Josephs Brau Heller Bock
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Josephs Brau Heller BockJosephs Brau Heller Bock
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German Maibock
Ranked #166
Ranked #45,095
3.46 | pDev: 13.58%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Josephs Brau Heller BockJosephs Brau Heller Bock
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Reviews: 223 | Ratings: 434
Photo of paging12
3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle from Trader Joe's poured into a chalice.

L: Golden amber, rich, orange in color. A decent head, half-inch, white, remained for a time.
S: Some maltiness, metallic, banana peel, European hop bitterness.
T: I tasted pears, apples. The flavor was true to the style, breadiness, sweet, yeasty. Banana peel. The flavor was good, just not as separated or individuated or nuanced as a Devil's Backbone Maibock or the Port City Colossal 8 (maybe not a fair comparison).
F: Heavy, good, a bit of sparkle.
O: This is a solid German-style beer. I like this beer. This beer does make me appreciate, more and more, German styles.

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Photo of defunksta
4.02/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a medium, deep orange, or amber color that is relatively clear and has a mild to moderate white head. SRM of 13. (3.75)

Aroma: Tons of baked caramel. Some roasted sweet bread and a touch of dark fruit. (4.25)

Taste: Tons of caramel again on the tongue. A little toffee and spice. Then roasted rye bread with some nuttiness. Finishes with a slight bitterness of spices. Leans sweeter though due to the caramel. A nice array of flavors. (4.00)

Feel: The mouthfeel is heavier for sure, yet not oily. Carbonation is respectable and appropriate. Alcohol is slightly detectable. A little caramel and spices left on the palate. (3.75)

Overall: A really good beer. Not had a whole lot of Maibocks, so hard to compare. Slightly less flavor compared to Dead Guy. However, it has a really nice caramel and rye bread flavors with a strong body. Just enough spices to round it out. Slightly heavier and more caramel sweetness than an Oktoberfest beer. This beer would be a perfect November beer I'd reckon. A fantastic beer no doubt. (Final Rating: 4.02)

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Photo of vainosuomi
3.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: clear golden/amber color
Smell: Sweet grain, floral hop, and hints of ripe fruit
Taste: Slightly toasted sweet grain, molasses, corn, and backed by a moderate hop presence
Feel: medium body, moderate carbonation, a bit warm

It's a decent representative of the style. For just over a buck a bottle I can't complain.

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Photo of jwc215
3.44/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle:

Pours deep golden with a thin head that becomes a thin wisp. Trailing lace.

The aroma is of doughy grain. Slight lemongrass.

The taste is clean. crisp. some grain. Enough general hops to give it a slight citric balance to the malty sweetness.

No real flaws. A standard, basic, easy-drinking maibock. Well-priced. Overall, though, forgettable.

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Photo of bokaba
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decent Bock or MaiBock style German beer at a bargain price ($5.99 6 pack in CA). Malt, caramel, corn, and syrupy flavors balanced with a moderate dose of hops. Not phenomenal, but a value for the price.

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Photo of illpass78
3.79/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. in a tankard.

Appearance: Clear gold with a two-finger white head. Very beery looking.

Aroma: Sweet grains, grass, cereal.

Taste: Follows nose, with a touch of caramel and malt sweetness. Biscuit, toast.

Mouthfeel: Standard for style. A fairly easy 7 percent; I’d have guessed less.

Overall: Nice little cheapo bock. Flavorful, refreshing.

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Photo of edc20
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly malty, syrupy sweet flavor (but moderately bitter at the same time). Definite hints of corn. Very carbonated and efferverscent. Highish ABV (7) that you can taste. Kcal is slightly higher than expected. (210kcal).

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Photo of FBarber
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper color. Crystal clear and quite effervescent. Thin white fuzzy head dissipates steadily eventually leaving no residual head or lacing behind.

Aroma has notes of grains, slight toasted malts, a hint of sweet corn, honey, and some light floral hops.

Taste has notes of biscuits, spicy peppery hops, honey, with a slight floral hop finish. As the beer warms you get some hints of yellow corn - without that note this beer would be much better.

Feel is pretty light, crisp and brightly carbonated. Semi-dry finish.

Overall, its a solid bock - the corn aroma/flavor is less than savory, but otherwise its solid.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.62/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: [3.75] The bottle lists the ABV (7.0%) and the best by date (05/28/2017). The beer is a transparent copper color and has 1/2 a finger of white head.

S: [3.50] Corn, molasses, crackers, cardboard a little.

T: [3.75] Getting some grape skins, corn, crackers and some leather taste.

M: [3.50] Medium body and peppy carbonation. It has the feel of a decent dock beer.

