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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

240 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 240
Hads: 1,025
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 84
Gots: 306 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 240 | Hads: 1,025
Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.7%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
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)

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very hazy yellowish brown in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits and maty sweetness are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark fruits-prunes seem to stand out in particular-along with notes of Belgian yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an incredibly complex taste that makes it a pleasant to sip, although its also very drinkable since it hides its alcohol very well from the taste.

Note: Bottled in 2011 (692 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with an ample fluffy off white head with good retention
S: smells of zesty and spicy yeast, some tannins, fruity esters and some dark fruit smells. very complex and nice aroma. I've spent minutes just sitting here and smelling it
T: slightly tart up front with a slightly oaked middle with some fruitiness and some spices. sweet and fruity aftertaste
M: slightly prickly carbonation and medium bodied. not bad
O: a very good beer, not quite the bold level of their other offerings but the subtleties are nice and it's still enjoyable (555 characters)

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. (754 characters)

Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Steve as part of the QuadShowdown. 750ml into some tulips, 2011 re-release.

Poured a deep mahogany, lightly purplish. A big cream coloured head is formed. Nose has some light grape, dark fruits, sugary with a slight vanilla note. Taste has alcohol soaked dark fruits, dark syrupy and lightly sugary notes, Unibroue house yeast is completely evident here. Almost reminiscent of Trois Pistoles in some senses. Light and active carbonation upfront but smooths out as the sip progresses (something I find with all Unibroue beers). Very nice but not exceptional. Not alot of the oak aging is evident here, and if it is, it must be very subtle. (656 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip

The body sits a chestnut brown with reddish highlights and a beige cap that rises quickly. A bubbly, fizzy cap reminiscent of soda, just a touch creamier.

The aroma is a mix of sweet and spice. Raisins, figs, cherries, brown sugar, wine, clean oak, clove, orange peel, licorice, and peppercorns.

The flavor profile matches the nose. Broad and complex, but lacking in some density. Brown sugar, raisins, and figs up front before a rush of cherries and spice. The finish is a bit of citrus, peppercorns, and dry oak. Maybe a touch of vanilla/coconut. The oak presence is notable. As it warms, a bit of a smoke element emerges.

Medium bodied, a bit prickly carbonation. The finish is a bit of rum, sugary sweetness, and clean oak. The carbonation detracts a little bit too much from the complexity. Something softer would really complement all of these flavors.

A damn fine BSDA that balances the sweet and spice very well. Excellent aging and complexity. (991 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 re-release dubbed "Grand Reserve"

A- Dark chesnut with ruby highlights. Three finger tight bubbled egg shell head thay slowly recedes to a nice sized cap. Lacing is sticky and won't let go.

S- Bananas and wonderful yeast quality. There are dark fruits with brown sugar and vanilla. The oak aging really binds everything together beautifully.

T- Bananas and yeast, oak and vanilla with brandy soaked figs. Fresh bead and caramel sauce.

M- Medium to full bodied, light carbonation feeling. Sticky on the lips.

O- This really is heavenly. I can see why they brought this back and I'm glad they did. (605 characters)

Photo of MattyV
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Nice classy looking bottle.

Average pour into a Maudite snifter yields a dense 2-finger head that lasts forever, with a continuous stream of identically-sized bubbles rising up from the bottom. Dark auburn, slightly hazy with ruby highlights.

The aroma is quite fruity (plums?) at first, with an interesting lactic sourness and hints of oak and the house yeast.

Taste is dominated by dark fruit and caramel. Spicy yeasty notes are evident as expected, but not too overpowering. Alcohol steadily increases in warmth until its peak in the finish. Doesn’t get bogged down by the oak, which instead just adds a nice layer of complexity that is perceptible towards the back end and the finish.

Moderate to full body and aggressive carbonation lends a bit of bite.

