Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

151 Reviews
THE BROS
86
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 151
Hads: 230
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 4
Gots: 78 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tang3nt on 11-19-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Contract brewed for Trader Joe's. Often brewed by Unibroue.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 151 | Hads: 230
Photo of rpdone
4.8/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I just picked up 2 cases (12 corked bottles/case) of this at Trader Joe's. Truly can't beat the price for this very worthy offering ($5/750ml bottle). I should have saved a bottle from last year to compare. But alas, I drank them all.

Cellaring is for people with will power. Anyway, to the review...

This fine ale is in a corked 750ml bottle with a 'painted' label in gold lettering. It is self described as a 'Dark Ale Brewed with Spices and Natural Flavor added.'

As many of you know this particular brew is lovingly prepared by the fine people at Unibroue in Quebec for TJ's. I may lose some man points here, but for the life of me I could not get the cork out of this thing. I ended up breaking it in half and had to get the corkscrew out to pull out the remaining cork.

It was worth the labor and is perhaps a fail-safe to keep me from drinking too many of these.

Appearance - Beer pours a nice deep black. It's almost opaque when held up to the light with some rich red-brown at the edges of the Chimay goblet I poured it in. It has a nice lively off-white frothy head with a semi-aggressive pour (I had to back off on the aggression to keep the head at bay). You can hear the carbonation as you pour, which not surprisingly is noticeable in the mouthfeel. Does it look inviting? Sure does.

Smell - Sweet spicy malts with a little alcohol. It smells, well, Belgian.

Taste - For its 9% ABV the alcohol is very well masked behind this brew's rather complex spiciness. It is not as sweet as it smells. There are some notes of raisins and cloves and a mild malty sugar. It is very well balanced and deliciously spicy. A very nice holiday offering.

Mouthfeel - For the depth of color, and the ABV of this brew the mouthfeel is actually not as viscous as one would think. It's actually rather light. The carbonation is really nice and feels wonderful on the tongue and throat.

Drinkability - As I mentioned the cork broke off. Probably a good thing as I would drink too much of this if I could pop them open like metal bottle caps. I must say though as I type (and have consumed perhaps 600 of the 750ml) I'm feeling rather happy.

Did I mention I really like this? (2,181 characters)

Photo of thehammer70
4.65/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trader Joe's doesn't really have a brewery. This is made by Unibroue, the craft brewery from Quebec, Canada.

Like it's label mates 'La Fin du Monde' & 'Trois Pistoles', it's strong and tasty...well worth what TJs is asking for the bottle.

Do yourself a favour and pick up a bottle...and yes, you have to be a real man to pull the cork out...so get ready. (356 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 750ml/1pt. 9.4fl.oz. corked and caged bottle
Best before 09-10-2013
Served in a tulip
Thanks to mikesgroove for including this as an extra in our trade.

The beer poured a very deep brown/black and was topped by a thick, velvety, two-plus finger tall crop of beige colored froth. Decent head retention. Small droplets of lacing trickled down the glass with each sip.

The nose was crisp initially with a dry, powdery yeastiness. Slightly spicy with an undercurrent of dark fruits. As the head subsided, the aroma changed considerably. Rich, sweet malts came through strong. Tons of fragrant spices, including nutmeg, allspice and sage, were apparent, along with an intense, earthy, herbal quality. A touch medicinal. Strong notes of raisins, plums and currents. Some boozy, alcohol warmth was noticeable as well.

The flavor profile was also quite interesting. Rich caramel malts came through on the front end. Some roasted malts were also detectible. Lots of Christmas spices. Notes of ginger, nutmeg and allspice were apparent. Noticeable amount of fruity esters. Raisins, plums and currents came through strong. Good dose of dark candi sugar. A touch of booze appeared on the slightly woody, off-dry finish. All in all, however, the alcohol was quite well hidden.

The mouthfeel was fairly standard for the style. Medium bodied with a crisp, large bubbled effervescence. A touch thinner than I would have liked.

The past versions of Trader Joe's Vintage Ales have really impressed me but the 2010 example was superb. At a mere $5.99 a bottle, I will be picking up multiples of these from now on. (1,612 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Situation: Mourning an NCAA pool ending and celebrating a garage door half-installed... Glassware: Maudite goblet... Appearance: Velvet dark almost coffee body with a thick brown head that occupies a chalice well... Aroma: punchy, fruity flavors and soft malts balance the bouquet... Palate: Creeamy, alarmingly soft and warm; milky on the lips; little bubble but a late vigor reveals complexity... Taste: Bright, lactic hops that are blunted by the subdued nature of malts--the roasted aspect is understated as well--little smoke but definitely fire! Overall: It’s Unibroue, and it’s a special release, and it was FREE thanks to my father-in-law--how can this review NOT end well? Less caustic than the Maudite, more body than the La Fin du Monde, darker than the Trois Pistoles, and easier drinking them all of them! At 9% alcohol another engineering marvel from the Canadians... (885 characters)

Photo of allrizz
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this beer from Trader Joe's.

