La Terrible - Unibroue

Not Rated.
La TerribleLa Terrible

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2,041 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,041
Reviews: 919
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 108
Gots: 288 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2002

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 2,041 | Reviews: 919
Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If it weren't for the fine bead and a creamy mousse I'd be tempted to declare that 'there is no God' - La Terrible is a deep, dark abyss. But that waved pattern of greyish gravel amongst the black tar shows that this inky liquid is hospitable at least to bubbles (I still wouldn't want to fall in). That dull-coloured crown, however, has no adhesion; a little lacing would have upped the scores.

My biggest complaint (and indeed most peoples') about Unibroue products is the tendency of their yeast to overpower things. And, to be sure, it is a very distinctive yeast, effortless to identify. Fairly easy to describe too: bruised plum and bananas, macerated in Ouzo or Sambucca, and then doused in clove and black pepper.

This particular offering also features prunes, dates, black licorice, brown sugar, chocolate liqueur, cola, a Chartreuse-like herbalness and enough spicy phenols to necessitate an entire rack. Plus plenty of alcohol. This yeast has the power of a Locus Pléthore sportscar (1300 horsepower engine, also built in Quebec).

Only a very, very small percentage of beers are able to be aged. Even still, only a fraction of those actually require it. I'd squarely place La Terrible into that select group. When fresh, the alcohol and yeast spice are far too overwhelming - to the beer and palate alike - which makes stashing a bottle away for a few years a wise idea. I speak from experience.

It's fair to relate La Terrible to a red wine that is chalk-full of tannins and needs a few years of cellaring to achieve its potential complexity. All these layers of grape must, anise spice and herbal extract are enveloped by an old book-like mustiness and strong black pepper and clove notes.

I wouldn't be the first to point that La Terrible may be the most inaccurately named beer. Still, while it is good enough to satisfy even high expectations it isn't exactly the friendliest 10.5% dark ale to cuddle up with. Like some other Unibroue beers, it's hard to tell whether the intention was a beer or a documentary on yeast. Nevertheless, buy a bottle, stash it away, wait for those hard edges to turn soft and then enjoy!

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer pours a very dark, brown-to-black coloring with hazelnut highlights under light and a dense, creamy, foamy, light tan head that starts around an inch and a half and slowly settles into a solid, enduring half inch. Aromas of charred wood, earth, darkly rich fig and date, booze, black cherries, hints of molasses, and a bready backbone to support all of this. This is a layered, deep brew from the smell of things. Flavors are incredibly smooth, with a dark fruit blend of date, fig, black cherries, and currants on the forward tongue. More richly sweet characteristics like molasses and brown sugar open up the more you drink and the more the beer warms and agitates. Wow, this is smooth and tasty. Surprisingly easy to drink despite the richness and whopping ABV. There is carbonation action going on throughout the body as you drink, and as smooth as this beer is, I can only imagine without the carbonation it would be deathly heavy. Very well crafted beer. The aftertaste is wine-like with all of the old world fruit characteristics lingering about, giving off an almost port quality. Continues with the rich and smooth feel and taste into a slow lingering, clean, slightly rich and dry finish. This is a whopper, and amazingly drinkable, which spells trouble. Wow!

Photo of Wasatch
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle
Best Before: 09/15/2018
Reviewed: 3 May 15

Poured into a Westy Chalice a dark brown color, very nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy little tan head, some very nice small islands, and some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, slight yeast, figs, raisins, plums aplenty. The taste is malty, some very nice yeast notes, lots of dark fruit. Medium body, ABV hidden very well. Overall a very tasty brew. It's been awhile since I've last had one. Highly recommended!

750ml Bottle
2004 Vintage
Best Before: 08/08/2007
Reviewed: 26 Jan 09

Poured into a Westy Chalice a dark brown color, nice carbonation, fizzy little tan head, not much sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is malty, slight yeast, figs, raisins, plums. The taste is malty, some yeast notes, lots of dark fruit. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, been sitting on it for over three years.

