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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.
very good

73 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 73
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 9.3%
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: 73 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

02-10-2008 22:30:16 | More by tastybeer
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.4%

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.

02-10-2008 22:00:06 | More by wedge
Photo of kleffman


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

02-10-2008 05:05:23 | More by kleffman
Photo of SiphonKing


3.05/5  rDev -21.2%

Served from a bottle with a cork (Unibroue written on it) and a wire tie. Pours brownish with the fruity, yeasty aromas characteristic of the Dubbel style. A slight spiciness in the taste followed with the tart, estery flavors of a decent Belgian. A whole bottle can be a little cloying so it could use some aging (at least a year or more) to mellow the flavors and make them more well rounded.

02-07-2008 00:32:14 | More by SiphonKing
Photo of spointon


4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

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!!!

02-04-2008 00:59:32 | More by spointon
Photo of xymyl


4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

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.

01-30-2008 17:12:38 | More by xymyl
Photo of blackie


4.03/5  rDev +4.1%

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

01-20-2008 06:10:22 | More by blackie
Photo of DogFood11


4/5  rDev +3.4%

750ml brown bottle corked and caged. Poured into a tulip it forms a fizzy highly carbonated and tight off white head. Brown body. Head fades quickly like a soda.

Like previous releases its on the sweet side and fairly candied. Raisins and plumbs make up the bulk of the body. Alcohol is very well hidden in the depth of sweetness. I've aged these in the past and found that fresh is the best with this vintage ale. When aged it seems to lose a bit of the vibrance and gets a tad thick.

Notes: $4.99 a bottle its tough to hack the price per value as its an above average Belgian Strong dark ale. Not really night capper material and more of an appetizer type brew.

01-17-2008 06:49:19 | More by DogFood11
Photo of smttycty


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

01-16-2008 05:54:23 | More by smttycty
Photo of Mudpuppet


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

A- Poured from a 750ml into a Ommegang chalice. Pours a mud brown with amber highlights. Lots of bubbles running to the surface.

S- Not a strong nose. Dark malts with fruity notes

T- Definitely a dubbel. Dark malts at the first sip. With an after taste a bit more bitter than the taste when it is in your mouth. Some fruity and floral notes also. Probably from the belgian yeast.

M- Too carbonated. I burp after almost every sip.

D- Good dubbel for being a Trader Joes brand. I know Unibroue makes it and I think you can tell that in the flavor.

01-13-2008 23:25:50 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of sinistermadman


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Pours a very dark, almost brown copper with a sizeable, dense creamy head. Head retention is quite respectable in my Unibroue tulip. Aroma is sharp with fermented fruit, yeast, spicy alcohol notes and sugar coming to mind.

Taste is of malt and ripened fruit coupled with a slightly astringent, bitter mouthfeel. The flavor profile is mostly at the onset, and then transitions to a nondescript, very mellow ending. Medium to slight body. Not as distinguished as a standard Unibroue offering, although I’m not sure they offer a dubbel to do an apples-to-apples comparo. Still, this was cheap enough that I can't really complain. Worth a try.

01-12-2008 02:10:42 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of t0rin0


4/5  rDev +3.4%

I know the bottle says its a dubbel but I think it had some brown ale characteristics. In any case, the beer was a nice dark brown color with a moderate haziness to it. The head was tall and white but disapeared quickly leaving no lacing behind. There was a good amount of carbonation but not too much.

The smell was of caramel malts, sugar, and yeast. Pretty nice aroma, still young though. The flavor was very enjoyable. Here is where you can see the brown ale qualities that I mentioned. Picture a belgian pale ale mixed with a english brown ale and a slight hop bitterness. I think its better than the 2006 but they are both quite good.

The body is medium/light and thats alright. It is a very smooth and drinkable beer, I intend to age a few of these for the next couple years.

01-11-2008 21:19:55 | More by t0rin0
Photo of nortmand


4.28/5  rDev +10.6%

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.

01-11-2008 03:04:40 | More by nortmand
Photo of boognish523


3.15/5  rDev -18.6%

Bought this at Trader Joes for 4.99.
poured into a duvel tulip glass.

A: dark brown with a large yet light head

S: honey, and perfumely, a bit strong on the alcohol smell.

T: sweet, hoppy

M: light, thin/watery

D:Not my favorite of the Unibroue selection, but not too bad for the price.

01-11-2008 02:46:04 | More by boognish523
Photo of Gump


4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

01-11-2008 01:52:42 | More by Gump
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%

Although I think fairly highly of Trader Joe's, I'm still impressed they got Unibroue to brew this for them. The color is a deep, multicolored brown with orange striping. Head is strong at first but soon diminishes to a cap. Nose is lightly spiced and sweet with dark malt and some faint fruits.

