Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale
Very Good
81 Ratings
Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale

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

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DogFood11 on 11-15-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 |  Reviews: 73
Photo of lemmy187
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

To be fair, this was opened with exactly 10 years age on the bottle. I have found that most of these vintage ales peak around 2-3 years on the bottle. The has retained its carbonation and looks great. Deep brown with a finger of off white head. The bad.....oxidation is prominent. Heavy in raisin and plum. Still drinkable, but not entirely enjoyable.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Jcarriglio
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of atpca
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of TasteFiend
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

Photo of matjack85
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of beerpadawan
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of fatbatcat
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review dated 1/9/2009, from 750ml bottle.

Dont hate because its from TJs! Unlike other Trader Joes products (see Chuck, Two Buck) this is actually quite tasty and satisfying. Pours a reddish color with medium off-white head. Flavor of yeast, roasted malt, candi sugar, coriander, and some cherry. Fairly sweet and well spiced. Not bad, not bad at all.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.17/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A: The pour is dark amber/red-brown with a thin tan head forming.

S: Oh man, this is very medicinal. Smells like bandaids, sage, menthol, and anise. It's also pretty obviously oxidized. The intense herbal and medicinal thing isn't really for me...

T: It doesn't improve at all on the palate. Cough syrup with plenty of sage and eucalyptus. There's a bit of a sour apple flavor, which is weird, along with some warming alcohol and cardboard.

M: The body is medium with a pretty high carbonation and definite alcohol heat.

D: This was all sorts of no good. I wouldn't even bother with this beer.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2006 vintage bottle that has been stored in my cellar for 3 years.

Pours a dark reddish translucent brown, with ample head that resolves into a fine layer of bubbles, leaving some lacing on the glass.

Aromas of dark malt, bread, spice, fruit.

Tastes of sweet dark malt, with milk chocolate, light coffee, coriander, and dark fruit. Very sweet at first, finishes dry with tastes of coriander and hops. It is a bit candy-ish in its sweetness, the way root beer is.

Body is light and carbonation is very pronounced, resulting in a refreshing soda-like mouthfeel.

Brewed by Unibroue, this is a class beer and has aged well, getting somewhat more mellow, but still sweet, spicy, and carbonated. This could probably cellar well for a long time.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

looks like a coca-cola w/a bubbly tan head. aroma is molasses, dark dried fruit, and nutty. smells also a bit like cola. tastes, again, a bit like cola with warming alcohol on the end. dark malt is dominant w/spicy, fruity yeast and a drying finish. a bit red-winey as well. mouthfeel, again is kinda like a dryish cola with similar body and prickly carbonation in the mouthfeel. a sipper, and if you tried to make a belgian strong dark ale into cola, you'd have this.

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Photo of stpadddy
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Alright, I cracked this open Feb 2009. Had it with tacos. Two years on the shelf gives this beer a lot of character. When young, it had too much of a bite, too heavy. But that has been lifted with time, and this is a smooth, slightly sweet, very enjoyable bottle of dark ale. Please give this one time, and it will turn into something worthy of the wait. Don't be fooled by the $4.99 TJ's price tag (it's still Unibroue in a TJ bottle). Not much smell until you get your nares right in there, but then it hits you -- cola. And taste -- like a Coca Cola with almond liquor notes.

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Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As always, my disclaimer: I don't really like dubbels as much as other beers. With that being said, although this beer has all the markings of a dubbel, I thought it was great. Dark mahogany pour with a short tan head. Thick, and equally thick lacing. Cherries, plums, grapes, and clove in the nose. More dark fruits in the taste, lots of plums, red grapes, and cotton candy-like sugar. Malty without being super-heavy. More of a cake-batter malt taste without the weight. Nice, complex tastes that don't overpower like other dubbels.

On the side, I was under the impression that all Trader Joe's beers were Unibroue products.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.48/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale looks dull and black, but when held to the light, it is revealed to have a raspberry-like hue. It is also revealed to be quite turbulent. The off-white head is huge and foamy and lasts forever. It has a huge, spicy, fruity aroma: apples, cherries, plums, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, sherry, maple syrup, cassis. It is tender to the mouth with a big and frothy medium body. The finish is dry. It starts sweet and syrupy with a berry flavor; the bitterness rolls in with a wooden fruitiness; the bitterness turns to spice: cinnamon, perhaps coriander and tobacco. Fruit and toasted malt sit under the whole thing. The aftertaste is faintly bitter and lingers. I'm glad I let it sit for a year-- the cork was ready to jump out!
(rated Aug 28, 2007)

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cigar City Brew for this one.

A: Pours a nice dark brown hue with a small wispy head. Little retention with spotty lace.

S: Nice dark fruit aromas supported by yeast and light spices.

T: Bold yeasty goodness right from the start. Nice sweet dark fruit, and a touch of the spice. Rather solid brew.

