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La Terrible - Unibroue

Not Rated.
La TerribleLa Terrible

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

1,873 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,873
Reviews: 900
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 97
Gots: 198 | 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: 1,873 | Reviews: 900 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of peabody
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When the cork "pops" you can smell a wine aroma. The color is dark and the suds are brown and few but the liquid is dark as a moonless night.
Smell is grape and sugar and alcohol. Mabey a caramel hint but the yeast is almost burning the nose.
Taste is a little thin but sugary coffee with a sour grape flavor are what comes forward first.Brown sugar and alcohol are there but the aftertaste yeilds a hoppy bitterness.
Too much sugar water mixed with alcohol to be a great beer.
Still it comes highly recommended.

peabody, Oct 17, 2006
Photo of BretSikkink
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the best $9 bottle of wine you can buy. Extremely dark black in color, smells of raisin/tannins and alcohol. Cork smells like licorice. The licorice and fermented grape dominate the flavor, which is really well done. The taste expands upon the nose in a predictable but welcome way - exactly what I had hoped for and expected. A very suitable, easy to obtain, and cheaper alternative to a favorite Belgian dark (call it Rochefort 7), much as Fin du Monde is to the pale ale. I enjoy that they mute the distinctive yeast somewhat in this brew; at least it is differentiable from Trois Pistoles and Maudite, while very much belonging in the Unibroue fold. The mouthfeel is oh so slightly thin, with a tingly carbonation when first popped. Obviously the alcohol comes to dominate as the beer warms, the 10% will catch up - drinkability rating suffered (one 750 ml is enough for one night). I recommend the sediment for the last pour, the yeasty flavors help take the edge off the esters. Worth your time: If New World homages to Belgian ales are your thing, this is an outstanding example.

BretSikkink, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
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!

biegaman, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of BabaJohn
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 2004 bottle of La Terrible poured incredibly dark. And by dark I mean I held my Trappistes Rochefort glass chalice NEXT to a light bulb and nothing was seen through the terrible darkness. Very thin, tan head formed and faded quickly like the wisps of vapor that materialized after uncorking. Smelled delicious from far away as well as up close. Strong red wine and grapey aromas. These associations reinforced in the tasting with some rum hints, molasses, faint maple. Has fairly strong alcohol content all in all making it harder to consume en mass. An excellent, excellent beer and much better than I remember it, perhaps due to the aging.

BabaJohn, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of mnj21655
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle with 2004 on the cork

Pours a very deep brown, almost black in color with hints of red. Had a huge tan head that settled to maybe an 1/8". Smells predominantly of fruits, cherries, raisins, and licorice but I can also detect some hints of vanilla. As for the taste it is very much like the smell; more licorice, dark fruits, and some yeast. Finishes slightly tart. I was surprised that I could neither smell nor taste any alcohol. Has a nice mouthfeel, not too thick or too thin and has a good amount amount of carbonation but not too much. In terms of drinkability this is great. I simply can't hold the high ABV against this brew, there are so many redeming qualities in this beer that it deserves a high score here.

Overall this is excellent. This may not be quite what its Belgian counterparts are but its damn good. I'm immensely pleased that I picked up a bottle of this brew. I didn't pour this when it was terribly cold but the flavors really came alive as it warmed. I enjoyed this beer tremendously the warmer it got.

mnj21655, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of kajerm
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a pint glass. In spite of a slow loving pour, this baby built up a monster head of thin tiny bubbles that dissipated rapidly. Has a gorgeous, cloudy reddish-brownish-black appearance. La Terrible is all yeast and bananas on the nose, with a whisp of malt. In spite of the Canadian heritage, she looks and smells like a Belgian strong dark, and the taste confirms this. The beer tastes like a rounded down, somewhat less complex Rochefort 8-- spicy and malty in the front, yeasty in the middle, and very, very fruity in the back, with a lingering fruity taste. Mouthfeel isn't quite as balanced as I'd like, and La Terrible, for all her allure, doesn't quite reach the religious experience of the Belgians she tries so hard to match. I'd like a stronger head (although maybe a goblet would have helped) and a little more density, and maybe some more sediment (yes, I'm a freak.)

