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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,824 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,824
Reviews: 769
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: 1,824 | Reviews: 769
Photo of webmanspidey
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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.

Photo of ricke
4.02/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of alleykatking
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My girlfriend got this for me when she went to see her sister in Florida.

A- Poured into a pint glass. Pours nice deep hazy amber color. 1/2 foam head that went away for the most part leaving nice lacing around the glass that stuck to the sides of the glass.

S- First smell was a sour vinegar smell. This smells like a wine for sure. I like wine so this works out for me a lot. Apple smell with hints of funk and pepper. The alcohol is apparent when it warms up more.

T- Wow this tastes like a wine for sure. I don't know if all sour ales taste like this but if they do then I can really get into them. The apple taste really comes though as it warms up for sure. The vinegar taste is always still there troughout the entire beer.

S- Good medium mouthfeel that coats the palate in a wine vinegar taste that lingers after the beer is sipped on. Good fizz to this.

D- I have enjoyed this beer a lot. Jolly Pumpkin is a nice brewery from the couple of beers that I have. Wouldn't drink this as a everyday staple but...it would be good to try with my friends that like wine.

Photo of psurandy
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit wild ales are not my favorite style and I haven't had a huge range, but I'm all for reviewing a beer to style so here goes.

I love the look of this beer with it's deep reddish brown hues and nice creamy head which dissipates to a thin layer on top. It smells a bit sour and earthy. The taste matches the nose along with a bit of woodsy and caramel sweetness to balance the sourness of the brew. It's a smooth mouthfeel with a nice woodsy aftertaste. One of those beers that's great for one or two, but wouldn't want to drink more than that.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into chalice; blend 7, '08. Reviewed from notes, Oct. 08.

Pours a cloudy medium brown with a slight muddy tint, creamy light tan head.

Nose is cherries and a bit of oak, some vanilla sweetness, with a sourness that's part big barnyard funk, bit of vinegar.

Taste starts out with some sharp carbonation and an equally big dose of earthy, barnyard brett. Sourness takes on a fruitier quality early on, pairing with a cherry note alongside the brett; as the flavor progresses though, the flavor becomes more dominated with the earthy horseblanket and barnyard qualities of the brett, with the funk sitting on the palate for a while as the only lingering aspect of the slightly dry, clean finish.

Mouthfeel is dryly carbonated, crisp,light bodied. Very interesting beer.

Photo of JoeMayo
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden, caramel-brown with a fluffy light tan head.

S- Sour and funky. Typical Brett funk compliments the very clean smell of granny smith apples. Notes of sour cherry as well.

T- Moderately sour and quite a bit of funk. Not as fruity as the nose let on. There's a strong herbal, peppery flavor in the foreground with a very faint sour apple flavor in the background.

M- Crisp with a lingering aftertaste. Heavily carbonated.

D- It could have been a little more sour while maintaining the same drinkability, but overall very good.

Photo of aggiearcher13
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 3, 2008.

A: Reddish brown and cloudy, a little duskier than I was expecting.

S: Sour apples, similar to what I'd expect out of a cider really, it doesn't scream "beer" at me. Smells boozy and makes my mouth water in anticipation of the sourness.

T: Tart, sour apple, funky, and the more I drink the more the caramel comes out for me. Wow, this is really really good.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty light, well carbonated. About spot on for the style I think (based on the 3 or 4 I've had that put in this style ball park).

D: No problem finishing the bottle on this.

Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a foamy, off-white, long-lasting head that left some thick rings of sticky, patchy lace.

S - It smelled slightly funky and of dried apples. Also, some mild caramel notes.

T - It tasted of funky yeastiness, a sweet caramel maltiness and some sour apple flavors.

M - It was crisp, fairly sharp and very dry. A medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a pretty good wild ale. Very complex blend of flavors and tasty.

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

Gotta love American brewers doing funky oak aged Belgian ales, and doing it right. Appears an inviting deep russet red-brown, a healthy and foamy head both in the glass and in the remainder of the bottle, lasts as long as the beer does. This is really lambic-y up front... tart lime and apple, lemon rind, funky wet wood and dust. However as you drink it and as it warms, the delicious hearty caramel notes of a well made Belgian ale come through from underneath. Once your tongue gets used to the sourness there's plenty more to this beer. Sweet, earthy, ripe, and fruity. This beer has an excellent prickly and lively texture, quite complex flavors, and keeps you interested through and through. A real piece of work in artisan brewing.

