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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

74 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Overlord on 12-22-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gestyr
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been saving this bottle and today was a good day to open it as a toast to my birthday.

A: Pours a nice brown with red and gold tones. 1/2 inch head is long lasting with lacing.

S: Fruit is the first thing I smelled. Raisins, dried fruit. Malty aroma is there along with a subtle caramel smell.

T: Mmmmm....it hits the tongue with malt and fruit and a very slight alcohol warmth. It tastes what you would expect a dubbel to taste like.

M: Smooth and medium bodied. Slight carbonation sting.

D: Very drinkable. Something to savor on a rainy evening while sitting in front of a fireplace.

Overall, I like this very much. I would definitely drink more if I had it. I am glad I had this bottle put away for a night like this.

gestyr, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of 1759Girl
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance> not too dissimilar to the color of the bottle. Dark brown, creamy head, no lacing.

Smell> cinnamon, molasses, yeast

Taste> Full dubble taste, spicey, fabulous with a capital fab.

Mouf> Champagne like liveliness, smooth

Drinkability> yessiree.

1759Girl, May 21, 2008
Photo of Gump
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gotta thank my brother-in-law for turning me on to this one.
My first year for this annual beer. I plan to revisit again next holiday season. $5 for a 750ml. I will definitely go back for more.

Pours brown. The definition of brown. Plenty of carbonation creates an airy, foamy head to fill half the glass.
Flowery, fruit blossom aroma. Similar to some other Unibroue I've had. Perfectly balanced mouthfeel.

Gump, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of n1ckels
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

$4.99 for a large bottle, and this remains the best beer I've tried in '08, although Aventinus is a close 2nd. I know not Trader Joe's history as a brewer, and know my fair share of cheaply priced, but poorly executed attempts at flavor recreation. I proudly wave the checkered flag at this attempt, however.

This beer was like taking a trip back to the mall candy store. The taste was a medley of cotton candy, sourballs, and sweetarts, but not in an artificial or sugary way. Or maybe it was like the aroma of a cinnamon roll bakery or donut shop. All I can assure you of is that this beer will take you to clouds, and believe me, I love beers bitter, but this is an eloquent exception. Try it, buy it. Let the skeptics scoff at the label--

Nick

n1ckels, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of dbennett04
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After cellaring for four years, it was time to pop the cork on this one. Bottle had a "Best By" date of October 2010.

Appearance - Poured a nice caramel color, with a slight head that didn't linger for too long. No sediment in first glass, but by the end sediment was present despite careful pouring. Still, sediment settled quickly even after pouring.

Smell - Heavenly. I could tell right away that cellaring this one wasn't a mistake. Detected notes of dried fruits (esp. figs), cinnamon, licorice, and cloves. Wonderful to take in. I almost forgot to drink it.

Taste - Not as good as the smell, but still pretty nice. The fruits came through here more than the licorice of cloves, and a floral character was present in the taste that wasn't clearly in the smell.

Mouthfeel - About right for a Belgian ale. The effervescence wasn't overwhelming and it wasn't too thin. Nice lingering finish.

Overall, I really liked this beer. I was a little leery about having cellared it for so long, especially after moving around a bit with it. But it matured nicely. Perfect for sitting in a warm, quiet living room after a long day.

dbennett04, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of xymyl
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish brown with a light tan fragile head that drops fairly quickly to a quarter inch leaving lace, but can easily be stirred up again. Carbonation is intense at first.

Nose is overpowered by phenols at first, then sweet fruity notes emerge, followed by caramel and toasted notes. The whole thing is saturated in spice, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, even some herbal notes including mint, lemon grass and some coriander.

Taste is very much as the nose would suggest but a bit harsh until the carbonation falls to a more reasonable level. Starts off more round with a spicy build up toward the end.

