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La Terrible - Unibroue

Not Rated.
La TerribleLa Terrible

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,920 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,920
Reviews: 906
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 98
Gots: 208 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,920 | Reviews: 906 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SleepyMonk
2.8/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled 750ml bottle poured into a unbroue branded chalice.

Body is very dark with only a very fleeting glimpse of a cola he when held to the light. Generated a dark tan head of about 2 fingers which fell away nicely with patchy lace and finally a generous thin layer remained.

Dried dark fruits dominate the nose along with a mild yeasty funk and warm dough. Aromatic notes grow as the beer warms up towards room temperature.

The taste profile is well characterized by the yeast and it appears as though the malt and dark fruit notes are trying to bust through across the palate however something seems a little lost in translation and instead the taste is very confusing. At first this is a little offensive and perhaps a little metallic or soapy.

Weighting is medium to heavy and carbonation is light.

This beer is bit of an anomaly. The appearance and aroma have the goods, although the aroma is slightly thin, however the taste spectrum is extremely confusing.

I have had Unibroue Terrible on other occasions and this is the first time I have encountered this metallic soapy taste, so perhaps there are good and bad batches. With Unibroue becoming more commercial perhaps there is reason to expect they are losing that "special touch" that they once had.

SleepyMonk, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of Pahn
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank two bottles of La Terrible with the intention of reviewing them (on two separate occasions). The first was obviously infected, and the second was not. The numerical score reflects the beer as it was intended by the brewery (non-infected). I'll include reviews of both because why the hell not?

---

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled on July 29th, 2009, apparently at 1:47 AM. Guess it's all work and no play for the guys and gals at Unibroue.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch fizzy tan head that, instead of dissipating, pops into a swiss cheese pattern, ultimately popping away to a 3/4 inch head that dissipates very slowly. Pours a dark, mostly opaque reddish black and leaves occasional streaks of lacing.

Smell: Trademark Unibroue Belgian yeast, and lots of prune, plum, and grape notes. Some nice toasted aromas and caramel come out soon after pouring, along with an almost sour note. This smell is pretty much a 3.5, though after the beer warms up it develops this harsh booziness that actually makes all the other notes extremely beautiful and unique. This would have bumped up the score, but it seems to only last a short time--then the smell becomes more pedestrian than before.

Taste: First sip is all grape and Belgian yeast. Soon after the spiciness (clove) really comes out, along with a very sugary taste and feel. Aftertaste is hot alcohol warmth and spice. Less fruity than the nose. The mix isn't really working for me; I'm not impressed with this as a Belgian dark ale. It's lacking in complexity, and while the battling flavors are all pretty palatable, I'm not very intrigued by them.

3.5 is the perfect score for this. It *is* above average, and it tastes good... but I can drunkenly name 5 Belgian darks that leave no reason to drink this beer. I expect more from the style, and from the brewery. I'm not bashing it; in fact, I'm continuing to enjoy it. However, I can't review it any higher for taste.

Mouthfeel: Too much carbonation (though I got used to it). Light body. Sugary but not chalky. Finishes a little dry. Hot.

Drinkability: Pretty decent Belgian dark sipper. I was flat out disappointed with the first few sips, but the balance of flavors really grew on me. I'm not struggling to finish this bottle (I'm enjoying it), and I'd drink it again... but it's not in the same league as many Belgian darks and quads.

A hard to review beer... It's as if you're at a pizza-making competition, and green pepper is your favorite food. A pizza maker who you know personally and like has made you a pizza with green pepper, and the green pepper is excellent. Yet, the crust is overcooked, the sauce is bland, there's not enough cheese, etc. It's not a winning pizza, but it's working for you. I can't say that this is a great beer, but the balance of flavor that it ends up delivering (the hot boozy hit, the smokiness, the welcome caramel, the characteristic Unibroue Belgian yeastiness, the clove) is something that I like very much.

---

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled on July 29th, 2009; the same batch as the non-infected bottle reviewed above!

