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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,676 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,676
Reviews: 754
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 142
Gots: 273 | 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:
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: 1,676 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerwolf77
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by Sweemzander with the tickerazzi. Thanks buddy. Poured into my tulip.

A: Dark pink/red. Modest head flecks of soapy lace.

S: Whoa who left there wet socks on the basement floor. We got a brett bomb here. I like em funky but this one is a bit overdone. A bit of sour cherry can be picked out but it's a struggle.

T: Luckily the tart fruits come through a bit more in the flavor but the moldy basement is all up in your mouth. Like gym socks that sat in your locker for months. I see where they were going here but I'm not sure I want to follow.

M: Medium to light body. Light carbonation. Dry finish.

D: Overall there's funk and then there's FUNK. This one is just a bit ot far off the funk rails for my tastes.

beerwolf77, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed copper color, thin cap of head, minimal retention. Scent is mild and contains notes of sweet caramel, bready yeasts, citrusy hops, damp earth and wood. Taste brings the damp funkyness to the front, tastes of yeasty bread red wine, apple vinegar followed up by some caramel and citrus. Quite mixed and muddled flavor, but i think that was the goal with this one. Medium bodied, dry finish. An interesting beer with many things going on at once with neither standing out too much.

rfgetz, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 1 pt 9.4 oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice hazy dark amber color with nice red and slightly orange hints. There is a 0.5 inch head that forms and the head is a light tan color. There are some nice tightly packed bubbles that have some bigger bubbles in there as well.

S - Aroma starts off with some balsamic vinegar hints. There is some funk and some slight cherry and fruit aromas as well. There is quite a bit of cherry actually after further inspection. Quite tart.

T & M - Taste starts off with some bread notes that quickly turn into some nice funk and yeasty notes. Not as tart as expected in the front end. The taste is quite clean. There is some tartness ion the middle of the beer that is not as acidic and a bit more fruity. The cherry shines. There is a nice funk and bread character that follows the beer all along and balances out the sour. Very nice. The finish is clean and crisp and refreshing. There is a nice light body but great flavor.

D - Quite high with lower ABV and great not too intense sour flavors.

JoEBoBpr, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of JRed
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber-brown with off-white head sitting on top. Aroma of citrus notes, sourness, and lemon zest. Sour flavors, lemons, spiked apple cider (thanks, Grandma), and some candy. The spritzy body bites the palate and accentuates the flavors. A very refreshing, lively, pleasant drink.

JRed, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of JAXSON
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle, aged about 2 years.

Pours a fairly clear garnet with a heavy sud atop. Lacing is thick and plentiful. As with the best Jolly Pumpkin bottles the nose is rich, integrated, with a wholesome wallop of oak and brett. Cherries and red wine barrel really come out here, wet wood, bugs. I have found that in the past 3-4 years Jolly Pumpkin stuff has tended to become on the bland side for some reason, whether it's less time in the oak, less attention from the brewer, or what have you. I think this would have been fairly nondescript fresh, but 2 years is a nice age here. Mouth is fairly expressive with sour cherries, green apple, oak of course, brett. Green apple is very welcome and is quite strong. A strange bit of mint on the finish that's kind of distracting. Medium carbonation, good amount, soft feel. This isn't the best bottle of La Roja I've had but it's among the better ones.

JAXSON, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Meantime tulip. 7.2% ABV, Blend 10 Bottled on 8-27-10

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing with the tickerazzi!

A - Hazed over amber bronze color with a large foamy bone-colored head. Lower retention and some lace left over on the glass.

S - Fantastic brett nose with a great barnyard and horse blanket aroma. Dry straw and amber malts with a slight dirty foot finish.

T - Wild sourness without the big barnyard funk. Amber malts are nice and balance well with the other flavors going on here. Subtle wild nuances give it decent depth.

M - Sharp sour feel with a medium-light body and very dry finish. Not incredibly sour but it's not a training-wheel sour at all.

D - The sour is good but it's incredibly dry and becoming a chore to drink the more I have it. A moderate wild but a little moldy-like.

BeerFMAndy, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split with a friend at Beer Bistro. Pours a really murky reddish brown, perhaps a little like the color of drying blood. Murky like a glass of clamato but a few shades lighter. A half finger of head on the pour that dies to just a few bubbles.

As always, Jolly Pumpkin had made an insanely drinkable, balanced brew. Light cherry tartness, chewy wood characteristics, light malt sweetness, light apple-like acidity, horse blanket funk in the nose. Pretty chewy mouthfeel, low carbonation, no ABV to be found, really nice.

ritzkiss, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of CPeterson
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -- A light crimson pours with great vigor and produces a solid head that takes quite a while to reduce to a nice skim of froth, leaving a little lacing.

