Josephs Brau Heller Bock | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

213 Reviews
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Josephs Brau Heller BockJosephs Brau Heller Bock

Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Maibock / Helles Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rowew on 01-19-2005

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Reviews: 213 | Ratings: 398
Photo of HBeezley
1.81/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - Looks nice. Amber color. Head quickly receds due to redicuosly high abv.

S - Seriously?! Smells like cat food. Really earthy, maybe too earthy; cause it smells kind of like dirt.

T - tastes like cat food! Not that I know what cat food tastes like...But seriously, lots of malt, overpowered by sweetness, and earthy notes = cat food.

M - Nothing bad, nothing good to say.

O - I have no idea why this beer is TJ's best seller and why Beer Advocate gave it a B. I had to pour it out I hated it so much.

**Edit: After reading all the other reviews and seeing an average of B's, I must be convinced that I got a bad batch bottle. Maybe I will be willing to revisit it. Maybe...

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Photo of california_republic
2.16/5  rDev -36.7%
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 argock
2.19/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Batch number on the back. Single purchased at Trader Joe's for $1.

A: Clear gold hue with nice white, 1-2 finger head leaving generous lacing.

S: Very messy and boozy like a mid-tier grocery store malt liquor. Light caramel malts and met by grassy hops are met fuming alcohol.

T: Alcohol dominates the palate. Cereal grain and grassy hops make an appearance, but overall booze takes the day to give a thick rotten vegetable aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel initially isn't bad as it has some body but the chalky, mineral parts of this beer jump to the front to spoil it. Carbonation is mid-range.

D: Not a good pick if you're at TJ's unless you are looking for ABV at the expense of flavor.

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Photo of tcfishler
2.28/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clear, light gold-amber with a medium offwhite head. Bubbles continue to rise in the glass minutes after pouring, like champagne.

Nose is light and soft, with honeyed malt and spiced hops.

Begins somewhat thin in the mouth, then sweetens slightly, with the alcohol becoming noticeable. Finish is just faintly bitter.

Sensing the alcohol when the ABV is a middle-of-the-road 7% is a major flaw in my opinion. Otherwise it's a decent drinker. To be honest, though, it's strongest point is how it looks in the glass.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.32/5  rDev -32%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

33cl brown glass bottle acquired at Trader Joe's in Los Angeles, California, and served into a Hard Rock cafe hefeweissbier glass. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of fair cream, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a transparent copper.

Sm: Cream, light milk (I know...), and very light caramel. A mild strength aroma.

T: Tastes like a German festbier - which isn't really a good thing per se. Very simple barley, malt, and light caramel in a very generic fest combination. Meant for consumption by the hoi polloi. It's decently built and balanced, but far from special.

Mf: Very sharp affront, with smoothness and wetness to boot. Isn't tailored to the flavours of the body at all.

Dr: It's drinkable enough, but the ABV does come through more than it should and it feels produced for the mass.

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Photo of hunteraw
2.4/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Finally got to a Trader Joe's for the first time this weekend in Mass.

Appearance: Golden amber in color, thin head, rather uninspiring-looking

Smell: Clean, lagery aroma with hints of continental hops (hallertauer according to the label), alcohol and grain.

Taste: Surprisingly yeasty for a lager. Boozy, a bit reminiscent of malt liquor. I like big beers, but at 7% you need some hefty flavor to offset the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: With a medium body, feels somewhat thick, a flaw exacerbated by what seems like light carbonation. Warms the throat on the way down.

Drinkability: At 7% abv, too strong. Did not finish the glass. Sorry, Joe.

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Photo of DrJay
2.4/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clear orange/gold with a meager cap of off-white foam that disappeared quickly. It seemed pretty lifeless during the pour. Caramel aroma, toasted malt, a hint of grassy hops. Same in the flavour, which seemed a little thin. Very low bitterness, which made it seem sweeter than it is, quite toasted and bready. Finished with some sharp bitterness, tastes artificial. Medium to light bodied with low carbonation, more astringency than I liked. I'm not a fan.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.41/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - pours a bright yellow/orange. An inch of eggshell foam sits atop, leaving an intricate pathway of chunky lacing down the glass as it recedes. A steady circular bead of bubbles coming off the etching of the Sam Adams glass, ooo.

Aroma - some toasted caramel malt aroma, some diacetyl type butteriness, a bit popcorny.

Taste - I notice a slight lemon tartness to the malt side right away. The malty flavor has some good roast to it but the tartness is interfering. The swallow begins a toasty reprise, but with an astringent, acrid bitterness alongside. There's a good beer in here but there's too much out of place bitterness covering it up.

Mouthfeel - some decent body and smoothness. Carbonation is average, maybe a little muted.

Drinkability - could be better, I wouldn't go for this one again.

