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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,655 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,655
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 140
Gots: 267 | 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: 1,655 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a reddish brown color of a Flemish ale. Has a nice thick head after pouring out, but it dissipates quickly.

Smells acidic, spicy, barnyard funky, bush berries.

A very well balanced red ale, I'd say. Not as sour as many Flemish ales I have tasted and not overly fruity either. Carbonation dissipates with time. Actually, deliciously spicy with strong notes of cinnamon and clove. A little espresso too, in the background.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation but with the acidity that seems to work well.

This is very drinkable, at 7.2% ABV, and it is not too sour. Towards the end of the bottle, though, my tongue is getting a hefty cinnamon/clove vibe.

Originally reviewed on 02-08-2009.

Beerenauslese, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice initial head with amber color and great retention.

Smell is of sweet fruit and acidity. No barn yard funk or horseblanket here.

The taste is tart and dry without any sort of underlying sweetness. In addition, there is a slight bit of diacetyl (which is understandable as the use of pedio was likely the culprit). Also the alcohol detracts from the beer. Overall, it's a good beer, but for the style, it's pretty middle of the road in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. Some lingering bitterness occurs on the swallow from fusel alcohols.

Not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't even come close to the higher end beers of the style.

jasonjlewis, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

La Roja by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. 7.2% alcohol content. 2nd American Wild Ale I've had and very excited. Old school cat design on the bottle red scheme. Blend 3,2009

A- Pours a dark glowing orange fluid with small off white head that falls to a frothy top and light strings of lacing grasping the glass.

S- Smells similer to red wine with floral rose scents and a yeasty tartness. Light hints of oak in the nose as well.

T-M- Excellent, pure excellence. First up is a dash of earthy malts with quick but sharp tart and bitterness funk. Second is a spicy alcohol bite and bourbon heat following. By god I love this beer... It offers up beautiful complexities. I note fresh tart fruits (apples, plums, and citrus). Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with woody bourbon feel lasting on the tongue.

D- Drinkablity is steller and i will be buying out the rest at my local store to celler and enjoy for the next couple of years...Or weeks Cheers!!!

wesbrownyeah, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of CMW
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a reddish/brown color with a large off white head. Very good retention as it takes several minutes for the pour to completely settle. As it settles there is a nice soapy ring left around the side of the glass.

S - The nose is slightly medicinal. There are plenty of tart cherries, malt, wood, and funk.

T - I can taste the sweetness immediately. Then there are some tastes of sour cherries, oak, and some spice. Huge tartness in the finish.

M - This might be only complaint, a little on the watery side.

D - I like this beer quite a bit and will definitely purchase another.

CMW, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My girlfriend picked this up because the pirate cat on the label. I do love pirates. Wild ales not so much.

Blend 3, 2008. Translucent reddish brown color it looks like some sort of raspberry rum daiquiri. Thin white head that never diminishes and rides intact right down the glass.

Sour fruity funk aroma: bready caramel with lots of chardonnay characteristics. Taste is similar. With fruity esters galore it's almost like a wild old ale or maybe chardonnay mixed with watered down Kool-aid fruit punch (oh yeah!). Sour settles down a bit as it warms.

Overall I found it messy and hard to grab a hold of. Like the cat though.

donkeyrunner, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of GeezLynn
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blend 6, 2009

A: Murky cider-brown with an impressive sudsy head. Very good retention.

S: Vinegar and oak with some cherry underneath.

T: a little caramel/toffee quickly gives way to slightly acetic sourness, with heavy oak. Also some fruity flavors, grape being more easily discerned, but otherwise not as clear as in the aroma. Barrel aging has had a pretty heavy effect.

M: Light to medium-bodied with ample carbonation.

Not bad, but the flavor left me wanting a little more. It was a little muddled and probably a little too heavy on the oak for my tastes.

GeezLynn, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of redsonja
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A/ dark amber to red

S/ oak vannilla smell

T/first its sour like a belgian red ale than if yoy swallow there is a strange oak taste

M/ after yoy swallow it a hind of oak stays in your mouth and the souwerness goes away

D/ not a beer for everyone people might be scared by the souwerness but the oak taste is real good its a beer for the summer refreshing lightly chilled and for cold days not chilled.

redsonja, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of icetraxx
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at the A2 brewpub.

