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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

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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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 100 | Hads: 174
Photo of jwinship83
3.75/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up for cheap. drank out of a standard pint glass.

A- this one pours out a clear golden with a hint of amber colored body with a modest beige colored head. carbonation can be seen racing to the top. head lasts a while and leaves small spotty lacing on the sides of my glass.

S- lots of bready malts. a slight metallic note. decent amount of the classic noble hops.

T- stats out very bready and ends mildly hoppy. about what i was expecting.

M- medium bodied and fizzy with carbonation.

D- easy to have a couple of in an evening, especially this time of year. cant beat the price either.

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Photo of steveh
4/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A 2009 update for me. I didn't get any of this last year, so I stocked up and hope it's as good as 2 years ago.

A -- Clear, orange side of amber with a persistent, light tan head.

S -- Wow, an Okto with nose. Good, bready, toasted bread malts up front with spicy hops making the right amount of presence known. Mild DMS back.

T -- Good breadiness up front with, again, the right amount of hops to balance out the mix. Mellow graininess in the finish. Nice breadiness in aftertaste. Starts sweet, finishes dry and clean -- sounds like Okto Märzen to me.

M -- Soft and smooth mouthfeel with a slightly lighter than expected body for the style - light medium.

D -- This is a very, very nice version. Not sure why it doesn't get love from others, but maybe there's a big lack of Oktoberfest understanding. For those learning -- this is a great benchmark that only falls a little short.

I also find it funny that the same beer, bottled under the Gordon Biersch label, averages a B- overall. Just a leeetle brand prejudice there?

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Photo of RJUGA03
2.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A-Coppery amber transparent body with a slightly laced off white head.
S-Carmely, sweet, and a bit malty
T-Seasonally spiced on the draw with a syrupy slight hopped finish.
M-Again syrupy with a dry finish.
D-For me this is not a beer I would drink regularly at it's 5.99/ 6pk price point.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, golden-amber body with a thin, white head.

Smell: Lightly toasty malts with hints of spicy hops and apple.

Taste: Faintly toasty, sweet malts in the foreground that fade away with an encroaching watery quality. This opens the palate up for some spicy hops and a light bitterness. Minor hint of apple. Finishes dry, crisp, but oh-so watery.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation. I'm afraid it's a tad watery.

Drinkability: Mostly an Oktoberfest in name only. A bit watery, but you get what you pay for, I suppose.

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

From a twelve ounce brown bottle - Pours a light copper color with no haze and a small white head. Smells of sweet malts, adjuncts and light hops present in the nose. First sip is mostly malts and a slight hop profile. There is a bitter finish here but overall not too bad - not too good either.

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Photo of Mistofminn
2.99/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle

A - Sort of a copper color. Minimal off-white head

S - Some sweetness and malts detected. Can't get a hint of hops to be honest

T - Mildly toasted with a hint of caramel. Finishes dry and bitter.

M - Heavy carbonation, thin and watery

D - Its definitely drinkable. It's a little different from others in the style, but overall it's not bad. I didn't expect much coming from Trader Joes but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.27/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Poured a 1-finger off-white head, relatively low retention. Pristine deep-amber beer with a hint of orange.

S-Some hints of sweetness and malts. Minimal hop aromas.

T-Mostly light toffee for malts, countered by some minimal, but present, bitterness that keeps this beer in line. Finishes clean, crisp.

M-Medium body, medium-high carbonation. Leaves my mouth feeling clean and refreshed.

D-Highly drinkable, as is true of the bulk of Oktoberfest-style beers. It's smooth and enjoyable going down, so it's a shame I've only got one of these.

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Photo of Tone
2.83/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark golden color with little head and little lacing. Appears a little dull and lackluster. Smells of a clean yeast aroma; as per usual for European lagers. Not as strong as I'm used to for an Oktoberfest lager. Light body with a crisp feel, but only lightly carbonated. Since it was only $3.99 for a six-pack it's worth a try but not a noteworthy Oktoberfest member.

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

12 oz bottle.

A: Pours a light amber color with a small off-white head.

S: The aroma is a mess, it is relatively weak with corn, molasses, rock candy and saccharine.

T: Very sweet with lots of rock candy, biter almonds, brown sugar and lager yeasts that remind me of macro stuff.

M: The palate is thin and watery. The finish is long with lingering rock candy.

D: Way too sweet for me. If you love overtly sweet beers then this for you, otherwise skip it.

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

From a 12 oz. bottle purchased locally. Aroma is bready and a little sweet. Deep gold color with a thin off-white head. Malty, grainy and just a little bitterness. Light to medium bodied and not too much carbonation. Clean, refreshing. Not bad, especially for the price.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.75/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden coppery color with a decent clear body. Small amount of foam sits briefly before leaving a steady whisp of thin faom always present. Lacing is mostly drippy and not sticky with just a few spots here and there.

Aroma is apples over mildly golden toasted bread spritzed with some honey sweetness.

Flavor is mildly toasted with a simple tone of sweetness that carries some caramel, honey, apples, and bread dough. Simple, clean, and kind of short on length of flavor, but it'll do for some quick drinking.

Feel is a lighter medium body with a simple, clean smooth texture. A small dryness hits in the finish with a bit of toasted grains and grassy hops.

