1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

257 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 257
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.64%
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Josephs Brau Winterfest Alström Bros
Ratings: 257 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%

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!

GeoffRizzo, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%

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,

tempest, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of Redrover
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

12 oz brown longneck poured into a heavy mug. The beer is a dark brown with a tan head and decent lace patterns.

The nose is of sweet, slightly smoky malts and some dark fruit.

The taste is also sweet and warming. There is some coco, raisins, and a touch of caramel. The taste is also a bit smoky with some sugared plums. Not bad at all!!

The mouth is clingy and medium bodied. This is a great sipper and went well with the hardy food I was having. I did not notice much alcohol, so the brewer did a good job of masking the 7.5%

Redrover, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of ndekke39
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle from batch #WF012, bottled on 10/21/06. Pours a dark, ruby red color - slight haze to liquid. Very small white head - almost no retention. Smells of dark toasted malt - very smoky and even meaty, like a Rauchbier. Tastes very much the same: toasted malt, smoky, hints of molasses. Slight bitterness to it, otherwise very little taste of hops. A little bite from the fizz. Light mouthfeel - a tad watery for a Doppelbock. Easily drinkable, and a good beer - it could just use more complexity to it.

ndekke39, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of Bierman9
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%

Enjoyed from a 12oz bottle, with a lovely, snowy scene on the front of the cathedral in Salzburg, Austria. Back label says batch 12:57 WF117, and bottled on 06NOV06.

I gave her a hard pour into a Rapscallion chalice, producing a thin, fine head comprised of tiny, tight, tan bubbles. The liquid itself was a clear, beauteous shade of deep garnet, with a few enclaves of carbo making the trek topside. Aroma is made up of some nice malty, toffee-ish notes, plus what seems to be a dash of cinnamon. Nothing suggesting hops appear anywhere in the nose. Body was medium, though I would have liked it to be a bit thicker, imo. Still smooth and easy on the palate.

A bit of light caramel malt hits the tastebuds, along with a little tinge of spices. Winter warmer or bock? Hmmm.... Sweetness coats the mouth, and the flavor exhibits touches of hops where the aroma did not. There's some light, floral action going on at the finish, lasting nicely. Not a whole lot of complexity here, but fairly decent. I wouldn't call it more than a "good" bier, moreso one in the middle of the pack.

Thnx to Artied2 for procuring this in the DC area over Christmas and lugging it home safely via the "friendly skies".


overall: 3.85
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 3.5


Bierman9, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%

I got this as an added bonus on a trade with David Eddie. I poured it into a flute glass and it didn't have very good head and retention. It is decent. It has a great smell. It has a decent flavor with a lot of malts. The alcohol is a little too overbearing but it is fairly balanced for the style. This beer has decnt drinkability, but it is nothing spectacular. I'm still happy that I tried it though.

jasonjlewis, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%

A - this doppelbock is dark coca-cola brown in color, with a thin tan head that dissiaptes into a ring of fizz very swiftly, not much in teh way of carbonation

S - darl raisins big and up frotn with a strong alcohol kic, and soft molasses undertones

T - raisins like from the aroma, with a nice blend of roasted malts and smokiness to back it up and drown out some of the alcohol taste

M&D - rather sweet and creamy, nice and smooth, especially for a higer ABV, a nice doppelbock, though i am doppelbock spoiled in CT, the land of the LIberator, but this is decent

sinstaineddemon, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of blackie
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%

appearance: Cream colored, chunky head with decent retention. The beer is a medium reddish-brown in color.

smell: Uprfont I get considerably sweet caramel apple aromas with a touch of nutty, toasted grain. Slight German-like metallic note. Low hop profile. Hints of sweet tree fruits and banana bread.

mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and body.

taste: Sweet caramel malts with a touch of roasted and toasted grain in the background. Notes of various light and dark tree fruits as well as ripe banana bread. Light noble hop flavor and bitterness.

drinkability: easy enough

picked up a sixer in Chagrin Falls while visiting family over the holidaze

blackie, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of dirtylou
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%

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

dirtylou, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of goschool
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Appearance: The pour is dark amber with fiery highlights, topped by a tan head that quickly fades and eventually dissipates.

Smell: The aroma is mostly made up of toasted malts and grains with a hint of caramel and coca.

