Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue
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Ratings: 835 | Reviews: 202 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +9%
750ml bottle poured into a goblet. 2011 vintage.
A - Pours a deep, murky brown hue with ruby highlights. A short-lived tan head of bubbles that quickly settles to a thin skiff of foam. Bits of sticky lace spot the glass, though nothing much. Cloudy, and full of yeasty haze. And as always, I appreciate the nice packaging and presentation.
S - Extremely complex. Distinct Unibroue house yeast is immediately identifiable, spicy, fruity and full of aromatic esters. Dried plum, figs, and lots of medjool dates up front. Even a bit chocolatey, with some caramel as well. Vanilla is coming through strong, and it smells incredible, and is only complimented further by the French Oak and vinous character. There's so much going on it's hard to put into words. A beautiful mix of Belgian spice, Unibroue yeast, oak, fruits, and tons of rich sweetness. No alcohol coming through at all.
T - A remarkable barrage of sweet, spicy, and yeasty. Big sweetness coming from some caramelized sugar notes, complimented by rich vanilla and the complex, estery Unibroue house yeast I've come to love. There's definitely a vinous quality coming through that helps balance the profile, along with resinous oak flavors, almost smokey. Slight cherry notes, along with medjool dates, figs, raisins, and dried plums. Finishes quite crisp and dry, with vinous oak qualities lingering away. Endless complexity. I always appreciate Belgian brews that give me the expected profile with a unique twist thrown in, and for me that comes through with this one in the vanilla/wine/oak flavors. Very nice.
M - Smooth and mild on the palate. For such a rich and sweet brew, it doesn't feel cloying. Fairly heavy on the tongue, with full body and thorough carbonation of fine bubbles, like many Unibroue BSDAs. Crisp, sticky, dry, but minimal alcohol heat.
D - A BSDA with something to say about the style. It seems most European craft beer is rooted in tradition, while American craft is about pushing boundaries. This North American take on a Belgian classic both satisfies my thirst for traditional Belgian ale and gives me something I haven't tasted before. Just another reason why Unibroue is the best brewery in Canada, bar none.
12-02-2012 00:27:49 | More by Converge
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Props to andrenaline for including this 2011 vintage in a trade back in the winter. I had planned to age it, then I came across it in a store at home last week, so i'll consume my new purchase and continue to age the trade bottle for at least a year
A - a swampy dark amber brown, thumb of tan head dissipated to a thin covering with significant lacing all around
S - banana, raisin, pear, grains, light molasses and wood, rounded out by booze
T - toffee malt, oakey vanilla, fruity notes of sour apple, cherry, raisin, spice and yeasty esters round out the finish, very complex and layered
M - big body, creamy carbonation, velvety smooth, there is no bite to the high alcohol but a noticeable pleasant warmth from mouth to stomach
O - I don't hand out 5's lightly but this deserves it overall, super complex, easy drinking, just a pleasure every time I take a sip
07-29-2012 04:06:31 | More by joemcgrath27
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
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: 4.58, 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.
01-02-2014 04:53:52 | More by thehyperduck
4.58/5 rDev +8.5%
Poured from a bottle into a tulip, reviewed from notes. Aged just under a year
A - Dark copper brown one finger of thick belgian yeast style head, heavy lacing once the head finally begin fading.
S - Yeasty spicy Unibroue-esque scent. But this time it's richer, fuller, mustier.
T - Perfectly sweet and malty, the wood has mostly worn off, but still has enough of a presence to be noticeable, finish's spicy from the yeast.
M - To me this is the only downside of the brew, I find a lot of Unibroue's beers to be over carbonated, and a lot of the times it works, but it doesn't help a beer like this.
O - a great offering from Unibroue as usual, however, I prefer this one fresh.
01-03-2013 04:34:56 | More by rappmann
4.56/5 rDev +8.1%
Honored for this to be my 400th review. Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Label says Best Before 12-12-2016.
A- Pours a murky dark brown color with a 3/4 inch light tan head that bears great retention time before eventually fading to an 1/8 inch head and a thick ring of lacing. Resilient bubbles slide slowly down the glass when swirled.
