Unibroue Grande Réserve 17 (2013) – Belgian Strong Ale at 10% ABV

Unibroue Grande Réserve 17 (2013) – Belgian Strong Ale at 10% ABV (C$10.69 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, packaged on 13-May-2013, best before 13-May-2021, acquired 18-Sep-2014, reviewed 5-Jan-2022)

Appearance: clear deep amber with two fat fingers of frothy light beige head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: Belgian banana and cloves, caramel & toffee, musty cellar funk, oak & leather, dark fruits,  tobacco. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, lingering spicy warming finish. (4/5)

When I last did this at two years old, it was complex, and had clearly benefited from a year in my cellar, mellowing the ABV and tempering the woody and vinous notes, while remaining relatively light in body. Well, at more than eight years old, and more than half a year past the BB date, that’s no longer quite the case. In addition to things fading overall, there’s an added note of musty cellar funk that is both decidedly unwelcome and almost certainly a death knell: this thing has well and truly jumped the shark. Still good, and still worthy of respect, but no longer what it once was. Ah, well, memento mori. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze