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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

115 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 115
Reviews: 100
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 8.61%
Wants: 4
Gots: 10 | FT: 2
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: khiasmus on 11-30-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 115 | Reviews: 100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeachRez
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been wanting to sit on this beer a little longer, but couldn't wait. Wish I did.

Very carbinated. Had a huge head, but nice deep color.

The smell was sweet, but mild.

The taste was of carmel and some fruit/citrus. I keep pushing for a tropical kind of fruit, but can't put my finger on it. The alcohol is not too strong considering 9%.

Easy to drink, and not super complex. Just a good sipper for the price. I really wish I aged a little longer. I think it could sit more and still retain some flavor.

BeachRez, May 27, 2009
Photo of Overlord
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...a new Trader Joe's vintage. And for 5 bucks! Sweet! Unibroue offerings around here are typicall 7-9 bucks.

Pours a somewhat ruddy brown. Not an overly pretty beer, but it looks alright. Pretty lively carbonation though, which I like. It's only an inch or so of off-white foam, but that carbonation lasted through the entire bottle.

Smells like a bit of citrus/lemon zest and a ton of bready yeast and ... maybe a whiff of brown sugar. Interesting dubbel. The bottle says "tropical" notes, but I detect none in the aroma.

The taste is sweet. There's a nice lingering bready/yeasty aftertaste, and the consistency, while thin, is pretty great thanks to the carbonation. There's more lemon/orange peel than I expected, but this is primarily a sweet beer. Brown sugar, maybe a few chocolate notes, and sweet rich malt. There's a hint of lingering dark fruit sweetness ... maybe plum.

Really good, and I'm going to go buy a bunch this week.

Overlord, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of robbyc1
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass, big fluffy off white head, at least 2 inches. Deep ruddy brown, can't see through this one as it should be.

Nose is yeasty with highlights of apples, prunes, dark malt. Within the style for sure.

Nice subdued dark stone fruit flavors, a hint of chocolate, yeasty with a slightly sweet finish, very nice for the style.

Really creamy mouthfeel, big carb foams up the mouth in a nice way. Goes down easy, not a problem finishing this bomber. Always love these Unibroue types from Joe's, thanks Mr Quartetman for this one.

robbyc1, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of asabreed
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bottle into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: A swirling lighter amber color with a lot of carbonation and coating off-white head. A lot to admire here with subsequent pours.

Smell: Dominant fruit esters and Dubbel aromas with dark berries and apples, strawberries, a tad banana, and brown sugar.

Taste: Initial fruity esters from the yeast, with darker berries and sugars coming to fruition, along with hints of brown sugar. Balanced stuff, though it could push the boundaries a bit, as I'm tasting vintage Unibroue flavors without a lot of distinction. Be that as it may, I'd take Unibroue flavors over many domestics, so I'm fine with it.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and effervescent with a good burst of carbonation at the end, and this is even after two hours of sipping and pouring.

Drinkability: A pretty solid Unibroue brew, since that's essentially what it is. Flavorful and balanced, with all the Belgian qualities one comes to expect from their brewery. I'm not sure how Trader Joe's has much to do with it, but for around $5, I'm going to snag a few more, if they still have them, when I go back to see what happens in the cellar.

asabreed, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of mikeg67
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a nice but short lasting head. Also hazy from the yeast. Nice sweet fruity aroma of malt and yeast. Mouth filling. Sweet , raisin flavor of malt nicely balanced by spicy hops. Did not expect much from Trader Joe's but this one is great beer.

mikeg67, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of Strix
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky pale chestnut with good head.

Smell fruity and spicey -- peach, yeast, toffee, tropical fruits.

Taste is a blend of fruits and spices. Yeast, peach, pear, apple, various spices, finishes crisp.

Mouthfeel bubbly.

This was very solid, with a nice price. Not exactly sure how this setup works, as this is clearly a Unibroue, but I'm not going to complain.

Strix, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of notchucknorris
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an amber/copper color with an enormous cream-colored head that shows great retention.

S: Lots of apple cider, spice and a hint of yeast. Some caramel, brown sugar and apple pie too with a pretty nice aroma of apple pie crust.

T: Lots of caramel sweetness upfront with apple, yeast and a bit of grain on the finish. Just the right amount of carbonation and a nice mouthfeel.

notchucknorris, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of mpyle
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App - root beer brown, pours a solid just off-white head, finely bubbled and with decent retention.

Aroma - slightly metallic, yeasty smell. Sweet with a combination of clove and chocolate.