Pours a dark brown in color, nice carbonation, not much of a head though. Lacing is not bad. Scents of malts, sweet caramel. Very nice taste, alcohol was hidden, but not like other's I've had. Medium in body, very nice after taste. Very drinkable, but at 10.5 watch out, I drank a 750ml by myself and I got a good buzz.

Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity... Corked and caged, with cage marked as 2004 bottling, and a best before 8/8/07 on the bottle.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 2" of tan head over the very dark caramel brew. Head holds on for more or less forever, finally fading to a 1/4" layer of bubbles after about 10 minutes, and nice foamy lacing along the glass. Aroma is spices, dark fruits, and some alcohol burn. Taste is light dark malt sweetness up front, with some dark fruitiness quick to follow, and the spicing and alcohol warmth close it out. Mouthfeel is creamy and oh-so-smooth, with drinkability that is very nice for the style.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 pulled from the basement for my weekend cellar cleanup party. Got this a long while back from my main man in the Beehive State... Wasatch!! Thanks for all the great bottles over the years John.

Dark brown brew with a sorta flimsy white head... descent lacing and cap though.

raisins are abundant.. there is a slight oxidation that really doesn't detract... a bit of burnt sugars add nicely to some minor phenols.

again raisins run amuck in the flavor.. a bit more spicy phenols... mild clove and white pepper.. dark cherries on a later pour.. just hints of oxidation....

great body.. carbonation may be a tad high.. but I tend to think that with most Unibroue beers.

I doubt I would age the '04 much longer... but I really thing this was a nice brew... thanks again John!


Photo of WoodBrew
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It was our annual trip to Tampa...the night before THE BUCKEYE CRUISE AGAINST CANCER!!!! The better half and I walked a couple of blocks down from our hotel and found a wonderful sport to taste numerous different brews. The fourth beer I tried, thanks to the suggestion of our server...was the Unibroue La Terrible. I am not a Belgium beer please disregard my review for those that love Belgium beers. The color was a dark and opaque. The nose included alcohol and a hint of spice and plum. The taste included clove, alcohol, dark fruit, and maybe some addtionial spice. I could not drink very much of this...tooo much ABV!

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a murky dark brown and settled almost black with two fingers of bubbly light brown head that slowly receded.

S - Intense dark fruit up front - raisins, plums and figs. Dark caramel and toffee round out the nose. Some light Belgian yeast aroma in the background that was much more subtle than I expected.

T - Raisins, figs, dark fruit up front. The background has caramel, toffee, Belgian yeast, a touch of chocolate and spice. very robust and complex.

M - Medium body with a nice chew. Moderate carbonation.

O - This was an excellent beer. I wish I could get this locally to I could stock up the cellar.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Anything but the name indicates.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with red hues around the edges when held up to the light. Topping off the beer was a 2 finger foamy ivory-tan head that retained nicely as well an equally impressive lacing.

S: a beautifully soft roasted malt and nuttiess to it as well dried fruit (cherries, raisins).

T: The initial flavor was very smooth with a yeasty touch of dried bananas. There was some dark molasses, alcohol, and a light candi-sugar sweetness as well detected. A light tartness from the yeast of musky fruit and bread was experienced as well some dark, bitter chocolate.

M: medium, well carbonated and very smooth on the tongue. A pleasure to behold.

D: Incredible drinkability, abv is well hidden and comes highly recommended.

Photo of beertunes
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in tulip. Poured black with no light showing through, and had a deep tan head that quickly dissipated and left minimal lacing.

A rich aroma featured mostly earthy fruit notes with a hint of yeasty spice. The flavors were very similar with the fruit flavors dominant.

