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 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 7/20
Travlr (23611) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - JAN 11, 2010
Bottle at DC’s first tasting of 2010. Light brown color with a medium beige head. Aroma of funk and big alcohol. Flavor is also dominated by the alcohol, and not in a good way. Hides the spice which starts to come through toward the finish, but not enough.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Leighton (20591) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 11, 2010
Bottle. Drank in December 2010. Pours a dark, brown-black with a thick, off-white head. Very spicy aroma, some dark sugars, light Belgian yeast. Sweet, somewhat bready, ginger, cardamon, yeast. Full bodied with average, lightly tingly carbonation and alcohol warmth. Spicy finish, boozy sting, brown sugar. Very nice beer. Great overall.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
mcberko (16607) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 26, 2012
750mL bottle, pours an opaque dark amber brown with a towering foamy beige head. Aroma of spices upfront, bubblegum, licorice, and some mild candied sugar. Flavour of spices, dark fruits, brown sugar, and some caramel. Complex, more spicy than the last couple of vintages, with medium carbonation that brings out the complexity perfectly. Great stuff, but inferior to the last couple of vintages.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
brokensail (16347) - Dublin, California, USA - DEC 31, 2010
A: The pour is a dark brown color with some definite amber tones to it. A decent khaki colored head forms on top. S: A strong aroma of herbs here, mostly chamomile and sage. There’s a bit roasted malt character as well, and a pretty decent chocolate note. As it warms, the herbal nature becomes more and more apparent. T: A bit more subtle in terms of the flavor profile. The sage and chamomile are there, and there’s a bit of licorice that I didn’t notice on the nose. A bit of sweetness and minimal chocolate with some warming alcohol. M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation. D: The herbal nature of this beer isn’t quite as pungent and overwhelming as some of the other Unibroue special releases, making this more enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
bhensonb (14889) - Woodland, California, USA - NOV 25, 2009
Bottle from Trader Joe’s in Sacramento, CA. C&C. Cork came off with a pfft. Pours really dark brown with a 5 finger tan head. Sort of a bayberry aroma. Really smells a bit like a Xmas candle. Medium body with frothy carbonation. Flavor seemed evergreen, but suddenly it is definitely ginger. And some sweet, pretty dark, roasted malt. Finishes malty, but the ginger tends to balance that. Chocolate starts coming out after awhile. The head keeps doing interesting things. This year’s ale is really out there. Far, far out there.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Tmoney99 (14196) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 9, 2009
Bottle from Trader Joe’s - Cincy. Poured dark brown color with a huge light brown head that mostly lasted and produced good lacing. Moderate to heavy malty, fruit and spice aroma. Medium to full body with a sticky texture and flat carbonation. Full complex fruit, ginger and malt sweet flavor with a long dark sweet finish with a small alcohol tone. Another good brew at a fair price.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
argo0 (14022) - Washington DC, USA - JAN 10, 2010
75cl, thanks peregrinari. Medium beige head atop cola black body. Aroma is moderately sweet, raisin, caramel, light sourness. Taste is moderately sweet, caramel, raisin, light anise, alcohol, sourness. Effervescent medium body.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
djd07 (13678) - Houston, Texas, USA - MAR 4, 2015
Bottle during RBWG. Pours a cloudy brown with small beige head that lasts. The aroma is dark fruits and caramel. Medium mouth with dark fruit, anise, cocoa, and light roast. Very good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Lubiere (13548) - 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 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Drake (13300) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 19, 2010
C&C 750 mL bottle from the Glen Allen, VA Trader Joe’s. Pours a clear but very, very dark brown appearing black in the glass. Large tan head fades quickly but leaves a nice ring around the edge of the glass. Aroma of toffee, tropical fruits, citrus, lots of spice, and a bit of cocoa. Big spices in the taste including coriander and ginger, some nutty notes, chocolate and citrus. Medium bodied. Nice sipping beer.

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