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Unibroue’s Grand Reserve 17—A Beer for the Ages

Andrew Nagy
Posted: March 23, 2012

(continued from page 1)

Soon, though, bottles of 17 (as it was known then) began to make their way to brewheads across North America via trades and eBay, in some cases selling for as high as $180 per bottle. The secret was officially out when 17 began to rack up a slew of medals and awards, including being named World’s Best Dark Ale by The World Beer Awards.

According to Bernard Johnson, regional sales manager for Unibroue, 90,000 bottles of Grand Reserve 17 are going to be made available in the U.S.

While Unibroue, a small brewery known for producing some of the world’s finest Belgian-style ales outside of Belgium, is available in 46 states, you can bet that this beer will be snatched up in a hurry.

And if you are one of the lucky few to find it, try and grab a couple bottles. One to enjoy now and one to rest, preferably somewhere between 46 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 (10 percent alcohol by volume, $12.99 for 750-ml bottle)

APPEARANCE: Pours an opaque caramel with a craggy, beige head that remains until the very last drop.

AROMA: Roasted-malt notes hit the nose first followed by an elaborate, boozy bouquet of figs, pomegranate and apricots with traces of grapefruit and vanilla.

PALATE: A hot, complex beer from start to finish, the liquid begins with grapefruit hop and allspice notes before giving way to a cocoa, fig and caramel midpoint until a wonderfully toasty vanilla and honey finish that lingers in the mouth until the next sip. There’s a certain meaty, leathery element to the beer’s mouthfeel.

CIGAR PAIRING: The malty finish of this beer begs to be paired with cigar smoke, and its high alcohol content means you can go big with a medium- to full-bodied stick. We tested this with the bold La Flor Dominicana’s Cameroon Chisel and the milder Viaje White Label St. Patrick’s, a candela cigar.

The sweetness of the Chisel and its slight spice gave the beer’s cocoa and caramel flavors a nice kick. The Chisel’s leathery mouthfeel also danced well with the brew. The Viaja fared well in this pairing, too, as it brought out the liquid’s toasty oak and rounded the vanilla component into a pleasant, buttery taste.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

JESUS Calderon — Bakersfield, CA, UNITED STATES,  —  March 27, 2012 6:43pm ET

I love these craft beer articles! I hope to see some on Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer! Its all the hype in the craft beer world and thankfully there are more and more Bourbon Barrel-aged beers coming out!

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