Taste: The flavor is sweet at first, featuring toasted malts and a bit of caramel. The middle becomes somewhat roasty, with roasted malts and faint notes of coca. Fruity esters, grape and currant, come out for the finish. Sweet toasted malts and cereal grains are always present.

Mouthfeel: It's lighter than most doppelbocks, but it's still medium-bodied and fairly sticky.

Drinkability: It's not my favorite style and it's not a particularly great example, so I'm glad I only bought a single.

goschool, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of mpyle
3.95/5  rDev +11%

Minimal initial aroma. Poured a crystal clear, ruby brown color with a rich, tight bubbled, lingering pale tan head. Malty with maybe a bit of plum or fruitcake in the up front sweetness. Despite the maltiness, it is not a cloying sweetness. Won't say it finishes dry, but doesn't linger back there forever. And as the beer is very clean tasting and nice, any linger is pleasant. Mouthfeel no more than medium, and is perhaps a little light for the style. However, it is a darn easy drinking 7.5% ABV beer. And at $5.49 per 6 pack, it is well worth a look.

mpyle, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of joe1510
3.95/5  rDev +11%

12oz. Bottle
$5.49 6-Pack

Winterfest poured crystal clear garnet into my pint glass. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise from random points along the bottom. A top the body sits a dirty white head thats creamy. The head fades to a 1/4" cap. This is a really nice looking beer with the clarity. Surprised to find it that way.Leaves small patchy lacing.

Smell is along the lines of a dunkel with a strong smell of banana bread with maraschino cherries. There is big doughy malts along with the breadiness. This beer is loaded with malt. Smells like a meal. Slight wafts of alcohol as it warms. Very nice.

Taste is much the same as the smell. The huge amount of doughy chewiness overtakes everyting else. The banana is less in the taste but still present. Pleasant warming alcohol character on the finish. I like this one. Solid.

Mouthfeel is the only drawback. Medium bodied but thin. Coats the mouth but could use a little more body or creaminess. Slides through nicely though.

Drinkability is good. The thinner mouthfeel actually helps the drinkability. Nice beer to enjoy on a cool evening with the slight warmth it gives off.

Winterfest is a surprisingly good beer. Especially for the price. At $5.49 this is hard to beat on value. I wasn't expecting a beer of this quality from Trader Joes. I picked up their Vintage Ale brewed by Unibroue along with this so I'm looking forward to that. I wouldn't hesitate to pick this up again. Good find.


joe1510, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Clear copper color with a thin fizzy light tan head that doesn't last very long. Thin spotty lacing.

Malty with molasses and dark fruits. A little bit of alcohol comes through.

Mostly toasty malts with a bit of a honey like flavor. A little bit of hop character, but not much. Sharp on the tongue. The finish is clean with some of the malts lingering.

A good dopplebock, but I'm used to something a little thicker (fuller bodied) than this one. But, at less than $6 a six pack at Trader Joe's, it's a good one to try.

BeerSox, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of stpadddy
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%

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).

stpadddy, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of pwaldron
3.63/5  rDev +2%

Pours a very pretty ruby-amber with a lacy head that lingers on the sides of the glass. The aroma made me think of nothing so much as banana bread, and surprisingly, that was the main flavor note for me on first sip. Nice hops level, but I wouldn't have guessed it was a doppel without the slight alcohol finish. Very servicable bock--would be nice with a cinamonny dessert like bread pudding or pumpkin pie.

Or banana bread. Seriously.

pwaldron, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of tommy78
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%

The appearance has a medium amber colour to it. The head is light. The smell is hoppy. The taste has a caramel flavour to it, thought it is light that what I would expect for a 7.5% beer. Later on, the taste and the alcohol catch up with you. The mouthfeel is somewhat disappointing. I can only feel the alcohol in it. Considering that this beer was only 92 cents/bottle at Trader Joe's, it is a good deal. I wouldn't go out and get it, however, if someone gave it to me as a gift, then I would accept.

tommy78, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
2.35/5  rDev -34%

I wasn't terribly impressed with this one. Poured a clear reddish-brown pretty average for the style. Not much head, but there are some patches of sand coloured foam. Smell is very subtle. There are sweet malts present, but they're so faint. So much of a good doppelbock is great aroma to me. I love the powerful caramel/roasted malt smell that so many have; this is nearly bereft of this. The first thing I notice is a halfway decent caramel malt flavour which is quickly overpowered by a pretty offensive bitter/spicy hop flavour. Quite spicy, actually. This would be a great attribute in another beer, but not a doppelbock and clearly, from what I am gathering, not *this* doppelbock. Mouthfeel is fairly average and on target for the style. Overall, I'm am delighted that I didn't spend money on this thing. As I always say, though, I *am* glad that I was given the chance to at least try it out. Not for me.

