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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.
very good

283 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 283
Reviews: 117
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 5
Gots: 72 | 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
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Ratings: 283 | Reviews: 117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TasteFiend
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

TasteFiend, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of kenzak
4/5  rDev +5.5%

kenzak, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of NatetheGreat
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this one. It's dark brown with a large head and minimal lacing. Huge, complex, enticing aroma with cinnamon, apple, raisin, and a sweet-spicy mix that includes alcohol. Tastes much like the smell with layers of sweet fruit and spicy undercurrents. The mouthfeel was a bit thin but overall a great beer at a great price.

NatetheGreat, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of Wiz99
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Wiz99, Nov 01, 2014
Photo of Dontcounttoday
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Dontcounttoday, May 15, 2012
Photo of bwyu
3/5  rDev -20.8%

bwyu, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of Sharkophile
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trader Joes can't go wrong with having Unibroue brew their winter seasonal. Had this on several occasions this winter. Cheers!

A: Poured into a pilsner glass. Pours almost pitch black, with a tan head that sticks.

S: Smells very spicy, with a malty sweetness and alcohol there as well.

T: Brown sugar and slight fruitiness with a lot of spices, maybe ginger and coriander? Alcohol is well hidden and comes in for the dry finish.

M: Medium body with a lot of prickly carbonation.

O: Hardly any complaints. Tasty, cheap and great with food.

Sharkophile, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of dcbike
4/5  rDev +5.5%

dcbike, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of bowlerjoe2
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

bowlerjoe2, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of Angryzen
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Angryzen, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of railman
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this at Trader Joes for 4.99. Knowing that it was brewed by Unibroue made it all the worthwhile.

Pours a very dark almost black hue with minimal carbonation and head.

At first whiff it reminds me of Coca Cola with raisins.

Tastes like it smells, Coca Cola with raisins maybe some spice mixed in.

Medium body in the mouth, not much else going on.

Overall it was worth the price although I was a little disappointed
with the flavor. Not sure if I would purchase again in the future.


railman, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of DruD
3/5  rDev -20.8%

DruD, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of abrethanson
4/5  rDev +5.5%

abrethanson, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of ndepriest
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a snifter.

It's pours pretty dark, but there's some light around the edges. Tons of carbonation.

The smell is dark fruit and yeast with a mild sweetness. The taste is similar to the smell. Lots of dark fruit, and the yeast gives it that distinct Unibroue taste. The carbonation is very present in the mouthfeel. It's a bit distracting and odd that it's still so carbonated after 1+ year of age.

Overall, not bad, especially for the price. I have a couple of others bottle that I'll hang onto for a while longer to see how they turn out. For what a bargain it is, I recommend it.

ndepriest, Nov 16, 2012
Photo of Tinfang
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a short wide-mouth glass, cooled to 52 degrees. Best by 6 july 2016. Cork came out with a dramatic POP.

A: dark ruby with a creamy half-inch head that dissipated not too quickly. No lacing.

S: a bit of malt and definitely spices. Smell was fairly predictive of taste.

M: substantial but not thick. Left a bit of a coat in the mouth.

T: nice spice profile that lingers. Ginger, coriander, clove. Unmistakeable Unibroue funk. Slight aftertaste of bark, not pleasant.

I bought three cases of this for cellaring. Can't find my tasting notes from the bottles when fresh, but it seems to be aging just about as one would expect i.e. plenty of character with the individual spice notes more unified. Nothing about this ale struck me as an increase in complexity with time.

Very good for the price, and merits a try, but there's no free lunch. I drink a lot of Unibroue products and they are among my favorites. There's a wee something lacking in this recipe (one less spice? No fresh yeast? A step omitted from the brewing process?) that prevents me from having an immediate "Delicious!" reaction. I also found two bad bottles out of the first dozen I've opened, one of which was undrinkable. That's never ever been the case with anything else from that brewery.

Next scheduled sampling in November.

Tinfang, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of southhousebrew
4/5  rDev +5.5%

southhousebrew, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of SgunnarW
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep, chocolate brown with a 2.5 finger khaki head that settles quickly. Lacing is minimal.

Sm: Sweet with dark, roasted malts. Brown sugar comes through first, followed by blackberries and possibly figs.

T: Very sweet up front. Tastes of plums and figs with hints of sarsaparilla and molasses. Spices are definitely noticeable, mostly cinnamon and clove and are almost overpowering. Develops into a burnt sugar taste after warming...almost medicinal. The alcohol is very warming.

Mf: Dry and thin with a lot of carbonation.

O: For the price, this is a solid brew from Unibroue. The spices are overwhelming, but it has a great taste. Like others who have reviewed this beer, I'm looking forward to cellaring a few bottles.

SgunnarW, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of noel2977
4/5  rDev +5.5%

noel2977, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of americanbelgian
4/5  rDev +5.5%

americanbelgian, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of guild337
4/5  rDev +5.5%

guild337, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of moneyfunnel
5/5  rDev +31.9%

moneyfunnel, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of Jdub983
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Jdub983, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of wowbagger
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark with a foamy thick head. Some hints of brown and red but mostly dark.

Smells of malt and fruit.

Taste, a little spice and those fruit notes. A little sweeter than I expected. Some cherry at the back of the mouth with a grassy feel. The spices linger and tend to dominate overall.

It looks like a dark ale, but tastes more like a spiced wheat and it's a little thinner than I expected. I had mine cold but I suspect that closer to room temperature would be more appropriate. Very interesting offering from Joe's. I'd recommend giving it a shot if dark spiced ales are your thing.

wowbagger, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of axman
4/5  rDev +5.5%

axman, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of Shibbykaiyai
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A decent strong dark belgian. I buy 12 or so each year, usually celar-ing one or two for later in the year when I am looking for something more potent than the usual summer ales.

Pours nicely, darker than planned. The brew is contracted from Unibroue, so it has to be good. And this one is just that, good. Nothing spectacular like years past. But a nice, solid, once in a lifetime (since they change it each year) tasty brew. I wouldn't necessarily cellar any of it, but a nice brew to enjoy when you need a break from christmas or winter ales.

Shibbykaiyai, Dec 19, 2011
Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 283 ratings.