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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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244 Reviews
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Reviews: 244
Hads: 1,039
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 86
Gots: 314 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-30-2011

This French oak aged, bottle refermented dark ale has a remarkable and complex flavor profile. Its Grande Réserve appellation is a fitting endorsement of its exceptional aging qualities.
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Reviews: 244 | Hads: 1,039
Photo of mwilbur
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Bottle 2014-09132. Best by 02-12-2019.
A: Pours a dark, murky brown with 1 inch light tan head. Good retention. Faint lacing.
S: Booze soaked raisins, cinnamon, sweet malt, light molasses, clove, and maybe a hint of all spice.
T: Cinnamon and sweet malt hit first, closely followed by the booze soaked raisins. Bready yeast, clove, and a hint of light molasses. With warming, oak notes emerge.
M: Medium body...drinks much lighter than you'd expect from a 10% brew. Sweet (malt and spice) throughout. Decent lingering on the palate.
D: A highly drinkable 10% brew. Sweetness is a big component of the beer. A solid offering from Unibroue.

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Photo of Secondfiddle7
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is an exceptional beer for special occasions. Oak aged. Strong but not boozy. Rich, flavorful, and buttery smooth. Perfect beer to share with a friend. Gets smoother and more buttery as it warms. Drink in a tulip glass and allow it to warm and breathe. I buy a case, give several bottles as gifts and age several for myself. I've aged a few bottles three years, and I've planned plaintive evenings around this very special beverage. Expensive at $150 a case, it is the priciest beer I buy, but I go back once a year for another.

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Photo of asaf
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I loved this beer! I bought a bottle of it for Rosh Hashana, and I impressed my guests with this one. L- it has a murky, cloudy brown/burgundy color, very aesthetically pleasing. S- it has a very sharp alcoholic smell, and then a wooden smell, T- the taste is really rich, it's an alcoholic start but then a sweet malt and oak taste, it reminded me a tiny bit like Newcastle. But not even close. F- very strong mouthfeel, O - one great beer!

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Photo of thepenguin
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage 750ml poured into a Teku glass

L: Pours a murky deep brown, creating a dense khaki head with small foamy bubbles and good head retention.

S: Dark fruits with an interesting lemon note stand out. Befitting the style, a lot of doughy malt pulls through as well with some chocolate, spice and citrus. The oak is pretty restrained, coming through with just a hint of vanilla and general woodiness.

T: The flavor of this beer gets deeper and richer as you get further into the sip. Nondescript dark fruit and bread upfront, followed by figs, raisons, and a distinct chocolaty finish. Just enough bitterness to hold it all together. Not a lot of oak character aside from some slight vanilla and wood spice, though this does pop a bit more as the beer warms.

F: Medium body with moderate carbonation, and just a slight warming in the finish. Incredibly drinkable for the ABV.

Overall: This is a very tasty beer that will not disappoint fans of Unibroue’s BSDA lineup. I’d like to see the oak play a stronger role in its character, and perhaps in the next iteration the brewery could try another maturation method besides oak spirals or else let the beer sit a bit longer, but I’d certainly buy this again and look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle #118024 poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Best before 12-12/2016. Opened on 08/27/2015. Cellared at 53 degrees in a fridge lying on its side. Bottle agitated lightly and then stood upright 72 hours before opening.

Smells heavenly. Well matured notes of Belgian style yeast- with a touch of citrus rind and a hint of clove tea, peach skin, dry bread crust, and a touch of bubble gum.

The flavor is deep and subtle, like a well aged BSDA should be. Caramel, the ghosts of warm spices, dark bread and hints of raisins hit me first. The flavors are so melded it is hard to name anything in particular. It is as if there is only one flavor here- Grande Reserve 17. I am rarely at a loss for words with beer.

The mouthfeel is actually thinning a bit I suspect, and I think it would be the first to go in the long haul with aging. The carbonation is going strong, and the overall flavors are still wonderful.

Conclusion: My first of this beer, so I never tried it fresh. I bet it would have been tasty but overwhelming then, as it is still a big boy at this advanced age. Well worth a try if you can find a bottle. Another fantastic beer from a brewery that I seldom try but am always impressed by.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a deeper mahogany color with a good head of off-white froth that stuck around for awhile.
(S)- Some deep spiced raisin. Almost rum-like with some coconut and pecan.
(T)- Lots of dark fruits (plum, raisin, cassis, prune). Met with a light cinnamon/coriander spice.
(M)- A good carbonation level. I like the feel this has; almost like a mulled spice wine but more on the fruit end of it.
(O)- I like the play on flavors with this one

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Photo of badgustav
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look - deep brown and hazy. Deep tan head which abates slowly
Aroma - sweet and malty, raisin, oak, and vanilla
Flavor - rich malt, sweet raisin, a very slight alcohol note. Malt balances well with the raisin, not cloying. Slight bitterness, possibly from CO2
Body - medium-full

Pleasant and drinkable, not overly sweet though may get more so as it ages.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Updated review: finished the bottle the next night. Not sure if it was because of the slight extra oxidation, or the warmer starting temperature, but I got a much more complex taste this time around: cherries, toffee, rounded oak, lime, smoke, bourbon, light-roasted coffee. The feel is also a more medium-bodied, and isn't so ephemeral. Original review below.


