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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

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

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Reviews: 267 | Ratings: 1,117
Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 220z caged and corked bottle

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TownDunkel
4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I have been a fan of Unibroue for quite awhile now and when I saw this grand reserve sitting on the liquor store shelf I knew I found gold.

Appearance - This is a beautifuly done limited edition beer. The color is a deep brown that seems to alter to a medium brown at the bottom when poured, never really seen the two tone before!

Smell - Oak, wood, slightly smokey. I wish that the smell was a bit more complex though to match the taste

Taste - Now thats what I am talking about. This has a great flavor the lives up to the Unibroue brand. A malty and smokey flavor that moves to a oak and hop.

Mouthfeel - I just wish this beer had a lasting effect and a bit more carbonation that would stick around when I sip it. Still good showing though.

Overall - A very nice beer but I think I would take a La Fin Du Monde or a Terrible over this one. Great for a try though

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to say it's been awhile since I have had a new Unibroue offering,back in the day I dranf alot of their offerings.Poured into a goblet a russet brown color with a nicely formed one finger off white head.Some phenolic spice and dark fruit in the nose.Yeasty and spiced phenols on the palate,the spice-like phenolic notes are big,some dark fruit and alcohol rounds out the palate.It's a good Belgian dark but I don't get much wood aged except in the finish wich is mild,in saying that it does meld well with the spiced yeasty notes of the beer.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Too complex for me? I'm a simple guy! This is another beautiful pour from these masters of beer appearance - dark garnet with half-finger of lasting, clingy tiny mocha bubbles. Aroma has wood, spice, and slight vinous notes. After the first sip, the wine aroma becomes dominant, I suppose due to some olfactory action. The flavor is immediately winy with tangy dark fruit lingering amongst the notable wood. I like wine and I like beer, but I'm not sure this is what I'm looking for.

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Photo of teromous
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Murky brown color, looking similar to sweet tea. The head is very large and stands for a long time, which is frothy, and is a light tan color.

S: Not much on the nose, but I do get a soda-like carbonation tickle from smelling it. There is a very faint oak smell, and is vaguely similar to a bourbon smell. Overall the smell is very faint though.

T: It has that "high alcohol Belgian Beer" flavor, but without any actual taste coming from alcohol. It's hard to explain, but if you drink high ABV Belgians, you'll know what I mean. It has a slightly fruity flavor to it, kind of like plums. There is a light oak flavor. I also pick up a cinnamon flavor.

M: There is light astringency and dryness, but nothing unpleasant. The mouthfeel is medium, but has an airy quality to it after drinking it.

O: Overall it is a very good beer, and it does taste more balanced than other Unibroue beers. I would drink it again, but it's not so fantastic that I would choose it over any other Belgian Dark, given the price.

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Photo of BGDrock
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 brew date, aged 1 year

Appearance: muddy, root beer brown; beige head fades swiftly to just a rim

Aroma: apple juice, white grape; fruity esters dominate; candy sweet; light overall

Taste & Mouthfeel: big apple cider flavour with some great yeast spice notes that are a perfect match - feels like a fall beer; medium body, clean texture, alcohol very well hidden; dates; sweetness builds, getting more sugary, although with a bit of tartness at the finish and a some alcohol vapours which actually benefit the overall experience; a hint of oak is verified when I check the label; some smooth pulpy feel, again reminiscent of fresh pressed cider

Overall: a fantastic yeasty beer, just the way a belgian ale should be, although wouldn't have minded a bit more variety in the fruit flavours

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Photo of RickS95
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling

Pours a rich burgundy brown. Not quite as dark as I thought it would be. The head is a finger and a half thick with moderate retention. After some resting, a faint white-ish film rests gently on top.

It's got a lot of spices. Cinnamon comes to mind most. Very malty. Some yeast. A bit of coffee and what smells like chili.

A boatload of malt and plenty of spices. I pick up more cinnamon, malt. Like the nose, coffee and chili spice, and a hit of alcohol in the finish.