SilentSabre, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of andrewmartin
3.63/5  rDev +2%

Date on the back of the bottle is 10/30/06. I assume this is the bottle date, so looks like I got a fresh one.

A: Pours a deep clear amber with light tan head.

S: Nose is pretty subdued, just hints of burnt carmel

T: Initial taste is very rich, sweet, and syrupy-malty flavors dominate. There is a underlying bready flavor, but it is very subdued. There is surprsingly little alcohol flavor, although it is present at the end, and helps clear the palate.

M: Tingly from burnt malts and alcohol.

D: A solid dopplebock, espeically for the price. I found some of the flavors a bit harsh, especially when compared to other examples, such as Salvator, but I'm not complaining too much.

andrewmartin, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of BitteBier
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%

A clear, very dark amber pour with just a bit of tarnished redness at the edges. Very little head from the first bottle at least, though lazy effervescence persists. Nose is stronger than expected and is highlighted by caramely malts with a bit of roastiness. Alcohol notes are pretty noticeable too, invoking something like cherry brandy to me. I was surprised by the hoppy bite of the taste, which offset the malts more than I expect for this style. Mouthfeel is somewhat oily too, but not overly clingy. One bottle was enough for now, but I won't have trouble finishing the six-pack. Not what I expect for a doppelbock, but a decent beer in its own right.

BitteBier, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of Toddv29424
3.63/5  rDev +2%

This beer pours a dark red color with almost no head. The smell is a strange mixture of dark malts and the aura of carbonation. The taste is big, much bigger than I would have expected from a beer brewed by Trader Joe's. Malts are without a doubt the dominant flavor, in fact its hard to tease out any other taste to it. You can tell that the beer would be sticky if it were spilled, if you can imagine what that tastes like. This is a decent beer, and for the price it can't be beat.

Toddv29424, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.13/5  rDev -12.1%

Trader Joes just opened up here, so my wife treated me to a six pack of this doppelbock.

The beer pours a brilliant light mahogany with ruby highlights. It has a creamy off-white head that disipates after several minutes. A great looking beer!

Aroma is predominately sweet malt -- caramel, some toastiness and bready notes; however, I initially picked up a noticable metallic aroma, which faded quickly. Just a hint of prune.

Flavor is of malt -- sweet, toasty, caramel. There is obvious alcohol. Some bitterness, but definitely dominated by malt.

Medium full body, some chewiness. Very obvious alcoholic notes and warming.

This is a decent beer, but nothing beyond that. A great looking beer and for the price, probably not a bad deal.

ncbrewerbun, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of kmcnair
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%

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!

kmcnair, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of tcfishler
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%

Slightly hazy reddish copper/mahogany with a small tan-beige head.

High-toned but still sweet aromas. A bit of herbal character can be picked up as well.

Attacks the palate with sweetness, backed by more fruitiness than maltiness. Slightest bitterness is apparent in the finish.

A quaffable doppel for sure. I'm sure the 7.5% could sneak up on you quite easily.

tcfishler, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of apwilla
4.7/5  rDev +32%

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

apwilla, Nov 21, 2006
Photo of witflee
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%

Poured a syrupy stream into a clean beer glass and imagined some hot pancakes underneath would be a fitting palate-cleanser. But despite its sugary-thick appearance, it produced a pretty head, nice reddish-brown body, and stick my nose in, I smell cherry candy dissolved in oolong tea. Already I feel a bit green around the gills. Into the mouth, it discovers a sweet and peppery amalgam of thick liquid Zantac® flavored with things that don't sound appealing, like rose hips and chamomile. Perhaps if I were a starving monk enduring the days of Lent I might be more charitable towards this liquid bread, but as it is, I need a ham-on-rye sandwich to abrade my tongue and get this strong sweet brew off my taste buds. If this beer review doesn't make sense, i wrote it after full consumption of the 7.5 ABV brew, whew!

witflee, Apr 26, 2006
Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.