Nicely balanced with plenty malt and fruit and a minimum of spice. A clean finish and understated alcohol presence are positive attributes. The mouthfeel is a little thin for a dubbel but the carbonation compensates somewhat.

This is a solid, if unspectacular Belgian and definitely the best of the TJ line. However, when you throw affordability next to quality, this is suddenly a much more attractive option.

01-04-2008 05:32:26 | More by daliandragon
Photo of jneiswender


2.85/5  rDev -26.4%

A--Nice black walnut color. Beige head that stays around awhile. Not very much lacing like other dubbels.

s--clove aroma. Cooking sugar scent.

t--Toffee like flavor. Strong alcohol burn on the way down.

m--medium body.

d--not bad representation of the style. Pretty straighforward. Nothing extraordinary.

Much better examples out there.

12-31-2007 00:19:26 | More by jneiswender
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya


4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

$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.

12-29-2007 23:52:21 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

Dark chestnut with garnet highlights and a lovely beige head that laces beautifully as it slowly drops to a thick curtain. Looks top notch in my Lucifer goblet.

Aroma is decidedly Unibrou, dark sweet malt, tons of dark fruit, spicey yeasy, and hints of musty, earthy dryness.

Flavor begins moderately sweet, with dark fruit poached in spiced caramel. It softens with hints of leather and tobacco and as it warms the spice presents itself in the way of clove, allspice, and hints of ginger. Bottle says brewed w/ 4 spices, wonder what they actually are. There is no trace of the 9% abv, making this dangerously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is soft, very slick and slippery and feels smooth on the tongue. Could use just a bit more body though. Scary drinkability for a $5 750. Time to stock up!

12-28-2007 19:28:52 | More by AlexJ
Photo of vtfan77


3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

A- Deep, murky brown with a decent off-white head (I need to come up with a better color than off-white. Ocher, perhaps? Ecru?) and some decent lacing.

S- Great yeasty aromas with soft clove and ripe banana. A sweet melon-like fruitiness is also present. Very pleasant smell.

T- The yeast character dominates the taste also (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). I'm not sure if spices were added to this beer, but it almost tastes like they were with a distinct cinnamon-like character in the flavor. Malt sweetness, clove and banana, and an apple skin tartness come through in the taste. The finish is fairly dry and consists of a moderate hop bitterness and chalky yeast.

M- Medium bodied and well-carbonated; decent mouthfeel for the style.

D- The 9% ABV is hidden well, but it does come through a little as the beer warms. This beer's drinkability is pretty good, but it's not one that should be drunk frequently or in mass quantities.

This is a very solid beer from Trader Joe's. Great deal, too. I'll always be up for a quality Belgian-style ale for less than five bucks. I'd be surprised at its quality if I didn't know it was brewed by Unibroue, but with that information in hand, I am not. I'd say it's worth stocking up on due to its great value. Give it a try if you like Belgians. Recommended.

12-28-2007 04:40:25 | More by vtfan77
Photo of TheLiterati


4/5  rDev +3.4%

Another solid seasonal offering from Unibroue, bottled forTrader Joe's. I have yet to try anything from this Quebec stalwart that isn't good, so this comes as no surprise.

Pours a lovely reddish-brown with a nice, long-lasting, beige-colored Belgian lacing.

Smells of raisins and dates, with perhaps a bit of clove. Has caramel and yeast undertones.

The taste echos the aroma in every way - fruit, caramel and yeast - with a nice malty balance that makes for a rich, creamy composition that is smooth and perfectly carbonated.

A very nice seasonal beer, and one I will continue to look forward to in years to come.

12-25-2007 01:42:45 | More by TheLiterati
Photo of PlaywrightSam

New York

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

750 ml bottle purchased at Trader Joe's in Brookline, MA. A: Slightly cloudy dark amber, lots of head initially that goes down pretty quickly. S: Lots of malt and yeast, some darker fruit. T: Very sweet. Again, lots of malt. Caramel/toffee sweetness, very very slightly bitter on the finish. Maybe a little raspberries or strawberries in there. M: Very crisp, effervescent, crisp. D: Overall I'm really enjoying it. The light, coarse quality of the beer, along with its blanket sweetness, makes it a pretty interesting Dubbel. I actually didn't really it was a dubbel until I saw the style designation on BA. This is the first Trader Joe Vintage ale I've tried, I'll definitely be picking it up again. ESPECIALLY at a $4.99 sticker price.

12-24-2007 03:09:08 | More by PlaywrightSam
Photo of Overlord


4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

12-22-2007 06:16:40 | More by Overlord
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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.