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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

240 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 240
Hads: 1,025
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 84
Gots: 305 | 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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 240 | Hads: 1,025
Photo of n2185
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a murky brown with two dingers of beige head that fades into a thin layer with little lacing.

S: spices up front with sweet candy sugar and dark fruits. There are some slight buttery notes along with oak and chardonnay-like aromas.

T: similar to the aroma, there are spices and dark, slightly buttery, fruits up front. Oak and chardonnay follow with a slight alcohol presence.

M: medium body with high carbonation, this beer is very dry and clean with a high attenuation.

O: a very tasty beer overall. I enjoyed the regular 17, and the oak barrels add some nice flavors and aromas to it. (600 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a bold tan head (2+ fingers). Dark brown and crimson in color. Great retention. Has a grainy aroma with some dark fruits (cherries, black grapes) phenols and slight vinegar notes. A splash of dark fruit to the tongue is followed by a certain graininess, burnt sugar, sweet bread and light hops. Some cotton candy sweetness is noticed as it warms and I find some oak deep down. Medium bodied and a bit airy, smoothly textured, and with a thin veil of alcohol heat. Residing in the realm of the best. I only with this wasn't a one-off. (544 characters)

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. (991 characters)

Photo of kjyost
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle 2011-9067 from the MLCC. Poured at ~6C into a fluted glass.

A: Pours a brown with hints of red at the edge and hints of haze with a great white/tan head that towers over the beer, almost as tall as the beer itself. Perfect score if it were not for the haze.
S: Delciiously phenolic. Definite raw oak notes with dark dried fruits like raisins, plums and figs. Pepper. Maybe a hint of booze.
T: I am in love. Quite hard to find faults with this beer. A bit of sweetness that quickly gives way to the dried fruits with black pepper finishing. More plum than raisin, and some of the oak is evident.
M: Quite dry for the ABV with no hint of the ABV. Seems a hint watery though. Great prickly carbonation. A touch more body would have helped the mouthfeel, although it may have detracted from the body
O: I remember the original barely, though I remember quite liking it. I had a bunch of belgians at this point of my life without my revelation that beer can be better, I just always chalked it up to "different culture, different beer". A year or so later I had my epiphany and wished I had stored this beer (store beer? no one does that). Glad to see it back and as delicious as ever. (1,189 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium dark brown color with a slight haze and a faint red orange highlight when held to light. Good sized tightly bubbled off white head persists forever. Smells of raisins, dark sugar, caramel, clove, banana, and a bit of ethanol. Lightly spicy with a bit of red wine and vanilla. Nice nose. Taste is mostly sweet with a bit of sugary and caramel interspersed with lots of dark dried fruits. Spicy yeasty phenolics mix with a bit of warming alcohol to form a long lingering sweet finish. Over the top level of carbonation, medium body with a bubbly sweet mouthfeel. Nice tasty beer but has that signature Unibroue sameness. Caramel and dark dried fruit with too much carbonation that tries to ruin the mouthfeel. Glad I tried it, I don't think I'd seek it out again. (776 characters)

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. (604 characters)

Photo of mscudder
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Poured into a Duvel snifter.

A - Dark brown with a thick light-tan head. Just a tone off from being opaque. Beautiful beer.

S - Dark fruits, touch of caramel, some brown sugar and vanilla.

T - That is what a call delicious. A bit warm from the ABV, but not a strong presence for a big 10%. A wealth of earthy flavors battling against sweetness from the malts.

M - Mild carbonation which adds a bit to this one. Body is heavy as expected but this feels a bit thin for me.

O - This is a fantastic brew from Unibroue that only gets better as it warms, letting out its plethora of flavors. A bit expensive for a bottle (~$13), but if you like dark Belgian beers and are a fan of La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, or other Unibroue beers, this is a must. (752 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 DonDirkA
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smells like banana bread with walnuts in it. Crazy. Theres a lot of yeasty breadiness maybe some raisins. The taste is hotter than expected but its very malty and slightly sweet. It said that its made to age and I agree. Id like to get another one to keep for 1.5-2 years. But probably wont, can always hope. (308 characters)

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a 750ml bottle with a champagne style stopper and cork. Bottle has info about the beer and it truely looks elegant. A gentle pour of this beer yeilds an explosive head that quickly fills up 3/4 of my glass which is frustraighting but at the same time impressive. The color is something unique it has bog like color to it, like it was light at one time but now its become darker. A hazy dark tan brown the is certainly like nothing I've seen before. Some reddish orange tints as well.

