Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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Unibroue 17 Grande RéserveUnibroue 17 Grande Réserve
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Unibroue
Quebec, Canada
unibroue.com

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:
271
Ratings:
1,133
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
10.87%
 
 
Wants:
101
Gots:
361
For Trade:
19
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 271 | Ratings: 1,133
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 FrostBlast
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle

2011 vintage, opened on 11/11/2013

I never mention bitterness in my reviews, my bitterness taste buds are ridiculously under-
sensitive.

APPEARANCE : Rich reddish brown with a light brown head. Head falls at average speed and doesn't leave much lacing to speak of.

SMELL : First nose is light roasted malts. Second nose gives out some vinous aromas, as well as some balsamic and spices. This is getting pretty complex. Third nose shows off the wood barrel. Beautiful.

TASTE : Very rich, mostly roasted malts and woody flavours. Lots of subtle spices. Definite vegetal undertone. Outstandingly complex.

MOUTHFEEL : Not thick, but cloying in a very special way. Coats the mouth. Very fine carbonation.

OVERALL : This brew ages exceptionally well. I'd compare it to Carolus Van de Keizer Blue. Quite spectacular, even if it can get a bit overwhelming at times. Very glad I still another of the same vintage sleeping on my shelves.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Monster head on top of a dark brown brew. Smell of some pepper, yeast, raisin, clove. Aroma really sweetens up as it warms. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, with heavy carbonation. Some figfy fruit and alcohol on the tongue. Finishes somewhat dry with some bready malt. Easy drinking, but not as complex as I had expected. Maybe a but more aging will bring the flavors out. Will have to grab another one to put away for a while.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed from the 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: deep ruby brown in color with a three finger head that slowly fades leaving nice lacing.

S: musty yeast, Spices and dark fruits all come forward.

T: spices, dark fruits and yeasts. Sweetish with a nice finish.

M: medium carbonation and good body.

O: a fine way to celebrate the end of the football season, I enjoyed this on a cool fall afternoon. The unibroue yeast is ever present and the spice profile is nice and enjoyable. I am going to pick a few 2013s up soon.

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Photo of Samuel906
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is FANTASTIC! I think with my experience with this beer, Unibroue is one of my new favorite breweries. Every beer they make is not only exceptional, but true to form. The Grand Reserve 17 is simply terrific! Smell is great: the oak barrel aging really stands out as well as wine, vanilla, strawberry, spice, plum, and many others. Wonderful beer to just enjoy the smell of. Taste is remarkably balanced, lots of fruit flavors working together. Apple, dates, cherries, figs, vanilla, lemon... lots going on. Mouthfeel is smooth and light, faint boozey heat, and light carbonation. This is seriously great... gonna try and pick up some more!

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Photo of themind
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My favorite style of beer represented well with this offering. Although I prefer less carbonation this beer has a rich, complex taste that is very enjoyable. Poured a nice head and has a nice malty, rich aroma. This is a very good beer and worthy of its high ratings. If you can get it, grab it. The complex dark fruits and dry aftertaste finish this outstanding beer from Unibroue.

Bottom Line: Excellent but it's not Solitude.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
The beer pours a fairly lasting head that is cream colored. The beer itself is an obscure grape purple with hints of red to it.

Smell:
The beer has a strong spicy smell. The smell appears to be dominated by spices and dark fruits with hints of sweet malt.

Taste:
The taste is different from the smell in that the spices are more present in the aftertaste than anything else. Grapes and dark fruits with hints of cherry and bitter hops. The oak flavor certainly dominates the taste. The beer has a strong red wine taste to it.

Mouthfeel:
Biting carbonation and a heavy bodied beer with a smooth taste. The finish is a bit dry.

Overall:
A pretty decent and unique Belgian Strong Dark Ale. the beer comes off as a hybrid with red wine, which is probably the result of the red wine. Probably worth aging a little bit.

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Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 750ml bottle purchased at Triangle Wine in Morrisville.

A - Mahogany brown with good clarity and a big tan head with good retention. Good lacing.

S - Strong oak with brown sugar, Belgian spice and dark fruits.

T - A complex mix of malts, Belgian spices, oak, prunes and brown sugar. Semi-sweet with a lingering malty richness. Complex and balanced.

M - A moderate consistency with a moderate carbonation. A nice, smooth delivery.

O - Rich and flavorful. Very tasty.

