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

Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale

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

148 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.4%

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:
Contract brewed by Unibroue.

(Beer added by: djaeon on 11-16-2013)
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 30 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by rangerred:
Photo of rangerred


3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet out of a 750ml bottle.

Pours a very dark, deep ruby with a one finger light tan head. Not really much lacing but the head retention is downright incredible.

The aroma contains a huge metallic note which really detracts from the entire beer. I can tell there are some spices lingering underneath but they are completely drowned out by the metal. There is a little bit of dark fruit in there that does begin to come through after awhile.

Fortunately, the flavor leaves the metal behind but is a bit overspiced. Lots of orange and anise lending a licorice note along with cherries and figs. I think I can detect some cinnamon in there too. As the beer warms, more traditional Belgian yeast esters begin to take hold and the spice eases up somewhat. Mouthfeel is full and silky with just the slightest bit of warmth along with a mildly sweet finish.

Overall, a good beer but a bit unrefined. I think some age would help tone down the spice and balance everything out. The price is right so i might need to pick up another one of these to age.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 02:23:28 | More by rangerred
More User Reviews:
Photo of mnredsoxfan69


3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

04-19-2014 05:52:35 | More by mnredsoxfan69
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3/5  rDev -20.8%

04-13-2014 12:46:05 | More by Fettpopps
Photo of elNopalero


3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a cola color with lots of foam.
I don’t get much aroma. Some light root beer notes. (Not artificial root beer.)
The flavor has something similar, with a root beer/sarsaparilla/cream soda character, followed by some sherry and eucalyptus . I find a taste akin to tree bark and orange peel rounding it out. Thinly bodied with a drying finish. For the price it’s a steal. I’ve found I tend to appreciate these TJ Vintage beers with some age on them, so revisiting this might be in order down the road.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 20:22:53 | More by elNopalero
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3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

04-11-2014 03:50:41 | More by Rick778
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4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

04-07-2014 01:53:45 | More by verge
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4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

04-04-2014 01:11:30 | More by Minnesota_beer_guy
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3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

04-02-2014 18:51:59 | More by beertunes
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1/5  rDev -73.6%

03-25-2014 05:03:36 | More by Willcook
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New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

03-23-2014 20:24:24 | More by brheuer
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3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

03-22-2014 20:02:22 | More by jaydoc
Photo of burntoutphilosopher


4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer is dark, cream colored head,
Large bubbles (sometimes too large, like force carbonation).
Head doesn’t last

Earthy, woody, reminds me of bourbon

Smokey malts, very little hops. “flat” in flavor. The flavor doesn’t change as you drink it.
It has a very earthy mushroomy taste. This is classic of dark Belgium ale’s. this beer does it almost as well as any high end ommegang, or Trappist. It’s slightly over carbonated and I’ve been through almost 20 bottles of these and that’s a classic trend.
It’s a bit more mild than other dark ales … and I like that. I can get a good buzz with this beer, which is why I buy it by the 12 pack.
It’s 9% alcohol, and drinks like a 6 or 7%.

Perfect in my opinion. It has a great lingering after taste. It’s thicker than any filtered beer, without having the overly bitter residuals of most autalized bottles.

First off, this is my standard drink lately. I bought two cases from Trader Joes, and it’s going to be deeply missed when it’s gone.
Bottle conditioned beer varies. It’s a tough balance. And the guys and UniBroue got it right on here. It’s drinkable enough to not feel heavy and let you get a nice buzz, it’s earthy and deep, and has enough alcohol to get you to your proper level, without making you feel bloated or full.
But it’s also subtle. This beer is excellent chugging or sipping.
Slight critique, after 20 bottles of this, the carbonation is inconsistent. Some bottles pour three inches of head, some a half inch. all stored on the same cellar rack and poured without any turbulence.

FINALLY: There’s no a single beer for the price I’d recommend more than this… if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 18:41:06 | More by burntoutphilosopher
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New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

03-18-2014 19:17:37 | More by tkdchampxi
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3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

03-16-2014 04:08:41 | More by DuffDaddy
Photo of Hopswagger

South Carolina

3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

P: Dark brown almost black with flashes of ruby highlights. A thick rootbeer head crowns the top and leaves behind an intricate chain of lacing.

S: Aroma is pleasant with loads of doughy bread, dark malts, cardamom, figs, plums, nectarine pits, roasted toffee, amaretto, syrupy rootbeer and cloves.

T/M: Taste is prominently spiced and accompanied by doughy dark fruit breads, cherry cola, burnt toffee, amaretto, grain alcohol, and finishes with bitter persimmons. A vivacious, relatively thin body accentuates the spice profile. Scorched grains cover the palate in a chalky film.

O: I have to say for a $5 bottle BSDA it's a surprise. I'm really missing some good Belgian candy sugar and more dark fruit sweetness. The spice and carbonation seem to hinder the cohesiveness of the ale. Overall a good beer but not one of Unibroue's best.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 01:34:46 | More by Hopswagger
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
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?

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 18:41:21 | More by puboflyons
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4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

03-09-2014 03:28:17 | More by sicilian
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Rhode Island

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

03-09-2014 01:41:25 | More by Doomcifer
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3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

03-09-2014 00:41:46 | More by Vogey77
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North Carolina

1.75/5  rDev -53.8%

03-08-2014 18:35:10 | More by sleepyteacher
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3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

03-07-2014 00:47:54 | More by thedifferencemaker
Photo of damndirtyape


3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750mL corked and caged bottle, split between two people, served in Tulip glasses.

Appearance: Dark cola brown to black. Light tan thin head with plenty of carbonation coming up through the beer. Minimal lacing - a few strands and tiny islands.

Smell: Roasted malts, fresh cooked pasta, hint of noble hops.

Taste: Fruity, spicy, candi sugar sweetness all mixed together. Robust flavors. The finish was leafy, part noble hops, and part wintergreen. Definite wintergreen finish as the beer warmed up.

Mouthfeel: Airy & lively carbonation, but not fizzy. Tiny bit sticky on the teeth under all that carbonation.

Overall / drinkability: Good, but not great. Did not pair well with Salmon. Didn't clash, but wasn't a good pairing as suggested by the bottle. I think it would be better with grilled meats. Interesting and flavorful, with notable noble hops and an good use of wintergreen as a flavor note. I think however, I could not finish a whole bottle by myself. Alcohol is well hidden and will sneak up on you. I'll have to see how the other bottle I bought shakes out - I'll let it age another 6-9 months and we'll see how it holds up.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 00:23:08 | More by damndirtyape
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3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

03-03-2014 15:08:40 | More by BDeibs
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New York

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

03-02-2014 19:46:25 | More by LMH88
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4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

03-02-2014 01:13:59 | More by wc94wc
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.