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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,529 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,529
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 128
Gots: 240 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,529 | Reviews: 745 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ATPete

New Jersey

3.05/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

batch 6

La Roja pours an amber brown color, murky, with a tall tan head, lots of sticking and noisy foam. Tart and instantly acidic barrel notes in the nose lead to a sweet malty profile with a large citrusy hop bite mid/late palate. More funky than 'sour' as its often described, and i like funky, this just seems to be a forced funk. Lots earthy notes of over ripe fruits and hay. All and all it really falls short for me, flat in flavor, almost one dimensional, wood is just a tease once the body is felt. Medium body, gueze like in nature, very bright carbonation and a seltzery feel to it. Possibly its just young? It just drops off the face of the earth mid palate.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2008 00:27:18 | More by ATPete
Photo of Patrick999


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

A - Dark brown, but some clarity. A little head.

S - Not the usual balsamic aroma of a Flanders red, kind of perfumey, some sour apple.

T - Hmm, this sure isn't Rodenbach or Duchesse, this is something else entirely. Attic and cheesy funk very prominent, along with a tannic character from the oak. Very dry and sour, funk-driven - unconventional, but very good.

F - Still not quite as carbonated as it should be to my liking, but decent feel, if a little thin.

D - It's odd. At times with some sips, this tastes to me like a stinky cheese, but it's dry and very drinkable. One of those beers where no two sips are quite the same.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2008 13:06:56 | More by Patrick999
Photo of goethean


4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Badly over-carbonated. Nice complex malty aroma. Caramel flavor. Medium to light-bodied. Slight hops dryness towards the end. Complex, indescribable interplay of bitterness and sweetness. I think that there are lots of (off?) flavors just below the threshold level. You can't identify butterscotch, or oxidation, or sweaty horse blanket, but I think that together, the blend of trace amounts of these flavors contribute to an interesting beverage that beckons you to try it again in the hopes of nailing down exactly what you're tasting.

Highly drinkable. Alcohol content is well-hidden. Call me a Philistine, but I actually enjoy this more than the more vinegary La Roja Grand Reserve.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 23:32:36 | More by goethean
Photo of Kempleton


4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from the 750mlbrown bottle into a Biere du Boucanier tulip glass.
Hazy rusty brown color topped by a foamy 2 finger head. The head receeds slowly about 2 mins to a foamy mixed with bubbly patchy thick slick of a head.
smells of funk, grass , farmyard, and hay, clean rain type of smell.
first sip give the feeling of biting prickles on the tounge. this one is real bubbly, let it sit and shake it a minute.
Taste is pretty sour, oaky with a lasting sourness.
I could easily drink this over and over again.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 19:12:58 | More by Kempleton
Photo of Floydster


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

750 ml bottle acquired in a trade as an extra from OHLRangers, thanks to Ed for the opportunity to try this funky brew, split with some friends last night as our nightcap, blend five from 2008, poured into my Chimay goblet

A-Dark red color with a brown root beer look to it as well, thin 3/4 inch creamy light tan head that stays around pretty long, nice retention, not much lacing
S-Sour notes, vanilla, spice, oak, lots of malt, cherries, hint of vinegar, lemon juice, other fruit, and caramel
T-Starts off with a sour kick, then the amber is certainly in the middle with sugars and malts, mostly caramel and fruit, finish is slightly tarty but nothing too strong, gets more subtle as it warms too, not sweet fruits but mostly dry ones, would have liked this to be sour but that is not what it was intended for, nice mix of flavors that worked well together
M-Tart, sweet, and warming mouthfeel, body is pretty thin though, high level of carbonation, taste lingers with the sour accents
D-Not as sour as expected, tartiness allows it to go down really easy though, alcohol is well hidden, smooth for what it is, could have drank the bottle myself most likely

Cannot go wrong with a Jolly Pumpkin beer, have not tried this one before and wanted to before cracking open of my grand reserves, turns an amber style that I am not too fond of into a really good beer, will be drinking this one again, recommended

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 17:30:52 | More by Floydster
Photo of philipquarles


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

Pours a murky reddish caramel with a medium off-white head. Dissipates quickly to leave a foam layer and a lot of lacing.

