Josephs Brau Oktoberfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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73
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105 Reviews
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Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest
BEER INFO

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

Style: 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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
105
Ratings:
180
Avg:
3.11
pDev:
20.58%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
12
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 180
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +31.8%
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.

RJT

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Photo of mpyle
4/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

NOTE: reviewed this beer quite warm, possibly 55-60 F.

App - golden amber color, great clarity, pours a decent white head, tightly bubbled and with good retention for a lager.

Aroma - rich nutty, toasty malt aroma. A bit of candy caramel sweetness, which isn't appropriate. In some ways a bit like a doppelbock.

Taste - rich malty character with some toastiness. Enough bitterness to prevent runaway sweetness, and the finish is a nice melding of malt and hop bitterness. Lacks the crisp dry finish of the style, but makes for a tasty beer.

MF - Medium body and moderate carbonation. No astringency or warming.

D'ability - A nice malty lager. I found it more drinkable than the Spaten Oktoberfest, but a blending of the characters of Spaten and this one would be perfect.

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Photo of steveh
4/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A 2009 update for me. I didn't get any of this last year, so I stocked up and hope it's as good as 2 years ago.

A -- Clear, orange side of amber with a persistent, light tan head.

S -- Wow, an Okto with nose. Good, bready, toasted bread malts up front with spicy hops making the right amount of presence known. Mild DMS back.

T -- Good breadiness up front with, again, the right amount of hops to balance out the mix. Mellow graininess in the finish. Nice breadiness in aftertaste. Starts sweet, finishes dry and clean -- sounds like Okto Märzen to me.

M -- Soft and smooth mouthfeel with a slightly lighter than expected body for the style - light medium.

D -- This is a very, very nice version. Not sure why it doesn't get love from others, but maybe there's a big lack of Oktoberfest understanding. For those learning -- this is a great benchmark that only falls a little short.

I also find it funny that the same beer, bottled under the Gordon Biersch label, averages a B- overall. Just a leeetle brand prejudice there?

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Photo of hossua34
3.97/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Somewhat pale looking, light amber-orange. A smallish head that nevertheless retains well. Some (watery and fast sliding) lacing.

S - Toasty malts, molasses. I swear that I can smell pumpkin in there too, but I think I am just imagining it. Somewhat light scented.

T - A bit watery, a bit adjunct-tasting, but not bad. Rye bread toast and sugary sweetness. Alternately stated, crackers and burned sugar. A hint of tartness.

M - Could be a little bit thicker, but OK. Carbonation is right on.

D - Not a half-bad Oktoberfest. Definitely one of the better Trader Joe's selections, and a great pickup for the price ($5.99 a six pack).

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Photo of creepinjeeper
3.96/5  rDev +27.3%
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 ElGordo
3.85/5  rDev +23.8%
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 Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear deep amber with a medium white head, with a soft white head, limited lace.

S: Light Munich malt, sweet toffee, caramel notes.

T: Straightforward Munich malt flavour. Lightly sweet, bready. Light hop finish. Well balanced.

M: Light-bodied, crisp and smooth. Creamy.

O: This is a pretty darn good Oktoberfest at a great price. Nice to find in this fall beer wasteland.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up for cheap. drank out of a standard pint glass.

A- this one pours out a clear golden with a hint of amber colored body with a modest beige colored head. carbonation can be seen racing to the top. head lasts a while and leaves small spotty lacing on the sides of my glass.

S- lots of bready malts. a slight metallic note. decent amount of the classic noble hops.

T- stats out very bready and ends mildly hoppy. about what i was expecting.

M- medium bodied and fizzy with carbonation.

D- easy to have a couple of in an evening, especially this time of year. cant beat the price either.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden coppery color with a decent clear body. Small amount of foam sits briefly before leaving a steady whisp of thin faom always present. Lacing is mostly drippy and not sticky with just a few spots here and there.

