RATINGS: 183   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.58/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
The Trader Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale is a brown Belgian-style ale of great distinction produced by traditional top fermentation methods resulting in a rich and full-bodied flavor. The Champagne-like effervescence and smooth moth feel are the result of a natural secondary fermentation in the bottle obtained by the use of carefully selected yeast. This deep brown color vintage ale, with a tint of red hue displays effervescent generous beige foam. It has notes of coffee and spices, mild aroma of tropical fruits. Trader Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale has a smooth round mouth feel and notes of roasted malt, carrying toffee-like flavor, finishing with well balanced noble hops. True to it’s Abby Dubbel style, this year’s vintage ale offers a highly distinctive flavor enhanced by the fruity and floral notes of the yeast. The result is a complex and warming ale that offers both strength and subtlety. Brewed once a year in limited quantity, please enjoy Trader Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale. This ale will age exceptionally over time, developing more complex flavor as the years go by. Exclusively bottled for Trader Joe’s. Best before 09-09-2011.

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
brokensail (16342) - Dublin, California, USA - DEC 31, 2010
A: The pour is a brownish color with a minimal off-white head forming. S: The nose is quite sweet with lots of caramel, candi sugar, and light fruits such as pears and apples. There’s a touch of alcohol as well as a hint of darker fruits like raisins. T: Despite the definite sweetness, there’s a touch of dryness to the beer. Still some good fruit notes like apples, pears, raisins, and plums. Lots of candi sugar and caramel as well. M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth. D: One of the best (if not the best) of the Trader Joe’s vintage beers. A more standard and drinkable Belgian-style beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
phaleslu (9853) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 10, 2010
750 ml bottle shared by Matt at the Royale. He picked this up at Trader Joe’s in Brentwood a couple years ago. Looks a lot like a Unibroue bottle, unsurprisingly. Pours a clear deep amber color with a sticky off-whtie head. Aroma of Belgian yeast (might as well call it Unibroue yeast), banana, sweet bread, apples, candi sugar, and caramel malts. The flavor is basically along the same lines. Medium-bodied, with low carbonation and a yeasty mouthfeel. Will called this a ’yeast mess’ and that’s hard to debate. Not bad, though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 5, 2010
In short: A very yeasty, bready and sweet Belgian amber ale. Below average Unibroue offering
How: Bottle 750ml. Consumed when about 2 years of age. Sent to me as a bonus by daknole. Thanks Dakine.
The look: Cloudy dark amber body topped by a beige ring of foam
In long: Nose is has fruit cake and signature Unibroue yeast. In mouth the beer is mainly bready and sweet. Like eating a fresh baguette and brown sugar at the same time. Also some extra-ripe bananas, some caramel, some dark fruits and a spicy sensation (cinnamon, cloves). The carbonation is a bit overdone and tickles the tongue. The signature Unibroue yeast really comes out strong in this one. As a Quebecer I am used to bath, do my laundry and brush my teeth with Unibroue yeast. But even I thought that the yeast was taking a lot of room in this beer. Strangely there was also early signs of oxidation. Surprising considering this is not that old for an Unibroue. The Unibroue 17 which is about the same age is peaking right now while my bottle of Trader Joes 2008 was already on its decline. Strange. This is very annoying that Unibroue, a local brewery, make many beers only available for the USA market. I need to trade or travel to another country to get bottles that are brewed about 20 miles from my house. That royally pisses me off. But that’s how it is, business is business. I know I need to look at the big picture because I’m a grown up mature adult. Does the big picture has boobies on it?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Diogène (1207) - Mirabel, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 7, 2010
Bottle. Hazy dark brown with a thin beige head with good retention. Aroma is yeasty with sugar, alcohol, raisins, malt and dark caramel. Flavor is spices, sweet belgian malt, raisins, plums, alcohol, yeast and alcohol. Full body with fizzy carbonation. Very good.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jb43 (1650) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - SEP 6, 2010
(2008 bottle, sampled 3/16/10. Clear amber color. Small off white head. Sweet malt and raisin aroma. Sweet raisin/cherry and malt flavors. Avg duration. Smooth finish, with light alcohol. Thin texture. Moderate to high carbonation. Spare lacing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ibrew2or3 (8458) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 1, 2010
Courtesy of kiefdog. Pours clear copper with tall off white head. The aroma has spicy yeast, apples, coriander like spices and sweet sugariness. The taste is really sweet with honey drenched ripe red apples then moving quickly into coriander and spicy yeastiness. It’s smooth with growing brightness into the finish leaning toward spiciness and apples.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
markwise (5382) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - MAY 29, 2010
Thanks to kiefdog for the share. Pours Hazy orange-brown with an off-white head. Nose is yeast, malt, sugar, molasses, dark fruit, and lots of fizz. Flavor is similar with the trademark Unibroue fizz and yeast. Flavor has fruit and molasses in it, too. Medium bodied and makes me burp.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nickls (2464) - Alexandria, Virginia, USA - MAY 5, 2010
(Old BA rate - bottle) Muddy water brown in color, poured with a nice finger of white foam. Head didn’t last too long. Passion fruit aromas, and maybe even some pruniness with sweetish toffee and maltiness. Fruitiness right up front, and the passion fruit comes near apple-like in the flavor, toffee and a bit of a roasted coffee in the finish. Nice tight carbonation, and thinner MF. Very much what I would expect for the style, but perhaps a bit lighter than other examples. Very drinkable dubbel.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
shigadeyo (3672) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAY 4, 2010

2008 Vintage

11/26/2009: Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2008... Aroma: Yeasty with some generic spice. Appearance: Hazy red-brown color; large, foamy beige head. Flavor: Sweet candi sugar and caramelized malt; spicy malts; plum; hints of Concord-like grape; slightly sharp and metallic in the finish; alcohol pops out when the beer is warmer. Palate: Smooth; medium-bodied. Overall: Still good, but I don’t think that it has really changed that much over the past year...

750 mL corked and caged bottle from Trader Joe’s in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rating #145 for this beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daleharshman (1062) - Escondido, California, USA - APR 23, 2010
750 ml bottle purchased at Trader Joe’s, of course, and for a very good price. I drunk a couple bottles when it released (before I was on RateBeer), but decided to age this one. Pours a color that seems to be evenly balanced between red and brown with a generous off-white head. Aroma of candied dark fruits, Unibroue yeast, brown sugar, and some bready malts. Flavor of more sweet dark fruits, yeast, rich malts, and some spice that seems amplified by the prickly carbonation. Some nice dark chocolate comes in the finish. The alcohol is completely hidden. The year and a half of aging seem to have done this very well. Despite the Trader Joe’s label, this beer screams Unibroue in both nose and flavor. Another great one from these talented Quebecois. (126, 280)

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