Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale - Unibroue
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 4 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Koralin:
More User Reviews:
4.28/5 rDev +8.4%
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.
12-24-2012 20:43:00 | More by NeroFiddled
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Unibroue
88 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.