Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

Not Rated.
Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.

244 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 244
Hads: 1,038
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 86
Gots: 312 | 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 (32) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 244 | Hads: 1,038
Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this one up locally when it was first released but haven't gotten around to it until now. Enjoyed from a Unibroue tulip side-by-side with a regular 17.

a - identical in looks to the 17 deep murky brown with a traditional creamy Belgian head that hung out for ages and left sheaths of lace that moved as a giant chunk connected to the surface.

s - nose is a very focused Belgian strong dark. Nice oak notes layered on top of deep dark fruit...think figs, grapes, plums, prunes...with a great Belgian sweetness that rounds things out. The regular 17 comes across a bit syrupy in the nose and overly rich...that one has seen its prime but the grand reserve seems to smell just right at the moment.

t/m/o - as the nose suggests, a perfect balance of Belgian sweetness and dark fruit. Perhaps this one has peaked but if so, it was recent as it is tasty like a champ at the moment.it has that fantastic Unibroue feel. The regular 17 is definitely on the syrupy side, but not as bad as the nose suggested...but the grand reserve is in a really nice place right now. Drink up if you have em.

 1,098 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

 765 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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 gford217
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours dark mahogany with some ruby showing through the edges under a small thick tan head that leaves no lacing.

Aroma is dark and fruity but has more spices than I was expecting with some peppery notes and Belgian yeast. Also some clean fresh oak. The fruits are booze-soaked raisins and figs.

The taste starts wih the dark fruits but has an interesting toasty character to the malt profile. Then the fruity esters take over and some figs, raisins and spicy oak. The finish is a combo of sweet fruit and dry peppery spices.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated with lots of dry oak on the palate as well as brown sugar and molasses sweetness.

This is a really nice Belgian beer from Unibroue though not one of my favorites from them. Big, complex and woody.

 791 characters

Photo of gtermi
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a nice brown body with a thin white head that quickly fades to nothing.

S: The yeast from this beer has a very nice fruity aroma. I pick up a bit of oak that has a slight wine smell.

T: There is a strong amount of oak that gives it a nice red wine type flavor. I am also getting a nice fruitiness, which I get in every Unibroue beer.

M: Usually Unibroue brews have a strong crispness and very strong amount of carbonation, but this one is very mild and easy to drink. Freaking amazing.

O: This is such a nice beer and glad that I found a few bottles. I enjoy the wine flavor that it has and like the body. So nice.

 638 characters

Photo of Rutager
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

 526 characters

Photo of Gmann
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy reddish brown color with a big pillowy beige head that settles into a light cap with some spot lacing.

The aroma is sweet with dark fruit. Red grapes, raisins and brown sugar provide the sweet aroma. This is countered by mixture of clove, carob, and light leather. Has an overall spicy nature.

The taste is sweet with a brown sugar/dark candi sugar sweetness. Some raisin and prune dark fruit notes but not nearly as pronounced as in some other BSDA's. There is an undercurrent of caramel and a subtle oak tartness. Hints of carob and tobacco/leather provide a nice earthy quality. Some clovey spice. Wow, nice complexity here.

The feel is moderate with sharp fizzy carbonation, quite prickly. The beer is sweet but not overly so. Still it finishes sweet on the palate with a hint of tartness. I guess it could use a bit more of a bitter or tart offset.

Very tasty BSDA. Not overly fruity with prunes and raisins so it gets bonus points. Does have some earthy qualities. A re-make of their 17th aniversery brew, this is meant for some aging. I may plan on doing so.

 1,082 characters

Photo of jera1350
3.56/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany colored with a fluffy and sticky head of tan foam. Very nice retention and lacing.

The nose is wee bit light. There are notes of bubblegum, alcohol, some dark fruit and an herbal smell also.

Lots of oak going on throughout this beer. Quite herbal and a bit floral with some mild fruitiness and a good dose of alcohol. The finish has some bitterness from the wood and perhaps the hops. Big alcohol and oak on the end. The oak is actually pretty overpowering and harsh at times.

