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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
76
okay

132 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 132
Reviews: 76
rAvg: 3.28
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 2
Gots: 4 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 132 | Reviews: 76 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -16.2%

t0rin0, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark crimson brown with a 2 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt and some nutty and slight metallic aromas. Taste is of dark malt and some nutty flavors. A slight metallic flavor shows up on the aftertaste but it's not too strong. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer taste wise but nothing all that exciting.

UCLABrewN84, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
3.6/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

mikesgroove, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

single finger head with little retention but nice lacing on a straight amber clear body. aroma is very sweet, mostly malt and grain with sweet corn. flavor is mostly malt but it is a little flat. smooth, simple and drinkable but not very memorable. medium body and light to moderate carbonation.

kylehay2004, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a clear looking brown color. It's got a fizzy off white head on it. The smell of the beer has a lager aroma mixed with some roasted nuts and a hint of hops. The taste of the some lager flavors at first that fade into some decent nutty flavors in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, It's got a decent carbonation to it. Overall it's an average brew really, but has a drinkablity that made this a bit more enjoyable. I wouldn't hunt this one down or go out of my way to get this either.

Knapp85, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

You'd think "Trader" would be en español too, right? Anyway, this stuff pours a clear dark sunset amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises toffee, dark greens, and light buttery biscuits. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a decidedly light addition of caramel. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice little lager, nothing much to distinguish it from everything else, but easy to drink and generally enjoyable enough for a nice-and-easy quaff.

TMoney2591, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -8.5%

largadeer, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of zeff80
3.25/5  rDev -0.9%

zeff80, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
2.9/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trader Jose, Dark Lager

Clear, coppery colored, 1/4" dingy, cola-toned head.

Not much here, little nuts, whisper of cocoa, ...again, reminiscent of cola.

Taste: hmmm, not too much going on here. It's beer, and you can drink it. Not terrible. Tasty malt, medium finish, lays softly on the palate, nice and malty. Gets better as we go. Likeable. Not bad.
For a buck apiece, there's worse...

feloniousmonk, May 18, 2008
Photo of mactrail
3.05/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Starts out with a nice foamy head. Lots of foam like a bubble bath. Dissipates to a rather flat mouth feel. Musty odor. Kind of a cardboard taste. Wierd hint of citrus that throws off the slight bit of roasted malt flavor. No aftertaste, fortunately.

Even for a cheap (imported from Mexico!) beer this isn't very good. Another case where the style isn't really right. Should be Light Lager with caramel color added.

mactrail, May 11, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Fratto for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a clear brown color with a white head. The aroma is malty with a lot of biscuit and bready malts. The flavor is more of the same, with a lot of lighter malts. No real hop presence. High carbonation and low-medium mouthfeel. Pretty basic lager here, nothing special, but not terrible.

Mora2000, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Gueuzedude, Jun 06, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown with a light off-white head, light lace, solid head retention.

S: Toasty malt, some brown sugar, nice smell.

T: Sweet dark bready malt. Really the only flavour, but it's good. Very light hop component.

M: Medium-bodied, crisp biting carbonation, smooth, easy drinking.

O: A very good beer for the price. Nice flavour, no complexity, but an enjoyable effort.

Halcyondays, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
2.68/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz (330 ml) brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Weizen glass in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average.

A: Pours a one finger head of decent cream, nice thickness, and above average retention. The colour is a dark amber-copper.

Sm: Malts and caramel. A mild strength aroma.

T: Very simple: caramel, malts, and light cream. It's okay, but I need more from a beer. Balanced but boring and bland.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Not too thick or too thin.

Dr: Drinkable but boring. I wouldn't have it again. It's alright, but largely forgettable.

kojevergas, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of GClarkage
3.73/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

GClarkage, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of dbrauneis
3.3/5  rDev +0.6%

A: Pours a crystal clear dark reddish brown in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some amber + crimson highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy light beige that reduces to a medium sized patch of medium thick film surrounded by a very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark malts and some slightly nutty malts. Hints of floral + earthy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts with a light to moderate amount of nuttiness. Light amount of caramel sweetness. Slightly metallic in the finish. Very light hints of floral + earthy hops which imparts a touch of bitterness which fades almost immediately.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: Not bad but not anything special - better than some of the others from Trader Joe's and enjoyable, especially for the price.

dbrauneis, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
3.25/5  rDev -0.9%

BillRoth, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of LXIXME
3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red almost like a lighter version of a red wine, this beer has a initial big light brown head that quickly dies leaving a light lacing that slowly dies off.

A light aroma of smoked caramel malts, with some hints of a sour almost citrus source. The taste is a light caramel smoked malt with a light hint a sourness coming through. A light dry smoky aftertaste is kind of appealing

This beer is bad but at the same time it really doesn't stand up to a majority of the west coast small and micro beers, but at the same time it's a cheaper beer and Trader Joe's seems to go through a lot of their product.

LXIXME, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of plaid75
3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and decent lacing.

The smell featured a light earthy caramel.

The taste consisted of sweet corn, caramel and some soft cocoa.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a decent lager with a surprising amount of flavor.

plaid75, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of tdm168
3/5  rDev -8.5%

tdm168, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of chinchill
3.6/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

chinchill, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of dmorgan310
3/5  rDev -8.5%

dmorgan310, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of Tone
3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
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).

Tone, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of beertunes
2.68/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 9oz Pilsener glass. Poured a clean, clear medium brown color, with 3/4 inch of off-white head that moderate retention and lacing.

The aroma was mostly neutral, some light grains and just a gentle hint of hops were all that showed up. The flavors were the same, bland almost to the point of flavorlessness.

The body was pretty typical, medium and clean, with good carbonation. Drinkability was OK, not special, not terrible. Overall, just kind of bland, Meh-ish brew. At $6 a sixer you could grab one. Or not. Whatever.

beertunes, Jul 06, 2012
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Trader Jose's Dark Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.