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

Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale
BA SCORE
3.82/5
266 Ratings
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
55
Ratings:
266
pDev:
11.26%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
41
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 266 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep brown with amber highlights and one of the foamiest heads I've ever seen, which is cappuccino foam in color.

Notes of raisin, peach, green apple, plum, and fig erupt from the glass. Yeast esters are extremely prolific. Hints of banana and clove emerge as it warms. There's an underlying sweet candi sugar base.

Flavor is less complex than the aroma, with green apple character surfacing initially, followed by fairly bready, nutty malt. Further investigation reveals cola notes, pear, and peach esters, which are more restrained than anticipated. Hints of plum, pepper, clove, and banana emerge in the aftertaste. The finish is fairly dry and earthy. Not as sweet as expected from the aroma.

Body is moderate to slightly low, with fairly high carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

Phenomenal aroma, just wished the flavor followed as strongly to suit. There's a completeness lacking in the flavor profile. I notice this with a couple other unibroue beers. May need more malt backbone and a touch of sweetness. Still, great brew, excellent value, and can't wait to see this with some age on it.

 1,121 characters

Photo of Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of costanzo_mike
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of barnzy78
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cosmicevan
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

bottle picked up locally at trader joe's. proclaimed unibroue fanboy (one of the breweries that got me into craft). enjoyed from a unibroue taster tulip (coolest glass i've ever seen...a mini tulip!!!!)

a - so glad this year is a BSDA...one of my fav styles...and no one does it like unibroue! poured perfect...dark purple with a monster head and lacing to rule the world. coated the glass like a milkshake.

s - what can i say? smells like a unibroue BSDA. has that signature yeast strain with some soft spicing for the holiday. a vast improvement fresh from the previous few years. can't wait to dig in.

t - much more spicy than the nose suggested. a bit heavy handed on the spicing actually. looking forward to sitting on my other bottle to let that zing chill out. classic unibroue wondeful BSDA base, but just so much spice added to it to make it a holiday beer...too much so, but i guess if they didn't do that, it would just be trois pistoles or maudite (more like trois that maudite).

m - zingy. crisp, but fizzy. almost a bit heavy handed on the carb.

o - overall, a step in the right direction from previous years, but still an overspiced belgian like the others. i should just stop getting these and just pick up a bottle of trois pistoles since that's what i love from unibrou (one of my all time favs). these vintage ales really just seem to be unibroue classics with a ton of holiday spice added. at $5 a pop, a deal to be had, but i'd rather pony up the extra $4 or $5 to get a version without all the spice. the nose is the star of the show and in a few years, i'm sure the taste will catch up. it is kind of funny that every year i save these with the hope that the spicing will fade and they will eventually just taste like the base beer without the spice.

 1,778 characters

Photo of BDeibs
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of BAsbill
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of mig100
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Best before date of 08/01/2016.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and dark brownish amber with some ruby. Lots of bubbles and a huge four finger tan head with decent retention. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A yeasty, spicy, and toasty Belgian style aroma with big hints of fruit and caramel malt. Big upfront scent of Belgian yeast with good hints of funk, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and black peppers. Spices give a cola like scent. Toasted malts with hints of caramel, toffee, toasted bread, biscuit, straw, and grains. Scent of banana and apple. Dark fruit hints of grapes, raisin, fig, cherry, prune, plum, and dates. Hints of candied sugar as well. A pretty solid spicy aroma.

Taste: Like the spicy aroma hints at, a yeast and spice driven Belgian aroma with big notes of fruit and toasty caramel malt. Big taste of Belgian yeast with some funk. Big spice presence giving an old school cola like taste. Notes of clove, black peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Bready toasted malts with notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, toasted bread, straw, and grains. Fruity taste of banana and apple along with dark fruit notes of grapes, raisin, fig, prune, cherry, dates, and plum. Some candied sugar sweetness as well. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Spicy, juicy, and fairly drying on the finish. A little alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: Another really solid year for this brew. Good mix of spices and fruity esters with a nice toasty malt presence.

 1,599 characters

Photo of atone315
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

Photo of Lucoli
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a dark beer bottle brown with a couple fingers of fizzy but dense brown head. Head slowly faded to a lasting collar.
s: Much fruitier and sweeter than I was expecting. Tons of fruit esters, banana, tropical fruits, and candied fruits. I'm getting a lot of root beer notes as well. There's a fair amount of balancing spice including cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and vanilla.
T: Taste has all the root beer notes from the nose but isn't quite as fruity. Yeast pokes through with some doughy flavors. I get hints of caramel, cola, and very slight chocolate as well. The finish is sweet and tingly, and the aftertaste is doughy, fruity and spicy.
M: Medium-full body, tingly ample fuzzy carbonation that froths up a bit on my palate. Smooth and nicely drying for being so sweet.
O: I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I thought it would be much maltier and heavier, but I was pleasantly surprised by how fruity and sweet this was.

 951 characters

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of ArtZan
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of 2GOOFY
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Boto
4/5  rDev +4.7%

750ml bottle: This one pours a somewhat dark ruby color. There was quite a bit of a tan head on it. It lingers and left some lacing. This one has a nice nose. Spicy, yeasty, fair amount of sweet malts. Some fruity notes also, as well as some clove. The taste is very good. Bready, sweet Belgian malts, some spices, fruit notes. Another solid Belgian style beer form Unibroue.

 376 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1 year old when giving it a first run. Huge dense tan head that took its damn time in settling down. Nearly a black body. Not sure I've every seen this style this dark before.
Spicy malt aroma with what seems to be the proprietary Unibroue yeast - a mix of spice (the usual but seems like some cinnamon later in the drink) and fruitiness. Dries out quite a bit and leaves a malty dryness laying on the tongue. Nice complex flavors with yeast character more foreground than balanced. Alcohol noticed most in gut warmth and is balanced more on the flavor - in the aroma it shows as perfume. Richer malt flavors than many and most apparent as warms. Body is bigger and fuller than most for style, even beyond the high level of carbonation.
You know, for the price, this is a solid Belgian ale.

 805 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a two finger fizzling light brown head. Nice retention.

S: Subtle spice notes with that sweet, signature Unibroue yeast lingering in the background. Clove, ginger, wheat bread crust, doughy malt, light booze and some molasses.

T: Toasted malt, followed by a lot of sweet Unibroue yeast. Light ginger, molasses, clove. Finish is slightly dry yeast with a touch of toasted grain husk. A pretty big improvement over the last few years. I'm liking this one.

 475 characters

Photo of JoeMans
2.75/5  rDev -28%

Photo of shoegueuze
3.4/5  rDev -11%

Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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

Trader Joe's 2013 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 266 ratings
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