Josephs Brau Heller Bock | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

BA SCORE
78
okay
404 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good
Read the review
Josephs Brau Heller BockJosephs Brau Heller Bock
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
404
Reviews:
215
Avg:
3.41
pDev:
13.78%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
36
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 404 |  Reviews: 215
Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
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 +16.4%
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 -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 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 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 1Adam12
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
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 +5.6%
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 +7.3%
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 +1.2%
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 +0.3%
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 -12%
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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Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours out as a golden yellow color with a clumpy white head. The aroma that this brew gives off is of some fresh malts and just a little bit of grassy hops. The taste of the beer is a little weak I thought. Mostly a hefty amount of malts with not much else to back it up. The mouthfeel was decent. Very drinkable and on the lighter side. It's a decent brew but it's just not for me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Polished 24-karat gold with bright bumblebee borders and a passable looking crown of bone colored foam that hangs around long enough. A few small scraps of bubble bath-like lace manage to stick.

The nose is appropriately bockish. It's pale malty with a moderate musky earthiness from the Hallertau hops. If the aroma translates to the palate, we'll have ourselves a pretty decent version of the style.

TJ's HB gets it right. It's relatively mild with respect to flavor intensity, but as someone who doesn't usually groove on bocks of any stripe, that's more positive than negative. Besides, a bit of warming should help (note: it does).

Modestly sweet pale malts? Check. A balancing amount of earthy-herbal Euro hoppiness? Check. Mid-range ABV? Check. Although the beer's lager yeast cleanliness deprives it of some personality, its easy drinkability cannot be denied. Gotta go with the higher taste score here.

The mouthfeel has more positive than neg... wait just a doggone minute... it has no real negatives. A lush creaminess and plenty of mouthfilling expansion earn the 4.0 with ease. A highlight for sure.

Trader Joe's is a pretty good place to buy beer if you're on a budget. Hofbrau Bock is an excellent example if you're a fan of the style. Hell's bells, it's good beer even if you aren't.

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Photo of richkrull
2.96/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich golden color with just a bit of lingering head. Not much on the nose. Some malt, nothing overpowering. Taste is not great. I've like most of the Trader Joes brand beers, but this one isn't on the same level. Very bitter taste throughout. Very bubbley mouthfeel. Reasonably drinkable, just not to my liking I guess.

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Photo of steveh
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first reviewed this favorite 3 years ago -- nearly to the day. Thought I'd update to see if I have different feelings.

Still $6 a sixpack -- can't beat that.

A -- Same deep clear gold as the past, though I'd call the head more of an off-white these days (probably my own perceptions changed), sudsy and firm, settling slowly and leaving nice lacing..

S -- Mild hop spiciness and bready character in the nose. Don't notice the alcohol as much.

T -- Yeasty breadiness up front, spiciness follows -- from hops or alcohol, I'm unsure. Finishes with more yeasty bread and a mild fruitiness in the aftertaste. Not exactly correct for a Maibock, but it's still very smooth.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and smooth with a light-medium body.

D -- Very tasty beer at 7%, I could enjoy a few of these... with regret, I'm sure. Maybe not as solid a Maibock as it once was, but it could stand up to strong competition.

>>2008
A - Very clear, deep gold color with a white head that settles quick, but revives well.

S - Mild, bready malt nose with some spicy hops and/or alcohol peeking through.

T - Sweet (though not cloying) maltiness with a slight hot, spiciness from alcohol in the clean finish. Spicy noble hops used well to balance the sweet malts, but not overpowering.

M - Not quite as soft as Bavarian lagers, spritzy and dry from carbonation, light to light-medium body

D - A solid Maibock by any standard, very drinkable -- but care must be taken at 7% because it sneaks up.

Of note -- TJ's is seeing the price crunch too, this beer is no longer $5 a sixer, but up to $6. Buck a bottle is still a good bargain.

Serving type: bottle
Reviewed on: 03-12-2008 13:48:05
***

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear copper color with a white head that thinned to a light layer.

S - sweet malts, toffee-like aroma.

T - a ton of malty sweet flavor, it's pretty good.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - goes down fairly easy but 1, maybe 2, would be enough in a sitting.

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Photo of AdamMY
3.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The dominant tones are malt, caramel, and candy apples coming out to various degrees in the smell and the taste, but so much more in the taste. While the mouthfeel is borderline creamy and coats the mouth wonderfully

I would score this better on drinkability but the flavors are so strong I am not to eager to drink these one after another.

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Photo of dmfrench
3.04/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Creamy, sweet but balanced Maibock with slight metallic finish.
___

A: Clear light goldenrod body with a fleeting one finger off-white head.

