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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2008 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 khiasmus on 11-30-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 116
Photo of Strix
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky pale chestnut with good head.

Smell fruity and spicey -- peach, yeast, toffee, tropical fruits.

Taste is a blend of fruits and spices. Yeast, peach, pear, apple, various spices, finishes crisp.

Mouthfeel bubbly.

This was very solid, with a nice price. Not exactly sure how this setup works, as this is clearly a Unibroue, but I'm not going to complain.

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Photo of mpyle
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App - root beer brown, pours a solid just off-white head, finely bubbled and with decent retention.

Aroma - slightly metallic, yeasty smell. Sweet with a combination of clove and chocolate.

Flavor - malty, chcolately sweet, and never gets bitter. However, enough attenuation or bitterness to prevent it from being overly sweet. Yeast character subdued, but do have a clovey, lingering slightly sweet finish.

MF - med full body, med-high carbonation. Pleasant alcohol warming - style appropriate. Carbonation enhances this warming.

D'ability - enough balance to make it drinkable, but the carbonation and warming limit the sessionability.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 7/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep red amber. Moderate off white head fades to thin film with light lacing. Nice Belgian aroma. Mild malt with dark fruits, sharp carbonation up front. Fades to lighter fruit and malt, spices and finishes a bit abruptly with a bit of hop bitterness and an interesting lingering caramel aftertaste. Tastes nice. I regret that I did not record my original comments on this when fresh, although I remember being pleasantly pleased (and bought two cases!). Like other Trader Joe's Vintage beers, time has treated this well. Mellow and tasty.

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Photo of FatCaster
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to try to ignore the price and pleasing presentation of the bottle and just review the beer here, but those are indeed bonuses.

A--Poured into a mug. Had a picturesque tan colored head that filled out nicely and dissipated pretty quickly. But there was little ring of foam that just would not die and left lacing when the glass was tipped.

S--My friend said it smelled like vomit. But he is dumb. In fact, it smelled like bready malts and sweet dried fruits.

T--Very fruity, with a touch of yeast to it. Fades to bananas and a tiny touch of hops at the very end.

M--Fairly thick, but still refreshing. Very carbonated so it hides the alcohol until it is warming your throat.

D--Lets just say that all 750 ml disappeared very quickly.

Great value, will buy a couple more, probably at least one for aging.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into tulip.

dark reddish brown, almost clear. fluffy, foamy off-white head gradually recedes to a constant thin layer. moderate lacing.

spices and fruit aromas upfront. cinnamon and anise, raisins and apple with phenols in the back again emphasizing the spice. hints of leafy hop. caramel maltiness as a consistent foundation.

similar spices on the palate and more light on the fruitiness, with the phenols a little stronger, giving a crescendo to the moderate noble hop bitterness in the middle. gentle malt caramel note. finish has more spices too.

smooth, lightly syrupy, with phenols emphasizing a slight astringency in the finish. creamy yet lightly creamy carbonation.

a great value. wish i'd picked up some more.

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Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008 release smells of dark fruits and brown sugar, perhaps banana bread made with black molasses.

These flavors continue on the tongue, with the dark fruit esters especially present. Deep below those fruits are caramel and chocolate malt flavors, as well as tobacco. A nice, well-balanced smattering of hops completes the palate, mostly noticeable in the slight tingling the ale leaves on the tongue. But the dark fruit flavors easily dominate, creating a huge sugary-alcohol flavor to this brew, no doubt in no small part because of its 9% alc./vol. status.

Anyone familiar with some of Unibroue's other offerings (especially their other "ales on lees" such as Trois Pistoles), will easily recognize the flavors present here. In fact, it might be an interesting comparison to see what the differences are between Trois Pistoles and the 2008 Vintage Ale; it seems to my memory that they share far more in common than not.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red color with a fizzy head with fair retention.
Smells of belgian yeast, this beer smells like a Unibroue which it is. maybe a little pine apple.
Lots of carbonation, almost to much but the rest of the mouthfeel is great. Tastes fruity, and very belgian, maybe a little raisons.
At $5 for a 750ml this beer is an incredible value. I will be buying much more of this in the future.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy deep brown color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of typical Unibroue Belgian ester with deep rich malt with hints of candi sugar. Taste is also a nice mix between some rich Belgian malt with notes of candi sugar and that typical Unibroue ester. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Very well done though quite similar to prior year vintage.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml dark bottle, caged and corked poured into a mug

Trader Joe's Vintage 2008 Ale poured a dark amber color with a light 2-finger tan head that held well and looked inviting. The Ales aroma is dominated by fruit [apples, banana] and a little dark sugar. Taste is of the same and is balanced with a sweet finish. Mouth feel is on the creamy side with an abundance of effervescent carbonation that produced fine bubbles that bounced around in the mouth.

