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Josephs Brau Heller Bock - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau Heller BockJosephs Brau Heller Bock

Educational use only; do not reuse.

22 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 22
Hads: 107
Avg: 3.43
pDev: 31.2%
Wants: 2
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Maibock / Helles Bock |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Falcone on 12-13-2013

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 22 | Hads: 107
Photo of johnfoegen
4.74/5  rDev +38.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a hit. I think Trader Joes has hit my beer preference nail on the head. Great beer for any time. I like one with dinner. Can't go wrong with this one.

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Photo of McLaren
4.25/5  rDev +23.9%

I was never a fan of light beers until I tried the JB Heller Bock. It starts crisp, but gains weight in the middle and finishes with a meaty malt flavor.

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Photo of fx20736
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From Trader Joe's. Light Reddish-Gold Amber, thick Creme Brulee head. Good lacing. Aroma of sweet malts and some Noble Hops. Taste is a nice blend of caramel sweetness and spicy hops. Mouthfeel is effortless and smooth. This is an excellent beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Josephsbrau Heller Bock
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 05/10/15 13:13"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL

Of all of the Trader Joe's beers this is probably my favorite (with the exception of their Vintage Ale and Providential Golden Ale made by Unibroue). It's a clean, straightforward helles bock that's got just the right amount of maltiness to it so that it's not too thin, too full, or too sticky. And it's got some decent floral and spicy hops in the flavor as well. The head retention and lacing could be a bit better, the aroma could be slightly fuller, and perhaps the malt quality itself, but as far as American brewed versions of the style go it's top-notch. With that said, just getting a malty 7% abv beer for $1.17 ($28 for a case) is next to impossible!

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Photo of Bierman9
3.79/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I saw this at my local Trader Joe's, and opted to get one 12oz bottle, at $1.17.... I like the style, so I figured wtf....

Poured into a Sammy Perfect Pint glass... It is a slight bit hazy, and the color is medium golden... Carbo is healthy and active, and the head is off-white, frothy and lasting. There is some lacing, but not much lasts. Nose has a bit of toastyness, with some floral hops in the background. Solid, middle of the road mouthfeel, with medium body and good smoothness.

Tastes lightly sweet, with some toast, bread and cookie dough. Not bad.... after that is some floral hopping and light fruitiness, like green apple and pear... Not a bad rendition for something produced for a chain store... Prosit!!

3.79/5 rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

JosephsBrau Heller Bock has a very thick, off-white head, thick lacing, a clear, deep golden appearance, and a few noticeable specs suspended in the beer. Aroma is of sweet, somewhat syrupy, barley malt, and the flavor is of strong barley, white bread crust, and subdued hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and JosephsBrau Heller Bock finishes mostly dry and very easy drinking. Well, for a strong, store brand lager (malt liquor), this is a winner.


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Photo of Franziskaner
3.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice shiny copper penny color with excellent clarity. A fingernail of light beige covers a third of the top. Brussels lacing. Aroma of amber malt with a grain like bready note. The taste is amber malt with a nice German bittering hop in the back of the palate. The mouth is smooth and quenching.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%

Poured from a bottle into a Celebrator pokal. Pours a medium coppery amber with a thin white head that dissipates to light patches and thin ring around the glass. Aroma of sweet caramel and bready malt, hints of lemon and toffee. Flavor is sweet caramel malt, light lemon and toffee and grassy hops. Medium bodied with light carbonation. An adequate, mild take on a heller bock without much character to the hops, hits the right notes in the malt profile. Delivers on its purpose: an inexpensive, nicely made domestic heller bock.

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Photo of Spikester
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep clear gold with a large white head with ten minute retention. Very nice amount of lacing.
Smell is all malt bread crust.
Taste is sweet malts with a light malt backing. A light herbal or grassy hops shows up at the end. I have to give it a thumbs up for avoiding any apple or grape skins. With a lager at 7% abv this is very easy drinking. No alcohol is detected in the taste either.
Mouthfeel is medium with proper carbonation.
Overall a fine value for an extra strong lager. Well recommended for the style.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New found option at Trader Joe's poured into an oversized wine glass. This new Helles pours a deep golden with a half inch of nearly white foam. Offers decent retention and some spotty lace.

