Josephs Brau Oktoberfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest
200 Ratings
Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest

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

Style: German Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-13-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 200 |  Reviews: 109
Reviews by Brewsmith:
Photo of Brewsmith
3.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. bottle purchased locally. Aroma is bready and a little sweet. Deep gold color with a thin off-white head. Malty, grainy and just a little bitterness. Light to medium bodied and not too much carbonation. Clean, refreshing. Not bad, especially for the price.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

JoesephsBrau Oktoberfest has a thick, creamy, off-white head, a hazy, fairly bubbly, copper appearance, and a bit of lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet bread crust, and the flavor is the same, with sweet syrup and low bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and JosephsBrau Oktoberfest finishes crisp and refreshing.


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Photo of creepinjeeper
3.96/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a dimpled mug
Look - Amber in hue. Translucent. Head settles quickly. Lots of lacing on the beer and glass.
Smell - Malty. Wet bread. Burnt toffee notes.
Taste - Little bit of hop bitterness. Solid malt backbone.
Feel - Crisp, clean nothing lingers.
Overall - Solid oktoberfest/marzen style for the price.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.75/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the things I like about Oktoberfest (marzen-style) beers is that it seems like one of those styles that comes out consistently good. Of course there’s a wide range in quality—and the best festbiers are truly excellent!—but I’ve yet to drink a marzen I didn’t like and wouldn’t drink again. (Wish I could say that for so many other styles.)

Please don’t prove me wrong.

Trader Joe’s had a number of beers they sell for about $6 a six-pack. All are contract-brewed, with the majority coming from either the Gordon Biersch facility in San Jose or Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, CA. Some, like their Mission St. Pale Ale, are just incredibly good and almost a steal for the price. Others, like their winter doppelbock end up being better marinades or baked in beer breads (aka ‘drain-pours’). Most of their beers are in-between these extremes, but I’ve found that the ones via San Jose tend usually closer to the former and not the later. To be perfectly honest once the novelty wore off and my disposable income increased I pretty much stopped buying them a few years back for precisely this reason.

However, one exception I happily make is for their annual release of the Oktoberfest. I’ll admit it, I like this beer. Spaten is great, but the TJ beer is 2/3rds less. Ayinger is fantastic too, but I won’t even bother doing the math on that. So, all that said, let’s crack one open and get into it.

This beer pours a light auburn-caramel color. Lots of foam and a sweet malty aroma greet your olfactory senses. There’s a crisp, clean flavor to this. More maltiness than anything else but it’s not heavy, and a welcome hop bite nips at the finish. Warms without being warming, although it’s such an easy drinker it might not get the chance to do so.

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Photo of blackearth
2.33/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Purchased at Trader Joes. Pours a light amber body with a thin white head that quickly fades. Aroma of lightly toasted caramel malt. Mouthfeel is light with a crisp carbonation. Flavor is astringent and slightly skunky. Drinkability is quite poor. Won't be getting this again.

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Photo of Guden
3.24/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Jason
3.34/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the back label.

A- A bit of foam off of a hard pour, lace does not hold together all that well. Clarity is fine, pale copper color.

S- Sweet maltiness, hints of caramel and brown bread.

T&M- Subdued maltiness only show little bits of toasted grain and sweetness. Hop helps to balance with an ample bitterness but goes no further. The body seems a bit weak which lets the crispness through with a little bit too much sharpness. Finishes semi-dry.

D- Drinkable, no doubt. But I don't think of Oktoberfest when I drink this beer. This is a great filler beer, meaning ... its a great beer to cut that barleywine that might be a bit too hot.

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Photo of G_Shoe
3.08/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.08/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appaearance: Copper color and clear with an off white head that last a few minutes and left medium lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light hoppy smell with roasted malts.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium to light bodied. Taste of roasted malts and pine. Bittersweet at the end.

Overall: Not horrible, I hosnestly did not expect more from it anyway. Neat that Trader Joe's has their own brewery.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light brown with clarity for a brown, mild to no head. Aroma was slightly nutty, barley.

Taste, smooth, aftertaste was a little more metallic than I wished. Hopping kept out. Not much else going on. Easy enough to drink, pretty light. Despite the color, owes more to nuts and toffee than it does caramel. Tobacco woody notes at the end.

Not my cup of tea, but not offensive.

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Photo of chinchill
3.21/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, BB dated Feb. 2013, of Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from TJs served in a Sam Adams lager glass.