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Photo of brdc
2.43/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Small capped bottle.
Light golden, clear body, white head. Aroma is barely noticeable, some maltiness, perhaps some fruitiness, but all very faint.
Light on the palate, but carrying a noticeable alcoholic bite which becomes unpleasant considering the lack of other flavors to balance it; some malt sweetness, little hops.
Not the bext example of a bock.

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Photo of carpezytha
2.61/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Deep clear honey body, good size head with large bubbles.

S: Some wet newspaper. Almost no hop on the nose.
T: Not particularly pleasant mix of wheat bread dough, bittering hops, sweet malt and funk. Not entirely off-putting but does not go down smoothly, nor it is very refreshing.
M: Not as smooth as it should be. No aromatic hops evident, event though that is advertised on the label.
B: Bought a sixer. Will be my last I think. Too bad because TJ's does rebottle some excellent single-malt, so I was hoping they could do the same with beers.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.64/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Quite the golden colored bock, I ran into this recently with a Kiper Bock that was also very pale, Retention is an afterthought. It runs contrary to what I'm used to but hey lets give 'er a rip.

Whoa....this baby was all over the map. There is a sweet malt syrup that clings to back of your mouth. Grain, Cereal climb into the picture only to be slapped down by a rather large Alcohol slammer on the backside Mcgilicutty. Alot of stuff going on to the point of being a mish mash of flavor and texture. A bit too much in my opinion and the alcohol is not shielded at all. It is amazing how much malt flavor they managed to pack into this without turning it a shade darker than sunshine, but its just not the right mix for this kid.

Notes: For a Trader Joe's beer this was one of the better products I've had. For the price this is OK and when in a pinch I would consider it again, for now I'm out.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.68/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden amber color with strong looking carbonation trails. The head is a two finger white color with low retention, but a great texture. A nice amount of spiderweb lacing is left on the glass.

S: Light grassiness, with some supplementary darker fruits, such as raisin and plum. OK, just a little weak.

T: Initially, it's fairly bready to start, before becoming intrusively malty on the midtaste, before the flavor kind of vanishes on the finish, excluding a slight aftertaste. The lingering fruit aftertaste isn't particularly likable, either - it's a bit like apple juice, in a way. It smooths out after several sips, but it's just kind of...weird. Quite imbalanced, too.

M: Moderately heavy with a neutral finish, yet there's an undercutting surge of dryness on the aftertaste that clashes with the rest of the texture. Carbonation is about where it needs to be in terms of strength.

O: It's cheap ($1), drinkable, and features 7% alcohol, but the beer itself doesn't impress. Too intrusively offbeat to be a good beer, but I don't hate it.

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Photo of beveritt
2.7/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label is fairly simple, with an oval showing the buildings in an old town. No clear freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just shy of 2 fingers of nearly white head. This settles slowly, dropping to a thin, incomplete coating of foam and leaving behind medium lacing. The beer itself is golden yellow, lighter than I would expect from a bock and with a slight chill haze. Some sediment in the bottle. Surprising, given the extended lagering bocks go through.

Smell: Semi sweet malt, boiled long enough to provide some caramelization.

Taste: Decent carbonation bite upfront, helps to deliver some punch to an otherwise fairly bland beer. Slight caramel malt flavor, but very weak. Essentially dominated by a vegatal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation level is high. Body is decent, but the carbonation is enough to thin out the feel of the body.

Drinkability: Not the full bodied, well caramelized malt bomb I was expecting. Drinkable, but not worthy of another visit.

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Photo of Gump
2.71/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is like the other Trader Joe's branded beers, as they lack flavor and originality.
It seems like the same beer, with a different label and color.
Not terrible beer, but the same hop and malt profile.
Clean pour, fine aroma, good tasting beer, but nothing that stands out.

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Photo of macpapi
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is my first Trader Joe's brewed beer. I really want to like their beers, because of the respect that I have for the store's products--quality and price-wise--in addition to the continuous search for a good beer that combines value and taste, effectively. However, my search will continue.

Hofbrau Bock pours a very light orange, almost golden color. It has a minimal head, and active bubble rise throughout. Smells overly malty, with a bit of sweetness and minimal hops. Sharp and crisp, but not terribly complex or overly impressive. The taste is nothing to write home about. Typical lager flavor--almost in a macro sort of way--is the best way I can describe it. Malts dominate, followed by a bitter, and umpleasant aftertaste. Not the most offensive flavor, but nothing special. In the mouth this bock is pretty highly carbonated. Again, its sharp, bitter aftertaste remains on the tongue briefly, but is not really appealing.

As much as I wanted to enjoy this beer, I was not impressed. This is a below-average bock. It's taste does nothing to encourage me to buy another. Not a hard beer to drink, but for me, nearly an impossible beer to enjoy.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.75/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

When I first poured this bock, it was a medium yellow, with very little foam and no lace. The smell didn't show much promise. The aroma or hops with just a hint of yeast is what caught my attention.

