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

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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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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 175
Photo of porterwoobie
3.36/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: reddish brown color. white head.

S: malty aroma, hint of some some spices

T: malty and sweet. some caramel flavors.

MF: light body, medium carbonation. smooth drinking.

Drinkability: not bad. i would buy this over its "clone" negra modelo.

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Photo of SiphonKing
2.95/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A Trader Joe's six pack (with Tecate listed on the bottle as the brewing company, interesting). Billed as a "Negra Modelo" clone of sorts it is a little light in body and mouthfeel. A Vienna lager it may be but not one that really satisfies the pallette and makes me want numerous bottles. Malty, slight caramel, and a hint of sulfur.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark copper/reddish-brown, good clarity, thinnish layer of off-white suds that fairly quickly dissipate

Aroma: black tea, malt, corn husks, brown sugar

Flavor: biscuity malt profile with hints of rust, coffee, burnt caramel and grain husks; finishes semisweet with a smooth maltiness in the finish

Mouthfeel: light body, perky carbonation, crisp

Other comments: Negra Modelo is one of my favorite beers from "South of the Border". This cheaper version from TJ's isn't too bad of a clone.

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Photo of AltBock
3.11/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a label that shows the consumer a beautiful Mexican sunset. Along the sides of the picture are some native Mexican artwork. In the middle of the label is the name of the beer in big bold white letters and the word "dark" in smaller fiery orange letters with a black background. Under the "TR" in Trader is a stone tablet that says "Imported from Mexico" in red letters. The top of this tablet looks like the famed top of the Alamo. To the far left of the label is the barcode and brewer and to far right of the label is the mandatory US information. Don't let the Trader Joe's name confuse you. It was brewed and bottled in Cerveceria Alta in Tecate, Mexico. No date, but if you look closely at the bottom of the bottle, you'll find an inked batch number. Mine was smeared, so I couldn't read what it said.

When poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass, this "Dark" Mexican beer appeared to be a dark brown color, but when it was held into the light, this beer was actually a dark amber color. I liked this beer's cool color. On top of this dark amber brew was a long lasting 1/4 of an inch creamy head of pure white foam. Since it was long lasting, they only time it receded was when I took a sip of the beer. When it did recede, it left behind plenty of milky white streaks of lace. Great appearance!

I thought it was funny that this beer smelled a little like that corn bread that you can get at Mexican restaurants. Well, that is if they malted the corn first and then mixed in some bread later. I had to take points away because that's all this beer smelled like. There was nothing else in the aroma. No hops or malt, just the scent of corn bread.

This beer tasted nothing like corn bread. Instead, the beer was malty. Not malty with malted barley, but malty with corn and rice. It was mostly corn though. I hate to cut the taste review short, but that was the only taste this beer had, malted corn with a little malted rice. Well, for the sake of things. Lets just say that it tasted like "beer."

This was a light bodied beer with a sweet watery aftertaste of malted corn and rice. Like the initial taste, that was it for the aftertaste. Since the aftertaste was watery, this aftertaste will leave your tongue in a flash! Don't get use to it.

Despite all my negative words about this beer, it wasn't all that bad. It's just that there wasn't much to it. You know what? I would rather drink this over a certain famous flavorless clear bottled Mexican beer. If this beer has one really good quality to it, it's the fact that this beer is cheap as hell. I only paid a dollar plus tax for this beer. If you got a pocket full of change you want to get rid of, then think about getting a single or two of this beer.

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Photo of rowew
3.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is obviously a Negro Modelo clone, and it tastes pretty much like you'd expect. Taste is malty with a slight hint of some cooked vegetable flavor. I know its sacrilege around here, but ice cold with a lime, this one could hit the spot with some spicy mexican food. Nothing too exciting, but for a cheap grocery store beer I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Tone
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark but clear brown with a good thick head and decent retention. Lacing is about average (1/4 inch - 1/2 inch). Smells of sweet malts and another sweet unknown sweet entity. Fits the style. Tastes of a strong lager with lots of sweet malt. Very smooth with little aftertaste; low carbonation. Overall a very easy drinking beer with a smooth, sweet taste that's not too strong. This is a good dark/amber lager. Overall, I'd definitely drink this again, especially based on the cheap price. Also, this is much better than its Trader Jose counterpart (Premium Lager).

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

12oz bottle into nonic.

Clear and deep copper hue with a thin light tan head that slowly settles to a thin even cap. Spotty lacing.

Very light malt aromas, with only a little bit of brown sugar being detected.

The flavor is mostly caramelized sugar from a long boil. Medium bodied with high carbonation.

Not a bad beer but not much to talk about. The price is certainly right - $1 a bottle at Trader Joe's.

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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.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear dark copper with a solid head of foam.

