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 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 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 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 mikeepeck
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To me, this beer is surprisingly good. It held onto a nice light-tan head even in the burgundy glass that I'm drinking out of, and it's leaving a nice lace on the glass as well. The aroma is full of well-integrated complexity; basically you could go a lot of different ways on this one. Caramel is dominant, but there's a dark, earthy, fruitiness very present as well- my dad described it smelling like an "earthy root beer". I think dark fruity root beer is closer, there's the same sort of sweet root/spice flavor that you think of in a good root beer.

The back label copy is dead on in it's "champagne effervescence"; the carbonation is full and light, very small pinprick bubbles. Just the lightest bit sticky, but the carbonation and the sweet, earthy, fruity flavors balance out the body and alcohol nicely. I've almost finished the whole bottle myself, starting before dinner and now continuing into the evening. It goes well with a chewy nut & chocolate chip cookie even. I'm stoked to open the other one that I'm cellaring, I'm thinking I'll give it six months- any feedback on this beer's aging?

Addition: It IS good with Brie (read the sidebar!)

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Photo of midaszero
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trade Joe's are a pain to get to around here this better be good

A - Cloudy dark amber with three fingers of light tan head that leave awesome lacing

S - Sweet malty goodness with some dark fruit mixed in

T - Malty and yeasty. Dark fruit presence. Overall very crisp.

M - Medium body with high carbonation

D - Aside from being over carbonated which is kind of distracting it is kinda easy to drink and enjoyable

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Photo of xfactor9600
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A brown color with some head

S- malty, but pleasantly so with a faint fruit hint.

T - Bitter with a fruity finish

M - light carbonation, kind of an champagne feel.

D - More than I expected. I plan to swing by Trader Joe's to see if they have anymore left.

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Photo of kenito799
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into Unibroue La Fin du Monde chalices.

This muddy brown brew, hazy with yeast stirred up (intentionally) from the bottom, raises a massive foamy tan head that slowly recedes.

Sweet musty malt dominates the nose. A very pleasing balance of sweet maltiness underlies fruity and spicy notes. A very well done dubbel, not cloying at all, the very active carbonation from the bottle conditioning makes this a lively and very drinkable beer. Surpsisingly one of the best Unibroue offerings I have had in a while. At TJ prices, i will buy more.

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

This vintage ale pours a murky reddish brown into a large wine glass from a 750 ml. bottle. A thin head settles and keeps awhile.

Offers a nice smell of light dried fruit and balanced malts.

Taste is similar. A bit of light grape and some muddled dried fruits. Malt structure is moderate, as it should be for a Dubbel. Lots of carbonation here, perhaps over done actually. But then, not really.

Bottom line a very nice ale and hats off to Trader Joe's for hosting such an ale. Better than many an American interpretation of the style.

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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 dhd1491
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was blown away by the quality of this brew. It has the depth and complexity of a Chimay Grande Reserve, my ultimate favorite, at a fraction of the cost. I am going to Trader Joe's tomorrow for the sole purpose of salting away several bottles of this elixir for special occasions (like days ending in "y").

Sweet and malty, with intriguing spices and warm alcohol oomph. I went in with lowish expectations, it being a store brand and all, and was completely blown away.

PS: Re-tasted and found to be way over-carbonated. Took the taste and mouthfeel scores down a notch. Still very good, but not the knockout that the first bottle was. Disappointing.

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

Appearance: Chestnut brown with large-bubbled, foamy head. Lacing is sticky and spotty. Relatively low carbonation.

Smell: Dark dried fruits. Light phenolics. Hints of bananas and eshers. Alcohol is apparent.

Taste: Sweet initially, with slightly hot alcohol up front. Spritzy, medium body. Green hops in the middle, drying hop bitterness in the finish.

Good beer, great value. $4.99 for a corked/caged at Trader Joe's in Sandy Springs.

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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 jl55378008
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, nutty brown color with a foamy head, made of dense bubbles. Smells just like I expected dark brown Unibroue ale to smell. Rich, malty taste with lots of caramel and a little bit of milk chocolate. The texture is very fluffy, almost too much so. It seems to actually expand as you drink it. I'm curious to see how this will be after a year in the cellar.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

TJ's Vintage 2008 is a clear brown with ruby body with a popping off white head that leaves some lacing and stays throughout the experience. Aromas are of Belgian spiciness with some cherry and decent sweetness. The flavors match with a really smooth and fluffy mouthfeel. For the price, this is a definite purchase each year.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown/red with a head that dissipated quickly.

Smells of tart stone fruit, some sweet malt, and some spice. Very nice.

