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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 smithj4
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Lob
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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 CWhite
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of augustgarage
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of prisoner1572
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ejh06752
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of WhitmansNiece
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of mychalg9
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw this at Trader Joe's and was skeptical until I saw it was brewed by Unibroue which has some damn good beers. Decided to give it a go.

A: Dark brown. Explosive head that does not fade. Leaves great lacing.

S: Spicy, a very smooth herbaciousness. Alspice, clove, nutmeg. Those more earthy kinds.

T: As with the smell, very herbal and earthy. Probably the only beer this herbal that I like. The balance is great. Alcohol is not present at all. Good finish with a hint of malt.

M: For this high of an ABV and with all the big flavors the mouthfeel is great. It goes down smooth with great flavor development. If anything it's a little on the thin side.

Overall this is a really great beer. Huge flavor notes are kept in check. The beer is smooth and tastey. I would recommend grabbing it.

Photo of DrJaws
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of ambruns1979
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of hopswap1
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of MattyG85
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. 2012 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a deep and dark brownish amber that is pretty cola like. Big four finger tan head that settles into a very thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A fruity and spicy Belgian style aroma that is typical of Unibroue. Belgian yeast with a consider amount of spicing including clove, pepper, coriander, and a touch of cinnamon. Big hints of banana along with some apple and orange. Belgian candied sugar and dark malts with hints of toffee, dark biscuit, and chocolate. Big dark fruit presence with hints of fig, raisin, and dates. Pretty solid.

Taste: Like it smells, fruity and spicy Belgian taste. Belgian yeast with a lot of spices up front including cloves, pepper, cinnamon, and coriander. Fruity esters of bananas, orange, and apple. Dark malt with a taste of dark bread, toffee, and chocolate. Candied sugars and a good mix of dark fruits including fig, dates, raisin, and plum. Taste is fairly dry with a lot of spice. It comes together well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high amount of carbonation. Crisp, spicy, and pretty drying. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: Another solid year for this Belgian style ale. Big on the spices, which I like. Solid fruit undertones.

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 BoRaeCho
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of nUgZ
2.33/5  rDev -39%
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.

Photo of BlueFeetAndBeer
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of JimGlonke
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of EliRix
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of mattporter2
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of gshak
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of beerpadawan
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of 2GOOFY
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of dcook11
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

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