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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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267 Reviews
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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:
267
Ratings:
1,120
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
22.41%
 
 
Wants:
99
Gots:
359
For Trade:
21
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Reviews: 267 | Ratings: 1,120
Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

 485 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
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 +0.2%

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 +0.2%
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 BWood
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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 mwilbur
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
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 +0.7%
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 +0.7%
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 +0.7%
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.

 1,039 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

split and paired with a NY strip, hen of the woods shrooms and seabeans. #northwest

appearance: dark chestnut-garnet body, thick creamy beige head with strong lace

smell: earthy, figs, dried cherries, brown sugar, a touch of smoke

taste: lovely - brown sugar, dates, figs, roasted nuts, maple, dark malt, oak, a fair amount of spice.

mouthfeel: light and lively, well carbonated

overall: great stuff - no surprise from unibroue

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Photo of Etan
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
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 +0.9%
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 allforbetterbeer
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle #118024 poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Best before 12-12/2016. Opened on 08/27/2015. Cellared at 53 degrees in a fridge lying on its side. Bottle agitated lightly and then stood upright 72 hours before opening.

Smells heavenly. Well matured notes of Belgian style yeast- with a touch of citrus rind and a hint of clove tea, peach skin, dry bread crust, and a touch of bubble gum.

The flavor is deep and subtle, like a well aged BSDA should be. Caramel, the ghosts of warm spices, dark bread and hints of raisins hit me first. The flavors are so melded it is hard to name anything in particular. It is as if there is only one flavor here- Grande Reserve 17. I am rarely at a loss for words with beer.

The mouthfeel is actually thinning a bit I suspect, and I think it would be the first to go in the long haul with aging. The carbonation is going strong, and the overall flavors are still wonderful.

Conclusion: My first of this beer, so I never tried it fresh. I bet it would have been tasty but overwhelming then, as it is still a big boy at this advanced age. Well worth a try if you can find a bottle. Another fantastic beer from a brewery that I seldom try but am always impressed by.

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Photo of Lucho
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: pours dark amber with a once inch beautiful white foamy head and excellent lacing

Smell: Apples! Green grapes, light oak, very little dark fruits like mission figs and others. Awesome nose that hits you with sparkling apple cider that has been held in oak.

Taste: Wow! This is awesome! Green grapes and apples with some maltyness, with some oak but does not overpower the fruits. There is not much alcohol flavor as this beer is at 10%. easy drinking as it begs you to take another sip. lets see how it open up towards the end of the bottle. I'll come back to this. It did not change too much as it warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Very well balanced with a medium to slightly thick body with perfect carbonation that bounces of the tongue.

Overall: This is a killer beer that has aged very well. I had this when it was released and wow has it mellowed out and fallen into place. Cant wait to revisit in another year. Cheers!

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Photo of Hazer115
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I shared a bottle with my brother. This beer poured a great golden amber with a short one finger head that didn't last very long.

I could really pick up on several notes from banana to vanilla to smoked oak.

All of the aromas carried over to the taste as well with a slight since of the alcohol content slipping in there.

A very bright and full mouthfeel with a lot of carbonation.

Overall, a very good beer and one that I would recommend to others.

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Photo of Rutager
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance. Pours a deep and hazy amber-brown with a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Brown sugar, cloves, orchard fruits, a little bit of peppery spices, caramel, and even a bit of banana and maybe a trace of smoke.

Taste. Brown sugar, caramel and spice, fruits both dark and light, raisins, pepper and just a little woody vanilla. Wow, this is pretty nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium-full, fairly smooth carbonation.

Overall. A very nice, very high quality Belgian style beer. I enjoyed it more than I expected.

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Photo of hermit990
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage. 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown. Two fingers worth of a tan colored head that recedes to a thin foam. Slight alcohol leg presence. Decent lacing sticking. Little visible carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet, dark fruits. Raisins. Slightly tart, cherry aroma. Vinous. Spice, reminding of cinnamon blending in with the sweetness. Roasted malt presence. Raisin bread. Slight vanilla.

Taste: Quick brown sugar sweetness upfront fades into a roasted, malty bitterness. Breadiness carrying into chocolate and coffee. Dark fruit and spice flavor lead into oak and vanilla on the finish. Slight alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Feels very smooth gliding through the mouth and over the tongue. Alcohol warmth blends in well with the spice. Aftertaste is a bit dry, lingering with the sweet alcohol heat.

Overall: This is a good offering from Unibroue. Compared to the 2013 vintage at this point, there is less bitterness and more of the sweetness coming through. Easy to find and affordable ($10 per bottle in my area) if Unibroue is available to you. A very good beer, though I find myself preferring some of their other options.

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Photo of stephens101
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a bold tan head (2+ fingers). Dark brown and crimson in color. Great retention. Has a grainy aroma with some dark fruits (cherries, black grapes) phenols and slight vinegar notes. A splash of dark fruit to the tongue is followed by a certain graininess, burnt sugar, sweet bread and light hops. Some cotton candy sweetness is noticed as it warms and I find some oak deep down. Medium bodied and a bit airy, smoothly textured, and with a thin veil of alcohol heat. Residing in the realm of the best. I only with this wasn't a one-off.

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 09-29-2012
Freshness: 2011 Vintage, Best by 12-12-2016
Packaging: 750ml brown bottle, corked and caged
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Review #400!

Appearance is a dark brown beer, nearly opaque, with red tinges. A big, tan head of 3+ fingers shows excellent retention and very good lace.

Aromas are rich, of aged wood, sweet caramel malts, raisins, and a slight smokiness.

The taste is malty and full, with sweet over-ripened fruits, spices, grapes, Belgian yeast character, and earthiness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full-bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. Aftertastes are of wood and cherries -- somewhat sweet with a little sour aspect as well.

Overall a very delightful anniversary ale from Unibroue. Strong, with a nice alcohol warmth to it. Mellowed out nicely as it came to room temps. Recommended

 867 characters

Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark brown glass with murky edge of light brown. The head starts a big 2 finger head and drops to a thin brown cover that leaves a few little drops of lace.

Smell: Strong notes of the house Unibroue yeast, a blend of dark fruit, alcohol whiffs, a light lemon twist.

Taste: Rich, but not overpowering. The dark fruit, plum, cherry, and a bit of tannin, that all manages to stay light and almost airy.

Feel: High carbonation is almost champagne like with a light body that dries quickly leaving a mild chalky note.

Overall: A masterful beer. Great flavor, rich but not heavy, complex but subtle, great execution. The dry finish is a slight drag on the total package, but encourages another tasty sip.

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Photo of themind
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
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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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,120 ratings.
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