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

Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

226 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 226
Reviews: 74
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.93%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerDocT on 11-02-2012)
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Ratings: 226 | Reviews: 74 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TWM
TWM

North Carolina

1.95/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Started rough- as I poured from the 750ml bottle, it was so carbonated I couldn't get a smooth pour so it foamed like crazy. 4-5 finger head, nice dark rich color, visible carbonation rising through the little bit of liquid that fit under that massive head.

Smell- normally, I like fruit. In fact, I eat a lot of fruit. Somehow, the fruit smells in this beer were a turn-off. I figured out what it was: the compounds (carboxylic esters) that give fruit its scent and part of the flavor were mixing with the esters of the spices and the whole thing smelled artificial. I'm not accusing TJ's of adding fake flavors, but the results of this fermentation with these ingredients smelled very similar to an artificial, synthesized ester. Think "Runts" candies without the sweetness and a little clove.

Taste- a little better than the smell (thank heavens...). The heavy spicing and aforementioned ester taste competed with what I believe is a pretty darn good ale flavor, the combination not flattering either component. The taste changed through each mouthful- it started very sharp (not generally good for a dark ale) as the high carbonation dropped the pH, then rising to a somewhat sweeter, excessively scented finish.

Feel- as carbonated as any beer I've had recently. Felt sharp at the beginning of a sip, and the escaping carbonation flooded my nasal passages with the clove-cinnamon-spice scent that lingered, feeling like a coating of something greasy, after the liquid was gone.

Overall- I wish they had re-made the 2011 ale, that one was much better. If nothing else, having tried this one will make me appreciate dark ales that respect what makes this kind of brew so unique and good... and won't treat them like some winter-spice, flavor-free mass-produced lager by cramming whatever sounds seasonal into the tun.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 03:45:43 | More by TWM
Photo of nUgZ
nUgZ

North Carolina

2.33/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a 2-3 finger head and no lacing to speak of.

S: Lots of yeast, spice, fruit, and alcohol on the nose. Not very appealing.

T: Honestly, I didn't keep it in my mouth long enough to distinguish the flavors.

M: Medium bodied good carbonation.

O: This was a drain pour for me. I didn't enjoy it in any way.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 00:24:48 | More by nUgZ
Photo of Aaron_Ramson
Aaron_Ramson

California

2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: obelisk black, beautifully dark with a small 1 finger head that dissipated too quickly, leaving a flat, laceless surface.
S: musty, cheese, yeasty. Just unpleasant.
T: Strong taste of anise and licorice, Belgian hop favors such as bubble gum and banana also noted. Burnt coffee, very little hop bitterness at the end and very boozy.
M: Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation.
O: unpleasant and nasty, I poured the last 1/4 bottle down the drain and will not be drinking this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 04:48:34 | More by Aaron_Ramson
Photo of s4s
s4s

California

2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've really enjoyed the past few vintages, being one who loves the Belgian strong dark type. This one, however, has really over-done the spice aspect to it. A small amount to me is OK, but this reminds me of spiced apple cider. I hope they (Unibroue) can get back on track next year.

I'm about out of Avery's Kaiser beer, so I'll have to go with Optimator instead of this Trader Joe seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2012 03:16:26 | More by s4s
Photo of deuce9259
deuce9259

Ohio

2.98/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 00:48:21 | More by deuce9259
Photo of WaKdawg
WaKdawg


3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

So this was my first time trying one of Trader Joe's Vintage Ales, I had heard good things about previous years and decide to pick up a bottle for the weekend, at 4.95$ it seemed like a bargain. I appreciated the subtle somewhat understated appearance of the bottle, no gimmicks here.

Had a little trouble getting the cork out which surprised me, I had been told Unibroue corks tend to pop right out. Eventually I was able to open it, though it had warmed up some, and poured it into a pint glass. It had a thick hearty foam (roughly 3 fingers) that settled somewhat. Right away I was struck by the rich spicy aroma, my sense of smell isn't great but this cut right through.

