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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.

249 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 249
Hads: 1,050
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 91
Gots: 318 | 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
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Reviews: 249 | Hads: 1,050
Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill hazed brown ale with a small tan colored head.

Smells sweet and spicy with a scent of coriander and ginger with some brown sugar. Molasses and some cardamom.

Starts out sweet and fruity with an apple butter preserves flavor. Apple, cinnamon, ginger and some clove in the flavor. Slight whiskey flavor and faint vanilla taste.

Mouthfeel is full.

Tasty beer, I was actually expecting a Strong Pale Ale. Solid beer.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve is perfectly clear, a fact hard to appreciate given the beer's dark, prune-like colour. Hold it into the light, however, and it reveals itself to be practically tie-dyed with all shades of purple and ruby. There's no black here. If looking for head, all you'll find is whatever foam made its way safely to the outskirts.

The bouquet is perfumed like a rose and has a coriander-like air, rich molasses sweetness and just a hint of ash from the French oak barrels. I detect a dried orange peel pithiness, though the beer's fruitiness might better be described by raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune - take your pick. There's no wrong answer. Just add brown sugar.

The toasty flavor is almost truffle-like in both its meatiness and earthiness. The beer essentially drinks like a roasted Portobello burger, or at least would if not for the sweet-savory tastes of plum pudding and rum-raisin that share the flavor. There's no overlooking the dark fruits, molasses sweetness, and peppery, clove-like spice.

For all the caramelized sugar and syrup-like qualities, it's a wonder the beer never becomes cloying. This is even more astounding once you factor in the 10% alcohol. The fact that this is so approachable, even once losing its chill, is a testament to a generously malted, super enticing flavor profile that is as balanced as it is complex.

The aftertaste is underscored by a cola-like sweetness that sticks like the underlining of a wet bathing suit. It is thick but lush with floral features like honey. The peppery spice is impossible to overlook, despite all the dark rum sweetness, but is made more palatable by the a dry oak wood finish and remnant flavors of plum and grape.

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve, like the best examples of Belgian strong dark ales, has a complexity that even Stephen Hawking would have trouble getting his head around. It is somehow simultaneously sweet, spicy, savory and fruity. Strong yet easy to drink. Like so many Unibroue products, this can hold its own with any of the heavyweights in Belgium.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Grand Reserve bottle purchased from the LCBO & poured in to a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Poured a medium ruby/brown colour, only very slightly translucent with 2 fingers of thick, bubbly cream coloured head.

S - Belgian yeast, dark fruit, caramel, toffee, raisins and a light orchard fruit aroma.

T - Belgian yeast, plum, fig, raisins, caramel and toffee. The flavours are well balanced with no one flavour being dominant. The oak is very subtle in the background.

M - Medium body, chewy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled In: 2011
Best Before: 12-12-2016

Poured into a chalice a nice dark grape color, nice carbonation, with a little fizzy off-white head, with very minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, plums, figs, grapes, and raisins. The taste is very nice, malty, yeasty, with lots of dark fruit goodness. The ABV is hidden very well with this brew. Medium body. Overall another very nice brew from Unibroue.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two-finger cream head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Hazy brown color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit nose and flavor is semi-sweet dark fruit and oak. Some yeastiness in finish. High ABV is hidden. Good dark ale but Unibroue's Trois Pistoles is better and cheaper. $11.99 for a caged and corked 750ml bottle from The Meat House Pembroke, NH.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a Chalice)
bottled on 2011
A- This beer pours a walnut brown body that glows at the base and has a boiling microcarbonation that supports a thick luscious head of beige foam.

S- The well blended aroma has notes of brown sugar and soft french oak some nice yeasty ester almost like dried dark fruit in the finish.

T- The dark sugar notes have a spicy phenolic taste to the finish that is slightly dry. There is a mellow vanilla like oak hint and some clove notes come through as it opens. There are some slightly fruity ester qualities and a nutty note as the beer opens up aswell.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a well hidden alcohol heat.

O- This beer is simple yet elegant with lots of subtle flavors working together. This makes it hard to describe aswell. Very nice beer.

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Photo of Tone
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, spices, dark citrus, slight hops, hint of cherry, and a hint of grass. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, alcohol, dark citrus, yeast, hint of hops, hint of pale malt, and slight spice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, blend, and body.

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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.

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Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought the original 17 Anniversary was a bit spicy, this one was the same, but not quite as phenolic.

Very bubbly, pours with a huge head. Good retention, leaves a bit of lace.

Spicy, boozy aroma prepares you for the taste. Alcohol is very forward. I think this one could definitely benefit from some age.

Well-attenuated, highly carbonated, dry finish.

