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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2011

Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Chambly, Canada


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 150   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.57   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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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 ale 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 the bottle upright in storage. Brewed with a delicate balance of noble hops, roasted malts and spices, this is a remarkably smooth ale with a wonderfully complex finish. It is best served slightly shilled, around 53 degrees Fahrenheit and pairs exceptionally well with grilled salmon steaks, curried lamb, beef or tuna au poivre. Crafted and bottled exclusively for Trader Joe’s

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JUL 26, 2012
Appearance: dark cherry and mahogany wood under a brown head which fades into a thin collar bordering a small thin puddle. Swirls nice.
Nose: cherry, grape, blueberry, and plums. Spices mingle with the fruit and spicy breads in the back. Candied fruitcake. Mulled red wines, spiced fruit wines.
Palate: mulled spiced red wine, grapes, blueberries, and cherries. Spiced candied maraschino cherries. Apricots. Warms the belly and chest. Silky mouthfeel and texture – glides across the tongue. Perfect proportion of carbonation. Tannins along the sides – leather and grape musk.
Final Thoughts: delicious! Trader Joes is a food and drink lovers paradise which I wish was in Florida. I only had one bottle which I drank of course but if you have the luxury of buying a couple bottles, be sure to cellar one.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MadIndian (2454) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 23, 2012
Bottled. It’s a Belgian strong...need I say more? Excellent blend of dark chocolate, caramel malts, plum and bread. And as if that wasn’t good enough for you batards, it has a warm spicey clove finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
iowaherkeye (2697) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - JUL 15, 2012
750mL bottle, Best Before 07-06-2016 from--Trader Joe’s! Clear cola brown with some reddish highlights and a one finger tan head, fair retention. Wintergreen and coriander are apparent up front, followed by some yeasty spicy phenolics. i also get a touch of anise as well as some toasty malt. Also has the typical fruity Unibroue yeast characteristics. Flavor follows suit, toasty notes are stronger, though plenty of the spicy phenols are present. The coriander is stronger than the wintergreen at this point. The finish is dry, bitterness was pretty low. Alcohol was masked well for 9%. I’m also picking up on some minerals.Never got too sweet, just estery and phenolic. Moderate to high prickly carbonation with a medium body. Not too bad at all, and well worth the crazy low price, as always from TJ’s.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
MattH (657) - California, USA - JUL 11, 2012
Bottle. Bought at Christmas. Drank on July fourth. Complex malty and dark fruit flavors. Dark cherries come through the most. Paired with with peanut butter sandwich.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hoffrobert (178) - Indiana, USA - JUN 30, 2012
Poured from a 750 ml bottle to a wine glass. Highly carbonated. Looks like soda. Taste of lots of dry fruits. Poor man?s Chimay. But for $4.99 it?s a fantastic deal.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
jandd1983 (2842) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - JUN 17, 2012
It poured a clear dark brown color with a light brown head. The aroma was of moderate to heavy toasted malt with yeast and spices. The taste was similar with a medium to full body texture and good carbonation. Always look forward to these Ales.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
hamilton23 (613) - Alpine, California, USA - JUN 15, 2012
Poured from 750ml bottle. Pours cola brown with a couple fingers of beige head. Aroma is Belgian yeast, dried fruit and some brown sugar. Taste follows the nose. This is like poor man’s Chimay or Rochefort 6. A very good beer for the price.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Brigadier (3123) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - JUN 13, 2012
750 ml bottle
This is a great deal every year. Even though I am not the greatest Unibroue fan (as many of their beers seem to taste the same) these I always look forward to. I wish I would have had a second bottle to hang on to for down the road.

Aroma / Appearance - Reddish black and fluid, this was darker than I somehow expected it to be. An ivory head surged to several fingers in height before falling like melting snow. Black peppers, chives, charcoal, and cheap vanilla extract linger in the air lazily.

Flavor / Palate - Flat soda chased with pinches of pepper tickle the back of the throat. Plums, dark fruit, and chocolate undertones add to a solid experience. At times carbonation peeks through. Ultimately though the same thing that plagues other Unibroue beers means this one becomes predictable by the end. Even so I don’t regret having opened it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Gerbeer (2039) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JUN 6, 2012
750 ml bottle. Pours a very dark brown with medium persistent head. Aroma of roasted malt, dark ripe fruit, and heavy on cloves/spice. Flavors of nutmeg, cloves, dates, and figs. Could use a bit more body or a bit less spice to allow the malts to come forward. Otherwise quite nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
douglas88 (6475) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 21, 2012
750ml bottle thanks to someone! Pours a dark mahogany color with a medium white head. The aroma is big rich malts with some light spices and fruit. A nice mellow flavor with light warmth, some cherry and berries, big malt, light roast, chocolates. Quite good.

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