Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

235 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 235
Hads: 1,015
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 85
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 235 | Hads: 1,015
Photo of ksimons
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

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. (348 characters)

Photo of wogreen
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - a dark, nutty brown with a hint of caramel red, nice foamy cream colored head
S - sugary sweet smell, almost chocalatey.
T - the strength of the beer isnt masked from the offset, however it doesnt have an overly alcoholic flavor. this definitely has a hearty flavor, that i could see doing better with age
M - effervescent and full of life
O - a very nice belgian and while the potency isn't masked like many higher ABV brews ive become accustomed to, the sugary offset is a pleasing balance (497 characters)

Photo of ikantspel
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a duvel tulip

pours a chestnut brown with an enormous foamy head.

the amazing nose has hints of dark fruit, heavy on the spices, and some heavy wood to finish it. smells like the best of the trappists

sweet taste start off with the dark fruit and banana, the candy sugar creeps in and settles into a clove like spice. finishes dry with the oak.

this was pretty well balanced. i got exactly what i expected. cant wait to see how the other 3 bottles age (467 characters)

Photo of SebD
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice cloudy dark brown/amber colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down slowly and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of yeast, banana, dark fruit and spices.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice fruitiness (banana and dark fruit), a nice spiciness, some yeast, and hints of vanilla and caramel. Very nice sweetness.

Mouthfeel: It has a light/medium carbonation with a very nice balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas. Another great from Unibroue! (584 characters)

Photo of DonDirkA
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smells like banana bread with walnuts in it. Crazy. Theres a lot of yeasty breadiness maybe some raisins. The taste is hotter than expected but its very malty and slightly sweet. It said that its made to age and I agree. Id like to get another one to keep for 1.5-2 years. But probably wont, can always hope. (308 characters)

Photo of Stocean1
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a two finger off white head upon a deep chestnut body - fine lacing - not a lot of retention - nice collar

Smell is dark fruit, sour, bananas, malty

Taste follows the nose with white grapes, milk, chocolate hard candy, nice floral hops

Mouth is medium to full bodied with average carbonation (low for the brewer), smooth, lots of alcohol warming, nice bitterness, sour

Overall a really complex and tasty brew - definitely unique (439 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy brown color with a 2 finger light tan head, with good retention and nice lacing. The aroma has pears, figs, spices, brown sugar, yeast, and oak.

Tastes much the same as it smells with pears, figs, apples, brown sugar, spices, yeast, pepper, and oak. Has a mildly sweet flavor, and some of the sweetness is balanced out by the pepper. The flavor profile of this beer is very nice. As usual, Unibroue does not disappoint.

Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Smooth, and easy to drink. The alcohol is well hidden for 10.00 % abv. This is another well made beer by Unibroue. (590 characters)

Photo of seand
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly translucent dark brown amber, with a large amount of dense tan head. Great retention, with a solid blanket lasting nearly through the end of the glass, and leaves thick clumps of lacing.

S: Thick and sweet, with some tones of freshly cut wood. There is also a blend of spices, with notes of clove.

T: Sweet, with a light toasted note. Very thick through the mid palate, with a long lasting sticky finish. The booze is quite well hidden.

M: Very full bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall, quite nice. Solidly executed, and very enjoyable to drink. (569 characters)

Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in 2011, aged for a little over a year. Open opening champagne-style cork, foam overflowed out of bottle. Inauspicious start. Poured into tulip glass.

A) Big head, about 4 fingers, with very good retention. After 15 minutes, it reduces to a small cap and rings with very little lacing. More amber than brown. Quite a bit of carbonation.

S) Wonderful. Sweet malts, candied fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, A little bit of yeast, but not much. Expected wood, not getting any - could be from aging.

T) Sweet malt, some spice. Not very yeasty. Very well-balanced, almost to the point where some of the individual flavors present in the nose don't seem to come through in taste.

M) Full-bodied, builds to a bit of alcohol heat that could be better balanced, but not too bad. Very carbonated, which is normal for Unibroue but definitely deducts from experience.

Definitely a major-league beer; wish I had tried the 2011 without aging for comparison. For me, melding and mellowing of flavors plus carbonation cuts score a bit, but this is very, very good. (1,058 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours dark mahogany with crimson edgework in the hips of the glass with a two-plus inch head of whipped, bone froth. A dense, thick coating remained on the surface for the duration along with solid sheets of lacing. A beauty to the eye.

