Josephs Brau Winterfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
202 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good
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Josephs Brau WinterfestJosephs Brau Winterfest
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
202
Ratings:
317
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
12.36%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
22
For Trade:
0
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 202 | Ratings: 317
Photo of LXIXME
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big light tan head settles into a decent lacing above a clear reddish brown colored beer.

Dark roasted malts, darker spices, and even black licorice appear in the aroma of this winter brew.

Dark roasted malts with some sweetness with just a bit of hops sneaking in the taste, there also seems to be a touch of alcohol making it's presence known.

A not quite dryish aftertaste the bring with it some of the tastes on this medium bodied beer.

A decent but sort of lack luster taste, seems to be missing something that would make a person search out more of this stuff.

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass. Label says best before 04/13/13.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with hints of ruby and amber. Lots of rising bubbles and a big four finger light tan head with good retention. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very bready and dark biscuit like aroma. Roasted and toasted malts with hints of biscuit, chocolate, caramel, toffee, yeast, and toast. Hints of nuts and brown sugar. Also some subtle spices. Pretty earthy with some hops in the background. Very bready and straightforward.

Taste: Very bready, nutty, and creamy. Dark roasted malts with a a taste of biscuit, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toasted bread, and yeast. A good kick of nut flavors. Some sweet brown sugar. Light undertones of apple and dark fruit. A decent backing of earthy hops. Pretty creamy. A good bready and nutty taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth. Finishes somewhat dry. Alcohol is hidden well.

Overall: A pretty decent bock. Nice malt driven taste that is pretty nutty. Very creamy and smooth considering the higher ABV.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.88/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a dark coca-cola colored brew that poured a head with big bubbles. The head only lasted a few seconds. The beer smelled a little on the sour side, don't know if it was suppose to be like that or not. Taste was not sour thank goodness but it was Sweet tasting. I'm going to have to try this one again to be sure about it. Their beers are usually pretty good.

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Photo of KitC
3.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured down the middle into my Augustiner .5L glass produced a large off white head that dissipated to sparse sheets. Deep red-brown color. Little lacing.

S: Quite boozy. Roasted malts create chocolate aromas. Pretty tight and closed at first, but as it warms it really opens up nicely.

T: Sweet dark malts.. Balanced with moderate hops in the finish that mellowed as the temperature increased. (I had it a bit cool for my taste to begin with and I tend to prefer better beers in the 50 degree neighborhood.)

M: Thin for a doppelbock. Low carbonation.

O: Pretty amazing for the price and the style. I was fortunate enough to be in Munich for Lent this year and this does a respectable job of imitating the Maximator, Optimator and Triumphator that I drank during my visit. It's certainly a suitable replacement until I have an opportunity to go back to Munich. I'll definitely stock up on a case or two for the winter.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of augustgarage
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The latest edition appears to have been renamed to "Winter Brew," though the font and contents appear to be the same. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Radeberger pokal.

Clear sienna body shot through with bright points of copper and rust and capped by an active thin off-white raft of foam. Mediocre retention, faint lacing.

Low melanoidins, slightly toasty malt, and a hint of candied nuts in the nose.

Intensely bready palate entry - crusty/toasty/dough-y flavors are followed by hints of winter fruit and increasing malt complexity into the dry/earthy/leafy finish. Maybe a touch of caramel in there somewhere as well...

Light bodied, maybe a little thin even.

Very drink-able, decently crafted, and a good value, though it lacks the depth of flavor that the better examples of the style exhibit.

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Photo of brewcore
3.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Yields a one finger off white head that dissipates quickly to sparse sheets. Deep red-brown color. Little lacing.

S: Quite boozy. Roasted malts create chocolate aromas. Not much aroma at first, but as it warms it really opens up nicely.

T: Sweet dark malts. Chocolate. Well balanced with moderate bittering hops in the middle and in the finish.

M: Surprisingly thin for a doppelbock. Low to moderate carbonation.

O: Not a bad doppelbock especially considering the price. Favorite doppelbock? No. Buy it again? Most definitely. Hard to find a good beer at a buck a bottle. Found one here.
On a consumption note, this beer is best served at 40-45 degrees IMO. As it warms the flavors and aromas open up.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Trader Joe's in Omaha, NE
Best by 5/14/12
Poured into an Ayinger willi glass

Trader Joe's house doppelbock is a good attempt at the style that is, unfortunately, a bit one-sided in its presentation of malt sweetness. A bit of complex sweetness (other than from caramel malt) would improve the overall character, and inclusion of nut flavors from malt would add extra depth. Not sure where the strange bitterness in the aftertaste arises from, but perhaps that could be avoided, too. Overall, good, but average.

Beer pours out a dirty white/very light tan head about 4cm in height. Composed of smallish bubbles, this looks very soft and pillowy. Head descends in about two minutes to a thin cap atop the beer, but leaves significant lacing on the sides of the glass in its wake. Beer's body is a heavy reddish-amber color, transparent, and with plenty of active carbonation.

Aroma is deeply influenced by rich biscuits and bread, heavy sweetness from caramel malt, slight nuttiness, and some spiciness, as from cinnamon or allspice.

Opens up with toasted malt sweetness on the front of the tongue, adding noticeable caramel malt flavors and some spiciness (again, cinnamon or allspice) mid-palate. Still very sweet as we move to the back of the palate, where there is a bit of bitterness perceived alongside additional toasted malts. Washes out with caramel malt flavors alongside bitterness. Aftertaste is unpleasantly bitter, not as from hops, but as from broccoli.

Beer is medium-bodied with soft carbonation that allows this to gently foam up on the palate. Resulting mouthfeel is very smooth and pillowy. Dry finish, slightly sticky from high malt sweetness. Ethanol felt on back of palate and throat, slightly surprising for a 7.5% doppelbock.

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

A - Pours with a small head of light tan foam on top of a clear, amber-brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves decent lace.

S - A sweet aroma of caramel malt with some brown sugar and a hint of allspice.

T - Dark malty notes up front with caramel and some cola character. Very sugary through the middle with a bit of cinnamon and clove as well as brown sugar. Finishes with darker notes of burnt caramel and perhaps a hint of roasted character.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Not bad, the malt character is nice up front but becomes a bit cloying by the end of the glass. In the end, there are much better dopplebocks out there than this one

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Two finger head with excellent retention on a deep amber/brown mildly hazy body.

S: very malty with nut and caramel notes.

T: Lots of malt up front with a burnt toast and bitter coffee/toffee note in the finish. This causes a bit of a lingering aftertaste which is unwanted.

M: medium to full body, moderate to high carbonation. semi dry finish.

Overall: The aftertaste is a bit unpleasant and it was a little too dry but the aroma and malt presence is well done.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.06/5  rDev -14%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Port Brewing taster glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Paired with pizza and breadsticks from Pizza Hut.

A: Pours no finger at all, with a floater that indicates only fair thickness and slight cream. Retention is obviously awful (~<10 seconds). Colour is a nontransparent amber. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Amber hops, clean malts, and cream. A very simple mild strength aroma. Not particularly enticing.

T: Amber hops and malts. Very simple indeed. Not at all complex or subtle. No real spices. Maybe some toasted malt. Decently balanced but badly built. Disappointing, without any complexity. Predictable and boring.

Mf: Smooth, wet, a touch thin, and adequately carbonated. Isn't tailored to the flavours specifically, but suits them generally.

Dr: Drinkable, but boring and dull. Too simple for the style. I wouldn't have it again, but for the .50 cent price tag it's nice enough. Hides its slightly high ABV well.

Low C+

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Photo of Murrhey
2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a taster glass. Reviewed live.

A- Quarter finger head with a quickly evaporating retention. Tan head with large bubbles that escapes quickly. Dark orange-brown color with nice clarity.

S- Nut brown sort of smell, toasty malts with toffee tones that are in brown ales normally. Nice little fella.