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

Poured from 1 pt 9.4 oz bottle into flute. Sticker on bottle says blend 3, 2008.
A: Pours a yellowish red-orange with some yeast sediment/particles and high carbonation producing a very thick (2+ inch) bubbly head (almost like champagne). Very interesting!
S: Definitely sour fruit. Citrus, raspberry, lemon, and a hint of oak.
T: Unfortunately disappointing (esp. considering the appearance and aroma). A bit flat and watery. Very mild sour fruit.
M: Very light with some effervescence. Pretty bland.
D: A promising start...then this brew fell flat on its face. I like the experimentation, but the end product is just ok. I wouldn't go so far as to say stay away from this one, but certainly no need to seek it out.

Photo of Lothore
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one has been sitting in my cellar for at least a year.

A- Pours a hazy reddish brown with a nice, fluffy, 2 finger eggshell head.

S- Smell is very malt forward, lots caramel, citrusey sour fruit at the end.

T- A bit of a letdown from the look and smell. It's about the reverse of the smell, with very muted caramel notes steamrolled by a slightly sour wave of bret.

M- Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- This one was looking like such a winner until I took a sip. I felt like I would either love to see it more sour or more caramel barleywinesque with just a touch of sourness but the balance that was struck didn't quite do it for me. I'd love to try a fresh bottle for comparison.

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

Picked this one up after seeing them on sale.

Pours a glowing ruby red color, nearly clear with an off white head that retains pretty well leaving ok lacing, pretty nice lacing for the style actually.

Nose is pretty well to style, although a bit lighter richness than most. Also lighter on the malt vinegar in the nose. Some slight dark fruit, defenitely picking up the wild yeast.

Huh. Suprisingly for JP, this beer lacks some tartness for the style. Opens up with good light and dark fruit flavors, a bit of vinousness. The tartness is somewhat subdued. Really lacking the typical vinegaresque tartness. The finish has a bit of graininess and is nice and dry.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin for the style, and certainly not tart enough, although the dryness is dead on. Carbonation is fine.

Drinkability is pretty good, but nothing terribly amazing. Drinks about how it should for the abv.

Overall, this is probably the first JP beer ive had that really dissapointed me. Certainly not a bad beer in any way, but not up to their standards. I think they could put a little more effort into this one and make it a better beer. I won't pay the high price for this again when i can get nearly any belgian flemish for less. Still an ok beer though, in fact, enjoyable. don't regret the purchase.

Photo of cvfish
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured a red orange color that produced a white fluffy head that had good retention and left a decent lace on the side of the glass

S - This beer produced aromas of apples, tart cherries, lemons

T - This beer had a lot fruity sweetness of apples, cherries, lemons and apricots, a bunch of tartiness, and a little funk

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a light to moderate body and a moderate to heavy amount of carbonation

D - This was a good beer, my first Wild Ale, but I enjoyed something different, and this was certainly different, but very enjoyable

Photo of morimech
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 9, 2008

Pours a murky brown with a large tan head that hangs around for some time. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Has a funky aroma of barnyard and sour fruit such as cherries and apples. The flavor is moderately sour and funky. The finish is slightly sour and dry. Has a light body that is well carbonated. Seems fitting for the flavors. Middle of the road when it comes to sour and funky but is pleasantly flavorful and easy to drink.

Photo of amneziak
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nose: I get a ton of tart cherries, granny smith apple, a little raspberry jam, and some yeast. As it warms, it presents some more intense aromas of humid cave, grape bubblegum, and even the smallest amount of caramel.

Appearance: Hazy orange with a touch of red. Light off-white caramel colored head. Not a very strong head; maybe one-and-a-half fingers at most.

Taste: You really get the tart flavors right off the bat here. Apples; tart cherries; lots of lemon juice; (again) little caramel; not much alcohol.

