Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

234 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 234
Hads: 1,014
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 86
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: 234 | Hads: 1,014
Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle is a 2011 Vintage.

A - Pours a deep garnet amber color with a billowy head and really nice lacing retention when the glass is swirled.

S - Oak, some musty dankness, vanilla, figs, prunes, dried dark fruit, light toasted brown sugar and caramel, all the ingredients play very well together and makes for a satisfying experience for the nose. Not strong or overpowering, just eloquent and satisfying.

T - Oak and vanilla surface immediately from the beginning while the vanilla eventually fades the oak stays for the duration, dark fruit, prunes, and figs. Finishes with subtle oak and lingering spicy bitterness.

M - Medium body, gentle and velvety carbonation on the tongue.

O - Superbly done and ranks as one of the top Belgian Dark Ales I've experienced so far. Seek this one out, buy extras, enjoy one now and cellar the others. This 2011 bottle is stamped with a "Best By" of 12-12-16. Would love to have a bottle to try each year as it moves closer to that Best By date. (993 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle. Nice packaging. Bought at Ned's. Don't remember the price.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, red-brown. Off white head with tiny bubbles. Retention and lacing are not great. Doesn't look impressive.

Smell: Big spicy Unibroue yeast aroma. The bottle says "brewed with spices," so I guess its not all yeast derived phenols. Fruity, toasty, and bready. Oak? Maybe. But a damn good smelling beer regardless.

Taste: Yes, very spicy, maybe a bit overdone. Oak taste is very prominent and combined with the dark fruity flavors adds a big vinous component to the beer. From the middle to the end, tannins, bitterness, and alcohol burn are present, but not unpleasant. Nice bready yeastiness in the finish too.

Moouthfeel: Medium full with lots of very soft carbonation. Oaky tannins.

Overall: Really tasty and complex beer. I think less (or no) spice additions would help this out, as would some additional time in the bottle. (947 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle was poured into a chalice glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber brown color with little vision of anything.

Smell: Spicy, dark fruits, spicy, plums, caramel, bready, cherries, oak, grapes, black currants, and a little leather.

Taste: This beer got a lot better as it warmed. Some bitterness, warming alcohol, dark fruitiness, caramel, bready, spicy, some yeasty notes, oak, and wine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little dry, some bitterness, warm booze, medium to full bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer more as the time went on. More and more flavors opened up and made this beer quite the treat. Definitely will have to revisit this one again. (764 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big fluffy two finger head and a dusky toffee brown body. Some slippery lace. Good retention.

Nose has a trace of funk, some cola, a lot of coriander, almost metallic, and some hints of grape.

Rich body, thick with toffee, malt, spice and tangy, almost steely (French?) oak character. Coriander lends it a slightly bitter finish. A bit of prune, maybe date.

Bright on the tip of the tongue, much smoother in the back of the mouth.

A darn good beer. I wonder what this would do over time (currently a bit coriander-heavy), but I don't know if I'll buy another. (563 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, spices, dark citrus, slight hops, hint of cherry, and a hint of grass. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, alcohol, dark citrus, yeast, hint of hops, hint of pale malt, and slight spice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, blend, and body. (463 characters)

Photo of Vixie
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep and dark ruby red with a large tan head. Surprising how large the head is considering the abv.

Smells really nice, can smell candy, like toffee. Can also detect coffee and chocolate, and a nice woody smell.

Tastes a lot like it smells, there is fruit and chocolate and a bit of a candy sweetness to it. It is also a bit spicy, and I can detect a bit of a Belgian candy sugar in it. Finishes with a bit of a woody flavor, and a bit of warming.

Goes down smooth and thick.

Really nice beer here, one I would gladly have again and again. It has a nice complexity, the only thing keeping me from scoring it higher is a bit of lack of balance. Very much worth a try. (683 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a reddish-brown beer with a tan head.
There was a fair amount of lace.

Aroma of fruit and caramel malt. There was a bit of spice present also.

More taste than I inferred from the aroma. Raisins, figs, cherries. Toffee and caramel. A hint of cinnamon.

This was a smooth, very satisfying beer. Would drink it anytime. (327 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First glass started ice cold in a frosted tulip and warmed to probably about 45-55 degrees. Second glass started at refrigerator temp and warmed to room temp.

