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Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Joe's Hofbrau BockTrader Joe's Hofbrau Bock

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

266 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 266
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 13.99%
Wants: 8
Gots: 6 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rowew on 01-19-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 266 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HalfFull
3.38/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy rich golden into a pils glass from a 12 oz. bottle. A thin head settles out quickly, becoming just a surface ring within a minute or so as the haze clears out.

Husky grain aroma couples with some sweet malt notes. Rather straightforward in variety but not bad. Decent hop notes come out after a little agitation but don't linger. Clean lager notes after some warming and outgassing.

Sweet caramel and toasted grain flavor segue to a spicy finish. Slightly rich and buttery in body from a robust amount of malts. Decent lingering malt finish with a good level of carbonation for the rich body of the beer. Bit narrow in the complexity department makes for an average drinkability.

HalfFull, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of RJUGA03
3.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Clear orangy/ golden body with a simple 1/4" head that left some scant lacing.
S-Deep yeasty kettle smell.
T-On the draw sweet carmel and malt flowing into a slightly hop bittered flavorful finish.
M-Robust that left your mouth slightly dry and bitter.
D- 7% abv is a good level and this is a very drinkable beer.

RJUGA03, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of bsp77
3.25/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into clear cup.

Appearance: Bright and clear light orange with moderate white head.

Smell: Sweet fruit and caramel with spicy noble hops.

Taste: Very sweet fruit (cherry) and caramel, which turns a little spicy and bitter. Definitely a little too sweet and could use some more balancing hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium chewy body that is almost syrupy. A Helles Bock really should have a drier finish.

Drinkability: Considering the source and the price, it's not too bad, but not worth seeking out. However, it's a decent sipper and I am glad that Trader Joe's made it at the appropriate high abv.

bsp77, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of Florida9
3.28/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Golden in color, with a very slight, barely covering the surface, surface coating of head. Clear, with attractive little carbonation bubbles floating upwards.

S: Bread. Yeast. Grass and even some alcohol.

T: More bread, with a light toast. Grass. The slightly bitter twang of hops and alcohol on the finish.

M: Medium in body with high carbs. Kind of dances around the mouth.

D: Exactly what I was expecting. I slightly better than average beer, but, for the price, I'm not complaining. I got what I expected and paid the appropriate price as well.

Florida9, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You really can't go wrong with these Trader Joe's beers. At the price they're nice everyday beers. I quite often go to the fridge and find only beers that I want to hang onto for a tasting, or more basic stuff that just doesn't have enough flavor. Up steps Joe. And they're great for taking to parties where you never know what you'll find. And, they make great intro beers for the non-initiated as well. But OK... The Hofbrau Bock pours a deep amber with golden highlights. It'd be nice if it was a little darker, but it certainly fits the style as is. The aroma is restrained and clean, only revealing a hint of honeyish malt and a suggestion of floral and grassy hops in the background. The flavor is fuller, of course, and the maltiness is like honey-drizzled bread. It opens up as it warms, and the toastiness really becomes apparent in the finish. It's balanced by a firm bitterness, and along with the alcohol, it finishes dry and spicy with spicy and gently grassy hops swirling here and there as it slowly fades. Could it be better? Yes. A bit more malt girth at the center would really help to focus it, and then round out the overall flavor. But as it is, it's still a really nice, balanced and flavorful bock. I won't say I could drink 50 of these, because we all know what 50 eggs did to Luke, but I could easily drink 3, and maybe 4 of these in a night. So, overall, not great, but pretty good.

NeroFiddled, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of zeff80
3.4/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, golden orange with a white, bubbly, foamy, two-finger head. It left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of grains and caramel. Not much else for aroma.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel with a nice bitter hop kick. Grain flavors and a slight molasses touch add a nice backbone.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a mildly dry finish. A light bodied brew.

D - This is a pretty good brew from Trader Joe's. It is not a bad deal for a buck a bottle.

zeff80, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of CHADMC3
3.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale orange to golden with a foamy white head, which quickly dissipates leaving almost no lacing in its wake.

Sweet malt and yeast highlight the aroma; piney hop bitterness and citrus zest follow with a secondary underlying sweetness, possibly caramel.

Immediate sweet caramel malt palate, secondary straw or grassy highlights, hop bitterness, and yeast in the finish complete the flavor.

Medium to light in body with medium carbonation, a very pleasant and refreshing finish, and fairly well balanced.

I was not sure what to expect from a TJ's beer, and this was a pleasant surprise. Quite refreshing, and a nice deal @ $5.99/sixer.

CHADMC3, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of emerge077
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a high-clarity golden orange, initial thin head of foam that faded fast to nothing. Barely any carb visible in a Duvel tulip, maybe one bubble per second emanating from the etching. First whiff was skunky hops, five minutes later it's puffed wheat cereal. Sweet grains, rice, corn.

