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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2011

 (RETIRED)
overall
94
91
style
Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Chambly, Canada

bottling
unknown

on tap
unknown

Local Distribution

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RATINGS: 149   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.56   SEASONAL: Special   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 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


oc4111's rating

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
oc4111 (119) - USA - DEC 16, 2012
Pours a dark cola like color with and active mocha colored head that leaves very little lacing. Aroma is that typical Unibroue yeast, dark fruit, and a hint of spice. Mouthfeel is surprisingly clean considering all the sweetness. Decent hint of carbonation makes it possible.


3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
ineedbeer (887) - Oakland, California, USA - DEC 8, 2014
Poured from a bottle. Aroma is fairly spicy with ginger, allspice, anise. Some notes of lemongrass and clove as well. Medium light toasted malt notes with hints of roast, chocolate and toffee. Light fruit notes of raisins and prunes. A touch of alcohol. Big pop upon opening, but no geyser. Pours a very dark brown with hits of burnt amber and a big, moderately thick, dark tan head that slowly, but steadily recedes to a thin film that lingers. Light lacing and moderate legs. Flavor is slightly to moderately sweet. Some toffee and caramel with toasted bread and light roast with hints of chocolate. A weird note in the finish that reminds me of those Haribo Cola Gummy candies. Not as much spice as in the aroma, but some sarsaparilla, ginger and anise. Medium bitterness, a bit harsh and grassy. Light alcohol notes. Hints of raisins and prunes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a touch watery with medium high carbonation. Medium low astringency and low alcohol warmth. Overall, an odd beer. The aroma is alright, but the flavor is totally different than the aroma and tastes like a mix between a cola flavored gummy and an herbal mouth lozenge. It tastes a bit better than that sounds like it would. Far from full bodied.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
slowrunner77 (6084) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 27, 2014
this is just a nice deal at $5! nicely spiced, with a dry finishing belgian champagne like yeast strain. cocoa, dark fruit, aroma a little "dusty, but still very nice. abv hidden very well though the carbonation as always is a little much."

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Banksiz (33) - Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 21, 2014
Aged for two years in my basement. Malty-caramel with some clove and spice and a hint of strawberry. Sweetish balanced by a slight bitterness-sourness. Full body, pleasant bittersweet finish. A great brew and outstanding for the price!

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
skoisirius (1761) - 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!

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
drowland (6155) - Valdosta, Georgia, USA - JAN 4, 2014
12/25/13. Merry Christmas! 750mL bottle shared graciously by my brother Calvin. Amber brown pour with a nice khaki head. Very fruity, almost citrusy, on the aroma, some deep caramels and dark fruits. Fruity flavor as well, plenty of esters, bready, dark fruits, almost fruit loops in a way, malty. Tasty.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
bluejacket74 (1383) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - DEC 13, 2013
750 ml caged and corked bottle, best before 07-06-2016. Had this bottle a couple years, hope it’s good now! Served in a Dogfish Head signature glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch light tan head that sticked around for a while. There’s also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark fruit (plums, raisins), cloves, peppery spice, and some molasses. It tastes like dark fruit (plums, raisins), peppery spice, cloves, dark bread, cola, molasses and brown sugar. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it’s a bit coating and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. I liked this brew, it’s sweet, spicy and enjoyable to drink.

3.3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
thome50 (1081) - Morro Bay via Orange County, California, USA - DEC 8, 2013
Bottle via George. Sampled next to a 2009. Pours a brown with tan head. Aroma is again very cola forward. Taste is slight cola, raisin, clove, slight oxidation (based on storage?) and some chocolate. This is less interesting and complex than the 2009.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Butters (3848) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 3, 2013
Corked and caged at the sunday after thanksgiving tasting 2013. I really have a hard time differentiating between the years. When tasted next to the 2008, this just tasted a bit fresher and less cardboardy. Also a little less sweet. Still drinks damn good though.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 7, 2013
In short: A spicy Belgian dark ale that doesn’t over do the spicy thing. Good beer.
How: Bottle 750ml, consumed exactly 3 years before expiration date. Not sure if I received this bottle from someone… Matt?
The look: Cloudy very dark brown body (near black) topped by a persistent small beige head.
In long: Nose is moderately spicy (cloves, various herbs) also with the typical Belgian dark ale fruity esters. As usual with Unibroue the mouthfeel is spot-on, full body and lively carbonation. Taste has nice fresh juicy dark fruits, notes of chocolate, liquefied caramel, some toffee, tree roots, a nice array of spices somewhat reminiscent of Christmas ales. Relatively low sweetness level for the style. I’m not a fan of spiced beer but this one has well integrated spices that do not overwhelmed the beer. An average Unibroue which is still a good beer. And I pronounce 2011 like “Twenty Eleven” and not “Two Thousand Eleven” because saying “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s One Thousand Nine Hundred And Ninety Nine” just doesn’t sound as cool.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Boutip (4862) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 13, 2013
Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a huge light brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of caramelized Belgian malt with some coriander and the famous Unibroue yeast ester. Taste is also a well balanced mix of caramelized Belgian style malt with some coriander and some light peppery notes with the famous Unibroue yeast ester. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Doesn’t stray away from the brewer standards which is a good thing knowing how he masters the style.


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