Unibroue 17 | Unibroue

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Unibroue 17Unibroue 17

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AlexF on 02-12-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 272 | Ratings: 343
Photo of HardTarget
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Kept room temp since 2008, sampled 2017.

Appearance: Translucent deep brown glass holds a thin halo of tan spotty foam.

Aroma: Red wine tannin, clove like spice adds a forest herbal note, mild alcohol.

Taste: Well balanced with a sweet start that turns to a dark red wine profile and finishes with an alcoholic slap. There is a hint of brown paper bag oxidation, but I had to go looking for it. The taste profile is big and punchy.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body goes a bit thin and dry in the finish, low carbonation, a bit numbing.

Overall: Picked up a new release of the 17 Grand Reserve so popped this cork after 9 years in the closet waiting it's turn. The alcohol warms rather than burns, but it's heavy handed. I would say this held up rather than improved with age. The house yeast taste is a matter of personal preference.

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Photo of REDAMI
2.51/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Poured from 750ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

A - Deep amber brown pour, no head.

S - Apple wood and toffee on the nose. A slight wiff of bready yeast.

T - Apple cider, leather, caramel. Definitely not a strong dark, more like a mulled apple cider.

M - No carbonation, watery.

Deeply disappointed, this is terribly mislabeled in style.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dec 2010 bottle

This one has been sitting around in my cellar for a while, so it's time to go....

Pours a deep caramel, slightly turbid. Off tan head, rocked up then settled to thin collar

Sweet aroma. Apple and caramel, some toffee and hints of molasses. The lack of anything Belgian spicy shifts the style to something else than a strong dark Bel. Reminds me more of an Old Ale, which is one of my favorite styles.

So,on the flavors. Caramel, deep and rich, but not overly sweet. Light leather. Toffee in the back. Lighter than it sounds, but certainly no Belgian spice. Maybe time took this away, but no matter, it's still dark good. Overripe apple, but not rotten. Darn good beer, lost a little carbonation while in stow

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small dots form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, spice, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has aged quite well to this point.

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Photo of matthiasbrau
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tasting notes Nov. 23, 2012

Unibroue 17th Anniversary (December 2010 bottling)

-original bottle with etched label (not fancy paper like the 2011 bottling)
-served @ 53f
-pours deep amber red with 2 fingers of foam
-slight lacing
-slightly wine-like aroma; a bit boozy and peppery on the nose
-foam tastes of spice and pepper; brew, too.
-medium mouthfeel
-slight dryness with nutmeg vanilla spice finish (but subtle, not overpowering)
-abv is well-hidden; if this were ice cold, I’d probably drink it too fast
-I wasn’t aiming for a holiday brew but this certainly qualifies given the flavor profile

See my related review of the 17th Anniversary Grande Reserve as I sampled that beer and this one on consecutive nights.

If I had to choose between the two, I would say this bottling (Dec. 2010) was better. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more. The 17th Anniversary Grande Reserve 2011 bottling could probably benefit from additional aging; glad I bought a couple more for the cellar. Overall, both vintages are fantastic beers that I look forward to enjoying over the years.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unibroue 17 is a pleasant and high quality Belgian strong dark ale. Nice, but not especially interesting.

A: Cloudy dark brown colour and an excellent 1 cm head that lasts very well. 4.5

S: Belgian yeast, candi sugar and banana. Goood. 4.5

T: Malty with some sourness and a little bitterness. There is some mellow (saw)dust flavour in the finish. Pleasant and fresh, but not especially interesting. 4

M: Foamy. Well carbonated. 4

O: 4

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in December 2010. Pours very hazy reddish brown color with a very nice 3 finger dense light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some very nice thick soapy lacing clings to the glass, with a good amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big raisin, prune, grape, caramel, toffee, molasses, earth, tobacco, toast, and light herbal. Fantastic and highly complex aromas with great balance. Taste of big raisin, prune, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, earth, tobacco, herbal, light chocolate, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, earth, light chocolate, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance of flavors with huge complexity. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a nice creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with pretty much zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Belgian strong dark ale! Huge complexity and great balance of flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Looking forward to trying the Grande Reserve.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 23/4/12
Original version thanks to unibroue4ever