But the beer is so good that I can't really hold any of this against Unibroue, and I certainly pick up another bottle if I have the chance.

kajerm, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a very dark mahogony with a tan fizzy head that disappears very quickly. The smell is musky, with sweet malt,alcohol, and some sweet fruit. The smell is a little light,but very interesting and different. The taste is crisp,clean with vanilla, sweet malt, cherry, and a nice alcohol warmth. The m/f is medium with the flavors mixing well. A very good beer with a flawed appreance. The head is WAY TOO fizzy and disapates too fast. Other than that this is a good quality beer from a brewer who knows what their doing.

jmz62565, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of karengarys
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours super dark mahogany brown, leaving a small head of light carmel colored foam - even with my slow pour. the foam keeps emerging.

The smell is a bit sour and musty, with sweetness. Interesting.

The taste is very good and a bit odd too. The alcohol is WELL hidden. It is rich and syrupey, a bit sharp-sweet. It has a musty sour taste, though, which I am not too fond of. Lots of flavors. Flavors should be rated a 4. The sour-mustyness seems off to me, so I've gone down to a 3.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Kudos for such a high alcohol beer.

This is a good drink. Try it. I got it for $7/bottle at a grocery store (Wise Way in Crown Point indiana), and would recommend getting ONE to try. You may go back for more, or like me you may not. It is worth the try.

karengarys, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of kbnooshay
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown color with ruby highlights. The tan head doesn't stick around very long. The aroma is of dark fruits and was quite yeasty. The spiceyness was not overdone but very pleasant.In the taste we have more spice but also a light must. IT is really malty and fruity. Cherries possibly. The alcohol is not detectable for a 10 and a half abv. I thought the mouthfeel was a tad watery, but still it was kinda slick and tingly fromthe carbonation. Not bad i suppose. This was soo drinkable but one 750 is obviously enough.

kbnooshay, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of BlindPig
3.05/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Around a 1 1/2 finger light tan head. Was really black.
S- Cherries. Sweeter malts and hops. One or two other fruits but nothing as dark as plums though.
T- Bit warming from alcohol in back of throat. Cherry and plum flavors dominate most of the flavor. Sweet and spicier tasting also.
M- High carbonation. Medium to thin body.
D- I didn't like this much at all. I couldn't have more than about 3 or 4 oz.

BlindPig, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of KFaulkner
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as a 750 ml corked bottle. There is a "best before" date stamped on the back, about 3 years after bottling (the cork read 2004, the bottle was stamped 2007). Interestingly, the website states that La Terrible has a shelflife of 10+ years; which makes sense considering it's 10.5% ABV.

The beer pours a very dark brown, almost black unless held up to the light. At that point it takes on very brownish hue, but still very much opaque. The carbonation is surprisingly lively and the foam is more dense than it is whispy; it had excellent staying power as well. It looks great in the glass.

The taste is very complex and flavorful. The foamy head makes it almost seem as if you're swallowing twice, but this only prolongs its enjoyment. The taste is extremely enjoyable and drinkability is high; bready, slightly yeasty, and with a taste of dark fruits. The alcohol is actually not nearly as prominent as you'd think from such a highly boozed beer, but makes is presence known regardless. The beer is drinkable enough that it doesn't matter and is an excellent example of one of my favorite beer styles.

KFaulkner, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of rarevos
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL into chalice.

A: Pours a deep brown with ruby-red tones. Light tan head is think at first, dissipates to a solid layer that covers the whole surface of the beer. Very attractive looking.

S: Very rich, malty, fruity. Can detect plums and figs, and there's a nice spiciness to the nose as well.

T: Oh. My. God. Sweet plums and dried fruit, very sweet and complex malts with rugged flavors, like cherries, earthiness and a brief sourness. Is that caramel? Toffee? Is there Port in here? There are about a dozen flavors in this thing, all playing nice. There's a yeasty tang at the end, an extra spicy kick before a warming finish. The alcohol is high, but you wouldn't know it from the finish.

M: Medium-bodied. Despite the plentiful carbonation during the pour, it's not a bubbly, tingly beer in the mouth.

D: I'm so torn when I get to this part of a review with a strong Belgian ale. Would I have another? Probably not, because it's close to 11% alcohol. But I'm not going to penalize the beer for that, as this is a terrific beer. I kept thinking about its wine-like qualities from the moment I popped the cork and the aromas escaped the bottle. In moderation, as a sipping beer, it's wonderful.

rarevos, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle into large snifter. 10.5% abv

Pours a ver dark red, opaque in the light of the bar. Tan colored head that doesn't last long, forms foam around the glass. Minimal lacing.

Mild fruity aromas, scents of sweet alcohol.