Flavor - malty, chcolately sweet, and never gets bitter. However, enough attenuation or bitterness to prevent it from being overly sweet. Yeast character subdued, but do have a clovey, lingering slightly sweet finish.

MF - med full body, med-high carbonation. Pleasant alcohol warming - style appropriate. Carbonation enhances this warming.

D'ability - enough balance to make it drinkable, but the carbonation and warming limit the sessionability.

mpyle, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of FatCaster
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to try to ignore the price and pleasing presentation of the bottle and just review the beer here, but those are indeed bonuses.

A--Poured into a mug. Had a picturesque tan colored head that filled out nicely and dissipated pretty quickly. But there was little ring of foam that just would not die and left lacing when the glass was tipped.

S--My friend said it smelled like vomit. But he is dumb. In fact, it smelled like bready malts and sweet dried fruits.

T--Very fruity, with a touch of yeast to it. Fades to bananas and a tiny touch of hops at the very end.

M--Fairly thick, but still refreshing. Very carbonated so it hides the alcohol until it is warming your throat.

D--Lets just say that all 750 ml disappeared very quickly.

Great value, will buy a couple more, probably at least one for aging.

FatCaster, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 7/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep red amber. Moderate off white head fades to thin film with light lacing. Nice Belgian aroma. Mild malt with dark fruits, sharp carbonation up front. Fades to lighter fruit and malt, spices and finishes a bit abruptly with a bit of hop bitterness and an interesting lingering caramel aftertaste. Tastes nice. I regret that I did not record my original comments on this when fresh, although I remember being pleasantly pleased (and bought two cases!). Like other Trader Joe's Vintage beers, time has treated this well. Mellow and tasty.

LiquidAmber, Aug 02, 2012
Photo of arizcards
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750ml bottle in early December for $4.99. Best before 9-9-2011.

Beer poured brown with a large bubbly head that disapated quickly. Nose is banana, slight hint of rum, and malts. Taste has classic Belgian yeast strain, dark fruits soaked in a hint of rum, caramel, toffee, and a hint of cinnamon balanced nicely with a hint of hops. Mouthfeel is classic belgian, light to medium bodied and very smooth across the palate. Overall drinkability is very good for the style as the abv is very well hidden. Great deal at $4.99! I'll be sure to look again for it next year.

arizcards, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into tulip.

dark reddish brown, almost clear. fluffy, foamy off-white head gradually recedes to a constant thin layer. moderate lacing.

spices and fruit aromas upfront. cinnamon and anise, raisins and apple with phenols in the back again emphasizing the spice. hints of leafy hop. caramel maltiness as a consistent foundation.

similar spices on the palate and more light on the fruitiness, with the phenols a little stronger, giving a crescendo to the moderate noble hop bitterness in the middle. gentle malt caramel note. finish has more spices too.

smooth, lightly syrupy, with phenols emphasizing a slight astringency in the finish. creamy yet lightly creamy carbonation.

a great value. wish i'd picked up some more.

tai4ji2x, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008 release smells of dark fruits and brown sugar, perhaps banana bread made with black molasses.

These flavors continue on the tongue, with the dark fruit esters especially present. Deep below those fruits are caramel and chocolate malt flavors, as well as tobacco. A nice, well-balanced smattering of hops completes the palate, mostly noticeable in the slight tingling the ale leaves on the tongue. But the dark fruit flavors easily dominate, creating a huge sugary-alcohol flavor to this brew, no doubt in no small part because of its 9% alc./vol. status.

Anyone familiar with some of Unibroue's other offerings (especially their other "ales on lees" such as Trois Pistoles), will easily recognize the flavors present here. In fact, it might be an interesting comparison to see what the differences are between Trois Pistoles and the 2008 Vintage Ale; it seems to my memory that they share far more in common than not.

jondeelee, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of alovesupreme
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red color with a fizzy head with fair retention.
Smells of belgian yeast, this beer smells like a Unibroue which it is. maybe a little pine apple.
Lots of carbonation, almost to much but the rest of the mouthfeel is great. Tastes fruity, and very belgian, maybe a little raisons.
At $5 for a 750ml this beer is an incredible value. I will be buying much more of this in the future.

alovesupreme, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of PhotoMattT
4/5  rDev +1.3%

PhotoMattT, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy deep brown color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of typical Unibroue Belgian ester with deep rich malt with hints of candi sugar. Taste is also a nice mix between some rich Belgian malt with notes of candi sugar and that typical Unibroue ester. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Very well done though quite similar to prior year vintage.

