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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,825 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,825
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 154
Gots: 300 | 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:
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,825 | Reviews: 770
Photo of keanex
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Reminds me of a dark blush wine. Deep red with pink through the light. Sediment is apparent and lots of carbonation. Thin creamy white head.

S: Smells very fruity with light oak. Reminds me a lot of a white zinfandel actually. Tarty in the nose, a bit overripe smelling even.

T: Not nearly as sour as I was expecting, but definitely will have you slightly pucker at the end. Sweet and mellow upfront though, huge fruit taste, raspberries, which are tart throughout.

M: Medium bodied with a decent amount of fresh carbonation.

O: Decent beer, if I can even call it that. It reminds me more of a wine than anything. I don't think I would buy it again, but it was worth trying.

Photo of Tucquan
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-11-05 in Columbia, PA

A - Orange and light mahogany. Very short, tan head with moderate lacing.

S - Really nice. Funky yeast, high-quality vinegar-like sour, grape skin at harvest, mild spice.

T - Rodenbach Grand Cru like. Lots of sourness. Complex. Tart raspberries. Not barnyard; more like fresh-mowed grass. Just a touch of tannin. Alcohol is well-subdued. Dries nicely.

M - LIght body and medium carbonation. Crisp, effervescent and refreshing.

O - My favorite Jolly Pumpkin so far. Like it better than the Bam. My wife may like the Bam Noire a little better than this. For quite a bit less money, the Rodenbach Grand Cru suits us both better but this is a very fine brew.

Photo of CheezyBlaster
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sour funk, funky funk. Sweet malty tarts make the pucker muscles tighten and the saliva flow. Definitely a bit of that "garbage" smell - like you get when you walk by the bottle recycling at the liquor store.

Sour, obviously. Tart raspberries and dryness. Unripe cherries. Funky fermented flavor. Well balanced though. Mouth is dry and medium bodied. The dryness and balance of the texture is distinctly reminiscent of Chianti.

I enjoyed this brew, but would prefer smaller doses. I don't want a bomber's worth of this in a sitting. As it is interesting to start, it quickly wears on the palate and the dry/tart character wears out its welcome. I would love to try it with a meal though!

Photo of nickhiller
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: copper and cloudy, thick swirls of particulate. A clean khaki rim from soft bubbles just surface, lacing like soap bubbles.

S: intense passion fruit, also floral, like violet, musty Brett of course, brown sugar, a little sherry, strong minerals--like quaffing the air in a iron mine.

T: lots of the tart tropical fruits--passion fruit, goji berries, pomegranate--caramel, a little apple cider vinegar, rich malts on the finish give it a nice roasty-toasty-bready deliciousness before the dryness wipes it away. Some lingering vanilla bean and rum.

M: light-bodied, crisp and very dry, a touch of alcohol heat.

O: the smell is absolutely exceptional, it smells more like a freshly cut passion fruit than a freshly cut passion fruit does. Not sure why this one doesn't have a higher rating. It might not be the rarest JP out there, but it's certainly top-notch.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown, with an off-white head that can't quite stick and leave some lace.

Nice sour grain/malt notes, with a hint of cherry and some yeast and fermented fruit.

A great version of a flanders red. Nice tart fruit; firm malt; bitterness comes in and cuts thru it all; sour and bitter play off eachother nice. You want to find some cherry, but it never quite gets there. A little wood, a little spice in there. This is very good, although it leads to bitter more than sour. Just a hair off-balance.

Medium body, appropriate carbonation.

Loved this one. Drinkable and nice complexities. Very worthy.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a red wine glass.

A- Murky reddish brown, 1 finger light tan head. Very little splotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- Dark fruits, oak, barnyard funk.

T- Light vinegar, dark fruits, sour funk, slight astringent bitterness at the finish.

M- Medium/light body. Astringent bitterness and slight acidity give this beer a semi-dry finish.

O- Good sour. One of the better american wild ale's I have had (I have only had a few though). For a straight sour beer I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of scoots511
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to break out of my normal beer review format for this one and enjoy. Man this is a good beer, Jolly Pumpkin nailed another one. This american wild ale is the best I have had. The smell is so right on it makes me feel like I am sitting inside of the oak barrel with the beer inside of some darkly lit cool cellar. I've tasted many attempts at this style that go so awry. How did they get it so right. A clean sour and some peppery taste makes me wish I was really in the barrel with this beer so I could drink it all. If you've trained your palette to enjoy the sours do not pass this one up.

