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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

312 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 312
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.83%
Wants: 3
Gots: 35 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into snifter. Best before date 7/6/15.

A; Pours a deep cola brown color with a couple fingers of dense light tan head that slowly faded into a fuzzy and lasting film. Thick wispy lace was left down the glass.
S: Rich and spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon, raisin, and powdery chocolate. I get hints of dark fruits and wood as well.
T: Follows the nose with the addition of mint, slight citrus zest. Clove, chocolate, woody must, dates, plums, raisins, cream, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Spicy lingering in the aftertaste. Tastes like creamy spiced chocolate ice cream. Extremely delicious.
M: Full body, creamy, fluffy, and soft carbonation, light bitterness, smooth and rich mouthfeel.
O: Extremely rich, smooth and delicious. Not overly sweet, fruity, or malty. Very balanced yet complicated.

Photo of pkalix
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge foamy head. very dark and unable to see through even the sides of the tulip glass holding it.
smells like a dark belgium, malty and dark fruit-y.
taste is the same- dark fruit-y, heavy on the malt, a little taste of alcohol on the finish.
this is my first trader joes and i was thinking what a great job they did of brewing such a semblance of a belgian dark ale. and then i read someone said that unibroue is producing these. that explains why it tastes so good. very good considering the 9% abv, in fact. and the tasting ended prematurely after the kids accidentally threw the dog's ball into the glass.... had to be there....

Photo of BeerDocT
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a chilled tulip glass. Brewed for TJ's by Unibroue, the pride of Chambly, QC. Can't wait to try this.

-Appearance 4.0: Poured out a very dark brown/black. Completely opaque and gem-like. Huge, inch high head finally dropped down to a thick, khaki-colored swirl on the top.

-Smell 4.0: Very subdued bouquet. Citrusy, with noticeable malt. I also smell a very faint aroma of spices...star anice...nutmeg... . Very nice.

-Taste 4.5: Front is dry, with a light maltiness. Middle really hits you with the Belgian candi, but is subdued and balanced along with the taste of spices: very light hints of those mentioned above and also that wonderful Belgian yeast. Finish is dry, with some light alkaline hoppiness and malt. Aftertaste is brief, but features the candi sugar and more subdued spices. Everything is well-balanced and delightful.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Carbonation is right on target for this style. Great complement to the beer.

-Overall 4.5: Excellent Belgian Strong Dark. This is obviously a "holiday" style beer, but it is head and shoulders over anything you will pick up at any other grocery store. Why? The balance. Nothing is overpowering or screaming "I AM A HOLIDAY BEER!" Instead, what you get is a very nuanced and enjoyable seasonal brew that is a real treat. Buy it if you can find it. It's times like these I feel sorry for my friends in Pennsylvania (their TJ's cannot sell wine or beer).

Photo of cosmicevan
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been a long time fan of the unibroue undercover trader joe vintage ale series (although didn't love 2010 fresh). the wife nabbed me a bottle of this today while doing some grocery shopping...took a while to hit town, but it is here. will i get a case? let's try one bottle first...in 2010 made the mistake of jumping on a case without a taste. enjoyed from a unibroue tulip.

a - brew poured a deep purple with a generous 2+ fingers of foamy yeasty head. looking good...like classic unibroue/vintage ale! perfect to style. what do you expect? it is one of the masters.

s - oh joy! not over spiced, just BSDA magic. dark fruits...prunes soaked in sugar water with grapes and berries. great belgian candied yeast. yowza, smells awesome! i cannot wait for a sip!

t - oh joy. it is REALLY GOOD. i couldn't be happier. they dialed the xmas spicing back in a major way. one of the better vintages in a few years. kind of takes me back to when i first discovered this beer back in 2009 and fell in love. definitely dialed back in intensity. really classic with the dark fruits and candied belgian sugars. very accessible.

m - a bit watery on the flavor profile. not as rich and creamy as i look for in the style, but nice drinker and good feel and carbonation.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of NatetheGreat
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I really enjoyed this one.

is deep deep brown, almost black with a large, somewhat rocky head.

aromas are complex and inviting: sweet candy, green apple, spices including cinnamon and clove, rum raisin, some banana, musty.

flavor is sweet up front with a big, thick maltiness. spices are pronounced, as is the alcohol, although not too much. cheery, spices, and apple come through. finish is a bit sweet. not much hop presence.

moderate carbonation. very tasty and complex.

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Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.