Aroma is grainy and with some noble hops in the mix. Lighter in color and more hopped than I recall the original Hofbrau Helles though I assume simply a fresher or tweaked recipe is in order from GB. Flavor is spicy on the finish with a touch of lemon and coarse spice, lightly sweet and with a firm carbonation Yeast note expand a bit with warming on the aroma and combine with muddled lemon bread and a light hint of alcohol.

Offers a firm and steady hop delivery regardless of agitation in the glass. Distinctive German character yet with more than average intrigue.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best consumed before: 3/22/15.

Pours clear dark orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and grass flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and strikes me as one of the better offerings from their house brand of beers.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clean golden with a prodigious head of off-white suds. Attractive, loopy lace.

Aroma: Malty, sweet, grains and yeast. Not bad.

Taste: Sweet and malty with some rich caramel notes, and a sharp, tangy, and spicy hint. I get a slight dryness at the finish. Not bad, but not one I’d return to.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and light tan to light brown, not much to note in the way of head or lace.

Aroma and flavor are pretty malt forward, with bready, light toast flavors, some notable nuttiness too. Typically for the style it has little definable hops presence, but sufficient balancing bitterness. Aroma also has pretty notable pepper, but I don't get much pepper in the taste.

Body is slick and fairly sweet, with a lingering bitterness in the finish.

Overall it's not a bad helles bock, but doesn't stand out for the style either. However, given the price of trader joe's beers (5.99 a sixer at my local place), if you like helles bocks, this is a perfectly fine choice. I don't mind breaking the tie based on price when all else is equal in beer selection.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with moderate to heavy amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and some faint pale yellow highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy off-white head that reduces to a couple of medium sized patches of thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of slightly sweet bready malts with a light amount of earthy + floral hops.

T: Upfront there is a slightly stronger than moderate flavor of slightly sweet bready malts with a light amount of honey sweetness to it. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of earthy and floral hops which impart a light amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Hints of dryness in the finish.

O: Nothing special but not bad either, a pretty decent offering especially for the price. Easy enough to drink and enjoyable. Worth grabbing for the price and worth sampling.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on March 15 , 2014.

The color is medium amber to copper with little to no head.

The aroma is basically of caramel malts an d biscuit. Mild hop character.

The body is medium.

The taste was fairly routine for the style with some caramel malts and crisp. Clean hops. Nothing special.

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Photo of GMB
3.13/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A somewhat aggressive pour of JosephBrau's Heller Bock yields a light amber body with yellow highlights topped by half an inch of just-slightly-off-white foam. The head falls a bit too quickly to earn an excellent score, but does leave behind some sticky lace and a cap of viscous, unctuous spume.

Other reviewers have characterized the aroma of this beer as "hoppy," I don't appreciate any smells of grass, herb, or citrus, though suppose if I "squint" with my olfactory senses, I can pick up faint hints of black pepper. No, this bottle's nose malt-forward and sweet. Alcoholic tones are palpable but not overpowering. Hard apple cider and toasted grain.

The taste follows the nose, but unfortunately adds to it the overpowering warmth and astringency of alcohol. The beer is too sweet, too. Helles Bocks are supposed to be malty, but this one borders on cloying. I've had all I want to taste after 3 sips. Too bad, because the mouthfeel is quite nice.

I'll admit that Maibocks aren't my favorite beers. Still, JosephBrau's Heller Bock isn't a very good representation of the style. Nor is it a beer that I'll be drinking again.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.11/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance- Light golden amber color. Pours a one finger fizzy head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma- Very muted smell from this, but there is some caramel/nutty malt that can be picked.

Taste- Up front there is a sweet, nutty Munich malt that tastes good, but it is quickly over shadowed by overly spicy hops that unpleasantly cause tingling throughout the mouth. Almost a metallic/garden hose flavor in here as well. The finish is a saving grace as the spicy hops fade away, and leaves the malt alone for a sweet and smooth finish.