S- Delightful aroma that's spicy, yeasty and floral with exceptional balance between the three. Slightly soapy, but with a sweetness that's very complimentary. The spices end up being the main component with some faint alcohol trailing behind.
T- Tastes like your usual BSDA but with extra flavor all around. More yeast, enhanced Belgian candy sugar and an assertive but refined alcohol character. There's a light solvent-like rubberiness in the back that ends up tying the whole profile together better than one might expect. The spices are a bit less involved than in the aroma.
M- Very creamy and somewhat sharp from the spice and alcohol combined with high carbonation making for a superb feel. Full-ish body.
O- What a knockout. Definitely the best dark offering I've ever had from Unibroue. If you're a fan of the Belgians, you've gotta try this.
12-24-2012 23:13:16 | More by Immortale25
4.56/5 rDev +8.1%
A: Frothy head. Cloudy golden brown.
S: Banana, oak, cream. Light but pleasant smell.
T: Banana and hops up front, creamy malt finishes up. Hints of oak, vanilla and spice. Alcohol taste is well-hidden.
M: Lacy, medium carbonation. Slightly thick.
In style 4.75
02-03-2013 21:19:38 | More by hungarianwax
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
Pours out a nice dark murky brown and amber color, very little lights gets through and its topped off with a nice thick khaki head that just created a nice plain of bubbles, and the lacing is awesome. The smell is filled with dark fruit, spices, raisin, coriander (very, very mild) fig and faint strawberry and vanilla come through too. Crisp on the tongue, its slightly bitter overall, but filled with sweet dark fruits and fig flavors. Its got a medium mouth feel and the alcohol come out just a bit in its aftertaste. This one good beer
08-12-2012 19:07:41 | More by vickersspitfire
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
The usual Unibroue combo of very pronounced Belgian yeast, banana, clove, and cardamom esters, along with oak, vanilla, and white grape in the medium length finish.
Very creamy with a dense, rocky mousse of a head. It does, indeed, resemble Chimay Grande Reserve more than a little.
Smooth, very sophisticated, and absolutely delicious.
03-17-2012 21:40:04 | More by Impfan
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
750ml bottle poured into a chalice.
A: Dark murky brown. Two finger off white head with excellent retention and lacing.
S: Figs, dates, dark cherries, and raisins. Some light citrusy notes. Big Belgian yeast aroma along with some clove mingling nicely with a subtle oak aroma. Alcohol is present but meshes well.
T: Big dark fruits throughout the mouth. Citrus isn't present in the flavor but the French oak really shines in the the taste. It mixes with a pepper/chili bite that might be 50% alcohol bite. Belgian yeast sits in the background of this complex brew. This will be phenomenal in a few years.
M: Full bodied. Medium high carbonation. Super creamy and buttery. Awesome.
O: The best of this style I've had, with second being Unibroue's Trois Pistoles. Love Unibroue. Going to pick up some more for the cellar for sure!!!
03-24-2012 06:19:50 | More by doughanson78
4.54/5 rDev +7.6%
750ml bottle poured into a Unibroue chalice. Bottled in 2011.
A: Dark, cloudy brown on the pour. The creamy tan head retains very well and drops patchy gobs of foamy lacing here and there.
S: Caramel, bread pudding, almond. Toffee. Brown sugar. Cinnamon and white pepper. Yeasty and slightly musty. Dried figs and apple chips. Dry toasted oak and woody vanilla tie it all together. Remarkably complex and balanced.
T: Toffee, caramel, and bread pudding up front. Yeasty and slightly musty. Brown sugar. cinnamon, clove, and white pepper. Brown cocoa powder. Rum raisin, fig, and baked apples. Woody oak takes a delicate approach, drying the palate and adding complexity without calling too much attention to itself. The balance is superb. Finishes with tastes of bread pudding, brown sugar, and lightly tannic oak.
M: On the thicker side of medium bodied. Very creamy and smooth. Ample carbonation is soft rather than aggressive. Touch of soothing, warming alcohol. Very light astringency from the oak tannins.
