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RATINGS: 186   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.64/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
Trader Joe’s 2009 Vintage Ale
You might be used to seeing vintages on wine; not so much on beer. And that’s what makes this ale so special. Trader Joe’s Vintage Ales were developed, crafted, brewed and bottled for us in limited quantities this year. Its flavor, color, texture and overall character are different from our Vintage Ale of 2008, and in 2010 it will be different once again.

The 2009 Vintage Ale
It is an opaque black color and features an impressive coffee-colored foam. In a glass, it boasts cocoa and malt aromas, with a subtle hint of lemon and ginger. A sip from that glass really brings out the best in this ale - malty and mildly sweet, with hints of cocoa, citrus and spices.

Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale is ready to enjoy right away, chilled but not ice cold. Unlike many beers, though, this one will age for a few years, and its flavors will become more complex and interesting as time goes by.

What’s that? You’re a beer geek? We love that. You’ll love this. And we assume you’ll want to know this is a dark ale on lees, 9% ABV (that’s Alcohol by Volume, for the non-beer geeks). Oh, and it’s brewed exclusively for Trader Joe’s, of course.

Best Before 09-12-2012

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
sinkr (323) - Odenton, Maryland, USA - DEC 16, 2009
750->Tulip: Pours a huge, brown head that exhibits some lacing atop a dark, murky brown body. Aroma of grains. Superb taste, especially at its price point. Medium body, not cloying like a lot of Belgians can be. A real winner.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
unclemattie (4358) - Georgia, USA - FEB 28, 2011
750ml Bottle, caged & corked. Black pour, almond colored head. Aroma of the Lees. Yeasty smell reminds me of the smell of beer just before bottling day. Heavy scent of CO2, some dark roasted barley malt. Heavy scent of Patent and Lees. Flavor of black barley, date sugar, lots of herbs, sage, cinnamon, giniger, dried bitter orange peel, nutmeg. Very complex, well made. Finishes with a large dose of bubblegum. Why do I only have this one bottle of a now extinct (R) beer. Nice. 9,5,9,4,17

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
lagermonkey (725) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUN 6, 2010
Poured 12/2009 Pours a deep opaque brown, damn near black, with the signature Unibroue "voluminous head of froth". Lots of yeasty and dark fruity aromas. Raisins, black currant and a breadiness in the nose. In the mouth, rich dark fruit, really big and deep, dark fruity flavors. So fruity and so luscious and vinous. Raspberry, black currant, ripe plum...bready too. Thick but smooth with just a hint of warming alcohol. Not too sticky in the finish though, the alcohol cleans the palate just enough to keep it from being overly cloying. If this is not just a rebottled version of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles, it’s a variation on the theme. And at $4.99 a bottle, that’s a great value for a very cellarable beer. My other bottle joins my cellar collection today and I need to get out to TJ’s to grab another couple bottles.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Leighton (18527) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 11, 2010
Bottle. Drank in December 2010. Pours a dark, brown-black with a thick, off-white head. Very spicy aroma, some dark sugars, light Belgian yeast. Sweet, somewhat bready, ginger, cardamon, yeast. Full bodied with average, lightly tingly carbonation and alcohol warmth. Spicy finish, boozy sting, brown sugar. Very nice beer. Great overall.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
blankboy (7220) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 16, 2011
Bottle [750ml] shared with HogTownHarry, garthicus, GregClow, jerc & mabel -- c/o IrishBoy. Pours a very dark brown with an average size semi-lasting frothy tan head. Lovely aroma of Belgian yeast, malt, light spices and dark fruit. Flavour of Belgian yeast, malt, light spices, chocolate and a hint of nuts. Medium bodied. A truly amazing beer!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
cblado (298) - Washington, USA - FEB 19, 2012
Wow. Thanks a lot to MeisterbrauMHB for this! Pours a deep, opaque mahogany color. Thick foamy tan head. Aroma is a rich malt, apple, and clove, with coriander notes. Flavor is very complex, with a strong roasted malt backbone and cocoa notes galore. Yet it’s surprisingly drinkable. Holy cow. This is really quite amazing, and worth the wait. Thanks again!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
bhensonb (14092) - Woodland, California, USA - NOV 25, 2009
Bottle from Trader Joe’s in Sacramento, CA. C&C. Cork came off with a pfft. Pours really dark brown with a 5 finger tan head. Sort of a bayberry aroma. Really smells a bit like a Xmas candle. Medium body with frothy carbonation. Flavor seemed evergreen, but suddenly it is definitely ginger. And some sweet, pretty dark, roasted malt. Finishes malty, but the ginger tends to balance that. Chocolate starts coming out after awhile. The head keeps doing interesting things. This year’s ale is really out there. Far, far out there.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
IrishBoy (4103) - Bakersfield, California, USA - DEC 8, 2009
750 ml bottle from Trader Joes! Nose of yeast, cloves, and cocoa. Very dark brown with a huge long lasting, glass lacing beige head. Flavor is lightly fruity with some dates and bananas, yeastiness, and allspice. One of the better Unibroues I’ve had.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
craftbeerdesign (2254) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 20, 2009
750 ml bottle. pours a deep dark brown with a 1/2" tan head... nice lingering lively head... big spice, citrus, Belgian yeast and a touch of banana on the nose... lively carbonation throughout... medium body... soft sides, spice up front with dark fruit notes towards the back... some raisin, dates, fig and plum.... also a bit of citrus up front. strong finish with more heavy spice. A great bargain Unibroue ale at $5 / 750ml. Get it while you can.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Pwn3d (1962) - Manhattan, New York, USA - JAN 16, 2010
Bottle courtesy of jredmond. A interesting brew from unibroue. Juniper berries, dark fruits, soft tones of mint. Delicious winter brew

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