S: Sweet, oaky, woody, some citrus notes. Orange, a little musty. Quite a pleasing and complex smell.

T: Thats good.... thats really good. The taste of this beer really reflects the smell. An excellent balance of sweetness with more earthy flavors and they all develop at different times to really showcase themselves. The alcohol gives a little something something in the end but it fades quickly without being overwhelming.

M: Sits with a heavy body with only pleasing flavors developing. The carbonation, while not overwhelming does take some something away over time but overall very nice.

What a great beer this is. Old ales usually have a lot a good aspects but one usually dominates the others. This beer has a great balance of all elements. With the complex tastes and smells there is little more one could ask for in a beer. (1,338 characters)

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

A: A dark reddish-amber pour with a huge dense tan head sitting on top. Fades slowly, leaving nice rings of lacing behind.

S: Loads of strong, spicy belgian yeast along with lots of bread. Smells almost like spicebread. Some banana and raisins. Brown sugar and a little caramel. Maybe some cinnamon? Very malty, sweet and spicy.

T: Sweet bread and caramel. Lots of brown sugar and again there is the cinnamon. Some banana and earthiness mixes in in the middle. Oaky finish with some more spice.

M: Thick but fairly high carbonation helps cut it a bit.

O: A very spicy BSDA. I got some cinnamon and maybe even nutmeg, kinda like a BDSA/Winter Warmer mix in my mind. Complex and balanced. Sweet and malty. I enjoyed it a lot. (729 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage Bottle no. 101329
750ml served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown body with a creamy 2 finger head that settles into a tightly knit cap.

S - Earthy and slightly funky yeast and wood, coriander, apple brandy, vanilla, pears, old bubblegum.

T - Robust caramel malt, toasted brown sugar, coriander, clove, oak wood is present but stays on the edges. Apples, vanilla, candied pears, and hints of toasted banana and cotton candy sweetness. Finishes spicy with fruit and woody overtones.

M - Medium carbonation, creamy feel, full bodied.

I started out drinking this at cellar temp but it's way better room temperature. The yeast dominates and the oak is light but gives it a rustic edge. Very complex. Can't wait to pop open my other bottle in about 5 years or so. (771 characters)

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. (2,075 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 bump8628
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better Belgian-inspired beers I've come across in quite some time. Vanilla, cola, caramel, and sugar are balanced against toasted oak, cinnamon, and clove. Earthy bitterness is mild but is supportive enough to hold up against the maltiness. Rich but not sweet. Strong but balanced. Alcohol is completely hidden. This is a seriously complex and dangerous ale. Completely worth the $12 for 750mL of beautiful beer. (423 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up during a trade with misterb303 while in Denver! Bottle #2011-118242. Cloudy mahogany pour with a creamy two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Wonderful woody, spicy, complex nose. Lots of oak along with hints of dark fruit, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and just a touch of banana. The taste is just as big and just as complex. The oak is once again the star, with hints of nuts, raisins, black cherries, figs, tobacco, maple, vanilla, and brown sugar, with just a bit of cocoa, cinnamon, and booze. The mouthfeel starts off with moderate carbonation, but as it comes to temp, it becomes slightly chewy with a great subtle alcohol warming. Don't drink this too cold. This beer definitely lives up to the hype and I'd love to get my hands on another and leave it in the cellar for a while. (817 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. No. 2011-117741.

Served at slightly cooler than cellar temp into a goblet.

Grande Reserve is a beautiful red amber color with less than perfect clarity. The head is thick at first but settles to just a thin layer. No lacing is left behind.

Aroma is sweet, oaky, and complex. It has dark fruits and spice notes with vanilla elements from the oak aging.

Flavor is intense and complex as well. Cherries and plums mix with pepper and clove. Oak seems to bring vanilla, tannins, and a red wine character as well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and strongly carbonated. Alcohol is certainly there but it doesn't seem all that strong for such a young beer.

Overall another fantastic offering from Unibroue. I wouldn't expect anything less from this brewery. (766 characters)

Photo of 4balance
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No. 2011-101432 (best before 12-12-2016)

750ml bottle poured into an Ommegang glass. Dark cloudy amber color with 2" tan foamy head with nice lacing.

Distinctive Belgian yeast along with musty wood, spices, dark fruit and alcohol. Reminds me of a wet forest to some degree.

Tastes like the inside of a wet musty oak barrel, belgian yeast prevails with tons of spices, clove, cinnamon, cracked pepper, touch of salt, dried dark fruits; fig, dates, raisins, slight amount of chocolate in the background, roasted malts and alcohol. Plethora of flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little bit of creaminess, nicely carbonated with slight alcohol burn, flavors linger quite a while.

