Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale
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Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
3.8 | pDev: 12.89%
May 22, 2018
Nov 02, 2012
Very Good
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage AleTrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale
Notes: None
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3.67 by Sammy from Canada (ON) on May 22, 2018
Photo of Davepoolesque
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

2012 and 2017 side by side. The 12 has a ton more raisin, dark fruit and Belgian yeast esters. The 17 has some anise, dark fruits and Belgian yeast. Honestly, think I like the 2012 more. It has more dark fruit flavor. Smoother.

Jan 19, 2018
3.97 by MickeyHops from California on Jul 27, 2016
Photo of stevoj
2.59/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5
by stevoj from Idaho

Bottle share courtesy of Toby. This one didn't seem to hold up too well in aging. Dark pour with small airy head, seemed kind of flat and dull. Aroma and taste were in the right zone for the style, but it seemed it had started to go down hill, dusty, dirty, funky elements. Too bad...

Jun 17, 2016
Photo of SaltofOH
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by SaltofOH from Ohio

BB 7-6-2015; oops! DFH Tulip.

Appearance: Well, I really screwed this up trying to decant it, and ended up spilling about 2/3 of the bottle, and creating a massive Belgian foam mess all over my kitchen. Needles to say, what ended up in the glass did not have much head, though I imagine based on what was in the decanting bottle, that there would have been about 3 fingers of frothy tan head had I not screwed this up. Pours an opaque dark brown with some translucency at the edges. Surprisingly, no lacing, and virtually no retention. Even what was left in the decanting bottle after the spill didn't retain much head.

Aroma: It was chilled for the decanting process, but has warmed up significantly. Initially, very earthy, malty tones, with some light fruit and spice. As it warms, the traditional Belgian phenolics come through more prominently: grape, plum, and banana. There is a restrained, spicy complexity underlying it: sandalwood, cinnamon, nutmeg. I would not say clove, though there is a sweetness that pervades the aroma. Surprisingly earthy/woodsy.

Taste: Slight malty sweetness on the arrival, but much less so than I remember the 2011 or 2010 being. As it crosses mid-palate, it transitions into a fruit explosion. Red grape, raisins, plums, really fruit salad-y. Kind of syrupy in sweetness, but not in texture. As it transitions toward the end, really turns earthy and woodsy. That fruit-to-earth transition is perhaps my favorite part of this beer. A dried fruit sweetness and tartness lingers after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly soft and smooth across mid-palate. Just this side of syrupy. Very low carbonation (my fault, I assume). Seems lighter and more drinkable than my prior experiences with Belgian strong dark ales.

Overall: I really screwed up the appearance and mouthfeel by spilling it not once - but twice - in trying to decant it into a smaller bottle. Lessons learned. But in terms of taste, I can say that this one seems way less sweet than the 2010 or the 2011, and I like that a lot. It also has an earthy note, and I can't tell whether that comes from the fact that it is past-date, or because it is by design. Either way, it is a very satisfying BSDA, as compared to the 3-4 others I have had. I didn't get this in 2014 or 2015, but maybe the even-number year, gold bottles are the ones to get.

Apr 01, 2016
Photo of Lingenbrau
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Lingenbrau from Oregon

Had this aged 3 years, and side-by-side with '13, '14, and '15. That being said, it was a toss up for the best along with '14. Plenty of raisin and spice, and everything nice for welcoming the winter. Cheers!

Jan 20, 2016
Photo of smbslt
3.07/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3
by smbslt from Illinois

Dark brown with cola colored highlights. Ashen head fairly tall with some lacing. Dried fruits dominate the nose and taste but very subtle. Watery feel was not enjoyable.

Jan 01, 2016
3.75 by cb8282 from Michigan on Dec 24, 2015
Photo of Bonsai
2.09/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.75
by Bonsai from Ohio

Aged till 8/30/15 in a wine cellar. Easy drinker.

Aug 30, 2015
3.81 by maxcoinage from Illinois on Jul 11, 2015
3.73 by Icemann383 from New York on May 04, 2015
3.61 by klayton_hoefler from Alabama on Apr 24, 2015
3.6 by puftdank from Illinois on Apr 20, 2015
3.5 by mrn1ceguy from Illinois on Feb 12, 2015
4.09 by Jaycase from Illinois on Jan 19, 2015
Photo of hreb
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by hreb from Washington

Apparently, I didn't review this fresh, so I'm going to review my personally cellared 2012 edition 2+ years after the fact. Aside from the champagne-style cork disintegrating in my hand as I try to open the 750mL heavy brown glass bottle, it seems no worse for the age. Beer pours rich dark brown in color, supporting an ample head. Gentle aroma of raisins and dark fruit. Flavor is similarly rich and demands to be warmed up, in order to bring out classic Belgian Brown ale flavors. Raisins and prunes are complemented by licorice and spice. Very mellow and drinkable. I don't recall if it was this mellow when this winter seasonal was first released, but it sure is now.

Jan 02, 2015
3.5 by st9647v3 from New Jersey on Dec 17, 2014
4 by MA08 from Massachusetts on Dec 14, 2014
2.75 by BenReiman from Canada (BC) on Dec 06, 2014
Photo of Edzomb5
5/5  rDev +31.6%
by Edzomb5 from California

Just popped one open after storing since 12/2012 in my closet today is 11/7/14 . Which hit various temperature changes from 60-80 degrees. I know that's not recommended but wow surprised to see it held up. I did the same for a 2013 as a test I opened early and they weren't ready to drink a bit bitter but still good. This year I'll buy a 2 cases of 2014 and enjoy throughout 2016 year. Keep in mind there are far better beers out there but! For the price I can afford to house these for a while till my 2013 are ready. Color pours dark brown. Malty,Taste of cinnamon, wood, raisin, smells sweet and strong. I'm no beer professional but in training. If you want to blind test a friend for a taste test at a party or open up any year as a conversation piece just pick up one of these. I've paid 20 dollars for other pieces and nothing beats this price and quality. (Good job trader joes! Where I can eat healthy and buy decently priced beers and wines while shopping) if your not picky, 2 and a half of these will put u to sleep like a baby. Try it! Oh! And a great inexpensive gift for crafty beginners.

Nov 08, 2014
3.9 by patre_tim from Thailand on Nov 01, 2014
4.02 by Broadway from Virginia on Oct 25, 2014
4 by moshea from Michigan on Oct 20, 2014
3.75 by Devman171 from Maryland on Oct 18, 2014
4 by jeremiahoden from Indiana on Oct 07, 2014
3 by brywhite from California on Sep 29, 2014
2.48 by shoegueuze from California on Sep 17, 2014
4 by Lucnifter from California on Sep 14, 2014
3.25 by masterofsparks from Ohio on Aug 31, 2014
4 by Maillard from Ohio on Aug 21, 2014
4 by mig100 from Texas on Aug 13, 2014
4.93 by TedTopfer from Connecticut on Aug 12, 2014
3.75 by WCW from Michigan on Aug 10, 2014
3.75 by jbdpsu82 from Pennsylvania on Aug 06, 2014
4.5 by jaredkc889 from California on Aug 04, 2014
3.75 by Mantooth from North Carolina on Jul 30, 2014
3.5 by OnWisconsin from Wisconsin on Jul 29, 2014
4 by Howlader from Canada (AB) on Jul 20, 2014
4 by wdf210 from California on Jul 13, 2014
Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 327 ratings