Grande Armada Réserve
Benelux Brewpub & Café

Grande Armada RéserveGrande Armada Réserve
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #97
Ranked #13,542
4.03 | pDev: 6.2%
Benelux Brewpub & Café
Quebec, Canada
Very Good
Grande Armada RéserveGrande Armada Réserve
Notes: Brewed in partnership with Brasseurs Illimités to commemorate Benelux's 5th Anniversary.

This Double American Brown Ale was aged 8 months in a whiskey barrel.
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 35 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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3Vandoo from Canada (QC)

4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Amberish burgundy with a shy head

smell is sugary, woody? ssmokey with hints of vanilla.... and pepper??

taste is smooth, shy hints of sourness with sweet points. Sugar candy flavours are present with a bit of cinnamons. a very present prune flavours is there with a reminder of grapes and sherry port

very nice indeed

May 22, 2017
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TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm pretty sure this bottle was from Tom - thank you!

A - Poured a murky dark brown and settled almost black with only a very small amount of light passing through and a thin layer of cream coloured head.

S - Whiskey, oak, vanilla and a slightly sweet nutty character in the background.

T - Huge barrel qualities hit the tongue first with charred oak, whiskey and a light vanilla flavour present. The base beer adds some sweetness and a lighter nutty flavour. Overall, the base beer doesn't come through very much, but it is still present. Definitely a barrel bomb.

M - Full bodied. Silky. Light carbonation.

Feb 20, 2014
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage. Bottled November 2012. Thanks to Papat444 for the bottle!

Beer is dark brown, with hints of red. Small tan head. Fades quickly.

Bourbon scents are huge in the nose. Vanilla and oak. Some dark fruit and brown sugar. Barrel by far overpowers the beer, but still nice.

Taste still contains plenty of barrel, but it is tempered somewhat by the beer itself. Lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla, with a malty and nutty backbone. Quite sweet, with brown sugar. A bit of molasses. Alcohol is quite noticeable in the finish.

Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation. Sticky.

Overall, quite tasty. My first Benelux beer and definitely a good way to start.

Mar 06, 2013
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4ster from Canada (ON)

4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reserve 2012 Bottle. Brewed over Christmas 2011, aged 9 months in Whiskey Bourbon barrels. Bottled November 2012.
Poured into a large wine glass, let warm up out of fridge a bit. (still fighting a cold, so while hesitant to drink/review beers, but sometimes you've got to bite the bullet.... take it for what it's worth)

A: The colour of a rich bourbon, dark copper highlights held up to the light...dark brown and clear, decent head on first pour, dies off to wispy lacing and micro-bubbles around the rim. Some alcohol lacing sitting around the edge :D

S: (cold=blurred smells, so will slightly echo other reviews here) But for sure I can smell a ton of whiskey on the nose... sweet, some vanilla and slight oakiness, with a wiff of alcohol... smells more like bourbon than beer, just not 40% burning smell, mellow sweet malt like.

T: Sweet, dark sugars, burnt slightly bitter molasses, I'm not personally getting much vanilla (but it's always light anyway), but on the finish, lots of oaked whiskey alcohol... in a good way!

M: Light carbonation, well balanced, no real alcohol burn (even if it's present in everything else), not really sticky...

O: No idea what to expect from this, except that I really like nearly all of Benelux's beers, so I'd say I'm not surprised at the quality, but I am happily surprised at the style of beer.... I'm currently working my way through a tasting of 10+ different barrel aged beers this winter, and this one has raised the bar.... I can honestly say this tastes more like bourbon than anything I've tasted yet, it's on the nose, it's in the taste... going down you have to remind yourself this is a beer....perhaps there was still bourbon in the barrels.. :D Anyway, no complaints, will buy this again if I see it, and if you like Whiskey, I'd recommend you get your hand on some...

Feb 28, 2013
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A tasty brew from a highly recommended brewpub. Advertised as a barrel aged American Brown Ale, this stuff drinks like an imperial stout.

A - Pours pitch black with a finger of mocha head with solid rentention and nice sheeting lacing.

S - Rich on the nose, burnt sugar, hints of cocoa, licorice, caramel and a nice whiskey boozy finish.

T - Much like the nose, sweetness dominates, burnt sugar notes and leafy greens with a solid whiskey presence. Hints of oak, leather and burnt tobacco with rich boozy finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth with a sticky finish.

O - I really enjoyed this brew, and for 10+%, this stuff was insanely drinkable. They served it in a half pint, but I could see myself polishing off a bomber of this no problem. Well worth a try an super glad I got my hands on a glass.