O: [3.50] At 7% this is super drinkable. They didn't do anything amazing with the 7% either. Like I think you could get this flavor, nose, feel at 5%. The whiffs of molasses and some leather taste are a bit of a bonus. I guess on a dock I'd drink this but I'd prefer the same profile at 5% ABV.

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Photo of NastyNorseman
3.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bronze amber colored. White thin head. Smells of faint banana grassy hops and an oh so subtle clove. Tastes light with sweet caramel malts along with banana, grassy hops, and pepper. Finishes clean and bitter.

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Photo of Riff
3.28/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured an amber color with about a finger of white head. Smells of malts and a little herbal notes. Taste follows, malt heavy with significant bitterness for the style with little hops notice, on the sweeter side, almost a honeyish flavor to it. Flavor lingers for a few moments. Overall, eh, not a bad beer, not something to seek out either. Wouldn't turn it down at a party.

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Photo of jkblr
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle BB 7/17/17 poured into a krug at fridge temp 7% ABV 22 IBU. The beer pours a copper color with short lived off white head and sporadic lacing. Aroma is rich malt first and a little hops to follow. Taste is equally rich malt slightly overpowering the bittering hops. Mouthfeel is good for style, full but not too sweet or sticky in the finish. Overall, enjoyable and easily found (if you have a Trader Joe's nearby).

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful clear gold with a fluffy white head that persists and laces well. Smell reminds me of lightly coated caramel apples and toasted bread. Flavor is mostly sweet biscuit, but a touch of that caramel and some red apple sweetness do come through. A hint of earthy bitterness. Feel is considerably light and drinkable for its abv, and has a nice mild carbonation and smooth feel. Overall, this is a decent Bock and can't beat the price. Prost!

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Photo of Profundobaso
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L - pale amber. two finger head that quickly dissipates
S - sweet, with hints of banana
T - not as sweet as it smells, but malt flavor is strong. a slightly unsatisfying finish that sort of just goes away
F - medium bodied, but booziness is strong. carbonation is light
O - great bang for the buck. there are definitely better, more balanced bocks out there, but i would buy/drink this again given the price

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Photo of descobar
3.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from TJs.
Smell: sweet grainy, bready malts with faint herbal noble hop aroma
Look: pours deep golden with a small 1/4" frothy head that quickly dissipates to half the original size. this beer is perfectly clear.
Taste: malt forward lager. so all sweet malts, assertive bitterness and pronounced alcohol presence
Feel: medium full body with rich creamy texture. crisp carbonation and restrained astringency
Finish is smooth and dry with lingering alcohol warming
Overall: Not my favorite type of lager but this beer seems a decent rendition of the style.

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Photo of moodenba
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Six pack purchased Jan. 2017 at Trader Joes in New York State, brewed in San Jose, well within the "best before" date. Impressive ingredients list. Bottle at about 45F poured into nonic shape glass. Strong beery aroma, but not especially enticing. Tall firm head over deep amber brew.

Flavor has a malt forward character. However, the beer has no really attractive flavors. Noble hops are wasted on a simple background bitterness. The maltiness is pleasantly sweet, but imparts a fairly neutral body that doesn't encourage quaffing.

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Photo of california_republic
2.16/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

First impression: Got this at Trader Joe's because it was cheap. Tasting notes also made me optimistic about it but I forgot what it said. Tasting it right after Hop Hunter IPA by Sierra Nevada, which was a huge mistake because it smells awful in comparison.

Smell: The first thing I thought of was soy bean sprouts. Then the malt hit me. Very malty.
Look: It's dark orange/light brown and cloudy? The smell probably biased me but I don't think it looks that great.
Taste: Very savory from the malt with a little sourness. I get a bit of bread too.
Feel: Not a fan of the maltiness without anything else I guess. It's a bit overdone and kind of makes me gag. Feels a bit heavy and kind of sticky too.
Overall: The smell really ruins the rest of it for me I think. The savory smell from the malt(?) just isn't what I like in a drink. The taste alone is actually okay but so much of taste is tied to the smell and the palate that overall I can't say I enjoyed it.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a one finger light creme head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Malty nose and flavor is malty with hints of caramel. $1.17 for a 12oz bottle from Trader Joe's Nashua, NH.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.28/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From a bottle, pours a clear gold with a thin off-white quickly dispersing head. Aroma of of sweet malt. Taste is malt-forward with caramel and grassy with a hint of corn and hops. Flavors fade fairly quickly, not watery, but not great.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.32/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent golden orange color with a dense, two finger, cream colored head. Excellent retention.

Aroma is slightly spicy and floral with notes of apple strudel and caramel.

While I have had a few helles in my day, I'm no expert on the style.

