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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
PotjeBier (3136) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - JAN 17, 2012
(From notes) Bottle, New Year’s Eve of 2009. Dark brown color. Off white to beige head, retaining. Aroma: spices (ginger, aniseed), dark fruits, (milk)chocolate. Flavor is medium sweet, spicy & malty. Quite strong alcoholfeel. Medium bodied. Flavor lingers on (no new flavors). On the spicy side, but nice winterwarmer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
jezmez68 (404) - Chesterton, Indiana, USA - DEC 2, 2011
I always like these. This is black and imparts a huge, billowy head. Smells like Unibroue and Coriander. Light in the mouth. No heavy alcohol. I waited two years to try this. I’m not sharing it. Quite good.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ApisAles (1575) - Greenbelt, Maryland, USA - NOV 27, 2011
Been saving this one for awhile. Poured deep ruby with a light tan head. Aroma is dark fruit, raisins, Belgian yeast, caramel, toffee, super complex and earthy. Some strong vinous notes. Flavor is similar to aroma. Sweet dark fruit, malt. This beer was excellent.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GRM (3988) - Aylmer, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 16, 2011
Brown bottle, 750 ml, from Philippe Boutin, savoured on October 21 2011; eye: dark brown, opaque, no effervescence, tiny sheet of beige head, no lacing; nose: coriander, yeast, fruity, candied sugar; mouth: coriander, yeast, fruity, candied sugar, ginger spiciness, light alcohol, finale in ginger spiciness with presence of coriander, medium-full body, good carbonation, foamy texture; overall: fine FRANÇAIS Bouteille brune, 750 ml, 9 %, de Philippe Boutin, savourée le 21 octobre 2011; œil : brune foncée, opaque, pas d’effervescence, petite couverture de mousse beige, pas de dentelle; nez : coriandre, levure, fruité, sucre candi; bouche : coriandre, levure, fruité, sucre candi, piquant du gingembre, léger alcool, finale en piquant du gingembre avec présence de coriandre, corps moyen-corsé, bonne carbonatation, texture mousseuse; en résumé : bien

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Boutip (6273) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 31, 2011
Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of candi sugar and coriander with the typical Unibroue yeast profile. Taste is a very nice mix between some sweet Belgian malt with light notes of candi sugar and quite a bit of coriander. The Unibroue yeast strain profile can also be easily detected but I find the light fruity ester it provides very enjoyable. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed with some complexity and easily drinkable characteristics.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Lubiere (13701) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - OCT 25, 2011
A dark brown ale with a thick big bubbled mocha head. In aroma, loads of coriander spices, with plums, candy sugar, Italian herbs, quite nice. In mouth, a smooth sweet dark fruits with candy sugar, and light sugar, ginger notes, very nice and smooth. Tasted Oct. 21 2011 with GRM and Boutip. Merci Phillipe.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
seymour (1970) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - OCT 13, 2011
Tasted bottle into tulip glass. Poured an opaque black color with crazy thick beige foam, extremely persistent, fine Belgian lace. Strong perfumey aromas: pepper, clove, and other unidentifiable spices, citrus zest, alcohol. Large list of flavors: malt, bread, toast, caramel, molasses, plums, black licorice, dried cranberries, hops bitterness, roasted barley. Very fruity, tart and tangy, lasting aftertaste. Very warming alcohol, it’s impossible to completely hide 9% ABV, after all. Interesting and tasty, definitely to be saved for special sipping occasions.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
kwoeltje (2233) - Manchester, Missouri, USA - OCT 8, 2011
(bottle) deep brown/black with hints of red. Aroma was overwhelmingly ginger. Taste was also overwhelmed by the ginger, with other spices, some bitter chocolate, slightly sweet dark malt.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
JohnnyJ (5545) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 19, 2011
Bottle. Dark rudy brown, foamy light tan head. Dark fruits, spice, nutmeg, light chocolate, and light roast. Plenty of the unibroue yeast. Overly carbonated. A basic dark belgian spiced christmas beer from unibroue, which isn’t such a bad thing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
bsp77 (724) - Minnesota, USA - SEP 6, 2011
Brewed by Unibroue and described as a (Belgian) Dark Ale Brewed on Lees, and certainly not a Dubbel. Serving glass: Poured from bomber into Snifter. Appearance: Extremely dark opaque brown with a billowing cappuccino head that quickly disappears, leaving nothing behind. Aroma: Dry musty malts, wood, cocoa, Belgian yeast, lemon and ginger. Taste: Earthy, musty and woody with cloves, lemon and cocoa. Way too musty for my liking, like sucking the liquid from the wooden walls of a dank cellar. Palate: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry but still seems cloying. Overall: While not a bad beer, I don’t particularly like it.

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