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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.

249 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 249
Hads: 1,050
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 91
Gots: 319 | 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.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 249 | Hads: 1,050
Photo of ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark copper-brown with a finger of frothy tan-khaki head. Fades fairly slow.

S - Dark caramel malts, raisin and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, pepper, cloves, and other spices, oak, vanilla, some booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, raisin, fig, and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, clove, pepper, and other spices, oak, vanilla, a touch of sourness and candi sugars, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Great BSDA. Great balance and the oak is a nice touch.

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Photo of 4ster
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage, Drank 2014 from Tulip.

Didn't try it upon release, but seems to have really smoothed out, and probably bumped up a few ABV's.. Unfortunately didn't get to write a proper review.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Bottle 2014-09132. Best by 02-12-2019.
A: Pours a dark, murky brown with 1 inch light tan head. Good retention. Faint lacing.
S: Booze soaked raisins, cinnamon, sweet malt, light molasses, clove, and maybe a hint of all spice.
T: Cinnamon and sweet malt hit first, closely followed by the booze soaked raisins. Bready yeast, clove, and a hint of light molasses. With warming, oak notes emerge.
M: Medium body...drinks much lighter than you'd expect from a 10% brew. Sweet (malt and spice) throughout. Decent lingering on the palate.
D: A highly drinkable 10% brew. Sweetness is a big component of the beer. A solid offering from Unibroue.

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Photo of ESPNman
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - It pours a dark murky brown (with a touch of red) with very little off-white fizzy head. Very little retention, a bit of spotty lacing.

S - Lots of over-ripe candied fruit that is balanced out with clove and banana Belgian-type scents. Plenty of spice and big dark oak flavors round out the nose. The oak really dominates as the brew warms up.

T - Even more dark oak and spice than what was present in the nose. Great dark Belgian Fruit esters come through beautifully to really give this beer the special barrel aged beer taste. Not as sweet as I expected, and I'm quite thankful for that.

M - Thin and with less carbonation than I would expect. Very dry on the finish. I would expect more champagne-like carbonation from this, but it's not bad.

O - Excellent beer, I'm curious to see how it would do with a couple of years of aging.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve is perfectly clear, a fact hard to appreciate given the beer's dark, prune-like colour. Hold it into the light, however, and it reveals itself to be practically tie-dyed with all shades of purple and ruby. There's no black here. If looking for head, all you'll find is whatever foam made its way safely to the outskirts.

The bouquet is perfumed like a rose and has a coriander-like air, rich molasses sweetness and just a hint of ash from the French oak barrels. I detect a dried orange peel pithiness, though the beer's fruitiness might better be described by raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune - take your pick. There's no wrong answer. Just add brown sugar.

The toasty flavor is almost truffle-like in both its meatiness and earthiness. The beer essentially drinks like a roasted Portobello burger, or at least would if not for the sweet-savory tastes of plum pudding and rum-raisin that share the flavor. There's no overlooking the dark fruits, molasses sweetness, and peppery, clove-like spice.

For all the caramelized sugar and syrup-like qualities, it's a wonder the beer never becomes cloying. This is even more astounding once you factor in the 10% alcohol. The fact that this is so approachable, even once losing its chill, is a testament to a generously malted, super enticing flavor profile that is as balanced as it is complex.

The aftertaste is underscored by a cola-like sweetness that sticks like the underlining of a wet bathing suit. It is thick but lush with floral features like honey. The peppery spice is impossible to overlook, despite all the dark rum sweetness, but is made more palatable by the a dry oak wood finish and remnant flavors of plum and grape.

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve, like the best examples of Belgian strong dark ales, has a complexity that even Stephen Hawking would have trouble getting his head around. It is somehow simultaneously sweet, spicy, savory and fruity. Strong yet easy to drink. Like so many Unibroue products, this can hold its own with any of the heavyweights in Belgium.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 10/29/12 notes. This is the version rebrewed in 2011, with a best by date of 12-12-2016 on the bottle. Have had it for several months, 750ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a murky reddish brown color with one finger plus of fluffy off white head that's lasts for a minute or two and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, oak, spices, raisins, oak, roasted and toasted malts, fruity malts, light vanilla, and Belgian yeast. Really awesome nose; it's like La Fin De Monde with a little bit of oak to it. Really nice.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, alcohol, bready malts, sweet raisins, plums, figs, oak, toasted malts, light vanill and burnt malts. A little more alcohol here than the nose, but still really nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall an awesome beer from Unibroue. I like a lot of their stuff and this is up there as one of their best in my opinion. Awesome nose and easy to drink; definitely worth getting if you're a fan of Unibroue.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

split and paired with a NY strip, hen of the woods shrooms and seabeans. #northwest

appearance: dark chestnut-garnet body, thick creamy beige head with strong lace

smell: earthy, figs, dried cherries, brown sugar, a touch of smoke

taste: lovely - brown sugar, dates, figs, roasted nuts, maple, dark malt, oak, a fair amount of spice.

mouthfeel: light and lively, well carbonated

overall: great stuff - no surprise from unibroue

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Photo of Etan
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Bottle number 2011-108718.

