1. The BeerAdvocate Store is back! Pre-order your stuff now. Items begin shipping Dec 15. Christmas deadline = Dec 18 @ 5pm EST.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Josephs Brau Winterfest - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau WinterfestJosephs Brau Winterfest

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

263 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 263
Reviews: 189
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 12.68%
Wants: 5
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
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)
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 263 | Reviews: 189 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by GMB:
Photo of GMB
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of explosivebeer
2.38/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer had a slightly yeasty aroma coming off a very modest head. The dark amber lager is crisp and subtly sweet. It seems to have potential, but doesn't quite live up to it. It's not a bad beer, but not particularly good either. Apparently this is brewed by Gordon Biersch. It seems like Trader Joe's could do better.

Photo of KitC
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
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

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Jason
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle with a batch # that means nothing to me on the back label.

A- Quick to foam though the bubbles crawl through the viscous liquid. Great head retention, big sticky patches ... clarity is great as well.

S- Super malty aroma, faint caramel, brown bread and creamed coffee nose.

T&M- Just as viscous as the appearance as the carbonation rolls around the mouth of this full bodied brew. Decent malt character, lots of toasted malt flavor with very little depth after that. Mild yet sharp bite from the hops help to even the playing field. The alcohol is a bit too predominant in the malty finish with a hint of clean fusel.

D- Not too shabby, this is a sure thing for $5.29 a 6-pack, though after one bottle I feel like I need to switch to something else.

Photo of MisterDeeds
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with hints of red showing through. A quick tan head vanishes quickly, and the bubbles continue to peck through the murky brown surface.

Smells malty with a roasted sweetness in it. Caramel?

Taste is sweet and malty. Some caramel malts, and a touch of dark mollasses maybe. A nice bready aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very thin, alomst non-existent. Not what I'd expect from a Dark Double Bock.

Overall it's not terrible, but to me it seems more like a Marzen or an O'fest, than a Double Bock. But what do I know? Brewed by someone somewhere for Trader Joe's, it isn't the worst beer in the world, and certainly worth the price of $5.99 for a sixer.

Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of yhoshijima
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of HoppySeb
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Jeffwildcat
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of chinchill
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in pint glass 1+ month before "Best by" date (lightly revised with fresher bottle in Nov. 2014; this bottle was labeled "Winter Brew" and had a best by date of March 2015.)

A - deep mahogany color; clear; thin off-white head with brief duration but lasting ring.

Nice aroma of roasted and caramel malt.

Malts are also main components of flavor, but some spiciness as well. Not very sweet overall, and definitely not as sweet as the aroma [IBU = 28] but plenty of caramel and brown sugar flavors.

Photo of Rosethoj
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Rowsdower
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of LXIXME
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of sloejams
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've had a couple different tasting versions of this Gordon Biersch made-for-Trader-Joe's offering. This latest being the best.

First, I would suggest that I wouldn't class this a Doppelbock, it's more to like a kicked-up Dunkel, imo. It pours a medium to syrupy dark brown with a slight head. Malt character comes through in the nose with caramel and roasted nut flavors though none very potent. Chocolate malt comes through overwhelmingly in the taste hiding the 7.5 ABV. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy but pleasant.

At $4.99 it's a great bargain, I've gone through a few 6 packs of these. Each time, I only had one of these and moved on. Certainly worth picking some up if your TJ's has it in stock.

Photo of watermelonman
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a decent dark brown with hints of red. Head and lace are minor.

The smell is mostly of malts with bits of chocolate. The taste is dominated by malt but is lighter than expected. Chocolate again comes through. The mouthfeel is definitely the low point here, obviously due to being so light for the style.

An appealing beer overall, it's just too light for a doppelbock.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pleasant dark amber with a small head that disappates to nice thin lacing. Very light aromas of toasted malts and mild chocolate.
Thin mouthfeel with little carbonation.
Interesting tastes...faintly chocolate....roasted malts....slightly fruity esters.
This is an interesting brew. I doubt it is representative of true dopplebock, but maybe a 'light' dopplebock.
Nice flavors for the winter season....strong alcohol content for warming but no strong alcohol flavors. Smooth with no bitterness or offensive aftertastes.
I enjoyed this brew and look forward to another one.

Photo of javlin624
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of augustgarage
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a Christmas gift bag. We don't have the stores around here so who knows when I'll get to try a TJ brew again.

Pours a dark mahogany brown under two fingers of khaki head. Nose limps out of the glass with soggy beef jerky and smoke. Taste is smoky and metallic, with some earthy peat and faint baltic prune. Mouthfeel is frothy and thick. Wasn't really a fan of this, the funky jerky just didn't sit well with me. Not sure if it was a bad bottle, but I'm in no rush to seek it out again.

Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of dirtylou
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single carelessly left in my fridge by blackie, probably from cleveland or something. bottled 10/30/06

appearance: poured into wide mouth wine glass...medium garnet body, cola-esque, tan cream head with little lacing

smell: sweet dark apple, caramel malts, light smoke, earthy. average doppelbock aromas

taste: I haven't had a doppelbock in a few months i dont think...smoked apple? big caramel malts, fruit sweetness, light booze. Not as much complexity as i look for in the style but its not too bad

mouthfeel: a bit on the light side of the spectrum, rather creamy

Photo of tempest
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good imitation of a doppelbock, but just that - an imitation. There's no head or lacing after the first few minutes, but the aroma is quite enticing and makes up for the appearance. Has definite bock-like aromas and flavors with rich caramel and a bit of fruit. Mouthfeel is a bit odd, but its still fairly drinkable. Worth a try,

Photo of hammer09
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A friend recently gave me one of these to try. Trader Joe's Winterfest Dark Doublebock Lager pours a dark, reddish-brown with a thick, foamy head. Beer appears clear, but slightly syrupy, and lacing is well developed. Smell is malty with some sour overtones that detract from the overall aroma. However, there is a very nice caramel aroma beyond the sourness. Taste is very malty, but the overall character is somewhat muted. It's not bad, but I expected more pronounced flavors. Mouthfeel is generally flat, sticky, and unappealing. This would benefit from a little more carbonation. Overall, Winterfest Dark Doublebock Lager is drinkable, but this beer could use a little more flavor and carbonation to offset some of its bland characteristics.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 263 ratings.