Trader Joe's 2014 Vintage Ale
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2014 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2014 Vintage Ale
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From:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
ABV:
9%
Score:
88
Avg:
3.93 | pDev: 8.14%
Ratings:
144
Status:
Retired
Rated:
Feb 19, 2020
Added:
Oct 30, 2014
Wants:
  9
Gots:
  49
SCORE
88
Very Good
Trader Joe's 2014 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2014 Vintage Ale
Notes: None
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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
3.02 by SWChi from Illinois on Feb 19, 2020
Photo of thebeers
2.84/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75
by thebeers from Pennsylvania

Red-tinted dark brown with three fingers of light tan head that last a fair while and leave good lacing. Some slight gushing upon opening.

Wood, clove, spruce, chocolate and plum in the nose.

Toffee, nougat, prune, leather and Belgian yeast are added to those in the taste. There’s a slight vegetal quality hidden beneath the chocolate and fruit. Warming alcohol present on the backend.

Medium bodied with strong carbonation.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is past it’s prime. You can sort of pick out the ghost of a good beer here, but the fruit, chocolate combo is too sweet, medicinal and plum pudding-ish and has also picked up some off-flavor I don’t believe was intended. I wouldn’t rate it if there wasn’t this year-specific line, as I’ve always enjoyed these fresh. If anyone wants to know what the 2014 vintage taste like at Christmas 2018, these notes may still be useful. Drink em if you’ve got em!

Dec 08, 2018
Photo of rand
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by rand from California

750 mL bottle into a tulip

Not going to go through a full review, as I've reviewed different vintages of this brew before.

Couple of comments on the aging of the brew, as I've just busted this out from storage. Flavors are tamed and sort of linear. Phenols are still distinct, but the medicinal aspect has died down. Still a 'cherry' brew overall, and bubblegum-y, but overall more quadfable, sweet and soda-like.

Not my favorite example of the style, but it's always fun to try robust beers like this several years in a cellar.

May 21, 2018
 
3.94 by cb8282 from Michigan on Dec 31, 2017
 
4.1 by MrOH from Malta on May 30, 2017
 
4.1 by gobuccos from Ohio on Jan 29, 2017
Photo of Beginner2
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by Beginner2 from Illinois

Held this for two years. Worth the wait. Melded better than when new.
My only issue with 2014 is true of most Unibroues, I prefer less carbonation.

Dec 03, 2016
Photo of daliandragon
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by daliandragon from Maryland

This one has been in storage for a few years. Pours a very dark, almost black with a decent cream head that doesn't last. Nose features dark fruit and yeasty esters.

The taste seems simple at first but hits several levels of complexity on its way. Big chocolate malt note at the front, followed by a fruit wine interlude and a sweet coffee toned finale. Texture is a little thinner than I would like and carbonation a little high but the result is still very smooth in the finish.

Dec 02, 2016
 
3.58 by bluehende from Delaware on Nov 20, 2016
Photo of chinchill
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by chinchill from South Carolina

750 ml bottle with a July 2017 BB date, that's been cellared for about 2.5 years. Brewed by Unibroue , as indicated on both the bottle and cork. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Clear dark brown but pours essentially black with a tan head that's shorter and a bit more fizzy that it should be. The medium-high carbonation is obvious but not objectionable in the feel of the medium-full body.

Aroma: dark dried fruits, especially raisins, and a hint of chocolate.

Flavor: rich and fairly strong; dominated by raisins, prunes, figs and other dark dry fruits. Some alcohol esters but rather well hidden alcohol. Near equal bitter-sweet balance.

Sep 20, 2016
 
3.85 by ledouge from Virginia on Jul 04, 2016
 
3.52 by hypnotoad1 from Virginia on Jul 04, 2016
 
4.04 by GreenMind from Pennsylvania on Jun 29, 2016
Photo of secondtooth
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by secondtooth from Indiana

Appearance: Almost black, with a decent tan foam and no lace.

Aroma: Fruit, specifically grapes and dark fruit, dried and aged like raisins. Pretty good.

Taste: Delicious! Complex grape tannins, with a wine-like character, some tobacco, some chocolate hints, and a light sweetness that complements a smooth, crisp dryness that finishes with a pleasant warming. Superb!

Jun 21, 2016
 
4.04 by PrestigeWorldwide from Michigan on Jun 16, 2016
 
3.34 by beerserk from California on Feb 27, 2016
 
3.46 by Bogdawg from Massachusetts on Feb 19, 2016
Photo of Lingenbrau
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Lingenbrau from Oregon

Side-by-side with '12 through '15. Second best of the bunch, but no matter what, always a winner and something to look forward to every year. Cheers!

Jan 20, 2016
 
3.75 by elglueckert from Montana on Jan 15, 2016
 
3.62 by dukeufo from California on Jan 09, 2016
 
4.5 by mflamar from New York on Dec 31, 2015
Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

Tried at one year old in a three year vertical with a 2015 and a 2013.

Dec 29, 2015
 
3.97 by Prost76 from New Hampshire on Dec 25, 2015
Photo of Bluegrass49
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Bluegrass49 from Minnesota

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tall glass. Very rich dark brown color with a foamy tan head, about three fingers worth. Strong coffee taste, very malty. Delicious.

Dec 19, 2015
 
3.89 by mjpolzin from Wisconsin on Dec 14, 2015
Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by UPMD_Bill from Maryland

Aged for a year (translation: misplaced and found during pantry clean-out), and still held up.

Aroma and taste is primarily yeast, a little minty/spice and bubblegum to go with the sweet malt. Chewy and lots of carbonation, although that could be from the aging.

Overall: Didn't quite like as much/not quite as much flavor as Jailbreak Van Dammit (similar style I had recently) but willing to give the 2015 a shot.

Dec 13, 2015
 
4.24 by MA08 from Massachusetts on Dec 13, 2015
 
3.75 by Sweffin from Wisconsin on Dec 01, 2015
 
4.2 by KensWorld from Florida on Oct 03, 2015
 
3.99 by AnitaBrewski from Massachusetts on Aug 14, 2015
 
3.94 by ronricorossi from California on Aug 05, 2015
 
4.25 by crob3888 from California on Aug 03, 2015
 
3.67 by Anaxagoris from Washington on Jul 28, 2015
Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.01/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75
by M_C_Hampton from Georgia

A: poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass, after carefully removing from the fridge and uncorking, this beer exploded all over me, my computer, and my sofa, half the bottle was lost and the volcano continues, it is a dark color with a head that dissipates quickly

S: dark fruits and soured, a bit of bread and yeast

T: sticky sweet with a sour funk, figs, prunes, cherries

M: thick and way to carbonated

O: this beer is obviously infected, it has been stored properly, I hesitate to give it such a bad review, but something bad happened to it before it got to my cellar.

Jul 19, 2015
 
4 by NickThePyro from Washington on Jul 14, 2015
 
3.74 by Jaywalsh20 from Illinois on Jun 21, 2015
 
3.78 by CPAles from Illinois on Jun 14, 2015
Photo of mikeg67
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by mikeg67 from New Jersey

750 ml bottle. Pours dark brown with tall, long-lasting, foamy beige head and nice lacing. Aroma is funky yeast, spices and toasted malt. Body is full and slightly crisp. Toasted malt, brown sugar, spices, herbal hops, chocolate and dark fruit fill the mouth. Finish is long, worming. Very nice brew.

May 29, 2015
 
3.75 by MattMorin from Illinois on May 04, 2015
 
3.73 by Icemann383 from New York on May 03, 2015
Trader Joe's 2014 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 144 ratings