The taste was not what I expected. I could taste the hops, that was so so. The taste of citrus was spoiled by a very bitter taste, very very asidic. I thought I also tasted a bit of coriander in the finish.

Overall, one of the worst beers produced by Trader Joe's that I've tasted so far!

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Photo of dbalsock
2.76/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours orange (like slice) with high carbonatin and about 1 finger of white head. There is very pour head retention.

Smell: The aroma is of sweet caramel and has a slight citrus presence.

Taste: Less caramelly than in the smell, but the sweetness is still present. Piney hops mix witha bitter malt presence and it lets me down at this point.

Mouthfeel: It's light to medium bodied, which is alright, and has some substantial bitterness and noticeable alcohol.

Drinkability: For the price it's worth a try, but I really want trader joe's to do more with there brews.

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Photo of malcontent
2.79/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep gold body with hardly and head and soda-ish bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass.

Smells like all malt, corn-driven to be sure. Minor grassy scents surface on the back end.

Contains a good deal of honey-like malt sweetness, although it seems artificial in nature. Nice bitterness on the finish evens the beer out but it takes on a chemical aftertaste as time passes.

Mouthfeel is a touch slick on the finish with too much fizz up front. This is by far the least impressive of the TJ's Gordon Biersch brewed beers. Not very good.

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Photo of shodrod
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours with a slightly deep golden color with a constant stream of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. The foam, which recedes quickly, leaves a surprisingly nice lacing pattern. The aroma is lacking a bit. If you try real hard you can detect notes of clover and honey. This is a pretty smooth drinking beer that has a slight hop character at the front and a tiny bit of alcohol at the end but both are so toned down that neither flavor comes out that much. Overall not a bad representation of the style but there are definitely better ones out there.

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Photo of bashiba
2.89/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a crystal clear light amber color with a nice inch of light tan head, carbonation bubbles running through the entire beer.

The smell is lightly sweet and grainy.

The flavor is malty and sweet with a bit of caramel some light juniper hops balancing it out, has a weird metallic finish, the flavor isn't bad until the finish which is a bit cloying.

The mouthfeel is light with decent carbonation.

An average flawed beer.

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Photo of Tone
2.92/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear yellow with short head and poor retention. There's little to no lacing present. Smells of a lager with a slight wheat smell. Fits the bock style fairly well, though not very dark at all. a smooth flavor with a slightly sour aftertaste. Very low carbonation. Overall, not too bad (I'm not a big lager or bock fan) and fairly easy to drink.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from Trader Joe's. Pours a golden color with a practically not existent head. Light aroma of biscuit malt, and piney hops. Medium body, quite tangy and reach. Flavor is dominated by piney, earthy hops balanced by caramel malt. Finish is long and balanced between hops and malt. As with most TJ's products - good beer for the price.

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Photo of tophers
2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

a: Creamy, thick off white head that is long lasting. Makes the beer look very tasty. Deep gold in color with brilliant clarity.

s: Pleasant malt aroma that smells of bread and biscuits. Moderate spicy hop aroma. There are some mild caramel notes in the background. Low levels of melanoidins. There also seems to be a bit of fruity esters. No diacetyl or DMS detected.

t: There is quite a bit of sweetness in the beer with a noticeable bite from the bitterness. It is hard to detect any malt flavors with these two predominant flavors. Sweetness could be coming from too much caramel. Aftertaste continues with the sweetness and mild bitterness. Detect almost a flowery hop flavor in the aftertaste that is not real pleasant. No DMS or diacetyl detected. Leaves quite a dry finish.

m: Medium bodies with a moderate amount of carbonation. Moderate level of alcohol warmth. Somewhat creamy. Somewhat harsh.

o: The aroma and appearance of the beer was outstanding and I thought I was in for a real treat. But that wasn't the case. I am still sitting with this flowery flavor in my mouth that makes me feel like I just ate a bunch of flower petals. There is too much caramel sweetness in this beer and it overpowers the malt flavors that could have been enjoyed. I would suggest they lay of the caramel malts a bit and figure out a way to reduce the harshness (e.g. don't use as fine as a grain crush or maybe watching the sparging pH).

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
2.94/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crystal clear golden copper in color, beautiful. Light puffy white head that maintains its presence. The nose is grainy, some toasty malts and biscuits are noted. Smooth, lightly carbonated; grassy hops, touch of perfume hops and a large biscuity body. The grainy like hops seem to dominate the bored palate; very soft and cotton candy finish. Very lame for the 7.00ABV, but a tough style to nail. OK stuff.

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Photo of tang3nt
2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark golden color with lots of carbonation. The head quickly disappeared to almost nothing. The nose was sweet caramel malts, citrus fruits and yeast. Very sweet up front with caramel malts and a touch of honey and a light bitter finish that ends quickly. The body was light / medium and carbonated well which made for a very light drinkable bock. Overall very average.

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Josephs Brau Heller Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.41 out of 5 based on 398 ratings.
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