S - Dark smelling (Is dark a smell?) Fruity with molasses, toast and raisins.

T/M - Kinda watery and bland. Again raisins and toastiness but overall the flavours are light.

D - Refreshing enough and not bad tasting, but there needs to be more in there.

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Photo of montageman
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Another private label Mexican style beer from Trader Joe's - this one, however, is much better than the Mexican lager. This one is more in line with Negra Modelo or Dos Equis Amber, thereby making the flavor profile less dependent on corn and more on caramel malts. From the clear amber hue with the nice tan head to the sweet aroma, this is a solid manifestation of the style. The flavor is sweet up front but is balanced nicely by the citrus like finish. Nothing objectionable here - would pair well with any of the frozen burritos at Trader Joe's. Recommended.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a frothy, white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, malty nose with notes of caramel, toast, and dark fruits.

Taste: A flavor of sweet caramel, with lighter hints at toast and nuttiness. Light fruitiness. Only a very light bitterness. Drying, reasonably toasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not altogether terrible and priced, if not for glory, then at the very least for an outdoor, sunnytime gathering.

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Photo of oggg
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
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 1759Girl
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of jeremyd365
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown with a thick caramel head that dissipated pretty quickly. It reminded me of a slightly darker Killians. Pretty malty but nothing out of the ordinary. Definitely a pretty good "regular" beer, especially for the price. It's my first Trader Joe's brew of all styles so I'm interested in how they did with the other ones.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into my 33cl tulip glass with a frothy, initially almost three-finger thick, amber-dirtied, tan colored head. The beer shows some clearness but is dark enough that it is hard to see through as it sits on the table with a red-tinged, concentrated amber color; when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, cranberry red / amber color. The aroma smells of caramel and grain husks up front and has a sweet, almost fruitiness. The finish has a slightly grassy, crushed grain aroma to it as well as just a bit of toasty / bready malt character to it.

Sweet tasting, with a light nuttiness to the finish and just a hint of roast to it. Fuller bodied than I was expecting, but this is light and quaffable. The sweetness plays up some light caramel notes and even a touch of berry-like flavors. The hop presence is fairly low, but there is a slight bitterness to this brew and perhaps a touch of herbal hop presence. The carbonation provides a touch of a bit in the middle that couples with the hop notes. This finishes with a toasty, almost bread crust like, biscuit malt character that in its dryness does a fair job of balancing the sweetness that is found up front.

I know it says its from Mexico so it must be crap, but I am quite surprised by this brew. I think it gives Negro Modelo a run for its money and if it isn't, it sure does a good job of faking the aromas and flavors of an all malt beer (well minus the caramel coloring). While this is certainly not earth shattering, it actually has a better mix of flavors and balance than many of the usual Trader Joe's label beers. At the price they sell this at it is almost a go to BBQ / grill beer for those hot Summer afternoons & evenings.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.88/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trader Jose, Dark Lager

Clear, coppery colored, 1/4" dingy, cola-toned head.

Not much here, little nuts, whisper of cocoa, ...again, reminiscent of cola.

Taste: hmmm, not too much going on here. It's beer, and you can drink it. Not terrible. Tasty malt, medium finish, lays softly on the palate, nice and malty. Gets better as we go. Likeable. Not bad.
For a buck apiece, there's worse...

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Photo of mpyle
3.51/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App - Amber color, great clarity. Tightly bubbled white head with decent retention

Smell - a strange chocolate/berry smell, otherwise very clean. No hop.

Flav - Good malt character, a bit chocolately, somewhat sweet. Minimal hop character, though bitters slightly in the finish. Has a lingering, very slight dark malty finish.

MF - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. No astringency, goes down fairly smooth with just a bit of bite from the carbonation.

D'ability - A smooth and unexpectedly malty brew. Pretty good stuff for the low TJ price.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up today at Trader Joe's. I guess summer is on its way when TJ's trots out the Corona clones, although I was pleased to see a dark version, although disappointed it's not a Vienna lager.

The swarthy Trader Jose pours a clear brown with a thin cap of head and few distinguishing features. Nose is malty and boring, with a hint of caramel.

Mouthfeel is smooth but too thin. There is some legitimate chocolate malt flavor here but it would be much cooler if the texture had the balls to stand behind it. Reasonable smoothness and drinkability but hardly the most interesting or flavorful thing I've drank...tonight.

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Photo of blackie
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: low off-white head recedes to a thin ring, beer is a clear medium-brown in color

s: somewhat dull and lightly sulfuric noble hops, some watery nutty toasted malts, a touch of smoke, plain but not bad

m: medium-high carbonation and a light body

t: nearly identical to the aroma, nutty toasted malts, a touch of smoke, light sweetness, clean noble hops

d: quite easy

single bottle from Trader Joe's Cary

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Trader Jose's Dark Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.31 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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