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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
100 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
100
Ratings:
115
Avg:
3.94
pDev:
8.63%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
10
For Trade:
2
Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by khiasmus on 11-30-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 115
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a brown color with a slight haze. It had a small, bubbly head of off-white foam that left some sudsy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of raisin, dried fruits (cherry & plum) and some bready malts.

T - Sweet bready malt dominated the flavor with a nice dose of dried fruit taste. Just a touch of bitterness and spiciness, too.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a mildly dry finish. A medium bodied ale.

D - This is a very solid dubbel and a very good value at around $5 for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.56/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark amber in color, almost garnet on the sides and the bottom with a nice two finger head of white foam that came up and over the to, settling down nicely and evenly across the sides of the glass.

Aroma was full, nice tart notes of fruit, plums, grape skins, an earthy, full fruity aroma. Nice touches of bitterness sprinkled in throughout as well. Warming brings out some more caramel, touches of earthy, grainy hops and a nice balance of earthy tones. Nice full bodied feel as the lush carbonation rolls across the tongue and really gets going. Smooth, even finish with a nice tart bite

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown body with a well-formed, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Aromatic nose that's both fruity and rather spiced with notes of black currants and cherries tossed in coarse ground black pepper.

Taste: Dark malts tasting of dark caramel and molasses with a brown sugar sweetness. The taste isn't lacking in spices either, with it's flavors of black pepper, nutmeg, and clove. Ah, there's that Unibroue yeast, my old arch nemesis. More vinous fruitiness. Lesser hint of banana. You never get much in the way of hops or bitterness, though there is a staunch dryness competing with the little pops of sweetness that seem to come and go. Bit of aromatic tobacco in the otherwise fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Highly carbonated. Yes, friends, it's a bit crackling, even prickly in the mouth.

Drinkability: Well, the alcohol is definitely well-hidden in this brew. I liked this well enough. Overall, it's a solid, enjoyable beer at a decent value.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light brown color; attractive beige head; good slippery lace on the glass.

Strong Belgian smell with strong maple sugar touches and solid yeast. The alcohol is prominent as well.

More chocolatey than most dubbels. Light hop finish in the swallow and aftertaste. Still, the alcohol is potent enough to be notable. Decent body, but not heavy. High level of carbonation of fine bubbles. Slight touches of brandy in the background.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice. Poured with a full off-white head consisting of larger, more course bubbles. After a couple of moments the head settled into a layer of tinier, more compact bubbles. Aroma was pungent, with a sweet component. Flavor was not as sweet as the aroma had led me to expect. Sweetness was typical for the style. Lots of malty roundness. Full, fulfilling body. Very drinkable, but if you drink a full bottle by yourself, you'll want a change of pace after. Not particularly sessionable, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark murky brown with a 1 finger off white head

smell: dark fruits, raisions, plums, malts, sweet,

taste: sweet, caramel, dark fruits, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: decent dubbel I've had better in the style but glad I got to try it.

Cheers,
The CPJ

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Photo of maximum12
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big bruiser bottle that was rescued from...somewhere. Somebody who knew we were beer people offered this up to my wife & said they weren't going to drink it. Well, OK. We'll try anything once! 750ML bottle split into two snifters.

Pours a light brown with red streaks, & plenty of bubbly lightness. Smell is dominated by yeastiness w/spices added, trampled malts. Additions of hard sugar, clove/banana. Almost hefe-esque.

Trader Joe's 2008 is a pretty standard dubbel. Sweet Halloween candy up front, along with a slingblade of slightly spicy yeast. The yeast has long legs & staying power: wow. Effervescent, light, bubbly in the mouth is the second thing one notes. Dusting of tropical and/or citrus fruit sticks its nose in. Really feels like a beer one might ring in the new year with, in flutey glasses.

Pretty good dubbel, but pedestrian, nothing about it stands out from the crowd. I'll be happy with the rest of my glass & move along down the road.

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Photo of blackie
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: westmalle chalice, the beer is a deep chestnut in color, sporting a white head with good retention

s: plummy malts, heavily toasted caramel, yeast esters and some good clove, brushes of chocolate and a grassy hop aroma, dark banana bread

m: carbonation lively, on the high side but smoothing out after awhile, body medium with some sticky sugars lingering

t: lots of sweet, nutty flavors on a crisp, clean base structure, yeasts contribute fruity esters and a moderate, clove flavor, some dark fruit sugars, plum, slight date, nutty dark toast, some old tobacco in there, hops mild and grassy, giving a crisp finishing note, warming alcohol

d: alcohol present but not intrusive, good flavor set, a quality dubbe all told

lost this bottle back in the cellar for a couple years

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Photo of argock
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a dark glass 750mL bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. Best consumed by 9/2011 date. Purchased from Trader Joe (Richmond, VA) for $4.99.

A: Dull bronze with 1-finger off-white head that thins to a cap with scant lacing.

S: A bit light with a yeast-dominated aroma. Raisins, figs, cinnamon, vanilla, and clove are in there too.

T: Very malty with sweet brown sugar, candi sugar, dark fruit, and earthy hops flavors mingling with a touch of spices

M: A bit too thin in body to be above-average. Carbonation is active. Aftertaste is sweet sugary and pleasant.

D: A very drinkable dubbel and a very good value on a Unibroue-made offering.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Overlord
4.17/5  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.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown/red with a head that dissipated quickly.

Smells of tart stone fruit, some sweet malt, and some spice. Very nice.

Great beer made to be shared. Tart cherry/stone fruit notes mixed with malt and spice. Booze is there but you don't notice it (while drinking - it finds you later). Seems to open up a bit as it warms. Wonderful beer.

