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

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very good
100 Reviews
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Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2008 Vintage Ale
BEER INFO

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
100
Ratings:
116
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
9.11%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
10
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 116
Photo of jwinship83
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- this one pours a dark brown colored body with a large tightly formed cream colored head.

S- the familiar odor of the classic unibroue yeast is the first thing i notice. slightly sweet and nutty. lots of dark fruits in this. mostly plums figs and cherries.

T- very fruity and yeasty. figs, plums, cherries, cloves and a hint of bubblegum. the alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

M- pretty light and watery with a high level of carbonation. just like the style should be.

D- a great beer for the cost. brewed by unibroue, which is a very great company for the money you spend, but this is actually cheaper! cant wait to see how this one turns out after some time in the cellar. one bottle was enough for now.

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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 ocelot2500
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy, opaque brown with a good sized tan head. There is excellent retention and a good amount of lacing.

Smells of a typical dubbel, yeasty, fruit, sweet, spice.

Tastes are the same as the nose, a big fruit flavor with some spiciness. I mostly taste apples, raisins, figs, and other such fruits.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. An appropriate amount of carbonation.

This is fairly drinkable.

I bought with low expectations. It was a pleasant surprise and turned out to be a good brew. If you have the chance to pick one up, I would suggest it.

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Photo of asabreed
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bottle into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: A swirling lighter amber color with a lot of carbonation and coating off-white head. A lot to admire here with subsequent pours.

Smell: Dominant fruit esters and Dubbel aromas with dark berries and apples, strawberries, a tad banana, and brown sugar.

Taste: Initial fruity esters from the yeast, with darker berries and sugars coming to fruition, along with hints of brown sugar. Balanced stuff, though it could push the boundaries a bit, as I'm tasting vintage Unibroue flavors without a lot of distinction. Be that as it may, I'd take Unibroue flavors over many domestics, so I'm fine with it.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and effervescent with a good burst of carbonation at the end, and this is even after two hours of sipping and pouring.

Drinkability: A pretty solid Unibroue brew, since that's essentially what it is. Flavorful and balanced, with all the Belgian qualities one comes to expect from their brewery. I'm not sure how Trader Joe's has much to do with it, but for around $5, I'm going to snag a few more, if they still have them, when I go back to see what happens in the cellar.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
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 kimcgolf
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thick off-white head that lingers well and leaves decent lacing. Immediate aroma of coffee, roasted nuts and malted fruit, but as beer warms, this tends to be more citrus fruit and an emphasis on clove. Mouthfeel is tingly and full, and the taste reminds me of a farmhouse ale, again with the hoppy citrus fruit and clove offset by a touch of malty sweetness. Although the 9% alcohol never made itself known in either the nose or taste, I could tell it was present after finishing this bomber. This all led to a nice long warming finish.

Bought this as a lark, but was pleasantly surprised by this one.

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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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Photo of GreenCard
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: ruddy brown-red, slight haze, thick layer of spongey beige foam that slowly compacts

Aroma: raisins, biscuity malt, brown sugar, malt loaf, clove, pineapple

Flavor: quite full malt sweetness with a flavor akin to fresh bron bread topped with dulce de leche; hints of brown sugar, coffee, multi-vitamin, and grape juice (strangely); finishes semisweet with a lingering spiciness and licorice root aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, zippy carbonation, alcohol warmth, fairly smooth for the 9% abv

Other comments: Unibroue is a great brewery and this beer is a fairly good example why. It is one I will definitely look forward to being release again next year.

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Photo of ATPete
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml

Whilst Christmas shopping in Westfield i decided to stop in to TJ's and pick up a bottle of the 2008 Vintage Ale, i thought last years offering was decent so why not. The beer poured a light brown color, transparent with a small off white head. The nose was of banana, bread and other fruits from the classic Unibroue yeast used, also with subtle notes of roasted chocolate, coffee and a hint of booze. Light in body, not too exciting in any one field but a damn drinkable beer nonetheless and for only 4.99, yea, this one is a winner.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dirt brown with a massive foamy head that is barely contained by my snifter.

The aroma consists of apple, pear, banana and other fruits.

The taste starts of a little tangy but mellows at the swallow. A slight lingering aftertaste is also present.

A nice sip of foam with each sip makes the drinking experience even more enjoyable.

Drinking this bad boy by myself definitely is making me a little loopy and sleepy, but it is a fairly easy drink at 9%.

Only paying $5.99 for a nice bottle of this 750 ml is a nice treat and though normally I would avoid a Trader Joe's beer (by Unibroue) at all costs, this was a nice treat.

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Photo of kkipple
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's SNOWING outside, right outside my South Carolina window. And it's Boxing Day, and Sunday. As soon as I had my wits about me from frolicking in the snow with my mildly mentally handicapped German Shepherd, I dug this Trader Joe's 2008 Unibroue Vintage Ale outta my garage and stuck it in a snow pile. What fun!

A. First off, the cork was devilishly hard to remove; I had to fall back on a cork-screw. It finally exits with a pop and some wafty gunsmoke. Cork, I have bested you! The ale is a very deep red burgundy, with a fine, small bubble head that is rather reserved, but stays.

S. Nose is the familiar "house" Unibroue - that very dry, phenolic-musty strain that is highly characterful and annoyingly difficult to describe. I'm quite confident I could pick it out of a lineup simply by smell alone though. Same deal as La Fin Du Monde, etc. Otherwise, some prune and fig, hints of once-sweet malt, some cherry. There is a crumble of buttery biscuit here if you look hard enough. Hmm. It seems the yeast has really taken hold in as this has aged, it is quite dry. Not unpleasant though, on the contrary: sophisticated.

