1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

281 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 117
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 4
Gots: 73 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  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: hreb on 11-13-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 281 | Reviews: 117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spamages
1.5/5  rDev -60.4%

spamages, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Overlord
1.75/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

May be showing initial signs of infection. Sadly, I have another bottle, so I'll see if that one is any better.

First thing to note is explosively crazy carbonation. Umm....should half a tulip glass result in an overflowing light tan head? Subsequent pours result in crazy amounts of fizz. Ruddy brown color.

Smells like rancid, spoiled raisins, a bit of buttery malt, and a zingy, intrusive yeast.

The taste is all over the place. Orange rum soaked raisins, a weird tangy malt aftertaste, and the belgian yeast has run amuck with medicinal bananas and an irritating herbal aftertaste.

I usually find this beer to a great value in beerdom. This year's version sucks.

Overlord, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of mpayne5
1.75/5  rDev -53.8%

mpayne5, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of mklinger
2/5  rDev -47.2%

mklinger, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of jneiswender
2.05/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Got this beer from friend Carl. Poured out of bottle, cool, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Nice black body and a beige head. Belgian yeast, clove and slight veggie smell. Strong carbonation up front. Roasted malt front. Burnt toast. Heavy carbonation. The carbonation and the burnt malt mouth just mutes whatever else is being offered here. I may avoid next time.

jneiswender, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Vierenner
2.2/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours nicely but the aroma and flavor leave something to be desired. Not a pleasant experience. I'm only drinking enough to write this review and the rest goes down the drain. This is my second review of a Unibroue product ... first one didn't turn out well either.

Vierenner, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of beerbellydaddy
2.28/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Trader Joes Vintage Ale 2011

Corked 750 ml bottle, champagne pop and smoke

It pours a fizzy, dark, root beer brown, not thick, and it has ample foam.

Smell is bold, nearly intrusive; it hits me as too cloying and medicine like.

It tastes of peppermint and reminds me some of cough syrup, and it has a very evident alcohol taste. It didn’t grow on me.

It fills the mouth with pleasant enough, yet to me misplaced, champagne like fizz.

Some people really seem to like this but it isn’t my cup of tea. This is just too sweet and bubbly; and the hops seem to be hidden behind too many flowery flavors.

beerbellydaddy, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Sam21
2.35/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Received as a Christmas present. Has a best by date of 2016. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance - Pours with a very dark brown body. It only shows its true color when held up to the light. The head is a cola brown and fades rather quickly leaving very little lace. It looks nice at first, but lacks staying power and ultimately struggles in comparison to other Belgian Strong Darks.

Smell - Dry spice. Heavy yeasty clover aroma and perhaps a touch of mint. It is very difficult to pull any sweetness out of the aroma. In general, the aroma feels muted.

Taste - Light malt sweetness is quickly steamrolled by a wall of spicy clove. The yeasty clove is far from balanced and really overwhelms any malt complexities. The finish lacks dryness and sees a hint of sweetness overwhelmed by spice. Typically, I love the complexities that a Belgian dark can bring to the table, but this beer is a bit muddled.

Mouthfeel - The body is light with unpleasant soda-like carbonation. It lacks that fine effervescent carbonation of the style.

Overall - I am a big fan of Belgian and Belgian-style beers, but this beer misses the mark. Way too spice centered and doesn't let the natural beauty come through. As it warms in the glass, it becomes even less appetizing.

Sam21, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of Beaver13
2.48/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle, best before 07-06-2016. Pours brown with a pillowy light tan head that goes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet bready chocolate malts with some banana notes from the yeast and some perfumey floral notes. Some spices come out some as it warms (corriander, ginger?).

The flavor is similar - sweet sugary bready chocolate / caramel malts with earthy yeast and some banana. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with sharp spritzy carbonation.

Overall, an OK Belgian. Just didn't mesh well with me.

Beaver13, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of kdown
2.5/5  rDev -34%

kdown, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of hwwty4
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a corked and caged 750ml into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. Out of the bottle comes a dark, rich coffee colored liquid that leaves a massive 3 inch head and just a bit of lacing as it disappears from the glass. The aroma is sweet malts up front. Caramelized sugar with toasted bread and dark fruits. Almost a wine like grapiness to it. Dates and figs with a odd yeasty spice. The flavor is odd. There seems to be a almost extract like tang to it. It underlies the most of the flavor profile. Almost like a homebrew that hasn't been executed very well. Dark fruits are present. Like in the nose dates and figs with some grape. As it warms booze becomes a bit more present and the tang seems to grow also. Fairly off putting. Its a odd balance. The mouthfeel is dry. I thought there would be a little more heft to it by the look of the beer. While, this is only the second installment in the series that I've had, I found the last one fantastic for the price tag. This is, while still a great price, not that tasty.

hwwty4, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

4DAloveofSTOUT, May 01, 2012
Photo of rtaps
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours black with a decent khaki head minimal retention and lacing

spicy, dark fruits, yeast like aroma

a spicy yeast dark ale, some dark fruits and sweet malts are present but you have to look pass the spice

medium bodied and highly carbonated

overall i feel this was kinda of a carbonated spicy mess

rtaps, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of PowDay
3/5  rDev -20.8%

PowDay, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of bwyu
3/5  rDev -20.8%

bwyu, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Rhettroactive, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of anthony-martinez
3/5  rDev -20.8%

anthony-martinez, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of hoppedupken
3/5  rDev -20.8%

hoppedupken, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of dav
3/5  rDev -20.8%

dav, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of 2dogbrew
3/5  rDev -20.8%

2dogbrew, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of DruD
3/5  rDev -20.8%

DruD, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of Jdub983
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Jdub983, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of DotBier
3/5  rDev -20.8%

DotBier, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of CelticAleMan
3/5  rDev -20.8%

CelticAleMan, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of SirWalkAbout
3/5  rDev -20.8%

SirWalkAbout, May 03, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.