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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: 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deereless
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of mhaugo
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of allstar255
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of derryd
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of KYGunner
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Called a Dark Ale for a reason , this poured a deep dark ruby with a course of bubbling. These bubbles built an inch of single file of horizontal brown lines that was capped by a dense khaki froth.

Peppercorns, cloves, carriage and anise meet the nose as this hints towards the "Brewed with Spices." There's some light fruit sweetness like prunes and plums.

The flavors are spicy as well but the malt is more substantial. There seems to be some caramel malt, dried dark fruit and more of a black licorice flavor. There is clove spice, and carraway, but the cloves seems to dominate the last of the palate.

This drinks with a slight alcohol warmth and a bit of dark fruit twang, but it's full enough to satisfy.

The cork read Unibroue and my guess is that it's contracted brewed through the Canadian brewery. That makes complete sense as the yeast characteristics seem to be close to many of their products.

Photo of TruePerception
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've heard a bunch of people say this is really good, especially for the price ($5 for a 750mL)!

Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale, dark ale (brewed by Unibroue). 9% ABV.

Good pop, with a nice haze! Didn't even need the cork screw to pop the cork!

A: Pours a distinct tamarind color. Very dark brown, almost black, in the glass. Half a finger of head. No lacing.

S: Sticky sweet aromas take over, at first. Deep molasses, dark caramel, slight toffee. Prune. Slight herbal coolness (peppermint?). Raisin smell comes out as it warms.

T/MF: Ooh! It has a coolness on the palate. Notes of spearmint and menthol. Very dark molasses. Slight sweet char. Very slight raisin/prune backing. Just the slightest hint of rosemary. Slight ginger as it warms. Very interesting flavor going on in this one. Not typically what I would look for, but pretty good!

Seems like it would go well with holiday food, but I'm not sure which food.

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  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 Ohmmygawd
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Good quality beer! I'm pleasantly surprised about this beer. Nose is bright and fresh and the body isn't heavy and full of flavor. It finishes with a nice feeling of spice and cloves and leaves a little tingle on the very tip of your tongue.

A- pours black with a thick head.

S- bananas and

T- Bananas with cloves and cinnamon

M- Clean and light and finishes with a nice tingle on the tongue.

O- Not an overly complicated beer and really does well what it brings to the table.

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of tpauer
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of mnredsoxfan69
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of elNopalero
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of Rick778
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

Photo of verge
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of Minnesota_beer_guy
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of beertunes
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Willcook
1/5  rDev -73.8%

Photo of brheuer
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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 tkdchampxi
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of DuffDaddy
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Hopswagger
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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