2013 c&c bottle (best before 2/28/18) into a Teku at fridge temp.

Look: dark brown, almost purplish, with a huge light tan head that settles down to 1cm. (4.25)

Smell: pumpkin bread still in the oven, eggnog, sweetness reminiscent of Abt 12. (4.5)

Taste: something a bit savory that I attribute to the oak; pumpernickel, apple, spices. (4.0)

Feel: surprisingly light, fluffy body. Dryish finish, sort of disappears save for a slight lingering bitterness. (4.0)

Overall: the aroma on this is very good, but the taste just doesn't quite match. Would be interested to try this closer to its best-by. (4.25)

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unibroue 17 pours a very dark amber color with a huge lacing head. There is a very strong aroma filled with spices and yeast. The taste is very dark, nice sweet spice note, with hints of yeast. Very creamy, strong flavors. Overall, its sweeter, but very drinkable, nice spice notes.

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Photo of BWood
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Belgium strong ale. I was surprised at how much I liked it .As it warmed a little itbecame even more smooth. Great head retention as well. I did not get much smell from it (but I'm never good at that).The flavor however was great. Nice spice but not overpowering.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2014:

Pours a very dark brown with a white head. The head retention is excellent for the abv.

The smell is dark fruits, plums, earth, a little alcohol, cloves.

The taste is belgian yeast, cloves, alcohol, corriander, pepper.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, syrupy with medium carbonation.

A decent beer, I would've rated a bit higher if it wasn't quite so heavy on the spices. Non the less I will enjoy sipping on this for a couple of hours.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Note: Bottled in 2011

A: Pours a murky reddish brown/mahogany in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate ruby red + copper highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy very light beige head that slowly reduces to a finger thick pillowy layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet dark malts and dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig) with a hint of Belgian yeast spiciness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sweet dark malts with a moderate amount of dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig). There is a moderate flavor of slightly spicy and distinctive Belgian yeast. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Just a hint fuller than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Nice complex flavors and aromas make this beer a very enjoyable sipper. Enjoyable and definitely one that I would gladly have again.

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Photo of Strix
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a good head.

Smells of the typical unibroue yeast, plus clove, cinnamon and sort of a leathery note.

Typical unibroue yeast and dark fruits, but heavy spice notes, including clove, black pepper and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel carbonated and slick.

Overspiced for me on this one. I have high expectations for Unibroue, so this one was a bit of a disappointment. Just wasn't feeling the flavor profile.

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Photo of 303beer
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty light brown. Pretty muddy. Has that Belgian yeast smell. Let's drink it. Smooth sweet and bubbly on the tounge. Not bad. Good bottle to share.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - less then optimal pour produced a thick full three finger creamy white head. Body is a dark mahogany brown. Very hard to see through. The contrast from dark body to brilliant light head is interesting. It is essentially opaque, with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is lingering so long, I am anxious to get a good nose, patience is a virtue. Upon finishing the first class there was ample lacing left behind, great looking brew.

S - intense fruity aroma dominates the nose. whether the yeast or alcohol it all comes together in a raisin prune with slight banana fruit character. Spicyness rounding also to me has tobacco leaf notes. Also pick up a nice dark malt aroma, some roast, lots of sweet barley.

T - Pulled from the beer cellar and drank at cellar temp, giving me an immediate portrait of this beer's beautiful flavor nuances. Very complex and intense flavor, sort of melds all together. Lots of sweet malt, loads of fruit, raisins and plum. Finish is amazing, hop bitterness, alcohol quench, toasty tobacco like the aroma when you toast the foot on your cigar. that taste. I think i get some oak notes but they are subtle if at all there.

M - perfect 10% belgian, has loads of flavor and slow sipping but at the same time a forgiving mouthfeel that isnt too full. Slight quench of alcohol in the finish but by no means harsh. Ample carbonation to almost over carbed.

O - Over all this is a great brew. I think I say that about ever beer I review. But hey, it still is. The taste is on par with most BSDA examples but is less in your face, more subdued, more refined, I would go as far to say elegant. Oak aging must have done that, it does little for the taste in regards to a noticeable BA taste, but it does wonders for the overall beer to produce a mellow, well balanced, delicious big beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle. Very spicey brew. The aroma has lots of clove, with some mesquite bbq and oak. The clove follows through to the taste, along with some black cherry, fig and currant. Lots of dark fruit all around with heavy spice and cola. Inky feel but smooth, not much carbonation but mouthfeel is fine. One of the spiciest brews I have had.

