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Josephs Brau Winterbrew - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Josephs Brau WinterbrewJosephs Brau Winterbrew

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

252 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 252
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.64%


Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2008)
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Ratings: 252 | Reviews: 188 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
AlCaponeJunior

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish red with ok head and lace.

Aroma and flavor are heavily malt, caramel, bready, and dark fruits. Sweet with molasses and brown sugar, yet amply bitter to give it some balance, tho no notable hops flavors.

Body is medium to full and slicky, sweet, with a caramel finish.

It's an interesting brew, probably quite good if dopplebocks are your thing. I'm not a huge fan of the style, but certainly I want to try more of Trader Joe's brews.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 16:32:34 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of 360logic
360logic

California

3.71/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

S: Roasted malts, coffee grounds, dulce de leche.

T: Toasted whole wheat bread, caramel, woodiness, pumpernickel.

M: Moderate thickness, medium chew, mild carbonation and a little stickiness going down.

A great doppelbock for about a dollar a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 09:05:19 | More by 360logic
Photo of a0lbudman
a0lbudman

Alabama

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-brown with a tan head that faded fast
S-no one aroma hits you strong, but the malt comes through with a little toasted smell and a slight noble
T-toasted malt is strong with some noble hops and a strong warming that stays til the end
M-full body and low carbonation
O-this beer was good

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 03:17:07 | More by a0lbudman
Photo of illpass78
illpass78

Maine

3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark but clear red with an off-white head that starts out huge and gradually recedes down to a quarter inch. Lacing is significant. Looks like a good beer.

Aroma: The aromas aren't as strong as I had guessed. Not very boozy despite the 7.5 ABV. Some biscuit and caramel and roastiness in the nose, but not very pronounced.

Taste: Follows the nose at first, but much stronger. A very flavorful beer. It's very malt-forward and has some nice toasty, bready balance. The hops are also very much there - it's more bitter than I'd anticipated, but in a satisfying way. Definitely a tasty beer all around. Doesn't taste boozy, either, despite somewhat high ABV.

Mouthfeel: The beer has some enjoyable heft to it. It has a solid body and is easy on the palate despite the hop presence.

Overall: I liked this. The next doppelbock I have will definitely be measured against this one. I'm not certain that I see this as a "winter" beer, because it doesn't really scream "winter" at me, but it doesn't really have to. This beer could be a good starter for folks looking to get into "big" beers, because it's very easy on the palate despite the higher-than-average ABV.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 06:21:58 | More by illpass78
Photo of PEBKAC
PEBKAC

New York

3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

$1.09 for a single from TJs. Damn inflation. BB: 3/15/14

Rounded pint glass. Crystal clear garnet/tea-ish body. Fluffy, light tan head.

Smells of buttery caramel corn & charred bread. Sticky spilled beer & booze.

Aspirin bitterness is the first & last thing you taste. Sweet-ish brown bread middle. Burnt nuts. Dry, pithy/popsicle stick finish. Starchy. Boozy. So-so carbonation.

Cold. Cold is sometimes enough.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 00:37:51 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
ExaltedNecrosis

Texas

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A - Pours a clear dark amber / brown with a finger of fizzy off white head which dissipates rapidly.

S - Has a sweet malt heavy aroma, with caramel, toffee, toasted bread, and nuttiness.

T - Caramel up front with toast, toffee, molasses, and other dark sweet malts. There's a bit of nuttiness in there as well. The alcohol is present in the taste, too.

M - A bit thin with low carbonation. Even though it has a thin body, it is somewhat sticky. There is a noticeable alcohol warmth.

O - It's a decent doppelbock, though an excellent value considering the $1 price. Nothing special, a good sweet and malty brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2013 04:20:54 | More by ExaltedNecrosis
Photo of GMB
GMB

Japan

4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Even a slightly-gentler-than-standard pour of Josephs Brau Winterfest yields a 2-inch head whose color reminds me of the slightly yellowed paper of an antique book. The beer's body appears, at first, a beautiful dark tawny with cranberry highlights, but, when held up to a strong light source, it morphs into a brilliantly luminescent orange-red. Carbonation is gentle. The head falls a bit quicker than expected, but leaves behind a thick, inch-high ring of lacing and a quarter-inch disc of craggy foam.

Dark caramel and bourbon come to mind as I fill my nose with this beer's sweet scent. Somewhere in the background lurk floral and herbal aromas, too. Let's see if the latter are more assertive on the palate.

