Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

83 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 318
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 6.3%
Wants: 3
Gots: 40 | 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: BeerDocT on 11-02-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 83 | Hads: 318
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Edzomb5
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Just popped one open after storing since 12/2012 in my closet today is 11/7/14 . Which hit various temperature changes from 60-80 degrees. I know that's not recommended but wow surprised to see it held up. I did the same for a 2013 as a test I opened early and they weren't ready to drink a bit bitter but still good. This year I'll buy a 2 cases of 2014 and enjoy throughout 2016 year. Keep in mind there are far better beers out there but! For the price I can afford to house these for a while till my 2013 are ready. Color pours dark brown. Malty,Taste of cinnamon, wood, raisin, smells sweet and strong. I'm no beer professional but in training. If you want to blind test a friend for a taste test at a party or open up any year as a conversation piece just pick up one of these. I've paid 20 dollars for other pieces and nothing beats this price and quality. (Good job trader joes! Where I can eat healthy and buy decently priced beers and wines while shopping) if your not picky, 2 and a half of these will put u to sleep like a baby. Try it! Oh! And a great inexpensive gift for crafty beginners. (1,103 characters)

Photo of SkiBum22
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Beerswag
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Guinnsslvr
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of NoetheMatt
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of MattyG85
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. 2012 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a deep and dark brownish amber that is pretty cola like. Big four finger tan head that settles into a very thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A fruity and spicy Belgian style aroma that is typical of Unibroue. Belgian yeast with a consider amount of spicing including clove, pepper, coriander, and a touch of cinnamon. Big hints of banana along with some apple and orange. Belgian candied sugar and dark malts with hints of toffee, dark biscuit, and chocolate. Big dark fruit presence with hints of fig, raisin, and dates. Pretty solid.

Taste: Like it smells, fruity and spicy Belgian taste. Belgian yeast with a lot of spices up front including cloves, pepper, cinnamon, and coriander. Fruity esters of bananas, orange, and apple. Dark malt with a taste of dark bread, toffee, and chocolate. Candied sugars and a good mix of dark fruits including fig, dates, raisin, and plum. Taste is fairly dry with a lot of spice. It comes together well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high amount of carbonation. Crisp, spicy, and pretty drying. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: Another solid year for this Belgian style ale. Big on the spices, which I like. Solid fruit undertones. (1,326 characters)

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of deuce9259
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - Bottle to Unibroue Tulip

Appearance - Deep brown color that pours a thick head....looks like plenty of carbonation.

Smell - Strong spices and Belgian-style aroma. Strong malts, clove, coriander, pepper...some fruit.

Taste - Toasted malts, standard spices I get from a Unibroue brew.

Mouthfeel - Way too carbonated IMO. Not quite enough in the body. It gets a little better as it warms....even though its still pretty light.

Overall - Not bad for the price, but don't think I will be bent on getting it next year. I liked the 2011 version much better. Have an extra 2012 and a 2012 that I'll probably sit on for a little while longer...maybe some of the spices will die down by then. (703 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big light brown head settles into a nice lacing above a really dark brown to black colored beer.

Black licorice and dark wine with spices and dark roasted malts aroma.

The black licorice and wine aspects seems to outweigh the roasted malts, spices, and darker fruits in the taste of this 2012 Vintage Ale.

A lighter dry aftertaste that brings with it some of the darker tastes this full bodied beer had to offer.

Quite different tasting, a nice change of pace but I don't think I want to drink this as my regular beer. (522 characters)

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of CloudStrife
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml split and poured into a snifter. Best before 07-06-2015

A: Pours a dark copper brown, just a little light gets through the glass. 2 finger off white head real dense small bubbles, takes a while to dissipate. No real lacing.

S: Sweet smell, yeasty with hints of orange and other spice.

T: Belgiany yeast blended with orange and spice. Coriander comes through, slight anise as well. Plenty of malts add a good fermented fruit backing. Would compare it to a dark tripel. Licorice lingers a little.

M: Nice full mouthfeel, good carbonation and a clean finish. Alcohol is well hidden. Maybe a little sweet to drink all night.

Overall is a steal of a deal, great brewery backing this vintage ale. Have had a few Unibroue's and this one seems unique. Gonna sit one down to see how it fairs. (797 characters)

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark brown color with a small off-white head that slowly reduces to a thin cap of bubbles on top. Minimal lacing.

S: A really nice mixture of dark fruit, brown sugar, and spices. Some raisins and orange mixed with pepper and a bit of cocoa.

T: Dark fruit flavors up front, some raisin and fig mixed with some Belgian spice. The spices have a rather winter warmer/christmas ale flavor to them. Sugar sweet at times as well.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a touch thin, with high carbonation with a slightly bubbly mouthfeel.

O: Surprisingly good. At $5 a bottle a steal. Not sure I would grab more than one a year, but definitely going to grab next years. (666 characters)

Photo of RBM
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a near black, dark ruby brown with a light tan 3 finger head. Good retention. Leaves behind a small, spotty lace.

Smell - Aroma consists of sugar and cream, spice, bubblegum and candied plum or black cherry.

Taste - Follows the nose. Assertive notes of cream and spice to start, while moderately sweetened dark fruit character shines through mid-taste. Finishes creamy with notes of bubblegum and a hint of spruce pine.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. A touch syrupy. Well carbonated, leaves a nice tingle on the tongue. Smooth, creamy finish.

Overall - Another creamy Belgian offering from Unibroue. So many intricate layers to wrap one's mind around. Lots of sweetness, becomes a bit cloying after a glass or two. Great candidate for storage. (760 characters)

Photo of ALZ
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of PaulMcQ
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of augustgarage
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Trappistes Westvleteren goblet. Unibroue produced of course.