Smells strongly of sour cherries and other fruits. Woody (I guess oak) notes are surprisingly evident. Other funky smells that I can't describe well.

Taste is rather complex. The sour cherries esters are still evident, but roasted malt comes through quit a bit. Wood and other spicy notes come through also, adding nice nuances.

Really quite a drinkable beer; the sour flavors aren't terribly bold, making it easy to down. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2008 02:03:06 | More by philipquarles
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a blend 2, 2008 sticker on the back.
Pours a hazy amber color with a fine bubbled tan head. Nice lacing.

Mmmmm, the typical brettomyces nose - forest floor, cedar chest and watermelon.

Wow! This beeyatch is sour! Only other JP I have had so far is the Bam Noire and this one is quite a bit better. Almost tastes like biting into a cedar plank that has been soaked in apple cider. Hints of sweetarts, seltzer bubbles and tart strawberries. Very dry, clean and bitter finish.

Funk fanatics, this is a must try. Very enjoyable. Would most assuredly buy again.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 05:32:43 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of roadhouse


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 tulip glass.

Appears a nice ruby shade of red with a two inch thick off-white head. Gradually it sinks down to about a half inch. Massive sheets of lace are left behind.

Aroma is somewhat sweet with the scents of tart cherries, vanilla, and some oak. Really nice smell.

Taste begins with a light sourness that initially reminds me of the cherries detected in the aroma. The sour lingers on as some vanilla and oaky flavors come out. Almost seems a little chocolately in the back of the throat. Leaves a bit of an earthy tartness on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium, crisp and smooth.

Certainly enjoyed this one. Not too sour, not too sweet. I'm still new with these wild ales and am looking forward to trying some more from this unique brewery.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 02:21:20 | More by roadhouse
Photo of ckeegan04


3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Deep mahogany in color with a thick creamy light brown head. Head has excellent retention and lacing.

S - Hints of spiced rum at first. As you breathe deeper there are hints of alochol soaked cherries, a little funkiness, and hints of peach.

T - A little sweetness up front quickly overcome by a very tart fruitiness. Lots of cherries and a little fig mixed in. An earthy spiciness comes through late before a very tart and puckering finish.

M/D - Medium bodied and very crisp and smooth. Light carbonation. One bottle is plenty but it is a great sipper.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2008 03:57:38 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of USCTrojanBrian


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown in color, steady head. Realllly woody smell. Has that sweet and sour thing going on like most wild's.

Not the most sour though, and missing some sweetness to balance. Just seems a bit mild. Smooths out a bit as it warms.

JP has some really good stuff that I had recently, this is more pedestrian.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2008 19:41:45 | More by USCTrojanBrian
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Labeled as a amber ale but brewed with Belgian influences.

A: Pours a dark red/ice tea color with a tan head.

S: Fruity aroma, some sourness and bubblegum dominates the nose.

T: Huge sourness for flavor but is very well refined and not overpowering or overpuckering. Aged in oak casks gives a subtle oakiness. Incredible yeasty flavor, beer starts out spicy hop and spiciness wise and proceeds to a big smooth sour finish. Very well crafted and brewed with amazing yeast attributes for an American style Belgian. Probably one of the best made American made Belgian style right up there with Ommegang. Wild yeast, a sour cherry tartness bite with some warm licorice and raisins for flavor.

M: Thin mouthful but big on flavor and drinks much bigger then labeled 7.2% with some alcohol detection upon warming.

D: Reminds me a little of a Rodenbach but not as sour. Very well crafted and palate is extremely smooth and pleasant to drink.wow.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 13:42:23 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of RixBeer


4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright, cloudy, amber and 1 thin finger of cream-like head with fast popping bubbles as the head collapses into a very frothy looking head. Very inviting.

An awesome sourness with some nice yeasty wildness formally found in lambics and sours made with brett. For someone that likes sours, this beers smells great!

THe sourness is very bold up front with a decent amount of carbonation but not overwhelming by any means. I think that this beer could be more. The aroma suggests that it should be. Almost a sour, quiet wild and yet still tame enough and pedestrian enough that someone not into crazy wild sours would still appreciate. My favorite from this brewery so far.

Now I can say that the alcohol isn't present in the aroma, or taste but you can feel it. It warms the mouth, throat and yes, the soul. This is one warming beer I think would woop your ass if you stopped payin attention to how much you've had.

