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Trader Jose's Dark Lager | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
77
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92 Reviews
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Trader Jose's Dark LagerTrader Jose's Dark Lager
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
92
Ratings:
170
Avg:
3.31
pDev:
17.22%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
18
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 170
Reviews by tomhartnett:
Photo of tomhartnett
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Trader José Dark
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded "102513AFL 08:56" on 24 April 2013

Notes: Clear, brown body beneath a thin, short-lived head of off-white. Lacing is average. Aroma expresses dark caramelish malt with a hint of nuttiness and some background hops. The flavor follows suit, and it's basically a straightforward lager with a solid caramel component. Light-medium in body and gently crisp. Moderate bitterness. It finishes fairly short and dry. Given the price it's hard to argue against it as a fall-back beer, at least for one or two while watching a game or cooking dinner... times when you don't want to focus on your beer, when you just want something refreshing at hand. This is a beer I'd buy for a backyard BBQ just so that the newbie beer drinkers can try something other than Yuengling Traditional.

 823 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%

A: Pours a crystal clear dark reddish brown in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some amber + crimson highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy light beige that reduces to a medium sized patch of medium thick film surrounded by a very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark malts and some slightly nutty malts. Hints of floral + earthy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts with a light to moderate amount of nuttiness. Light amount of caramel sweetness. Slightly metallic in the finish. Very light hints of floral + earthy hops which imparts a touch of bitterness which fades almost immediately.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: Not bad but not anything special - better than some of the others from Trader Joe's and enjoyable, especially for the price.

 985 characters

Photo of hooverhawkeye
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid beer, love Trader Joe's

29 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.52/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, w/o freshness info

Pours darker amber, near clear, moderate head, and leaves a thicker collar.

Sweet malts and a hint of caramel on the sniff

Easy drinking and pleasant enough. Smooth and malts with caramel all over the finish.

Not bad for the price = $6.99 for the sixer = a decent value

 307 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Fratto for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a clear brown color with a white head. The aroma is malty with a lot of biscuit and bready malts. The flavor is more of the same, with a lot of lighter malts. No real hop presence. High carbonation and low-medium mouthfeel. Pretty basic lager here, nothing special, but not terrible.

 339 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in pint glass.
Made in Mexico by Tecate. Similar to Dos XX Amber

Pours a clear orange/brown with a thin coat for a head.

Aromas are fruity and toasted malts but little else.

Nose is actually quite nice - bit nutty, some dark caramel with a bit of a burnt sugar and dark fruit (dried plum).

Taste isn't as rich as the aroma suggests. Light roasted caramel malt and a bit of nuttiness; some earthiness and dark fruitiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - thin but smooth.

 478 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red almost like a lighter version of a red wine, this beer has a initial big light brown head that quickly dies leaving a light lacing that slowly dies off.

A light aroma of smoked caramel malts, with some hints of a sour almost citrus source. The taste is a light caramel smoked malt with a light hint a sourness coming through. A light dry smoky aftertaste is kind of appealing

This beer is bad but at the same time it really doesn't stand up to a majority of the west coast small and micro beers, but at the same time it's a cheaper beer and Trader Joe's seems to go through a lot of their product.

 622 characters

Photo of javlin624
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of asabreed
3.47/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Lighter amber-brown color, off-white head, not a lot of lacing or retention.

Smell: Mild chocolate, coffee, and residual adjunct sweetness, with flashes of nice roasted malts also too.

Taste: Warming up close to room temperature, this brings the mild chocolate and roasted coffee flavors out, which I like. Finish is a bit of residual sweetness, biscuit, and mild chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Expected lighter to medium-bodied, maybe a bit sticky, with decent carbonation.

Drinkability: A Negra Modelo clone, and a much cheaper one at that. I have no side-by-side comparison, but this is refreshing enough, and light but balanced with flavor. For $6 a 6-pack, a darker brew like this ain't too bad in the summer.

 759 characters

Photo of tdm168
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Excellent carbonation combined with bright red color.

Smell: Toasted cocoa a lot like a stout.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Sweet coffee and cocoa. Very strong for an amber. Also very malty. Not the smoothest, but it does have bite.

Overall Drinkability: A good and very different red lager.

 294 characters

Photo of Razr86
4/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of cliff1066
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of OldSwampy
3.52/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Translucent medium-dark brown with a light khaki head. Nose dominated by sweet caramel malt smell. Taste is mainly mild malts, pleasant, but not strong enough; the beer is fairly light-bodied and the flavor seems to dissipate too quickly. Mouthfeel lightly sudsy and then somewhat slick at the end. Quite drinkable if simplistic and a little watery.

