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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

209 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 209
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 4
Gots: 34 | 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)
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bruinbear
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of burntoutphilosopher
4.53/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

Smell:
Earthy, woody, reminds me of bourbon

Taste:
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%.

Mouthfeel:
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.

Overall:
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.

Photo of sicilian
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of Josh_951
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of dbell23
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of TaylorK
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of Drumboy410
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of mevett89
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

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).

Photo of verge
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of Khutso
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of Minnesota_beer_guy
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of mcphish22
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of mctizzz
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%

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.

Photo of Damian
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 750ml/1pt. 9.4fl.oz. corked and caged bottle purchased at Trader Joe's, Cambridge, MA
Best before 08-01-2016
Served in a tulip

The transparent, mahogany colored liquid was topped by a frothy, three-finger tall, cappuccino colored crown. The crackling, fizzy head slowly dropped to a thin film. Blocky lacing trickled along the glass. The lacing was surprisingly minimal.

Signature Unibrou Belgian yeast notes immediately came through in the nose. Spicy and slightly phenolic with loads of coriander and clove. Good dose of ginger as well. Somewhat cola-like. Semi-sweet yet also slightly dry. As the head dropped, the nose became much more potent and the spices really intensified. A slight tartness also appeared.

The flavor profile was deep, dark and complex. Belgian yeast notes were apparent. Malty with a dark bread-like quality. Loads of dark fruits (raisins, plums and figs) came through as well. Super spicy with strong clove, allspice and ginger notes. Some dark candi sugar was also noticeable. Sweet yet not overly so. A touch of bubblegum came through as the liquid warmed. The beer turned slightly sour on the back end and the finish. All in all, really interesting and dynamic.

The beer was highly effervescent. A crisp, sprightly carbonation gave the liquid an almost Champagne-like quality. With time, the carbonation settled and the mouthfeel became smoother and softer.

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale never ceases to disappoint. Many reviewers complained that the spices were too strong when this beer was fresh, but a year of age seemed to balance out the flavor profile. Always priced at $6 a bottle, this is undoubtedly one of the best deals out there and something I seek out around the holidays every year.

Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of menacho1
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of MidwestBA
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of derryd
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of geocool
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of BrewClint
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of lisalsd1
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of JohnSand
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Drank some tonight. Complex, tasty. Aroma is funky, much more than the taste. Very drinkable for 9%.

Photo of OldhouseRecs
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

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Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 209 ratings.