A: Poured a rather dark amber red into a snifter/large tulip with nearly no head (due to the lack of carbonation), what head was there stayed around for the entire trip.

S: A vivid earthy oak that had my nose submerged in the glass even after I finished this one. There were also aromas of Belgian/wild yeast, doughy and bready malt, vinegar, some restrained barnyard funk, and lactic acid.

T: Sour. Funky. Oak. Delicious. There are definitely some bugs in this one, but they are restrained. Flavors follow the aroma nearly verbatim, but with the oak a bit more restrained than the aroma. Very balanced and a nice mashup of complexity. The oak is highly refined and integrated with the flavors, a true masterpiece of a beer.

M: Suffers due to the lack of carbonation.

D: Rather high, I can -and did- drink this all night. The lack of carbonation isn't a huge factor in drinkability due to the inherent acidity already imparted in the flavor.

O: While all JP brews are aged in oak (as far as I know), this is the only one that I've had that has really screamed oak to me. I still strive for more sour/funkiness in my beer.

icetraxx, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally seeing this one back in stock... 750ml into standard pint. Blend 12, 2009.

A- Hazy brown, impenetrable by light. Nice creamy 1cm head that laces pretty nicely.

S- Crisp green apples. Very fruity. Sweet. A bit of a citric twang.

T- Tart, a hint of spice (cinnamon? burnt molasses?) and a great fruity wallop that comes through in the finish. A bit earthy too.

M- Great carbonation really does this a lot of good. Very easy to drink.

D- High. One of my favorite reasonably priced American Wild Ales. Worth seeking out. My favorite by far of the few jolly pumpkin beers I've had.

ShogoKawada, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of Chrisco88
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A deep orange/amber, almost red. Slight cloudiness. Small, smooth, white head at first pour but soon fades to a thin layer.

Aroma: Heavy oak / sour aromas. Light fruity and ester-y tones. Smells like whiskey. No particular hop or malt aroma except a tiny hint of caramel.

Taste: Very much sour, a little sweetness in the aftertaste.

Palate: Extremely smooth, medium but well-kept carbonation.

Overall: Wow, what a special brew. Never have I tasted such a smooth yet aggressively flavored beer. I was hooked after one whiff but found myself taking sip after sip to try and put words to the complex assault of flavors that were being evoked.

Chrisco88, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of mothman
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a slightly older bottle as it has the older label.

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1 finger of beige head. Very nice retention leaving a lot of splattered lace. Color is a hazed copper ruby.

Aroma: Nice and funky. Some sour tart notes. Cherries, oak, caramel, and a few spice note4s. Some horse blanket. This beer is very mouth watering.

Taste: not as sour as I was expecting it to be, based on the aroma. A lot more malts here, caramel. Then the spices come in. It has nice oak and cherry flavors. This beer is doing fine.

Mouthfeel: A little sour, but fairly smooth. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends slightly dry, but relatively clean.

Overall, this beer is holding up great. Nice sour cherry flavors and a good amount of oak shows through. I enjoyed it a lot. Pretty drinkable.

mothman, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-slightly hazy copper color with an off white head that retains for about a minute leaving a big lace on the glass.

S-wild yeast notes hit the nose first with some candied sugar and sour grapes. there is also aromas of wood chips, but the sourness dominates

T-the taste brings some wild yeast, sour grapes and some candied sugar. there are also some tastes of sawdust towards the finish with hints of the alcohol.

M-medium to full body with a relatively smooth texture and a ton of carbonation.

D-i was not impressed with this beer. it was extremely sour and didn't bring a whole lot else.

cpetrone84, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of bobsy
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at BeerBistro.

Pours a wonderful red with excellent clarity, a huge off white head and sheets of lacing. Truly a gorgeous looking beer, and I can't find a fault with it. The aroma is sweet, with brown sugar and fruit notes, a dash of vinegar, and a good dose of oak. Mild funk hangs around, but more as a bystander than an active participant.

I expected more sourness from this beer, but the lightness of it seems a little entry level. I also expected more funk from Jolly Pumpkin, but its really underplayed here. Despite this, La Roja is still a tasty beer. A lot of caramel malt provides a sweet character, while a nice fruitiness comes into play. The oak character is quite pronounced lending a sweet, spicy woodiness and pleasing vanilla accent to each sip. Light funk, and when I say light I mean it. Reminds me somewhat of a Flanders Red, which I guess is what it really is. Body is spot on for the style, medium feel and carbonation, but impressively smooth.

