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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2012

 (RETIRED)
overall
94
88
style
Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Chambly, Canada

bottled
available

on tap
unknown

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 159   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
johnnnniee (2293) - Bedford, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 26, 2012
Bottle shared by my brother in law, thanks for the opportunity Dave! Pours a deep dark brown with a smallish off white head that shows moderate retention and lots of lace. The aroma holds lots of brown sugar, a smattering of dark fruit, lots of yeast and fruity esters, a bit of pepper, and a faint non descript spice. The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Lots of dark fruits and dark sugars with a strong bit of Belgian yeasty flavors. There’s a hint of spice but it is faint and compliments rather that overpowers like so many other holiday brews. Medium to thick body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet sugary almost bubbly mouthfeel. This is a very nice beer. It has that unmistakeable Unibroue taste and aroma. I’m told that this was six dollars for a 750, that’s a hell of a bargain these days for a great beer.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
penstemon (127) - - NOV 25, 2012
Pours pretty much black with a beige head. Aromas of spices (esp. nutmeg and clove), sweet bready malt, dark fruit, a little oxidized. Taste of fig, raisin, spice, bread, burnt caramel, maybe a hint of banana. Slight hoppy bitterness, but very much in line with other dark Belgian-style ales from Unibroue (that’s a good thing).

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
HonkeyBra (3338) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - NOV 25, 2012
750 ml. bottle. Pours a very dark brown with a thick head made of tan foam. Aroma of dark candied fruits, strong yeast notes, some pear and baked apple. Some cinnamon, some cardamom, touches of clove and plans. Mild apricot and plums. Flavor is mildly sweet with touches of fruit and yeast. Thinnish mouthfeel. Good, especially considering the price.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
jgb9348 (4706) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - NOV 24, 2012
Deep dark brown coloured body with a thick, four centimetre tall tan head. Aroma of strong anise, cardamom, coriander seed, roasted malt and an almost fenugreek note. Medium-bodied; Strong spice of spruce, pine, nutmeg, anise and aniseed, fennel and a pungent chicory note complete with malt and a bit of alcohol warmth, of course. Aftertaste quite potent and complex with the spice notes front and centre and a good malty character with some nice sweetness at the very tail end. Overall, a good and relatively complex beer - nice to sample, and for the price, one of the best deals for a Christmas beer in the states (and Canada if you can get it from the producing country!) I sampled this 75 cL bottle purchased from Trader Joe’s in Falls Church (Bailey’s Crossroads), Virginia on 17-November-2012 for US$4.99 sampled at home in Washington on 24-November-2012.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
rubbishystuff (1829) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 24, 2012
This years example seemed especially smooth and way too easy drinking for the strength. Nicely spiced, holiday spice assortment, a little nutty too. Serving: Bottle

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
bhensonb (10930) - Woodland, California, USA - NOV 24, 2012
750 c&c from Trader Joe’s in Davis, CA. Pours dark brown with orange glints and a creamy, somewhat fizzy, tan head. Aromas of dark fruit, some brown sugar, and a touch of anise. Full bodied. Flavor has more anise than the aroma suggested. Heat’s not an issue til it reaches the esophagus. Finishes pretty much per the flavor, with the addition of some bitterness. Somewhere a suggestion of the flavors commonly found in a wit (minus the citrus) comes out. Moderately complex and tasty ale.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
mcberko (6297) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - NOV 23, 2012
750mL bottle, pours a deep dark, dark brown / near-black with a big foamy beige head. Aroma of various spices (cumin, cinnamon and maybe ginger), star anise, and some candied sugar. Flavour brings out lots of spices, star anise, some dark dried fruits, lots of Belgian yeast, and candied sugar. The spices and anise are the most dominant flavours, with a healthy yeast profile, and very high, lively carbonation. All the different flavours work well together, with the carbonation being slightly too high, but not too detracting. Great stuff - always interesting from Unibroue.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
vyvvy (3951) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - NOV 23, 2012
These may change every year, but each year when I try them I think "yep, that’s exactly what I expected". This is at least better to me than last years which I really didn’t like. Pours dark brown with a rocky tan head. The aroma has anise, cardamom, cola, expected Unibroue yeastiness, dark berries and other miscellaneous spice notes. Medium body that has a bit of crispness and lots of fairly soft carbonation. The flavor starts with fairly sweet malt, Unibroue yeast, earthiness, lots of spices and some Christmasiness with the spices (nutmeg?). The finish has more of the same with perhaps even more spices showing through. Decent beer and also worth trying at the price.

2.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
beaz1591 (238) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 23, 2012
Goblet. Dark chocolate with a tan fizzy head. Odor of alcohol with a hint of malts and licorice. The taste punches you in the mouth, tastes of raisins and licorice. Thick mouth feel.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
hoffrobert (178) - Indiana, USA - NOV 23, 2012
Pour is a dark, clear color. Nice carbonation, nice lacing. Decent bread and a dark fruit aroma. Tastes of raisins and walnuts. Other dark fruits also detected. Ends with a roasted malt flavor. The booze is also well masked until the end. Better than last years.


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