RATINGS: 186   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.64/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
Trader Joe’s 2009 Vintage Ale
You might be used to seeing vintages on wine; not so much on beer. And that’s what makes this ale so special. Trader Joe’s Vintage Ales were developed, crafted, brewed and bottled for us in limited quantities this year. Its flavor, color, texture and overall character are different from our Vintage Ale of 2008, and in 2010 it will be different once again.

The 2009 Vintage Ale
It is an opaque black color and features an impressive coffee-colored foam. In a glass, it boasts cocoa and malt aromas, with a subtle hint of lemon and ginger. A sip from that glass really brings out the best in this ale - malty and mildly sweet, with hints of cocoa, citrus and spices.

Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale is ready to enjoy right away, chilled but not ice cold. Unlike many beers, though, this one will age for a few years, and its flavors will become more complex and interesting as time goes by.

What’s that? You’re a beer geek? We love that. You’ll love this. And we assume you’ll want to know this is a dark ale on lees, 9% ABV (that’s Alcohol by Volume, for the non-beer geeks). Oh, and it’s brewed exclusively for Trader Joe’s, of course.

Best Before 09-12-2012

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
naivepegasus (371) - USA - DEC 20, 2009
Pours a dark brown with lots of slowly dissipating off-beige head. Sort of a nutty plum odor. Very sweet, balances out the alcohol until the end. Lots of dark fruits in the taste, with a slight tinge of hoppy bitterness to close it out.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
craftbeerdesign (2254) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 20, 2009
750 ml bottle. pours a deep dark brown with a 1/2" tan head... nice lingering lively head... big spice, citrus, Belgian yeast and a touch of banana on the nose... lively carbonation throughout... medium body... soft sides, spice up front with dark fruit notes towards the back... some raisin, dates, fig and plum.... also a bit of citrus up front. strong finish with more heavy spice. A great bargain Unibroue ale at $5 / 750ml. Get it while you can.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
raphael (1220) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 20, 2009
Is this liquid plum pudding--spcey, yeasty, drk sugar aromas. Flavors are similar, but sweeter and some dark plums. Dark brown, light khaki head. A little flat and thick in the mouth. A bit too sweet for my taste, a temptation to heat it up like mulled wine,

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
SuzyGreenberg (1603) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 18, 2009
750 ml bottle - clear, dark brown pour with thick light tan head; big perfumy yeasty spice nose rushing right to the back of my skull like a quick punch to the head; ginger with tangy orange, cinnamon, maybe juniper or something similar; definitely big on the ginger; despite the nose, flavor profile is rather subdued and kind of dull; thin texture with yeasty softness; smooth with slight ginger burn in the back of the throat; not that bad I guess, but the next time in Trader Joe’s i’ll be walking right by this and over to the chocolate covered peanut butter-filled pretzels (yum, yum, yummmmmm)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
tmoreau (4151) - Lombard, Illinois, USA - DEC 18, 2009
Shared bottle at our local homebrew club holiday gathering. Poured a dark brown with a highly foamy, tan head and nice ribbons and spots of clingy lacing. The nose was immediately yeast, with ensuing spiciness, and darkfruit notes. Next was some smooth malt with chocolate, caramel, and light sweet hints. Just a touch of citrusy tartness and maybe some alcohol abruptly,but nicely ended the smooth flow. The flavor was very similar to the aroma notes. Probably a little lighter on the palate than I was expecting for the style, but very nicely done.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
durhambeer (2500) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - DEC 17, 2009
Pours black with huge dark beige head. Looks overcarbonated at first, but settles down just fine. My first sniff just made me think "Unibroue," as their yeast is so distinctive to me, and honestly not my favorite. That said, I can dig this. Nose shows dark malts, grain, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, toast, candied lemon peel, and something like spruce or juniper. Similar taste. Pushing my spice limit, but good. Extra point for the price.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
chicagodri (1683) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 16, 2009
Glad the wife picked this beer up for me. Bottle. Pours dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of chocolate, cocoa, and actually a lot of lemon and ginger. The ginger flavor came through, and it actually dominated what I thought was going to be more of a sweeter, chocolate brew. Fairly good though, will be interesting to see how it ages. Good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
sinkr (323) - Odenton, Maryland, USA - DEC 16, 2009
750->Tulip: Pours a huge, brown head that exhibits some lacing atop a dark, murky brown body. Aroma of grains. Superb taste, especially at its price point. Medium body, not cloying like a lot of Belgians can be. A real winner.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
nbutler11 (1267) - Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, ENGLAND - DEC 16, 2009
Sample from a bottle opened by psprings -- thanks, Paul! I cannot believe this is $5. Pours a dark shade of amber with a dirty beige head. Smells of cardamom (at least that’s what I’m going to roll with), yeast, and pie spices. Tastes of further yeast, brown sugar, and ginger. Nice beer at a nice price -- woo hoo!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
popery (2141) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 15, 2009
Nice BSDA from Unibroue. This beer is a flat-out great bargain for $5 per 750ml bottle. It’s not the best Belgian around, but it’s one of the very best bargains in beer. The beer pours a very dark burgundy-brown with a big fluffy khaki head. The aroma didn’t sit quite right with me at first, but it’s improving a lot as it warms up. The signature Unibroue yeast is present with notes of soy sauce, brown sugar and holiday spices, primarily fresh ginger. The flavor is nice and dry, and the Belgian earthiness really blooms on the palate. The mouthfeel is typical of Unibroue, nice and prickly. It’s a very good beer and I’m going to pack away a few bottles for the cellar.

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