It's almost too spicy, but stops just before it crosses the line. Just enough sweetness to offset the spice. Medium bodied. Not hot, but more heat than you'd imagine. Fairly crisp, carbonated finish.

It's a big, strong beer. Definitely a sipper. Tastes more like a seasonal for the fall or winter months with all the spice. A good beer, probably something that could use some more aging.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a deeper mahogany color with a good head of off-white froth that stuck around for awhile.
(S)- Some deep spiced raisin. Almost rum-like with some coconut and pecan.
(T)- Lots of dark fruits (plum, raisin, cassis, prune). Met with a light cinnamon/coriander spice.
(M)- A good carbonation level. I like the feel this has; almost like a mulled spice wine but more on the fruit end of it.
(O)- I like the play on flavors with this one

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Grand Reserve bottle purchased from the LCBO & poured in to a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Poured a medium ruby/brown colour, only very slightly translucent with 2 fingers of thick, bubbly cream coloured head.

S - Belgian yeast, dark fruit, caramel, toffee, raisins and a light orchard fruit aroma.

T - Belgian yeast, plum, fig, raisins, caramel and toffee. The flavours are well balanced with no one flavour being dominant. The oak is very subtle in the background.

M - Medium body, chewy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of BBP
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, but a bit more brown and clear than is normal for the style. At first the head is full and persistent, but it fades away about halfway through the drink. Lacing exists, but is slight.

The aroma is extremely malty. Both dark malts and roasted malts clash while asserting their presences.

The taste is far less sweet than a typical BSDA due to the excess of roasted malts involved. It also suggests that a fair amount of hops are in play as well. The initial aftertaste is a blast of oak and then the malts come in to leave you with a roasty cocoa like finish.

The body is medium in thickness and heavy in weight. The finish is dry and moderately sticky. Carbonation is just right.

Overall, this was pretty far from the typical BSDA, yet it was more to my liking than many of them. The roasted malt really made this one a bit more complex and it kept it away from cloying sweetness. The first bottle I had nearly a year ago wasn't so memorable, but I think it's really improved with a little bit of age.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011vintage. Murky brown colour but the nose makes up for the appearance. Big old fruit and yeasty notes waft out apparent from a foot away. The beer takes Minute to set itself up as the age is a factor on the flavour The beer is quite complex and the sweetness is mostly taken from the finish. It is a great Belgium dubbel that shows off what unibroue is famous for. I have had better beers from them but this is still a great showing

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a twany brown with decent head on top of a dark and tropical fruit aroma, some very noticeable yeast along with sugary goodness and that touch of orange/citric spice along with spices. Smooth, semi-creamy medium body that has a fuller mouthfeel thanks to that distinct yeast. This beer has a crackle to it thanks to some lively spices that are peppery and clove-like and there are plenty of fruit flavors. There's an easy to spot orange/banana like citric taste, as well as some black cherry or figs for a dark fruit taste and then there's fruits across the board like apple and grape that I pick up here and there. Well-balanced between this fruits and some spicy and sweet malty goodness, the beer has a lively finish thanks to some good carbonation as well and is a very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of chinchill
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a cork and cage 750 mL bottle into Belgian snifter. This 2011 bottle has a best by date of 12-12-2016.

Pours with a dark, hazy, reddish brown body covered by a modest size light tan head that has little retention and leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma: Alcohol esters, mixed dark dried fruits including raisins, cinnamon(!), clove, and fruitcake.

Flavor: Rich and complex with light cinnamon and clove, faint yeast, mixed dark dried fruits and hints of brandy, molasses, and fruitcake. Bitter-sweet.

Feel: Medium-full body. Nicely smooth, Alcohol warming for sure, but it avoids the bite you'd expect from a 10% brew.

Overall: This is a unique, appropriately complex Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It's drinkable for a 10% ale. Worth seeking out. It was allowed to warm for about 30 minutes but still improved with further warming.

