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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

255 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 255
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 5
Gots: 7 | 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)
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Ratings: 255 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daveychu
Daveychu

California

5/5  rDev +40.4%

12-10-2011 04:55:23 | More by Daveychu
Photo of MadeInOregon
MadeInOregon

California

4.75/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spoiler alert!: Previously known as "Trader Joe's Winterfest" here in California, this beer is actually brewed by Gordon Biersch--as are all of Trader Joe's line of beers. So, if you want to avoid paying 9 or 10 dollars for Gordon Biersch's "Winter Bock" then be smart and go get this clevely disguised beer from your local Trader Joe's for $5.99! You're welcome.

That being said, I've had this beer probably, oh, 15 times now and it is one of the few beers that tastes equally delicious ice cold or at room temperature. It is tasty, smooth, warming, and very drinkable. I don't think I could have more than 2 in a row due to the 7.5% alcohol, but this beer is one of my favorites; top 3 without a doubt.

It looks like a nice, standard winter warmer though the khaki/white head is strangely quick to dissipate and leaves little lacing while drinking.

The marvelous flavors present are dark chocolate, raisins/dates, maple syrup, and a little vanilla, all with a mild hoppiness.

Josephs Brau Winterfest (AKA Gordon Biersch Winter Bock) is good to the last drop and has never let me down in the 5 years I've been enjoying it. So don't hate. This is a good drinkin, quality beer. The only reason people wouldn't like it is because they like bitter, hoppier winter warmers, which this is certainly not.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 06:02:51 | More by MadeInOregon
Photo of Teraya
Teraya

Georgia

4.75/5  rDev +33.4%

03-20-2013 04:30:49 | More by Teraya
Photo of celldog
celldog

California

4.72/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my vavorite beers. Gulden Drak is my favorite, so I like the darker brews. The great thing about this is the price of $1 a bottle at Trader Joes. Why pay more for a great winter brew when you can get this one. Usually only avaailable Oct through Feb.

The flavors in this beer are very satisfying, and you forget that for about the price of a bud, you are enjoying a great beer. If you live within 20 miles of a Trader Joe's this is worth the drive. ALso, you can mix and match beers at TJs and create your own six packs.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2010 22:36:46 | More by celldog
Photo of apwilla
apwilla

Utah

4.7/5  rDev +32%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited all year for this to get back to store. I am buying 3 cases this year, as it stores pretty well. I Bought only one last year and ran out around august. Can't let that happen again!

This beer has notes of big, toasty malt. sweet, almost chocolately with a nice touch of alcohol. An absolute steal for $4.99/6 pack

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 03:58:56 | More by apwilla
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Guess I'll stand out there on my own with this one as I often do... but maybe this should be in the Winter Warmer category and people wouldn't be so harsh on it.

Solid brown color with a nice full light brown head and nice carbonation with slow bubbles. Smokey, roasty, dark Munich malt aroma and flavors. Lots of robust roasty full flavored characteristics that you don't normally associate with a true Dopplebock but they aren't really selling it as one either... Medium-full bodied, smooth, and warming.

So good for a winter warmer that I went back and bought a case...

Per bottle label: 28 IBU

Batch #: WF005
Tasted: 11/25/05

($5.29 / 6-pack)

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 21:47:50 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Jtschupp04
Jtschupp04

Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours smoothly, off white, light weight, coarse head that settles quickly over a dark amber red.

Bouquet is lovely, first reaction is malty but after a few more good whiffs all I can think of is a rum or dark fruit. Cherries, raisins, raspberries. Alcohol present in tail of aroma.

Surprisingly creamy and heavy with alcohol. Reminds me of a belgian strong ale. Personally i highly favor the taste in this beer. Dark fruit notes and very light malt.

It reminds me of a belgian strong ale but its not as thick and retains typical carbonation of a lager.

Very drinkable, not filling like belgians. Definitely could drink more than one especially with cheese and/or desert.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

04-06-2009 00:40:31 | More by Jtschupp04
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

02-02-2013 23:45:38 | More by matjack85
Photo of gleemonger
gleemonger

California

4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

03-29-2012 18:18:34 | More by gleemonger
Photo of StAnthony
StAnthony

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm pretty new to the world of bock, and this was my first taste of a style that I've become obsessed with. My wife brought this home for me from a TJ's that had just opened up in the neighborhood and I can't thank her enough. Very rich and malty with a full body and exceptionally smooth mouthfeel. Strong cocoa on the nose that carries through to the tounge and a sweet caramel finish. Goes down extremely smooth for the high (doppel) alcohol content and has a pleasant warming effect that lives up to its seasonal name. You get a surprise when you stand up, but that's the sign of a great bock, eh?

Unfortunately, like TJ's popular "2-Buck Chuck" (Charles Shaw wine), the quality varies. My second six pack had a medicinal aftertaste that I hadn't detected in the first. But, also like Chuck, it's worth the chance.

I don't have many doppelbocks to compare it to, but for my tastes, this is a solid pick.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-19-2006 21:04:55 | More by StAnthony
Photo of steveh
steveh

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010-11 Update to this beer.

