Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve
These words not only appear on Unibroue’s website announcing the availability of 17 in the United States but also on the back of the bottle itself. The original batch of 17 was brewed in 2007 for Unibroue’s 17th anniversary. That original batch won many high honors including platinum medals three years in a row at the World Beer Championship. However, in 2010 the same original batch aged three or so years was named the World’s Best Dark Ale at the World Beer Awards.
Unibroue decided to start brewing 17 once a year in limited quantities. It seems the 2011 bottling was the first re-release. I happened upon 17 in the grocery store last week while perusing the beer aisle. Some might say to let this one age even longer, but I just had to try it. Each bottle in the batch is numbered; this one is #2011-157322.
17 pours a dark, nearly opaque brown with a nice khaki head on top. The beer has that famous Unibroue scent (I think it’s their yeast that gives off this scent) along with dark fruits. Plenty of flavors in this beer; dark fruit, spices, Unibroue yeast, caramel, oak. 17 is a thick, sticky beer with relatively light carbonation and the flavors linger on the palette for quite a while.
The World’s Best Dark Ale? Quite possibly; it’s delicious. It’s certainly worth the $12 I paid for this bomber. Keep an eye out for this one; 17 may show up when you least expect it.