Drink 1....
with a friend if you like...

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2008 01:19:21 | More by RixBeer
Photo of RedChrome


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very cloudy dark orange beer. A half inch of off white head faded down fast. Very tiny bubbles can be seen rising at the top of the glass. Lace in rings.

Sour aromas pop through up front. A fruity blend of red apple, grapes, and pineapple. A lot of shifting in the nose. Very light hint of a malt background.

A gritty fruity taste is quite flavorful. Malt sweetness mixes with the fruit flavors and has only a hint of sour up front. A more sour effect builds after a few seconds.

Carbonation is a bit overpowered. The beer has a bit of a watery feel to it as it runs over the tongue.

Not a bad beer. Well worth pairing with a piece of pepper jack cheese. Not an everyday beer, but a good bridge to more sour ales. Try some if you see it.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2008 01:45:51 | More by RedChrome
Photo of champ103


4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This pours a beautiful hazy reddish/brown color. A large tan head forms that leaves some nice lace behind. I love the color.
S: It has the sweet and sour/fruity nose. Basement like funk and very fruity. Tart apples, and cherries. A fairly simple nose, but excellent.
T: Basement like Funk, tart, and lightly acidic. With just a hint of caramel sweetness. Lots of fruity flavors that follows the nose.
M/D: A good full body that is carbonated to my liking. At first a crisp snap, but turns into a good creaminess. There is enough sour/tartness to make this a bit of a sipper, but one I am glad to drink all night.

I love this Flanders/American Wild Ale hybrid. The tart fruits, light sweetness, and musky funk simply makes this shine. Another great offering from Jolly Pumpkin.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 14:30:10 | More by champ103
Photo of kmo1030


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a slightly hazed reddish brown. it's god a decent sized light tan head.
the aroma has got some fruitiness, mainly of the flowery ,cherry variety along with grainy yeastiness tinged with hay and oak aromas. a little musty. it's pretty subdued. an interesting tomato vine type aroma is going on upon further inspection.
the taste is moderately tangy and has got a pleaant cherry blossom smell type flavor to it with grainy pale malts touched with oak, vanilla and some slight barnyard. one gets the feeling that the oak has really smoothed things out.
the mouthfeel is smooth and soft like mineral water with active, but very delicate carbonation. it's quite dry.
the drinkability is good is crisp and refreshing and has some interesting flemish red type flavor going on in it. a very nice american wild ale thats well worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2008 00:38:06 | More by kmo1030
Photo of Phenom

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle with a sticker that says Blend 3, 2008.

A: Cloudy brown with a nice creamy head that settles to about a quarter inch and provides nice lacing.

S: The sourness is right up front. I find it interesting that they mention the barrel aging and bottle conditioning on the label but no where mention that it is a sour or wild ale. The label calls it and amber ale. Maybe Jolly Pumpkin figures consumers know what they are getting into when they buy a JP beer, but I could see some people being surprised and maybe even thinking something is wrong with it. Anyway, back to the beer. The sourness is like green apple jolly ranchers. There are also some citrus smells and other spices, and little bit of caramel maltiness down deep.

T&M: Very tart, and a little acidic on the tongue. Lots of fruitiness, especially apple, although the fruit flavors are more like candy than fruit. Think jolly ranchers or sweet tarts. There is definitely more to this beer than sourness though. Some nice malt flavors and even a little bitterness at the end.

D: I'm still fairly new to sour beers, so one of these is probably enough.

My first Jolly Pumpkin beer, but definitely not my last.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2008 20:49:52 | More by Phenom
Photo of jwc215


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

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for sharing!

Pours orangeish amber with an off-white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of a vinegar-y sour with cherries and some bready notes. Smells reminiscent of a tart/sour cherry pie.

The taste is of tart cherries with some caramel. Sour with a touch of sweetness. Some vanilla/oak comes through. Finishes dry.

