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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
264 Reviews
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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:
264
Ratings:
1,108
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
10.87%
 
 
Wants:
98
Gots:
347
For Trade:
21
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 264 | Ratings: 1,108
Photo of badgustav
4.81/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look - deep brown and hazy. Deep tan head which abates slowly
Aroma - sweet and malty, raisin, oak, and vanilla
Flavor - rich malt, sweet raisin, a very slight alcohol note. Malt balances well with the raisin, not cloying. Slight bitterness, possibly from CO2
Body - medium-full

Pleasant and drinkable, not overly sweet though may get more so as it ages.

 355 characters

Photo of neurobot01
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Updated review: finished the bottle the next night. Not sure if it was because of the slight extra oxidation, or the warmer starting temperature, but I got a much more complex taste this time around: cherries, toffee, rounded oak, lime, smoke, bourbon, light-roasted coffee. The feel is also a more medium-bodied, and isn't so ephemeral. Original review below.

...

2013 c&c bottle (best before 2/28/18) into a Teku at fridge temp.

Look: dark brown, almost purplish, with a huge light tan head that settles down to 1cm. (4.25)

Smell: pumpkin bread still in the oven, eggnog, sweetness reminiscent of Abt 12. (4.5)

Taste: something a bit savory that I attribute to the oak; pumpernickel, apple, spices. (4.0)

Feel: surprisingly light, fluffy body. Dryish finish, sort of disappears save for a slight lingering bitterness. (4.0)

Overall: the aroma on this is very good, but the taste just doesn't quite match. Would be interested to try this closer to its best-by. (4.25)

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unibroue 17 pours a very dark amber color with a huge lacing head. There is a very strong aroma filled with spices and yeast. The taste is very dark, nice sweet spice note, with hints of yeast. Very creamy, strong flavors. Overall, its sweeter, but very drinkable, nice spice notes.

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Photo of BWood
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Belgium strong ale. I was surprised at how much I liked it .As it warmed a little itbecame even more smooth. Great head retention as well. I did not get much smell from it (but I'm never good at that).The flavor however was great. Nice spice but not overpowering.

 273 characters

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 dbrauneis
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Note: Bottled in 2011

A: Pours a murky reddish brown/mahogany in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate ruby red + copper highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy very light beige head that slowly reduces to a finger thick pillowy layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet dark malts and dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig) with a hint of Belgian yeast spiciness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sweet dark malts with a moderate amount of dark fruits (plum, prune, and fig). There is a moderate flavor of slightly spicy and distinctive Belgian yeast. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Just a hint fuller than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Nice complex flavors and aromas make this beer a very enjoyable sipper. Enjoyable and definitely one that I would gladly have again.

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Photo of Strix
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a good head.

Smells of the typical unibroue yeast, plus clove, cinnamon and sort of a leathery note.

Typical unibroue yeast and dark fruits, but heavy spice notes, including clove, black pepper and cinnamon.

Mouthfeel carbonated and slick.

Overspiced for me on this one. I have high expectations for Unibroue, so this one was a bit of a disappointment. Just wasn't feeling the flavor profile.

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Photo of 303beer
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty light brown. Pretty muddy. Has that Belgian yeast smell. Let's drink it. Smooth sweet and bubbly on the tounge. Not bad. Good bottle to share.

 156 characters

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - less then optimal pour produced a thick full three finger creamy white head. Body is a dark mahogany brown. Very hard to see through. The contrast from dark body to brilliant light head is interesting. It is essentially opaque, with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is lingering so long, I am anxious to get a good nose, patience is a virtue. Upon finishing the first class there was ample lacing left behind, great looking brew.

S - intense fruity aroma dominates the nose. whether the yeast or alcohol it all comes together in a raisin prune with slight banana fruit character. Spicyness rounding also to me has tobacco leaf notes. Also pick up a nice dark malt aroma, some roast, lots of sweet barley.

