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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

100 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 100
Hads: 174
Avg: 3.1
pDev: 20.97%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-13-2006

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 100 | Hads: 174
Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.6/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

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Photo of 2ks4
3.46/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.55/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.53/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev +13.9%
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...

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Photo of elNopalero
3.75/5  rDev +21%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.88/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a faded, hazy copper color with some light thin white froth that fades to a ring. A few swirls replenishes the head, but there is not much lace.

Smell: Saying there is an aroma here might be an overstatement. There is a faint hint of cereal grains and some amber malts, but I would be lying if I said I could get any hop aroma.

Taste: This tastes like a beer that was made from the second runnings of a mild Oktoberfest beer. Soft, faint grains bring a light sweetness and a cereal grain start. The flavor never moves much, but there is a light pungent kick midway through. The flavor finishes on a lightly bitter note. After a few more sips, another half point down. This just doesn't taste that good.

Mouthfeel: There is a soft pungent bitterness that I almost view as a positive just because it gives this beer some life. A light to medium body works acceptably well with the decently creamy carbonation.

Overall: This is a pretty boring beer. Not terrible, but definitely not unique or interesting. They are definitely targeting a specific audience with this one, and that audience is not me. It is easy for me to punish beers that are poorly made, but this one just lacks character.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light brown with clarity for a brown, mild to no head. Aroma was slightly nutty, barley.

Taste, smooth, aftertaste was a little more metallic than I wished. Hopping kept out. Not much else going on. Easy enough to drink, pretty light. Despite the color, owes more to nuts and toffee than it does caramel. Tobacco woody notes at the end.

Not my cup of tea, but not offensive.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

"And this ballgame is ovah!" Man, it's never easy against the Tribe, is it? Luckily we had a fourteen-run cushion. And I had this beer in the fridge. Here goes: It pours a clear bronze topped by a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises caramel, lightly toasted biscuit, toffee, and a touch of grass in the background. The taste moves more in that grassy direction, along with some dark greens (clover-like) and balsa. The maltiness is still there, but it's decidedly less pronounced, apparently cuckolded by the grasslands springing up all around. A dull chlorophyll-laced bitterness unsurprisingly pervades. The body is a rather light medium, with a just-light moderate carbonation and a progressively dry finish. Overall, an underwhelming brew. ...That's all I can really say.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From fall brew ranking notes: Pours a medium amber color from a 12oz bottle. Small to medium sized white foamy head. The aroma is caramel and sweet but kind of mild. Light to medium bodied Marzen. The malts are caramel, bready and sweet. The hops are earthy and spicy. Touch of tobacco and some tea. Lively carbonation. It's a little thin and watery and there is an off flavor I can't quite place. Its not really unpleasant, but I do not think I ant to drink this one very often. Mouthfeel is thin. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. Can't recommend this brew.

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Photo of richkrull
3.46/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this one in my parent's fridge yesterday afternoon.

Poured a light amber color, good amount of head. Nothing really overpowering on the nose. Good tasting beer but a little on the weak side. I thought it would be a fuller bodied, stronger tasting beer. Still decent flavor though. Very smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of plaid75
3.06/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a clear amber hue with a two finger frothy white head. There good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a grainy cereal malt, caramel and a metallic element.

The taste consisted of a grainy cereal malt of moderate depth with a metallic twang.

The mouthfeel was thin for the style.

Overall a decent marzen. Not too bad for the price.

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Photo of hmk22
2.83/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Not bad for the price, but a little thin-feeling in the mouth. BA lists this as a Marzen and the label says "German style lager" and it seems a little closer to the latter given the mouthfeel. A nice entry-level hoppy beer that won't alienate casual beer drinkers, but not quite bitter enough for hop-heads (like me). Guess I'll stick with IPAs for awhile.

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Photo of deafcat
3.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11/5/10 poured from bottle into 16oz tulip glass

a - amber color with decent head that quickly dissipates, see through it like glass

s - caramel, malty smell, faint but there

t - sweet malty taste, a little strong on the caramel tones

m - light feel in the mouth, carbonation seems lacking a bit

d - pretty drinkable, definitely could down a couple of these, especially with a nice, heavy meal

overall not my favorite brew - but, then, it's not my favorite style. Would probably grab another one of the Trader Joe's brews instead of this guy. Compared to other local Oktoberfests (esp. Harpoon, Sam Adams), though, considering expense and value, definitely a decent choice, especially if you're entertaining a bunch of people for Oktoberfest and want to provide a solid, inexpensive brew.