A -- Deep chestnut with ruby highlight and a tan head that settles slowly.

S -- Dark, crusty bread with vague, peppery alcohol back. Pretty big character for a clean lager.

T -- Same dark, bready malts up front that start sweet and finish dry from alcohol -- yet slightly sticky from unattenuated malt. Nutty breadiness lingers in the aftertaste with the vaguest of dark fruit character. Very nice to style.

M -- Medium body with a smooth to slick mouthfeel.

D -- Highly drinkable for anyone looking for a good, German-style Doppelbock to fill their glass. An American micro making a good Lager, how 'bout that?

As you may, or may not, know -- TJ's German-style lagers are brewed by Gordon Biersch and there is always a parallel beer at GB in order to find ingredient info:
http://www.gordonbiersch.com/brewery/winterbock.html

2008/09 Notes:
A -- Deep brown with ruby highlights and a very resillient tan head.

S -- Mild toasted malt character with some clay earthiness and dark fruit notes back.

T -- Toasted bread and some alcohol spiciness in the flavor. Sweet maltiness without being cloying, nice melanoidin character in a U.S. version of the style. Dark fruit and earthy character back, some vague hop bitterness in the finish.

M -- Smooth to slightly syrupy mouthfeel with a medium to light-heavy body, nicely dry finish.

D -- Exceptional drinkability for a beer of this strength -- dangerously tasty. This will stand up to any of the Bavarian imports.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-26-2010 22:12:38 | More by steveh
Photo of gruberbeer
gruberbeer

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An inviting caramel amber color, this beer is delightful insofar as it has complex flavors, including dark roasted grains, a hint of orange zest, and maybe even some anise. The head resolves into a ring of white around the glass, but don't let that visual thinness fool you. It is packed with goodness. I highly recommend this beer. It can stand on its own without food but definitely goes well with lamb or rosemary flavored meats.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-11-2010 01:01:36 | More by gruberbeer
Photo of marcel
marcel

Oregon

4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This Winterfest Dark Double Bock Lager of JosephsBrau was a surprise for me. I had been putting off trying it and finally opened it in the heat of summer.

I don't use the leather, fruit, malty, etc. nomenclature. What I can say is that I invite you to do a blind test with this against the dark double bock of Ayinger that I find excellent! I believe you'll be favorably impressed.

Prost!

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

07-31-2009 00:08:13 | More by marcel
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep reddish brown color with moderate creamy tannish head. Great retention.

Smell is extremely pleasant. there are strong notes of dark fruit (plums, figs). Very rich character.

Taste is also way above average. There is a strong dark fruity malty presence in the flavor. Sweet, without going too far. Very refreshing.

Strong taste retention, with many enjoyable flavors.

This is the way a doppelbock should taste. I wish I had bought more than one. Price was great too (99 cents for a single)

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

07-25-2008 22:34:58 | More by tgbljb
Photo of kmcnair
kmcnair

California

4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma - Rich maltiness and complex melanoidins, slight fruity dark dried fruit like prunes, subtle noble hop aroma. Clean with no unusual fermentation aromas. Very bread-like. Quite nice.

Appearance - Deep garnet to brown color, small tan head of white bubbles that fades into a halo quickly but retains well. Quite dark but excellent clarity.

Flavor - Melanoidins, rich malts, clean with no diacetyl. Slight chocolate and dark dried fruits. Moderate hop bitterness and a hint of noble hop flavor. Sweet, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied, medium carbonation, slight warming of the palate, creamy texture.

Overall Impression - Rich and flavorful, a very nice example of a Doppelbock. Well balanced, creamy, smooth, easy to drink... and for $4.99 a six pack, this is a hell of a bargain!

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

11-28-2006 05:11:29 | More by kmcnair
Photo of meisterkirke
meisterkirke

California

4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer reviews as a "B" from Trader Joe's and an "A-" form JosephsBrau Winterfest Lager. Could it be we don't like it as much when it comes at reasonable price?

The Winterfest is a nice Christmas time six-pack in bottles. it has a nice dark translucent brown color, good finish and not too heady. I like this beer and it is a nice price for the season.

I would rate as a b+ or a-.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

12-31-2009 20:11:53 | More by meisterkirke
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
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

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

Nebraska

4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

01-29-2014 03:07:58 | More by Rowsdower
Photo of GeoffRizzo
GeoffRizzo

Texas

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, traces of light red in color. A light head that dwindles into a non-moving ring that clings to the edge of the snifter. Dark malts, large sniffs of alcohol and some rye toasted bread on the nose. Defines the style from the start. Medium carbonation, thick and creamy Munich malts and caramel coupled with dark chocolate. Roasty malts, traces of English like hops with some chestnut and dark fruit flavorings. Medium bodied, with obvious intense just mentioned flavorings during warming. Very sweet and clean doppelbock, and a darn fine offering from TJoe's! Go get some!

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

02-02-2007 02:26:12 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of Pauly2X
Pauly2X

Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark ruby mahogany with a one finger head.

