Our BrewView on Unibroue’s 2018 Vintage Ale was originally published on November 8, 2018.

Unibroue has had a very long business relationship with the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain in the United States. The Vintage Ale is released every November, right before the Thanksgiving holiday. It is one of a handful of great beers that Unibroue makes for them.

Our apologies, we didn’t publish a BrewView for the 2017 Quinquagenary Vintage ale (the 50th anniversary brew for Trader Joe’s 50th birthday), but the next one on the list was the 2018 version.

STYLE: Unibroue-style holiday specialty dark ale. 9% ABV.

APPEARANCE: Very dark brown liquid, almost black. Light tan colored head that easily produces a voluminous 3-finger height head. Thick lacing on the sides of the glass during consumption.

AROMA: Similar to the 2016 version; Bready Unibroue yeast, rich dark malt, chocolate, holiday spices, black pepper.

FLAVOR: This vintage was very similar on the holiday spice factor than the 2016 version. Bready Unibroue yeast, brown sugar, more assertive in rich dark malt.

MOUTHFEEL: The richness of the liquid fills the entire mouth, there is a moderate level of carbonation, which Unibroue is well known for in their dark ales. The holiday spices linger quite a bit.

IMPRESSION: What’s nice is that Master Brewer Jerry Vietz varies the recipe a little bit each year to keep things interesting. As always, we look forward to every November when Unibroue releases the Vintage Ale to the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain. This is a seasonal release, with limited quantities. It is extremely well priced (usually $5.99 for a 750ML bottle) so buy as many as you can, cellar some, and do yearly tastings. The flavors develop quite nicely as the years pass.