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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 CloudStrife
CloudStrife

New York

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Wisconsin

3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2012 05:28:44 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of Mavigo
Mavigo

Michigan

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been eating their food for years, didn't know they brewed. Fancy looking bottle at a low price, count me in!

Served in a snifter.

A: Poured a deep brown-almost black color with a ruby tinge, had a 1/4 inch caramel head without much lacing.

S: Smells nice, dark fruit aromas, brown sugars

T: Tastes really good, dark fruit, brown sugar, zesty spices, very smooth, little bit of warmth from the alcohol

M: Very well balanced, light-medium carbonation, good flavor, although I would've liked a little more flavor, its really good.

O: This a great, great beer for the price, $5?, other Belgian ales will set you back $10-12. They change the recipe every year, I will probably go back and buy a few more, great beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 23:58:44 | More by Mavigo
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 04:50:02 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge foamy head. very dark and unable to see through even the sides of the tulip glass holding it.
smells like a dark belgium, malty and dark fruit-y.
taste is the same- dark fruit-y, heavy on the malt, a little taste of alcohol on the finish.
this is my first trader joes and i was thinking what a great job they did of brewing such a semblance of a belgian dark ale. and then i read someone said that unibroue is producing these. that explains why it tastes so good. very good considering the 9% abv, in fact. and the tasting ended prematurely after the kids accidentally threw the dog's ball into the glass.... had to be there....

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 02:01:08 | More by pkalix
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very cool of unibroue to brew this beauty for trader joes. i had this in st. louis. pours a redish brown color, hazy from some suspended yeast, with a lacey tan head. the nose is spicey and wintery, warm, some notes of honey, dried fruit, and more hops than i expected. the flavor is complex as hell, is this aged in oak? tastes like it might be. a pick up some licorice, cherry, and birch syrup. finish is sweet and long, alcohol is strong and warming. great carbonation keeps it lively, and a full body is just what the doctor ordered for winter time. this is a really neat brew, and one id like to age for awhile to see how it matures. love this mix of sweet and spice and fruit. its a great bottle to share though. overall an impressive product, and one i will seek out again. this is literally christmas in a bottle for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 17:32:13 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Arithmeticus
Arithmeticus

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at room temp in flared glass from hotel

A: nearly solid black; very nice frothy head; good carb action
S: strong malt aroma; yeast/lees prominent (reminds me of Unibroue's other offerings)
T: supergreat taste; cherry and plum flavor dominate, with a nice thread of spicing; sweet; hops understated; yeast conditioning is nicely blended into the body

Really fine beer; one of my favorites of the month

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 23:25:33 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of jdkitchi
jdkitchi

Wisconsin

4.73/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a few of these bombers from Trader Joe's the other day and wanted to try one. This is made by Unibroue and I believe it is Trois Pistoles Belgian strong dark ale. I've had the 4 or 5 more common Unibroue brews and like them a lot.

Poured into a Duvel large tulip glass. There was a massive amount of head on the first pour. The smell is complex. Dark malt, fruit, spicy Belgian yeast a little hops.

There is plenty of carbonation for a lively mouth feel. The first taste especially with the foam was fantastic. Very complex flavors and aromas. It's sweet, spicy, fruit, hoppy and delicious. There is a little bit alcohol kick too. This just keeps getting better as you drink it. This is a world class brew.

As I stated earlier, I think this is the Trois Pistoles from Unibroue. I do have a bomber of that in the cellar that I'll have to crack open and see if it's the same someday.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 02:37:25 | More by jdkitchi
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 tjsdomer2
tjsdomer2

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fluffy white head and lacing. Dark brown with decent carbonation. Red tint in the light.

Smell: Plums and red wine. Holliday spices also. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Smells better as it warms.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Licorice dominates the flavor. Yeasty backbone in the finish. Feels thin in the finish, but there is a nice alcoholic aftershock in the sensation.

Overall Drinkability: I enjoyed this. I think I will save another bottle and open next year.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 01:23:42 | More by tjsdomer2
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 TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Yeah, a mason jar for such a Belgian-style brew. Deal with that shit. Anyway, this stuff pours a deep ruby-sienna topped by over a finger of sandy tan foam. The nose comprises slightly tart red grapes, cinnamon, clove, banana, fig, and a touch of that general Belgian-y yeast character. The taste brings in more of the same, with a heavier focus on the spices (particularly clove). The body is a light-leaning medium, with a moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a pretty tasty BSDA. It's a tad too bubbly for my tastes, but beyond that it's good times.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 05:53:40 | More by TMoney2591
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 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 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 TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a near black, dark ruby brown with a light tan 3 finger head. Good retention. Leaves behind a small, spotty lace.

