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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest

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BA SCORE
72
okay

128 Ratings
THE BROS
76
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 128
Reviews: 92
rAvg: 3.05
pDev: 16.07%


Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-13-2006)
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 92 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r

Minnesota

2.84/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Oktoberfest pours an amber color with a large frothy lacing head. There is a metal like aroma. The taste is overly sweet, apple juice like flavors, with hints of metal. Tough to stomach, flat feeling. Overall its overly sweet, fruity and metal like, not the best.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 05:20:03 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

3.49/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium to dark coppery amber with a two finger off white head with decent retention and lots of lacing. Lots of carbonation. Aroma of bready and slight toasted malt, hint of grassy hops. Faint sulphur. Flavor is dominated by sweet bready malt, light caramel with a grassy, slightly toasted malt finish. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Pretty much delivers on what it advertises; an inexpensive marzen style fall beer. Too sweet for the style, but drinkable. Surprisingly pleasant body. Might do if you hit Oktoberfest time with a tiny budget. German beers are already so reasonable, that it seems to be an odd thing to get cheap about.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 20:39:09 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of TheMarkE
TheMarkE

California

3.49/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper colored, like a shiny new penny. Decent foam and lacing.

Smell: Bready malts, caramel.

Taste: Bready malts, hints of caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly creamy.

The Verdict: Not bad. Trader Joe’s affordable take on this Autumn style is about what you would expect, and nothing more.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2013 21:50:18 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of GMB
GMB

Japan

3.53/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A standard pour of Josephs Brau's Oktoberfest yields an amber body and a thick. off-white head with some staying power. Neither the body nor the head are especially impressive. The former is a bit lighter than I expect from a märzen. The latter doesn't stick around as long as I had hoped it would. Still, though the head falls quickly, it leaves behind a thin crown of foam that's sticky and appealing.

The nose is malt-forward, which is typical of the style. The malty aromas aren't as bold as I had hoped they would be. Let's see what happens when we put this beer on the palate.

The taste is much fuller and richer than the nose suggested. Sweet, roasted malts dominate. Faint notes of bittering hops keep the bold malt from outstaying its welcome, but don't get in its way. This is a rich, sweet beer that begs to be sipped slowly.

The mouthfeel is almost too full. Foam is pleasantly rich and thick. But the beer's body does feel heavy on the palate as I make my way through the bottle.

If you're curious about the Oktoberfest/Märzen style, I encourage you to pick up a bottle of Josephs Brau's rendition. It has all the characteristics we expect: thick, sweet, medium-toasted malts balanced with moderately bitter, moderately aromatic noble-type hops. There are much better renditions out there, but this one does the job nicely.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2013 20:36:58 | More by GMB
Photo of dhannes
dhannes

Wisconsin

2.69/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured @ about 50º into a Perfect Pint.

A=Dark golden color, but no reddish tint; great cream colored head.

S=Hint of malt, but also uric acid/urine.

T=Tangy, sour, sharp...not robust nor creamy...seems like too much hops. Too sour (I checked the date and it said best consumed by 2/11/14). IBU stated 25, which I am finding a bit hard to believe.

M=Just the right amount of carbonation...body was great for a standard lager, but a märzen should have more body and robustness than this.

O=I don't know why I expected more out of a $5.99/6-pack beer...I fell for the package copy, which greatly oversold this beer. Not worthy of buying as a märzen or a lager. Another one requiring apple cider to turn into a snakebite.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2013 21:54:01 | More by dhannes
Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
ExaltedNecrosis

Texas

2.06/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a stein.

A - Clear brownish orange, one finger of off white head. Looks like highly carbonated apple juice.

S - Smells like an adjunct lager. A bit of corn and the smallest hint of caramel.

T - Definitely not what I was expecting. Tastes like a corn adjunct lager, with an offputting metallic flavor. There's a hint of caramel at the end, with a bitterness to round it out.
I have no idea why this is called an Oktoberfest.

M - Its most redeeming quality is the mouthfeel, which isn't even that good. High amount of fizzy carbonation, which almost makes this refreshing. It's still on the thin side, and nothing like the Oktoberfests I'm used to.

O - I'm glad this only cost me a buck, as I definitely won't be getting it again. My worst Trader Joe's beer to date. I'll stick with with their oatmeal stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2013 17:27:36 | More by ExaltedNecrosis
Photo of BillV
BillV

Georgia

1.35/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I hate blind dates, but I am stubborn.

Let me explain: I saw this beer in my local Trader Joes and was excited to buy and try. Hence, my beer blind date.

First, lets talk about what a Marzen is supposed to be: A rich, slightly malty beer with a slight hint of toasted character from Vienna malt. No roasted or caramel flavors are present, and the beer has a fairly dry finish. Noble hops are present though should be only lightly perceived in the finished beer which is decidedly malty.

This beer should not have been called an Oktoberfest / Marzen. It looks similar to a Marzen, but after you get it in the glass, you can see there is something disturbing right away about the look of it. While the color, slightly amber and burnt orange sits for a few minutes, it takes on the appearance of what I can only compare to a sports drink of the same color.

The nose is your first real clue right off the bat, though. The hint of malt and toasted characters are not there. Instead, what I encountered was a bitterness and a highly carbonated scent that does not seem to subside. Again, I felt like this might be some kind of weird fizzy drink. On the first sip, there was a slight, very slight hint of malt but that was quickly beaten down by a bitterness that washes over your tongue that does not fade into a cozy Noble hoppy-malt daydream like a real Marzen would do.

Instead, I found myself quickly trying to get rid of this, guzzling it down to try and get rid of it; too proud to just pour it down the drain and too stubborn to believe that I had spent money on this with such high expectations only to be let down. I felt as if my palette was on some nightmarish blind date that was going increasingly wrong with every moment and I just wanted it to be over. As I quaffed it down trying not to wince now at the bitterness that was fully ensconced in this brew like an encounter with an ex-wife, I could only try and hold on to the fantasy of returning the rest of this remaining six pack to the front curb of Trader Joe's with a curt nod and a tight smile as I spin my tires and peel off into the night.

While I have had other Joseph Brau beers which I thoroughly enjoyed and even raved about---having sought them again on several occasions--this beer will definitely not be one of them. This alcoholic fizzy drink should be renamed and branded along with similar type drinks appropriately sold in convenience stores in college towns.

When I finally finished the beer, I was clearly angry at something having swallowed the bitterness of some disgruntled Teutonic brewer somewhere who obviously hated Oktoberfest and had nothing but contempt for anything festive or joyous in the way of celebrating this fine, time honored tradition which the German people wholeheartedly wish to share with each and everyone of us.

This is not an example of an Oktoberfest style beer. If you are looking for another, better example, then please refer to the Beeradvocate website as there are many other fine examples for you to read about and try. I may try and use the remainder of the six pack to experiment with to try and find a workaround to the bitterness that ruins this beer experience for me and for others, I suspect.

I hate blind dates, though I am admittedly stubborn, I try to see the best in the worst of things and to this beer attempt, I can only say that it might be recoverable if the brewer could reformulate it. But there are too many other fine examples of Marzen to spend too much of your valuable time worrying about it.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2013 02:51:51 | More by BillV
Photo of jpro
jpro

South Carolina

2.45/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Single 12oz longneck from TJ's. Poured into a standard shaker pint...

A: Best by 2-18-13 printed on the label... Brassy gold; two-finger, cream head; nice layer of retention sticks around, leaving some specks of lace.

S: Bready malts; rich caramel malt / light toffee / butteriness; no noticeable hop character.

T: Light caramel malt; a touch of white bread; virtually no hop flavor, although there is some dryness on the end (barely).

M: Medium body; lower carbonation; thin, though; lacks character.

O: Looks good, but things went downhill from there; maybe a good option for an Oktoberfest party... Drinkable, but boring / lacking.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 02:17:39 | More by jpro
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

2.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Harriet pils glass. Best before February 2nd, 2013.

Brilliantly clear Princeton orange liquid with a lasting thin white cap. Pasty lacing and good retention.

Sweet dusty malt aroma without the character or toastiness of the best examples of the style. Not-unappetizing, but bland.

Slightly toasty and sweet lager with low vegetal (grassy) elements and a subtle metallic/adjunct element as well. Some decent malt notes and a low bitterness are present, but neither can hide the imperfections. Finishes dry but with a lingering cheap-breakfast-cereal element in the aftertaste.

Medium-light bodied, well carbonated, and just a touch slick.

