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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

780 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 780
Hads: 1,918
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.55%
Wants: 172
Gots: 321 | FT: 25
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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Reviews: 780 | Hads: 1,918
Photo of drtth
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer was from Blend 8, bottled in June, 2011, just a tad over 4 years ago and has been sitting quietly in the basement waiting for this particular evening.

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear reddish brown color with reasonable carbonation. The 1/4" head is a light ivory color with lots of varied shaped bubbles that soon settles to a ring, an irregular island of foam with an extra bit of thickness in one area. Eventually all that remains is a small island over the nucleation point. There are several small speckles of foam on the glass. Sipping creates several small patches and speckles of lacing even towards the end of the beer..

The aromas include tart cherry, a touch of vinegar and some clear musty, funky character from the yeast. There is also a touch of oak in the background. There is enough of that musty smell that it is sometimes noticeable in the room even two feet away from the glass.

The flavors are pretty much what is expected from the nose and include some tart cherry, a touch of vinegar, a bit of funkiness and some astringent character. However, the oak seems to have disappeared behind the tart/sour flavors.

The mouth feel is light bodied with a slight crispness from the faint prickly carbonation. The finish is relatively long and begins in the tart cherry vinegar flavor that rapidly fades leaving at first some tartness and finally a faint astringent quality that lingers in the back of the throat for quite a while.

Overall this is a well made beer, which is what I've come to expect from Jolly Pumpkin. The beer seems to be a reasonable expression of the style. While it is a bit pricy for regular drinking I could see having it as a special treat or a companion to certain kinds of food with dinner, e.g., salads involving green apples and blue cheese. Based on my experiences with other Jolly Pumpkin beers I also don't think this beer has improved with age. So I think this particular bottle may be a bit past its peak and on a slow slide downhill.

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Photo of Jasonclick
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

aroma: a medium vinegar and medium grape aroma.
appearance: reddish copper in color. no head. appears flat.
taste: slightly tart on the back of the tongue. . has a grape / wine like taste. A little on the sweet side
mouthfeel: no carbonation to speak of... almost flat. Has a medium mouthfeel but slightly watery at the same time. The lack of carbonation makes the sweetness linger on the touge.
Overall: would be better if the carbonation was higher to balance out the sweetness. Nice tartness.

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Photo of bnes09
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber color with a murky haze. Clean, berry, vinegar aroma. Flavor is mildly tart. Hint of fruit and oak. Deep earthy funk. Not the greatest balance. Medium bodied. Finishes flat and watery. Low carbonation. As far as sour reds go, it's just ok.

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Photo of irrevjim
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a copper red with a thin layer of head
smell of sour cherries, a hint of oak and a hint of cider vinegar and sugar
i don't know what i like so much about the taste, sour cherries and vinegar, some grassyness and malty caramel at the end but the sour cherry stays, it's not a pucker up sour but a nice decidedly sour balance.i am a fan of sours and this one makes me very happy.
feels like just the right amount of small bubbles to enhance the flavors happening, very alive but not too carbonated, medium to large body
i really like this as an interesting hard to nail down very rewarding brew, wish i had the chops for giving it a proper review, also love that it's now available in 12.68 (why 12.68) oz bottles so not to much commitment and less of a hit on the wallet.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer blurs the line between styles and falls short of what could be a better beer. Not as sour as other Jolly Pumpkin offerings. Not one that I would buy again.

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Photo of 303beer
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful red color. Total sour smell. Wasn't expecting this because the bottle says artisan amber ale. Semi cloudy with small floating debris. Hardly any head when poured. Damn that's a sour for sure. Not bad but it's for sure sour.

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Photo of leaddog
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a copper red with a finger of bubbly tan head.

Smell - tart cherries, oak cask aromas, caramel, spices, apple cider vinegar, earthy hops.

Taste - Starts off with the tart cherries then goes into the apple cider vinegar and the caramel sweetness. The oak cask aromas, spices, and touch of earthy hops help round out the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes sweet from the cherries and then sour.

Overall - A unique and well made beer from Jolly Pumpkin. I like the fact that the sourness doesn't overpower the beer itself and the sweetness is just at the perfect level. A well executed beer. One to try if you haven't yet.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What more do you want? A refreshing beer by any standard, an a great example of the style. I have had better but not by much.

Look- a pleasing amber color.
Smell- the pleasing acidic aroma of a good sour brown.
Taste- awesome, tart and sour with a bit of cherry and dark fruit.
Feel- just a tad thin for such a tasty beer, the carbonation is tight if a bit underwhelming.
Overall- instead of witty comments, I will just drink another.

