Trader Joe's 2018 Vintage Ale
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2018 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2018 Vintage Ale
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
4 | pDev: 7%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Trader Joe's 2018 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2018 Vintage Ale
View: Beers
Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 27 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of secondtooth
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Deep black with big khaki head and lovely lacing.

Aroma: Fruity malts, spices, and yeast co-mingling in an enticing elixir of complexity.

Taste: Wow! Berries and fruit and spices balanced in a really well-rounded body with nice carbonation and a light dryness to finish it all out. A beautiful ale. Standout. I missed a year or two of this always-dependably delicious seasonal brew, but you yourself a favor and grab if you see.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL corked and caged bottle - split with the Mrs. Served in Tulip glasses. Best before 09-14-21. Date stamp J141814510FL.

Appearance: Very dark brown - almost black. Slow pour to keep the sediment behind gave a huge rocky tan head, that slowly subsided to a persistent 1/8" thick foam across the top. Lots and lots of persistent lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Yeast, hint of cloves, noble hops.

Taste: Very nice blend of spices (nutmeg, cloves), with Belgian fruity esters & yeast flavors, roasted malt, and some noble hops at the finish combined with maybe just a bit of citrus peel.

Mouthfeel: Airy/brisk initial carbonation, nice thickness, with just a bit of a dry finish.

Overall / Drinkability: A beer to savor, but very drinkable. Alcohol was very well hidden. Went well with food (pork chops + apple/saurkraut slaw).

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark rich color, thick head, sticky lacing. The nose is yeasty scones. A sip brings forward figs, plums, and dark berries. Well conditioned, solid carbonation, thick mouthfeel with being over-bearing. The spices give a nice background note. It's long gone from the stores, no doubt, but enjoyed on cold and damp evening.

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NickSMpls from Washington, Mar 09, 2019
Photo of dbell23
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had at least 1 or 2 of the last several vintages of this well priced Unibroue brew and this is by far the best. Wish I'd bought more. Highly recommended.

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dbell23 from Tennessee, Jan 08, 2019
Photo of daliandragon
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Every year I have to go to an increasing number of Trader Joe's after Christmas to find the Vintage Ale, so I have started picking up a few more each time. It continues to be a very solid product and a great value. This year's version has a luxurious texture and a bit more of a sweet chocolate note and maybe a touch less dark fruit than previous versions.

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daliandragon from Maryland, Jan 08, 2019
Photo of BeerIsGood1337
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a couple glasses of this on New Year's Eve.

Pretty decent ale! The feel is a little thin, but this brew does a good job of masking its relatively high ABV. Very thick, light brown foamy head that rises for a while. The flavors aren't as complex as I'd like when I think Belgian, but this is a damn decent imitation of them for $4.99 per 750 ml!

A real, quality Belgian ale beats it any day of the week... however, this is still very good, cheap and easy to get. Thumbs up! Good work, Trader Joe's. Did I mention it's only $4.99 for a 750 ml?

I like it, and will definitely be picking up a bottle or two of the 2019 version in the fall.

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Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours brown with tall, creamy, long lasting off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma is yeast, spices, caramel malt and dark fruit. Body is medium and crisp. Taste is of dark fruit, caramel, spices, herbal hops and brown sugar. Finish is long and dry. Very nice brew.

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mikeg67 from New Jersey, Dec 31, 2018
Photo of barnzy78
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, BB 09-14-21
Dark brown bodied ale is capped with a persistent foamy khaki head. Aroma is typical for the style: spicy yeast, sweet dark candi sugar, bread crust, brown sugar, and earthy hops. Flavors mimic aroma with classic dark Belgian notes of dark candi sugar, molasses, caramel, toffee, earthy & leafy hops, bready & spicy yeast. Full body, effervescent carbonation, sweet & spicy dry finish. Overall, just as expected: a quality Belgian style ale at a great value. A perennial pick-up for me.

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barnzy78 from Illinois, Dec 26, 2018
Photo of hreb
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Best by 09-01-21. 750mL bottle served, as always, in my Chimay chalice. Beer is rich dark brown and forms loads of tan head. Aroma is mild. Flavor has robust malt and Belgian yeast strains which become subdued to reveal a tartness, with raisin flavor, and an amazingly creamy mouthfeel. There's less spice in this year's batch, and less of the 9% ABV detectable on the palate. Instead, the vintage ale drunk young is brash with that tartness and dark fruit. But the mouthfeel really is outstanding. I look forward to seeing if the astringency mellows out in a year or two and if anything other flavors become more prominent -- as a baseline the young beer shows a lot of potential.

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hreb from Washington, Dec 25, 2018
Photo of twage04
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with medium/high carbonation. Aroma is of dark fruit, malt, a hint of roast with lots of fruity esters. Light mouthfeel with taste of fruit, malt, smooth booze and raisins/dark fruit. You can sip through threw this one or go more quickly since it is so easy to drink, either way a pleasant economical take on a belgian strong.

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twage04 from North Carolina, Dec 10, 2018
Photo of Nephilium
3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As previous years, this pours with a massive light tan head. The aroma is mild spice with a touch of dark caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, with a spicy/earth finish. The finish is much dryer then the first taste would have you expect. Light bodied, and very easy drinking. An amazing beer for the low price point. The supply may not be as large this year, as one of my local Trader Joe's is already out of stock of it.

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Trader Joe's 2018 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 27 ratings