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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Unibroue

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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: 1,026
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 240 | Hads: 1,026
Photo of Flounder57
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle was poured into a chalice glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber brown color with little vision of anything.

Smell: Spicy, dark fruits, spicy, plums, caramel, bready, cherries, oak, grapes, black currants, and a little leather.

Taste: This beer got a lot better as it warmed. Some bitterness, warming alcohol, dark fruitiness, caramel, bready, spicy, some yeasty notes, oak, and wine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little dry, some bitterness, warm booze, medium to full bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer more as the time went on. More and more flavors opened up and made this beer quite the treat. Definitely will have to revisit this one again. (764 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
4.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

No. 2011-140891 Bottled 2011

Pours a rich and cloudy brown the color of old leather. A huge head develops before receding to a solid finger width of tan. Some lacing left behind.
Smell is intoxicating (no pun intended) with notes of green apple, malt, oak, raisins and a mild sourness all while the glass sits two feet away! Gotta love a ceiling fan. Upon closer nasal ingestion, more dark fruits are found (cherries and figs, I think), the apple is red and green, spices (clove, nutmeg, light cinnamon and pepper). The complexity is amazing and the balance is world class.
Taste is malt, sour, oak, well incorporated alcohol, spice, dark fruits, apples in what has to be one of the most well-rounded beers it has ever been my pleasure to taste.
Full bodied, smooth, rich, almost creamy texture. This slides across the tongue like it knows the way. The only knock is the fairly thick coating that forms on the upper palate and tongue. Lightly effervescent and then mostly at the tip of the tongue. A malt/clove/oak mixture lingers for a good long time to remind you just how lucky you are to drink this alchemical masterpiece. Thank you, Unibroue. (1,148 characters)

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage finally available at anbl. Yes! Poured into an Orval tulip. Who cares.

A - pours a light brown, dark caramel colour. Little carbonation, little lace around the edges.

S - boozy, musty red wine, dark fruits, dates, very sour smelling.

T - sweet and sour candy, booze, more winey dark fruits. Tastes linger and are complex but I can't put my tongue on distinct flavours too well. Classic Unibroue belgian taste.

M - fizzy yet smooth, love the warming alcohol as it goes down.

Overall, not the greatest BSDA I've ever had, but I do enjoy the balance of sweet and sour. I'd probably take a Chimay Blue over it, but considering I can't get that in NB, this is a great alternative (though it is $13 a bottle, compared to Unibroue's other $5.88 bottles, (764 characters)

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
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 joemcgrath27
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Props to andrenaline for including this 2011 vintage in a trade back in the winter. I had planned to age it, then I came across it in a store at home last week, so i'll consume my new purchase and continue to age the trade bottle for at least a year

No. 2011-46532

A - a swampy dark amber brown, thumb of tan head dissipated to a thin covering with significant lacing all around
S - banana, raisin, pear, grains, light molasses and wood, rounded out by booze
T - toffee malt, oakey vanilla, fruity notes of sour apple, cherry, raisin, spice and yeasty esters round out the finish, very complex and layered
M - big body, creamy carbonation, velvety smooth, there is no bite to the high alcohol but a noticeable pleasant warmth from mouth to stomach
O - I don't hand out 5's lightly but this deserves it overall, super complex, easy drinking, just a pleasure every time I take a sip (882 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown and unfiltered, much like a Coke at first glance. 2 finger beige foamy head.

S: Vanilla, cream, dark fruits, much like a trappist dubbel.

T: Dark fruits- raisins, figs and prunes but all in balance, with time, the oak was detectable in the back of the mouth. Dried cherries.

M: Medium body with medium to high carbonation.

O: Extremely balanced Belgian style ale that is not overly sweet. One of the best ales I’ve ever had. Every bit as good as any trappist ale in my opinion. Went well with the tortiere (Quebec’s meat pie) and steak. Would have paired well with cheeses too, but would be great by itself. We had a bottle from 2011 aged for a year, drank on Dec 31st, 2012. (697 characters)

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. (717 characters)

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

2011 vintage. No. 2011-117741.

Served at slightly cooler than cellar temp into a goblet.

Grande Reserve is a beautiful red amber color with less than perfect clarity. The head is thick at first but settles to just a thin layer. No lacing is left behind.

Aroma is sweet, oaky, and complex. It has dark fruits and spice notes with vanilla elements from the oak aging.

Flavor is intense and complex as well. Cherries and plums mix with pepper and clove. Oak seems to bring vanilla, tannins, and a red wine character as well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and strongly carbonated. Alcohol is certainly there but it doesn't seem all that strong for such a young beer.

Overall another fantastic offering from Unibroue. I wouldn't expect anything less from this brewery. (766 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of hardy008
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

Photo of HattedClassic
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
The beer pours a fairly lasting head that is cream colored. The beer itself is an obscure grape purple with hints of red to it.

Smell:
The beer has a strong spicy smell. The smell appears to be dominated by spices and dark fruits with hints of sweet malt.

