Josephs Brau Oktoberfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

105 Reviews
Read the review
Josephs Brau OktoberfestJosephs Brau Oktoberfest

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 186
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).

 639 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep orange with an off-white frothy head. Some light lacing.

Caramel and bread toast scents, some light citric hop notes.

This is Ocktoberfest? A touch of caramel sweetness, but on the whole, alot of toasted malt and light citric hops. Not very complex, and not very marzen-like. Flavors are a bit subdued, but still fairly pleasant. Decent.

Medium bodied and decently carbonated.

Overall, not a bad brew, just not what you'd expect from an Ocktoberfest label. Fairly smooth and decent flavors, so not hard to drink, but really nothing special either. If filling a cooler for a party, might be worth buying a 6 or two.

 631 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
2.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light copper. Two fingers of thick, billowy head developed and dissipated very slowly to leave a spotted lacing and thick ring around the outside. (I poured it straight down, as I recently read is, strangely, the way to do it.)

Smell: Sweet caramel malts, mostly, and there is a scent of grapefruit citrus.

Taste: The caramel malts from the smell are much more bread-like. The citrus is a grapefruit tang, and there's a well-balanced hop presence.

Drinkability: It's not a bad brew, but not the best Oktoberfest beer.

 540 characters

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.

 609 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
2.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice golden amber with a fairly thick but none too persistent whitish head. Aroma is malty and a little yeasty and a bit wan. Flavor is crisp and malty, fairly mouth-filling, but not complex. Texture is smooth, only a little tingly, and leaves a slightly unpleasant metallic aftertaste. Palatable, but no cause for a "Tweet."

 333 characters

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.

 609 characters

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?

 1,030 characters

Photo of RJUGA03
2.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A-Coppery amber transparent body with a slightly laced off white head.
S-Carmely, sweet, and a bit malty
T-Seasonally spiced on the draw with a syrupy slight hopped finish.
M-Again syrupy with a dry finish.
D-For me this is not a beer I would drink regularly at it's 5.99/ 6pk price point.

 289 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, golden-amber body with a thin, white head.

Smell: Lightly toasty malts with hints of spicy hops and apple.

Taste: Faintly toasty, sweet malts in the foreground that fade away with an encroaching watery quality. This opens the palate up for some spicy hops and a light bitterness. Minor hint of apple. Finishes dry, crisp, but oh-so watery.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation. I'm afraid it's a tad watery.

Drinkability: Mostly an Oktoberfest in name only. A bit watery, but you get what you pay for, I suppose.

 550 characters

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

From a twelve ounce brown bottle - Pours a light copper color with no haze and a small white head. Smells of sweet malts, adjuncts and light hops present in the nose. First sip is mostly malts and a slight hop profile. There is a bitter finish here but overall not too bad - not too good either.

 295 characters

Photo of Mistofminn
2.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle

A - Sort of a copper color. Minimal off-white head

S - Some sweetness and malts detected. Can't get a hint of hops to be honest

T - Mildly toasted with a hint of caramel. Finishes dry and bitter.

M - Heavy carbonation, thin and watery

D - Its definitely drinkable. It's a little different from others in the style, but overall it's not bad. I didn't expect much coming from Trader Joes but I was pleasantly surprised.

 441 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.27/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Poured a 1-finger off-white head, relatively low retention. Pristine deep-amber beer with a hint of orange.

S-Some hints of sweetness and malts. Minimal hop aromas.

T-Mostly light toffee for malts, countered by some minimal, but present, bitterness that keeps this beer in line. Finishes clean, crisp.

M-Medium body, medium-high carbonation. Leaves my mouth feeling clean and refreshed.

D-Highly drinkable, as is true of the bulk of Oktoberfest-style beers. It's smooth and enjoyable going down, so it's a shame I've only got one of these.

 583 characters

Photo of Tone
2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark golden color with little head and little lacing. Appears a little dull and lackluster. Smells of a clean yeast aroma; as per usual for European lagers. Not as strong as I'm used to for an Oktoberfest lager. Light body with a crisp feel, but only lightly carbonated. Since it was only $3.99 for a six-pack it's worth a try but not a noteworthy Oktoberfest member.

 367 characters

Photo of likestoswallow
2.33/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle.

A: Pours a light amber color with a small off-white head.

S: The aroma is a mess, it is relatively weak with corn, molasses, rock candy and saccharine.

T: Very sweet with lots of rock candy, biter almonds, brown sugar and lager yeasts that remind me of macro stuff.

M: The palate is thin and watery. The finish is long with lingering rock candy.

D: Way too sweet for me. If you love overtly sweet beers then this for you, otherwise skip it.

 463 characters

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.

 270 characters

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.