A: Dark color yet able to see light through the glass. The head remained for much longer than I thought it should. Must have been how I poured it.

S: Fruit, malt aromas, caramel, and spice.

T: Dates, cloves, molasses, caramel, nutmeg accentuating a malty finish.

I am partial to dark beers and really enjoyed this one. I found the flavor of this beer unique with its spicy and malty taste. An excellent choice. I will definitely purchase some more and store them for future enjoyment. (530 characters)

Photo of MikeRose
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wide mouth glass. Warmed a bit out of the fridge, but still a bit colder than recommended. Initially not greatly impressed. Poured a dark brown, not much foam or lace, and the smell was just not there for me. CO2, hops, and not much else. Tasted fair right off the bat. Metallic hops taste the biggest complaint, but fairly balanced though not as robust as some Belgians. Was reminded of roasted coffee. Alcohol well balanced with the dark flavors. The after taste was very nice, one of the first things I noticed - malty and persistent. As the beer warmed up however, what a difference. The metallic taste disappeared, and wonderful notes appeared. A taste of bananna, and other dark fruity delicious smells. Will have >very< slightly chilled next time, and at the price, I plan to put a bit of this away too. I think it will age nicely just as the label states. (883 characters)

Photo of idResponse
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Right off the bat let me clear something up. On the bottle it says "product of Canada" and "Made by Unibroue" right there. You mean this isn't made in California by Trader Joes Brewing Company? NO! When making a special reserve Belgian Strong Dark Ale let's go to the people that seem to REALLY know what they are doing! UNIBROUE! Makers of La Terrible, Maudite, and Trois Pistoles - all of which are getting A- reviews on this website!

Well, hot damn! For only $6 a bottle I can get one of their awesome brews? Pardon me whilst I stock up!

First, I don't have a worthy container to put a bomber in right now so out of the bottle I imbibe this brew. The bottle is dark, with minimalist gold writing and graphics on it. It wants to fuzz right into my mouth on first guzzle due to the yeast making plenty of carbonation. It smells high of alcohol, roasted malts, and molasses. When this stuff hits the tongue, I am pleased to say I get the lovely tastes of a slightly spiced chocolate banana that has been caramelized with the uniquely lovely mouthfeel that only Belgian style yeast can provide, those over sized bubbles tickling your mouth to a smile.

This bottle says 9% on it, but I feel I could probably keep drinking this stuff without even thinking about it. Dangerously Session worthy! I highly recommend giving this brew a shot! (1,337 characters)

Photo of lynchtae
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had to use a cork screw to get the cork out of the. Pours dark dark brown with a light brown persistent head. Fine bubbles continually rising from the bottle ageing and natural carbonation. Smells yeasty, and a hint of malt and ginger. Very complex flavor - lots of ginger up front, fruity esters from the Belgian yeasts, caramel malty notes, other spices are present as background notes maybe cardamom? Feels great in the mouth, rich and velvety. Overall this is an extremely well made beer, and at $7 is one of the best values out there. (541 characters)

Photo of OhSoHoppy
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Bottle to glass.

A- This is a very dark brown, Love that I can see the yeast and other sediment at the bottom. Great lasting Tan head

S- Good malt and some spice with a slight bready hint. and a little fruitiness in there.

T- clove, ginger, and maybe a few other spices, Very subtle almost winey taste, with some light fruit, beautiful aftertaste. Alcohol is present but in a good warm way.

M- Full bodied, Rich with a great crisp feeling that stays with you for a while.

O- I wish I bought a couple more of these to age longer (I hear they age with the best of them. Great beer that I would recommend if you like them dark (633 characters)

Photo of danafr4
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trader Joes offers this seasonal brew (made for them by unibroue) in a 750ml bottle.

Poured foamy & a little bit thin with some fair, but subtle lacing.

At cellar temps, the aroma is full of the unibroue belgian yeast with fruitiness that is slightly sour. I find myself wishing the head retention was better.

The flavor is lovely. Clove/allspice mingled with caramel and dried fruit with a noticeable alcohol warmth afterward.