A not a dead bottle as the cork nearly took my eye out as it popped out sideways. dark brown with some light cola highlight's when held to the light, looks quite dark until you hold it to some light, two finger off white head hangs on for a while and leaves a few patches of lace

S I didn't think this version was oak aged but I pick up on some woody notes for sure, cinnamon, all spice, and fruity rum cake also come out to play, smells great but not what I expected

T some raisins I didn't smell and some more Christmas cake, lots of wet wood and spice, reminds me of a winter warmer and I really don't know where the booze is hiding

M just a little foamy but just is the operative word, no heat and a spicy woody aftertaste lingers,

O lots of earthy wood surprises me, I was under the impression only the new re-released was oak aged, I'd be amazed if this one never saw wood, great beer but not the best I've had from Unibroue

I love the smell and taste of this one and that should say enough, I can't remember trying a fresh bottle to make the comparison but I'd drink now If I had more in my possession

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Photo of spinrsx
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml Bottle - Thanks to Pushkinwow for sharing - this is the original version, not the re-released one.

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with an average size fizzy off white coloured head. There is a below average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head was gone in a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, raisins/grapes, yeast, caramel, wood

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, grapes/raisins, and some yeast. It also has a bit of a woodiness mixed with some sweet sugary caramel. It ends with a sweet yet spicy aftertaste.

Overall - Along the lines of a Trois Pistoles with some more spice and character. Not one of my favourites by them but still very drinkable and well worth trying.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Grande Réserve 17

Unibroue Re-released another one. Hope it’s good.
Served in Taps Magazine glass.

A- Dark tobacco-brown. Very creamy looking light beige head. Looks great. Some speckled lacing.

S- Spicy. Something brett-like but I doubt there actually is any in here. Maybe some vanilla. You can definitely taste the oak aging but it’s very delicate. A very interesting smell.

T- Very good. Might be the belgian brown ale I’ve enjoyed the most yet. Some dark fruit obviously but also so much more than most beers in the style. Nice hoppy bitterness in the finish.

M- Very full. Carbonation seems perfect to me. The type of mouthfeel which massages your mouth.

O- Top notch beer. I’d certainly like to taste an aged one, hoping for even more complexity and flavors and a less ‘‘green’’ the hop taste would be nice too.


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Photo of GodOfBeer
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, pours a murky brownish-red with a thick brow-white head. Very good retention.

I smell alcohol upfront, and then the dark fruity aromas come through as well as a nice resiny hop aroma. Some cinnamon, coriander and spices are also present.

Tastes malty and fruity upfront, raisins, figs, plums, along with fruity, citrusy and floral hops. The oak aged is just barely noticeable, but it's there. Very nice hop finish to balance off the wonderful maltiness. The alchol is noticeable, but still well hidden.

Overall a wonderful Belgian dark ale, not my favourite Unibroue beer, but still wonderful!

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unearthed some tasting notes from 2009. Tasted on 10/18/09. Bottled on Dec. 17th, 2007. Beer almost 2 years old:

Dark blood reddish brown with 3mm pearl white head.

Lots of yeasty fruity esters on nose. Mild spice notes.

More spice up front with warming alcohol finish. Lingering dark fruits balance the alcohol beautifully.

Nice round mouthfeel. Won't drink because of scarcity [not sure why I wrote this in my original notes].

