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Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager - Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style LagerJosephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

61 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 185
Avg: 3.32
pDev: 22.29%
Wants: 0
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style | ABV
Czech Pilsener |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: notchucknorris on 12-21-2011

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 185
Photo of PhilHeinricke
4.03/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good Beer

Precious wanted to buy a house. We live in a townhouse, and I had planned it out to pay it off within the next ten years. Then it was easy living and traveling all over the world. But Precious wants to live in a single-family home, and she picked one out, and I'm embarrassed to say how much it costs, but $375k is a lot of money. I needed some beer to cry in, but anticipating the payments, I didn't want to spend a lot.

We went to Trader Joe's to get some humus or something. And as usual wherever I am I always check out the beer isle. They carry a lot of beers some name brands like Sierra Nevada and some things that I'd never heard of. I embrace experimentation. I'm always the first one in the pool. I noticed some TJ's brand beers that are low priced so I grabbed a six-pack of this and something else. As they are not kept cold at TJ's I put them in the fridge looking forward to trying them in the evening.

It comes in 12 ounce bottles. It pours out an attractive golden color a little darker than your regular lager. It has a healthy fluffy head even though I'm always careful pouring. It has a pleasant smell. It's strong but not too strong. I feel that smell is an important ingredient and don't drink right out of the bottle. I like to pour it out and look at that great golden color and smell the aroma.

It's got a strong lager taste accompanied by a hint of bitterness almost like an ale. It goes down smooth after a workout on a hot summer Saturday afternoon. I'm in Heaven right now.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, label says best before 11/25/15. Served in a pilsener glass, the beer pours a mostly clear gold color with about an inch and a half frothy white head that stayed around for a while. There's a decent amount of lacing. Not much to the aroma, it smells like floral/grassy hops and some grainy malt. The taste is similar to the aroma, but luckily the flavor seems stronger in comparison. Also, there's some citrus noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is light, it's a bit crisp with moderate carbonation. Not too bad, for the price it's worth picking up once. $1.08 for a single bottle from Trader Joe's, of course.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.78/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Josephsbrau "PLZNR"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 10/20/15"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL

Hedonistically this is a decent enough beer at a decent price, displaying a firm maltiness and some herbal and grassy hops. As a Czech-style Pils however, it lacks finesse. The clarity, head retention and lacing are not quite up to snuff, but it's really in its malt and hop character that it drops the ball. Czech-style Pilsners really need to display a bright pilsner malt off-set by spicy, noble Saaz hops but this one is a bit muddy. The bitterness should act as a stiff backbone to the malt, but this one is a bit flabby and introduces itself within the beer in a wider way.

All of the Trader Joe's beers deliver a good game, but for such a delicate and precise style I think I'll have to pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of fx20736
3.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pellucid clear Old Goldwith towering, craggy white head. Gorgeous lacing.Hop aroma lacking, some sour according to style. Lacking spiciness of Noble Hops but drinkable. Mouthfeel is decent. Ho hum

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Photo of secondtooth
3.71/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clean gold, with a full head of clean white suds. Attractive and thick lacing.

Aroma: Creamy, malty grains and some sweetness. Typical (and faithful) for style, and certainly not bad.

Taste: Malty, clean, bready, and with a sharp zing of hops. A highly drinkable and enjoyable pilsner, and one I could easily enjoy again. As well, a nice price $1.25/bottle at Trader Joe’s.

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Photo of Davidstan
3.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Excellent economy craft choice! I really liked this one. Peppery with grass notes and some bready cracker notes with dry finish. Not much for aroma as expected. Not as good as PU or Nooner but good way to drink craft on the cheap 6.00 a sixer.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This starts with a classic Pilsner malt flavor that's quite alluring but holds on for a corny sweet mid palate. It ends with a bit of barley malt that's stale. It drinks plenty easy but I'm not a fan of the adjunct flavor.

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Photo of Prefabu
3.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I thought this beer was quite drinkable, and it had a bit more up-front flavor than some Pilsners I've had. I tried a few different Josephsbraus since you can make your own six-pack at Trader Joe's. I didn't care for a couple of the others, so my expectations were probably pretty low. Not sure if I'll buy it again, but I would certainly grab one from a cooler at a barbecue or picnic.

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Photo of Milchad
3.34/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

For a Pilsner I'm pretty impressed. Is has more flavor than your typical mass produced Pilsner. If you want to step up to more taste without taking the plunge on a heavier darker beer or IPA, this is a great start. Overall a solid beer.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.47/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear golden yellow color with a white, finger's worth of head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of surface suds. Virtually no lacing.

Smell - Predominant grain aroma, along with light touches of bready sweetness and a faint grassy character.

Taste - grainy, bready malt sweetness to start. Grassy hop character comes on stronger in the flavor, though the balance still tilts slightly in favor of the malt. Fairly clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Light in body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, but not quite as crisp as the style demands.

Overall - Decent Pilsner. Nothing to write home about. Maybe a decent gateway beer for macro drinkers?

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Photo of SonicAddict
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Agree with Argok, but just had a better opinion of it.

