Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale - Trader Joe's Brewing Company
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
1.95/5 rDev -48.7%
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.
12-29-2012 03:45:43 | More by TWM
2.33/5 rDev -38.7%
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.
12-14-2012 00:24:48 | More by nUgZ
2.6/5 rDev -31.6%
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.
11-25-2012 04:48:34 | More by Aaron_Ramson
2.9/5 rDev -23.7%
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.
11-13-2012 03:16:26 | More by s4s
2.98/5 rDev -21.6%
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.
12-28-2012 00:48:21 | More by deuce9259
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.