Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale
Very Good
48 Ratings
Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale

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:
No notes at this time.

Added by ksimons on 10-24-2016

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 48 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by justintcoons:
Photo of justintcoons
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml corked & caged bottle poured into a goblet.

Near black. 1 finger of tight khaki head. No light penetration. Lively carbonation.

Coriander, clove, orange zest, nutmeg, raisin, prune, dates, and caramel.

Smooth raisin, date, and prune. Delicate bouquet of clove, coriander, orange zest, and nutmeg. Caramel, molasses, and suggestions of chocolate.

Medium bodied, crisp, effervescent, spicy, and off-dry.

Give a beer a couple of years and it speaks volumes. Complex, mellow, crisp, effervescent, and most importantly, a well hidden abv.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of InfernoBoss
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of augustgarage
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Best before 8/31/2019. Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Unibroue tulip.

Opaque bottle glass brown body with three fingers of active tan foam on top. Soapy lacing, good retention, no legs.

Distinctive phenol-driven yeast aromatics with hints of brown bread, pecans, and raisins.

Rich and malty palate entry with dark fruit flavors (golden raisins, dates, figs), a yeasty tang, and hints of spice and leather in the finish. Low bitterness, with just a hint of noble hop flavor. Well balanced, with a slowly evolving flavor profile.

Zesty, medium-bodied, and moderately effervescent - ABV is not disguised, but it seems to add more flavor than heat.

Unlike many (though not all) previous vintages, this one is not discernibly inferior to Unibroue's standard offerings - well worth picking up a few extra bottles for the price!

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Photo of hreb
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale. 750 mL bottle with a "unibroue" stamped champange-style cork top. Served in a Belgian chalice while still fresh (BB 08-31-19 -- not that I'm likely to drink this in the summer even assuming it makes it to 2019). Beer pours very dark brown, opaque looking, with an ample chestnut head. Aroma is rich but gentle enough to be intriguing -- it doesn't reveal all that lies below the surface. Flavor has an immediate tartness and even reminds me of oud bruin. The sourness attacks the sides of my mouth and puckers my lips. Once it passes, I'm left with a creamy mouthfeel on the back of my palate and the harsh fizz of carbonation from a bottle conditioned ale. But yeah, this beer mostly just tastes sour, which is not my favorite flavor in a beer, and while I can tell there's some serious malt backbone hidden down there, it's way too subtle to stand up to the rest of this beer. For that, this beer will get not get great marks from me. I'm not bothered in the least though. For one, TJ's gives this away at something like $6 a bottle. I happily bought 3, the other 2 of which will sit (vertically) in the basement for a year or two. I have high hopes that this sourness will mellow the F out and reveal a delicious, balanced Belgian ale.

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Photo of socon67
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MeanMotaScootah
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was the beer that turned me on to the wonders of craft beer. So this one has a special place in my heart. Every year since 2009 I make it a point to try this offering from TJs. Some years are better than others. As for 2016 (yes I am a bit late) I must say this one is very enjoyable. Lots of toffee, date, raisin on the nose - pours deep mahagony brown, lots of creamy carbonation, mouthfeel is spot on for a Belgium dark ale or more likely a triple by any other standards. Taste is full of dark fruits, very little bittering but lots of malty, bready, Belgium goodness to go around.

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Photo of Kallenovsky
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ckornmannn
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle opens with a big pop, like champagne. Aroma is dominated by Belgian yeast. The head isnt very lacey and dissipates quickly. Taste wise, it is dominated by the Belgian yeast. The malt and hops are not getting through. The yeast is typical of a Belgian style tripel but with none of the subtlety of a good tripel. Even the alcohol is hard to detect.
Definitely liked previous versions of this beer better. I am going to save the other bottle and see if it is better after sitting a while.

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Photo of ChipChaight
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A Dr. Pepper version of a belgian dark ale and surpassingly boozy

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Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Opened with a big pop. Pours a very dark mahogany brown that is nearly opaque in the glass and a fine two khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of light bready malt, spicy Belgian yeast, coriander and clove, dark stone fruit. Flavor is caramel malt, plums, brown bread, Belgian yeast, and clove. Medium bodied with peppery, active carbonation. As always, a very pleasant strong Belgian ale with classic fruit and yeast flavors, spice forward as is appropriate for the season. Seems very much like the ones from the last few year, which is great.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL corked and caged bottle, split with the Mrs. My portion served in a Tripel Karmeleit glass. Best before 03/31/19.

