Trader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage Ale
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage Ale
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
3.92 | pDev: 8.16%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Trader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage Ale
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 51 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bushbeer75
bushbeer75 from Michigan

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 1pt. 9.4 fl. oz. caged and corked brown bottle - best before 8/31/2019

Before I start my review take caution in opening the bottle! Upon removing the cage the cork forcefully shot out of the bottle hitting the ceiling. So, point away from loved ones/friends - ok to aim at enemies though [lol].

Trader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage Ale body is a very dark brown - almost black hue. Atop sat a 2+ finger beige foamy head that reduced to spotty foamy lacing on the walls of my tulip glass. The smell is of dark fruit, roasted malts and sweetness from dark toffee. The taste is very similar to the nose. The flavors from dark fruits like: cherries, plums, and sweetness from the dark toffee dominate. There is also a light spice in the background. Mouth feel is smooth with high-medium body, and a rich dry finish. Carbonation is very lively.

Quinquagenary Ale is a nice flavorful ale that is value priced.

Aug 10, 2019
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and wired bottle served in a Belgian snifter in April 2019.

Appearance: Very dark brown-black. Durable and creamy light tan head with sheets of lacing, some of which sticks to the glass.

Smell: Dark dried fruits mixed with spices and alcohol plus faint dark bread. Smells too boozy and perhaps over spiced.

Taste: Moderate+ spicing and lightly sweet, with dark bread and dried fruit flavors a bit dominated by the spices.

Mouthfeel: medium+ lively but soft carbonation. Near medium body.

Overall: Another very good vintage of Belgian Dark Ale.

Apr 18, 2019
Photo of Tsar_Riga
Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark, mostly opaque brown, with just a bit of transparency around the edges, light tan head, some lacing.

S - Fairly typical spin of dark fruit and bread notes, spun sugar, alcohol and sour grain notes.

T - Pungent hit of sweet fruit, prune and raisin with fresher highlights, bread elements, and slight acidity in the close.

M - Moderate carbonation and soft, easy weight for its size.

O - Another solid year for this TJ mainstay. Love it.

Mar 18, 2019
Photo of MrOH
MrOH from Malta

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark chestnut, dense, tall, beige head, good lace and retention
Dr. Pepper, white pepper, clove, cinnamon, leather, apple skin
Quatre Epice, apple, prune, rum, dark sugar
Light, very effervescent
Pretty good

Jan 22, 2019
Photo of ZebulonXZogg
ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml (Unibroue) corked bottle. It pours s dark brown with a tan frothy tan head that fades to a ring leaving behind some spotty lacing. Belgian yeast, dark fruit, toffee, banana and clove are the dominate aromas. Flavors match the aroma quite well, becoming more pronounced as this warms. Avery nice sipper, many thanks to John and Lorena for this fine beer.

Sep 21, 2018
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL corked and caged bottle, shared with the Mrs. My portion in a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Best before 09-06-20. Batch# J06172124QFL.

Appearance: Very dark brown (just about black) with some mahogany highlights when held up to the light. Initial 1/2" rocky light tan head that very very slowly died back to a thin persistent foam. Some islands and strands of persistent lacing.

Smell: Yeast, a tiny bit of phenol, nutmeg, and a bit of fruity esters and licorice with a swirl.

Taste: Lots of flavors. A biscuit-like malt, spices (nutmeg mostly), stone fruit, yeasty notes, leafy hops/noble hops at the finish along with a bit of licorice.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, airy, with just a tiny bit of stickiness. Dry finish.

Overall / Drinkability: A very good ale. Very tasty, highly aromatic, and went well with butternut squash mac and cheese & salad. I think this would have paired great with a burger or something meaty as well. Definitely one of the better versions of this annual ale that Unibroue makes for Trader Joe's.

May 20, 2018
Photo of BeerTastesGood
BeerTastesGood from California

3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I've never had a cork explode on me when I remove the wire cap, almost lost an eye. I figured that was a sign of too much alcohol (sugar->alcohol->bubbles?), and I think that's right. I don't get much flavor from this. Nose is alcohol plus adjectives for dark, and taste is dark plus lots of alcohol.

Love the color, head, and mouthfeel though. For $6, totally worth it and I would buy again. But not great on flavor, I like Trader Joe's other Unibruque stuff better.

Jan 20, 2018
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 and 2017 side by side. The 12 has a ton more raisin, dark fruit and Belgian yeast esters. The 17 has some anise, dark fruits and Belgian yeast. Honestly, think I like the 2012 more. It has more dark fruit flavor. Smoother.

Jan 19, 2018
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mactrail from Washington

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Be careful where you aim this one-- I barely got the wire off when the cork flew off. Big pile of foam in the Troubadour tulip, even the next day after opening. Color is very dark brown with dark beige foam, which finally settles down for a sip. Aroma is yeasty and darkly fruity.

Lots of roasted malt flavor with the Belgian yeasty magic. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Hint of licorice, even cinnamon.. Oh, right, "spices and natural flavor added." But it's not up front, so give them credit for restraint.

It's hard to do better than this if you like the Unibroue style. Half the price of typical Belgian brews, especially a strong one like this. From the 750 ml bottle purchased at TJs.