Taste:
The taste is different from the smell in that the spices are more present in the aftertaste than anything else. Grapes and dark fruits with hints of cherry and bitter hops. The oak flavor certainly dominates the taste. The beer has a strong red wine taste to it.

Mouthfeel:
Biting carbonation and a heavy bodied beer with a smooth taste. The finish is a bit dry.

Overall:
A pretty decent and unique Belgian Strong Dark Ale. the beer comes off as a hybrid with red wine, which is probably the result of the red wine. Probably worth aging a little bit. (829 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 220z caged and corked bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/brown, creamy foamy 2 inch head and nice lacing.

Smell - Very strong wine like aroma. Sugars, grapes, plum and rasin. Some spices and a little oaked comes out.

Taste - Much like the smell, has a noticeable wine quality to it. Bitter, bitey grape and plum notes along with some oaked flavor. Spices mixed along with some yeast add more bitter dry tastes. Alcohol is pretty masked.

Mouthfeel - Bitter, dry, much like a wine. Tounge gets fruits, yeast and fruits. Palette gets pretty much the same, along with even more spices. Aftertaste is dry, bitter and grape fruity.

Overall - Good, but nothing special compaired to the rest of unibroues' ales. I was expecting a little more oaked flavor, but this is closer to a dry wine. I think if any other brewery made this it would be great, but this is just more of the same high standard from unibroue. Since its limited its for sure worthy of trying. (965 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unibroue 17 pours a very dark amber color with a huge lacing head. There is a very strong aroma filled with spices and yeast. The taste is very dark, nice sweet spice note, with hints of yeast. Very creamy, strong flavors. Overall, its sweeter, but very drinkable, nice spice notes. (286 characters)

Photo of SebD
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 750ml bottle purchased at Triangle Wine in Morrisville.

A - Mahogany brown with good clarity and a big tan head with good retention. Good lacing.

S - Strong oak with brown sugar, Belgian spice and dark fruits.

T - A complex mix of malts, Belgian spices, oak, prunes and brown sugar. Semi-sweet with a lingering malty richness. Complex and balanced.

M - A moderate consistency with a moderate carbonation. A nice, smooth delivery.

O - Rich and flavorful. Very tasty. (485 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked/caged bottle poured into a pair of large snifters

Pours dark nearly opaque brown. Medium head, slight accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Smell is fruity and sweet with a slight yeast and alcohol odor.

Taste is dark fruity and mildly sweet -- some dates and black licorice. Some yeastiness in there, too. Some slight tartness. Maybe some plums.

Mouthfeel is airy and light. Overall, this is nice to drink. (439 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

75 cl

Pours a dark cloudy browb with a yellowish head about an inch thick. Retains pretty well.

Smells of grapes, nuts, brett yeast, and a bit of spice.

Wine grapes, cinnamon, oak, bretty yeast, caramel, and apple all come together in the taste. Hint of roasted nuts.

Full body with fluffy carbonation.

Very nice Belgian style ale with lots of body and character. Really nice emulation of the style while also standing uniquely on its own. About as good as you can get in this style this side of the ocean and better than some of the actual Belgians too. Grab it if you can.

This is a 2012 bottle, so it has a couple years of age on it. (657 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle poured into a Unibroue chalice. Bottled in 2011.

A: Dark, cloudy brown on the pour. The creamy tan head retains very well and drops patchy gobs of foamy lacing here and there.

S: Caramel, bread pudding, almond. Toffee. Brown sugar. Cinnamon and white pepper. Yeasty and slightly musty. Dried figs and apple chips. Dry toasted oak and woody vanilla tie it all together. Remarkably complex and balanced.

T: Toffee, caramel, and bread pudding up front. Yeasty and slightly musty. Brown sugar. cinnamon, clove, and white pepper. Brown cocoa powder. Rum raisin, fig, and baked apples. Woody oak takes a delicate approach, drying the palate and adding complexity without calling too much attention to itself. The balance is superb. Finishes with tastes of bread pudding, brown sugar, and lightly tannic oak.

M: On the thicker side of medium bodied. Very creamy and smooth. Ample carbonation is soft rather than aggressive. Touch of soothing, warming alcohol. Very light astringency from the oak tannins.

O: This is everything I hoped it would be and more. A truly world-class Belgian Strong Dark ale. The balance is perfect, and the high level of complexity makes each sip a treat. One of the more refined beers I've come across. The French oak really makes it. Instantly a personal favorite. (1,306 characters)

Photo of bump8628
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better Belgian-inspired beers I've come across in quite some time. Vanilla, cola, caramel, and sugar are balanced against toasted oak, cinnamon, and clove. Earthy bitterness is mild but is supportive enough to hold up against the maltiness. Rich but not sweet. Strong but balanced. Alcohol is completely hidden. This is a seriously complex and dangerous ale. Completely worth the $12 for 750mL of beautiful beer. (423 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL caged and corked bottle picked up at the LCBO; this is the 2013 edition. Served at cellar temperature, and poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy, burnt amber-brown colour, topped with one finger of velvety-smooth, creamy beige-coloured head. It slowly dissipates, eventually leaving a thin, dense cap, a creamy collar, and a modest quantity of lacing behind in its wake. Interesting, complex, yeasty aroma with multiple layers - plum pudding, bubble gum and rum raisin come to mind, with additional vinous, tannic notes. Hints of oak and vanilla can also be detected, blending well with the yeasty spice and boozy nature of the brew.