Overall, a very high quality beer at a great price. Medium to medium/full body. Very drinkable. Will display some great qualities as it matures in about 5 years (if you like the winey qualities that develop in such beers). I need to get a case, I like it much better than last years even though it is very similar.

xymyl, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful brown Belgian ale. It had an active, fizzy head and has a sparkling mouthfeel. The color is hazy, brown with amber around the edges. The taste is perfect, classic Belgian ale--Unibroue does it right! I prefer this to both Chimay Red and Blue. Great paired with a couple of Trader Joe's cheeses!

PhiloPsych, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of semihobo
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby with vigorous bubbling that produces a fair head, could be a little more substantial. Waves of lace cascade down the side upon tipping the glass.

Smell is potent and rich. Ripe fruit, including peaches, apricots, and raisin, dominates. A robust yeasty banana note strikes as well.

This ale is sweet, with slightly sour fruit in the front yielding to a rich malt and yeast middle and sweet, earthy, dessert-biscuit finish with a touch of flavoring hops. Pleasantly nutty and certainly not cloying. Alcohol is well masked, although it becomes noticeable in the form of a sharp bite as the brew warms.

Mouthfeel is creamy and better than the "Champagne-like effervescence" promised on the bottle -- it is much smoother than Champagne.

Unibroue at Trader Joe's prices... this 750ml was $4.99. Next year I will remember to load up. Well done.

semihobo, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of Bfarr
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged nearly 3 years in a closet of varying temperatures.

Clear mahogany with a thin off-white head with only a ring of retention and little lacing. Aromas of dark fruit and great spice. Dark cherry and raspberry flavors persist with a strong spicy characteristic with hints of chocolate and a lightly floral lingering. A light syrupy feel with moderately high carbonation despite the champagne like quality insisted on in the bottle description.

This was my first attempt at aging a beer for a significant amount of time and I was afraid it would not work considering I recently put a thermometer in there and found the temperature got significantly higher in the summer (duh!). However, 3 months before its "expiration" it was quite a good beer that unfortunately I had originally before I started reviewing beer. I look forward to my other experiments now, especially the ones I've reviewed relatively fresh! I wish I could have another but I'll have to settle for subsequent years which are very different year to year!

Bfarr, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of nortmand
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruddy brown with a too quickly disappearing head.

Huge coriander aromas mingle with rich yeast notes in the aroma.

Sweet and slightly tart up front, round out into a nice, caramel sweetness. Some spice apparent on the back of the tongue.

A nice beer overall. Would have liked to have seen more head and lace, but a very balanced, drinkable beer nonetheless.

nortmand, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of a10t2
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled as part of a vertical tasting with the 2006 and 2008.

A: Clear reddish-brown with lots of carbonation. Thin off-white head that fades to a ring pretty quickly but leaves good lacing.

S: Fruity with some alcohol and a little yeast aroma, overall very restrained.

T: Lots more dark fruit flavors with gently warming alcohol to back them up. Some yeasty after-tastes.

M: Smooth with quite a bit of carbonation and a little warmth from the alcohol.

D: Quite good for the ABV, nothing over the top, especially compared to some other (perhaps more traditional) Belgians.

a10t2, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of canucklehead
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought back from LA ironically brewed in Canada. This is a solid offering from Unibroue possibly much like trois pistoles. The beer is reddish dark brown with a multi-hued head and a dark fruit nose. There is a real drinkability to this dubbel with a smooth deep finish. Apparently this very well priced at Trader Joes. Sweet deal on a great beer

canucklehead, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of tastybeer
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep auburn brown color, thick and hazy. Head is tight and fades from medium to small size. Smells deeeelightful. All sort of aromas packed into a smooth mix. Some are nuts, bubblegum, berries, delicate fruity cocoa, banana, peppercorns, dough and caramel glaze. With all that and the high abv there is also nice smooth clarity and a crisp, fresh spring water-like edge. Taste is no disappointment. Shares all the characteristics of the nose but has added peppery/tingly carbonation and a noticeable (if you look for it) alcohol. Feels real nice in your mouth. Thick and floaty, soft and smooth with awesome Belgian-like fine carbonation bubbles. Very dirnkably-delightful.

Good thing we bought two bottles so far. More shall come.

tastybeer, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from the 750ml bottle that Trader Joes (Unibroue) sells this beer in.