While the body was full and smooth, I found it to be a little thin for the style. Drinkability was very good, smooth and easy to drink, although at 10% I'm not sure about drinking several in a row. Overall, a wonderful beer from an excellent brewery, worth trying and seeking out.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 2/2011 notes. Comparing a fresh one and a two year old properly cellared bottle.
Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark orange amber with a very nice one finger light tan head and lots of lacing. Very nice dark fruit and Belgian spice aroma. Nice presentation. This one is spicy, sweet malt and dark fruits. Spicy, hop finish a bit astringent, but still very nice. A very nice North American Belgian
Review from 2/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark orange amber with a very nice one finger light tan head and lots of lacing. Very nice dark fruit and Belgian spice aroma. Nice presentation. This aged one is less spicy, with more sweet malt, some caramel and dark fruits. It has mellowed very nicely. Spicy, finish a bit more astringent than the newer one, but still very nice. One of the best North American takes on a dark Belgian. I like the aged one somewhat better than the fresh, but both are great.
Main review score from the 2011 bottle. The 2009 bottle scored: 4.5/4/5/4/4.5, reflecting the nicer aged flavor.

Photo of Derek
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the 2004 vintage, loved it & bought the remaining few bottles from the store. They disappeared, so in February 2006 I bought a case & split it with a friend. This '04 vintage is still aging nicely.

A: Cola with a tan head, good retention & lace.

S: Dark fruit, spicy, slightly bready, brown sugar.

T: Wonderful blend of spices, pleasant dark fruityness, brown sugar and hints of chocolate.

M: Moderate body (really well-attenuated for its strength) is smooth; carbonation is moderate.

D: Easier to drink than many Belgian Dark Ale's, and this one's strong! Serious trouble.

Photo of AlexFields
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours dark reddish color, looks black when the glass is full. Not much of a head, or at least not one that lasts.

Not a very complex nose, sweet candy malts and yeast.

Flavor starts with spicy yeast, fades to sweet candy yeast. Again, not very complex. The taste is good, nice and sweet, but not memorable.

Mouthfeel is a bit lacking in carbonation but not terrible.

This is a decent beer but, like most American (or Canadian) brewed beers in this style, lacks much of the complexity that made me fall in love with the superior Belgian examples of the style. Good enough to enjoy drinking for sure, but not even worth comparing to, say, anything from the Rochefort lineup.


Photo of flagmantho
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL bottle into my Unibroue tulip. Bottle says best before 11-11-2013; I think I would have preferred a bottled-on date.

Appearance: entirely non-translucent black with three fingers of bubbly tan head. Capital.

Smell: initial impression is that it is quite fruity; mostly big pears and raisins with a little apple but there's also something musty in there. Quite nice.

Taste: big malt; a lot of raisin and pear. This tastes a little like a somewhat light, nuanced barleywine with just a tiny touch of roasted malt. Not that I'm complaining; the flavor is very good.

Mouthfeel: medium body with big carbonation; texture is creamy and highly appealing.

Drinkability: I like the fact that this, to me, tastes like a highly carbonated, light-bodied barleywine. It is sophisticated yet approachable; a frankly difficult combination to achieve. Quite drinkable indeed.

Photo of DrJay
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown with red/chestnut highlights. It looks a little hazy, but it's hard to tell since it's nearly opaque. The head is off-white or cream coloured. The head didn't persist as long as I expected, but while it lasted it was dense and creamy.

Smell: Rich blend of maltiness and fruitiness. Malt is primarily toasted and bready, while fruity esters are reminiscent of raisins. A very light spiciness is present, but little alcohol shows through (kind of surprising given the high abv).

Taste: Starts with a malty sweetness and fruity esters, very similar to the aroma profile but with some cherry notes. At the mid-point, the flavour starts to shift towards more spiciness and alcohol. Peppery phenols and smooth alcohol help balance the malt. The finish is medium-dry with some lingering malt and spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation adds somewhat to the full body. Alcohol warming is noticeable, especially at the finish. Smooth, chewy texture with some peppery bite on the tongue.

Drinkability: Definitely not something to rush through, both because of the high abv and complexity. Stays quite delicious as it warms up as well.

