1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,545 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,545
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 128
Gots: 242 | 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:
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)
View: Beers (39) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,545 | Reviews: 745 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of womencantsail


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque amber in color with a fluffy off-white foam that dissipates to a thin layer, good lacing.

S: A moderate tartness, sour cherries, and oak.

T: Mildly tart, sweet, cherries, almost cola-like. A bit of bitterness, which is surprising.

M: Bubbly, medium body.

D: Not quite what I was hoping for, but still a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 18:38:59 | More by womencantsail
Photo of nomomentwasted


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this last night out of a bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet. Labeling artwork is very well done, looks pretty cool.

Appearance: Pours a cola-color brownish red that let light pass through in a very nice fashion, with soft carbonation that looks a bit like cola as well. Looks similar to Consecration, although slightly lighter in hue.

Smell: Really shines. Strong, tart cherries flavor that strongly reminds me of Cuvee de Tomme from Lost Abbey. Cherries, slighly oaky, vanilla hints as well, with a slight grape to it as well. Not quite vinious like Consecration, but still very aromatic and with a great nose.

Taste: After first sipping this, I was confused. I really just sat there and had to try it again. So much more mild and understated than the nose, with a sort of murky, like cherry flavor, but zero sourness and I wouldn't even call it tart. It's more just like drinking Coke. After my first glass, my concerns were verified: this isn't all that flavorful. Understated, yes, but flavorful? I'd have to say no.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated modestly and fades to black pretty quickly. My palate felt pretty dry and clean after every sip, and if only there had been a bit of sourness to give something to my palate between sips.

Drinkability: I mean, I finished it no problem. It's a relatively easy-drinking beer, but it's more for me due to the lack of much flavor. It's worth a shot, but at what you pay for it, there are certainly other worth alternatives.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2009 16:31:24 | More by nomomentwasted
Photo of tronester


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy reddish/brown with an ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE tan head. After pouring the beer into the glass super slowly, the head got LARGER as the glass sat! I do not think I have seen that before. The head does not want to die, and when it does, it leaves huge, rocky chunks clinging to the side of the glass like velcro. Seriously, some of the patches are 1/3 inch thick! Smell is quite vinegary, with super tart cherries mixed in, very aromatic.

Taste is sweet, vinous, and earthy up front, followed by a wave of sour and tartness, and a surprisingly bitter finish. A large grape flavor is present up front as well. Mouthfeel is average, high carbonation levels.

Drinkability for this beer isn't as good. Drinking an entire 750ml is a bit tough. In smaller 4-6oz servings this would be much better suited. It is an interesting beer, however, that has a good flavor. I would buy this again.

If you are a fan of wild ales, this would probably be right up your alley.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 04:07:43 | More by tronester
Photo of BLACKOUT0213


4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i thought this beer was great. in fact love concencration and when i took my first swig that is exactly what i thought of! mouth feel was full and sparkly. the taste was not quite as sour as the great concencaration but the aftertaste was, i thought, was much better and very desirable. overall a great beer at 11.99 a bottle i think it is a great substitute for the beer that i've been trading for.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 02:31:25 | More by BLACKOUT0213
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An import-priced Belgian-style bomber at Beerbistro. The cat on the label is very reminiscent of Alley Kat's fat cat imagery. This beer pours a cloudy dark apricot hue, with two fingers of creamy off-white head, which leaves minor lace around the glass as it dissipates. It smells of sour cherry, lemon, and a light woodiness. The taste is more tart cherry, caramel malt, soft oakiness - butter, vanilla - and dry, mildly floral hops. The carbonation is quite strong, very much like cider, the body resplendent in medium fleshy fruit, and it finishes with a pointedly full-stop dryness at the finish, with some cherry and pomegranate fruity aftertaste. A bit of mild alcohol warming shows itself as well.