Appearance: Careful pour yields a one inch fizzy tan head that dissipates immediately leaving no lacing. Opaque black with red edges. Looks like flat soda due to the color and lack of any head at all. No lacing. 2.0

Smell: Belgian yeast, sugary but indistinguishable fruit. Dominant sour tang, interacting with some toasted malty notes. Smells amazing. 4.5

Taste: Sour, funky, musty, tart, dry, with some prune in the background. I read the reviews of this before trying it... and something is obviously wrong here. A sugary taste develops as the beer warms, but still very musty. Some mild herbal flavors and phenols are showing up. Some flavor and acidity reminiscent of apple juice. Just enough sweetness and complex ester balance among the tartness and funk.

God damn. This is close to 5.0... I love it. Early on, the realization hits me that this amazing beer I'm drinking is a mistake, and I'm never going to be able to get it again. 4.5

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated despite how it looks. Very dry finish with a puckering tartness. 3.5

Drinkability: If this were how the beer were supposed to taste, I would buy it with great regularity. 5.0

(total score: 3.95, B+)

What can I say? I had this beer in April '10, and it's July '10 now... and it's still one of the most memorable beers I've had all year. Probably top 3. Unibroue, if you're reading this: pilot brew some La Terrible by putting it and some lacto into a barrel, or using some brett or something. This beer is AMAZING with some funk and sourness; those notes really make the sugary Belgian dark ale plum/prune, caramel, and smoke notes in Terrible SING. I am saying this emphatically enough to justify going all caps on it.

Pahn, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of LittleDon
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into tulip shaped glass. Dark red-brown and opaque with light only coming through at bottom of glass. Very rich light tan head with sticky lace. Aroma is fruity with a bit of alcohol present. Carbonation acidity up front that fades some as it warms. Rich, syrupy mouthfeel. Some alcohol present in middle and end, but otherwise well balanced. Taste is very port like, raisins and figs, with a touch of oakiness. Too big a beer for warm weather.

LittleDon, Jul 25, 2010
Photo of wheatyweiss
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. caged and corked with a freshness date of 10-15-2014.

Pours a murky dark cocoa brown with cola highlights. Head is three finger and sticks impressively stays around a while.

Aroma is powerful! Dark roasted malt with a hefty dose of fruity yeastiness. Fruitiness in the middle from the yeast there is also a burnt toast aroma from the malt. Finishes with band aid and tropical fruit yeast with a dose of dark chocolate.

Flavor opens with dark fruit. Yeast takes the top of the profile with bready dark roasted malt following. Middle brings banana and bubble gum with a shot of warming alcohol. Bitterness in the finish from the roast, nost any hop flavor can really be detected. Finishes sweet with a warming of booze down the gullet.

Carbonation is higher than I would think for a bottle conditioned beer, but this works to cut the sweetness some. The only suffer to the drinkability is the higher ABV.

Nice, split the bomber with someone.

wheatyweiss, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of hckyfn9999
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cola color with a small white head that doesnt leave much as it disappears. Aroma is of candied sugar, dark fruit, and a bit of spice. Taste is like the aroma. A nice blend of spice and dark fruit with an underlying yeastiness. Finish is slightly dry and tart. Pretty good beer.

hckyfn9999, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of Norm
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's a dark ale that can brighten up a terrible day. Malty smooth and sweet, lares of flavors. Good to have a with a meal or by itself. I't very good at room temperature the finish has a little burn but not bad. Don't let the name fool you its just over all a nice beer.

Norm, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of JRed
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black body topped by large off-white fluffy head. Subtle scent of raisins, prunes, booze, faint wet grass. Strong flavors of tang, prunes, grapes, alcohol rushes in towards the end but gets cleaned up by malty sweetness. Malty, heavy bodied brew with light carbonation. A milky quality to this tang-fest despite finding this ale not that filling on the stomach. Another example of pushing the limits of what a beer can be.

JRed, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of biggietattoos
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Terrible is a very good looking beer when you pour it... But beyond that this is not a beer I could see myself trying again.