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Photo of Atacama_Rain
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2014 Bottled, BB 02-29-2019.

Wrestled with the cork for a solid 5 minutes only to have it split perfectly flush with the top of the bottle with a few mm remaining, had to push the cap into the bottle. After that ordeal i was expecting a heavily carbonated ale, and was greeted with maybe 2 total bubbles for the entire pour. I kid you not this thing was entirely flat.

I warily dove in anways and took a few swigs, and it is delicious, dark fruits, slight nutmeg/cinnamon and oak finish, followed by strong oak aftertastes.

I tend to expect absolute greatness from Unibroue (and they have always delivered up until this point), but this lapse in quality control and complete lack of carbonation is concerning. This will likely be the lowest rating I ever give one of thier beers sadly. The taste is there, but it feels like i'm drinking juice... not beer :/

my best advice is to find a 2013 vintage or wait a few months for some late 2014 bottles with BB dates past 2019. Judging by other reviews and my experiences, the 2014 vintage with BB dates roughly 2018-2019 should be avoided.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well done belgian dark . . . Didn't expect anything less from Unibroue. Honestly though, I had concerns about the the carbonation issue I've heard about. Fortunately, my bottle wasn't affected by this problem. Although far from my favorite offering in this style, Grand Reserve 17 is still solid, delicious, satisfying and I'm glad I picked it up. Aromas of dark fruits as well a touch of apple butter. The oak barrel aging complements this style very well . . . Nice oak flavor and barrel character. Feel is smooth and buttery for a Belgian. That's my take on it.

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Photo of JasW
3.11/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

2014 corked and caged bottle, with unbelievably heroic efforts required for the uncorking -- yes, pliers were eventually needed -- and no pop when the cork was finally disgorged. A decidedly minimal head developed after a vigorous pour. Extremely low in carbonation, close to flat.

The bottle was returned to Total Wine and exchanged for another, with a batch number (2014-10962) somewhat removed from the first. Yet this second bottle had the same tough uncorking, no pop when finally uncorked, and virtually non-existent carbonation. I decided to partake this time anyway.

It's obvious there is a divine taste of yeast, currants, and other dark fruit, wonderfully balanced, with a quite pleasant French oaky aftertaste.

But there is a deeply serious carbonation problem here. I'm quite fond of Unibroue brews in general, but it would seem it has a quality control problem since the batch number of this second bottle was relatively close to the one from before. I returned the empty and exchanged for something else entirely.

BUYER BEWARE for this 2014 vintage.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thick cloudy copper color with a pink hue and powerful carbonation activity. Extra foamy, delicate, beige 3 finger sparkly head, creating a foam island and lasting around 12 minutes, with some strong legs.

Aromas and flavors of dark fruits, citrus, caramel, honey or maple, floral and herbal spices. Well intensified, delicious rich super fruity taste, slightly vinous but in a soft sweet way, with hints of orange/lemony/coriander/apple slightly bitter feel and a pleasant earthy oak sensation.

Slick, almost creamy, full body with some perfect carbonation. Balanced finish ending with a slightly bitter and dry, thick dark berries mouth coat and perfectly spiced aftertaste.

Overall : The perfect craft; sexy lovely look, warming, awesome freshness, complex delicious flavors, inviting smell, accessible...what else do you want?

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Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a beer I had set aside for my 1000th beer. I change my mind because I asked for a poll on this site (which got deleted - but the admin gave me congratulations so I don't mind) and on the League on Facebook because it got deleted. I wish I hadn't listened to the poll, which voted for Barrel-Aged Bigfoot. This beer has phenomenal flavor, a darker color than anything I've seen in this style, and it is so smooth.

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Photo of 4ster
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage, Drank 2014 from Tulip.

Didn't try it upon release, but seems to have really smoothed out, and probably bumped up a few ABV's.. Unfortunately didn't get to write a proper review.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From bottle with best before date 12/18/2017. Pours deep cloudy red-brown with plenty of tan foam that lingers. Spicy and yeasty aromas. Caramel, bread, and malt, malt, malt. Oak on the finish.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.21/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2013, BB 2/28/18 at 45 degrees into hand washed and dried tulip
Aroma moderate, rotting fruit, rapidly dispenses to nothing
Head large (6 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishes to 4 mm ring and irregular layer
Lacing good – partial wide rings of tiny to medium bubbles
Body brown amber, slight haze (Bottle conditioned)
Flavor weak, some yeast phenolics and weak fruity esters; no hops, no alcohol in taste or smell (although a stomach warmth comes and quickly passes), no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, slightly fizzy

Appearance 4, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.5

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Photo of sillyhed8
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very solid beer. I am usually not too fond of Unibroue, maybe it's the yeast or the spice they use, and I know I stand alone on this one, but this beer I found quite drinkable and very nice.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.