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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 superspak
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 12/12/2011. Pours very hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice thick soapy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, apple, pear, molasses, brown sugar, toast, toffee, caramel, herbal, banana, pepper, clove, cinnamon, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with big complexity and great balance of malt and fruity esters. Taste of big raisin, prune, fig, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, toast, herbal, banana, pepper, clove, cinnamon, light oak, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, toast, toffee, herbal, banana, pepper, clove, cinnamon, oak, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of dark malt, spice, and fruity esters; with zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, slick, earthy, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a slight warming noticed well after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Belgian strong dark ale! Big complexity and balance of malt and fruity esters; and dangerously smooth to sip on. An absolutely top notch offering all around.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark copper-brown with a finger of frothy tan-khaki head. Fades fairly slow.

S - Dark caramel malts, raisin and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, pepper, cloves, and other spices, oak, vanilla, some booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, raisin, fig, and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast, clove, pepper, and other spices, oak, vanilla, a touch of sourness and candi sugars, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Great BSDA. Great balance and the oak is a nice touch.

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Photo of DenverLogan
3.61/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From corked bottle into Gulden Draak large tulip glass. Purchased locally. #2011-167955
Modest cork pop...pours with a giant head...muddy brown copper color.
Rich aromas of oak, tropical fruit, Italian herbs...
Modest carbonation and strong mouthfeel.
Flavors of tropical fruit, roasted malts, dark chocolate, minerals, cardboard, bubble gum...I'd better let this open up for a few minutes...
OK...many minutes later...small head...aroma of funky fruit and toasty malts. Flavors are rich and unique...powder sugar meets tropical fruit with sweet malts. There's also an uncomfortable bitterness, something slightly burning, perhaps some oxidation (might have tasted great at the brewery!), perhaps the French oak...not smooth, not easy drinking. This particular bottle is perhaps rougher than the 100+ Unibroue bottles I've ever tried...humm.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two-finger cream head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Hazy brown color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit nose and flavor is semi-sweet dark fruit and oak. Some yeastiness in finish. High ABV is hidden. Good dark ale but Unibroue's Trois Pistoles is better and cheaper. $11.99 for a caged and corked 750ml bottle from The Meat House Pembroke, NH.

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Photo of hardy008
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy brown color with a 2 finger light tan head, with good retention and nice lacing. The aroma has pears, figs, spices, brown sugar, yeast, and oak.

Tastes much the same as it smells with pears, figs, apples, brown sugar, spices, yeast, pepper, and oak. Has a mildly sweet flavor, and some of the sweetness is balanced out by the pepper. The flavor profile of this beer is very nice. As usual, Unibroue does not disappoint.

Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Smooth, and easy to drink. The alcohol is well hidden for 10.00 % abv. This is another well made beer by Unibroue.

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Photo of takemetothelion
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tried on a whim on a trip to Bootleggers, though a huge fan of the Unibroue series. Pretty pricey at $12 but quality over quanity. poured into tulip glass.

A- Midnight with some amber red. Huge head and a little lacing on this moderately carbonated with this black beauty.

S- Fruit and belgian yeast. Quite complex nose with cinnamon and clove. Reminds me of a holiday time. With a easy alcohol presence. It just looks thick and delicious.

T- Best beer I've ever had. This is my ideal strong dark ale. Milk chocolate and an array of fruits are sweet and intense in this adventure of a drink. Raisins and spice come through hard and every sip is more enjoyable than the last.

MF- The carbonation plays perfectly here and the thickness of the dark ale is epic. leaves no bad aftertaste whatsoever.

Overall, a true champion that other beers could learn a thing or two from. Thank you Unibroue

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Photo of oline73
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

The beer pours a murky mahogany color with a finger of fluffy off white head. The head sticks around nicely. The small and taste are both super oaky. It's like drinking a dark Belgian ale in a workshop. There are some sweet sugar and dark fruit undertones in the smell. The flavor is more balanced, but still dominated by the oak. There is a nice dark fruit component and just a slight sweetness. There is a mild Belgian spice in the finish. The abv is not at all apparent. The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side and the carbonation is quite smooth. The finish isn't as dry as I would expect given the oak level.

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

Chill hazed brown ale with a small tan colored head.

Smells sweet and spicy with a scent of coriander and ginger with some brown sugar. Molasses and some cardamom.

Starts out sweet and fruity with an apple butter preserves flavor. Apple, cinnamon, ginger and some clove in the flavor. Slight whiskey flavor and faint vanilla taste.

