Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale

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

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Overlord on 12-22-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 75
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber that is well-drinkable. Medium mouthfeel, candyish sweetness, honey and caramel in finish. Yeasty aroma. Some clove and cardomon. Not very complex but well-served with food. A bomber is a lot.Not the Unibroue yeast that bugs me, but their spice is their signature.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I know the bottle says its a dubbel but I think it had some brown ale characteristics. In any case, the beer was a nice dark brown color with a moderate haziness to it. The head was tall and white but disapeared quickly leaving no lacing behind. There was a good amount of carbonation but not too much.

The smell was of caramel malts, sugar, and yeast. Pretty nice aroma, still young though. The flavor was very enjoyable. Here is where you can see the brown ale qualities that I mentioned. Picture a belgian pale ale mixed with a english brown ale and a slight hop bitterness. I think its better than the 2006 but they are both quite good.

The body is medium/light and thats alright. It is a very smooth and drinkable beer, I intend to age a few of these for the next couple years.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle drank in August 2010: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry plums and figs with a sweet malt base and the usual rich bready yeast profile from Unibroue. Taste is sweeter then I was expecting with some notes of dry raisins and plums, sweet malt backbone and loads of ester of the yeast. Body was full with good carbonation and light warming notes of alcohol. Good thought not as good as the previous example or maybe the aging has not done any good to this one.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice amber color with a light hint of caramel around the edges, big head comes up and over the top and settles down gently into a firm and long lasting pillow with loads of side glass lacing. Aroma is nice, much sweeter then I was expecting. Lots of caramel and malts right up front here, light hint of an herbal note boucning around as well, but not terribly strong. Warming brings out a yeast note that is quite intresting and adds a light fruit touch to it, but very sweet still. Flavor again is very intresting and not what I was expecting. Rich notes of caramel and almost candied like sugar abound here. Light touches of hops play on the tongue now as well, very intresting. Comes across almost like an amber ale to me, has that bready maltiness and caramel flavor I associate with it. A bit thin on the feel but the carbonation really saves it

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Photo of womencantsail
3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark caramel color with a short lived off-white head.

S: This one also smells super vinous with lots of sweet, white grapes. There's quite a bit of booze, too. Lots of cardboard and a high carbonation that sort of stings the nose. Perhaps a touch of herbs.

T: The flavor is reminiscent of a sparkling wine. A sort of buttery chardonnay flavor to go with the cardboard and mild herbal character. A really high carbonation to it that gives it a somewhat acidic feel.

M: The body is medium with a very high level of carbonation.

D: Not quite as good as the 2005, but certainly better than the 2006. Still don't think I'd really be interested in having this one again.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy, initially five-finger thick, light tan colored head that is a full finger above the rim of my glass. The beer is a deeply blackened, concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, ruby red hue when held up to the light. The aroma is an even mix of spices and candied malt / sugars. The spices are a bit earthy, softly savory, yet quite piquant; soft notes of cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, noticeable clove and a touch of young pickled ginger. The malt and sugar notes provide and accent ample notes of prunes, raisins, dried figs and a touch of tart plum, as well as soft notes of molasses, caramelized brown sugar, treacle, browned bread crust and toasty grain. This has quite an interesting aroma, it smells like desert with its concentrated fruit character and soft malt contribution.

Only lightly sweet when compared to the suggestions of the aroma, though this does have a fruity-sweet middle to it. Somewhat light bodied, which is also accented by an ample carbonation, especially when you take the strength into account. This pretty much captures the lightness of the better, higher alcohol, Belgian inspired brews. Spicy flavors of ginger, clove, fenugreek, nutmeg, pepper and light cardamom accentuated fruity notes of prunes, figs and light cherry notes. The alcohol provides a touch of warming to the finish, which couples with some spice driven turpene notes that are surprisingly smooth.

