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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,786 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,786
Reviews: 763
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 147
Gots: 292 | 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: 1,786 | Reviews: 763 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of taylorhamrick
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown color, very very hazy. There's probably a 5cm head on top that's a yellow/tan color. It's tough to judge an american wild ale on appearance since they range so much in color (and are allowed to I suppose). The smell is like apple cider, a bit of vinegar, general sour smells, but there is a very clear scent of malty sweetness underneath. It actually smells good, but a bit different than usual, not all out sour. The taste is difficult to judge based on the classification too, from the different american wild ales I've had. This one has a very distinct bready taste. But the taste is still funky, not as sour as some, but pleasant. There's like a subtle vinegar flavor, and without carbonation, this would taste sort of like a sour red wine. Very full bodied, almost chewy. It kind of leaves a funny feeling on the tongue and roof of your mouth. Tasting it, you would have no idea that there's alcohol in it until you feel it. Overall a good beer, kind of expensive, but I'd recommend it to all.

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

A: This ones a gusher. Pours a copper/amber color with an freaking massive frothy white head. This dissipates into a nice thin layer that lasts the entire glass. Nice lacing.

S: Funky and sour hits first followed by a nice spiciness and Belgian yeasty aroma.

T/M: Awesome. Nice and tart, but like all JP beers it's never too sour. The muskiness and earthiness make it very complex. Definitely a lingering vanilla from the oak barrel aging. Crisp and dry.

D: Exceptionally drinkable as all JP beers are. Definitely don't even notice the extra abv in this one.

Jolly Pumpkin, where were you when I lived in Ann Arbor. I have yet to have a single beer that I haven't loved. This one is no exception.

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

750ml bottle into 25oz wine glass. Blend 12 - 2007.

Deep cloudy plum hue with a one finger off white head. Rings of sticky lacing.

Very pungent aroma of dark fruit. The aroma seems to rise like heat above the opening of the wine glass.

Sour cherry flavors with a very dry finish. The finish evens off a little, moving from sour to tart to dry.

Honestly I don't try many of these, but this seems to be one of the more drinkable editions to the style.

Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, Blend #8 - 2007, bottled on 8/14/07 according to the JP web page. Chilled this in the fridge before opening. Slowly began to gush upon opening but quickly poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy amber, copper, orange color with a small amount of sediment despite careful pour. Glass stimulates a steady stream of carbonation. Heads begins off massive, off-white beige and then slowly begins to fade away, but never completely. Leaves behind a thick, sticky ring of lacing.
S: Sour and funky above all else. Balance of earthiness and sour apple and other ripe fruit. Background has slight woody character and Belgian-y yeast aroma, slightly spicy, but the sour and funk dominate. I like it, but not great.
T: A simple summary of this for me is big flavor with little balance. Fortunately I like the flavors involved and the strong sour, earthiness. Each sip reveals a new flavor, alternating between strong earthy sourness and woody, alcohol sweetness. Typically upfront is the dirty, earthy flavors, orange rind, slightly spicy, etc. Finish turns a little sweeter, more caramel, vanilla like sweetness.
M: Strong carbonation provides a silky smooth body to balance the tart and sour flavors, but overall body is lighter side of medium. Little alcohol presence.
D: This beer bounces all over the place as you finish the bottle and I enjoy that. Reminds me at times of Flanders Red, Saisons, Biere de Garde, etc. Lacking the sweetness expected from a Flanders Red, I really enjoy this, especially at its price and availability.

Photo of meatyard
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Is a reddish brown with a good sized head that falls to a covering.
S-Is a tart, funky sour cherry.
T-Is tart, sour and a bit of the wood aging shows up.
M-Is medium, quite dry with plenty of carbonation.
D-Not something you're likely to drink two bottles of this in a sitting. First, it's fairly expensive and second, it's more of a sipping-pay attention to it kind of beer. Still, it's very drinkable.

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

This beer poured a reddish amber with a 2 fingered head and nice lacing. The smeel was of a sour ale. The taste was not nearly as sour as I was expecting from the nose, I beelve this is my first Wild Ale... it was interesting, some Kind of like a underhopped big pale ale with sour flavors. The mouthfeel seemed nice and the carbonation level might have been a little low. I drank half a bottle of this and it was my only sipper of the evening.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice red orange color with one finger of off white head and nice lacing.

Scent of sour cherries, oak, some dark fruit, and sugars; damn good stuff.

Taste of very tart cherries, oak, and a hint of vanilla. Finishes dry and oaky.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and clean.

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

Batch # 10

A_A bit of a gusher. Light brown hue with hints of red. Huge everlasting gobstopper head and sheets of lace.

A_Caramel malt aroma dominates with hints of light tropical fruit, a bit of a sour winge and some banana and clove.

