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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,643 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,643
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 137
Gots: 267 | FT: 20
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:
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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-14-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,643 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ncfranklin
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a Tulip

A: Deep amber brown. Two finger tan head that clings to the glass well.

S: Vinegar, grape, some cherry, apple and spice in the nose.

T: Very vinegar. Sour fruit is mostly apple, some spoiled citrus, wine grapes. Musty, with a light spice and earth quality.

M: A good carbonation to the body, flavors don't linger long in the mouth however.

D: Overall kinda a dissapointment. Not blown away like I have been by many sours in the past. This one could use some tweaks to further emphasize some flavors.

ncfranklin, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shane for hooking me up with this bottle. Review from notes.

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a large 2 finger head on top, white in color. The head stuck around for a few minutes then slowly dissipated to a thin layer on top. Nice lacing down the sides.

S: Nice sour/tartness up front. Deep sour cherries and other light fruits. Light oak and just a little bit of funk, but the sour cherry dominates.

T: Light but plenty flavorful. A little bit of sour cherry, some apple, peach, and apricot. The sour bite increases a bit as it warms. A slight hint of wood from the aging.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with a good level of carbonation that lets it drink very smooth.

O: Was very happy with this beer. Not overly sour/tart and had a really nice fruit flavor to it. Look forward to getting this one again for sure.

mdaschaf, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of alf212
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12-10-10

Appearance: Dark ruby redy with some browning.Head is an offwhite.

Smell: Immediately notice musky wine notes from the aging, even my girlfriend who's not the biggest fan of beer (trying to get her to catch onto craft beer) noticed the wine smell. It's like a mixture of spicey rum with fruity and sour wine smell. Also some caramel notes in the background

Taste: Fruity sour funkiness starts it and keeps it sweet all the way through. Unfortunately the alcohol shows up more than it should for a 7% beer. The caramel shows up more and more as you drink it.

Drinkability: Despite the alcohol showing up it's still very drinkable. Not too dry of a finish but it keeps you coming back for more. Overall a good beer but not amazing.

alf212, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of SummitVA
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep burgundy pour with moderate carbonation. Head falls offs quickly.

S - Beautiful bourbon barrel character, which is quite a surprise. Signature Jolly Pumpkin Funk and and malt sweetness apparent, as well.

T - More classic Flanders Red character than I've experienced with previous bottles--sweet malt balanced perfectly with tangy sourness and earthy funk. Bourbon barrel component again apparent and quite pleasant. Some tannins dry out the finish all the more.

M - Medium bodied.

O - I love the batch variation of this beer, even more so than with other JP beers. This is my absolute favorite version. The strong bourbon character adds so much to the beer. Just wonderful.

SummitVA, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blend 10, 2008 purchased at Siciliano's for $10.59. Served in New Belgium tulip.

A: Pours a deeper shade of amber with great clarity and good effervescence. Head is rocky and has the appearance of sourdough bread. Good retention and decent lacing.

S: Sweet currants and cherries, vinegar, cinnamon, eucalyptus (?!), freshly ground black pepper, light vanilla and damp wood, and barnyard. All of these elements are bright on nose.

T: All of the above elements are present. Not as sweet as nose led tongue to believe. Some vinous/tannic character. The acetic notes are fairly subdued, earning La Roja a score of 3.5 on a sourness scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being ass-puckering. Brettanomyces is much more prevalent than acetobacteria, as barnyard/funk take over mid-palate and control taste through finish, which is understandably dry.

M: Medium bodied and medium but soft carbonation. Medium-light astringency.

O: Subtle but complex, and perfectly balanced, La Roja proves a great beer to contemplate on a beautiful evening in early summer.

Wadsey, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of Beerzebub
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, labeled Blend 11, 2008. A very nice extra from surlytheduff.

Poured in a big wine glass, not too cold.

Opaque hazy orangish brown, with a quarter inch of dense beige head that sticks to the glass.

Aroma of old barrels in a damp basement, tart fruit, and caramel. Nice mix of fresh fruitiness and deeper, darker notes.

Tastes like it smells. Old wood, tart fruit, caramel, some moderate sweetness, some moderate herbal/woody bitterness. The finish is dry, crisp, tart, and long, with lingering funky wood, a bit bitter. Complex, cohesive, and very tasty.

Full, finely textured carbonation makes for a cushy texture. The crisp, dry finish makes this very drinkable.

It was great to try an aged bottle of this beer. Very complex. After reviewing, the rest of the glass went quite well with some gamey duck pate.

Beerzebub, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes on 3.23.11

I came home to find this nice surprise from the wife. You can't beat that!

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours an apple cider brown with a medium-tan head with very nice lacing left on the glass.

S - Fruit, apricots, apples, raisins, and cherries.

T - Like old apple cider, bitter.