S: Sweetish caramel malt, and a bit of perfumy, spicy hops. Not particularly aromatic.

T: Fairly big, sweet, creamy caramel malt body with hints of orange spice hops. Big carbonation carries the flavors deep into the tongue. ON the negative side, there is a bit of adjunct, metallic flavor, but it not a complete deal breaker.

M: Creamy and heavily carbonated.

D: Metallic finish detracts from what is still a pretty drinkable beer.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From fall brew tasting notes (2010): Light copper color with a decent-sized head that fizzles out too quickly. Cereal grain aroma with some hearty bread and maybe some caramel. Good but a bit muted. A little corny in flavor but mainly grains and a light toffee sweetness. Vague earthiness, must be hops. Very low bitterness but it's there if you look hard enough. Body is thin for the style, almost closer to pilsener than bock. Medium carbonation, slightly astringent/metallic finish. Would not reach for it again.

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Photo of Erish
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. There is a batch number, but no freshness date I can see.

A: light honey gold with a hint of haze, the fizzy head quickly dies down to a decent cap with decent lacing.

S: a core of sweet, nutty malt, a healthy dose of Germanic yeast funk, including a floral yeast note on top, hint of ripe banana, a honey sweetness lingers at the end.

T: the bread-like malt has a caramel sweetness to it, and also a nutty character to it, the middle features some dried fruit, Germanic yeast funk, honey, and some clove, the finish is long and laced with a gentle grassy hop note.

M: medium-bodied, silky texture, moderate carbonation and the hop presence combine to make a nicely dry finish.

D: Truly hard to beat for $1 a bottle.

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Photo of SuperSpy
3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper and very little head. Not a lot of activity in the glass so no bubbles to watch rise. Also no lace. The color and clarity are brilliant, but I have to give this a 2.5 for the sub par head.

S - Pleasant hints of toasted and bready malt. No detectable hops but slightly spicy from the alcohol.

M/T - Medium bodied. Smooth and crisp, but no carbonation. Pilsner malt, some toast, peppery. Decent flavor, but the lack of carbonation affects the whole experience.

D - A decent beer, but not my favorite for the style. It lacks a bit in the aroma and I think it could be approved in every category if it just had some better carbonation.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Kind flat murky yellow-orange. Kind of average on the foam, lacing, and carbonation, but the color is pretty cool.

Smell: A high point. Sweet honey and strong floral hops. Caramel and bread notes in the background.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Starts out with nice lemon crisp flavor and feel. More caramel and honey sweetness as well, and some hay. Finishes kind of sour, in an unpleasant way, so I can't give taste a 4. Mouthfeel is watery overall, though you can detect alcohol.

Drinkability: Really mellow taste and pleasant smell makes this a decent session beer.

Overall: See drinkability.

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Photo of matt20102
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into goblet. Flavour is fairly uncomplicated- malt and the label-promised hallertau hops. Pours with a thin head which quickly dissipates; remaining color is orange. The effervescence is not visibly prominent but feels appropriate and drinkable. This beer does get bonus points for being a store-label brand for a national chain but, even with that, it's better than expected.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.56/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with code on back label. Brewed by Gordon Biersch with three malts, Hallertau hops and lager yeast; 22 IBUs. It has a nice deep golden color, filtered, with lots of carbonation and a half inch of white head that settles to a fine froth. Smells rather a lot like Yuengling at first - clean with a few lagery adjunct notes - but it becomes a bit more hoppy and bready as it warms. Tastes clean and malty, a bit minerally, with toasted and biscuity notes while the hops bring a sturdy bitterness, and green/floral, almost skunky flavors. The body is light and crisp, highly-carbonated, and it fills out quickly. The label describes it as a traditional bock, but its light color and prominent hoppiness makes it more like a hellesbock, and I judged it as such. For the price, this is a great beer that is worth the cost of admission.

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Photo of cfrivera1
3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very attractive amber color and light brown finger thick head which dissipates quickly. At first you get a hint of sweet honey, quickly followed by a tart citrusy hit that lingers - reminds me of oranges/grapefruit. Finishes pleasantly clean though! Not a bad beer - sweet and tart at the same time; a little bit on the tart side for my taste, but it is not overwhelming. Becasue it finishes so cleanly (very clean after taste), you unwittingly find yourself pulling another bottle out of the fridge while watching the football game :-) Finally, at 7% alcohol by volume and just under a buck per bottle (yes, you can purchase as many individual bottles as you want at Tarder Joe's - 6 = $5.99), this is one I would definitely pick up again.

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Josephs Brau Heller Bock from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.41 out of 5 based on 404 ratings.
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