Mouth coating with a tart/yeast finish. Pretty decent. Overall, this big bottle was meant for sharing, which I did. Cheap brew (price) under a generic brand that is flat out delicious. Grab it if you can.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL lightly chilled bottle poured into a glass. From notes. Consumed in January 2010 after purchasing in November 2008.

A: Poured murky, translucent amber/crimson/brown. Head forms easily, drops to a minor film within a few minutes, but that film remains throughout the drink. Very inviting.

S: Yeast, malt, plums. Signature Unibroue smell.

T: Bready malt, banana, plums, caramel, nutmeg, pepper, clove, and Unibroue's unique yeast profile. A little alcohol burn at the end along with light dryness and fruit in the finish. Quite a pleasant flavor.

M: Can't complain. This is a balanced mix. The alcohol kicks enough to let you know it's there, but it can't even be called warm, much less hot. Carbonation is high, as you'd expect from a well-made dubbel, and it has a slight tingle going down.

D: Very drinkable. This is my last of the 4 bottles I bought last year, and while my taste for Belgians has changed, I am pleased to see that my regard for this one has not.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big three finger head is light tan in color and full of fast crackling bubbles that fade to a skim in two minutes. Body is a hazy root beer tone that shows amber tones when held to light. Nose is full of yeasty fruit tones and bubble gum. the first sip brings with it lots of that yeasty fruit in the form of dark fruit and mellon. Carbonation carries with it a soft, phelonic spice profile that is very nice. There are notes of raw veggies as well. Actually the mouth feel is dominated by this yeasty veggie feel. This is a nicely drinkable sipper with well hidden alcohol.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This vintage ale pours a murky reddish brown into a large wine glass from a 750 ml. bottle. A thin head settles and keeps awhile.

Offers a nice smell of light dried fruit and balanced malts.

Taste is similar. A bit of light grape and some muddled dried fruits. Malt structure is moderate, as it should be for a Dubbel. Lots of carbonation here, perhaps over done actually. But then, not really.

Bottom line a very nice ale and hats off to Trader Joe's for hosting such an ale. Better than many an American interpretation of the style.

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Photo of spointon
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into my Duvel tulip snifter.

A= This beer poured a murky, cloudy, medium brown color with a towering 2.5" bone colored head. The head dropped to a 1/4" cap and left only minor lacing.

S= This beer smelled absolutely great. I detected bakery malts, Belgian candi sugar, funky yeast, and alcohol.

T= Flavors were of bready malt, followed by dark sugary sweetness (Belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, prunes) followed by a fantastic yeasty profile very common among Unibroue's beers. Finish was alcohol and more bready sweetness.

MF= This is a great mouthfeel beer. The higher carbonation actually cuts the alcohol a bit and makes this beer feel great on the tongue.

D= An easy brew to drink for sure. 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!

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with raisin colored highlights and a thick whipped cream like beige head.

S - Sweet malt, dark fruits, brown sugar,banana and spicy Unibroue yeast.

T - Bready malt, plum, raisin, chocolate, banana, candi sugar sweetness and spicy yeast.

M - Highly carbonated making it seem thick, creamy with a touch of alcohol.

D - I have had better Unibroue beers but hard to beat at 4.99.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's definitely winter when this one finally shows up at TJ's to ring in the new year. Unibroue makes a pretty good beer and for the TJ's price in particular, this one is tough to beat, assuming it's similar to last year's edition. This one pours a tawny golden at the bottom of my chalice that darkens up to a chocolate brown at the top. The tight bubbled beige head dissipates a little quicker than I'd like. The nose is malty and shows tones of grapeskin and yeast with faint traces of spice and other fruits in the distance.

Malty and layered with a light, bubbly finish that reminds me of champagne. The yeast has floral notes as mentioned on the bottle and is very strong in the taste, even for the style. Noble hops make a late appearance although they blend well with the fruit and spice notes to produce a clean, satisfying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thin but well textured, and shows little leaking of booze despite the 9%. I wouldn't mind lowering the carbonation a few notches, as it seems to inhibit some of the flavors a bit.

Overall, a delicious ale that grew on me as I sipped it and showed balance and complexity. Needless to say, that $4.99 price tag is a plus as well. Not awesome but quite good.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This one pours from it's obviously Unibroue'd bottle into my snifter a lighter-than-expected nutty brown hue with a huge four finger beige head. Lots of quality lace is smattered about the snifter, and the head shows really good staying power for a high ABV brew. The head is nice and fluffy, and the brew is almost clear when held directly in front of a light source (i.e. my laptop display).

S - Dark fruit and candied sugar plums are the major players here. Definitely a good start for a wintry night such as this. Hints of light mint are way off in the distance, and only come to me after several sniffs, and some alcohol is definitely noticeable (not a bad thing). This is dark, alluring, and vinous in the way that only Belgian (or Belgian style) brews can be.

T - Again, dark fruit.... plum, date, raisin, and dried apricots. And some rummy notes bring this one out of the Christmas/winter vibe and onto the decks of a Carnival Cruise ship in the damp heat of the Caribbean. This seems lightly spiced to me, and the dark fruit/ rum combo is definitely a hit although this is not as complex as most upper echelon dubbels.

M - This is a full bodied brew masquerading as a medium bodied tipple behind a mask of alcohol, fruit, and a semi-dry finish. This initially seems sweet and full, but pulls back to a boozy dry finish that seems dusty after the swallow. Nice!

D - This is a slow sippin' brew for the wee hours of the night. A definite nightcap that could put you to sleep early shoudl you choose this as your weapon of choice too early in the evening. I dig the dark rum notes that remind me of a late after-dinner stroll around the humid decks of a cruise ship in the black middle of the vast Caribbean. I like it!

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Photo of mikeg67
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.