T- Nut brown with heavy malts and light on hops. Interesting taste, but nothing so special.

M- Medium bodied and fairly dry finish. Nice feel.

O- Not a great beer, but nice finish and nice overall.

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Photo of Schmidts
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle cooper brown with a nice small head that leaves. Smells of breads and malts. Taste is malts creamy coffee amd caramel with a hit of Hops.
Litle bitterness in the mouth with a dry finish. This is a very nice beer for the price. Thanks to my friend Eddie from the Bronx for picking me up some of this at trader Joes in NY! Overall I give it a 3.5.

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Photo of fezmeister
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber/light mahogany in color with a light tan head that doesn't stand too tall but looks appealingly light and creamy. The nose is nice, but I'm not sure I can indicate much more specific than nice malty, caramel overtones, which of course open as the beer warms.

I wasn't too keen on this beer after the first bottle, but decided it was pretty good after all in circumspect. Considering that it comes off as slightly sweet, the mouthfeel is not the faintest bit sticky or heavy. The toasty Munich malt, caramel, and faintly fruity (baked apple?) flavors are nicely balanced with hop content and some more subtle flavors that are reminiscent of a nicely done winter ale. I'm going to have to look up what yeasts went into this brew, as I seem to detect flavors that could be attributed to the chosen microbial fermenter.

Well worth trying considering the $5.99/sixer price tag.

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

Poured this Doppelbock style ale from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Poured a nice clear reddish brown color. Produced a nice tan head, great retention. Aroma was a sweet malty, caramel scent. Full body, this ale was a very nice surprise. Excellent example of the style, excellent session beer. Taste of toasted grain, caramel and a very aggressive hop finish. High in alochol, leaves you feeling warm, great brew for winter time!

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Photo of rodney45
2.71/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber with a cream colored head that remains for the entire duration.

S: Grains, oatmeal and alfalfa hay.

T: Burnt and bitter toast are the first notes i get. Alcohol seems hidden, and so do any sort of hop profile. Sour and agressive. I agree with a previous review that said, a medicinal bitterness. It lingers throughout the beer, and it almost tastes like old vitamins, or the way a health food vitamin isle smells. It gets slightly sweeter as it warms up.

M: Sharp and sour, moderately carbonated. Medium body.

O: It seems to be an odd example of this style. Its not that it is bad, it just seems unfamiliar and medicinal. Personally would not purchase again, esspecially since you can get better offerings from trader joes for the same price, id rather stick with the pale ale, or ipa... both good examples of their own respective styles made by trader joes.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pilsner glass.

L - clear cherrywood/amber color with a beige head that stayed as a layer being fueled by the rise of tiny bubbles but not much in the way of leaving any lacing.

S - sweet malty aroma that is pleasant for the style.

T - not as sweet as the aroma but it's malty for sure with hints of grain and alcohol.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

O - all around decent beer that I might enjoy more so with a hearty meal than just on it's own.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ah, Trader Joe's... Funny how many times I went to this store without trying the name-brand beers they offer. Time to change that, I suppose.

Fist impression falls a bit flat - the color is a beautiful deep, red shade, but the head barely exists before disappearing. Sweet, robust scent - almost sugary. Bread malts compliment just the faintest hop character. The malty scents are just as thick as the beer lowers in the glass. No lacing or carbonation to speak of, but the important part is there.

Oddly potent combination of wheat and grass on the first sip. Body is fairly light and sharp. Maybe the flavors aren't as strong as the scent, but it satisfies nonetheless. It sweetens as the beer warms a bit, but there's always a chomp of bitterness that shows up in the aftermath. In spite of a decently hefty content, the alcohol never shows itself. Well-made.

All in all, not a bad beer at all. Makes for a good companion on winter nights. I'll probably make more purchases after realizing how affordable this is. Nice job!

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

A: Dark reddish brown color with almost no head.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, cereal malt and some rye bread.