D - Nice carbonation, sticks to the mouth, but very easy to drink.

HuskyinPDX, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of AmericanGothic
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 25.4 oz bottle into 2 Unibroue tulips. Blend #4, bottled 4/5/2011.

A: Pours a cloudy copper orange with half a finger of off-white head. Good retention and lace.

S: Funky baked apples and other fruits, rum and butterscotch. Fairly sweet smelling and inviting.

T: Sweet and sour apples up front, transforms into a creamy citrus flavor that finishes in a dry oaken slide. The alcohol pokes through from time to time in a way that colors the flavor only slightly but adds a warming aspect that makes the other flavors glow. As the beer warms, some caramel/toffee notes join in the background. Now cinnamon as well, and a few minutes later a gentle lactic funk arrives. The oakiness of the finish becomes more prominent over time, but never gets overbalanced.

M: Light and crisp, some creaminess after the beer warms a bit.

O: Wow, I enjoyed this a lot. Great flavor profile that is an interesting combination that hangs together well. Have heard mixed reviews from friends, so wasn't sure what to expect. Heading to the store tonight to see whether any remains.

AmericanGothic, May 28, 2011
Photo of hopsbreath
2/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bought from a local bottle shop for $11. Split into a pair of Duvel tulips and shared with TulipSnifter. Batch 5.

A: Couple fingers of soapy butterscotch head on top of a putrid mahogany body. Multiple blots of lacing. 4/5

S: Acetone (bleh), sweet vinegar, pie cherries. 2/5

T: Bleu cheese funk, except this ain't a good cheese. Putrid wood and rancid vegetables. 2/5

M: Thin, watery, and not good. 2/5

O: Not recommended. I'm not buying this again. 2/5

hopsbreath, May 23, 2011
Photo of plfahey
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass. Blend #15, bottled on 12/10/10.

Appearance-Brownish red in color with red orange highlights. Some haze apparent. Moderate light khaki head with moderately good retention.

Aroma-Fruity aromatics of tart black cherries and currants. Some must and barnyard type aromatics. Horse blanket. Fair amount of oak character with light notes of vanilla. Slight spicy phenolics.

Flavor-The oak character is a bit more assertive in the flavor. Following oak flavor are notes of tart cherries, vanilla, and grapes. Some hints of wet wool and barn yard. Finish is a bit tannic, woody, and tart.

Mouthfeel-Medium light body with moderate carbonation.

Definitely good but not my favorite Flanders Red. The oak character comes on a bit strong for my tastes, but on the whole I enjoy it. Yum.

plfahey, May 23, 2011
Photo of eclaycamp
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tonight I need something to kind of wake me up, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of La Roja hiding out in my fridge. What’s more it’s the inaugural vintage from 3 years ago, as the label simply states “Blend 1, 2008.” Guess it’s been there for awhile. Pours a murky blood orange red with no head. Aroma is of oaked funk. Bring on the sour! I’m guessing this is a take on a Flanders Red, given the aroma and appearance. First taste is sour, but not overpowering. Tart cherry hits the sides of the tongue before being washed away by earthy funk in the finish. The taste is wild, but at the same time it’s very restrained. The oak helps keep things in line, and the lengthy aging process has added a nice sherry complexity to things. Mouthfeel is light to medium, with a nice level of carbonation that helps to brighten things up and scrub the palate as you continue to drink it. I’ve had a number of sour beers and this one is among the most well rounded. By that I mean it’s not unnervingly sour – it’s an evenly crafted beer from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, it’s dry, perhaps as to be expected, which means that you keep going back to it. Overall this beer is a refreshing diversion and a must try if you’re a fan of sour or wild ales. If you happen to run across it I’d recommend cellaring it for a couple of years and busting it out. You won’t regret it.

eclaycamp, May 22, 2011
Photo of GoldenChild
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

out of a bottle into a chalice Blend 2 bottled 2-11-11

A: Certainly very amber in appearance. tan head retention that leaves a soapy lacing on the glass.

S: Sweet and sour. Some candied fruit, maybe sour cherries. Vinegar, funk, earthiness. Mild ammonia.

T: Lots of sherry, alcohol, sour fruits and oak.

M: A very effervescent mouthfeel, similar to champagne.

O: Very easy drinking and smooth. Make sure to open this one over the sink its a gusher. Another great selection from JP, and i would love to try the Grande reserve!

GoldenChild, May 22, 2011
Photo of sisuspeed
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing Dave!

Pours an almost clear, burnt-red, with a thin white head. Leaves some light lacing behind.

Light vinegar with a hint of nail polish in the aroma. Red grapes and sweet malts. Touch of vanilla and caramel. Light oak. Nice. More sour acidity than I was expecting from JP.

Flanders sour acidity on the tongue with oak barrel, red grapes and apple. Hint of vanilla and a touch of caramel. Light, grassy hops.

