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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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Reviews: 240 | Hads: 1,025
Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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 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 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. (752 characters)

Photo of Pahn
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 2 inch fizzy off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a small ring of lacing. Pours a semi-translucent chestnut/maroon, not much lacing. Great color.

Smell: At first, smells like a witbier (coriander, a little clove). Quickly gets augmented with Belgian quad aromas, dark fruit, cola. Signature Unibroue yeast aroma, augmented by clove, some smokiness, mild ambiguous dark fruit. Spicy and effervescent. Very nice.

Taste: Coriander and clove, with some ambiguous dark fruit heavily influenced by the spice (in other words, tastes like it smells, though a bit milder and even more unbalanced toward spice). Same signature Unibroue yeast that you ought to expect from every Unibroue beer (I like it). Nice French oak undertones, very subtle (creamy, almost-vanilla / almost-coconut) that aren't detectable in every sip, but are a good counterpoint to the spicy main flavor. Fruity, spicy aftertaste. Bit boozy, but appropriate.

The flavors here are good, with the spice giving a tangy, smoky tinge to the dark fruit and Belgian yeast, but it's not very deep. A beer like this, I want more adventurousness... but it tastes good. Other complaint is that the spice use is a heavyhanded element among a few significantly subtler elements, which isn't so great.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium bodied. Very carbonated (over- for my tastes). Good finish; neither dry nor sugary.

Overall: Enjoyable, especially if you like Unibroue's regular lineup (mildly backhanded compliment). Interesting beer, with flashes of brilliance (the restrained oak influence, the clove/dark fruit interplay, the bold aroma). Nowhere near great, but I like it very much. (1,719 characters)

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 (867 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up during a trade with misterb303 while in Denver! Bottle #2011-118242. Cloudy mahogany pour with a creamy two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Wonderful woody, spicy, complex nose. Lots of oak along with hints of dark fruit, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and just a touch of banana. The taste is just as big and just as complex. The oak is once again the star, with hints of nuts, raisins, black cherries, figs, tobacco, maple, vanilla, and brown sugar, with just a bit of cocoa, cinnamon, and booze. The mouthfeel starts off with moderate carbonation, but as it comes to temp, it becomes slightly chewy with a great subtle alcohol warming. Don't drink this too cold. This beer definitely lives up to the hype and I'd love to get my hands on another and leave it in the cellar for a while. (817 characters)

Photo of LutherBrau
4.69/5  rDev +10.9%

Appearance: Deep Brown color with Ruby Highlights. Strong degree of opacity. Off-white/tan finger’s-worth of lacy head that does not dissipate and clings well to the sides of the glass. No visible carbonation

Smell: Rich and bready, subtle roasted malt notes balance well with cocoa tones.

Taste: Rich sweetness all over the tongue but not cloyingly so. Just enough hop bitterness to add dimension to the malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied. Coats the tongue like a cool blanket. No tactile presence of carbonation and slight alcohol warming on the back of the palate.

Overall: I purchased this bottle to celebrate tasting my 500th different brew and the boys up North sure didn’t disappoint. This ale is brewed once yearly and this particular example was bottled in 2013. Past awards include 68 Gold and 8 Platinum Awards in International Judging. This is a beer that deserves to speak for itself. Hunt one down and save it for a quiet, reflective night. (974 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottle, aged for one year.

A: Reddish dark brown with 3-4 finger head. Lots and lots of lacing everywhere.

S: Oak, some funk(?), brown sugar, some spice, caramel - complex.

T: Awesome. It's great. I can really taste oak, wine, caramel malt, spices. This bottle has that unique flavor present in most Unibroue beers, but way more complex. I would say this beer is caramel malt forward with the oak barrel, wine, and vanilla hitting in the middle, followed by some cola like flavor (and some candy-like sweetness), and finishes off with more wine and spices. I also tastes some apple and dark fruits as well. Alcohol is not detected much.

M: Smoooth and creamy. Thick but not syrupy.

O: Awesome brew. French oak aging must have added extra layers of complexities in the nose and taste. Highly recommended. (825 characters)

Photo of videofrog
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

O: Alcohol still fairly well hidden for a brew meant to mellow with age. One of Unibroue's better offerings, which says a lot. Really wish I had the patience to cellar one of these. (814 characters)

Photo of Kromes
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. A hazy dark brown color with a thick tan colored head that leaves lacing down the glass.

Earthy oak, fig, Belgian yeast, clove, slight toasted malt aroma.

A nice toasted malt and raisin/molasses flavor at first. The clove and plum flavors then kick in and blend with an earthy yeast and roasted malt. The roasted malt, clove, and alcohol linger in the finish.

Full body with higher carbonation and a bit of peppery spice and alcohol burn on the tongue.

Fully expected this to be a quality dark ale and it didn't dissappoint. Very nice especially on a cold night like tonight. (600 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 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 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. (192 characters)

Photo of Strix
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a good head.

