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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

131 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 131
Reviews: 92
rAvg: 3.06
pDev: 16.01%
Wants: 4
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
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: 131 | Reviews: 92 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vtfan77


3.55/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber with a decent white head that quickly dissipates into nothing.

S- Nice sweet, bready malt aroma with a light, spicy hop presence. It's similar to other TJ beers; decent, but not great.

T- Very malty with flavors of cereal and caramel. The hops add a touch of spice and a little bitterness on the finish, but not much else.

M- Fairly light with moderate carbonation.

D- I'd say it's pretty drinkable due to its light body, solid but simple taste, and fairly low alcohol content. I'd certainly have a couple in sitting.

I actually enjoyed this beer. Sure it's nothing earth-shattering, but what did you expect for a $5 six-pack? I'd take this over a macro any day. I could easily see myself getting this again. Recommended if you just want a good, no-frills lager that you don't have to think about when you drink it.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 19:38:05 | More by vtfan77
Photo of scottoale


3.25/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. longneck a bright amber-orange with a finger of off-white foam. The head dies rather quickly leaving no lace behind, the carbonation looks mild as well.

Although mild, the nose is sweet an tangy with malt and hops seemingly balanced. This is true with the flavor which is sour apple, cereal grain, pineapple, and enough hops to make it pleasantly balanced. Good flavor for a Marzen but a little lackluster as an Oktoberfest.

Medium body, slightly tangy mouthfeel, mild ABV all add up to a very easy drinking lager, but nothing outstanding.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-27-2008 18:16:24 | More by scottoale
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


2.98/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - a diluted pumpkiny orange pour, thinly bubbled cap which manages some decent sticky lacing.

Aroma - an initial burst of caramel and spice. Settling of the beer yields a more macro-ish grain nose and cooked veggies.

Taste - not a real *big* flavor, there is a presence of caramel and toasted malt. Turns grainier and a little sourish on the swallow. A tickle of hops, there perhaps? Subsequent sips provide less and less OFest character and more grainy beer quality. Ends with a hope of a dry bitter hop nip, but that has an unpleasant, empty bitterness with it. Saving it IMO is a little reprise of the toasted grain quality to go with.

Mouthfeel - good carbonation, medium bodied with a feel somewhere between crisp and smooth.

Drinkability - I'd probably pick it above Warsteiner but below most of my favorite OFests. Its got some character, just not enough of what I'm looking for.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-23-2008 05:34:11 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of pwoods


2.98/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle purchased at Trader Joe's. Poured into a pint.

A: Pours bright orange with good visibility. Small 1/2 finger white head forms and falls fast. A bit of patchy lacing.

S: Green apples and yeast. Smells like rice was used.

T/M: Grainy and toasted malts with a controlled sweetness. I hate it when marzen's are overly sweet, but that might just be me. Hops add a fresh citrus twist. Green apples come out some more and really hinder the brew. Body is right where it should be but the carbonation seems quite high.

D: Not extremely terrible but there are far too many excellent fest brews to pick from, especially here in Cincinnati.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-09-2008 22:55:22 | More by pwoods
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bright tangerine topped with almost three fingers of orangish beige, whipped cream-like foam. JB Oktoberfest is much lighter than the usual rustic or burnt orange of most versions. Will it be less toasted and/or less malty overall? Perhaps. The head is the best part of the appearance, right down to the amount and quality of the lace it leaves on the glass.

Amber lager noses aren't exactly distinctive, but that's what this beer smells like to me. It isn't ballsy enough to be an Oktoberfest. The malt doesn't make much of a statement, nor do the Hallertau hops. I think we're looking at a pretty tame beer here.

This is an okay brew, even if it tastes like an Oktoberfest mixed 50:50 with a Euro pale lager. Something about the mustiness of the hops puts me in mind of the latter style. We aren't that far past the season, so age can't be a factor like it sometimes is (usually is?) when drinking European lagers.

Nothing much happens prior to the finish, just a lightly sweet graininess balanced by earthy and herbal hops. Eventually, the toasted Munich maltiness makes an appearance and allows one to assign the proper style after all. I like it a little more in the bottom half of the bottle, but I'm still not doing handstands. Neither impressed nor offended results in... an average score.