This is very nicely tart and malty, without the expected funk.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 02:49:33 | More by biboergosum
Photo of digitalbullet


3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Apperance: dark mahogany with a light head that dissapates fairly quickly
smell: prominatly sour cherries with a dusting of grapes and champagne
Taste: this is where the brew loses some points with me. It's tart cherries and grapes (which is good) but it has a musty off flavor in the background that takes away from the wonderful cherry taste
Mouthfeel: nicely carbonated
Drinkablity: not the best Flanders brew I have had but definatly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 05:00:04 | More by digitalbullet
Photo of jsh420


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours murky amber brown with a big off white 2+ finger head that left lacing down the glass

smells of tart cherries and alcohol

taste is much more sweet then sour - cherries apples and hints of oak

mouthfeel was light silky smooth and creamy

drinkability is very good and i had no problems finishing off a 750ml bottle

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 20:46:41 | More by jsh420
Photo of barleywineman


4.85/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer is very fruity, bitter sourness but not very,
you get cherry strawberry aromas,some kind of barrel aged wood notes & alchol filling vapors, it's perfect for warm summer thirst quenching drinking! It's sort of like a Bordeaux in beer form Awesome an amazing style of beer great color, swirl it and it creates a finger of head each time. this is the Batch 3 2009
Go get it! distributed by Stone Brewery San Diego Ca

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2009 03:45:46 | More by barleywineman
Photo of scifan

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml that says blend 6 2008. Very pretty amber copper color with a huge head that took awhile to calm down. It leaves some nice lacing along the glass.
The first sniff reveals some nice earthy yeast aromas, and some soured fruit(mostly cherries and strawberries). There is also a noticeable alcohol tinge making it self known. I thought there would be more of a funkiness to it but this is still quite nice.
Taste slighty musty, with some nice fruity sourness. There's also a slighty caramel sweetness to round things out.
Very lively carbonation, but spot on for the style. This was my first beer from Jolly Pumpkin and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2009 02:58:49 | More by scifan
Photo of Seru1


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Very hazy and impossible to see through. Tannish brown thin head with a rustic feel.

Nose- Flowery with bright cherry and red fruit aromas, fun to sniff.

Taste- It has a robust roasted pumpkin flavor, Ironic I know, with baked cereal and red fruit notes.

Mouthfeel- Disappointingly it has little staying power. Light lacing and semi coating. The beer's biggest weakness is it couldn't hold up with a heavy dish.

Drinkability- It wouldn't be had to finish a 750 ml bottle in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2009 01:11:02 | More by Seru1
Photo of Scriba


4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 1, 2009

A: Copper red with a white head that quickly turns into a thin lid. Some lace.

S: Fresh and a little sour. Red currant and blackberry.

T: Red current, black-berry, liquorice and oak. The sourness is refreshing, but mild (which is good, I don't like to drink vinegar...). The taste is complex and well balanced. Very elegant.

M: Nice carbonation.

D: A beer I could sip on all night. Worth every penny I paid for it.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2009 21:06:01 | More by Scriba
Photo of Mistofminn


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been meaning to try this for a while. Zipps has been out for months and I faintly remember Cellars Roseville having some of this in stock. I was right and made my purchase.

Cracked the cap with a loud hiss. I set the bottle down for 2 seconds to dispose of the mutilated cap, and the foam was already coming out of the top of the 750 ml. I quickly poured it into my Darkness Tulip to save the wood end table.

Pours a murky brown color, when held into the light it shines amber. A small amount of suspended sediment is in the bottle. Large head produced with great retention. The head, rather than dissipating, is actually growing with each waking second. This one has some carbonation issues, but that aside it looks great. Great retention and lacing with a lively carbonation.

The nose is very sour. I get sour apples and cherries, as well as a woody character that I can only assume comes from the oak barrels it was aged in. There is a good amount of funk and that pleases me. I also got an acidic vinegar like scent that is more appealing than it sounds.

