Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

235 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 235
Hads: 1,015
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 85
Gots: 303 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

This French oak aged, bottle refermented dark ale has a remarkable and complex flavor profile. Its Grande Réserve appellation is a fitting endorsement of its exceptional aging qualities.
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Reviews: 235 | Hads: 1,015
Photo of JayQue
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a great beer!! I can't believe I held on to this one for 3 years. Poured from a corked and caged bottle into my Chimay goblet. Muddy brown color with a lot of yellow light coming through. Nice size off white head with average retention. Minimum lacing.

Aroma is some dark fruit and oak. The smell is much weaker than the big flavor.

Taste is very good. Dark fruit (mostly figs) with the main flavor being the oak. Rich and malty, goes down very easily. Not much alcohol in the taste, mostly a warming effect, but then again I have had this for 3 years.

Mouthfeel is rich and mostly smooth. The oak provides a little bite and the warming effect of alcohol presence is felt.

A great Belgian style ale....typical for Unibroue. (740 characters)

Photo of jburley2
4/5  rDev -5.2%

2013 Bottle 750 mL
A: Somewhere between a dark amber and a pale brown
S: Figs with a little bit heat
T: Abundant sweetness with figs, oak and a little bit of boozy heat at the end
B: Thin body with nice carbonation
O: More subdued than expected but not to a fault, would drink again (282 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with a foamy off-white head that provides substantial and unwavering bubble coverage and leaves a thick coat of sticky lacing while drinking. The nose is yeast-forward with a hint of dried fig, alcohol, light oak and molasses (more so with warmth). It's full flavored with a slightly nutty malt base, bubble-gummy yeast, and lingering tannic bitterness. The beer has a rich winter-weather approved malt base, but is stretched thin by a big yeast fruit presence, bitter oak astringency, and double digit abv. The beer's generous carbonation helps oxy-clean some of those heavy flavors off the palate, but it still sits heavier than expected. Regardless of a less than desirable mouthfeel/drinkability, it's a solid bargain bin find! (769 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

75 cl

Pours a dark cloudy browb with a yellowish head about an inch thick. Retains pretty well.

Smells of grapes, nuts, brett yeast, and a bit of spice.

Wine grapes, cinnamon, oak, bretty yeast, caramel, and apple all come together in the taste. Hint of roasted nuts.

Full body with fluffy carbonation.

Very nice Belgian style ale with lots of body and character. Really nice emulation of the style while also standing uniquely on its own. About as good as you can get in this style this side of the ocean and better than some of the actual Belgians too. Grab it if you can.

This is a 2012 bottle, so it has a couple years of age on it. (657 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark brown glass with murky edge of light brown. The head starts a big 2 finger head and drops to a thin brown cover that leaves a few little drops of lace.

Smell: Strong notes of the house Unibroue yeast, a blend of dark fruit, alcohol whiffs, a light lemon twist.

Taste: Rich, but not overpowering. The dark fruit, plum, cherry, and a bit of tannin, that all manages to stay light and almost airy.

Feel: High carbonation is almost champagne like with a light body that dries quickly leaving a mild chalky note.

Overall: A masterful beer. Great flavor, rich but not heavy, complex but subtle, great execution. The dry finish is a slight drag on the total package, but encourages another tasty sip. (717 characters)

Photo of bdubw
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Great beer.$ 2.96 a bottle and 24.95 a case for 2013 vintage. Had to buy a case and set back a few so much can compare in a couple of years. This brew is known for its aging qualities. (184 characters)

Photo of deford
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

I have to say the mouthfeel is fantastic with this beer....wonderful cascade of bubbles that flow right down...perfect! Taste is not too sweet, just what I wanted...very happy with this one. (190 characters)

Photo of LutherBrau
4.69/5  rDev +11.1%

Appearance: Deep Brown color with Ruby Highlights. Strong degree of opacity. Off-white/tan finger’s-worth of lacy head that does not dissipate and clings well to the sides of the glass. No visible carbonation

Smell: Rich and bready, subtle roasted malt notes balance well with cocoa tones.

Taste: Rich sweetness all over the tongue but not cloyingly so. Just enough hop bitterness to add dimension to the malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied. Coats the tongue like a cool blanket. No tactile presence of carbonation and slight alcohol warming on the back of the palate.

