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RATINGS: 183   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.58/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
The Trader Joe’s 2008 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 moth feel are the result of a natural secondary fermentation in the bottle obtained by the use of carefully selected yeast. This deep brown color vintage ale, with a tint of red hue displays effervescent generous beige foam. It has notes of coffee and spices, mild aroma of tropical fruits. Trader Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale has a smooth round mouth feel and notes of roasted malt, carrying toffee-like flavor, finishing with well balanced noble hops. True to it’s Abby Dubbel style, this year’s 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 Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale. This ale will age exceptionally over time, developing more complex flavor as the years go by. Exclusively bottled for Trader Joe’s. Best before 09-09-2011.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - DEC 11, 2008
Bottle shared by FirmButtstone. Poured a hazy brown-orange color. The head was off white. Clove, alcohol, subdued banana, cereal grain, and brown sugar in the nose. I also got some whiffs of bacon. Light to medium bodied, presumably lightened up a bit by the alcohol. Plenty of carbonation. Lots of clove flavor accompanied by some raw alcohol, toffee, and light banana.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
killjoy966 (677) - Washington, USA - DEC 9, 2008
Tastes super sweet, almost sickeningly so. Only a little alcohol at the end, which is surprising considering the ABV. Carbonation makes it taste spicier than it is. Awfully bubbly, reminds me of a champagne. Not sure if this representative of the style, but I could have done without it.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
carruthm (1401) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 9, 2008
Very boisterous head on a dark amber hue. Aroma is very pungent with rich dark spices. Cinnamon and caramel traces. Flavor is also rich in taste, much heavier in malts. Well balanced body.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
rayOfBeer (674) - El Cerrito, California, USA - DEC 9, 2008
Poured from bottle a red-tinted dark brown with large off-white head. Aroma is mildly spicy with clove and some sweet malt, yeast and caramel. Flavor is sweet, but not overly so,with a bit of fruit, toffee, caramel, clove, anise, bread, and a touch of alcohol. The palate is sweet but not sticky, lots of carbonation but not so sizzling on the tongue. Overall a nice beer at a decent price that could use some aging perhaps to settle some of the flavor aspects.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Norton (333) - Southside, Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 8, 2008
Large corked bottle. Tan crackly large bubbled head. Deep burgundy almost brown colored liquid. Sweet malt. Semi bitter vaguely nutty bitterness. Nondescript and indistinct. A bit of a letdown, so maybe it ages better

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
taalhiker (190) - Dayton, Ohio, USA - DEC 8, 2008
From bottle. Pours classic hazy Belgian brown with generous head. Aromas of sweet malt and mild spices. Sweet dark fruit and malt and alcohol. May need some time for the flavors to meld together. Sweet finish. For the price, it is a very good beer. Will put a few away for a year or two and retry.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
bhensonb (14162) - Woodland, California, USA - DEC 6, 2008
750 ml bottle c&c. Hazy rubyish color with a multifinger beige head. Aromas of medium dark fruits, spices and roasted malt. Medium plus body with coarsely creamy carbonation. Flavor is rather spicey, pretty strongly spicey, and that goes well with the dark fruit. The dark malt is sort of covered by all the other flavors. Very Belgian. Fairly dubbel. Excellent continuation of the series. And it was only $4.99?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
demitriustown (1184) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - DEC 5, 2008
750 ml bottle. Aroma is fruity, clove, yeast, some dark fruit, and some caramel notes. Appearance is a very cloudy almost fresh cider look to it with a really carbonated head that does not stick around for too long. Taste has got some dark fruit again, yeast, and some very light caramel notes intermingled. Pretty straight forward but good stuff none the less. Palate is very bubbly on the tongue, some stick caramel notes on the back of the throat, and the aftertaste has some lingering carbonation and the dark fruits. Overall, decent stuff, but not as good as the other Vintages. Will check back with this on in a year or so.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
pkbites (871) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 5, 2008
Pours a gorgeous dark brownish red. The head is thick and yeasty that attacks the top of the glass. Moderate my ass! Malt and alcohol nose. Burnt caramel and candied fruit flavor. High alcohol is not detected in the palate. Probably the best offering from trader Joes ever.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mjg74 (3029) - La Mesa, California, USA - DEC 4, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2008 Bottle from La Mesa store. Dark ruby in color upon pouring. Moderate foamy head. Slightly sweet and dry aroma with a bit of dark fruit. Rich dark fruit aroma with some malts. Slightly sweet. A little bit of a spiced quality. Fairly dry and prickly. Some roastiness in the finish. Not a bad sipper.

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