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La Terrible - Unibroue

Not Rated.
La TerribleLa Terrible

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1,987 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,987
Reviews: 912
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 107
Gots: 253 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,987 | Reviews: 912 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dfried
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark almost black with only the faintest mahogany at the bottom, with a 2cm cream colored head. Sweet and spicy aroma, peppery with some cloves, Belgian yeast, some lemon like zest, and of course a lot of sweet malt that led to some berry hints. The taste had more berry flavors than the aroma led on, strawberries and especially brambles. It wasn't very rich but there was some hints of chocolate covered fruits from the malt, some creamy vanilla as well. There were some light medicinal flavors that just lingered in the background. There was a fair amount of sparkling carbonation, but the beer is still on the slightly creamy side. Some tartness developes on the tounge from the tart berry flavors and the spices.

Verdict: impressed. I felt that this beer had a dark raspberry backdrop that let other flavors show up on top of it, creamy chocolate and vanilla, as well as belgian yeast and spices. I didn't even mention alcohol in my notes, I think I forgot it was there.

Photo of Rudgers73
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle said 2004.

This is a great beer. It's a bit fizzy on the tongue but I think it is because I served it at about 70 degrees. The taste is very complex, malty, nutty, sweet. Next time I will served it about 60 degrees to see if I can get the carbonation a little calmed down.

Very nice.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 bomber. Medium to dark body, looks a bit thin yet robust in flavor. Towering head, tan, off-white. Some clumps developed around the center.
Smell was full of dark fruit, raisin and malt. Some yeast was present to add richness and diversity. hint of malt and vanilla oak.
Taste follows the aroma. Dark fruit, bisuit, some diverse yeast. Leaves a nice mellow aftertaste. The alcohol is present and gives it a bit of a thin feel to it.
A very nice beer. Alcohol limits enjoyment to one.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, caged and corked, with an expiration date of 6/5/11. Pours a shade of strong black coffe, with just a glowing spot of mahogony on the bottom when held to light. The beige three-finger head shows only moderate retention, before settling into a one inch cap, leaving some slight lacing.

The aroma consists of yeast, vanilla, plum, some caramel, and roasted malt. The flaovr follows, allong with characteristics of dates and raisins, along with berry-like notes, sugar, and warming alcohol.

The mouth is full-bodied and complex, finishing sweetly with some sugar sticking to the lips. I might like a tad more carbonation. It's pretty drinkable, the alcohol is rather gentle for a 10.5 ABV, though the sweetness might get a bit cloying after more than one of these. Very solid overall.

Photo of orfeu
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2004, best before 08-08-2007. Loud pop of the cork means this one's not a casualty of the corking misfires Unibroue apparently suffered a couple years back. Tawny chestnut, murky russett brown with a thin but clumpy ecru head. Scents of dark berries, black mission figs, and red grape skins mingle with grassy yeast funk and warm zucchini bread aromas. Brown sugar-laced marshmallows set inside pitted prune plums that were left out to dry but still retain some thick juice. Freshly mown spring hay, currants, and blackberries with a tannic edge. Warm yogurt-like lactic twang. Mellow peppery buzz to the mouthfeel. Rather dry overall with a curt finish. 10.5% alcohol is completely hidden. Incredible drinkability. This was the only bottle I bothered to pick up when I found a stash over a year ago. I wish I had more. To anyone still wondering about this one, it's drinking great at 2+ years.

Photo of ChillMike
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark almost completely dark redish black color with a decent khaki head that recedes quite quickly and doesn't leave a trace that it was ever there. Smells of chocolate, plums, sweet malts, correander, cloves and a nice other bouquet of spices. Very sweet taste but not over the top. The taste is pretty spot on with the smell and definitely hides the 10.5% abv very well although it does leave a bit of a warming feeling. Carbonation is spot on however (and I'm being really picky here) it is a wee bit too watery for my liking. Overall I really enjoyed this one it's a good Belgian dark and comes with a kick!!!

Photo of Noxious26
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750 ml bottle. Courtesy of my buddy Harlan. Shared with friends at a beer and wine tasting paired with delicious meals hosted by my friends Jen & Mike.

Opaque black with chestnut highlights. Light brown tight head is full of tiny bubbles.

Surprisingly, the trade mark Unibroue Belgian yeast aroma isn't present. Lightly bittersweet with hints of dried fruit and a touch of coffee.

I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of their traditional yeast presence in the flavour. This is unlike any other Unibroue offering I've had, and while they are good, they aren't my favourites. Strong flavour hides the 10.5% alcohol well. Rich dark fruits, hints of coffee and bitter chocolate with dark malts. Mellow yet with big flavour.

Nice mellow, full body. Lacking any harshness or alcohol bite.