T. Follows suit. Not miles different from Trois Pistoles - drier, spicier. Prunes and fig, gentle, tenacious sweetness lingers. I'm enjoying this, but it's not surprising. Gentle pepper notes and some red grape upon exhaling. A unique Dubbel for sure - I would prefer more malt and fruit character, but Unibroue consistently goes their own merry way.

M / D. Highly carbonated, full yet soft. Medium body. No alcohol heat... indeed, this is a fine sipper on this early snowy afternoon. I am enjoying the long, dry, sugarless, fruity / mineral finish.

The 2008 vintage is quite a solid beer, but no real surprises or risks are taken. Big thanks to my brother for picking this one up for me a while back. It's made my Boxing Day that much more... unproductive.

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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 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 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 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 droomyster
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The best beer at tonight's party by a long shot. It's been over a year since I've had Trois Pistoles but this beer reminded me to put the deadly horsemen at the top of my to-buy list. There's a LOT of carbonation in this brew, perhaps too much. This would be its only flaw as far as I'm concerned. It smells and tastes great but lifts so quickly off of the tongue that it is hard to pin down and savor the way that it deserves to be savored. The aromas and tastes of complex dark fruits, sweet malts, and yeast come out in full force and haunt the senses for minutes after the encounter. As long as you know that you are taking on a[n intentionally] sweet brew then you won't cringe at the sweetness and instead feel out its complexity. I'll try to taste it side-by-side with Trois Pistoles soon.

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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 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 khiasmus
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with exceptional clarity and constant bubbling. The head seems a bit light and spacey, but still boasts excellent retention and moderate lacing.

Aroma is of rich malt and some spice... coriander, a hint of metal, golden raisins, yeast. A hint of fresh maple is there too. However, it seems to be the same yeast strain that Unibroue uses all the time, and not terribly different than many of their other beers.

Flavor starts off with the same thick malt that was hinted at in the nose. As one swallows, the yeast comes out a bit strongly. The malt stays just as sweet as it slides down, and there seems to be only some very faint noble hopping failing to balance. White pepper is there, as well as some lemon/orange/tangerine notes and a good bit of plum. Alcohol flavor comes forth in the finish.

The mouthfeel is highly carbonated and effervescent, lightly creamy, and heavy on he syrupy. A hint of warmth in the back.

This beer is simply too sweet. Purportedly a dubbel... it's not. Some sort of Belgian strong dark, like everything else they make. I simply end up being underwhelmed anymore by the brewery's lack of creativity. Their craftsmanship is excellent, but the majority of their beers end up being rather monotonous.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. Nice medium brown with a hint of red. Head was thin, maybe 1 finger at best, and left small lacings on the top. Aroma was a roasted malt up front, then switching to a fruity sweet, maybe like plum. Small hint of seasonal spices, nutmeg, cinnamon etc. Taste was mellow up front, shifting to a sweet fruit, then a hint of tangy bitter, before becoming sweet again to finish it up. Range of flavor was complex, however individual portions were more subtle and nuanced. Coated ok, seemed a bit over carbonated on the tongue. Overall definitely seemed to age well, didn't have any fresh to compare it to. ABV definitely seemed to pick up a bit while aging however.

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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 thekanna
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown that turns into a ruddy hue when held up to light. Decent amount of foamy white head forms.

S: Strong complex Belgian yeast smell with a smoky overtone almost reminiscent of polska kielbasa. Additional tones of raisins and brown sugar.

T: Malty and yeasty with strong flavors of cloves, dark fruits, apple pie spices and brown sugar. Finishes sweet and slightly bitter/ spicy with alcohol definitely present.

M: Carbonation very strongly tingles the mouth and plays around.

D: Decent sipper. Enjoyed trying it but I think I'll stick to Maudite for my Unibroue fix.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass, big fluffy off white head, at least 2 inches. Deep ruddy brown, can't see through this one as it should be.

Nose is yeasty with highlights of apples, prunes, dark malt. Within the style for sure.

Nice subdued dark stone fruit flavors, a hint of chocolate, yeasty with a slightly sweet finish, very nice for the style.

Really creamy mouthfeel, big carb foams up the mouth in a nice way. Goes down easy, not a problem finishing this bomber. Always love these Unibroue types from Joe's, thanks Mr Quartetman for this one.

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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 jmalex
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this isn't listed under Unibroue as the bottle states it's clearly brewed by them. Since Unibroue is one of my favorite breweries, I'm thrilled my sister gave this to me as a recent gift.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a LaChouffe tulip a dark bronze amber (okay, brown) with a massive, rocky, loose-bubbled, beige head. It gradually shrinks down from its immense size to a full, one-finger high cap with a constant stream of bubbles replenishing it completely.

SMELL: An immediate hit of an abbey-like yeast is followed by an even bigger fruitiness - quite typical of Unibroue's yeast. Chocolate, figs, and especially raisin are very prominent here. A light alcohol highlight tops the beer off.

TASTE: Quite light in flavor despite a significant fruitiness. It's missing the breadiness I'd expect from an abbey-style dubbel but has a pretty nice dark malt component though too muted to be called chocolaty. Alcohol is undetectable in the flavor but shows itself a bit as a warming afterthought long after the swallow.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light bodied and nicely dried out. The carbonation level is higher than average which is appropriate for the style.

DRINKABILITY: It goes down easy enough, and I'll have fun getting through the 750mL bottle tonight. This feels nothing like 9% though which gives this beer the 'dangerous' label; that's a good thing.

A fine choice that I'll consider a Unibroue success. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary that jumps a bit out of style guidelines, you could do much worse than to pick up a bottle of this.

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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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