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Trader José Light Lager | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Trader José Light LagerTrader José Light Lager
57 Ratings
Trader José Light LagerTrader José Light Lager

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

Style: Light Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HalfFull on 10-18-2009

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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Best before 9/19/13.

Pours a clear light yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain and cooked vegetables. Taste is pretty mild and is of grain and some mild grassy flavors. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer that is fairly drinkable but very bland and watery.

 444 characters

Photo of t0rin0
2.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of kojevergas
2.65/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear glass (ugh!) bottle with standard pressure cap served into a La Chouffe beer flute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average.

A: Pours a two finger head of very light cream, okay to bad thickness, and average retention - though the ABV is rather low. Colour is a clear textbook straw yellow. It's pretty unappealing, all things considered.

Sm: Straw, barley, and malt. A bit on the malty side a la many Spanish lagers, but all around it's decent. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Straw and barley for the foundation, with a light rise of malt that continues through the third act for the climax. Simple and boring, but also refreshing. It's built to be drinkable, and in this it succeeds. It doesn't come off as stale or dirty as many Spanish lagers I've tried do. A hint of lime or something - anything - to broaden the flavour profile would be nice.

Mf: Smooth and wet. It stays out of the way, but also feels a bit thin - though there aren't many flavours to support. Thankfully, it's only a touch watery.

Dr: While its complexity is in dire need of work and there isn't much happening to bring me back to this beer ever again, it is a pleasant refreshing light lager that would work well as a table beer - perhaps to pair unobtrusively with food. The price point is actually rather fair, and (expectedly) no alcohol comes through in the flavour. It's worth noting that it's a big step up from Corona (though perhaps not Pacifico). I'd only recommend it to diehard fans of the style (if they exist!).

 1,561 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
2/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of LXIXME
3/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear bright golden color with a medium white head. The head dies quickly but leaves a decent lacing a top this traditional Mexican light lager.

The aroma is very typical of a light Mexican lager having the light sour almost or hints of lemony citrus, and this transfers well into its taste, lightly sour lemony-citrus with lighter hints of some grains coming through.

This beer is very comparable to Sol, Tecate, Corona, or any of the other big name light Mexican lagers. Not really worth seeking out but if you like these kind of beers this will do just fine.

 572 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
2.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Trader José Light
12 oz. clear glass bottle, "BEST BEFORE 112313AFL 10:04" on 4/24/13

Normally I might be bothered by a clear glass bottle, but in this case I think it's appropriate. Clearly they're trying to copy Corona Light, and thus the bottle needs to look at least a little similar. Additionally, the clear glass bottle adds to the aroma and flavor although I didn't find this at all skunky. (Perhaps they're using pre-isomerized hops? On the other hand, why would they?) Compared with Corona Light I actually find this to have more flavor and character, but it has the same general vibe.

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Photo of dbrauneis
2.92/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear pale yellow in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation quickly rising from the bottom of the glass and some faint golden yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy bright white head that reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of grainy, corn, and vegetal malts with a very light amount of grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of slightly sweet grainy malts with corn and vegetal adjuncts. That is followed by a very light flavor of grassy hops with imparts a light amount of bitterness which fades quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Relatively crisp.

O: Nothing special but this is a decent beer, better than I expected... There is only a light amount of overall flavor to the beer but it is not unpleasant.

 975 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.29/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clean and slightly beery light.

Interesting that cracking the screw cap releases a hint of the slight "skunky" flavor that know-it-all collegians used to disdain when I was a lad. Carbonation is not as spritzy as one might hope, and the bubbles seem bigger. Translates into not much mouthfeel, which is what this beverage should be about. However, it does have a hint of malt. Nice lemony touch. Aftertaste is just a hint of metallic water.

Not my choice for a summer quaff, but seems like a well-made product.

 513 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
2.06/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

so i was stuck in the house with tons of cleaning to do and a bunch of light lagers. so i decided to crack this one open to clean the bathroom

the pour was a light amber color with tons of carbonation and a small head that faded as quick as it came. leaving a bare top with tons of bubbles foaming up to the top. aroma is non existant with light corn and rice, a touch of grain and hints of bread, but nothing appealing in any way. light flavor with a touch of hay and just one of the lightest flavors and feels i have ever come across. it was essentially water to me. just the lightest possible thing you could imagine with hardly any flavor to speak of.

overall it is what it is, went down like water and that was the end of it. do not think i will revist.

 760 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.24/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I'm not quite sure what to expect from this brew. It pours a clear pale straw topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises corn, light wheat, rice, and corn syrup. The taste holds notes of wheat, corn, and flowers. The body is rather light, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda watery feel. Overall, an okay beer that doesn't seem to aspire to much anyway. Regardless, it is highly drinkable and a decent example of what light lagers could be (though the overt corn and corn syrup notes could use a touch-up).

