La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

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1,766 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,766
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 143
Gots: 286 | FT: 23
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: 1,766 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

La Roja Blend # 10 - 2007
Batches: 127, 129
Brewed: 127: 7/15/06
129: 7/26/06
To Oak: 127: 7-20-06
129: 7-31-06

Pours brown/amber color. Apple cider like haze when held to the light. Frothy white head with great retention. Very sticky clingy lacing.

Aroma is very pleasant. Bright and crisp citrus like sour smell. Cherry note picked up and maybe some vanilla?

Taste start with solid sour cherry twang. Very earthy flavors, oak flavor is noticeably smooth. Slightly grainy malt picks up more on the back end.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally crisp and smooth. Medium bodied carbonation is lively but not over done. Finishes very dry.

Very easy to drink, but flavor is complex enough to make this a sipper. Very enjoyable.

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

This beer pours a dark cherry color. The head is large, billowy, and lasts until all the beer is gone. The aroma is beautiful. Bretta, dates and other dark fruits. The taste is acidic and dry, with a little oak, a good amount of barnyard, and a large amount of bretta. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with refreshingly high carbonation. Overall, this is another great beer from Jolly Pumpkin.

Photo of Greggy
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

* Aged bottle - 2 years

A- 1 finger head with nice retention and lacing. Great amber color with light sediment.

S- Nice funk, prune, caramel, dates

T- Big whack of acidity off the bat, notes of oak, raspberry, tart fruits. Finish is dry and funky with a big of tartness.

M- Low carb is nice and the acidity is great.

D- Nice funkiness. I don't know if I could drink a whole bottle, but it was nice to split it with a few BA friends.

Photo of IBUnit63
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 750 into Reidel Extreme Pinot/Burgundy glass.

Pours a maple-syrup brown with a yeasty thin head and a little bit of lacing. Moderate carbonation...looks cool and rustic.

Carbonation powers wild brett scent backed by mild yet pronounced oak-aged malt and excellent, musty sour scent. Still, bright and rather clean. With a little warmth the horse blanket finally shows up with slight vanilla (?) creaminess. Minimal hop presence.

This is austere in a very pleasant fashion. Nice, tight sourness that's very clean and syncs up with the oak texture. Mild yeast electricity and a bit of horse blanket taste. Bright complexity here, but it's subdued.

There's a visceral sour feel to this that contrasts well with the bright taste. A little warmth brings further intermittent brightness. Oak and silage-ish grassy hops come about. It keeps the palate enjoyably confused.

The scores on the individual elements don't do this one justics. This doesn't wallow in Beautiful Chemistry but I actually like its mild disjointedness. This is a very cool, complex offering.

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

Picked this up at the new Total Wine in Sarasota as an early birthday gift to myself. Didn't drink it at my party last night, so I thought I'd give it a review tonight. This is 2008 blend No. 2, according to a sticker on the bottle. It's an "artisan amber ale," which I suspect means little. The label, as with all JP brews, Is a welcome addition to my wall-o-labels -- you can't go wrong with a pirate cat.

Poured into my oversized stemless red wine glass. It's a cloudy brown brew -- tea colored -- with minimal beige head. Cloudy but not chunky is a good start, though the color's a bit flat.

Nose is a hint of dark fruit, something funky and sour (in a good way), and I can tell I'm smelling alcohol.

Taste! Dark raisins, sweet caramel, tart plum, sour oak. It's sweet at first and then the sourness comes to the forefront. A bit of whiskey-like alcohol spikes through. I love the weird sour wild yeast brews, and this reaffirms that, although of the JP lineup, this isn't the favorite I've had so far.

Despite the relative lack of head, there's enough carbonation to keep the mouthfeel from being too heavy or sticky, though it clings to the back of the throat a bit.

Is this stuff supposed to be exceptionally drinkable? I mean, it's a good sipper, and I think that's what it is trying to be. I'm going to kill a 750 before bed, but it will not be gone in 15 minutes or anything.

Photo of Blursimarsi
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle) The liquid is deep amber to glowing reddish brown with a stable, creamy off-white head. A buttery oak blanket of vanilla, coconut and mild fresh wood covers the complex aroma of moldy and dusty basement, apple, rhubarb and raspberry fruitiness, orange and mild lemony acidic citrus, red berries, mild pepper-like spicy yeast, earthy and light sweet caramelly malt, light herbal hops, mild white grape tartness and just a whisper of clove. The flavour is graceful but the oak has a minor problem - it feels a bit separated from the rest of the beer. Tones of coconut, wood, light caramel, raspberries, unripe orange and lemony citric tartness, milk, mold, white grapes, light caramel and some earth. The mouthfeel is light round and soft with a light to medium carbonation. Dry, lingering finish. Medium bodied.

Photo of jeremyd365
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a deep, dark copper--darker than most pumpkin ales that I've had. It had a decent spicy pumpkin scent and just got better once consumed. It was sweet with lots of pumpkin with a medium to heavy body. It also left a solid pumpkin aftertaste. I enjoyed the pumpkin-red conbination very much.

Photo of ATPete
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of beerthulhu
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

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...

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.

La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,766 ratings.