Palate: Tart and refreshing, very acidic with a round mouth feel. The flavors hit your mouth way up front and are sort of an afterthought once they've gone down. La Roja is as effervescent as champagne.

Overall: For being so tart, this one really rounds out nicely with the fruit components. There is a perfect amount of carbonation and a fair amount of lacing. This style of beer reminds me a lot of a lambic, but there is a deeper flavor profile and much more vibrant aromas in this style than the lambic. Overall, La Roja tastes like a Belgian Ale that has been soured beyond belief. It's not for just anyone, but I rather enjoyed it.

(Blend 1, 2008)

Photo of brewcrew76
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blend 10

A - Murky, copper color with thin tan head

S - Sour apple, earthy, oaky funk. Nice sour funk but not overwhelming. A bit of acetic acid as it warms.

T - Nice sweet and sour balance. Funky with sour apple, tart cherry, musty, earthy oak. Funky sour but no barnyard. Sweettart flavor I find in some JP beers.

M - Light to medium with a good amount of carbonation and a dry finish.

D - One of the easiest to drink wild beers I have had. Plenty of sour funk but very easy to drink.

Photo of darklordlager
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Promiscuous looking cat-pirate on the label.
I had forgotten this one was barrel aged until after it was popped open.

Pours a dirty dark red-brown with a huge 2" head that retains VERY well--probably the best head I am yet to see in this DFH snifter.

Smell is of oak, some sourness lingering in the background along with some dark fruits-plums raisins.

Taste is oak up front, sour cherries and caramel. The sourness comes out a bit more as it warms, melding with the oak.

Very carbonated with a lively mouthfeel.

A powerful beer indeed in the taste department. The 750ml proved to be quite beasty.

My palette is DEAD after this beer.

Photo of Yetiman420
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split equally into two Unibroue tulip glasses. One for me.

Copper with a 1/2 finger tan head. The third of three JP beers tasted and reviewed and they all had the same, batched lacing traits.

Flanders-style sourness in the nose. Not as much with the flavor. Interesting that this is classified as an American wild as opposed to a Flanders red ale.

Halfway through the sourness becomes more apparent.

A nice blend between a Flanders red and an American wild.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle purchased in NY some time ago. Not sure what I wanted to drink tonight so I reached for this. Poured into a Chimay goblet twice.

A- Popping the cap I let the bottle sit for some time before returning to foam seeping from the bottle. La Roja poured out a nice bronze to bright orange color. Some spots of red in places. A nice 1/2 inch off white to beige head stayed around forever. One of the better heads i've seen on a barrel aged brew. spotty lacing.

S- A very prominent smell coming from this AWA/BDG mixed style. Sour cherries up front with a nice amount of oak from the barrel. Getting some apples also with berries. I'm sure there is malt in here but i can't smell it. A nice sourness is in the nose but does not overpower leaving just a bit of brett in the nose. A bit of belgian yeat perhaps.

T- I'm really on the fence with La Roja's taste, while it delivers it leaves something to be desired. Perhaps that this is "brewed in the biere de garde style", maybe the mix of styles does not mesh well with me. Either way I get a lot of sour cherries while not being all to sour. I really enjoy the oak presense with vanilla to boot from the barrel. While the malts are not in smell some toasted malt arises with the temperature. Finishes with some spices and sweetness. Could be a bit more balanced. A good mix of sweet & sour.

M- La Roja has a nice medium body bordering on thin while having a bunch of carbonation, perhaps a bit to much. First sips a whole lot of action going on around the tounge. This fades as the beer warms to higher temperatures. I've had many sour ales and this is not as tart as expected. This gave off some puckering in the beginning but that faded. A slight bit of alcohol in the tail end. I actually liked this better cold.

D- On the fence with the drinkability as well. I've had this before plenty of times and sometimes it's god awful while other times it has been a experience, I guess it really depends on the batch you get. Good thing this was a good experience. Not my favorite sour but i'll take what I can get here on the east coast. Anyways 7.2 is not to high in alcohol so that's not a biggie.

Give this a try if you see it around and are looking for something different. Good stuff out of dexter michigan.