T - Pulled from the beer cellar and drank at cellar temp, giving me an immediate portrait of this beer's beautiful flavor nuances. Very complex and intense flavor, sort of melds all together. Lots of sweet malt, loads of fruit, raisins and plum. Finish is amazing, hop bitterness, alcohol quench, toasty tobacco like the aroma when you toast the foot on your cigar. that taste. I think i get some oak notes but they are subtle if at all there.

M - perfect 10% belgian, has loads of flavor and slow sipping but at the same time a forgiving mouthfeel that isnt too full. Slight quench of alcohol in the finish but by no means harsh. Ample carbonation to almost over carbed.

O - Over all this is a great brew. I think I say that about ever beer I review. But hey, it still is. The taste is on par with most BSDA examples but is less in your face, more subdued, more refined, I would go as far to say elegant. Oak aging must have done that, it does little for the taste in regards to a noticeable BA taste, but it does wonders for the overall beer to produce a mellow, well balanced, delicious big beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle. Very spicey brew. The aroma has lots of clove, with some mesquite bbq and oak. The clove follows through to the taste, along with some black cherry, fig and currant. Lots of dark fruit all around with heavy spice and cola. Inky feel but smooth, not much carbonation but mouthfeel is fine. One of the spiciest brews I have had.

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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.

 1,088 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well done belgian dark . . . Didn't expect anything less from Unibroue. Honestly though, I had concerns about the the carbonation issue I've heard about. Fortunately, my bottle wasn't affected by this problem. Although far from my favorite offering in this style, Grand Reserve 17 is still solid, delicious, satisfying and I'm glad I picked it up. Aromas of dark fruits as well a touch of apple butter. The oak barrel aging complements this style very well . . . Nice oak flavor and barrel character. Feel is smooth and buttery for a Belgian. That's my take on it.

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Photo of JasW
3.11/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

2014 corked and caged bottle, with unbelievably heroic efforts required for the uncorking -- yes, pliers were eventually needed -- and no pop when the cork was finally disgorged. A decidedly minimal head developed after a vigorous pour. Extremely low in carbonation, close to flat.

The bottle was returned to Total Wine and exchanged for another, with a batch number (2014-10962) somewhat removed from the first. Yet this second bottle had the same tough uncorking, no pop when finally uncorked, and virtually non-existent carbonation. I decided to partake this time anyway.

It's obvious there is a divine taste of yeast, currants, and other dark fruit, wonderfully balanced, with a quite pleasant French oaky aftertaste.

But there is a deeply serious carbonation problem here. I'm quite fond of Unibroue brews in general, but it would seem it has a quality control problem since the batch number of this second bottle was relatively close to the one from before. I returned the empty and exchanged for something else entirely.

BUYER BEWARE for this 2014 vintage.

 1,073 characters

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thick cloudy copper color with a pink hue and powerful carbonation activity. Extra foamy, delicate, beige 3 finger sparkly head, creating a foam island and lasting around 12 minutes, with some strong legs.

Aromas and flavors of dark fruits, citrus, caramel, honey or maple, floral and herbal spices. Well intensified, delicious rich super fruity taste, slightly vinous but in a soft sweet way, with hints of orange/lemony/coriander/apple slightly bitter feel and a pleasant earthy oak sensation.

Slick, almost creamy, full body with some perfect carbonation. Balanced finish ending with a slightly bitter and dry, thick dark berries mouth coat and perfectly spiced aftertaste.

Overall : The perfect craft; sexy lovely look, warming, awesome freshness, complex delicious flavors, inviting smell, accessible...what else do you want?

 833 characters

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a beer I had set aside for my 1000th beer. I change my mind because I asked for a poll on this site (which got deleted - but the admin gave me congratulations so I don't mind) and on the League on Facebook because it got deleted. I wish I hadn't listened to the poll, which voted for Barrel-Aged Bigfoot. This beer has phenomenal flavor, a darker color than anything I've seen in this style, and it is so smooth.

