Josephs Brau Winterfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

319 Ratings
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Josephs Brau WinterfestJosephs Brau Winterfest

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

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as Josephs Brau Winter Brew

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2008

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Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 203
Photo of jwinship83
3.37/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle picked up for $1.00 as a single at trader joes. drank from a pilsner glass. bottle reads batch 47 (i think).

A- this one pours out a beautiful dark ruby red colored body with a small tightly knit finger of foam. the head lasts a while and leaves behind solid rings of lacing.

S- the first think i notice is that grainy type of smell i associate with american marco lagers. uh oh. after that i get sweet bready malts with maybe a bit of toffee thrown in. faint hops in the background, as well as alcohol.

T- that BMC style grainy malt smell seems to be gone which is a good thing. the bready malts make come through strong. lots of raisins and plums. the alcohol isnt as strong as i was expecting.

M- medium to full bodied with a nice low level of carbonation. a slight warming can be felt from the alcohol.

D- trader joes brand beers have been hit or miss for me. this one is pretty much a miss. i dont think ill buy another one of these.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark copper body below a thin off white head. Aromas are strong bready malts, prunes, and little to no hop presence. The taste is dominantly malty with dark fruits and a good malt backbone to this beer. The mouthfeel is rather fluffy and full but not thick in the least bit. Though many in this style have a chocolate character (ie Ayinger Celebrator), this one holds no such flavors due to less roasted malts.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
2.4/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Source/Serving: 12oz. bottle.

Smell: Raisins, brown sugar, and a little chocolate and brown bread.

Taste: Raisin and ripe fruit sweetness up front. In the middle there is a sharp bitter and alcohol bite that isn't terribly pleasant. Finish is more raisins, chocolate, and potentially some (fusel?) alcohols at the finish. Very full bodied.

Notes: Can't beat the price, especially for a beer of this style....but I'm just not a very big fan.

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Photo of acemathew
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is nice and malty the Marzen comes through in the pour smells like Christmas.

The dark tones are ruby reddish to dark copper. The head pours big and strong but doesn't hold on for long.
The taste is great nice and malty and some chocolate.

The mouthfeel is thick and warm it has a lasting feel.

The finish is OK can't wait to get to the nest one.

I haven't had many Dopple Bocks let alone a bock at all. Lagers you know. But this is really good and inspiring. I wish to make something like this for next winter. The price/value is remarkable with 7.5% and it is brewed in CA.

I wont change my original comments but this is adjunct beer.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, this Joe's offering pours a clear ruby brown with a hard fought half inch of tan foam. Retention is a bit brief but the carbonation does allow for some foam regeneration and some decent lacing through the glass.

Rich caramel malt nose with some muddled chocolate notes. Earthy hops through the foam or when agitated, otherwise malt notes override. Bit volatile in the alcohol department.

Richly caramel and moderately coarse in flavor, diminishing in that sense along with the carbonation. Somewhat smoky at times but pleasant.

Not bad yet a more robust carbonation would give it more body and allow for an improved feel and drinkability. A bargain for the price nonetheless.

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Photo of Spikester
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a good one finger tan head. Modest amount of lacings. Aroma is figgy with a hint of molasses. Taste is sweet fruity with just enough hops for support. Mouthfeel is fine for the style with minimal carbonation. Drinkability is quite good though at 7.5% abv it could be a short session. This would pair well with holiday foods. A tasty beer at a modest price.

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Photo of marcel
4.38/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This Winterfest Dark Double Bock Lager of JosephsBrau was a surprise for me. I had been putting off trying it and finally opened it in the heat of summer.

I don't use the leather, fruit, malty, etc. nomenclature. What I can say is that I invite you to do a blind test with this against the dark double bock of Ayinger that I find excellent! I believe you'll be favorably impressed.


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Photo of ruckus232
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 Ounce brown bottle

Appearance: A nice medium brown color but with only a small amount of tan head that diminished quickly

Smell: Strong toasted smell with a little bit of caramel and cofee in the background

Taste: A toasted malty sweetness with a quick caramel flavor in the middle that finishes of with a slight bitterness

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a brown body with a small off-white head.

