Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale
Very Good
320 Ratings
Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2011 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 hreb on 11-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 320 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of q33jeff
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

AROMA: Alcohol, sour fruIt
LOOK: Dark black, but clear. Large head; but short lived
TASTE: Sour cherry, smoke, Alcohol.
FEEL: much carbonation, a little sticky.
A sipping beer; Very "in-your-face", but good. A little too much raw liquour.


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Photo of KEH
4.39/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I aged this one for 5 years, and it aged fairly well! Still kept its carbonation, and I'd say the flavor mellowed out quite a bit. I find that when fresh, the flavor is a bit too sharp, with bright acidity. The spices were also a bit overpowering. All that seemed to have gone away. For the price, I really recommend folks to stock up on a few bottles and let them rest for at least a year.

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Photo of npachl
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of tommy5
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SaltofOH
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle BB 7/6/16. DFH Tulip.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, little visible carb., with 1 finger tan head.

Smell: Potent and complex layers of Belgian clove and fruity, grape-like phenols. Musty earthy background note.

Taste: Soft, surprisingly not sweet (compared to prior years) malty, clove, grape, vegetal savory notes are also present but quite subdued; mild sherry-like influence, somewhat clean very mild hop finish. Savory herbal/vegetal character lingers. Alcohol is not detectable.

Moutfeel: Very smooth, but modest carbonation was initially present. The yeast has really eaten up whatever sugar remained, and left a good bit of carb, but it dissipated fairly quickly, leaving just mild carb through most of the glass. Quite clean finishing, which is a real break from the past. No lingering bitterness.

Overall: This is probably the best of the TJ's Vintage Ales I've had. The others I found cloyingly sweet or high alcohol. This one aged very well, but did not cross the line (even five+ months after expiration) into soy sauce/bacon territory. Nice job Unibroue!

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Photo of jrborchert74
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of strohme2
3.34/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of HattedClassic
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aged for four years.

The beer pours a nice off-white head that dissipates quickly but leaves a nice covering of bubbles on the surface. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown, which is odd for the style but looks very nice, nonetheless.

The smell and taste have the same notes and are fairly good. However, the smell is better when compared to the taste. Both have have a nice dark fruit note that resembles figs or dates with a bit of raisin in it. The Belgian sugar note is more present in the smell than it is in the taste while the hop note is stronger in the taste and essentially non-existent in the smell. The taste is kind of a letdown compared to the taste because the malt notes aren't as strong.

The feel is a bit thin but the carbonation gives it a bit more texture than expected.

Overall, not a bad beer and most certainly better than some previous vintages.

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Photo of Icemann383
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jera1350
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of beertunes
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml cork & wire bottle. "Best before" July 2016 date on bottle.
"Unibroue" stamped on the cork and cap ... a sufficient reason for me to buy this annually. A crescent wrench worked nicely to unseal and help remove the firmly seated cork.

Pours opaque, dark ruby-dark brown with a moderate size, foamy cappuccino-colored head that has excellent retention and leaves decent lacing.

I note that I can repeat a portion of my review of the 2010 version: "The aroma and the flavor both clearly indicate that this is a spiced ale. The exact combination of spices is unclear, but nutmeg and allspice seem most obvious, with hints of clove, ginger and cinnamon. ... the beer is a bit over-spiced [nutmeg or similar] for my taste. ... some raisin, prune and other dark fruit notes are evident."

The complex aroma correctly suggests that the the beer is lightly sweet. High ABV is decently hidden in both taste and smell.

M: smooth; very good, medium carbonation; high ABV mostly hidden excepting some warming and a light tongue bite.

O: A fine winter brew, with plenty of spicy complexity to enjoy in both the flavor and lingering aftertaste, and at a good price for a 750ml Unibroue.

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Photo of Aaryah
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cb8282
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of mabermud
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Descent, but not my style.

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Photo of Curtis23666
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of Wiz99
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Broadway
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of anthony-martinez
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of jeremiahoden
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Edzomb5
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of mportnoy
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Whiteweasel
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%

Patiently poured from a cellared 2.5 year old 750ml bottle into a...tumbler glass. Gotta make do sometimes.

A: Dark ruby red, dark brown, extremely frothy light tan head, can barely see through the beer. 5

S: Dark and fruity, cherries, black currants, raspberry, a bit grainy and a bit candy-like. Actually quite chocolatey. Boozy. 4.5

T: Dark and malty, with a strong chocolate character, a little sweet candy and dark roasted grain. 4

M: Thick and smooth, quite boozy, but frothy. Leaves rich, smooth aftertaste 4.25

Overall: Tastes like a mix of a stout and a Belgian strong ale. Tasty and frothy. Quite alcoholic. May be rating this higher than normal because of how long it's been held, and how alcoholic it is, but still quite a fine beer. Overall rating: 4

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Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 320 ratings