17 Grande Reserve 2017 | Unibroue
From a 750ml bottle (corked and caged) served slightly chilled at 13 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. No clear date information on the bottle. I'm so excited to see this seasonal beer back on the LCBO shelves after last year's break (replaced by the 25th anniversary brews). If I recall, this one has a loud pop.
The beer pours a cloudy brown with 6.5cm of dense, rocky, beige head that dissipates into a thick cap within 5+ minutes. Exceptional lacing with very persistent head retention especially for the high ABV. World-class.
Medium-strong and balanced. Wonderful complexity with lovely nuances. Moderate fruity esters (banana & ripe apples) mixed with hints of vanilla and a spicy, peppery character – fantastic barrel notes. Slightly bready malt with caramel undertones, milk chocolate, and dried fruit (raisins & strawberries). Hints of earthy hops for balance. I'm even getting aged leathery and vinous notes. The dry nose is one of the most complex I've had the pleasure to experience in a while – notes of caramel, strawberries, oak, and bread crust. Layers on layers on layers, each whiff revealing something new. What a gorgeous and exceptional aroma!
Follows the aroma with strong intensity, good balance, and pronounced perceived bitterness. The palate opens up fruity-sweet with notes of banana, caramel, and vanilla making way for a center of alcohol-soaked dried fruit paired with pronounced oak character of peppery spice and wood. Earthy hops take a backseat while offering a great counterpoint to the malt and esters. An aged, leathery character lingers along with red berry notes. The medium-length finish is strong and balanced with notes of banana, bread crust, oak, and red berries. Uffff, I love this stuff.
Medium body with high carbonation. Prickly yet creamy with an off-dry finish and restrained alcohol warming of moderate strength. Mild astringency with no harshness of any kind. The beer's surprisingly light on the palate considering its strength.
Unibroue's 17 Grande Reserve is a wonderful, world-class beer featuring excellent craftsmanship. At ~$10 CAD this bottle is a steal – I'd pay double for this one. Delicious, complex, and nuanced with the elegance of a fine wine. It drinks easier than any 10% ABV beverage should – dangerous! This surely pairs exceptionally well with food – I need to pick up more bottles and give it a try. Highly recommended, my Unibroue favourite. Stock up for the year because there are plenty occasions this beer can elevate!