Unibroue Grande Reserve 17 Bottle Fermented Ale Aged With French Oak. 10% alc./vol. 750 ml. Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec, Canada. Bottled in 2012.
There's a 4-page tiny pamphlet around the neck, held by gold rubber bands. It only tells us of awards it's won. In the past. No real reason for it, seems rather pointless. I don't feel bad saying this, since I generally heap tremendous praise upon everything they do. Really, though, how could a beer bottled in 2012 have won awards in 2009, 2010, 2011…etc? Must be a reason.
Let's drink it….off goes the cage, out goes the cork…
Appearance: Impenetrably dark , utterly opaque burgundy hue, small, negligible head.
Aroma: sweet, deep and dark. vast fruit, mingled with oak. Raisins, dates and prunes, mixed with spice. Ah…
Taste: Sweetness and darkness together. Sweet malt and yeast tempered by oak-aging. Tremendously complex and delicious. All those dark fruit flavors return on the tongue and it's nothing but yum from here on out. Alcohol isn't a threat, yet, but it's early, still.
"Dark Ale on Lees (yeast), Ale brewed with soirees, aged with French oak, and with natural flavors added."
Well, oops, I'm wrong. how did I know that the 17th Anniversary beer from 2007 has been re-brewed for so many years? Why not give it an new name? They did, the Grande Reserve, so there. And you know what? It really is quite amazing. Mmm.
It's up there. Way up there.
Here's what I wrote about Unibroue 17 when I first tried it in July, 2008: Unibroue 17
Into a Duvel glass, dark brown, enormous head, huge, pillowy, drifting down soon.
Dark fruit, cola, pepper, cinnamon, clove...
Taste: black pepper and spice above all else, lush malt, some whiskey tones, too. A big, delicious mess. A malty, boozy, complicated bruiser. Raisins and other dark fruit come through, too. Turns mellow, creamy, chocolatey after a time, but still with an alcohol sting lying below.
I liked this, but didn't love it. Another nice one-off to celebrate another year of great beer.