Overall: I purchased this bottle to celebrate tasting my 500th different brew and the boys up North sure didn’t disappoint. This ale is brewed once yearly and this particular example was bottled in 2013. Past awards include 68 Gold and 8 Platinum Awards in International Judging. This is a beer that deserves to speak for itself. Hunt one down and save it for a quiet, reflective night. (974 characters)

Photo of Sofakingdrunk
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

750 ml bottle for $10

Appearance is a lovely red-brown colour with a 1.5 finger foamy white head. Nice lacing on the glass. Looks inviting

Nose is of alcohol first off,dark fruits vanilla,cocoa,spiced rum and sherry.

Taste is just...wow. Vanilla is what hits me first, really picking up that french oak. Ripe figs,blue plums,bittersweet chocolate and a very distinct alcohol burn, but in a really nice way. You can taste all 10% of this beast. The typical Unibroue yeast is un-noticable here, as far as i can taste. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.

Overall a really great sipper....truly a cool weather beer though. Very complex and balanced. Glad that i've got another bottle tucked away in the cellar to sit on for a year or two and revisit. (760 characters)

Photo of seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

2013. 750 ml bottle at Beer Authority, NYC. Paid way too much but I look at it as a one time thing. I'm a big Unibroue fan because of the unique yeast flavor. This brew has just a hint as the stars are the caramel/malt flavors. This thing is growing on me proportionally to the rose in my cheeks. I can feel, from behind the mask, my complexion turning to that of the jovial monk that bedecks most Trappist labels. It's 70F outside but I'm in a Yuletide flava'. Do not....I repeat ...do not...misconstrue this as a complaint. The further I get into this endeavor, the more disembodied I get. Is that Tim Leary over there drinking W/Jerry Garcia. Methinks it just might be. In the end this was a most enjoyable venture. (719 characters)

Photo of ksimons
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottled in 2013. Mahogany color with a massive amount of khaki head. Smells of dark fruits, spices, some cocoa, and caramel malt. Delicious tasting with caramel malt, dark fruits, spices, yeast, light chocolate, and a bit of oak in the finish. Has some alcohol warming to it. Medium body with high carbonation. Another great beer by Unibroue. (348 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (2,370 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
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 jrein0254
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I didn't know anything about this beer when I bought it . I usually like Unibroue so I took a chance. It poured out beautifully with a whipped beer mousse head and a caramel color that made me think it would be sweet. The smell was mysterious in that I could make out that it had spices, but all were too subtle to discern which spices they were.
The first taste made me something like galangal or ginger. It has a lot going on flavor-wise, layers of flavor. There is a very, very subtle bitterness, not hoppy though and a back of the mouth almost peppery taste. I think there must be roasted barley in there somewhere that gives it that caramel undertone. The oak mellows and rounds out the ale perfectly. It is clean and refreshing. How many 10% alcohol beers can you say that about? World Class. (798 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good looking beer here. Nice amber deep mahogany brown body, light carbonation, just lets some light through, not completely transparent. Creamy buttered tan head, very light brown, nice lace on glass. Everything here is inviting.

Smells very sweet and spicy and alcoholic. A bit of toasted sugar and malted barley, some yeast coming through as well. Somewhat grape and winelike, some apple flavors and... starfruit tartness at the beginning.

Taste is tart, spicy and very warming from the booze. I'm sticking by that starfruit profile. Nice yeast and toasted grain, only a little hop bitterness, but enough to recognize. This is the stuff.

Very good. (655 characters)

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For our second Unibroue beer, we tried their Grande Reserve 17 ("GR17") in a caged and corked 750 ml bottle purchased from the LCBO. I read the production date on the bottle as May 26, 2011, and GR17 is a healthy 10% alcohol by volume.

Pouring GR17 produced a 1.5" creamy beige coloured head with a beautiful convex cap. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before fading to a thin film and collar of foam, leaving moderate spotting and lacing down the glass. The beer itself was a dark brown colour, which lightened a few shades around the edges of the glass when backlit. Its aroma was of sweet malts, chocolate and alcohol, with hops in the background. As the beer warmed the alcohol aroma became more noticeable and a strong candied fruit smell arose. The taste began with a sweet chocolate flavour, giving way to candied fruit, with a mild (and not at all unpleasant) alcohol burn, finishing with a mild hop bitterness. A mild bitter aftertaste was evident, but balanced the initial sweetness of the beer nicely and did not overstay its welcome. GR17 is best described as a rich, full bodied beer, with just the right level of carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. The 750 ml bottle is best shared with a friend..I would have struggled to finish the bottle alone, as much as I enjoyed the beer. Overall, a wonderful brew from the good folks at Unibroue...I can understand why GR17 has won several international awards. My only knock against the beer is its $9.95 price tag which holds it back on the "value for money" factor and puts it into my "occasional treat" category. Assuming I have the discipline, I plan to save my second bottle for a few years to see how it develops with cellaring. (1,695 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011vintage. Murky brown colour but the nose makes up for the appearance. Big old fruit and yeasty notes waft out apparent from a foot away. The beer takes Minute to set itself up as the age is a factor on the flavour The beer is quite complex and the sweetness is mostly taken from the finish. It is a great Belgium dubbel that shows off what unibroue is famous for. I have had better beers from them but this is still a great showing (435 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at Newhall Refinery in Newhall, CA.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dried fruit, dark fruit, spice, wood, earth, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly tart malt, dark fruit, spice, vanilla, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice and wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice mix of malt, fruit, and earth qualities all around. (667 characters)

