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

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

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BA SCORE
76
okay

176 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 176
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.3
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 0
Gots: 12 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 176 | Reviews: 61
Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.12/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsener glass- pours a clear golden color with two fingers of head, decent retention, a few streaks of lacing, visible effervescence.

Smell is appropriate for the style- grassy, lemony hops, some pale malt sweetness, and a little bit of that signature lager yeast.

Taste is perhaps not as lovely as the nose- a little heavier on the malt sweetness, but still good noble hop bitterness and flavors, not really tasting the yeast. Grass keeps coming to mind (and palate), but not in a bad way. Crisp.

Mouthfeel is pretty good as well- light body, moderately full carbonation, some residual sweetness and grassy hops in the finish. Hell, this is a damn good beer for $6.49 a sixer, and even not considering the price I like it for an American pilsner. I've never quite been able to put my full support behind Prima Pils. I think I'll get this one many more times considering this price and worthy taste.

Photo of steveh
4.11/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got into my local TJ's for the first time in a while and happened on this new label. I find it odd that this beer rates so much lower than the same beer -- but carrying the Gordon-Biersch label. Tell me blind tasting isn't the best way to review.

A -- Clear, deep gold with a long-lasting dense white head. Picture-perfect Pilsner.

S -- Spicy hops up front with a mild fruitiness and DMS back. Some vague breadiness back.

T -- Good balance of spicy hops and bready malts up front with the hops finally winning out. The breadiness lingers into the finish, but light citrus and spicy bitterness dominate the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is crisp and dry with a medium-light body.

O -- When I first grabbed this beer I was afraid it was just a re-labeling of the Josephsbrau Bohemian Lager, but this is a much nicer brew. While not so much Czech as German in its Pils character, it's a great rendition of the style from a US micro. Very easy-drinking and perfect on a warm summer day.

Photo of SonicAddict
4/5  rDev +21.2%

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.

Photo of jawlessbody
3.88/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

Photo of GMB
3.85/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.77/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a clear gold color with a nice cap of white head. Nice lacing!

Nose is very grainy...pretty good representation of the style. Hops are floral and a little grassy. Not bad, but does not smell super-delicious.

Taste is a nice combo of grainy malts with a herbal, grassy hops. Not bad..this is one of the more affordable pilsners out there and it is better than 60% of the imports that are more expensive. I like it, but unfortnately a TJ is about 30 miles away!

Photo of McStagger
3.77/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, the good ole TJ's brand beers. Always a good value. How does this one stack up?

A: Poured into a standard pint glass. Slightly darker than straw yellow with a touch of haze. Most clear, though. Rapid pour leads to two finger bleach white head. Dissipates rapidly with moderate lacing. Ample carbonation, with large bubbles.

S: Sweet malts, lemon zest, spicy and floral hops, touch of skunk.

T: Light, crackery malts transition into a spicy bitterness. Floral notes, green apple, touch of sulfur, lemon oil. Fairly strong bitterness smacks you right in the mouth. The bitterness is borderline resinous and soapy. Finishes fairly dry and bitter.

M: Spot on for the style. Okay, maybe it feels a little mass produced, but I've definitely had worse examples.

O: Pleasantly surprised, to say the least. Tastes like a ten dollar a six pack beer. Instead, only 5.50. Damn.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.74/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (best by 06/02/12) poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Clear golden yellow, plenty of carbonation coming up through the beer. White foam upon pouring quickly died back to form the barest ring of foam at the edge of the glass. Lacing at this ring quickly slid back down the glass.

Smell: That classic crisp pilsner smell, but hoppier than your typical mass-market pilsner with a crisp malt smell - maybe a tiny hint of honey in there at the end.

Taste: Earthy and spicy hops right up front and at the end as well. Crisp and dry finish with the tiniest of lingering hop finish. Some clean malt in the middle, but the hops dominate in this beer flavor. Quite the nice pilsner.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation on the tongue, some thickness to it, otherwise just above average for a pilsner.

Overall / Drinkability: A nice pilsner - good flavor and smell but a tad disappointing in regards to appearance. Nice to see the Czech/German hops typical for this style so well represented with this beer. Went quite well a meal (Sicilian corkscrews & beans) and would go well with a lot of other food as well. Good drinkability as well, I could have another without hesitation.

Photo of secondtooth
3.71/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Photo of Davidstan
3.7/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of Spikester
3.66/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of fx20736
3.66/5  rDev +10.9%
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

Photo of argock
3.66/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of MattyG85
3.65/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottle says best before 06/09/12.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear golden orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big four finger white head with good retention. Lots of lacing sticking to the glass.

Smell: Sweet pale malts with wheat cereal grains and lots of biscuit aroma. Decent presence of herbal, grassy hops. Also some hints of lemon grass. Pretty decent bready smell.

