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La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
La RojaLa Roja

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,607 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,607
Reviews: 749
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 132
Gots: 264 | 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: 1,607 | Reviews: 749 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woodychandler


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%

This started with a frothy, deep-tan head that quickly dissipated. The color was a lightly-cloudy deep red. The nose had notes of coconut, must, and white wine. The mouthfeel was rather thin, but really effervescent and palate cleansing. The taste was vinous, dry, and slightly brett-driven. The finish was likewise dry. This was a pretty good offering from one of my favorite brewers, but not destined to be a top favorite of mine.

02-18-2007 21:17:24 | More by woodychandler
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- About 10 seconds after I open this beer it started erupting foam and it didn't stop for most of the bottle. The murky brown body had a reddish hint to it with a creamy foam that filled 3/4 of the glass and rose above the glass while holding its shape. There was a violently strong carbonation of tiny bubbles swirling around in the body.

S- This beer has a bright tart but earthy note with a nice wet wood smell to it. There is a soft aged vinegar note that is mild but pleasant in the background.

T- This beer has a soft brown malt flavor with a hint of caramel malt and some smooth woody notes to it. The taste of aged apple cider vinegar is much softer than in the smell with some light fruit notes to it. There is a grapefruit zest bitterness which is soft in the finish but I don't think it is from hops.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a tight small fizz in the finish and a soft alcohol warmth when it warms.

D- This is the most wild beer from JP and my favorite so far. The flavors are mellow but you can taste and smell the wild yeast qualities. It goes down very smooth and as lots of nice depth and character even if they are hard to describe.

02-13-2007 21:47:00 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours out a nectarine amber. Lots and lots of head- in fact was a bit of a gusher. I had to jam a wine stopper in the top of the bottle to keep it under control. Smell is sour and funky. Taste follows suit. Quite interested. Dry woody finish and high carbonation. The carbonation matched the style. After a couple of glasses into this bomber I really noticed that it was a dry white wine finish- very unique and an enjoyable brew.

02-04-2007 02:51:59 | More by oakbluff
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS


4.18/5  rDev +4%

22 ounce serving purchased at Ryan and Casey.

My first Wild Ale, and seems to be a new breed, all the other reviews, albeit 11 as I type, are all from 12 ounce serving. Extremely active right out of the bottle, a little overflow as I let it settle, not to bad though. Laces all the way down as I tilt, nice consistent head.

Smell is out of this world. Melons, lime, lemon, hints of green grapes, and fresh cut grass. Each individual characteristic intensifies and or lesson through the life of the pour.

Mouthfeel is a bit odd. Very sour, and puckering, lacking some barrel aged smokiness that I love in this technique. Sours over power much of the goodness that is found, only with intentional sophistication on the tongue.

Interesting, I'd like to try other Wild Ales, but they seem so hard to get.

02-01-2007 22:38:03 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.58/5  rDev -10.9%

I've had this beer a number of times (including at the GABF), and it seems to ride the fringe of the bier de garde style to me. It seems to me to be a bit more like a Flemish sour or an oud brune than a bier de garde. It is a pleasant beer, but a bit tough to drink. Nonetheless, it is a great beer for those looking to take a walk on the sour side and looking to cultivate an enjoyment in sour beers.

It pours a hazy red-brown with abundant finely beaded head. It smells sour with some sweetness. It is decidedly sour-smelling, unadulterated by maltiness, and a bit harsh. Mouthfeel is a bit puckery, tinged with alcohol, and a bit like a big red wine. A good beer for bigger, more sour beers.

01-13-2007 03:32:34 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of far333


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%

Served just below cellar temperature in a brandy snifter.

Opaque reddish chestnut colored with a light beigefrothy head that rises a thick inch high and settles down to a fine topping with bubbly legs rising up the insides of the glass.

Aroma of sweet fruit and candy, some cinnamon, caramel and banana.

Flavor of tart fruit upfront, maybe cherry and currant, plus some green apple. A little sour. Very low yeast flavors, no noticeable hops, but there is a bitter character as well. Not overly malty or sweet.