Mouthfeel- Probably the best aspect of this beer with typical clean lager drinkability. However, it warms up the beer loses the crisp hop snap and malt comes forward and detracts from the drinkability.

Overall- I'm not familiar with this style and what to compare it to, but its a decent beer that at the very least is an easy drinker if something simple is desired. Solid malt flavor, but the hops are way too spiced up. Worth drinking if ya got it for free, but certainly not something I'd paid for or recommend. (71/100)

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Photo of Gajo74
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I was not too happy with this one. It smelled funky and just kind of, for lack of a better term, "off". The taste was similar but only slightly better. Overall, the taste and aroma are grainy but in an unappealing way. Will not get again.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.86/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Green label. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

7% ABV. Best consumed before: 03/28/15. 22 IBUs.

Reviewed live as a helles bock per the name and label. Expectations are above average; I usually like Trader Joe's' beers. Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Foamy, frothy, and creamy as hell, to its benefit. Retention is good for the ABV - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves a light inconsistent coating of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Clear copper of above average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a good looking beer within its style, but it doesn't wow, and it's not unique or special.

AROMA: Heavy on the honey and honey malt, with wort-like golden malt aromatics as well as brewers' syrup coming through. Caramel. Floral hop character. Some bready malts. Lightly grassy and spicy.

Honey definitely dominates. This might be too sweet, but the aroma makes it seem well-balanced.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE: Heavy on the honey malt, with heavy sweetness throughout emerging from the honey as well as brewers' syrup, golden malts, and bready malts. The hop profile is weak, pleading no contest to the malt sweetness, but it does bring welcome floral and faintly grassy notes into the mix.

Overall, this is much simpler and far less balanced than the aroma suggested, and does leave a lot to be desired for a helles bock. I do find it too sweet, and it doesn't have much to offer in terms of depth of flavour, intricacy, nuance, or subtlety. I guess I like it in a general sense. It's underhopped (or perhaps just overmalted, as it were).

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, unrefreshing, and slightly syrupy, with too much heft and weight on the palate for such a simple flavour profile. It is nicely clean, though, and while I wish it were lighter it's not thick or viscous per se.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, rough, or scratchy.

Overall presence on the palate is decent. This texture doesn't elevate the beer, but it suits the taste okay I suppose.

OVERALL: Downable, though the ABV ought to be lower. It's on the sweeter side for a helles bock and the taste isn't anything special. A generic American stab at the style offered at a price that's tough to beat. I won't be trifling with this again, but I'm glad it's available at this good a price should other drinkers find themselves craving the style. For my money, it's forgettable and average, but you could do far worse.

Low C

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Photo of notchucknorris
2.83/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

A: Pours a clear copper color with a quickly receding cream colored head and a good deal of visible carbonation in the glass.

S: Overly sweet and grainy smell that isn't really doing it for me. Honey, pistachio and a sweet adjunct-y smell that has just an edge of nuttiness to it.

T: Nutty and a touch bitter, almost like pistachio nut oil. A lot of graininess, malt syrup, slight almond and a tad of faded grassy hops. Mouthfeel is way heavy, allowing the sweetness to become overbearing. Not recommended.

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Photo of chinchill
2.82/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle stamped best consumed before: 3/7/15.

Pours clear amber with a modest off-white head that soon settles to a ring and partial film on top of the beer.

Smell: has a strange, unappealing moldly-flowery aspect.

Taste: some of the off-aroma carries over the flavor, but it is better than the smell suggests and carries some toast, caramel, and mild bitterness.

Feel: Medium-low level of carbonation; too hot for 7% ABV.

Overall: disappointing.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.79/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle from TJs. Pours golden with foamy whit head. Nose id of grassy hops, bready malt and hints of caramel. Body is medium and crisp. Grassy, herbal hops dominate the palate; bready malt and grain provide some balance. Finish is long, herbal. Not very good brew with unpleasant hops profile. I would not by this brew again.

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Josephs Brau Heller Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.