1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

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

240 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.16%
Wants: 3
Gots: 30 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerDocT on 11-02-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerpadawan


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

12-08-2012 09:26:01 | More by beerpadawan
Photo of 2GOOFY


4/5  rDev +5.3%

12-04-2012 01:31:31 | More by 2GOOFY
Photo of dcook11


4.75/5  rDev +25%

12-02-2012 21:43:43 | More by dcook11
Photo of drewone


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

12-02-2012 04:17:30 | More by drewone
Photo of Mikecap

Rhode Island

4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

12-02-2012 01:58:04 | More by Mikecap
Photo of lanceballance

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Very warm mouthfeel. Hints of ginger and clove. Also, chocolate and coriander. Not a very hoppy aroma. Some alcohol heat on the finish, but not overpowering (does not feel like a high gravity ale). Pours "whiskey" brown...very high level of carbonation on the pour that diminishes quickly.

12-01-2012 23:50:38 | More by lanceballance
Photo of 59rockabilly


4/5  rDev +5.3%

12-01-2012 17:00:53 | More by 59rockabilly
Photo of Satan70


4/5  rDev +5.3%

12-01-2012 01:41:59 | More by Satan70
Photo of CB2maltygoodness

District of Columbia

3/5  rDev -21.1%

11-30-2012 23:18:42 | More by CB2maltygoodness
Photo of mtnwesdew

New York

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-30-2012 02:14:05 | More by mtnwesdew
Photo of FosterJM


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

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.

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


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

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.

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


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

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.

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


3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

11-28-2012 05:07:52 | More by fishguyac
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +5.3%

Bottle shared by my brother in law, thanks for the opportunity Dave!
Pours a deep dark brown with a smallish off white head that shows moderate retention and lots of lace. The aroma holds lots of brown sugar, a smattering of dark fruit, lots of yeast and fruity esters, a bit of pepper, and a faint non descript spice. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Lots of dark fruits and dark sugars with a strong bit of Belgian yeasty flavors. There's a hint of spice but it is faint and compliments rather that overpowers like so many other holiday brews. Medium to thick body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet sugary almost bubbly mouthfeel. This is a very nice beer. It has that unmistakeable Unibroue taste and aroma. I'm told that this was six dollars for a 750, that's a hell of a bargain these days for a great beer.

11-27-2012 02:00:50 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of MilkManX


4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

11-26-2012 19:59:02 | More by MilkManX
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-26-2012 02:05:29 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of Aaron_Ramson


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
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

11-25-2012 02:21:32 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Best before 7/6/15.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a thick cap on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, spices, and Belgian yeast. Taste is much the same with slightly smokey flavor as well. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it tastes better than it smells in my opinion.

11-24-2012 03:00:23 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Eriktheipaman


4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-24-2012 00:59:56 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of zonker17


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-23-2012 23:15:42 | More by zonker17
Photo of Gww1864

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-23-2012 22:33:00 | More by Gww1864
Photo of GTB

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-23-2012 21:53:08 | More by GTB
Photo of mjpolzin


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

A few years ago, I was really fond of this yearly release from Trader Joes. As I have gotten more into beer, this one has started to slip for me a bit as I have just simply found other brews I like better. I am always still excited though to buy a few bottles each year to add to my vertical collection. At Thanksgiving, my brother in law and I did a 3 year vertical (2010-2011-2012) and I was disappointed to find that all 3 years tasted basically the same. I suppose you could say that this beer holds up well but I was hoping there would be some differences that the aging had brought out.

The 2012 then was much like the other years; a fair amount of holiday spice (ginger, clove, cinnamon) with a slight cola or maybe root beer taste. The beer is also fairly carbonated. But maybe a few years ago I would have been "wowed" by this beer but now I am not.

11-23-2012 05:28:44 | More by mjpolzin
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.