Tingly mouthfeel upfront, dry and clean, finishing a little tannic and powdery. Tiny bubbles tickle the insides of the cheeks.

01-12-2007 02:22:25 | More by far333
Photo of Onibubba


4.3/5  rDev +7%

Predceded by a Hoe and a mini - Dupont. Got about 3 pours in to a Duvel tulip. Nice head on each. No over fizzing from opening the bottle. Color is a hazy light brown, maybe tinged with a bit of red. Head is whitish and short lived. Nice lacing.

A wonderful smell as soon as I opened the bottle. Practically filled the room with tart cherries and funk. Saste is the same with a sour orange bite - no citrusy sweetness here. Alcohol is not noticeable. The sourness of the aftertaste is pleasant and long. The carbonation in this seems way high. It almost seems to expand in my mouth with each sip. This bottle has me belching like I drank a 7Up too fast.

This is a delicious beer. I love the sourness. The downfall is that mouthfeel. I've never gotten such gas. I feel like I just drank some of Mr. Wonka's Fizzy Lifiting Soda - Or whatever that was called. I'd certainly drink this again and look forward to my next bottle, but the mouthfeel really took away from this.

12-30-2006 15:08:19 | More by Onibubba
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +5%

Damn how cool is it to see Jolly Pumpkin showing up here in the Buffalo area!This is one of the few offerings suprisingly that I havent tried from JH till today,this poured a light hazed amber/brown with a tight well formed light brown head in my oversized wine glass.The barrel aging shows with hints of vanilla and wood with some lactic sour notes.Very food friendly but flavorful starting out with notes of grape and brown sugar with quite a hefty sour acidic finish but not not to much,yeasty esters thruout.A very nice beer from the home state I like a good Biere de Garde if it can be found and this is quite nice,oh and did I say food friendly?

12-28-2006 02:00:50 | More by oberon
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours clear reddish-amber, with a medium-fine density head of beige.
The foam rises about an inch before receding to a fairly decent skim coat on the surface, leaving behind some scattered lacework.
Aromatics are decidely lactic and fruity.
Sour cherries with apples turning to cider, followed through with musty notes of wet hay and citrus-spritzed oak.
Nose finishes with lemon zest, grapefruit pith, and light caramel.
Mouthfeel is a bit tacky, with prickly carbonation.
Pallet is fruity and tart. More cherries and citrus, with a hint of woody dryness. Some caramel and mild malt backbone add depth to the bretty character of this Bier De Garde? Perhaps more of an American wild ale...
A firm bitterness asserts itself, possibly from spices as well as hops. Slightly vineous, hinting at some age, as well as a faint papery note. Lactic profile akin to a flanders ale, and detracts from drinkability.
Finishes tart and dry, with lingering barnyard character and watering jowels.

12-24-2006 21:05:47 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

A - A light brown beer with a about a finger and a half of head. The head takes its time in fading. Streaks of lacing mark the glass.

S - Funky and musty. Lemons, lemon pith, under ripe cut peaches and pineapples with a bit of coriander as well.

T - Very funky - this is bordering on George Clinton. A little bit of a lemon and grapefruit pith sour with a musty moss flavor, but overshadowing both of these is an extremely tart flavor that reminds me of an under ripe white peach - only with less sweet and more tart. The tartness increases to dominate the aftertaste. The later stages of the aftertaste are dominated by a musty grapefruit pith bitterness. As far as funky, sour beers go, this might be the best. I loved it.

M - Carbonation is a bit high. Medium viscosity and pretty refreshing.

D - Good. This is an easy drink to down and to savor. I would have to say this is a beer to enjoy by itself. One should also be made to understand exactly what it is before consumption. I will have to have this beer again. Not to mention more Jolly Pumpkins. I love their brewing philosophy.

