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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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 81 |  Reviews: 73
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.

 597 characters

Photo of sessycuban
2.82/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer pours a black hue. I'm not getting any head whatsoever and there is no lacing.

S: Spicy, Belgian smell. Standard for the style.

T: I'm familiar with both the style and the brewer but I'm just not digging this beer. The spicy notes overpower everything else and all I'm getting is spicy additives. This was honestly an unpleasant surprise.

M: The beer has a creamy mouthfeel, but again, I'm expecting more from the style. The beer does not coat very well. You'd expect more from an aged ale.

D: If you want to try something new, this is not a bad choice at $5. However, some may find the spiciness a bit offensive, as did I. I leave the rest of you to judge for yourself. I was not a huge fan.

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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.

 729 characters

Photo of beachscrat
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

serving type: Brown Duvel/Unibroue belgian style bottle with Unibroue branding on cork and cage. Gold graphix and branding directly on amber brown bottle. Defined as "Dark Ale on Lees" directly at bottom of bottle.
Poured directly into pre-rinsed stemware.

appearance: Excellent pure black color, however absolutely no head, foam, or lacing to speak of. This would have been fantastic with some good lacing.

smell: Excellent alcohol heat and belgian yeast spicyness. No issues.

taste: Perhaps a bit too much alcohol heat for 9% but excellent belgian spice flavor. Great for the holidays.

mouthfeel: Zero to no mouthfeel. This sucker is flabby and weak.

drinkability: Flavor is right on. Super hot and spicy. Just can't get around the lack of head retention and mouthfeel. The flaws surrounding this really distract from the flavor.

overall: Although some real obvious flaws are present with this one, it's still a bargain at under $5 'merican.

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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 schusterbauer
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

nice looking beer. dark dark brown, almost to the point of blackness, with a thick sturdy head that looks like beach sand. aromas are somewhat abrasive, smelling like cola and vodka with hints of fruitiness. the flavor profile has some nice things going on, with light and dark fruits, spices, some cola flavor, and toasted malts, but that said, it's very one-dimensional. every sip is the same, and nothing changes as the beer warms. there's nothing to look for after the first sip. monotonous. mouthfeel is quite nice -- thick and rich, with lively crisp carbonation.
750 ml of this beer, with its high abv will get you drunk. i've done it twice, and it's knocked me on my ass both times. considering the significant lack of complexity in the flavor, getting quite tipsy off of so much of this beer doesn't really feel worth it. i believe the bottles are under $5, though, so it's hard to argue with the price.

 914 characters

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.

 468 characters

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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Photo of srandycarter
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip.

A - Pours dark, cola color. Large, off white head last pretty long. Lacing pretty stubborn and persists throughout glass.

S - Again, with the cola, sweet malt, some vanilla notes and candy.

T - Ok, this is the cola of beer! Very carbonated, cola and candy.

M - Too carbonated. Doesn't have huge mouthfeel. Not much balance in the end.

D - Not my favorite. Interesting, but one is enough for the year.

 425 characters

Photo of doubleipa
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Frothy head and almost black. Moderately malty with some straw aroma. Has a hint of saison aroma. Also, allspice, clove, and pepper. Medium body and lively carbonation. Great beer for th eprice Had a definite spiciness to it. Expected more dried fruit flavor, though.

 267 characters

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

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 good.....beer 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.

 371 characters

Photo of phisig137
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Cork pops out or a nicely gilded gold bottle with a mighty loud pop. Pours into my tulip a dark brown, almost black color, with a one finger head. Very little retention falls, leaving little behind.

Aroma is malty, and slightly sweet, along with biscuity fresh bread aromas as well. Hint of cinnamon is also present.

Flavor is smooth and malty, but a bit dry. Toasted malt, biscuits, and a bit of caramel make up the overall profile. Not sweet like I would expect, but fairly dry, while retaining good malt flavors. Mouthfeel is hampered quite a bit by agressive carbonation. It's so heavy, that the "flavor" of the carbonation overpowers the flavor of the beer. Drinkability is pretty decent.

As a Trader Joe's beer, this is pretty good. As a beer from Unibroue, this is pretty bad. Not nearly up to the normal standards of Unibroue, although I think with some age it may get a little better. Actually, just less carbonation would make it better. Reminds me a bit of a very overcarbonated Chambly Noire. But for only $4.99, it is worth a try.

 1,054 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, brownish tinged, tan colored head that is fairly large bubbled that shrinks but never dissipates from the top of the beer. The beer is a dark, opaque, blackish color with burnt amber notes near the edges. Still amply spicy with aromas reminiscent of cardamom, allspice, clove, woody cinnamon. Dark malt aromatics contribute notes of blackened raisins, sweet figs, toasted grain and browned biscuits. This beer's aroma is definitely spice dominated, but it seems to achieve a little more balance as my nose becomes numb to the dominant aromatics.

Sweet and spicy tasting. Flavors of cardamom are pretty pronounced, producing a signature cola like note. The finish has an almost hotness / prickle to it that is entirely spice derived; flavors of cardamom, ginger and white pepper seem to make up this as does the effect of an ample carbonation. Hints of chocolate & dusty cocoa also become noticeable in the finish as does an astringent, woody, almost tannic edge. After I get past the in your face spice notes I start to notice a significant fruit contribution too; prunes, figs, raisins and I will throw out that I get some molasses flavors too even though it is not a fruit. The body is a little on the light side as it could probable use a bit more fullness and malt to carry the spice character.

