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Josephs Brau Summer Brew - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau Summer BrewJosephs Brau Summer Brew

Educational use only; do not reuse.

63 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 125
Avg: 3.1
pDev: 19.68%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Kölsch |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Zorro on 06-13-2009

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Hads: 125
Photo of SitkaSteve
1.82/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.75

This was poured into a stange.
The appearance was golden in color with a quick little rapidly dissipating foamy to bubbly white head. There was no lacing.
The smell, was kinda medicinal with light sweet lemon tones.
The taste was basically the same as the smell with a long sweet medicinal lemon flavored aftertaste and super sweet finish.
The mouthfeel was super light and sugary running over my tongue.
Overall, this was a kolsch? Uh...if I wanted a good one by an American brewer, I'll stick with Alaskan's or Schlafly's. No thanks.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.29/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I like the kolsch style in general for the summer season, and this one is another great value from TJ's. Only the second Kolsch I rated and I think I liked Lancaster's better but I can't quite articulate why. But this has all the right elements. A little floral/spice character, clean, light and refreshing.

On second tasting, I think the Josephs Brau has a bit of a sour / medicinal finish - more pronounced in some bottles than others. (All were fresh though.)

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.99/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Josephsbrau Summer Brew
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 10/19/15"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL

Brewed in the Köln style, Josephsbrau Summer Brew is golden in color, medium in bodied, gently malty and floral and spicy.

It's slightly hazy in the glass, which is unusual, but OK; and it's frothy white head displays a fairly good retention and better than average lacing.

Floral notes greet you in the nose over a straightforward, delicately grainy malt. A subtle note of apple fills in alongside, and some spicy hops float in the background. It's clean, pleasant, and welcoming.

The malt and hop combine well in the flavor, exhibiting themselves clearly, but also melding together almost seamlessly, polished to a shine by the delicate fruitiness that thinly coats it. A stiff bitterness balances it, and in combination with the spicy hops it finishes dry and refreshing.

All in all it's a fairly good rendition of the style, and given the price it's hard to beat.

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Photo of DerekP
3.6/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This style is probably one of the tougher ones to review: lighter style, easy to find flaws, etc. How do you judge the look? There's some decent head retention, and looks like it should (yellow/gold).

It smells biscuity, a little sweet, and floral. The taste is the most flawed area overall, but still enjoyable; there just happens to be an astringent back-end that stands out sometimes.
Mouthfeel is light-medium.

Worth the $6.49-99 that I paid for it without regret!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.06/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear pale to medium yellow in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass as well as some faint straw yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy bright white head that reduces to a large patch of thin film surrounded by a very thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to heavy amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of bready and grainy malts with a very light amount of grassy hops aromas towards the finish.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of bready and grainy malts with just a very light hint of sweetness. That is followed by light amounts of grassy hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for too long.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: A fairly average example of the kölsch style but easy to drink and somewhat enjoyable. A nice beer for the summer, especially considering the price.

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Photo of Anasazi
2.69/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Nothing special. Average beer and I wouldn't pay more than the $6 Trader Joe's sells it at. A cut above budweiser and the Miller brands of swill.
Not much head or foam. Nice golden color. The taste was slightly bitter at the end almost metal like. Not much on any aroma or smell capacity as far as hops. Average sums it up best.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.88/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

JosephsBrau Summer Brew has a thick, off-white head, a clear, bubbly, golden appearance, and heavy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is odd- sweet, cream cheese and ironized soil. Taste is of sweet toffee, cream, light lemon zest, and a prominent, floral hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is heavy-medium, and JosephsBrau Summer Brew finishes semi-wet and highly drinkable. Overall, this is very interesting and delicious, although with its complexity and body, it doesn’t really seem to fit as a Summer beer. A must-try beer, though.


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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with a thin white head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass. Aroma of neutral malt, wheat and slight citrus sourness. Flavor is slightly tart bready malt, citrus and light wheat, finishing with wheat and grassy hop bitterness. Light bodied. A light, refreshing, but unremarkable summer beer. Light and low malt for a kolsch, but the light color and flavors are within the kolsch universe. A bit astringent in the finish, but pleasant and drinkable for a light summer beer, as advertised.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.27/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Bright straw yellow with a moderate head and lacing.

Smell: Grains.