A= This beer pours a murky, cloudy, unattractive looking brown color. The head is huge and beautiful upon pouring, but quickly reduces to 1/4 inch.

S= This beer smells fantastic! I detect Belgian yeast (with all of the appropriate funk that entails) as well as berries, alchohol, and bread.

T= This is damn good Belgian style beer for this price. Nothing to really bitch about, yet its $4.99 a 750ml bottle. Great!

MF= This is a good mouthfeel beer. The higher carbonation actually cuts the alchohol a bit and makes this beer more smooth.

D= A fantastically easy brew to drink. Its hard not to bring price into this, but in the grand scheme of things, this is a good brew, not a great brew. However, for about $2.50 a pint, this is an outstanding value! Great job Trader Joes and Unibroue!!!

spointon, Feb 04, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to see this on the shelves today, as I enjoyed the 2006 vintage. This beer, while bottled under the Trader Joe's label, is still brewed/produced by Unibroue, a Quebec brewery that remains one of my faves.

Pours a murky orange-ish amber with a big, big white head. The carbonation immediately startles you. I didn't realize this was a Dubbel right off, and was surprised to discover that was the beer style. I would have guessed, perhaps, Belgian strong pale ale... but they usually aren't this bubbly either. Remains well carbonated throughout, although the head does disappear rather quickly. The back of the bottle isn't lying about the "champagne effervescence", this brew's mouthfeel is a lot lighter than the heavy ABV would lead you to expect. Not really Dubbel-esque, but kind of a hybrid. Clearly they were experimenting here.

The smell, and taste, is heavy with malts and yeast. In a blind taste test, I'm pretty confident I could pick this out as a Unibroue; something about their yeast component is really distinctive. This a very sweet beer. There's almost no roasted/bitter/sour hop tones to it. There's a hint of chocolate, some cherries (not sour), citrus (orange?)/pine, and maybe even grapes. I'm not good at picking out spices, but there's a few in here. Unfortunately, they are somewhat of an off-note ... in fact, the spice content most reminds me of Stone's rare failure (IMHO): the 070707 Vertical Epic. I've knocked the taste score down a notch, as I just didn't care for the spice aftertaste.

This is the rare beer in which I've rated the smell higher than the taste (I think I've done that twice in my entire BeerAdvocate reviewing career). It's both exotic and laden with promise that the beer nearly delivers.

A good, solid beer. Pretty unique. I don't think I'll ever see a Dubbel with this type of carbonation/sweet component ever again.

Overlord, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of BenZ
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this in the cellar since '07. A very good balance of fruit and the harsher phenolic tastes unibroue often has. Great drinkability - nice crisp carbonation, not too sweet. This was a good beer, nothing super memorable, maybe it is past it's prime, but I'm not sure since I didn't have it fresh.

BenZ, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark ruby brown in color with a nice head formed. Smell is dark fruits, and that significant Unibroue yeast. I'm not a big fan of Dubbel's but this is bigger, darker and has more dark fruit than your typical Dubbel. This is actually drinking quite nice. Good mouthfeel. These are a great deal at Trader Joe's when they come out. Will have to pick up a bunch of the new release this winter.

FtownThrowDown, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of smttycty
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carefully poured into my SABL glass this "Ale on Lees" still poured murky, but this bottle was fresh from the store and had no time to settle. Still, a little yeast suspension has never been a problem for me. It wasn't cloudy enough not to notice a whole lot of effervescence going on. The ice tea colored body danced under a buff, creamy 2F crown. By the end of my aroma therapy session the head had dropped, though a sturdy cap stuck around to the end, and left long legs of viscous lacing.

A bold nose wafted up invitingly: clovey apricot jam on warm doughy bread, saison-like sweet moss, and hints of vanilla custard and banana. The Belgium-style earthy/fruity esters transferred to the tongue immediately. When the sweet malt came in, the lively carbonation made me think of root beer. The alcohol warming was subtle. The finish was mildly bitter, bordering on sour apple, but it didn't linger long. The carbonation was lively without being sharp with a perfect medium body.

