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RATINGS: 187   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.55/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
The 2007 Trader Joes Vintage Ale is a brown Belgian-style ale of great distinction produced by traditional top fermentation methods resulting in a rich and full-bodied flavor. The Champagne like effervescence and smooth mouth feel are the result of a natural secondary fermentation the bottle obtained by the use of a carefully selected yeast culture. This vintage ale is characterised by a deep amber color topped by a rich head of foam. The prominent flavor of premium malts is perfectly balanced by a combination of three European hops and four distinctive spices. True to its Abbey Dubbel style, this years vintage ale offers a highly distinctive flavor enhanced by the fruity and floral notes of the yeast. The result is a complex and warming ale that offers both strength and subtlety. Brewed once a year in limited quantity, please enjoy Trader Joes 2007 Vintage Ale. This will age exceptionally over time, developing more complex flavor as the years go by. Exclusively bottled for Trader Joes. Best Before 10-28-2010.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ungstrup (34350) - Citizen of the universe, DENMARK - MAR 2, 2010
Bottled. A hazy amber beer with an off-white head. The aroma has notes of malt and fruit. The flavor is sweet with notes of malt, fruit, and alcohol, leading to a dry, fruity and alcoholic finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ughsmash (7508) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 15, 2010
750mL bottle. Poured deeper cola brown with a well-retained beige head.. set up nicely in the glass. The aroma picked up warm plums, dates, and molasses accented by black peppery and banana notes from the yeast and some thin alcohol.. really a lot of plum and some honey on the back.. good stuff. The flavor opened with tart carbonation and plum skins, with molasses and more fruit gliding onto the middle.. black pepper, cloves, and a touch of dusty banana laced throughout from the yeast.. finished warm and spicy, but surprisingly thin. Medium-bodied with more than ample carbonation on the palate.. again, spicy, but it could’ve used more heft.. drinkable and fairly well balanced.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Fevernova (222) - Willoughby, Ohio, USA - JAN 30, 2010
750mL Bottle -- Pours dark brown with a thin off-white head. Aromas of milk chocolate, honey, caramel, plum, and figs. Sweet with little lasting bitterness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
madvike (3201) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 3, 2010
Bottle - Shared by a friend along with the 2008 and 2009. Pours deep brown with very little head. Smell is brown sugar, booze, chocolate, cherrries, dark fruit. Decadent and complex nose. Taste is sweet, bready malt, light spice and coffee, and a nice, boozy aftertaste. It’s a little watery and thin, but the spice has mellowed nicely and integrated in with the larger, richer tastes. I liked this the best out of the 2008 and 2009.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
5000 (6599) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - JAN 2, 2010
Bottle:   Deep dark caramel, very brown, somewhat muddy.   Large frothy light beige head, spotty lacing.   Looks like your typical Unibroue.   House yeast, light spices, prickly malts on the nose.   Not as descript as many others, which is what I expected.   Essentially a toned down version of one of their darker offerings.   Slight alcohol presense, a little musty.   On the tongue it is certainly malty, a little mealy, very pale dark pitted fruit, mainly like a whole wheat breadiness with very light spices.   Characteristic house yeast, which if you drink Unibroue you know what I am talking about.   For a 9% beer I am amazed its not more flavorful.   Does seem toned down, but also packs a wallop.   Not up to par with Maudite or Trois Pistoles, but decent enough.   Body and mouthfeel are moderate, very bubbley and spritzy.   *burp*   Fairly clean finish, yeasty, with minor notes of figs and dates.   Still amazed this is a 9% beer for being less flavorful.   I would figure watered down, but this one sure does make your head spin on an empty stomach!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Keir (183) - Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 28, 2009
12.16.09 750 ml. bottle. Pours dark amber with tan head. Aroma of spice, bread, dark fruits, pepper. Taste yeasty bread, pepper, spice, caramel, burnt toast. Getting better with age.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 6, 2009
750mL bottle from oldstylecubfan poured into a tulip. Pours dark chestnut brown in the glass that has lots of orange when held up to light. The head is a creamy beige two-finger cap that recedes to a big collar and a swirl along the top. The aroma is sweet with candi sugar taking a lead role with some compliments from dark fruits, especially raisins. There is also a sweet yeast aroma with a light spiciness capping off the aroma. The taste is sweet but doesn’t have quite the same overpowering candi sugar and yeast presence as the aroma. They’re certainly there but the spices and dark malts seem to be more prevalent. The finish is where the spices really come out. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sugary sweet but with more than enough carbonation to keep it from becoming cloying. Between the spices and carbonation, it’s very lively on the palate. A very good Belgian dubbel that balances the sweetness and spiciness very well and remains very drinkable. It’s not a great beer, but the Trader Joes vintages are clearly one of the best value Belgian-style beers for the money.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
bluejacket74 (1830) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - NOV 20, 2009
750 ml corked and caged bottle, best before 10/28/2010. Served in a goblet, the beer pours a murky brownish/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention is good, lacing is OK. It smells like raisins, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raspberries and a bit of spice. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar and some peppery spice and also an herbal flavor. Taste isn’t as sweet compared to the aroma. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it’s a bit creamy and it’s well carbonated. Drinkability is decent, would be better if the carbonation was a bit lower. Overall I think it’s a decent brew, I liked it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DuffMan (9541) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - NOV 6, 2009
Bottle. Very dark brown with amber highlights and a thick golden brown head. Sugary molasses and bubblegum aroma. Sweet palate, burnt sugar, brown bread, raisins, bubblegum, finish is slightly herbal/minty. Warming alcohol in the finish is unobtrusive. Not bad, but I recall liking the 2006 better. I look forward to trying the 2008 in my fridge!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Sparky (2244) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - AUG 4, 2009
750ml corked and caged bottle. Pours a cloudy dark chocolate brown with a 2 finger creamy tan head that leaves decent lacing. The nose is molasses, dark fruit, caramel and brown sugar. The taste is dark fruit, caramel malt, spicy yeast and rock candy. Medium, semi-creamy mouthfeel. Typical Unibroue – decent, no flaws, yet on the boring side.

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