Phyl21ca, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of bushbeer75
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml dark bottle, caged and corked poured into a mug

Trader Joe's Vintage 2008 Ale poured a dark amber color with a light 2-finger tan head that held well and looked inviting. The Ales aroma is dominated by fruit [apples, banana] and a little dark sugar. Taste is of the same and is balanced with a sweet finish. Mouth feel is on the creamy side with an abundance of effervescent carbonation that produced fine bubbles that bounced around in the mouth.

Trader Joe's Vintage 2008 Ale sure tasted like it is related to Unibroue - a nice "family" to be a part of...definitely will revisit this Ale.

bushbeer75, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, ruddy brown with a foamy tan head that leaves a very thick lace. Yeast and alcohol in the nose with a definite fruity aroma. The taste is recognizably Unibroue--this beer is a close cousin of both Maudite and Trois Pistoles. Also like those other two beers, the taste of this one shifts and becomes increasingly complex as it warms. A nice Belgian-style dark ale.

PhiloPsych, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a brownish color with a minimal off-white head forming.

S: The nose is quite sweet with lots of caramel, candi sugar, and light fruits such as pears and apples. There's a touch of alcohol as well as a hint of darker fruits like raisins.

T: Despite the definite sweetness, there's a touch of dryness to the beer. Still some good fruit notes like apples, pears, raisins, and plums. Lots of candi sugar and caramel as well.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth.

D: One of the best (if not the best) of the Trader Joe's vintage beers. A more standard and drinkable Belgian-style beer.

womencantsail, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of beerpadawan
4/5  rDev +1.3%

beerpadawan, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of Nickls
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Muddy water brown in color, poured with a nice finger of white foam. Head didn't last too long.

S - Passion fruit aromas, and maybe even some pruniness with sweetish toffee and maltiness.

T - Fruitiness right up front, and the passion fruit comes near apple-like in the flavor, toffee and a bit of a roasted coffee in the finish.

M - Nice tight carbonation, and thinner MF. Very much what I would expect for the style, but perhaps a bit lighter than other examples

D - Very drinkable dubbel. Enjoyed the nuances, and definitely enough curiosity to take another and another swig. Nice warming alcohol, but by no means rears too heavy.

Overall, this is more than a solid example of the style and I very much enjoyed the brew.

Nickls, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Beer is brown and hazy. Forms an off white thin head of small bubbles. Carbonation is low and steady, beer is really hazy. Head leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong and bready, sweet, yeasty. Smells like a La Fin Du Monde and that would make sense to me. I like the smell. Some fruits in there, sweet fruits.

Beer is medium bodied and finishes nicely. There isn't really any bitterness, I am not sure what I would have guessed this beer was but dubbel is a fine catagorization, maybe. Strong dark? Anyway, mouthfeel is good, carbonation doesn't really do anything in the mouth but there is some complex fruit character to it. Some nice sweet plum or banana. Finishes nicely as well. It was fine.

drabmuh, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of BravoTwo
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown, with reddish tinges at the fringes, nice beige head.

S - Dark fruits, raisin, sweetness with belgian notes.

T - Dark, flavorful, fruit. Raisin and biscuity malt. Very well done dubbel and truly tasty.

M - Medium carbonation, nice body.

D - Easy drinking dubbel, well made. Flavorful and well balanced. Plus... the price is right!

BravoTwo, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The TJ's 2008 Vintage from Unibroue poured a ruby brown with a tiny foam head that dissipated quickly. It had the typical well spring of carbonation in center of my Chimay glass. Tight little bubble came to the sides of the glass as well.

The aroma was spicy with a good dose of brown sugar and a dark fruit. You could get a little of the abv in the nose. The taste had a good bit of malt up front with the signature yeast coming through to give you a tiny bit of fruitiness. In the mouth the 9% was well hidden. Overall a pretty darn good beer especially for the price. I will buy this again if they still have it at TJ's.

cswhitehorse, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Chimay goblet. Best before 9/9/11 and comes in at 9%.

A-Huge pop when this one is uncorked. Brown with some nice red hues when put up to a light. Has a really fluffy one finger off white head that stays around after each pour.

S-Belgian yeast, candy sugar, and spices such as clove and cinammon.

T-Those same spices from the nose hit upfront. Taste rum soaked raisins, candy sugar, yeast, and malt.

M-Serious carbonation upfront. Lighter bodied and dry. The foam that sticks around makes itself known in each sip, resulting in a creamy texture at the end. Get some lingering hop bitterness from the Noble hops they use.

D-The alcohol definitely warms you up. This is a good nightcap.

A very good beer at an amazing price point ($4.99). Would like to try one of these ai it gets closer to its best by date of September 2011.

mjl21, Apr 07, 2009
Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.