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Photo of FLima
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber reddish color with a thin head with short retention.
Strong sour funky aroma with notes of apple vinegar, sulphur, horse sweat, oak, vanilla and red currants.
Tart flavor with notes of apple vinegar, spices, green apples, lemon, grapes, yellow fruits, oak, plums, muffled spicy and earthy hops, bourbon, mild caramel and toasted malt, processed orange juice, lactobacillus and Bretta. Dry aftertaste with a round tannic bitterness.
Light towards medium body with appropriate carbonation. Acid acetic sensation. Alcohol of 7.2% abv is very well disguised.
Very good Flemish Red Ale, even though it has a firm tartness it still reveals great complexity with a myriad of fruits. Faithful to style and plays well the sweet and sour combo. Nevertheless, I would rather have a Rodenbach which is less vinegary.

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Photo of stompilator
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep, cloudy copper, light head with soft, bubbly lacing.

S - Very sour funk, citrus, and a hint of booze.

T - Huge, multi-faceted sourness right up front. Lots of lemon-y notes, berries, and wild plums. Almost tastes like sour crystals are swimming around in it. All the while, a light, crispy malt body hangs on in the backburner. The barrel adds a little more sweetness into the mix, and as the huge tartness fades, you can really taste a woody, bourbon-y sweetness amidst the residual pucker.

M - Very smooth with easy carbonation, but incredibly dry.

O - Definitely the most powerful sour I've ever tasted, but there was still a little bit of breathing room for the other elements to shine. Wonderfully crafted.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy dark amber with a one-finger white head. Lots of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma of vinegar, oak, and dark cherries.

T - The flavor is tart cherries, green apple, and vinegar. The barrell character comes through in the finish giving it a nice oakiness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice approachable Wild Ale. The balance of sweet and sour make this very quaffable.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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

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Photo of J-Rye
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The bottle was marked as Blend 9, and bottled on 4-19-2013. This was another fantastic beer from Jolly Pumpkin. It was a bit more puckeringly sour than expected. In my experience their beers are moderately sour, but this one, while not full force like Sour in the Rye, was on the more sour side of the spectrum. It wasn't so sour, however, that the oak and malts didn't make their ways through.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

poured into snifter

A: lovely reddish brown hue slight gaze pretty good clarity not much head at all looks bubbly in the glass

S: lots of oak barrel and vinegary grape smelling like wine

T: very wine tasting a lot like grapes dry can taste the barrel not very sour as the nose might have hinted at.

M: very flat not hardly any carbonation at all medium feel odd texture without the carbonation yet quite lovely it's not sharp and tart but more buttery and soft with light tartness

O: It's not bad but not something I would seek out this style confuses me a little why not just have a glass of wine. nice buttery texture though.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 25.9 oz bottle into my tulip glass, this beer pours a mainly clear, deep amber red color with some nice streams of bubbles rising to the top of the glass with a slightly off white head that is about 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch thick when first poured that quickly settles to a thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with some cluster swirls of foam. Not very much lacing however. Floral aromas of some yeasty, sour, funky notes along with some oaked goodness that gives way to hints of caramel and spiciness. Some subtle yeasty, funky flavors upfront that gives way to a nice tart sourness which if followed by some subtle oak and grape notes. Rounded out with a hint of just ever so slightly salted caramel sweetness. Just an extremely superb flavor profile. The flavors seem to blend together perfectly! Has a crisp, yet wmooth and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. has a very clean finish that really coats the inside of the mouth and lingers for a long time. Easy to drink in all the right ways. A very remarkable beer indeed.


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Photo of gsmit
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very good for the style... But I am not a huge fan of sour beers.

I would have liked it to have been more fruity and less vinegar tasting... And maybe some more vanilla from the oak barrel.

The potential is there... But it misses the mark for me.

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Photo of beermeplz
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/16/15. Very much in the style of a Flanders Red. All around very tasty, with a good balance between sour and sweet, but a bit undercarbed for me. I'd happily drink this anytime I'm in the mood for a sour, but, given the choice, I'd probably pick up a Rodenbach Grand Cru before this since I could get twice as much for the same price.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.11/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of stickydankhop
3.26/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Smell: 1st wiff sour like vinegar hints whiskey and oak. Taste: very tangy and sour pucker. Reminds me of a Belgium cherry ale. Very different and may require an acquired taste.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is very sharp & tart when it first hits your tongue, then gives way to a dry chardonnay flavor piqued with sour fruit. It finishes with a pretty strong lactic acid hit, though, similar to Duchess, which is not my personal style. I like my sours to be more tart & less vinegary.