T_Sour hits the palate first, followed up with a sweet caramel malt. Mixed in between are sour apples, some barnyard funk and a light mineral quality.

M_Light and fluffy.

D_A sour beer that is approachable for newcomers while having enough character to excite the old hats.

Photo of JAA
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer is unlike any beer i've ever had. Smells like red wine, tastes like white. spices abound, makes me think of pumpkin pie with a cheap chardonnay chaser. Sour enough to make you call your mommy. Extremely complex. Whoa, dude, you just blew my mind.

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

Appearance: nice orange edged copper amber body with off white head. Some retention and loads of sticky lacing adorn the walls of my Urthel Tulip Glass.

Smell: Wild yeast and some type of spice. Some cherry notes but mainly wild yeast. Not very refined.

Taste: Sour and yeasty but with a smokey earthy quality that plays fairly well off of the wild yeast. Some sips are really enjoyable but most make me wonder why I want this. Quite strange.

Mouthfeel: A touch thin and overly carbonated.

Drinkability: Not interesting enough to want to drink lots of it.

Photo of BMoney575
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled on 12-3-08
Blend 10, 2007

Pours a super cloudy orange/brown, that glows when you hold it up to the light. The head foams at first, then settles to a clingy ring.

Smell is totally super sour and funky, a little fruity and yeasty, with a hint of bourbon?.

Taste is sour, but much more complex and less intense than I was expecting. Flavors of light fruits with just a touch of oak. A little cidery, with and extremely dry white-wine finish.

Mouthfeel is great, lower carbonation complements the sourness perfectly.

Drinkability is astounding, this is the easiest drinking sour beer I've ever had.

Overall, I think some age did this beer a lot of good. Wonder what it will be like in another year.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 4/22/08. Bottle, blend 12, 2007. Pours a cloudy brown with a small white head. Aroma of tart, sour fruits, some alcohol. Initial flavor of sour fruits, then in the aftertaste I got crackers, coffee, roasted meat. Certainly an interesting beer. It lacks the sweetness I've seen in other sours (not that this was a negative, just an observation). Tasty. 7/4/7/4/15 (3.7/5)

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

A Incredibly Hazy Copper, that pours a beautiful creamy off white head. Great lacing on the sides.

S Smells of tart, crisp red and green Apples, and ripeee cherry. Slight malts and hops come through.

T Tart from the onset, again apple and cherry are present in the tongue splash, Tastes of vinegar come in strong during the middle, and finishes light and airy. Yeast is present and not as smooth, but I suppose that is to be expected from the style.

Really Smooth.

Not an everyday beer, but good for the style.

Photo of corby112
4.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark amber color with foamy white head. Excellent aroma of oak, whiskey, vanilla, sour cherry, wood and dark fruit. Oak whiskey flavor along with sour cherries and dark fruit are an amazing compliment to its spicy amber flavor. Amazing!

Photo of Bung
2.33/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy orange pour, large lasting whitish head. Astringent fruit ester, yeasty aromas. Heavy sour fruit flavors. Almost overly carbonated in the mouth. Yeasty, improves slightly as it warms with some citrus and red fruits coming through, but it is overwhelmed by the sour to me. A wild ale, but just another typical belgian triple or double. Not my cup of tea.

Photo of gdfan47
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had this last night
came in a 25.4 ounce bottle

coppery color with a little bit of head

overall very good, def funk on the nose... just a good "wild" ale

pretty smooth , very comprable to avery fifteen, but if i had to pick I would choose Avery

the only drawback was the price, it was like $22.50

tasty beer but not cheap

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

from notes - tasted 10.14.07

A: Huge fizzy, spongy-looking head. Cloudy and opaque, tending towards a dark red

S: Tart, sour cherry - smells like wild yeast (didn't know this when tasted) Sweet like warm, spiced apples; caramel scents as it warmed.

T: Sour, gueuze-like, light oakiness

M: Very light, not as fizzy as it appeared. Drying but not astringent. Makes my mouth water.

D: yes, please.

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

I was blown away the first time I had this beer. It pours a hazy amber color with a 4mm off-white head. The smell is incredible, a lovely punky and sharp aroma. The taste is a rush of sour with notes of soil, wood, citrus, and spices. The aftertaste is sweet/sour and hangs in there in a pleasant way. The mouthfeel is medium, lots of carbonation, and a mild stinging from the acidity. The beer is surprisingly complex in its flavor. This is a great sipping beer.
WOW! Man do I love this beer! Not only is it my favorite from Jolly Pumpkin but one of my favorite American-man beers period.

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

Served in a pint glass. Bottle said blended in 2008 so I'm guessing it's from the 2008 batch.

