1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
very good

196 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 196
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 4
Gots: 33 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bruinbear
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Bruinbear, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of burntoutphilosopher
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

burntoutphilosopher, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of sicilian
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

sicilian, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of Josh_951
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Josh_951, Saturday at 07:36 AM
Photo of dbell23
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

dbell23, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of TaylorK
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

TaylorK, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of Drumboy410
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Drumboy410, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of mevett89
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Appearance: black with a striking white head. Pours with hight head, dissipates after a few minutes to a persistent creamy foam. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: Belgian spicy phenols and fruit with a caramel malt sweetness

Taste: good spicy and some fruit notes from the yeast. Background of warm alcohol, but not overbearing. Some caramel sweetness, and just a hint of chocolate in the back. Just the slightest hint of cardboard from oxidation. As it warms, dark fruit and burnt sugar are detectable, with a background of low hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: carbonation on the high end presents a nice tingle to the palet. Medium body leaves a smooth coating on the tongue which lingers a short while.

Overall: a good example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Granted, not the best I've had, but certainly enjoyable, and one of the better brews I've had from Unibroue. Well balanced, and it aged well (I aged it one year).

mevett89, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of verge
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

verge, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of Khutso
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Khutso, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of tkdchampxi
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

tkdchampxi, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of Minnesota_beer_guy
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Minnesota_beer_guy, Apr 04, 2014
Photo of mcphish22
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

mcphish22, Feb 07, 2014
Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
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
Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

mctizzz, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

tdm168, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of menacho1
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

menacho1, May 29, 2014
Photo of MidwestBA
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

MidwestBA, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of derryd
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

derryd, May 04, 2014
Photo of geocool
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

geocool, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

brandoman63, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of BrewClint
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

BrewClint, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of lisalsd1
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

lisalsd1, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of OldhouseRecs
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

OldhouseRecs, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

PEIhop, Feb 11, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.