Jan 10, 2018
Photo of daliandragon
daliandragon from Maryland

4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This has become a holiday tradition, although increasingly harder to find through the years. Finally, at my 3rd TJs I found this year's vintage: I picked up three, including this one and two for cellaring, plus two for my brother. Thanks Commack, NY. Poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours almost jet black with a yeasty, balanced nose with hints of dark fruit and molasses. Taste hints notes of banana and clove, earthy yeastiness, along with the promised medicinal hops, dark malts and fig and raisin notes at the end. Various winter spices, such as cinammon, allspice, and nutmeg also make an appearance. Live and full of yeasty bratas. Will be more relaxed and tasty in a few years, although I am still enjoying this one enormously.

Jan 02, 2018
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky from New York

3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a 750mL bottle into a Rochefort chalice.
A: Voluminous creamy head.
S: Smells mild and spice.
T/M: Spicy, fruity, and a touch creamy, but honesty sharper (raisin acidity) and thinner than anticipated.
O: Decent Belgian, especially for the price.

Dec 25, 2017
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown topped by a dense two finger off white head which retains well and leaves some lacing
S: Smells of spicy yeast and dark fruits with some toffee like malt sweetness.
T: Taste is dark fruits like cherries and plums along with a nice hit of christmas spices from the yeast. Good but not overwhelming caramel and toffee sweetness as well. Swallow is more christmas spices, dark fruits, and toffee
M: This beer is slightly heavy on the palate with a smooth feel. Carbonation is adequate for the style and slightly effervescent from the bottle conditioning while the beer finishes on the dry side.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer with some great flavors and complexity which is hard to beat for the price. Pretty standard but well executed. Unibroue always makes a great belgian style ale and this one is no exception.

Dec 19, 2017
Photo of Stoutmaster9
Stoutmaster9 from California

4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A cork and cage affair, smoke from the bottle: a full twenty seconds!

Black brew with a half finger head. Creamy lacing, thick.

A delicious dark ale. Spicy, well-carbonated dark chocolate/fruit, creamy & bold.
Especially bold is it's ruthless throat burn, fully embraced.
Little attempt to hide the booze.
Almost reminds me of some wicked old, half remembered Rum.

Dec 03, 2017
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67 from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours brown with tall, creamy, long-lasting, beige head and nice lacing. Aroma is of yeast, caramel malt, spices and dark fruit. Body is full and smooth. Taste is spices, brown sugar, toasted malt, dark fruit and alcohol. Finish is long and spicy. Nice brew.

Nov 27, 2017
Photo of hreb
hreb from Washington

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Trader Joe's "Quinquagenary" 2017 Vintage Ale -- served fresh, best before date is sometime in 2020. Spending $5.99 for a 3/4 liter of fine ale that should improve significantly over time is a tradition I look forward to every year. And so I serve it in my favorite Chimay chalice. This beer pours extremely dark brown, close to black, and forms thin to moderate chestnut head. Pleasant, though not overpowering, aroma consistent with BSDA. Rich, but no distinct fruit tones are coming through for me right now. The flavor is also pretty mellow and understated. There's just a bit of ethanol burn in this strong ale, while the gentle spice flavors of clover and allspice cover it nicely, and overall it's impressively smooth. It's still just a pretty good beer though. Hopefully this is something that will improve with age, rather than a sign that Unibroue is letting the value of TJ's vintage ale slip over the years.

Nov 25, 2017
Photo of NickSMpls
NickSMpls from Washington

4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A delicious treat for all $5.99 for a 750 ml bottle (Vancouver, WA - YMMV). Dark brown pour, only a hint of light comes through. Rich, froth head. A complex aroma, of chocolates, cloves, and allspice - right for the season - day after Thanksgiving. Taste is complex and refined, a medley of rich malts and dark German pumpernickle bread. The high 9% ABV is not noticeable at all. We'll stop by the store and pick up a few more. Drink one and cellar the others.

Nov 25, 2017
Photo of Nephilium
Nephilium from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This pours as it has for every vintage I've gotten, a dark ruby red beer with a giant head of off-white head. The aroma has hints of the Unibroue yeast with a touch of roast and dark fruit. This year the beer has a touch of caramel and toffee, pairing nicely with dark fruit notes. The yeast characteristics come out in the finish, adding a note of spice. Full, rich body with lively carbonation. For the price point that Trader Joe's sells it at, it's a hard value to pass up.

Nov 16, 2017
Photo of gandres
gandres from Philippines

3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sunday, November 05, 2017 6:09 PM
750 ml bottle poured to tulip glass from the brewery
Sight: Dark amber/brown, large foam
Smell: fragrant aroma, not too boozy
Taste: Balanced
Mouth feel: creamy, good carbonation
Very good beer,
repeat: yes
look forward: No

Nov 06, 2017
Photo of JarMills
JarMills from Canada (BC)

3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As always, I enjoy Trader Joes Unibrou ales. But the 2017 Vintage Ale left me wishing for more 2015 bottles. The flavor is not as bold or spicy as it once was. It even has a slightly medicinal minty taste to it, though that aftertaste disappears or is diminished when pared with a spicy food. Still, it is better than most beers, and a rare Belgian style available in my neighborhood. Try it, see if you like it.

Oct 31, 2017
Trader Joe's 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 51 ratings