Unfortunately the taste really didn't live expectations. Despite the strong spicy smell (almost like pumpkin pie) it's was pretty mild tasting. No real alcohol taste which I guess is impressive for 9% ABV but the beer didn't have much flavor. Also felt like it left a "grittiness" in my mouth which was somewhat unpleasant. I can't really say that I disliked the beer but it didn't rock my world. I think I will try other Unibroue products (they cone highly recommended an I'm now near Canada which seems to help with availability) but I doubt I will get this one again.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 04:28:41 | More by WaKdawg
Photo of GossageBrewery
GossageBrewery

Missouri

3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured this Belgian Strong Dark Ale from a big ass bottle into a pint glass. It poured a dark brown color, produced an average tan head, decent retention and it left a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of roasted malt and spices. Medium bodied, this ale has a foundation of roasted malt, dark fruit : figs, black pepper and other spices. Overall, I thought it was a little out of balance, to much spice- it needed a bit more of a malt backbone for my liking. Perhaps this would have been better if I would have let it age.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2013 20:46:56 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is near black in color with a thin beige head. The aroma offers spices, mint, dark druit, yeast. The flavor is sweet and spicy, a bit overly so. Dark fruits and licorice with notes of anise. Not in the upper half of the style. Medium bodied with lingering spices and a touch of warming alcohol. Very reasonably priced, but you get what you pay for.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 01:22:14 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of dhannes
dhannes

Wisconsin

3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle with 11 months' worth of aging into a standard pint glass.

A=Dark, reddish brown with larger, 3-finger eggshell head.

S=Spice...nutmeg or allspice.

T=Similar to a porter's rich cream malt backbone, but nutmeg and cherry present...at times, it reminded me of cherry cough syrup. Alcohol taste present much of the time.

M=Lighter body...felt flat...also a slick feel to it.

O=I was somewhat disappointed in this beer and would not seek it our or buy it again...for numerous reasons, it was too much of a chore to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 04:43:38 | More by dhannes
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Acquired at Trader Joe's Culver City a little over an hour ago for $4.99. 9.00% ABV confirmed. I enjoyed last year's release, so I'm excited for this one. 750ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a 47cl New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high.

Best before: 07/06/2015 (MM/DD/YYYY). Brewed by Unibroue for Trader Joe's.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with Trader Joe's pretzel rods.

Satisfying cork pop on the open; no liquid upsurging or other issues.

A: Pours a 3.5 finger khaki colour head of nice thickness, cream, and retention. I wouldn't quite make the leap to "coffee coloured" per the label, but it's a nice khaki-beige colour head. Lacing is decent as well. Colour of the body is a solid nontransparent opaque black. Not jet black, but it's certainly dark. Looks pretty good. No yeast particles are visible; no bubble show.

Sm: Raisin and hints of fermented fruit. Grape. Lovely biscuity spicy yeast; this one doesn't shy away from its yeast in the aroma and I like it. Certainly lees. Dry caramel and a hint of roasted malts. A bit vinous. A touch herbal; maybe hints of phenol. It's to be expected. Stone fruit - maybe plum? Yes, plum. I get it when I look for it. Not at all a "bright" aroma, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's got dark fruit. In any case, it's a good aroma punctuated mainly by raisin. Candi sugar comes through as does crystal malt. An average strength aroma.

T/Mf: Spicy and fruity, with raisin drying the mouthfeel throughout. Brittle candi sugar comes through alongside stone fruit (plum) and other fermented fruits - maybe light fig. There's definitely a refined grape note in there that isn't necessarily raisin. Some biscuit malt and spicy biscuity yeast. The lees are bolstered in the second act here, and sort of muck up the balance a bit without adding much. Like homebrew pitched on a cake without adequate secondary fermentation. In this sense, the second act is overly full with the bland dead particles. Vinous, certainly - and the bitterness therein is tamed nicely by a malty sweetness that isn't quite part of the actual malt foundation. Maybe the sweetness is residual from the fermented fruit; it's hard to tell. Some smacks of pear or fig on the finish for a brief moment lends it a bit more character and complexity, but doesn't adequately turn the flavour on the climax. I'd like more of that note to brighten it up a bit. In spite of its yeasty qualities, it just doesn't feel all that alive. Certainly the malty sweetness would reduce over time, but I can't help but think that the lees character will slow the development of the yeast. It's balanced but the focus might be in the wrong place. It approaches acidic in the finish, even flirting with a dark red wine character, but it never quite commits.

It's certainly smooth and wet, but coarsens in the second act to coax out the flavours. This is a good effect methinks. Good thickness - staying on the light end for most beers of this style and ABV. At least there's something light about it. I'd by no means call it refreshing, but it's enjoyable to drink. Certainly its complexities come through. Though its subtleties are perchance not as subtle as Unibroue might like. The label mentions "roasted malts and spices". I have no idea where those are, but I don't get them.

Noble hops are minimal in their flavour contribution; that shows here - and so much the better. This flavour profile doesn't call for hops, even if they're background and floral.

It's maybe a bit too viscous and chewy. You'll feel the sugars if it touches your teeth. Not sure that's a bad thing, but you can tell it's got that tingly sugary coarseness that rottens.

Dr: A very drinkable brew for the well concealed ABV. I expected a bit better from Unibroue, but this is quite delightful at the $4.99 price point. Any cellar could use one or three of these, especially at so low an investment. I'd like to try it with one or two years on it; it's a bit young now. By no means a bad brew, but it has potential I feel I wasted by opening it now. A solid beer for the style and one I'll enjoy finishing. Give her a spin and see where she takes you.

B-

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2012 06:02:05 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Chaney
Chaney

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up two of these today. Only $4.99? For a Unibroue? Nice!

Served in a Port City shaped-glass because I don't own a Unibroue one. Fail!

A: Poured a dark, burnt cocoa brown, with a very frothy, beige head that died down quickly for it's 2 finger state.

S: Sort of a minty, cough medicine-like disposition, understated, yet still present. The more I dug, I definitely got ginger.

T: I didn't like the fact that the raisony, dark fruit-like quality was washed over with this intense ginger component. Way too much spice for my taste.

M: VERY carbonated for such a high octane brew, but I actually dug that about it. Not sure why. The lacing was mildly splotchy and the spice component was through the roof.

O: Not a big fan of ginger, so I guess I'm a bit biased. Still, this was a well-priced, yet one-dimensional brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 00:39:40 | More by Chaney
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with a modest head in the tall Petrus goblet. Moderate carbonation. Something of a musty aroma.

This has that classic taste that all Unibroue products seem to share. Distinctive yeasty flavor with a seriously dry finish and a bitter edge. Raisiny but not too sweet. Roasted fruity malt. Dark hints of chocolate add some pleasure. Seems to get better as it warms up and you get used to the taste.

This is an interesting big brew at a bargain price. From Trader Joe's in San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 06:03:50 | More by mactrail
Photo of RossCain
RossCain

Florida

3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked a bottle up last night at Trader Joe's; for $4.99 I couldn't resist. Popped the cork (stubborn little thing) and poured into a Tulip:

A: Comes out of the bottle with an aggressively bubbly head colored in shades of hazel. The beer itself is more of a murky, charred brown. Settles with a nice cap which hugs the sides of the glass. Sudsy bubbles swish around the edges of the glass on each sip.

S: When first poured, the nose immediately wafted with an almost pungent aroma of yeasty spice, but more on the kind of infected. As the beer settled for a moment, these notes mellowed out, permitting a few more pleasant aromas come through: raisins, candied plums, maple syrup on toast.

T: The beer hits the tongue with unabashed sweetness: dried and candied fruits such as cherries and plums, Belgian yeasts, and a certain doughy malt character. A touch of nutmeg and toasty malts prop up the middle of the profile. I like the flavors, but there is almost too much of a sweetness to consider this a nice balance. Spicy in the finish with a bit of a peppery kick. A year in conditioning will do this beer some good. I liked it, I just felt it could less packed with the rush of sweet notes.

M: Finishes dry from the spices with not much hint of the 9% abv. The bottle conditioning at this beer's young age really put the carbonation over the top which is just unpleasantly prickly at this point.

O: Not a bad beer at this point, I just see it getting better with age which will hopefully mellow out some of more aggressive flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 00:02:30 | More by RossCain
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a deep intense dark raisin-date color with a foam capping that dies down quite rapidly. There’s an aroma with evident stone fruit, mostly figs and raisins as well as some …plums? And wet leather? Just barely. There’s also an alcohol-warmth in the aroma that is fairly evident once it warms, and slightly off-putting.

