Trader Jose's Dark Lager - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Trader Jose's Dark LagerTrader Jose's Dark Lager

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BA SCORE
76
okay

151 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 151
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 3.27
pDev: 12.54%
Wants: 4
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2008

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 85
Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 6-4-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Dark reddish brown, 2 fingers of foam, nice lacing ring, carbonation present

S - Roasted malts, caramel, and no hop aroma to speak of

T - Lighter bodied brew, smooth, malty with caramel sweetness

M/D - Pretty drinkable brew, another good one from Trader Joe's, a light bodied brew, nice and smooth with a good blend of malts and caramel, I recommend this brew and would get it again

Photo of hooverhawkeye
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid beer, love Trader Joe's

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Excellent carbonation combined with bright red color.

Smell: Toasted cocoa a lot like a stout.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Sweet coffee and cocoa. Very strong for an amber. Also very malty. Not the smoothest, but it does have bite.

Overall Drinkability: A good and very different red lager.

Photo of industrialswill
3.9/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's always worth the drive to TJs. They've expanded their beer selection since my last visit.
This beer is somewhat dark. It has a modest amount of foam from a gentle pour.
There is a slight floral hop scent to go along with the malt aroma that you would expect from a beer this dark.
The taste is good, there is no other way for me to describe it. This is a flavorful lager.
It's malty without being sweet and there is just enough hoppyness to leave a bite on the tongue.
I'm guessing that it's got a 5% ABV.

Photo of kneeland
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was an American Amber? Could have fooled me. It pours dark, almost coffee black. Maybe a hint of red if you hold it up to the sun. I really liked the color, especially since it didn't taste as heavy or as dark as it looked. You can taste the malt, a little sweetness. It's a very bold lager.

Photo of 1759Girl
3.78/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think it's pretty unfair to classify this as an American Amber...
The mere fact that this is branded as Trader Jose's, should let on that Trader Joe thinks this is Mexican... I mean I already think it's funny that we don't have a classification for Mexican beers... Negra Modelo is listed here as a Viennese Lager. Hmmmm

So.. I propose.. That this is what pretty much all laypeople refer to as the beer style of Mexican Dark Beer, which is exactly what the makers also refer to it as. And since Trader Jose's Dark is precisely a TJs branding of a Negro Modelo... I'm judging it thus.

And being a Californian... Even though we may be Guinness Drinkers or Belgian fans, we drink Mexican because that's what is available at our favorite spots for SuperBurritos, and guess what? It is refreshing and good for pairing with Mexican food.

Appearance> Nice ruby color. No head, No lacing. Nothin fancy.

Smell> Pretty average for a dark beer. Slightly malty, but also kinda smells like a bottle cap.

Taste> More complex than Negra Modelo. Larger shifts from sweetness to bitterness, more hops and a softer malt hang.

Mouthfeel> Surprisingly not bad. Good even.

Drinkability> I'm going to have to start sneaking these beers into El Farrolito and Papalote because I prefer this to my standby negra modelo.

Photo of oggg
3.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The sign next to the sixpack at Trader Joes says, "if you like Negra Modelo, you'll love this"

And that pretty much sums it up. This is a light brown colored beer that develops very little head. There is a faint smell of caramel. On the tongue, this beer begins with some brisk carbonation, a mild kiss of hop bitterness, followed by sweet caramel. Very clean flavors as you'd expect for a lager. The finish is pretty darn clean, making this a great beer for food -- and not just Mexican food.

Overall: a great simple beer to go with food. would also be great for beer novices. cheap too!

Photo of illpass78
3.7/5  rDev +13.1%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Libby craft glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a vanilla-colored one-and-a-half-inch head. Nice lacing on the way down.

Aroma: Big malt presence along with caramel and some grass.

Taste: Pretty tasty amber lager. Caramel and malt dominate the flavor. It has a bolder, richer flavor than I'd expected. Good for fans of malty session lagers.

Mouthfeel: It's easy and refreshing, but that doesn't hold back flavor.

Overall: This is pretty clearly Trader Joe's Dos Equis Amber analogue, and it's much better. I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer this to dumb Dos Equis.

Photo of yesyouam
3.7/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Trader José Dark Lager is a very clear, coppery brown beer with a thin, bubbly, off white head that fades to a film and leaves nice lacing. It has a roasty, toasty aroma that's pretty chocolatey. It's light bodied and a bit watery. It's pretty smooth and the finish is pretty dry. The mellow flavor is chocolatey with a little green bitterness at the finish. It's smooth and mellow.

Photo of GClarkage
3.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09/09/09- Purchased at Trader Joe's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Deep copper colored pour with a 1/2 inch head that hangs around for a bit. Some very light lace markings left behind.