Great beer made to be shared. Tart cherry/stone fruit notes mixed with malt and spice. Booze is there but you don't notice it (while drinking - it finds you later). Seems to open up a bit as it warms. Wonderful beer.

Mouth coating with a tart/yeast finish. Pretty decent. Overall, this big bottle was meant for sharing, which I did. Cheap brew (price) under a generic brand that is flat out delicious. Grab it if you can.

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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 ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown body with a well-formed, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Aromatic nose that's both fruity and rather spiced with notes of black currants and cherries tossed in coarse ground black pepper.

Taste: Dark malts tasting of dark caramel and molasses with a brown sugar sweetness. The taste isn't lacking in spices either, with it's flavors of black pepper, nutmeg, and clove. Ah, there's that Unibroue yeast, my old arch nemesis. More vinous fruitiness. Lesser hint of banana. You never get much in the way of hops or bitterness, though there is a staunch dryness competing with the little pops of sweetness that seem to come and go. Bit of aromatic tobacco in the otherwise fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Highly carbonated. Yes, friends, it's a bit crackling, even prickly in the mouth.

Drinkability: Well, the alcohol is definitely well-hidden in this brew. I liked this well enough. Overall, it's a solid, enjoyable beer at a decent value.

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

Poured into chalice. Poured with a full off-white head consisting of larger, more course bubbles. After a couple of moments the head settled into a layer of tinier, more compact bubbles. Aroma was pungent, with a sweet component. Flavor was not as sweet as the aroma had led me to expect. Sweetness was typical for the style. Lots of malty roundness. Full, fulfilling body. Very drinkable, but if you drink a full bottle by yourself, you'll want a change of pace after. Not particularly sessionable, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a wine glass.

Poured a cola body, with a beige foamy 1/2 finger head. The brew had some nice retention and solid lacing. The nose was a brown sugar candy.

The flavor profile runs from root beer barrel candy to plum, with a semi-strong presence of alcohol - quite sweet. Brew is foamy and light, as well as sticky to the tongue.

Ultimately this is a bit too sweet for me to have several of. That said, at 4.99 a bottle, splitting this with one or two people is a nice treat - say before or just after dinner.

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


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 a10t2
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Comes in an attractive, heavy-duty 750 mL corked brown bottle with etched gold lettering. Pours a slightly murky brown with ruby highlights and a huge off-white head. Lots of effervescent carbonation.

S: Lots of dark fruit aromas with some booze contributing to a sort of rum-raisin thing. Faint breadiness too.

T: A fair bit of alcohol all the way through, with malty sweetness and a faint acidic quality. Caramel is prevalent, and there's even a little roastiness. Some buttery diacetyl, which is not out of place but may be a little overdone. Bready/yeasty notes as well, but quite subdued by Belgian standards.

M: Heavy carbonation but a smooth, even slick mouthfeel. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the back of the throat.

D: Considering how much is going on, there's a surprisingly good balance and I would have no trouble drinking a bottle, or even two. From what I remember, the 2007 was a little better overall; I'll have a vertical tasting soon to compare.

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Photo of Overlord
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...a new Trader Joe's vintage. And for 5 bucks! Sweet! Unibroue offerings around here are typicall 7-9 bucks.

Pours a somewhat ruddy brown. Not an overly pretty beer, but it looks alright. Pretty lively carbonation though, which I like. It's only an inch or so of off-white foam, but that carbonation lasted through the entire bottle.

Smells like a bit of citrus/lemon zest and a ton of bready yeast and ... maybe a whiff of brown sugar. Interesting dubbel. The bottle says "tropical" notes, but I detect none in the aroma.

The taste is sweet. There's a nice lingering bready/yeasty aftertaste, and the consistency, while thin, is pretty great thanks to the carbonation. There's more lemon/orange peel than I expected, but this is primarily a sweet beer. Brown sugar, maybe a few chocolate notes, and sweet rich malt. There's a hint of lingering dark fruit sweetness ... maybe plum.

Really good, and I'm going to go buy a bunch this week.

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Photo of berebrando
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased the 750 mL bottle from Trader Joes in Escondido, CA. I am drinking this beer from a round snifter. I am enjoying this beer with some Gouda and Manchengo.

Appearance: The head was robust, white and leaves a slight lace.

Smell: The smell is alcohol, spices and syrup.

Taste: the smells dominate the taste. Spices and alcohol excite the taste buds.

Mouthfeel: this beer has a slight carbonation as you swallow. The initial feeling, however is a smooth, foamy feeling.

Drinkability: I like this beer. I like drinking this beer. You should too.

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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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