S- Rich, sweet, dark carmel with a light hint of chocolate.

T- An iteresting intermix of rich caramel and bittersweet chocolate. The flavors mellow and mix a little better at midpoint, and are followed by a very light noble hop note. Smooth rich finish.

M- Nice rich full body, and great smoothness.

D- C'mon, it's a dopplebock!

A nice solid example of the style. The best I have had from Trader Joe's.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

03-21-2009 04:21:42 | More by Pauly2X
Photo of Chaz
Chaz

Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Medium-firm pour into a goblet produces a firm, medium-tan head of average duration. Minimal lacing. Poured cold fron the 'fridge, but seems like this one will be tastier as it warms, so I allow it to warm. Brilliant pale brown in color, with minimal (visible) carbonation. Nose is pungent and malty, with notes of iodine, caramel, and ripe red apple. Also exhibits a slightly metallic tang. Sweet, tangy and slightly bitter at first, along with a slightly unctious quality. Fairly bitter; bitterness lingers and does a great job of offsetting the almost intense malt sweetness. Notes of caramel and fruit which are evident in the nose are all but prominent on the palate, and there are some light honey notes that linger nicely, appearing just after the lingering hop bitterness. Seems a little bit thin, but the mouthfeel begins to come around as the bold, fruity malt notes are accentuated by the type of oiliness that I appreciate in this style. Alcohol is warming to be sure, but not overwhelming. Drinkability is very good, even dangerously so. Overall a very well rounded beer, not to mention an absolutely tremendous value. This one's worth buying by the carload. Bottled 11/06/06, sampled 2/11/07.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

02-14-2007 00:37:34 | More by Chaz
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. 2008/2009 edition.

Pours a clear, clean ruby with lighter edges. Creamy finger of tightly-packed, dirty khaki head. Nose of plummy fruits, rum-raisin bread, sweet Concord grape puree, cookie dough, and light cooked vegetable notes. Toasted grain and roasted malt at first blush, followed quickly by fruity malt sweetness. Bread pudding and milk chocolate mix in, adding some complexity. Spicy, slightly herbal hop bitterness in the finish. Medium-full body with a slightly syrupy feel. Pretty damn good actually. One of the best Trader Joe's beers I've had.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-08-2009 01:24:54 | More by alexgash
Photo of gbarron
gbarron

Georgia

4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on the recommenation of several trusted sources who also report that this is the bottled version of Gordon Biersch's winter bock offering.

Appearance - dark chestnut brown, with reddish hues. Perfectly clear, you can see through the glass, little bubbles of CO2 coming up the sides. Head an off-white collection of fine bubbles, slowly disappating to form a little foamy sea atop a dark ocean. Light lacing all the way down.

Smell - sweet, malty, chocolatey, caramel smell. Some noble hop aroma, but not alot. Malt dominates the nose. Some toasty malt smells.

Taste - initial taste very sweet malt, followed by some muted but very present noble hop spiciness. Saaz? Tettnang? Not sure. Starts out very, very sweet - almost like drinking liquid caramel or some sort of sweet flavored bread. Hops followup. Very tasty, seems to me to be right down the alley for a double bock.

Mouthfeel - moderately thin, lager-ish. Sweetness lays on your tongue a bit, then fades. Some bready chewiness. Dryness in the end.

Drinkability - I'm rating this high on the drinkability scale for two primary reasons: good price (around $5) and a quality product. I wish TJ's would offer this year round. I would love to drink several of these, but the malty sweetness becomes a bit filling after a couple.

Overall - reminds me a lot of Moretti LaRossa. A very sweet, malty beer, with a dry, hoppy finish. Very tasty. Highly recommended based on the price and availability.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

01-09-2006 17:46:17 | More by gbarron
Photo of Troyone
Troyone

California

4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with minimal biege head and too difficult to see the sediment and action.

Has mostly a caramel malty aroma with some hints of molasses.

Creamy caramel malt taste with molasses, florals, and butter in the background.

Medium/full bodied, creamy buttery and resinous feel, with lively and fizzy carbonation.

An outstanding bargain at Trader Joes for a buck. I can enjoy this session of a Doppelbock all day especially knowing what I paid for this.

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

03-15-2009 21:38:02 | More by Troyone
Photo of stpadddy
stpadddy

California

4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The dominant experience in this beer is apple, apple, apple.

I poured this 12 oz bottle into a wine glass. It had a beautiful reddish-orange hue. No head. Deep color, the appearance of a dark interesting beer.

The nose is of candied apples, almost a mulled cider. More floral than one would expect from such a deep colored beer. A winter garden.

The taste also is of apples, but spiced with hints of nutmeg and brown sugar, clove and orangepeel. Would be very good with minced meat pie.

This is a very nice holiday beer, to be enjoyed with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner as well as dessert.

Well done TJ's (or GB).

Serving type: bottle
@ Gordon Biersch, 33 East San Fernando Street, San Jose

12-20-2006 05:30:49 | More by stpadddy
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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.