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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

114 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 114
Reviews: 100
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 8.61%
Wants: 4
Gots: 9 | 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)
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Ratings: 114 | Reviews: 100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Troyone
Troyone

California

3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky medium brown/gray color, minimal biege head, some action, and had visible sediment in bottle.

Has a spicy aroma of florals.

Sweet molasses flavored malt, with butter, and lots of florals.

Full bodied, buttery and watery/resin feel, with lively smooth carbonation.

A sweet vintage ale that could probably use some aging.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2009 03:14:45 | More by Troyone
Photo of pmcadamis
pmcadamis

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 06:03:35 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

3.88/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 05:35:52 | More by argock
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
AdmiralDiaz

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber to pint glass. *review from old notes recently found.

A: Nice dark body with a huge off-white head. Good head retention and some lacing.

S: Complex Belgian yeast with mixed fruit and caramel.

T: Tastes very similar to the smell. Complex with a small spice bite to it. Alcohol comes out a bit in this one.

Overall: Highly carbonated and medium in body. Fairly drinkable but alcohol come out just a bit too much for me. Easily Trader Joe's best brew...or one of Unibroue's more mediocre...either way pick it up it's cheap and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 19:13:25 | More by AdmiralDiaz
Photo of steadydose
steadydose

California

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good pop sound with cork removal. Poured into a goblet. Creamy 1 inch light beige foam cap, lots of carbonation. Head reduced to about 1/4 inch after a couple of minutes. Brown w/reddish highlights, carbonation clings to the sides of the goblet.

This beer smelled good. Classic belgian yeast, caramel, brownsugar, spiciness, cinammon, raisin, overipe bananas.

Taste for me started slightly boozy, touch of spice and follows and then sweetness from malt/sugar comes through. I liked the balance in this beer, it wasn't too sweet for me. Slight phenolic quality, tasty yeast at the end.

This dubbel had good amount of carbonation, with medium body.

Overall, i thought this beer was good. Not to sweet, at 9%, alcohol is covered well in the taste. Great value, glad I have another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 07:54:52 | More by steadydose
Photo of bbothen
bbothen

California

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy ruddy brownish color with a root beer float looking 2 finger deep bubbly head. Looks like a nice dubbel should.

Smells fruity, spicy, and yeasty, cola. Nice bready malt character as well.

Tastes of bready malt, peppery spice, raisin, yeast, banana, nice warming booze.

Medium to full bodied, highly carbonated, creaminess beneath the bubbles, effervescent.

Drinks nice & easy.

Heck of a bargain right here. Think I paid $5 for the 750 ml. Will gladly buy again.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2009 01:34:15 | More by bbothen
Photo of thekanna
thekanna

Maryland

3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown that turns into a ruddy hue when held up to light. Decent amount of foamy white head forms.

S: Strong complex Belgian yeast smell with a smoky overtone almost reminiscent of polska kielbasa. Additional tones of raisins and brown sugar.

T: Malty and yeasty with strong flavors of cloves, dark fruits, apple pie spices and brown sugar. Finishes sweet and slightly bitter/ spicy with alcohol definitely present.

M: Carbonation very strongly tingles the mouth and plays around.

D: Decent sipper. Enjoyed trying it but I think I'll stick to Maudite for my Unibroue fix.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 05:25:47 | More by thekanna
Photo of robbyc1
robbyc1

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 15:39:41 | More by robbyc1
Photo of bushbeer75
bushbeer75

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2009 01:17:28 | More by bushbeer75
Photo of ndekke39
ndekke39

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of this given by a friend. Decanted into a white wine glass. Pours a hazy reddish-copper with a thin white head. Great retention. Smells and tastes pretty simply of apples, bananas, brown sugar. Overall sweet quality, but not overwhelming. Decent amount of fizz to it. Very drinkable - a good Dubbel, but nothing like the real thing and nothing really mindblowing.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 03:40:16 | More by ndekke39
Photo of Strix
Strix

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 04:13:14 | More by Strix
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy, opaque brown with a good sized tan head. There is excellent retention and a good amount of lacing.

Smells of a typical dubbel, yeasty, fruit, sweet, spice.

Tastes are the same as the nose, a big fruit flavor with some spiciness. I mostly taste apples, raisins, figs, and other such fruits.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. An appropriate amount of carbonation.

This is fairly drinkable.

I bought with low expectations. It was a pleasant surprise and turned out to be a good brew. If you have the chance to pick one up, I would suggest it.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2009 18:31:40 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of Intelligentsia
Intelligentsia

California

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Trader Joe's in Pasadena, CA (Lake Avenue store). Pours with a massive slightly off-white head, with beautiful carbonation running up the sides of the glass. Strong nose typical of Unibroues, with big maltiness, toffee, and a bit of coffee. I think it's a solid dubbel for the price. I'm also aging one, so I will see how this one compares to the other in a few months' time.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2009 06:09:37 | More by Intelligentsia
Photo of n1ckels
n1ckels

Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not as good as the '07! More carbonated than the previous year's brew. The flavor isn't quite up to par, not the marriage of sweetness that Vintage '07 provided. Still, this beer is a cut above average especially for the price. It's just too similar to the other Unibroue mainstays and Chimay. Not like this is a bad thing, but it fails to really stand out. Not for those with discriminating tastes.

I think '07 was such a hit, TJ's ramped up production this year. Unofrtunately, the quality is a little worse even though the supplies are better. (Last year, I coudn't buy the vintage in Febuary at my local store!)

Nick

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 02:16:48 | More by n1ckels
Photo of niknot
niknot

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A brown color with good head

S- With a few months of aging I found flavors of cinnamon, honey, and vanilla. Probably will review again after a longer aging process.