This was quite nice at its young age--complex, well-balanced and not overly sweet or yeasty. Time should do only great things for this beer so I look forward to revisiting it again. (961 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured an opaque mahogany with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like bready yeast and sourdough and earthy caramel, with some oak and toffee and nutty malt, and a bit of soy and ginger.
T: It tasted like earthy caramel and sourdough and nutty malt, with some oak and toffee and Belgian yeast. It had a clean and mellow sweet and sour aftertaste.
M: It was thick and velvety with fine natural carbonation. Excellent full body.
D: This was an excellent barrel aged quad. Tons of refinement and delicate complexity in the scent and taste. The body was nearly perfect, and the alcohol was very well hidden. Smooth finish too, so it was very easy to drink, but worth sipping. Definitely built to age for a long time, but quite enjoyable fresh. Recommended. (765 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unibroue 17 pours a very dark amber color with a huge lacing head. There is a very strong aroma filled with spices and yeast. The taste is very dark, nice sweet spice note, with hints of yeast. Very creamy, strong flavors. Overall, its sweeter, but very drinkable, nice spice notes. (286 characters)

Photo of dgilks
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A dark murky brown with a creamy, light tan head. Good head retention and lacing.

Lightly woody and fruity. Nice, sugary malt notes. The vanillin from the wood complements the fruit character well.

Malty with a good dark fruit note. The oak is really well integrated. Quite good.

Medium body with moderately high carbonation. Solid.

A really nice beer. Good combination of Belgian and oak. Well balanced. (412 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a Chalice)
bottled on 2011
A- This beer pours a walnut brown body that glows at the base and has a boiling microcarbonation that supports a thick luscious head of beige foam.

S- The well blended aroma has notes of brown sugar and soft french oak some nice yeasty ester almost like dried dark fruit in the finish.

T- The dark sugar notes have a spicy phenolic taste to the finish that is slightly dry. There is a mellow vanilla like oak hint and some clove notes come through as it opens. There are some slightly fruity ester qualities and a nutty note as the beer opens up aswell.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a well hidden alcohol heat.

O- This beer is simple yet elegant with lots of subtle flavors working together. This makes it hard to describe aswell. Very nice beer. (823 characters)

Photo of t420o
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unibroue Grande Reserve 17

No. 2011-85961

Served @ 55 degrees

A- pour produces a big 3 finger tan head resting on a murky brown body with blood orange hues. Very good retention and decent lacing. 4.5 

S- robust caramel and chocolate malt, great yeast smell, green apples, tart cherry, faint oak, great spice smell. 4

T- taste is supurb. A really complex beer. Caramel malt, oak imparts the vanilla, and that wonderful yeast start off followed quick by some green apple, orange peel, tart cherry, spices, and some more of that robust malt. Alcohol is almost undetectable.  The slight vanilla that the oak lends to the beer is supurb. 4   

M- great medium body and nice carbonation level. 4

O- a wonderful beer that I'd love to get a couple more of to age. In fact, I think I will do that since for some reason these seem to be sitting on shelves. It may be the $13.99 price, but if people knew what they were missing they'd be all over it like a cheap suit. 4.5

A-  (978 characters)

Photo of JOaikido
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark Brown & cloudy with a pale beige head of thick fine bubbles. Leaves nice lacing on glass.

S- Good Unibroue yeast. Dried fruit and caramel.

T- Strong alcohol, but this fits this beer. Much of the same notes as the aroma (smell) but with a good bitter flash balancing the whole.

MF- Medium-thick. Warming. A good beer for this winter night at the end of a long week.

O- Pretty much what I was hoping for. (414 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stoked for this one. No. 2011-22437.

A - Pours a murky amber colour with nice carbonation. Two fingers of thick, fluffy light brown head. Some chunks of lace with thick spatterings, and a half finger of thick head for retention.

S - Yeast, sweet spice, dark fruit, other fruity esters. Some grapes. The subtle spicing is nice combined with the yeast and fruit.

T - Dark fruit, a little booze, yeast plays less of a role, the dark fruit really comes out nice. That typical Unibroue yeast with its harshness is there. Sweetness is kept under control, and there is little to no evidence of the oak aging. The finish is nice with a sweet dark fruit note. Sweet, spicy, and rich.

M - Smooth, nicely carbonated, coats the mouth well, medium to full body.