It'd be interesting with some age on it, or back-to-back with the original for comparison.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 750 ml. bottle, 2011 batch dated 12-12-2016. Sampled on June 15, 2012. It pours an incredibly dark amber with red hues and a slightly cloudy appearance too. The soft, supple, off-white head lingers the whole time. The aroma is wonderful with its merger of Belgian yeast, Belgian candied sugar, dark malts, molasses, dark fruits, and maybe even a slight smoky note. The body is slick and in the medium to bold range. The taste is upfront candy sweet and malty with a quickly rising hop bitterness that lingers and becomes dry. An outstanding beer that was easily worth the $14 that I paid for it.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 1/5/12 thanks liamt07 for the bottle

A dark drown with dark amber highlights when held to the light, two fingers of tan foam has great retention and leaves some random lace

S brown sugar both crystal and burnt, woody yeast, raisin, faint booze but not 10%, there's some over-ripe candied banana and some fortified wine on a deep whiff, smells great with a nice sweet malty complexity with the wood and yeast adding to it even further

T a little more fruity then the nose with slightly more booze but still well concealed for the strength, woody finish and slightly spicy, still everything I smell with less candied banana

M creams up the instant it enters your mouth without being foam, not much heat but there's just a little, impressive all things considered, long finish of wet wood and brown sugar

O I don't have a whole lot to complain about while I'm drinking this one, its drinking great today and I'm sure it would age well too

Unibroue continues to impress me with this brew, great complexity, well concealed liquor, and it smells and tastes great. I preferred this to the aged original 17 I just had last week. It's my understanding that this on will come to Alberta in the future and I'll be buying several to age if it dose, for now I'm thanking liamt07 yet again for the opportunity

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Photo of spinrsx
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $9.95

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a large size beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, dark fruits, clove, apples, an earthiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and dark fruits. There is also a bit of vanilla, apple, and a yeasty spiciness. I can also pick up on the oak and a bit of a burnt/charred flavour.

Overall - Really complex and something that is pretty different from the other beers in the Unibroue lineup. I have a few bottles tucked away and can't wait to see how they taste aged.

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Photo of dgilks
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A dark murky brown with a creamy, light tan head. Good head retention and lacing.

Lightly woody and fruity. Nice, sugary malt notes. The vanillin from the wood complements the fruit character well.

Malty with a good dark fruit note. The oak is really well integrated. Quite good.

Medium body with moderately high carbonation. Solid.

A really nice beer. Good combination of Belgian and oak. Well balanced.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
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 clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a twany brown with decent head on top of a dark and tropical fruit aroma, some very noticeable yeast along with sugary goodness and that touch of orange/citric spice along with spices. Smooth, semi-creamy medium body that has a fuller mouthfeel thanks to that distinct yeast. This beer has a crackle to it thanks to some lively spices that are peppery and clove-like and there are plenty of fruit flavors. There's an easy to spot orange/banana like citric taste, as well as some black cherry or figs for a dark fruit taste and then there's fruits across the board like apple and grape that I pick up here and there. Well-balanced between this fruits and some spicy and sweet malty goodness, the beer has a lively finish thanks to some good carbonation as well and is a very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of avalon07
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a mahogany brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch and a half of off white, creamy, long-lasting head. Great lacing.

S: A big, powerful aroma of spices, dark fruit, malt, and yeast.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast, raisins, a little fig, spices (cloves, perhaps), malt, and brown sugar. A robust, complex, and well rounded flavor. Everything you expect from BSDA.

M: A high amount of carbonation with a smooth, prickly, lively finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied.

O: Definitely one of the best beers of the style, certainly one of the best to be found outside Belgium. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

split and paired with a NY strip, hen of the woods shrooms and seabeans. #northwest

appearance: dark chestnut-garnet body, thick creamy beige head with strong lace

smell: earthy, figs, dried cherries, brown sugar, a touch of smoke

taste: lovely - brown sugar, dates, figs, roasted nuts, maple, dark malt, oak, a fair amount of spice.

mouthfeel: light and lively, well carbonated

overall: great stuff - no surprise from unibroue

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Photo of tbeckett
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stoked for this one. No. 2011-22437.

A - Pours a murky amber colour with nice carbonation. Two fingers of thick, fluffy light brown head. Some chunks of lace with thick spatterings, and a half finger of thick head for retention.

S - Yeast, sweet spice, dark fruit, other fruity esters. Some grapes. The subtle spicing is nice combined with the yeast and fruit.

T - Dark fruit, a little booze, yeast plays less of a role, the dark fruit really comes out nice. That typical Unibroue yeast with its harshness is there. Sweetness is kept under control, and there is little to no evidence of the oak aging. The finish is nice with a sweet dark fruit note. Sweet, spicy, and rich.

M - Smooth, nicely carbonated, coats the mouth well, medium to full body.

O/D - A fairly solid BSDA. Not what I was expecting. I wanted something great, but for some reason I think Unibroue's yeast got in the way again. Aside from that it's a great, very drinkable and enjoyable one from Unibroue. At $10 I don't think I would reach for it often, but the three others in the cellar will be for special occasions. The smoothness makes this an 'A' beer.

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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.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip

The body sits a chestnut brown with reddish highlights and a beige cap that rises quickly. A bubbly, fizzy cap reminiscent of soda, just a touch creamier.