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Photo of lic217
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: clear, red, little head, little lace
Smell: dark fruit, vinegar, sour
Taste: caramel, sour
Feel: good
Overall: nice beer that drinks like a Flanders, but a bit more punch

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slight haze on a dark copper/reddish-brown. Head is almost non-existent after a few seconds. An aggressive pour generates a small light khaki fizzy head. No lacing. Minimal carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Oak, lots of oak. A powdery yeast as well. Slightly caramelized malts. Some bready elements as well. Pushes a touch lactic and acetic. A balanced tart nose. Some musty basement and damp earth. Soft estery spice as well. Cherry skin and well worn leather. Green branches and more oak. A hint of butterscotch and some red apple. Mild breadiness as well. Soil...fresh turned earth.

Taste: Oak and leather abound. The oak runs the gamut from fresh and clean to damp and musty and well worn. Dry leather. Cherry skin and a touch of cherry flesh. Very mild acetic push on the initial sip. Grows a touch as it warms. Vague sort of lactic element as well. Some lemon juice. Malts add a balancing sweetness with some caramelized sugars and a very faint brown bread. Clean with some powdery yeast on the back. Warming pushes cherry up a bit more with some generic darker berry in the back.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body. Light carbonation. A touch of astringency. Slightly slick mouthfeel on the initial sip.

Overall: Taylor Swift wrote about this beer.

Damp and oaky and delightful.

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Photo of guityler83
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Milky white head with large bubbles, didn’t persist. Deep crimson red with with a slight marmalade orange hue. Hazy look when held to a light (after leaving the dregs in the bottle).

S: Medium funky brett with barn yard and wet hay. Cherry pie filling mixed with soft oak and a sweet tart bite. Balanced and complex. Mild toasty, pie crust melenoidins support the backbone.

T: Medium-low cherry tartness that leads to a hefty oak burst - clean, lumber like with slight vanilla. Funky brett character supplies complexity to the middle with hay, straw and grassy character. Pie crust, burnt toast and caramel round out the finish. The balance is on the side of the brett and oak with an overall mild sweetness.

M: Very low carbonation - nearly still. Light tannic quality with the level of oak coming through. The sourness gives the tongue a nice refreshing bite as its sipped.

O: A funkier, oakier version of the Flanders Red style. I enjoyed the complexity the brett provided through it would have been interesting too cellar this for longer.

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Photo of Franck
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Smell: brett yeast, lemon, red cherry. Seems to be very funky.
Taste is so good. Not so sour compared to traditional flanders ales. Light tartness, aromas of cherry and rasberry. Hint of lemon, oak and alcohol. Medium carbonation.
Bitterness is mild-sour, slightly bitter and moderated.
Another great beer by JP

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Photo of mchegash
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review Date: 9/7/14
Other notes: Blend 19. Bottled 5/12/14.

Appearance - 3.75/5
Color is a muddy red-brown-orange. Minimal head. Pretty hazy, but not completely opaque. Can see a good amount of small carbonation bubbles rising to the top. Overall, the look is okay. I was expecting the beer to be a little bit more red, given the name.

Smell - 4/5
Classic JP tart smells of tart apples, lemon. I also smell berries/red wine. Overall a very nice bouquet.

Taste - 4.5/5
JP tartness (tart apples, lemon), followed by more of a deeper, red wine-esque taste. It tastes different from what I remember the first time I had it this summer (don't know why). I like the taste today better. The beer is quite sweet, or the border of perhaps being too sweet. The beer definitely tastes like a classic JP beer, but with a more "red" taste. Yes, I am describing the taste using a color, but I don't know exactly how to describe what I perceive. I think it's the red wine and subtle berry flavors which create the "red" taste sensation. The beer also seems 'deeper' in taste than other JP beers. Overall, a great, rich, sour, sweet taste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
The beer has a medium body, but the depth of the flavors make it seem like the body is more full. The carbonation is very very light, but I think if the carbonation was any higher, it would distract from the beautiful flavors of this beer. The beer is quite smooth. Due to the sweetness of the beer, there is perhaps a sugary-syrupy residue left in the mouth after drinking.

Overall - 4.25/5
This beer is really a great beer. It's sweet, sour, has depth of flavor, and moves nicely though the mouth. The main changes I would like would be for the beer to be more red in color, to bring out the red-wine/berry flavors a bit more, and to make the beer a bit less sweet and hopefully avoid some of the syrupy residue left in the mouth. Not a beer I would have all the time (it's also a bit pricy - $14 a bottle), but I will definitely get this again at some point.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
89 out of 100 based on 780 ratings.