We never did individual BrewViews for any of the Trader Joe’s Vintage Ales (Vintages 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013).
Below is the only picture we took of the bottles before they were consumed. What we can tell you is that the older vintages rounded out in carbonation level, the hop bitterness softened, and the rich malt and spice notes did gain some complexity.
ABV of all vintages: 9%
APPEARANCE: Very dark brown, almost black liquid color that pours a light brown colored, 3-finger height head that is very dense and creamy.
AROMA: Bready Unibroue yeast, rich dark malt, chocolate, holiday spices, black pepper.
FLAVOR: Aromas definitely carry over into the flavor, with some light molasses, and gentle hop bitterness in younger vintages.
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: 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. You will be richly rewarded.