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Photo of DJED69
2.83/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My wife grabbed a six today at Trader Joe's---just having one while I relax on the couch. Pours a tad darker than you typical macro. Has a thin head that seems to stay. Carbonation is medium. Taste is so-so. A touch of malt with some hop bitterness. Has that marzen flavor, but it's on the lighter side. I prefer a maltier, bigger tasting brew.

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Photo of haddon
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

rusty orange in color with a 2-finger head that dissipates quickly. little carbonation and very translucent

not much on the nose. perhaps orange peel, spice and a bit of hops

maybe a little hoppy bitterness and spice. but nothing singles itself out. very watery

light body that is very dry and crisp. medium carbonation

average beer at best. good thing I just ate a pizza and was really thirsty for a beer to gulp

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 11-25-09
Cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Golden brown color, 3 fingers of foam, layer of lacing, pretty good carbonation

S - Sweet caramel malts, faint hop smell nothing to overpowering

T - Light bodied, sweet flavored, little malt aftertaste, didn't notice any hop flavor

M/D - Another drinkable Oktoberfest but seems lighter than most other Oktoberfest bews though, light bodied and smooth on the tongue. Another good brew from Trader Joe's, the price makes it hard to pass this brew by. A must try!

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Photo of blackearth
2.33/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Purchased at Trader Joes. Pours a light amber body with a thin white head that quickly fades. Aroma of lightly toasted caramel malt. Mouthfeel is light with a crisp carbonation. Flavor is astringent and slightly skunky. Drinkability is quite poor. Won't be getting this again.

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Photo of hossua34
3.97/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Somewhat pale looking, light amber-orange. A smallish head that nevertheless retains well. Some (watery and fast sliding) lacing.

S - Toasty malts, molasses. I swear that I can smell pumpkin in there too, but I think I am just imagining it. Somewhat light scented.

T - A bit watery, a bit adjunct-tasting, but not bad. Rye bread toast and sugary sweetness. Alternately stated, crackers and burned sugar. A hint of tartness.

M - Could be a little bit thicker, but OK. Carbonation is right on.

D - Not a half-bad Oktoberfest. Definitely one of the better Trader Joe's selections, and a great pickup for the price ($5.99 a six pack).

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.28/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep orange with an off-white frothy head. Some light lacing.

Caramel and bread toast scents, some light citric hop notes.

This is Ocktoberfest? A touch of caramel sweetness, but on the whole, alot of toasted malt and light citric hops. Not very complex, and not very marzen-like. Flavors are a bit subdued, but still fairly pleasant. Decent.

Medium bodied and decently carbonated.

Overall, not a bad brew, just not what you'd expect from an Ocktoberfest label. Fairly smooth and decent flavors, so not hard to drink, but really nothing special either. If filling a cooler for a party, might be worth buying a 6 or two.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
2.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light copper. Two fingers of thick, billowy head developed and dissipated very slowly to leave a spotted lacing and thick ring around the outside. (I poured it straight down, as I recently read is, strangely, the way to do it.)

Smell: Sweet caramel malts, mostly, and there is a scent of grapefruit citrus.

Taste: The caramel malts from the smell are much more bread-like. The citrus is a grapefruit tang, and there's a well-balanced hop presence.

Drinkability: It's not a bad brew, but not the best Oktoberfest beer.

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Photo of mwagner1018
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Mild amber color, golden and noticeable carbonation, slight creamy colored head, quickly diminished.

S- Fresh, bread notes, with significant caramel sweet maltiness, but in a consistent medium/dry package...

T- Crisp and clean, definite creamy malt at the forefront, fits the style, ends with a good hallertau hop finish, mild and balanced.

M- Nice representation of the style, medium body, good balanced carbonation.

D- Surely a drinkable beer, smooth and clean, definitely invites me to have another one. Good medium ABV at just over 5%, great for the fall season...puts me in the Oktoberfest spirit.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
2.73/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice golden amber with a fairly thick but none too persistent whitish head. Aroma is malty and a little yeasty and a bit wan. Flavor is crisp and malty, fairly mouth-filling, but not complex. Texture is smooth, only a little tingly, and leaves a slightly unpleasant metallic aftertaste. Palatable, but no cause for a "Tweet."

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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.