The body/mouthfeel is closer to light than to medium and is probably appropriate given the lack of assertiveness in the flavor profile. Neither too few nor too many bubbles keeps this score at solidly average as well.

Most Gordon Biersch beer (in my admittedly limited experience with it) qualifies as lackluster. Although it's a damn sight better than most of what BMC puts out, it comes up short when compared to most craft beer. Oktoberfest is no different. If you missed this one, you haven't missed anything.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

12-11-2007 14:11:30 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of 1fastz28


2.33/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a very clear copper color with average carbonation and a nice frothy head. smell is of malt and unfortunately corn, not much else in the nose, little if any hop scent. taste is unflattering, first sip has a slight malt kick to it, after that its alll water. by the time i had the first sip the head was gone leaving a whole glass of sub par beer. second sip i notice a tiny bitterness at the end but this beer leaves much to be imagined. has a real pretty color to it, but unfortunately thats about it.. should of known better for a year-round made oktoberfest.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

12-03-2007 02:59:41 | More by 1fastz28
Photo of MillRat


3.25/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice coppery color that is spot on for a good Okto. The nice white head fades pretty fast, even with the Sam Adams etched circle in the bottom helping it out. A nice, if not prominent malt aroma, which is borne trough in the taste. Hopping is muted, not enough to balance the malt, though it manages to keep it on longish leash and keep the mouthfeel from becoming syrupy. Could be a decent session beer if you're more focused on your compadres than the beer

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-07-2007 02:56:22 | More by MillRat
Photo of JBogan


2.48/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a medium golden color, with almost no head. No lacing at all left in my glass.

Malty aroma, maybe some wheat. Nothing really jumps out though.

Tasted like it smelled, and again without any one flavor that stands above another to distinguish itself.

Very thin feeling in the mouth, with almost no carbonation.

I suppose it's a drinkable beer, in that you could probably pound a number of these easily if taste wasn't a big factor.

I was going to pick up a six pack from Trader Joe's, but at the last moment saw some singles in a refrigerated section and decided to give that a try first. I'm glad I did. It's priced cheap but still not a beer I'd go back to.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-05-2007 20:21:39 | More by JBogan
Photo of Overlord


2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with an off white head.

Mouthfeel is thin, somewhat watery. Smell, and taste, is malt and barley. But, not much of it. I don't mind a simple tasting beer so long as that flavor is robust and powerful. This isn't it. You can't have a mild tasting beer that's also simple; might as well just call it a macro-brew and be done with it. I'm not sure what they were going for here, but there's little to write home about.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-05-2007 05:11:13 | More by Overlord
Photo of mithrascruor


3.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden/orangeish amber hue. Slightly rocky white head with decent retention.

Smell: Decent malty aroma with some grains and a hint of fruit.

Taste: Slightly sweet (fruit-like) malt taste, some mild hops in there too. Little progression from start to finish to aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, light carbonation. Generally smooth.

Drinkability: Just OK...

For a beer this cheap (at Trader Joe's) it's quite decent... but in general I'd rather avoid this. It's missing the spiciness I'd like in an Oktoberfest and it really doesn't have that much to offer.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-04-2007 23:57:50 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of hellcatsjg


3.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light amber color with a finger of white head that lasts about a minute before disappearing. Not much to see here.

Smell: Decent smell. Sweet caramel along with a good bit of maltiness. This is the highlight of this beer unfortunately.

Taste: There is less of the slightly sweet and malty flavor than you would expect from a Marzen. And what flavor is present is quickly overcome by an unexpected spicyness which gives way to an odd bitterness. Not a hop bitterness really, just a bitterness. Not exactly a welcome flavor. This is closer to your basic lager beer than an Octoberfest.

Mlouthfeel: About what you would expect. Light to medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: Not the best beer but not horrible, especially considering the price. I'm happy to have a few of these in the fridge, but would not go out of my way to get my hands on it. Recommended if your not expecting much, but again, not the worst beer in the world.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-29-2007 23:34:29 | More by hellcatsjg
Photo of Monkeyknife


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

Poured from a bottle a clear amber-gold with a razor thin white head and wet lacing.