Taste: Crackers, cereal grains, yeast. Slightly sweet, hints of floral hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp and creamy. The barest hint of aftertaste.

The Verdict: Average. Trader Joe's take on a Kolsch is a bit bland overall. Goes down smooth, so it would make for an acceptable Saturday afternoon next to the pool beer.

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Photo of barczar
2.68/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aggressive pour yields a clear golden beer with a frothy one inch egg white had that dissipates slowly, leaving sheets of lacing.

Kolsch yeast, cracker-like malt, and a touch of grassy hops form the aroma.

Herbal hops are evident in the first sip, with a bit of skunky character and a crackery, dry finish, which becomes fairly bitter. There's a metallic flavor underlying the profile that us offputting.

Body is a tad watery, with moderate carbonation and an astringent finish.

The metallic flavor detracts from the experience. More bitter than anticipated. Astringency lingers.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Best before 11/07/12. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average. Kolsch style. 4.8% ABV.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger beige colour head of no real cream, merely okay thickness, and flat out bad retention (<20 seconds). Lacing is nonexistent. Colour is a clear pale yellow-copper. Not particularly inviting. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Straw, poorly chosen malts, off barley, and indistinct background hops (floral only in character). Meh. An average strength aroma.

T: Clean malts, some cream up front, floral hops, and clean barley. Not particularly full-bodied. Balance is messy at best. Somewhat thrown together, but still palatable all around. Its simplicity holds it back.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Entirely too think and heavy on the palate for the style. It's meant to be light and refreshing. Carbonation is adequate.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable, even for the price. Trader Joe's contracts far better brews in the same price range. There's really no reason to get this again. Dreadfully boring.

High D+

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Photo of harrymel
3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by 07NOV12

Pours a golden yellow with a slight orange hue; topped with dissipating white foam and has excellent clarity. Nice floral and straw nose here with a good dose of grass and corn. Nice slight bitterness up front with some grain and corn with a sweetness about it - a little dry. Light bodied with moderate carb and wet finish. Average beer I'd share with people.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.45/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Very clear dark golden color. White foamy head of two fingers settled to a clingy filmy ring.
Smells of grainy malts with a little dry mustiness that reminds me of sourmashing techniques. A bit of a lemony flavor pokes through, but it isn't quite enough to save this one for me. The dry musty notes and the grainy malts really run the show, and it is too much. I like my Kolsch a little more light and refreshing.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My house on July 8, 2012. Bottle into pint glass. One-to-two fingers of head. Light pale straw color, a bit darker than the Plznr. Grayish white lacing with average retention.

Smelled light notes of lemon grass, wheat, corn, banana and bread.

Tasted similar to the nose with a tad more bitterness. Reminded me of the Plznr that I just tried. Got corn, wheat, lemon, honey, banana and bread. Bitterer finish, a bit surprising for a name of SummerBrew. A little bit of sweet caramel in there as well.

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Long lasting smooth finish.

Maybe a bit better than the normal summer beer, although this was slightly different. Very, very similar to the Plznr.

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Photo of beertunes
2.45/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 9oz pilsener glass. Poured a light-medium straw color with less than a half-inch of white head that instantly dissipated and left very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly neutral, the beer had almost no aroma at all. There was some sweetness and just the faintest hint of grain. The flavors were also neutral, almost to the point of not existing, a little bit of caramel and an odd funk (maybe from the yeast?) were the noticeable aspects.

The body was a bit too full for the style and was also sticky. Drinkability was OK, you could drink a couple at a cook-out, or any situation where you're not focused on the beer. Overall, an OK brew, neither terrible or great. You can do worse, and better, for a bargain sixer.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.63/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Label says best by 10/29/12.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear golden straw yellow with lots of rising bubbles. Big four finger white head with good retention. Leaves lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A fairly sweet and bready aroma. Pale malts, wheat cereal grains, and lots of yeast. Hints of biscuit and crackers. Light hints of citrus lemon and orange. Also some subtle floral hops lingering. Malts are quite noticeable although the citrus is subdued for the style.

Taste: Bready, yeasty, and fairly sweet. Lots of pale malts and cereal grains with yeast. Some notes of cracker and biscuit. Subtle hints of banana, citrus lemon, and orange. Very light floral hops in the background. The bready elements are the most noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, creamy, and very smooth.