Aroma is apples over mildly golden toasted bread spritzed with some honey sweetness.

Flavor is mildly toasted with a simple tone of sweetness that carries some caramel, honey, apples, and bread dough. Simple, clean, and kind of short on length of flavor, but it'll do for some quick drinking.

Feel is a lighter medium body with a simple, clean smooth texture. A small dryness hits in the finish with a bit of toasted grains and grassy hops.

All in all, not too bad, drinkable by many pint fulls. Just comes up short on some lasting complexity.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.75/5  rDev +20.6%
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 jmbranum
3.72/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I brought this back from Trader Joe's in Washington, D.C.

If judged according to other Octoberfest beers, it is a bit below average. Not quite the intensity of flavors that I expected.

If judged according to other beer in the sub-$6/6-pack price range, this beer is kickass. A great value and definitely a decent late summer/early fall quencher. It reminds me of Shiner Bock in its flavor and clean taste. A littlelist bit of caramel, some roasted malt, and maybe some fresh hops, but just a little bit.

For its price, it is good. With a little bit more effort it could be outstanding. Maybe that is what is frustrating about this beer, it comes so close but in the end wimps out on delivering serious flavor. Some more roasted malts and this beer could be legendary.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.69/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark copper color but with a sad weak head. Medium carbonation. Rich wheat bread, on the nose with a nutty sesame, sunflower and walnut. Taste is malty with a bready wheat bread. A carbonic mineral undertone with a a mild dry leaf and earthy bark dust lingers through the middle. A tangy crisp earthy hay flavor finishes nicely with a long honey sweetness that lingers with the tingly texture. After the first sip, I thought this beer was so-so. After about a quarter the way through, I'm really starting to enjoy this. The tangy lightly hopped finish is wonderfully refreshing and leaves you craving more. It's also light an smoothe and easy drinking. I could picture drinking a liter stein of this and not feeling too bad afterwards also.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.55/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber color with a very thin cream colored head.

S: Smells very malty with some caramel, yeast and bread as well.

T: The majority of the flavor is caramel malt and roasted malt with a nuttiness and toastiness in the background. A slight bit of hop resin on the finish. Overall, a pretty solid oktoberfest.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.55/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber with a decent white head that quickly dissipates into nothing.

S- Nice sweet, bready malt aroma with a light, spicy hop presence. It's similar to other TJ beers; decent, but not great.

T- Very malty with flavors of cereal and caramel. The hops add a touch of spice and a little bitterness on the finish, but not much else.

M- Fairly light with moderate carbonation.

D- I'd say it's pretty drinkable due to its light body, solid but simple taste, and fairly low alcohol content. I'd certainly have a couple in sitting.

I actually enjoyed this beer. Sure it's nothing earth-shattering, but what did you expect for a $5 six-pack? I'd take this over a macro any day. I could easily see myself getting this again. Recommended if you just want a good, no-frills lager that you don't have to think about when you drink it.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
3.54/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: Copper redish color with a thick puck of head.
S: Crisp lager smell with a little sweetness.
T: Crisp and refreshing malt taste wit some hop bitterness in the finish.
F: Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation in the mouth.
Overall a decent beer and shall I saw good considering the price point.

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Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright copper with a large, thick head of foam on top. Sweet, toasty honey and caramel malt aroma. More of the same in the flavor, but with the addition of a noble hop touch. Toasted malty sweetness and a moderate bitterness. Slightly noticeable lager character. Medium-thin body. I assume this is very fresh at this point in the year and it certainly tastes like it. Not bad at all to go along with watching some Sunday football. Drink it fresh...

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Photo of mikeg67
3.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Trader’s Joe. Pours amber with a white, foamy, long lasting head. Aroma is of perfume hops and caramel malt. Full, slightly crisp body. Taste is of herbal hops in the beginning, followed by caramel malt and finishes with grapefruit. Not bad, but I prefer a little more maltiness in my Octoberfest.