Pours a cloudy golden with a spongy white head. good head retention and lacing.

Smells like floral citrus. You have hints of sour (think restrained gueze).

Slightly tart. I was expecting more tartness from the aroma. It's great.

Very clean and dry. Kind of like an unripe persimmon.

It's good. It's a good starter. I didn't get my sour fix so I need to move up to a gueze after this.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of rhinos00
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into oversized wine glass.

A- Beautiful label, just thought I'd get that out of the way. Looks almost like a cider. Hazy orange brown with a nice white head.

S- Nice mix of sour green apple, spices and a little bit of unexplained sweetness.

T- Sour fruits (I'm thinking apple) with spice blend and earthy tone. At first the taste was very acidic and almost too strong, but as the beer sat out, the taste mellowed out.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Had a dry, crisp finish.

D- Had no problem drinking a whole bottle of this. The fact that it mellows out definitely makes this more drinkable.

Overall, not bad for my first experience with an American Wild Ale. I think this style of beer is something that my palate will have to adjust to.

Photo of seedsofchaos
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Jolly Pumpkin! A friend of mine is a beer geek and always has delicious treats whenever we come over and is always surprising me. Served from the March 2008 batch into a brandy snifter... I think... We had several beers in us by this point...

A: Nice amber color with a head that sticks around.

S: Immediately I thought: "TAFFY!" It smelled so sweet... almost like candy. The taffy smell eventually mellowed into a sweet apple scent mixed with a little funk that I couldn't describe.

T: The fist sip was almost overpoweringly sweet. Then it just became a smooth sweetness that I really enjoyed. Very fruity with just the right amount of acidity.

MF: Good carbonation I remember... a little hard remembering the exact feel now, looking back.

D: Fantastic! This was a great beer to sit around and share. I think this would also make a great one to sit outside on a fall day. Reminds me of drinking fresh cider... but better.

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

Served in a flute. From the 2008 batch.

Pours a cloudy, rusty, amber with a thick off white head. Excellent retention, excellent lacing.

Smells like green apples, very floral and slightly yeasty. A slight vegetable smell keeps poking me.

Fantastic. Crisp, tart, slightly funky. Tastes better than the best cider I've ever had. On par with some of the better saisons.

Very bright, clean. Very good carbonation feel.

Dynamite, will definitely try this again and try other Jolly Pumpkin brews I haven't had.

Photo of SLeffler27
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

La Roja presents a BIG sea-foam, white head, demonstrating it's eagerness to be released from Batch No. 8 - 2007. A tulip glass hosted the hazy burgundy elixir, while the head settled to a very sticky, thin film.

The aroma is dominated by a sweet/tart medley of cherry, grape and sour apple, but there is a clear presence of earthy tones in the mix.

Nuts, presentation can be deceiving! While certainly enjoyable, the astringency of vinegar components drag this cat down from high preconceptions that were built by reputation and bolstered by appearance and the nose. The alcohol makes no apologies, as it almost masks cherry tones, but the long tart finish is welcome, as it warms nicely.

The combination of high carbonation and light body pair nicely with the very dry nature, but again, expectations were a bit higher.

This is a good beer, with a beautiful presentation, from the label to the nose. I did finish the bottle, and will look for a younger offering, but the astringency was simply out of balance with the aroma and flavors. This certainly is a fine example of a wild ale, and worthy for all who appreciate this style.

Photo of bahumutx
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Blend 5, 2008

Appearance: Pours with a one finger head. Dark and cloudy copper.

Smell: Tart like a granny smith apple. Some vinous aromas are also there. There is a very slight muskiness and malt sweetness to the aroma also.

Taste: Much like the aroma.... Starts with a nice tartness that is very close to that of a granny smith apple. The tartness continues throughout along with a slight wood flavor. Ends with a nice malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and dry mouthfeel. The tartness makes your mouth water some. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable.

This is my first beer from Jolly Pumpkin and think it is great!! I look forward to trying their other offerings. Keep up the great work Jolly Pumpkin.

Photo of Jmamay22
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

La Roja pours a dark cloudy amber with a thin head, yet thick collar of lightly browned foam.

The aroma is more pungent than any previous beer I've tried from Jolly Pumpkin. The wild yeast has done its job! Smells of musty horse blanket, lightly phenolic, and somewhat of a spicy floral character. The yeast comes through strong smelling of the familiar Jolly Pumpkin yeast.

The flavor has similar aspects, but they come off more haphazardly. More phenols and spices. A nice warming quality, but the enjoyable floral aspects and balance is missing. Slightly messy really.

Mouthfeel is over carbonated and detracts from the rest of the beer. Phenols limit the drinkability, but it does smell wonderfully. Too bad things didn't come together better.

La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,786 ratings.