 422 characters

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

2011 Vintage, Drank 2014 from Tulip.

Didn't try it upon release, but seems to have really smoothed out, and probably bumped up a few ABV's.. Unfortunately didn't get to write a proper review.

 192 characters

Photo of SierraFlight
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From bottle with best before date 12/18/2017. Pours deep cloudy red-brown with plenty of tan foam that lingers. Spicy and yeasty aromas. Caramel, bread, and malt, malt, malt. Oak on the finish.

 193 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.21/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2013, BB 2/28/18 at 45 degrees into hand washed and dried tulip
Aroma moderate, rotting fruit, rapidly dispenses to nothing
Head large (6 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishes to 4 mm ring and irregular layer
Lacing good – partial wide rings of tiny to medium bubbles
Body brown amber, slight haze (Bottle conditioned)
Flavor weak, some yeast phenolics and weak fruity esters; no hops, no alcohol in taste or smell (although a stomach warmth comes and quickly passes), no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, slightly fizzy

Appearance 4, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.5

 610 characters

Photo of sillyhed8
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very solid beer. I am usually not too fond of Unibroue, maybe it's the yeast or the spice they use, and I know I stand alone on this one, but this beer I found quite drinkable and very nice.

 192 characters

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 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.

 319 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by Adam. Thanks man.

Dark copper body with a thin off-white head. Apple aroma with caramel malt and alcohol. Pears, Belgian yeast, booze. Sweet flavor tempered with a touch of Saaz/bittering hops. Hints of white wine. Tasty but a bit boozy. Decent.

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Photo of louis3
2.24/5  rDev -47%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Grande Reserve 17 2014 B121423..... Seved at !8 celcius..

Murky mid brown but still fairly transparent.

Medium body, fine carbonation, foamy texture, but without persistent head.

Typical unibroue stretched yeast experience disguised by extra bittering hop and some maple flavour, coffee flavour, and some wood essence reminding me of cheap brandy.

A very boozy Trois Pistoles variation with some ersatz flavouring components which are not integrated.The booziness was the only thing I enjoyed as I usaually avoid boozy beers and so this was rather novel.

This is the last bottle of Unibroue for me. Canada produces many beers with higher malt content and malt quality and more careful fermentation regimen.

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

Unibroue Grande Réserve 17
750 ml. brown glass bottle, corked & caged, "Bottled in 2013" "BEST BEFORE 02-28-2018"
$12.99 @ Total Wine & More, CHerry Hill, NJ

Appearance: Very hazy (lees were disturbed) deep brown body beneath a massive head of tan that seems to want to rise up out of the glass. Excellent head retention and lacing with a full 1/2 thick head of pillowy foam and broken walls of lace throughout the glass.

Aroma: Apple, soft spice, brown sugar, oak, red grape.

Flavor: As in the aroma, but fuller, with additional notes of chocolate, fig, caramel, bread crust, and soft grass or straw. Soft cinnamon and all-spice. Alcohol becomes more present as it warms, adding to the spiciness. Low level bitterness lingers with brown sugar and grassiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dextrinous edge. Its very fine-bubbled natural carbonation leaves it smooth, almost silky, and bordering on becoming creamy.

Overall: Sensational! It's not remarkable in its flavor components or its complexity (compared to other beers within the style), but the overall balance and polish is brilliant. Superbly satisfying. Worth seeking out.

 1,157 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle was poured into a chalice glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber brown color with little vision of anything.

Smell: Spicy, dark fruits, spicy, plums, caramel, bready, cherries, oak, grapes, black currants, and a little leather.

Taste: This beer got a lot better as it warmed. Some bitterness, warming alcohol, dark fruitiness, caramel, bready, spicy, some yeasty notes, oak, and wine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little dry, some bitterness, warm booze, medium to full bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer more as the time went on. More and more flavors opened up and made this beer quite the treat. Definitely will have to revisit this one again.

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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
94 out of 100 based on 264 ratings.
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