The smell is primarily sweet and malty with a slight spice accent.

The taste is on the thin and watery side. Again, mostly a malt presence.

Light-to-medium mouthfeel and carbonation. The mouth feels dried out after every drink.

Nothing real memorable about this Oktoberfest. I'd compare it to what the big macros put out.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-29-2007 22:01:30 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of smcolw


3.1/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Potent head that becomes large bubbles and flattens to nothing and leaves absolutely no lace.

Raw grainy smell. Low hop as would be expected.

Quite dry flavor with nearly no bitterness. The aftertaste is extremely brief with a raw grainy finish. Nice "round", full body with relatively low carbonation.

A disappointing Octoberfest that appears worse than it really is. It is an innocent beer that will not offend.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-20-2007 23:48:39 | More by smcolw
Photo of tobodi


2.85/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a sixer at TJs, then served this one in a pokal-like glass. It poured coppery-clear and the medium-small head faded pretty quickly to reveal a little lacing. Didn't smell like much...slightly fruity/malty. First sips revealed a pretty watery Märzen flavor. The hops actually stood out for me on the palate and that was balanced with some sugariness and an occasional sour flavor. But all in all, it just seemed pretty light and bland. Having lived in Germany, I can tell you that this seems quite distant from the Oktoberfest Märzens I remember.

I thought I could salvage it in the autumnal spirit and ate some potatoes and sauerkraut while drinking it, as if that might help. Nope. Next time I'll try it with some Wurst to see if that helps it along.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-16-2007 02:54:11 | More by tobodi
Photo of blackie


2.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: Pours a decent khaki head that soon recedes. The beer is a bright amber color.

s: Smells pretty okay. Spicy, though somewhat dull noble hops accompany moderately sweet, amber and pale German grain. Notes of sweet corn mash and dough.

m: Medium-high carbonation and a medium body, comes across as overly heavy

t: Decent malt and hop presence but there's a really gross flavor that grows into the aftertaste that I can't stand...mix of soured grain and rotten vegetation. After a few sips it fades or I get used to it, and the taste is a little better. German grain with a somewhat corny sweetness and low hops that are somewhat enjoyable. Overbearing aftertaste that could clean up a little more nicely, and the sweetness in general is unbalanced. Low-moderate bitterness. A touch of "skunk"

d: drinkability suffers from the flavor

single from TJ Cary

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-15-2007 23:29:24 | More by blackie
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been mostly unimpressed with the offerings at the Trader Joe's in Cary lately but I like me a good Oktoberfest and the season only comes once a year.

A nice fluffy head sticks around for about seven minutes before dissipaion. A clear amber hue, some lacing, and moderate noble hop bite are other distinguishing characteristics.

Nice thick, long lasting maltiness. Some active but unexciting hops and a certain zestiness or spiciness that seems a little out of place for the style.
A bit overcarbonated.

Not really a Marzen other than the malt flavor but not terrible drinking, especiallly for the price.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-11-2007 05:49:19 | More by daliandragon
Photo of goschool


2.58/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Another cheapo Trader Joe's single.

Appearance: The pour is clear copper with a quickly fading foamy off-white head.

Smell: This isn't the world's most aromatic nose. It is malty, but it's doesn't present the fruity character that's fundamental to Oktoberfests. Instead, this has a bit of caramel malts and a hint of hops.

Taste: This has two major problems. One, it's one dimensional and two, it's not particularly good (It's also not much of a O-fest, but style guidelines aren't really important to me). The one dimension is sweet caramel malts. What's left of the flavor profile is composed of a sour taste and a tiny trace of hops.

Mouthfeel: It's just barely medium-bodied with fizzy carbonation.

Drinkability: I wish Trader Joe's would focus more on quality than quantity in their beer aisle.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-09-2007 07:55:44 | More by goschool
Photo of jmbranum


3.7/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I brought this back from Trader Joe's in Washington, D.C.

If judged according to other Octoberfest beers, it is a bit below average. Not quite the intensity of flavors that I expected.

If judged according to other beer in the sub-$6/6-pack price range, this beer is kickass. A great value and definitely a decent late summer/early fall quencher. It reminds me of Shiner Bock in its flavor and clean taste. A littlelist bit of caramel, some roasted malt, and maybe some fresh hops, but just a little bit.

For its price, it is good. With a little bit more effort it could be outstanding. Maybe that is what is frustrating about this beer, it comes so close but in the end wimps out on delivering serious flavor. Some more roasted malts and this beer could be legendary.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

10-09-2007 04:54:02 | More by jmbranum
Photo of balconybrew


2.08/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear orange with a small white head.

The aroma lacks. You can barely taste the hops and minimal malt.

The taste is slighty sweet with minimal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is average, nothing special.

I didn't even finish the first one. I wouldn't have another.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

03-09-2007 01:01:34 | More by balconybrew
Photo of hungryghost

District of Columbia

3.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seasonal offering from Trader Joes. I been slacking on reviewing it.
Pours a clear amber color with a short lived white froth that leaves some lacing behind.
Some biscuit aroma, light hops and malt, not a strong smelling beer.
The flavor has good malt, hops, perhaps a spice and a strange slight bitterness that I do not attribute to the hops.
Mouthfeel is crisp with a clean finish but now I have the odd taste in there or in my head. Not sure what it is.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-15-2007 18:04:09 | More by hungryghost
Photo of malcontent


2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Nice looking golden-red color however the head on an Oktoberfest should be far more rubust than this and the lacing is barely satisfactory.

Sweet-smelling grainy quality. Almost like an American all-malt lager. Not promising.

It essentially IS an American all-malt. Almost no complexity although it comes up short of completely falling on its face by being overly sweet. Still, there's only a little hop flourish in the end to save it.

Bad mouthfeel. That's being honest; thin on carbonation and for a style that usually should feel full in your mouth, this one just barely exists.

You could drink it but I'm not sure why you'd want to. If you're at TJ's and feel compelled to buy one of their/Beirsch offerings go with the Bock or the Bohemian instead.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-06-2007 03:29:41 | More by malcontent
Photo of mghotbi


3.05/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is essentially a repackaged Gordon Biersch Marzen, sold exclusively at Trader Joe's. Introduced in October, but I wasn't biting then. Now it's on sale for $2.99 a six pack - so I picked one up.

Pours a nice clear amber with thin off-white head and no lacing. Smells predominantly of caramel malt and toffee with also a bit of candy sugar. Taste reflects aroma, with predominant caramel and sweet malt flavor and just a touch of balancing Hallertau hop bitterness at the tail end. Definitely a beer for malt aficionados.

The mouthfeel is not too watery, with mild carbonation - just right for the style. Drinkability is fine. I could see this as a session beer.

I have actually been favorably impressed the other TJ's offerings that are contract-brewed by GB, such as their Vienna Lager, Winterfest, and their Hofbrau Bock. This one isn't bad, either. If you're into malty lagers, you really can't go wrong with this one.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

12-22-2006 02:06:11 | More by mghotbi
Photo of Zorro


2/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer is a clear orange colored ale with a skimpy white head.

Smell is not much. Mild hop aroma and a little sweetness.

Taste is mildly smoky and mildly sweet with a little Nobel hop bitterness to it; and that is about it.

Mouthfeel is average.

Not much to taste here don't bother.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-17-2006 04:05:40 | More by Zorro
Photo of TastyTaste


1.78/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Medium to dark gold color, not a whole lot of head. Much too light for the style. Plenty of visible carbonation.

Smell: Light grain and cookoed veggie smell.

Taste: Funky and sour lactic flavors, the hops get lost in the sour flavors. Malt is unpleasent. A bad Oktoberfest, even for the price.

Drinkability: One of the lesser beers I have tried from TJ's, avoid.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-14-2006 02:32:53 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of stephendr


2.4/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Clear amber color – white frothy medium head , but short duration – nose of fruit , malt , grapefruit , floral , and slight various grains – taste of bitterness, malt , floral , and skunk – slightly acidic , bright body – aftertaste slightly bitter with hopps , citrus , and malts lingering

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-06-2006 04:49:42 | More by stephendr
Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.