T - Bitter with a fruity finish

M - Light to strong carbonation. Depends if poured properly (I messed up the pour on my first bottles :)

D - Great beer. Im a huge fan of Unibroue beers. After 2 bottles, I am impressed with the improvement it has shown after only a few months in between. Very much worth the $5.00.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2009 03:43:36 | More by niknot
Photo of Nickls
Nickls

District of Columbia

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 19:58:52 | More by Nickls
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at the Sacramento Trader Joe's and brewed by Unibroue. Pours into my Unibroue tulip a dirty clay brown, somewhat cloudy with specks of sediment floating around. Large head forms on the pour but settles down after a few minutes. Fruity and malty odor...prunes, black raspberry syrup, ethanol. Flavor is a bit hot and strongly spiced. A very alcohol-forward Belgian style, with the fruity malt backbone following through a few moments later. Some deep, roasted chocolate notes from the malt. An aggressive flavor, if a little hard to handle. Very full bodied, a little syrupy. Drinks nicely...a good beer, and not at all expensive.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 03:40:45 | More by aforbes10
Photo of mikeepeck
mikeepeck

California

4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To me, this beer is surprisingly good. It held onto a nice light-tan head even in the burgundy glass that I'm drinking out of, and it's leaving a nice lace on the glass as well. The aroma is full of well-integrated complexity; basically you could go a lot of different ways on this one. Caramel is dominant, but there's a dark, earthy, fruitiness very present as well- my dad described it smelling like an "earthy root beer". I think dark fruity root beer is closer, there's the same sort of sweet root/spice flavor that you think of in a good root beer.

The back label copy is dead on in it's "champagne effervescence"; the carbonation is full and light, very small pinprick bubbles. Just the lightest bit sticky, but the carbonation and the sweet, earthy, fruity flavors balance out the body and alcohol nicely. I've almost finished the whole bottle myself, starting before dinner and now continuing into the evening. It goes well with a chewy nut & chocolate chip cookie even. I'm stoked to open the other one that I'm cellaring, I'm thinking I'll give it six months- any feedback on this beer's aging?

Addition: It IS good with Brie (read the sidebar!)

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 04:39:50 | More by mikeepeck
Photo of midaszero
midaszero

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trade Joe's are a pain to get to around here this better be good

A - Cloudy dark amber with three fingers of light tan head that leave awesome lacing

S - Sweet malty goodness with some dark fruit mixed in

T - Malty and yeasty. Dark fruit presence. Overall very crisp.

M - Medium body with high carbonation

D - Aside from being over carbonated which is kind of distracting it is kinda easy to drink and enjoyable

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2009 03:19:17 | More by midaszero
Photo of xfactor9600
xfactor9600

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A brown color with some head

S- malty, but pleasantly so with a faint fruit hint.

T - Bitter with a fruity finish

M - light carbonation, kind of an champagne feel.

D - More than I expected. I plan to swing by Trader Joe's to see if they have anymore left.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2009 02:34:17 | More by xfactor9600
Photo of kenito799
kenito799

New York

4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into Unibroue La Fin du Monde chalices.

This muddy brown brew, hazy with yeast stirred up (intentionally) from the bottom, raises a massive foamy tan head that slowly recedes.

Sweet musty malt dominates the nose. A very pleasing balance of sweet maltiness underlies fruity and spicy notes. A very well done dubbel, not cloying at all, the very active carbonation from the bottle conditioning makes this a lively and very drinkable beer. Surpsisingly one of the best Unibroue offerings I have had in a while. At TJ prices, i will buy more.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 04:23:50 | More by kenito799
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 05:45:37 | More by HalfFull
Photo of tmoneyba
tmoneyba

Ohio

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Trader's Joe - Cincinnati.

A - Poured a clear brown color with a huge creamy off-white head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing.

S- Moderate nutty malt and yeast aroma.

T - Medium bittersweet flavor with a medium fruity sweet finish of moderate duration.

M - Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation.

D - My expectation where met and I got two more bottles to age for the next two years.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 15:03:50 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of dhd1491
dhd1491

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was blown away by the quality of this brew. It has the depth and complexity of a Chimay Grande Reserve, my ultimate favorite, at a fraction of the cost. I am going to Trader Joe's tomorrow for the sole purpose of salting away several bottles of this elixir for special occasions (like days ending in "y").

Sweet and malty, with intriguing spices and warm alcohol oomph. I went in with lowish expectations, it being a store brand and all, and was completely blown away.

PS: Re-tasted and found to be way over-carbonated. Took the taste and mouthfeel scores down a notch. Still very good, but not the knockout that the first bottle was. Disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 02:13:25 | More by dhd1491
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml. cork/caged brown bottle with gold silk-screened label and a Best Before: 09-09-2011, printed on the back. After a brief wrestle with a stubborn cork, it comes out with a pop and pours a lightly murky hazelnut brown with adequate carbonation and then some. The head is a lofty near three-fingers beige floam in my Duvel tulip, with some sticky lace as well.

The smell is very sweet, full of spice and fruits. Spicy clove, coriander, pepper and ?, pretty much dominate the fruit malty backdrop. As it warms the malt speaks-up and so does the alcohol...a definite plus.

The taste is spicy right up front, with notes of plum, candi sugar and a slight warming alcohol pulling through at the finish. Somewhat complex flavor that could use a bit more age on it. Very sweet too say the least.

Full body with some fluffiness and just a bit prickly on the tongue...pepper like.

Overall a pretty good Dubbel at a very attractive price...$4.99. You can't go wrong here for a big brew of 9% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 23:34:11 | More by scottoale
Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.