Overall beer is incredible. One of my favorites from Unibroue. All it took was two years and a trip to see my buddy Phil in Québec.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep, clear brown with cherry glints. The crackly, lively head recedes relatively quickly to a thin layer. It drapes the glass in lace nonetheless. Dark sugars and plums mix with cookie dough and alcohol heat in the nose. Christmas cake and dark rum come to mind in the flavor. Figs and berries show with warmth, as does a medicinal alcohol kick. Oak flavors are very restrained, imparting just a bit of vanilla. The immense malt profile buries an anemic herbal hop counterweight (appropriate for the style mind you). The mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty light on the carbonation for the style. Warming alcohol and stewed fruit make up the finish.

A very decent Quad/Belgian Dark Ale. Worth trying. My only qualm is the alcohol is a bit immodest.

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Photo of uno99
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch from the LCBO. Very attractive bottle and label.

A: Poured into the center of my Tripel Karmeliet glass, I got a huge pillowy head that rose from the center and created a nice convex cap. Liquid is chestnut brown, similar to Maudite.

S: Yeasty and spicy with hints of chocolate and citrus. Some Cinamon, clove, nutmeg, orange zest, oak, bannana, pancake batter, and more. Slight sting (but welcome) of alcohol.

T: Less oaked than I'd hoped and expected, but maybe more wouldn't have been balanced. Spices come out more in the taste than in the nose.

M: Quite thick like a stout. Really coats the mouth. Nice dryness however.

Overall: What really stands out here is the drinkability. This is a beer that anyone would enjoy, yet for the beer connoisseur, the complexity is a treat.

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Photo of PEBKAC
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from DeCicco's. Stored in the fridge since early 2010.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Murky dark orange maple color. Decent pour free of noticeable sediment. Still a bit of a haze. Bulbous lather deflates & leaves even waves of lace.

Smells of brown sugar, molasses & dirt on one side, while being quite floral & slightly fruity on the other(lightening the overall impression). A bit boozy.

Taste is of red grapes & raisins upfront, turning bourbon-y & yeasty in the follow through. Wood, all spice, maple & leather. Finishes on a trail of oxidation & a subtle apple twang.

Feel is thinner then expected & not as yeasty as most other Unibroue offerings I've had. Carbonation was mellow but firm. Felt a bit warmer then 10%.

Oxidation is starting to make it's move, but everything seems mostly intact except for the spices. Pairs well with something lathered in bbq sauce. Drink now.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice at 53 degrees. Bottled December 2010 screened on the bottle. Pours a hazy mahogany with a tight, half inch, cream-colored head. Copious tiny bubbles are present effervescing in solution. Head eventually settles into a solid, quarter inch cap with thick sheets of lacing adhering to the bowl of the glass during the tasting. Nose is slightly vinous and expresses prunes, raisins and candi sugar on a sweet malty, backbone. There's also seems to be the merest suggestion of ethanol in the nose as well. Taste consistent with nose; however, a chocolate character comes out and the dark fruit is somewhat diminished by the ethanol, which overly asserts itself in the flavor profile. There also seems to be a trace of woodiness interspersed in the mix. Mouthfeel is medium-light in consistency with a carbonation that is just a bit too assertive; not quite fizzy, but definitely prickly. All and all, not a bad brew. The carbonation and alcohol have a slightly negative impact on the balance, but it's still a solid offering. That said, I'm not sure if I'm getting an initial suggestion of oxidation, so it might be best to drink this one sooner than later.

Edit (2 hours later) - this beer really opens up as it warms - caramel and toffee comes out and carbonation dissipates over time. I would suggest serving closer to room temperature and letting the bottle sit uncorked to maximize the experience.

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Photo of Brysky
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving - 750 ml poured into a chalice

A- nice full amber body

S- smells of a nice sweet amber hops

T- very light hop taste, little sweet but so nice

M- wonderful on the tongue with a full body. Not very heavy and goes down very smooth.

Overall I would recommend this one to any unibroue fan or Belgian fan.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unibroue 17 | 750 ml. | 10.0% ABV | 2008 vintage

Brewer: Unibroue
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Glass: chalice

Muddy golden brown with a swampy head and patches of lacing.