Smell- Some toasted caramel malts, a dash of hops and some light alcohol notes.

Taste- Heavier than expected and sweeter than expected caramel roasted malt flavor. Just the right amount of sweetness. Hops linger, but are not much of the flavor. Lightly bready.

Mouthfeel- Kinda creamy and lightly thick. Slight hop punch in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Kinda impressed with this one. One of the better tasting red lagers I have had recently.

Photo of HBeezley
3.66/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint glass.
Pours a surprisingly nice dark amber. Forms a small head that recedes pretty quickly.
Smell: not bad. Like a mix of Roasted nut, chocolate, and a little hop.
Taste: OK, so. I once had their New Years vintage. Tastes sooo similar. Which is kind of sad seeing as they didn't change it up much for the new year (probably just made it stronger). Anyway, this is alright. Not bad. Not great. I mean, what you can expect from Trader Joes brand I guess. It's bready with a little sweetness just a little bit of some bitterness and then finishing with a little alcohol taste.
Mouthfeel: is decent. Not a whole lot going on there, but easy to drink with just enough to make it interesting and make me take another swig.
Drinkability: well, it's not fantastic but it's nice to drink. It's satisfying. Can't say I would ever go out of my way to buy it again, but not saying I would never buy it again. I actually probably will - mostly for the price. But if you want a mediocre dark lager for a cheap deal this would probably be it.

Photo of Tone
3.65/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark but clear brown with a good thick head and decent retention. Lacing is about average (1/4 inch - 1/2 inch). Smells of sweet malts and another sweet unknown sweet entity. Fits the style. Tastes of a strong lager with lots of sweet malt. Very smooth with little aftertaste; low carbonation. Overall a very easy drinking beer with a smooth, sweet taste that's not too strong. This is a good dark/amber lager. Overall, I'd definitely drink this again, especially based on the cheap price. Also, this is much better than its Trader Jose counterpart (Premium Lager).

Photo of Boxus
3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My family buys this a lot - it's cheap and pretty tasty, a simple but flavorful dark lager. Good with meats.

It pours a nice maroon brown, with a small head that recedes and doesn't lace much. The smell is light and coppery, as is the taste. It's very palatable but nothing really stands out about it. There's a nice caramel apple tone but it becomes a bit too sharp to be a highlight. It rests smoothly in the mouth and goes down easily, which makes it a nice choice for the price. A well-crafted value beer. Have one after work with a hastily prepared steak.

Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in pint glass.
Made in Mexico by Tecate. Similar to Dos XX Amber

Pours a clear orange/brown with a thin coat for a head.

Aromas are fruity and toasted malts but little else.

Nose is actually quite nice - bit nutty, some dark caramel with a bit of a burnt sugar and dark fruit (dried plum).

Taste isn't as rich as the aroma suggests. Light roasted caramel malt and a bit of nuttiness; some earthiness and dark fruitiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - thin but smooth.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.62/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

amber with the slightest of orange tint to it. A small maybe one inch high head of white foam graced the top

light and surprisingly hoppy with a nice bit of grain pushed up from the bottom. The blend was nice and light and had a good bright aroma. Some light fruit in the back as well.a good amount of floral hops sitting in the finish. The initial flavor I picked up was that of a nice cereal grain with a touch of a light grass mixed in. This rolled into a nice light fruit with a touch of a pine like finish to it. It was a nice bitter finish and a surprisingly good hop profile.

Photo of cnally
3.61/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a deeply brown, mahogany colored beer in the body with a small bubbled white head that has no lacing.

Aroma is much about nothing, very subdued sourness with a bit of toasted marshmallow and malt.

A surprising toasty burnt nut flavor right up front, with a latent bitterness from the hops, but again, subdued. Takes the characteristics of pumpernickel bread and almond. Not too bad.

Feel is medium in heaviness and the carbonation has a bite to it.

Much like many of these Trader Joe's beers, they are just a fantastic value. You won't find your socks blown across the room, but you will be amazed you only paid a dollar for it.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into my 33cl tulip glass with a frothy, initially almost three-finger thick, amber-dirtied, tan colored head. The beer shows some clearness but is dark enough that it is hard to see through as it sits on the table with a red-tinged, concentrated amber color; when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, cranberry red / amber color. The aroma smells of caramel and grain husks up front and has a sweet, almost fruitiness. The finish has a slightly grassy, crushed grain aroma to it as well as just a bit of toasty / bready malt character to it.

