Review: Trader Joe’s 2010 Vintage Ale

Maker: Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec

Style: Dark Belgian (?) ale with spices

ABV: 9%

Tasted: February 16, 2011

Color:  Dark Brown, like French roast coffee with a big pillowy head

Nose: Sweet, raisins, allspice, mace, ginger.

On the palate: Very sweet, lush, thick almost syrupy.  A tiny bit of bitterness comes through and is a welcome counterpoint to the fruitcake- sweet spice.

Finish: Surprisingly light, but still quite sweet and spicey.  The slightly soapy taste of the ginger lingers for a while before reatreating into the back of the throat to become the ghost of a mincemeat pie.

Parting Words: This year’s Vintage Ale from TJ’s is a departure from past years. Although the bottle says that it can be enjoyed for years to come, it also says “best before 9/10/2013”. I always buy three of them.  One to drink immediately, one to drink in the summer, and one to drink in December or January.  That said, in my experience, these TJ’s vintage ales peak around June or July of the year after the vintage year. This one is very different, more “desserty” than I remember past vintages being, so maybe this one could peak at a different time. At any rate, this is a tasty, if not terribly complex, after-dinner ale. Watch this space this summer for another review!

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