Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Unibroue
Quebec, Canada | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by MasterSki on 12-30-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
266
Ratings:
1,112
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
22.46%
 
 
Wants:
98
Gots:
351
For Trade:
21
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Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 1,112
Photo of jar2574
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice thick head over cloudy brown beer. Smell is delicious yeast and spices and molasses.

Taste is absolutely phenomenal both out of the fridge and later as it gets closer to room temperature. Sweet spiced malts upfront, maybe a hint of citrus hops to balance it out. A little bit of Belgian yeastiness. Brown sugar and plums. Flavor profile is a little bit like a good rum. A dry, quick finish.

Excellent mouthfeel. Above average thickness and carbonation but it's lighter and easier to drink than you'd think. You could drink it quickly despite the 10 ABV, or you could sip it slow and steady. I could drink this all day and night and will be on the lookout for more of it.

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Photo of avalon07
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a mahogany brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch and a half of off white, creamy, long-lasting head. Great lacing.

S: A big, powerful aroma of spices, dark fruit, malt, and yeast.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast, raisins, a little fig, spices (cloves, perhaps), malt, and brown sugar. A robust, complex, and well rounded flavor. Everything you expect from BSDA.

M: A high amount of carbonation with a smooth, prickly, lively finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied.

O: Definitely one of the best beers of the style, certainly one of the best to be found outside Belgium. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of Ranz
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: In my whisky snifter, this 2011 vintage poured a deep, verdant brown that created a nice finger of head after a slightly vigorous pour.

S: Clove, apple, hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and thick bready malt from the yeast create an intoxicating aroma. Wow: the refermentation did this some good.

T: A strain of sharp, charred oak makes itself immediately present before sugary fruit flavors--including plum, cherry, slight citrus, and fig--come to the fore. Unbelievably complex, this beer boasts some unique and nuanced flavors. Lovely to sip.

M: Incredibly thick and heavy on the tongue, the mouthfeel does the waltz, slowly, around your mouth when lesser beers would try to move too quickly and stumble around. This beer has the maturity and poise to sit comfortably restful.

O: I love a good dark Belgian, and this may take the top spot as a new favorite. Once again, Unibroue fails to disappoint. Excellent job, chaps.

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Photo of Bcarlos
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Every year for the past few I've cracked open a bottle of Unibroue's Grand Reserve after sitting for a year in my cellar. I'm convinced this beer is meant for aging.

I had the pleasure of touring the Unibroue facility last year in Chambly and was interested to hear the back story to this beer. Originally, it was brewed as an internal-only brew, and grew some legs when the brewer entered it in a regional competition. Within a year, it had made it to the big stage, and took home best Belgian strong ale in the world in 2011 at the World Beer Awards.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW what a beer! Flavour upon flavor. Excellent.

A- Wonderfully dark and cloudy. Tons of head as usual from this company

S- Pungent. Blended well, nothing outrageously stands out. Belgium all the way

T- OUTSTANDING! First sip at 8deg C in a freshly washed and dried tumbler. Malt, complex, expert brewing for sure. Alcohol is completely hidden for this 10% abv. This is a serious beer.

M- Silky smooth. Dry way later on but that should be expected from a hot beer, super pleasant.

O- Wonderful. Everyone should try at least one in their lives. I bought 5 more for the cellar. Only the price keeps the rating from being higher

Thx for reading

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Photo of Converge
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle poured into a goblet. 2011 vintage.

A - Pours a deep, murky brown hue with ruby highlights. A short-lived tan head of bubbles that quickly settles to a thin skiff of foam. Bits of sticky lace spot the glass, though nothing much. Cloudy, and full of yeasty haze. And as always, I appreciate the nice packaging and presentation.

S - Extremely complex. Distinct Unibroue house yeast is immediately identifiable, spicy, fruity and full of aromatic esters. Dried plum, figs, and lots of medjool dates up front. Even a bit chocolatey, with some caramel as well. Vanilla is coming through strong, and it smells incredible, and is only complimented further by the French Oak and vinous character. There's so much going on it's hard to put into words. A beautiful mix of Belgian spice, Unibroue yeast, oak, fruits, and tons of rich sweetness. No alcohol coming through at all.