S -- Earth and funk and cherries, some acid.

T -- Funky on the front yet mild for the flavor I was anticipating from the nose. A hint of sour cherry backed by a great wood note, earthy, grassy. Definitely not hugely sour but solid.

M -- Well carbonated, light on the tongue. A little dry.

D -- Very nice, worth a pickup. Maybe even two or three.

CPeterson, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of tempest
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with a friend. Some sours can pack so much tangy punch, it can be hard to split a 750ml bottle, but this had nice, slightly restrained character. The opening earthy barnyard character is subtle and not so overpowering like an old, stinky gueuze. It's followed by tart lemon and sour cherries. It doesn't come off as the most complex sour, though maybe a year or two in a cellar would change that. but it's pleasantly sour while remaining relatively drinkable and I appreciate that.

tempest, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of WeisGuy
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old school 750ml bottle with the oval label shared by Ari - thanks! Estimated to be a 2006 or so vintage.

Pours a hazy deep brown color with a ruddy hue. There is a think tan head that recedes quickly and leaves only light lacing. The aroma is funky and pretty tart with notes of tart cherries and sweet malt dominating. A little aroma of wet wood is also present. The taste is a bit more mild than the aroma would suggest, but still very nice. There is a light tartness and signature JP funk mixed with some lightly sweet and tart cherries and damp wood. The body is middle-of-the-road with carbonation on the light side. Pretty drinkable stuff, but not as funky as I would expect from a 4 year old JP beer.

WeisGuy, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of Richardberg
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - medium reddish amber, a little too dark to be called clear, but no visible sediment or carbonation. Small white head fizzles out to a thin rim around the glass; no lacing.

S - nice sour funk - interesting without overwhelming. A little oak, cherry, caramel malt, apple.

T - pretty much like the smell

M - light to moderate body, somewhat watery, doesn't have the smooth/oily feel a high gravity brew deserves, much less any true stickiness

D - tasty and fairly easy to drink, though more boozy than a 7% that feels light should be

Richardberg, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear amber in color and poured with a finger high off white head. The head died down into a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The smell has a moderate amount of sourness and some hints of cherries.
T: Like the smell, flavors of tart and sour cherries dominate the overall taste.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink because the alcohol is well masked.

metter98, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of MrDanno96
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into my new La Fin Du Monde tulip! Blend 9, bottled on 8.6.10.

A: Pours a nice mahogany color with tints of red at the edges. A nice finger+ of creamy head sits atop the brew. A decent amount of sticky lace sticks to the sides of the glass. A lot of sediment at the bottom of the glass.

S: A good dose of sour funkiness meats the nose immediately, intermingling with hints of vanilla and oak.

T: Sour cherries intermingle with the earthiness of the oak barrel to comprise most of the flavor. Perhaps a hint of green apple as well. Not quite as sour as I was hoping based on the nose, but still quite good!

M: Medium bodied with some mild acidity and a long, dry finish.

D: This drinks really well for a wild ale, perhaps due in part to its lack of a mouth puckering sourness. I had no problem polishing off the bottle on my own over the course of about 2 hours. $12/750 ml is a decent price for a wild ale these days too. Highly recommended.

MrDanno96, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Blend 10 bottled 08-27-10.

(A)- Pours a dark, yet clear deep blood red color with hints of mahogany shades in there. Produced a great tan to eggshell colored fluffy foam that stuck around for quite some time.

(S)- A great dry earthy clay funk up front that turns into a mild sourness that comes off as very wood/bark-like. Some tart lactic fruits of some sort in the far background.

(T)- A great sour tartness up front. Has a nice delicate woody bite in the middle with some subtle fruits of a rasp/strawberry/cranberry nature. Complex to say the least.

(M)- A nice carbonation level; not too high, but higher than some. Really rather smooth due to its great balance. Sour, with a woody bite, but countered by some mild sweetness and fruit tang.

