Trader Joe's 2009 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2009 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2009 Vintage Ale
131 Ratings
Trader Joe's 2009 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2009 Vintage Ale

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

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by bsp77 on 12-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 131 |  Reviews: 96
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of kevgod
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Shango42
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Hatshep18
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown with a huge frothy head. Smell was very spicey, grassy and earthy tones with a hint of sweetness. The taste was classic belgian and very nicely done. Fruitness and spices predominate, no hint of alcohol, which at 9%abv is incredible. Really smooth and effortless in drinkability. This is a fantastic brew, way too easy to drink, honestly the easiest 9% I have ever had

 374 characters

Photo of McCranky
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of beagle75
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of sgoro
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of DocDownUnder
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of candi sugar and coriander with the typical Unibroue yeast profile. Taste is a very nice mix between some sweet Belgian malt with light notes of candi sugar and quite a bit of coriander. The Unibroue yeast strain profile can also be easily detected but I find the light fruity ester it provides very enjoyable. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed with some complexity and easily drinkable characteristics.

 569 characters

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black coffee color with a huge frothy tan head. Some foamy cloudy of tanned lace.

Sweet candied dates and currants. Candied ginger. Spiced apple pie. toasty caramel and candi sugar. some roastiness.

Dark chocolate cover cherries and caramel candied dates. A gingery toastiness and clovey roastiness. a medium bitterness grounds it.

Medium body. semi-smooth. high carbonation. Touch of astringency.

Good drinkable interesting brew. Glad I tried a bottle.

Consumed 10/2010

 475 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Optimator13 for this one.

Huge 3+ finger head that fades at a med pace and makes me stop pouring, light lacing, dark coke brown color.

Nose has some Belgian malts, a bit nutty, Belgian fruity dark fruit yeast, slightly tangy, light candi and syrupy, light spices.

Taste has some darker Belgian style malts, bit nutty again, and little syrupy, some booze warmth, dark malts, bit of candi sugar, bit of darker Belgian yeast fruits, light cranberry and cherry, little plum, light spices. Finishes dry and spicy, some booze, lingering malts and light sticky malts.

Mouth is med bodied, lots of carb.

Overall pretty good, interesting flavors, dark malts, fruits, bit boozy and syrupy.

 694 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Almost black in color with a huge sandy colored head that lasts nicely.

S: Ginger, brown sugar, saffron and nutmeg. A strange array of spices thrown in. It smells a bit better than it did a year ago.

T: Mostly malt with some hints of spice and a touch of the ginger. For me, the mouthfeel is way too thin and kind of kills this one. The finish just dies into a watery flavor.

 380 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved drinking this beer the first time around in 2009 (and got really drunk in the process) and enjoyed it again when a client of mine gave me a year-aged bottle of it for Christmas 2010. And for comparison, I liked the 2009 vintage a lot more than the 2010.

It has a nice dark look in the glass. One of the first things I noticed is that it has a fair amount of carbonation. I liked it but some people may not but for sure, it is a little different. The taste is a combination of fruits, spices and cola and you can taste the alcohol for sure. I can vividly recall the feeling of taking a drink and feeling that warm fuzzy feeling in my head. I actually think one of the bottles I had was more than 9.0 abv as after I finished it, I was pretty buzzed and that usually isn't the case for me with that amount of 9+ abv beer. I had a friend who agreed with me on that so I know its not only me.

I have only had 2 years (09 and 10) of the trader joes holiday brew but 2009 was my favorite.

EDIT-I just drank my last bottle of the 2009 vintage as it was a few weeks past it's "best by" date. It was not as good as I remember it. I don't know if this was because it was a little bit past it's prime or I have had more good beers since I first had this one and have more to compare to but I am going to downgrade it just a bit. Still a great beer but not as great as I remember it being.

 1,387 characters

Photo of RandyV
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beautiful cedar swamp brown color on the pour with lots of carbonation (interestingly, the cork had a red wine smell). The smell announces the beer as a Unibroue production; yeasty, slightly farmhouse with malt sweet overtones. I got banana and clove more than anything with a nice alcohol warming to follow. The finish just mellows to an almost cloying sweetness, but certainly not unpleasant. This is a very drinkable brew, and great for the season. Wonder what the 2010 Vintage will bring in a year when I open it?

 517 characters

Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Considering the reviews, surprisingly pleasant!

Pours a murky, turbid brown with some brown highlights. Brown. Maybe a quarter inch of tan foam.

Smells like some dark fruits, some candied, yeasty bread malts, and a hint of spices.

Taste is interesting. Definitely some dark fruits, but also some lighter fruit esters and a bit of a candi spiced flavor to it. Almost like a mulled, sweetened caramel background.

Pleasant. Nice, thick enough mouthfeel.

 455 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some definite amber tones to it. A decent khaki colored head forms on top.

S: A strong aroma of herbs here, mostly chamomile and sage. There's a bit roasted malt character as well, and a pretty decent chocolate note. As it warms, the herbal nature becomes more and more apparent.

T: A bit more subtle in terms of the flavor profile. The sage and chamomile are there, and there's a bit of licorice that I didn't notice on the nose. A bit of sweetness and minimal chocolate with some warming alcohol.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation.

D: The herbal nature of this beer isn't quite as pungent and overwhelming as some of the other Unibroue special releases, making this more enjoyable.

 740 characters

Photo of ChimRichels
4.41/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saved this bomber from last thanksgiving... We'll see how it holds up after a year.

A - Cork pops off with with seemingly little carbonation force behind it. Deep, rich, murky brown pour with a head that exhibits cola-esque appearance and the retention to match.

S- Aroma is pungent, attacking olfactory receptors with plumes of raisin, brown sugar, caramel, and charred candy

T - Sour cherries, dark fruit, slight acrid bitterness. Very sweet and delectable. Slight coffee flavors mingle in the shadows of its murky depths

M - Carbonation has faded since its release - something I was looking forward to as I felt the original carbonation was a tad bit heavy. Very smooth and viscous.

D - Delicious :) A year of aging did wonders for this beer. I can't wait to see what another year (or two) can do.

UPDATE: Just popped this one on 12-21-2014 and will add a few comments

The first thing I noticed is the foam... foam everywhere. As soon as I popped it she was frothing all over the place. The most cautiously conservative pour ended up giving me half a glass of head. It died down relatively quick.

Going off my notes, the aroma is entirely different than it was a few years back. It smells very rich and sweet, like a chocolate covered cherry. Taste is a bit off, almost soy-saucy. I think this might have aged a tad too long. Maybe should have read the "best before 09-12-2012" warning.

 1,397 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. Pours dark brown with a foamy, tan head, and lively carbonation. Aroma is yeast, brown sugar with some dark fruit. Full, creamy, crisp body. Flavor is yeast, brown sugar, roasted malt and dark fruits. Finish is big and somewhat sweet. Nice winter warmer for a great price.

 286 characters

Trader Joe's 2009 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 131 ratings
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