La Terrible | Unibroue

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La TerribleLa Terrible
2,246 Ratings
La TerribleLa Terrible

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
In 2002, when the SAQ requested an exclusive new high-end product, Unibroue responded with Terrible. Given its dark colour and 10.5% alcohol content (a first for Unibroue), we knew that this Belgian quadruple-style ale might very well be greeted with reticence.

So we gave it a name that would evoke terror and worry, but also something extraordinary, formidable and awe-inspiring. From here on out, no other beer can ever be called Terrible.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,246 |  Reviews: 961
Photo of Zaplt
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black, tones of brown...*light tan, with light lacing

Smell - Raisin, licorice, sweet sugar, spice?, coffee roasty malts, funk?, light floral?, *tart red wine/Chalk - dry, powdery floral

Taste - sweet dark candy/syrupy sweetness. anise, cinnamon?, cloves, roasty malt flavor, *wine, tart.

Mouthfeel - Sweet and smooth creamy -

Overall - A good beer. No complaints here but not absolutely perfect. Surprisingly good and smooth for 10%.

*Influenced by fellow tasters and/or direct input

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Photo of fairdinkum2
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Tan, creamy head with good retention and lacing.

Dark nose of roasted malt, coffee and cocoa.

Just the right level of carbonation.

It's the taste that sets this beer apart. Dried fruit peel, coffee, anise and chocolate. Good balance of sweetness and hops. Alcohol warmth, but no heat. Very nice balance here. This is a complex beer. Long finish. Good mouthfeel.

A keeper

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Photo of gthornton
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 750ml bottle into a Delirium Tremens and Chimay glass.

A: very dark black... our bottle had a high amount of carbonation, so it is interesting to note those that did not. Foamy/fizzy head that lasted throughout, especially in the DT glass.

S: Coriander spice, peach, raisin, plum scents ahead of caramel malt tones.

T: Spicy, with booze overtones, not a chocolate per se, but perhaps close to a bitter cocoa, with a whiskey/MILDLY smokey overtone.

M: Great, soothing carbonation feel on the tongue. Gentle Boozey sting.

D: Makes a great nightcap. Great for a large glass. We are splitting this bottle, as we tend to do with our 750mls, so it might be a different tune if I had it all to myself, but I would say that one is enough, and then I would probably move on to something lighter in color and texture if were to be getting my buzz on in a social setting.

If pairing with food, I would be selective... avoid spices (especially asian)... perhaps a hearty beef stew would be good, or any red meat with light fixin's.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into a Unibroue tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby tint, tan foamy head that didn't last long but left nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Sweet, fruity and yeasty with faint hints of spice. Alcohol present in the nose.

Taste: Very complex flavors of sweet malts and yeast phenols of raisin and dark cherries. Some spice on the finish. Very good fall/winter beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with good carbonation. Finishes with a crisp spicy sensation on the tongue.

Drinkability: It's a hearty, but very drinkable beer. A perfect warmer for cool fall/winter days or nights. Might be a bit too strong and flavorful for sessioning, but a 750 ml bottle goes down very easily. Overall, another outstanding Unibroue beer.

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Photo of phillipzayas
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very nice. Very dark and has a nice dark pour on it. Brownish cream color head.

S - Very nice smell and aroma. Slight toasty, biscuit aroma. Sweetness in the background which was really nice.

T - Sweet, malty and almost wine like. Very complex. Kind of reminded me of some ciders that I like. I really like it. Nice balance of dark malts ads to the complexity of the flavors in this beer.

M - Very cider like mouthfeel. Lower body. Finishes crisp. High carbonation more like cider and pop.

Overall this is a very good beer. I'd recommend it with some nice cheeses and some lighter foods to enhance the flavors. Some fruits might go quite well.

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Photo of WhiteOak
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark cola brown. Dark beige expansive foam.

S- Yeast. Dark oxidized fruits, old St. Emilion wine.

T- Sweetness, brown bread, horehound candy, hint of mint, light, thin malt.