This went very well with the stout and cheese fondue and stout mocha freeze ice cream. Tremendous meal by Jen, kudos to you! This is my favourite beer by Unibroue thus far. Definitely a sit back and kick the feet up sipping beer. Subtle, smooth, mellow and relaxing. Definitely doesn't live up to it's name.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, dark, almost black amber with a small head that melts to nothing.
Aroma is soft, sweet amber malt and dark fruits like raisins and plums.
Taste is sweet malt and dark fruits but suddenly hops come into play and a slight bitterness and drying takes over so that the mouth is left fresh and clean with only a slight aftertaste of dark fruits and belgium yeasts.
This is really a nice dark belgium....I am enjoying every sip...every swallow...every bit of afterglow.
....and it warms...
every bit as good as before and yes, it is better.
It's been a hour or more on this bomber and my only regret is that it is the only one that I have.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 Edition:

Poured a very ruddy, dark brown color with a decent head that retained rather well. Not much lacing, but many effervescent bubbles all over.

Smelled very fruity...much like champagne. Some malt, but nostly dark fruity aromas and alcohol.

Tastes very fruity and very carbonated like champagne. Fruit-like champagne as well. This tastes and feels like a beer/champagne hybrid. Maltiness, dark fruits ala dates, figs, raisins, some phenolic flavors, and a mild spiciness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very bubbly.

Drinkablity is pretty good despite the 10% abv.

Photo of Toddv29424
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer starts out strong, and really gets better and better with every sip. Pours a hazy brown color with many particles floating around. The smell is complex and much like a Belgian quadruple, with candied fruits and other sweet odors. The initial taste is almost of putting, and is much like a Belgian strong ale. But as the beer goes down, it starts to develop much more of a fruitier taste, with a perfect amount of carbonation that ensures there is no lingering. Quite a beer, definitely something to seek out.

Photo of AlesRTasty
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 batch

A - dark deep brown, held up to light there are red highlights.light tan head with moderate retention.
S - red wine grapes, light malt and no hops.
T - light malt, no hops like the nose. fruity flavors (dates, raisons and grapes) and very sugary. For 10.5 there is no flavor of alcohol.
M - lighter than I expected, not that I find that offensive, rather enjoyable.
D - pretty tasty, I'd recommend it.

Photo of LvilleIPA
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best Before - 06-05-2011, but I have no idea what "edition" this bottle is.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, nearly black with a nice tan head that lasts a decent bit before leaving a nice lacing.

Smell - I smell cola, toffee, roasted malts - some of it smells like wine.

Taste - wow, surprisingly nothing like it smells - the taste is poppy and bright - fruits like apples lead the way. Not what I was expecting at all. You can definitely tell there is a decent amount of alcohol in this brew. Also notes of raisin and maybe some grape fruits. (oddly enough, some of this somehow reminds me of some sauvignon blancs i've tasted).

Mouthfeel - Carbonated and thin - not creamy at all. Actually feels just like every other product from unibroue I've ever had. Leaves with a bitter taste, but there's no dryness whatsoever.

Drinkability - It's actually very easy to drink, but I don't think you'd want to drink to much. Just by writing this review, I'm starting to feel a tad funny.

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

2004 edition.

A: Pours a dark, cola looking brew. Actually, carbonation is a bit like cola as well, fizzy and taupe.

S: Murky and mysterious. Sort of smells like grape jelly with brown sugar, all spice, chocolate, coffee and nutmeg. Savory and sweet.

T: Extremely earthy. First sip is over the top plank dried figs and prunes draped with brown sugar syrup. Dank yeast gives the beer a real "cellar" quality. Moves towards a more sugary profile, more along the lines of molasses than toffee or caramel but blended with black cherries. Finishes dry, woody and slightly bitter. Aftertaste on the tongue is a bit like rose water with a touch of black pepper.

M: Full but quite fluffy across the palate.

D: This beer could still use another 1.5 - 2 years in the bottle before cracking it open. Still, very good but the age could remove some of the cloying characteristics that accompany this brew.

Photo of NEhophead
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml caged and corked, brown bottle.
Bottled in 2004; Best before 08.08.2007.
Served in an oversized wine glass.

Pours a burnt caramel beneath a fizzy, tan head that evaporates rather quickly to a half sheet reminiscent of an early Asian landscape painting. Very faint lacing with little stick.

Bright, tart fruity esters: green apple, orange, pear. Light vinegar, sharp acidity with waves of gaseous alcohol aromas. A background of cream sherry, mild toffee, and fig.

Unlike the aroma, the sweet and almost rich, malt character takes centerstage in the flavor. Dried coffee beans, almond, bitter toffee/caramel, and fig. A cutting, acidic vinegar-like flavor adds a slight tartness; that along with the alcohol presence, swallows the darker tones of the malt character. Hints of farmhouse mustiness and light oak in the finish.

A heavy, medium in body; lively as a result of the carbonation, somewhat rich and creamy.

The aromatics are far and away the best aspect of this brew. La Terrible certainly isn't terrible, but it just isn't an elite version of the style.

Photo of peabody
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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 BabaJohn
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of mnj21655
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of kajerm
4.15/5  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.

Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of karengarys
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of kbnooshay
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of BlindPig
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
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.

Photo of KFaulkner
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

La Terrible from Unibroue
93 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.