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very hazy yellowish brown in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits and maty sweetness are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark fruits-prunes seem to stand out in particular-along with notes of Belgian yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an incredibly complex taste that makes it a pleasant to sip, although its also very drinkable since it hides its alcohol very well from the taste.

Note: Bottled in 2011

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Photo of Tone
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, spices, dark citrus, slight hops, hint of cherry, and a hint of grass. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, alcohol, dark citrus, yeast, hint of hops, hint of pale malt, and slight spice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, blend, and body.

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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.

 1,199 characters

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 wogreen
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - a dark, nutty brown with a hint of caramel red, nice foamy cream colored head
S - sugary sweet smell, almost chocalatey.
T - the strength of the beer isnt masked from the offset, however it doesnt have an overly alcoholic flavor. this definitely has a hearty flavor, that i could see doing better with age
M - effervescent and full of life
O - a very nice belgian and while the potency isn't masked like many higher ABV brews ive become accustomed to, the sugary offset is a pleasing balance

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Photo of IdeaSpeeder
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type - 750ml bottle (2012) partially poured into a snifter glass

Appearance - Pours a dark brown/copper/amber hazy colour, with at least 3 fingers of thick caramel coloured white head which unfortunately fades quickly, leaving a decent trail of lacing along the sides.

Smell - Dark fruits all over the place, heavy spices, light coffee and a good deal of wood. There's a lot going on here.

Taste - Much like the nose, dark fruit's and spices take centre stage. This is backed by a good deal of malt and an equally healthy share of the french oak the beer was aged in (especially towards the end). There's a lingering alcohol taste but not so much as to overpower everything else this has to offer.

Mouthfeel - Extreme (and unsurprising) amounts of carbonation. medium to heavy body with a dry, boozy finish.

Overall - 4.75/5 Been waiting to try this for a while now. A seriously complex brew...this review doesn't do it justice. Regardless, the wait didn't disappoint, and this is easily my favorite offering from Unibroue thus far.

 1,049 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pour is hazy dark brown with tight light tan head. Nose is heavy candied sugar with notes of oak, lightly cooked brown sugar, a bit peppery, slightly green vegetable, strong dark berry aroma and a tinge of alcohol. Taste follows suit, a bit sweet, lots of berries and candied sugar, light oak balanced in fairly well, a hint of green herb and alcohol in the finish. Body is smooth and full, assertive carbonation and semi dry finish. There is a cooked sugar note that lingers with sweet dark berry after the finish.

 515 characters

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 smakawhat
3.66/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a wine like snifter glass. Vintage 2011 Much thanks to the DC bottle share.

Sample pour provides a real creamy tan head, but a very muddy murky brown body, not much else.

Nose fills with large creme brulee sweetness. Sticky toffee, with a little bit of Belgian sucrose and raisin like sweetness. Oak angle on this is not that noticeable.

Extremely fleeting palate. Slightly watery mouthfeel for a barrel aged beer, and particularly a Belgian Dark. Mild faint raisin quality and some faint oak toasty qualities. Sweetness hinted on the nose doesn't come through in the palate with not much flavor.

Overall even for a Belgian dark and particularly a barrel aged one the qualities on this really seem to be missing and toned down.

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Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage finally available at anbl. Yes! Poured into an Orval tulip. Who cares.

A - pours a light brown, dark caramel colour. Little carbonation, little lace around the edges.

S - boozy, musty red wine, dark fruits, dates, very sour smelling.

T - sweet and sour candy, booze, more winey dark fruits. Tastes linger and are complex but I can't put my tongue on distinct flavours too well. Classic Unibroue belgian taste.

M - fizzy yet smooth, love the warming alcohol as it goes down.

Overall, not the greatest BSDA I've ever had, but I do enjoy the balance of sweet and sour. I'd probably take a Chimay Blue over it, but considering I can't get that in NB, this is a great alternative (though it is $13 a bottle, compared to Unibroue's other $5.88 bottles,

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Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Plum colored ale with ruby hues throughout. Thick, lustrous, cream colored head on the pour with exceptional retention. Seems to permanently blanket the glass in froth.

Sweet and spicy aroma. Maple and numerous dark fruit aromas. Nutmeg, clove and black pepper.