Very dry and tannic with soft carbonation in a medium body. Warm alcohol feel too.

A bit of a disappointment for me now, but I think this beer would do really well with age to tame the oak and booze. Just too raw as a fresh beer, but I see immense upside for the future of this one.

 777 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Monster head on top of a dark brown brew. Smell of some pepper, yeast, raisin, clove. Aroma really sweetens up as it warms. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, with heavy carbonation. Some figfy fruit and alcohol on the tongue. Finishes somewhat dry with some bready malt. Easy drinking, but not as complex as I had expected. Maybe a but more aging will bring the flavors out. Will have to grab another one to put away for a while.

 464 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1442nd Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet
750ml C/C

Best by 12-12-2016
Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills, CA for $13.99
Shared with my buddy Chris

***BE careful, big gusher. Open over the sink or outside***

App- When the foam settled from being a gusher as mentioned it was the beer was the color of rust mixed with brown and beige. The head was a giant 4 fingers from being disturbed and when settled into a 1-1/2-2 finger slow settler to a pond layer. No real lace or cling though.

Smell- A lovely mix in the glass of aromatics. An opening lovely vanilla from the french oak and a little of the wood splinter notes. Next came the spices, lending to allspice, clove and nutmeg notes. No trace of the ABV either. Super smooth.

Taste- I am a big fan of the yeast strain Unibroue uses and this opens with that lovely flavor and then is immediately taken over by vanilla, oak, spice and dark fruits. The flavors are well rounded not overly complex but flavorful and delicate at points.

Mouth- A bit too thin for me. Needs a bit more volume behind it. Seemed a bit to aerated for me. A high carbonation level on this one needed to be toned down a little as well. Residual oak and vanilla.

Drink- Its a tasty beer from Unibroue. All of them are. I think Im just being nitpicky on this one because I expected more from the Anniversary beers. Ill probably grab another one to sit on for a couple years.

 1,406 characters

Photo of papat444
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


***2011 Vintage***

Poured from a 750ml. bottle and shared with my wife (Date code: M12111602QFL, bottled Dec. 12, 2011)

Appearance: Massive foam that isn't overwhelming but still sturdy. Body is a light chestnut brown and the head is the color of lightly caramelized sugar. Very nice.

Smell: Strong Belgian overtones mixed with some oak soaked in white wine. Mild spicing as well.

Taste: The mellowness is the first thing that hits me. Cork and oak mixed with some mild wine-like overtones. Some spices with a lingering herb presence in the finish. Nice but not as complex as i would have anticipated.

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation with a body that feels quite smooth. Packs a little bit of heat.

Overall: Some nice oak aging nuances but to me, that's what they were, nuances. Left me wanting a little.

 826 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this brew since last fall, bottle 2011-7893, which has been aging in anticipation of cracking with my BA bro joemcgrath27.

A - Pours a slightly hazy ruby red, solid thumb of head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Scent is incredibly sweet and dominated by grape juice, hints of cloves, peppery spice and dark fruit notes on the finish.

T - This is where this brew shines, heavy fruit notes with the grape juice and red wine notes dominating alongside some tart toffee and burnt sugar caramel. A leafy green hop note lingers alongside hints of oak and a tart peppery finish.

M - Lighter bodied ale that fills the mouth yet goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - This brew delivered and I'm glad i was able to take it down alongside my BA bro in crime. This is a brew that ages quite well and has a dangerously hidden ABV. The alcohol is only detectable in the belly, making for a delicious and wildly satisfying ale. Grab a few if they're available, you won't be disappointed.

 1,033 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
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 jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle is a 2011 Vintage.

A - Pours a deep garnet amber color with a billowy head and really nice lacing retention when the glass is swirled.

S - Oak, some musty dankness, vanilla, figs, prunes, dried dark fruit, light toasted brown sugar and caramel, all the ingredients play very well together and makes for a satisfying experience for the nose. Not strong or overpowering, just eloquent and satisfying.

