Josephs Brau Winterfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

202 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 318
Photo of arizcards
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack back in early November for $4.99.

Pours an opaque brown with a nice head that dissapated to a few champagne bubbles. Nose was full of sweet malts, nicely perfumed. Taste is heavy of toasted malts with a slightly sweet small hopped finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than what I would expect from the style. It is decently carbonated and is keeping my palate interested. Drinkability is OK, abv is well hidden. This one grows on you as the heavy toasted malts are very overwhelming at first. Definitely worth a try at this price.

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Photo of denjen
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dennis: Lately, it seems that we pick some of this up every time we go. The price just can't be beat. It's just a typical lager based double bock, sweet malts and not a whole lot else. But at 7.5% for about 5 bucks, you just can't pass this by.
Jen: Okay, so this is a complete value, although it may lack in originality, it does stand true for a double bock. It has a high roasted malt flavor that is caramelly sweet, but not sicky sweet. A nice level of carbonation accompanies this medium to full bodied brew. It ends with a very mild hop taste; just enough to notice them. For the $$, this is a must have if you live near a TJ's.

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Photo of mentor
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated UF001. Pours a half-finger light brown head (like light brown sugar) that quickly settles. Clear dark amber liquid that is a really gorgeous color. Smells caramel with a hint of chocolate and mild bock character. Tastes caramel with a fusel alcohol bite. Dark grains are way underneath and come across as dry cocoa and a tinge of black soured grains. No hops to my palette in taste or bitter. The alcohol is a bit rough and may be hiding them. Md body and modestly carbonated. Nice to look at, but mediocre in taste.

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Photo of sloejams
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've had a couple different tasting versions of this Gordon Biersch made-for-Trader-Joe's offering. This latest being the best.

First, I would suggest that I wouldn't class this a Doppelbock, it's more to like a kicked-up Dunkel, imo. It pours a medium to syrupy dark brown with a slight head. Malt character comes through in the nose with caramel and roasted nut flavors though none very potent. Chocolate malt comes through overwhelmingly in the taste hiding the 7.5 ABV. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy but pleasant.

At $4.99 it's a great bargain, I've gone through a few 6 packs of these. Each time, I only had one of these and moved on. Certainly worth picking some up if your TJ's has it in stock.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany brown colured, with a large super dense frothy/bubbly dark tan head. The aroma is of course very malty and quite pleasant, with some funky milk chocolate aspects. Good dark roasted malt taste with a nice dark fruity end. Quite good on the palate, smooth with a grt long lasting bitter fruit aftertaste. A good American attempt at a doppel-bock, not as good as most available german examples , but again a great bargain beer.

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Photo of walleye
3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a reddish brown with a light tan head and no lacing. aroma roasted malts, caramel, sugar, molasses, a little chocolate. flavor, roasted malts, chocolate, plums, brown sugar, some hops. mouth feel was a little thin. but not to bad of a beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle with a batch # that means nothing to me on the back label.

A- Quick to foam though the bubbles crawl through the viscous liquid. Great head retention, big sticky patches ... clarity is great as well.

S- Super malty aroma, faint caramel, brown bread and creamed coffee nose.

T&M- Just as viscous as the appearance as the carbonation rolls around the mouth of this full bodied brew. Decent malt character, lots of toasted malt flavor with very little depth after that. Mild yet sharp bite from the hops help to even the playing field. The alcohol is a bit too predominant in the malty finish with a hint of clean fusel.

D- Not too shabby, this is a sure thing for $5.29 a 6-pack, though after one bottle I feel like I need to switch to something else.

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Photo of StAnthony
4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm pretty new to the world of bock, and this was my first taste of a style that I've become obsessed with. My wife brought this home for me from a TJ's that had just opened up in the neighborhood and I can't thank her enough. Very rich and malty with a full body and exceptionally smooth mouthfeel. Strong cocoa on the nose that carries through to the tounge and a sweet caramel finish. Goes down extremely smooth for the high (doppel) alcohol content and has a pleasant warming effect that lives up to its seasonal name. You get a surprise when you stand up, but that's the sign of a great bock, eh?