Jan 27, 2013
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Kegatron from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a deep ruby, topped with a ½ finger of fizzy mocha colored head. This retains with some creamy bunching around the edges, leaving back sticky lace that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, cocoa, dark fruit, and a strong spicy heat that starts to dominate the nose a little too much as this warms.

The taste is very similar, with brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit, smoky molasses, light bakers chocolate and a stiff spicy sweetness from the alcohol. Oak seems well integrated and mostly comes out in the finish with a dry woody feel. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a sharp carbonation that does seem to lessen a bit as this sits, into more of a firm creamy feel. While being about as smooth as you could expect, this still has a rather heady warmth to it from the whiskey and high ABV that spreads through the chest and down into the stomach after each sip. This will definitely warm you up (as it did me on this chilly fall afternoon).

This was decent. The base and barrel seems well integrated, with a lot of sticky sweetness and dark flavors being present, with only the strong alcohol presence really holding this back (especially in the nose). If you’ve got one, definitely crack it open on a colder day and enjoy.

Oct 09, 2012
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from papat444. Figured I'd better get through all the beers he sent me last time before he ships me another box.

A - Off-white foam settles to a thin ring, some wisps, and a few splotches of lace. Murky toilet water brown body.

S - Holy oak! Tons of bourbon here too - like someone poured a shot into my beer. Light vanilla, cocoa, and even more oak. Somewhat over-the top here.

T - The taste is significantly better, with a nice blend of nutty brown ale flavors including molasses, chocolate, and dark fruits, as well as bourbon and oaky vanilla. There's some of that sour mash whiskey tang in the finish.

M - Chewy texture, medium-full body, lower carbonation, and sticky residuals. Alcohol is quite well-hidden.

D - Pretty decent stuff, once you get past the somewhat harsh aroma. Better than the other beers we had that afternoon, but still nothing to get overly excited about.

Jul 05, 2012
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korguy123 from Canada (ON)

4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Murky in appearance but looks much clearer when holding to the light. Burnt copper with touches of brown and red. Thin fine ring of bubbles and zero lacing.

S- Huge whiskey tones with vanilla and brown sugar. There is a slight booze aroma but that is to be expected.

T- Brown sugar with booming vanilla and a nice warming whiskey.

M- Medium bodied, slightly silky with nice carbonation. Warming alcohol and sticky on the lips.

O- Wow, this is much better than I had ever anticipated!

Feb 13, 2012
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notdan from Canada (ON)

4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So this is my last beer of the night so the review may be a little skewed but anyway....

Gorgeous brown beer with sizeable off-white head and tons of lacing.

It smells like a freakin' dream. Tons of vanilla and sweet liquor, plus some sweet citrus and woody notes. Tastes a bit boozier than it smells, but it's friggin 12% ABV. As drinkability goes, I could sip this one forever. I'm sad it's past the half-way point now.

Pee ess. If anyone has a bottle of this sitting around, drink it soon. It's fucking fantastic right now.

Dec 02, 2011
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ZorPrime from Canada (QC)

4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown color beer with some ruby notes. No head. The aroma is pretty intense and strong. Some whisky and vanilla. Some alcohol notes in the aroma. Complex aroma. Taste is sublimely complex... Some vanilla and other stuff I can't pinpoint... complex but well balanced and very nice in the mouth. The finish is slightly bitter. Quite warm in the mouth. Very liquorish. This is a true sipper... let it warm and let it charms you. Very nice.

Nov 10, 2011
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flipper2gv from Canada (QC)

4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brownish red color with light haze. Tan head, very soapy, not too much volume. Lacing is minimal and not much retention.

S: Typically brown ale notes of very strong buttery nuts, quite sweet with the brown sugar and maybe some beet like sweetness. Earthy, leathery with obvious notes of the whisky ageing with the leather, pepper, vanilla, smoke and caramel notes.

T: Taste is very similar to the nose with strong nutty notes followed by quite big earthy and leathery notes. The whisky is stronger than expected with vanilla, smoke and caramel but the alcohol is also much more present than expected. A little bit unbalanced but still very tasty and interesting.

M: Very sticky with light stingy carbonation with heavy body.

O: Very good, albeit a little unbalanced, brew from a brewery that would get a lot more attention if they would bottle a bit more.

Oct 23, 2011
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liamt07 from Canada (ON)

4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from ZorPrime, thanks Eric! 341ml into a snifter. Brewed Aug 8, 2011, bottled April 19, 2011 according to the bottle - spent 8 months in whiskey barrels.