Photo of adman08
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very clear copper color with amber at the edges. A nice cloud of white head that really sticks around and leaves nice lacing.
S-Very sweet smelling. Slight hint of vinegar.
T-Tart sour flavor, some malt sweetness. A distinct funky/musty flavor.
M-Fairly light in body but good carbonation. Very dry finish with some sweetness in the middle.
Overall, a fine example of a flanders red. Beautiful in the glass and that nice tart, musty funky taste. Good body, not just sour, it's more complex than that.

Photo of shawnsmith1
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 1 Bottled 1-13-2011

A: pours a slightly hazy amber-red into tulip. 1 finger tan head.

S: Bursts sour cherry right out of the gate. A bit of funk and some fruit esters (apple, pear) overtop of earth and mushroom.

T: tart, sour.

M: light bodied, lively carbonation. Finishes a touch spicy (white pepper), with cranberry skIns, wood/ cherry pits.

O: reminds me of a kriek lambic. Light bodied, with some complexity. Really enjoyed this one.

Photo of mgbickel
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Piraat tulip. Bottled on 06/24/2011...consumed today...

A single finger of bone foam formed on top of the muddy amber body. The head dissipated quickly, leaving behind small trails of lace.

Funk and fruit dominate the nose...wild yeast up front with cherries and fermented malts lingering around in the background.

The taste starts off with a puckering sour-ness that lasts pretty much throughout the taste. The middle finds a caramel backbone that is joined by phenols and spices...interesting and enticing all at the same time.

Medium bodied with a dry finish; moderate carbonation.

This is a very drinkable beer that grows on you as the bottle level gets lower...great example of a "wild brown"...

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Jolly Pumpkin : La Roja

Pours an amber color, off white head and some lace formations on the glass. Aroma is sweet, sour, and slightly fruity. In the taste, nice and bitterly sour with some berry fruity notes. Wine like, oaky, some woodsy tannins and tart the whole way through. Wine like in its alcohol strength too, a little tart with a burn. Semi dry, medium to light bodied brew. Overall, a really nice treat. Sour, fruity, light spice and very oaky. A fine candidate for cellaring.

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Roja for certain with just a spit of white suds...
wild bugs swimming in the nose beautiful sour candy and a little musky horse. Quite Brut, skipping the sweetness for flavors of wild cactus flesh and strawberry, and bitter apple and a spice of black pepper. Perfectly bodied with a medium light feel lending a small bubble carbonation that envelopes the tongue

Like it a lot, really hits the spot if you are going for a dry Flemish red made in the states.

Photo of biga7346
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Latest batch bottled in June. Poured into oversize tulip.

A - Rusty, brownish and very firm and clear like most JP beers. One finger head with some soapy lacing that dissipates pretty quickly.

N - Biscuity malts come at you with lemon peel acidity, puckering tartness with some white peppercorn, winey and spritzy along the lines of grape skin. Suggestions of boot leather, shoe polish and oak.

T/M - Thin up front followed by grape skin, lemon peel, very tart raspberries (especially as the beer warms) all rounded out on the palate with that great biscuit and breadiness, like rye bread or brown bread. The finish is fleeting but there is some tannin-like qualities that stick around. This is probably the most acidic JP beer in their regular lineup.

D - Roja doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves as one of the better, year-round and very available sour beers in the U.S. It's the closest thing I have to a traditional Belgian unblended lambic I have had from the states.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff!

Blend 12
Bottled 7-11-2011

The beer appears dark ruby hued with a half inch of tan head that leaves some nice lacing on the snifter. The aroma brings funk, wild yeast, oak, cherries, assorted fruit. Really nice flavor. Complex, sour, delicious. I am a happy guy. I have had this a few times now. While this is not necessarily a great introduction to the style (though Jeff may disagree), due to the brash complexity and unorthodox nature of the beer, I highly recommend this. Sour cherries, with a healthy sour, lactic presence. The beer in some regards reminds me of Russian River Consecration, which is a very good thing. Ya man, this beer is good stuff. Recommended.

Photo of wifehatesthebike
4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 2-11-11 blend 2

A: Murky ruby brown with a 1" rocky head that soon fades to a whisp.

S: Smells great. Tart green apple, oak and sour dominate. The classic JP aroma.

T: Vinegary and carbonated at first, then fades to tart and sour fruit mixed with oak. Served cold, some alcohol sneaks through. Finishes long and mildy sour with some dirty hop at the finish. Semi-dry.

M: Quite thin but a lively carbonation on the tougue keeps things interesting.

O: Very good, one of my top 3 JP beer I revisit frequently. I keep meaning to set one away for a couple years to see how it develops.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.3/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of ebby82
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of david18
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of rootbeerman
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of JLeege
4.42/5  rDev +10%
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.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,825 ratings.