Overall an expressive, nicely crafted beer in the Abbey style. The 9% ABV is nicely hidden in the complexities found here, but the finish of this youthful ale may be it's only weakness. I'm sure the bottles aging in my celler will result in a better report in the future.

smttycty, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of kleffman
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Corked and caged bottle from Trader Joes poured into a small goblet glass. Pours a fairly cloudy reddish brown with a nice little bubbly head and good retention.

Aroma consists of bready yeast, sweet malt, dark fruits and some alcohol presence that isn't overpowering. Slightly herbal.

Taste is a pleasant blend of spicy yeast character, overripe plums and some toasted malt. Quite spicy and peppery, not overly complex but balanced and rather delicious.

Medium bodied with a high carbonation level. Effervescent as they say on the bottle. Highly enjoyable and pretty drinkable, perfect for a chilly winter night in San Diego I would say. Really when you think about it, you're getting a fine Belgian style ale from a top-notch brewery at a price that can't be beat. These Trader Joe's offerings never disappoint.

kleffman, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured hazy dark brown color with a large light brown creamy head that mostly lasted and produced good lacing. Good malty, fruit and spice aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Full complex fruit and sweet malty flavor with a long fizzy finish with a small alcohol tone. Good brew at a fair price. I got three bottles to age for the next three years.

tmoneyba, May 09, 2010
Photo of wedge
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed deep chestnut color with a loose off-white head that holds as a sticky ring around the edge. Aromas of sweet malt, a hint of chocolate, dough, cherries, moderate spice, and a pleasant fruity tartness. Very nice. The flavor opens with dark fruity esters, followed by phenols, mild clove, and a nutmeg-like spiciness. Familiar Unibroue yeast. Lingering raisin and mild tobacco. The body is a bit heavier than medium and highly carbonated. Finishes dry and a little warming.

This is quite tasty and, as mentioned by other people, for $4.99 its hard to beat. We already have a second bottle, but I might grab a couple more next time we're at Trader Joe's, just for the hell of it.

wedge, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$4.99 @ Trader Joe's (Of course)

A-Deep rusty brown in chalice, but a murky lighter body appears in the light. White head full of tiny carbonation and not much lacing.

S-Wonderful complexity with the signature Unibroue yeast. Notes of raisin, brown sugar, corriander, and lemongrass. A slight booziness appears, but makes for a wonderful bouquet of flavors.

T-Deep flavors of carmelized sugar and dark fruits. The yeast creates wonderful spices and the mellow hops are subtle, but known. Wonderful mollases-like swallow and aftertaste.

M-Mouthfeel is full of flavor, but a bit thin in places. The 9% is warming, but not easily detected.

D-I could drink just about anything from Unibroue all the time and this one fits in the mix. Another knock-out at a phenomenal cost.

ALESwhatCURESya, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of blackie
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Fluffy eggshell head with good retention. The beer is a deep plum brown in color. Only thing really lacking is lacing.

s: Fruity dark Belgian malt sugars give heavy candied prune notes. Also a nice estery yeast presence with and an aged hop aroma. Sweet and spicy ethanol aroma. Hints of aromatic, sweet tobacco. Some banana and coriander. Quite good.

m: Delicate, high carbonation and a medium-full body

t: Full of dark fruits and Belgian malts with a healthy dose of yeast. Papery hop flavor with a light bitterness. Appropriate level of sweetness that cleans up nicely. Not killer complex, but very well done.

d: good for the style and abv

a great value at $4.99

blackie, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of kenito799
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured at Belgique tasting, Huge, MN Thanksgiving 2010.

This is made, I hear, by Unibroue, and therefore may be similar to one of their dubbels.

Looks like tea or cola, foam recedes. Sweet and soft, caramel, the sweeter dessert beer version of a dubbel. An oily heft on the palate. Nutty.

kenito799, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of PhotoMattT
4/5  rDev +3.6%

PhotoMattT, Jul 10, 2013
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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.