12-14-2006 05:08:22 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of IdentityAles


4.38/5  rDev +9%

Sour tangerines, grapes, musty oak, spicy clove, and coriander make up the complex aroma of La Roja. Orangeish brown in color, with a persistent white ring and very fine bubbles across the top of the beer. Mellow flavors of sour grape skins, some spice, vanilla and as it warms sour cherries make up the flavor. Dry, thin, high carbonation, and somewhat astringent. An excellent brew from my new favorite American brewery.

12-03-2006 11:44:12 | More by IdentityAles
Photo of jslot38


3.38/5  rDev -15.9%

First Biere de Garde, first beer from Jolly Pumpkin, and I am certainly looking forward to this one.

Appearance: Bottle overflowed with head. Poured out a glass and noticed a few seconds later some suds coming out of the top of the 750ml bottle. The head doesn't really seem to be going anywhere after it dips down to a covering. Body is nontransparent, a ruby colour with notes of tan. Head is just barely off white.

Smell: Dominated by fruits, phenols, a touch of yeast.

Taste: Crosses over right from the smell. Dominate fruits, mango, a touch of cherries. Vinegar lingers throughout the onrush of wild yeast.

Mouthfeel: Not too much carbonation, very very slick and light on the tongue.

Drinkability: Would certainly rather have split this bottle with a friend, but I won't mind drinking it all.

Notes: Well, that was an interesting experience. It will keep me captivated for other beers from Jolly Pumpkin and another biere de garde, but I don't think this will become one of my long time favorites.

11-18-2006 01:19:58 | More by jslot38
Photo of Alkey


2.33/5  rDev -42%

I bought a 750ml bottle of this to share with some friends and fellow BA members but was busy the day of the event so a couple of weeks later I have decided to share it with myself. The appearance of this beer was very nice a dark red and orange color with lots of little tiny bubbles and a nice two fingers of head sitting on top that slowly dissipated. I breathed in the aroma and thought what a strange smell it was hard to notice anything but some sour fruit and alcohol. So I gave it a taste and thought is this stuff bad because I was told it was sour but this tasted like rotten apple cider. I wanted to be sure so as I continued drinking cautiously and noticed the lack of after taste and it wasn't making me sick. I kept thinking to myself I should have shared this with somebody more experienced with this style because I believed it to be an acquired taste.

11-16-2006 14:17:45 | More by Alkey
Photo of Oxymoron


4.68/5  rDev +16.4%

Remember that movie Shrek 2. It’s puss in boots. Opened the top and the bottle started gushing, but not too bad. The pour is a very cloudy darker amber color with an off white with a slight tan hue. Interesting there where brown yeast flakes on the top as well.

The nose had a very Belgium influence. Sweet esters and malt mixes with a sour complexity. Reminds me more of a Flanders Red.

The taste is really impressive. Extra sweet malt with sugary notes, especially brown sugar. Fruit flavors are very noticeable as well. Green apple flavors, like granny smiths, as well as cherry and cranberry tart flavors. There is a dry finish with some tannin notes at the end as well.

The body is light with the dry flavor and carbonation rather high as well. Really this feels like a Flanders Red with the fruit and tart textures. Whatever you want to call, the cat’s got style.

11-13-2006 02:20:20 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of phisig137


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

My bottle label looks more like that pictured in the grand reserve, but my alcohol is 7.2% according to the label.... maybe it's changed recently. Anyways....

Pours a dark copper, ruby hue, with a one finger head. Good retention flass info a blanket of foam and nice lacing.

Aroma is slightly sour and fruity. Green apples (not acetylaldehyde) and pears come to mind.

Flavor is fairly light, but enjoyable. Big apple and pear flavor, backed by a bit of caramel malts, and a slight touch of wheat. Slightly sour from the wood, but not overpowering. A bit spicy as well, probably from yeast phenolics. Well balanced an integrated. Mouthfeel is creamy, but a little light. Drinkability is good.

Quite a nice beer, and well enjoyed. While it is listed as a biere de garde, it is also much like a Fladers red. I'd consider this to be a good introduction to sour beers. It's not sour enough to turn most people off, but just sour enough to peak some interest. Be warned, this is no duchess, but a solidly crafted brew here in America. I look forward to trying some of the other beers from Jolly Pumpkin, as this gets my thumbs up!

