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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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

Appearance- Pours up a great amount of head that seems to have some staying power. The head is an off-white/light tan while the body is a muddy, chestnut brown with hints of amber which appears as a dark amber with hues of crimson and maroon in the light. The lacing consists of a lattice type sheeting.

Nose- Started off with a little bit of apple that seemed to turn to slightly tart cherry from the bottle. The glass shows a lighter apple with some clove and banana. The bottle remains a bit more resilient with a streak of ashy cloves and a tone of overall stone fruits. Glass seems to settle on a creamy and inviting apple.

Taste- Starts off fairly reflective of the nose though I wish the apple was more dominant of a dominant note. Mixed with the rounded cloves and banana, it's somewhat reminiscent of applesauce. Very well rounded with lots of balance. There isn't anything especially striking here except the extremely refined and subdued type of brew you expect from Unibroue. Some hints of brown sugar and candy sugar in the background. Light raisins and plums. Light brown bread. Presence is on the lighter side but this is not the type of beer that you drink for such. Seems in the middle for Unibroue beers which is good to really good. I really appreciate that you can rely upon their product and that it is always affordable. Some hints of pears. Pretty much a really good beer. Some citrus. Orange, lemon, hints of coriander.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied. Light carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy. The mouthfeel is very important to the overall perception of this beer.

Drinkability- Pretty much like almost any other Unibroue beer I've had. Very easygoing while being interesting. Doesn't show a touch of its 10%. Twelve bucks is a reasonable price but I'd probably go with the cheaper, year-round Unibroues instead.

Overall- Good to really good, but mostly really good. I haven't had a Unibroue I wouldn't suggest trying and this is no exception. But try the other ones first. Also, this gets closer to some of the more renowned quads as it starts to have a very strong raisin profile. It's reminding me a lot of Westy at the moment but I'm sure this is only in one aspect. Still pretty good.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Dark murky brown. Two finger off white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Figs, dates, dark cherries, and raisins. Some light citrusy notes. Big Belgian yeast aroma along with some clove mingling nicely with a subtle oak aroma. Alcohol is present but meshes well.

T: Big dark fruits throughout the mouth. Citrus isn't present in the flavor but the French oak really shines in the the taste. It mixes with a pepper/chili bite that might be 50% alcohol bite. Belgian yeast sits in the background of this complex brew. This will be phenomenal in a few years.

M: Full bodied. Medium high carbonation. Super creamy and buttery. Awesome.

O: The best of this style I've had, with second being Unibroue's Trois Pistoles. Love Unibroue. Going to pick up some more for the cellar for sure!!!

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Photo of DaveBar
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW what a beer! Flavour upon flavor. Excellent.

A- Wonderfully dark and cloudy. Tons of head as usual from this company

S- Pungent. Blended well, nothing outrageously stands out. Belgium all the way

T- OUTSTANDING! First sip at 8deg C in a freshly washed and dried tumbler. Malt, complex, expert brewing for sure. Alcohol is completely hidden for this 10% abv. This is a serious beer.

M- Silky smooth. Dry way later on but that should be expected from a hot beer, super pleasant.

O- Wonderful. Everyone should try at least one in their lives. I bought 5 more for the cellar. Only the price keeps the rating from being higher

Thx for reading

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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 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 sukwonee
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottle, aged for one year.

A: Reddish dark brown with 3-4 finger head. Lots and lots of lacing everywhere.

S: Oak, some funk(?), brown sugar, some spice, caramel - complex.

T: Awesome. It's great. I can really taste oak, wine, caramel malt, spices. This bottle has that unique flavor present in most Unibroue beers, but way more complex. I would say this beer is caramel malt forward with the oak barrel, wine, and vanilla hitting in the middle, followed by some cola like flavor (and some candy-like sweetness), and finishes off with more wine and spices. I also tastes some apple and dark fruits as well. Alcohol is not detected much.

M: Smoooth and creamy. Thick but not syrupy.

O: Awesome brew. French oak aging must have added extra layers of complexities in the nose and taste. Highly recommended.

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Photo of daledeee
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 750 ml bottle.

Poured into my big wine glass and got a nice dark somewhat cloudy body with an off white head and an uneven layer between head and body.

Nose is plums and cherries.

Taste is superb. Loads of dark fruit, black licorice, hops, spice. Cherries come to mind. There is a sweetness and tartness built all into one.