Pours clear, golden-amber in color, and with an impressive, authentic looking off-white head. The head evens leaves substantial sticky lacing on the glass, however, it has limited retention. Very fine-grained visible carbonation.

The mild scent [2.75] is rather unremarkable and not enticing. The flavor is certainly better, with a decent malt base and good sweet/bitter balance. Better, stronger and more lasting aftertaste than expected.

M: medium-light body; medium+ carbonation; semi-dry finish.

O: A respectable American Märzen that is true to style and low cost.

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Photo of richkrull
3.46/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this one in my parent's fridge yesterday afternoon.

Poured a light amber color, good amount of head. Nothing really overpowering on the nose. Good tasting beer but a little on the weak side. I thought it would be a fuller bodied, stronger tasting beer. Still decent flavor though. Very smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of pwoods
2.91/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle purchased at Trader Joe's. Poured into a pint.

A: Pours bright orange with good visibility. Small 1/2 finger white head forms and falls fast. A bit of patchy lacing.

S: Green apples and yeast. Smells like rice was used.

T/M: Grainy and toasted malts with a controlled sweetness. I hate it when marzen's are overly sweet, but that might just be me. Hops add a fresh citrus twist. Green apples come out some more and really hinder the brew. Body is right where it should be but the carbonation seems quite high.

D: Not extremely terrible but there are far too many excellent fest brews to pick from, especially here in Cincinnati.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.25/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Fuzzycuffs
3.25/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of sloejams
3.27/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If there's a new beer in the singles section of Trader Joe's, I'll always give it a try. Such was the case with this Oktoberfest.

It's pours orange in color with a slight peachy head. The aroma is sweet and malty with a slight nuttiness. It starts a bit sweet then the nutty malts even it out. It finishes quite dry.

My review, like this beer, is not very exciting. Certainly worth the try, but there are far better Oktoberfests out there.

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Photo of javlin624
3.75/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours clear and golden orange in color with a finger width beige head. Sub-par retention, resulting in a thin, broken layer of surface suds. Virtually no lacing.

Smell - Notes of caramel malt and touches of lightly toasted bread; equal amounts of grassy hop and lesser floral character round out the aroma.

Taste - In tune with the nose. Caramel and lightly toasted breadiness met quickly by the grass hop character. Hops strengthen in the finish, leaving a bitter grassy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation. Goes down easy enough before a semi-dry finish.

Overall - Fair Oktoberfest. Probably a tad too hoppy for the style, but it's drinkable in the least. Frankly I'd look for other options before buying this again.

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Photo of augustgarage
2.79/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Harriet pils glass. Best before February 2nd, 2013.

Brilliantly clear Princeton orange liquid with a lasting thin white cap. Pasty lacing and good retention.

Sweet dusty malt aroma without the character or toastiness of the best examples of the style. Not-unappetizing, but bland.

Slightly toasty and sweet lager with low vegetal (grassy) elements and a subtle metallic/adjunct element as well. Some decent malt notes and a low bitterness are present, but neither can hide the imperfections. Finishes dry but with a lingering cheap-breakfast-cereal element in the aftertaste.

Medium-light bodied, well carbonated, and just a touch slick.

One of the more disappointing offerings from this Trader Joe's contract brewer; I suppose this was meant to be imbibed in such quantities that its deficiencies would go unnoticed, but I can't say I'd reccommend it.

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Photo of haddon
3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

rusty orange in color with a 2-finger head that dissipates quickly. little carbonation and very translucent

not much on the nose. perhaps orange peel, spice and a bit of hops

maybe a little hoppy bitterness and spice. but nothing singles itself out. very watery

light body that is very dry and crisp. medium carbonation

average beer at best. good thing I just ate a pizza and was really thirsty for a beer to gulp

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Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of jrogalsk
3.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Nvrmind16
3.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of my favorite of tje trader Joes orignals, heavy enough to feel like ipa, but tastes like a germans classic.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.85/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw the new cheap 6-packs at Trader Joe's and figured I'd give it a try. Pour san orange-amber hue topped by a half-inch or so of creamy white head that quickly settles into a thin layer on top. Aroma of roasted caramel malt and a little bit of light sweet fruit. Palate is better than I expected - sweet caramel malt with a subtle roasty character, along with some tangy Euro hops lingering in the background. A little sweeter than the traditional German marzens, but still pretty tasty. Body is a touch creamy, just about ideal for a marzen. Very easy to drink. Good job, Trader Joe's.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.25/5  rDev +2.8%

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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.16 out of 5 with 200 ratings