The taste doesn't let down. I love what Jolly Pumpkin does with their brews. There is a fine line between lovely and repulsing when it comes to Brett, but Jolly Pumpkin dances on the line and laughs at it. I have yet to be disappointed by any of their brews. This one has a very strong sour taste to it, with sour green apples and unripened cherries. There is the slight vinegary taste, but it doesn't last long. Only in the aftertaste do I get any sense that this was aged in oak barrels. Brett is definitely strong in this one, and very very tasty. Sort of musty and funky. Great stuff.

As always, I love what Jolly Pumpkin has done with the mouthfeel. Ron (and crew) know their mouthfeels for sure. It's light and bubbly, but extremely smooth and creamy at the same time. Drinkability is high, but I wouldn't be chugging this one. Sip, savor and repeat.

Once again, I'm impressed by a Jolly Pumpkin brew. There brews are different enough that you can tell them apart and keep you wanting more, but all share the same common theme of excellent artisan ales brewed with wild yeast. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 06:35:45 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottled served at 45 degrees in a tulip. Blend 23, 2008 indicated on the back label. Poured a murky brownish-plum color with a one inch off-white head that slowly receded into a pock-marked, frothy cap and then a congealed dollop of white. Big sour, fruity (red berries, cherries) nose intermixed with wood. A bit of mustiness follows towards the back. Taste follows nose, but fruit flavors are incredibly muted by the sour, with the wood character really coming out in the mix. Mouthfeel falls between light- and medium-bodied with a slightly prickly effervescence that finally culminates in a dry finish. Interesting brew - a fair amount of complexity, but something I would definitely need to be in the mood for to enjoy - I happen to be in the mood. Not my favorite JP, but this one really stands up.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2009 00:42:13 | More by Jwale73
Photo of ffejherb


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into small pilsner glass on 6/10/09.

A - Slightly hazy amber/copper-colored body with reddish hues and half a finger of off-white head that settled to a thin film and left a bit of spotty lace.

S - Tart and sour nose suggesting green apple and sour cherry notes with a backing of syrupy malt. Aroma has a slight cough syrup aspect.

T - La Roja is sour and tart and, while only hinting at subtle hop bitterness, it is quite woody and oaky. La Roja develops into a syrupy dark fruit tang in the finish.

M - Medium body with lively carbonation and a syrupy texture. A little thin and watery overall. Finish is dry and sour with a good bit of astringency on the palate.

D - I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I didn't realize this was a wild ale. However, it was enjoyable and I look forward to sampling more Jolly Pumpkin offerings in the future.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2009 00:18:56 | More by ffejherb
Photo of Aenema


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8 / 2008

Appearance - Gushed all over upon opening, definitely open this bottle over a sink. Gushes/pours a cloudy reddish caramel with a soapy off-white 1 finger head. Splotchy lacing.
Smell - Sour apples are most prominent.
Taste - Tart apples and slight funk. Basically a weaker version of the nose. There is some oak/vanilla to it. As it warms some additionally complexity opens up, but overall I was disappointed with the lack of intensity and complexity in this beer. Slight astringency.
Mouthfeel - Creamy with a fine, moderate carbonation, medium body and dry finish.
Drinkability - Enjoyable, not too intense (i.e. rich or hoppy), but still not a beer I'd particularly want to session (unfortunately I lost about 1/3 of my bomber to the gushing).

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2009 03:33:40 | More by Aenema
Photo of vrazionale


4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. Bottle reads: "Blend 1, 2008."

A - Pours a deep, cloudy reddish brown. One and a half finger head backs down to a thin, splotchy coating across the top of the brew.

S - Sweet and sour at the same time. Sweet notes: cherries, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins. Sour notes: apple, lemon peel, basement musk. An absolutely remarkable bouquet.

T - The oak and fruit flavors marry very well with the sour, tart flavor profile. Lots of juicy dark fruit (think cherries and even a bit of blackberry), vanilla, and sweet spices. The more earthy, wild side of the taste profile is the perfect complement to these flavors. On the sour side, I get apple, fresh cranberry, and bitter orange notes.