A: Pours a rich dark purplish brown with an absolutely beautiful, sparkling, rocky off-white head. Very nice retention with sticky lacing. Fantastic.

S: Strong aroma of dark fruits. Fig, prune, grape, bready yeast, sugary cake. Alcohol comes out as it warms.

T: Follows the nose with a seriously smooth blend of dark fruit, most prominently juicy purple grape. Mushy prune, grape, vanilla, whole grain bread, coriander, candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, with a peppery bite of alcohol underneath, smoothed a bit by faint oak. A bit of hop bitterness and a characteristic metallic flavor from the yeast in the finish. Sweetish bready, buttery yeast lingers.

M: Characteristic for a strong Belgian - frothy carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable. Not quite as good as Chimay Blue (alcohol isn't as well integrated/hidden), but almost.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage 750ml poured into a Teku glass

L: Pours a murky deep brown, creating a dense khaki head with small foamy bubbles and good head retention.

S: Dark fruits with an interesting lemon note stand out. Befitting the style, a lot of doughy malt pulls through as well with some chocolate, spice and citrus. The oak is pretty restrained, coming through with just a hint of vanilla and general woodiness.

T: The flavor of this beer gets deeper and richer as you get further into the sip. Nondescript dark fruit and bread upfront, followed by figs, raisons, and a distinct chocolaty finish. Just enough bitterness to hold it all together. Not a lot of oak character aside from some slight vanilla and wood spice, though this does pop a bit more as the beer warms.

F: Medium body with moderate carbonation, and just a slight warming in the finish. Incredibly drinkable for the ABV.

Overall: This is a very tasty beer that will not disappoint fans of Unibroue’s BSDA lineup. I’d like to see the oak play a stronger role in its character, and perhaps in the next iteration the brewery could try another maturation method besides oak spirals or else let the beer sit a bit longer, but I’d certainly buy this again and look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle #118024 poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Best before 12-12/2016. Opened on 08/27/2015. Cellared at 53 degrees in a fridge lying on its side. Bottle agitated lightly and then stood upright 72 hours before opening.

Smells heavenly. Well matured notes of Belgian style yeast- with a touch of citrus rind and a hint of clove tea, peach skin, dry bread crust, and a touch of bubble gum.

The flavor is deep and subtle, like a well aged BSDA should be. Caramel, the ghosts of warm spices, dark bread and hints of raisins hit me first. The flavors are so melded it is hard to name anything in particular. It is as if there is only one flavor here- Grande Reserve 17. I am rarely at a loss for words with beer.

The mouthfeel is actually thinning a bit I suspect, and I think it would be the first to go in the long haul with aging. The carbonation is going strong, and the overall flavors are still wonderful.

Conclusion: My first of this beer, so I never tried it fresh. I bet it would have been tasty but overwhelming then, as it is still a big boy at this advanced age. Well worth a try if you can find a bottle. Another fantastic beer from a brewery that I seldom try but am always impressed by.

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Photo of Lucho
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: pours dark amber with a once inch beautiful white foamy head and excellent lacing

Smell: Apples! Green grapes, light oak, very little dark fruits like mission figs and others. Awesome nose that hits you with sparkling apple cider that has been held in oak.

Taste: Wow! This is awesome! Green grapes and apples with some maltyness, with some oak but does not overpower the fruits. There is not much alcohol flavor as this beer is at 10%. easy drinking as it begs you to take another sip. lets see how it open up towards the end of the bottle. I'll come back to this. It did not change too much as it warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Very well balanced with a medium to slightly thick body with perfect carbonation that bounces of the tongue.

Overall: This is a killer beer that has aged very well. I had this when it was released and wow has it mellowed out and fallen into place. Cant wait to revisit in another year. Cheers!

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Photo of Hazer115
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I shared a bottle with my brother. This beer poured a great golden amber with a short one finger head that didn't last very long.

I could really pick up on several notes from banana to vanilla to smoked oak.

All of the aromas carried over to the taste as well with a slight since of the alcohol content slipping in there.

A very bright and full mouthfeel with a lot of carbonation.

Overall, a very good beer and one that I would recommend to others.