11-10-2006 03:54:59 | More by phisig137
Photo of emerge077


4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Aroma of sour cherry/cranberry, funky Brett, oak, and a sharp boozy note that soon passes. Over time, the nose reminds me more and more of a Flanders Red. Served at cellar temp, around 55º.

Chilled bottle opens with little fanfare, no spray of foam, or gushing qualities. A lone wisp of smoke exits into the air. A hazy shroud of foam obscures the mahogany hued liquid. Irregular lace forms on one wall of the glass.

Tastes predominantly of sour cherry, caramel, and oak, bubbly on the palate. Interesting notes develop in the dry aftertaste. Some cocoa and leather elements come in, complimenting the spent sour fruits. The sour quality isn't overplayed, it comes in moderately, and exits like a whisper. Complexity isn't overwhelming, but gives you something to think about while savoring it. At cellar temperature it seems to have more depth. Served cold, the flavors are somewhat muted.

This is a high-quality offering, i've tried it many times and never experienced an "off bottle". It's at the top of my JP list, a 4-way tie with Oro, Bam, & Firefly for the top spot. Unique and recommended...

11-05-2006 01:00:50 | More by emerge077
Photo of ProudBeerSnob

New York

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

Appearance: Deep cloudy reddish-amber with a nice thick head that dissipates as I drink.

Smell:The most unimpressive factor in this beer. Some cherry aroma, some hops & yeast, but nothing great.

Taste: Fantastic! Cherry flavors that mellow as the beer warms,as the alcohol intensifies.(But not overpowering)

Mouthfeel:A bit weak. I was hoping for a bit more.

Drinkability: For the style, quite drinkable.

Overall, pretty good. I'll drink it again.

11-05-2006 00:20:08 | More by ProudBeerSnob
Photo of AndoBrew


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

*I like it would buy again*

app: the head started to grow out of the bottle upon opening, the beer looks like a BW it has a very thick sturdy large head, light tan colored.. looks nice.

smell: I smell flanders, little spice little red sweetness a little tart. smells very clean and yummy, no foul trash scents.

taste: oh very tart and yummy, has a dry peppery finish, not a lot of sweets on the first sip, very yummy.

2nd gulp, dont taste much "red" its in there just ever so faintly.. maybe as it warms it will come in stronger, got a nice booze hit on the second larger gulp.. this is a good brew.

yes, I am a big fan. Its like a gueuze mixed with a flanders red mixed with booze.

I am going to pause now to see how it tastes as it warms.

nice, really one to let roll around your mouth, its tart its spritzy its peppery its got hints of fruity malts and some yeast. GOOD.

if it were to have more depth in the tart fruit flavors it would be a 4.5

mf: nice and alive and zingy.

drinkable?: yes.. the booze and spice adds up but it still is.

I think I would either A: prefer to share this large bottle with a friend
orB: have it with a meal.

11-01-2006 19:38:47 | More by AndoBrew
Photo of trep

West Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

Pours a deep dark red with a slightly off-white head, maybe even cream colored. Floaties in suspension. Consistent carbonation rising. Cherries and the slightest hint of alcohol in the aroma. Very pleasant and tart smelling.

Cherry tart bites your tongue immediately followed by a rich vanilla and bourbon taste that guides you to the funky and leathery finish. I really enjoy the taste of this beer. Hops are only faintly present in the aftertaste. Endlessly complex and wonderful, a great beer.

Not too carbonated considering the style. Nice light-medium body. Perfectly balanced with the beer. Drinkability is pretty good. This is a medium-ranged ABV but drinks like Kool-Aid. Very refreshing and incredible, I love everything I've had by JP.

10-22-2006 02:48:37 | More by trep
Photo of Fugazme


3.68/5  rDev -8.5%

A nice, deep amber/reddish brown color... a big head that quiets down fast into an impressively stable cap... some good lacing here.

Aroma is enormous. Appley sweet... sugary... yeasty... a bit of clove and cinnamon. Farmy/Blue Cheesy. Spicy. Big and nice.
I like it.