Much more balanced than the 2006 version. This has a really nice mix of fruit and spice; the spices are of the type one would add to deserts so it works quite well, if not a touch simplistic in it desert-like focus; though I should mention that this beer is not overly sweet, which is certainly a good thing.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a nice reddish-brown with good carbonation and a nice head. Nose of raisins and prunes, caramel.Tasted much like it smelled. Not a overpowering brew and eventhough I did not drink it all it is better than most of its kind. I just cant see myself drinking all of that bottle in one sitting.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml corked and caged bottle, best before 10/28/2010. Served in a goblet, the beer pours a murky brownish/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention is good, lacing is OK. It smells like raisins, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raspberries and a bit of spice. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar and some peppery spice and also an herbal flavor. Taste isn't as sweet compared to the aroma. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and it's well carbonated. Drinkability is decent, would be better if the carbonation was a bit lower. Overall I think it's a decent brew, I liked it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy deep amber with a light tan head. In the aroma, candy sugar, small roasty malt and a bit biscuity. In the taste, sweet smoothness and a light maltiness, with a small yeasty presence. A smooth, and medium mouthfeel, with a small dry candy sugar aftertaste. Hides the 9% well, smooth and sweet, almost feels session-ish, hiding the 9% that well.

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Photo of gford217
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from oldstylecubfan poured into a tulip.

Pours dark chestnut brown in the glass that has lots of orange when held up to light. The head is a creamy beige two-finger cap that recedes to a big collar and a swirl along the top.

The aroma is sweet with candi sugar taking a lead role with some compliments from dark fruits, especially raisins. There is also a sweet yeast aroma with a light spiciness capping off the aroma.

The taste is sweet but doesn't have quite the same overpowering candi sugar and yeast presence as the aroma. They're certainly there but the spices and dark malts seem to be more prevalent. The finish is where the spices really come out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sugary sweet but with more than enough carbonation to keep it from becoming cloying. Between the spices and carbonation, it's very lively on the palate.

A very good Belgian dubbel that balances the sweetness and spiciness very well and remains very drinkable. It's not a great beer, but the Trader Joes vintages are clearly one of the best value Belgian-style beers for the money.

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Photo of illidurit
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brownish copper color with a big fluffy beige head. The foam dies out quickly leaving no lacing. Aroma is very gingery with additional accents of chocolate mousse, raspberry, brown sugar, bubblegum, and dried dark fruit. Very complex and intriguing aroma but overall it's just too sweet smelling. Flavor is less sweet but it's also less complex. Dark crusty bread, light spices, leather, pepper. Dry, astringent finish with some alcohol warmth. Body is too thin and carbonation is much too high and it's coarse to boot. Lacks the expected Belgian fullness and refinement. Not bad for the very cheap price tag.

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Photo of wedge
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed deep chestnut color with a loose off-white head that holds as a sticky ring around the edge. Aromas of sweet malt, a hint of chocolate, dough, cherries, moderate spice, and a pleasant fruity tartness. Very nice. The flavor opens with dark fruity esters, followed by phenols, mild clove, and a nutmeg-like spiciness. Familiar Unibroue yeast. Lingering raisin and mild tobacco. The body is a bit heavier than medium and highly carbonated. Finishes dry and a little warming.

This is quite tasty and, as mentioned by other people, for $4.99 its hard to beat. We already have a second bottle, but I might grab a couple more next time we're at Trader Joe's, just for the hell of it.

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Photo of blackie
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Fluffy eggshell head with good retention. The beer is a deep plum brown in color. Only thing really lacking is lacing.

s: Fruity dark Belgian malt sugars give heavy candied prune notes. Also a nice estery yeast presence with and an aged hop aroma. Sweet and spicy ethanol aroma. Hints of aromatic, sweet tobacco. Some banana and coriander. Quite good.

m: Delicate, high carbonation and a medium-full body

t: Full of dark fruits and Belgian malts with a healthy dose of yeast. Papery hop flavor with a light bitterness. Appropriate level of sweetness that cleans up nicely. Not killer complex, but very well done.

d: good for the style and abv

a great value at $4.99

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Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought back from LA ironically brewed in Canada. This is a solid offering from Unibroue possibly much like trois pistoles. The beer is reddish dark brown with a multi-hued head and a dark fruit nose. There is a real drinkability to this dubbel with a smooth deep finish. Apparently this very well priced at Trader Joes. Sweet deal on a great beer

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Photo of ffejherb
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sharing this vintage 2007 bottle on 12/28/09.

A - Poured a deep, earthy brown liquid with dark amber hues and half an inch of bubbly beige head that receded quickly into a sparse patch, leaving a thin ring of lace around the rim of the glass.

S - Very dry and champagne-esque aroma with prevalent yeast and dark fruit notes... dried fruit, in particular. There is also an underlying syrupy sweetness reminiscent of caramel, toffee and licorice. A light fume of alcohol rounds out the aroma.

T - Flavor takes on a maple syrup-like wuality with a dark fruit character suggesting raisins, plums and dried fruit. Finishes quite sweet and malty with caramel notes and a touch of alcohol warmth.