Poured a translucent medium brown, a light transient tan head and a solid collar retains. Nose is whiskey first and foremost, a touch of peat and smoke (what kind of whiskey barrels were used?) Some sweeter notes, with some mild alcohol. Quite nice, but not having had the base beer, I'm struggling to find it. Taste is whiskey again, butterscotch notes, some mild chocolate and solid brown sugar notes. Medium heavy feel, moderate alcohol but not to the degree indicated by the label. Good whiskey flavour throughout, although the base beer seemed a little lost - it'd be nice to try it to find out where the whiskey has complimented/overtaken its flavour. Quite enjoyable nonetheless, and something I'd surely revisit.

Aug 07, 2011
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Yoonisaykul from Canada (QC)

4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well finally gonna pop this one open. Wasn't a big fan of it on tap finding it too, and this is rare, boozy.
Let's go.

341ml bottle into Taps magazine snifter.

A- Red mahogany with what I think is chill haze. Khaki centimeter of pretty ordinary looking head.

S- Lots in here. Vanilla, butterscotch, blueberry jam and chocolate in a whisky barrel. Very fun to smell.

T- Wow this is some delicious caramel in here. Finish is extremely buttery, probably the most I've tasted in any beer and it works great. A hint of coffee in the finish. It is boozy but it tastes like good quality booze! I like it a lot more. Hard to distinguish the hops. So much to taste.

M- Medium carbonation. Kind of syrupy. Not dry.

O- So this IS really good. Glad I understand. So much vanilla and butterscotch you'd think they added flavoring. Lots of whisky too but that makes more sens with the barreling and all. Another beer which helps to show the incredible flavors barley, hops and yeast can produce...

Dang, I like it. Now I'll want to buy more. I think the reason I didn't like it on tap is because I had a bunch of other beers before and the boosiness just got sickening.
A quality beer.

Jul 26, 2011
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peensteen from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Liam's bottle

Pours a brownish colour, one finger of cream coloured head, good lacing. Smell is of bourbon, oak, vanilla, some toasted malts, mainly driven by the whisky but its very nice. Taste is malty and roasty, oak and vanilla notes come forward, nice woodyness also, quite complex, hops roll in at the end, some warm alcohol makes itself present, lightly bitter in the finish. Full body, mild carbonation, lightly syrupy, fairly good feel. Very nice oaked brown ale, really good and quite drinkable.

Jul 26, 2011
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice choice to bottle. Double brown ale, whisky and some smoke, in the taste and aroma. Deep brown colour with very soapy head. Dangerously drinkable, complex, a great beer for deep winter as opposed to hot summer.
Liam's bottle. Above average mouthfeel.

Jul 23, 2011
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bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.37/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from Broue HAHA. From notes.

A - Poured dark, dark amber with a one finger beige head. Bright, strong carbonation, alright lacing with a film of retention.

S - Whiskey, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, smoke, very aggressive hops. More alcohol than any other element.

T - Hop/alchool blend/car crash. Whiskey and wood. Mostly just hops mashed with alcohol. Nothing is allowed to shine through b/c of the alcohol really. What comes out aside from that is good though.

M - Medium carbonation with a full body, and a bitter sorta finish.

O/D - I see the quality here but the alchol holds everything back instead of leaving it alone to do its magic. Does this need to be 12%?

Jun 28, 2011
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of balanced bourbon notes with vanilla coming through nicely and some notes of semi-sweet malt. Taste is also a well balanced and easily drinkable mix between some bourbon and vanilla notes with light traces of sweet malt. Hops presence has totally disappeared with the barrel aging. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Nice beer and something I could drink more often.

Jun 28, 2011
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This being my last day of work at my old job (May 13), i figured i should compare one bad beer with one good beer and use to symbolize my old job (bad beer) and my new job (good beer). Here's the good beer:

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: A lop-sided head above a brown body with ruby-red tinges and a tiny bit of clarity as i can see the shape of my fingers moving. Good retention at 1 finger.

Smell: Heady & intoxicating! I can smell it from afar. Major whiskey, vanilla, oak, dark fruits and licorice. Very reminiscent of a spirit.

Taste: Whiskey at first with some oak and a certain spiciness with some black licorice in the aftertaste. Slow at first but at room temp it really opens up with vanilla being more prominent.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth with a very low carbonation. Body is not as full as expected yet pretty good anyways

Overall: Dangerously drinkable for the ABV though it does pack a little heat. Have it at room temp because that's where this brew really shines. Try this one for sure!

May 14, 2011
Grande Armada Réserve from Benelux Brewpub & Café
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 35 ratings