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Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale - Unibroue

Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale

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

64 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 64
Reviews: 4
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%

Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jamesthebrit on 12-18-2012)
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 4 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of 1sophrosyne1


4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a cork-and-cage, "best by 2015" bottle and enjoyed over 90 festive minutes.

Color is densely opaque ebony brown that holds up a light tan head with fairly good retention. Not much lacing, though.

Smells of winter spice, chocolate covered raisins, clove, and mild herbaceous phenols. The foundation of malt is evident with a breeze of hop essence.

The taste profile is complex and balanced. It starts sweet, but nicely sliced with carbonation that ushers in a combination of fruits and a-bit-too-bright acids. Figs, dates, raisins, and pears all dipped in melty bakers chocolate that takes over later in each gulp. It's then also chewy and just bready enough, dashed with cinnamon and anise, the latter of which slides into the ending oils that carry a nice long finish.

Thick and smooth, balanced nicely with high carbonation, the mouthfeel is a nice fit to the style and frames the flavor profile well. It becomes a bit tart and tannic in aftertaste in a way that suggests a cleaner ending would help to address--so I dock points here rather than in the flavor category.

In general, I'm extremely grateful that this great Canadian brewer partnered up with a chain of markets I can get to easily. Three cheers for Unibroue south of the border!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 04:12:31 | More by 1sophrosyne1
Photo of Coltalenaven

3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bomber purchased at Trader Joes.
Dark pour with huge head that settles down eventually to a nice lace around the glass.
Aroma is malt, fruit, brown sugar. Taste is subtle malt, sugar and fruits and a smooth taste I cant place. Best desctiption I can come up with is Licorice.
Nice medium body and solid mouthfeel. High carbonation throughout, but it works and makes this beer an easy drink for the 9% abv.
For a Trader Joes beer this is great, obviously due to being from Unibroue. Great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 01:57:16 | More by Coltalenaven
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 20:43:00 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Jamesthebrit


4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2012 00:03:09 | More by Jamesthebrit
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Unibroue
88 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.