O: This is everything I hoped it would be and more. A truly world-class Belgian Strong Dark ale. The balance is perfect, and the high level of complexity makes each sip a treat. One of the more refined beers I've come across. The French oak really makes it. Instantly a personal favorite.
11-13-2013 23:16:26 | More by ryan1788a5
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
A 2011 vintage bottle which I found, bought, brought home, stowed away in the cellar, and proceeded to pour into my snifter and thoughtfully sip on once it had cooled down to cellar temperature. Isn't that how your average American goes about acquiring and drinking beer...? No? Oh... well that's what I do. Guess I'ma weeeirdo.
It appears to have a two-finger bone white head and a dark and murky mahogany body.
Ooh, I smell spices! I'm not the most accurate spice detector, but I think I'm getting cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (had to go and sniff some spices in the cabinet to identify a couple of those, hehehe). The smell also has green apples, raisins, and yeasty bread. So it basically smells like Christmas bread!
Jeez, it TASTES a lot like certain Christmas breads I've had too. There's some sourdough from the lees, and a definite tart grape juice taste. It's kind of fruity and refreshing, actually, which is something I can't say about most Belgian strong dark ales I've had. Alcohol is amazingly absent from the taste.
Keeping consistent with my description so far, I'll call the carbonation lively and "festive" (wee look at me I have Christmas spirit in July). Anyway, it suits the style.
Well, the only thing I can complain about really is the price. This is pretty much the most expensive beer I've ever bought, unfortunately. However, it IS quite enjoyable.
07-16-2013 18:51:58 | More by Kuaff
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
So this evening I was in a horrible mood. Went for a drive, finished an errand and now at 10:45pm I'm settling in. I even cleaned my kitchen to work the angst out. This all wasn't going to get me back to ground zero though.
Last month I picked up a bottle of Unibroue's 17 Grande. It made me extremely happy. I had a second bottle. Then I went back to Whole Foods and got a third and a fourth. These I would tuck away for safe keeping. Well this was one of those nights where I was possessed to have exactly what I wanted. Part of my "errand" was to drive out to Whole Foods and pick up three more bottles of this beer. Why you ask? I was in a bad mood. When a guy get's in a bad mood he should (with in reason) get to do what he wants to do. My want was more of this brew so I could go home, and have the beer that I wanted, with out disturbing my cellar. Anal? Absolutely. Did I get what I wanted? Damn right.
The beer is brilliant. Let's go through the motions though and state clearly why it rocks so hard.
Appearance- Gorgeous brown that descends into absolute darkness. Know what I mean? On the outside it's got that deep amber color, in it's heart though it's enveloped in darkness.
Smell - Clean and fresh with a teasing pleasant scent of alcohol. Not rude, just enough that if you stick your nose in the glass, you realize you're going to get smashed.
Taste- Out of this world. Complex yet simple. What I mean is that it's features are beer like then the barrel aged mixture of texture and sweetness start to nag at you. I swear it's a bastardized cream sherry. It's all beer though because it bites back. The after taste forces your mouth to water.
Mouth feel - Clean with a nice bite. Not overly carbonated but enough that it makes your mouth tingle and your tongue wake up.
So I like this beer. I think it's pretty clear that I like it. It's also 10% ABV which in the mood I'm in, I'd prefer to be lightly smashed. So one beer doing that trick is perfect. It's like that old adage of snipers who say one shot one kill. Well that's what this beer does. Everything I like wrapped into one neat little package.
I suggest checking out Unibroue's site as well because the cool thing about their beers is that most of them have a legend behind them. Very cool stuff. Very cool company. Knock out brew.
Drunkards Call Podcast
Growler Radio Podcast
@ayemcshane on Twitter.
10-13-2012 05:57:05 | More by McShane
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
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.
06-02-2012 16:25:32 | More by Jamesthebrit
4.51/5 rDev +6.9%
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.
01-11-2014 21:59:47 | More by Jim_Benz
Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 835 ratings.