Bourbon, dark raisins, roasted caramel, and a touch of black pepper are primary flavors. Repeated sips reveal hints of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Alcohol is assertive, warming, and, most importantly, well-integrated. This makes Winterfest an outstanding wintertime beer. After warming, the taste and creamy mouthfeel remind me of a Teacher's Pet. Superb.

Take notes, brewers. This is what a strong beer should feel like. Winterfest's full, malty body and creamy-as-steamed-whole-milk foam are like holiday gifts on the palate. They're complemented by the sharp cut and warming effect of alcohol.

As I finished this bottle of Joesphs Brau's Winterfest, I thought, "Damn, I should've picked up a six-pack." 'Nuff said.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 21:49:50 | More by GMB
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505

New Hampshire

4.01/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip, best before 4/14. Pours mahogany, with a half inch light tan head, that leaves nice lace behind. Smell vanilla, oak, dark fruit, alcohol, bready, and toffee. Taste is very complex, less aggressive than the nose, with everything from the nose being represented, oak, vanilla, and the breadyness are most dominant. Body is medium, plenty of carbonation, a touch dry which I expect, and gives down easy enough, but seems larger than its 7.5%. Very nice example and an impressive winter warmer for an amazing price!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 00:42:45 | More by SawDog505
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Celebrator pokal. Pours a dark, ruddy amber with a one finger light tan head with good retention and lacing. Very light aroma of caramel malt and dark fruit. Flavor is caramel and toasted malt, dark fruit, light nuts and a charred smoky element. Finishes with light hop bitterness and lingering smoky malt. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. An interesting take on a doppelbock and the smokiness was appropriate for the winter theme. Finish was a bit attenuated, but overall a pleasant winter bock.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 04:28:57 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a near-perfect 2/3 beer 1/3 head ratio! Pours a clear, dark crimson color with a gorgeous cap of tan head. Nice retention and even better lace.
One of the best looking beers I have had in quite awhile.

Nose...not so much. Ever opened one of the rotten in-shell peanuts at the ball park? Kinda a musty burnt flavor/aroma? Yea...thats this, along with a sweet, dark malt-extract syrup smell.

Taste is near-burnt caramel and a touch of roast and dark chocolate. Not bad...a little on the astringent side, but not too bad. Not sure how many I could drink at a time, but a nice affordable doppel is not always a bad thing. Its better cold than warm, for what its worth.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 20:30:44 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of mjpolzin
mjpolzin

Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a pretty tasty, decently complex, malty winter beer...but it wasn't special.

This one comes pretty cheap from Trader Joe's (and in this case was a gift). It tasted about like I expected. It was a solid dopplebock-type beer with a little holiday spice mixed in. To me, it is the perfect session winter beer but I can't rate it any higher than that.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 04:48:23 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant deep amber with garnet highlights and a frothy one inch khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Melanoidins dominate the aroma. Deeply caramelized malt, molasses, tar, licorice, and dark fruit esters form the aroma.

Flavor is sweet, then turning a touch sour and bitter in the finish. Deeply toasted breadcrust forms the base, with hints of dark fruit popping up throughout. Nutty, caramel malt, chocolate, and brown sugar add sweetness, with light roast character surfacing at the end.

Body is fairly thick, with carbonation on the low side, and substantial alcohol warmth.

Interesting, fairly complex malt flavor. Esters are a bit overly pronounced. Also a bit sweet and hot, but it's a winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2013 20:18:55 | More by barczar
Photo of LXIXME
LXIXME

New Mexico

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big light tan head settles into a decent lacing above a clear reddish brown colored beer.

Dark roasted malts, darker spices, and even black licorice appear in the aroma of this winter brew.

Dark roasted malts with some sweetness with just a bit of hops sneaking in the taste, there also seems to be a touch of alcohol making it's presence known.

A not quite dryish aftertaste the bring with it some of the tastes on this medium bodied beer.

A decent but sort of lack luster taste, seems to be missing something that would make a person search out more of this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 21:43:37 | More by LXIXME
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass. Label says best before 04/13/13.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with hints of ruby and amber. Lots of rising bubbles and a big four finger light tan head with good retention. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very bready and dark biscuit like aroma. Roasted and toasted malts with hints of biscuit, chocolate, caramel, toffee, yeast, and toast. Hints of nuts and brown sugar. Also some subtle spices. Pretty earthy with some hops in the background. Very bready and straightforward.