Strong alcohol notes trailed by slight hop bitterness. Slight maltyness in the background. Most noticeable feature is the alcohol.

Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Crisp and hoppy/dry finish.

A member of the upper echelon of Strong Belgian Ales. Be sure to try this one out.

BeerSox, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of dblinkhorn
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 2004 vintage 750 ml bottle into tulip glass.

Appearance - This beer pours with a medium tan head consisting completely of exteremely tiny bubbles. The brew is quite active with carbonation, which is replenishing the head as fast as it dissipates from the top for the first couple of minutes after the pour. It eventually evaporates to a constant half-finger foamy cap which leaves little lace as the beer goes down. The liquid is black in the glass, until held up to a bright source of light. At this point you can see the brew is a very dark amber/red and slightly brown coloration. It is very slightly hazy (unless you pour some of the sediment in on accident). What a mean looking brew!

Smell - Very rich and bready malt aromas dominate the scent of this beer. Strong dark ripe fruit flavors are also present, along with an interesting note of raisins and plum. The spices are quite evident (what you'd expect from Unibroue brews), with notes of fennel, clove, and cinnamon. The hop aroma is present and smells slightly citrusy and quite crisp, although this scent is not nearly as strong as the malt, fruit, or spice foundation.

Taste - As with the smell, the taste has a huge foundation if very rich, chewy, bready, and slightly earthy malt tones. On top of that foundation is a very nice mix of two of the other main flavors, which are spice and slightly sweet/sour dark ripe fruits (again the raisin and plum flavors are easy to pick out). The hops are interlaced throughout the taste, and consists of crisp and slightly lemony flavors. The alcohol is of perfect potency and shows its face here and there throughout the taste. The aftertaste is earthy malt with some lingering spice. This stuff is extremely complex and very powerful. It's easily on the level of Chimay or others like it. Amazing flavor, here. This seems to be a rule of Unibroue!

Mouthfeel - This is a high upper-end medium-bodied brew (very nearly full-bodied) that is, as you can expect from Unibroue, so smooth that it's hard to sip this stuff...it's so pleasurable to feel in your mouth. The carbonation is spot on and there is little alcohol unpleasantness. I would say this stuff has a near-perfect mouthfeel.

Drinkability - As per usual, if you're into this style, it's very easy to drink. While it is strong in flavor, complexity, and has a pretty chewy, thick, heavy body, it is in no way unpleasant to a lover of the style. It would be perfect drinkability if the flavors weren't so complex and strong, but I will gladly take the loss in this category for the flavor it does possess.

Overall, this is a very rich, malty, spicy, and moderately dark fruity beer. It is so smooth you will want to go buy another 750ml bottle after you finish the first one. This is, yet again, another MUST have from Unibroue.

dblinkhorn, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 2nd review of this beer. Let's face it palates change, let's put this one to the test.

Pours a dark brown, lots of frizzy carbonation flowing towards the top of the glass. The head is quite impressive, off white in color, composed of thousands and thousands of tiny bubbles. Mmm. On to the smell. Smell has a wine characteristic about it. Lots of dark fruit. Red grapes really stand out. Prunes, raisins, hint of fig, and a small amount of caramel. Now the taste. Upfront has a sweet mellow dark fruited malt flavor about it. Aftertaste has a sweet maltyness as well. More subdued, and less rough than the upfront taste. La Terrible is vinous in flavor texture. It's estery with a phenolic edge. Flavor hides the 10% quite well. Mouthfeel is tangy, and wet. Drinkability is good for a beer this size.

La Terrible is a solid Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Recommended.

HoustonTX, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of Fugazme
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(brewed 2004)

Cork slowly edged out a bit on its own...

Pours dark brown... amber highlights... "cola-like"... Head is tan with very large bubbles... great cap and quite phosphorescent.

Aroma: cherry... dried fruit... sweet chocolate... caramel... great!
bready...

Smooth palate with some slightly scrubby bubbles...

Flavor is figgy, bready, yeasty, raisiny, cherry-like... very nice.

Fugazme, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, best before 8/8/07. Dark, dark red-black color, with a sweet, dark fruit aroma. Very pleasant. It tasted sweet, cherry, some chocolate. A little bit of warming spice in the background. Wonderful. Pretty well carbonated. An enjoyable beer to drink, didn't notice the 10.5% ABV.

lordofthewiens, Aug 17, 2006
Photo of sevenredrabbits
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle split with my cousin. Smells wonderful. Very fruity. Big thick head but quickly runs down to a quarter inch which lasts for the entire beer. Strong. Writing this with a good buzz. Inconsistent lace. Not even lace. Just spots of bubbles. Appears very dark brown, almost black. Held to sunlight appears dark reddish brown. Ruddy. Taste: Difficult. Doesn't disguise alcoholic content as well as trois pistoles, but it's also a little stronger. After taste is wonderful.

sevenredrabbits, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Bomber.

