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 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
DrSilverworm (9671) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 9, 2012
Sample from a 750ml bottle, shared by tmoney99. Dark brown but clear color. Minimal khaki head, little lace. Nice estery lightly spicy nose. Soft, light to moderate carbonation. Dry texture. Nice spicy flavor. Light belgian yeast, little roasty malt. Hint of smoke. Liking this.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
b3shine (8671) - Indiana, USA - DEC 5, 2012
750 ml bottle to snifter (thanks tmoney99). Looks good; black with thin off-white lacing. Smells and tastes malty and a little boozy with notes of lemon and ginger. Average on the palate. Enjoyable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Blairgus (4419) - California, USA - OCT 12, 2012
12 oct 2012, bottle. Brown/dark ruby. Nose is warm apple pie, heavy on apple and cinnamon, not as much pie crust. Thin body and moderately fizzy. Tastes of spicy cinnamon apples. Really nice ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
stevencon (522) - Sarasota, Florida, USA - OCT 5, 2012
Black with tawny edges and off white head. Aroma of cola cola and twizzlers. Effervescent anise and dark fruit. Slight green apple taste. Weird mix of flavors but not bad.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
italarican (1543) - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - AUG 6, 2012
Bottle Jeff brought to James’s place. Pours a dark brown, auburn hue, with boatloads of khaki head. Aroma has cloying ntoes of butterscotch and candied sugar. Flavor has tootise roll notes and butterscotch stickiness. Some slight sweet spices and cocoa. Sticky sweet despite the thin body and prickly carbonation. Actually pretty good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
HogTownHarry (6564) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - JUL 25, 2012
March 4, 2011 - with blankboy, garthicus, gregclow, jerc and mabel: 750ml corked & caged bottle via trade with irishboy (again, thanks, Richard!). Clear, deep, bright brick red; bubbly with a long-lasting creamy/fizzy tan head. Like the ’08 (spice/yeast/sweet caramel/ some booze) but roastier, maybe yeastier, definitely darker and more dry herbal bitterness. Taste follows right on from the aroma, a little warming. Average body, solid carbonation, a bit more bitterness and dry character in the finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 4, 2012
In short: A liquefied Mars bar with hot spiciness. Good beer
How: Bottle 750ml, consumed when a little over 2 years of age. Bottle sent to me by
The look: Very dark mahogany body with red highlights topped by a large beige head with good retention
In long: Nose is slightly phenolic, sweet soft candies and a spiciness that is usually found in light refreshing beers (coriander, lemongrass). Taste is sweet cereals, nougat, watered down toffee, candi sugar, hot spiciness (black pepper, ginger, more…), milk chocolate, almonds, fruity notes of apples. The various flavor elements of the beer (nougat, milk chocolate, caramel, hot spiciness, etc.) gives the sensation of drinking a hot-spicy liquefied Mars™ bar. Carbonation is a bit on of soft side and the mouthfeel is a bit slimy. Somehow the beer never felt too sweet and drinking a full 750ml was an easy task. Overall, a pretty decent beer, this one had the potential to be one of the best Unibroue but the slimy mouthfeel was a letdown and I would have preferred the spiciness to be a more discreet. I’m also pretty sure this was inspired by Trois Pistoles or even was a blend that uses Trois Pistoles. It angers me that the Unibroue Trader Joes and brewed 20 miles away from my home but are only sold in the USA, I almost feel like hating the USA but it is useless, nobody hates half of the USA as much as the other half of the USA.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
csteele2144 (125) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 21, 2012
Black with tan head, cocoa, malt, bready yeast aroma. Dark fruit, toffee, and coriander taste. Easily the best vintage produced so far.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
cblado (298) - Washington, USA - FEB 19, 2012
Wow. Thanks a lot to MeisterbrauMHB for this! Pours a deep, opaque mahogany color. Thick foamy tan head. Aroma is a rich malt, apple, and clove, with coriander notes. Flavor is very complex, with a strong roasted malt backbone and cocoa notes galore. Yet it’s surprisingly drinkable. Holy cow. This is really quite amazing, and worth the wait. Thanks again!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
RSRIZZO (1980) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - FEB 18, 2012
22oz bottle courtesy of Headbanger at gathering on 1/10/10. Color is a deep dark brown that is near black. Carbonation is good making for a nice tan head. Aroma is rich and sweet. It has a full body with a rich mouth feel. Flavor is spicy with rich caramel and dried fruit ending with a light bitterness. Overall its a very good brew.

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