Smell - Aroma consists of sugar and cream, spice, bubblegum and candied plum or black cherry.

Taste - Follows the nose. Assertive notes of cream and spice to start, while moderately sweetened dark fruit character shines through mid-taste. Finishes creamy with notes of bubblegum and a hint of spruce pine.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. A touch syrupy. Well carbonated, leaves a nice tingle on the tongue. Smooth, creamy finish.

Overall - Another creamy Belgian offering from Unibroue. So many intricate layers to wrap one's mind around. Lots of sweetness, becomes a bit cloying after a glass or two. Great candidate for storage.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 19:52:00 | More by TheSixthRing
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 beck2008
beck2008

California

4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Cerritos, CA $4.99

A- very dark brown, big tan head on the first pour, drops a bit after the 2nd and 3rd pour.

S- fruity cherry, spice, yeasty, very "Unibroue"

T- dark cherry, apple, and clovy spice. Alcohol is hidden very well. This beer tastes good if you let it aerate a bit like you might with wine. I usually pour a glass then put it back in the fridge with a loose cap. I actually enjoy this one better after a day being chilled.

M- great carbonation, very smooth

O- I've had all the vintage ale offerings for the last 5 years and I have to say this one is the best. I really like this one. At $4.99 it's no brainer for anyone who is into Belgiums. If you like Maudite by Unibroue, then you'll love this one (and at half the cost!)

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 01:40:16 | More by beck2008
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 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 impending
impending

California

3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

B+

750ml into a tulip. Pours a dull walnut, fully opaque, towering dense tan head doesn't linger, minor lacing.

Aroma is of heavy spicing . . . .

here I stop to acknowledge my 2011 review fits this precisely so I proceed to cut & paste . . . .

Aroma is clean and spicy, a strong phenolic clove. Definitely Noël.

Taste too is spicy to match the scent. The Unibroue yeast is on full display, blindfolded & unknowing, it would be obvious. Delicious.

An exceptional value.
cheers
jd

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 00:52:35 | More by impending
Photo of Dave1999
Dave1999

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours pure black with a tiny tan head which quickly disappears.

The smell is really strong, raisins,prunes and smoked sausages. The more I smell it the more it smells like sausages...

The taste is dark malts, banana and cloves.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and has quite a lot of carbonation.

Overall a generic Belgian dark ale, by no means great but for $5 for a 750ml a bargain. Hides its 9%abv very well. I bought a couple of these to cellar, at this price point I can experiment. I also think there is too much carbonation in this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 00:49:19 | More by Dave1999
Photo of BeerDocT
BeerDocT

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a chilled tulip glass. Brewed for TJ's by Unibroue, the pride of Chambly, QC. Can't wait to try this.

-Appearance 4.0: Poured out a very dark brown/black. Completely opaque and gem-like. Huge, inch high head finally dropped down to a thick, khaki-colored swirl on the top.

-Smell 4.0: Very subdued bouquet. Citrusy, with noticeable malt. I also smell a very faint aroma of spices...star anice...nutmeg... . Very nice.

-Taste 4.5: Front is dry, with a light maltiness. Middle really hits you with the Belgian candi, but is subdued and balanced along with the taste of spices: very light hints of those mentioned above and also that wonderful Belgian yeast. Finish is dry, with some light alkaline hoppiness and malt. Aftertaste is brief, but features the candi sugar and more subdued spices. Everything is well-balanced and delightful.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Carbonation is right on target for this style. Great complement to the beer.

-Overall 4.5: Excellent Belgian Strong Dark. This is obviously a "holiday" style beer, but it is head and shoulders over anything you will pick up at any other grocery store. Why? The balance. Nothing is overpowering or screaming "I AM A HOLIDAY BEER!" Instead, what you get is a very nuanced and enjoyable seasonal brew that is a real treat. Buy it if you can find it. It's times like these I feel sorry for my friends in Pennsylvania (their TJ's cannot sell wine or beer).

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 04:18:55 | More by BeerDocT
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Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 226 ratings.