Poured a Nice deep dark brown, nice medium-dark tan head, good lacing.

Aromas comparable to DFH Raison D'Etre just not as good... Raisin, dates, and a weird copper sceted notes come through.

The taste was very metallic tasting... same sort of taste I got from St Sebastaan's dark Belgian. Not a very pleasant tasting beer at all. though the metal covers the high booze content well it just wasn't too enjoyable at all.

the mouthfeel and drinkability is average overall but just can't redeem the taste for me.

IF you like Dark Belgian ales then this may be an awesome experience but I couldn't see myself digging too many beers of this style

biggietattoos, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of pootz
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rerate after time in the cellar, 750ml corked and caged bottle:

Pours a dark opaque brown almost black. Puffy mocha colored cap.

Raisins, spice, cake, earthyness in the complex aroma.

Rich buttery mouthfeel, Big bundt cake like malts in front go to a rich complexity of dark fruits, cocoa, nuts, roastiness, herbs, spice, grape skins and licorice. Rich long finish punctuated by the malts... not a wisper of fusel alcohol.

Still this brewer's best offering.

pootz, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle with a best before date of 10-15-2014. Pours a dark cola color with a massive cap of airy, dark beige foam. Retention is pretty good and lacing is clingy.

Spicy and phenolic yeast greet the nose along with a roasty, chocolate taffy maltiness. Bread loaves with a reminiscence of a dunkelweisse with the banana and cloves. Nice.

Interesting flavor...at first makes you think a dark wheat beer to take big gulps from, but then the alcohol and spices say 'slow down there big fella'. Very clove and nutmeg oriented and makes the ABV feel like 10% on the tongue, yet silky smooth all the way down with a nice belly warming. Good beer, but it seems like it could be great with a creamy, fuller body and dialing it back on the spices to let some malt and hops come through more. Will have no problem at all finishing this 750 though, drinkability is high for such a strong brew. Fun beer to drink and glad I finally got around to trying it, but there are a few other Unibroue beers that I like better.

twiggamortis420, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of steelerguy
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark, not going to see through this, nice big tan head on the pour, stays around while you drink and leaves some good lacing.

S - Belgian yeast, banana nut bread, and a little toasted malt.

T - Lot of esters, alcohol, some dark fruit, a hint of hop fruitiness.

M - The dark looks makes you think heavy but it finishes very clean. There is a crispness from the light finish and carbonation, and a definite alcohol warmth.

D - You are not going to session this, but you certainly can enjoy a 750 ml bottle. The balance lets you enjoy the higher alcohol without it feeling too harsh.

steelerguy, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of TrippnFiasco
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Organic (not uniform) off-white looking head. Very foamy initially but dissipates rapidly, leaving decent lacing and a small ring. Liquid is dark brown.

S: Malty and sweet. Hints of cherry and floral notes. Can smell a bit of alcohol as well.

T: Delicious. Definitely a Belgian. Very distinct fruitiness underneath the malt, and definitely accentuated by the alcohol. There is a nice sweet maltiness, and a cherry/plum fruitiness that really makes the beer work. There is definitely a warm from the alcohol that helps, rather than hurts the beer.

M: Very crisp. Medium-high carbonation with medium body.

D: Very drinkable beer, great to split a few bottles with a friend or have one to yourself. (Which is slightly surprising given the amount of flavor it has to offer)

TrippnFiasco, May 29, 2010
Photo of matt20102
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from corked bottle at fridge temperature into pilsner glass. The bottle uncorked with a very appropriate strong pop, indicating that it is not overcarbonated. For such a strong ale, the flavor is quite smooth- the hype on this beer is very understandable. It brings an immediate warming sensation but does not have the usual alcohol bite that one would expect from a 10.5 ABV beer. The flavor is of subtle malt, roasted malt, and hops.