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Photo of GMB
3.52/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A standard pour of Josephs Brau's Oktoberfest yields an amber body and a thick. off-white head with some staying power. Neither the body nor the head are especially impressive. The former is a bit lighter than I expect from a märzen. The latter doesn't stick around as long as I had hoped it would. Still, though the head falls quickly, it leaves behind a thin crown of foam that's sticky and appealing.

The nose is malt-forward, which is typical of the style. The malty aromas aren't as bold as I had hoped they would be. Let's see what happens when we put this beer on the palate.

The taste is much fuller and richer than the nose suggested. Sweet, roasted malts dominate. Faint notes of bittering hops keep the bold malt from outstaying its welcome, but don't get in its way. This is a rich, sweet beer that begs to be sipped slowly.

The mouthfeel is almost too full. Foam is pleasantly rich and thick. But the beer's body does feel heavy on the palate as I make my way through the bottle.

If you're curious about the Oktoberfest/Märzen style, I encourage you to pick up a bottle of Josephs Brau's rendition. It has all the characteristics we expect: thick, sweet, medium-toasted malts balanced with moderately bitter, moderately aromatic noble-type hops. There are much better renditions out there, but this one does the job nicely.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 11-25-09
Cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Golden brown color, 3 fingers of foam, layer of lacing, pretty good carbonation

S - Sweet caramel malts, faint hop smell nothing to overpowering

T - Light bodied, sweet flavored, little malt aftertaste, didn't notice any hop flavor

M/D - Another drinkable Oktoberfest but seems lighter than most other Oktoberfest bews though, light bodied and smooth on the tongue. Another good brew from Trader Joe's, the price makes it hard to pass this brew by. A must try!

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.49/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper colored, like a shiny new penny. Decent foam and lacing.

Smell: Bready malts, caramel.

Taste: Bready malts, hints of caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly creamy.

The Verdict: Not bad. Trader Joe’s affordable take on this Autumn style is about what you would expect, and nothing more.

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Photo of Brewsmith
3.48/5  rDev +11.9%
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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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.48/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium to dark coppery amber with a two finger off white head with decent retention and lots of lacing. Lots of carbonation. Aroma of bready and slight toasted malt, hint of grassy hops. Faint sulphur. Flavor is dominated by sweet bready malt, light caramel with a grassy, slightly toasted malt finish. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Pretty much delivers on what it advertises; an inexpensive marzen style fall beer. Too sweet for the style, but drinkable. Surprisingly pleasant body. Might do if you hit Oktoberfest time with a tiny budget. German beers are already so reasonable, that it seems to be an odd thing to get cheap about.

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Photo of mwagner1018
3.48/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Mild amber color, golden and noticeable carbonation, slight creamy colored head, quickly diminished.

S- Fresh, bread notes, with significant caramel sweet maltiness, but in a consistent medium/dry package...

T- Crisp and clean, definite creamy malt at the forefront, fits the style, ends with a good hallertau hop finish, mild and balanced.

M- Nice representation of the style, medium body, good balanced carbonation.

D- Surely a drinkable beer, smooth and clean, definitely invites me to have another one. Good medium ABV at just over 5%, great for the fall season...puts me in the Oktoberfest spirit.

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Photo of richkrull
3.46/5  rDev +11.3%
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 2ks4
3.46/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice copper color with a decent head.

S - Nothing noteworthy, but nothing unpleasant or overpowering. Average beer smell.

T - Starts with a pleasantly sharp taste that lingers.

M - Good mouthfeel - substantial without being too heavy, good level of carbonation.

O - I'm kind of new at this, so I don't have the experience/vocabulary to comment on the hops and malt and suchlike, but overall I like this as an everyday kind of beer. There isn't anything that sets it apart as a special occasion beer meriting the "Oktoberfest" designation, but I'm enjoying it and feel it's a good value for the price.

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Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.
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