Sweet with some cleansing bitterness and unexpected carbonation. All I can muster is candy corn, maybe some factory made square caramel candy, if you close your eyes and free associate. Some type of hops are in there, giving it some German credbility, but ultimately it's kind of flaccid. Pretty dull candy flavored alcohol delivery device...

emerge077, May 21, 2009
Photo of wedge
3.75/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold under a good sized creamy head. Smells bock-y: clean toasted malts, sweet bread, and some grassy spice from the hops. Rich toasted malts upfront in the flavor, caramel, and a bit of hop bitterness. Quite sweet which could turn some people off. Medium bodied with some texture to it...maybe even a little chewy. Certainly a perfectly good interpretation of a standard bock.

wedge, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of Riverwarrior
3.83/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S = Semi-sweet malts were dominant with a hint of caramel and toast in the background.

T = Sweet malts were upfront with some caramel near the end. The finish had just a hint of bittering hops, but overall, the sweetness lingered for a while (which was good).

MF = Body was just below medium and the carbonation was just below moderate. Very smooth.

Overall, this was not very complex, but it was very good and you can't beat the price for this one. I thought it was a solid bock and I will buy this one again.

Riverwarrior, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of Pauly2X
3.83/5  rDev +14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep gold with a one finger head.

S- Sweet caramel toasty malt aroma with a slight alcohol note.

T- Good depth of malt flavor showcasing both sweet and toasty flavors. At mid point some alcohol comes through along with a subtle hop note bringing balance to the malt. Finishes rich and toasty.

M- Very smooth and rich.

D- Went down pretty easy.

This beer has a bit of an identity crisis. Bock or Maibock? Interesting enough as it rest in the nowhere land between the two.

Pauly2X, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of FatCaster
3.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A--Sort of between honey colored and orange and very clear. Pretty, but a sad little head.

S--I smell corn, alcohol, a little hops, and not much else.

T--This beer shines where it counts. It tastes like a bock should. Has a sourdough bread type of taste, a touch of sweet, and a nice bitter bit of an aftertaste in the back of the throat.

M--Pretty par for the course. Feels like a slightly thicker lager. Medium high carbonation masks a bit of the slightly higher alky.

D--Nice and drinkable, not too heavy, but the alcohol will probably get to you a bit faster than normal.

FatCaster, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of argock
2.17/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Batch number on the back. Single purchased at Trader Joe's for $1.

A: Clear gold hue with nice white, 1-2 finger head leaving generous lacing.

S: Very messy and boozy like a mid-tier grocery store malt liquor. Light caramel malts and met by grassy hops are met fuming alcohol.

T: Alcohol dominates the palate. Cereal grain and grassy hops make an appearance, but overall booze takes the day to give a thick rotten vegetable aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel initially isn't bad as it has some body but the chalky, mineral parts of this beer jump to the front to spoil it. Carbonation is mid-range.

D: Not a good pick if you're at TJ's unless you are looking for ABV at the expense of flavor.

argock, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of beveritt
2.68/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label is fairly simple, with an oval showing the buildings in an old town. No clear freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just shy of 2 fingers of nearly white head. This settles slowly, dropping to a thin, incomplete coating of foam and leaving behind medium lacing. The beer itself is golden yellow, lighter than I would expect from a bock and with a slight chill haze. Some sediment in the bottle. Surprising, given the extended lagering bocks go through.

Smell: Semi sweet malt, boiled long enough to provide some caramelization.

Taste: Decent carbonation bite upfront, helps to deliver some punch to an otherwise fairly bland beer. Slight caramel malt flavor, but very weak. Essentially dominated by a vegatal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation level is high. Body is decent, but the carbonation is enough to thin out the feel of the body.

Drinkability: Not the full bodied, well caramelized malt bomb I was expecting. Drinkable, but not worthy of another visit.

beveritt, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of kshankar
3.55/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah, my first Trader Joe's beer experience. Always have shopped there, but never really thought about trying this. Got the hefeweizen as well, but thats for a different day

Appearance: Pretty light colored..lots of carbonation in glass, tiny white head which receded fairly quickly to a layer of film on top.

Aroma: Grassy, hoppy, and some malts.

Taste: Bitter at first, and it follows the aroma. The bock characteristics don't come until later, in the finish. Rather clean finish too.

Mouthfeel: Overly crisp and fizzy at first but then goes into this creamy phase. This is really weird. Also, it doesn't feel that heavy bodied...I mean, this is supposed to be a bock

Drinkability: Doesn't taste bad, mouthfeel is alright and its pretty easy to drink overall. I wouldn't go out of my way to look for it.

kshankar, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of Tone
2.95/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear yellow with short head and poor retention. There's little to no lacing present. Smells of a lager with a slight wheat smell. Fits the bock style fairly well, though not very dark at all. a smooth flavor with a slightly sour aftertaste. Very low carbonation. Overall, not too bad (I'm not a big lager or bock fan) and fairly easy to drink.

Tone, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of MTNboy
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a golden amber color. It has an average head but great lacing.

Smells: It has a very apparent malty smell that hits as soon as you open the bottle but goes away fast.

Taste: The flavor is more bitter than most bocks but not bad. The aftertaste is a little more bock like that the actual flavor.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and fizzy at first. After that it just becomes a medium bodied fizzy beer.

