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 Etan
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Bottle number 2011-108718.

A: Pours a rich dark purplish brown with an absolutely beautiful, sparkling, rocky off-white head. Very nice retention with sticky lacing. Fantastic.

S: Strong aroma of dark fruits. Fig, prune, grape, bready yeast, sugary cake. Alcohol comes out as it warms.

T: Follows the nose with a seriously smooth blend of dark fruit, most prominently juicy purple grape. Mushy prune, grape, vanilla, whole grain bread, coriander, candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, with a peppery bite of alcohol underneath, smoothed a bit by faint oak. A bit of hop bitterness and a characteristic metallic flavor from the yeast in the finish. Sweetish bready, buttery yeast lingers.

M: Characteristic for a strong Belgian - frothy carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable. Not quite as good as Chimay Blue (alcohol isn't as well integrated/hidden), but almost.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage 750ml poured into a Teku glass

L: Pours a murky deep brown, creating a dense khaki head with small foamy bubbles and good head retention.

S: Dark fruits with an interesting lemon note stand out. Befitting the style, a lot of doughy malt pulls through as well with some chocolate, spice and citrus. The oak is pretty restrained, coming through with just a hint of vanilla and general woodiness.

T: The flavor of this beer gets deeper and richer as you get further into the sip. Nondescript dark fruit and bread upfront, followed by figs, raisons, and a distinct chocolaty finish. Just enough bitterness to hold it all together. Not a lot of oak character aside from some slight vanilla and wood spice, though this does pop a bit more as the beer warms.

F: Medium body with moderate carbonation, and just a slight warming in the finish. Incredibly drinkable for the ABV.

Overall: This is a very tasty beer that will not disappoint fans of Unibroue’s BSDA lineup. I’d like to see the oak play a stronger role in its character, and perhaps in the next iteration the brewery could try another maturation method besides oak spirals or else let the beer sit a bit longer, but I’d certainly buy this again and look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Bottle 2014-09132. Best by 02-12-2019.
A: Pours a dark, murky brown with 1 inch light tan head. Good retention. Faint lacing.
S: Booze soaked raisins, cinnamon, sweet malt, light molasses, clove, and maybe a hint of all spice.
T: Cinnamon and sweet malt hit first, closely followed by the booze soaked raisins. Bready yeast, clove, and a hint of light molasses. With warming, oak notes emerge.
M: Medium body...drinks much lighter than you'd expect from a 10% brew. Sweet (malt and spice) throughout. Decent lingering on the palate.
D: A highly drinkable 10% brew. Sweetness is a big component of the beer. A solid offering from Unibroue.

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Photo of ESPNman
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - It pours a dark murky brown (with a touch of red) with very little off-white fizzy head. Very little retention, a bit of spotty lacing.

S - Lots of over-ripe candied fruit that is balanced out with clove and banana Belgian-type scents. Plenty of spice and big dark oak flavors round out the nose. The oak really dominates as the brew warms up.

T - Even more dark oak and spice than what was present in the nose. Great dark Belgian Fruit esters come through beautifully to really give this beer the special barrel aged beer taste. Not as sweet as I expected, and I'm quite thankful for that.

M - Thin and with less carbonation than I would expect. Very dry on the finish. I would expect more champagne-like carbonation from this, but it's not bad.

O - Excellent beer, I'm curious to see how it would do with a couple of years of aging.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve is perfectly clear, a fact hard to appreciate given the beer's dark, prune-like colour. Hold it into the light, however, and it reveals itself to be practically tie-dyed with all shades of purple and ruby. There's no black here. If looking for head, all you'll find is whatever foam made its way safely to the outskirts.

The bouquet is perfumed like a rose and has a coriander-like air, rich molasses sweetness and just a hint of ash from the French oak barrels. I detect a dried orange peel pithiness, though the beer's fruitiness might better be described by raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune - take your pick. There's no wrong answer. Just add brown sugar.

The toasty flavor is almost truffle-like in both its meatiness and earthiness. The beer essentially drinks like a roasted Portobello burger, or at least would if not for the sweet-savory tastes of plum pudding and rum-raisin that share the flavor. There's no overlooking the dark fruits, molasses sweetness, and peppery, clove-like spice.

For all the caramelized sugar and syrup-like qualities, it's a wonder the beer never becomes cloying. This is even more astounding once you factor in the 10% alcohol. The fact that this is so approachable, even once losing its chill, is a testament to a generously malted, super enticing flavor profile that is as balanced as it is complex.