A: 4 finger head of foam; murky dark cider-colored pour landed as a opaque rich brown-red beer

S: malty dark fruit and spice

T: complex balance between dry oaky wine and spiced malts - hints of fig, prune, raisin and spices; yeasty tang; very faint after-hints of mocha

M: crisp as first, smoothing out as it warmed; light bite of alcohol; medium-light body; brisk sustained carbonation

O: love these guys - have never had a bad Unibroue - all Unibroue beers have a certain yeasty/malty (?) flavor aspect that sets them apart from all other brewers. However, honestly, the other beers in their line (La Fin du Monde, Maudite, & Trois Pistoles all come to mind) are all so good that I'm not sure this is necessarily a better beer, but it is certainly equally classy and full of character. (951 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill hazed brown ale with a small tan colored head.

Smells sweet and spicy with a scent of coriander and ginger with some brown sugar. Molasses and some cardamom.

Starts out sweet and fruity with an apple butter preserves flavor. Apple, cinnamon, ginger and some clove in the flavor. Slight whiskey flavor and faint vanilla taste.

Mouthfeel is full.

Tasty beer, I was actually expecting a Strong Pale Ale. Solid beer. (423 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1442nd Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet
750ml C/C
2011-106417

Best by 12-12-2016
Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills, CA for $13.99
Shared with my buddy Chris

***BE careful, big gusher. Open over the sink or outside***

App- When the foam settled from being a gusher as mentioned it was the beer was the color of rust mixed with brown and beige. The head was a giant 4 fingers from being disturbed and when settled into a 1-1/2-2 finger slow settler to a pond layer. No real lace or cling though.

Smell- A lovely mix in the glass of aromatics. An opening lovely vanilla from the french oak and a little of the wood splinter notes. Next came the spices, lending to allspice, clove and nutmeg notes. No trace of the ABV either. Super smooth.

Taste- I am a big fan of the yeast strain Unibroue uses and this opens with that lovely flavor and then is immediately taken over by vanilla, oak, spice and dark fruits. The flavors are well rounded not overly complex but flavorful and delicate at points.

Mouth- A bit too thin for me. Needs a bit more volume behind it. Seemed a bit to aerated for me. A high carbonation level on this one needed to be toned down a little as well. Residual oak and vanilla.

Drink- Its a tasty beer from Unibroue. All of them are. I think Im just being nitpicky on this one because I expected more from the Anniversary beers. Ill probably grab another one to sit on for a couple years. (1,406 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

The beer pours a murky mahogany color with a finger of fluffy off white head. The head sticks around nicely. The small and taste are both super oaky. It's like drinking a dark Belgian ale in a workshop. There are some sweet sugar and dark fruit undertones in the smell. The flavor is more balanced, but still dominated by the oak. There is a nice dark fruit component and just a slight sweetness. There is a mild Belgian spice in the finish. The abv is not at all apparent. The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side and the carbonation is quite smooth. The finish isn't as dry as I would expect given the oak level. (659 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Note: Bottled in 2011

A: Pours a murky reddish brown/mahogany in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate ruby red + copper highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy very light beige head that slowly reduces to a finger thick pillowy layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet dark malts and dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig) with a hint of Belgian yeast spiciness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sweet dark malts with a moderate amount of dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig). There is a moderate flavor of slightly spicy and distinctive Belgian yeast. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Just a hint fuller than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Nice complex flavors and aromas make this beer a very enjoyable sipper. Enjoyable and definitely one that I would gladly have again. (1,073 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Unibroue branded short-stemmed tulip glass

Pours a deep, dark murky amber capped with a light beige two finger fluffy, sea-foam like head which reduces to a light foam cover. A lot oak, dark fruit notes, Belgian yeast, and a whiff of alcohol on the nose. Constant mild toasted oak accents throughout. Dates, figs, mild spice perhaps some clove, brown sugar maltiness, bold yeasty esters. Finishes bone dry with candi sugar and oak. Lively carbonation, fairly full-bodied smooth, and finishes with some silkiness. An excellent brew. Some may be turned off by the upfront oak presence, but I really think it worked well here. Tasty stuff, without a doubt. (689 characters)

Photo of artoolemomo
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (2,239 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Reviewed from notes - posted under the wrong entry before)

Handsome embossed bottled from the Yonge and Wellesley LCBO in winter 2012.

