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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

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: 9.07%
Wants: 3
Gots: 4 | 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:
Beer added by: Overlord on 12-22-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 65
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a nice reddish-brown with good carbonation and a nice head. Nose of raisins and prunes, caramel.Tasted much like it smelled. Not a overpowering brew and eventhough I did not drink it all it is better than most of its kind. I just cant see myself drinking all of that bottle in one sitting.

Photo of a10t2
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't remember exactly when I picked this up, but I don't reckon it was any time recently. Somehow it just got neglected for a while. Popped the cork and got quite a bit of head billowing out. Poured into my Stone tulip once everything settled down.

A: Mild brown with a bit of red in there as well, quite hazy though. Some floties and quite a bit of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Head starts about three fingers, fairly fluffy and well supported by the bubbles. Retention is about 1-2 fingers.

S: Big fruitiness out front with raisins and prunes, along with a strong earthiness. A hint of cinnamon and cloves as well. Fruit is the dominant smell, however.

T: Opening is a nice malt bill with some rich earth a touch of cola sweetness, but then turns to the sweetness of dried stone fruit and again raisins or perhaps just grapes. Finish is again quite earthy and malty.

MF: Medium body, slightly syrupy but a decent amount of carbonation. Leaves the mouth feeling a bit sticky, and plenty of warming that goes right to the chest. The finish is very champagne-like, fairly dry.

D: A good sipping beer, and fairly drinkable despite the ABV. Flavor is solid but not particularly daring, and it doesn't really live up to the smell, which is quite good. The price is obviously a bonus-not often you can get something from Unibroue for under 5 bucks. Haven't had any of the other TJ Vintages so can't really compare. As dubbels go this is fine but nothing out of the ordinary.

Photo of Floydster
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle purchased a few days ago at the Trader Joe's in Manhattan Beach for five dollars, split with my dad and friend tonight, poured into my Rubicon snifter

A-Medium brown with some darker tones, tons of little bubbles rushing to the top, small 1/2 inch bubbly off white head, some retention, small amount of lacing
S-Wheat, bananas, esters, strong bubble gum, brandy and other light booze, coriander, orange peel, prunes, and sweet raisins
T-Starts off with a big wheat flavor mixed with some spice, then the middle is pretty bland and has some slightly sweet malt, finish is slightly dry but has no real strength, gets sweeter as time goes by, more fruit than anything in this one, some warming alcohol in the aftertaste later, it could pass as a dark hefeweizen if it was not for the strength
M-Sweet and chewy mouthfeel, thin to medium bodied, lots of carbonation, taste does not linger long, and was quite light for its style
D-Could not drink much more than the eight or nine ounces I had, heavy on the stomach, taste is tiresome, not much going on, smooth at least, alcohol is more hidden than the 2006

This one did not impress as much as the previous year drank right before it, but still not bad for the money, very dark in color for a dubbel and had good qualities but some that were not so great too, have one more bottle I will drink in the future, worth trying for its price alone

Photo of FacistCannonBall
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, cola-like becoming more translucent towards the edge of the glass. The aroma shows the beer's spices influence. The taste does the same tasting much like other Belgians I've had with strong tastes of coriander and other spices. The malt shows some but mostly is subdued by the hop bitterness and spice notes. A good beer, but not one I'll actively seek out. My preferences leaning more toward German beers and American ales.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy deep amber with a light tan head. In the aroma, candy sugar, small roasty malt and a bit biscuity. In the taste, sweet smoothness and a light maltiness, with a small yeasty presence. A smooth, and medium mouthfeel, with a small dry candy sugar aftertaste. Hides the 9% well, smooth and sweet, almost feels session-ish, hiding the 9% that well.

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber that is well-drinkable. Medium mouthfeel, candyish sweetness, honey and caramel in finish. Yeasty aroma. Some clove and cardomon. Not very complex but well-served with food. A bomber is a lot.Not the Unibroue yeast that bugs me, but their spice is their signature.

Photo of hoegaardenhero
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: a nice maroon murky body with white fluffy head that froths up and fades leaving wisps of lace

s: curacao orange peel; brandy; coriander; prunes and raisins; really spicy and floral bouquet; quite fragrant

t: spicy with apples and raisin overtones; some citrus orange; alcohol; a little underwhelming after such a strong scent

m: smooth with light carb

d: well-done w/ some good flavors; i am interested to see what a year in the cellar will do to this
~~~alright, second tasting from the cellar - 2007 bottle
a: crystal clear ruby and maroon body; tiny white-bubbled foam that fades leaving the glass clean with just a light ring

s: light but sharp alcohol; orange peel; watm spices; warm sweet malts; brown sugar; darker fruits;

t: this beer has really become mild in flavor; light hoppiness on the back that tastes like onion; light dust; some watery malts; really a shadow of its former self

m: incredibly bubbly; too much IMO; slightly watery mouthfeel

d: definitely getting worse at this point which is too bad; i'll try it again later
~~~
alright, now it's 7/7/2010, same beer, stored in cellar - let's check it out

a: beautiful of-white head; murky deep amber; purpley body;

s: lightly vinegary but not in a bad way; raisins; dust; light rum on back of nose; spicy;

t: dry malts; prunes and raisins; mild but enjoyable; some spices;

m: a little thin with tight tight bubbles

d: ok; i think i only have one of these left which is good since it seems to be a little past its peak, but you never know

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
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!