Mouth feel is nice and bubbly.

Overall, a really good example. If I would have been sure when I bought this how good it was, I would have bought two. Aging would really be interesting. One of the best beers I have had in a while.

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Photo of mscudder
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Poured into a Duvel snifter.

A - Dark brown with a thick light-tan head. Just a tone off from being opaque. Beautiful beer.

S - Dark fruits, touch of caramel, some brown sugar and vanilla.

T - That is what a call delicious. A bit warm from the ABV, but not a strong presence for a big 10%. A wealth of earthy flavors battling against sweetness from the malts.

M - Mild carbonation which adds a bit to this one. Body is heavy as expected but this feels a bit thin for me.

O - This is a fantastic brew from Unibroue that only gets better as it warms, letting out its plethora of flavors. A bit expensive for a bottle (~$13), but if you like dark Belgian beers and are a fan of La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, or other Unibroue beers, this is a must.

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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 videofrog
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml cork & caged bottle into a Duvel Tulip. Poured carefully to avoid disturbing yeast sediment. Bottled in 2011. Best by 12-12-16. Served at cellar temp.

A: Dark reddish brown. Cream head that leaves soapy lacing down the glass.

S: Gets more complex as it warms up. Vinous notes, oak, vanilla, bready malt, a spiciness, and some brown sugar in the background.

T: Many fruit notes. Bready malt there again. Very slight hop bitterness. Oak strong in the finish. Banana there as well. Lingering aftertaste has slight tartness with an apple tone.

M: On the thick side of medium. Carbonation tingles the gums a bit.

O: Alcohol still fairly well hidden for a brew meant to mellow with age. One of Unibroue's better offerings, which says a lot. Really wish I had the patience to cellar one of these.

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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.

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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 Pahn
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 2 inch fizzy off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a small ring of lacing. Pours a semi-translucent chestnut/maroon, not much lacing. Great color.

Smell: At first, smells like a witbier (coriander, a little clove). Quickly gets augmented with Belgian quad aromas, dark fruit, cola. Signature Unibroue yeast aroma, augmented by clove, some smokiness, mild ambiguous dark fruit. Spicy and effervescent. Very nice.

Taste: Coriander and clove, with some ambiguous dark fruit heavily influenced by the spice (in other words, tastes like it smells, though a bit milder and even more unbalanced toward spice). Same signature Unibroue yeast that you ought to expect from every Unibroue beer (I like it). Nice French oak undertones, very subtle (creamy, almost-vanilla / almost-coconut) that aren't detectable in every sip, but are a good counterpoint to the spicy main flavor. Fruity, spicy aftertaste. Bit boozy, but appropriate.

The flavors here are good, with the spice giving a tangy, smoky tinge to the dark fruit and Belgian yeast, but it's not very deep. A beer like this, I want more adventurousness... but it tastes good. Other complaint is that the spice use is a heavyhanded element among a few significantly subtler elements, which isn't so great.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium bodied. Very carbonated (over- for my tastes). Good finish; neither dry nor sugary.

Overall: Enjoyable, especially if you like Unibroue's regular lineup (mildly backhanded compliment). Interesting beer, with flashes of brilliance (the restrained oak influence, the clove/dark fruit interplay, the bold aroma). Nowhere near great, but I like it very much.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with an ample fluffy off white head with good retention
S: smells of zesty and spicy yeast, some tannins, fruity esters and some dark fruit smells. very complex and nice aroma. I've spent minutes just sitting here and smelling it
T: slightly tart up front with a slightly oaked middle with some fruitiness and some spices. sweet and fruity aftertaste
M: slightly prickly carbonation and medium bodied. not bad
O: a very good beer, not quite the bold level of their other offerings but the subtleties are nice and it's still enjoyable

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
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

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up during a trade with misterb303 while in Denver! Bottle #2011-118242. Cloudy mahogany pour with a creamy two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Wonderful woody, spicy, complex nose. Lots of oak along with hints of dark fruit, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and just a touch of banana. The taste is just as big and just as complex. The oak is once again the star, with hints of nuts, raisins, black cherries, figs, tobacco, maple, vanilla, and brown sugar, with just a bit of cocoa, cinnamon, and booze. The mouthfeel starts off with moderate carbonation, but as it comes to temp, it becomes slightly chewy with a great subtle alcohol warming. Don't drink this too cold. This beer definitely lives up to the hype and I'd love to get my hands on another and leave it in the cellar for a while.