M, D- There are many who report flat bottles, but not this example which was much too lively if anything. There is refinement and acceptable texture here, like a velvety sweetness. And there are no sharp edges or objectionable flaws. But unfortunately the malt structure is just missing-in-action. This bottle failed to inspire.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled 750mL into a glass.

A: Pours a very dark, nearly opaque black with ruby and orange highlights at the edges. Has a 1" light tan head that recedes over a few minutes onto a collar and light film on the brew. Temporary washes of lacing down the sides when I take a swig.

S: Cherries, and banana are first on the nose. Dark malts, bread, and brown sugar are second. The signature Unibroue yeast follows, imparting a slightly earthy characteristic and coriander/pepper phenols.

T: I expected an overly sweet taste, given the strong presence of esters and malts on the nose. The cherries, banana, and brown sugar detected in the nose (plus caramel and cocoa, which I can't smell) do lay a sweet groundwork, but they are well balanced by hops and earthy yeast that subdues and rounds out the flavor. They give way to a lightly roasty, bready combination. As the taste draws to a close, it gets quite spicy (cinnamon, coriander, and pepper), with hints of lime, then pulls to a lightly dry and clean finish with a slightly boozy aftertaste.

M: Medium-to-full bodied. The carbonation is slightly high and it stings the mouth, but it doesn't detract from the flavor.

D: Pretty good. I think it's a little pricey at $9 / 750mL, and it doesn't come in a 4 pack to get the discount or a more reasonable serving size. It's a little work to polish off a full bottle of this bad boy.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ML corked and caged bottle, poured into a chalice:

A: The beer poured a dark brown color with a nice tan head that was decently retained, but not as much as expected, given the huge carbonation.

S: The aroma produced is good, sweet malt and sweet dark fruits. Pretty straight forward, not too complex or new, but good.

T: The taste was good, not as sweet as I expected based upon some others that I had recently tried, a little more malty than sweet.

M/D: The beer had a medium feel to it, a bit thicker than expected, but I think that this was offset by some of the carbonation. The beer was pretty easy to drink, although this is not among my favorite styles. Overall, probably one of the better Belgian Darks that I have tried.

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Photo of theboozecruise
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Chimay goblet, my standard glassware for these Belgian style ales. It pours a dark brown, no light getting through, light creamy head, not too big and not much lacing at all. Still a pretty solid look to it.

Smells of raisins, a little chocolate, alcohol presence on the nose for sure, some caramel too. Exceptionally inviting, kinda reminds me of a rich bread pudding.

The taste is more of the same, caramel is more present, the alcohol isn't hidden but I don't think that's really a bad thing. One of the best beers I've tried recently for sure.

A little light on the mouthfeel, drinkability would be higher except the alcohol is definitely noticeable.

I'm pretty sure I remember from high school French that 'Terrible' doesn't mean the same as it does in English. I hope not, this is one of the best beers I've tried in a while. Cheers!

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capital Ale House, Innsbrook location, served in a small tulip.

Appearance: A terribly dark brown (HA), nearly opaque save a few shards of dim luminescence that eek their way through around the edges. The finger and a half of moderate beige head has average retention and leaves some shards and fingers of glittery lacing - a good compromise between above-average stick and likely alcohol retardation. The persistent surface lace and dense foamy collar suggest ample carbonation, though there's no seeing it.

Aroma: Light and estery while chilled, and very fruity - cherries, grapes, bananas, and berries mingle with cloves and other phenolic spices. Brown sugar is the predominant malt note, equal parts well-attenuated and sweet.

Taste: A little more muted than I would like. Banana esters mix evenly with sweet cherries, coupled with tons of bright spices and an array of malts that range from light brown sugar all the way to cocoa, believe it or not. Caramel, Candi sugar, hay, and a few tropical fruity notes round this one out.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly mildly carbonated for a Belgian of any variety, though not sticky or thick at all. This one's fairly medium bodied, a little slick, and all around mild, which works decently well with the flavor profile - anything more carbonated would have amplified the phenolic spice a little too much.