Taste: Very bready, nutty, and creamy. Dark roasted malts with a a taste of biscuit, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toasted bread, and yeast. A good kick of nut flavors. Some sweet brown sugar. Light undertones of apple and dark fruit. A decent backing of earthy hops. Pretty creamy. A good bready and nutty taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth. Finishes somewhat dry. Alcohol is hidden well.

Overall: A pretty decent bock. Nice malt driven taste that is pretty nutty. Very creamy and smooth considering the higher ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2012 07:37:46 | More by MattyG85
Photo of KitC
KitC


3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured down the middle into my Augustiner .5L glass produced a large off white head that dissipated to sparse sheets. Deep red-brown color. Little lacing.

S: Quite boozy. Roasted malts create chocolate aromas. Pretty tight and closed at first, but as it warms it really opens up nicely.

T: Sweet dark malts.. Balanced with moderate hops in the finish that mellowed as the temperature increased. (I had it a bit cool for my taste to begin with and I tend to prefer better beers in the 50 degree neighborhood.)

M: Thin for a doppelbock. Low carbonation.

O: Pretty amazing for the price and the style. I was fortunate enough to be in Munich for Lent this year and this does a respectable job of imitating the Maximator, Optimator and Triumphator that I drank during my visit. It's certainly a suitable replacement until I have an opportunity to go back to Munich. I'll definitely stock up on a case or two for the winter.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 02:45:31 | More by KitC
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The latest edition appears to have been renamed to "Winter Brew," though the font and contents appear to be the same. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Radeberger pokal.

Clear sienna body shot through with bright points of copper and rust and capped by an active thin off-white raft of foam. Mediocre retention, faint lacing.

Low melanoidins, slightly toasty malt, and a hint of candied nuts in the nose.

Intensely bready palate entry - crusty/toasty/dough-y flavors are followed by hints of winter fruit and increasing malt complexity into the dry/earthy/leafy finish. Maybe a touch of caramel in there somewhere as well...

Light bodied, maybe a little thin even.

Very drink-able, decently crafted, and a good value, though it lacks the depth of flavor that the better examples of the style exhibit.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 05:14:00 | More by augustgarage
Photo of brewcore
brewcore

South Carolina

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Yields a one finger off white head that dissipates quickly to sparse sheets. Deep red-brown color. Little lacing.

S: Quite boozy. Roasted malts create chocolate aromas. Not much aroma at first, but as it warms it really opens up nicely.

T: Sweet dark malts. Chocolate. Well balanced with moderate bittering hops in the middle and in the finish.

M: Surprisingly thin for a doppelbock. Low to moderate carbonation.

O: Not a bad doppelbock especially considering the price. Favorite doppelbock? No. Buy it again? Most definitely. Hard to find a good beer at a buck a bottle. Found one here.
On a consumption note, this beer is best served at 40-45 degrees IMO. As it warms the flavors and aromas open up.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2012 00:42:24 | More by brewcore
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Trader Joe's in Omaha, NE
Best by 5/14/12
Poured into an Ayinger willi glass

Trader Joe's house doppelbock is a good attempt at the style that is, unfortunately, a bit one-sided in its presentation of malt sweetness. A bit of complex sweetness (other than from caramel malt) would improve the overall character, and inclusion of nut flavors from malt would add extra depth. Not sure where the strange bitterness in the aftertaste arises from, but perhaps that could be avoided, too. Overall, good, but average.

Beer pours out a dirty white/very light tan head about 4cm in height. Composed of smallish bubbles, this looks very soft and pillowy. Head descends in about two minutes to a thin cap atop the beer, but leaves significant lacing on the sides of the glass in its wake. Beer's body is a heavy reddish-amber color, transparent, and with plenty of active carbonation.

Aroma is deeply influenced by rich biscuits and bread, heavy sweetness from caramel malt, slight nuttiness, and some spiciness, as from cinnamon or allspice.

Opens up with toasted malt sweetness on the front of the tongue, adding noticeable caramel malt flavors and some spiciness (again, cinnamon or allspice) mid-palate. Still very sweet as we move to the back of the palate, where there is a bit of bitterness perceived alongside additional toasted malts. Washes out with caramel malt flavors alongside bitterness. Aftertaste is unpleasantly bitter, not as from hops, but as from broccoli.