Photo of triptens
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first review is on a very interesting beer. Bottle purchased at Roast Detroit. 1 Pint poured into a 12oz snifter.

Appearance: Large foamy head with a tan top and enequal bubbles. With the first sip, the foam laces the glass nicely and then continues throughout. The color almost reminds me of a dark apple cider.

Smell: Cherry, tart fruit and caramel. You can definitely smell the oak coming through.

Taste: This is not what I was expecting not knowing anything about this beer before opening. Cherry is in the forefront of this beer. Although I'm not a fan of cherry flavor in my beer, this one is different. The caramel taste tones it down, and I get a little bit of macintosh apples rather than a more sour granny smith.

Mouthfeel: A bit of thickness to it, a good amount. Makes your mouth pucker a bit. Very crisp. Alcohol is not coming off to me as strong as others are thinking.

Drinkability: For what it is, I think it's quite drinkable. The one pint went down pretty quick for me. It's crisp, not too sour, but complex and interesting. I will definately buy again.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a large goblet, La Roja is hazy with a reddish pink tinted acorn-colored body and an enormous four+ finger tall tower of creamy beige foam atop. The head is extremely fine-bubbled and stands tall like stiff-beaten eggwhites, and as it recedes in a misshapen wallop, a pattern of thick cobblestones is left behind, stuck all over the inside of the glass.

The smell is rich and sweetly malty with caramel and a crisp spritz of zippy, fruity yeast and sugary flowers. Notes of fermented fallen orchard fruit, apricot, tangy cherry, cool, dark wood and grassy floral sweetness drive away a mild, earthy mustiness.

The taste is mild and malty with lots of brown toast, crispy toffee, and semisweet caramel. Mellow, mildly alkaline bitterness checks the sweetness and dries the finish of a drink that, oddly enough, reminds me of a chilled caramel-laced mocha latte... only with a somewhat melon-like juiciness and a fruity twang swirled in. As the drink progresses, a pleasant, sedate, almost lactic tartness and a bit of drying become more noticeable, but otherwise the "wild" nature of La Roja, to me anyway, is really pretty mild, savory, and sedate. The finish is dusty-dry, and turns a little steely at the bottom of the bottle.

The drink is both mellow and crisp, with creamy feel borne of a huge malty body and superb carbonation. The drink is quaffable and delicious, and has a Cat-Pirate on the label. What could be better?

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

ive been sitting on la roja for a while. its a warm day. i figure its a good time for this.

pours a slightly opaque reddish orange. a very impressive two finger head sits atop and stays. leaving sheets of lacing as i sip. when the head falls i swirl my glass and it comes back just as strong. this beer looks awesome.

upon dipping my nose into my glass I am greeted by a nice amount of oak. hints of apple. a nice little sweetness with a hint on sourness near the end. i enjoy smelling this but i need to start a drinking.

a decently complex taste. i would say this is the least sour of the jolly pumpkins that ive had. but damn this is refreshing. oak, cherries, green apple. nice malt presence.

mouth is medium bodied and smooth. pleasant on the tounge. medium carbonation.

i would be able to put back a few of these easy. very drinkable. definitely worth a try

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

Picked up a 750ml single at Davidson's Liquor in Littleton, CO. Around $8.

A: Light amber, more red in color with an off white head about half an inch thick that receded to a film with excellent rings of dense lacing. Somewhat cloudy.

S: Caramel malts, funk, sour cherries, faint hint of alcohol. Slight oakiness as well. Not a whole lot, but still an aromatic beer.

T: Sour and bitter up front. Tastes a lot like an inoculated amber. A bit of caramel, and a little bit of citrusy hops, sour funk really dominates all the flavors though, almost no lingering flavors. Sweet sour up front fades into bitter. Interesting, but a little light on the flavor side.

M: Somewhat dry, a little bit of alcohol heat, and a nice chunk of puckering sourness, but really it is tamed and subdued. Nothing lingers in the mouth.

D: I wouldn't consume a whole lot of it, but it is an interesting beer all around, and definitely a good gateway to a more sour beer. Not as intense as others that I've had, but a well constructed beer, I'd like to sample some more from Jolly Pumpkin.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,824 ratings.