All in all, not too bad, drinkable by many pint fulls. Just comes up short on some lasting complexity.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty cheap at TJ's. Didn't set me back much to try this. Plus, I like that their single bottle prices are 1/6th of a six pack. Why don't more stores do that?

I haven't drank many Oktoberfests, but the looks aren't too bad on this one. Copper color, decent off-white head that lasted a little bit. No lacing.

I let the bottle warm a little bit before pouring, and the nose improved as it warmed up even more. Very sweet malts, caramel and raw sugar. Maybe just a hint of yeast, but I think I'm trying to reach for that.

Flavor is also sweet and mild. Pleasing, but not outstanding. A couple other reviewers have noted it seems light compared to others of the same style. If so, I look forward to more substantial taste of the same. I pretty much always like my beers more full flavored and bodied, but this didn't strike me as particularly watered down. Balanced for what it is.

Easily drinkable, especially with the reasonable price. Lots more going on than macro lagers. I'm partial to American craft brewers exploring lager styles... let's see bigger and better Oktoberfests!

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Photo of BeerSox
2.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into mug.

Crystal clear amberhue with a one finger light tan head that settles to a thin cap.

Very light cracker like malt aromas with a little bit of brown sugar.

Once again, light bready malts with maybe a little bit of hop flavor coming through. Light bodied with good carbonation. The finish is a touch of lingering grain.

Not an awful beer, but it's not what I want out of an Oktoberfest. Light flavors with characteristics that wouldn't fit with any style.

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Photo of Shumista
2.89/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. All of the food I've had from Trader Joe's brand has been great, so hopefully their beer will be good too.
A- Pours a dark straw color with a 1 finger head. Nothing to write home about in this category for sure.
S- Not a lot of aroma coming off of this beer. If anything I would say it smells like sweet toasted malt but it is very lacking in the aroma category.
T- Taste is a little thin, but not quite as thin as the aroma was. I taste sweet malts up front and the taste finishes somewhat dry and bitter.
M- Nothing much to say, pretty average medium bodied beer.
D- You could definitely throw back a few of these no problem. I think I would like to move onto something a little more complex after a few though.

This was my first "Oktoberfest" beer and from what others have said it is not exactly the best representation of the style. I'm looking forward to trying some others in the next month or so to get a better feel for the style.

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Photo of froghop
2.78/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours a clear amber-orange with a small egg-shell head, some lacing.

smell of grain, malt, corn.

taste is oily yet tingles the tongue, sweet malt, caramel, earthy, dry leaves, some dandelions, ends thick in the mouth and just a tad bitter.

overall i didnt know that it was gordon biersch and now i understand why it wasnt as good as your average oktoberfest.

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Photo of MrIncognito
3.43/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler.

A - When the beer first entered the glass I thought this would be a straw yellow beer, but it darkened up up by the end of a hard pour and became a mildly light clear copper color beneath an orangy, thick head. Head subsided to a film in a couple minutes, less than impressive lacing, but descent.

S - Faint smell of toasted hops and sweet caramel. Not the most aromatic, need to put your nose in this one.

T&M - A more than moderate carbonation makes this a crisp and somewhat dry beer that I feel takes away from the taste. Very thin at first then more flavorful as it warms. Throughout, I taste caramel hops and wheat bread with not much of a hop bite. Slightly bitter but mostly sweet in the back. Somewhat watered down and thin, lacks complexity.

An ok beer but not exceptional by any means. Definitely better as it warms but the aftertaste is just odd sweetness that doesn't suit me well. Sessionable for sure but I'm reering to try a different Oktoberfest beer.

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Photo of mpyle
4/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

NOTE: reviewed this beer quite warm, possibly 55-60 F.

App - golden amber color, great clarity, pours a decent white head, tightly bubbled and with good retention for a lager.

Aroma - rich nutty, toasty malt aroma. A bit of candy caramel sweetness, which isn't appropriate. In some ways a bit like a doppelbock.

Taste - rich malty character with some toastiness. Enough bitterness to prevent runaway sweetness, and the finish is a nice melding of malt and hop bitterness. Lacks the crisp dry finish of the style, but makes for a tasty beer.

MF - Medium body and moderate carbonation. No astringency or warming.

D'ability - A nice malty lager. I found it more drinkable than the Spaten Oktoberfest, but a blending of the characters of Spaten and this one would be perfect.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label has a purple background and shows a large beer stein. No discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just over 3 fingers of very light tan head. This settles into1 finger, leaving behind some sticky lacing. The beer itself is amber and perfectly clear.

Smell: Slightly sweet malt with just a hint of the caramel so normally present in Oktoberfest beers.

Taste: Caramel malt flavor is a little more noticeable in the taste than it was in the smell. Slight creaminess and very low bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is decent, very slick.

Drinkability: All in all, not that bad, just not the flavor profile I expect from an Oktoberfest. More of an Oktoberfest light.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.32/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours rather clear and in a deep golden color, offering only a fleeting head and minimal retention. Notably lighter in color than expected for the style.

Nose is somewhat thin with only a hint of toasted malts. Otherwise reminiscent of a Pilsener as for the hop scents.
Taste is decent with a light malt kick and good carbonation. A bit of lingering fruity malt sweetness on the close helps the feel.

A light bodied Ocktoberfest, it appears that fall is just about upon us.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.55/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of scottoale
3.23/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.96/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of pwoods
2.91/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of 1fastz28
2.36/5  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.

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