My bottle had a different label, but i'm not sure if that means I had a newer version of the beer.

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Photo of argock
3.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Best by 10/22/14 stamped on back label. Purchased at Trader Joe's (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Crystal clear straw-gold with 2-finger stark white, frothy head with good retention and a nice strip of lacing at the top of the glass.

S: Crisp sulfur at the front followed by grainy, slightly sweet pilsner graininess and capped by a healthy dose of floral, spicy noble hops

T: Really good flavor, fairly sharply bitter, really pushing the limit for the style and quickly approaching German pilsener territory. All in all this beer is pretty high quality and a pretty clean lager with no major flaws. A little too sweet and grainy and not quite toasty enough in the malt component for a Bo/Czech pils but with a good noble hops character. Very enjoyable, especially for $5.99 a sixer.

M: Crisp and refreshing with light-medium body and a medium dry finish. Carbonation is high as you'd expect.

O: PLZNER is another high-quality, low-priced TJ beer that really delivers the value. A few little tweaks to decrease the sweetness and moderate the bitterness (which is too sharp and needs to be softer), and this would be an excellent example of the style.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
2.9/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

JosephsBrau Plznr has a thick, pureed-type off-white head, a clear, bubbly, golden appearance, and significant lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, biscuit grain and grassy hop oil. Taste is of those elements, with an even slightly citrus hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and a touch chewy, and JosephsBrau Plznr finishes crisp, refreshing, and semi-dry.


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Photo of boddhitree
3.6/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First, I had a Josephsbrau's Plznr Czech Style Lager. On the back label they say it's "a celebration of noble hops."

Looks like a Pils. Deep golden yellow? Yep. Snow white head? Yep.

A decent amount of Pils malt aroma, sweet as usual, and a hint of Noble hops behind it. Not bad, so far.

Up front: Very sweet Pils here, and some bitter, too. The bitterness is definitely a Noble hop, a heavy bitterness that's not too bitter but still enough to feel it.

Mid: Again, more bitterness, pretty much a the same as before, with some grassiness, again, classical Noble hop flavor. Though y'all won't believe me, there's a decent amount of tartness/astringency here as well. Surprised? I'm not, since it's a nice part of a good Pils.

Back: Yet again, there's lots of Noble malt bitterness and the tart/astringent flavors. There's again lots of sweet Pils malt toasty, bread.

Aftertest: Less Pils malt sweetness here and almost only Noble hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Not bad, quite thick and chewy, yum, just like a German Pils.

Overall: I hate to say this, but this beer isn't at all a Czech Pils, not at all. It's not soft enough; it's too dry and well, too GERMAN Pils like. It's also not a bad German Pils, but it's not in any way a Czech style. So, is that bad marketing? Or just a complete misunderstanding of styles?

Now, as a German Pils, it's again not bad at all. It's got lots of Noble hop bitterness and the tartness I expect, but it's lacking enough Pils malt flavors to make it keep it from being a one note wonder. It's definitely a "a celebration of noble hops." Yet it's not much more than, though. On the back label on the bottle it says it's 32 IBUs, which is again what it tastes like, which is a now what most German Pils' are. Again, it's not bad, but not up to the standards of the beer I've been drinking from Franken and from other Bayernbiere. A 3.5 of 5.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.33/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Yellow with an ok head and lace.

Aroma and taste have grassy, dry hay, noble hops, a fair malt backbone. Body is fairly light, carbonation is a bit lower than expected. Finish is dry hay and grassy.

Overall it's refreshing enough, not TJ's best but drinkable.

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Photo of Spikester
3.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear pale gold with one finger of white head that recedes rather quickly but leaves a good amount of lace.
Smells like saaz or noble hops earthy and slightly skunky. Light malts a some yeast.
Taste is hop forward with a crisp bitterness. Malts are true to the style. Just enough to smooth the flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium with adequete carbonation. Has a medium dry bitter finish.
Overall a decent if not stellar example of a Czech pilsner beer. Easy drinking and certainly a value brew. My bottle says brewed in San Jose not Monrovia.
Best before date 5/20/14 so it was pretty fresh.

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Photo of jawlessbody
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours darker than a lot of pilsners, with a dark gold/coppery hue and a fluffy 3 finger head.

Smell: Sweet, bready nose with a little bit of citrus acidity that'll tickle the nostril hair.

Taste: It fills out the mouth with a tingle of floral hops that quickly fades into a cracker-like maltiness, soon finishing out into what I can only describe as a orange juice like acidity combined with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Again, quite similar to orange juice. It's not really the carbonation, but the sharpness from the acidity that takes over the mouth feel, but it still remains smooth going down with just a bit of a tickle at the back of the throat.

Overall: Sadly, I only had one at my disposal or I probably would have had 4 or 5. It's low enough in alcohol content to be a very sessionable beer, but doesn't overpower the palate to the point where you only want to have one or two. It's light, crisp, refreshing and has a perfect balance of flavors for this style. I'm really impressed.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle best by april of next year

look is clear fizzy yellow gold, with an eerie soda-like head that slowly fades. smell is grain, esters, hops. taste is clean with some hop bite initially, finishing sweet/burnt overcooked grain. feel is semi-clean with a sticky, spicy, bitter finish.

half a good beer, with a good price. ill probably grab it again.

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Photo of GMB
3.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Josephs Brau PLZNR pours a somewhat unexpected, though appealing, darker-than-straw body. A standard pour yields a small, bright white head with tons of staying power. In fact, the head outlasts that of JosephBrau's Bohemian lager, whose head was initially more impressive. Indeed, PLZNR's head is so enduring that there is still a thin cap of sticky white foam as I take my first sip a full 5 minutes after the pour. Carbonation in the brew is medium. Regularly dispersed small bubbles move steadily in streams towards the surface. I predict that this brew will have a moderate feel and yield a frothy foam.

PLZNR's nose is balanced between mild, citrus-floral hops and lightly sweet malt. Dried apricots are balanced with coriander seed, pepper, lavender, and faint aromas of grapefruit.

I the thick, sticky malt of Bohemian Lager from my palate before delving into PLZNR. The latter is crisper, more sophisticated, and better balanced than the former. Prominent flavors are butterscotch, lightly toasted crackers, thyme, the zest of an unripe orange, and perhaps a touch of rosemary. Sweet grapefruit appears late, develops, and moves to the fore as the brew's flavors hang on the palate.

The first few sips are crisp and clean, but soon thereafter, malty flavors begin to dominate. The aforementioned flavors remain, but the sweet malt knocks things somewhat off balance. This brew is too sweet, especially for a Czech Pilsener. A thinner, lighter (that is, less toasted) malt profile would yield a crisper finish and allow the beer's lovely bouquet to open up more and develop further on the palate. The word "dry" should come to mind when describing a Czech Pilsener. In this case, it comes to mind only because I can't use it. Instead, I'm forced to write that this beer is dryish.

What crisp character does come through in this this brew is helped by its mouthfeel. A swirl around the tongue yields a respectable foam that's viscous enough to please the palate but not so sticky as to dull the beer's spicy notes or to dampen further the moderate dryness of the finish. Nice.

As a Czech Pilsener, PLZNR certainly outperforms Bohemian Lager. In fact, I submit that JosephBrau's Bohemian Lager isn't a Pilsener at all. Its richer malt profile and muted hoppy flavors suggest that it is best categorized as a Munich Helles Lager. The powers-that-be at BeerAdvocate would do well to consider reclassifying it as such.

I'd gladly drink either of these tasty beers again, but, if given a choice between the two, I'd reach for a PLNZR.

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Photo of sweetwaterman
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Trader Joe's house Plisener

Appearance: pale straw. classic yellow for the style.

Smell: Milder nose. Slighter bitter grain nose.

Taste: Not sweet at all. Grain-ey (un-malted barley). Pleasantly bitter. Crisp. Quick finish.

Mouthfeel: Refreshing.

Overall: A decent enough pils. As always, Trader Joe's has a great price/value for their store brands.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a finger of head on a clear, straw colored body.
The aroma is grainy with honey and flowers.
The taste is okay. A mild sweet with a drying bitterness middle to end.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It's unbalanced but more than drinkable.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.38/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle - best before 11/17/13

Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech Style Lager pours a clear gold with a smaller off-white head that held well leaving behind minimal lacing and a small collar of bubbles. The nose is hoppier than your average macro pilsner [fits the Czech style] with a crisp and clean malt aroma. The taste buds first notice the spicy hops followed by some malt in the middle then the hops return at the finish for a lingering light hop bitterness. Active carbonation in the mouth with a medium-light body.

Not my favorite Czech Pilsner, however it is refreshing for a summers day.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.23/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pretty much no head what-so-ever, foams then turns to nothing immediately, color is like apple juice, bright gold, excellent clarity

S: Has that Euro-skunk going on, not quite green bottle levels, but definitely on purpose, biscuity malt with herbal hops, pretty mild overall

T: Again a little skunk hits you right away, mostly herbal hops though, spicy finish with a little sweetness as the hops fade, hop dominant though

M: Dry, light but not watery, a little too dry to be quenching though

O: Very mediocre, expected more even from Trader Joe's brand

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Photo of ColForbinBC
2.77/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass

A clear golden yellow with about one finger of paper white foam that fell quickly but left behind some sheeting action. The nose is of cereal-like grains and crackers, with some floral and grassy hops over top. Floral hops pounce on the palate first with crackery and sweet cereal-like grains through the middle. A little bit of a vegetal character before a finish of toasted malt and grassy bitterness. Light body with moderate carbonation. This beer is a little messy, moving from flavor to flavor without any real transitions. There are much better pilsner options out there. This is largely average at best.

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Photo of metter98
3.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving some wispy lacing on the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bready malts with notes of floral and grassy hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste seems to have more flavors of grassy hops that linger through the finish and overshadow notes of bready and grainy malts. It has a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a little more than light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink. It would have been nicer if there were more malts in the taste to balance off some of the hops.

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Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.