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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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheBaumer
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of BrewClint
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of lilmul123
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of rydev24
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Fcolle2
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with a big 2 finger light tan foamy head that retains nicely. There is a very vigorous amount of bubbling all over the glass that is interesting to watch.

Smell is good. Lots of spices, notes of cinnamon and clove forward followed by a Belgian peppercorn phenol and toffee malt on the back end.

Taste has some semi sweet dark syrup like toffee malt that is balanced nicely with some Belgian peppercorn flavors. Very light residual earthy hop bitterness nearly undetectable through more spices in the backend.

Mouthfeel is good medium to thick body is cut with a sharp vigorous carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

Photo of TubbyDullard
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of DbbC
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice opaque black beer, with a light tan head that forms up big and tight, and is slow to fade. Not much lacing once the head comes down, though.

S - Sugars and raisins, a sourness suggesting citric acid, perhaps a slight hint of lemon rind.

T - Following the nose, with sweet dark fruits and subtle sour flavors. Earthiness in the close. A slight hint of clay. Some soapy notes, but these are kept in check.

M - Thick and full, but with spritely carbonation that keeps things from becoming cloying or taxing.

O - This a big brew, but it comes across as fairly approachable. Watch it, though, there is enough in a single bottle to knock you on your backside. Not a stellar brew, but good, and a great deal for the price.

Photo of OldhouseRecs
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Novabrewer
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of aaroncom2005
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of JoeMans
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of Eisen
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Trois Pistoles goblet: An initially thick coffee-colored, over-foamy head that faded medium quickly into a thin layer with no lacing. Smells mostly of light booze, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee....Sweetness of high alcohol malty beer is well balanced by toast and hops. Very drinkable and great for the price, and thus great for anything.

Photo of sgoro
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
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 davegray
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of TimHitchings
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great dark red/purple hue, monstrous light brown head. Strong carbonation can be seen at the edges of the glass. Capitalized Trader Joe's at the top of the bottle makes for pretty lame art. The Unibroue held within is the only thing that drew me to this beer.

S: Heavy spices, some sweet grape, toffee, and malt in there, too. Middle-of-the-road Unibroue style (that's good).

T: Muscat, heavy blend of heated spices, almost herbacious, that faint toffee is still there too. Semi-sweet. Everything works well together, good balance and depth.

M: Fluid, prickly carbonation. Makes for a refreshing, lively drinker, even if somewhat mouth-drying.

O: Buy one bottle with the official Unibroue art for your collection, buy many discounted bottles of this one for frugal enjoyment. A great BSDA, if you like the style you will not be disappointed.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.79/5  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.

Photo of Biff_Tannen
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hi, my peeps.

Just chillin' on the low with a '13 Vintage and feeling it like a hummingbird in the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. Dark fruits, rum, raisins...and smooth. Woo! Now, this isn't the best Belgium Dark Ale; it wasn't when Raul was at his zenith after ingesting a certain substance while in said gardens... but it's still quite nice.

Verdict? For $4.99, this should be the new "value meal."

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