For as strong as the beer is (and feels) i want a little more body to balance it out.

This is the 'digestible' belgian dark ale, fermented to a crisper, lighter finish. Lovely to drink even if the body doesn't match the alcohol content for my taste. I'm curious to see how this year's offering ages after a year. (746 characters)

Photo of beerbrains
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed by Unibroue, that's interesting, Trader Joe's picked a great brewery to contract with for their winter seasonal.

Struggled with the cork a while before it broke, then ended up using a corkscrew on it.

A coffee colored pour topped by a much lighter head that quickly and lacelessly (new word?) dissipates.

The Belgian sugars make this beer very sweet but not cloyingly so. The sweetness is followed by and balanced by a fruity tartness.

Overall a pretty good example of the style.

Food pairing?? I would substitute this beer anywhere you would drink a Cabernet Sauvignon, especially roasted red meats. (613 characters)

Photo of VaterRoss
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 750ml bottle (cellared about a year) poured into crystal hock glass. Best before 9-10-13.

Appearance: dark brown/black (cola colored), some carb bubbles visible, tan colored head.

Smell: first thing that hits is the yeast which reminds me of the smell of a weizen or witbier followed by the sweet smell so common in Belgians.

Taste: quite sweet lightly roasted malts followed by that delicious weizen yeast fruity spiciness that helps to balance what would be an exceptionally sweet brew. Alcohol taste finishes and lingers, but not unpleasantly.

Mouthfeel: moderate carb, slight tingliness in mouth

Overall: what at first would seem to be a sweet, heavy beer is well balanced by the fruit/spice taste. While not the absolute pinnacle of its style the price is hard to beat and the beer is most enjoyable and easy to recommend. Worth drinking slowly due to the fair amount of complexity.

edit: recently tasted the 2011 and assuming the same recipe was used, the 2010 greatly benefited from the year of cellaring. (1,027 characters)

Photo of Lukafer
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cork is in pretty tight, had to grab a towel to get a grip, luckily didn't spill any.

Pours an extremely dark brownish red, almost black with a finger of tan head.  I smell sweet malts, yeast, slight banana, and a little woodiness.  It tastes a little sweet at first, followed by some yeast, alcohol and a little drying and bitter at the end.  Mouthfeel is good, sticky.  Drinkability is really good, although I'm not sure how often I could drink it.  Overall this is a solid brew and an exceptional value at $4.99 as they could charge twice the amount and I'd still buy.  Highly recommended.   (606 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fresh Review, 2/21/2011

A: deep, roasty dark brown. fluffy soda-like head. looks like a glass of root beer. (3.5)

S: chilling allspice and clove. cinnamon and coffee now that it has heated up. spice masks any complexity i could be getting from the yeast. (2.5)

T: very spicy. sweet chocolate. hop usage must have been on the 'just a touch' side judging by the lack of bitterness. not getting as strong a sense of alcohol as i expected (maybe i didnt need to buy another for the cellar...) for it being such a recent vintage. (2.5)

M: very tangy, light bubbles. pretty fair showing for the style. rich and full bodied. (4)

D: with bel strong darks really being all over the place, this one just isn't my favorite. very curious if the one i have put away develops any significant flavors. (3)

Cellared Bottled, opened/reviewed 6/23/13

A: opaque, dark brown body. super frothy brownish head. big and fluffy. fantastic head retention, thick lacing left behind.

S: smells bone dry. a soft roast mixes with some chocolate. I think there is a little bit of fermentation aroma in the nose. getting a little bit of sweet fruit, pear and fig, but not a ton.

T: similar to the nose, this tastes almost as dry as it smells, at first. a little bit of dry chocolate. a tale-end of unfermentables, some yeast. roasted flavor adds to the dryness. some red grape skins as it warms.

M: a bit effervescent. medium/full body.

D: really aged well. has held up exceptionally as I am not getting any sort of off-flavors. absolutely no heat. all the spicing has dissolved on the flavor and aroma spectrum of things, which is fine with me. for the price, definitely worth getting a few and stashing. (1,687 characters)

Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a cola colored head that retains OK, and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is suprisingly subtle, with dark chocolate and coffee upfront, along with some lemon and ginger, clove and molasses, fig, plum and grape, some esters and alcohol. The flavor also starts out with cocoa and coffee notes initially, along with some lemon and crystallized ginger, clove and cardamom, plum and fig, grape and candy sugar, along with some belgian yeast and slight alcohol presence. This is a very tasty iteration of TJ's vintage ale series, complex and drinkable I need to pick up some more to age. (608 characters)

Photo of Clydesdale
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, nearly opaque dark brown color. A few degrees shy of black. The light brown head is initially robustly tall, with a foamy consistency and medium thickness. Retention is strong, and irregular lacing (some fine and thinly spread, some chunky and rocky) clings resiliently to the glass as the head slowly recedes.

