Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.

250 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 1,053
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 91
Gots: 320 | 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.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 250 | Hads: 1,053
Photo of Heynow007
1.2/5  rDev -71.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

This may be the worst tasting beer I ever had, and I like them all. Stouts are my favorite, especially those aged in bourbon casks. This beer is aged also, but probably in poop casks. Taste like metal in my mouth. Way too carbonated and dull. No fruit, coffee or chocolates.
No where near dirty bastard from founders. can't touch dogfish head. Not even close to southern tier anything.

This beer sucks.

 405 characters

Photo of louis3
2.24/5  rDev -47%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Grande Reserve 17 2014 B121423..... Seved at !8 celcius..

Murky mid brown but still fairly transparent.

Medium body, fine carbonation, foamy texture, but without persistent head.

Typical unibroue stretched yeast experience disguised by extra bittering hop and some maple flavour, coffee flavour, and some wood essence reminding me of cheap brandy.

A very boozy Trois Pistoles variation with some ersatz flavouring components which are not integrated.The booziness was the only thing I enjoyed as I usaually avoid boozy beers and so this was rather novel.

This is the last bottle of Unibroue for me. Canada produces many beers with higher malt content and malt quality and more careful fermentation regimen.

 714 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
2.85/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Review from notes. Poured into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown with a large billowy head.

S Very fruity with some apple but mostly a banana like note. Also a bit of vanilla and some wood as well.

T While there are hints of things like oak and vanilla, they are drowned out by a massive amount of the fruity yeasty like taste that seems to be standard on all unibroue beers. Also lots of booze doesn't help either.

M Pretty full body with a good bit of carbonation.

Overall an alright beer that is not worth the price point.

 531 characters

Photo of JasW
3.11/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

 1,073 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.21/5  rDev -24.1%
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

 610 characters

Photo of duracell
3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle. 2011 vintage.

A - Pours a dark brown color with a 2-finger rocky creamy head with a good retention and a limited lacing.

S - Yeast is dominant in the smell. Quite spicy, I pick out some malt, hop, and some candy sugar. A good blend but nothing amazing.

T - Good malt sweetness at taste (brown sugar) I also pick out some dark fruits, caramel, spices and some phenolic notes. Besides, there is a significant amount of residual sugar. I also get some wooden notes as it warms up.

M - Very active carbonation, quite fizzy on the palate but keeps a certain smoothness. Slightly sweet finish with a medium body.

O - Not bad but some features are really spoiling the experience, particularly the mouthfeel. In my opinion, this beer would benefit from a better drinkability and balance. I was hoping a lot but it came out to be disappointing.

 854 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Expectations are high given its current ratings and the brewery - which I usually like. Bottled in 2011. ABV confirmed as 10.00%. Best before date 12-12-2016. Reviewed live. Acquired at Red Carpet Liquor in Glendale, California. I don't recall the cost.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

I used pliers to remove the cork, yielding a satisfying pop indicative of solid carbonation.

A: Pours a four finger head of beige colour, nice cream, nice thickness, and incredible retention for the high ABV - at least five minutes. Colour is a semitransparent dark amber. Fairly translucent.

Sm: Quite yeasty, with noticeable oak, dry white wine, a vague hint of what might be peach, spice, vanilla, and clean malts. A masterfully subtle, mild strength aroma.

T: A clean malt foundation backed by a nice oak tone, with lees and yeast at the forefront. Spices aid the balance. Some vanilla - especially on the climax, and hints of cacao about the climax and finish. No alcohol comes through in the taste - which is quite an accomplishment. No white wine; I may have been mistaken about that note. Light cream on the open. Reminds me of a witbier somehow. The yeast is delightfully layered, with some earthy, some spicy, and some biscuity. Masterfully subtle and quite complex. Exceptionally well balanced. I like it, but it's a touch too sweet, lessening the drinkability.

Mf: Fizzy, slightly coarse, and wet. Too thick. Adequately carbonated. Something's off about the mouthfeel, preventing it from complementing the flavours well. It just doesn't feel right. Light on the palate.

Dr: Absurdly drinkable for the high ABV, but it'll be difficult to kill this bottle. The sweetness wears away on me, and I find myself getting tired of the beer over time. I doubt I'd get it again. If I had it again, I'd want an aged version. Best consumed in smaller quantities. Not Unibroue's best beer by any means, but enjoyable.


 2,182 characters

Photo of jera1350
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany colored with a fluffy and sticky head of tan foam. Very nice retention and lacing.

The nose is wee bit light. There are notes of bubblegum, alcohol, some dark fruit and an herbal smell also.

Lots of oak going on throughout this beer. Quite herbal and a bit floral with some mild fruitiness and a good dose of alcohol. The finish has some bitterness from the wood and perhaps the hops. Big alcohol and oak on the end. The oak is actually pretty overpowering and harsh at times.

Very dry and tannic with soft carbonation in a medium body. Warm alcohol feel too.