Drinkability: Not as great as I thought it would be, really. Sure, it's a solid brew, reasonably well made, but I think there was a lot lacking in this one, especially given that it's the most highly reviewed beer at what is widely considered to be a very good brewery. On tap it was not as reasonably priced as the 750s seem to be (Unibroue is always well priced here in Virginia), so perhaps it is a worthwhile beer for its pricepoint, but I wouldn't necessarily see myself going out of my way for this one again.

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Photo of cvfish
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured a dark brown color that produced a tan color that had little retention and laced the side of the glass minimally

S - The aromas produced by this beer were some nice dark, toasty malts, figs and plums round out the dark fruits, and a little pinch of golden apples can also be detected

T - The taste of this beer produced was a pleasant mix of toasted malts, figs, dried plums, apples, pears, some candi sugar. A nice tasting beer, but not the best Strong Dark Belgian Ale I have had

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a chewy, medium body and a light to moderate amount of carbonation

D - This is a very good beer, always a chance with Unibrone to have a great beer, while not the top of the line for the style, but a damn fine beer nonetheless

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Photo of augustgarage
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Re-posting a review from October, eaten by the server...

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Best before date of 06/05/2011.

A deeply turbid black-brown body with a finger of desert sand foam, the consistency of steamed cream. Immense, slowly cascading walls of lacing suspend a heavy clear varnish of legs. A sluggish drosophilia plods through the perpetual head, seemingly having been poured out of the bottle - lending the air of black magic to my session.

A festive aromatic dance ensues as esters, malt, and booze join invisible hands. Grape flowers, loganberries, fresh scones, delicate sourdough starter...a singular concoction, this.

High-end quetsch, preserved lemon, and powdered sugar augment the malt - but from the palate through the finish, the yeast is a crystal and a skeleton key - uniting, magnifying, and interpolating every flavor element. On top of all this, more esters and a little spice emerge towards the end, adding hints of banana and white pepper to an otherwise mild finish.

Round velvety texture, excellent carbonation, and (as you would expect) some warming.

Exceptionally satisfying brew - if not my absolute favorite from Unibroue, it is the one I return to most often. This ages with the best of them.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: On tap, poured into a tall 12 oz. glass.

Appearance is dark brown, almost black in the limited lighting at the bar. A one finger beige head with average retention is present. Smell is loaded with fruit notes, apple and pear the most noticable. Flavor follows the same path but stronger and with more layers. Sweet apple and pear notes upfront. Complimented with some mild raisin and dark fruit notes. Caramel and molasses come in nicely to balance this out. Very sweet but nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied. Drinkability is through the roof. This beer felt more like 6% than 10%. Nice balanced flavors and lack of noticable booziness make this almost dangerous.

Another great selection from Unibroue. Up there with Maudite and La Fin du Monde as one of their best. A joy to sample on tap.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ah, Unibroue, my love, let's see what you've got in store for me this time. From 750mL bottle into a wine glass. Away we go:

A: This thing is like Imperial Stout dark! Deep brown that no light gets through, even with back-lighting. A 1-finger head that retained mostly, but the lacing is pathetic. That makes me a saaaad BA.

S: Pretty interesting really. There's a sourness, like dark berries or something, but there's also a sweetness to it. Each time I sniff, I get something else. There's also a little alcohol in there. This will be interesting...

T: Whoa... like a crazier version of the smell. At it's coldest, I got that dark-fruit flavor again. Real sour and all kinds of stuff in there, but as it warmed, it changed... It became more like dark chocolate and coffee. Really complex!

M: Nice creamy body, but the carbonation was a little to sharp for me. The alcohol managed to show itself a good deal, too, but what can you expect at 10.5%?

D: It's a really varied brew, and it gets varied drinkabiliy as a result. After some drinks, I had a real "gimmie gimmie" reaction, others it was kind of like, "Whoa there, alcohol!" Still, I got through the bottle without much hassle.