(D)- Just a great an intriguing beer. Fits the style well for sure. Simply a great beer to get your sour fix. Maybe it is just this particular batch, but was surprised at how low most of the ratings are based upon what is in my glass in front of me.

sweemzander, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split from a bottle into a New Belgium wine glass. Poured a murky red red-orange with a minimal white head. There was no lacing evident throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, sour, and fruit. The flavor was of sour malt, raspberries, and wheat. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice Wild Ale. Had a mellow flavor that made it quite enjoyable. Also the aroma on this one was quite nice as well. This one is a must try for any Wild Ale fan if you get the chance.

thagr81us, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of shodrod
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours with a deep reddish color. The ivory foam holds for just a minutes and then leaves some ok lacing. The aroma instantly reveals what Jolly Pumpkin does best: sour. Heavy scents of sour apple and wild yeasts, as well as hints of oak. The flavor is exactly what you expect from the smell. Heavy sour notes hit you right up front with a dry, oaky finish. This beer is a very good example of a sour ale, but know what you're getting into when pouring this beverage.

shodrod, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of xnicknj
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tulip glass, blend 8, 2008

A - Unfortunately the bottle exploded a bit after opening, sending foam and everything all over the place. We lost some beer, but after it settled down, everything seemed okay. Pours a cherry mahogany with a huge head leaving lacing everywhere.

S - Bright nose w cherry, tart fruitiness, and a slightly oaky presence.

T - Smooth sourness but not overwhelming, plenty of cherry and currants. Dark fruit and oak, eventually a little dry tart finish with a bit warmth.

M - Really smoothed out feel, mild carbonation, some sticky dryness.

D - Great drinkability alcohol is barely noticeable.

This bottle was a gusher, but the three people who tried it still thought everything was pretty good. I'd like to try a fresher batch though.

xnicknj, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of zoso1967
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very attractive orange hued brown color. It is fairly hazy, and the head is light tan and very creamy. The head retention is quite nice and it leaves some sloppy lace on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is sour, but not abrasive. It has hints of tart cherry like sourness, earth and damp cellar notes. There is also a slight amount of brown sugar like malt sweetness, but overall the nose is fairly subdued for style.

The flavor has a bit more punch to it with a nice funky tartness that attacks the tongue right off the bat. Once again I am getting a bit of a tart cherry like sourness that brings me back to growing up on the cherry farm. It tastes an awful lot like the shakers would smell after a harvest, perfumed from the tart cherries that inevitably get stuck in the belts and conveyers. Other aromas include musty cellar, sweet caramel malt and rich dried fruit. This beer is a tad hot tasting, even though in reality it is not that alcoholic. Could it stand to be a little less tart and show more of the malt character? Perhaps, but I think it is pretty damn good how it is.

The body is medium, and the mouthfeel is quite enjoyable. Not too lively and not too dead, it has a good amount of carbonation, especially for a beer as tart as this. The finish is quite nicely balanced and spares my tongue from the aftermath of sour that beers like this sometimes have.

This is a very drinkable beer and I have to say I am enjoying it quite a bit. It goes down easy and is very refreshing. I dig sour beer, but the prospect of drinking a whole large format bottle of it can at times seem a bit of a quagmire. However, I will finish this one off by myself quite easily.

zoso1967, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of sholland119
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pour is a clear, lightly carbonated amber-light brown. A thin ring of white head at the edge of the glass. 4.0

S-Great aroma. Lactic with a hint of brett, plenty of the aforementioned red wine barrel character. 4.5

T-We have a very delicious sour brown here. With the exception of Temptation, all of my favorite sours are sour browns. If Supplication were bottled in a red capped bomber I'd guess it was that. What it is for sure is tasty. 4.5

M-Light bodied. The low carbonation works very well here.

O-What an awesome start to this BIF. A sour with plenty of room left for flavor. Lactic, but not vinegary.

sholland119, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of jthahn
4.93/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber, poured into a snifter. Blend 14,2009.

A - a lovely read shade, the beer is quite clear and free of sediment.

S - reminds me of supplication. Light wine notes, as well as cherries. Wonderful smell.

T - crisp with a great amount of sourness. This is certainly a tart beer but very refreshing.

M - again very crisp. The beer is light but does a lot of work on your mouth. The sourness means the beer lingers fpr a while.

D - a bomber is easy to put away. This beer is light with excellent flavro and aroma, perfect for multiple drinks.

jthahn, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of sitarist
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blend 9, bottled 8-6-10

Pours chestnut brown...murky...very little head falls to a ring that leaves a few bits of lacing.

Tart aromas fill the air...I smell sour cherry candies, cranberries, apple cider, sweet and sour apples, and red wine vinegar.

I taste sour cherry, sour patch kids, ginger, cranberries, sour apples, and wood. It is vinous and tart with a slight medicinal quality(Vics 44D?).

Light body with just the lightest fizz...Acidic and dry. A bit too tannic.

Oh, Ill finish this big ass bottle by myself, but I must say this is one tart beer...its like touching your tongue to a 9v battery.

sitarist, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
3.25/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Chilled 750mL into a glass.