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Photo of Atacama_Rain
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2014 Bottled, BB 02-29-2019.

Wrestled with the cork for a solid 5 minutes only to have it split perfectly flush with the top of the bottle with a few mm remaining, had to push the cap into the bottle. After that ordeal i was expecting a heavily carbonated ale, and was greeted with maybe 2 total bubbles for the entire pour. I kid you not this thing was entirely flat.

I warily dove in anways and took a few swigs, and it is delicious, dark fruits, slight nutmeg/cinnamon and oak finish, followed by strong oak aftertastes.

I tend to expect absolute greatness from Unibroue (and they have always delivered up until this point), but this lapse in quality control and complete lack of carbonation is concerning. This will likely be the lowest rating I ever give one of thier beers sadly. The taste is there, but it feels like i'm drinking juice... not beer :/

my best advice is to find a 2013 vintage or wait a few months for some late 2014 bottles with BB dates past 2019. Judging by other reviews and my experiences, the 2014 vintage with BB dates roughly 2018-2019 should be avoided.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2014:

Pours a very dark brown with a white head. The head retention is excellent for the abv.

The smell is dark fruits, plums, earth, a little alcohol, cloves.

The taste is belgian yeast, cloves, alcohol, corriander, pepper.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, syrupy with medium carbonation.

A decent beer, I would've rated a bit higher if it wasn't quite so heavy on the spices. Non the less I will enjoy sipping on this for a couple of hours.

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

Reviewing as I type, for once. Bottle purchased from MSCM months ago. 8 oz. poured into a FFF Rastal on September 13th, 2012.

A - Quite clear amber/mahogany coloring. 3 fingers of a light khaki head dissipated quickly. Thin retention with good lacing. Moderate alcohol legs.

S - Unibroue's classic yeast strain, with floral perfume, cherries, and light oak.

T - Lots more oak barrel character than the nose. Touch of dark, bitter, pitted fruit. Lightly oxidized with soft cherry. A bit of caramel and bread.

M - High carbonation, thin-medium body, semi-sweet finish.

D - Better than anticipated. This one has aged fairly well and is probably the best I've had from this Canadian venture.

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Photo of GuinnessAtRogerWilco
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

AP: Cinnamon brown colour, fluffy 1/2" head that dissipates down to a dusting with minimal lacing.
AR: A lot of aromas hit you at once with this one. I'm taking several whiffs to discern the individual scents. Oak, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, candi sugar, rum/brandy soaked figs and cherries, raisin bread and Belgian yeast.
T: Mirrors the nose. There's not much else to add about the flavour that I described in the aroma. Tastes identical to what it smells like. Though, the 10% ABV is pretty well hidden.
M: Not as full bodied or creamy as I was expecting. Moderate body, off dry finish, moderate carbonation.
OV: A solid and tasty brew, just not quite what I was anticipating. I thought it would be a heartier darker Ale with a bit of a more chewy body. Description on the bottle says "A Dark Ale", but to me it's more of a Brown Ale which I don't consider 'dark' since Brown Ales look dark red when you hold them to the light. Black and plum are dark, brown is an Earth tone. Whatever. I like it just fine as it's got some nice flavours on it. A good sipper or would even pair well with rich desserts or foods with heavier sauces.

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

2011 Version Bottle# 68006

A huge tan head quickly dissipated to sit permanently atop the beer, which is slightly opaque, dark brown-copper with golden highlights. Thick chunky lacing rings the goblet, and fine bubbles are active up the side of the glass.

Smells of spices, coriander, and wood. The Unibroue yeast is present as well as some bready malts.

Tastes of the spices up front, leading to a grape fruity tartness, with a hint of that yeast. The tastes smooths as it warms.

Texture is smooth, almost creamy. Fine bubbles like champagne burst in the mouth, but not annoyingly so, and aren't so present as it aerates.

A fine beer, I will be aging one to see how it does. The spices are just a tad much, the wife says they're weird. However, I liked it, and would recommend it with that disclaimer.


