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Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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188 Reviews
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Trader Joe's Hofbrau BockTrader Joe's Hofbrau 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: 188 | Ratings: 277
Photo of falloutsnow
3.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Trader Joe's in Omaha, NE
Best by 4/22/12
Poured into a standard US pint glass

Pours a tall head of medium-sized bubbles, off-white in color, that fairly quickly fades to a thin ring around the glass and faint islands of foam atop the body. Leaves no lacing along sides of glass. Body is a dark copper-brown color out of light, in light it is copper-orange with faint yellow highlights. Carbonation is visible, though not particularly active

Aroma features modest continental hop bitterness, some malt sweetness, light fruit-like esters, and some iron-like mineral qualities. A bit of ethanol becomes more noticeable as beer warms.

Taste opens with caramel malt sweetness backed-up by modest hop bitterness and some German-style yeast esters that I'd more associate with hefeweizens (apple/applesauce, generic fructose). Mid-palate picks up some additional bitterness and spiciness from the hops and ethanol, continuing with the malt sweetness and applesauce-like esters. Leaves lingering bitterness and some applesauce-like sweetness as an aftertaste.

Medium bodied with modest carbonation that only foams this up slightly on the palate. Result is that beer stagnates a bit in the mouth. Finish is quite dry.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.89/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before August 25th, 2012. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Radeberger pokal.

Clear amber body with a delicate surface slick and soapy collar. Poor head development or retention, no lacing.

Gentle pure malt notes in the nose with a touch of spring hay and pepper from the Hallertau hops.

A well lagered crispness greets the palate followed by a malty sweetness and a low grassy bitterness. Very faint melanoidins suggest toast and brown butter. Low but persistent bitterness offsets the sugars in the finish. Grows slightly more vegetal as it warms (presumably from the Pils malt).

Light brisk body, well carbonated without being sharp.

A straight-forward but well brewed (and inexpensive) version of the style.

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Photo of tophers
2.93/5  rDev -12.8%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by 6/10/12.

Pours a clear gold with a 1 inch foamy off-white head that settles to a thin film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt/grain, grassy notes, and a light fruity aroma. Taste is of malt/grain, grassy hops, and some light fruit flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate after each sip that quickly fades. This beer has a lower level carbonation with a slightly crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the mouthfeel is a bit off in my opinion.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this Helles from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It poured a clear golden color, produced an average off white head, decent retention and produced nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was faint, some amount of malts and hops come through. Light in body, the Helles is smooth, easy to drink, has some biscuit flavor, toasted malt with a nice balance of hops. Overall it is a decent attempt at a Helles. Great Value for about 1.25 a bottle. Prost!

 453 characters

Photo of rodney45
3.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Briliantly clear corn yellow that has an off white head that lingers only slightly due to the higher abv.

S: I dont get a lot of aroma off this beer, perhaps a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg, and a hint of pilsner malt.

T: Sweet banana bread flavor all at once hits the palate. Its balanced with a spicy yet malty secondary character whose sweet and dryness lingers throughout. After taste is of cloves and honey.

M: Low carbonation, light to medium body, and more sweet than bitter.

O: Not a great maibock. I would have like to see more bitterness, more pilsner or belgian style malt, and less sweetness for this to be considered a true and acceptable "May-bock". Its not bad for a buck a bottle, buy it and try it.

I'd pair this with a lamb shank and mashed potatoes. Oh yes, that sounds perfect.

 806 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz

Pours a clear, orange-amber with a modest near-white head.

Aroma: moderate malt with a spicy hop note.

Taste: clean toasted malt with a hint of spicy/earthy hops. More like an amber ale than usual. 7% ABV is partially hidden.

M: medium body with light-medium carbonation.

O: a fine, if not exceptional, golden bock.

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Photo of bashiba
2.89/5  rDev -14%
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 Treath
3.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark gold color with a nice head and lacing.

S- Smells like alcohol and hops, some grains. Maybe some honey.

T- You can taste the alcohol then hops. Bitter. Not sweet at all. I don't really taste much malts, although it has a bready aftertaste.

M- It's high on carbonation. The bubbles sting the tongue. Dry.

Drinkability- It's the kind of beer you take time on. Not much of a session beer.

Overall, I think it was an ok beer. It's good for anyone that likes moderately high hoppy/bitter beer. It wasn't bad.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

amber color with a nice head of white that reached a height of around an inch and half before settling back down to earth and leaving just thin lacing in its wake, but for the style nice and a classic look. aroma of sweet bready malts and a classic caramel aroma that was cut with a touch of grain. nice and clean with a semi crisp feel and an overall nice balanced body that really seem to let the taste pop

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear gold with nice white head and lacing.

The smell is a slight alcohol with a lot of hops.

The taste is crisp and clean. Little bitterness on the front with a nice biscuit and slight caramel along with alcohol on the back. Overall fairly pleasant.

Not a bad beer at all and at $6 a 6 pack and 7% abv it's perfect to pick up before going to a bbq.

 368 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.64/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours the lightest of ambers with a medium-full white head. Very good retention, spotty lacing.

S: Lots of bready malt, almost like a boozy Oktoberfest. Smells a little meaty on which smelling I was taken aback.

T: More strong malt flavour, a little cloyingly sweet at times, but works itself out as it warms. Light noble hopping on the back end.

