Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company
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Ratings: 188 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
4.01/5 rDev +5.5%
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.
12-19-2013 19:14:30 | More by barczar
3.69/5 rDev -2.9%
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.
04-11-2014 20:22:53 | More by elNopalero
4.29/5 rDev +12.9%
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.
11-29-2013 08:25:50 | More by MattyG85
3.78/5 rDev -0.5%
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.
05-02-2014 21:52:34 | More by KYGunner
3.71/5 rDev -2.4%
Poured into a goblet out of a 750ml bottle.
Pours a very dark, deep ruby with a one finger light tan head. Not really much lacing but the head retention is downright incredible.
The aroma contains a huge metallic note which really detracts from the entire beer. I can tell there are some spices lingering underneath but they are completely drowned out by the metal. There is a little bit of dark fruit in there that does begin to come through after awhile.
Fortunately, the flavor leaves the metal behind but is a bit overspiced. Lots of orange and anise lending a licorice note along with cherries and figs. I think I can detect some cinnamon in there too. As the beer warms, more traditional Belgian yeast esters begin to take hold and the spice eases up somewhat. Mouthfeel is full and silky with just the slightest bit of warmth along with a mildly sweet finish.
Overall, a good beer but a bit unrefined. I think some age would help tone down the spice and balance everything out. The price is right so i might need to pick up another one of these to age.
01-08-2014 02:23:28 | More by rangerred
3.61/5 rDev -5%
A: Very dark brown/black in the glass. Some tan head, with very fine bubbles.
S: Some light fruitiness, definite yeast character as well as a little bit of tartness in the finish. Perhaps maybe a little funkiness in there as well. Some lovely dark fruit notes, as well as brown bread, and caramel.
T: Nice dark fruit, with some light tartness. Fruit and caramel come through as well as some toffee notes. The finish is raisins and spices.
M: Medium light on body, carbonation is fine and plentiful. The finish is dry.
O: Overall quite a decent beer, perhaps a little watery in the finish but overall fairly good. Pretty good spice notes, and fairly interesting.
01-18-2014 01:06:40 | More by Beejay
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
750 ml bottle. Pours reddish brown with huge, long lasting, fluffy, beige head. Aroma is of toasted malt, spices and yeast. Body is full and smooth. Toasted malt, brown sugar, spices, plums and black cherries fill the mouth. Finish is long and spicy, with some alcohol warming. Tasty winter brew.
12-09-2013 14:22:34 | More by mikeg67
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.