 570 characters

Photo of tdm168
2.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of LiquidAmber
2.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with a half finger white head with decent retention and decent lacing. Aroma quite skunky with underlying sweet malt and maybe some light grassy hops, but the skunk is strong in this one. Flavor is light sweet malt with a hint of grassy hops and very light hints of the skunkiness from the aroma. Light to medium bodied, actually a bit more pleasant mouth feel than I expected. The underlying sweet malt seems pleasant enough and probably quite decent for this style, but the skunkiness in both the aroma and taste (and the latter is unusual even in beers with a bit of skunk in the aroma in my experience) really drags this one down. A sorry lager that can't even make it to the low bar of a light lager, likely due to the clear bottle and sitting in a bright Trader Joe's store (an otherwise positive environment). TJ seems to usually provide decent taste for low prices in their name brand items, but this isn't one of them. Hey guys! Dump the clear bottles. My first review of a light lager and perhaps a poor introduction to a style I suspect will not blow my mind anyway.

 1,148 characters

Photo of Dicers
2.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of beertunes
1.81/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

The clear bottle should have been a warning. Poured into 9oz pilsener glass. Poured a typical thin yellow color with a half-inch of white head that had no retention and very light lace. There didn't seem to be much, if any, carbonation in the glass.

The skunk was apparent as soon as I started pouring the beer into the glass. A strong skunk scent that would make Heineken smell not skunky by comparison. The skunk covered up all other aspects of the aroma, but I did manage to pick up just a weak hint of grain. The skunk wasn't as strong on the tongue, but how could it have been as strong? There just some vague traces of grain and hops under the skuknkorama.

The body was typically average for the style and the beer did have more carbonation across the tongue than it seemed it would in the glass. Drinkability was a zero due to the over-the-top skunk. Overall, a terrible beer, avoid.

 892 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.5/5  rDev +31.1%

Trader José Light has a thick, white head, a mostly clear, golden appearance, with bubble streams, decent lacing, and noticeable tiny white specs roiling about. Aroma is of fairly rich, barley malt, sweetness, and even an odd (but, not bad) syrupiness. Taste is of faint malt, sweetness, cracker, and a touch of balancing hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and a bit slick, and Trader José Light finishes crisp and easy drinking. I find this to be a better-than-average light lager.


 491 characters

Photo of VABA
2/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 11.2-oz. bottle
Glass: Pint mug
From: Trader Joe’s in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $4.99 for a 6-pack
Purchased: N/A
Consumed: Aug. 12, 2015
Misc.: Best before March 26, 2016

Poured a golden, pale, clear color with two fingers of off-white, frothy head. Lots of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Minimal lacing on the sides of the glass. Minimal retention. (Sight - 3.25)

Smelled caramel, grain, honey, corn, cereal, bread and some grass. Decent for the style. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted similar to the nose, once again OK for the style. Got grain, corn cereal, honey, grass, caramel and light spoiled fruit. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish. (Feel - 3.50)

For the style, this was certainly a good beer. It surprised me and was much better than the last time I had it. Would have it again for sure. Nice light one for the summer. (Overall - 3.50)

3.65 | 83 | B

 939 characters

Photo of avisong
2/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of Falcone
2.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of psmith161
3/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of DOCRW
2.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of BcOneSeven
2.61/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 1.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Photo of matjack85
2.61/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this single clear glass 12oz bottle at Trader Joe's in Glen Ellyn,IL for just a dollar. I completely misread the label thinking this was Trader Joe's own brand of beer rather than a Mexican beer named Trader Jose. It was only after failing to find it on the BA site did I take a second look and realize the spelling difference. No information about the beer on the label and no freshness date.

The beer poured a clear pale yellow color that made just a thin rim of white foam on top, but surprisingly left some lace down the sides of the glass.

The smell was awful. A big skunky odor overpowered everything else, but as I let it sit a little I could detect a more traditional lager smell.

The taste wasn't that good but it wasn't that bad either. A bit on the sweet side with more grain flavor than malt, but it also had a touch of hops to it for balance. I let a Mexican friend who was with me taste it himself and he said it tasted like another Mexican beer called "Sol", which is just another middle of the road macro lager.

The mouthfeel was light as it should be for this style, but the carbonation was a bit on the low side for my liking. Easy to drink if you don't inhale too much of the smell, but I'll stck with a Sam Adams Light if I want a good light beer.

 1,277 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.18/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a clear glass bottle into a pint glass. This beer pours the clear and light straw typical of the style. An inch of soapy foam offers fairly good retention. Surface ring and scattered lacing are present throughout the glass.

Light and slightly husky on the nose yet without any distractions from the cereal grains. No corn though perhaps some rice. Very light touch of noble hops reveal themselves later on. Taste follows and is relatively mild in characteristics yet offers a better than expected body. In fact a bit 'creamy' for the style, enhancing the feel a bit. Fairly drinkable for the style given the lack of negatives. Not bad.

Note: ABV was estimated from caloric analysis of 120 calories per bottle, with 9.6g carbs and 1.0g protein. Thoughts of Sol Light from Tecate occurred to me but this surely seems a different animal aimed for the U.S. market.

 867 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
2.99/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

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Trader José Light Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 2.67 out of 5 with 57 ratings
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