Smells of the typical unibroue yeast, plus clove, cinnamon and sort of a leathery note.

Typical unibroue yeast and dark fruits, but heavy spice notes, including clove, black pepper and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel carbonated and slick.

Overspiced for me on this one. I have high expectations for Unibroue, so this one was a bit of a disappointment. Just wasn't feeling the flavor profile. (430 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 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. (835 characters)

Photo of DavidST
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass, 2011 edition. This pours a hazy dark brown tea color with a massive foamy tan head with a pretty good retention. The smells are of sweet malts, yeast easters, banana, ripe fruit, funk. The feel is medium, high carbonation. The taste is pretty good full flavor lots of sweetness malts, fruit and a little dry on the day down. The high alcohol is completely absent. (409 characters)

Photo of ZorPrime
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is brown with some red on the edges. The head is beige color and disappear quite fast. The aroma is timid initially. Maybe the beer is too cold, I'll let it warm a little bit. After a little bit, I notice some notes of caramel malts, oak and dark fruits (blackberry and cherry). In the mouth, it is quite carbonated... just like all unibroue beers. Slightly spicy. Some other aspect found in the aroma are present in the mouth. This is a pretty decent beer from Unibroue. One of their best. (500 characters)

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. (429 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 rapidsequence
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle. Nice packaging. Bought at Ned's. Don't remember the price.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, red-brown. Off white head with tiny bubbles. Retention and lacing are not great. Doesn't look impressive.

Smell: Big spicy Unibroue yeast aroma. The bottle says "brewed with spices," so I guess its not all yeast derived phenols. Fruity, toasty, and bready. Oak? Maybe. But a damn good smelling beer regardless.

Taste: Yes, very spicy, maybe a bit overdone. Oak taste is very prominent and combined with the dark fruity flavors adds a big vinous component to the beer. From the middle to the end, tannins, bitterness, and alcohol burn are present, but not unpleasant. Nice bready yeastiness in the finish too.

Moouthfeel: Medium full with lots of very soft carbonation. Oaky tannins.

Overall: Really tasty and complex beer. I think less (or no) spice additions would help this out, as would some additional time in the bottle. (947 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Such a beautiful thick lacing on the glass I wanted to lick it off. Its that weird? Whatever. Looks exactly like what a strong dark belgian should look like

Smell: Yeast with some exotic spices. The dark fruits play a role but not as much as I would have expected.

Taste: Awesomeness. Dark fruits take over here with some spicy undertones. The flavors are not overpowering, they mix together and really make you enjoy them. Brilliantly dance off of one another which really makes you wonder if you are still drinking a dark belgian. Simply wonderful.

Mouthfeel: OHH baby, so smooth its almost crazy. It was hard to put this one down because it was so creamy and delicious. The yeast sticks in your mouth along with all the other flavors presented in this beer.

Overall: I think Unibroue is one of the truly elite breweries in the world. Their products consistently bring top notch quality. This Anniversary Ale is a true delight and worth a buy. (961 characters)

Photo of seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

2013. 750 ml bottle at Beer Authority, NYC. Paid way too much but I look at it as a one time thing. I'm a big Unibroue fan because of the unique yeast flavor. This brew has just a hint as the stars are the caramel/malt flavors. This thing is growing on me proportionally to the rose in my cheeks. I can feel, from behind the mask, my complexion turning to that of the jovial monk that bedecks most Trappist labels. It's 70F outside but I'm in a Yuletide flava'. Do not....I repeat ...do not...misconstrue this as a complaint. The further I get into this endeavor, the more disembodied I get. Is that Tim Leary over there drinking W/Jerry Garcia. Methinks it just might be. In the end this was a most enjoyable venture. (719 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW what a beer! Flavour upon flavor. Excellent.

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

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

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

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

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

Thx for reading (649 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: I poured this out slowly resulting in only a thin finger of head and minimal lacing. The colour is a deep mahogany, mostly clear except for a little suspended sediment.

S: Up front over ripe dark fruits, raisins, cherries and prunes. Scents of dried fruits soaked in bourbon rum, and smooth bourbon vanilla. Bread and yeast mingles giving hints of fresh banana bread. Finishes with a slight hint of alcohol.

T: Sweet dark cherries and prunes mingle again with smooth bourbon vanilla, probably as a result of the oak aging. Mid palate there are some rich smooth coffee notes, and finish with a slight hint of warm alcohol.

M: Medium bodied, an excellent mix of carbonation and thin syrup coating. Enough left on the palate to insist on more.

O: The dark fruits paired with the oak aging creates depth and richness in both the flavour and on the nose. Unibroue proves once again that it can tip the scales from great brew to excellent. It's well worth picking up a few bottles, sniff, sip and enjoy. (1,008 characters)

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