The aftertaste is underscored by a cola-like sweetness that sticks like the underlining of a wet bathing suit. It is thick but lush with floral features like honey. The peppery spice is impossible to overlook, despite all the dark rum sweetness, but is made more palatable by the a dry oak wood finish and remnant flavors of plum and grape.

Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve, like the best examples of Belgian strong dark ales, has a complexity that even Stephen Hawking would have trouble getting his head around. It is somehow simultaneously sweet, spicy, savory and fruity. Strong yet easy to drink. Like so many Unibroue products, this can hold its own with any of the heavyweights in Belgium.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 10/29/12 notes. This is the version rebrewed in 2011, with a best by date of 12-12-2016 on the bottle. Have had it for several months, 750ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a murky reddish brown color with one finger plus of fluffy off white head that's lasts for a minute or two and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, oak, spices, raisins, oak, roasted and toasted malts, fruity malts, light vanilla, and Belgian yeast. Really awesome nose; it's like La Fin De Monde with a little bit of oak to it. Really nice.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, alcohol, bready malts, sweet raisins, plums, figs, oak, toasted malts, light vanill and burnt malts. A little more alcohol here than the nose, but still really nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall an awesome beer from Unibroue. I like a lot of their stuff and this is up there as one of their best in my opinion. Awesome nose and easy to drink; definitely worth getting if you're a fan of Unibroue.

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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.

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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 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 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 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.

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Photo of Gmann
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy reddish brown color with a big pillowy beige head that settles into a light cap with some spot lacing.

The aroma is sweet with dark fruit. Red grapes, raisins and brown sugar provide the sweet aroma. This is countered by mixture of clove, carob, and light leather. Has an overall spicy nature.

The taste is sweet with a brown sugar/dark candi sugar sweetness. Some raisin and prune dark fruit notes but not nearly as pronounced as in some other BSDA's. There is an undercurrent of caramel and a subtle oak tartness. Hints of carob and tobacco/leather provide a nice earthy quality. Some clovey spice. Wow, nice complexity here.

The feel is moderate with sharp fizzy carbonation, quite prickly. The beer is sweet but not overly so. Still it finishes sweet on the palate with a hint of tartness. I guess it could use a bit more of a bitter or tart offset.

Very tasty BSDA. Not overly fruity with prunes and raisins so it gets bonus points. Does have some earthy qualities. A re-make of their 17th aniversery brew, this is meant for some aging. I may plan on doing so.

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Photo of deford
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

I have to say the mouthfeel is fantastic with this beer....wonderful cascade of bubbles that flow right down...perfect! Taste is not too sweet, just what I wanted...very happy with this one.

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

Picked this one up locally when it was first released but haven't gotten around to it until now. Enjoyed from a Unibroue tulip side-by-side with a regular 17.

a - identical in looks to the 17 deep murky brown with a traditional creamy Belgian head that hung out for ages and left sheaths of lace that moved as a giant chunk connected to the surface.

s - nose is a very focused Belgian strong dark. Nice oak notes layered on top of deep dark fruit...think figs, grapes, plums, prunes...with a great Belgian sweetness that rounds things out. The regular 17 comes across a bit syrupy in the nose and overly rich...that one has seen its prime but the grand reserve seems to smell just right at the moment.

t/m/o - as the nose suggests, a perfect balance of Belgian sweetness and dark fruit. Perhaps this one has peaked but if so, it was recent as it is tasty like a champ at the moment.it has that fantastic Unibroue feel. The regular 17 is definitely on the syrupy side, but not as bad as the nose suggested...but the grand reserve is in a really nice place right now. Drink up if you have em.

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Photo of Dope
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark reddish-amber pour with a huge dense tan head sitting on top. Fades slowly, leaving nice rings of lacing behind.

S: Loads of strong, spicy belgian yeast along with lots of bread. Smells almost like spicebread. Some banana and raisins. Brown sugar and a little caramel. Maybe some cinnamon? Very malty, sweet and spicy.

T: Sweet bread and caramel. Lots of brown sugar and again there is the cinnamon. Some banana and earthiness mixes in in the middle. Oaky finish with some more spice.

M: Thick but fairly high carbonation helps cut it a bit.

O: A very spicy BSDA. I got some cinnamon and maybe even nutmeg, kinda like a BDSA/Winter Warmer mix in my mind. Complex and balanced. Sweet and malty. I enjoyed it a lot.