S: Vibrantly yeasty in the nose. Some caramel and ethereal sugary notes. Quite spicy - notes of cloves, coriander, and loads of ripe fruit (pear, apple, plum). A moderate phenolic snap is also available. A light earthy/herbal hop note stays in the background, per this style.

T: Smoothly sweet up front. Notes of brown and white sugar. Lightly bready malts are also detectable. Yeast and spice doesn't run amok, but it is very flavorful. Cloves, coriander, and plenty of fruity esters provide a very pleasant flavor. Light phenols, peppery flavors, and herbal hops provide some focus. A faint, tingly alcoholic note is present into the finish.

M: Relatively full-bodied. Quite smooth and velvety - carbonation is somewhat light. A touch more carbonation and thickness wouldn't have bothered me. Overall impression is much more sticky than dry, although a measured snap of crispness at the finish prevents it from being cloying at all.

D: A winner from Unibroue. This is a rock solid Belgian dark at an appropriate time of the year. Smooth, well-balanced, and hefty without being cumbersome - this is artfully brewed and easy to enjoy. Thanks are due to my Secret Santa for sending this my way. (1,529 characters)

Photo of IamTHEeggMAN
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I put away a case to age after it was released last year. Since the 2011 is now out, I figured I'd open up a bottle to see how it's aged.

Poured into a chalice the color is an extremely dark black with a pale cream-colored foam. Bringing the chalice up to my nose reveals strong notes of ginger and a hint of alcohol as the 9% abv suggests. Again the ginger hits the pallet in the first sip with a taste of roasted malt, complimented with a light spiciness. It finishes with a chewy, gingery, malty taste accenting by a soft alcoholic bite. I now understand why the English enjoy biscuits and tea as this beer is perfectly paired with ginger snaps. So much for the tea. (671 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I’ve had this one cellared for over two years. Looking forward to seeing how it develops and one suddenly chilly, dreary night it seemed like the right time to revisit it. The recipe changes every year and while I didn’t remember being amazed by the 2010 vintage I had generally positive feelings about it.

This pours dark, dark with a big, billowy cloud of foam. It’s actually a dark ruby-brown color, but you have to hold it up to light to know that.

I get a good deal of dried fruit aromas, Figs, dates, black cherries. Some booze, some phenolic notes, some fruitcake rounding it out.

Flavor … isn’t where I hoped it would be. Thinking of root beer tastes, some licorice and those dark fruits. The carbonation is there but the flavor runs … flat. I want more floral notes on the yeast to give it some life but instead there’s a sense that the tastes are treading through mud, all muddled and murky. It’s not horrible, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not excited about how it turned out either. I think I have one more of these tucked away so we’ll see if it continues to drop off or if the flavor comes back.

UPDATE:

I had a bottle of this with a best before date of 09/10/2013, opened and enjoyed 12/14/12.

I heard a loud ffffsssst when I removed the cork—we got a live one!

This beer still has sufficient carbonation for a thick head of cocoa colored foam atop a dark mahogany colored brew.

My first impressions are all positive—there’s a pleasant nose with prominent stone fruit nuances, crisp flavor with a delicate sweetness and some dark fruit notes. While the flavors have mellowed out noticeably & taken on a smooth character the tight effervescence keeps them light on the palate. I get cherries, plums, some clove spice, a little orange peel. Finishes clean.

What made this vintage so enjoyable and the subsequent two (2011 & 2012) less so? The "rootbeer" or licorice does not dominant this one, although it is a bit player it works well
in the mix and lends a pleasing quality to the brew overall. A real gem for the price and one I wish I had held on to more of. (2,117 characters)

Photo of droomyster
4.16/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, very dark brown, almost impenetrable to light, with a tan head that's lasts long. The aroma is not bad but simply doesn't stack up to that of other Belgian Strongs. The nose has the signature notes imparted by Belgian yeasts: bubblegum and dark fruits, but is not as complicated as several of its competitors. The flavor, on the other hand, pushes all of my right buttons. Flavors of dates, raisins, and plums provide a strong sweetness that does not cross my personal threshold for "cloying" even after the whole bottle, which sets this beer above and apart from most other Belgian Strongs, which tend to quickly fatigue my palate. I also appreciate that the body doesn't completely break apart into bubbles on the tongue, and actually allows me to swish it around and appreciate for a long time. A fabulous elixir. (830 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened in early 2012.