M: Medium in body, smooth, with wonderful carbonation.

D: Besides 2 Buck Chuck wine add this one to your shopping list if you find yourself at Trader Joe's.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought this back in 2006, and have been cellaring it until I opened it on 12/01/08. Huge pop when I took the cork out. Dark brown color, with an extremely large white head. I was surprised to see this much carbonation present after two years. Had to pour in two steps to avoid overflow. Used a tulip glass and a Unibroue glass. Smelled like sweet Belgian sugar. Taste was much better than I expected. Tons of flavors of ripe figs, cherries, and grapes. Excellent. Only detractor was the fizziness, which I could feel in my mouth with each sip. I thought that aging it might mellow that out a bit. Alcohol was also right up front, felt it pretty quick. A great beer to share while having a dessert of some local pastries.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have cellared this a bit, to lose some Unibroue yeast. I guess 2.5 years is only half the objective. Despite this sour mouldy yeast characteristic of Unibroue, the beer was good, well carbonated still though little head on dark. Some sophisticated spicey taste, not overly but quite a nice one.

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Photo of Floydster
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle purchased almost a year ago at the Trader Joe's in Westchester for five dollars, split with my dad and friend tonight, best by August 2009, poured into my Rubicon snifter

A-Dark brown body, looks like a coke, some lighter tints in the light, one inch light tan head that does not last long, lots of bubbles going away quickly, not much retention or lacing
S-Belgian yeast, pineapple, coconut, honey, toffee, banana, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, mild hops, pepper, various dark fruits, and orange juice
T-Starts off with a big spicy flavor and lots of island-like fruits, which was odd but it made me wonder if this was brewed in Hawaii and not Canada, spicy and burnt through the middle, finish has some sweetness with banana and caramel, Belgian yeast becomes stronger once it warms all the way, nicely balanced overall, time has really allowed the flavors to mold together and complement one another
M-Nearly full bodied, too much carbonation, sweet and spicy mouthfeel, taste lingers nicely, fizzy effect
D-Could drink a couple glasses of this but alcohol would start to kick in, you can taste it and it is nine percent, sweetness and citrus can get heavy on the stomach too, pretty smooth overall though

Drank this before the 2007 and this was much more flavorful in my opinion, also had this fresh but preferred some age on it, have one more bottle and will hold onto it for another year or so, looking forward to drinking again, recommended

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Photo of trackstar1043
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured a dark brown almost black, with a thick frothy head stayed around for a while.

S - Roasted aroma of nuts,, carmel, cafe, very malty a bit of spicy sting.

T - Thick and heavy with a profound burnt taste and a spicy lingering going down.

M - Heavy and creamy.

D - Not so much, every now and then to spice things up.

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Photo of Zraly
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stored in a cool, dark place for over a year. Brewed for Trader Joe's by Unibroue.

Pours a dark, almost opaque, brown with an ample light tan head. Streaming with spicy, phenolic smells.

Unbelievably smooth. Rich, creamy, spicy flavors supported by a strong, but not intrusive, malt-heavy, chocolate-like backbone. The carbonation is substantial, but lends an interesting dimension to the profile. Finishes with chocolate, citrus, dried fruit, and cinnamon notes. A lingering flavor consists of dried cherries, brown sugar, and cola flavor.

A wonderful dark belgian-style ale from Unibroue, and very typical of their niche. Excellent choice for an excellent price ($4.99 for a 750 ml). A good potential partner for this is a helping of homemade black forest cake. Yum.

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Photo of Natural510
2.91/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I cracked this one open on NYE 2007-08.
It poured out of the 750ml bottle with an overabundance of carbonation, much like a Belgian it attempts to mimic. The head was very thick and did not quickly dissipate.
The color was very opaque, even after holding it to light in a clear glass I could barely make out a deep brown hue. Much like a root beer.
Unfortunately, the appearance was the best part of the brew, as it also tasted like root beer. A 9%ABV root beer...very sweet like soda and also as thin. The mouthful was okay due to the carbonation, but I couldn't finish the bottle due to the overly sweet & thin flavor.
All in all a fairly disappointing choice for New Year's, luckily I had an Optimator in the fridge as backup.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Brownish with hints of maroon, clear liquid on inspection. Thin and dissipating off-white head.

S- Lots of mustiness from Belgian yeast. Fruits dominate as well, I pick up mostly grapes.

T- Belgian yeast, some dark sweet malt, fruit... dry finish. Alcohol is noticeable especially after warming up.

M/D- A relatively light body... carbonation is a bit tingly. Overall a pretty good Belgian style beer, especially for the price of $4.99/750mL

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Photo of pinballwhizard
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Good taste, but an excessive amount of carbonation. Reportedly brewed by Canada's Unibroue in the dark Belgian ale style for Trader Joe's. If you are a fan of "belgians", then you will probably enjoy this. Everyone else should probably avoid it.

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Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 81 ratings