O/D - A fairly solid BSDA. Not what I was expecting. I wanted something great, but for some reason I think Unibroue's yeast got in the way again. Aside from that it's a great, very drinkable and enjoyable one from Unibroue. At $10 I don't think I would reach for it often, but the three others in the cellar will be for special occasions. The smoothness makes this an 'A' beer. (1,132 characters)

Photo of jondeelee
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

17 Grande Reserve opens to a sweet, spicy nose that boasts, on the one hand, raisin, fig, date, plum, black cherry, and blood orange fruit esters, mixed with light molasses, brown sugar, and wildflower honey, and on the other, touches of clove, white pepper, perhaps ginger, allspice, coriander, cinnamon…the spice bouquet is varied, and much like in well-prepared foods, difficult to pin down. Hints of lemon and sweet pink grapefruit from the hops add texture. The overall effect is closer to mulled cider than beer, the dark fruits and spices coming together very nicely, tempered only by the lightest touch of toast crust and marble rye bread, and instantly reminiscent of Christmas: gingerbread cookies, five-star fruitcake, wassail. This is one of the more unique aromas I’ve ever encountered in a beer, and a welcome change from Unibroue’s spice-heavy noses.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a panoply of dark fruit esters, including raisin, plum, date, fig, prune, blood orange, and berry, with additional molasses, wildflower honey, and agave nectar thrown in for good measure. Spices are definitely peppery, but also seem to include ginger, cinnamon, clove, coriander, and perhaps allspice; again, the spices mingle well and are difficult to separate. There is a slight rubber tire hint around the edges, which is strange, but mostly blends well with the dark fruits. Touches of lemon and pine from the hops add further complexity, as do brown breads and toast crust. There’s also a very noticeable almost merlot-like quality to the beer, as if grape juice had been added pre-fermentation. The aftertaste is mainly spice, with some dark fruit left over, and lingers on the tongue for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, biting at the tongue and soft palate.

Overall, this beer had immense promise on the nose, and while most of that translated well to the tongue, the interplay between spice and dark fruit created a strange rubbery taste around the edges, much the way that over-spiced fruitcake comes across as over-caramelized (the point of near-burnt) and slightly bitter. The beer is still good, but this bitter layer adds just enough of a strangeness that it becomes slightly off-putting. The beer is still worth trying, but I wish the taste had more closely followed the nose. (2,346 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
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 jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle, Bottled in 2011 and bottle # stamped on label. Poured into my Unibroue goblet.

opaque medium brown color, nice creamy thick head. great head retention. rich malty aroma. allspice, a little dark fruit. complex. more of the same in the taste. improves as it warms. nice. medium thickness, smooth carbonation. drinks easy.

overall - very good beer, but not sure I pick up any of the oak flavor. (427 characters)

Photo of LampertLand
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unibroue's 'Grand Reserve17' @ 10.0% , 2011 vintage served from a corked 750 ml bottle purchased for $12

A-pour is a clear golden amber with a small off white head leaving a minimal lace ring along the goblet

S-another Unibroue take on classic Belgian yeast , this version is very pleasant , mild and subdued compared to say Trois Pistoles

T-so smooth tasting on the palate

MF-lots of carbonation , full bodied , very big beer , a true sip and enjoy as the beer warms

Ov-good beer , big good beer , not Unibroue's best but a damn good beer , I will buy the 2012 vintage for the cellar

sampled alongside Trappistes Rochefort 8 , Gigantic's 'The End of Reason'
and Lighthouse 'Belgian Black12' & '13'

prost LampertLand (723 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gift from a friend excited to try.

A Murky brown, nice near white head, slow to leave, small bubbled cling.
S Dark musk, spicy and Belgian.
T Very spicy. Almost a Xmas beer. Malt is there and yeast, but the spice is dominant.
M - Medium to full, good carb, ok balance.
D - Good to dry. Afraid one and done for me. (319 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

these guys can do no wrong in my opinion, so this beer is obviously fantastic. it came at what i thought was a reasonable price at under 13 bucks for a big boy. it pours a rich mahogany maroon color with a very excited head rising to as tall as three inches in my tulip glass. it smells very oaky, and has notes of dark fruit, dried cherries, sauvignon grapes, and vanilla. the flavor is rich and fit for a king, with the fruit and yeast combining in a way that only unibroue can pull off. its deep and complex, lots of fruit but not too much sweet. the alcohol is very well hidden behind the curtain of autumnal flavors and oak. the wood in this beer is perfectly complimentary to the other flavors, its awesome. feel is heavier in body but somehow airy, partially due to the effervescent head. i like this a lot, and would have probably paid another four or five dollars for this bottle. id like to get another and cellar it just to see what happens, if i can be patient enough... (982 characters)

Photo of jimdisser
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Complex mix of chocolate notes, caramel, with some hop bitterness. The bottle we split was from my bro Sam Bakko, owner of Wolverine Market, and was 2 years old. This beer is aged in a French oak barrel and the refermented in the bottle. Strange brew! (254 characters)

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.