Wickedly active, Deep Dark Amber, massive white-head with really good retention.

smelling...Sweet malt, slight hop and some chocolate.

Extremely deep, sweet dark malt dominance and slighty fruity.

Thick, medium body, very active and lively, nice sweet and sour effect.

10.5 Abv %, but sooo easy to drink regardless.

GratefulBeerGuy, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of badbeer
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with an off-white head but left no lacing. Smell is full of dark fruits, caramel, etc. Definitely on the sweet side, but nice. Taste has qualities reminiscent of red wine; it's also quite yeasty and has some different dark sugar flavors. Mouthfeel, the carbonation jumped on the tongue right away, seemed a little high paired with a medium body. A good beer definately worth trying, perhaps twice, but I wouldn't throw a fit over not finding any.

badbeer, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of teg8612
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark brown with a light tan head. Served in a Duvell glass.

S-Caramel with some dark fruity aroma

T-Spicy with sweet dark fruit and chocolat notes. Alcohol taste pokes through and warms the belly.

M-Full-bodied with low carbonation.

D-High alcohol will limit drinkability for many. I had to share this bottle. I might have been stingier if it was cooler out but strong ales don't work when it is over a 100. Very tasty beverage overall and I intend to revisit this again in the fall.

teg8612, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of beermanbrian
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to maltygoodness for this one.

Pours almost black in color. Tan head is the supper small bubbles that give a great foamy appearance. Head sticks around for the entire glass. Smell of dark fruits and rich malts. Also some woody character. Taste is a wash of complexity that blends perfectly. Wood, plums, malt all in a very tasty mix. Slight spicyness in the finish. Carbonation is high which gives an active feel on the tongue. Unibroue comes through with a winner again. I've loved everything I've had from them and can't wait to try more.

beermanbrian, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a real treat every chance I get to taste it. I've had it several times now but still never a whole bottle to myself. Still I decided to review it because it always leaves an impression on me.

Appearance: Served a dark burgundy - black with hints of plumb purple color.

Smell: Dark fruits and port with lots of sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Red wine like a Cabernet and Port with loads of spices and fruits, plumb on the top. More sugar sweetness and caramel. Plenty of toastyness. There are also hints of woodiness and fusel alcohol coming through to warm the belly. A nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Solid mouthfeel, creamy and spicy.

Drinkability: This is a perfect nightcap beer. Certainly a sipping beer but boy is it nice!

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750 ml bottle poured into my tulip glass. Pop! went the cork as I opened this beauty. This beer pours a very dark brown color. At first it had a ridiculously huge tan head when it was poured that shrank to about 1/2 inch after a good 5 minutes. Eventually settles about 1/4 inch with good retention. Sweet, malty aromas of yeast, malt and dark fruits such as plum and raisins are dominant here. Tastes a bit like a combination of red wine and root beer with maybe a bit of coffee thrown in as well. I know that combination may not sound very appealing, but it actually isn't bad at all. However, these flavors could me mixed together a little better. This beer also has some sweet and nutty flavors going on along with a strong malty backbone and a candied sugar sweetness and dark fruits such as plum, apple, and raisin. This beer has a full bodied, crisp creamy, smooth, frothy and sort of thick and chewy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and leaves you feeling warm inside after a few sips. I find it to be pretty high in drinkability despite the 10.5% ABV. Not the best beer I have had of this style, but certainly not a bad beer either.

Eric

[ serving type: bottle ]

neenerzig, Jul 19, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage

This pours an ultra black burgundy with a little hazy brown. Held to the sunlight, this baby glows! The head is a pale tan film.

Smells of taffy, root beer and vanilla with a gooey barley and an awesome tingly alcohol.

Tastes of red wine and root beer. I’m also getting an assortment of nuts and honey along with a super doughy yeast. Finishes exceptionally nutty.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with a light, casual carbonation.

This one’s a fantastic sipper that would easily find itself at home in Belgium.

DarkerTheBetter, Jul 14, 2006
La Terrible from Unibroue
93 out of 100 based on 1,873 ratings.