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Photo of LutherBrau
4.69/5  rDev +10.9%

Appearance: Deep Brown color with Ruby Highlights. Strong degree of opacity. Off-white/tan finger’s-worth of lacy head that does not dissipate and clings well to the sides of the glass. No visible carbonation

Smell: Rich and bready, subtle roasted malt notes balance well with cocoa tones.

Taste: Rich sweetness all over the tongue but not cloyingly so. Just enough hop bitterness to add dimension to the malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied. Coats the tongue like a cool blanket. No tactile presence of carbonation and slight alcohol warming on the back of the palate.

Overall: I purchased this bottle to celebrate tasting my 500th different brew and the boys up North sure didn’t disappoint. This ale is brewed once yearly and this particular example was bottled in 2013. Past awards include 68 Gold and 8 Platinum Awards in International Judging. This is a beer that deserves to speak for itself. Hunt one down and save it for a quiet, reflective night.

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Photo of DavidST
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass, 2011 edition. This pours a hazy dark brown tea color with a massive foamy tan head with a pretty good retention. The smells are of sweet malts, yeast easters, banana, ripe fruit, funk. The feel is medium, high carbonation. The taste is pretty good full flavor lots of sweetness malts, fruit and a little dry on the day down. The high alcohol is completely absent.

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Photo of teromous
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Murky brown color, looking similar to sweet tea. The head is very large and stands for a long time, which is frothy, and is a light tan color.

S: Not much on the nose, but I do get a soda-like carbonation tickle from smelling it. There is a very faint oak smell, and is vaguely similar to a bourbon smell. Overall the smell is very faint though.

T: It has that "high alcohol Belgian Beer" flavor, but without any actual taste coming from alcohol. It's hard to explain, but if you drink high ABV Belgians, you'll know what I mean. It has a slightly fruity flavor to it, kind of like plums. There is a light oak flavor. I also pick up a cinnamon flavor.

M: There is light astringency and dryness, but nothing unpleasant. The mouthfeel is medium, but has an airy quality to it after drinking it.

O: Overall it is a very good beer, and it does taste more balanced than other Unibroue beers. I would drink it again, but it's not so fantastic that I would choose it over any other Belgian Dark, given the price.

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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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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 cambabeer
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good looking beer here. Nice amber deep mahogany brown body, light carbonation, just lets some light through, not completely transparent. Creamy buttered tan head, very light brown, nice lace on glass. Everything here is inviting.

Smells very sweet and spicy and alcoholic. A bit of toasted sugar and malted barley, some yeast coming through as well. Somewhat grape and winelike, some apple flavors and... starfruit tartness at the beginning.

Taste is tart, spicy and very warming from the booze. I'm sticking by that starfruit profile. Nice yeast and toasted grain, only a little hop bitterness, but enough to recognize. This is the stuff.

Very good.

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Photo of korguy123
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 re-release dubbed "Grand Reserve"

A- Dark chesnut with ruby highlights. Three finger tight bubbled egg shell head thay slowly recedes to a nice sized cap. Lacing is sticky and won't let go.

S- Bananas and wonderful yeast quality. There are dark fruits with brown sugar and vanilla. The oak aging really binds everything together beautifully.

T- Bananas and yeast, oak and vanilla with brandy soaked figs. Fresh bead and caramel sauce.

M- Medium to full bodied, light carbonation feeling. Sticky on the lips.

O- This really is heavenly. I can see why they brought this back and I'm glad they did.

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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 seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

2013. 750 ml bottle at Beer Authority, NYC. Paid way too much but I look at it as a one time thing. I'm a big Unibroue fan because of the unique yeast flavor. This brew has just a hint as the stars are the caramel/malt flavors. This thing is growing on me proportionally to the rose in my cheeks. I can feel, from behind the mask, my complexion turning to that of the jovial monk that bedecks most Trappist labels. It's 70F outside but I'm in a Yuletide flava'. Do not....I repeat ...do not...misconstrue this as a complaint. The further I get into this endeavor, the more disembodied I get. Is that Tim Leary over there drinking W/Jerry Garcia. Methinks it just might be. In the end this was a most enjoyable venture.

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