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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
85
very good

228 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 151
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.19%
Wants: 4
Gots: 77 | 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.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 228 | Reviews: 151 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rpdone
4.8/5  rDev +26.6%
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?

Photo of jamex
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Wow, what a steal at $4.99. Bottle states 9.0% ABV. Brewed by Unibroue.

I had a heck of a time trying to pull the cork out. Had to resort to pliers. (EDIT: second bottle was also impossible to pull off by hand - grabbed pliers again).

Pours a nice, dark coffee. I poured a bit aggressively which gave me quite a head. Pour this guy gently. Let the head settle for 2-3 minutes which allowed the beer to slightly warm (I'm in San Diego and poured this outdoors).

Smells of a typical Belgium beer with some added dark fruits and dark wine. Some booziness as well.

Tastes like the smell; like a tripel with dark hints of fruit and perhaps banana.

The bottle states that this beer improves with age, and at $5 a bomber I might pick a few up and see. Definitely worth a five spot. (EDIT: Not sure I'd buy this again after the second bottle).

EDIT: I had to edit this because upon trying a second bottle, it was a bit of a mess. WAY over carbonated (almost like champagne) and the taste was a bit off. Maybe they are having consistency issues - who knows.

EDIT x2: Third bottle (a gift) and WTF - way over carbonated again. Meh.

Photo of tang3nt
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Excited to try this, I've had good luck so far with these trader Joes/unibroue vintage ales.
Poured into tulip glass a dark brown color with a very active tan head.
Strong yeast aromas and a bit of alcohol on the nose.
Tastes just like it smells, tons of yeast - bready and a bit of spiciness to it. Also get some dark fruit flavors a little citrus and a nice amount of heat from the alcohol on the back end.
The mouthfeel is particularly good for this ale, with a good amount of carbonation this beer goes down nicely.
Unfortunately I don't think this beer is as drinkable as I remember last years being, but still a steal for only $4.99 a 750ml at Trader Joes. I will definitely be buying more of this soon.

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Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.