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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

235 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 235
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 4
Gots: 38 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: djaeon on 11-16-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Contract brewed by Unibroue.
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 235 | Reviews: 44
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 8/1/16.

Pours an opaque brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, yeast, must, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with dark fruit and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but there is nothing really memorable about it.

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.76/5  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.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of KAF
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Dicers
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of sendbeer
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle provided by Santa.
Pours a solid dark brown with the faintest of ruby highlights at the edges when held to light. Fluffy creamy off white head shows moderate retention and lace. Aromas of pepper and clove with bits of brown sugar, toffee, and caramel. Light dark fruit aromas round out the nose. The flavor is a dark sugary spicy affair. Dark sugary maltiness that gets assaulted by peppery clove and other spices. Light prune and molasses round out the flavor. Medium to thick body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly spritzy mouthfeel. Glad I got to try this, but I felt this a bit too spicy for my tastes.

Photo of beertunes
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

One year old bottle; a bit of a gusher on opening. Pours a very dark mahogany brown that is nearly opaque in the glass (much darker than previous years) and a massive four finger light khaki head with good retention and thick lacing. Aroma of light bready malt, Belgian yeast, very spicy; coriander and clove, but hints of other aromatic spices like cinnamon, dark stone fruit. Flavor follows aroma with dark stone fruit, Belgian yeast, caramel malt, very spicy, almost to the point of a winter warmer. Medium bodied with peppery, active carbonation. As always, a very pleasant strong Belgian ale with classic fruit and yeast flavors. This year's seem to lay on the spicing quite a bit, but the ale is rich enough to handle it. I'm enjoying the complex spice mixture this year. One of my end-of-the-year traditions that never disappoints. Always a bit different annually, this one darker and spicier. Hope I put another one of these away. This ale seems to improve for a couple of years and a great, inexpensive short term cellaring ale.

Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of puboflyons
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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?

Photo of Whiskeydeez
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep brown with amber highlights and one of the foamiest heads I've ever seen, which is cappuccino foam in color.

Notes of raisin, peach, green apple, plum, and fig erupt from the glass. Yeast esters are extremely prolific. Hints of banana and clove emerge as it warms. There's an underlying sweet candi sugar base.

Flavor is less complex than the aroma, with green apple character surfacing initially, followed by fairly bready, nutty malt. Further investigation reveals cola notes, pear, and peach esters, which are more restrained than anticipated. Hints of plum, pepper, clove, and banana emerge in the aftertaste. The finish is fairly dry and earthy. Not as sweet as expected from the aroma.

Body is moderate to slightly low, with fairly high carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

Phenomenal aroma, just wished the flavor followed as strongly to suit. There's a completeness lacking in the flavor profile. I notice this with a couple other unibroue beers. May need more malt backbone and a touch of sweetness. Still, great brew, excellent value, and can't wait to see this with some age on it.

Photo of mhaugo
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of cosmicevan
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

bottle picked up locally at trader joe's. proclaimed unibroue fanboy (one of the breweries that got me into craft). enjoyed from a unibroue taster tulip (coolest glass i've ever seen...a mini tulip!!!!)

a - so glad this year is a BSDA...one of my fav styles...and no one does it like unibroue! poured perfect...dark purple with a monster head and lacing to rule the world. coated the glass like a milkshake.

s - what can i say? smells like a unibroue BSDA. has that signature yeast strain with some soft spicing for the holiday. a vast improvement fresh from the previous few years. can't wait to dig in.

t - much more spicy than the nose suggested. a bit heavy handed on the spicing actually. looking forward to sitting on my other bottle to let that zing chill out. classic unibroue wondeful BSDA base, but just so much spice added to it to make it a holiday beer...too much so, but i guess if they didn't do that, it would just be trois pistoles or maudite (more like trois that maudite).

m - zingy. crisp, but fizzy. almost a bit heavy handed on the carb.

o - overall, a step in the right direction from previous years, but still an overspiced belgian like the others. i should just stop getting these and just pick up a bottle of trois pistoles since that's what i love from unibrou (one of my all time favs). these vintage ales really just seem to be unibroue classics with a ton of holiday spice added. at $5 a pop, a deal to be had, but i'd rather pony up the extra $4 or $5 to get a version without all the spice. the nose is the star of the show and in a few years, i'm sure the taste will catch up. it is kind of funny that every year i save these with the hope that the spicing will fade and they will eventually just taste like the base beer without the spice.

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Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.