Trader Joe's 2021 Vintage Spiced Ale
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2021 Vintage Spiced AleTrader Joe's 2021 Vintage Spiced Ale
Beer Geek Stats
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Needs more ratings
4.14 | pDev: 3.86%
Sep 24, 2023
Nov 07, 2021
Dark Ale brewed with spices. Brewed and bottled by Unibroue.

Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style spiced ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ales with character.

Our vintage spiced ale is a rich, dark, and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It's ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by. Keep the bottle upright in storage.

Brewed with a delicate balance of noble hops, roasted malts and spices, this is a remarkably smooth ale with a wonderfully complex finish. It is best served slightly chilled , around 53 degrees Fahrenheit and pairs exceptionally well with grilled salmon steaks, curried lamb beef or tuna au poivre.
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Recent ratings and reviews.
Photo of NeilSilber1
Reviewed by NeilSilber1 from California

4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pours deep dark coffee with huge beige colored fluffy billowing foamy cap from tall 750 ml corked bottle. Brewed once a year and cold aged almost 2-years in back fridge upright. Notes of sweet dark Belgium spice that continue to mature as it warms make for a nice 9% ABV strong dark Belgium style ale from TJ’s - brewed and bottled by Canada’s top notch Unibroue brewing.
Sep 24, 2023
Photo of Tsar_Riga
Reviewed by Tsar_Riga from Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A - Pours an opaque, near black body, just a hint of brown-red in the highlights, a very light tan head, a substantial pillow of dense, tight bubbles that hangs around. Lacing is small bubble, tracing lines across the glass.

S - A soft nose of baking spices, spun sugar, and dark fruits. Prunes and raisins, primarily.

T - Follows the nose, with the yeasts coming forward, bringing a baked bread element along with the sugar and dried fruit elements. A bit of bitterness, like grape skins, comes in with the finish, but the sweetness lingers.

M - This is shockingly easy to drink, with mild carbonation, fairly light body for the style and heft, and a clean quick finish that does not leave the palate burdened.

O - One of the better vintages, for this one, the TJ Spice Ale is one of my favorite Dark Strongs, and is so economical, it has become one of my go to brews that I stock up on. 2021 delivers on all the best qualities I've come to expect, coming across both rich and robust, while being so easy to drink, I always need to be careful with pacing. Solid.
Jan 15, 2023
Photo of chum_husk
Reviewed by chum_husk from Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
I love these Trader Joe's imitation Belgians, but I wish they were more available. Finding them these days is the biggest rush of dopamine I still partake in
Oct 15, 2022
Rated: 4.34 by Shatik from California

Apr 20, 2022
Photo of Christianriveraaa
Reviewed by Christianriveraaa

4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Look: Pour is a dark almost black look into the glass with thick foam. Had to let this one sit for a bit before I got to pour more once cracked the seal.
Smell: The nose resembles spices, malts,
Taste: Resembles a Christmas-y type of drink with a lot of spices, kind of dark bready towards the end. Dry finish very smooth. Can't taste the alcohol at all so be careful!
Feel: Medium to heavy bodied - A lot of carbonation.
Overall: Not bad! I wasn't expecting the beer to be this good but it is! Be careful as it's pretty easy to drink and might getcha off guard.
Mar 01, 2022
Photo of chitoryu12
Reviewed by chitoryu12 from Florida

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Look: Extremely dark brown, verging on black, and opaque. A massive 3-finger head of thick khaki foam.

Smell: Dried fruit and Christmas spices.

Taste: Dry, slightly bitter. Notes of plum and dark bread. Clean, somewhat coppery finish.

Mouthfeel: Full and extremely highly carbonated.

Overall: Smells better than it tastes, but still pretty good.
Nov 23, 2021
Photo of hreb
Reviewed by hreb from Washington

3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4
My first taste of 2021's Vintage Spiced Ale from Trader Joe's. BB 08-20-24. 750mL bottle served in the classic Chimay chalice. Aroma suggests toasted coconut to me, not a flavor I usually get from this as I recall. Definitely sweet and brown fruit. Rich fruity flavors too, with plums and candied pear. The spice is not as pronounced this year, with just a hint of cinnamon and allspice, and no detectable heat at all. I'm really impressed with this in its unaged form. The carbonation comes on a bit strong, which, disappointingly, detracts in this style, but maybe it will mellow out with age.

I've always enjoyed Trader Joe's winter collaboration with Unibroue, but this is the third year they've put it out as a "spiced" vintage ale. It's really been consistently excellent, and perhaps even better than it was at the height of the "Vintage Ale" times. I eagerly look forward both to aging this (though it's not needed) and comparing it side by side with an earlier vintage.
Nov 21, 2021
Photo of Rubicj
Reviewed by Rubicj from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured dark brown into a glass, with a big, milkshake-reminiscent head. Tried at 37, drank slowly over an hour. Taste delivered on the look, but didn't amaze. Bottle suggested aging and serving warmer, that would probably be fun.
Nov 10, 2021
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This One is pretty good. Though imagine Carl Winslow minus 100 pounds; I’m sure he’s still chill af, but he’s not the same without that body. And I wish this one here had a lil more depth.

Boom, baby.
Nov 09, 2021
Trader Joe's 2021 Vintage Spiced Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 9 ratings