Nearly opaque seal brown liquid with a smattering of pale tan suds. Average retention, pasty lacing, faint legs.

Lots of stewed fruit, toasty malt, and a surprising vinuous quality suggesting blackberry wine and clove-studded oranges in the nose. Ester-heavy.

Sweet/sour palate entry that unfurls into increasing complexity, albeit restrained throughout. The flavor profile remains rather heavy handed with dates, honey, berries, cherries, oranges, and so on. The malt bill is interesting and flavorful, though the overall impact is not as well integrated as I would like. Somewhat lacking in the yeast department too. Finishes a touch sweet with a faint nuttiness.

Soft, medium-bodied, with a little warming flourish and a gentle effervesence.

Tasting more and more like a watered-down, rushed-to-the-bottle version of one of Unibroue's regular offerings (e.g. Trois Pistoles), perhaps this would improve with some age, but I would skip buying a case this year. Still, not a bad ale, and still a good value. (1,126 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black, with deep ruby highlights. Prodigious head of tan foam, dissipating slowly into thin and loopy lace.

Aroma is plenty of fermented fruit (wine grapes), spices, Belgian yeasty bread -- absolutely a wonderful approximation of classic Belgian ales.

Taste is similar -- some sweet notes, but this one is really well-balanced on the palate. I get hints of dark fruit and berries again, alongside plenty of spice (coriander, clove). This is a delicious brew, overflowing with complexity.

At $4.99 a bomber at Trader Joe's, this is a real bargain, and well-worth a try. (585 characters)

Photo of brokentee
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of hreb
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Apparently, I didn't review this fresh, so I'm going to review my personally cellared 2012 edition 2+ years after the fact. Aside from the champagne-style cork disintegrating in my hand as I try to open the 750mL heavy brown glass bottle, it seems no worse for the age. Beer pours rich dark brown in color, supporting an ample head. Gentle aroma of raisins and dark fruit. Flavor is similarly rich and demands to be warmed up, in order to bring out classic Belgian Brown ale flavors. Raisins and prunes are complemented by licorice and spice. Very mellow and drinkable. I don't recall if it was this mellow when this winter seasonal was first released, but it sure is now. (679 characters)

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fluffy white head and lacing. Dark brown with decent carbonation. Red tint in the light.

Smell: Plums and red wine. Holliday spices also. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Smells better as it warms.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Licorice dominates the flavor. Yeasty backbone in the finish. Feels thin in the finish, but there is a nice alcoholic aftershock in the sensation.

Overall Drinkability: I enjoyed this. I think I will save another bottle and open next year. (466 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale
750ml bottle, corked and caged, "Best before 07/07/2015"
$4.99 @ Trader Joe's #719 in Omaha, NE

I saw this at the Trader Joe's in Omaha, NE and immediately recognized it as a Unibroue beer. How I could do that with so many European beers available in the same bottle, I don't know, but upon closer inspection it has the Unibroue cork so I was right in the end. It's got a pretty nice painted-on gold label, and maybe that was what did it. I was quite surprised at the price, just $4.99 for a 750 ml bottle, and I figured I was saving at least $3, and probably more like $4 or $5. The back label reads "Trader Joe's Vintage Ale - Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those who appreciate flavorful, bottle conditioned ales with character". Upon opening it and smelling it I knew it wasn't the "17" that I'd been hoping for, but it certainly wasn't bad. Upon tasting, I thought it might be the "Trois Pistoles" but it seems bigger than that. Anyway...

It pours an opaque, very dark, almost black-brown body that reveals only russet brown highlight along the upper edge. The head is a fizzy tan head that drops fairly shortly and leaves only a minor lacing of spots and splashes behind.

The aroma suggests green cardamom, light cola, clove, a hint of dark chocolate, some brown sugar, a hint of dark fruit, some floral and grassy character, and a light touch of maltiness.

The flavor follows suit with the addition of some nice dark caramel and heightened notes of dark fruit that include: raisins, fig, dates, and a suggestion of currant. As is often the case with Unibroue beers, it presents itself as more of a complex-but-balanced 'round' of a beer rather than a more 'spiky' ale that delivers its components piece-meal and at different intensities across the palate. There is some transition to it, however, and it starts sweetish and fruity, but anchored by spice, and it finishes spicy and dry (although the alcohol is well-cloaked) yet coated in fruit (with more skins and pulp than juicy) with a light hint of anise.

In the mouth it's full-medium in body with a delicate but zesty carbonation that warms to caress the palate rather than lend zing.

For the price, it can't be beat; and within the pantheon of Belgian style beers it still ranks right up there. Not to be missed at the price, but certainly worth trying regardless. (2,432 characters)

Photo of socon67
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Brown pour with a purple hue & a thin foam that shrinks. Very little to no lacing. Some small bubbles of carbonation.

S - Very strong smell of nutmeg, and dried fruit. The spicy aroma is nice but unfortnately it is very dominant and drowns out the other more subtle flavors. Some of the telltale Unibroue yeast strain is noted inthe smell.

T - Dry sherry, dried cranberries, figs, and finishes with a spicy nutmeg kick. This seemed to age well and would have been better with a full year.

M - Sipping beer more for the complexity than the body or ABV. Take some time and enjoy the flavors. Perfect for after theat holiday meal.

O - Unibroue contracted this for Trade Joe's and it is certianly a good bottle share with family and friends. If you do get a bottle of this I'd recommned at least a year of cellar time. (823 characters)

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Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.