 764 characters

Photo of josiahschlender
3.3/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty cheap at TJ's. Didn't set me back much to try this. Plus, I like that their single bottle prices are 1/6th of a six pack. Why don't more stores do that?

I haven't drank many Oktoberfests, but the looks aren't too bad on this one. Copper color, decent off-white head that lasted a little bit. No lacing.

I let the bottle warm a little bit before pouring, and the nose improved as it warmed up even more. Very sweet malts, caramel and raw sugar. Maybe just a hint of yeast, but I think I'm trying to reach for that.

Flavor is also sweet and mild. Pleasing, but not outstanding. A couple other reviewers have noted it seems light compared to others of the same style. If so, I look forward to more substantial taste of the same. I pretty much always like my beers more full flavored and bodied, but this didn't strike me as particularly watered down. Balanced for what it is.

Easily drinkable, especially with the reasonable price. Lots more going on than macro lagers. I'm partial to American craft brewers exploring lager styles... let's see bigger and better Oktoberfests!

 1,083 characters

Photo of BeerSox
2.7/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into mug.

Crystal clear amberhue with a one finger light tan head that settles to a thin cap.

Very light cracker like malt aromas with a little bit of brown sugar.

Once again, light bready malts with maybe a little bit of hop flavor coming through. Light bodied with good carbonation. The finish is a touch of lingering grain.

Not an awful beer, but it's not what I want out of an Oktoberfest. Light flavors with characteristics that wouldn't fit with any style.

 479 characters

Photo of Shumista
2.89/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. All of the food I've had from Trader Joe's brand has been great, so hopefully their beer will be good too.
A- Pours a dark straw color with a 1 finger head. Nothing to write home about in this category for sure.
S- Not a lot of aroma coming off of this beer. If anything I would say it smells like sweet toasted malt but it is very lacking in the aroma category.
T- Taste is a little thin, but not quite as thin as the aroma was. I taste sweet malts up front and the taste finishes somewhat dry and bitter.
M- Nothing much to say, pretty average medium bodied beer.
D- You could definitely throw back a few of these no problem. I think I would like to move onto something a little more complex after a few though.

This was my first "Oktoberfest" beer and from what others have said it is not exactly the best representation of the style. I'm looking forward to trying some others in the next month or so to get a better feel for the style.

 986 characters

Photo of froghop
2.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours a clear amber-orange with a small egg-shell head, some lacing.

smell of grain, malt, corn.

taste is oily yet tingles the tongue, sweet malt, caramel, earthy, dry leaves, some dandelions, ends thick in the mouth and just a tad bitter.

overall i didnt know that it was gordon biersch and now i understand why it wasnt as good as your average oktoberfest.

 361 characters

Photo of MrIncognito
3.43/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler.

A - When the beer first entered the glass I thought this would be a straw yellow beer, but it darkened up up by the end of a hard pour and became a mildly light clear copper color beneath an orangy, thick head. Head subsided to a film in a couple minutes, less than impressive lacing, but descent.

S - Faint smell of toasted hops and sweet caramel. Not the most aromatic, need to put your nose in this one.

T&M - A more than moderate carbonation makes this a crisp and somewhat dry beer that I feel takes away from the taste. Very thin at first then more flavorful as it warms. Throughout, I taste caramel hops and wheat bread with not much of a hop bite. Slightly bitter but mostly sweet in the back. Somewhat watered down and thin, lacks complexity.

An ok beer but not exceptional by any means. Definitely better as it warms but the aftertaste is just odd sweetness that doesn't suit me well. Sessionable for sure but I'm reering to try a different Oktoberfest beer.

 1,014 characters

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.

 777 characters

Photo of beveritt
3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label has a purple background and shows a large beer stein. No discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just over 3 fingers of very light tan head. This settles into1 finger, leaving behind some sticky lacing. The beer itself is amber and perfectly clear.

Smell: Slightly sweet malt with just a hint of the caramel so normally present in Oktoberfest beers.

Taste: Caramel malt flavor is a little more noticeable in the taste than it was in the smell. Slight creaminess and very low bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is decent, very slick.

Drinkability: All in all, not that bad, just not the flavor profile I expect from an Oktoberfest. More of an Oktoberfest light.

 796 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.32/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours rather clear and in a deep golden color, offering only a fleeting head and minimal retention. Notably lighter in color than expected for the style.

Nose is somewhat thin with only a hint of toasted malts. Otherwise reminiscent of a Pilsener as for the hop scents.
Taste is decent with a light malt kick and good carbonation. A bit of lingering fruity malt sweetness on the close helps the feel.

A light bodied Ocktoberfest, it appears that fall is just about upon us.

 476 characters

Photo of InsolublePancake
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.

 834 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.