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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,826 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,826
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 154
Gots: 300 | FT: 22
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,826 | Reviews: 770
Reviews by baybassboy:
Photo of baybassboy
4/5  rDev -0.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
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 +4.5%
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 +3.2%
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 DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev +1%
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%
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 MadScientist
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
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 Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.42/5  rDev +10%
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 -14.7%
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%
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 sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Aaron420
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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 danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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 DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of heddar33
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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 -9.2%
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 +0.2%
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 -4.5%
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.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,826 ratings.