M - Mouth-watering and juicy, but very clean, crisp, and refreshing. A well-made brew, indeed.

D - Wow. This beer is remarkable. Very complex and dynamic, but somehow the beer doesn't overwhelm the palate. This is the kind of beer that rewards the drinker who takes his/her time. A must-try!

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2009 00:55:55 | More by vrazionale
Photo of damienblack


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 6, 2008.

Pours an amber, like a lighter apple cider. Not a huge head considering the splooge out of the bottle when I opened it, quickly dissipates. Smell is awesome, tart apple, other wild berries, huge oak barrel whiff. Something else, maybe vanilla. It all combines to form something almost tobaccoey, but not gross. Taste is a lesser version of the smell. Tart apple, in this case the sour kick is very bitter up front when the beer is cold, and then carries through nothing. As it warms it really opens up, the tartness carries through less focused but longer. Like apple cider or granny smith apple. Very much dry, but a lot less barnyardy than other wild ales or saisons. I can't tell if that makes it more or less versatile. Mouthfeel suffers, it's kind of thin through, doesn't really have anything memorable here. Just sort of bounces off the senses so far as chewiness, thickness, or anything else like that goes. Unremarkable there. Very drinkable for a wild ale when it warms, but you have to let it warm first.

Overall, an all around solid wild ale. the best part is the smell, but the taste is pretty good as well. Solid if not groundbreaking. I will buy again, after I try some other JP offerings.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 06:52:45 | More by damienblack
Photo of jjanega08


3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A= pours a brownish amber color with a huge fluffy very alive head on it that's an off white color. The head looks like its gonna fall then more bubbles give rise to it. Not as much lacing as I was expecting however.
S= smells sour lemongrass with a strong vinegar odor. There is a little cherry note in it as well as small amounts of oak.
T= a little bit of a let down. Not as much flavor as I hoped for. There's a small amount of sour in it with quite a bit of funky brett. There's a little lemongrass in it with a more robust vinegar but not overpowering at all. the oak isn't very present either.
M= very high carbonation and very dry finish not bad.
D= pretty good. Not as much flavor as I wanted but still nice. Ill be buying it again for sure but with lower expectations. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2009 01:55:54 | More by jjanega08
Photo of deereless


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Finger of foam on a medium pour, thick head that lingered for 10 minutes, dull rust to ruby grapefruit color, mildly opaque - 4.50, S: Quite tart, some bitter cherry aromas, very subtle signs of oak - 4.00, T: The tartness on the nose comes through on the tongue, some unripe apple, what tastes like tannins presumably from the oak aging, some vanilla in the distant, the 7.2% on the label seems understated as alcohol is upfront - 3.50, M: 3.00, D: My first Jolly Pumpkin beer and I only realized after opening the beer that I didn't pick my favorite style, trying to look at the beer objectively this is a nicely crafted brew - 3.50

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2009 00:51:10 | More by deereless
Photo of bgjohnston


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a bottle of this for Mother's Day, and there was plenty for sharing, as it is a 750ml bottle.

Poured a cloudy light amber, with a generous head and steady, continuous carbonation all the way to the last sip. It was effervescent enough to look like a cloudy sparkling wine after the head died down a little.

Taste was not far from the appearance, either. Tart, sour flavor upfront, becoming a little bitter with a hint of oak, finishing very dry. I found it to be very drinkable, with no hint that it was nearly twice as strong as other lambics I have had, and loved sipping it from a champagne flute as a nightcap after a very long day.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2009 17:00:35 | More by bgjohnston
Photo of Murchmac


3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have no idea how to review a sour, but ill learn. Blend 11, 2008

Color: cloudy, dark red with amber highlights.

Smell: Vinegar, sweet. I smell the color red.

Taste. Big sour up front, gives way to apples, caramel i think. tartness finishes it. There is some sort of metal taste in here.

I actually really like this beer and hope it turns me to the dark side of sours.