M - Medium to full-bodied with a syrupy texture and moderate carbonation. Fairly dry finish with minimal alcohol warmth on the palate, although it retains its sweetness to the end.

D - Overall, I liken this to a malty, champagne-like Belgian-style beer with a healthy dose of tangy fruit. Quite enjoyable overall.

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Photo of Floydster
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle purchased a few days ago at the Trader Joe's in Manhattan Beach for five dollars, split with my dad and friend tonight, poured into my Rubicon snifter

A-Medium brown with some darker tones, tons of little bubbles rushing to the top, small 1/2 inch bubbly off white head, some retention, small amount of lacing
S-Wheat, bananas, esters, strong bubble gum, brandy and other light booze, coriander, orange peel, prunes, and sweet raisins
T-Starts off with a big wheat flavor mixed with some spice, then the middle is pretty bland and has some slightly sweet malt, finish is slightly dry but has no real strength, gets sweeter as time goes by, more fruit than anything in this one, some warming alcohol in the aftertaste later, it could pass as a dark hefeweizen if it was not for the strength
M-Sweet and chewy mouthfeel, thin to medium bodied, lots of carbonation, taste does not linger long, and was quite light for its style
D-Could not drink much more than the eight or nine ounces I had, heavy on the stomach, taste is tiresome, not much going on, smooth at least, alcohol is more hidden than the 2006

This one did not impress as much as the previous year drank right before it, but still not bad for the money, very dark in color for a dubbel and had good qualities but some that were not so great too, have one more bottle I will drink in the future, worth trying for its price alone

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Photo of Overlord
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy to see this on the shelves today, as I enjoyed the 2006 vintage. This beer, while bottled under the Trader Joe's label, is still brewed/produced by Unibroue, a Quebec brewery that remains one of my faves.

Pours a murky orange-ish amber with a big, big white head. The carbonation immediately startles you. I didn't realize this was a Dubbel right off, and was surprised to discover that was the beer style. I would have guessed, perhaps, Belgian strong pale ale... but they usually aren't this bubbly either. Remains well carbonated throughout, although the head does disappear rather quickly. The back of the bottle isn't lying about the "champagne effervescence", this brew's mouthfeel is a lot lighter than the heavy ABV would lead you to expect. Not really Dubbel-esque, but kind of a hybrid. Clearly they were experimenting here.

The smell, and taste, is heavy with malts and yeast. In a blind taste test, I'm pretty confident I could pick this out as a Unibroue; something about their yeast component is really distinctive. This a very sweet beer. There's almost no roasted/bitter/sour hop tones to it. There's a hint of chocolate, some cherries (not sour), citrus (orange?)/pine, and maybe even grapes. I'm not good at picking out spices, but there's a few in here. Unfortunately, they are somewhat of an off-note ... in fact, the spice content most reminds me of Stone's rare failure (IMHO): the 070707 Vertical Epic. I've knocked the taste score down a notch, as I just didn't care for the spice aftertaste.

This is the rare beer in which I've rated the smell higher than the taste (I think I've done that twice in my entire BeerAdvocate reviewing career). It's both exotic and laden with promise that the beer nearly delivers.

A good, solid beer. Pretty unique. I don't think I'll ever see a Dubbel with this type of carbonation/sweet component ever again.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown color, nearly black when held away from the light, but shows ruby red highlights around the edges otherwise. Not much head forms in the goblet, not as much as I would have thought anyhow. The head is ecru in color, fairly frothy, leaves little lace, and doesn't retain particularly well.

Spicy aroma, lots of clove and allspice. Earthy, not too pungent. Soft notes of dried dark fruit and caramelized brown sugar. Fairly fruity, not terribly complex, but there are some pleasant notes hit here.

Up front, the beer seems quite light-bodied, and the initial flavors suggest less sweetness than one would expect. As it warms and spreads over the tongue, there is definitely plenty of fruity sweetness and dessert spicing. Generally this reminds me of a Christmastime dessert, with the dark spicing and sugary fruits. The high alcohol shows its head with a deeply peppery explosion toward the end of the sip, especially when held in the mouth.

I think it's just a little bit thin to be an exciting example of style. There's some nice pleasant flavors going on, but it's just a hair too treacle-sweet without the engaging complexity of St. Bernardus 8 or Westmalle's Dubbel.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although I think fairly highly of Trader Joe's, I'm still impressed they got Unibroue to brew this for them. The color is a deep, multicolored brown with orange striping. Head is strong at first but soon diminishes to a cap. Nose is lightly spiced and sweet with dark malt and some faint fruits.