Trader Joe's Vintage 2008 Ale sure tasted like it is related to Unibroue - a nice "family" to be a part of...definitely will revisit this Ale.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, ruddy brown with a foamy tan head that leaves a very thick lace. Yeast and alcohol in the nose with a definite fruity aroma. The taste is recognizably Unibroue--this beer is a close cousin of both Maudite and Trois Pistoles. Also like those other two beers, the taste of this one shifts and becomes increasingly complex as it warms. A nice Belgian-style dark ale.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a brownish color with a minimal off-white head forming.

S: The nose is quite sweet with lots of caramel, candi sugar, and light fruits such as pears and apples. There's a touch of alcohol as well as a hint of darker fruits like raisins.

T: Despite the definite sweetness, there's a touch of dryness to the beer. Still some good fruit notes like apples, pears, raisins, and plums. Lots of candi sugar and caramel as well.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth.

D: One of the best (if not the best) of the Trader Joe's vintage beers. A more standard and drinkable Belgian-style beer.

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Photo of bolddeciever
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown, with a tall, fluffy, just-off-white head.

S: Notes of dark fruit, fig and prune prominent.

T: Moderate to high sweetness, almost overpowering in first taste but mellowing through the glass, giving way as the pallate adjusts to the dark fruit flavors noticed in the aroma. Some hop bitterness at the tail end.

M: High carbonation dominates early on, giving way to decent body.

D: For a 9%, the alcohol is rather muted. Couldn't drink it all night, for sobriety reasons, but definitely goes down smooth.

O: At first sip, the sweetness and high carbonation almost gives a coca-cola character, but this really mellows after the first few sips. The right food pairing could probably help a lot, espescially with the sweetness. Great bottle of beer, espescially at the $4.99 price tag for 750 ml.

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Photo of Nickls
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Muddy water brown in color, poured with a nice finger of white foam. Head didn't last too long.

S - Passion fruit aromas, and maybe even some pruniness with sweetish toffee and maltiness.

T - Fruitiness right up front, and the passion fruit comes near apple-like in the flavor, toffee and a bit of a roasted coffee in the finish.

M - Nice tight carbonation, and thinner MF. Very much what I would expect for the style, but perhaps a bit lighter than other examples

D - Very drinkable dubbel. Enjoyed the nuances, and definitely enough curiosity to take another and another swig. Nice warming alcohol, but by no means rears too heavy.

Overall, this is more than a solid example of the style and I very much enjoyed the brew.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Beer is brown and hazy. Forms an off white thin head of small bubbles. Carbonation is low and steady, beer is really hazy. Head leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong and bready, sweet, yeasty. Smells like a La Fin Du Monde and that would make sense to me. I like the smell. Some fruits in there, sweet fruits.

Beer is medium bodied and finishes nicely. There isn't really any bitterness, I am not sure what I would have guessed this beer was but dubbel is a fine catagorization, maybe. Strong dark? Anyway, mouthfeel is good, carbonation doesn't really do anything in the mouth but there is some complex fruit character to it. Some nice sweet plum or banana. Finishes nicely as well. It was fine.

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Photo of BravoTwo
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown, with reddish tinges at the fringes, nice beige head.

S - Dark fruits, raisin, sweetness with belgian notes.

T - Dark, flavorful, fruit. Raisin and biscuity malt. Very well done dubbel and truly tasty.

M - Medium carbonation, nice body.

D - Easy drinking dubbel, well made. Flavorful and well balanced. Plus... the price is right!

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750ml bottle in early December for $4.99. Best before 9-9-2011.

Beer poured brown with a large bubbly head that disapated quickly. Nose is banana, slight hint of rum, and malts. Taste has classic Belgian yeast strain, dark fruits soaked in a hint of rum, caramel, toffee, and a hint of cinnamon balanced nicely with a hint of hops. Mouthfeel is classic belgian, light to medium bodied and very smooth across the palate. Overall drinkability is very good for the style as the abv is very well hidden. Great deal at $4.99! I'll be sure to look again for it next year.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The TJ's 2008 Vintage from Unibroue poured a ruby brown with a tiny foam head that dissipated quickly. It had the typical well spring of carbonation in center of my Chimay glass. Tight little bubble came to the sides of the glass as well.

The aroma was spicy with a good dose of brown sugar and a dark fruit. You could get a little of the abv in the nose. The taste had a good bit of malt up front with the signature yeast coming through to give you a tiny bit of fruitiness. In the mouth the 9% was well hidden. Overall a pretty darn good beer especially for the price. I will buy this again if they still have it at TJ's.

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Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Chimay goblet. Best before 9/9/11 and comes in at 9%.

A-Huge pop when this one is uncorked. Brown with some nice red hues when put up to a light. Has a really fluffy one finger off white head that stays around after each pour.

S-Belgian yeast, candy sugar, and spices such as clove and cinammon.