T - A remarkable barrage of sweet, spicy, and yeasty. Big sweetness coming from some caramelized sugar notes, complimented by rich vanilla and the complex, estery Unibroue house yeast I've come to love. There's definitely a vinous quality coming through that helps balance the profile, along with resinous oak flavors, almost smokey. Slight cherry notes, along with medjool dates, figs, raisins, and dried plums. Finishes quite crisp and dry, with vinous oak qualities lingering away. Endless complexity. I always appreciate Belgian brews that give me the expected profile with a unique twist thrown in, and for me that comes through with this one in the vanilla/wine/oak flavors. Very nice.

M - Smooth and mild on the palate. For such a rich and sweet brew, it doesn't feel cloying. Fairly heavy on the tongue, with full body and thorough carbonation of fine bubbles, like many Unibroue BSDAs. Crisp, sticky, dry, but minimal alcohol heat.

D - A BSDA with something to say about the style. It seems most European craft beer is rooted in tradition, while American craft is about pushing boundaries. This North American take on a Belgian classic both satisfies my thirst for traditional Belgian ale and gives me something I haven't tasted before. Just another reason why Unibroue is the best brewery in Canada, bar none.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fills a PBGC Aromatic Glass with a clear, old copper (SRM 17-20) beer. The creamy head reaches one inch before depositing a fine coating of khaki lace.

The aroma is a complex mix of spices (mace, clove, cinnamon, ginger) evocative of holiday memories. Dark fruits are also present, including raisins, dates, figs, and dried cherries. A light oak aroma accentuates the spices which dominate as it warms.

The flavor profile follows the nose while emphasizing the fruit. There is a nice, sweet/acidic balance with light bitterness. A lingering finish taunts one to take another sip.

Warming alcohol tends to lighten the body from medium to light while vigorous carbonation roughens a silky texture.

This is an exquisite new world rendition of the style. It elevates the experience of reading or quiet conversation on a cold Autumn day while watching leaves rustle and fall. Bottle number 2012-12623.

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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

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No. 2011-146259
Pours out a nice dark murky brown and amber color, very little lights gets through and its topped off with a nice thick khaki head that just created a nice plain of bubbles, and the lacing is awesome. The smell is filled with dark fruit, spices, raisin, coriander (very, very mild) fig and faint strawberry and vanilla come through too. Crisp on the tongue, its slightly bitter overall, but filled with sweet dark fruits and fig flavors. Its got a medium mouth feel and the alcohol come out just a bit in its aftertaste. This one good beer

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Photo of Immortale25
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Honored for this to be my 400th review. Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Label says Best Before 12-12-2016.

A- Pours a murky dark brown color with a 3/4 inch light tan head that bears great retention time before eventually fading to an 1/8 inch head and a thick ring of lacing. Resilient bubbles slide slowly down the glass when swirled.

S- Delightful aroma that's spicy, yeasty and floral with exceptional balance between the three. Slightly soapy, but with a sweetness that's very complimentary. The spices end up being the main component with some faint alcohol trailing behind.

T- Tastes like your usual BSDA but with extra flavor all around. More yeast, enhanced Belgian candy sugar and an assertive but refined alcohol character. There's a light solvent-like rubberiness in the back that ends up tying the whole profile together better than one might expect. The spices are a bit less involved than in the aroma.

M- Very creamy and somewhat sharp from the spice and alcohol combined with high carbonation making for a superb feel. Full-ish body.

O- What a knockout. Definitely the best dark offering I've ever had from Unibroue. If you're a fan of the Belgians, you've gotta try this.

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Photo of SenorBiggles
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is a brown ale that has strong competing flavour components coming from its sweet maltiness, high ABV, further sweetness and woodiness coming from being barrel-aged, and what tastes to me like a bit of wild yeast/brett-ish sourness. Fortunately, it manages to keep them all very well-balanced and without tasting like an experiment in extreme flavouring like many barrel-aged beers. In particular, the sweetness of the beer is much less prominent than the other Unibroue high-ABV dark ales I've tried (e.g., Trois Pistoles, Terrible), which lets more subtle flavours shine through. I'm not sure it has the flavour complexity to live up to its awarded title of "Best Dark Ale in the World", but I have a hard time thinking how they could have further improved it.