Nicely balanced with plenty malt and fruit and a minimum of spice. A clean finish and understated alcohol presence are positive attributes. The mouthfeel is a little thin for a dubbel but the carbonation compensates somewhat.

This is a solid, if unspectacular Belgian and definitely the best of the TJ line. However, when you throw affordability next to quality, this is suddenly a much more attractive option.

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Photo of spointon
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from the 750ml bottle that Trader Joes (Unibroue) sells this beer in.

A= This beer pours a murky, cloudy, unattractive looking brown color. The head is huge and beautiful upon pouring, but quickly reduces to 1/4 inch.

S= This beer smells fantastic! I detect Belgian yeast (with all of the appropriate funk that entails) as well as berries, alchohol, and bread.

T= This is damn good Belgian style beer for this price. Nothing to really bitch about, yet its $4.99 a 750ml bottle. Great!

MF= This is a good mouthfeel beer. The higher carbonation actually cuts the alchohol a bit and makes this beer more smooth.

D= A fantastically easy brew to drink. Its hard not to bring price into this, but in the grand scheme of things, this is a good brew, not a great brew. However, for about $2.50 a pint, this is an outstanding value! Great job Trader Joes and Unibroue!!!

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Photo of DogFood11
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle corked and caged. Poured into a tulip it forms a fizzy highly carbonated and tight off white head. Brown body. Head fades quickly like a soda.

Like previous releases its on the sweet side and fairly candied. Raisins and plumbs make up the bulk of the body. Alcohol is very well hidden in the depth of sweetness. I've aged these in the past and found that fresh is the best with this vintage ale. When aged it seems to lose a bit of the vibrance and gets a tad thick.

Notes: $4.99 a bottle its tough to hack the price per value as its an above average Belgian Strong dark ale. Not really night capper material and more of an appetizer type brew.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured hazy dark brown color with a large light brown creamy head that mostly lasted and produced good lacing. Good malty, fruit and spice aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Full complex fruit and sweet malty flavor with a long fizzy finish with a small alcohol tone. Good brew at a fair price. I got three bottles to age for the next three years.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark chestnut with garnet highlights and a lovely beige head that laces beautifully as it slowly drops to a thick curtain. Looks top notch in my Lucifer goblet.

Aroma is decidedly Unibrou, dark sweet malt, tons of dark fruit, spicey yeasy, and hints of musty, earthy dryness.

Flavor begins moderately sweet, with dark fruit poached in spiced caramel. It softens with hints of leather and tobacco and as it warms the spice presents itself in the way of clove, allspice, and hints of ginger. Bottle says brewed w/ 4 spices, wonder what they actually are. There is no trace of the 9% abv, making this dangerously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is soft, very slick and slippery and feels smooth on the tongue. Could use just a bit more body though. Scary drinkability for a $5 750. Time to stock up!

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark ruby brown in color with a nice head formed. Smell is dark fruits, and that significant Unibroue yeast. I'm not a big fan of Dubbel's but this is bigger, darker and has more dark fruit than your typical Dubbel. This is actually drinking quite nice. Good mouthfeel. These are a great deal at Trader Joe's when they come out. Will have to pick up a bunch of the new release this winter.

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Photo of scootny
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An almost clear mahogany with a light tan head. A touch of cloudiness. Good bits of lace here and there. No real carbonation visible.

Smell is rich with dark fruits and roasted malt. A good bit of alcohol and burnt sugar. Yeasty esters mix in.

Taste is roasted malt and mocha. A yin and yang of coffee and chocolate. Dark fruits and molasses. A dark brown bread. An alcohol bite that blends into the hops. Finish is light floral hoppiness and a dry bitterness. Graham crackery notes on the palates and touch of banana and toffee. More mocha as well. The alcohol almost disappears at the right temperature and with the swirling in of the yeast. Feel is full and gently effervescent, leading to an almost creamy consistency. Very smooth it improves significantly with the yeast in the glass.

The drinkability depends on two things. Temperature and yeast. This one really want to be cellar temp and not a degree colder. Drink it as cloudy as possible. A very good winter or cold rainy night warmer.

Thanks to WasTrinkenSie. A solid brew that will have me looking for a TJ's that sell beer.

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Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 75 ratings.
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