JCB (3792) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAR 16, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12oz bottle shared by durhambeer - thanks, Bob! Deep into the tasting, this one came across as indistinct - and like a lot of the TJ’s beers, that’s a pretty accurate impression. Copper/brown pour, moderately carbonated. Nose of molasses, toffee, and roasted malts. Taste is weirdly grainy, coming across like a neo-schwarz as much as a doppel, given how heavy the roasted elements come out.
KickInChalice (842) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 12, 2012
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
From notes. First reviewed 9/17/2011. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
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.
In the nose, soft molasses, some dark fruits blend together well - plum, raisin, and figs. There is not a lot of depth to the aroma though.
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.
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.
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.
seymour (1099) - Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - MAR 9, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tasted from 12oz bottle into nucleated pint glass. Poured a beautiful, mostly clear, dark reddish brown color with big creamy foam and lasting Belgian lace. Excellent multi-layered aroma: bread, caramel, perfumey hops and smooth alcohol, some peppery yeast phenols. Flavors of rich, caramelly malt sweetness, well-balanced hoppy tang, brown bread, molasses cookies, raisins, plums. Medium body, moderate carbonation, long-lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Delicious. One of Trader Joe’s best house beers by far.
nick76 (4076) - Tampa, Florida, USA - MAR 6, 2012
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
The aroma is sweet and toasted with molasses and a touch of chocolate. The appearance is brown with a small head. The taste is like the aroma with a bit of coffee. The palate is smooth. Overall I like it.
theisti (2816) - Leawood, Kansas, USA - MAR 5, 2012
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12 oz bottle purchased at the Trader Joe’s in Kansas City, Missouri. Best Consumed Before 04/14/12. The pour is a lightly hazed copper tan with a one inch cream colored head. Nice lacing. The aroma is fruit, sort of a sweet apple, nice full maltiness, and some clove yeastiness. Nice full nose. The taste is the fruit malt sweetness, some grainy cardboard, and then some of the clove yeastiness. The finish is dry and straw. The palate thin to medium bodied, lower carbonation level, the alcohol shows in the finish. I liked the smell of this, the taste was just ok.
Pailhead (3859) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - FEB 3, 2012
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Courtesy of northernbrews
Bottle: The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, alcohol, and light roast. It pours a transparent orangish-brown with a small off-white head. The flavor starts with moderate caramel and toffee. The finish has light roasted nuts and a hint of metal. It’s medium bodied with mild carbonation. Overall, decent, but the flavors seem a little watery.
RobertDale (1882) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - FEB 2, 2012
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 ounce bottle from Trader Joe’s. Pours reddish brown with an average tan head. Aroma of malt, dark fruit, and caramel. Taste is similar. A bit of alcohol at the finish. Pretty good.
Drake (6488) - Ivy, Virginia, USA - JAN 31, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 ounce bottle from Trader Joe’s Glen Allen, VA. Pours a clear vibrant copper-red color with a thin frothy white head. Average head retention. Aroma of toffee malts, raisin and a bit of spice. The taste is toffee, spice, raisin, caramel, chocolate and faint hops. Medium bodied.
BVery (4247) - Burnsville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 9, 2011
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Bottle from Trader Joe’s. Clear deep amber pour with a white head. Toasted bread on the nose. Medium palate. Flavor is bready/caramel malt, a touch of fruit rind, but a bit of metal in there as well.
ChainGangGuy (4117) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUL 17, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
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.