While not as expected, this was a great beer. Even without the funk and with a downplayed sourness there's still enough underneath to carry it. If I could tweak it I'd let the wild yeast run a bit, but as a nice easy drinking beer I'd be happy to spend an evening with a couple bottles of this. Oh yeah... and I love the cat on the bottle art.

bobsy, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of hooliganlife
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 batch, blend 5 - poured into a tulip

pours deep dirty brown and red with a light cream head.

sour cherries, light merlot, sour grapes, subtle hints of oak and vanilla.

light sour tartness up front. faint bitter cherries with a hint of wood. the funk comes out at the end and is more like a sour vinegar barnyard funk. overall, quite bitter.

moderate carbonation and quite dry. a bit of a light to moderate body.

i enjoyed this however it seems a lot has fallen out of it. i would assume there would be more cherry flavor when fresh.

hooliganlife, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of grs8313
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From my notes:
Appearance: 1pt. 9fl oz. 8, 2008 blend. Pours a cloudy amber color into a Unibroue tulip. Nice thick head that is 3 fingers.

Smell: Apples, malt, alcohol, cinnamon, clove and caramel.

Taste: Apples, spice (possibly chicory). Hops at the end. I was hoping for fruitiness throughout, but did not get it.

Mouthfeel: Thin and a little creamy. Not a lot of carbonation, and the mouth is left with a sour and slightly hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability: I thought the sour fruitiness would be present start to finish, but the hops at the end are a little overpowering to those flavors.

grs8313, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of fastsrt
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured the big boy bottle to a flute glass.
A: Brown almost ruby red. large tan head.
S: Lots of Oak, funky, grape, love the oak smelled so rich.
T: Oak, wine like, sharp dryness, leaving the pallet covered in oak. low hop bitterness which I feel the bitterness is driven from the oak. sour grape like.
M: The prickly carbonation made it feel like a carbonated red wine. Extremely dry and smooth.
D: this is a sipper and a tough one to figure out, love it it is so unique i have never had a wild ale and i am a fan, this was also the first offering i have had form jolly pumpkin my beer store has two more offerings I am going to swoop them up today.

fastsrt, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of sprucetip
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. I have always stated that I haven't yet developed a taste or appreciation for sour beers. I may have crossed the line with this one, as I enoyed it thoroughly.

Pours hazy, beautiful amber/red, thin head, minimal retention, no lacing.

SMELL some sweet tart candy prominent with some some sweet maltyness in the background. Mellow, smooth and balanced.

TASTE sweet tart candy is stronger earlier, but fades somewhat during the sample. Malty sweetness, and light hop bitterness add some depth. Sourness is restrained and not overwhelming.

FEEL really smooth, medium body, slightly dry and clean finish.

OVERALL as stated above, I can no longer say that I don't really like sours. Very pleasnt, enoyable and easy drinking.

sprucetip, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
2.95/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12 oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer is a murky light brown with a tan head that doesn't have much retention or great lacing.

The aroma is light funk and that's about it.

The taste is not good. Its supposed to be a wild ale but its more like a combination between a wild ale and an flanders ale but they don't know which they wanted to do it. Its light sour but not very good with a bad aftertaste. This is a very disappointing effort.

jrallen34, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of jgasparine
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured gently from the bottle to yield a thin white head, which slowly receded... no noteworthy lacing. The body was a hazy reddish brown, and exhibited no visible signs of carbonation (no bubble trains).

S- HUGE funk (brett and pedio?) on this nose with big aromas of dark fruit cider, oak... and even a hint of vinegar (acetobacter?)

T- Sour fruit and oak are dominant on the palate, and I feel like there is a lack of corresponding sweetness here. Restrained earthiness and nutiness on the palate quickly turn to vinous notes that last through the finish.

M- A nice medium body which exhibits a fair amount of unattenuated sugar and a nice soft carbonation. Not bad for the style.

D- At first the unbalanced funkiness is a bit too strong, but after several sips the beer becomes very drinkable. Would definitely drink again!

jgasparine, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blend 15, 2008. My first sour.

Pours a beautiful dark amber with a creamy off-white head. Excellent lacing.

Smells of peaches, cherries, some oak, and a little funk. Smells a little more like a wine than beer.