Dark brown and cherry, with a big frothy head and loads of lacing. Solid looking brew indeed.

Nose is cherry, figs, chocolate, a bit of yeast and indeterminate candied fruit.

A highly enjoyable dark ale - I really like how the oak played in to this. The chocolate is very delectable, with a slight milky flavor. Fruit is quite nice as well, and the yeast is, as per Unibroue's standards, also enjoyable. A slight woodsy finish. Really digging this. Medium bodied, slightly gritty/yeasty. Typical Unibroue in that respect.

A terrific brew that takes the Belgian Dark Ale to some exciting levels. A thoroughly enjoyable brew over the course of an evening. Worth a pick up! (812 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 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 DaveBlack
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, murky brown color. A good 3 finger tan head drops into about 1 finger in time, but stays there with seemingly infinite retention.

S: Dark fruits, a slight spiciness, some Belgian yeast and alcoholic phenols. Not a very strong smelling beer, actually, but rather reserved (you see what I did there?) in this department.

T: lots of sweet malts with notes of caramel and toffee and all those other delicious burnt sugars. Earthy yeast, a slight peppery spice, and enough alcohol to balance out the sweetness, but even so it finishes sweet, but with a bit of a smoky vanilla. After a few sips I can feel the alcohol on the back of the throat.

M: Fairly sticky, but fairly light seeming due to the high amount of small-bubble carbonation.

O: A damn good beer. It hides the 10% ABV scarily well and goes down really easily. It is a nice balance of sweet and spice. Would definitely drink again. (903 characters)

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

Sample: 1 bottle 2011

A: Extremely dark reddish brown, heavy internal carbonation, pours a perfect medium light brown head that is quite intrepid, a bit hazy

S: Quite fragrant, heavy dried fruits, tart cherries, figs, some earthy elements, a few medicinal/herbal notes as well, rather complex

T: Akin to the nose, very nice and strong dried fruit, some spiciness as well as some herbal qualities, a touch of alcohol on the finish, would love to try with some age

M: As I've come to expect from Unibroue, incredibly smooth, easy to drink, light and fruity aftertaste, not too lingering or overpowering on the palate

O: Pretty amazing, certainly deserving of its accolades, smooth, delicious, and fragrant, can't wait to open my second bottle in a few years (760 characters)

Photo of Originalbeer
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of gtermi
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a nice brown body with a thin white head that quickly fades to nothing.

S: The yeast from this beer has a very nice fruity aroma. I pick up a bit of oak that has a slight wine smell.

T: There is a strong amount of oak that gives it a nice red wine type flavor. I am also getting a nice fruitiness, which I get in every Unibroue beer.

M: Usually Unibroue brews have a strong crispness and very strong amount of carbonation, but this one is very mild and easy to drink. Freaking amazing.

O: This is such a nice beer and glad that I found a few bottles. I enjoy the wine flavor that it has and like the body. So nice. (638 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Plum colored ale with ruby hues throughout. Thick, lustrous, cream colored head on the pour with exceptional retention. Seems to permanently blanket the glass in froth.

Sweet and spicy aroma. Maple and numerous dark fruit aromas. Nutmeg, clove and black pepper.

Dense malt character suggesting biscuits covered in plum jam. Maple syrup sweetness compliments fig and date character. Spices are there as listed in the aroma with a tad more nutmeg and hint of pepper. Yeast has a musty, clove-like character and is a nice contrast to the malt. Well balanced. No alcohol detectable.

Sturdy full bodied ale. Well carbonated for its strength. Smooth throughout with a syrupy texture in the finish which allows the spices to linger on the tongue.

Solid brew. Complex flavors and aroma, not to mention beautiful to look at. Another classic from Unibroue. (851 characters)

Photo of sillyhed8
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very solid beer. I am usually not too fond of Unibroue, maybe it's the yeast or the spice they use, and I know I stand alone on this one, but this beer I found quite drinkable and very nice. (192 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 WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (1,447 characters)

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 234 ratings.