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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2013

 (RETIRED)
overall
95
93
style
Formerly brewed at Unibroue (Sapporo)
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Chambly, Canada

bottled
common

on tap
unknown

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 139   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.59   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.


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Oakes (12789) - 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.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mcberko (7236) - 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.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JMerritt (1844) - 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.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GT2 (8742) - 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?

3.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Hopswagger (198) - 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

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
IrishBoy (3888) - 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.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
UDBeernut (1853) - Saint Johns, Florida, USA - MAR 12, 2014
plum colored, pitted fruits, grass, gum, clove. light body powered by a butt ton of carbonation, me thinks its too much. decent.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chudwick (2215) - Cincyucky, Kentucky, USA - MAR 9, 2014
Three quarter liter bottle - I grace this magic potion by pouring it into one of AndyReynold’s Trappist glasses. Smells so normal after Punishment. A little too sweet but I like it. Dark fruit and that funky Unibroue yeast. Strange aftertaste like premature fruit. Rerate bump +2.

3.8
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
AndyReynolds (918) - Dayton, Kentucky, USA - MAR 9, 2014
Bottle thanks to the notorious C.H.U.D.W.I.C.K. and viewers like you, thank you. Aroma is dark fruit, yeast, and band aids(?). I also get something acidic. It is sweet to the taste, bringing out a tea or a chai tea flavor... odd. I think it is that yeast going on up there in the canuck country. Commie bastards trying to take or cheese and shit.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
puboflyons (2228) - Allenstown, New Hampshire, USA - MAR 9, 2014
From the corked, caged 750 ml. bottle best before 08-01-2016. The pour is beautifully dark brown to nearly black and a lingering soft brown head. The aroma is dark malts, licorice, dates, plums, coriander, and an earthy hop note. The body is around medium. The taste has a much more bitter bite to it than the aroma lets on and the licorice and spice kicks in big time. I like the Trader Joe’s Vintage series because they are basically Unibroue’s staple beers for about $2 less.


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