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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

240 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 240
Hads: 1,028
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 85
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: 1,028
Photo of BGDrock
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 brew date, aged 1 year

Appearance: muddy, root beer brown; beige head fades swiftly to just a rim

Aroma: apple juice, white grape; fruity esters dominate; candy sweet; light overall

Taste & Mouthfeel: big apple cider flavour with some great yeast spice notes that are a perfect match - feels like a fall beer; medium body, clean texture, alcohol very well hidden; dates; sweetness builds, getting more sugary, although with a bit of tartness at the finish and a some alcohol vapours which actually benefit the overall experience; a hint of oak is verified when I check the label; some smooth pulpy feel, again reminiscent of fresh pressed cider

Overall: a fantastic yeasty beer, just the way a belgian ale should be, although wouldn't have minded a bit more variety in the fruit flavours (796 characters)

Photo of RickS95
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling

Pours a rich burgundy brown. Not quite as dark as I thought it would be. The head is a finger and a half thick with moderate retention. After some resting, a faint white-ish film rests gently on top.

It's got a lot of spices. Cinnamon comes to mind most. Very malty. Some yeast. A bit of coffee and what smells like chili.

A boatload of malt and plenty of spices. I pick up more cinnamon, malt. Like the nose, coffee and chili spice, and a hit of alcohol in the finish.

It's almost too spicy, but stops just before it crosses the line. Just enough sweetness to offset the spice. Medium bodied. Not hot, but more heat than you'd imagine. Fairly crisp, carbonated finish.

It's a big, strong beer. Definitely a sipper. Tastes more like a seasonal for the fall or winter months with all the spice. A good beer, probably something that could use some more aging. (878 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a deeper mahogany color with a good head of off-white froth that stuck around for awhile.
(S)- Some deep spiced raisin. Almost rum-like with some coconut and pecan.
(T)- Lots of dark fruits (plum, raisin, cassis, prune). Met with a light cinnamon/coriander spice.
(M)- A good carbonation level. I like the feel this has; almost like a mulled spice wine but more on the fruit end of it.
(O)- I like the play on flavors with this one (495 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Grand Reserve bottle purchased from the LCBO & poured in to a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Poured a medium ruby/brown colour, only very slightly translucent with 2 fingers of thick, bubbly cream coloured head.

S - Belgian yeast, dark fruit, caramel, toffee, raisins and a light orchard fruit aroma.

T - Belgian yeast, plum, fig, raisins, caramel and toffee. The flavours are well balanced with no one flavour being dominant. The oak is very subtle in the background.

M - Medium body, chewy. Light carbonation. (517 characters)

Photo of BBP
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, but a bit more brown and clear than is normal for the style. At first the head is full and persistent, but it fades away about halfway through the drink. Lacing exists, but is slight.

The aroma is extremely malty. Both dark malts and roasted malts clash while asserting their presences.

The taste is far less sweet than a typical BSDA due to the excess of roasted malts involved. It also suggests that a fair amount of hops are in play as well. The initial aftertaste is a blast of oak and then the malts come in to leave you with a roasty cocoa like finish.

The body is medium in thickness and heavy in weight. The finish is dry and moderately sticky. Carbonation is just right.

Overall, this was pretty far from the typical BSDA, yet it was more to my liking than many of them. The roasted malt really made this one a bit more complex and it kept it away from cloying sweetness. The first bottle I had nearly a year ago wasn't so memorable, but I think it's really improved with a little bit of age. (1,021 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011vintage. Murky brown colour but the nose makes up for the appearance. Big old fruit and yeasty notes waft out apparent from a foot away. The beer takes Minute to set itself up as the age is a factor on the flavour The beer is quite complex and the sweetness is mostly taken from the finish. It is a great Belgium dubbel that shows off what unibroue is famous for. I have had better beers from them but this is still a great showing (435 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a twany brown with decent head on top of a dark and tropical fruit aroma, some very noticeable yeast along with sugary goodness and that touch of orange/citric spice along with spices. Smooth, semi-creamy medium body that has a fuller mouthfeel thanks to that distinct yeast. This beer has a crackle to it thanks to some lively spices that are peppery and clove-like and there are plenty of fruit flavors. There's an easy to spot orange/banana like citric taste, as well as some black cherry or figs for a dark fruit taste and then there's fruits across the board like apple and grape that I pick up here and there. Well-balanced between this fruits and some spicy and sweet malty goodness, the beer has a lively finish thanks to some good carbonation as well and is a very enjoyable sipper. (798 characters)

Photo of Atacama_Rain
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2014 Bottled, BB 02-29-2019.

Wrestled with the cork for a solid 5 minutes only to have it split perfectly flush with the top of the bottle with a few mm remaining, had to push the cap into the bottle. After that ordeal i was expecting a heavily carbonated ale, and was greeted with maybe 2 total bubbles for the entire pour. I kid you not this thing was entirely flat.

I warily dove in anways and took a few swigs, and it is delicious, dark fruits, slight nutmeg/cinnamon and oak finish, followed by strong oak aftertastes.