S: Smells pretty caramely with strong malt with some hop notes.

T: Taste is about the same a smell, there's a nice balance of malt and hops. usually I'm not a huge fan of bocks or dopplebock, this one however I found much tastier. There' a bit of a butter bread flavor which I really enjoyed.

Overall: Mouthfeel was about standard, well carbonated and medium bodied. Fairly drinkable and that's coming from someone who doesn't enjoy the style.

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Photo of Jtschupp04
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours smoothly, off white, light weight, coarse head that settles quickly over a dark amber red.

Bouquet is lovely, first reaction is malty but after a few more good whiffs all I can think of is a rum or dark fruit. Cherries, raisins, raspberries. Alcohol present in tail of aroma.

Surprisingly creamy and heavy with alcohol. Reminds me of a belgian strong ale. Personally i highly favor the taste in this beer. Dark fruit notes and very light malt.

It reminds me of a belgian strong ale but its not as thick and retains typical carbonation of a lager.

Very drinkable, not filling like belgians. Definitely could drink more than one especially with cheese and/or desert.

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not digging this one as much. I'm getting a lot of coffee and chocolate tones, expected but still it seems like there is something left to be desired.

This is another one from Trader Joe's that is allright, but with the huge selection of high quality dopplebocks I don't know if I'd go back to this. But still, I can't rag on the price. It definitely isn't breaking any ground, but if you are on a budget it could be fantastico.

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark ruby mahogany with a one finger head.

S- Rich, sweet, dark carmel with a light hint of chocolate.

T- An iteresting intermix of rich caramel and bittersweet chocolate. The flavors mellow and mix a little better at midpoint, and are followed by a very light noble hop note. Smooth rich finish.

M- Nice rich full body, and great smoothness.

D- C'mon, it's a dopplebock!

A nice solid example of the style. The best I have had from Trader Joe's.

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Photo of Troyone
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with minimal biege head and too difficult to see the sediment and action.

Has mostly a caramel malty aroma with some hints of molasses.

Creamy caramel malt taste with molasses, florals, and butter in the background.

Medium/full bodied, creamy buttery and resinous feel, with lively and fizzy carbonation.

An outstanding bargain at Trader Joes for a buck. I can enjoy this session of a Doppelbock all day especially knowing what I paid for this.

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Photo of biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear ruby red with a fat shaving cream head that leaves decent looking lace on the glass. Dark fruit, toasted grain and toffee and german malt in the nose. Tastes like it smells, and gets more complex as it warms. Pretty darn tasty but maybe just a little thin bodied for the style. A steal for $5.00 a sixer at TJ's.

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Photo of gpogo
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear dark amber with ruby tints and a large off-white head.

A- Very bready malt aroma. Some dark fruit aromas as well.

T- Sweet bready malt flavor with hints of toffee and a light toasted malt flavor. A light bitterness follows and leads to a slightly sweet bready aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied with a moderately high carbonation. Rather smooth beer.

D- Not too bad of a dopplebock for the price. This is one beer from trader joe's that is pretty good.

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Photo of zeff80
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly caramel color with a tan, foamy, three finger head. It left some decent lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of sweet caramel and malted barley. It had a subtle floral aroma.

T - It tasted of biscuity malt, sweet caramel and toffee. It was syrupy sweet.

M - It was soft and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was a pretty good. I am impressed by Trader Joe's cranking out a pretty good dopplebock.

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Photo of DijonKetchup
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6-pack from TJs.

Poured a handsome amber color, foam fell apart almost instantly. Might be my glass or my wife washed my favorite mug in the dishwasher.

Smells sweet caramel, plums, raisins and figs. Very nice. Tastes very good at about 55°, alcohol not overbearing or overpowering. Carbonation is true to style and I am getting good lacing. This beer might be a bit high on bitterness, as I had assumed after reading 28 IBUs - just a bit more than is right for the style. 28 is more in pilsner range, not doppelbock. Now bitterness is somewhat annoying, almost soapy. It's sweet the way a doppel should be, maybe a bit more would be nice - but that is only my personal preference.