Overall: A decent take on a Kolsch. Nice malt elements. Could of used some more citrus zest.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.97/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yellow, white head, 1" deep, lots of bubbles and carbonation, not really good clarity or vibrance to the whole thing. Smelled like it was a geniune kolsch, if unadventurous at that, but it wasn't standard bmc lager yeast either.

Mild undercurrent of corn, wondered if this was the trader jose with lemon. Bitter and metallic wheat character at times. You get what you pay for, at least this comes in at a decent price. No off flavors.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.21/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light yellow in color with a nice head of white on top that faded gently into a thin veil that left the top bare after just a few minutes. Light bready notes and some grains in the smell, a bit light for me, without that top notch banana aroma you would see in a really good version of the style. Smooth mellow flavor, albeit light. Even and well balaned with a light bready note and a touch of light grassy notes towards the end. Smooth and easy drinking as this one went down effortlessly into the night

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Photo of JayS2629
3.12/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange color with a medium white head that fades quickly and leaves little lace.

The aroma has a bit of citrus zest on a bready background. Simple, light, and refreshing aroma.

Slight tart orange zest peeks through some bready and grainy light background. Watery, and off balance. Weird and offputting.

Thin, boring, with a refreshing bite.

OK summer beer, just a little off tasting with citrus out of balance for the style.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
2.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a apricot gold straw hue with a frothy two-plus-finger head that recedes slowly and takes most of the lacing with it.

aroma is subdued, but bready, grassy, green grapes and a hint of hops.

taste is oddly sweet. grainy, grassy, malt. hint of bread. potent dose of hops, with hefty green herbal notes and a bit of almost metalic citric note. lemon and stale orange.

mouth is fair, ample carbonation, moderate body is a bit slick and sticky for the style. odd and almost unpleasant bitterness.

just plain not good. would definitely not buy again... and I really like good kolschs. but this isn't it. nor is this a good summer brew. it just falls flat and has some odd flavors that are flat out unpleasant. which is too bad. the overall score bump is an evaluation of value... because that's got to count for something. but still... man.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.96/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear honey orange with a 1 inch puffy off-white head that settles to a thin film. Small spots and broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is somewhat lacking, but what I do get is grains and light fruits. Taste is surprisingly bitter right off the bat with a bready/biscuit flavor and some citrus zest on the finish. The bitterness is somewhat assertive on the palate after each sip. An average mouthfeel with a decent carbonation level and a crisp flavor. Overall, this is a pretty average beer and the bitterness is a bit too much to be a truly enjoyable Summer beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Offa
3.05/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gold, med-big off-white head steadily shrinks to ring and wisps.

Aroma is nice grain, grass, apple pear.

Taste is good, a nice full grain with light fruity sweetness, some apple and lightly bitter grass and pepper. Simple but solid, firm with good depth and balance, a nice full feel, it’s not very good, but it's a decent kolsch.

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Photo of mactrail
3.56/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I guess this could be called a Kölsch, given the way the neighborhood is going. A bitter edge to it, rather thin as expected. Not much fragrance, which would seem to be essential in this fragile style. Lovely mouthfeel with good carbonation. Pleasantly quaffable but a total lack of any malt character, which may be in keeping with the style. Still it's a better choice than most of the anemic lagers and certainly a bargain if you're looking for a light beer and have a Trader Joe's handy.

Best by date is 1-22-12. New and rather attractive label.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.12/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is a very average beer. The aroma is pleasant having strong malty tones with some fruity esters from the hops. There is a lot of white head and foam and it is over carbonated. The taste is grassy with a mild citrus finish. The body is thin and has some bite.

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Photo of Misfit138
2.88/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A- Appearance is a clear golden color with a small head the quickly went away

S- Sweet smell. Similar to a wheat beer, hints of white grape with tart fruit elements also

T- Taste is similar to the smell, Some grain, wheat and a sweet tart finish

M- Fairly light, with dry finish

Overall- It's OK. I didn't know the style it was when I bought it, it just looked nice at the Trader Joes and a summer beer sounded good. I would say it is good for warmer weather, but the style itself isn't one of my favorites. It is very much like a macro-lager, but not as grainy.

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Josephs Brau Summer Brew from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.