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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 Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

Appearance – The beer pours a very murky brownish-red color with a small foam head of an off white tan color. The head fades moderately fast leaving only a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is massive and sweet with tons of darker fruits. The darker fruit smells are heaviest of a raisin smell, but contain other aromas of plum and fig as well. Along with the dark fruit are some rather strong smells of candied sugar as well as some smells of molasses. Other Belgian aromas of a yeasty smell as well as a decent showing of spice of a coriander, clove, and pepper aroma are there. Some banana smells and a bit of a boozy red wine smell mix with the sweeter Belgian strong dark smells nicely to produce a sweet and inviting aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins much drier then would have been anticipated from the nose, but does begin with many of the flavors that may have been expected. Some darker fruit flavors of a raisin and fig taste mix with a decent showing of a toasted grain and spiced flavor of coriander and clove. As the taste advances, the darker fruit fade some, but are replaced by a bit of brown sugar and molasses, maintaining an overall moderate sweetness. All the while, the roasted flavors increase some and are joined by some rum and some grapy red wine flavors. Some woody flavors also come to the tongue more toward the end, mixing the more boozy rum and red wine flavors nicely and bringing in the barrel aged flavor the would be expected from the label. A bit of a cocoa and yeasty flavor come more toward the end as well, and with them bringing a light spicy earthy flavor, to overall in the end, leave a darker fruity, more lightly sweetened, Belgian strong dark flavor with a nice heavy warming feel to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is higher and pricklier. The bigger body is nice for the darker and boozy flavors of the beer all while the prickly carbonation is fantastic for the fruity, yeasty spiced, and sweet flavors of the beer. Overall, well done.

Overall – like most of Unibroue’s beers, this is a very enjoyable and quite tasty brew with lots of robust flavors that blend rather well with each other. A very tasty Belgian strong dark.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with a foamy off-white head that provides substantial and unwavering bubble coverage and leaves a thick coat of sticky lacing while drinking. The nose is yeast-forward with a hint of dried fig, alcohol, light oak and molasses (more so with warmth). It's full flavored with a slightly nutty malt base, bubble-gummy yeast, and lingering tannic bitterness. The beer has a rich winter-weather approved malt base, but is stretched thin by a big yeast fruit presence, bitter oak astringency, and double digit abv. The beer's generous carbonation helps oxy-clean some of those heavy flavors off the palate, but it still sits heavier than expected. Regardless of a less than desirable mouthfeel/drinkability, it's a solid bargain bin find!

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Photo of peensteen
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown, one finger of tan head, some lace left on the glass. Smell is full of dark fruit soaked in alcohol, raisin and plum come to mind, dark bread scents, yeasty, lots of fruit in here, alcohol, ever so light notes of oak/wood. Taste follows the nose in the sense that dark fruit in alcohol are very present, yeasty, overripe plums, grapes and raisin, light oak aftertaste with faint banana candy flavours as well. Med carbonation, full body, silky feeling and very smooth. This is a fine specimen, a truly delicious brew worthy of its distinction.

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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 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 rapidsequence
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle. Nice packaging. Bought at Ned's. Don't remember the price.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, red-brown. Off white head with tiny bubbles. Retention and lacing are not great. Doesn't look impressive.

Smell: Big spicy Unibroue yeast aroma. The bottle says "brewed with spices," so I guess its not all yeast derived phenols. Fruity, toasty, and bready. Oak? Maybe. But a damn good smelling beer regardless.

Taste: Yes, very spicy, maybe a bit overdone. Oak taste is very prominent and combined with the dark fruity flavors adds a big vinous component to the beer. From the middle to the end, tannins, bitterness, and alcohol burn are present, but not unpleasant. Nice bready yeastiness in the finish too.

Moouthfeel: Medium full with lots of very soft carbonation. Oaky tannins.

Overall: Really tasty and complex beer. I think less (or no) spice additions would help this out, as would some additional time in the bottle.

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

Big fluffy two finger head and a dusky toffee brown body. Some slippery lace. Good retention.

Nose has a trace of funk, some cola, a lot of coriander, almost metallic, and some hints of grape.

Rich body, thick with toffee, malt, spice and tangy, almost steely (French?) oak character. Coriander lends it a slightly bitter finish. A bit of prune, maybe date.

Bright on the tip of the tongue, much smoother in the back of the mouth.

A darn good beer. I wonder what this would do over time (currently a bit coriander-heavy), but I don't know if I'll buy another.

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