magdalar (513) - Zurich, SWITZERLAND - DEC 30, 2011
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a big offwhite head. Smells of Christmas: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and various other spices. Taste is a medium sweetness with a definite spice. Texture is creamy. Soft carbonation. Fun she’s tingly. Not bad, but too christmasy for my taste.
alexanderj (3318) - Branson, Missouri, USA - DEC 28, 2011
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle; poured a dark cola brown with a very large light brown head. Aroma of herbs, yeast, cocoa, carmal, and alcohol. Flavor was quite herbal, almost medicinal, but not quite band-aid. Not really a favorite flavor profile of mine, but ok overall.
seymour (1456) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - DEC 27, 2011
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Tasted from corked bottle into tulip glass. Poured a hazy, deep brown color with lively tan foam, excellent retention, lace, even some alcohol legs. Some light bread and perfumely hop aromas, but almost entirely masked by high-powered caramelized sugar, banana and layers of spices: pepper, clove, perhaps some nutmeg and licorice? Some dark fruit esters but not much. Despite what has been written by others, I didn’t pick-up much malt complexity, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, toffee, or tartness. Flavor was much less sophisticated than I expected; not really malty or hoppy at all, and as such, barely beer. Just lots and lots of dark candy sugar and pungent "Belgian" spiciness. Where is the subtle balance of artisinal characteristics? I usually love these Trader Joe’s Vintage ales, in fact everything Unibroue brews, but this one was my first disappointment. The problems don’t seem like the type that will improve with aging, either, so I won’t be saving a bunch of these as usual. Hopefully the 2012 vintage will be more delicately crafted.
bb (6858) - Alamo, California, USA - DEC 27, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Dark brown beer with a tan head. Malt and light roast aroma with light chocolate, light dark fruits, and yeast. Malt and caramel flavor with yeast, spice, and light citrus. Medium bodied. Citrus and malt lingers with caramel, yeast, and light spice.
tgncc (2830) - Bellmore, New York, USA - DEC 27, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
These beers are always a pleasure. Aroma is chocolate, belgian yeast, dark fruit, molasses. The appearance is opaque bown, off-white head. The flavor is fruity, chocolate, spicy, yeasty. The finish is noble hop bitter, some pepper and spice. Medium in body. Very good.
monk191 (982) - California, USA - DEC 25, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
These Trader Joes Ales never disappoint. We have been Enjoying them for the last 3 years, and this one is the best batch. Fruity sweet smell, and a dark carbonated pour. Taste is very smooth, with a malty flavor, but not as sweet as last year. Lots of complexity. We will be letting a bottle sit for a few years.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
badlizard (5538) - Berkeley, California, USA - DEC 25, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Black with a big foamy tan head. Musty aroma of chocolate, cola nut, allspice with tastes of chocolate, caramel, cola nut, and sweet spice with a thick almost syrupy palate.
BMan1113VR (7867) - Los Angeles, California, USA - DEC 24, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2011 (obviously) 750ml with a best before of 07-06-2016. Always a joy when I see this beer each year for such a reasonable price ($4.99 this year). Pours with a silly sized (massive), creamy, tan head over a near black (very deep brown) body with low clarity. Very pretty belgian lace with good retention as well. Aromas are of Unibroue’s unique house yeast. Clove, cardamom, candied orange peel, brown sugar, brandy, molasses, light roast, leather, chocolate, fig, plum, candied pear. Very floral and inviting overall. Flavors are fruity, estery, chewy, fudge, leather, marmalade, light roast, molasses, curacao orange, clove, mild esters and some alcohol. Brandy. Complex. Light umami as well. Mildly bready malt character. Ginger as it warms. Lively bubbles, nicely dry, a touch of belgian yeast tartness, fruity, complex, long duration. Medium warming. Excellent!
HonkeyBra (3420) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - DEC 22, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml. bottle from Trader Joe’s. This still remains as one of the the best deals in craft beer at under 5 bucks a 750ml bottle. Dark brown pour with nice kahki head. Aroma of spice, belgian candi sugar, belgian yeast, caramel. Aroma is spice, caramel, belgian yeast, slight roast. Mouthfeel is a fuller than it was last year, medium bodied. Solid, nice carbonation. This is a better showing than last year, and a solid if unspectacular beer.
Tmoney99 (10804) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 22, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Poured clear dark brown color with an average fizzy light brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted malt, yeast and spice aroma. Medium to full body with a dry smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy complex sweet flavor with a medium to heavy spice sweet finish of moderate to long duration. My expectations where exceeded.