A bit of a disappointment for me now, but I think this beer would do really well with age to tame the oak and booze. Just too raw as a fresh beer, but I see immense upside for the future of this one.

 777 characters

Photo of matthiasbrau
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From tasting notes Nov. 24, 2012

Unibroue 17th Anniversary (2011 bottling)

-fancy paper label; BBD 12/12/2016
-served @ 53f
-deep amber red color
-two fingers foam with no lacing
-no booziness on the nose; as it warms, booze becomes more apparent
-thinner mouthfeel than the 2010 bottling
-nutmeg/vanilla spice is much more subtle than the 2010 bottling

See my related review of the 17th Anniversary ale (pre "Grande Reserve" - bottled in Dec. 2010) as I sampled that beer and this one on consecutive nights.

If I had to choose between the two, I would say the Dec. 2010 bottling was better. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more. The 17th Anniversary Grande Reserve 2011 bottling could probably benefit from additional aging; glad I bought a couple more for the cellar. Overall, both vintages are fantastic beers that I look forward to enjoying over the years.

 874 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pour is hazy dark brown with tight light tan head. Nose is heavy candied sugar with notes of oak, lightly cooked brown sugar, a bit peppery, slightly green vegetable, strong dark berry aroma and a tinge of alcohol. Taste follows suit, a bit sweet, lots of berries and candied sugar, light oak balanced in fairly well, a hint of green herb and alcohol in the finish. Body is smooth and full, assertive carbonation and semi dry finish. There is a cooked sugar note that lingers with sweet dark berry after the finish.

 515 characters

Photo of DenverLogan
3.61/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From corked bottle into Gulden Draak large tulip glass. Purchased locally. #2011-167955
Modest cork pop...pours with a giant head...muddy brown copper color.
Rich aromas of oak, tropical fruit, Italian herbs...
Modest carbonation and strong mouthfeel.
Flavors of tropical fruit, roasted malts, dark chocolate, minerals, cardboard, bubble gum...I'd better let this open up for a few minutes...
OK...many minutes later...small head...aroma of funky fruit and toasty malts. Flavors are rich and unique...powder sugar meets tropical fruit with sweet malts. There's also an uncomfortable bitterness, something slightly burning, perhaps some oxidation (might have tasted great at the brewery!), perhaps the French oak...not smooth, not easy drinking. This particular bottle is perhaps rougher than the 100+ Unibroue bottles I've ever tried...humm.

 842 characters

Photo of ZorPrime
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is brown with some red on the edges. The head is beige color and disappear quite fast. The aroma is timid initially. Maybe the beer is too cold, I'll let it warm a little bit. After a little bit, I notice some notes of caramel malts, oak and dark fruits (blackberry and cherry). In the mouth, it is quite carbonated... just like all unibroue beers. Slightly spicy. Some other aspect found in the aroma are present in the mouth. This is a pretty decent beer from Unibroue. One of their best.

 500 characters

Photo of SierraFlight
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

 193 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.66/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a wine like snifter glass. Vintage 2011 Much thanks to the DC bottle share.

Sample pour provides a real creamy tan head, but a very muddy murky brown body, not much else.

Nose fills with large creme brulee sweetness. Sticky toffee, with a little bit of Belgian sucrose and raisin like sweetness. Oak angle on this is not that noticeable.

Extremely fleeting palate. Slightly watery mouthfeel for a barrel aged beer, and particularly a Belgian Dark. Mild faint raisin quality and some faint oak toasty qualities. Sweetness hinted on the nose doesn't come through in the palate with not much flavor.

Overall even for a Belgian dark and particularly a barrel aged one the qualities on this really seem to be missing and toned down.

 759 characters

Photo of papat444
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


***2011 Vintage***

Poured from a 750ml. bottle and shared with my wife (Date code: M12111602QFL, bottled Dec. 12, 2011)

Appearance: Massive foam that isn't overwhelming but still sturdy. Body is a light chestnut brown and the head is the color of lightly caramelized sugar. Very nice.

Smell: Strong Belgian overtones mixed with some oak soaked in white wine. Mild spicing as well.

Taste: The mellowness is the first thing that hits me. Cork and oak mixed with some mild wine-like overtones. Some spices with a lingering herb presence in the finish. Nice but not as complex as i would have anticipated.

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation with a body that feels quite smooth. Packs a little bit of heat.

Overall: Some nice oak aging nuances but to me, that's what they were, nuances. Left me wanting a little.

 826 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml corked and caged bottle shared with NewBrewBB (thanks Brett). Served in a taster. Pours a deep, brownish amber with a loose, cream-colored head that dissipates into a swirl across the center and a tight band around the edges. Nose expresses dark fruit, toasted notes, and a hint of buttery oakiness. Taste follows nose; however, the flavors are really masked by the carbonation. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an extremely gassy/prickly carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a decent beer - typical Unibroue quality; however, the extreme carbonation kills it a bit.

 580 characters

Photo of Fader
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Very nice, deep brown/amber hue, cloudy. Medium head, very little lace.