Aromatics lead off with candied figs, clove-studded apples, licorice, dark rum, grape bubblegum, and schezuan peppercorns.
Ripe fruit and spicey phenols abound with hints of vineousity and oak.

Medium bodied with a soft, lush mouthfeel. Velvety and lively.

Plump, juicy malt with rum-steeped candied apples and pepper dust starts the palate. Hints of oaky tannins and red wine mingle with star anise, peppercorns, coriander, and grape jam.

Finishes with spice-rubbed apples, dark rum, and a mild throat burn.

Great beer with some cellar potential. Very smooth now but I would give it maybe a year or two for the light heat to mellow. (890 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage Bottle no. 101329
750ml served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown body with a creamy 2 finger head that settles into a tightly knit cap.

S - Earthy and slightly funky yeast and wood, coriander, apple brandy, vanilla, pears, old bubblegum.

T - Robust caramel malt, toasted brown sugar, coriander, clove, oak wood is present but stays on the edges. Apples, vanilla, candied pears, and hints of toasted banana and cotton candy sweetness. Finishes spicy with fruit and woody overtones.

M - Medium carbonation, creamy feel, full bodied.

I started out drinking this at cellar temp but it's way better room temperature. The yeast dominates and the oak is light but gives it a rustic edge. Very complex. Can't wait to pop open my other bottle in about 5 years or so. (771 characters)

Photo of mintjellie
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange colour with ruby highlights. The beer gushes upon opening, and on pouring forms a massive pale beige head. Poor retention and lacing. The aroma is complex with fig, raisin, banana, nut; and delicate clove & vanilla notes. Malty and estery, opening with nut, and dried fruit (raisin and cherry) flavours. There is a strong clove note and a hint of banana mid-palate, followed by a strong oak flavour that provides a tannic finish. Full-bodied and moderately carbonated. The carbonation is very finely textured. There is a slippery, almost greasy quality to the mouthfeel that is especially noticeable between sips. Perhaps diacetyl at a level low enough that I can't find it with my nose or palate, but noticeable to the sense of touch. Whatever the cause, I think this beer feels wonderful in my mouth. A complex and satisfying beer - the tannic quality is challenging to my palate, but in a pleasant kind of way. It's strength is very well hidden as well - the alcohol is only really noticeable in terms of how it makes you feel. This is powerful stuff - in terms of flavour, potency, and sheer enjoyment. (1,119 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (898 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is FANTASTIC! I think with my experience with this beer, Unibroue is one of my new favorite breweries. Every beer they make is not only exceptional, but true to form. The Grand Reserve 17 is simply terrific! Smell is great: the oak barrel aging really stands out as well as wine, vanilla, strawberry, spice, plum, and many others. Wonderful beer to just enjoy the smell of. Taste is remarkably balanced, lots of fruit flavors working together. Apple, dates, cherries, figs, vanilla, lemon... lots going on. Mouthfeel is smooth and light, faint boozey heat, and light carbonation. This is seriously great... gonna try and pick up some more! (644 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from LCBO purchased for $12.95 CDN. Served cool after a long inventory count on a Saturday the day after receiving good news on my final accounting exam. Time to dig into the good stuff.

Appearance - Murky, auburn beer. 2 fingers of head dissipating to a half finger of lingering foam. Some significant bubbles within the beer. the head gives the illusion of bubbles exploding upwards.

Smell 0 Belgian yeasts, wide range of fruits. Some dark fruits namely plum, but also some pear and sweet apple aromas. Hints of floral arrangements and some booziness, although not enough to suspect 10% ABV.

Taste - Quite delicious, fruit doesn't come through as much as on the nose. Traces of sweetness between the light fruit taste and some butterscotch blended in as well. Boozy finish and is a great melting pot of all things sweet and delicious. Don't get me wrong though still certainly enough bite to moderate the level of sweetness thanks to the hops.

Mouthfeel - Wonderfully smooth, but because of the higher carbonation it has an explosive feel to it. Very lively. Moderately dry finish and tremendous warmth in the back of the throat. That's when you realize the 10% ABV.

