was fine, basic Belgian brune qualities. The taste was - I guess it tasted like a Heineken maker making a brune. So I wasn't surprised to see that they were the owners of the Marseille brewery. One was enough; Leffe, Affligem and Grimbergen were readily available and much better at this type of beer.

 555 characters

Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.17/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Color: brown ruby ​​red, clear. Fine-bubble foam, beige. Quite durable and decently adorned with glass.
Aroma: Caramel and fruits, cherries, sweet with a slight sourness.
Taste is a copy of flavor with a slight shift in the direction of caramel.
Gentian: only light, stone. Saturation medium, as appropriate for me. Alcohol gently out on the occasion of bitterness over what resembles a tincture of cherries.

 412 characters

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.81/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle

A- Brown/reddish colour, something maybe a little darker than burgundy. Off-white head, a couple of fingers, holds very well throughout the whole tasting

S- not a strong aroma but quite pleasant: sweet malts, slighty toasted with a bit of a soft nutty character. Maybe some sweeter caramel notes

T- A bit more vivid than the aroma but still very much on the delicate/soft side. Slight toasted but still very delicate malts, with yeast and probably sugar giving them a mild/soft edge. Notes of liquorice, toffee, caramel. Found no specific notes in the sweet but still clean/simple finish

M- Medium body, light carbonation bringing a bit of life, but beer is still very soft and creamy on both tongue and palate

O- A rather simple brown ale (or maybe belgian dark ale?), but still decently flavourful, pleasantly creamy, and overall perfectly balanced

 868 characters

Photo of LarryKemp
3.16/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I bought this litle green bottle of brune while in a grocery store in St. Barths.

I think I detected a bit of skunk when I poured. It was not overpowering and went away quickly. What remained was a faint smell of malt

The beer poured a deep caramel brown. Clear and remarkably few bubbles even though it had an ample off white head that lasted a long time.

The taste was totally malt. Very sweet but without a lot of side notes. No special characteristics.

The mouthfeel was full and bordering on creamy. There was a little carbonation bite on the tongue.

This is a nice beer. Nothing makes it stand out. Next time I am in St. Barths, I probably won't buy more of these to bring home.

 700 characters

Photo of EatsTacos
3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy dark brown with a soft light head. The head dissappeared pretty quickly. Not much lacing to speak of.

The aroma is quite sweet smelling, almost totally dominated by malt.

Sweet tasting, some slightly roasted malt character, without any real bitterness or hop profile. I like my EBAs to have a roasted nut flavour which I don't find here.

Highly carbonated and pretty thin bodied.

 397 characters

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has been on my wants for a long time, then I came across it at a gas station in St. Genis-Pouilly, France; it's common around here, brewed in Marseilles.

Pours with quite a bit of fizzy foam that settles quickly leaving little lace. Appearance of cola, basically. Crystal clarity.

Nose is sweet, toasty and malty. Not picking up any hint of hops or yeast.

Good balance of bitterness and carbonic mouth feel. Sweet and malty. Goes great as a lunch beer with sausages or pizza, not rich or complex enough for a bigger meal.

Drinkability is excellent. Overall it's a good everyday beer, and a nice alternative to the vast majority of the beers on shelves in France: either malt liquors or blondes.

 708 characters

Photo of watchnerd
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml can, picked up at a Paris supermarket in the 15e arrondisement.

A bit better than the Pelforth Blonde, I'm not sure I'd call this an English Brown, but perhaps the style is appropriate as it does bear a bit of a resemblance to Newcastle Brown.

Overall, a pretty good and drinkable brown. Not exceptionally great or anything to knock your socks off, but a quite agreeable with French and Belgian dishes like moules frites.

 430 characters

Photo of VoodooBrew
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

250 ml bottle poured into a chalice. This bottle came to me via France.

Hints of cereal malt on the nose are revealed more fully in the flavor, which also adds caramel and honey notes. The finish is long and sweet, perhaps a touch too sweet. An average to slightly above-average beer.

 287 characters

Photo of AmberMan22
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this at La Phare, a bar in Paris. First french beer I've tried here, and I'm pretty pleased.
Poured from a 33cl bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a nice rich brown color, not cloudy, just delicately clear like a nice EBA should be. The head disappears too quickly, and the lacing is very runny. Once the beer warms there is nothing left to stick to the glass.

S: I love the smell. It smells nutty, of sweet and pale malt, slightly of alcohol.