The aroma is a mix of sweet and spice. Raisins, figs, cherries, brown sugar, wine, clean oak, clove, orange peel, licorice, and peppercorns.

The flavor profile matches the nose. Broad and complex, but lacking in some density. Brown sugar, raisins, and figs up front before a rush of cherries and spice. The finish is a bit of citrus, peppercorns, and dry oak. Maybe a touch of vanilla/coconut. The oak presence is notable. As it warms, a bit of a smoke element emerges.

Medium bodied, a bit prickly carbonation. The finish is a bit of rum, sugary sweetness, and clean oak. The carbonation detracts a little bit too much from the complexity. Something softer would really complement all of these flavors.

A damn fine BSDA that balances the sweet and spice very well. Excellent aging and complexity.

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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.

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Photo of champ103
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a lovely dark amber/brown color. A massive rocky and dense head forms with excellent retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Candied fruits, figs, spices. The liquorish aroma I got from the original release, but not as over powering. Still plenty of spices. That distinct Unibroue musky yeast. Chocolate, vanilla, oak. Ultra complex, but nothing is over powering.
T: More of a toasted malt flavor up front, and some wood/oak. Coffee, Chocolate, candied fruits, vanilla, spice and musky yeast. All the complexities of the nose, but I think the toasted malts and wood flavors brings everything together perfectly.
M/D: A medium to full body. Very carbonated, crisp and smooth at the same time. So easy to drink. The alcohol is nowhere to be seen. A great sipper.

The liquorish that was in the original release is still there, but much more mellow. Complexities come out in spades, and a real treat. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Honored for this to be my 400th review. Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Label says Best Before 12-12-2016.

A- Pours a murky dark brown color with a 3/4 inch light tan head that bears great retention time before eventually fading to an 1/8 inch head and a thick ring of lacing. Resilient bubbles slide slowly down the glass when swirled.

S- Delightful aroma that's spicy, yeasty and floral with exceptional balance between the three. Slightly soapy, but with a sweetness that's very complimentary. The spices end up being the main component with some faint alcohol trailing behind.

T- Tastes like your usual BSDA but with extra flavor all around. More yeast, enhanced Belgian candy sugar and an assertive but refined alcohol character. There's a light solvent-like rubberiness in the back that ends up tying the whole profile together better than one might expect. The spices are a bit less involved than in the aroma.

M- Very creamy and somewhat sharp from the spice and alcohol combined with high carbonation making for a superb feel. Full-ish body.

O- What a knockout. Definitely the best dark offering I've ever had from Unibroue. If you're a fan of the Belgians, you've gotta try this.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

Appearance – The beer pours a very murky brownish-red color with a small foam head of an off white tan color. The head fades moderately fast leaving only a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is massive and sweet with tons of darker fruits. The darker fruit smells are heaviest of a raisin smell, but contain other aromas of plum and fig as well. Along with the dark fruit are some rather strong smells of candied sugar as well as some smells of molasses. Other Belgian aromas of a yeasty smell as well as a decent showing of spice of a coriander, clove, and pepper aroma are there. Some banana smells and a bit of a boozy red wine smell mix with the sweeter Belgian strong dark smells nicely to produce a sweet and inviting aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins much drier then would have been anticipated from the nose, but does begin with many of the flavors that may have been expected. Some darker fruit flavors of a raisin and fig taste mix with a decent showing of a toasted grain and spiced flavor of coriander and clove. As the taste advances, the darker fruit fade some, but are replaced by a bit of brown sugar and molasses, maintaining an overall moderate sweetness. All the while, the roasted flavors increase some and are joined by some rum and some grapy red wine flavors. Some woody flavors also come to the tongue more toward the end, mixing the more boozy rum and red wine flavors nicely and bringing in the barrel aged flavor the would be expected from the label. A bit of a cocoa and yeasty flavor come more toward the end as well, and with them bringing a light spicy earthy flavor, to overall in the end, leave a darker fruity, more lightly sweetened, Belgian strong dark flavor with a nice heavy warming feel to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is higher and pricklier. The bigger body is nice for the darker and boozy flavors of the beer all while the prickly carbonation is fantastic for the fruity, yeasty spiced, and sweet flavors of the beer. Overall, well done.

Overall – like most of Unibroue’s beers, this is a very enjoyable and quite tasty brew with lots of robust flavors that blend rather well with each other. A very tasty Belgian strong dark.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Number 2011-109047. Best before 12 December 2016.

A: Significantly foamy head (great retention) tops a mahogany opaque beer.

S: Musty fruit...a touch of tobacco (stale yeast? lees?). This earthiness might actually be oak.

T/M: Mmm! Excellent. Smooth, full, round, and quite tasty. Lightly tart dark fruit (prunes), spicy Belgian yeast. Creamy, but reserved (no pun here) with a robust, dry finish. Spices added are obvious, but not obtrusive...clove and coriander mayhap? The juxtaposition between sharp and smooth, fruity and spicy is just great.

O: A pretty great beer. Way better than I thought it would be. Highly recommended. Want to have again. If you can find it, buy it.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 249 ratings.