Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company
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Ratings: 277 | Reviews: 117 | Display Reviews Only:
3.21/5 rDev -15.3%
Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with ruby highlights; an inch of tan does an adequate job of leaving a smattering of lace
Smell: Molasses, prune, charred black bread and cloves
Taste: Burnt brown sugar and prune flavors, up front, but there is an excess of clove and sour off-flavors, in the middle; the sourness dominates the finish, as well
Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation
Overall: In order to make the price point, I suspect Unibroue makes some compromises with the ingredients, particularly the malts; this beer strikes me as not having the body or the robust complexity of even a mid-tier BSDA
01-22-2013 23:12:03 | More by brentk56
3.44/5 rDev -9.2%
I had this stored in my basement for over a year, thought I would take it out and give it a try. Poured from a 750 ml bottle, into a snifter. Poured a amber color, produced a tannish head, decent retention and it left some lacing on the glass. The Aroma consisted of roasted malt, sweet caramel and prunes. Full bodied, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale the base consisted of roasted malt, caramel and some wine like fruitiness, most likely from the yeast. Overall, it was decent, it under preformed my expectations, but maybe my expectations were to high. Unibroue brewed this ale for Trader Joe's and thus far everything i have sampled from Unibroqe has been outstanding.
01-16-2013 18:23:13 | More by GossageBrewery
3.89/5 rDev +2.6%
2011 vintage. Poured from a 750 ml cork n cage bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.
A- pours a dark brown with a 3" tan head. Some small bubbles speckle the glass with a thin ring of lacing.
S- dark fruits, some pepper, some clove and some other spice I can't pick out.
T- amber malts, dark fruits, clove and spices, some bread, and Belgian yeast.
M- medium body and med/high carbonation. Slick at first with a crisp and slightly dry finish.
O- loudest cork for a beer I have ever heard! Pretty good beer, but nothing I would rush to revisit.
01-15-2013 03:41:45 | More by kawilliams81
British Columbia (Canada)
4.05/5 rDev +6.9%
A: Reddy-brown-black with a light tan head, thin ring of retention, very little lace.
S: Peppery spice, a bit phenolic, dark fruit, jaggery.
T: Raisins, dates, figs, pepper, jaggery, candied mango, curacao orange rind, cola, good bitterness, slight alcohol warmth.
M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a crisp finish.
O: Good overall brew, probably a bit better than what the score adds up to...
11-27-2012 02:55:50 | More by Derek
3.55/5 rDev -6.3%
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.
11-16-2012 16:55:39 | More by ndepriest
3.5/5 rDev -7.7%
Poured from a bottle in my house in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.
A- Finger width khaki head. Little retention.
S- Hoppy and sweet. Has nice notes all the way. Dark fruits.
T- Dark fruits and burnt sugar. Crazy tastes. Has alcohol to contend with.
M- Very heavy and almost soda like carbonation.
O- Might want to buy and age again. Not great for me now though.
11-15-2012 02:59:43 | More by Murrhey
3.73/5 rDev -1.6%
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.
09-30-2012 20:17:14 | More by Tinfang
Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 277 ratings.