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Photo of DanfromVan
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Looks- first up, this is a 2011 vintage, my local beer store threw a case in the "deeply discounted" bin so I grabbed 6 bottles at 5.00 ea. Looks a little cloudy on first pour and settles down a little but never clarifies.
Smell Sugar, Alcohol and a peachy flat earthiness
Taste: a calmed down fruit explosion laced with long lasting apricot/peach/citrus notes. Warms up ok to change the flavour, but definitely stalls out as it is a little past its prime....don't get me wrong ..this is tasty..probably mainly from the fruit/ABV kick..This is a a sweet licorice of a beer that I could quaff again and again..
Would try again as I have another 5 bottles to go...next one has got to be shared with a friend...
one other note: fair amount of sediment in all the bottles.
Mouth feel: thinner than I expected

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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.

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Photo of Impfan
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The usual Unibroue combo of very pronounced Belgian yeast, banana, clove, and cardamom esters, along with oak, vanilla, and white grape in the medium length finish.

Very creamy with a dense, rocky mousse of a head. It does, indeed, resemble Chimay Grande Reserve more than a little.

Smooth, very sophisticated, and absolutely delicious.

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Photo of rappmann
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip, reviewed from notes. Aged just under a year

A - Dark copper brown one finger of thick belgian yeast style head, heavy lacing once the head finally begin fading.

S - Yeasty spicy Unibroue-esque scent. But this time it's richer, fuller, mustier.

T - Perfectly sweet and malty, the wood has mostly worn off, but still has enough of a presence to be noticeable, finish's spicy from the yeast.

M - To me this is the only downside of the brew, I find a lot of Unibroue's beers to be over carbonated, and a lot of the times it works, but it doesn't help a beer like this.

O - a great offering from Unibroue as usual, however, I prefer this one fresh.

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Photo of jfdesjardins
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

*** Original 2007 bottle ***

Opened it tonight with friends, and I have to tell you, that has nothing to do with the new 2011 bottle.

It poor nicely into the glass, a nice brown with a small nice head.

The beer smell of oak. caramel, some nuts and fruits. Nothing extraordinary, but yet, it's comfort into a glass.

The oak has strengthened, the alcohol and the sugar has melt into nuts and fruits. Ageing that beer has brings complexity and aromas into the beer.

I've start drinking microbrewery beer partly because of that beer back in 2007, but while the new one is good but has nothing to impress, the bottle that I've opened tonight was worth the five year I've waited to drink it.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Dark murky brown. Two finger off white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Figs, dates, dark cherries, and raisins. Some light citrusy notes. Big Belgian yeast aroma along with some clove mingling nicely with a subtle oak aroma. Alcohol is present but meshes well.

T: Big dark fruits throughout the mouth. Citrus isn't present in the flavor but the French oak really shines in the the taste. It mixes with a pepper/chili bite that might be 50% alcohol bite. Belgian yeast sits in the background of this complex brew. This will be phenomenal in a few years.

M: Full bodied. Medium high carbonation. Super creamy and buttery. Awesome.

O: The best of this style I've had, with second being Unibroue's Trois Pistoles. Love Unibroue. Going to pick up some more for the cellar for sure!!!

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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.

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

A: Frothy head. Cloudy golden brown.

S: Banana, oak, cream. Light but pleasant smell.

T: Banana and hops up front, creamy malt finishes up. Hints of oak, vanilla and spice. Alcohol taste is well-hidden.

M: Lacy, medium carbonation. Slightly thick.

Overall 4.5
In style 4.75

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a 750ml bottle with a champagne style stopper and cork. Bottle has info about the beer and it truely looks elegant. A gentle pour of this beer yeilds an explosive head that quickly fills up 3/4 of my glass which is frustraighting but at the same time impressive. The color is something unique it has bog like color to it, like it was light at one time but now its become darker. A hazy dark tan brown the is certainly like nothing I've seen before. Some reddish orange tints as well.