Overall - A wonderful Belgian style Ale, and has a chance of being my second favorite Unibroue product ever (behind Le Fin Du Monde). Delicious and eminently quaffable despite the high ABV, highly recommended. The downside to this may be the price as there are similar quality beers (albeit different) available for cheaper. (1,512 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml caged and corked bottle, 2011 edition. A crazy-ass offering to find at the local liquor store monopoly concern, but, I guess I shouldn't complain. Ok, I will, but with a slight sidestep - what is it with these pseudo Champagne corks lately? I don't remember having to break out the pliers and corkscrew so often, and not that long ago. So get the hell off my lawn too, while I'm at it.

This beer pours a cloudy, dark ruby amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, silken, and foamy beige head, which leaves a pockmarked wall of painted lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away. Nice.

It smells of dark, juicy fruit - bruised banana, wet raisins, fig - Belgian yeast with that French Canadian twist, caramel malt, somewhat boozy vanilla, a bit of astringent woody phenols, and earthy, musty hops. The taste is most certainly Christmas cake-like - caramel and vanilla, a bit of sweet breadiness, soft baker's yeast, figs, raisins, apple and cherry chunks strewn throughout - all doused in a nice red wine essence, with the oaken woodiness and tannic astringency balancing out the underlying sugary notes beautifully. Sigh, more please.

The bubbles are present, functional, and quite knowledgeable about right of way, the body a hefty medium weight, and smooth enough amongst some minor yeasty and boozy tugging. It finishes rather sweet, the bready caramel malt, attendant spices, and fruit still holding sway, with the understated barrel character contributing just enough to help, and not overwhelm.

Erm, well, WOW! Barrel (maybe?) treatment with a subtle touch, for my favorite (thus and by far) of Unibroue's anniversary offerings. What's not to like? Smooth, subtle, and beguiling, and in one of my favourite styles. Zut alors - je vous aime, je veux être avec vous pour toujours! (1,801 characters)

Photo of mscudder
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Poured into a Duvel snifter.

A - Dark brown with a thick light-tan head. Just a tone off from being opaque. Beautiful beer.

S - Dark fruits, touch of caramel, some brown sugar and vanilla.

T - That is what a call delicious. A bit warm from the ABV, but not a strong presence for a big 10%. A wealth of earthy flavors battling against sweetness from the malts.

M - Mild carbonation which adds a bit to this one. Body is heavy as expected but this feels a bit thin for me.

O - This is a fantastic brew from Unibroue that only gets better as it warms, letting out its plethora of flavors. A bit expensive for a bottle (~$13), but if you like dark Belgian beers and are a fan of La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, or other Unibroue beers, this is a must. (752 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a lovely dark amber/brown color. A massive rocky and dense head forms with excellent retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Candied fruits, figs, spices. The liquorish aroma I got from the original release, but not as over powering. Still plenty of spices. That distinct Unibroue musky yeast. Chocolate, vanilla, oak. Ultra complex, but nothing is over powering.
T: More of a toasted malt flavor up front, and some wood/oak. Coffee, Chocolate, candied fruits, vanilla, spice and musky yeast. All the complexities of the nose, but I think the toasted malts and wood flavors brings everything together perfectly.
M/D: A medium to full body. Very carbonated, crisp and smooth at the same time. So easy to drink. The alcohol is nowhere to be seen. A great sipper.

The liquorish that was in the original release is still there, but much more mellow. Complexities come out in spades, and a real treat. Highly recommended. (927 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The super spicy and toasty fruit character that Unibroue celebrates best are all on display in this 17 Grand Reserve. Few breweries achieve such character and drinkability, even the most highly regarded ones from Belgium.

The strong dark ale pours with a hazy appearance of brown rust with copper highlights. The highly effervescent beer shows a lot of zest as it releases a dense and creamy slight tanish head that stops shy of rocky proportions. Along with tremendous staying power, the foam laces the glass in sheets. ...very impressive!

Perfumy aromas wrap around a strong herbal component of lavender, rosemary, and chamomile. A ton of these spices, whether additions or derived by yeast, are the decorations that bring life to the underpinning of toasted malts, vinous wines, charred fruits, and freshly cracked black peppercorns.

The spicy dominance also plays out in taste as the medium malt richness and sweetness is quickly surplanted with grilled apples, dates, figs, and chestnuts. Sharper flavors of peppercorn, toast char, and alcohol gain intensity as the beer moves across mid palate and into finish. The spices continue to play on the flavor spread in a somewhat smoky and soapy way.

