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RATINGS: 143   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.62   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
arnold931 (885) - Iowa, USA - APR 3, 2014
Bottle. Dark, dark ruby with tan bubbly head. No lacing to speak of. Nose is Belgian. Taste is sweet with clove and ginger. Lots of carbonation.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
dalekliz (899) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 30, 2014
Bottle. Pours a dark red-brown with a big off-white head that fades to a ring. Sweet-spicy aroma, of malt, preserved citrus, cloves, yeast. Taste is sharp and spicy, malt, sugar, cloves, cardamom, ginger. Nice carbonation. Lingering spicy sharpness that ends a bit watery. Refreshing and tasty.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Bierkrug (2132) - - MAR 30, 2014
750ml bottle at Trader Joe’s Sarasoda Fl. Pour is a dark brown with a large tan head. Aroma is a nice sugar with some dark fruit. Flavor is a bit sugary sweetness with some caramel and molasses. Palate is more sweetness with some fruit and spice. OK

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Doghair (295) - Illinois, USA - MAR 24, 2014
The aroma is spicy dark fruits and malt. Nice malt and spice flavors mixed with some fruit. Big carbonation as expected. Excellent beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Oakes (13600) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 23, 2014
Dark brown. Dark malts, fruitiness and coriander on the nose. Sweet front, light yeasty character, and with a drier finish. Good, I like the slight orangey note.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mcberko (9754) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 23, 2014
750mL bottle, pours a deep dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma brings out lots of spices, especially cardamom. Flavour is the same - super spicy, again with the cardamom, and some Belgian yeast. Super spicy, too much so for me. Decent stuff, but not my favourite of the Trader Joe’s specials.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JMerritt (1894) - Macomb, Illinois, USA - MAR 21, 2014
Corked/caged bottle, opened and reviewed in March 2014. Pours a red-devil crimson with a large, frothy (yet mostly diminishing) Cinderella-white head. Sweet, earthy spices dominate the nose (licorice/anise, sarsaparilla root, cloves). Malty and sweet brown sugar, rich molasses, anise and toffee flavors are most evident. Moderately carbonated with a full, clean mouthfeel. Finish has a nip of alcohol, nutmeg, some light woody oak, toasted wheat and light pumpernickel rye bread. Root beer qualities are hard to overlook, so if you’re not a fan you may not enjoy. However, I found this year’s version to be quite good, and preferable to previous years.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GT2 (9410) - San Diego County, California, USA - MAR 17, 2014
[ Bottle ][ TJ Bressi Ranch ][ 750mL ][ $5 ][ Lost Abbey Globe ][ 3/15/14 ]
>> Corks pops with heavy carbonation...dusty deep purple brown pour with guge gray foam. Webby big lace. Nose is excellent cinnamon, cinnamon roll, crumble cake, moving to huge soap phenols, bathroom. Taste is super aerated, dark cherry, cinnamon roll, mild metallic, spices. Mild soap and metal finish. Drinkable...maybe TJ Vintage Ale is so cheap because they are botched batches of Trois Pistoles?

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Hopswagger (199) - South Carolina, USA - MAR 14, 2014
P: Dark brown almost black with flashes of ruby highlights. A thick rootbeer head crowns the top and leaves behind an intricate chain of lacing. S: Aroma is pleasant with loads of doughy bread, dark malts, cardamom, figs, plums, nectarine pits, roasted toffee, amaretto, syrupy rootbeer and cloves. T/M: Taste is prominently spiced and accompanied by doughy dark fruit breads, cherry cola, burnt toffee, amaretto, grain alcohol, and finishes with bitter persimmons. A vivacious, relatively thin body accentuates the spice profile. Scorched grains cover the palate in a chalky film. O: I have to say for a $5 bottle BSDA it’s a surprise. I’m really missing some good Belgian candy sugar and more dark fruit sweetness. The spice and carbonation seem to hinder the cohesiveness of the ale. Overall a good beer but not one of Unibroue’s best. Serving type: bottle

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
IrishBoy (3960) - Bakersfield, California, USA - MAR 14, 2014
750 ml bottle from Trader Joe’s Bakersfield. Nose is sweet, cloves, caramel, and hints of banana and bubblegum. Hazy brown with a medium, heavy lacing beige head. Flavor is spicy cloves and cinnamon, sweetness, and they usual Unibroue yeastiness.

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