1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vfgccp
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml caged and corked bottle, best before 07-06-2015. This is about a year old now. Served in a Dogfish Head signature glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch and a half light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a decent amount of lacing. The brew smells like cloves, dark fruit (plums, raisins), peppery spice, and molasses. It tastes like cloves, dark fruit (plums, raisins), cola, dark bread, molasses, and a bit of nutmeg. Mouhfeel/body is medium, it's slick and creamy, and is well carbonated. This is very similar to the 2011 bottle I drank right before this, which I liked. Guess I'll have to buy a bottle of the 2013 now!

Photo of puboflyons
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 750 ml. corked, caged bottle. Sampled on April 15, 2013.

It pours dark brown with reddish hues and a full, fluffy tan head that sits on top for several minutes.

Aromas are wonderfully sweet at first with notes of dark malts, Belgian sugars, brown sugar, fig, Allspice, caramel, yeast, and a mild but clean hop backdrop.

The body is full and creamy.

The taste is wonderfully malty and brown sugar sweet with the slightest alcohol note but nothing that puts me off. The spice is delicately dropped in.

Brewed by Unibroue. I wonder if this is a variation of the Don de Dieu. Still, overall very nice.

Photo of Dicers
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of barnzy78
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, pours an opaque very dark brown with a tall, bubbly, beige head, good retention, but not much for lacing. Aromas are fruity, Belgian yeast, bready, sweet, earthy. Tastes are well balanced with dark malt, candi sugar, bready yeast, fruity, earthy. Thin-to-medium mouth-feel, higher carbonation but acceptable for the style. Overall, I recently had a year old 2011 and the year of aging it seemed to help it some. I have another one of these to save for winter 2013. Gotta love Unibroue!

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of st9647v3
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tommy5
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep brown chestnut color with a big billowy cream colored head. The big billowy head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma was slightly roasted and rather fruity. A good dose of a slightly grainy but roasted and toasted malt smell along with darker fruits of cherry and raisin are there. Along with these aromas are some smells of yeast and a little bit of a spicy smells and some hot rum like aromas are there, producing a nice Belgian strong dark aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a slightly roasted and malty flavor with the darker fruit cherry that was detected in the nose. Some yeasty and spice flavors of a clove and nutmeg later come to the tongue as well as some other flavors of more raisin and fig. As the flavor advances further to the end, the malty flavors dwindle further as the darker fruit and spice seem to increase, combining with a little bit of a boozy rum flavor, which all in all end up leaving a rather nice Belgian dark smell to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side for a Belgian strong dark of 9 % adv. with a carbonation level that is on the slightly higher side. The combo of body and carbonation are nice for styles of the brew as well as in keeping the brew very drinkable but not too drinkable in light of the abv. and the boozy flavors.

Overall – A rather nice drinking Belgian strong dark ale with some nice fruity flavors as well as a good level of roast and booze.

Photo of FosterJM
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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 JoeyBeerBelly
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a chalice.

L - deep brown color with a beige head that thinned to a light film.

S - yeast and dark fruits (plum, date, raisin & fig).

T - dark fruit flavor blend and some caramel sweetness with the yeast in the background.

F - medium bodied with a little fizz, goes down easy.

O - a good beer especially at the price ($5), thanks TJ!

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 prototypic
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of KevMo84
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Falcone
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of ncstateplaya
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Chaney
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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