750 mL brown bottle with bottling date printed on the back. Bottle conditioned.

Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black, with nice red highlights around the edges, big off white head forms, stays thick and laces all the way. Smell is licorice, chocolate, caramel, spice, coffee, some yeast and alcohol, with some dark fruits thrown in. Taste is the same, licorice up front, with chocolate/coffee, and cherries/strawberries. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. One of the better Unibroues.

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer appears to be black. A nice looking airy and light head adorns the surface. Light brown in color, it lasts about a minute. The remaining collar provides sparse lace. The aroma has got some fume to it. Not real overbearing, but it's noticeable. I also get a distinct "bourbon barrel" aroma to it. Adds a nice touch to the aroma which also consists of subtle tones of bread, cookie dough, yeast and pepper. The taste also has a whiskey/bourbon slant to it. I like it in its delicate nature. The yeast tones are fabulous. Malts are so subtle in their presence. Biscuit tones come to mind. Alcohol provides a little head and leaves a light lingering sting/bitterness. Body is about light-medium. Mouthfeel quite airy, but by no means, gaseous. Unibroue brews some of my favorite Belgian style beers. This is another solid offering.

Photo of cjgator3
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle

A- Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark brown color with a huge light tan head that sticks around forever and leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma is filled with dark fruits (most notably fig and plum) along with spices and yeast. This one possesses a very nice aroma. I love Belgian beers with the big malty aroma with dark fruits.

T- The taste isn't quite as impressive as the aroma. The taste is very dry with some alcohol soaked fruits and spices. I was surprised at how dry the finish of this beer is.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a high amount of carbonation.

D- La Terrible is a solid beer that was very enjoyable, but it is definitely a sipper. Recommended.

Photo of wordemupg
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 18/7/11

A hazy dark brown with reddish brown highlights when held to the sun, big three finger light tan head falls fairly fast leaving only a few random patches of lace, my second pour however had great retention and left loads of lace all unorganized but there was even a few chunks hanging off the side. I'm thinking the first pour cleaned my dirty glass because the head stuck around and too the side of the glass the second time around

S very mellow spicy yeast with a little apple cinnamon pie with some candied cherry, raisin and faint booze

T what I smell but with some faint root-beer/cola, slightly herbal and a little dark fruit but I can't distinguish which one, a little brown sugar and yet again the booze is well concealed, I taste some booze but it just blends in to the background. If 4.75 was an option I'd use it here but... its closer to perfect then 4.5 so here it is a "5" for taste

M lighter then one would expect but just enough carbonation to liven things up, the aftertaste is faint and mellow but it goes forever

O not sure how I enjoyed such a big beer on the hottest day I'll probably see in Calgary this year (31C/50%humidity) I know, I know, but here its hot as funk and big BSDA's should never slam back this fast regardless of the season

Not the first time I've had this beer but I was too loaded to take notes last time. I had an 8 and 7 year old bottle last year (or was it 7 and 6?, 02 and 03 it think) and I remember one of the beer geeks there with a greater knowledge then me saying this ones barley drinkable fresh... I disagree

I can recall begging Sleeman reps for a long time with no success to let me sell this bad boy and was told I could keep dreaming. To say I was pissed off buying this at a "competitor" here in Calgary is an understatement. I'm concerned that Sleeman doesn't want the business of one of their best customers in the province. I'm very worried for the Albertan consumers of Unibroue at this rate. I struggle remembering Don Du Dieu and at this rate all their beautiful beers will be a distant memory and I want to barf as a result, not booze induced vomit, just disgusted with the situation kinda spew

Photo of Brad007
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color: Pours a pitch black color with a nice thick head that soon fades.

Aroma: Sweet and malty with a strong raisin/dark fruit aroma.

Taste: Starts off bitter with chocolate and raisin notes. Somewhat burnt flavors. Smooth. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and malty. Raisin in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Alcohol is barely noticeable. I like it.