Overall/notes: I had irrationally high expectations, but never mind that. I just sat alone last night, drinking this and watching movies. It was actually pretty fun. I've had better Belgians in my day, but that doesn't mean this is a bad beer by any means. Maybe it's too complex for me right now, but I don't mind that. Fans of the style will enjoy it a good deal, like me. I suggest letting it sit out of the fridge for a bit if that's where you're keeping it. The sweeter taste was better than the tart.

As a side note: Part of a 5-beer Christmas gift from the family. I can't thank them enough.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured from the bottle with a 3/4" khaki head, which slowly receded to some nice edge lacing. The body was a sedimented semi-opaque dark brown.

S- Sweet caramel malts and Belgian yeast aromatics dominate the nose. No detectable hop aroma. However, lesser aromas of marshmallow and molasses were noted. Smells wonderful.

T- Caramel and bitter roasted malts combine with lesser Belgian yeast flavor than anticipated. Some faint impressions of candy sugar turn to caramel midway. The finish lingers and is quite astringent.

M- Medium to large mouthfeel. Nice consistency with some unattenuated sugar... but the carbonation is prickly and harsh.

D- This beer would be much more drinkable if it weren't for the astringency on the pallet and the harsh carbonation.

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Photo of ashikhman
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a big ole' red wine glass, Terrible is a pretty impressive looking brew. It pours a hearty opaque dark brown that looks black unless viewed in front of a light source, with a half inch of creamy off-white foam that dissipates fairly quickly into a film. The aroma is sweet, pleasant and floral--reminiscent, in fact, of a good red wine. My first sip is too cold; the beer needs to warm up a bit. My initial impressions of the beer are: sweet, tart, fruity and bright. It's tasty but it needs a few minutes.
After letting it sit for a few minutes it opens up (note to self: sticking this in the fridge was a bad call). The taste is tricky to pin down, sweet and sour and complex. This one is all malt, no hop presence at all. Initially it's sticky sweet, mildly reminiscent of molasses or toffee. A flower-like bouquet and bright yeastiness mix with a bit of woodiness (the classy kind, like a rich old guy's desk) and a very subtle hint of tobacco spiciness. You definitely get a sense of the 10.5% this brew is packing too, but it's not in an unpleasant way. Still, this one is a sipper.
Mouthfeel is pleasant but a bit unusual; sticky, bold, and tart and acidic enough to make you pucker a bit, followed by a subtle alcoholic burn in case you forgot this beer isn't no sissy. It feels like it's staining your teeth and it probably is, but that's the price you pay when you drink a dark strong ale like this one.
All in all this is a very, very good beer. I'm not a big fan of this style and probably wouldn't get it again, but I'm glad I tried it and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who appreciates the style.

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Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Large, four-finger head. A touch of tan to the froth. Deep, dark ruby brown color. Light only shines through on the sides of the glass.

Sweet cherry smell. Some raspberry, too. Reminds me of a framboise, but without the sourness.

Rich sherry-like flavors: strong alcohol, sweet berry. Rich body with a warming swallow. If there are hops, they are hidden. I would consider this to be an after-dinner drink, IF you haven't had too much to drink already. This is a very tasty sipping beer.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

450ml bottle in a snifter.

Appearance: effervescent with a thick frothy head, very dark and almost black

Nose: dark fruit, alcohol, slight yeast nose in the end

Taste: powerful, fruity, alcohol with a sweet finish

Mouthfeel: surprisingly clean for the alcohol content

Drinkability: This is something you enjoy with a great meal like a perfect medium rare steak (dinner last night). You could not go wrong with a chocolate desert either.

I think La Terrible could also go into the Quad category as well. That's the problem with Belgium's and their offspring; they don't fit into set categories.I would like to age a bottle for a year or so to see if it mellows out. Unibroue is an excellent brewery that has yet to make a product I don't like.

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Photo of MOB210SA
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my trusty Chimay goblet. (Happy to find this selection at the new Spec's in town.)