This beer is highly recommended and will find its way into my fridge again soon.

matt20102, May 22, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a Unibroue tulip. Pours a nice dark brown that is almost black with a nice three-finger tan head that lingers. There was minimal lacing evident throughout. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt with a hint of nuts. The flavor was sweet with bitter notes and alcohol. There is also a bitter aftertaste upon swallowing. It was medium on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very nice brew. It is definitely the best one I have had from Canada thus far. The flavor was similar to a Chimay (Blue) only the flavors were a little more potent and also had the nice alcohol flavor.

thagr81us, May 21, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Old Northeast Tavern in St. Petersburg

A - It is terribly dark. Okay enough with that. Scant head recedes quickly to nil.

S - Mellow dark-fruity nose.

T - The taste is good; raisiny and chocolatey, straightforward BSDA.

M - Prickly despite apparent stillness.

D - It is very good for Unibroue, as I find some of their brews to be actually terrible in ways beyond name.

ktrillionaire, May 18, 2010
Photo of Avagadro
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a deep molasses color that barely let's light through when held to it. Foam is light chocolate in color and a touch on the grainy side. Lacing is nonexistent, and the body is slightly hazy.

S: I was hoping for more bouquet, but what is present is delightful. Rum, prunes, and chocolate are present and enticing.

T: Dry and oh so complex, Terrible is easily the best BSDA, in my experience, that is being brewed on this continent. The flavors are bold and vibrant without being cloying, a mistake that is all too continent in the US. Rum, prunes and chocolate give way to apricots, cherries, and cloves as this elegant brew unfolds on your tongue.

M: light and delicate with just the slightest touch of carbonation. I would have liked to see the same creaminess that is displayed in their Trois Pistoles, but I guess that is hard to do at 10,5 abv. I am impressed that the abv is so high while still maintaining a delicate mouthfeel.

D: as mentioned above, this is one of the best BSDAs I've come across from this continent. It will even give many of the highly acclaimed Belgian breweries a run for their money. This is a must try of you can get your hands on it, and worth a trade if you can't.

Avagadro, May 17, 2010
Photo of bjacokes
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pitch black with a fluffy tan head that takes several minutes to recede but is present all the way down.
S: Cloves, dark fruits, and Belgian yeast. There's also a unique earthiness I haven't smelled before. Very inviting.
T: First taste is of bitter roasted grains, then a burst of fig and peppery alcohol.
M: Moderate carbonation lets a touch of bitterness hang at the end.
D: Obviously on the heavy side, and for the ABV it doesn't hide the alcohol especially well. A nice treat for the evening though.

bjacokes, May 13, 2010
Photo of vette2006c5r
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Terrible poured almost black, with a perfect sized creamy head. It had sweet and hop smells. The taste was overall very good, it had alot of different flavors and spices, and you could make out the hops as well, but nothing was overpowering, it wasnt a light beer, but easy to drink. Overall great beer, very enjoyable.

vette2006c5r, May 12, 2010
Photo of bark
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

bark, May 09, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
2.8/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Armsby Abbey into a Trois Pistoles goblet. Poured dark brown with a small off-white head that disappeared quickly, leaving only a thin ring and not much lacing. Picked up a mix of light and dark fruits in the scent, sort of faint but pleasant. Taste is off-putting and not expected at all. The main thing I taste is sour grapes. Some red wine and pear notes. I also get some quad-esque tastes such as chocolate and brown sugar, and that signature Unibroue yeast. I love sours but the tartness just didn't fit right. For this style I expect and prefer nice, rich beers. The mouthfeel was terrible, extremely watery. I've never tasted a 10% beer that was this thin before, booze was quite noticeable too. The tastes weren't "terrible", it's the mouthfeel that really made this beer bad. Very disappointed with this one especially because Unibroue has only been great to me so far. Wouldn't get it again.

Chico1985, May 08, 2010
Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey.

A: Super thick rich creamy head of 2 fingers fades slowly over basically pure black colored beer with just hints of light getting through around the thinned edges.