T - Oak and vanilla surface immediately from the beginning while the vanilla eventually fades the oak stays for the duration, dark fruit, prunes, and figs. Finishes with subtle oak and lingering spicy bitterness.

M - Medium body, gentle and velvety carbonation on the tongue.

O - Superbly done and ranks as one of the top Belgian Dark Ales I've experienced so far. Seek this one out, buy extras, enjoy one now and cellar the others. This 2011 bottle is stamped with a "Best By" of 12-12-16. Would love to have a bottle to try each year as it moves closer to that Best By date.

 993 characters

Photo of Dope
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark reddish-amber pour with a huge dense tan head sitting on top. Fades slowly, leaving nice rings of lacing behind.

S: Loads of strong, spicy belgian yeast along with lots of bread. Smells almost like spicebread. Some banana and raisins. Brown sugar and a little caramel. Maybe some cinnamon? Very malty, sweet and spicy.

T: Sweet bread and caramel. Lots of brown sugar and again there is the cinnamon. Some banana and earthiness mixes in in the middle. Oaky finish with some more spice.

M: Thick but fairly high carbonation helps cut it a bit.

O: A very spicy BSDA. I got some cinnamon and maybe even nutmeg, kinda like a BDSA/Winter Warmer mix in my mind. Complex and balanced. Sweet and malty. I enjoyed it a lot.

 729 characters

Photo of jrenihan
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
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 srandycarter
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
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 ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 544 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
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 peensteen
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown, one finger of tan head, some lace left on the glass. Smell is full of dark fruit soaked in alcohol, raisin and plum come to mind, dark bread scents, yeasty, lots of fruit in here, alcohol, ever so light notes of oak/wood. Taste follows the nose in the sense that dark fruit in alcohol are very present, yeasty, overripe plums, grapes and raisin, light oak aftertaste with faint banana candy flavours as well. Med carbonation, full body, silky feeling and very smooth. This is a fine specimen, a truly delicious brew worthy of its distinction.

 554 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle from Total Wine in late August for $12.99. Bottled in 2012, best before 12-18-17.

Beer poured garnet with a beautiful white head that is leaving lacing.

Nose is classic Belgian yeast and dark fruits.

Taste is dark fruits, a hint of vanilla oak, a bit of cocoa.

Mouthfeel is classic Belgian yeast strain, medium bodied yet light on the palate and smooth.

Overall this brew is superb. Alcohol is well hidden, taste is delicious and very smooth. Unibroue has this style nailed down stone cold!

 521 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2011-103402

This pours a raisiny cloudy color with tan cocoa foam. The aroma has a hint of vanilla and stone fruit along with a buttery note and a hint of tobacco.

It tastes smoothly mellow, giving off hints of stone fruit, raisin, and a leathery vanillin whisper. It’s smooth, mellow, sweet and pleasing. It hides the ABV well.

 339 characters

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a beer I had set aside for my 1000th beer. I change my mind because I asked for a poll on this site (which got deleted - but the admin gave me congratulations so I don't mind) and on the League on Facebook because it got deleted. I wish I hadn't listened to the poll, which voted for Barrel-Aged Bigfoot. This beer has phenomenal flavor, a darker color than anything I've seen in this style, and it is so smooth.

 422 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with a foamy off-white head that provides substantial and unwavering bubble coverage and leaves a thick coat of sticky lacing while drinking. The nose is yeast-forward with a hint of dried fig, alcohol, light oak and molasses (more so with warmth). It's full flavored with a slightly nutty malt base, bubble-gummy yeast, and lingering tannic bitterness. The beer has a rich winter-weather approved malt base, but is stretched thin by a big yeast fruit presence, bitter oak astringency, and double digit abv. The beer's generous carbonation helps oxy-clean some of those heavy flavors off the palate, but it still sits heavier than expected. Regardless of a less than desirable mouthfeel/drinkability, it's a solid bargain bin find!

 769 characters

Photo of JayQue
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.