The bottle I had said is was "BEST BEFORE 040417" which seems to be stretching things somewhat. It seemed fresh enough when I drank it on 27 June '16, but I can't imagine it would still be this good in nine months...? According to the label this beer was "BREWED AND BOTTLED BY CERVECERIA MEXICANA, S. de R.L. d C.V., TECATE, B.C., MEXICO" and thus not by a U.S. brewer.

 721 characters

Photo of DOCRW
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of HalfFull
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Jose Dark pours a clear and bright reddish amber with a half inch of off white foam. This settles to a surface film which keeps nicely given the support of the 'invisible' carbonation.

Clean and moderately rich lager nose with some light caramel malts. Touch of smoke/roast is there but subtle and balanced. Touch of muddled hops when aggresively agitated.

Flavor follows the nose with a subtle caramel presence and a hint of nuttiness/toasted grain on the finish. Otherwise offers a light brown ale sense. Nice smooth feel, unoffensive yet unobtrusive. Decent drinkability and almost ale-like.

 644 characters

Photo of Hozat
3/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of beveritt
3.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label has a Mexican/Aztec feel, including substituting Jose for Joe's. This is listed as brewed by Tecate, so not sure it belongs under this heading. also, wouldn't this be a Vienna Lager instead of an American Amber? Oh well, I don't make the rules, I just drink.

Appearance: Pours with 1.5 fingers of nearly white head. This settles into a think coating of foam. Decent lacing. The beer itself is a very light copper color, perfectly clear, and shows a small amount of activity.

Smell: Slightly sweet caramel malt with hints of tea. Herbaceous hop aroma.

Taste: Fairly sharp carbonation bite upfront. This rolls into a solid malt backbone, caramel once again, and sweet. Very low bitterness in the finish, almost non-existent.

Mouthfeel: High level of carbonation. Body is very good.

Drinkabilty: Okay overall, kind of a mix of highs and lows. The appearance is a positive, with nice lacing and a good color. The carbonation bite is way to high and detracts significantly form the flavor. The body is very nice. Maybe a beer to make certain you use a harsh pour.

 1,148 characters

Photo of hophugger
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of SFNC
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Leftover from a get together, I was expecting a possible drain pour, but it's really pretty good. Overall some pretty good character and decent flavor. Carmamel upfront with a whisper of hops to being it back to Earth. Compares very well against Dos Equis dark and Modelo. I guess you never really know.

 306 characters

Photo of PhilHeinricke
3.88/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent Dark Beer

I went through a dark beer phase. For years I was drinking dark beer. But with the recent craft beer wave I have been occupying myself trying out all these new beers from IPAs to wheat beer to saison. It's been a good ride. But I hadn't had a good dark beer for a while. Then I found this.

Anywhere I go I always check out the beer section just to see if they have anything interesting. I didn't realize Trader Joe's had their own beer line, and they're all very inexpensive. I picked this up along with something else. This is why I started drinking dark beer in the first place. It pours out a very nice head that has staying power. The aroma is good, but it's just not strong enough, and it's got a very pleasing taste with a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The next time I'm in the area I'll be stopping into Trader Joe's to pick up some more of these.

 892 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl.,oz. bottle. Sampled on July 25, 2015

Nice look chestnut brown pour with little to no head.

The aroma has some sweet caramel malts and a roasted sort of character but nothing vibrant.

The body is light.

Like the aroma there is a sweet caramel malt taste to start but also a kind of dank cellar thing. Mild to no hop finish. Nothing too exciting here.

 373 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, best before 06/17/11. So it's about a month after that, no big deal. The single bottle was only a buck from Trader Joe's so I don't feel bad about buying it. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear brown/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is bready and caramel malt, nuts and some toffee. The taste is the same as the aroma, it tastes like bready and caramel malt, nuts and toffee. Finish is mostly sweet with some bitterness noticable too. Even after its best before date it's still a pretty decent brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has moderate/high carbonation. It's also smooth and easy to drink. For the price it's not a bad beer, it's better than I expected it to be. I can't complain for $1 a bottle. I'd buy it again at that price!

 851 characters

Photo of Spikester
3.46/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber brown with good clarity and almost two fingers of off white head. Head leaves fairly soon but leaves a good amount of lace.
Smell toasted roasted malts with a hint of coffee.
Taste is dark roasted malts coffee hint of cocoa.
Mouthfeel is fine carbonation is medium. Finish is sweet and just a pinch of dry bitterness.
Overall a refreshing and tasty dark Mexican lager. Nice surprise. From an 11.2 ounce bottle brewed by Cerveceria Mexicana Tecate B.C. Mexico.

 471 characters

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Trader Jose's Dark Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.
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