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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

972 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 972
Reviews: 227
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 11.4%
Wants: 80
Gots: 278 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 972 | Reviews: 227
Photo of randylangford
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of adamant1912
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of bluesfan1181
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of DaPan
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Casp1119
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of schnarr84
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of DreadFox
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Deathwray3927
4.72/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Hopswagger
4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

#100

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!

Photo of pharmerdoc
4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of bismarksays
4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice
A- Pours a dark rich color, like mahogany. A fluffy beige head and lacing is apparent. If you lacked head or lacing on this, you either don't clean your glasswear or simply do not know how to pour beer. The very picture of what a beautiful dark ale should look like.

Smell: Brown sugar, dark fruits, maybe a touch of banana. If not for a slight burn from either a medicinal yeasty touch or alcohol, it would have been higher for me. Other than that, very alluring and promising. Oh, also maybe a touch of vanilla as well. I didn't get it at first, but as the beer opened up more and warmed a touch, it is faint but present.

T/M: Okay, this baby is well carbonated. I know this is an issue for some BAs. They want their triples carbed and their dark beers a touch more sticky. For me, I only want it to feel nice in my mouth (both can illicit that feeling depending on the rest of the beer) and have the proper viscosity (neither thin nor molasses). For me, given what the bubbles likely did for bringing out the nose, I am more than fine with the bubbly nature of this. I also feel like the subtle flavors that I was unable to pick up in the nose (such as cherry and a light oak) became more accessible even as young as it was due to this lively nature. The slight alcohol burn in the nose is much more subtle in the mouth. Magnificent.

Overall: I waffled between a 4.5 and a 5 on this one. In the end, I went with the five because of the superior flavor and appearance of this beer. While the slight alcohol burn was somewhat unpleasant in the nose, I have to admit it in no way impacted my enjoyment on the beer. Also, it went away after about fifteen or twenty minutes.
I highly recommend this beer. World class.

Photo of LutherBrau
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

Photo of videofrog
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml cork & caged bottle into a Duvel Tulip. Poured carefully to avoid disturbing yeast sediment. Bottled in 2011. Best by 12-12-16. Served at cellar temp.

A: Dark reddish brown. Cream head that leaves soapy lacing down the glass.

S: Gets more complex as it warms up. Vinous notes, oak, vanilla, bready malt, a spiciness, and some brown sugar in the background.

T: Many fruit notes. Bready malt there again. Very slight hop bitterness. Oak strong in the finish. Banana there as well. Lingering aftertaste has slight tartness with an apple tone.

M: On the thick side of medium. Carbonation tingles the gums a bit.

O: Alcohol still fairly well hidden for a brew meant to mellow with age. One of Unibroue's better offerings, which says a lot. Really wish I had the patience to cellar one of these.

Photo of acevenom
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large brandy snifter. Pours dark toffee brown with a biege colored head that retreats pretty slowly. Some bubbles can be seen meeting the underside of the head. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass as the head retreats. I pick up some apple, grape, cherry, and maybe raisin aroma up front with some spiciness, some of those malt aromas, sweetness, some alcohol, and some of that wood. The taste follows the nose. The fruity aromas I detected like the apple, grape, cherry, and raisin are there. I pick up some of those spices, toffee, dark malt, oak, and some barely detectable alcohol heat. The body is medium with strong carbonation, which is to be expected from a bottle conditioned beer. The finish is sweet, but also clean. This is excellent and absolutely worth the price.

Photo of jar2574
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice thick head over cloudy brown beer. Smell is delicious yeast and spices and molasses.

Taste is absolutely phenomenal both out of the fridge and later as it gets closer to room temperature. Sweet spiced malts upfront, maybe a hint of citrus hops to balance it out. A little bit of Belgian yeastiness. Brown sugar and plums. Flavor profile is a little bit like a good rum. A dry, quick finish.

Excellent mouthfeel. Above average thickness and carbonation but it's lighter and easier to drink than you'd think. You could drink it quickly despite the 10 ABV, or you could sip it slow and steady. I could drink this all day and night and will be on the lookout for more of it.

Photo of avalon07
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Photo of Ranz
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: In my whisky snifter, this 2011 vintage poured a deep, verdant brown that created a nice finger of head after a slightly vigorous pour.

S: Clove, apple, hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and thick bready malt from the yeast create an intoxicating aroma. Wow: the refermentation did this some good.

T: A strain of sharp, charred oak makes itself immediately present before sugary fruit flavors--including plum, cherry, slight citrus, and fig--come to the fore. Unbelievably complex, this beer boasts some unique and nuanced flavors. Lovely to sip.

M: Incredibly thick and heavy on the tongue, the mouthfeel does the waltz, slowly, around your mouth when lesser beers would try to move too quickly and stumble around. This beer has the maturity and poise to sit comfortably restful.

O: I love a good dark Belgian, and this may take the top spot as a new favorite. Once again, Unibroue fails to disappoint. Excellent job, chaps.

Photo of Svyturys30
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jul_dredd
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DaveBar
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW what a beer! Flavour upon flavor. Excellent.

A- Wonderfully dark and cloudy. Tons of head as usual from this company

S- Pungent. Blended well, nothing outrageously stands out. Belgium all the way

T- OUTSTANDING! First sip at 8deg C in a freshly washed and dried tumbler. Malt, complex, expert brewing for sure. Alcohol is completely hidden for this 10% abv. This is a serious beer.

M- Silky smooth. Dry way later on but that should be expected from a hot beer, super pleasant.

O- Wonderful. Everyone should try at least one in their lives. I bought 5 more for the cellar. Only the price keeps the rating from being higher

Thx for reading

Photo of Converge
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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

No. 2011-46532

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

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No. 2011-146259
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

Photo of Immortale25
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.56/5  rDev +8.3%
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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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 972 ratings.