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RATINGS: 183   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.62   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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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

ksbeerkid's rating

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ksbeerkid (28) - Emporia, Kansas, USA - DEC 27, 2009
Bottle, pours almost black with very very very thick tan head, that is more annoying than anything, has an interesting smell more of a macro pilsner than anything, taste is sweet with definite chocolate and cinnamon and pumpkin tastes, do like the taste way better than expected. tastes like a pumpkin ale to me

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
andrewje41 (1159) - Kenmore, Washington, USA - MAR 30, 2015
750 mL bottle pour. Thanks Keven for sharing. Pours really dark with a huge bubbly head. Sweet candy, cherry fruit aroma. Flavor is more sweet candy, dark fruit, and slightly tart. Long lingering flavor. Minimum spice. I personally disagree with the style it goes by, but it’s not bad. Enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
djd07 (5285) - Houston, Texas, USA - MAR 4, 2015
Bottle during RBWG. Pours a cloudy brown with small beige head that lasts. The aroma is dark fruits and caramel. Medium mouth with dark fruit, anise, cocoa, and light roast. Very good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
douglas88 (6926) - Portland, Oregon, USA - FEB 19, 2015
750 thanks to Keir. Pours a dark ruby color with a small white head. A big berry nose, woody and chocolates. Light to heavy at times oxidation, berries, toffee, caramel, chocolate. Lots of yeast. The whole package comes together very well. Age has thinned it, and mellowed it. And I like it a lot. Will be drinkable for a lot longer. Maybe 20 years at some decent flavor. Many will prefer fresh as it is.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
hotstuff (4393) - Indiana, USA - DEC 5, 2014
Rated on 02-23-2013 at RBWG. This bottle courtesy of SpringsLicker. The appearance is a medium sized beige head that mostly diminishes, transparent reddish brown body, fast rising carbonation, and very little lacing. The aroma is simply dark fruits and malt. The flavor mimics the aroma. The mouthfeel is moderate carbonation and this beer is medium bodied. This beer is quaffable but lacks flavor and character.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
slowrunner77 (6698) - Reno, Nevada, USA - OCT 4, 2014
"tasted more like a BSA. not bready like a dubbel. lots of spice, cocoa, a hint of hops and malty sweetness. aroma and flavor mirror each other. nicely done. dryish finish. a little too carbonated."

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
rollsrace (65) - - AUG 9, 2014
Drank this in 2011 which gave it higher alcohol count which is the only thing that saved it. It is like drinking xmas.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
SDalkoholic (2213) - Linda Vista, California, USA - JUN 30, 2014
Bottle from Trader Joe’s in Eastlake: After missing several years’ editions because the locations in La Mesa and La Jolla are always sold out, I was relieved to find my local store to have vintage 2009 bottles left. The pour created a thick fluffy head which eventually died down, and the liquid was a dark brown ale that is always a treat when it comes to Belgian strong’s. Aroma is mild, but has a spicy dosage of yeast that has traces of mint, and other green herb scents. The flavor is tart with a background of sweet syrup malts, and a spicy strain of yeast that is almost identical to Unibroue brewing co. No where on the bottle does it admit any help from Unibroue, and seems as if Trader Joe’s is boasting how they did it all by themselves. Also, seems like they got a little cocky and trying to make the impression that they are heavy weights in the beer geek world.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
skoisirius (1823) - Earth, Washington, USA - FEB 14, 2014
750ml bottle. Not sure why this gets different years for each vintage as I don’t believe the brew changes from year to year. That said, I’m copying and pasting this to each vintage I’ve had due to this factor. Beyond that, every year this comes out it’s worth picking up a bottle. It’s a great dark fruited and spiced out Belgian style, something like a dubbel, yet stronger. Can’t beat it for the price!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
thome50 (1192) - Morro Bay via Orange County, California, USA - DEC 8, 2013
Bottle via Casey. Tried alongside a 2011. Pours a deep brown to black. Slight white head. Aroma of fig and holiday spice. Taste is cola forward, raisin, some banana and clove. Malty as it leaves the tongue. Overall, seems better than the 2011.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
OldMrCrow (2112) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 28, 2013
Bottle tasted Thanksgiving 2013.

Pours quite dark with a tan head. This one had the misfortune to follow a 7-year-old GC Cuvee de Keizer Blau -- a very tough act to follow, all the more so in that the tastebuds get used to the sweetness and so an admirable dryness to this beer comes off as missing something instead of as a strong virtue. Modest nose, flavors of cola, ginger, pepper, cinnamon. Carbonation relatively aggressive.

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