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black. Thick rocky tan head with fine persistent lacing.

Smell: Spicy. Hint of mint, licorice, cloves, nutmeg.

Taste: Spicy with notable bitterness. Cloves and nutmeg dominate with some underlying roasted malt. Herbal bitterness which becomes more noble hop like as the beer warms up. The flavors are all a bit muddled together. They're all notable, just hard to pull apart from one another.

Mouthfeel: Brisk carbonation. Nice thickness.

Overall / Drinkability: I think too much going on with this beer, and while I finished my glass, I think what I had was enough and I wouldn't want more. My impression is that this beer was overspiced, or maybe it just needed to age more. For the price last December, a good beer, but not a great one.

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Photo of MidwestBA
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bushbeer75
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 4.0 S 4.0 T4.0 M 4.0 D4 .0
poured from a 1pt. 9.4 fl. oz. caged and corked brown bottle - best before 8/31/2019

Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale filled my tulip glass with a dark brown almost black hue. A 1 1/2 finger of foamy tan head was produced that shrunk to a ring of foam with 'hit and miss' lacing left behind. The nose was sweet, a little spicy, and toasty. The taste follows the smell with the flavors of dark toffee, raisin, brown sugar and a light spicy finish of cloves. Mouth feel is smooth, a little creamy, and high-medium bodied.

Overall, a pleasant Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is a good value.

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Photo of fehrminator
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Jjmj51
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Harrison8
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hearty, dark brown. Head forms large and foamy, with nearly three fingers showing up after pouring one ounce of beer straight into the glass. Very foamy. Head formation is tightly laced, and khaki in color. Reminiscent of pouring root beer over ice cream in an ice cream float. Aroma is banana, clove, plum, with Belgian yeast esters. Lovely and lively, although it does have a stale after smell. Flavor profile opens smooth and clean with spices and bready and biscuity malts. The spices linger for a little bit of an after taste. Clove, nutmeg, and Belgian yeast esters all show up as well. Mouth feel is a little fizzy, but otherwise large and creamy. It's very filling with a medium-thick feel. As the beer nears room temperature, that thickness drops to a thin feel with a watery finish. Overall, a surprisingly fun beer considering the price. It punches above its weight in terms of ABV and flavor. On the nit-picky side it leaves a little something to be desired. Not a bad beer to pick up on the cheap and see how it ages.

Served in a Chimay chalice.

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Photo of Sweffin
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mikeg67
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle. Pours black with tall, long-lasting, foamy, brown head. Aroma is of Belgian yeast, toasted malt, dark fruit and spices. Body is full and crisp. Taste is of spicy yeast, toasted malt, brown sugar, dark fruit and herbal hops. Finish is long and spicy. Good brew.

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Photo of BWood
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad beer. Not a great one either. As I drink this I wish I had grabbed a chimay instead. I would call this a knock off of a great beer. Mouthfeel is nice and flavor is ok. Just there are much better beers to grab instead.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Explodes out of bottle with light khaki head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Opaque black/brown color. Medium bodied and fierce carbonation. Spicy nose and flavor is dark fruit and malt. $5.99 for a 750ml bottle from Trader Joe's Nashua, NH.

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Photo of jkblr
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle BB 8/13/19 poured into a St Bernardus chalice at 52 degrees. Lots of pop when the cork is removed. A tan head of about an inch lasts a few minutes fading into a film across the top of the beer. The beer itself is dark brown with almost no light passing through. Smell is a hint of dark fruit. Taste is more dark fruit than smell. There is also a rich malt taste and little spice. Mouthfeel is very carbonated yet full and even a little creamy before the carbonation jumps in on the end. Overall, good but excellent value. This was purchased for $5.99 @ Trader Joe's back in January.

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Photo of EdmundBlackadder
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of erickc
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bowzer4birdie
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Trader Joe's 2016 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 48 ratings