Light to medium acidity in the mouthfeel. Good oak barrel presence. On the drier side. Seems a bit thin.

Overall, this is a solid Flanders style beer. Nice barrel aging with a decent level of sour acidity and fruitiness. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this beer, but if you're a fan of the style and see it, then it's worth checking out.

sisuspeed, May 17, 2011
Photo of OddNotion
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Russian River Belgian glass.
Bottled 4/5/2011. Blend 4.

Appearance: Pours a mix of brown and amber. No head to speak of.

Smell: Funky, tart, slight sourness. Dark fruit, cherries, oak.

Taste: Decent sourness. Very smooth, some cherry flavors, almost a bittering quality in the cherry flavor, not a whole ton of depth in comparison to others, but certainly not bad by any means.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, light on the carbonation. Would prefer some more bubbles.

Overall: Solid beer. I like it and for the $10 pricetag possibly my favorite in terms of value. Not comparible to the best I have had but certainly worthwhile!

OddNotion, May 16, 2011
Photo of aficionado
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

*ALERT* YOUNG BEER REVIEW - Bottle dated 4/5/11

Too young, so the yeast didn't settle. Murky, cider colored body with no head or lacing to speak of. Instead of clear with a boisterous 4 finger head like some of the other reviews.

Aromas of cherry fruit, apples, and funky hay, oak and forest floor.

Tastes crisp and acidic with sour cherry juice, fermented Granny Smith apples, new oak, and musty yeast.

I managed to receive a beer with little to no carbonation. No head and the fine bubbles are only visual and dissipate in seconds after pouring. The carbonation doesn't translate to the palate. Feels like juice.

Despite the carbonation flaw, this is a very food-friendly beer. It's not vinegary, but it's a nice amount of fruity sour.

aficionado, May 13, 2011
Photo of Phoptos
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Won in a "beer bracket" contest for March Madness. Poured into a Pretty Things goblet. Blend #9, 2009.

A: Smooth pour with a nice brownish crimson color. Sticky head lingers for a bit giving way to a healthy lace.

S: A little funk, a little fruit with some candy caramel in there for good measure.

T: Some nice sour cherries and apples quickly give way to more complex fruit mixed with roasted caramel tones. The funkiness blends with woody fruits smoothing out at the end with a nice sour punctuation.

M: Nice, dry and tart. The pucker at the end mixed with the smooth but lively carbonation is fantastic.

O: Really solid American Wild. I enjoy that every flavor has it's place and in the end, it's very smooth. The dry pucker at the end is very nice and the sourness never overtakes the subtle fruit flavors. Would drink again, no doubt.

Phoptos, May 12, 2011
Photo of Kinsman
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty looking beer here with a nice ruby red body with some lighter amber hues when held to the light. Creamy light shade of tan and about 2 fingers of semi-sticky viscosity make for a nice looking head.

Sourness on the aroma was a bit more than expected, very reminiscent of a Flanders Red with a nice cherry note. Malts provide a bit of a caramel/toffee sweetness but not quite enough to balance out the Wild aspect.

First taste and the sour and tartness that was expected given the aroma were surprisingly tame. Not that this is a bad thing at all; in fact I'm quite enjoying the malt flavors providing some fruity, caramel and biscuity flavors upfront before the sourness kicks in. Tart cherry and sour apple flavors show of the wild yeast and only become stronger and more puckering when you let it linger.

Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly with a medium body feel. Finishes with a slight astringency. Overall, a very enjoyable Wild ale. Not quite as sour as a true Belgian Flanders, Gueuze, or Lambic but still pleasant nonetheless.

Kinsman, May 08, 2011
Photo of GrandCruDrew
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL Bottle Blend #7, 2007. Poured in my Jolly Pumpkin Snifter.

A- Amber in color, has clarity, poured an inch head, little retention and lacing.

S- caramel, toffee, smells of Belgium. It smells of age. I actually believe this bottle had some temp issues or something. Sourness comes through!

T- Pretty subtle for a LaRoja. I taste the caramel, tea, some sourness, some oak.

M- Good, I can feel the age.

Overall- I have had this beer so many times. One of my favs. But, I'm glad I didnt wait any longer on this bottle.

GrandCruDrew, May 08, 2011
Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened 4/23/2011
750 ml brown bottle with a red cap and a small sticker affixed to the back 'Blend 5, 2008' and poured to a large 'burgundy' wine glass. This has been cellared for going on two years and was a nice extra sent by BA trep.

"...an artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition."

A: Good hiss and all seemed well as I set the bottle on the counter and walked away for a minute. Upon return, an expanding pool had soaked the nearby newspaper and a foamy snake slithered down the bottle - a sneaky gusher - do not leave unattended! Pour is 'chestnut shell' orange-brown, a murky haze cut by ringing rivulets of dinky carbonation. Healthy head, a half-finger of light tan foam, thinner and finer except for a pile of off-centered suds. Excellent sheeting lace in wavy rings.