Unfortunately, like TJ's popular "2-Buck Chuck" (Charles Shaw wine), the quality varies. My second six pack had a medicinal aftertaste that I hadn't detected in the first. But, also like Chuck, it's worth the chance.

I don't have many doppelbocks to compare it to, but for my tastes, this is a solid pick.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a Christmas gift bag. We don't have the stores around here so who knows when I'll get to try a TJ brew again.

Pours a dark mahogany brown under two fingers of khaki head. Nose limps out of the glass with soggy beef jerky and smoke. Taste is smoky and metallic, with some earthy peat and faint baltic prune. Mouthfeel is frothy and thick. Wasn't really a fan of this, the funky jerky just didn't sit well with me. Not sure if it was a bad bottle, but I'm in no rush to seek it out again.

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Photo of gbarron
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on the recommenation of several trusted sources who also report that this is the bottled version of Gordon Biersch's winter bock offering.

Appearance - dark chestnut brown, with reddish hues. Perfectly clear, you can see through the glass, little bubbles of CO2 coming up the sides. Head an off-white collection of fine bubbles, slowly disappating to form a little foamy sea atop a dark ocean. Light lacing all the way down.

Smell - sweet, malty, chocolatey, caramel smell. Some noble hop aroma, but not alot. Malt dominates the nose. Some toasty malt smells.

Taste - initial taste very sweet malt, followed by some muted but very present noble hop spiciness. Saaz? Tettnang? Not sure. Starts out very, very sweet - almost like drinking liquid caramel or some sort of sweet flavored bread. Hops followup. Very tasty, seems to me to be right down the alley for a double bock.

Mouthfeel - moderately thin, lager-ish. Sweetness lays on your tongue a bit, then fades. Some bready chewiness. Dryness in the end.

Drinkability - I'm rating this high on the drinkability scale for two primary reasons: good price (around $5) and a quality product. I wish TJ's would offer this year round. I would love to drink several of these, but the malty sweetness becomes a bit filling after a couple.

Overall - reminds me a lot of Moretti LaRossa. A very sweet, malty beer, with a dry, hoppy finish. Very tasty. Highly recommended based on the price and availability.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 355ml (12 fluid ounce) standard looking brown glass bottle. The letters ‘T’ and ‘J’ sit aside a sheaf on an appropriately color coded dark brown crown cap. Main label and neck label has the words (deep breath) ‘Wnterfest Dark Double Bock Lager’. Described below as ‘Brewed & Bottled by Trader Joe’s Brewing Co, San Jose, CA’ – a long mouthful for a GB contract brew. The reverse label has the Batch Number as ‘WF008 10:38’, plus the following Beer Stats: 7.5% alcohol by volume. 28 Bitterness units. Brewed with dark roasted Munich and caramel malts.

Appearance: Darkish brown with a translucent cherry wood body. A handful of slow moving streamers lend a lazy look but the head formation is excellent, a deep and bold look at first, the surface bubbles and soon settles to form a super looking and very creamy smooth 1” thick light brown crown cap that has a lasting resilience.

Nose: Medium strength nose but it has all the right traits to entertain me from the description on the back label of the bottle. Dark Munich malts, caramel and toasted hops. Soft alcohols.

Taste: Like the nose the flavors are medium in strength but nicely presented. Roasted malts have a smoky feel to them, chewy caramels and a nice hop aspect right at the death. Mild sweetness with a roast chestnut tingle and a dark fruity flash in the finish. Toasted finish lingers nicely on the tongue. This reminded me of many English Winter Warmers I had back in the UK, but that’s a bad thing as I enjoyed those.

Mouthfeel: Creamy at first, roasted smoky chewy malts in the middle and a lovely soothing almost creamy finish. Dry and roasted with a balancing middling sweetness.

Drinkability: No worries finishing the six-Pack I picked up, in fact I am already well into my third bottle. Appealing Mouthfeel and a nice clean taste profile. Hard to put down but easy to put down, if you know what I mean.

