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 PhiloPsych
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful brown Belgian ale. It had an active, fizzy head and has a sparkling mouthfeel. The color is hazy, brown with amber around the edges. The taste is perfect, classic Belgian ale--Unibroue does it right! I prefer this to both Chimay Red and Blue. Great paired with a couple of Trader Joe's cheeses!

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Photo of demitriustown
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle: I have one of the 2006 and I'm keeping a 2007 as well to age. Lost a bit of it in a cork mishap but most of the bottle is left. Aroma is nicely fruity, very carbonated , yeast, sweet plums, banana, clove and a bit of brown sugar. pours a dark amber color with a thick tan head that lingers around for a while. Taste is yeast to the forefront, sweet, heavily spiced, caramel, and somewhat of a doughy texture to this brew as well. Palate is very well carbonated and effervescent on the tongue. Overall, It's a decent brew but not as good as the other Vintages that I've tried. It's OK...Good beer just doesn't measure up in my opinion.

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Photo of johnnieoz
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Style note: while it does say "Abbey Dubbel" on the bottle, my (unreliable) memory tells me this is not all that different from TJ's Vintages of yesteryear, i.e. why is this not a Belgian Strong Dark Ale?

A: Cloudy, unfiltered, sepia brown. This is one carbonated beer (champagne-style indeed), the initial head is quite substantial but it dies down rather quickly. A layer remains, which leaves decent lacing.

S: Serious phenols and esters. A sweeter version of a Bavarian weissbier, more prunes and plums than bananas though. Nice...overdose.

T: This is kind of sweet, almost too sweet. But it has the vestiges of balance that will please most beyond the most extreme hopheads. As it swishes around the mouth, all kinds of flavors are happening.

M: Light for being such a tasty, aromatic brew. The carbonation prickles the gums but there is no viscosity to go with that. Nor is this a chewy or oily ale on the palate.

D: Still dealing with this 750 ml 9% ABV, it's a struggle, albeit a pleasant one, to down this.

Whether or not Unibroue has "dumbed" this one down from e.g. a Trois Pistoles, this is a good beer. At this price, still $4.99 plus CRV and tax, only a fool would complain. One day, I will do a blind taste test with Trois Pistoles, a Belgian and this one...

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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 1759Girl
4.44/5  rDev +15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance> not too dissimilar to the color of the bottle. Dark brown, creamy head, no lacing.

Smell> cinnamon, molasses, yeast

Taste> Full dubble taste, spicey, fabulous with a capital fab.

Mouf> Champagne like liveliness, smooth

Drinkability> yessiree.

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Photo of KBomb
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Small foamy head on top of an interesting hue of dark copper on the edge but near black at the top and center. A rich bouquet of fruit aromas come off the top: cherry, plumb, and a hint of chocolate. As wonderful as the smells were, they ended up a little confused on the tongue. A bitterness mixed up the fruit a little bit which wasn't entirely pleasant. Also surprising was the high carbonation, a little less might let the flavors blend better. For such a high AVB it was fairly drinkable.

I picked this up at TJs for $4.99 when I heard it was brewed over at unibroue knowing that it was a screaming deal. Even though the taste was slighly underwhelming, I'd still call it a good deal. I'm beginning to think I served it still a little too cold, that the flavors might have found their mark at a better temp. It was certainly unique, and I'm not dissapointed I bought it... only wish I could try it again to find out its true character.

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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 mithrascruor
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a very dark color with reddish-brown highlights. Thin but dense & creamy off-white head.

Smell: Dark fruity aroma of raisins, figs, sugared plums, etc. Generally sweet.

Taste: Dense dark-fruit taste with plenty of sugar, yet also with a somewhat bitter presence and finish. Has a heavy, dank spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a bit more carbonation than I would have anticipated.

Drinkability: Nice and drinkable; nothing amazing, but solid.