Taste: Bready and sweet pale malts with hints of caramel and lots of biscuit. Big taste of cereal grains. Light hints of earthy, grassy hops lingering around. Also a light hint of lemons. Bready grains dominate here.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very crisp and smooth.

Overall: A decent take on a European Pilsner. Sweet but not overly sweet and has a decent body for the style.

Photo of augustgarage
3.65/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Harriet pils glass. Best before February 5th, 2013.

Clear pale gold body with a thin finger of white soapy suds. Faint lacing, but decent retention.

Clean brisk musk with mountain air and malt, and herbal noble hop aromatics (Saaz, I presume). Faintly crackery/biscuity as well.

Moderately bitter palate entry with a building spicy character from the hops which remain present on into the dry sod-like finish. Crisp clean and well lagered - nicely crafted with just a touch of barley and winter fruit for sweetness. Lacks the subtle malt complexity of the best examples, but remains free of off notes.

Soft yet zesty, light-bodied mouth-feel.

A bit one-note I suppose, but this is quite a refreshing and carefully constructed lager and an excellent value.

Photo of boddhitree
3.6/5  rDev +9.1%
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."

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

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

Flavor:
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.

Photo of mikeg67
3.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Trader Joe’s. Pours deep golden with a short-lived, white head. Nice aroma is of pale malt and grassy hops. Medium, slightly crisp body. Earthy hops are balanced by biscuit malt and grapefruit on the palate. Long, bitter finish. Well done Pils.

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.57/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My house on July 8, 2012. Bottle into pint glass. Two fingers of head. Honey pale color. Foamy white lacing. Below average-to-poor retention.

Smelled honey, corn, wheat, grass, bread and light lemon hops.

Tasted honey, corn and bread mostly. Also grain, cereal and toast. Also some light lemon hops that brings everything together.

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Refreshing, but abrupt finish.

Not a bad beer overall. A decent, refreshing pilsner. Great for the summer.

Photo of Cresant
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served this 12 oz. brown bottle in a shaker pint. Best by: 8/28/12. The body was golden and clear. The white cap left some lacing.

The smell was slightly skunky Nobel hops. Light crackery malts give it a graininess.

The taste started with a bright snap of crisp hops. Clean.Crackery malts and lemon. Slight mineral notes. Husky, which I like in a pilsner. Very drinkable.

The mouthfeel was medium with lively carbonation. With the Trader Joe's label one automatically thinks "cheap" but this is a solid Czech style pilsner in my book.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Half finger white head on a crimson with golden hues clear body.

S: sweet caramel malts, some sweet corn and mild hops.

T: very malty with mild bittering malts in the finish. A little creamy.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Nice full flavored malted beer but fairly simple.

Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really quite a lot of flavor for an unassuming beer. Fairly sweet but hops catch up quickly-- 32 IBU according to label. Attractive golden in the glass. A richer mouthfeel that typical Pilseners. Malty flavors are quite forward with subdued hoppy aromatics. Fairly bitter aftertaste. Not too big on the carbonation. If you like some hops in your lager this is a cheap way to do it.

Apparently a Gordon Biersch product. Ohio state liquor board lists the Josephs Brau beers under GB. Reminds me of GB Golden Bock though scratchier.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.47/5  rDev +5.2%
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?

Photo of Reidrover
3.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single from Trader Joe’s,Salem. $1.00 Nice hue of clear golden for the body and a rather fetching thick ,creamy white head Aroma subdued..some biscuit and a small floral grassy hoppiness. Taste is almost entirelly biscuity,cereal type malts..barely any hop There is a strange astringent bitterness in the end..i doubt its hops. Weak watery palate. Not impressed at all..just another American lager
Having had this many times now i have to revise my score.
This is a nice American version of a Czech pilsner.

Photo of sweetwaterman
3.45/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of ithacabaron
3.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, darkened yellow. Almost no head at all, very little visible carbonation. If I didn't know any better, and I came into the room, I'd think there was a glass of apple juice on the table. Not impressed.

Smell is nice. Clean malt, with a smooth hop profile gliding over top. Doesn't particularly smell accurate to style -- more of a fait pale ale aroma -- but it's not bad all the same.

Taste is mild and unassuming, with a significant guava note on the palate. Sweet, and a little flabby. Again, way off style, but is not offensive in the least.

Mouthfeel is fine -- full and foamy. Again, not on style.

Overall . . . I don't know what to do with this beer. It's not a Czech Pilsner, by any stretch of the imagination. It's really more of an American Bitter -- a healthy dose of malt, a graceful and quiet hop profile, and unassuming enough to allow a few pints to end up in your glass.

Is it a great beer? No. Am I unhappy that I spent six dollars on the six pack? Nuh-uh. Will I buy another one? Nope.

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Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.