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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.

250 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 1,052
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 91
Gots: 320 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

This French oak aged, bottle refermented dark ale has a remarkable and complex flavor profile. Its Grande Réserve appellation is a fitting endorsement of its exceptional aging qualities.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 250 | Hads: 1,052
Photo of ksimons
4.4/5  rDev +4%

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.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

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

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

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

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Medium heavy.

Overall - Very sweet. Pretty interesting, though.

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Photo of jrein0254
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of cambabeer
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.41/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of hermit990
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of roblowther
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
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. :)

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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.

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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 CalgaryFMC
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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

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

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

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

M - Little carbonation, fairly smooth going down.

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

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Photo of Originalbeer
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. I poured it just over half way and at first the off-white head was thick. It thinned out but is still retaining. The color is a rich, consistent dark mohagany brown with reddish tones when held up against the light. No lacing.

N: I sense spices but nothing in particular. Raisins, malt, yeast... and a hint of Welch's sparkling grape juice?

T: Yeast, raisins, bread, malt, brown sugar? ...and some spices.

M: Good carbonation with an emphasis on malt and yeast.

O: Can't compare it to any other beer of this style, I think, so for what it's worth, I like it... a lot. I mean, A LOT.

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Photo of Jim_Benz
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a 750ml bottle (2012) with my wife at cellar temp, served in snifters.

A: Beautiful beer, dark amber, that produced a two inch off-white head on vigorous pour. Head dissipated over five minutes but maintained a thin coat over the surface almost until the finish. Didn't pay attention to the lacing.

S: I don't know; caramel, raison, bread, a tiny bit of roast? My nose isn't that great, but it seemed kind of indistinct. It smelled like I expected it to smell but subtler; inviting but it didn't exactly blow me away. Not that it needs to.

T: It's a one-year old bottle, so very smooth. The flavors follow the nose--caramel, raison, dried fig, dark bread--but very nuanced, almost delicate, surprisingly laid-back. I really enjoyed this beer, but I expected a stronger burst of flavors. It's very seductive, but coy. The alcohol was well-hidden, and the oak extremely well-integrated.

M: Silky, toward the lighter end of a medium body, not at all cloying or overly sweet. Refreshing, really, and very easy to drink. Carbonation was perfect.

O: It's a little pricey but worth every penny IMO. I was surprised by its very subdued smell and taste, but it really was delicious. Less estery than I expected for a Belgian style ale, but that was almost a plus. Really pleased with this beer, but not blown away. Which is fine--a really good ale doesn't always need to show off.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle. Pours a red-tinted chestnut brown colour. Nose offers sweet notes of sweet, dark dried fruit and baking spice. Taste is similar with notes of cinnamon, raisins, booze and Belgian yeast spice. A big sipper for cold evenings.

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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 artoolemomo
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours up a great amount of head that seems to have some staying power. The head is an off-white/light tan while the body is a muddy, chestnut brown with hints of amber which appears as a dark amber with hues of crimson and maroon in the light. The lacing consists of a lattice type sheeting.

Nose- Started off with a little bit of apple that seemed to turn to slightly tart cherry from the bottle. The glass shows a lighter apple with some clove and banana. The bottle remains a bit more resilient with a streak of ashy cloves and a tone of overall stone fruits. Glass seems to settle on a creamy and inviting apple.

Taste- Starts off fairly reflective of the nose though I wish the apple was more dominant of a dominant note. Mixed with the rounded cloves and banana, it's somewhat reminiscent of applesauce. Very well rounded with lots of balance. There isn't anything especially striking here except the extremely refined and subdued type of brew you expect from Unibroue. Some hints of brown sugar and candy sugar in the background. Light raisins and plums. Light brown bread. Presence is on the lighter side but this is not the type of beer that you drink for such. Seems in the middle for Unibroue beers which is good to really good. I really appreciate that you can rely upon their product and that it is always affordable. Some hints of pears. Pretty much a really good beer. Some citrus. Orange, lemon, hints of coriander.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied. Light carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy. The mouthfeel is very important to the overall perception of this beer.

Drinkability- Pretty much like almost any other Unibroue beer I've had. Very easygoing while being interesting. Doesn't show a touch of its 10%. Twelve bucks is a reasonable price but I'd probably go with the cheaper, year-round Unibroues instead.

Overall- Good to really good, but mostly really good. I haven't had a Unibroue I wouldn't suggest trying and this is no exception. But try the other ones first. Also, this gets closer to some of the more renowned quads as it starts to have a very strong raisin profile. It's reminding me a lot of Westy at the moment but I'm sure this is only in one aspect. Still pretty good.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL caged and corked bottle picked up at the LCBO; this is the 2013 edition. Served at cellar temperature, and poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy, burnt amber-brown colour, topped with one finger of velvety-smooth, creamy beige-coloured head. It slowly dissipates, eventually leaving a thin, dense cap, a creamy collar, and a modest quantity of lacing behind in its wake. Interesting, complex, yeasty aroma with multiple layers - plum pudding, bubble gum and rum raisin come to mind, with additional vinous, tannic notes. Hints of oak and vanilla can also be detected, blending well with the yeasty spice and boozy nature of the brew.

Very rich-tasting and complex, showing the same level of quality and craftsmanship as their other highly-lauded BSDAs. The profile is overall rather fruity, with raisin, fig and plum pudding flavours atop some butterscotch, brown sugar and toasted malts. From there, it begins to take on a slight dark rum vibe, likely due to the oak and vanilla effects of the barrel aging. The finish becomes increasingly yeasty and spicy, with notes of bubble gum and white pepper leading into a somewhat boozy, woody, tannic aftertaste. Beautifully complex; vinous notes of red wine and oak continue to crop up on the palate long after the sip has been swallowed. Not quite full-bodied but definitely on the sturdier side; this one has a luxurious, smooth mouthfeel that contrasts nicely with the prickly, restrained carbonation levels. As delicious as this beer is, the alcohol content is quite noticeable so it's not something I'd prefer more than a few glasses of (finishing this entire bottle tonight will probably take a few hours, but I think I'm up to the challenge).

Final Grade: 4.56, an A+. This brewery never ceases to amaze me - as much as I love Unibroue's other strong dark ales, I think I'd have to say that Grande Réserve 17 tops even superb classics like Maudite or La Terrible. The French oak aging really helps this brew stand out from the crowd, and the end result is a sinfully tasty, complex, lip-smackingly good winter sipper that no fan of Belgian-style beers should neglect to try. My only regret - that I didn't pick up another bottle to cellar! Oh well, there's always next year's batch.

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Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle from Total Wine in late August for $12.99. Bottled in 2012, best before 12-18-17.

Beer poured garnet with a beautiful white head that is leaving lacing.

Nose is classic Belgian yeast and dark fruits.

Taste is dark fruits, a hint of vanilla oak, a bit of cocoa.

Mouthfeel is classic Belgian yeast strain, medium bodied yet light on the palate and smooth.

Overall this brew is superb. Alcohol is well hidden, taste is delicious and very smooth. Unibroue has this style nailed down stone cold!

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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 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 elNopalero
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2011-103402

This pours a raisiny cloudy color with tan cocoa foam. The aroma has a hint of vanilla and stone fruit along with a buttery note and a hint of tobacco.

It tastes smoothly mellow, giving off hints of stone fruit, raisin, and a leathery vanillin whisper. It’s smooth, mellow, sweet and pleasing. It hides the ABV well.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.