Drinkability: Not a bad beer. I would drink it again.

MTNboy, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of dhd1491
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear yellow-gold. White head of large bubbles two fingers high. Head lays down fairly quickly leaving just a touch of lacing on sides of glass and surface of beer. Some aroma of cloves, malt and citrus. Initial taste holds no smoke or grassiness; some malt, but not sweet; some crisp carbonated bite; a little cloves and allspice on the finish. Overall, a well-crafted, flavorful brew.

dhd1491, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of Offa
2.98/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is ok, basically drinkable, but a bit rough, vegetably, thin, and bland. That said, it's a lot better than the other TJ's beers I've had so far (Bohemian Lager and Dunkelweizen).

Deep gold, it has a small off-white head soon diminishing to a very thin, lasting ring. It leaves basically no lace.

The aroma is bread, hay, herbs, honey, hints of juniper and raisiny wine. It smells like a good strong lager or decent German maibock, so the aroma is good and pretty much in character.

The taste is also definitely in character for a strong lager/pale bock, but just on the lower, rougher end of the spectrum and closer to some higher ABV malt liquors (like Steel Reserve). It's a bit rough, sweet, raisiny/grapey with old, musty fruit, some meaty grain. It's a bit sweet, but then rough, biting, spicey alcohol takes over a little too much, along with cooked vegetables and a rough, thin, bland minerally quality. It's not bad, but not really good. That said, my wife really likes this, and she doesn't like maibocks or other pale bocks or European strong lagers (but she does like some malt liquors).

Offa, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of kenito799
3.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Clear brown-gold with small white head that recedes to nothing. No lacing.

Aroma of fresh caramel malt, some grassy hop aromas.

Fairly full bodied with minimal carbonation. Flavor is quite nice. The caramel malt hits the tastebuds first, but any sweetness is nicely attentuated with hoppiness and a nice tanginess. Long finish from these lagered hops. Alcohol is there but not really distracting. Very drinkable, a well-made beer...high ABV for a session beer, but a good brew for cold winter nights.

kenito799, Oct 23, 2008
Photo of hunteraw
2.4/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Finally got to a Trader Joe's for the first time this weekend in Mass.

Appearance: Golden amber in color, thin head, rather uninspiring-looking

Smell: Clean, lagery aroma with hints of continental hops (hallertauer according to the label), alcohol and grain.

Taste: Surprisingly yeasty for a lager. Boozy, a bit reminiscent of malt liquor. I like big beers, but at 7% you need some hefty flavor to offset the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: With a medium body, feels somewhat thick, a flaw exacerbated by what seems like light carbonation. Warms the throat on the way down.

Drinkability: At 7% abv, too strong. Did not finish the glass. Sorry, Joe.

hunteraw, Oct 08, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
3.9/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out one of the lightest colors I've seen on a bock. Well-filtered golden-yellow body sports a thin head, settling to a ring in no time.

Aromas of honey, soda cracker, biscuit and a trace of sugar-cookie dough. Hops are light and flowery. Nothing too exciting, but nice enough.

Flavor counts most, and this beer delivers. Features a gooey honey essence mingling within the doughy malt, and just a flowery touch of hops to help give some balance. The texture is silky, full and round, creamy as can be, with a good stickiness and herbal bitterness in the finish.

Far from complex, this bock delivers fine flavor with an even more delightful texture. Had I only had sight and smell to judge it by, I would've written it off as sub-par, but it delivers where it counts most. Wish I had more than just one, because this is a keeper.

Metalmonk, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of Overlord
3.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I hate to say it, but this line of beers is just a bit too expensive. I know that 5.99 a sixer versus 4.99, or even 3.99, doesn't sound like that much, but when sitting on the shelf right next to them are great options like Stockyard Stout, it's tough to compare.

That being said, this wasn't a disappointing brew. Pours a rich golden color. Smells like citrus zest with a bit of malt. Pours with no real head. Mouthfeel is also thin, which is a bit of a problem. Flavor is almost entirely malt. With a bit of breadiness to it.


Overlord, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of biggred1
3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Trader Joe $5 bock

Appearance-Light copper color,fine dense white head with minimal lacing.

Smell-Spicy gingerbread,citrus and cloves.

Taste/Mouthfeel-Rich,malty sweetness.Nice little hop aftertaste.Smooth,creamy feel,lively carbonation.

Pretty impressive example of an affordable bock.
Don't pass up.

biggred1, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner. I always enjoy the TJ beers in this label for being adequate examples of their styles for a very reasonable price, and this one isn't any different. Served in a pilsner glass.

A: Straw golden color with a dense white head that has great retention and a little lacing. Lots of active carbonation.
S: Not very remarkable. Clean, slightly grassy, lemon, spicy smell.
T: Malty, slightly sweet. Light bodied, smooth carbonation. Bready body with a floral hop taste to balance the malt. The finish leaves a slightly watery taste in the mouth. No strong alcohol presence. Not the best bock, but very drinkable and great purchase for the price.

yourefragile, Apr 02, 2008
Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.