Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style LagerJosephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager
229 Ratings
Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style LagerJosephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager

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

Style: Czech Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by notchucknorris on 12-21-2011

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Ratings: 229 |  Reviews: 74
Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +50.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Fettpopps
4.5/5  rDev +35.5%

Photo of ynoT0207
4.4/5  rDev +32.5%

Photo of Tone
4.3/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear gold color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong Euro yeast, citrus hops, pale malt, hint of tea, slight sweet malt, and a hint of bread dough. Fits the style of a Czech Pilsner. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong Euro yeast, citrus hops, pale malt, hint of tea, slight sweet malt, and a hint of bread dough. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, blend, and feel.

 478 characters

Photo of BrianCuoz
4.25/5  rDev +28%

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.12/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsener glass- pours a clear golden color with two fingers of head, decent retention, a few streaks of lacing, visible effervescence.

Smell is appropriate for the style- grassy, lemony hops, some pale malt sweetness, and a little bit of that signature lager yeast.

Taste is perhaps not as lovely as the nose- a little heavier on the malt sweetness, but still good noble hop bitterness and flavors, not really tasting the yeast. Grass keeps coming to mind (and palate), but not in a bad way. Crisp.

Mouthfeel is pretty good as well- light body, moderately full carbonation, some residual sweetness and grassy hops in the finish. Hell, this is a damn good beer for $6.49 a sixer, and even not considering the price I like it for an American pilsner. I've never quite been able to put my full support behind Prima Pils. I think I'll get this one many more times considering this price and worthy taste.

 939 characters

Photo of steveh
4.11/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got into my local TJ's for the first time in a while and happened on this new label. I find it odd that this beer rates so much lower than the same beer -- but carrying the Gordon-Biersch label. Tell me blind tasting isn't the best way to review.

A -- Clear, deep gold with a long-lasting dense white head. Picture-perfect Pilsner.

S -- Spicy hops up front with a mild fruitiness and DMS back. Some vague breadiness back.

T -- Good balance of spicy hops and bready malts up front with the hops finally winning out. The breadiness lingers into the finish, but light citrus and spicy bitterness dominate the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is crisp and dry with a medium-light body.

O -- When I first grabbed this beer I was afraid it was just a re-labeling of the Josephsbrau Bohemian Lager, but this is a much nicer brew. While not so much Czech as German in its Pils character, it's a great rendition of the style from a US micro. Very easy-drinking and perfect on a warm summer day.

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Photo of PhilHeinricke
4.03/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good Beer

Precious wanted to buy a house. We live in a townhouse, and I had planned it out to pay it off within the next ten years. Then it was easy living and traveling all over the world. But Precious wants to live in a single-family home, and she picked one out, and I'm embarrassed to say how much it costs, but $375k is a lot of money. I needed some beer to cry in, but anticipating the payments, I didn't want to spend a lot.

We went to Trader Joe's to get some humus or something. And as usual wherever I am I always check out the beer isle. They carry a lot of beers some name brands like Sierra Nevada and some things that I'd never heard of. I embrace experimentation. I'm always the first one in the pool. I noticed some TJ's brand beers that are low priced so I grabbed a six-pack of this and something else. As they are not kept cold at TJ's I put them in the fridge looking forward to trying them in the evening.

It comes in 12 ounce bottles. It pours out an attractive golden color a little darker than your regular lager. It has a healthy fluffy head even though I'm always careful pouring. It has a pleasant smell. It's strong but not too strong. I feel that smell is an important ingredient and don't drink right out of the bottle. I like to pour it out and look at that great golden color and smell the aroma.

It's got a strong lager taste accompanied by a hint of bitterness almost like an ale. It goes down smooth after a workout on a hot summer Saturday afternoon. I'm in Heaven right now.

 1,533 characters

Photo of elwoodjblues
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of SonicAddict
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Agree with Argok, but just had a better opinion of it.

My bottle had a different label, but i'm not sure if that means I had a newer version of the beer.

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Photo of kepp
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of Guyute
4/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.98/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pours a golden yellow hue with a two finger, off white head.

A: Gentle notes of baked bread, apple tarts and crisp, floral hops.

T: Taste is well balanced but slightly more sweet than dry with a creamy, red apple taste upfront that finishes clean with a gentle bitter/grassy flavor. A light, sugary, bready, malty note plays a supporting role in the background. Slightly smokey with notes of vanilla.

F: Body is medium-light with low carbonation. Points off here on drinkability, as this is rather sweet and sugary after awhile for a pilsener, but it's really not a huge deal.

O: Maltier than most other pilseners (which my tongue says it likes but my mind says is wrong for the style) but for $6.99 for a 6 pack, it's pretty good.

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Photo of TheBeerbarian
3.94/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of American_Hawk
3.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of jawlessbody
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours darker than a lot of pilsners, with a dark gold/coppery hue and a fluffy 3 finger head.

Smell: Sweet, bready nose with a little bit of citrus acidity that'll tickle the nostril hair.

Taste: It fills out the mouth with a tingle of floral hops that quickly fades into a cracker-like maltiness, soon finishing out into what I can only describe as a orange juice like acidity combined with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Again, quite similar to orange juice. It's not really the carbonation, but the sharpness from the acidity that takes over the mouth feel, but it still remains smooth going down with just a bit of a tickle at the back of the throat.

Overall: Sadly, I only had one at my disposal or I probably would have had 4 or 5. It's low enough in alcohol content to be a very sessionable beer, but doesn't overpower the palate to the point where you only want to have one or two. It's light, crisp, refreshing and has a perfect balance of flavors for this style. I'm really impressed.

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Photo of runlikeakenyan
3.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GMB
3.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Josephs Brau PLZNR pours a somewhat unexpected, though appealing, darker-than-straw body. A standard pour yields a small, bright white head with tons of staying power. In fact, the head outlasts that of JosephBrau's Bohemian lager, whose head was initially more impressive. Indeed, PLZNR's head is so enduring that there is still a thin cap of sticky white foam as I take my first sip a full 5 minutes after the pour. Carbonation in the brew is medium. Regularly dispersed small bubbles move steadily in streams towards the surface. I predict that this brew will have a moderate feel and yield a frothy foam.

PLZNR's nose is balanced between mild, citrus-floral hops and lightly sweet malt. Dried apricots are balanced with coriander seed, pepper, lavender, and faint aromas of grapefruit.

I the thick, sticky malt of Bohemian Lager from my palate before delving into PLZNR. The latter is crisper, more sophisticated, and better balanced than the former. Prominent flavors are butterscotch, lightly toasted crackers, thyme, the zest of an unripe orange, and perhaps a touch of rosemary. Sweet grapefruit appears late, develops, and moves to the fore as the brew's flavors hang on the palate.

The first few sips are crisp and clean, but soon thereafter, malty flavors begin to dominate. The aforementioned flavors remain, but the sweet malt knocks things somewhat off balance. This brew is too sweet, especially for a Czech Pilsener. A thinner, lighter (that is, less toasted) malt profile would yield a crisper finish and allow the beer's lovely bouquet to open up more and develop further on the palate. The word "dry" should come to mind when describing a Czech Pilsener. In this case, it comes to mind only because I can't use it. Instead, I'm forced to write that this beer is dryish.

What crisp character does come through in this this brew is helped by its mouthfeel. A swirl around the tongue yields a respectable foam that's viscous enough to please the palate but not so sticky as to dull the beer's spicy notes or to dampen further the moderate dryness of the finish. Nice.

As a Czech Pilsener, PLZNR certainly outperforms Bohemian Lager. In fact, I submit that JosephBrau's Bohemian Lager isn't a Pilsener at all. Its richer malt profile and muted hoppy flavors suggest that it is best categorized as a Munich Helles Lager. The powers-that-be at BeerAdvocate would do well to consider reclassifying it as such.

I'd gladly drink either of these tasty beers again, but, if given a choice between the two, I'd reach for a PLNZR.

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Photo of Vestlake
3.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour. Nice Pilsner aroma but not much of a head. I thought the taste was great, better than most American pilsners I've tried. Great price too.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.79/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Value has to fit the rating calculus somewhere. So, I put it in Overall.
PLZNR is a great value at well under a buck... and a decent Pils to boot.
As noted in some of my other TJ reviews, I like Trader Joe's brewing strategy: it is disruptive; find a good recipe, bring volume to a contract brewer, cut out the middle man and give customers value.
Why don't BA raters show some appreciation for new methods to spread the Gospel of better taste ?

PILZN Looks like a clear gold. Smells mostly malt. Tastes more hoppy, pushing out the malt.
Feels somewhat soft, but then the bubbles and hops push that out, too.
Had with a garlicky ratatouille, that was not my best choice. PILZN is better to refresh, than to eat with.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.78/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Josephsbrau "PLZNR"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 10/20/15"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL

Hedonistically this is a decent enough beer at a decent price, displaying a firm maltiness and some herbal and grassy hops. As a Czech-style Pils however, it lacks finesse. The clarity, head retention and lacing are not quite up to snuff, but it's really in its malt and hop character that it drops the ball. Czech-style Pilsners really need to display a bright pilsner malt off-set by spicy, noble Saaz hops but this one is a bit muddy. The bitterness should act as a stiff backbone to the malt, but this one is a bit flabby and introduces itself within the beer in a wider way.

All of the Trader Joe's beers deliver a good game, but for such a delicate and precise style I think I'll have to pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a clear gold color with a nice cap of white head. Nice lacing!

Nose is very grainy...pretty good representation of the style. Hops are floral and a little grassy. Not bad, but does not smell super-delicious.

Taste is a nice combo of grainy malts with a herbal, grassy hops. Not bad..this is one of the more affordable pilsners out there and it is better than 60% of the imports that are more expensive. I like it, but unfortnately a TJ is about 30 miles away!

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Photo of McStagger
3.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, the good ole TJ's brand beers. Always a good value. How does this one stack up?

A: Poured into a standard pint glass. Slightly darker than straw yellow with a touch of haze. Most clear, though. Rapid pour leads to two finger bleach white head. Dissipates rapidly with moderate lacing. Ample carbonation, with large bubbles.

S: Sweet malts, lemon zest, spicy and floral hops, touch of skunk.

T: Light, crackery malts transition into a spicy bitterness. Floral notes, green apple, touch of sulfur, lemon oil. Fairly strong bitterness smacks you right in the mouth. The bitterness is borderline resinous and soapy. Finishes fairly dry and bitter.

M: Spot on for the style. Okay, maybe it feels a little mass produced, but I've definitely had worse examples.

O: Pleasantly surprised, to say the least. Tastes like a ten dollar a six pack beer. Instead, only 5.50. Damn.

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Photo of jkblr
3.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle BB 6/5/17 poured into a pils glass at fridge temp 5% ABV. The beer is bright straw yellow in color with a fluffy white head that never totally goes away. Smell is grass and floral notes but not robust in nature. Taste starts with malt and then transitions to noble hop flavor. Bitterness is pleasant and to style. Mouthfeel is a bit too soft and lacks strong lager crispness. Overall, an enjoyable beer faulted only to style. It feels like a few short cuts were taken with malt and lagering time in the interest of low cost. Still a strong contender @ 6.99/6pk when better seasonal options aren't available.

 627 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBierZu
3.75/5  rDev +13%

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Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.32 out of 5 with 229 ratings