Photo of hermit990
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage. 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown. Two fingers worth of a tan colored head that recedes to a thin foam. Slight alcohol leg presence. Decent lacing sticking. Little visible carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet, dark fruits. Raisins. Slightly tart, cherry aroma. Vinous. Spice, reminding of cinnamon blending in with the sweetness. Roasted malt presence. Raisin bread. Slight vanilla.

Taste: Quick brown sugar sweetness upfront fades into a roasted, malty bitterness. Breadiness carrying into chocolate and coffee. Dark fruit and spice flavor lead into oak and vanilla on the finish. Slight alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Feels very smooth gliding through the mouth and over the tongue. Alcohol warmth blends in well with the spice. Aftertaste is a bit dry, lingering with the sweet alcohol heat.

Overall: This is a good offering from Unibroue. Compared to the 2013 vintage at this point, there is less bitterness and more of the sweetness coming through. Easy to find and affordable ($10 per bottle in my area) if Unibroue is available to you. A very good beer, though I find myself preferring some of their other options. (1,181 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pouring a cellar temp 750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut with some ruby highlights. Fluffy eggshell white head of 4 cm foams up and recedes to a sturdy edge layer. There are also a few wispy islands on the surface.
Aroma is some toffee and bready yeast with hits of sweet spice maybe some dark fruit too. Raisin and plums with a little brown sugar.
Very complex nose.
First sip reveals an average body with fine prickly carbonation. Silky smooth texture and a little sticky feature on my lips after each sip.
Flavor is sweet and malty with a little fruity kick too. The finish is very sweet maybe cherry or berries.
I also get a little booze on the finish. No real hop presence and the profile is complex and enjoyable.
This is a great beer and I would recommend buying a bottle if you found one anywhere. It is probably the right time to drink this beer. (898 characters)

Photo of roblowther
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited. I love Unibroue and when they do something special, it is exactly that. Bottle 2013-046530. It pours a dark, rusty brown with a thin, creamy, and very persistent off white head. The smell is cherries, leather, biscuits, and a faint floral aftersmell. Is that a word? Squiggly red underline says "no". The taste is carob, followed by a woodiness and raisin plum thing, with that leather deal-e-o coming on strong in the finish. Definitely barrel aged and definitely fantastic. The mouthfeel is, like the gum offer to Chandler from "Friends" while trapped in the ATM vestibule, perfection. Overall, you should buy this. Now. Trust me. I never lie. Well, not about beer anyway. :) (691 characters)

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 flagmantho
3.79/5  rDev -10.2%
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 CalgaryFMC
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, No. 2013-084791. Poured into a goblet. Haven't had a Unibroue in a while and I am rather stoked. A murky root beer brown brew with around five fingers of rich beige head, holding its form well. Aroma is malt-forward and spicy, prunes and raisins, toffee, rum, and strong bready yeast. Good old Unibroue yeast, a fungus that doesn't play around, grabbing your olfactory bulbs and tongue to show you who's boss. Flavor profile includes brown bread, cinnamon and nutmeg, sassafras, coriander seed, applesauce, dry parchment, and a tiny nip of chocolate. There's a decent earthy hop note and the tannic oak dries things out ... Rather hot and woody, I bet this would age well. Fortunately, the sweet and spicy flavors are not overpowered by the wood and aromatic alcohol. Moderately chewy body with fairly aggressive carbonation. Finishes quite dry, with some sour fruit and earthy spice lingering in a most pleasant fashion. I love the laundry list of phenolic flavors one can find in these beers. A wonderful Belgian strong with great yeast character, as expected from this brewery. My own tastes might dictate some additional aging next time. (1,155 characters)

Photo of Fader
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
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)

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.