One of the more disappointing offerings from this Trader Joe's contract brewer; I suppose this was meant to be imbibed in such quantities that its deficiencies would go unnoticed, but I can't say I'd reccommend it.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 23:59:41 | More by augustgarage
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.25/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, BB dated Feb. 2013, of Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from TJs served in a Sam Adams lager glass.

Pours clear, golden-amber in color, and with an impressive, authentic looking off-white head. The head evens leaves substantial sticky lacing on the glass, however, it has limited retention. Very fine-grained visible carbonation.

The mild scent [2.75] is rather unremarkable and not enticing. The flavor is certainly better, with a decent malt base and good sweet/bitter balance. Better, stronger and more lasting aftertaste than expected.

M: medium-light body; medium+ carbonation; semi-dry finish.

O: A respectable American Märzen that is true to style and low cost.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 00:22:29 | More by chinchill
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

2.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Best before 2/20/13.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy orange-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and some slight caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with an assertive and medicinal hop 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 poor beer that has an unbalanced bitterness that isn't very pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2012 23:17:16 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a clear gold color more in line with the newer festbiers as opposed to traditional marzens. Fluffy white head does not last too long, but does leave nice lace.

Nose is grainy, fresh, slightly sweet caramel popcorn...a little buttery even. Probably dome diacetyl issues but that is not always a bad thing.

It definitely has diacetyl issues, but I don’t mind it much in a beer like this. The butterscotch flavors behave well with the light, grainy malts. Not much of a hop presence, even considering the style. I don’t think the beer is all that great, but I won’t have a problem finishing the bottle and actually am enjoying the butterscotch flavors.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2012 03:13:49 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.98/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average. Acquired as part of the 12 bottle variety pack for $9.99. Best before 02/02/13 14:30.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Not paired with food.

A: Pours a one finger head of soft rolling slight cream, nice thickness, and average retention. Colour is a clear pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing.

Sm: Oats, clean full-bodied expressive malts, cream, and some barley. Some vague stale hops. A slight rauchbier-esque smokey note - that's unexpected. An average strength aroma.

T: Some nice rolling cream. Clean bright malts. Vague stale misplaced hops. Clean barley. A bit toasty. Simple and restrained, but enjoyable.

Mf: Smooth, clean, and wet. Thickness is decent. It supports the flavours in a general sense.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from great. I might get it again. It's a good value beer at 83 cents per bottle. Good fare for what it is. That said, it won't blow your socks off.

C

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2012 06:35:11 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Cavanaghty
Cavanaghty

Maine

3.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appaearance: Copper color and clear with an off white head that last a few minutes and left medium lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light hoppy smell with roasted malts.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium to light bodied. Taste of roasted malts and pine. Bittersweet at the end.

Overall: Not horrible, I hosnestly did not expect more from it anyway. Neat that Trader Joe's has their own brewery.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 19:12:10 | More by Cavanaghty
Photo of bluebrew17
bluebrew17


2.23/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a six pack of this beer at Trader Joes... Pour was nice, decent white head. Color is medium amber. There is a hint of diacetyl on the sniff, and a taste confirms. This beer was alot like carbonated popcorn. Very buttery. I'm fairly sensitive to diacetyl so its hard to get past to get to any other flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 11:34:18 | More by bluebrew17
Photo of GossageBrewery
GossageBrewery

Missouri

2.55/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a clear copper color, produce a thick white head, excellent retention and left a nice amount of lacing. The aroma consisted of sweet malt, and caramel. Medium in body, this ale consists of toasted grain, and finish's with a small amount of hops. Overall, not a great example of Oktoberfest. Prost!

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 22:26:52 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.15/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

amber color with a great clarity fills the glass. Nice streams of bubbles that rippled up toward the surface gave it a good bit of depth and created a nice moderate to medium capping of white that clung to the sides for a little while before letting itself go. Muted bready malts. Hints of light grain and a touch of some light spice, but everything was too light and muted for me. Not enough in the way of herbal hoppiness or depth to keep me interested. Same could be said as I took the first sip, while not really being bad in any way, it was just rather uninteresting. Bready grains, hints of something musky, and a touch of light pine maybe, but very muted

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 19:15:13 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of CharlesDarwin
CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

2.6/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12 Oz Bottle - Dec 20, 2007. Aroma drips of honey and Munich Malt. Lightly dusty. Pours a bronzed gold, with white creamy head. Flavor is a washed out, lightly skanky Munich malt. Traditional but lacking. More honey and a gooey hop cone pollen chewiness at the back drop. There’s some awkward bitterness for no apparent reason. Coarse. Thin.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 18:43:46 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of 2ks4
2ks4

Virginia

3.48/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice copper color with a decent head.