Overall: A new addition to the previous “staple” four Trader Joe’s “Brewing” Co. beers that I picked up earlier in the year. I actually enjoyed this offering, not so sure about the style designation but that never worries me, though it may fall short if compared to the moniker by others. More of a Dark Winter Warmer Lager for me, but I still enjoyed it. Get a 6-Pack and not a single.

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Photo of AltBock
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle with a nice picture on the front and with information on the back. On the back it had a history of the Dopplebock style and also said that it had a 7.5% alcohol content with 28 IBU's.

Poured a dark ruby color with a small head of tan colored foam that dissipated fast but left some rings around the pilsner glass. It had a light aroma of of only sweet chocolate malts. Typical Dopplebock smell, but was a bit lighter in the smell than most. The taste was strong with chocolate malt and nothing else. Not very complex and good none the less. The mouthfeel was thick, but went down nice and smooth. It didn't even bother to hide its alcohol content of 7.5%. Overall this made for a nice decent cheap Dopplebock that you can get for $5.00 a six pack. This happened to be my first Trader Joe's beer.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A brew with a nice reddish/brown color. Decent tan head with a nice lace to the end of the glass. Nice malty tone on the nose, toffee and caramel blend in nice. Touch of something sweet going on in the aroma area also. Maybe dark fruit. Taste is smooth and sticky across the lips. A bit creamy feel going on and matching the aroma but a slight crisp finish is noted.

Well not a bad brew, A Trader Jo’s opened up down the street the other day. This brew was nice, need to check out the others.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was amazed that a beer from a grocery store would be so drinkable, but then it IS trader joe's. My wife brought a sixer of this home for me and i ignored it for a few days because i didn't have much hope. After cracking one open and pouring it, however, i decided it looked and smelled quite good. Smell was malty and sour. Had a bit of a bite and was not nearly as heavy as i expected. Probably was too cold at the point when i drank it and i noticed the taste improved as the glass warmed up. Willing to try other trader joe's beers now

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Photo of watermelonman
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a decent dark brown with hints of red. Head and lace are minor.

The smell is mostly of malts with bits of chocolate. The taste is dominated by malt but is lighter than expected. Chocolate again comes through. The mouthfeel is definitely the low point here, obviously due to being so light for the style.

An appealing beer overall, it's just too light for a doppelbock.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice brown with reddish tinge. The small-moderate head quickly subsides to a thin veneer of tan over most of the top of the glass.

Aroma is caramel and cocoa powder. Malty sweet goodness.A slight yeasty back tone.

Flavor is rich malts, toasted and roasted, with a slight bitterness in the edges and the end. Sweetness is obvious, but not overpowering. Alice says molassas, and I think that's a pretty good description.

Nice full rich mouthfeel that tells you this one carries some ABV inside.

Overall, a decent offering from TJs- one never knows with this store, this one is OK.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trader Joe's Winterfest
12 oz brown bottle
Batch # - WF002 10:47
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a neutral shade of brown with some reddish highlights on the bottom of the glass. Thin head for a lace.

Aroma of Munich malts and sugary sweetness.

Taste is syrupy with flavors of caramel, hints of chocolate and roasted malts. Nicely balanced with a mini hop snap on the finish. The mouthfeel is doughy, like a cookie or piece of cake with caramel swirls.

This was my first time trying a Trader Joe's beer and it's good. The price is really worth noting, as is the smooth 7.5% ABV.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.6/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Guess I'll stand out there on my own with this one as I often do... but maybe this should be in the Winter Warmer category and people wouldn't be so harsh on it.

Solid brown color with a nice full light brown head and nice carbonation with slow bubbles. Smokey, roasty, dark Munich malt aroma and flavors. Lots of robust roasty full flavored characteristics that you don't normally associate with a true Dopplebock but they aren't really selling it as one either... Medium-full bodied, smooth, and warming.

So good for a winter warmer that I went back and bought a case...

