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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2008

 (RETIRED)
Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2008
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overall
95
97
style
Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Abbey Dubbel
Chambly, Canada

bottling
unknown

on tap
unknown

distribution
unknown

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RATINGS: 181   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.58   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Glouglouburp (5960) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 5, 2010
In short: A very yeasty, bready and sweet Belgian amber ale. Below average Unibroue offering
How: Bottle 750ml. Consumed when about 2 years of age. Sent to me as a bonus by daknole. Thanks Dakine.
The look: Cloudy dark amber body topped by a beige ring of foam
In long: Nose is has fruit cake and signature Unibroue yeast. In mouth the beer is mainly bready and sweet. Like eating a fresh baguette and brown sugar at the same time. Also some extra-ripe bananas, some caramel, some dark fruits and a spicy sensation (cinnamon, cloves). The carbonation is a bit overdone and tickles the tongue. The signature Unibroue yeast really comes out strong in this one. As a Quebecer I am used to bath, do my laundry and brush my teeth with Unibroue yeast. But even I thought that the yeast was taking a lot of room in this beer. Strangely there was also early signs of oxidation. Surprising considering this is not that old for an Unibroue. The Unibroue 17 which is about the same age is peaking right now while my bottle of Trader Joes 2008 was already on its decline. Strange. This is very annoying that Unibroue, a local brewery, make many beers only available for the USA market. I need to trade or travel to another country to get bottles that are brewed about 20 miles from my house. That royally pisses me off. But that’s how it is, business is business. I know I need to look at the big picture because I’m a grown up mature adult. Does the big picture has boobies on it?

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Diogène (1066) - Mirabel, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 7, 2010
Bottle. Hazy dark brown with a thin beige head with good retention. Aroma is yeasty with sugar, alcohol, raisins, malt and dark caramel. Flavor is spices, sweet belgian malt, raisins, plums, alcohol, yeast and alcohol. Full body with fizzy carbonation. Very good.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jb43 (1650) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - SEP 6, 2010
(2008 bottle, sampled 3/16/10. Clear amber color. Small off white head. Sweet malt and raisin aroma. Sweet raisin/cherry and malt flavors. Avg duration. Smooth finish, with light alcohol. Thin texture. Moderate to high carbonation. Spare lacing.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ibrew2or3 (6783) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 1, 2010
Courtesy of kiefdog. Pours clear copper with tall off white head. The aroma has spicy yeast, apples, coriander like spices and sweet sugariness. The taste is really sweet with honey drenched ripe red apples then moving quickly into coriander and spicy yeastiness. It’s smooth with growing brightness into the finish leaning toward spiciness and apples.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
markwise (4429) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - MAY 29, 2010
Thanks to kiefdog for the share. Pours Hazy orange-brown with an off-white head. Nose is yeast, malt, sugar, molasses, dark fruit, and lots of fizz. Flavor is similar with the trademark Unibroue fizz and yeast. Flavor has fruit and molasses in it, too. Medium bodied and makes me burp.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nickls (1818) - SE DC, Washington DC, USA - MAY 5, 2010
(Old BA rate - bottle) Muddy water brown in color, poured with a nice finger of white foam. Head didn’t last too long. Passion fruit aromas, and maybe even some pruniness with sweetish toffee and maltiness. Fruitiness right up front, and the passion fruit comes near apple-like in the flavor, toffee and a bit of a roasted coffee in the finish. Nice tight carbonation, and thinner MF. Very much what I would expect for the style, but perhaps a bit lighter than other examples. Very drinkable dubbel.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
shigadeyo (2980) - Harrison, Ohio, USA - MAY 4, 2010

2008 Vintage

11/26/2009: Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2008... Aroma: Yeasty with some generic spice. Appearance: Hazy red-brown color; large, foamy beige head. Flavor: Sweet candi sugar and caramelized malt; spicy malts; plum; hints of Concord-like grape; slightly sharp and metallic in the finish; alcohol pops out when the beer is warmer. Palate: Smooth; medium-bodied. Overall: Still good, but I don’t think that it has really changed that much over the past year...

750 mL corked and caged bottle from Trader Joe’s in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rating #145 for this beer.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daleharshman (888) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 23, 2010
750 ml bottle purchased at Trader Joe’s, of course, and for a very good price. I drunk a couple bottles when it released (before I was on RateBeer), but decided to age this one. Pours a color that seems to be evenly balanced between red and brown with a generous off-white head. Aroma of candied dark fruits, Unibroue yeast, brown sugar, and some bready malts. Flavor of more sweet dark fruits, yeast, rich malts, and some spice that seems amplified by the prickly carbonation. Some nice dark chocolate comes in the finish. The alcohol is completely hidden. The year and a half of aging seem to have done this very well. Despite the Trader Joe’s label, this beer screams Unibroue in both nose and flavor. Another great one from these talented Quebecois. (126, 280)

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
sepia5 (237) - Connecticut, USA - FEB 20, 2010
Courtesy of my dad, who had been storing a bottle since last holiday season (he recalls buying it for $4.50 a bottle--are you kidding me!!! I would buy a case!). Despite the low price point, I actually think this compares favorably to many other Dubbels I’ve encountered. Very smooth and predominately yeasty, with a light barnyard funk. Masks the 9% ABV incredibly well. Now, the year of aging could be coming into play here, but this just goes to show that $ does not always = superior beer. I should also say that if you like Unibroue’s other offerings, you’ll probably enjoy this as well, as it definitely has that distinct Unibroue flavor profile. If you can somehow find this stuff, get it and drink it.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
CaptainCougar (7129) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JAN 24, 2010
Pours a transparent deep mahogany with an average-sized from of beige head. Aroma of sweet doughy dark caramel malts with some raisin and fig notes. Starts with good malty fullness, sweet biscuity caramel and raisin flavors and that trademark Unibroue yeast character in the finish. Well-balanced and fairly complex, just like most of their other offerings.


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