The flavor has more of those stone fruits in combination as well as a touch of dark chocolate and some hints of a piney-medicinal finish. Juniper, perhaps?
The body is slightly on the lighter side for the beer itself, as I would have appreciated more body and a tad more heft to match the flavors and the alcohol’s strength.

Every year I buy this. It’s from Unibroue and it’s dirt cheap and I find it hard to resist a deal like that. But after finding this year’s version so disappointing, and feeling underwhelmed by last year’s as well, I’m thinking I need to restrain myself come next year. But who knows, maybe some more time on this edition will bring out some more depth and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 22:41:56 | More by elNopalero
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown color with a light tan head and some lacing

S-caramel malt, cloves, some dark fruit and earthy notes

T-dark fruit, caramel, cloves, hints of pepper and coriander

F-light to medium body with moderate carbonation, thin mouthfeel and lacks some smoothness

O-for the price this was a decent ale, but not typical of the quality one has come to expect from Unibroue

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 02:45:07 | More by MDDMD
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 02:13:17 | More by augustgarage
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep brown color with a huge tan head that takes a while to go down. Pretty solid appearance.

S: A lot of that signature Unibroue yeast with some spicy clove notes. Some faint plum, brown sugar and alcohol as well.

T: Very spicy upfront with some thick Belgian yeast holding it up. Notes of cherry skin, prune and some almost herbal yeast. Mouthfeel doesn't really give away the ABV at all. To me, this needs some age. The taste isn't bad now, but with some age, this could be pretty good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 02:26:17 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 11.23.12

A - Pours a cola brown with a fizzy light brown head with good retention.

S - Belgian yeast, subtle fruti and spices.

T - Very heavy spices, sweet subtle fruit.

D - Fizzy carbonation with a light body.

O - Holiday spices and fizzy.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 07:22:29 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1628th Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
22oz C/C

Purchased at TJ's Chino Hills, for $4.99

App- A great brown color with garnet edges and a bit of crimson in the center of the pour. A giant 2-1/2 finger head a medium khaki color that was fast receding but didnt leave a much in cling or lace. Very bubbly and craterous.

Smell- A nice strong aromatic to the style. A bit yeasty with a bit of cocoa powder which tends to smell like a soda. This years version is a bit amplified on the spices and doesnt necessarily work well IMO.

Taste- A good version of a favorite style. This years version again was uniquely Unibroue and their in house yeast. Everything has a good Saison/Triple yeasty flavoring. A good balance between the grain bill with the malts and a slighter less peppery note with some cocoa powder and a little bit of bittering Noble hops.

Mouth- A little bit too over carbonated this year. It was a tad bit high carbonated and a bit prickly. Missing that smoothness to the style. The body was nice and medium and a bit thin.

Drink- I think I will still try these every year for $4.99 but I think the recipe needs to change a bit and smooth itself out and dial down the spices.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 17:24:07 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Jabberwocky
Jabberwocky

California

3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drinking it cold. Pouring out of bottle. The liquid part is dark rich black color with a slight red tint. The foam head is very large and light brown. This is a beer that tends to pour with a lot of head. The head has a slightly creamy mouthfeel and is actually quite enjoyable.

Smells sweet with a faint hint of Logan fruit. Upon drinking, it is toasty, with medium high amount of carbonation. Spices tingle my tongue a little. The one minus is that the beer does not have a very viscous mouthfeel that I had thought it would. It definitely doesn't have the heavy mouth that I wish it had, but then again it isn't a stout, its a dark ale. Tastes quite decent, good amount of toastiness, sweetness, and some slight hints of fruit similar to a fig or prune with a bit of brown sugar. Not hoppy or bitter at all. Taste leaves the mouth fairly quickly and doesn't linger like a heavier/heartier beer.

Edit: As the beer gets wamrer, the spices are a bit more prominnent. Unfortunatley, is doesnt get any more viscous which is what i feel this beer is missing the mos -texture/mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 03:19:41 | More by Jabberwocky
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic

Virginia

3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a decent and slightly tan head with good head retention and lacing. The beer itself is a pitch black color.