Overall I am really glad I tried this one, mighty tasty. Unibroue never disappoints, if you haven't tried this I would highly recommend it. Would like to see how this one ages. (865 characters)

Photo of jar2574
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice thick head over cloudy brown beer. Smell is delicious yeast and spices and molasses.

Taste is absolutely phenomenal both out of the fridge and later as it gets closer to room temperature. Sweet spiced malts upfront, maybe a hint of citrus hops to balance it out. A little bit of Belgian yeastiness. Brown sugar and plums. Flavor profile is a little bit like a good rum. A dry, quick finish.

Excellent mouthfeel. Above average thickness and carbonation but it's lighter and easier to drink than you'd think. You could drink it quickly despite the 10 ABV, or you could sip it slow and steady. I could drink this all day and night and will be on the lookout for more of it. (705 characters)

Photo of teromous
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Murky brown color, looking similar to sweet tea. The head is very large and stands for a long time, which is frothy, and is a light tan color.

S: Not much on the nose, but I do get a soda-like carbonation tickle from smelling it. There is a very faint oak smell, and is vaguely similar to a bourbon smell. Overall the smell is very faint though.

T: It has that "high alcohol Belgian Beer" flavor, but without any actual taste coming from alcohol. It's hard to explain, but if you drink high ABV Belgians, you'll know what I mean. It has a slightly fruity flavor to it, kind of like plums. There is a light oak flavor. I also pick up a cinnamon flavor.

M: There is light astringency and dryness, but nothing unpleasant. The mouthfeel is medium, but has an airy quality to it after drinking it.

O: Overall it is a very good beer, and it does taste more balanced than other Unibroue beers. I would drink it again, but it's not so fantastic that I would choose it over any other Belgian Dark, given the price. (1,012 characters)

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. (927 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours dark mahogany with crimson edgework in the hips of the glass with a two-plus inch head of whipped, bone froth. A dense, thick coating remained on the surface for the duration along with solid sheets of lacing. A beauty to the eye.

Aromatics lead off with candied figs, clove-studded apples, licorice, dark rum, grape bubblegum, and schezuan peppercorns.
Ripe fruit and spicey phenols abound with hints of vineousity and oak.

Medium bodied with a soft, lush mouthfeel. Velvety and lively.

Plump, juicy malt with rum-steeped candied apples and pepper dust starts the palate. Hints of oaky tannins and red wine mingle with star anise, peppercorns, coriander, and grape jam.

Finishes with spice-rubbed apples, dark rum, and a mild throat burn.

Great beer with some cellar potential. Very smooth now but I would give it maybe a year or two for the light heat to mellow. (890 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Version Bottle# 68006

A huge tan head quickly dissipated to sit permanently atop the beer, which is slightly opaque, dark brown-copper with golden highlights. Thick chunky lacing rings the goblet, and fine bubbles are active up the side of the glass.

Smells of spices, coriander, and wood. The Unibroue yeast is present as well as some bready malts.

Tastes of the spices up front, leading to a grape fruity tartness, with a hint of that yeast. The tastes smooths as it warms.

Texture is smooth, almost creamy. Fine bubbles like champagne burst in the mouth, but not annoyingly so, and aren't so present as it aerates.

A fine beer, I will be aging one to see how it does. The spices are just a tad much, the wife says they're weird. However, I liked it, and would recommend it with that disclaimer.

DOA (812 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy... a deep tawny would probably be the most appropriate color--or, at least the only one that comes to mind. Head forms a pretty modest single finger, retains well, and recedes back to a generous ring of lace and a misty sheet over the beer.

S: Hot damn, this beer smells nice. After taking a little break, it's like my nose has come back from the dead! Toasted malts, some nice hints of vanilla, though quite mild and balanced. There's a hint of clove and perhaps even cinnamon that I'm picking up on. It doesn't smell like a bakery, but it does have that touch of 'warmth' that I really enjoy.

T: A little bit of a banana flavor--undoubtedly a pleasant result of the yeast strain being utilized. It pairs nicely with a sweet maltiness... is there a bit of ginger in here? It's not 'spicy' as in having an edgy bite, but the flavor seems to be there. Some nice sugar notes left behind.

M + D: A solid beer, well crafted and well balanced. The carbonation doesn't quite sparkle, but it does have a richness to it. A very satisfying brew from start to finish... outstanding! (1,086 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)

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.