Medium bodied throughout, the beer's creamy malt texture is aided by carbonation that lightens the body but not in the highly effervescent champagne kind of way that I expect. Instead, the malty rich textures develop into a highly peppery, spicy, and alcohol warmth that dries the beer as the malty-dry mid palate digresses.

Even the tannin woods play on the flavor profile with a spicy oak taste and a somewhat dryish astringency that creates a slight powdery texture to accompany wood spice and sweetness. This Grand Reserve is a masterful beer that deserves much praise- certainly in the upper echelon of the Unibroue staple. (1,836 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed from the 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: deep ruby brown in color with a three finger head that slowly fades leaving nice lacing.

S: musty yeast, Spices and dark fruits all come forward.

T: spices, dark fruits and yeasts. Sweetish with a nice finish.

M: medium carbonation and good body.

O: a fine way to celebrate the end of the football season, I enjoyed this on a cool fall afternoon. The unibroue yeast is ever present and the spice profile is nice and enjoyable. I am going to pick a few 2013s up soon. (525 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours into Chimay chalices a murky chestnut with a pillowy off-white cap that lasts forever. A hugely malty and complex nose leads to cinnamon, raisins, sherbert, berries, dark rum, cloves lemon, cherry, vanilla, meringue etc. in the massive taste. Hops are restrained as you'd expect, just fending off cloyingness. The mouthfeel is full bodied but just less than oily, with a moderate carbonation. The finish is sweet and long lasting, with just a light soothing alcohol spice. It's remarkable how well the 10% is hidden in this beer. The oak aging doesn't impart to much flavor.

Impossibly intricate and nuanced for the abv. Also dangerously drinkable. A very good Belgian Dark Ale worth seeking out. This brewery has a knack at these super strong Belgian styles. (766 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml C+C bottle into a goblet. #2011-91282, Best before 12-12-2016.

A - Clear dark brown body. Lets a good bit of light through. Nice and dense off white head with fantastic lacing and retention.

S - Tons of spice. Cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel, maple syrup, and candied plums and raisins. A touch of earthy and bready yeast. Light oak and vanilla tannins.

T - Christmas spices lead into dark candied fruits and maple syrup. The finish is yeasty with notes of bready malt, bananas, and spicy esters. A light oak presence with a faint alcohol warmth. Mouth feel is well carbonated but medium bodied.

O - This is an excellent beer. The dark fruits and caramel/brown sugar work really well off of the spicy and banana strong Belgian yeast strain. A beer worth cellaring for sure, seems like it would evolve really well over time. (835 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Beer is very a very dark ruby red. Large beige head with lots of activity - bubbling pretty frantically and dissipates at a pretty quick pace, leaving a fair bit of lacing behind.

Smell has lots of dark fruit - cherry, currant and red grape. Quite rich and deep. A bit of a medicinal hint. Fairly sweet but not overly so. Yeast. Vanilla and oak is noticeable but in the background- not as prominent as I would have expected.

Taste has the same dark fruit flavours, lots of dark cherry and plum as well. A bit of brown sugar, giving a candied flavour to the fruit. Alcohol is noticeable but not overly so. Like the nose, vanilla and oak flavours are there but not strongly. Fairly subtle. Some spice is there as well. Very nice.

Beer is sticky, full bodied but a little thinner than expected. Some alcohol heat is noticeable.

Very glad that they brewed this one again. This is a great beer and the oak is done very nicely. It is subtle enough so that even if you are not typically a fan of barrel-aged beers, this one could be for you. Reminds me of the Pannepot lineup, but the wood is not nearly as obvious as on the Reserva or Grand Reserva. Very good beer. (1,182 characters)

Photo of themind
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My favorite style of beer represented well with this offering. Although I prefer less carbonation this beer has a rich, complex taste that is very enjoyable. Poured a nice head and has a nice malty, rich aroma. This is a very good beer and worthy of its high ratings. If you can get it, grab it. The complex dark fruits and dry aftertaste finish this outstanding beer from Unibroue.

Bottom Line: Excellent but it's not Solitude. (429 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage bottle

Appearance - reddish brown body with tan head

Smell - plums, red wine, figs

Taste - plums, grapes, figs, oak, red wine, blackberry

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, high level of carbonation, full, rich, sweetness from the dark fruits upfront, oak on the backend, which is integrated into the flavor nicely

Overall - very good Belgian ale. Recommended

Price Point - $12.99/ 750 ML bottle (406 characters)

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.