Review of Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 (2011)

18 Nov
How’s it going everyone?  Well I hope.  Thanks for checking back in on another craft beer review.  Today, I’m going to be trying the Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 (2011) produced by the Unibroue Brewery located in Chambly, Quebec, Canada.

I’ve been looking for this brew for awhile now and when I finally saw it the other day I had to pick it up and give it a go.

From the website,, we find this bit of info.

Inspired by the great Belgian brewing tradition of Trappist monks established over the centuries, Unibroue 17 was first brewed in 2007 to celebrate our brewery’s 17th anniversary. However, the overwhelming success of this specialty brew made it obvious that we could not let such a great ale slip into the anonymity of retirement. 

As testimony to it’s remarkable flair profile which increases in complexity as it ages, the original batch bottled in 2007 was awarded an international platinum medal three years in a row, and the prestigious title of “World’s Best Dark Ale” when it was well past three years in the bottle! 

So in 2011, we proudly brought back this French Oak aged, bottle refermented dark ale, with the “Grande Réserve” appellation as a fitting endorsement of it’s exceptional quality for aging. Brewed only once a year, in limited quantities, and individually numbered “brasseur” bottles, this is truly a flavorful delight for the specialty beer enthusiast.

Let’s get this baby poured.  Bottle #96311.

This brew has an ABV of 10.0% and it comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle.

It poured a dark burgundy color with a few shimmers of ruby outlined along the edges. It formed a full, kind of soapy and fizzy, khaki colored head.  It maintained its size very well and it produced some very nice lacing as it subsided back into the liquid.

The bouquet presented some sugar with touches of overripe banana and spicy clove. A hint or two of bittersweet chocolate and raisin added some depth whilst a light whiff of Belgian yeast revealed itself after a moment.  A very minor, subdued aroma of wood was found buried deep within.  All in all, quite restrained, but very, very well balanced, harmonized and pleasing.

The taste let those dark fruits jump out a lot more and they become more refined and defined.  Raisins, dates and figs were all found.  More Belgian yeast too.  Very, very nice I must say.  The banana savors all but disappeared and the chocolate became more of a complimentary flavor also.  The spicy clove and even a bit of peppery bite meshed well with the overall profile.  The woodiness, like in the smell, was mild and favorable and helped “round” everything off.  A beautiful taste with this beer in my opinion.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Quite smooth, dry, chewy and slick.  The carbonation was about perfect and a bit of heat was generated from the 10.0% ABV. A very nice drenching of flavor was left behind on the palate after the swallow as well.

Well.  Unibroue has produced a very nice beer with the Grand Reserve 17.  I’m so glad I got to try it.  Granted the nose was a bit gentle, however the appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and drinkability made up for it.  I think this brew is definitely worth a try if you can find a bottle.  I should have picked up two!!!  Oh well, too late now I guess.  I could easily see myself sitting with this on a cool night while reading a book or jamming out on the guitar.  Did you guys get the chance to try it?  What did you think? Leave a comment and tell me your opinion if you’d like.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.3 out of 5
Grade:  A

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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Country: Canada, Unibroue


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