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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

310 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 310
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 5
Gots: 79 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: hreb on 11-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 310 | Reviews: 120
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a Blvd. Tank 7 tulip. Pours a deep brown with a massive big bubbled, dark tan head. Lots of carbonation. Herbal/spicy aroma, some dark fruits. Maybe some spruce. Bottle conditioned. Lots of Belgian spice, some malt sweetness. Still getting spruce. Medium bodied. Clove in the finish. Spices seem to overwhelm this one, could use a little time to fade.

Photo of rtaps
2.92/5  rDev -23.2%
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

Photo of ohtheguilt
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of grantino9
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of rfbenavi80
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cork came out with a nice loud pop.
Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack Tulip glass.

A- very dark brown, almost like motor oil color, 1 inch of light head that slowly dissipates leaving no lacing on the glass. Very little light comes through the beer.

S- roasted malts, dark syrups, molasses, and yeast.

T- holiday spices, dark molasses cookies, malty.

M- thin, highly carbonated, nice warming feeling.

O- very drinkable beer. Nice to enjoy beside a fire on a cold winter night. Good beer at a good price. Wonder how it will age.

Photo of Stoffel
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Reaper16
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle served into a snifter

Pours a russet brown color with plenty of crema colored head composed of fairly large bubbles. There's varying tones of brown here, and it looks like a pretty nice example of the style.

The aroma isn't beating you over the head with anything, but all of the things you'd expect to smell have their subtle day in the sun here. There's raisin and date; there's some gingersnap cookie; there's plenty of dried ground clove. Some dark syrup smell too -- like some diet version of molasses.

The taste is also subtle. The clove flavor blends well with the cookie & fruitcake malt profile. There's some dark fruit flavor here, but it is very soft and distant (unlike the sharpness in some BSDAs).

It's thin for the style. It's this beer's only real drawback. It feels insubstantial in body, and the high level of carbonation exacerbates that feeling.

Overall, this is a very solid beer in the style, especially when you consider the price. This beer, of course, is brewed by Unibroue, and you can really tell just by drinking it. It is lighter and less overtly flavorful than Unibroue's normal lineup, but not really any less good for it.

Photo of pfullah
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of PowDay
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of sym3tri
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of morganhowell
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of PaBeerLover
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a giant mocha colored fluffy head that dissipates to a ring quickly with minimal lacing.

Smells like spice and malted roastiness, with and undertone of crisp hops.

Tastes a little like toffee from the malts, followed by a gingerbread taste, allspice, and cloves taste most prevalent. Leaves a roasted spice aftertaste that's nice. Spice flavor comes out more as it warms.

A very carbonated beer, in a good way, it makes it feel light. Doesn't coat the tongue. For a 9% beer, it feels smooth and easy drinking.

I liked this beer, and so did my wife, which is a surprise, since dark beers aren't her thing. This beer is very festive, great spice content doesn't overpower or assault the nose, but tastes enough to get into that holiday mood. I liked feeling like gingerbread was in the oven and I was already eating the first batch.


Photo of CelticAleMan
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of americanbelgian
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed by Unibroue.

Best before 7/6/16.

Pours a dark murky brown with a 2 inch foamy tan head that settles to a thin cap. Random streaks and chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, dark fruits, Christmas spices, banana, and the distinct Unibroue yeast aroma. Taste is of malt, dark fruits (raisins, plums), spices (clove especially), and yeast. There is a slight spice bitterness that lingers on the tongue after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. A bit too much carbonation for the style in my opinion. Overall, this is a good BSDA and a fantastic deal for $4.99 for the 750 ml bottle. I enjoyed this year's recipe much more than the 2010 bottle I tried.

Photo of scootercrabb
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of wrycon
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Heavily carbonated on the pour. Quite dark, almost black, but there's light on the edges. Looked more brown when poured. Nice finger of head that stays. Very tight lacing. Smells much lighter than its appearance. Some raisin, some mahogany, a little banana, some currant. Smells light some funk lingers underneath. Many flavors clash in the front - cinnamon, earthy malt, maybe plum, and then the clouds part and a robust sweetness holds court in the middle. Finishes with a spicy, nutmeggy (not a word) slide. There's considerable carbonation throughout, making it a very flavorful, but lighter brew. This is my first Trader Joe's Vintage Ale and I'm pleasantly surprised.

Like It? Yes.

Photo of Vierenner
2.21/5  rDev -41.8%
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.

Photo of Tschnab
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a dark red hue with a thin film of off white head. Sporadic lace clings to the glass.

S- lots of Belgian yeast and a good amount of wheat, plums, sugar, cherries.

T- a yeasty but sweet dark ale that warms on the way down. It has a slight spice character with a good winter fruit note.

O- what a good brew for the price! Thanks to my grandparents for picking me up a bottle.

Photo of mklinger
2/5  rDev -47.4%

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

25.4oz bottle, Duvel tulip, 2011 vintage.

Enormous head, pinkish light brown, widely spaced bubbles, billowing. This year's Vintage Ale is darker than I recall the last two years, more resistant to light, with more red.

Gimme that old distinctive Unibroue yeast. This super phenolic strain is spicy and funky in a raw herbal way, not like Brett at all, but just a very foreign smell. It's totally dominant, root beer is the only other aroma.

No surprise, the yeast is the dominant flavor too. Sweet malts, root beer, sarsaparilla, cranberries, and candi sugar skulk. I'm just not a huge fan of Unibroue's house strain that they use for their darker beers. Things kind of end up like overripe bananas.

Thin for the size and lack of outrageous alcohol, I find the mouthfeel of this beer really quite dull. The super carbonation that made that enormous head had fled.

Maybe I've tightened up my reviewing closer to a C average since last Christmas, but this years really isn't so much to my liking. It's one-dimensional.

Photo of jmechy
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - dark brown with a creamy off-white head that hung around leaving trails of lacing.

S - yeast, dark fruit and spices.

T - sweet dark fruits and yeast finishing dry and slightly tart.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation and a smooth feel.

O - quite good for the price, I'll get a few more bottles of this one before it's all gone.

Photo of ChrisPro
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.