T: While the taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, taking a whiff of the Pelforth before sipping enhances the flavor to a very acceptable level. It does taste much akin to a Heineken Dark, though noticeably more pronounced in every category. Nice nutty, malty flavor -- though the hoppy taste is nowhere to be found.

M: Due to the lack of carbonation, the beer feels deliciously creamy and rolls easily over the tongue. It basically encourages you to drink more by being so smooth in this essence. But...

D:...the alcohol taste is not well disguised. This beer is 6.5%ABV and you can taste it. Kind of unfortunate, as other darker beers of this kin are far smoother. Like I said, the beer encourages you to drink more, especially as it warms a bit, but its just too strong to enjoy for an extended period.

 1,258 characters

Photo of stingrayvr6
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Malty and floral aroma. Hints of caramel. Cream colored head that dissipated quickly. Strong carbonation, malty and slightly citrusy taste, also with a bitter creamy finish, caramel present in the finish. Not a bad brown ale, nothing too complex or special, but great mouthfeel and very drinkable. Not special but quite good and simple.

 362 characters

Photo of jspruit
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this 25cL bottle from family taking a trip to France-enjoyed it in Ireland.
Smells fine, but nothing spectacular, and a bit sweet like raisins and caramel.
Has a little more than a finger light tan head on a brown body that appears a bit like a cola. There is a fair amount of carbonation too that dissipates quickly as the drink goes down.
Tastes sweet with caramel, raisins, malts, and a bit light chocolate too.
It is nicely balanced but not too filling. Goes down smooth and has a slightly dry sweet finish.
A nice brown ale, but nothing spectacular. I'd be interested in trying their other beers before coming back to this one again.

 647 characters

Photo of Umbra
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at room temperature as part of pre-game before going out for the evening in Paris. Dark amber with a hearty off white head. Decent lacing and retention. Very bready aroma that was slightly sweet and fruity
Banana, bread and coffee flavors within a light carbonation. As with the white, had a medium mouthfeel that was thicker than expected.
Overall, not bad.

 368 characters

Photo of Ant777uk
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Could this be the first ever French beer I like..? I am not sure why they cannot make good beer, considering they are next to Belgium, speak the same main language, have much more space to grow things, and have many more people...

Beautiful brown ruby colour. Good head that goes down quite fast.

Aroma is quite unique. Very bready and yeasty.

Usually I am not a huge fan of Belgian browns, though this French one actually has a full, balanced flavour, quite chocaletey and camarelly, and goes down well. Kind of like a Rolo.

Needs to be a bit stronger with more hops, to be truly good. Great effort though from France, will certainly order this when I have no Belgian options or Guinness.

I drank from the fridge, perhaps it is different at room temperuture.

20 minutes later:
As it warms up, it tastes less watery, and improves considerably. Definitely drink this after at least half and hour from the fridge.

So yes, this and Gavroche are the only 2 French beers I like. Plus there are some really good organic ones...

As it warms more, it improves. Try at room temparuture, assuming you are not the devil, an escimo or a scorpion...

 1,146 characters

Photo of jed
2.24/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: Poured from a 50 cl can into a tulip glass, served at cellar temperature.

Appearance: Light, chestnut brown/mahogany with tons of bubbles. Two finger head w/average head retention, lots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt, prunes, and nice smokiness. Smells like a Scotch ale, but with less peat.

Taste: Overpoweringly sweet dark malt flavors dominate the nose. Slight hint of hop bitterness, but nowhere near enough to balance the malt. Also a tiny bit of fruit (prunes?) in the flavor. Slightly unpleasant alcohol flavors in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very thin, almost completely lacking in body.

Drinkability: Weak — this beer is too thin and too sweet to have even average drinkability.

Surprisingly disappointing, so much so that I'd almost be willing to chalk it up to a bad sample. Lacks anything to balance the overpowering malt. I may give this one a try on tap, but I'm definitely steering clear of the cans.

 947 characters

Photo of malmquna
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Definitely brune, a very lovely clear dark brown chestnut poured out of the glass. A generous head yields to a thin lace over the liquid after a few minutes. Smells toasty, hints of caramel, maybe some subtle hops.

Taste is toasty as well, with a certain sweetness balanced with an appropriate amount of bitterness. Actually reminiscent of Newcastle, just slightly darker in flavor. The alcohol leaves a bit of a dry finish and is therefore certainly detectable. That doesn't distract from the moutfeel or drinkability.

This is a well done beer, very worthy of trying. Get a couple more than you think you'll want, because you will want some of this around.

 659 characters

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Pelforth Brune from Brasserie Heineken
3.48 out of 5 based on 130 ratings.
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