I tend to expect absolute greatness from Unibroue (and they have always delivered up until this point), but this lapse in quality control and complete lack of carbonation is concerning. This will likely be the lowest rating I ever give one of thier beers sadly. The taste is there, but it feels like i'm drinking juice... not beer :/

my best advice is to find a 2013 vintage or wait a few months for some late 2014 bottles with BB dates past 2019. Judging by other reviews and my experiences, the 2014 vintage with BB dates roughly 2018-2019 should be avoided. (1,088 characters)

Photo of Dave1999
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2014:

Pours a very dark brown with a white head. The head retention is excellent for the abv.

The smell is dark fruits, plums, earth, a little alcohol, cloves.

The taste is belgian yeast, cloves, alcohol, corriander, pepper.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, syrupy with medium carbonation.

A decent beer, I would've rated a bit higher if it wasn't quite so heavy on the spices. Non the less I will enjoy sipping on this for a couple of hours. (454 characters)

Photo of Auracom
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing as I type, for once. Bottle purchased from MSCM months ago. 8 oz. poured into a FFF Rastal on September 13th, 2012.

A - Quite clear amber/mahogany coloring. 3 fingers of a light khaki head dissipated quickly. Thin retention with good lacing. Moderate alcohol legs.

S - Unibroue's classic yeast strain, with floral perfume, cherries, and light oak.

T - Lots more oak barrel character than the nose. Touch of dark, bitter, pitted fruit. Lightly oxidized with soft cherry. A bit of caramel and bread.

M - High carbonation, thin-medium body, semi-sweet finish.

D - Better than anticipated. This one has aged fairly well and is probably the best I've had from this Canadian venture. (697 characters)

Photo of GuinnessAtRogerWilco
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

AP: Cinnamon brown colour, fluffy 1/2" head that dissipates down to a dusting with minimal lacing.
AR: A lot of aromas hit you at once with this one. I'm taking several whiffs to discern the individual scents. Oak, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, candi sugar, rum/brandy soaked figs and cherries, raisin bread and Belgian yeast.
T: Mirrors the nose. There's not much else to add about the flavour that I described in the aroma. Tastes identical to what it smells like. Though, the 10% ABV is pretty well hidden.
M: Not as full bodied or creamy as I was expecting. Moderate body, off dry finish, moderate carbonation.
OV: A solid and tasty brew, just not quite what I was anticipating. I thought it would be a heartier darker Ale with a bit of a more chewy body. Description on the bottle says "A Dark Ale", but to me it's more of a Brown Ale which I don't consider 'dark' since Brown Ales look dark red when you hold them to the light. Black and plum are dark, brown is an Earth tone. Whatever. I like it just fine as it's got some nice flavours on it. A good sipper or would even pair well with rich desserts or foods with heavier sauces. (1,199 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Version Bottle# 68006

A huge tan head quickly dissipated to sit permanently atop the beer, which is slightly opaque, dark brown-copper with golden highlights. Thick chunky lacing rings the goblet, and fine bubbles are active up the side of the glass.

Smells of spices, coriander, and wood. The Unibroue yeast is present as well as some bready malts.

Tastes of the spices up front, leading to a grape fruity tartness, with a hint of that yeast. The tastes smooths as it warms.

Texture is smooth, almost creamy. Fine bubbles like champagne burst in the mouth, but not annoyingly so, and aren't so present as it aerates.

A fine beer, I will be aging one to see how it does. The spices are just a tad much, the wife says they're weird. However, I liked it, and would recommend it with that disclaimer.

DOA (812 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass. (Bottled 2011)

Appearance: It comes off a slightly hazy dark amber soft bubbles throughout the body. The head is pretty thick right off the bat it's white with bit of an orange tint.

Smell: A light yeast aroma that hovers your nostrils, really good so far.

Taste: This beer a little sweet but then again little bitter, has a bourbon to a scotch feel that you can't get enough.

Mouth: Oh yes, very sticking and incredibly smooth.

Overall: This beer is really good, I wish I remember how much it went for because I have had it sitting for a very long time also considering it was probably bottled about a year ago. If you can find it, give it a go...Salud! (687 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a fairly dark amber color with three fingers of off white form. Decent retention, good lacing.

S: Spicy oak is quite strong in this beer - very perfumey. I also get some prunes and orange peel. Though the French oak compliments the aroma, it's a bit too strong.

T: Spicy oak is again quite strong with plums and prunes to help sweeten a beer that stays pretty dry for the style. Orange bitters works well with the oak to help balance the sweet dark fruits.

M: On the thin side with fairly high carbonation, but it goes well with the beer.

O: I really enjoy this beer, but the oak is a bit too strong. The flavors meld well together, but this beer would be great with toned down French oak. (731 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)

Photo of Wasatch
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml
Caged/Corked
Bottled In: 2011
Best Before: 12-12-2016

Poured into a chalice a nice dark grape color, nice carbonation, with a little fizzy off-white head, with very minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, plums, figs, grapes, and raisins. The taste is very nice, malty, yeasty, with lots of dark fruit goodness. The ABV is hidden very well with this brew. Medium body. Overall another very nice brew from Unibroue. (463 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 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 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)

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