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Photo of Rutager
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance. Pours a deep and hazy amber-brown with a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Brown sugar, cloves, orchard fruits, a little bit of peppery spices, caramel, and even a bit of banana and maybe a trace of smoke.

Taste. Brown sugar, caramel and spice, fruits both dark and light, raisins, pepper and just a little woody vanilla. Wow, this is pretty nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium-full, fairly smooth carbonation.

Overall. A very nice, very high quality Belgian style beer. I enjoyed it more than I expected.

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Photo of hermit990
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage. 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown. Two fingers worth of a tan colored head that recedes to a thin foam. Slight alcohol leg presence. Decent lacing sticking. Little visible carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet, dark fruits. Raisins. Slightly tart, cherry aroma. Vinous. Spice, reminding of cinnamon blending in with the sweetness. Roasted malt presence. Raisin bread. Slight vanilla.

Taste: Quick brown sugar sweetness upfront fades into a roasted, malty bitterness. Breadiness carrying into chocolate and coffee. Dark fruit and spice flavor lead into oak and vanilla on the finish. Slight alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Feels very smooth gliding through the mouth and over the tongue. Alcohol warmth blends in well with the spice. Aftertaste is a bit dry, lingering with the sweet alcohol heat.

Overall: This is a good offering from Unibroue. Compared to the 2013 vintage at this point, there is less bitterness and more of the sweetness coming through. Easy to find and affordable ($10 per bottle in my area) if Unibroue is available to you. A very good beer, though I find myself preferring some of their other options.

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Photo of stephens101
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a bold tan head (2+ fingers). Dark brown and crimson in color. Great retention. Has a grainy aroma with some dark fruits (cherries, black grapes) phenols and slight vinegar notes. A splash of dark fruit to the tongue is followed by a certain graininess, burnt sugar, sweet bread and light hops. Some cotton candy sweetness is noticed as it warms and I find some oak deep down. Medium bodied and a bit airy, smoothly textured, and with a thin veil of alcohol heat. Residing in the realm of the best. I only with this wasn't a one-off.

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 09-29-2012
Freshness: 2011 Vintage, Best by 12-12-2016
Packaging: 750ml brown bottle, corked and caged
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Review #400!

Appearance is a dark brown beer, nearly opaque, with red tinges. A big, tan head of 3+ fingers shows excellent retention and very good lace.

Aromas are rich, of aged wood, sweet caramel malts, raisins, and a slight smokiness.

The taste is malty and full, with sweet over-ripened fruits, spices, grapes, Belgian yeast character, and earthiness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full-bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. Aftertastes are of wood and cherries -- somewhat sweet with a little sour aspect as well.

Overall a very delightful anniversary ale from Unibroue. Strong, with a nice alcohol warmth to it. Mellowed out nicely as it came to room temps. Recommended

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Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark brown glass with murky edge of light brown. The head starts a big 2 finger head and drops to a thin brown cover that leaves a few little drops of lace.

Smell: Strong notes of the house Unibroue yeast, a blend of dark fruit, alcohol whiffs, a light lemon twist.

Taste: Rich, but not overpowering. The dark fruit, plum, cherry, and a bit of tannin, that all manages to stay light and almost airy.

Feel: High carbonation is almost champagne like with a light body that dries quickly leaving a mild chalky note.

Overall: A masterful beer. Great flavor, rich but not heavy, complex but subtle, great execution. The dry finish is a slight drag on the total package, but encourages another tasty sip.

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Photo of themind
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
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

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Photo of neurobot01
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Updated review: finished the bottle the next night. Not sure if it was because of the slight extra oxidation, or the warmer starting temperature, but I got a much more complex taste this time around: cherries, toffee, rounded oak, lime, smoke, bourbon, light-roasted coffee. The feel is also a more medium-bodied, and isn't so ephemeral. Original review below.


2013 c&c bottle (best before 2/28/18) into a Teku at fridge temp.

Look: dark brown, almost purplish, with a huge light tan head that settles down to 1cm. (4.25)

Smell: pumpkin bread still in the oven, eggnog, sweetness reminiscent of Abt 12. (4.5)

Taste: something a bit savory that I attribute to the oak; pumpernickel, apple, spices. (4.0)

Feel: surprisingly light, fluffy body. Dryish finish, sort of disappears save for a slight lingering bitterness. (4.0)

Overall: the aroma on this is very good, but the taste just doesn't quite match. Would be interested to try this closer to its best-by. (4.25)

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Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

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Photo of mscudder
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - dark brown with foamy, tan head, and good retention
A - terrific - wine (Chardonnay? - don't know wines), oak, dark fruit and caramel
T - follows nose, with grape finish
F - lighter body than expected, but great carbonation and pleasantly sweet finish more than make up for it

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 249 ratings.