Nice on its own - unique - but really shines with cream cheese covered with cherries.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 01:13:46 | More by jwc215
Photo of tayner


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

750 ml brown bottle

pours a cloudy, medium honey color topped with a wihte foamy, sticky head that never leaves.

smell is funk, wood, sour, tart,

taste is very slight barnyardish wiht tart, unripe cherries and a bit of lemon/lime sourness. as it warms the malts balance this one out nicely.

mouthfeel is creamy with lots of soft carbonation and light. finishes crisp and dry.

easy to drink and refreshing, and reasonably affordable.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2008 18:04:47 | More by tayner
Photo of tai4ji2x


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

750ml bottle. labeled "batch 12, 2007"

poured into tulip

clear ruby color. lots of off-white head that slowly recedes but pretty much stays around. lovely lacing. wonderful to look at.

smells of cider vinegar and foot funk. and sour fruit notes of crabapple and cranberry. hint of hay and farm odors. whiffs of phenols.

flavor of vinegar, but on the phenolic side. hints of cranberry again. faint malt background. mild to moderate bitterness with woody and phenolic note, both going into the finish, which is semi-tart.

not too thin, with some smoothness before perceiving more acidic texture. tight, moderate carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 04:22:49 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of allengarvin


4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a wide-mouthed chalice, the pour results in a very cloudy reddish-brown beer with a huge, frothy head (actually, it was almost a gusher when opening... I had to pour quick). The nose is quite nice, with a modestly fruity, malty, earthily sour scent. Excellent flavor, with the sourness a key component, but it's kept well in-check by a good maltiness, mixing some sweetness in. Ripe fruit notes and a good amount of bitterness--a bit unusual for a Flemish red, but it works quite well--add for a lot of complexity. The finish is tart but not overly so, with a hint of metallic funkiness lingering.

An excellent beer, which could easily be compared to the best of the Belgians. And a great label too!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 04:52:48 | More by allengarvin
Photo of BradLikesBrew


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

a: murky orange amber body. very cloudy. big effervescent bubbles and good retention.

s: tart fruit. sweet and inviting.

t: some light caramel malt is barely detected before sour fruit rushes in. notes of tart cherry, apple and apricot. just the right touch of tartness to balance out the sweet fruit. finishes dry with a touch of bitterness.

m: the active carbonation is typical for the style. refreshing with a light to medium body.

d: my first jolly pumpkin, won't be my last. love the style, love the beer. not too sweet, good complexity.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 00:43:36 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of RedDiamond


4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first I thought the beer was too forward in its pungent, sour fruit aroma and sour, acidic contours. But after letting the ale breathe a bit and warm up to a more suitable serving temp, I warmed up to La Roja as well. It is rust-amber color, hazed, and shows a rimmed head and infrequent lace. Curtains of tiny bubbles rise from the perimeter of the glass. The taste is of grape skin and apple pectin with grapefruit rind - a bit challenging at first, but I'm up for the challenge.

Smoothes out notably upon warming and transforms from bracing to engaging. Very nice, but I might still give Blend #10 another year to taper off.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2008 00:05:35 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

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

750mL poured into a tulip

A deep red body with a fluffy off white head. Some spotty lacing and minimal carbonation.

Sour notes aplenty. Smells of brett, oak, cherries, and vinegar.

Taste is of sweet red wine with sour brett. I also get some cherries and a light oak flavor. Overall, dry and sour.

Light body. Carbonation is on par. I thought the body was a litttle thin.

Lower abv and a light body make this easy to drink in hotter weather. Sour enough to make you like it, but not complex enough to make you love it.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2008 13:11:06 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of Hojaminbag


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

An amber body with a nice tan head. Leaves a little bit of lacing.

Smells of tart fruit with some malts.

Taste of caramel and sugary malts is there. The funk comes through nicely though, very tart and fruity. A pretty nice wild with an appropriate mouthfeel.

Nicely drinkable, I had no problem drinking the 750ML bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 13:52:50 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of JBogan


3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark honey color with no roja that I could see. Huge tan head which stayed throughout and left excellent lacing.

Smelled of cherries and a bit of yeastyness which reminded me of shoe leather.

Tasted of cherries along with some sort of an "earthyness", perhaps a bit of oak.

Mouthfeel was good, with a smooth medium body and mild carbonation.

This was a nice beer, but a step down from what I was expecting considering how much I like Jolly Pumpkin's other offerings.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2008 20:02:47 | More by JBogan
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,529 ratings.