The more I drink this, the more the sour is just an up front taste that gives way, but coats the mouth. Sours are a lot like Super Hoppy beers. A big wave at the beginning, they mellow, but coat your tongue with their flavor flav. Gotta branch out more now...

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 04:53:21 | More by Murchmac
Photo of webmanspidey


4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark red/amber color poured into Duvel tulip glass. Smell is very sour and vinegar-ish..

Taste is very sour... a mix of fruit and oak. Not overly strong, pretty smooth and well put together. Reminds me of other sours but the oak presence gives it a unique flavor I haven't noticed before. Very drinkable, and it better be since I need to finish off a 750mL bottle.

Worth trying if you like sours.. and especially if you like both sours and oak aged beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 02:18:47 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle - $9.99 at Bullock's in Marietta, Georgia. A small sticker on the back of the bottle lists "Blend 3, 2008".

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark caramel body with a pervasive amount of fine effervescence and topped with a goodly-sized, off-white

Smell: Toasted bready and caramel malts cower in the corner from the looming, encroaching wild yeast-derived aromas. I don't blame them, I'd cower too.

Taste: Initial maltiness of heavily toasted bread crusts and dark caramel with a brief, restrained sweetness quickly clear the way for a veritable tide of funk-induced flavors. Sours cherries, unripened Willamette raspberries, freshly-grated nutmeg, Red Delicious apple peelings, a lone drop of vanilla cream, and even some puckeringly tannic, fouled wood barrel tastes. Slight acidity. Fairly earthy and acetic at times. Finishes quite dry with some enduring dusky tannic hints.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Highly carbonated.

Drinkability: As always, it's another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin. To say these beers aren't for everyone is a huge understatement. Paired well with the song "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect" by The Decemberists.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 22:36:43 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ricke


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Ruby colored with some orange hues. Slightly hazy. A big dense but still quite fluffy head with an off-white, almost yellowish, color stays around for quite a while. Good lacings.

S: A rather fine-tuned smell, with some faint champagne-like characteristics. Plenty of fruity aromas (mostly ripe apples). Some vinegar. Sweet chocolate. General pleasant tart notes. Plenty of funk going on as well - wet hay, dirt and horse blanket. Some phenols. An interesting smell to say the least.

T: Not as rich as the smell actually. Fruitiness (sweet cherries and currants, tart apples) and a semi-harsh funkiness (horse blanket, stable). Grass, chocolate, yeast, barrel notes, and dry earth. The finish is semi-dry with notes of green apples, grapes, some alcohol, faint medicinal phenols and a floral bitterness.

M: Medium body and the beer is quite dry from start to finish. The carbonation is rather prominent at fist but it calms down after a while. Actually, the beer undergoes a positive development throughout the journey, it opens up and gets a better overall expression.

D: This is a very good and interesting beer, but not exceptional. The smell outweighs the taste, which is kind of a shame. And as notes, it got better after a while in the glass. Would definitely have it again if it was offered.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 21:40:12 | More by ricke
Photo of Wetpaperbag


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright so this is a capped 750ml bottle. I popped the top and shot it into my face. Then came the cascade of foaming beer. I thought it might happen, but I totally under estimated the beer, especially the splooging that continued for at least 5 min afterward.

A- Cloudy brownish orange with a clingy clumpy head. Very pillow like in texture.

S- A fruity aroma with definite lemon and brett. That sour acidic punch fills the nasal cavities and leaves them puckering. Sour cherry is smelling good with this too.

T- Good sour acid pang right up front. As the taste fades you get sour grapefruit/cranberries/and lemons all blended together. In the background there is a cherry taste that is there. The brett is there the whole way with the taste. Very tasty and not super sour.

M- The mouthfeel is very thin, and the carbination is not a foam overload, which is nice. Especially since the beer was super foamy upon opening.

D- Very drinkable, the sourness isn't too bitter which can cause the drinkable to become more difficult.

This is a very tasty sour beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 04:06:27 | More by Wetpaperbag
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,545 ratings.