S: Spiced nose of sour-sweet berries, a fleeting lemon-lime and fragrant, but mildly soapy, flowers/herbs. A whiff here and there produced something more 'raw' and alcoholic, which would then seem to disappear on follow-up. Wild. Decent strength at cellar temperature, deepened with warming.

T: Tart apple and sour/tannic unripened grapes form the base of this bridled 'wild'. It's certainly not out-of-control on the enamel-stripping acidity; rather, it's a careful collision of fermenting fruits, subtle spices and drying dirtiness. A tangy woodsiness in the finish asserts the 'oak barrel' aging. Not the most complex I've ever had of the style (although plenty interesting), but definitely among the best balanced.

M: Smooth and creamy mellowness - with 3 years of age this has matured beautifully. The thinnest veil of coating grit sticks to teeth and tongue. Still enough carbonation to add some sparkle and a finishing tartness that brings on some tongue curl, salivation and drying refreshment. Mmmmm.

O: I've tried this beer on a couple previous occasions and found a solid, if not overly remarkable, sour amber ('Oud Bruin'?). This time it's pretty close to 'wow' inducing... great depth of flavor and gorgeous mouthfeel. I'll have to pick up more (as La Roja is available currently in Oregon) and remember to sock it away a couple years minimum. Well done, Jolly Pumpkin.

msubulldog25, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of mudbug
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle dated Blend 14, 11-12-10.
A heavy pour into a wine chalice results in a slightly cloudy dark amber body capped with a off-white bubbly head that soon recedes into a cap of foam.
Aroma is subtle, with a very clean sour apple and crushed sour grass earthiness.
Taste is where this one shines, slightly astringent sourness, apple rind on top of an almost ripe mango, woody earth and a very slight wet hay, almost champaign like in the feel, but with a slight creaminess, a very complex and refreshing take on a "style" that knows wide variation, Bravo!

mudbug, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of Blanco
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a nice burgandy color with white head. smells of fruit and brett, very pleasant and inviting. nice fruit flavor, not sure which berry, but slightly tart and refreshing, slight hint of sourness and funk. mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light bodied, very champagne-like. This is a very good brew. It's simple and subtle, which is usually not common for the style, but is a nice change for when you want something that is just slightly wild and has a nice fruit backbone.

Blanco, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of vfgccp
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Pours a beautiful, deep ruby amber. Nice white head that settles fairly quickly but leaves a nice lace.

S – Soft sour apple and tart unripe papaya.

T – Tart and sour cranberry / unripe apple. Hay. Touch of golden raisin. The entire profile is fairly soft on your palate and not overwhelming tart.

M – Medium body. Dry, clean finish with a light residual tartness.

O – A nice sipping beer with a refreshing tartness. Plays nice with a huge swath of food pairings, from red curry, to caprese salad, to earth cheeses.

vfgccp, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay goblet.
Pours a very deep ruby with a decent head and mediocre lacing.
The smell is sour grapefruit, grapes (white), peach and some grass.
Taste is about the same. A lot like a rose wine. There is a cherry taste shows up. Smooth in the mouth, just a little boring. It might just need a bit of age. As it warms there is a slight vinegar aftertaste.
I liked it but have certainly had better Wild Ales.

OBeerMeGreatOne, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of FanofHefe
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label says Blend 9, 2009, so a little age on this one. Pours a deep amber color with a hint of red hue. Big creamy off-white head with tons of retention and lacing along the glass.

The aroma seems distinctly Belgian with some funky "brett-type" aromas accompanied by tart fruity notes. The dark fruity notes lean toward cherry and are more sour than sweet.

Tart flavors dominate and are slightly acidic in nature and encompass sour fruit flavors from cherry, lemon, and possibly peach. Complex flavor - which is good.

Tasty offering great for lovers of anything sour.

FanofHefe, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy orange-tinted brown with a nice 2 fingers of eggshell white head and moderate retention.

Nose starts with a fruit punch-like blast of sour fruit- notes of sour cherry, banana, pink grapefruit and green apple- joined by the oaky caramel and vanilla tones.

The palate tastes like you made a grapefruit-ade, added a bright carbonation, a bit of funk and dropped in some sour raspberries for good measure. Light-bodied, incredibly sour and loads of unripe pear on the finish.

Overall a nice effort. This being my first flanders-style ale, I wasn't sure what to expect. Personally I think it could benefit from a bit more body, but I'm not sure if that would be out of character for a flanders. I do know that it tasted great with my turkey meatloaf.

TheWhiskerReview, Apr 08, 2011
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,643 ratings.