Photo of Haybeerman
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: deep brown, almost opaque black. Poured a three finger coarse light brown head that dissipated quickly to a quarter inch thickening around the rim. Clear lacing.

S: Spices aroma with dark fruits and raising.

T: Dark fruits and raisins up front. Brown sugar and burnt caramel come next. Finishes with dry alcohol and burnt toffee or coffee.

M: Medium-bodied. Fizzy carbonation make it a bit thin.

D: Other than the finish, very consistent with St Bernardus or Rochefort. Overall, falls a bit short. Pretty sure I'll try this one again though.

Photo of bark
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005.

The colour is very dark brown, almost black, with a tint of red. The very low off-white head dissolves quickly.

The smell is sweet-sour with some earthy notes and complex notes of cherries, plums, coffee, strong wine and a touch of alcohol. Lots of matured cherries, in fact. There is also a tart lambic-like flavour in the background.

The taste is a bit fruity, but it is very, very dry - it is obvious that the bottle condition has worked very well here. Distinct notes of cherries and black Chinese cherry-flavoured tea. Some light earthy notes, hints of mild coffee, and some roasted malt. The aftertaste is very dry with hints of cherry syrup, butter cookies and a touch of Coca-Cola.

The carbonation is strong, but the sharp bubbles are short-lived. The liquid is a bit light.
A little too dry and hard on the carbonation, I suspect that this beer might have passed its peak. Still a very drinkable and very Unubroue beer.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a dark brown color with chestnut highlights and a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin pancake on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of dark fruits - plums, figs, and hints of cherries - backed by good amounts of sweet malts. As it warms hints of spices waft out.

Tastes a bit more complex than it smells. Sweet malts and Belgian candi sugar up front quickly followed by dark fruits. I was surprised at the ABV on this - it drinks more like a 7-8% ABVer.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side but moderate carbonation makes it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing my glass and could have a few of these.

Overall the amount of fruits and thinner than normal mouthfeel make this drink like a strong dubbel more than anything. Regardless, it's a tasty brew that's worth a shot.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Unibroue 750ml bottle into a Chimay chalice. It turned out to be a good choice of glassware, the beer looked exatly like Chimay Blue. It was dark brown, a little tranlucent ruby reddish colored when you put a light behind it. The foam was off white and creamy, kind of thin but nice looking.

The smell was mostly Belgian-style yeast, nice and bready like a St Bernardus but with a fruity aroma kind of like Koeninghoven Quad. The taste was closer to the Quad but had some unique characteristics of its own. Plums, figs, a little bit of burnt malt or woodiness, it had everything. 750ml is perfect for this beer, I wanted to keep drinking it. There were other flavors which developed as it warmed (sweeter fruits like cherries and also chocolate).

The best Unibroue so far.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml caged and corked bottle, back of bottle says best before 04-15-2015. Served in a chalice, the beer pours very dark brown with about an inch tan head that stuck around for a little while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like dark fruit, brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, dark bread and a sweet spiciness. For the most part I think the taste is just like the aroma, but there's also some earthiness and a bit of tart cherries noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth, a bit coating, and has a good amount of soft carbonation. Overall I liked this, certainly worth picking up if you've never had it before!

Photo of Gusler
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer immigrates from the 750ml brown cork and caged bottle a deep brown color with ruby high lights, the head dinosauric in size, creamy in texture and a nice tan color, and after decomposition, the residual lace forms a fine curtain to drape the glass. Nose is cotton candy sweet, a touch earthy, hints of over ripe fruit, plums I think, spice, woody, maybe even a touch of fusel alcohol, fresh and inviting, start is lightly sweet with a nice grain presence, the top is middling in its affect on the taste buds. Finish is ferine in its acidity, the hops pleasant and spicy, quite dry aftertaste with a nice bit of tummy warming from the 10.5 percent ABV, a nice drinking beer and from what I’ve heard and read, you either “Love It or Hate It”, I like it.

La Terrible from Unibroue
93 out of 100 based on 2,041 ratings.