Dense malt character suggesting biscuits covered in plum jam. Maple syrup sweetness compliments fig and date character. Spices are there as listed in the aroma with a tad more nutmeg and hint of pepper. Yeast has a musty, clove-like character and is a nice contrast to the malt. Well balanced. No alcohol detectable.

Sturdy full bodied ale. Well carbonated for its strength. Smooth throughout with a syrupy texture in the finish which allows the spices to linger on the tongue.

Solid brew. Complex flavors and aroma, not to mention beautiful to look at. Another classic from Unibroue.

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Photo of Moss
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Bottle Date

A - An amber color with a light tan colored head. About 3 fingers of head with slow dissipation and good lacing left down the glass.

S - Smells of vanilla and banana from the belgain yeast. Has a sweet smell to it along with some caramel and oak backing.

T - Taste of vanilla and oak. Some sweet taste along with a plum and pear taste. Alcohol is in the background and adds a warming feeling but nothing overly strong.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation but not overwhelming. Typical for the style of beer.

O - Will be saving another 2011 dated bottle for future years. A good Belgian Strong Dark Ale with no overwhelming fruit taste that some others have. Great beer.

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Photo of Hopinista
4.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle #15853 2012 vintage poured into delirium snifter.

A: Pours a distinct dark brown color, almost the color of maple syrup. Looks quadruple-esque with a nice fluffy cream colored head.

S: Musty spice and brown sugar upfront. Some banana, caramel, and dark fruit come through. The oak adds a nice back, this smell reminds me of bananas foster.

T: Very complex. Right up front I get a vanilla malt flavor. Some dark fruits, figs and dates are in the middle, and then the oak finishes in a big way. The aftertaste is very reminiscent of taking a sip of spiced rum. Extremely delicious, and the rum character only gets stronger as the beer warms.

M: Very medium and light on the palate, especially considering the amount of carbonation going on. Very easy to drink, which is kind of dangerous for a beer at 10% abv

O: I've always loved Unibroue, and this just cemented itself as my new favorite beer. I picked this up as a whim while on vacation, and now have 2 in my cellar. I'm going to try one in a year, and then the other on the "best by date," in four years. I definitely reccomend picking this up whenever you can.

 1,137 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml corked and caged bottle shared with NewBrewBB (thanks Brett). Served in a taster. Pours a deep, brownish amber with a loose, cream-colored head that dissipates into a swirl across the center and a tight band around the edges. Nose expresses dark fruit, toasted notes, and a hint of buttery oakiness. Taste follows nose; however, the flavors are really masked by the carbonation. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an extremely gassy/prickly carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a decent beer - typical Unibroue quality; however, the extreme carbonation kills it a bit.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle is a 2011 Vintage.

A - Pours a deep garnet amber color with a billowy head and really nice lacing retention when the glass is swirled.

S - Oak, some musty dankness, vanilla, figs, prunes, dried dark fruit, light toasted brown sugar and caramel, all the ingredients play very well together and makes for a satisfying experience for the nose. Not strong or overpowering, just eloquent and satisfying.

T - Oak and vanilla surface immediately from the beginning while the vanilla eventually fades the oak stays for the duration, dark fruit, prunes, and figs. Finishes with subtle oak and lingering spicy bitterness.

M - Medium body, gentle and velvety carbonation on the tongue.

O - Superbly done and ranks as one of the top Belgian Dark Ales I've experienced so far. Seek this one out, buy extras, enjoy one now and cellar the others. This 2011 bottle is stamped with a "Best By" of 12-12-16. Would love to have a bottle to try each year as it moves closer to that Best By date.

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Photo of dgilks
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A dark murky brown with a creamy, light tan head. Good head retention and lacing.

Lightly woody and fruity. Nice, sugary malt notes. The vanillin from the wood complements the fruit character well.

Malty with a good dark fruit note. The oak is really well integrated. Quite good.

Medium body with moderately high carbonation. Solid.

A really nice beer. Good combination of Belgian and oak. Well balanced.

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Photo of Bucciamarcia
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers I've ever tried.

After pouring the beer leaves a thin white head that disappears quickly. It look is cloudy and dark brown with amber traces.

The smell is incredibly strong, just like the taste. The complexity of this beer is exceptional, the spices and european yeasts last very long. Very high carbonation and medium body. The beer is overall bitter, but with some fruity notes. It's 10% ABV, but you can't really taste it.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
4.23 out of 5 based on 1,133 ratings.
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