That being said; I find this to taste pretty good. It's floral and vaguely sweet upfront with subtle smokey flavors of gently toasted caramel malt, and apple crumb cake. I'm also getting some notes of dates, raisins and honey. The finish is grassy and bitter, but only moderately so.

Alcohol profile is well masked, but not completely hidden - providing a very pleasant warming effect. The mouthfeel is light and crisp, although bittersweet.

Overall, this is quite good. I could see myself crushing a few of these over the course of an evening. Definitely underrated around here.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

With a bold straw color, although it has a slightly musty aroma, the flavor is refreshing, balanced cereal malt with the right sweetness to counteract the slight grass hop. It has the nicely malty backbone that makes it enjoyable overall. It tastes just like the Minden Maibock that Karl Strauss Brewing Company used to make. Now that the small batch collections are now bringing back the beers that they used to brew, this is a huge opportunity for them to bring back this style that tastes just like this beer!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

One of the first breweries to go with freshness dating. Score. Gold appearance, soft white head, 2/3". Aroma was a crisp noble hop on a sunny day.

Taste was easy going, nothing too assertive here, some pale toasted malts, minor alcohol buzz, minor Saaz hop stuff. Carbonation could have been higher, especially for style. Can't beat the price/format, but nothing special to where I would seek this stuff out again despite having no significant flaws.

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Photo of RoyBrentJr
4.01/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Since there's a Trader Joe's around the corner—and since 6/$5.99 is impossible to argue with—I've tried several varieties, all the while trying not to laugh at the must-have-been-tongue-in-cheek yo-sefs-broy branding. Just got around to the Heller Bock.

A – Crystal-clear, light golden, maybe lighter than I was expecting. Head varies widely, dependent of aggressiveness on pour. Good lacing when there is a head. (Porter glass. All I've got. I'm not THAT serious.)

S – Cream soda, new grass and sourdough, with a touch of citrus and banana peel (I'm seeing a pattern here ...) and cinnamon.

T – Roasted nuts and a nearly-but-not-quite-overpowering tingle from the hops, then caramel with a hint of—yup, you guessed it—banana peel, followed by spice. Touch of lemon on the finish, but it waits a while.

M – Creamier than expected from the appearance.

O – Very much a maibock lager—spicy hops are obvious, but nothing overpowers and nothing takes a back seat, either. Comparable to Gordon Biersch's own Blonde Bock. Very nice.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4.08/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My bro brought home a six pack of this brew and it has a nice green label and a solid 7% ABV.

Look-It pours a delightful golden amber that shimmers with molten copper hues in the light. It is crystal clear and has lazy carbonation slowly wafting up to the surface culminating in a thin white film for a head.

Smell-It smells of rich malts and hints of yeast. I smell citrus and hops.

Taste-It taste similar to how it smells, but much more rich. I get strong notes of lemon peel zest, bready malts, caramel, fresh cut hay and grassy hops, dusty corn husks in the middle of a hot summer day, hoppy notes, warming alcohol, and then a buttered biscuit bread at the end.

Mouthfeel-It feels buttery, smooth, moist, and medium-bodied. It is almost chewy, but that could just be me. The carbonation is present yet tampered and plays well with the alcohol content which is noticeable, but subtle.

Overall-This brew is delicious. It is neither an IPA nor a lager or pilsner. It lives somewhere in between two dream lands and gives different flavors on each sip. Cheers!

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Photo of hophead723
4.28/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed an economical 6-pack of this from Trader Joe's, only $6.99. It is classified on BeerAdvocate as a Maibock which is a style that I really enjoy, especially Hofbrau Maibock. Let's give it a try.

Look: Perfectly clear golden amber, slightly off-white head, good cling, and medium slow-rising carbonation. Looks a bit lighter than some of the Maibocks I've encountered.

Smell: Mildly sweet aroma rich with honey and toasted grains. Husky, esters, a bit of diacetyl, and some yeast. There is a light touch of alcohol as well, but it is fleeting and at the end.

Taste: A delicious blend of lemon, honey, corn husk, green tea, melon rind, and honeysuckle are present upfront. Then there is a decently bitter and very grassy hop character that doesn't stop lingering once it appears. Very little noticeable alcohol presence.

Feel: The finish is clean thanks to the lagering process; an ale with this character would have an oily feel. It is medium bodied and the carbonation is mild.

Overall: Really good and drinkable. I love all bocks, from Maibocks to Einbocks. The alcohol strength is spot-on, the balance is perfect, and it is very drinkable. I like how Trader Joe's has affordable options that are great quality. There are around a half dozen varieties and this one is the strongest. Good stuff.

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Josephs Brau Heller Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 434 ratings