Mouthfeel is full.

Tasty beer, I was actually expecting a Strong Pale Ale. Solid beer.

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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 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 brentk56
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A beautiful pour, with a three-fingered ecru head; the auburn liquid is just a shade too dark to see through but the head leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Caramel malt, dried fruit (dates and figs), brown sugar, apple, oak and spice cake flavors

Taste: Up front, the caramel, dried fruit and spice cake flavors blend nicely with a slightly vinous character adding complexity, in the middle; the finish displays some tart flavors, though the sweet tones that dominated the aroma and presented themselves, up front, linger underneath

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: A nice take on the BSDA style by Unibroue; the tartness in the middle is an intriguing twist

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Photo of KFBR392
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Such a beautiful thick lacing on the glass I wanted to lick it off. Its that weird? Whatever. Looks exactly like what a strong dark belgian should look like

Smell: Yeast with some exotic spices. The dark fruits play a role but not as much as I would have expected.

Taste: Awesomeness. Dark fruits take over here with some spicy undertones. The flavors are not overpowering, they mix together and really make you enjoy them. Brilliantly dance off of one another which really makes you wonder if you are still drinking a dark belgian. Simply wonderful.

Mouthfeel: OHH baby, so smooth its almost crazy. It was hard to put this one down because it was so creamy and delicious. The yeast sticks in your mouth along with all the other flavors presented in this beer.

Overall: I think Unibroue is one of the truly elite breweries in the world. Their products consistently bring top notch quality. This Anniversary Ale is a true delight and worth a buy.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in 2011, aged for a little over a year. Open opening champagne-style cork, foam overflowed out of bottle. Inauspicious start. Poured into tulip glass.

A) Big head, about 4 fingers, with very good retention. After 15 minutes, it reduces to a small cap and rings with very little lacing. More amber than brown. Quite a bit of carbonation.

S) Wonderful. Sweet malts, candied fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, A little bit of yeast, but not much. Expected wood, not getting any - could be from aging.

T) Sweet malt, some spice. Not very yeasty. Very well-balanced, almost to the point where some of the individual flavors present in the nose don't seem to come through in taste.

M) Full-bodied, builds to a bit of alcohol heat that could be better balanced, but not too bad. Very carbonated, which is normal for Unibroue but definitely deducts from experience.

Definitely a major-league beer; wish I had tried the 2011 without aging for comparison. For me, melding and mellowing of flavors plus carbonation cuts score a bit, but this is very, very good.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Unibroue branded short-stemmed tulip glass

Pours a deep, dark murky amber capped with a light beige two finger fluffy, sea-foam like head which reduces to a light foam cover. A lot oak, dark fruit notes, Belgian yeast, and a whiff of alcohol on the nose. Constant mild toasted oak accents throughout. Dates, figs, mild spice perhaps some clove, brown sugar maltiness, bold yeasty esters. Finishes bone dry with candi sugar and oak. Lively carbonation, fairly full-bodied smooth, and finishes with some silkiness. An excellent brew. Some may be turned off by the upfront oak presence, but I really think it worked well here. Tasty stuff, without a doubt.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.9/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle purchased at Tully's in Wells, ME. Pours a murky nearly opaque dark brown with a good inch of khaki-colored head. Ripe banana, raisin, date, pear, and toffee comprise the aroma. Ripe banana, pear, spice, raisin, and toffee all fairly equally make the flavor. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Excellent. A little on the sweet side, but I really cannot find a true flaw with this one. Superb.

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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 JohnnyBarman
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Reviewed from notes - posted under the wrong entry before)

Handsome embossed bottled from the Yonge and Wellesley LCBO in winter 2012.

Dark brown and cherry, with a big frothy head and loads of lacing. Solid looking brew indeed.

Nose is cherry, figs, chocolate, a bit of yeast and indeterminate candied fruit.

A highly enjoyable dark ale - I really like how the oak played in to this. The chocolate is very delectable, with a slight milky flavor. Fruit is quite nice as well, and the yeast is, as per Unibroue's standards, also enjoyable. A slight woodsy finish. Really digging this. Medium bodied, slightly gritty/yeasty. Typical Unibroue in that respect.

A terrific brew that takes the Belgian Dark Ale to some exciting levels. A thoroughly enjoyable brew over the course of an evening. Worth a pick up!

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Photo of draheim
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750mL into a chalice. Pours a clear mahogany w/ a nice soft beige head.