T-Those same spices from the nose hit upfront. Taste rum soaked raisins, candy sugar, yeast, and malt.

M-Serious carbonation upfront. Lighter bodied and dry. The foam that sticks around makes itself known in each sip, resulting in a creamy texture at the end. Get some lingering hop bitterness from the Noble hops they use.

D-The alcohol definitely warms you up. This is a good nightcap.

A very good beer at an amazing price point ($4.99). Would like to try one of these ai it gets closer to its best by date of September 2011.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Trader's Joe - Cincinnati.

A - Poured a clear brown color with a huge creamy off-white head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing.

S- Moderate nutty malt and yeast aroma.

T - Medium bittersweet flavor with a medium fruity sweet finish of moderate duration.

M - Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation.

D - My expectation where met and I got two more bottles to age for the next two years.

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Photo of scottoale
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml. cork/caged brown bottle with gold silk-screened label and a Best Before: 09-09-2011, printed on the back. After a brief wrestle with a stubborn cork, it comes out with a pop and pours a lightly murky hazelnut brown with adequate carbonation and then some. The head is a lofty near three-fingers beige floam in my Duvel tulip, with some sticky lace as well.

The smell is very sweet, full of spice and fruits. Spicy clove, coriander, pepper and ?, pretty much dominate the fruit malty backdrop. As it warms the malt speaks-up and so does the alcohol...a definite plus.

The taste is spicy right up front, with notes of plum, candi sugar and a slight warming alcohol pulling through at the finish. Somewhat complex flavor that could use a bit more age on it. Very sweet too say the least.

Full body with some fluffiness and just a bit prickly on the tongue...pepper like.

Overall a pretty good Dubbel at a very attractive price...$4.99. You can't go wrong here for a big brew of 9% ABV.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, this is Unibroue, for all intents and purposes. It's got their cork, their bottle, and their label as the contract brewer.

My favorite of all the Trader Joes brews to date, hands down.

Dark hazy chestnut brown. Nice off color head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Aroma is sour tart unirou style, unripe fruit, and I wouldnt be surprised if this were a Maudite or Trois Pistoles clone or something.

There's no denying this is Unib, it's got their powdery smooth yeast, a nice tart fruity crispness, sour green apple and some nice spices.

Yum! It's a bit overpowering at first, but as my 750ml bottle empties, it gets heavenly. Heavenly I say!

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a brown color with a slight haze. It had a small, bubbly head of off-white foam that left some sudsy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of raisin, dried fruits (cherry & plum) and some bready malts.

T - Sweet bready malt dominated the flavor with a nice dose of dried fruit taste. Just a touch of bitterness and spiciness, too.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a mildly dry finish. A medium bodied ale.

D - This is a very solid dubbel and a very good value at around $5 for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of niknot
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A brown color with good head

S- With a few months of aging I found flavors of cinnamon, honey, and vanilla. Probably will review again after a longer aging process.

T - Bitter with a fruity finish

M - Light to strong carbonation. Depends if poured properly (I messed up the pour on my first bottles :)

D - Great beer. Im a huge fan of Unibroue beers. After 2 bottles, I am impressed with the improvement it has shown after only a few months in between. Very much worth the $5.00.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's definitely winter when this one finally shows up at TJ's to ring in the new year. Unibroue makes a pretty good beer and for the TJ's price in particular, this one is tough to beat, assuming it's similar to last year's edition. This one pours a tawny golden at the bottom of my chalice that darkens up to a chocolate brown at the top. The tight bubbled beige head dissipates a little quicker than I'd like. The nose is malty and shows tones of grapeskin and yeast with faint traces of spice and other fruits in the distance.

Malty and layered with a light, bubbly finish that reminds me of champagne. The yeast has floral notes as mentioned on the bottle and is very strong in the taste, even for the style. Noble hops make a late appearance although they blend well with the fruit and spice notes to produce a clean, satisfying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thin but well textured, and shows little leaking of booze despite the 9%. I wouldn't mind lowering the carbonation a few notches, as it seems to inhibit some of the flavors a bit.

Overall, a delicious ale that grew on me as I sipped it and showed balance and complexity. Needless to say, that $4.99 price tag is a plus as well. Not awesome but quite good.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at the Sacramento Trader Joe's and brewed by Unibroue. Pours into my Unibroue tulip a dirty clay brown, somewhat cloudy with specks of sediment floating around. Large head forms on the pour but settles down after a few minutes. Fruity and malty odor...prunes, black raspberry syrup, ethanol. Flavor is a bit hot and strongly spiced. A very alcohol-forward Belgian style, with the fruity malt backbone following through a few moments later. Some deep, roasted chocolate notes from the malt. An aggressive flavor, if a little hard to handle. Very full bodied, a little syrupy. Drinks nicely...a good beer, and not at all expensive.

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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 116 ratings.
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