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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2010

 (RETIRED)
overall
93
88
style
Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Chambly, Canada

bottled
available

on tap
unknown

Local Distribution

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RATINGS: 183   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ales with character. This year’s vintage: a rich, dark and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It’s ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by. Keep bottle upright in storage. Best before 9-10-2013.


4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Dacrza (533) - Great Meadows, New Jersey, USA - JUN 18, 2011
Situation: Mourning an NCAA pool ending and celebrating a garage door half-installed... Glassware: Maudite goblet... Appearance: Velvet dark almost coffee body with a thick brown head that occupies a chalice well... Aroma: punchy, fruity flavors and soft malts balance the bouquet... Palate: Creeamy, alarmingly soft and warm; milky on the lips; little bubble but a late vigor reveals complexity... Taste: Bright, lactic hops that are blunted by the subdued nature of malts--the roasted aspect is understated as well--little smoke but definitely fire! Overall: It’s Unibroue, and it’s a special release, and it was FREE thanks to my father-in-law--how can this review NOT end well? Less caustic than the Maudite, more body than the La Fin du Monde, darker than the Trois Pistoles, and easier drinking them all of them! At 9% alcohol another engineering marvel from the Canadians...

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
BeerMePodcast (96) - Palm Desert, California, USA - DEC 7, 2010
Surprised as to how low this one’s rated by many, honestly. If their corks were as tight on their bottles as mine was, I can maybe understand. Luckily, this beer was worth it. Phenols, almost sour and somewhat bubblegum aromas. Peppery taste up front which sweetens out slightly, adds a hint of tartness and then finishes with the slightest touch of bitterness. As it warms, some nice warm alcohol notes come in. I am not shocked that a contract beer with Unibroue would be this bad-ass. And for $4.99, it’s up there, pound for pound with TJ’s Mission St. Pale from FirestoneWalker as the best beer deal out there (unless you homebrew).

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
seymour (1465) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - OCT 13, 2011
UPDATED: NOV 10, 2011 Tasted bottle into tulip glass. Poured an opaque, very dark reddish-brown, almost black color with crazy thick beige foam, extremely persistent, fine Belgian lace. Strong perfumey aroma of unidentifiable spices, which is driving me crazy. I even waited until I’d sampled it on multiple occasions to write this review. I’m pretty sure it contains nutmeg and grains-of-paradise, but I know there’s stuff in there I can’t recognize. It was too much for me at first, but it grew on me the more I obsessed about it. Other aromas include pepper, clove, citrus zest, alcohol. A complex grainbill as indicated by flavors of malt, baking bread, toast, roasted barley, nuts, caramel, molasses, plums, black licorice, dried cranberries, refined hops bitterness. Very fruity, tart and tangy, with a pleasant bittersweet aftertaste. Exquisite bottle fermentation lends tiny, spritzy, aromatic bubbles. High ABV% is less warming than you’d expect. Profoundly spicy, not for everyone, but I love it.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
badlizard (5537) - Berkeley, California, USA - NOV 30, 2010
Black with a big fluffy tan head. Candied dark fruit, Belgian yeast, citrus, and sweet spice aroma and taste.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Nena (963) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 26, 2010
Dark brown, nearly black pour with a towering, foamy off-white head. Smells like Unibroue’s signature yeast, fragrant and fruity, some dark dried fruits. This has a lighter body than I was expecting with a refreshing appley tartness, spice bread in the background, more dark dried fruits and golden raisin, a touch of hay. I definitely like this more than last year’s Vintage Ale.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
malrubius (1821) - Springfield, Vermont, USA - DEC 2, 2010
Dark brown with lasting head and lace. Spicy licorice dark fruit caramel maple syrup aroma. Maple syrup toasty spice dark fruit plum raisin with clean spicy finish. Nice soft palate. Fairly rich but the spices and the effervescence make it quaffable and good with food. Having it with French onion soup. Excellent.

4.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
flatmatt (1139) - Northville, Michigan, USA - DEC 24, 2010
750 mL bottle. Pours dark brown with a light tan head. Aroma is the usual Unibroue yeast profile with spicy inflluences. Flavor is very spice-influenced, with ginger, molasses, coriander, cinnamon, dark fruit, cloves, and the Unibroue yeast all making appearances. Complex and very well done; this is just a great use of spices.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
jercraigs (8013) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAY 15, 2011
2011-05-13. Very dark brown body with a massive beige head and lace. Aroma is interesting, sort of spicy/herbal character that develops as it warms up. 7+ Flavour is similar, spice overtones and a dark rich malt base. Modest Belgian yeast influence and mild alcohol. 8+ Smooth average plus to medium bodied palate. 3+ Pretty solid. Enjoyable. Bottle via trade with fata2683

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nik925 (759) - USA - FEB 23, 2014
Forgot about this one, and it sat for quite some time (passing the best by, but really, if you sell a ’age this bottle’, the conservative date is BS.). Nice punchy dried fruit flavor remains after all these years. Meanwhile, the alcohol (hardly there) and other harsh flavors have floated away. Rather happy I let this one sit. Surprisingly high carbonation - worth the time wrangling the cork out - almost went for the cork screw. Reading a few reviews, it looks like these benefit from sitting a long time. Nice, hard, yeast/lees pack at the bottom of the bottle. Will pick up a 2013 next time I’m at Trader Joes - cheers to 2017.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mu11igan (133) - Davis, California, USA - NOV 22, 2010
750mL bottle. Body is black with coffee-colored highlight. Aroma is yeasty, spicy, and somewhat bready. The flavor is dark fruit and a little spicy, with very subtle, yet noticeable, warming from the alcohol. Overall, I’d describe this as a well-done, crisp beer that certainly has potential for maturing and mellowing with age.


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