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 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.

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Photo of sleazo
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So Unibroue is brewing for Trader Joes? I couldnt pass up this offering as it is a few bucks cheaper than any Unibroue i can get around here in san diego.

Pours a dark dark black. almost no light gets through this. The smell is malty with spicy, raisin notes. Very good smelling beer. It goes down smoother than i expected and is also lighter too. the malt profile hits you right up front with th spices hitting you as the aftertaste.

All in all a nice well balanced version of a belgian dark. not my favourite IUnbroue offering but very good for the price. I will pick this up again before they run out. By the way this is very similar to Trois Pistoles. It might even be it with a different label, thoughg this might be even darker in colour. I will have to do a side by side comparison with the next bottle.

Edit, i had another one last night and i think it is getting better with age. I am going to see what i can scrounge up and hoard them.

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Photo of kmcnair
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma - Rich, purfume like malty aroma, dark dried fruits, subtle dark cocoa, cherries, banana esters, bready, yeasty, biscuity. No discernable hop aromas. Very strong esters. Slight hint of plastic-y phenolic.

Appearance - Dark brown hue, opaque. Creates a long lasting off-white mousselike head that is very long-lasting (>5 min).

Flavor - Extremely complex malt profile. Dark dried fruits - raisins, cherries, dates. Sweetness in the front but dries out in the finish. Phenolic clove-like quality is well balanced w/ fruity esters. Slight salty taste on the sides of the tongue. Malt focused, yet well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied. Warming. Medium-high carbonation. Peppery texture on the palate. Creamy, dryess in the finish.

Overall Impression - This is an excellent example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. With a bit more body, some tuning of the slightly off phenolic quality in the flavor and changing the sodium levels in the water profile, this would be nearly all 5s! For $5.99, you can't beat this beer. Another great beer from Unibroue, highly recommended.

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Photo of malcontent
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale (1st tasting, no aging)

Almost totally opaque in its darkness, decent head with a very good ring of lacing as the beer settles.

Apples, currants, sour fruit and some musty, earthy scents.

Delicious dark bread (marble rye?) flavors mingle with buttery notes. Some hop bitterness although this is mostly more complex than the normal hop/malt descriptors. A really nice Belgian dark ale.

Crisp yet rich, complex yet inviting, this feels, tastes & behaves like a really good beer should.

NOTE: unlike most Trader Joe’s contract brews, this one is not mysteriously/deceptively labeled. The cork and back of the bottle clearly attribute this beer to the bad-asses at Unibroue. In fact, it's very close to the Trois Pistoles (might even just be that beer repackaged). Still, for $4.50 a bomber I'd say Santa Joe got generous this year!

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Photo of bennetj17
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The cork is removed with an explosive "pop". Very dark black appearance, the masive foam is a grayish tan color, and it holds up well leaving some good lace along the way. Lots of holiday spice in the nose: cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, plus some cocoa, licorice and herbal notes. Nice and warming. The taste has many of the same flavors, dry with plenty of peppery spice. In fact, it really seems almost minty. The flavor is quite strong in that you really don't notice the alcohol. In the mouthfeel there is an intense bubbling that creates alot of foam. This occurs so much that it becomes difficult to try and let it sit on the tongue and discern the flavors. Moderate thickness overall.

I thought this brew was pretty good, an interesting winter offering. Some of the spicy/mint flavors might have been overdone, and the carbonation was way too intense, but I would still recommend picking one up. You don't often see any other beers brewed by Unibroue for $5 for a 750ml. I would like to see if it mellows with some age...

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Photo of DogFood11
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fizzy with a minute or two of staying power. Tan head that falls to a thin cover with little lace. Dark brown to black body.

Floral and fruity in the nose and that translates well to the taste. Shades of a backend hop presence and a little pepper are welcomed. The true core of this beer is in the fruity presence that is rich and dark in nature. Lighter citrus comes into play as well. This brew takes you in a lot of different directions. Carbonation is rather strong in this and plays a big role in the mouthfeel and cleansing snap. Incent like cloveyness to this as well. As it warms i get some black liquorice and more alcohol in the finish.

Notes: My how palates change. I liked certain aspects of this beer better this year like the complexity of the fruits and the intensity of flavor. Still though I believe this is a clone of last years in my opinion. I appreciate it more and is reflected in my score. The mouthfeel was a bit harsh for me as the carbonation had a pop rock feel to it. Scores well in the big categories and if it could improve the small stuff it could be excellent. All in all this is on par with some of the better belgian strong darks and @ $5 bucks a pop for a 750ml.... get a case today if you can.

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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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