Spicy, herbal, and characterized by medium dark fruit: plums, dates, and raisins.

Pumpernickel, caramelized sugar, splashes of molasses and bourbon.

Very nicely carbonated, medium bodied, and smooth.

It's a complex BSDA that has a strong bourbon taste. It works, well.

Would I get it again?:

Bottled: December 2010
Served: August 6, 2011

Price = $7.75 at The New Beer Distributors

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Photo of claspada
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge shoutout to Evan (cosmicevan) for having this available to trade. Bottle says best by December 2010, I don't believe by best by dates for beer above 7% ABV so...
Poured into a snifter with a glorious dark dark brown with emerging hints of amber. Nice 1 finger head with brilliant alcohol lacing.
The aroma is initially extremely sweet and fruity and vinous, almost sour. I was initially scarred this may have some Brett because of how tart/dark fruity it was. Wow really great aroma. As it warms you get the thick caramel maltiness and dark burnt caramels/brown sugars as well (I suspect a lot of Special B malt or Crystal 120 was used in the recipe for you homebrewers)/
The taste surprisingly does not follow the nose initially. I get nice subtle toffee with a substantial caramel maltiness. Prevalent chocolate begins the flavor as well but then transitions into glorious dark fruits (dates, prunes, figs). Surprisingly not that sweet and definitely not cloying or syrupy.
The mouthfeel is full and substantial with adequate carbonation thanks to and supported by the Belgian yeast. The finish is nice and dry yet subtly sweet. As it warms it becomes even less malty and you can enjoy more of the almost sour/bitter fruitiness.
Overall this has aged tremendously. A winner from the word go. All beer over 10% should be aged minimum of 1 year in my opinion (except for the Double and Triple IPAs), but even they shouldn't be over 10% if you ask me. Anyway, yum.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle poured into an Ommegang chalice. Deep, ruby red body that lets just a little light through. A little over one-finger tan head that leaves some nice creamy lacing along the glass.

Dark fruit dominates the aroma with raisin, plum, and fig being dominant. Slight notes of sweet caramel malt, woody oak, and candi sugar compliment.

The flavor is very rich, deep, and complex. A long list of complimentary flavors blend very well: dark fruit, candi sugar, caramel malt, spicy yeast, cocoa, oak, and red grapes. One of the more wine-like beers I've ever had.

Lighter mouthfeel than I would have expected, and very little notice of the alcohol. Nice anniversary offering.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a deep brown color with a pretty impressive thin head that doesn't quit. The sleep is wonderful. It's wooden and sweet kinda have a hint of vanilla in there. Really impressive flavor. The mouthfeel has a little bite to it. The mouthfeel is also dry. I find this to be really nice overall.

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Photo of generallee
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. The bottle lists the abv at 10%.

Appearance: The body has a deep brown color with dark crimson highlights. A thick and creamy off white head stands on top. This head hangs on very well and leaves nice lace patterns on the glass.

Smell: There is an interesting blend of sweet malts, dark fruits, grapes, funky yeast, and earthy old leather. The 10% abv is very noticeable but in an inviting way. Just noticeable underneath everything else I pick up some very slight herbal hop notes.

Taste/Palate: The flavor notes are well blended and backed up with some serious but tasty booziness. Just like the nose suggests it has dark fruit and wine like grape notes with malty sweetness and earthy yeast. Hops are light and add a touch of leafy spice and herbal character off in the distance. The palate has a firm full feel and body with plenty of carbonation to keep it lively and drinkable.

Notes: Overall this is an outstanding and very well made big Belgian Dark Ale. It ages very well and brings lots of interesting complexity to the palate. It’s too bad that this is only a limited one time brew.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany dark brown ale, super rich with a creamy, dense, tan head. The thickness and richness of the head is unwavering throughout the drink, even while leaving copious lacing down the sides of the glass as I drain it slowly.