The taste is interesting. Lots of fruit, sweetness in the middle, and some tartness in the finish. Not bad, actually. I love the complexity of the flavors. There are some characteristics that remind me more of wine than beer.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, but still good. With the creamy look of the head and body in the color I was expecting something a little closer to a stout in the mouth. Not bad, but my eyes had my hopes a little too high.

I would try it again, but I couldn't do too many of these at a time. I attempted to share this bottle with some family, but no one had more than a sip before making an interesting face and complaining.

RomaniIteDomum, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of Ek0nomik
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured In: Snifter Glass
Purchased At: Riley's (Madison, WI)

My first beer from Jolly Pumpkin. I can't believe I held out on drinking this bottle for a few months, but finally the time has come.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy rosewood color with a finger of light apricot colored head. I gave the beer a few swirls in my snifter to see how the lace held up. There are a few small dots, along with a few streaks that trickle down to where the beer is sitting. It's too cloudy to see how effervescent it is, but I stuck my ear up to the snifter to hear a beautiful chaotic sound of bubbles gasping for air.

Smell: The nose reveals some sour dark fruit notes including cherries and plums. The sourness to this is really pleasant. There's also a little caramel in the background coming from the malts and a dash of oak from the barrel aging.

Taste: The flavor profile is similar to the nose. A nice blend of sour dark fruit including those same cherries and plums from before. There's a dash of vinegar and caramel in here too. The after taste reveals some orange peel which is really pleasant.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied beer that's slightly on the thin side of medium bodied. The carbonation is spot on.

Drinkability: If the bottle was a tad cheaper I'd make this a routine beer. A very well crafted beer by Ron Jeffries. This has a great mouthfeel and a nice blend of aromas and flavors.

Ek0nomik, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of hardy008
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blend 9, 2008. Copper brown color with an large tan head with really nice retention and a nice lace. I can smell tart cherries, caramel, oak, and spice immediately. The taste is also tart cherries, caramel, some oak flavor, and spices.The flavor is also somewhat sweet which makes for a nice balance with the tartness.

There is a lot of carbonation, and this finishes dry. The drinkability of this beer is good, but such a large bottle is a lot to drink. This is a very good wild ale, and I would recommend giving it a try.

hardy008, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of auroracrisis
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Batch #8, 2007.

Appearance: Murky amber with a one finger head that dissipates soon to leave a tight rim of small bubbles and spotty pools of foam on top.

Smell: Smells sour, much like the way a Cantillon would smell. Is this Cantillon? Pretty much smells like a clone of one of their beers to me.

Taste: The taste is spot on. A decent amount of funk and sour without being overbearing. I really like the way they pulled this one off.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly and light, 'nuff said.

Drinkability: Pretty high, this one isn't offensively funky or sour. An appropriate amount of both that would keep my coming back for more of this. Well done, JP.

Overall, this is a great beer and a must try. Definitely the best Jolly Pumpkin beer I have tried.

auroracrisis, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of homebrew311
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says Batch 5, 2008. A bit of a gusher upon opening.

A: Pours a murky reddish purple with a white head

S: sour cherries, oak, vanilla, tart grapes, a touch of vinegar

T: Very tart up front with all kinds of tart fruity notes. The sour notes turn into heat from the alcohol. Somewhat spicy on tongue. Some slight woody notes. Not as balanced as some other sours that I prefer, but very good. If taste matched the nose, it would be remarkable.

MF: very sharp and high carbonation. This works to cut down the pucker of the sourness.

D: this is very tart and a bit boozy for a sour ale. It is not highly drinkable, but it is an enjoyable brew.

homebrew311, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of Zeisloft
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really wanted to like this beer. I love Flemish Red beers, and have only heard and tasted good beers from Jolly Pumpkin.

The brown color of the beer wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Wanted it to be redder in color.

But the smell was right onto what I would hope for. The cherry and spices are prevelent, with no alcoholly smell to it.

The lack of alcoholness to the beer stopped at the first taste, as it is prevelent right away. There is a bit of carbination that overpowers the cherry. You have to be patient to get the cherry sourness, but it is a pleasent tart sourness. Something that I look for.

It is great in the mouth, light and flows easily. Which makes for an easy drinkability (if you like sours).

Overall, I would Recommend this beer to someone that likes Flemish reds, and I will be having it again.

Zeisloft, Nov 12, 2009
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,655 ratings.