Beer is medium-bodied with soft carbonation that allows this to gently foam up on the palate. Resulting mouthfeel is very smooth and pillowy. Dry finish, slightly sticky from high malt sweetness. Ethanol felt on back of palate and throat, slightly surprising for a 7.5% doppelbock.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 15:33:57 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a small head of light tan foam on top of a clear, amber-brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves decent lace.

S - A sweet aroma of caramel malt with some brown sugar and a hint of allspice.

T - Dark malty notes up front with caramel and some cola character. Very sugary through the middle with a bit of cinnamon and clove as well as brown sugar. Finishes with darker notes of burnt caramel and perhaps a hint of roasted character.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Not bad, the malt character is nice up front but becomes a bit cloying by the end of the glass. In the end, there are much better dopplebocks out there than this one

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:16:40 | More by nickfl
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Two finger head with excellent retention on a deep amber/brown mildly hazy body.

S: very malty with nut and caramel notes.

T: Lots of malt up front with a burnt toast and bitter coffee/toffee note in the finish. This causes a bit of a lingering aftertaste which is unwanted.

M: medium to full body, moderate to high carbonation. semi dry finish.

Overall: The aftertaste is a bit unpleasant and it was a little too dry but the aroma and malt presence is well done.

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2012 00:32:31 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Port Brewing taster glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Paired with pizza and breadsticks from Pizza Hut.

A: Pours no finger at all, with a floater that indicates only fair thickness and slight cream. Retention is obviously awful (~<10 seconds). Colour is a nontransparent amber. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Amber hops, clean malts, and cream. A very simple mild strength aroma. Not particularly enticing.

T: Amber hops and malts. Very simple indeed. Not at all complex or subtle. No real spices. Maybe some toasted malt. Decently balanced but badly built. Disappointing, without any complexity. Predictable and boring.

Mf: Smooth, wet, a touch thin, and adequately carbonated. Isn't tailored to the flavours specifically, but suits them generally.

Dr: Drinkable, but boring and dull. Too simple for the style. I wouldn't have it again, but for the .50 cent price tag it's nice enough. Hides its slightly high ABV well.

Low C+

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 06:13:20 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a taster glass. Reviewed live.

A- Quarter finger head with a quickly evaporating retention. Tan head with large bubbles that escapes quickly. Dark orange-brown color with nice clarity.

S- Nut brown sort of smell, toasty malts with toffee tones that are in brown ales normally. Nice little fella.

T- Nut brown with heavy malts and light on hops. Interesting taste, but nothing so special.

M- Medium bodied and fairly dry finish. Nice feel.

O- Not a great beer, but nice finish and nice overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 06:12:41 | More by Murrhey
Photo of Schmidts
Schmidts

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle cooper brown with a nice small head that leaves. Smells of breads and malts. Taste is malts creamy coffee amd caramel with a hit of Hops.
Litle bitterness in the mouth with a dry finish. This is a very nice beer for the price. Thanks to my friend Eddie from the Bronx for picking me up some of this at trader Joes in NY! Overall I give it a 3.5.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 00:55:00 | More by Schmidts
Photo of fezmeister
fezmeister

California

3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber/light mahogany in color with a light tan head that doesn't stand too tall but looks appealingly light and creamy. The nose is nice, but I'm not sure I can indicate much more specific than nice malty, caramel overtones, which of course open as the beer warms.

I wasn't too keen on this beer after the first bottle, but decided it was pretty good after all in circumspect. Considering that it comes off as slightly sweet, the mouthfeel is not the faintest bit sticky or heavy. The toasty Munich malt, caramel, and faintly fruity (baked apple?) flavors are nicely balanced with hop content and some more subtle flavors that are reminiscent of a nicely done winter ale. I'm going to have to look up what yeasts went into this brew, as I seem to detect flavors that could be attributed to the chosen microbial fermenter.

Well worth trying considering the $5.99/sixer price tag.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 04:24:05 | More by fezmeister
Photo of GossageBrewery
GossageBrewery

Missouri

3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this Doppelbock style ale from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Poured a nice clear reddish brown color. Produced a nice tan head, great retention. Aroma was a sweet malty, caramel scent. Full body, this ale was a very nice surprise. Excellent example of the style, excellent session beer. Taste of toasted grain, caramel and a very aggressive hop finish. High in alochol, leaves you feeling warm, great brew for winter time!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 02:30:08 | More by GossageBrewery
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Josephs Brau Winterbrew from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 252 ratings.