Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve | Unibroue

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273 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:
273
Ratings:
1,139
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
10.85%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
364
For Trade:
19
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Reviews: 273 | Ratings: 1,139
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a fairly dark amber color with three fingers of off white form. Decent retention, good lacing.

S: Spicy oak is quite strong in this beer - very perfumey. I also get some prunes and orange peel. Though the French oak compliments the aroma, it's a bit too strong.

T: Spicy oak is again quite strong with plums and prunes to help sweeten a beer that stays pretty dry for the style. Orange bitters works well with the oak to help balance the sweet dark fruits.

M: On the thin side with fairly high carbonation, but it goes well with the beer.

O: I really enjoy this beer, but the oak is a bit too strong. The flavors meld well together, but this beer would be great with toned down French oak.

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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 kjyost
4.87/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle 2011-9067 from the MLCC. Poured at ~6C into a fluted glass.

A: Pours a brown with hints of red at the edge and hints of haze with a great white/tan head that towers over the beer, almost as tall as the beer itself. Perfect score if it were not for the haze.
S: Delciiously phenolic. Definite raw oak notes with dark dried fruits like raisins, plums and figs. Pepper. Maybe a hint of booze.
T: I am in love. Quite hard to find faults with this beer. A bit of sweetness that quickly gives way to the dried fruits with black pepper finishing. More plum than raisin, and some of the oak is evident.
M: Quite dry for the ABV with no hint of the ABV. Seems a hint watery though. Great prickly carbonation. A touch more body would have helped the mouthfeel, although it may have detracted from the body
O: I remember the original barely, though I remember quite liking it. I had a bunch of belgians at this point of my life without my revelation that beer can be better, I just always chalked it up to "different culture, different beer". A year or so later I had my epiphany and wished I had stored this beer (store beer? no one does that). Glad to see it back and as delicious as ever.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, No. 2013-084791. Poured into a goblet. Haven't had a Unibroue in a while and I am rather stoked. A murky root beer brown brew with around five fingers of rich beige head, holding its form well. Aroma is malt-forward and spicy, prunes and raisins, toffee, rum, and strong bready yeast. Good old Unibroue yeast, a fungus that doesn't play around, grabbing your olfactory bulbs and tongue to show you who's boss. Flavor profile includes brown bread, cinnamon and nutmeg, sassafras, coriander seed, applesauce, dry parchment, and a tiny nip of chocolate. There's a decent earthy hop note and the tannic oak dries things out ... Rather hot and woody, I bet this would age well. Fortunately, the sweet and spicy flavors are not overpowered by the wood and aromatic alcohol. Moderately chewy body with fairly aggressive carbonation. Finishes quite dry, with some sour fruit and earthy spice lingering in a most pleasant fashion. I love the laundry list of phenolic flavors one can find in these beers. A wonderful Belgian strong with great yeast character, as expected from this brewery. My own tastes might dictate some additional aging next time.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1" tan coloured head over brownish/amber liquid.

S: Yeast, pears and figs.

T: Oak, yeast, figs, pears and caramel.

M: Medium to full viscosity and a high level of carbonation, with some drying from the alcohol.

O: More on the bitter side than sweet, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale is quite complex. For my money, though, I prefer Terrible.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
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 SHODriver
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
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 teromous
4.03/5  rDev -5%
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 Dreadnaught33
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled 2011.

The beer pours a nice dark brown with crimson and near purple tints in it, very interesting. The head is a nice bubbly off white to almost tan head. Pretty.

The smell has a nice dose of sugary and spiced dark fruits,cinnamon and apples. Nutmeg and a touch of malty alcohol as well. Figs and sugar coated raisins. Not overly aromatic or unique.

The taste is nice and follows the smell very nicely, with some definite Belgian style yeast notes to it along with the dark dried fruits and toffee, some really cool underlaying spice. Some bitter notes too, interestingly in a fruity way once again. Taste doesn't explode with flavor as I'd hoped, but it is nice and pretty in line with most unibroue beers.

The feel is ok, more bubbly than I'd like and sort of thinner too. Way too prickly!

Good, but I'd prefer much easier and cheaper beers from unibroue better too. Maybe it's too young yet, it's hard to tell.

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Photo of videofrog
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
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 artoolemomo
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
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 mscudder
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
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 sukwonee
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
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 DaveBar
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
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 doughanson78
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
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 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 sillyhed8
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
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 MrHurmateeowish
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
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 daledeee
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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 JohnnyBarman
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
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 ajm5108
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
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 Pahn
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
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 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 DavidST
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
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 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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Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve from Unibroue
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,139 ratings.
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