Jul 11, 2007

Unibroue La Terrible (2004)

I’m a huge fan of Unibroue’s products so you can imagine how stoked I was to purchase this 2004 vintage bottle of La Terrible back in February. The plan was to save it for a special occasion. Those of you that have visited once or twice know full well that my patience level when it comes to saving beer is nil. Honestly, I’m surprised the bottle lasted this long.

So, in conjunction with a few days off from work to celebrate my birthday and relax with the family, I found it the appropriate moment to pop this one open. I’ve got to tell you that when I pulled the bottle from it’s dark corner of the basement storeroom that I was a bit nervous. The basement temperature has been fluctuating with the hot summer days we’ve been having — without air conditioning down there I’m at the mercy of the house. After a good 30 minutes in the fridge to bring it to temperature, I was surprised to find a tasty and lively beer.

Beer Label: Unibroue La Terrible


For some reason, I was expecting a lighter colored beer. La Terrible poured a near black into my Duvel chalice. When held up to the light however, it revealed a nice garnet edge and light sediment. The head was small, perhaps a quarter of an inch, but it lasted the duration of the glass.


This beer smells heavenly. Dark fruits dominate the aroma, giving it a port-like character. There is a small bit of sweetness present, but not the typical Belgian candy you sometimes find in strong dark ales. There’s also a hint of burnt toffee.


The first thing that struck me was how well carbonated and lively the beer was. This is my first time enjoying a beer older than a year old. I suppose I was expecting it to be a little on the flat side, but was pleasantly surprised to find it the complete opposite. The carbonation pushed flavors of dark fruits, malts and semi-sweet toffee around my mouth. Everything was smooth and complemented each other well.


My notes for this section of the review simply state, “Best birthday beer ever.” I can tell you that it was a great beer — smooth, warming and delightful. It reminded me a good deal of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles, but less sweet, a bit smoother and with a larger alcohol presence. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more of this vintage in future beer searches.

Rating: 4.5/5