S - Not too much there, some yeast does come through, toasted, a bit of barrel.

T - A heavy toasted taste, coffee, and malts. Surprisingly not overly boozy at all.

M - Little carbonation, fairly smooth going down.

O - Not my favorite from this brewer, but a decidedly nice strong beer.

 365 characters

Photo of Pahn
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 2 inch fizzy off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a small ring of lacing. Pours a semi-translucent chestnut/maroon, not much lacing. Great color.

Smell: At first, smells like a witbier (coriander, a little clove). Quickly gets augmented with Belgian quad aromas, dark fruit, cola. Signature Unibroue yeast aroma, augmented by clove, some smokiness, mild ambiguous dark fruit. Spicy and effervescent. Very nice.

Taste: Coriander and clove, with some ambiguous dark fruit heavily influenced by the spice (in other words, tastes like it smells, though a bit milder and even more unbalanced toward spice). Same signature Unibroue yeast that you ought to expect from every Unibroue beer (I like it). Nice French oak undertones, very subtle (creamy, almost-vanilla / almost-coconut) that aren't detectable in every sip, but are a good counterpoint to the spicy main flavor. Fruity, spicy aftertaste. Bit boozy, but appropriate.

The flavors here are good, with the spice giving a tangy, smoky tinge to the dark fruit and Belgian yeast, but it's not very deep. A beer like this, I want more adventurousness... but it tastes good. Other complaint is that the spice use is a heavyhanded element among a few significantly subtler elements, which isn't so great.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium bodied. Very carbonated (over- for my tastes). Good finish; neither dry nor sugary.

Overall: Enjoyable, especially if you like Unibroue's regular lineup (mildly backhanded compliment). Interesting beer, with flashes of brilliance (the restrained oak influence, the clove/dark fruit interplay, the bold aroma). Nowhere near great, but I like it very much.

 1,719 characters

Photo of 303beer
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 156 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Monster head on top of a dark brown brew. Smell of some pepper, yeast, raisin, clove. Aroma really sweetens up as it warms. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, with heavy carbonation. Some figfy fruit and alcohol on the tongue. Finishes somewhat dry with some bready malt. Easy drinking, but not as complex as I had expected. Maybe a but more aging will bring the flavors out. Will have to grab another one to put away for a while.

 464 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep reddish brown. Huge off white head. Lots of lacing. Thick collar.

Smell - Very fruity. Dark fruits. Cherry. Oak. Some banana.

Taste - Dark toffee malt. Then sweet fruitiness. A bit of sherry oxidation. Intense oak.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Medium heavy.

Overall - Very sweet. Pretty interesting, though.

 369 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.79/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip; this batch was bottled in 2012. I'm excited!

Appearance: rich amber-brown hue with a moderate haze and a finger of creamy tan foam atop. Nice head retention and overall appearance.

Smell: sweet with a phenolic bite right up front; this mellows to a chalkier aroma with hints of rich, dark fruits. Not bad, but a bit unrefined.

Taste: kind of the opposite of the aroma; with the dark fruits up front and the phenolic bite toward the end. There's a good spiciness, although what I'm really after in a beer like this is the fruitiness. Good, but not outstanding.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of well-integrated carbonation. Quite satisfying.

Overall: perhaps this beer will get better with age, but the spicy phenolic character is just a bit rough for my palate. I love the fruity undertones and wish they played a more prominent part in the flavor.

 902 characters

Photo of lsummers
3.82/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this on a whim, it had a great color of a redish brown, couldn't see through it. The head went down to a 1/4th of an inch white with some great lacing.

The smell was a little dissapointing. I couldn't make too much out of it other than some fig or fruity flavors.

The flavor was great, exactly what I thought it would be, It had some slight fig flavors with a bit of spice and some oak flavor mixed in. I really enjoyed sipping this one.

The mouthfeel was great as well, perfectly balanced for this amount of flavor.

Overall I would purchase this again, I really enjoyed it. Between the taste and color, I can't get over it.

 638 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by Adam. Thanks man.

Dark copper body with a thin off-white head. Apple aroma with caramel malt and alcohol. Pears, Belgian yeast, booze. Sweet flavor tempered with a touch of Saaz/bittering hops. Hints of white wine. Tasty but a bit boozy. Decent.

 263 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent brown/hazel with 3+ fingers of tan head. Superior head retention & above average lacing

S: Pears, Figs & a touch of treaclely booze. Some phenolic notes once warm

T: Follows the nose, some apricot as well, much dryness & a touch of dark candi-sugar up front. Smokey/peaty notes as this warms, figs, a bit of boozey raisin & a touch of brown sugar. Finishes, dry, warming, figgy & with a touch of treacle, nutmeg, cinnamon & raisin

MF: Fairly chewy, light carbonation. Carbonation picks up as this warms, along a general warming feel, but also thins out a bit

A ponderous beer, says it's best before 12-12-2016, I'm sure this will age nicely, not too shabby as it is now, but I was hoping for given its Grande Reserve handle...

 752 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.