The aftertaste is a bit bitter for this type of beer, but it's a decent American (or, rather, Canadian) attempt at a Dubbel. Though brewed by Unibroue, it's hardly my favourite offering of theirs. Nevertheless, for the price and availability it's a great introduction to Belgian style beer for many people, I am sure.

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Photo of mpyle
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App - Rich amber color, very clear, thick white head with okay retention.

Aroma - Initial impression was a minty sweetness, some alcohol, but not overpowering. Candy sweetness.

Flavor - bubblegum and mint initially, quite sweet. No sharp bitterness, but dries out in the finish (candi sugar?) Gentle malt sweetness with some fruitiness, but generally not very exciting. Not flawed, just not much here.

MF - Med-full body, low-moderate carbonation. Style appropriate alcohol warming, but very well controlled. Very pleasant MF for a 9% beer.

D'ability - Slightly bland, but a highly drinkable 9% beer is a bit of an anomaly. Takes like a rounded edges, bland, macro brew interpretation of a big Belgian ale. Not Unibroue's best effort, but packs a punch at a good price from TJ's.

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

A-Pours a hazy brown amber with a cola-like consistence. Thick head and decent retention. Very light, faint lacing.
S-Spicy fig w/light malt. Also some red apple.
T-Attack is tingly carbonation and red apples, with figs and white grapes in midpalate, and tingly spice in the finish. Also a bit of dry hops and alcohol at the end.
M-Fairly light body but carbonation gives it enough backbone to carry the spicy yeast flavors. A little light on the finish as well, but the finish is even and clean.
D-Body is deceptively light for abv. It goes down very smoothly, and it's easy to drink a lot. Overall a pleasant drink.

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Photo of n1ckels
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

$4.99 for a large bottle, and this remains the best beer I've tried in '08, although Aventinus is a close 2nd. I know not Trader Joe's history as a brewer, and know my fair share of cheaply priced, but poorly executed attempts at flavor recreation. I proudly wave the checkered flag at this attempt, however.

This beer was like taking a trip back to the mall candy store. The taste was a medley of cotton candy, sourballs, and sweetarts, but not in an artificial or sugary way. Or maybe it was like the aroma of a cinnamon roll bakery or donut shop. All I can assure you of is that this beer will take you to clouds, and believe me, I love beers bitter, but this is an eloquent exception. Try it, buy it. Let the skeptics scoff at the label--


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Photo of semihobo
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby with vigorous bubbling that produces a fair head, could be a little more substantial. Waves of lace cascade down the side upon tipping the glass.

Smell is potent and rich. Ripe fruit, including peaches, apricots, and raisin, dominates. A robust yeasty banana note strikes as well.

This ale is sweet, with slightly sour fruit in the front yielding to a rich malt and yeast middle and sweet, earthy, dessert-biscuit finish with a touch of flavoring hops. Pleasantly nutty and certainly not cloying. Alcohol is well masked, although it becomes noticeable in the form of a sharp bite as the brew warms.

Mouthfeel is creamy and better than the "Champagne-like effervescence" promised on the bottle -- it is much smoother than Champagne.

Unibroue at Trader Joe's prices... this 750ml was $4.99. Next year I will remember to load up. Well done.

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Photo of choyhosoi
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured fron a bomber into a glass

A-Excellent white head that stays strong for awhile.Dark root beer color is the best I can describe this one.

S-Raisin,plum,some light citrus,a hint of apple. this is just swimming with aroma

T/M/D-Pretty easy to drink. Just a bite of the alchol hits right away then it goes down smooth.I think I would have to try another bottle to compare this one to the 2006 version . I just wish I had saved an 06 version because they are both good.

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Photo of montageman
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Very nice deep, rich brown color with a nice bone white head that is around 2 fingers at first and leaves a little lacing behind.

S: Sweet, spicy - I smell a little peach as well, maybe a little like peach cobbler?

T: Clove, dried peach, brown sugar - very complex.