Thick frothy 1 finger brownish-creme head. Small lacing, retains well. Froths up quick with the pour then casually fizzles to a small ring/layer.

Super dark brown. Towards the bottom of the glass you can see the real color but when you pour it a full glass looks almost black.

A clovish-woody taste, with some kind of spice that I just can't quite place. but good. Not my favorite in the taste department (just personal taste), but a good beer to say the least.

Mouthfeel is nice.. far from "Terrible". Smooth and easy with pretty high carbonation and no bite or anything unpleaseant.

Drinkability.... well Im about half way through with this 750ml and im feeling nice. Im sure by the end of this I wouldnt want another Terrible. But one bottle at a time seems perfect. Not something I would want to drink all the time (for me thats what high is)

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Photo of willmc
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Sight: Pours a very dark brown, coffee color into an ale glass, with a huge tan head which lingers for a while. Very little lacing.
Aromas: Sweet Carmel on the nose, and a fruity malt or sweet coffee.
Tastes: Malt sweetness and toffee-Carmel on the front, and some hop bitterness in the back. Does not take anything away from the beer overall, in fact adds some character and flavor that it needs. This beer has loads of flavor, and can stand up to any Belgium Dark Ale, despite the name. If you get a chance go and pick up one yourself, you be the judge.

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Photo of rfabian
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tumbler it produces a 1 inch brownish white head that leaves moderate lacing. The appearance is opaque dark brown. The aroma is mainly of malts with no hop presence to speak of. The taste is strong malt and sweet with a strong flavor of cloves. (Mmmm! Cookies!) No detectable bitterness and good alcohol heat. The feel is full bodied with a clean finish. This ale left me buzzed and wanting more.

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Photo of Travlr
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle at C'est What? in Toronto.
A: Opaque black with a large tan head.
S: Hints of pine and licorice.
T: Creamy chocolate mousse flavor with an edge of slight smoke. Finish of cocoa and milk chocolate. Alcohol shows through, otherwise I'd give it a 4.5 for taste.
M: Great body.
D: Definitely to be sought out.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip glass.

A: Pours out much darker than I would have expected. Read: black. The beer is topped with an incredibly thick, two inch thick head that lasts surprisingly long considering this size of this beast and leaves some spotty lacing to boot.

S: T/MF: Figs, licorice, chocolate, nuts, funky, bready yeast that punches the nostrils ever so slightly.

T/MF: Taste is as delicate as the aroma and hides its size so well you might think you were drinking a session ale, a bit heavy on the tongue and rich in taste but so smooth and clean it's almost impossible to imagine this being a 10.5% ABV beer. Notes of licorice, figs and dates, a dusting of dark chocolate and a complex yeast profile I can't even begin to describe, suffice to say it is quite tasty and delicate.

D: A massive beer that doesn't taste massive? Yes please. Another outstanding offering from the folks at Unibroue.

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Photo of fropones
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign tonight

A - Reddish black with 1 finger of khaki head.

S - Acidic and sour like a flanders red. Some cherries and raisins. Smells like a nice port.

T - Cherries and raspberries. Not sour, but very refreshing and delicious. A bit of cloves and spice from the Belgian yeast.

M - Nice and creamy with good carbonation.

D- Very good, the alcohol is extremely well hidden. If I didn't have to drive I could have easily had a few more of these and been in a bit of trouble.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured straight-on into a tulip glass...

A: Outrageously thick, frothy, tannish head. Color is pitch black with the slightest of ruby red around the bottom of the glass at the thinnest point.

S: Dark, earthy fruits, mild hops.

T: Over-ripened dark fruits - maybe plum, raisin and an earthy quality that is very nice and robust. The alcohol is very well hidden, which makes this brew very dangerous (I'm limited to one 750ml bottle, but would happily welcome more).

M: Thick and chewy, medium carbonation and smooth.

D: Really...maybe I am partial to the style. I love a nice, robust flavorful brew (like food) and this fits the bill...

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La Terrible from Unibroue
Beer rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 2,246 ratings