Dark brown, some head but not tons. No particular lace.

Some date and dark fruit in the nose.

Plum, date, and dark fruit dominate the body-- it's improved in the year since it was brewed. And of course, Unibroue yeast. Kinda tart, almost citrus finish.

Nice and smooth.

Good 'gateway' vintage ale-- it's basically Trois Pistoles, but it aged pretty well. A vertical might be nice. (407 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with light brown tinges on the edges when held to light. Pretty sizeable mocha head that lasts for a while.

S: Characteristic Unibroue yeast with some spices and hints of dark fruits.

T: Spicy yeast, black licorice, plum, bready malts, hints of fig and brown sugar. This is a huge upgrade from the last two years. Still maybe not as good as the 07, but it's heading back in the right direction. Saving a few of these to see how they age. (453 characters)

Photo of silentjay
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very dark brown that light can barely penetrate with a huge, soapy, big-bubbled grayish tan colored head that retains its size for a couple of minutes and leaves chunks of lacing on the glass.

very strong aroma that has an herbal quality to it (rosemary?). lots of fruits and yeasty spiciness on top of bready malts and some alcohol heat.

flavor is similar to the nose, but has an added sweetness on top of the spice. yeast muscles through to add even more spice and some considerable fruitiness. dark fruits as well as stone fruit and even some tropical fruit. herbs, spices, yeast, fruit and sweetness intermingle nicely without any dominating qualities.

smooth, silky body with a perfect carbonation level. aftertaste is very pleasant and lingers, softly, for a while.

drinks very well. the 9% ABV does not hinder the drinkability at all. definitely a Unibroue beer, yet manages to be unique. A great value and a great brew. I picked up 3 bottles. I'll probably go back to buy a case before its all gone. (1,012 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown with only the faintest traces of light getting through the edges. Two fingers of off-white head accompany it, which recedes into a ring with little lacing.

S: Very perfume-like nose, though not in a bad way. There's definitely coriander in there along with an underlying bready yeast aroma. The biggest aroma is difficult to name . . . very floral and almost stings the nostrils. Ginger, nectarines, peaches, and apricots come to mind.

T: Some coriander and sweet, dark fruits up front--plums, red grapes, pomegranates, and the like. A hearty bread and yeast flavor comes up on the finish, which is both lightly bitter and warming.

M: Medium body with lots of carbonation, this beer has a nice high attenuation so even though it's dark and high gravity, it's pretty crisp.

O: Overall, a good beer. The taste can't quite live up to the very interesting aroma, but it nails the attenuation needed for a good Belgian. (946 characters)

Photo of Greggy
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a Cola colored body with a tan head, also reminiscent of cola. The head is semi foamy but has decent retention. Minimal lacing is present.

S- This has the dead on unibroue nose for me. Ample yeast of banana and clove, some great barnyard funk, as well as cherry cola notes. I could smell the funk all day long on this. Very much la fin du monde or of a non-unibroue, saison dupont.

T- Starts out with a cherry cola notes backed up by some great yeasty notes. Transitioning into the finish I get a little nuttiness a massive lingering cherry as well as some yeasty funk.

M- Very spritzy carbonation which I believe works well with this beer.

D- This is a 9.2% ABV beer but it sure doesn't drink like one. TJ/Unibroue really did it on this one. The only thing stopping this one from stellar drinkability is the semi-cloying cherry cola which will get to you at the later half of the 750ml bottle. As a general overall, this is a good beer. I would pay the $4.99 just to smell this beer... as a bonus, I also get to drink it. (1,039 characters)

Photo of impending
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip, pliers were required. Pours a deep ruddy mahogany. Decent head, large bubbled lacing.

Complex aroma. I recognize multiple brews here, particularly a tripel with a strong floral component melded with a strong dark, something from the medicine cabinet or something from a Thai dish is in the distance on top of cedar. Strong spices. Unique combination.

Unique nose, unique flavor. Definitely Noël.

Smooth mouthfeel with momentary prickliness.

Unibroue had to brew something that could not be closely compared to any of their brews and be scrumptious, they succeeded.

My review is entirely based on the experience but the cost deserves acknowledgment. I don't penalize a brew for being too expensive so why should I reward a brew just because its so cheap. I don't but this is superb price performance!

Additional nod to Trader Joe's cause they always have Chimay priced below everyone else.
cheers
jd (926 characters)

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Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.