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

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Trader Jose's Dark LagerTrader Jose's Dark Lager
183 Ratings
Trader Jose's Dark LagerTrader Jose's Dark Lager

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

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Ratings: 183 |  Reviews: 95
Photo of transitionbikes93
4.78/5  rDev +44.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First off, I love dark beer. From Stouts to Red Ales, there is just something about that malty flavor.... and I am going to review this beer with other similarly priced/quality beers, free of bias.

Look- Poured into a 16oz pilsner glass, pours a nice clear brown with a 3/4 inch off-white head that lasts a few minutes then dissipates to a small ring around the edge, no/minimal lacing, high carbonation.

Smell- Honestly, doesn't smell like much. It has a definite beer smell to it, with hints of toasty malts, but it's very light to the nose.

Taste- Thank goodness the taste doesn't follow suit to the smell. By far the best tasting beer in this price range yet. I was expecting something very light, but I was pleasantly surprised. Starts out smooth, not much hop presence/bitterness but those malts... toasty, slightly sweet, and ends EXTREMELY smooth. I am very impressed.

Feel- Moderate carbonation, it's looks more carbonated than it is. Again, pleasantly surprised, as darker beers typically do not have much carbonation. Very clean on the palate.

Overall- an excellent beer. Easy to drink, tastes fantastic, and that price, 6.49 a sixer, is very reasonable. Besides, it's at Trader Joe's, which is arguably the best grocery store ever. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Dapperticus
4.75/5  rDev +43.9%

Photo of bubseymour
4.25/5  rDev +28.8%

Photo of Razr86
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 6-4-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Dark reddish brown, 2 fingers of foam, nice lacing ring, carbonation present

S - Roasted malts, caramel, and no hop aroma to speak of

T - Lighter bodied brew, smooth, malty with caramel sweetness

M/D - Pretty drinkable brew, another good one from Trader Joe's, a light bodied brew, nice and smooth with a good blend of malts and caramel, I recommend this brew and would get it again

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Photo of teyuders
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of StoutishDan
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of jburlew
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of michaelfcasey
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of spiatt
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of hooverhawkeye
4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid beer, love Trader Joe's

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.95/5  rDev +19.7%
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 Lagerquestrian
3.93/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of industrialswill
3.9/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's always worth the drive to TJs. They've expanded their beer selection since my last visit.
This beer is somewhat dark. It has a modest amount of foam from a gentle pour.
There is a slight floral hop scent to go along with the malt aroma that you would expect from a beer this dark.
The taste is good, there is no other way for me to describe it. This is a flavorful lager.
It's malty without being sweet and there is just enough hoppyness to leave a bite on the tongue.
I'm guessing that it's got a 5% ABV.

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Photo of PhilHeinricke
3.88/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

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Photo of kneeland
3.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was an American Amber? Could have fooled me. It pours dark, almost coffee black. Maybe a hint of red if you hold it up to the sun. I really liked the color, especially since it didn't taste as heavy or as dark as it looked. You can taste the malt, a little sweetness. It's a very bold lager.

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Photo of 1759Girl
3.78/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think it's pretty unfair to classify this as an American Amber...
The mere fact that this is branded as Trader Jose's, should let on that Trader Joe thinks this is Mexican... I mean I already think it's funny that we don't have a classification for Mexican beers... Negra Modelo is listed here as a Viennese Lager. Hmmmm

So.. I propose.. That this is what pretty much all laypeople refer to as the beer style of Mexican Dark Beer, which is exactly what the makers also refer to it as. And since Trader Jose's Dark is precisely a TJs branding of a Negro Modelo... I'm judging it thus.

And being a Californian... Even though we may be Guinness Drinkers or Belgian fans, we drink Mexican because that's what is available at our favorite spots for SuperBurritos, and guess what? It is refreshing and good for pairing with Mexican food.

Appearance> Nice ruby color. No head, No lacing. Nothin fancy.

Smell> Pretty average for a dark beer. Slightly malty, but also kinda smells like a bottle cap.

Taste> More complex than Negra Modelo. Larger shifts from sweetness to bitterness, more hops and a softer malt hang.

Mouthfeel> Surprisingly not bad. Good even.

Drinkability> I'm going to have to start sneaking these beers into El Farrolito and Papalote because I prefer this to my standby negra modelo.

 1,319 characters

Photo of Falcone
3.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of oggg
3.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The sign next to the sixpack at Trader Joes says, "if you like Negra Modelo, you'll love this"

And that pretty much sums it up. This is a light brown colored beer that develops very little head. There is a faint smell of caramel. On the tongue, this beer begins with some brisk carbonation, a mild kiss of hop bitterness, followed by sweet caramel. Very clean flavors as you'd expect for a lager. The finish is pretty darn clean, making this a great beer for food -- and not just Mexican food.

Overall: a great simple beer to go with food. would also be great for beer novices. cheap too!

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Photo of illpass78
3.7/5  rDev +12.1%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Libby craft glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a vanilla-colored one-and-a-half-inch head. Nice lacing on the way down.

Aroma: Big malt presence along with caramel and some grass.

Taste: Pretty tasty amber lager. Caramel and malt dominate the flavor. It has a bolder, richer flavor than I'd expected. Good for fans of malty session lagers.

Mouthfeel: It's easy and refreshing, but that doesn't hold back flavor.

Overall: This is pretty clearly Trader Joe's Dos Equis Amber analogue, and it's much better. I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer this to dumb Dos Equis.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.7/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Trader José Dark Lager is a very clear, coppery brown beer with a thin, bubbly, off white head that fades to a film and leaves nice lacing. It has a roasty, toasty aroma that's pretty chocolatey. It's light bodied and a bit watery. It's pretty smooth and the finish is pretty dry. The mellow flavor is chocolatey with a little green bitterness at the finish. It's smooth and mellow.

 383 characters

Photo of Blizzard303
3.69/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Moderate yet rich malt flavor, light on the bitterness.
Better than many more expensive craft beers of this style.

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Photo of Miami66
3.69/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GClarkage
3.68/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09/09/09- Purchased at Trader Joe's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Deep copper colored pour with a 1/2 inch head that hangs around for a bit. Some very light lace markings left behind.

Smell- Some toasted caramel malts, a dash of hops and some light alcohol notes.

Taste- Heavier than expected and sweeter than expected caramel roasted malt flavor. Just the right amount of sweetness. Hops linger, but are not much of the flavor. Lightly bready.

Mouthfeel- Kinda creamy and lightly thick. Slight hop punch in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Kinda impressed with this one. One of the better tasting red lagers I have had recently.

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Photo of HBeezley
3.66/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint glass.
Pours a surprisingly nice dark amber. Forms a small head that recedes pretty quickly.
Smell: not bad. Like a mix of Roasted nut, chocolate, and a little hop.
Taste: OK, so. I once had their New Years vintage. Tastes sooo similar. Which is kind of sad seeing as they didn't change it up much for the new year (probably just made it stronger). Anyway, this is alright. Not bad. Not great. I mean, what you can expect from Trader Joes brand I guess. It's bready with a little sweetness just a little bit of some bitterness and then finishing with a little alcohol taste.
Mouthfeel: is decent. Not a whole lot going on there, but easy to drink with just enough to make it interesting and make me take another swig.
Drinkability: well, it's not fantastic but it's nice to drink. It's satisfying. Can't say I would ever go out of my way to buy it again, but not saying I would never buy it again. I actually probably will - mostly for the price. But if you want a mediocre dark lager for a cheap deal this would probably be it.

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Trader Jose's Dark Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.3 out of 5 with 183 ratings
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