Photo of demitriustown
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle: I have one of the 2006 and I'm keeping a 2007 as well to age. Lost a bit of it in a cork mishap but most of the bottle is left. Aroma is nicely fruity, very carbonated , yeast, sweet plums, banana, clove and a bit of brown sugar. pours a dark amber color with a thick tan head that lingers around for a while. Taste is yeast to the forefront, sweet, heavily spiced, caramel, and somewhat of a doughy texture to this brew as well. Palate is very well carbonated and effervescent on the tongue. Overall, It's a decent brew but not as good as the other Vintages that I've tried. It's OK...Good beer just doesn't measure up in my opinion.

Photo of johnnieoz
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Style note: while it does say "Abbey Dubbel" on the bottle, my (unreliable) memory tells me this is not all that different from TJ's Vintages of yesteryear, i.e. why is this not a Belgian Strong Dark Ale?

A: Cloudy, unfiltered, sepia brown. This is one carbonated beer (champagne-style indeed), the initial head is quite substantial but it dies down rather quickly. A layer remains, which leaves decent lacing.

S: Serious phenols and esters. A sweeter version of a Bavarian weissbier, more prunes and plums than bananas though. Nice...overdose.

T: This is kind of sweet, almost too sweet. But it has the vestiges of balance that will please most beyond the most extreme hopheads. As it swishes around the mouth, all kinds of flavors are happening.

M: Light for being such a tasty, aromatic brew. The carbonation prickles the gums but there is no viscosity to go with that. Nor is this a chewy or oily ale on the palate.

D: Still dealing with this 750 ml bottle...at 9% ABV, it's a struggle, albeit a pleasant one, to down this.

Whether or not Unibroue has "dumbed" this one down from e.g. a Trois Pistoles, this is a good beer. At this price, still $4.99 plus CRV and tax, only a fool would complain. One day, I will do a blind taste test with Trois Pistoles, a Belgian and this one...

Photo of BretSikkink
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown color, nearly black when held away from the light, but shows ruby red highlights around the edges otherwise. Not much head forms in the goblet, not as much as I would have thought anyhow. The head is ecru in color, fairly frothy, leaves little lace, and doesn't retain particularly well.

Spicy aroma, lots of clove and allspice. Earthy, not too pungent. Soft notes of dried dark fruit and caramelized brown sugar. Fairly fruity, not terribly complex, but there are some pleasant notes hit here.

Up front, the beer seems quite light-bodied, and the initial flavors suggest less sweetness than one would expect. As it warms and spreads over the tongue, there is definitely plenty of fruity sweetness and dessert spicing. Generally this reminds me of a Christmastime dessert, with the dark spicing and sugary fruits. The high alcohol shows its head with a deeply peppery explosion toward the end of the sip, especially when held in the mouth.

I think it's just a little bit thin to be an exciting example of style. There's some nice pleasant flavors going on, but it's just a hair too treacle-sweet without the engaging complexity of St. Bernardus 8 or Westmalle's Dubbel.

Photo of 1759Girl
4.44/5  rDev +15%
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.

Photo of KBomb
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Small foamy head on top of an interesting hue of dark copper on the edge but near black at the top and center. A rich bouquet of fruit aromas come off the top: cherry, plumb, and a hint of chocolate. As wonderful as the smells were, they ended up a little confused on the tongue. A bitterness mixed up the fruit a little bit which wasn't entirely pleasant. Also surprising was the high carbonation, a little less might let the flavors blend better. For such a high AVB it was fairly drinkable.

I picked this up at TJs for $4.99 when I heard it was brewed over at unibroue knowing that it was a screaming deal. Even though the taste was slighly underwhelming, I'd still call it a good deal. I'm beginning to think I served it still a little too cold, that the flavors might have found their mark at a better temp. It was certainly unique, and I'm not dissapointed I bought it... only wish I could try it again to find out its true character.

Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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

Photo of mithrascruor
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a very dark color with reddish-brown highlights. Thin but dense & creamy off-white head.

Smell: Dark fruity aroma of raisins, figs, sugared plums, etc. Generally sweet.

Taste: Dense dark-fruit taste with plenty of sugar, yet also with a somewhat bitter presence and finish. Has a heavy, dank spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a bit more carbonation than I would have anticipated.