Despite the over the top spiciness, and especially if you give your palate a chance to shift, this is a pretty nice beer. If the supporting malt character can remain un-oxidized and complex enough, this beer should be able to age for quite a few more years.

 1,579 characters

Photo of TheLiterati
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed for Trader Joe’s by Unibroue, Best before 08-28-2009…hmmm…I’ll have to buy another and let it age a while…

As for this one, poured a deep brown with a healthy tan head. Smells of raisins, dates and plums, really rich and slightly buttery with hints of Christmas spice.

Taste is truly amazing – just what you’d expect from Unibroue, which usually does Belgium beers well. They’ve nailed the Abby style, complete with the complexity as it warms, releasing a mild malty-sweetness without being cloying.

Mouthfeel is like velvet, making for a decidedly drinkable ale. Well done, and much more enjoyable than the 2005 vintage in my opinion.

 659 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Poured from a 750 mL bottle in a Belgian tulip glass. Very dark, even appearing black until you hold it up to the light, and then you get a deep, dark red. The head is light tan, fairly tight and has a lot of staying power. Leaves almost no lace at all. And what lace there is appears to actually be stacked up on the meniscus.

Aroma- Lots of aroma. A nice, sweet, fruity boquet mixed with the aroma of rising bread. Hints of brown sugar and caramel. Not much hop aroma, but what there is is a very spicy hop nose; but it is very well balanced. As the beer warms, the hop spiciness becomes more prevalant. Very tantalizing boquet.

Spicy, minty hops is the biggest taste in the foreground. Some malty sweetness, but the minty flavor is so overwhelming, it doesn't come through. Can't say I'm overly impressed with the taste, but I'm not a big fan of Belgian beers either. If you are, you will probably like it.

Mouthfeel- Medium body for the style. A bit over-carbonated IMO. Doesn't coat the mouth like port-style beers. Not much warming for such a high (9%) ABV beer.

Drinkability- It's okay. Definately a sipping beer. Has a very hot finish.

 1,168 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big ole 750 mL. bottle generously offered by IntriqKen

Pours with an eggplant violet dark hues topped with a densely packed khaki cap leaving some straggler lace in the glass.

Aroma of dark pumpernickel bread dough followed by a linger of anise, herbal notes and cola. Heat is detectable once warmed above refridge temps.

First swigs: Anise liquorice front with a grainy dough bready balance. Rosty malt hints and molasses sweet middle. A bit of baker's chocolate dryness with a frothy foamy feel. Warmer offering holds a tad of booziness to the gullet.

Last swigs: Anise doughy yeast...yes another doughy froth bomb from Unibroue. Easy drinkability. Somewhat one dimensional. Maybe needs a bit more depth. Glad to see that Unibroue made another brew for a cool store.

Beer is good. Happy Trader Joes Anniversary beering.

 838 characters

Photo of jhu1995
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a fizzy head. Smell was very spicey, almost peppery, with hints of alcohol. Had somewhat of a root beer taste, slightly sweet, with some spiciness. Frothy mouthfeel and full-bodied. Fairly smooth for 9% ABV. A good brew to try for the price of $5 per 750 ml.

 302 characters

Photo of OStrungT
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a brown color so dark, that it appears black unless held up to direct light. It boasts a thick, fluffy brown head that fades slowly, leaving a thick curtain of lace.

This beer has a dominate grainy aroma. It is backed with a strong peppery scent. Earthy yeats aromas are also present. Some spicyness. Cloves and coriander, but both ate mild, and somewhat hidden by the grainy and peppery aromas.

This beer tastes very much like it smells. Very peppery and grainy up front. Those flavors almost mask all other flavor. I can slightly taste a yeasty flavor and some spice. Also, I can vaguely make out the alcohol content.

This beer is very full bodied. It leaves a peppery aftertaste. It is highly carbonated.

I am not sure if this beer would make a great session beer. It tastes very aggressive, and it has a high alcohol content.

Overall: First off, this beer is brewed By Unibroue, and therefore is mislabled. Secondly, I think this beer is too flavorfull. It is overbearing. I am not sure I like it much. Sorry.

 1,044 characters

Photo of goschool
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one has had about seven months to age. Let's see what happened.

Appearance: The pour is a brown that's almost black with chestnut highlights and a massive off-white head.

Smell: The nose has roasted malts, molasses, and spices.

Taste: The flavor profile appears to have melded together into a combination of sweet roasted malts and spices. I can pick out anise, pumpernickel bread, molasses, chocolate, and raisins, but there's not a lot of complexity in the mix.

Mouthfeel: It's sticky, medium to full-bodied, with soft to average carbonation.

Drinkability: This seemed like a nice candidate for aging, but in this instance, aging muddled what had been an interesting beer.

 696 characters

Photo of BeerSox
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Caged & Corked 750mL bottle into snifter. Gold print, with Unibroue's marks on the wire and the cork. Stickly lacing here and there.

Ultra dark and opaque with minute ruby highlights. I've never seen a Belgian Strong Dark Ale this dark before. A tan thick tan head that holds well, then settles to a thick cap.

A strong mix of dark berry, warming alcohol, and a little bit of spicy phenols.

The dark berry is repeated in the flavors, dancing with strong spiciness. Some powdery creaminess can be tasted. The acidity and carbonation from this one is sharp on the tongue, mixing violently with the high alcohol. Medium bodied with very high carbonation. The finish is dry with lingering berry and cream.

Decent in the flavor department, but this one seemed very harsh (even for the style), thus reducing its drinkability. This one is probably best served with someone else to share it with. Recommended.

 915 characters

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.

 296 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of fatbatcat
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of atpca
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

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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
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