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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

781 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 781
Hads: 1,925
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.55%
Wants: 172
Gots: 320 | FT: 24
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.
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 781 | Hads: 1,925
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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Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of Greasy
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Red. Brown. Orange. Throw them in a mixer and this beer is the result.

S: Not overbearing. Smells like a weaker oud bruin (a la monk's cafe)

T: Initially there is a tartness as the drink enters the mouth. The finish introduces the oak barrel flavors quite a bit. Quite tasty. Not super sour. I would consider this a good introduction to sours (if they have had oak aged beer before).

M: Medium body. Slightly dry finish. Nice.

O: I like it. The sourness is there, but not mouth puckering; it isn't like vinegar either. The oak flavor is apparent and adds a nice touch to this brew.

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Photo of BWED
4.49/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Chestnut in color, with a mild amber hue. Some visible yeast. Creamy, faintly off-white head. Hangs low, but strong. Great lacing.

S- Sour cherry, caramel. Slight funk, t and some oak.

T- A bit of a sour roast. Caramel, cherry.

M- Sour and tangy. Sweetness is not so much. Finish is just a little dry.

O- Yummy. This isn't overly sweet, like other sour reds. Still nice and tart. And the slight roasty, wood-aged character is really nice.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle. Served in a Prairie Teku glass, the beer pours a dark amber color with about a half inch off-white head. The head didn't stay around for too long, but there's a good amount of lacing. I liked the aroma, the brew smells like tart cherries, caramel, green grapes, oak and vinegar. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some berries, plum and vanilla that I notice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has a good amount of carbonation. Surprisingly this is the first time I've tried this. I've seen it around for a long time, but for whatever reason I never picked up a bottle until recently. It's definitely worth trying, I thought it was good. $7.99 a bottle.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bronze color, clear, with a light head and great lacing.

S - Mild sour nose, acidic notes, hints of woodiness.

T - The nose, but turned up. Sourness is front, a slight apple sweetness, with a wood note coming forward in the middle. The close fades to mild acidity, but is pretty quiet, given the open.

M - Quite acidic, but not particularly taxing.

O - This is a well crafted beer. A wild, sour ride that does not go too funky, or blast out your palate. Everything is rock solid.

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Photo of Elicoleman
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

A: Dark amber
S: Sour green apple, oaky, wonderful smell
T: Almost no real discerning flavor, washes with the slightest bit of sour. Definitely doesn't match the smell
M: Zero carbonation, watery, empty
O: I was incredibly excited to try this beer based on the rating and my love of Wild Ales but this was a let down, especially after the smell. This was easy to drink in the sense that it literally goes down like water but I wouldn't recommend anyone rush out to get this beer.

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Photo of jellikit
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%

A: auburn. Clear. No head.
S: acidic sourness. Maple.
T: slight to medium sourness. Wood from barrel.
M: medium high carbonation. Dry.
O: good sour beer. Not over the top. Oaky. Would buy again.

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Photo of tlery
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

A - transparent red, amber, off white head with almost no retention
S - green apple, sour candy
T - caramelized apple in the front diminishing to a yeasty and slightly prolonged funky finish
M - light bodied with a tendency to remain on the back of the tongue
O - great autumn transitional Biere de Garde

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +0.3%

A: Copper crystal ale with almost no carbonation, 2 fingers of light beige head which fade fast leaving snowflake like lacing.

S: Vinegar, fermented red fruits, red wine vinegar, wine, funk, woody oaken barrels.

T: Sour immediately followed by strong oaken woody depth. No sweetness, but its not harsh like some sours. There’s a strong dull bitter finish from the hops.

M: Medium light body, little carbonation, dry sour balanced finish.

O: Love it. Got it in Saginaw, MI, drank in New Hamburg, ON, Aug 21st, 2014. Really good sour. Its not overwhelming like Love Child No. 4, and I could keep coming back to it.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
89 out of 100 based on 781 ratings.