A: I've let this settle in the fridge for days, but a gentle pour still produces a cloudy, murky amber with reddish tint at the edges. It has a finger of off-white head that recedes quickly into a broken film and moderate collar on the brew. It deposits some lace.

S: Tart, slightly boozy cherry that evokes a passing comparison to cough syrup. Some must, sour apples, and oak.

T: An earthy, musty taste greets the tongue. The cherry cough syrup comparison flits briefly through my mind, but I decide the taste is better described as tart cherry skins, a touch of vinegar, sour apple, and oak. There's some muddled anise or spice in there, but it's haphazard and I can't pick it out consistently.

M: Light-bodied, with good carbonation. It still gets a lot of tannic buildup after a while, as the cherry skin residue builds on the palate without being scrubbed properly. That can be an issue when drinking a full 750mL. It's also boozier than I would expect for a 7.2%er, and that's not particularly attractive.

D: I used to love this when I was new to sours, but after a couple of years of exploring the style, I can't honestly put this on the same pedestal as Russian River. It's not terrible, but it's closer to middle of the pack than upper-tier. Quite a good value, though.

Arbitrator, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very dark amber with a cream white head. Smells fruity alcohol and caramel reminds me of the liquor my Pip used to pour in his basement, a whiskey I think. A spice taste that reminds me of relish. A nice sour tart taste and feel. A good beer. One of the best Jolly Pumpkins I've had thus far.

JordanEllwanger, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of wl0307
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the BSF bar, GBBF 2010; "Blend 5, Bottled 5-27-10", served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a dark ruby amber hue, slightly murky, coming with a semi-thick beige frothy head with relatively good retention, plus healthy streams of tiny bubbles in action.
S: sour-sweetness of overripe green melons, sour cherries, Chinese amber prunes, salted+dried tangerine peels, and musty yeastiness floats on top of an enticing sheet of sweet vanilla-ish notes as of lightly-toasted white oak barrels added with a lingering Rioja Crianza/Reserva's oaky yet sour grapey aroma; given a swirl, a rather settled layer of honey-ish notes and nutmeg-like spiciness gets mixed with the omnipresent oaky aroma, allowing a note of amber malts to sneak through subtly. Very nice, very oaky, and moderately + pleasantly funky.
T: the healthy carbonation renders a nice effervescent mouthfeel upfront, the foretaste is subtly funky, sour-fruity (prune-ish + mildly cherry-ish), and lightly gristy-malty, leading towards an aftertaste filled with semi-dry, saison or farmhouse ale-like mustiness but in an understated manner, along with a lingering oaky undertone as of well-aged French red wines... the finish is semi-clean, with light notes of dried herbs+spices (licorice root + nutmeg) and residual bitterness as a reminder of funky yeasts and bitter hops.
M&D: this ale has shown a decent ageing potential, I'd say; the flavour profile is quite balanced, the body is medium-plus, and the carbonation is very healthy indeed (for this batch/blend); all in all, this is a very likeable oaky-funky ale.

wl0307, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 2, bottled 3-18-10.
Been eyeing this in the fridge for a long time, waiting for a good day to do it. After a really long day at work, and more work coming this weekend, and lots of pain trying to buy a new house, I figured it was time to do it.

The long neck forces a slow pour and nice creamy bubbly head that fades pretty quickly though. THe beer itself is pretty clear rosy reddish light maroon color.

The nose is really nice. it has some light sour fruit, a little raspberry, a little bolotin cherry, tart fruits, but very juicy. A very light dry farmhouse funk, lacto style funk, but very light even though this beer has a bit of age. There's a touch of oak and vanilla, with a light creamy malt in the background, and just a faint hint of bourbon.

The taste is lighter than the nose, but not by a large margin. It is fairly sour and tart, with lots more nice fruit, with a little berry, and some sour bolotin cherry. Some acidity comes through, with a light creamy malt taste. Some nice oak tastes with a touch of vanilla. A very light warming booze, with some sweetness as well. A light red malt taste. And of course some lacto funk, a dry and slight farmhouse wild yeast funk, making itself known, but not dominating. More so than the nose at least. Some light bitterness comes through with that, most likely from the yeast and acidic fruit flavors. It finishes with a little flemmy taste, and lots of lingering tart fruit, pretty dry at the same time too.

The mouth is medium to lighter bodied with decent carbonation.

It has an OK drinkability, nothing special, but for a wild at 7% it's fairly drinkable. Some of the flemmy taste gives it a tougher swallow, and a very light warming booze with the sour and tart fruits. But for what it is, it's fairly drinkable.

jlindros, Sep 25, 2010
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,676 ratings.