N: Lots of dark malts, lots of fruit, raisins, nuts, a little caramel, crystal malts, touch of Belgian candi sugar, some Belgian dark malts on top, and hints of cinnamon raisin.

T: very fruity to start. Sweet malts with Belgian malts, mostly dark, rich with candi sugar, raisin, lots of raisin, nuts again, a little cinnamon, caramel, toasty, and even a touch of roasted malts. A little warming booze to let you know it has some alcohol in it which stems from that candi sugar Belgian booze taste. A touch of bitterness comes out with all that.

M: Semi thick to medium with decent carbonation.

F: Sweet but dries well, pretty hot and boozy on the finish though. A little tingly alcohol and warming boozy taste and feel. Lots of sticky sweetness and sweet stickiness. Lingering dark Belgian malts a little with more raisin, nuts, dried fruits, chewy malt flavors, and a hint of bitterness again.

jlindros, May 06, 2010
Photo of Poormon79
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabed the last bottle at my local beer store.

Pours a very dark brown. A big head that quickly leaves. Virtualy no head at all. Taste is quite sweet. This is a 2004 bottle. I feel like a fresher bottle would be better. The flatness is kinda off putting.

Poormon79, May 03, 2010
Photo of eat
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the last beer I had to acquire to finish off the current BA Canadian Top 25. Nice to see all those little pencils turn blue. Thanks to Derek for trading away this difficult-to-find (in Canada) brew. Aged since 2004, this will also be the oldest beer I've tried so far (five to six years old at the time of consumption). No best before date listed...so this one is still technically good to go.

La Terrible pours with a fizzy head, fading quickly away to a ring around the glass. The body is black and opaque. The lack of head is not really surprising at 10% and six years of age.

The nose is quite musty, this stuff even smells old! Lots of ripe fruit (plum, fig, blackberry, grapes), slight chocolate, light dark malt, port. Very complex but a certain chemical aspect throws it off a little.

The flavour seems to be more like port than like beer. Very vinous with lots of grape and sweet port. Some old basement must and dust, hard water minerals (including noticeable iron), a not-all-pleasant presence of apple cider. Slightly chloric as well. I don't think I could taste alcohol under all that even if it were present. Not having tried a younger bottle, it's hard to know for sure but I'd have to assume that at six years La Terrible is past its prime.

Light medium body and very lightly carbonated.

I've never tried a beer this old and I've also never tried a beer that tasted so old! Makes sense I guess. Even under all the flaws the over-aging has produced, there are still many redeeming qualities here. This was a very complex beer and one I'm glad to have tried even though I didn't consider it to be terribly drinkable. (It might be worth mentioning that drinking this beer made my stomach feel like garbage for a solid couple days afterward.)

eat, May 02, 2010
Photo of SDHoffers
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just put this on about 5 days ago and it's already gone. Pours a pretty dark drown to black color. Kinda surprised but a fairly decent head and lacing. Smell is really faint but the coolest part about this particular beer is the mouthfeel and aftertaste. Light in carbonation and very smooth. This beer reminds me of Leffe Bruin due to the fact that it finishes like root beer. It has that odd Belgian-like clove finish that always reminds me of root beer. Gotta be the clove. I would never expect this beer to have such a high ABV. You could actually suggest to the seasoned beer veteran and the novice alike.

SDHoffers, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of SAABtech
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lapped it right out of the bottle. the only apperance i found was the bottle. (well it got me to buy it)
popped to cork and took a whif... smell somewhat bitter and i almost thought "terrible" then i took a swig and i thought "TERRIBLE" but i certainly wasnt going to let it down without a fight.
i may have been anticipateing something subliminally but as a few more drinks went down the gullet i found myself thirsting for more. the initial bitterness turned into a very fine balance of sweet malty nectarness and sharp hoppy tones. definately found the roasted flavors i enjoy and befor i knew it.... it was gone :(

good beer overall and i will get one again.

SAABtech, Apr 28, 2010
La Terrible from Unibroue
93 out of 100 based on 1,920 ratings.