Per bottle label: 28 IBU

Batch #: WF005
Tasted: 11/25/05

($5.29 / 6-pack)

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Photo of hopsaplenty
2.86/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with loads of carbonation streams. Short, quickly thinning head of sandy colored and small bubbles which thins to a brief collar leaving no lacing. Smells slightly sweet and modestly malty, with raisins, plums, and almost jammy. The taste is also initially sweet and finishes with notes of alcohol. Raisins and plums along with hints of clove are also present. Light body for a dopplebock, and a rather thin mouthfeel. Didn't seem quite to style, but was still enjoyable.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pleasant dark amber with a small head that disappates to nice thin lacing. Very light aromas of toasted malts and mild chocolate.
Thin mouthfeel with little carbonation.
Interesting tastes...faintly chocolate....roasted malts....slightly fruity esters.
This is an interesting brew. I doubt it is representative of true dopplebock, but maybe a 'light' dopplebock.
Nice flavors for the winter season....strong alcohol content for warming but no strong alcohol flavors. Smooth with no bitterness or offensive aftertastes.
I enjoyed this brew and look forward to another one.

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle, no dates.

Deep mahogany hue. Creamy tan coloured head. Thin & patchy lace.

Nose has hints of chocolate & plums.

Subtle hints of plum & chocolate work their way around malty/breadiness. A bit of caramel. Finished off dry with some German hop flavours peaking out - grass & earthy. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. This doppelbock will not wow anyone, however that is to say that it isn't bad. The price can't be beat either! ($5.49 / 6 pk)

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer from Trader Joe. What would you exspect from a grocery store? The color was a dark brown with very little foam and lace. The smell of roasted malts and hops filled the nose with a pleasant aroma. The taste of roasted malts with a hint of toffee was evident. There was a nice balance of sweet, tart and sourness on my tongue and palate. Not a great beer, but I would say, upbove average. All you have to do is keep an open mind!

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Photo of Ricochet
2.72/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I have not been impressed with Trader Joe beers, and I was less inpressed whit the bottle of Two Buck Chuck Wine that everybody raves about, but that's another story. I want to like this beer because it has elements that say it's good to me, but , something seems amiss.

It appears rosy amber, but seemed like an average brown ale, with a head that quicly left the scene. It smells sort of bread like, with some of the burnt malts making themselves known. Mouth was thin but very liquor-like, almost like this beer is crying to drink it at room temperature. As it warmed, it didn't taste as good. Actually, I was not impressed with this.

It was very malty and had a heavy alchohol twinge, and there was licorace and a little coffee taste, and I so wanted it to be a porter, but it was thin like a lager. There was raisin notes but the heavy alchohol just was too damn strong. Last one I tried, I don't know if I was in a non-beer mood or what, but I dumped it.

Drinkablilty is, well, at 4.99 should be okay in my book but this wasn't a very drinkable beverage. I have tried other bocks and they seemed to do this style a bit better. Yes, this would be better than a malt liquor or bland lager for flavor, but compared with it's style, not good.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tried one of these beers that my dad offered me from his 6-pack. Poured a toffeish brown/black. Smelled like licorice, with vanilla notes a decent amount of malty sweetness followed by the welcomed bubble of cold lagered carbonation to help the flavor along. Although I wasn't expecting this Dopplebock to be up there withe Ayinger Celebrator, but for a 7.5 % beer, the overall flavor scheme was subdued. Not up to my expectations, but would definetly buy this beer though.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.45/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love the dopplebock style so I had to pick this up at trader joe's, must be a fresh palate as the season is right and it was presented on the end of an aisle with about 20 cases out for the picking. I swiped a sixer up for some sampling.

Pours a deep purple to brown with a decent head and nice carbonation support.

Serious Toasted bread to the point of borderline smoked. Doughy at times. Taste was the same as the smell although the smoked flavors come through more in the taste. Malted sweetness up front and then Bammm smoked wood...

Notes: I was hoping that this winter-dopple would have some spices,cinnamon,cloves or something but it ended up being just a sub par dopple that has issues all around.

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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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