Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

BA SCORE
86
very good
266 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Contract brewed by Unibroue.

Added by NickMunford on 11-16-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
266
Reviews:
55
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
41
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 266 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Rated from memory. But, enjoyed.
OA: contracting this brew to one of North America's best specialists in the Belgian tradition is a very smart for TJ

149 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle BB 8-1-16. DFH Tulip.

A: pours a dark brown with some light penetrating at the edges. 1 finger sandy ran head. Ample visible carb. at the edges.

S: lighter expression than the 2012. Less pronounced grape phenols; more floral phenolic and carrying a bit of malt roast. A touch of rocky/flinty and herbal notes.

T: arrival carries a slight tartness, an almost citrus touch. This tastes significantly lighter than the last BSDA I remember, and more like a Belgian brune. Malty and floral across mid-palate; lightly phenolic. Turning into a little caramel and milk chocolate. Lingering phenols and malt character.

M: full-bodied but highly carbonated, so it feels lighter. Alcohol is well hidden (dangerously so). Slightly slick finish.

O: to me this seems like a very light take on the style, even relative to prior years. Granted I had a couple of stouts earlier, but this tastes so light and citrusy by comparison, and does not have the grape/bubblegum I typically associate with the beee and the style.

 1,015 characters

Photo of mschrei
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into wine glass. Dark with mild carb and lacing. Nose and taste are similar-sweet Belgian characteristics with mild tangy raisin notes. Sweet with a light feel for a 9 % abv. I love Unibroue and I used to frequent Trader Joe's, and they go great together with this one.

 277 characters

Photo of q33jeff
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

**
05/07/2014
AROMA: yeast and smoke. Dark fruits, licorice.
LOOK: Brown-black color. Small white head. Head lasted.
TASTE: sour cherry, Belgian Wang is prevalent.
FEEL: Lively beer.

Better than 2011 from what I remember.

**

 232 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of heerboth
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cb8282
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of npachl
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of AD17
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ONUMello
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a snifter
A: Pitch black with a 1+ finger head that slowly settles
S: Plum, toffee, yeast, cherry
T: Largely matches the nose. Plum/toffee/cherry most prominent, adds some yeast & grapes. Still good but likely better a year ago
M: Medium-bodied, a bit of alcohol shows through
O: A decent Belgian Strong, fits the style well but likely better earlier

 375 characters

Photo of Lingenbrau
3.24/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Side-by-side with '12-'15. My personal least favorite. Seemed slightly infected (if that's even possible) with overcarbonation, and slightly cola flavored. Even so, it was still good. Cheers!

 195 characters

Photo of chicagoish
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle with a Unibroue cork and cage seal served in a Sierra Nevada glass. BB date of 1 August 2016.

Popping the cork produced a slowly rising foam that just barely extruded out the top of the bottle. Likewise, a very large head rises above the dark reddish brown body, even with a gentle pour. Clear but nearly opaque in the glass.

Excellent mouthfeel with a creamy smooth feel, but with a touch of astringency in the finish.

The aroma is spicy, yeasty and, unfortunately, a bit musty. This musty note largely disappears upon tasting, where dark fruits and dark spices come to the fore in a complex array of spice, yeast, grain and fruit notes.

 662 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two years old at D&P's Christmas Eve during a vertical with the '14 and '15. This was the favorite, as it was less carbonated and more complex.

143 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle shared by Miller. Thanks man.

Dark brown body with a fizzy beige cap. Aromas of sweet Belgian yeast, lots of spice to ring in the holiday season. Alcohol, raisins, plums with pronounced spice and yeast character. Mild burn in the finish.

 245 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of target88
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Hopmarc
4.41/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lemmy187
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember drinking this fresh.....highly carbonated and heavy on the spice. Revisited a bottle with three years age on it......and this Belgium style ale has aged beautifully. Most of the spice has mellowed and the dark fruit and malt has taken over. Big notes of plums, raisins, and slight banana. Some of the prickly carbonation has faded....improving the overall drinkability. These vintage ales truly improve with age and it seems the sweet spot is at 2-3 years.

 472 characters

Photo of South2NW
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BillCheck
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of secondtooth
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from well-stored 2+ year-old bomber an almost black, with a thick head of suds yet almost no lacing.

Aroma: Deep, dark fruity malts and yeast. Grapes, dark berries, candied fruit — very Belgian and impressive.

Taste: Wow! Raisins, tart candied fruits, spices, and a slight amount of heat at the finish…a very complex and enjoyable ale, and one meant for sipping with so much richness. A beautiful ale and I’m sorry to have missed the 2015 edition!

 474 characters

Photo of jason_nwx
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Photo of ghostwalker
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown body. Big carbonation on pour, but head falls off moderately fast.

Smell is sweet and spicy with a medicinal note.

Flavor is rich smoothness, dark fruits and sweet candi sugar. A bit reminiscent of Pannepot. Very tasty!

Mouthfeel is highly carbed and active on the palate.

Overall, a solid sipper. Unibroue continues to compete with many of the best Belgian brews.

 380 characters

Photo of GoHabsGo
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 266 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe