La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,885 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,885
Reviews: 783
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 167
Gots: 311 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-14-2004

An artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice, and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age from two to ten months.
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Ratings: 1,885 | Reviews: 783
Reviews by Hotrod88:
More User Reviews:
Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Deep red, with a bit of burnt rust color to it, but fairly bright for it's dark appearance. Opaque, with very slow crawling fine bubbles rising. Minimal head creation with a faint tan color, leaving a thin collar on the glass.

Wonderful bouquet on this brew. A great mix of balanced sweet caramel and tangy sour red fruit. Senses like a bowl of sour cherries, and sweet malts. Definitely getting a Flanders like vibe from this for an American brewery for me is kind of rare and very impressive. Sweet taffy throws itself in the mix too. Real nice.

Palate comes off a little more than disappointing. Light malted body and slightly wet, with not a lot of hint of barrel aging character. Some good sweet mix of cherry/raspberry like tones in the mid palate, with a nice controlled finish. Aftertaste comes off more light and hinting towards a summer light brew, which is impressive since this rolls in at a much higher undetectable abv. Slightly flat carbonation, but not giving to the caramel sweetness on the palate. Some mild pepper finish seems to give a bit of menthol heat too.

Overall an ok wild, but feels more like a summer quencher quick thrower, than a malty classic oak wonder.

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn how cool is it to see Jolly Pumpkin showing up here in the Buffalo area!This is one of the few offerings suprisingly that I havent tried from JH till today,this poured a light hazed amber/brown with a tight well formed light brown head in my oversized wine glass.The barrel aging shows with hints of vanilla and wood with some lactic sour notes.Very food friendly but flavorful starting out with notes of grape and brown sugar with quite a hefty sour acidic finish but not not to much,yeasty esters thruout.A very nice beer from the home state I like a good Biere de Garde if it can be found and this is quite nice,oh and did I say food friendly?

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An affordable funk becoming ever more available at bars in Madison, La Roja, has taken a special place in my heart as the cheap, punchy, sour brew of choice for finishing off a long night off big beers. It's big enough to stand out but not so over the top as to offend beer drinkers that shy from acidic or sour beers.

Appearance: Pretty muddied red/orange with minimal lacing but aggressive and attractive carbonation.

Aroma: oaky lambic core covered in generic sour fruit with hints of cherry cough syrup and lemon zest.

Taste: Biscuity amber malt body, fruity yeast, oaky and earthy finish of sour fruits and vanilla. Slightly barn yardish.

Mouthfeel: Moderately funky and sour. Medium body with great carbonation.

Drinkability: Killer.

Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Roja pours a light-ish ruby red color with some copper tints popping out here and there. Translucent with a slight clarity as light busts through without much of a problem. A slightly foamy, beige head bubbles up and perches at about a quarter-inch, but fades to nothing but a ring relatively quickly.

Tart cherries make up a large portion of the aroma here; sour, juicy, and very fruit forward. It's a nice, clean smell - freshly picked and overly juice cherries, rather than syrupy and medicinal. Pungent, lively, and in-your-face. There might also be a little bit of a grape aroma, borderline vinous, but I'm really getting mostly cherries from this. Very light oak in the background but no real discernable funk or barnyard - at least not right away.

As expected, the taste is lightly tart up front but not too heavy - not quite puckering or lip-smacking, just a few notches below that. Cherries are abundant, but the grapes come out much more on the palate, and La Roja actually does have a strong vinous character to it. Oaky and woody notes come out big-time, especially near the latter half of the sip. Light yeast and funk notes come out a bit, too, but not as heavy as many of Jolly Pumpkin's other offerings. Oak and sweet cherry aftertaste, dry and carbonated heavily.

A solid offering from Jolly Pumpkin and a relatively "easy going" sour/wild ale that would be nice to easy newbies into the style without scaring them away.

Photo of ricke
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Ruby colored with some orange hues. Slightly hazy. A big dense but still quite fluffy head with an off-white, almost yellowish, color stays around for quite a while. Good lacings.

S: A rather fine-tuned smell, with some faint champagne-like characteristics. Plenty of fruity aromas (mostly ripe apples). Some vinegar. Sweet chocolate. General pleasant tart notes. Plenty of funk going on as well - wet hay, dirt and horse blanket. Some phenols. An interesting smell to say the least.

T: Not as rich as the smell actually. Fruitiness (sweet cherries and currants, tart apples) and a semi-harsh funkiness (horse blanket, stable). Grass, chocolate, yeast, barrel notes, and dry earth. The finish is semi-dry with notes of green apples, grapes, some alcohol, faint medicinal phenols and a floral bitterness.

M: Medium body and the beer is quite dry from start to finish. The carbonation is rather prominent at fist but it calms down after a while. Actually, the beer undergoes a positive development throughout the journey, it opens up and gets a better overall expression.

D: This is a very good and interesting beer, but not exceptional. The smell outweighs the taste, which is kind of a shame. And as notes, it got better after a while in the glass. Would definitely have it again if it was offered.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.51/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One finger of toasted merangue head sits ontop of this opaque, caramel-colored brew. Aroma is of cranberry, grape, spice, BOOZE, fruit cocktail...actually smells a bit like cranberry-infused vodka.

Taste is tart, yeasty, bittersweet, overly harsh herbal flavor, powerful floral flavors, big peach and plum flesh flavors, peppery spice comes out with warmth. This beer starts out quite funky but things start to come together as you quaff. Overall kinda like drinking potpouri. Interesting, but not quite my style and questionable for beer de guarde if for no other reason than things are a little dark and heavy for the style.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

La Roja by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. 7.2% alcohol content. 2nd American Wild Ale I've had and very excited. Old school cat design on the bottle red scheme. Blend 3,2009

A- Pours a dark glowing orange fluid with small off white head that falls to a frothy top and light strings of lacing grasping the glass.

S- Smells similer to red wine with floral rose scents and a yeasty tartness. Light hints of oak in the nose as well.

T-M- Excellent, pure excellence. First up is a dash of earthy malts with quick but sharp tart and bitterness funk. Second is a spicy alcohol bite and bourbon heat following. By god I love this beer... It offers up beautiful complexities. I note fresh tart fruits (apples, plums, and citrus). Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with woody bourbon feel lasting on the tongue.

D- Drinkablity is steller and i will be buying out the rest at my local store to celler and enjoy for the next couple of years...Or weeks Cheers!!!

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

La Roja pours from the bottle a deep dark cloudy brown with a bubbly khaki head on top. Hints of red peek out when held up to the light. Aromas of caramelly, brown sugar maltiness accentuated by a mellow spiciness, apples and dark fruits. Wet wood with a touch of cinammon. Fairly mellow.

First sip brings a caramelly, burnt brown sugar maltiness upfront with a heavy helping of dry woody tannins. Apple cider with mellow spices, cinammon, cherry and various dark fruit notes. Finishes fairly dry with a lingering musty cellar aspect. A bit muddled overall...just fails to grab me.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a rush of carbonation that attacks the palate with each sip. Pretty easy to drink overall..however the flavors seem to be fighting against each other. Not one I'd seek out again and honestly my least favorite in the JP line so far.

Photo of blitz134
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one in the cellar for a while. As the cellar dwindles down I finally pull out beers that don't fall into my normal drinking line up.

Slightly hazy, caramel body. Superb light tan head, 3 fingers tall to start and I slowly topped off the glass to be left with a solid inch of lump foam on top. Very nice, little lacing though.

Sour apple and cherry tart dominates the aroma. A bit of overripe white grapes too. Some lightly toasted malts and a bit of light oakiness. Smells pretty good, but mainly just lots of sourness.

White bread malting underneath. Not puckering sour like I was expecting, although there is still a bit of sour fruits but its toned down a lot by some musty notes. Overall, comes across with a nice earthiness. A touch of astringent wood in the finish. Alcohol isn't noticable. This is okay to me. Unique.

Mediumish mouthfeel. A good bit of carbonation makes this pretty crisp. Fairly easy to drink given its sour nature.

Overall a very interesting beer, not one you'd be likely to have from any other brewer. Flavor, like I said, is just okay to me. Worth a try at the least.

Photo of Aaron420
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 12 Bottled 10-27-10

A: Poured a deep amber almost a mahogany with a small creamy tan head.

S: Soured cherries with a hint of a citrus smell.

T: A strong sour taste through the beginning that is followed with a small taste of oak. With more of the sour cherry to finish up.

M: A good bit of carbonation for a pretty medium bodied brew.

D: A pretty drinkable beer, wasn't sure if I would enjoy this being it was my first taste in the world of sours, but I enjoyed and cant wait until I can venture farther into the world of sour.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle, capped, not corked. Poured into a tulip glass, this is a very pretty beer. Dark amber in color with a thick, persistant white head. Some lacing. Nicely carbonated. The aroma was a little difficult to get a handle on. Fruity, but also an outdoorsy, musty aroma. Fairly sour fruit taste, a little caramel in there too. I thought the beer was a trifle thin. All in all, however, a wonderful beer. Definitely will buy this again.

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 2, 3/18/10; notes from 3/14/11

A - A bit of a gusher, but not too bad. Pours translucent reddish brown with a few yeast chunks. Two fingers of head that dissipated pretty quickly.

S - Some slight funk and crisp sour apple. Having a hard time picking out specific aromas. A bit of caramel and oak.

T - Nice initial burst of tartness gives way to some earthiness. Oak becomes more apparent on the finish. Nice mix of sour, fruity and earthy.

M - Light/medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. A bit of lingering bitter earthiness on the tongue.

O - While this isn't one of the more complex wild ales out there, I really enjoyed it and it is one of my favorites from Jolly Pumpkin.

Photo of sponberg
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 with a pirate cat on the front. Poured into a Duvel glass - big, effervescent head over a clear red-amber liquid. Aroma is simultaneously tart, sour/lactic/lambic-y, toasty, bready... a LOT of stuff going on in this brew.

Three sips and I'm tasting three separate things. Let me let this breathe and warm up a bit. OK - starts with a spicy maltiness, not atypical of a good American amber. Then a sour funky note kicks in, almost like a Flanders red, along with a hop bitterness that just doesn't ever seem to join with the sourness - like two separate construction crews working on the same project that don't speak to each other. Wait, near the end they found the walkie-talkies - the flavors blend, alongside an oakiness and a toasted grainy malt that all wander down the road happily, if not quite singing the same song. Very spritzy mouthfeel.

I could set the drinkability anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 - if I was in the mood for something "different," higher; however, I could alternately tire of its peculiarities rather quickly.

Strange brew - and one worth exploring further.

Photo of Beaver13
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours a hazy amber brown with a huge creamy off white head that diminishes slowly and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sour tart cherries and sweet-tarts with a little fragrant woodiness and musty yeast.

The flavor is some tart and sour fruits that is more reserved than what I was expecting from the aroma. It has a good caramel malt backbone to it with some woody notes and some nice earthy yeast. It has a surprisingly dry finish that is lightly hopped and musty. The alcohol is very well hidden - this tastes like a nice session beer. The mouthfeel is medium with sharp bubbly champagne-like carbonation.

Overall, a very nice, easy-drinking, semi-sour ale. It's more reserved in the sourness with some nice complex mixes of Belgian yeast, light hops and sweet and sour notes. The more I drank of this, the more I appreciated it.

Photo of shark262
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle marked 12/2008 Blend.

A: Hazy med-brown to copper. Small, off-white head. Moderate carbonation.

S: Cherry sweetness, green apple, earthiness and funk, slight oak, little to no hop aroma, no diacetyl.

T: Hits the palate with a well-attenuated tartness. Oak is more noticeable in taste than in the aroma. Alcohol warmth. Some dark fruit flavors and smoke seem present. Slight horse blanket taste.

M: Med carbonation. Highly attenuated and therefore not viscous or thick. Crisp and slightly mouth-puckering, but overall refreshing.

D: Refreshing with fruity flavors working nicely on the palate. Wild ale characteristics are present but not overpowering.

Overall a very tasty beer. The beer's appearance is not too inviting, but I soon move past that once smelling and tasting. Likely had a complex grain bill, but the hard-working yeast(s) have made this brew highly-attenuated and crisp with not much residual sweetness. I could see myself drinking La Roja in the winter or summer months.

Photo of merlin48
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml capped bottle, served into a tulip glass at cellar temperature. Body is a cloudy, apricot orange hue. A large tan head towers above, very creamy in appearance. Sheets and patches of clingly lace produce quite the beauty queen look.

Aroma is superior. Sugary caramel, at first, then overwhelmed with grassy and fersh mown hay hoppiness, followed by a solid spice and herbal presence of white pepper, chamomile, and minty coriander.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is ideal, on the bottom side of effervesence. Velvety, almost.

Taste is exceedingly complex and very well balanced. Caramel malt sweetness opens, but is quickly eclisped by the dry, spicy, herbal, hoppiness that makes this ale so delightful. Grassy, herbal, and fresh hay notes lend an outstanding Saison like presence. A dark fruit component of prunes and dates jumps in bed with the faint citrusy mango toward the finish. Very nice in the herbal and fruit complexities. Finishes with a Concord grape skin dryness.

I'm fascinated by the Jolly Pumpkin ales that I've sampled. Exceptionally crafted, highly complex, and dangerously drinkable. Very different, and worth seeking out.

Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large brown bottle, capped, w/o freshness info, pours medium brown, semi clear, with bubbles rising, under a looong lasting tan head, that falls to a 1/16 of an inch film (thick) and leaves heaps of thick lacing...malty, musty, earthy dense and complex nose...notes here of sour (some brett?), more earthyness, dark fruits, funk, smoke/wood, mustyness...complex, tasty brew. The yeasty, murky final bottle drain pour add plenty of sediment and more funk....bring on some stinky cheese, crusty bread, BBQ...yum, nicely crafted brew, well worth seeking out a fresh and tasty sample of this nectar

Photo of codysjb
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 16, Bottled 8/30/2011
Poured from a 750 into a wine glass (after five minutes of letting it gush).
A: No head now but that’s probably because it gushed all over the place for five minutes before I poured it. Amber/red color.
S: Sour like a limbic, tart and musty with hints of apples.
T: Slightly sour and maybe some light fruitiness, not much here.
M: The sourness comes out here and makes for a fruity taste. Sour not sweet and very funky, not all that strong but tart. Some oak and reminds me of wine a little bit but nothing extra special.
O: Good, not great. This is by no means the world’s best Wild Ale but its interesting enough to try and keep a bottle on hand. B range

Photo of tigg924
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: cloudy, minimal head, reddish brown in color, high carbonation

Smell: vinegar and cherries

Taste: sweet and tart cherries with vinegar

Mouthfeel: slightly sweet but very tart, light bodied, high carbonation, dry

Drinkability: I really like this beer and could have several glasses. Just amazing. This is nice and tart. The cherries and the sour really mesh well. Cannot wait to try another Jolly Pumpkin beer.

Photo of dwvarner77
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper orange with a hint of plum highlights. Tall, tall head rapidly falls to give a half-inch frothy foam. Aroma is not greatly distinctive, amber malt with a hint of yeast and tart cherry.
Taste is rich with amber malt; lightly spicy, with a definite yeast character present. This is followed with a bit of hop bitterness for balance. The woody undertones from the oak barrel aging are evident, and more than a hint of alcohol is left in the aftertaste.
Active carbonation gives a pleasant mouthfeel, and it's sufficiently drinkable considering the alcohol. There's a lot going on, but overall, it's kind of underwhelming.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color with good clarity and a light amount of carbonation bubbles. A fingernail of off white foam covers the rim and only a trace is otherwise present. Light Brussels lacing. The nose is packed with oak, hazlenut, and a trace of Brett. I taste a very nice blend of tart Brett and earthy oak. The mouth is fairly carbonated and dry.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: It pours a nearly opaque cloudy dark reddish tinted chestnut with a one finger head that quickly dissipates
S: Fruit, sour, winey aromas with a little bready malt in the background
T: Rich and malty with tart berry flavors and then the caramel from the malt begins. It has a spicy, tart finish with a little of the vanilla caramelly wood from the bourbon barrels.
F: Medium body and above average carbonation.
O: A well made, refreshing and easy to drink wild ale

Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle poured into a snifter. blend 5, bottled 4-8-2011 (roughly 1 1/2 years old)

pours out a very cloudy burnt orange, red color with about one fingers worth of light tan/ off white head off of the pour that settles to a thick retentive ring of tight bubbles after a few minutes. very light, spotty lace.

the aroma is mostly that of horsey, bretty funk, some tart cherries and lemon citrus with a bit of rotted wood and footy funk as well.

again, sour cherries and tart lemons lead the way with some horsey, footy funk right behind. maybe some sour apples as well. hints of nutmeg like spice and caramel come in, but are soon overtaken by the dry tartness in the finish.

fairly light to medium in body, slightly bitey carbonation with a good tart/ sourness that lingers for a bit.

a pretty decent wild, a bit one dimensional at times, but easily enjoyable. the sourness of this beer is about is about right in the middle when compared all the other wilds ive had in the past. leaves me even more interested to try the la roja- grand resevera.

Photo of madeofsteel
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass, with a label that declares it was bottled 8-29-11. This should be good!

A - Pours a deep amber color with some caramel browns. Almost ruby in some areas. Light and fluffy-looking head with decent retention and some good lacing.

S - Bready and fruity. Hints of strawberry... and perhaps cranberry as well?

T - The up front flavor is sour and fruity, it very strongly reminds me of not-quite-ripe raspberries. Strawberry on the tip of the toungue. Bitter rhubarb? The overall taste is that of tart fruit, sort like a raspberry pie without the sugar.

M - Finish strongly reminds me of white zin. Really dry, almost sour/fruity finish, the carbonation is mild and I am okay with that.

O - I would consider this worth the $10 I paid for it. It has drinkability, but even at a medium pace, I had a pretty decent buzz after this bottle. Quite an enjoyable brew.

Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served just below cellar temperature in a brandy snifter.

Opaque reddish chestnut colored with a light beigefrothy head that rises a thick inch high and settles down to a fine topping with bubbly legs rising up the insides of the glass.

Aroma of sweet fruit and candy, some cinnamon, caramel and banana.

Flavor of tart fruit upfront, maybe cherry and currant, plus some green apple. A little sour. Very low yeast flavors, no noticeable hops, but there is a bitter character as well. Not overly malty or sweet.

Tingly mouthfeel upfront, dry and clean, finishing a little tannic and powdery. Tiny bubbles tickle the insides of the cheeks.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,885 ratings.