M: Medium-full body, fairly long aftertaste for the style, creamy, pretty smooth.

O: Got quite a bit better as I drank, my inital impressions were none to good. Solid example of the style at very good price point as the majority of the TJ's beers I've had have been.

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Photo of mactrail
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some may not like the sweet and raspy taste, but it's clean, well-made and rich with flavor. Quite attractive with a big head, golden amber color, and nice lacing down the glass. Tart and malt at the same time. Some bitter aftertaste, but it's a nice counterpoint to the malt.

I have been drinking this stuff for years, so might as well make it official. When so many average beers in San Diego go for over 9 bucks a six, this is almost half that. Especially a bargain for a strong flavorful bock. Even better, it stands up well to big hops as a mixer with the other half of that IPA bomber.

 592 characters

Photo of baos
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce beer into wide top coke glass.

A nice amber-golden brew with 3 fingers of head that sticks around. Aroma is honey-comb and clover-grassy. Nice sweet maltiness in flavor. A bit dry in the finish with a light grass hops to end it. This is a good beer try one on for size.

 279 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Faded golden color with a little bit of haze and a small off-white head. After a moment, I am left with just a ring around the glass and a few spots of lace.

Smell: Light bready malt, some pungent herbal hops (Hallertau for sure).

Taste: The start of each sip has a mild sweetness, reminiscent of biscuits and honey. This sweetness slowly fades into a floral and herbal bitterness. The yeast keeps each flavor quite discreet, which is not my preference.

Mouthfeel: I won't go so far as to say this is crisp, but the carbonation tends that way. The body wanders toward medium from light, leaving the feel in an in-between world that is just alright.

Overall: This is drinkable and I thought it was fine.

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Photo of karait95
3.97/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice color, orange amber color with a medium body, carbonation is medium not to much for a permanent layer on top the head is small maybe is a little old, but the looking seams good.

S: Good again, some caramel as the buck style, also some hops and of course little toasted malts.

T: As good as the smell, again some caramel and a little bitter from the hops and the bred like taste of the barley.

M: Sweet at the beginning turning slowly and really not to much to a bittersweetness and at the very end some hops bitter.

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Photo of DrJay
2.4/5  rDev -28.6%
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 kojevergas
2.32/5  rDev -31%
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.

 824 characters

Photo of HBeezley
1.81/5  rDev -46.1%
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 1Adam12
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours caramel golden. Not much head. Nose was sweet malt and corn maybe, caramel on the nose as well, nothing special. Tasted like it smelled, flavor is decent, just not great. Sweet, but you can taste the alcohol, burns my stomach on the way down. Not bad for a buck, drinkable.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.6/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Bright golden amber with a small white head that fades into a patchy layer. Small amount of lacing.

Smell: Strong aroma of caramel and toffee malts are followed by some earthy hops. Hints of apple and other fruits.

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee malts up front are followed by light earthy hops. Finishes with a slight hint of dark fruits. Bitterness is very low.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

Overall: A decent version of a bock. Light but tasty.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I want beer...gimme! Single 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Closer to ornagish gold in color with a translucent body. Head on top is okay, lacing is spotty around, retention is poor. The nose is pleasant....well, it's not a booze mess that I've come to expect from the style. I get some vanilla extract aromas and cream that are easily distinguishable from the blanket aroma of subtle grasses and pale malts. I'm surprised so far.

Now we're coming a little back towards reality. It's got booze that isn't afraid to show off, but it also has a pretty good taste. It's a vanilla extract bomb! The alcohol has a peppery sensation in the mouth, which does keep the sweetness from going overboard. Hints of bubblegum and clove work into the formula. The beer has a medium feel with a spicy sensation.

Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock is a fair attempt at the bock style. Coupled with being less than a buck a bottle, this is one to try.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.45/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy golden color with a thin carbonated white head that goes away fairly quickly.

S: Not a ton here. Some bready malts and maybe a touch of hops.

T: This isn't a particularly offensive tasting beer, nor is it particularly good tasting. I get some light malt flavor and a bit of subdued grassy hops. It's not the first beer I would go for, but you could certainly do worse. Also, the sausages Trader Joes makes with this beer are killer.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Straight pour into a pilsner glass. The color is a deep gold with hints of amber. One finger of eggshell-colored head dissipated to leave a thin, web-like lacing and thin ring around the edge.

Smell: Sweet caramel, toffee, and grassy/floral hops. It is tinged with an alcohol edge, making it a combination helles and bock.

Taste: It just about mirrors the smell. Lots of sweet malts up front (caramel and toffee), and has a substantial grassy/floral hop presence afterward. There is also a mild fruitiness to it; for whatever reason, it makes me think of prunes.

Drinkability: Pretty decent, except for the headache it is giving me. (Maybe that has more to do with the four beers I had earlier.)

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Photo of Derek
3/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Clear bronze with a white head, has a little retention & lace.

S: Steelie grass & floral hop aroma with some underlying toffee.

T: Floral & steelie hops with hints of pepper & herbs, sponge toffee, modest betterness, some alcohol sharpness.

M: Medium body with a hint of residual sweetness. Lacking smoothness from continental malts.

D: Alright, but there's some alcohol bite.

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Trader Joe's Hofbrau Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.36 out of 5 based on 277 ratings.
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