Very rich-tasting and complex, showing the same level of quality and craftsmanship as their other highly-lauded BSDAs. The profile is overall rather fruity, with raisin, fig and plum pudding flavours atop some butterscotch, brown sugar and toasted malts. From there, it begins to take on a slight dark rum vibe, likely due to the oak and vanilla effects of the barrel aging. The finish becomes increasingly yeasty and spicy, with notes of bubble gum and white pepper leading into a somewhat boozy, woody, tannic aftertaste. Beautifully complex; vinous notes of red wine and oak continue to crop up on the palate long after the sip has been swallowed. Not quite full-bodied but definitely on the sturdier side; this one has a luxurious, smooth mouthfeel that contrasts nicely with the prickly, restrained carbonation levels. As delicious as this beer is, the alcohol content is quite noticeable so it's not something I'd prefer more than a few glasses of (finishing this entire bottle tonight will probably take a few hours, but I think I'm up to the challenge).

Final Grade: 4.56, an A+. This brewery never ceases to amaze me - as much as I love Unibroue's other strong dark ales, I think I'd have to say that Grande Réserve 17 tops even superb classics like Maudite or La Terrible. The French oak aging really helps this brew stand out from the crowd, and the end result is a sinfully tasty, complex, lip-smackingly good winter sipper that no fan of Belgian-style beers should neglect to try. My only regret - that I didn't pick up another bottle to cellar! Oh well, there's always next year's batch. (2,243 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

M - Medium carbonation, creamy feel, full bodied.

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

Photo of bismarksays
4.71/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice
A- Pours a dark rich color, like mahogany. A fluffy beige head and lacing is apparent. If you lacked head or lacing on this, you either don't clean your glasswear or simply do not know how to pour beer. The very picture of what a beautiful dark ale should look like.

Smell: Brown sugar, dark fruits, maybe a touch of banana. If not for a slight burn from either a medicinal yeasty touch or alcohol, it would have been higher for me. Other than that, very alluring and promising. Oh, also maybe a touch of vanilla as well. I didn't get it at first, but as the beer opened up more and warmed a touch, it is faint but present.

T/M: Okay, this baby is well carbonated. I know this is an issue for some BAs. They want their triples carbed and their dark beers a touch more sticky. For me, I only want it to feel nice in my mouth (both can illicit that feeling depending on the rest of the beer) and have the proper viscosity (neither thin nor molasses). For me, given what the bubbles likely did for bringing out the nose, I am more than fine with the bubbly nature of this. I also feel like the subtle flavors that I was unable to pick up in the nose (such as cherry and a light oak) became more accessible even as young as it was due to this lively nature. The slight alcohol burn in the nose is much more subtle in the mouth. Magnificent.

Overall: I waffled between a 4.5 and a 5 on this one. In the end, I went with the five because of the superior flavor and appearance of this beer. While the slight alcohol burn was somewhat unpleasant in the nose, I have to admit it in no way impacted my enjoyment on the beer. Also, it went away after about fifteen or twenty minutes.
I highly recommend this beer. World class. (1,742 characters)

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

750mL into a chalice. Pours a clear mahogany w/ a nice soft beige head.

Aroma is bready Belgian yeast, spice, dark fruit, sweet candi sugar.

Taste follows nose. Sweet residual sugars, Belgian yeast, spice. Vinous and bready.

Mouthfeel is soft and creamy, good carbonation.

Overall a very good BSDA. About what I'd expect from Unibroue. (339 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy... a deep tawny would probably be the most appropriate color--or, at least the only one that comes to mind. Head forms a pretty modest single finger, retains well, and recedes back to a generous ring of lace and a misty sheet over the beer.

S: Hot damn, this beer smells nice. After taking a little break, it's like my nose has come back from the dead! Toasted malts, some nice hints of vanilla, though quite mild and balanced. There's a hint of clove and perhaps even cinnamon that I'm picking up on. It doesn't smell like a bakery, but it does have that touch of 'warmth' that I really enjoy.

T: A little bit of a banana flavor--undoubtedly a pleasant result of the yeast strain being utilized. It pairs nicely with a sweet maltiness... is there a bit of ginger in here? It's not 'spicy' as in having an edgy bite, but the flavor seems to be there. Some nice sugar notes left behind.

M + D: A solid beer, well crafted and well balanced. The carbonation doesn't quite sparkle, but it does have a richness to it. A very satisfying brew from start to finish... outstanding! (1,086 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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