Aroma is bready Belgian yeast, spice, dark fruit, sweet candi sugar.

Taste follows nose. Sweet residual sugars, Belgian yeast, spice. Vinous and bready.

Mouthfeel is soft and creamy, good carbonation.

Overall a very good BSDA. About what I'd expect from Unibroue.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown and unfiltered, much like a Coke at first glance. 2 finger beige foamy head.

S: Vanilla, cream, dark fruits, much like a trappist dubbel.

T: Dark fruits- raisins, figs and prunes but all in balance, with time, the oak was detectable in the back of the mouth. Dried cherries.

M: Medium body with medium to high carbonation.

O: Extremely balanced Belgian style ale that is not overly sweet. One of the best ales I’ve ever had. Every bit as good as any trappist ale in my opinion. Went well with the tortiere (Quebec’s meat pie) and steak. Would have paired well with cheeses too, but would be great by itself. We had a bottle from 2011 aged for a year, drank on Dec 31st, 2012.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this brew since last fall, bottle 2011-7893, which has been aging in anticipation of cracking with my BA bro joemcgrath27.

A - Pours a slightly hazy ruby red, solid thumb of head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Scent is incredibly sweet and dominated by grape juice, hints of cloves, peppery spice and dark fruit notes on the finish.

T - This is where this brew shines, heavy fruit notes with the grape juice and red wine notes dominating alongside some tart toffee and burnt sugar caramel. A leafy green hop note lingers alongside hints of oak and a tart peppery finish.

M - Lighter bodied ale that fills the mouth yet goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - This brew delivered and I'm glad i was able to take it down alongside my BA bro in crime. This is a brew that ages quite well and has a dangerously hidden ABV. The alcohol is only detectable in the belly, making for a delicious and wildly satisfying ale. Grab a few if they're available, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.77/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle number 2011-68539 with a best before date printed on back. Poured from 750ml champagne corked bottle into standard pint (my lucky Ninkasi pint even).

A: 3 fingers of pillowey offwhite head that refuses to die. As it slowly falls it leaves sheets of lace. Slightly cloudy but clear dark brown. A lot like the bottle it came in actually.

S: some alcohol and spicy hops up front. A bit of banana and dark fruit. Mostly spice though, smells fantastic.

T: malty and full of alcohol. As soon as I swallow I get some burn, that 10% shows when it is cold. Clove, delicious clove and that astringent belgian funk. Some good malty notes a bit of caramel flavor but not sweet. looking for the oak barrel flavors but having a hard time finding them through the spice.

M: a solid medium body with a hint of tingley fizz. too dangerously easy to drink.

O: I wanted a good belgian so I got Unibroue and they delivered. Boy did they deliver. Wonderful beer, wonderful wonderful 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 mintjellie
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange colour with ruby highlights. The beer gushes upon opening, and on pouring forms a massive pale beige head. Poor retention and lacing. The aroma is complex with fig, raisin, banana, nut; and delicate clove & vanilla notes. Malty and estery, opening with nut, and dried fruit (raisin and cherry) flavours. There is a strong clove note and a hint of banana mid-palate, followed by a strong oak flavour that provides a tannic finish. Full-bodied and moderately carbonated. The carbonation is very finely textured. There is a slippery, almost greasy quality to the mouthfeel that is especially noticeable between sips. Perhaps diacetyl at a level low enough that I can't find it with my nose or palate, but noticeable to the sense of touch. Whatever the cause, I think this beer feels wonderful in my mouth. A complex and satisfying beer - the tannic quality is challenging to my palate, but in a pleasant kind of way. It's strength is very well hidden as well - the alcohol is only really noticeable in terms of how it makes you feel. This is powerful stuff - in terms of flavour, potency, and sheer enjoyment.

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Photo of matthiasbrau
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From tasting notes Nov. 24, 2012

Unibroue 17th Anniversary (2011 bottling)

-fancy paper label; BBD 12/12/2016
-served @ 53f
-deep amber red color
-two fingers foam with no lacing
-no booziness on the nose; as it warms, booze becomes more apparent
-thinner mouthfeel than the 2010 bottling
-nutmeg/vanilla spice is much more subtle than the 2010 bottling

See my related review of the 17th Anniversary ale (pre "Grande Reserve" - bottled in Dec. 2010) as I sampled that beer and this one on consecutive nights.

If I had to choose between the two, I would say the Dec. 2010 bottling 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 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
4.23 out of 5 based on 1,117 ratings.
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