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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass. (Bottled 2011)

Appearance: It comes off a slightly hazy dark amber soft bubbles throughout the body. The head is pretty thick right off the bat it's white with bit of an orange tint.

Smell: A light yeast aroma that hovers your nostrils, really good so far.

Taste: This beer a little sweet but then again little bitter, has a bourbon to a scotch feel that you can't get enough.

Mouth: Oh yes, very sticking and incredibly smooth.

Overall: This beer is really good, I wish I remember how much it went for because I have had it sitting for a very long time also considering it was probably bottled about a year ago. If you can find it, give it a go...Salud!

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a fairly dark amber color with three fingers of off white form. Decent retention, good lacing.

S: Spicy oak is quite strong in this beer - very perfumey. I also get some prunes and orange peel. Though the French oak compliments the aroma, it's a bit too strong.

T: Spicy oak is again quite strong with plums and prunes to help sweeten a beer that stays pretty dry for the style. Orange bitters works well with the oak to help balance the sweet dark fruits.

M: On the thin side with fairly high carbonation, but it goes well with the beer.

O: I really enjoy this beer, but the oak is a bit too strong. The flavors meld well together, but this beer would be great with toned down French oak.

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Photo of jimdisser
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Complex mix of chocolate notes, caramel, with some hop bitterness. The bottle we split was from my bro Sam Bakko, owner of Wolverine Market, and was 2 years old. This beer is aged in a French oak barrel and the refermented in the bottle. Strange brew!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled In: 2011
Best Before: 12-12-2016

Poured into a chalice a nice dark grape color, nice carbonation, with a little fizzy off-white head, with very minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, plums, figs, grapes, and raisins. The taste is very nice, malty, yeasty, with lots of dark fruit goodness. The ABV is hidden very well with this brew. Medium body. Overall another very nice brew from Unibroue.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unibroue's 'Grand Reserve17' @ 10.0% , 2011 vintage served from a corked 750 ml bottle purchased for $12

A-pour is a clear golden amber with a small off white head leaving a minimal lace ring along the goblet

S-another Unibroue take on classic Belgian yeast , this version is very pleasant , mild and subdued compared to say Trois Pistoles

T-so smooth tasting on the palate

MF-lots of carbonation , full bodied , very big beer , a true sip and enjoy as the beer warms

Ov-good beer , big good beer , not Unibroue's best but a damn good beer , I will buy the 2012 vintage for the cellar

sampled alongside Trappistes Rochefort 8 , Gigantic's 'The End of Reason'
and Lighthouse 'Belgian Black12' & '13'

prost LampertLand

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Photo of srandycarter
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gift from a friend excited to try.

A Murky brown, nice near white head, slow to leave, small bubbled cling.
S Dark musk, spicy and Belgian.
T Very spicy. Almost a Xmas beer. Malt is there and yeast, but the spice is dominant.
M - Medium to full, good carb, ok balance.
D - Good to dry. Afraid one and done for me.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged bottle into small snifter. 2014 vintage, bottled/brewed on feb 21 2014, best before feb 21 2019. consumed oct 23 2015

a: opaque dark brown-mahogany with some deep orange hues under a tan head

s: really spicy with some strong alcohol. dates, vanilla, clove, caramel, wood, almond, overripe banana. interesting and complex, kind of gives off a rum-like vibe. higher temperature yields more prominent vanilla oak notes as well as apples and cherries

t: strong clove with lesser caramel, cinnamon, and vanilla up front. quite sweet. these flavours lead into a well-blended combination of dates, overripe bananas, some raisins, and a touch of chocolate. alcohol is present. the finish is toasted oak-y with a lingering vanilla presence, and slightly vinous. more fruit notes as the beer warms, as well as cooked apple

m: medium mouthfeel with low carbonation, lingering sweetness all around

o: complex, wonderful not-so-in-your-face barrel characteristics. undeniably "good" but not really my thing

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
4.23 out of 5 based on 1,117 ratings.
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