All in all very well done and for $5.99 you can't beat this. My only qualm is the high bitter units which distracted from the malts rather than complementing them. I will go back to this and has made the top of my JosephsBrau hit list.

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Photo of argock
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into an oversized wine glass. No freshness date. Single purchased from Trader Joe's (Short Pump, VA) for $1.

A: Dark brown with substantial light tan head with good retention and scant lacing.

S: Lush dark fruit aroma with loads of sweet malt, mild spiced character, and fairly easy-to-detect alcohol

T: A malt bomb with lightly spiced, rum-soaked dark fruit flavors abound with a bit of leafy hops in the finish. Flavor is good but a little too alcoholic in nature which gives a harsh edge.

M: Mouthfeel is hurt by the high alcohol presence. Otherwise the feel is good with light but active carbonation and sweet malt aftertaste.

D: A surprisingly good bock-plus from TJ's/Gordon Biersch. Other than the hefty alcohol presence, this is a very good brew. And at that price -- pick it up!

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Photo of alexgash
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. 2008/2009 edition.

Pours a clear, clean ruby with lighter edges. Creamy finger of tightly-packed, dirty khaki head. Nose of plummy fruits, rum-raisin bread, sweet Concord grape puree, cookie dough, and light cooked vegetable notes. Toasted grain and roasted malt at first blush, followed quickly by fruity malt sweetness. Bread pudding and milk chocolate mix in, adding some complexity. Spicy, slightly herbal hop bitterness in the finish. Medium-full body with a slightly syrupy feel. Pretty damn good actually. One of the best Trader Joe's beers I've had.

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Photo of Nipitato
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark amber with ruby highlights. Brilliant clarity. Pours with a rich, thick, tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: A rich malty aroma that has a crisp and clean lager character.

T: As with the aroma, a full rich malty flavor. Just a touch of roasted character. Sweetness dominates the taste front to back as is appropriate in style.

MF: Full body with moderate carbonation.

D, notes: A fine drinking beer for a cold winter day while watching football. Sweetness does not get in the way of drinkability.

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Photo of Tone
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with short head and poor retention. Lacing is non-existent. Smells heavily of malts with the lager background. Fits the style pretty well. Tastes of a sweet roasted malt up front with a slightly sour lager aftertaste. Low carbonation, smooth body, roasted malts stay with you for a while. Overall, not bad at all for a Trader Joe's - easy to drink for a Doppelbock.

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Photo of Pencible
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured a clear cherry mahogany with tan head. It smelled like strong roasted barley and earthy molasses, with a bit of bitter chocolate. It tasted like molasses and earthy caramel and roasted barley, with a bit of copper hops. It was watery with lots of carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was a nice, clean malty beer with decent body. It was definitely easy to drink, with no noticeable alcohol. Enjoyable, but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of weeare138
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hopdog for this..
Appears a dark, semi-transparent, dark brown with a light beige head that fizzles out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, herbs, smoked peat, brown sugar, and cream.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with dark fruit, roastiness, and toasted nuts along the tongue.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, syrupy, and sugary.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It pours brown amber with a two tone head to start. The head was both light brown and tan. It minimal lace but the head does eventually turn all tan

Smell: It is very malty.

Taste: It is sweet and caramel like with a very mild bitterness. It is like caramel corn without the corn.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and warm to the throat.

Drinkability: An average bock.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber red with no head and little lacing...actually, no lacing at all.

S: I actually had a hard time picking the aroma out, but my buddy suggested fruits and malts...and after thinking about it, I would agree with it. Check Pehlman's review about the smell...I think he got it pretty well.

T: Hard to tell the taste at the beginning...a little bit of malts with a slight sour finish.

M: Medium body. Almost like drinking a flat soda.

D: Very easy on the mouth and tummy.

Overall: Wouldn't go out of your way for this beer...but if your at trader joe's, it wouldn't be a bad buy.

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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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