Smell:
I certainly smell spices such as clover and a little bit of Belgian spices as well as brown sugar. I also get some dark fruits and caramel malts but they are dominated by the spices.

Taste:
The beer tastes as it smells but with the dark fruits and sugar being stronger.

Mouthfeel:
The beer feels a little light bodied for a strong dark ale. Biting carbonation.

Overall:
I have to admit that I'm surprised that such a decent beer from a beer brewed for a store.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 06:08:54 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Trader Joe’s 2012 Vintage Ale pours a dark mahogany brown color. It’s close to opaque. Backlighting shows some nice burgundy highlights. It’s capped with a really nice, darker caramel colored head. It rises to about two fingers in height. Retention was quite good. Hung around for a while. Lacing was sticky and moderate. It looks good!

The nose is alright. It’s a tad weak in terms of strength. More would be better. There is a hint of caramel malt up front. Smells a little sweet. It’s followed by a mix of spicy and fruity notes. On the spicy side, there’s a bit of clove and pepper. Fruity scents of apple, cherry, and plum are noted. Belgian is there, but is lighter than it should be. Alcohol is noted, but doesn’t come through all that strong. Not bad. Would improve with a little more strength.

The flavor is good. It is a little sweet up front. Caramel hits first. There’s a toasted praline or nutty flavor that’s interesting (and good). Fruit notes of apple, pear, cherry, and plum are all present. Belgian yeast is there and adds some spicy flavors. Pepper and clove are most notable. Nevertheless, the Belgian yeast flavor is lighter than I’d like. Comes together pretty well otherwise. Alcohol is more noticeable in flavor, but still isn’t warm or hot. Good stuff. Finishes fruity and spicy.

2012 Vintage Ale definitely has a light body. It’s far lighter than it should be. It will not be confused with an authentic Belgian. No way. The feel is actually below average. It goes down pretty easy for a bigger beer though.

Unibroue did an alright job with Trader Joe’s 2012 Vintage Ale. The flavor delivers where it’s lacking in aromatics and body. Those two aspects need work though. No question. Not too shabby otherwise. Definitely worth checking out, especially at its price point.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 04:41:37 | More by prototypic
Photo of UniversallyDope
UniversallyDope


3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a very dark brown, almost black color. The first smells that hit me where plum and spice. Its very smooth and has lots of darker fruit flavors like plum. Hints of clove and spices. The Finnish a little spicy.

I consider the value of this beer to be great.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 20:04:36 | More by UniversallyDope
Photo of Proteus93
Proteus93

Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So we just had a Trader Joe's open up in Charlottesville and curiosity drew me in. I was completely unaware that they had these annual brews done, and much less that they were done by Unibroue... for $4.99, at that!

A: Ruddy reddish-brown, topped with a liberal pillow of head--white around the edges, but more of a khaki in the richer foam.

S + T: Quite sweet and spicy on the nose... like a dessert, really. Sugary notes and plenty of dark fruits... lots of plum and raisin, along with a banana-like yeasty ester. The flavor is much the same. Lots of spices going on here... some cinnamon and clove, maybe ginger? It's got such a strong sugary side to it that none of them really come out as subtle spices.

M + D: The body is like that of most of Unibroue's offerings (sitll trying to figure out what exactly 'Trader Joe's Brewing Company' is--this is plastered with Unibroue all over the place. Medium to richer in body, with a nice sparkling carbonation that gives it a 'shimmering' quality. I find this beer to be a little more intense in the sweetness, but not too bad all around. Certainly not my favourite from the brewery, but at the price, it's a pretty good bargain.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 02:14:07 | More by Proteus93
Photo of ONUMello
ONUMello

Ohio

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a goblet
A: Pitch black with a one-finger head that slowly settles
S: Figs, brown sugar, spices, a hint of orange peel
T: Baking spice up front, clove in particular, with figs and citrus. A bit sweet and the finish is a bit off in a way I can't quite place; overall this is perfectly pleasant though.
M: Medium-bodied with a pleasant carbonation
O: Solid overall, though for my palate it would be even better if it were a bit drier

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 05:38:20 | More by ONUMello
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Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 226 ratings.