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Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

200 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 200
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 4
Gots: 31 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Contract brewed by Unibroue.

(Beer added by: djaeon on 11-16-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 200 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerDocT:
Photo of BeerDocT
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at the Trader Joe's in Alpharetta, GA, which I hate. I really wish TJ's would open up a new store closer to North Atlanta so I would never have to go that particular location again.

Poured into a chilled La Trappe goblet.

Appearance 3.75: Poured out jet black with a creamy white, 1/2" head. Head quickly dissipated, leaving very little froth behind. Lacing non-existent.

Smell 4.0: Nice bouquet. I smell toasted grains, star anise, cloves, orange rind and spicy Belgian yeast. All of it is well balanced and subdued.

Taste 4.0: Front is slightly sweet, but much more dry than last year's batch. Middle is where the spices come in: cloves, orange, anise...but all very well-balanced and not overwhelming. In the Finish, a certain smoked grains taste seeps in along with a taste of cocoa. Finish is also where I noticed a subtle hop flavor and a very light sweetness. Aftertaste is remarkably (and woefully...I did not want it to end!) short and gives the palate one more kick of spice and subtle malt. Absolutely NO hint of the 9% ABV this baby packs.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Ideal carbonation for this beer. Pleasing on the palate and refreshing.

Overall 4.0: Excellent holiday brew...in fact, this is my favorite holiday brew. The master brewers at Unibroue have stepped up to the plate again and knocked another one out of the park. Light, refreshing and perfectly sessionable. Recommended, even if you have to navigate a horrible TJs like the one in Alpharetta, GA. **shudder**

BeerDocT, Jan 06, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

tbryan5, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of sicilian
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

sicilian, Mar 09, 2014
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3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

csmartin6, Feb 09, 2014
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3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Doomcifer, Mar 09, 2014
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4/5  rDev +5%

Guinnsslvr, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of mctizzz
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%

mctizzz, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Best before date of 08/01/2016.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and dark brownish amber with some ruby. Lots of bubbles and a huge four finger tan head with decent retention. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A yeasty, spicy, and toasty Belgian style aroma with big hints of fruit and caramel malt. Big upfront scent of Belgian yeast with good hints of funk, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and black peppers. Spices give a cola like scent. Toasted malts with hints of caramel, toffee, toasted bread, biscuit, straw, and grains. Scent of banana and apple. Dark fruit hints of grapes, raisin, fig, cherry, prune, plum, and dates. Hints of candied sugar as well. A pretty solid spicy aroma.

Taste: Like the spicy aroma hints at, a yeast and spice driven Belgian aroma with big notes of fruit and toasty caramel malt. Big taste of Belgian yeast with some funk. Big spice presence giving an old school cola like taste. Notes of clove, black peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Bready toasted malts with notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toasted bread, straw, and grains. Fruity taste of banana and apple along with dark fruit notes of grapes, raisin, fig, prune, cherry, dates, and plum. Some candied sugar sweetness as well. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Spicy, juicy, and fairly drying on the finish. A little alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: Another really solid year for this brew. Good mix of spices and fruity esters with a nice toasty malt presence.

MattyG85, Nov 29, 2013
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4/5  rDev +5%

dblipajunkie, Dec 07, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

InfernoBoss, Dec 07, 2013
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4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

tdm168, Feb 28, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

menacho1, May 29, 2014
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4/5  rDev +5%

SFNC, Jan 18, 2014
Photo of Moby
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Moby, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Called a Dark Ale for a reason , this poured a deep dark ruby with a course of bubbling. These bubbles built an inch of single file of horizontal brown lines that was capped by a dense khaki froth.

Peppercorns, cloves, carriage and anise meet the nose as this hints towards the "Brewed with Spices." There's some light fruit sweetness like prunes and plums.

The flavors are spicy as well but the malt is more substantial. There seems to be some caramel malt, dried dark fruit and more of a black licorice flavor. There is clove spice, and carraway, but the cloves seems to dominate the last of the palate.

This drinks with a slight alcohol warmth and a bit of dark fruit twang, but it's full enough to satisfy.

The cork read Unibroue and my guess is that it's contracted brewed through the Canadian brewery. That makes complete sense as the yeast characteristics seem to be close to many of their products.

KYGunner, May 02, 2014
Photo of Snellgg5
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Snellgg5, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of kmoen
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

kmoen, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of puboflyons
4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle best before 08-01-2016. Sampled on March 9, 2014 and served at about 55 degrees.

The pour is about as attractive as a Belgian Strong Ale can look with its dark brown to nearly black tone and soft, tan head lingering to the end and leaving lacing with each sip.

The nose is colorful with the dark Belgian malts, Belgian candied sugar, black licorice, plums, coriander, and pepper. There is an earthy hop note that enhances the slightly boozy quality.

Medium body.

The taste is something to remember with the black licorice, dark malts, and vibrant spicy or pepper bite with each sip. Dry finish. Trader Joe's Vintage brews are a Unibroue "knock-off" that have all the same qualities but is a couple dollars cheaper. How can one go wrong?

puboflyons, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of TruePerception
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've heard a bunch of people say this is really good, especially for the price ($5 for a 750mL)!

Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale, dark ale (brewed by Unibroue). 9% ABV.

Good pop, with a nice haze! Didn't even need the cork screw to pop the cork!

A: Pours a distinct tamarind color. Very dark brown, almost black, in the glass. Half a finger of head. No lacing.

S: Sticky sweet aromas take over, at first. Deep molasses, dark caramel, slight toffee. Prune. Slight herbal coolness (peppermint?). Raisin smell comes out as it warms.

T/MF: Ooh! It has a coolness on the palate. Notes of spearmint and menthol. Very dark molasses. Slight sweet char. Very slight raisin/prune backing. Just the slightest hint of rosemary. Slight ginger as it warms. Very interesting flavor going on in this one. Not typically what I would look for, but pretty good!

Seems like it would go well with holiday food, but I'm not sure which food.

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

TruePerception, May 01, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with a medium brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet Belgian malt notes with some candi sugar notes with light spices and typical Unibroue yeast notes. Taste is a well balanced mix between some candi sugar notes with some light spices, some fruity notes and some Unibroue yeast. Body is relatively full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very enjoyable but I think I preferred the two previous years vintage which were less fruity and a bit more pronounced on the spicy notes.

Phyl21ca, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of Beejay
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown/black in the glass. Some tan head, with very fine bubbles.

S: Some light fruitiness, definite yeast character as well as a little bit of tartness in the finish. Perhaps maybe a little funkiness in there as well. Some lovely dark fruit notes, as well as brown bread, and caramel.

T: Nice dark fruit, with some light tartness. Fruit and caramel come through as well as some toffee notes. The finish is raisins and spices.

M: Medium light on body, carbonation is fine and plentiful. The finish is dry.

O: Overall quite a decent beer, perhaps a little watery in the finish but overall fairly good. Pretty good spice notes, and fairly interesting.

Beejay, Jan 18, 2014
Photo of aaroncom2005
3/5  rDev -21.3%

aaroncom2005, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of ArtZan
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

ArtZan, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

jaydoc, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of Drew88
4/5  rDev +5%

Drew88, Feb 06, 2014
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Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 200 ratings.