S - Nothing noteworthy, but nothing unpleasant or overpowering. Average beer smell.

T - Starts with a pleasantly sharp taste that lingers.

M - Good mouthfeel - substantial without being too heavy, good level of carbonation.

O - I'm kind of new at this, so I don't have the experience/vocabulary to comment on the hops and malt and suchlike, but overall I like this as an everyday kind of beer. There isn't anything that sets it apart as a special occasion beer meriting the "Oktoberfest" designation, but I'm enjoying it and feel it's a good value for the price.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 03:26:45 | More by 2ks4
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

3.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber color with a very thin cream colored head.

S: Smells very malty with some caramel, yeast and bread as well.

T: The majority of the flavor is caramel malt and roasted malt with a nuttiness and toastiness in the background. A slight bit of hop resin on the finish. Overall, a pretty solid oktoberfest.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 02:55:34 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Trader’s Joe. Pours amber with a white, foamy, long lasting head. Aroma is of perfume hops and caramel malt. Full, slightly crisp body. Taste is of herbal hops in the beginning, followed by caramel malt and finishes with grapefruit. Not bad, but I prefer a little more maltiness in my Octoberfest.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 13:42:02 | More by mikeg67
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.1/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pleasant coppery lager with a sharp edge. Less of the mellow malts in this. More like a regular lager with just a touch of malty flavor. Touch of cardboard in the aftertaste. I can't give the hops much credit. Faint beery smell. Slightest bit of sweetness in the first few sips. Finish is the dirty hops and rather unpleasant bitterness.

Quite lovely color and decent carbonation. Just quite uninteresting and less refreshing than many light beers.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 05:18:37 | More by mactrail
Photo of wedge
wedge

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright copper with a large, thick head of foam on top. Sweet, toasty honey and caramel malt aroma. More of the same in the flavor, but with the addition of a noble hop touch. Toasted malty sweetness and a moderate bitterness. Slightly noticeable lager character. Medium-thin body. I assume this is very fresh at this point in the year and it certainly tastes like it. Not bad at all to go along with watching some Sunday football. Drink it fresh...

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2011 18:56:44 | More by wedge
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

3.73/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the things I like about Oktoberfest (marzen-style) beers is that it seems like one of those styles that comes out consistently good. Of course there’s a wide range in quality—and the best festbiers are truly excellent!—but I’ve yet to drink a marzen I didn’t like and wouldn’t drink again. (Wish I could say that for so many other styles.)

Please don’t prove me wrong.

Trader Joe’s had a number of beers they sell for about $6 a six-pack. All are contract-brewed, with the majority coming from either the Gordon Biersch facility in San Jose or Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, CA. Some, like their Mission St. Pale Ale, are just incredibly good and almost a steal for the price. Others, like their winter doppelbock end up being better marinades or baked in beer breads (aka ‘drain-pours’). Most of their beers are in-between these extremes, but I’ve found that the ones via San Jose tend usually closer to the former and not the later. To be perfectly honest once the novelty wore off and my disposable income increased I pretty much stopped buying them a few years back for precisely this reason.

However, one exception I happily make is for their annual release of the Oktoberfest. I’ll admit it, I like this beer. Spaten is great, but the TJ beer is 2/3rds less. Ayinger is fantastic too, but I won’t even bother doing the math on that. So, all that said, let’s crack one open and get into it.

This beer pours a light auburn-caramel color. Lots of foam and a sweet malty aroma greet your olfactory senses. There’s a crisp, clean flavor to this. More maltiness than anything else but it’s not heavy, and a welcome hop bite nips at the finish. Warms without being warming, although it’s such an easy drinker it might not get the chance to do so.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2011 21:02:44 | More by elNopalero
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.85/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear deep amber with a medium white head, with a soft white head, limited lace.

S: Light Munich malt, sweet toffee, caramel notes.

T: Straightforward Munich malt flavour. Lightly sweet, bready. Light hop finish. Well balanced.

M: Light-bodied, crisp and smooth. Creamy.

O: This is a pretty darn good Oktoberfest at a great price. Nice to find in this fall beer wasteland.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 03:21:30 | More by Halcyondays
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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.