Mouthfeel is rather unimpressive... quite watery to me actually...

Taste is slightly better than average. Malty sweetness leads into a huge appley-tart pucker. Sour and dry. Cherries. Seems like a one-note at first... it opens up a bit more after sitting. I like it, don't get me wrong... but not in a purchase more than once or twice a year sort of way.

Biere de Garde? Some things about it say yes... some things about it say no.

10-03-2006 01:35:52 | More by Fugazme
Photo of sulldaddy


4.7/5  rDev +16.9%

Picked up this bottle on atrip to RI. Im splitting it chilled and pouring into a snifter. The beer pours a hazy chestnut hue and is a little foamy with 5cm of beige head even with a very gentle pour. The aroma is big with red grapes and tart cherries mixing with some general booziness. The first sip reveals an average body with silky texture and very fine yet tingly carbonation. Flavor is rich and fruity with red grapes and cherry tartness again. There is lots of wooden oak flavor and bready yeast too. I even get a bit of flemish red lactic action to add to the tart cherries. NO hint of the ABV. very drinkable and complex. QUite a nice beer!

09-29-2006 19:53:27 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of scruffwhor


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

La Roja means "the red" for a reason. Lots of dep leathery red hues. Nice and gunky looking with some mil yeasty haze. You can still see the carbonation and the head retention is pretty good throghout the entire beer. Plenty of barnyard smells intermingled with lightly toasted malts in the nose. The tase is a mix of light riding blankest, hay, sangria, and Domaine DuPage. But much more close to the real framhouse style. The middle is a but sry while the fginish is a bit bread. Like sourdough.

09-26-2006 05:44:48 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of SwillinBrew


4.22/5  rDev +5%

This has finally arrived in Southern Cali ie Hi Times.

A - a quite large foamy ivory colored head a top a slightly turbid redwood bark colored brew. An army of bubbles shimied up my glass to the top.
S - A wall of green apples leading to toast puch my nose with a pungent approach.
T - Mmmm, bold cidery flavors of tart apples with some spices grace your tongue in a vinous sangria type of way. Very tasty and addicting.
M & Dr - very effervescent with a somewhat dry medium body that is very quenching. Not overpowering but just right. This stuff is a treat and i hope it keeps making its way to So Cal.

09-17-2006 07:12:12 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of sponberg

New York

3.63/5  rDev -9.7%

750 with a pirate cat on the front. Poured into a Duvel glass - big, effervescent head over a clear red-amber liquid. Aroma is simultaneously tart, sour/lactic/lambic-y, toasty, bready... a LOT of stuff going on in this brew.

Three sips and I'm tasting three separate things. Let me let this breathe and warm up a bit. OK - starts with a spicy maltiness, not atypical of a good American amber. Then a sour funky note kicks in, almost like a Flanders red, along with a hop bitterness that just doesn't ever seem to join with the sourness - like two separate construction crews working on the same project that don't speak to each other. Wait, near the end they found the walkie-talkies - the flavors blend, alongside an oakiness and a toasted grainy malt that all wander down the road happily, if not quite singing the same song. Very spritzy mouthfeel.

I could set the drinkability anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 - if I was in the mood for something "different," higher; however, I could alternately tire of its peculiarities rather quickly.

Strange brew - and one worth exploring further.

09-13-2006 03:03:07 | More by sponberg
Photo of cproioi


3.7/5  rDev -8%

Huge dark red body with a loosely knit light brown head that left nice lacing. The aroma and taste of the beer was very malty with a dusty wooden aroma and taste that was reminded me of a carpenter's work shop. It also had a slight hops profile. Now to what was truely nice about the beer. With the spontanious fermentation it gives it a lovely sour tanin note to it that reminds me of a nice red wine. It was had the taste of a sour lemon hard candy. The tartness of the beer made the cheeks pucker every so slightly. It was a refreshing summer beer for that was absolutely wonderful.

08-28-2006 01:45:58 | More by cproioi
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,607 ratings.