M: Decent carbonation - needs more body

D: Very nice for $4.99 per 750mL bottle. Very tasty - will be interested to see how this holds up over time. Recommended.

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

Pours from the 750ml., typical brown Belgian bottle with cork and cage, a dark coppery-red with a massive ivory head of three plus fingers. The foam settles quickly to a patchy surface with ring and some blotchy lace remains on the glass.

The smell is rather sweet and spicy, mostly of over-ripened stone fruits and notes of yeast as well. Plum, banana, fig, molassas and an array of spices blend together with high carbonation and plenty of alcohol, resulting in a fairly complex, bit too fizzy, better than average tasting strong ale.

Nothing wrong with this brew per se, it just doesn't have enough meat in the body and is a little over carbonated for my likes in this style. Good flavor and definitely worth trying, especially for the price.

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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 warmstorage
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle, 2007 vintage ale, no other dating.

Appearance: deep murky burgandy to light brown, with a dense but light off-white head, limited lacing. Decent looking, but not super impressive.

Aroma: candy, brown sugar, yeasty phenolics.

Taste: Lots of Belgian spice, cloves, white pepper, some plummy stonefruits, slight hints of vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. A little bit of cola?

Mouth: Tingly warm spicy, with high carbonation. Almost a little too high.

Overall: Tasty, fun, drinkable, but not amazing. It's good and drinkable for the price, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it.

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

Deep auburn brown color, thick and hazy. Head is tight and fades from medium to small size. Smells deeeelightful. All sort of aromas packed into a smooth mix. Some are nuts, bubblegum, berries, delicate fruity cocoa, banana, peppercorns, dough and caramel glaze. With all that and the high abv there is also nice smooth clarity and a crisp, fresh spring water-like edge. Taste is no disappointment. Shares all the characteristics of the nose but has added peppery/tingly carbonation and a noticeable (if you look for it) alcohol. Feels real nice in your mouth. Thick and floaty, soft and smooth with awesome Belgian-like fine carbonation bubbles. Very dirnkably-delightful.

Good thing we bought two bottles so far. More shall come.

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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 kleffman
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Corked and caged bottle from Trader Joes poured into a small goblet glass. Pours a fairly cloudy reddish brown with a nice little bubbly head and good retention.

Aroma consists of bready yeast, sweet malt, dark fruits and some alcohol presence that isn't overpowering. Slightly herbal.

Taste is a pleasant blend of spicy yeast character, overripe plums and some toasted malt. Quite spicy and peppery, not overly complex but balanced and rather delicious.

Medium bodied with a high carbonation level. Effervescent as they say on the bottle. Highly enjoyable and pretty drinkable, perfect for a chilly winter night in San Diego I would say. Really when you think about it, you're getting a fine Belgian style ale from a top-notch brewery at a price that can't be beat. These Trader Joe's offerings never disappoint.

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Photo of SiphonKing
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from a bottle with a cork (Unibroue written on it) and a wire tie. Pours brownish with the fruity, yeasty aromas characteristic of the Dubbel style. A slight spiciness in the taste followed with the tart, estery flavors of a decent Belgian. A whole bottle can be a little cloying so it could use some aging (at least a year or more) to mellow the flavors and make them more well rounded.

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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 xymyl
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish brown with a light tan fragile head that drops fairly quickly to a quarter inch leaving lace, but can easily be stirred up again. Carbonation is intense at first.

Nose is overpowered by phenols at first, then sweet fruity notes emerge, followed by caramel and toasted notes. The whole thing is saturated in spice, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, even some herbal notes including mint, lemon grass and some coriander.

Taste is very much as the nose would suggest but a bit harsh until the carbonation falls to a more reasonable level. Starts off more round with a spicy build up toward the end.

Overall, a very high quality beer at a great price. Medium to medium/full body. Very drinkable. Will display some great qualities as it matures in about 5 years (if you like the winey qualities that develop in such beers). I need to get a case, I like it much better than last years even though it is very similar.

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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 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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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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