There is a pungent ethanol, but also notes of dark cherries and other fruits to a lesser degree. This has a different aroma than most strong dark Belgians that I've had. There are strong flavors, but a smoothness like it was aged in a barrel.

Tremendous, instant hit, instantly in love. Rich caramel, vanilla sugar sweetness with the cherries/fruits first noted in the nose now translated into an amazingly complex beverage. The zesty, bitter-sweet aftertaste has my palate awaiting my next sip.
This beer is too good to not finish promptly, it's absolutely definitive of an exceptional Belgian Dark Ale. I am thankful for 17 years worth of expert brewing culminating in this beverage.

Rich, dense beer that can easily be described as being full bodied, with ample carbonation throughout drinking. Great cold, slightly more vanilla sweetness comes through when the beer is allowed to warm. The beer reverberates on my palate and leaves me wanting to continue drinking. The strong ABV is well masked, a dangerous combo!

Overall (drinkability):
This beer was purchased for $9 in Rochester, NY, which is a pretty well priced beersees, but slightly more expensive for a Unibroue. Worth the extra money and worth a try if you've never had a beer from this brewery before.
Chilled the beer is exceptionally smooth, warm there are added layers of depth...it's a win-win.


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Photo of SynergyZ
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review. I always imagined my first review would be of a Boulevard product, being that I'm from Kansas City, but, here we are. I was thrilled to find a reasonable stock of Unibroue 17 here at my liquor store here on the Illinois side of the St. Louis metro (my current location due to school). Anyway, Unibroue 17 poured from a 750 ml caged and corked bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A--Dark, deep, murky brown. Absolutely beautiful. As someone who loves the look of a dark beer, I can't help but admire the soft, luxurious look of this beer. Finger or so of head somewhere between tan and offwhite. While the head dissipates at a pretty quick clip, the lacing is absolutely fantastic, coating the glass pleasingly.

S--Dark fruits, with a definite whiff of alcohol. The nose is definitely indicative of how big this ale is. Aside from the alcohol, the scent is dominated by plums, raisins, figs, and a bit of grape, giving me a bit of a wine scent. There's certainly a lot of depth to the scent.

T--Sweet. Mellow. Smooth. The scent never really led me to expect any particular hop character, but I can't help but be surprised at the lack of hops offered here. As with the scent, there's some serious depth to this beer. It leads off with the dark fruits, which eventually gives way to a hint of roasted malt, consistent with the color of the beer. The deeper we get, the more and more the alcohol comes out, but perhaps that's more of a drinkability issue.

M--Medium. The carbonation is mostly negligible, which is what I expect for an imitation of a big Belgian style ale. The darkness of the fruit seems to weigh this down a bit. Certainly something that is best enjoyed on a dreary, damp, brisk day.

D--By the end of the bottle, I had the feeling that this is something that would've best been enjoyed with a friend. By the end of the second glass I was certainly wishing I either had a partner or some way to recork the bottle for a while. Almost certainly not a session beer, though I'm sure that's no surprise. After the second glass, the bottle finished as a few gulps worth into a third pour. I drank it down quick, otherwise it would've lasted quite a while.

All in all, this is a wonderful beer, and given its increasing scarcity, I'm glad I purchased it today, especially considering this bottle was a few dollars cheaper than the Chimay Grande Reserve I was considering. If I had to use one word to describe the Unibroue 17 (and you may guess this from the frequency with which this word appears in the review) it would be deep.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unibroue 17, poured from a 22 oz bottle into a chalice. A deep brown in color, light off white head with OK retention. Aroma of wine grapes, plum, raisen and sugary malt. Follows suit in the flavor, white grape, booze soaked fig. Belgian like flavors, but with Unibroue's trademark yeast strain giving the brew a juicy quality. Overall a very nice beer worth revisiting.

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Unibroue 17 from Unibroue
4.16 out of 5 based on 343 ratings.
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