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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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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of atone315
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of Smarty_Pints
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

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 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 waiting4lunch
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of AndrewMichael
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of BAsbill
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

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 tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of sd123
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Rekrule
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of OldTime
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of random846
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Gregwa
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of 2GOOFY
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of mctizzz
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of rangerred
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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.

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 Belittle
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of SFC21
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of BDeibs
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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