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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Beer Blogging - Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale

Hey, what a surprise: I'm blogging about beer again. Tonight I'm eating the leftovers of an amazing dinner I had last night (lamb slow-roasted with various vegetables and served over ribbon noodles), and since I couldn't have it with a really expensive bottle of wine like last night, I decided to break out a tasty beer. Enter: Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale. It's brewed by Unibroue, makers of La Fin Du Monde and other very fine ales.

The bottle describes this as 750 mL (the size of a typical wine bottle) of a Dark Ale with 9% alcohol by volume. Upon pouring it into one of my favorite beer glasses, I can confirm that it is indeed dark; it's a very deep brown that borders on black. The only way to tell that it's brown is to hold it up to the light. It poured with a large brown head full of very large bubbles, and after a couple minutes there's still an eighth of an inch of head on top. The aroma is very malty, all molasses and brown sugar, and I swear I smelled a little Coke in there too.

After my first sip of this beer, I let out an audible "woah". After my second sip, I've decided that I won't be just tasting this beer, I'll be experiencing it. There's a lot going on here. I don't even know how to describe it - the closest I can come is a combination of champagne and dark ale. There's an awful lot of carbonation, but it's not a bad thing at all, maybe because of all the sweetness. There's a complex, layered flavor happening: on top is that molasses-y sweetness, and underneath that is something that tastes a lot like apple cider or maybe a really dry champagne. There's also a hint of pear, but not really any taste of that "Coke" flavor I smelled in the aroma.

There's a very slight hint of the 9% alcohol, but nothing much. It's going really well with this lamb, too - if you're going to get this, you should really drink it with some sort of rich meat.

Rating: 7/10. Recommended for people who don't mind a little carbonation in their beer, and those who like sweet dark Belgian ales. If you've had some beers from Unibroue before, you might be a little disappointed in this one, but if you approach it as just another beer you will probably enjoy it.