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Josephs Brau Winterfest - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau WinterfestJosephs Brau Winterfest

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266 Ratings

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Ratings: 266
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.36%
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2008

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 266 | Reviews: 190
Photo of SilentSabre
2.38/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of BitteBier
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Toddv29424
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.14/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of kmcnair
4.32/5  rDev +21.3%
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!

Photo of tcfishler
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of apwilla
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

Photo of witflee
2.79/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

Photo of smcolw
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown in color, clear. Very little head and relatively no lace.

Sugary sweetness in the aroma department, almost like making caramels. Very little hop.

Nice and sweet like a good double bock. I detect some hop. Obviously high alcohol, while still maintaining a solid body.

One-dimensional, but still a good anchor for this style. I wonder how a blind tasting would go. I'm always more impressed with this than I'd expect. It's a solid entry in this style. I wonder if I'm approaching this from snobby level--don't know. Still, I like this dobblebock. For the price, it's superior.

Photo of granger10
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark crimson color with a nice cascading foaming tan head. Not too much lacing. Aroma is yeasty and toasty. A bit of caramel in there as well. Taste is more roasty than sweet. Malts seem to be slightly lacking but there's tons of smoky alcohol elements. Caramel and figs are noticeable and the finish leaves me with a coating of dark fruits but it seems like the malts were all used for the yeast, nothing was left over. Body is medium with medium carbonation. Nice drinkability and definitely worth the $.84 I paid for it. Next time I am getting many more. Trader Joe's is the shit.

Photo of Hautacam
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark amber..large head..foamy...reduces to a collar.
Smells good...malt , alcohol ..prunes ?
Tastes pretty good at first...sweet, malty,caramel...maybe some vanilla...touch of hop..but at the finish a faint metallic taste and aftertaste that is spoiling this for me....damn....I really wanted to like this...I love TJs, and the price of this is great.
Mouthfeel is medium..low carbonation.
Not too drinkable for me...one is enough.
I have a few samples of their other beers to try....it's such a good deal if they're any good at all....and I would like to try a different batch of this..it really was good right up until the finish.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch WF006 08:32. 28 IBU's, according to the bottle. Pours a ruby/chestnut color. Very clear. Very fizzy, as the white head disappears immediately. Lots of streaming bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Roasty, caramel and fruity aroma. Caramel, toffee flavor, very smooth. Very little bitterness. Not roasty or robust enough for my taste. Carbonation is much lower than I thought from all of the fizz. Thin mouthfeel. This falls short of a dopplebock, but does have a good flavor. You can't really beat the price, so this is worth a shot.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.44/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This isn't exactly what I'd call a doppelbock, but anyhow.... Pours out to a dark reddish brown color that is relatively clear. Nice lacing, but lower than normal carbonation. Aromas of malts and chocolate dominate, with some caramel in the background. Taste is medium to full bodied, with a robust overall character. Flavors of caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, and some warming alcohol go fine together, but remain oddly out of place on the palate. Mouthfeel was thin, with a touch of warming due to the higher alcohol level. Average drinkability. Not bad, but not for me...

Photo of arizcards
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack back in early November for $4.99.

Pours an opaque brown with a nice head that dissapated to a few champagne bubbles. Nose was full of sweet malts, nicely perfumed. Taste is heavy of toasted malts with a slightly sweet small hopped finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than what I would expect from the style. It is decently carbonated and is keeping my palate interested. Drinkability is OK, abv is well hidden. This one grows on you as the heavy toasted malts are very overwhelming at first. Definitely worth a try at this price.

Photo of denjen
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dennis: Lately, it seems that we pick some of this up every time we go. The price just can't be beat. It's just a typical lager based double bock, sweet malts and not a whole lot else. But at 7.5% for about 5 bucks, you just can't pass this by.
Jen: Okay, so this is a complete value, although it may lack in originality, it does stand true for a double bock. It has a high roasted malt flavor that is caramelly sweet, but not sicky sweet. A nice level of carbonation accompanies this medium to full bodied brew. It ends with a very mild hop taste; just enough to notice them. For the $$, this is a must have if you live near a TJ's.

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

Bottle dated UF001. Pours a half-finger light brown head (like light brown sugar) that quickly settles. Clear dark amber liquid that is a really gorgeous color. Smells caramel with a hint of chocolate and mild bock character. Tastes caramel with a fusel alcohol bite. Dark grains are way underneath and come across as dry cocoa and a tinge of black soured grains. No hops to my palette in taste or bitter. The alcohol is a bit rough and may be hiding them. Md body and modestly carbonated. Nice to look at, but mediocre in taste.

Photo of sloejams
3.63/5  rDev +2%
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 Reidrover
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany brown colured, with a large super dense frothy/bubbly dark tan head. The aroma is of course very malty and quite pleasant, with some funky milk chocolate aspects. Good dark roasted malt taste with a nice dark fruity end. Quite good on the palate, smooth with a grt long lasting bitter fruit aftertaste. A good American attempt at a doppel-bock, not as good as most available german examples , but again a great bargain beer.

Photo of walleye
3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a reddish brown with a light tan head and no lacing. aroma roasted malts, caramel, sugar, molasses, a little chocolate. flavor, roasted malts, chocolate, plums, brown sugar, some hops. mouth feel was a little thin. but not to bad of a beer.

Photo of Jason
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
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 StAnthony
4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
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.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
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 gbarron
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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

Presentation: 355ml (12 fluid ounce) standard looking brown glass bottle. The letters ‘T’ and ‘J’ sit aside a sheaf on an appropriately color coded dark brown crown cap. Main label and neck label has the words (deep breath) ‘Wnterfest Dark Double Bock Lager’. Described below as ‘Brewed & Bottled by Trader Joe’s Brewing Co, San Jose, CA’ – a long mouthful for a GB contract brew. The reverse label has the Batch Number as ‘WF008 10:38’, plus the following Beer Stats: 7.5% alcohol by volume. 28 Bitterness units. Brewed with dark roasted Munich and caramel malts.

Appearance: Darkish brown with a translucent cherry wood body. A handful of slow moving streamers lend a lazy look but the head formation is excellent, a deep and bold look at first, the surface bubbles and soon settles to form a super looking and very creamy smooth 1” thick light brown crown cap that has a lasting resilience.

Nose: Medium strength nose but it has all the right traits to entertain me from the description on the back label of the bottle. Dark Munich malts, caramel and toasted hops. Soft alcohols.

Taste: Like the nose the flavors are medium in strength but nicely presented. Roasted malts have a smoky feel to them, chewy caramels and a nice hop aspect right at the death. Mild sweetness with a roast chestnut tingle and a dark fruity flash in the finish. Toasted finish lingers nicely on the tongue. This reminded me of many English Winter Warmers I had back in the UK, but that’s a bad thing as I enjoyed those.

Mouthfeel: Creamy at first, roasted smoky chewy malts in the middle and a lovely soothing almost creamy finish. Dry and roasted with a balancing middling sweetness.

Drinkability: No worries finishing the six-Pack I picked up, in fact I am already well into my third bottle. Appealing Mouthfeel and a nice clean taste profile. Hard to put down but easy to put down, if you know what I mean.

Overall: A new addition to the previous “staple” four Trader Joe’s “Brewing” Co. beers that I picked up earlier in the year. I actually enjoyed this offering, not so sure about the style designation but that never worries me, though it may fall short if compared to the moniker by others. More of a Dark Winter Warmer Lager for me, but I still enjoyed it. Get a 6-Pack and not a single.

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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.