T: For some reason, this tastes more than 7.5%. Mouthfeel is a little syrupy and the taste is almost like a rye bread syrup. Some roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar and yeast as well.

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Photo of Treath
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- A brown amber with a light brown head. Good lacing.

S- Nutty, alcohol, dark coffee, honey, hops, raisins/prunes, roasted malts.

T- A lot of carbonation, sharp hops, and alcohol at first then I tasted dark roasted malts, coffee, bready grains, and a tiny hint of sweet at the end. Has a wheat bread aftertaste.

M- Stingy sharp carbonation, bubbly, fizzles away as you swallow.

Drinkability- This is a beer where you drink one and you feel full.

Overall, this beer is good once in a while. It's an ok beer.
Good for the price.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Best consumed before 5/21/12.

Pours a clear copper color with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a thin cap. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and some fruit aromas. Taste is of toasted malt, caramel, dark fruits, and an interesting band-aid flavor. A slightly assertive and medicinal bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is not a very good beer in my opinion based mainly on the off band-aid flavor coupled with the assertive hop bitterness.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown with a medium off-white head, good retention and lace.

S: Heavy malt with a hint of fig, pretty standard smell.

T: Lots of dark bread, brown sugar. Light grassy hop character.

M: Medium to full-bodied with a frothy carbonation. Somewhat cloying at times.

O: For a $6 6er of dopplebock it's quite a deal. To style and well made. Nowhere near the greatness of Salvator or Celebrator, but at this price point I'm happy.

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Photo of bbb099
3.16/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Clear, dark brown amber with light mocha colored head. Decent amount of lacing.

S - Soft amber malt aroma, but not much else.

T - Caramel malt flavor. Finishes with a little bit of grassy hop bitterness and grainy aftertaste.

M - A little flat. Medium to full bodied. I wished it was a little more carbonated.

O - Not exactly an exciting beer, but it doesn't taste terrible either. The relatively high alcohol content was surprisingly covered up well.

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

dark brown with a good two inches of off white tan colored head. This faded and nestled own leaving a thin film and some side glass lace. The smell was nce and smoky with a bit of an earthy grain mixed in. A touch of some caramel and sweetness as well. The flavor was very tight. Crisp clean and efficent flavor, lots of malt, nice smoky flavors with a touch of caramel.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Winterfest pours a full cherry brown color that is somewhat transparent when held up to the light. A small white cap leaves only a ring around the edges after a minute, with no real lace.

Smell: Soft molasses, some dark fruits blend together well - plum, raisin, and figs. There is not a lot of depth to the aroma though.

Taste: The flavor starts out with some caramel malts, with a sweetness that grows into a molasses flavor, interwoven with plums and raisins. Light earthy hops are noticeable but don't add much bitterness at all to the end. A light alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky on the lips, this is obviously a sweet beer. The feel starts a bit sweet and grainy, moving more syrupy as the sip progresses. There is a slight cut to the stickiness at the end, but not much. Creamy carbonation that is not all that smooth, and a medium body.

Overall: I guess if you are picking something up from Trader Joe's and really want it to be Trader Joe's brand, this would be an all right one to pick up. Everything is muted compared to others of the style, but it isn't too bad.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.17 at Trader Joe's in Roswell, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a russet-ruby-hued body with a smallish, light beige head.

Smell: A harmonious co-mingling of toasted bread and nuts with a fruity hint of both harvest apple slices and Sun-Maid raisins brushed with caramel and flecked with chary roastiness.

Taste: Well toasted bread crusts and barley grains given a modest brushing of dark caramel sauce and brown sugar. Slight nuttiness throughout. Mingling of ripe apple and plump raisins provide a noted fruitiness. Spicy, earthy hops that, along with a hint of roasted grains, provide a reasonable amount of bitterness. Drying, slightly warming finish with a lasting, if light, apple taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Hey! Wait a minute. Wait just one damn minute! This is curiously reminiscent of the Gordon Biersch Winter Bock... E-mails to the brewery have gone unanswered.

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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 317 ratings.
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