Drinkability: Nice and drinkable; nothing amazing, but solid.

The aftertaste is a bit bitter for this type of beer, but it's a decent American (or, rather, Canadian) attempt at a Dubbel. Though brewed by Unibroue, it's hardly my favourite offering of theirs. Nevertheless, for the price and availability it's a great introduction to Belgian style beer for many people, I am sure.

Photo of mpyle
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App - Rich amber color, very clear, thick white head with okay retention.

Aroma - Initial impression was a minty sweetness, some alcohol, but not overpowering. Candy sweetness.

Flavor - bubblegum and mint initially, quite sweet. No sharp bitterness, but dries out in the finish (candi sugar?) Gentle malt sweetness with some fruitiness, but generally not very exciting. Not flawed, just not much here.

MF - Med-full body, low-moderate carbonation. Style appropriate alcohol warming, but very well controlled. Very pleasant MF for a 9% beer.

D'ability - Slightly bland, but a highly drinkable 9% beer is a bit of an anomaly. Takes like a rounded edges, bland, macro brew interpretation of a big Belgian ale. Not Unibroue's best effort, but packs a punch at a good price from TJ's.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy brown amber with a cola-like consistence. Thick head and decent retention. Very light, faint lacing.
S-Spicy fig w/light malt. Also some red apple.
T-Attack is tingly carbonation and red apples, with figs and white grapes in midpalate, and tingly spice in the finish. Also a bit of dry hops and alcohol at the end.
M-Fairly light body but carbonation gives it enough backbone to carry the spicy yeast flavors. A little light on the finish as well, but the finish is even and clean.
D-Body is deceptively light for abv. It goes down very smoothly, and it's easy to drink a lot. Overall a pleasant drink.

Photo of n1ckels
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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

Photo of semihobo
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Photo of choyhosoi
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured fron a bomber into a glass

A-Excellent white head that stays strong for awhile.Dark root beer color is the best I can describe this one.

S-Raisin,plum,some light citrus,a hint of apple. this is just swimming with aroma

T/M/D-Pretty easy to drink. Just a bite of the alchol hits right away then it goes down smooth.I think I would have to try another bottle to compare this one to the 2006 version . I just wish I had saved an 06 version because they are both good.

Photo of montageman
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Very nice deep, rich brown color with a nice bone white head that is around 2 fingers at first and leaves a little lacing behind.

S: Sweet, spicy - I smell a little peach as well, maybe a little like peach cobbler?

T: Clove, dried peach, brown sugar - very complex.

M: Decent carbonation - needs more body

D: Very nice for $4.99 per 750mL bottle. Very tasty - will be interested to see how this holds up over time. Recommended.

Photo of scottoale
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the 750ml., typical brown Belgian bottle with cork and cage, a dark coppery-red with a massive ivory head of three plus fingers. The foam settles quickly to a patchy surface with ring and some blotchy lace remains on the glass.

The smell is rather sweet and spicy, mostly of over-ripened stone fruits and notes of yeast as well. Plum, banana, fig, molassas and an array of spices blend together with high carbonation and plenty of alcohol, resulting in a fairly complex, bit too fizzy, better than average tasting strong ale.

Nothing wrong with this brew per se, it just doesn't have enough meat in the body and is a little over carbonated for my likes in this style. Good flavor and definitely worth trying, especially for the price.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, initially five-finger thick, light tan colored head that is a full finger above the rim of my glass. The beer is a deeply blackened, concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, ruby red hue when held up to the light. The aroma is an even mix of spices and candied malt / sugars. The spices are a bit earthy, softly savory, yet quite piquant; soft notes of cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, noticeable clove and a touch of young pickled ginger. The malt and sugar notes provide and accent ample notes of prunes, raisins, dried figs and a touch of tart plum, as well as soft notes of molasses, caramelized brown sugar, treacle, browned bread crust and toasty grain. This has quite an interesting aroma, it smells like desert with its concentrated fruit character and soft malt contribution.

Only lightly sweet when compared to the suggestions of the aroma, though this does have a fruity-sweet middle to it. Somewhat light bodied, which is also accented by an ample carbonation, especially when you take the strength into account. This pretty much captures the lightness of the better, higher alcohol, Belgian inspired brews. Spicy flavors of ginger, clove, fenugreek, nutmeg, pepper and light cardamom accentuated fruity notes of prunes, figs and light cherry notes. The alcohol provides a touch of warming to the finish, which couples with some spice driven turpene notes that are surprisingly smooth.

Much more balanced than the 2006 version. This has a really nice mix of fruit and spice; the spices are of the type one would add to deserts so it works quite well, if not a touch simplistic in it desert-like focus; though I should mention that this beer is not overly sweet, which is certainly a good thing.

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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.