Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Josephs Brau Oktoberfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
73
okay
105 Reviews
THE BROS
76
okay
Read the review
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:
186
Avg:
3.11
pDev:
21.22%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
13
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 186
Photo of kojevergas
2.98/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average. Acquired as part of the 12 bottle variety pack for $9.99. Best before 02/02/13 14:30.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Not paired with food.

A: Pours a one finger head of soft rolling slight cream, nice thickness, and average retention. Colour is a clear pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing.

Sm: Oats, clean full-bodied expressive malts, cream, and some barley. Some vague stale hops. A slight rauchbier-esque smokey note - that's unexpected. An average strength aroma.

T: Some nice rolling cream. Clean bright malts. Vague stale misplaced hops. Clean barley. A bit toasty. Simple and restrained, but enjoyable.

Mf: Smooth, clean, and wet. Thickness is decent. It supports the flavours in a general sense.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from great. I might get it again. It's a good value beer at 83 cents per bottle. Good fare for what it is. That said, it won't blow your socks off.

C

 1,132 characters

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.08/5  rDev -1%
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.

 430 characters

Photo of bluebrew17
2.33/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a six pack of this beer at Trader Joes... Pour was nice, decent white head. Color is medium amber. There is a hint of diacetyl on the sniff, and a taste confirms. This beer was alot like carbonated popcorn. Very buttery. I'm fairly sensitive to diacetyl so its hard to get past to get to any other flavors.

 316 characters

Photo of GossageBrewery
2.56/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a clear copper color, produce a thick white head, excellent retention and left a nice amount of lacing. The aroma consisted of sweet malt, and caramel. Medium in body, this ale consists of toasted grain, and finish's with a small amount of hops. Overall, not a great example of Oktoberfest. Prost!

 350 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.17/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

amber color with a great clarity fills the glass. Nice streams of bubbles that rippled up toward the surface gave it a good bit of depth and created a nice moderate to medium capping of white that clung to the sides for a little while before letting itself go. Muted bready malts. Hints of light grain and a touch of some light spice, but everything was too light and muted for me. Not enough in the way of herbal hoppiness or depth to keep me interested. Same could be said as I took the first sip, while not really being bad in any way, it was just rather uninteresting. Bready grains, hints of something musky, and a touch of light pine maybe, but very muted

 661 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.6/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12 Oz Bottle - Dec 20, 2007. Aroma drips of honey and Munich Malt. Lightly dusty. Pours a bronzed gold, with white creamy head. Flavor is a washed out, lightly skanky Munich malt. Traditional but lacking. More honey and a gooey hop cone pollen chewiness at the back drop. There’s some awkward bitterness for no apparent reason. Coarse. Thin.

 343 characters

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.

 608 characters

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.

 312 characters

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.

 317 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pleasant coppery lager with a sharp edge. Less of the mellow malts in this. More like a regular lager with just a touch of malty flavor. Touch of cardboard in the aftertaste. I can't give the hops much credit. Faint beery smell. Slightest bit of sweetness in the first few sips. Finish is the dirty hops and rather unpleasant bitterness.

Quite lovely color and decent carbonation. Just quite uninteresting and less refreshing than many light beers.

 449 characters

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...

 448 characters

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.

 1,795 characters

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.

 403 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Appearance: The beer pours a faded, hazy copper color with some light thin white froth that fades to a ring. A few swirls replenishes the head, but there is not much lace.

Smell: Saying there is an aroma here might be an overstatement. There is a faint hint of cereal grains and some amber malts, but I would be lying if I said I could get any hop aroma.

Taste: This tastes like a beer that was made from the second runnings of a mild Oktoberfest beer. Soft, faint grains bring a light sweetness and a cereal grain start. The flavor never moves much, but there is a light pungent kick midway through. The flavor finishes on a lightly bitter note. After a few more sips, another half point down. This just doesn't taste that good.

Mouthfeel: There is a soft pungent bitterness that I almost view as a positive just because it gives this beer some life. A light to medium body works acceptably well with the decently creamy carbonation.

Overall: This is a pretty boring beer. Not terrible, but definitely not unique or interesting. They are definitely targeting a specific audience with this one, and that audience is not me. It is easy for me to punish beers that are poorly made, but this one just lacks character.

 1,268 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 377 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

"And this ballgame is ovah!" Man, it's never easy against the Tribe, is it? Luckily we had a fourteen-run cushion. And I had this beer in the fridge. Here goes: It pours a clear bronze topped by a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises caramel, lightly toasted biscuit, toffee, and a touch of grass in the background. The taste moves more in that grassy direction, along with some dark greens (clover-like) and balsa. The maltiness is still there, but it's decidedly less pronounced, apparently cuckolded by the grasslands springing up all around. A dull chlorophyll-laced bitterness unsurprisingly pervades. The body is a rather light medium, with a just-light moderate carbonation and a progressively dry finish. Overall, an underwhelming brew. ...That's all I can really say.

 825 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From fall brew ranking notes: Pours a medium amber color from a 12oz bottle. Small to medium sized white foamy head. The aroma is caramel and sweet but kind of mild. Light to medium bodied Marzen. The malts are caramel, bready and sweet. The hops are earthy and spicy. Touch of tobacco and some tea. Lively carbonation. It's a little thin and watery and there is an off flavor I can't quite place. Its not really unpleasant, but I do not think I ant to drink this one very often. Mouthfeel is thin. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. Can't recommend this brew.

 582 characters

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.

 321 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.06/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a clear amber hue with a two finger frothy white head. There good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a grainy cereal malt, caramel and a metallic element.

The taste consisted of a grainy cereal malt of moderate depth with a metallic twang.

The mouthfeel was thin for the style.

Overall a decent marzen. Not too bad for the price.

 350 characters

Photo of hmk22
2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Not bad for the price, but a little thin-feeling in the mouth. BA lists this as a Marzen and the label says "German style lager" and it seems a little closer to the latter given the mouthfeel. A nice entry-level hoppy beer that won't alienate casual beer drinkers, but not quite bitter enough for hop-heads (like me). Guess I'll stick with IPAs for awhile.

 356 characters

Photo of deafcat
3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11/5/10 poured from bottle into 16oz tulip glass

a - amber color with decent head that quickly dissipates, see through it like glass

s - caramel, malty smell, faint but there

t - sweet malty taste, a little strong on the caramel tones

m - light feel in the mouth, carbonation seems lacking a bit

d - pretty drinkable, definitely could down a couple of these, especially with a nice, heavy meal

overall not my favorite brew - but, then, it's not my favorite style. Would probably grab another one of the Trader Joe's brews instead of this guy. Compared to other local Oktoberfests (esp. Harpoon, Sam Adams), though, considering expense and value, definitely a decent choice, especially if you're entertaining a bunch of people for Oktoberfest and want to provide a solid, inexpensive brew.

 794 characters

Photo of DJED69
2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My wife grabbed a six today at Trader Joe's---just having one while I relax on the couch. Pours a tad darker than you typical macro. Has a thin head that seems to stay. Carbonation is medium. Taste is so-so. A touch of malt with some hop bitterness. Has that marzen flavor, but it's on the lighter side. I prefer a maltier, bigger tasting brew.

 344 characters

Photo of haddon
3/5  rDev -3.5%
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

 417 characters

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!

 516 characters

Photo of blackearth
2.33/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

 276 characters

Josephs Brau Oktoberfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.11 out of 5 based on 186 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe