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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,635 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,635
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 135
Gots: 266 | 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: 1,635 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jayhawk73
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer might have turned my opinion of the style. Pours a dark red w/ minimal head, lacing, or carbonation. Smell is that of fruit, rum, yeast, and a little funk. Really opens up and smooths out over ten minutes. The taste followed the nose but was a little tart at first. Then something amazing happened. The more I let it air out and breathe, the more the beer smoothed out and came to life. By the end I was saying, "Holy crap, I really like this beer". Very complex in every category, and very enjoyable/drinkable. Highly recommended for the style.

jayhawk73, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of ebby82
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy reddish color into my glass with very little head.

Aromas of funky fruit, most likely cherry.

The taste is rather wicked funky. Extremely tart cherries are the prevalent taste. Anything else that might be there is overwhelmed.

I must drink this rather slowly because it puckers the lips so. Nonetheless, extremely unique and quite nice. I like a real cherry flavor in beer.

ebby82, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of david18
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had no idea this was going to be a wild/sour ale and was thrilled when I opened it and sampled it. Very good for the style and enjoyable the whole way through.

Appearance is a nice red with very fizzy-type carbonation. Head is not very present but plenty of bubbles.

Aroma is bready/malty. You can pick up a little sour in the aroma and also some slight fruits.

Flavor is pretty much a sour bomb. Very sour up front, a bit of fruit, yeast and malt. Outstanding.

Overall a great sour beer and one that I'll have again and again.

david18, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruby red hazy body with a nice foamy 1/4 inch pink head.

Smell: There is an overall impression of white wine (probably from the barrels), Next I smell the funkiness coming from the wide yeast. Good off flavors, somewhat one dimensional. The malts have a lightly roasted bread quality backed by spices such as clove, honey and vanilla. Their is a cherry tartness imparted by the wild yeast.

Taste: Rum punch, grapefruit and a cinnamon finish. Nice vegetal hop quality.

Mouthfeel: Tongue numbing sweet. Drying and delicate.

Overall: Bright, lively and fresh. A fine addition to the wild ale category. Pricey. A great dinner beer.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep reddish color with a good hazyness and a decent off white head. the smell is slightly acetic a little vinegary and pleasantly funky. the flavor follows suit with only a slight vinegar taste more tartness and that tooth stripping feel. definitely a funky beer. the mouthfeel is light to medium light with good carbonation. overall this is a great beer and definitely one of the most overlooked american wild producers.

rowingbrewer, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of Viciousknishs
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 9 bottled 6-20-2011

A- pours dark amber with a finger of tan head.

S- caramel and spicy oak aromas at first. Leathery tones in the middle with notes of spice. Tart fruit aromas of cranberry and sour funk on the finish.

T- dark caramel and tart fruit at first with notes of cranberry and granny smith apple. Wine like tannins in the middle with a big toasty oak finish, earthy funk and quite a bit of astringency. Big flavor with strong longevity.

MF- dry slick mouthfeel with a lighter body then usual. Spritzy active carbonation.

D- this blend is particularly oaky and not as drinkable as my previous experiences with this great beer and a particular favorite of mine from JP. However the flavors are exuberant with a sublime sour kick.

Overall this is a wonderfully crafted brew.

Viciousknishs, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of rootbeerman
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours dark slightly cloudy amber/brown. The head was only a finger thick, lightly off white, fell to a thin layer with a decent halo.
S: sour and sweet blended together. Sour apple, general fruity aroma, along with a light amount of malt sweetness.
T: interesting upfront, almost more of a nutty brown ale first off then moves back and brings out the sourness, and fruitiness.
M: a little bit of a pucker, especially as it warms up, light carbonation.
O: had to get this while i was out of state, I am overall impressed by the brewery with the sour styling.

rootbeerman, Aug 20, 2011
Photo of JLeege
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled January 13th, 2011 – Poured into a tulip

Appearance- Pours a deep copper/crimson color with two fingers of off white head, great head retention for a wild. A little splotchy lace.

