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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: 319 | 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 txbrewer
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice dark brown that you can barely see through (only on the edges). No real lacing from the light tan head.

S - Malty - good malty - delightful malty. Did I mention that nice malty smell. A very mild hop could be found hiding underneath. Some chocolate notes were hiding out in the back with the mild hops.

T - The nose and taste matched. That wonderful malt comes up and is backed by a almost chocolate like bittersweet that I really enjoyed. The hops take a back seat (way back) and that is just fine by me for this malty goodness.

M - Not too thick, not too thin. It is all around and floats throughout quite happily. The lower bitterness with the full frontal malty, cereal sweetness makes this all the much better in the hot summer days.

D - Yes, and then again, and then once more because you found out there was still some more in the bottle. Sipped on this gem while prepping food in the kitchen. Made the time go by so easily.

I asked the 'Beer Guy' at the store about it and he said smooth Chimay Blue that has been oak aged. He is quite knowledgeable on what he sells and he was dead on with this one. The fact that it was also on sale made even that much better of a find. I am going to try and get another bottle or two just to put up in the back of the fridge.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled 2011.

The beer pours a nice dark brown with crimson and near purple tints in it, very interesting. The head is a nice bubbly off white to almost tan head. Pretty.

The smell has a nice dose of sugary and spiced dark fruits,cinnamon and apples. Nutmeg and a touch of malty alcohol as well. Figs and sugar coated raisins. Not overly aromatic or unique.

The taste is nice and follows the smell very nicely, with some definite Belgian style yeast notes to it along with the dark dried fruits and toffee, some really cool underlaying spice. Some bitter notes too, interestingly in a fruity way once again. Taste doesn't explode with flavor as I'd hoped, but it is nice and pretty in line with most unibroue beers.

The feel is ok, more bubbly than I'd like and sort of thinner too. Way too prickly!

Good, but I'd prefer much easier and cheaper beers from unibroue better too. Maybe it's too young yet, it's hard to tell.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1" tan coloured head over brownish/amber liquid.

S: Yeast, pears and figs.

T: Oak, yeast, figs, pears and caramel.

M: Medium to full viscosity and a high level of carbonation, with some drying from the alcohol.

O: More on the bitter side than sweet, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale is quite complex. For my money, though, I prefer Terrible.

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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 Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

According to the brewery's website, this is the exact same beer as Unibroue 17 and I have put in a request for the two entries to be merged. However, since I had this out of a bottle labeled as Grande Reserve, I am entering the rating under this entry.

The beer pours a brownish color with a white head. The aroma has a ton of dark fruit in it, as well as a little bit of toffee. The flavor is a little more complex, with some oak and cherry notes complimenting the cherry and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

This bottle was drank alongside an original Unibroue 17, which had developed more dark fruit and yeast components during its aging period.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


P:  A beautiful frothy bone colored head that remains steadfast.  Body of murky dark  burnt sienna with fluttering carbonation.  Spotty lacing gracefully grabs the sides of the glass 

S:  A potpourri of  medicinal yeast, musty oak, vanilla bean, caramelized  raisins, prunes, sweet bourbon, clove, and a timid anti bacterial soap smell.  Brown sugar, melted butter, bubblegum, taffy, and banana phenol. 

T/M:  Taste follows the nose and delivers a decadent velvety mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sureal the closest thing i can imagine is a melted milkshake.  Taste provides burnt toffee, black licorice,  dark chocolate lurking in the background  caramel, and heavy oak flavoring.  Spices are more subtle than the nose and the alcohol is well hidden.  finishes creamy and leaves with a desirable cherry oak bourbon presence. 

O:  I was really expecting a lot out of this beer since it was my #100 and I can honestly say I underestimated the beauty of this beast. This is without a doubt the best BSDA I have ever had. Granted I am a novice and have not sampled many. However, I find it hard to believe that it gets much better. I still have stock in my collection and will seek out more because I'm curious to see how long it lasts.  If you haven't had this and it's available grab as many bottles as you can find. Cheers!

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the PRF BBQ tasting soiree, full pour into a tasting glass. Thanks to Marsupialized for the generous heavy pour early in the evening, and Peppers/EmpireStateTroopers for hosting!

Appears a murky mahogany brown, turbid with yeast, with cappucino stained foam.

Nutty malty aromas, dried fruit - raisin, currant, dates, some vanilla and oak traces. Flavors follow suit with a low level amount of oak in the background, dominant Belgian yeast lending clove and spice, candi sugar stickiness, and some residual dried fruit in the aftertaste. Full bodied, though it comes off a little thin in the finish. It does seem well suited for cellaring a year or two. A tasty BSDA, and it was nice to get a chance to try it.

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

Bottled in 2011 #2011-167353, damn a 10% alcohol Unibroue aged on French Oak this looked interesting. Pours a beautiful murky deep amber with a muddled mahogany brown overcast, big khaki tan head floating thick about three fingers worth in my Tripel Karmeliet chalice. Nose brings out rich mild smoked character with hints of toasted oak, a sliced apple, plump raisin, plums make up the fruit malt base with spice pepper like quality in there going on. Flavors are so balanced with rich oak notes, a mild vanilla spiced character basically the spice additions and French oak staves they aged it on have blended beautifully with this ten percent alcohol dark Belgian style ale. Again spicy floral character within the spice collides with vanilla, toasted oak with a fruity malt base keeping things interesting big layers of raisins/apple, and rum soaked plum with caramelized sugars don't become cloying at any point with alcohol burning just enough to balance out the sweet qualities of this rich oak aged ale. Mouthfeel is effervescent, yet big bodied with a bit of booze that is cohesive within the dynamics that this beer offers big dry oak in the finish with a pleasant robust malt profile throughout each sip. I will also credit some of the dry qualities from the spice additions that Unibroue is so well known for. Overall I'm proud to say I've been drinking Uniibroue bieres since 2001, I'm glad I found them so early in my drinking career.

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Photo of raffy313
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml (C&C'ed) bottle, poured into a Brooklyn tulip. [Bottle No. 2011-102944, Best Before: 12-12-2016]

Pours a murky dark brown with redish hues when held up to the light. A 2 finger tan head with decent retention. Hardly any lacing left behind.

Dark fruits are the primary aromas(raison, fig and abit of fig), with a licorice type spiciness and a nicely balanced brown sugar sweetness. A hint of cherries, and some oakiness round out these rather awesome aromas.

Flavors are almost identical to the nose, with the dark fruits taking the forefront.

Medium body, with an appropriate amount of carbonation. A dry finish, and a definate alcohol bite once it's given some time to warm.

Never had a bad offering from Unibroue, and this one didn't dissappoint. Love this style, and this is one of the better Belgium Strongs I've had. Definately recommend and so glad this one made it to TX.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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