S: Sweet, oaky, woody, some citrus notes. Orange, a little musty. Quite a pleasing and complex smell.

T: Thats good.... thats really good. The taste of this beer really reflects the smell. An excellent balance of sweetness with more earthy flavors and they all develop at different times to really showcase themselves. The alcohol gives a little something something in the end but it fades quickly without being overwhelming.

M: Sits with a heavy body with only pleasing flavors developing. The carbonation, while not overwhelming does take some something away over time but overall very nice.

What a great beer this is. Old ales usually have a lot a good aspects but one usually dominates the others. This beer has a great balance of all elements. With the complex tastes and smells there is little more one could ask for in a beer.

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Photo of fission523
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2013.

Pours a deep chestnut. Lots of carbonation from the bottom of the glass and a half inch beige head.

Nose is sweet, dried fruit, apricot, hazelnut.

Taste is sweet, smooth - butterscotch and toffee. Aftertaste remains sweet and nutty. Coats the entire mouth in a pleasant smoothness.

Very enjoyable, easy drinking. I would be interested in trying an older aged version to see if the flavors develop further.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A 2011 vintage bottle which I found, bought, brought home, stowed away in the cellar, and proceeded to pour into my snifter and thoughtfully sip on once it had cooled down to cellar temperature. Isn't that how your average American goes about acquiring and drinking beer...? No? Oh... well that's what I do. Guess I'ma weeeirdo.

It appears to have a two-finger bone white head and a dark and murky mahogany body.

Ooh, I smell spices! I'm not the most accurate spice detector, but I think I'm getting cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (had to go and sniff some spices in the cabinet to identify a couple of those, hehehe). The smell also has green apples, raisins, and yeasty bread. So it basically smells like Christmas bread!

Jeez, it TASTES a lot like certain Christmas breads I've had too. There's some sourdough from the lees, and a definite tart grape juice taste. It's kind of fruity and refreshing, actually, which is something I can't say about most Belgian strong dark ales I've had. Alcohol is amazingly absent from the taste.

Keeping consistent with my description so far, I'll call the carbonation lively and "festive" (wee look at me I have Christmas spirit in July). Anyway, it suits the style.

Well, the only thing I can complain about really is the price. This is pretty much the most expensive beer I've ever bought, unfortunately. However, it IS quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle cracked in 2016. Poured dark brown with an off white head. Smelled like an orchard. Green apple was most prevalent but there were hints of raisin and plum. Taste was sweet with fruit notes. An underlying hint of caramel. I had cracked another 2011 a few years back and remember alcohol was very prevalent; it was almost nonexistent once it had aged. There is also a rather chewy sweetness to it. Moderate carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Overall this is a beer that does extremely well when aged. Really gets mellowed out and everything just kind of merges in to something new. Will have to buy another and have an equal amount of self control. I suggest you do the same.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a garnet color with a small, off-white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of dark fruits with a little spice.

Tastes of the dark fruits upfront with some oak notes. Fruits lead off with dark cherry and fig leading into some brown sugar and toffee. A bit of sweetness comes in, but it is fairly mild. The oak notes come through with some light woodiness and a good bit of vanilla. This leads to a toasted bread note that ends with a bit of nutmeg and clove.

Mouthfeel is full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, I quite like this and everything is blended together well.

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Photo of Kromes
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. A hazy dark brown color with a thick tan colored head that leaves lacing down the glass.

Earthy oak, fig, Belgian yeast, clove, slight toasted malt aroma.

A nice toasted malt and raisin/molasses flavor at first. The clove and plum flavors then kick in and blend with an earthy yeast and roasted malt. The roasted malt, clove, and alcohol linger in the finish.

Full body with higher carbonation and a bit of peppery spice and alcohol burn on the tongue.

Fully expected this to be a quality dark ale and it didn't dissappoint. Very nice especially on a cold night like tonight.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.
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