Smell- Dark fruits, some lemon, lots of leather. A hint of vinegar, slight grass and a bit of oak, and the good old JP funk.

Taste- Tart lemon up front and a small shot of grapefruit. Then some vinegar and juicy red apple and tart green apple. Subtle caramel and leather. A dash of cinnamon and even a splash of dry cocoa towards the finish. At the very end a big cherry presence pops up, I was wondering where they were hiding after the aroma. Ultimate linger of apple and cherry.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and great carbonation. Dry on the finish.

Overall- That is a tasty beverage, Jolly Pumpkin continues to impress. This beer reminds me off the apple orchard as a kid, which reminds me, I should do that this fall, it has been too long.

JLeege, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass. Blend 9, bottled 8-6-10.

Appearance: Cherry, copper, or amber, depending on what part of the glass I am looking at. A frothy white head forms on top of this pretty looking beer, but not much lace is left behind as the glass empties.

Smell: With a year on this bottle, there is pretty much no hop presence left here. A lot of tart cherry go along with a good amount of musty funk.

Taste: It starts with a light sweetness and some caramel malt, but the focus is on the sour cherry flavor. Sour with a nice funky note through the rest of the sip, without too much else to get in the way. Some nice general spiciness adds some further flavor.

Mouthfeel: There is a light but firm acetic tone here. Lots of cherry flavor tannins at the end of the sip. The carbonation is fitting, falling somewhere on the spectrum between creamy and crisp. A little bit grainy, and fairly dry. The dryness is noticeable and pleasant.

Overall: I found this to be very drinkable. Fun and complex without making me want to switch to another beer afterwards. I could drink a few of these in a row.

KickInTheChalice, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, amber, head and lacing decent.

Smell and taste: Crabapples and sour apples are the flavors that comes to mind, along with a little fruit juice and other bits of delicious sourness.

Body is as good as any wild ale I've had. Right up there with RR for quality, only this one I can actually find locally, and at a decent price. Great job, this beer is the shit.

AlCaponeJunior, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of metal850
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blend 14, bottled 11-12-10, 22 oz bottle poured into a goblet

A: Pours with a thin film of head the quickly dissipates to nothing (not surprising for a sour), brownish orange with yellow highlights and quite hazy.

S: Sour cherries, lightly funky, mango and lots of other fruits.

T: Mild sourness, light spicy phenols, long lasting acetic funky aftertaste.

M: Crisp with a moderate carbonation.

O: Not a bad flanders red, just not the best

metal850, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured and paired with Raspberry point Oysters... First time having oysters because I typically don't care for seafood. The smell of the beer was fruity and funky. It looked red in color with a minimal head and lacing. The taste of the beer was tart and had plenty of sour qualities to it. The beer pairs really well with the oysters because they was a lots of black pepper in them. The sour and pepper balanced each other out really well. The mouthfeel is the beer had a good carbonation to it. It's light bodied and kind of refreshing. Overall it's a good wild ale in my opinion. Worth trying for sure.

Knapp85, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of jmich24
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 7 Bottled 6-25-10

Duvel Tulip

A: Big thick two finger light tan head. Dark amber clear almost a ruby red color.
S: Big sweet cherries, dark dried fruit, plum raisin. Spice notes as well as a faint bourbon smell, from the oak maybe?
T: Very tart, sweet cherry. Highly acidic. Puckering. Wine qualities. Smoother and more complex as it warms. At fridge temp I rated 3.5 but bumped up at 4 after it warmed.
M: Quite thin on the tongue. Very sour. Well hidden Alcohol. Carbonation is on the high side, but fades fast once it is allowed to warm.
O: My first sour ale of any kind. The smell is amazing sweet tart funky cherry. The taste was a bit overwhelming. Super tart, sour lots of cherry and other dark fruits. Overall this makes me want to try more sours.

Would have liked to split the big bottle.

jmich24, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of n2185
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a murky reddish-brown wit a finger of off-white head that quickly recedes into a thin ring with only a little lacing.

S: Lots of tart, sour aromas on the nose at first followed by some musky, funky barnyard aromas. Underlying it all is a bubblegum sweetness.

T: Tart and sour at first along with a lightly sweet malt flavor. A fairly strong funky, sweaty flavor follows with a light bitterness. The finish is surprisingly weak and watery with just a touch of yeast flavor, giving an overall bland finish.

M: Medium-light body with mid-low carbonation, this beer feels crisp at first but then finishes a bit watery.

O: A decent wild ale that I wish had a bit more depth of flavor and body. It' not bad by any means, but is far from great.

n2185, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of schwaeh
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Blend 11, bottled 9-10-10

A: The foam goes crazy, rising out of the bottle like every JP beer. Pours a dark amber-brown color with a dark cream head. Good retention.

S: Ripe fruits, tons of brett, oak, apricot, apple hay, grass, and funky horseblanket smells. Apricot and apple are the most predominant scents.

T: Big apricot followed by lots of brett funk and a mild spiciness. This kind of tastes like a caramel green apple. I also get pears, sour apple cider, and over-ripened tangerines. Lots of funky fruit flavors going on, this is awesome.

M: Solid carbonation makes this a silky smooth drink. It has a medium body.

O: What can I say, I love Jolly Pumpkin. They do these funky barrel aged wilds so well. This stuff is very easy to find and well priced for a wild ale. This is very approachable since it isn't really sour, but still has tons of complexity to keep everyone interested. Anyone who enjoys this style owes it to themselves to check this out.

schwaeh, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of Kayn169
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a Duvel Tulip
Blend 1
Bottled 1-13-2011

A- A brown amber, with about a 2 finger off white head. Carbination faded pretty quickly. Looks like a glass of Apple Cider. Including the hazyiness, with a touch of sediment

S- I'm getting some vinegar, funk, and cherry's

T- Sour cherries upfront, with a little vinegar. Medium sweetness from the fruit and a medium light to medium sourness. The sour waste very mild while cold, but developed nicely as the temp rose.

M- At first, while the carbonation was high, the mouthfwwl was nice, and light. As it warmed, the sourness developed, but lost a lot of carbonation, witch caused the beer to add a little weight, and made the sugars more evident and sticky.

O- Very nice beer. Good level of sour/tartness without being overpouring. Good flavor, decent complexity, although not amazing. Carbonation faded too quickly for me. Didn't seem to be as carbonated as some of their other offerings, and definitely faded quicker. Over all a nice beer that I would drink again with out question. As with most wilds, nice refreshing summer beer

Kayn169, Jul 10, 2011
Photo of rand
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle to tulip glass

A: Pours a dark apricot in color, cloudy with tight bubbly carb. A relatively small head forms which dissipates quickly, as a small layer of sudsy foam lingers.

S: An expected bouquet of horse-blanket funk, vinegar and cherries pops up in front, but this one has a unique yeasty aspect. Not quite bready, but fresh and 'loud'. Dry, too, with touches of wine-like alcohol and citrus zest. The nose is forward and prominent - various scents are parsed with an easy sniff.

T: Expecting a tart taste from the nose, the typical Flanders flavors hit the palate first: cherries, vinegar. Oak-aged malty sweetness meets lemon zest and spices, perhaps cinnamon and nutmeg. Nice holiday quality. Sour apple and grape notes creep up at the back of the sip, tasting almost like mellow, sour punch. Spiked, of course. Alcohol is prevenlant throughout, working to warm and dry the entire sip. Compelling and satisfying.

M: Really chewy for the style, penetrates every corner of your mouth. The vibrant carbonation keeps things clean and effervescent. Leaves a scrubbed aftertaste.

La Roja is most definitely a Flanders-style sour - oaky and fruity and funky. And it's tart, with slightly sour fruit popping up throughout. But it doesn't beat you over the tongue with puckering vinegar, and it doesn't try to emulate the horde of brews that have recently taken a shot at this style. It's complex and layered, tasty and drinkable. Looking out for the grand reserve :-J

rand, Jun 29, 2011
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 18, 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 01, 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
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,635 ratings.