Sweet tasting, with a light nuttiness to the finish and just a hint of roast to it. Fuller bodied than I was expecting, but this is light and quaffable. The sweetness plays up some light caramel notes and even a touch of berry-like flavors. The hop presence is fairly low, but there is a slight bitterness to this brew and perhaps a touch of herbal hop presence. The carbonation provides a touch of a bit in the middle that couples with the hop notes. This finishes with a toasty, almost bread crust like, biscuit malt character that in its dryness does a fair job of balancing the sweetness that is found up front.

I know it says its from Mexico so it must be crap, but I am quite surprised by this brew. I think it gives Negro Modelo a run for its money and if it isn't, it sure does a good job of faking the aromas and flavors of an all malt beer (well minus the caramel coloring). While this is certainly not earth shattering, it actually has a better mix of flavors and balance than many of the usual Trader Joe's label beers. At the price they sell this at it is almost a go to BBQ / grill beer for those hot Summer afternoons & evenings.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, best before 06/17/11. So it's about a month after that, no big deal. The single bottle was only a buck from Trader Joe's so I don't feel bad about buying it. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear brown/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is bready and caramel malt, nuts and some toffee. The taste is the same as the aroma, it tastes like bready and caramel malt, nuts and toffee. Finish is mostly sweet with some bitterness noticable too. Even after its best before date it's still a pretty decent brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has moderate/high carbonation. It's also smooth and easy to drink. For the price it's not a bad beer, it's better than I expected it to be. I can't complain for $1 a bottle. I'd buy it again at that price!

Photo of rowew
3.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is obviously a Negro Modelo clone, and it tastes pretty much like you'd expect. Taste is malty with a slight hint of some cooked vegetable flavor. I know its sacrilege around here, but ice cold with a lime, this one could hit the spot with some spicy mexican food. Nothing too exciting, but for a cheap grocery store beer I enjoyed it.

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.54/5  rDev +8.3%

Type: 330-ml. (11.2 oz.) bottle
Glass: 9-oz. plastic cup
From: Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $5.99 for a 6-pack
Purchased: Sept. 23, 2014
Consumed: Sept. 25, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a brown, dark caramel, murky color with 2-to-3 fingers of khaki, tan head. Very good foamy circular lacing along the sides of the cup. Above average-to-very good retention of nice foaminess on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.63)

Smelled lager or pilsner notes up front, followed by porter notes. Got corn, skunky malts, cereal, then caramel, toffee, chocolate and some roasty malts. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste wasn’t as nice as the smell, but similar. Got caramel, toffee, roasty chocolate malts, roasted nuts, chocolate milk, earthy malts, boozy corn, cereal and some grassy hay. (Taste - 3.50)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long, slightly roasted bitter finish. (Feel - 3.38)

A lot better than I thought it would be. I don’t know what I was expecting, but for this style this was pretty good. (Overall - 3.50)

3.54 | 80 | B

Photo of flexabull
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.99 a six pack, sounds like a deal to me!

Bottle says brewed by Tecate.

Pours a dark amber color with a decent white head.

Aromas are of biscuits, toast, and light minerals.

Taste is clean and crisp, light cocoa up front, biscuit, toast, and some creamy malts. Finish is crisp with an easy mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is good, smooth with good carbonation.

Drinkability is also good, and is this beers strong suit. Easy to drink, refreshing, and with enough going on to make this kind of interesting as well.

Photo of kjyost
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a good dark brown colour with a quickly disappearing head. It smells of a sweet maltiness with no hint of hops.

There is a lingering sweetness reminiscent of a malt liquor, but the beer has a refreshing level of bitterness. This is a decently cheap beer that you could drink a good deal of in a sitting if desired.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a frothy, white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, malty nose with notes of caramel, toast, and dark fruits.

Taste: A flavor of sweet caramel, with lighter hints at toast and nuttiness. Light fruitiness. Only a very light bitterness. Drying, reasonably toasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not altogether terrible and priced, if not for glory, then at the very least for an outdoor, sunnytime gathering.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium to dark mahogany amber with a thin ivory head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with hints of molasses and biscuit. Flavor is dark sweet malt, hints of nuts and molasses, light grassy hop finish. Light bodied with good carbonation. As expected, a lightly flavored dark lager, flavors are pleasant and malty, but subdued. Nothing to seek out, but a decent cheap dark lager as presented.

Photo of mpyle
3.51/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App - Amber color, great clarity. Tightly bubbled white head with decent retention

Smell - a strange chocolate/berry smell, otherwise very clean. No hop.

Flav - Good malt character, a bit chocolately, somewhat sweet. Minimal hop character, though bitters slightly in the finish. Has a lingering, very slight dark malty finish.

MF - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. No astringency, goes down fairly smooth with just a bit of bite from the carbonation.

D'ability - A smooth and unexpectedly malty brew. Pretty good stuff for the low TJ price.

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Trader Jose's Dark Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.