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Maracaibo Especial - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

588 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 588
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.81%


Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: marburg on 02-28-2005)
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Ratings: 588 | Reviews: 296 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of unibrew
unibrew

New Hampshire

2.05/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This is NOT what I was expecting when I bought this beer. I was expecting to taste more cacao and spices and brown ale qualities at the very minimum. After a glass, I can't seem to find any of that, only sour apples. It's funky. Too funky, and nowhere on the bottle does it say anything about being a saison or farmhouse ale. It's supposed to be a brown ale with cacao and spices, inspired by the monastic brews of Belgium. Instead, it's a bombastic brew for a brown ale. It's sour. I'm not getting any cacao, nor any spices..it's sourness is overwhelming to me. I don't like saisons or farmhouse styles, so, this is especially disgusting to me. $12.00 for the bomber, and only one glass. The rest goes down the drain. No more Jolly Pumpkin for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 23:52:31 | More by unibrew
Photo of ricknelson
ricknelson

Vermont

2.13/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Six of us attending a beer tasting that I hosted in my man cave pub gave this beer a score of 8 out of a possible 30 for and an average score of 1.33 It ranked dead last out of the 12 beers we tasted. The group of six were divided evenly, 3 that favored IPA's and 3 that favored Stouts. It actually was so bad that no one even finished the 5 oz pour, and a good portion of it was dumped down the drain. It had a very vinegar taste. Maybe it was a bad bottle, I still have another one un-opened. But do I dare try it!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 22:05:07 | More by ricknelson
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

2.17/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I've given Jolly Pumpkin two shots now. One more beer like this, and I'm done.

Pours a hazy deep amber. Nice white foam that settles to a very, very long lasting rim. No lacing.

Smell is offputting. A hint of orange rind? Try a crapload. Should I be smelling, as opposed to tasting, this much spice? And what is that musty background odor? Is that the cacao? If so, that shouldn't be in beers.

The taste is actually better than the aroma, as the godawful orange rind, spiceiness, and cacao? flavors are submerged a bit into a sour base. They do, however, leave an utterly unappealing spicy aftertaste that makes me want to cleanse my palate.

A disaster on many levels.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2008 09:19:22 | More by Overlord
Photo of litheum94
litheum94

California

2.45/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle. "Blend 9 Bottled 12/7/10."

Light tan head explodes out of the bottle, filling the entire glass. I had to pour this beer in stages; it seriously took me 15 minutes just to pour a quarter of the bottle. Very annoying.

Aromas of vinegar and socks. Some orange peel and spices, with a ghost of chocolate bitterness.

Wow. Where to begin? Spices go from faint to overwhelming. Is that chocolate in the background? Who knows. Sour orange zest and cardboard. Here's where it almost ended up in the drain, but I forged ahead. I was slightly rewarded, as the spices start to meld with the sourness as the beer warms. But I still call this a mess.

I don't know what the person who wrote the label description was drinking, but it wasn't this beer. There's cocoa nibs in there? Could have fooled me. Not good at all, especially considering I paid $16 for the bottle. No thank you!

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 03:44:45 | More by litheum94
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

2.6/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance is brownish-copper with no appreciable head. There was some fine lacing on the glass, but not much.

The nose was too mild to discern much of anything - there was a touch of sourness, perhaps. The taste offers a quick shot of cocoa and then fruity sourness that was like biting into a beer flavored jolly rancher.

I've heard a great deal of good hype about Jolly Pumpkin, but my first try at one of their offerings was a complete disappointment. I will certainly try another of their beers, but I will certainly not believe the hype again until I taste the proof.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2012 04:26:37 | More by 57md
Photo of benito
benito

Oregon

2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hey, anyone else getting tired of Jolly Pumpkin beers that all have the same sour taste and thin body?

I won't take my inchoate frustration out on a single beer, and Maracaibo Especial isn't awful. In fact, if it were my first JP beer, I'd think I would probably be quite excited. It's a brownish cider color with a thick head this is slow to dissipate. The bouquet and flavor are full of sour apple; it tastes almost vinegary at times. The body has a medium-feel and slightly malty edge that keep this from treading into too sour a realm; however, I don't detect any of the spices (cacao, cinnamon, coriander) that are supposed to be so prominent in this brew. It certainly has nothing of the monastic tradition in it, and the lack of complexity in flavor and texture leaves a lot to be desired.

I really love what Jolly Pumpkin sets out to do and some of their beers (Oro de Calabaza, Luciernaga, Biere de Mars, and the new Perseguidor) are true to style and very tasty. Even some of their weaker offerings, Bam Biere and Calabaza Blanca, have redeeming characteristics. Maracaibo Especial is the weakest of them all, though, as it only has some of the (by now) ho-hum sourness of a Jolly Pumpkin beer without any of the intriguing and playful complexities of their better brews.

It's not enough anymore to make a 'sour' Belgian brew and expect folks to foam at the mouth automatically. Jolly Pumpkin's brews routinely show that bretta funk isn't something to treat as an occasional fad, but this brew just seems to wallow in their own showiness.

Not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2006 01:33:43 | More by benito
Photo of np0x
np0x

Virginia

2.83/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The nose on this beer was interesting with all the promise of a good sour beer, the clarity and mouthfeel were nice, but when it came time to drink it...The bitterness was overwhelming with little malt to balance it out, making the beer almost undrinkable. I like most sour beers, but in this case it seemed like the beer was overly bitter and then the bugs ate all the residual sugars leaving the beer with an inhospitable bite in the taste profile.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2010 15:27:50 | More by np0x
Photo of CortexBomb
CortexBomb

Michigan

2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pour is a very attractive dark coppery tone with a smallish white ring of carbonation. Smell is fruity, oakey with definite caramel and chocolate aspects...very enticing.

Taste starts out with a strong sour hit which then segues into oak, in spades...a very woody aspect continues throughout. Tons of estery goodness is hitting my tongue all over the place and a lot of sour appleish tone seems to be the final effect. I'm also getting the caramel and chocolate from the nose in the actual flavour. Very complex but I think the sourness mixed with the oak dominance is a bit over the top, and it knocks the flavour down to slightly below average. It's depthy, but the depth isn't all that tasty.

Mouth is medium bodied, but with some good tingly action on the back of the tongue, so also good. Drinkability is suffering a bit, the flavour is again, a little harsh, and it makes this a harder beer to drink. Particularly toward the end the flavour can really start to become harsh and hard to drink.

Overall, another interesting artisan beer from Jolly Pumpkin. As I said above, I think the flavour is unique and depthy but too abrasive. That said, I like it when breweries try to nudge up against the line that is established norms, and I applaud this beer on those terms though I personally feel that they were off the mark on this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 00:10:52 | More by CortexBomb
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

3/4 Liter bottle received from LuckySevens82 and BIF33 - Team Spring.

Pours a cloudy brown colored ale despite the fact it has been sitting in my refrigerator for 2 weeks settling any sediment that might be in the bottle. Momentary tan head that doesn't last.

Smell is fruity and mildly sour in scent much like a granny smith apple. Beech wood and faint spice are lesser scents.

Taste is sweet and sour but still mild in the first sip. Woody and somewhat sour this isn't really what I would call a great Belgian Brown Beer. Flavor doesn't develop much more at all.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not a beer I can really recommend here. Below par Belgian Ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 02:44:37 | More by Zorro
Photo of faernt
faernt

Illinois

3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I duped myself by reading. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but no where in the descriptors does it say SOUR. This is a sour Belgian brown. I wanted a dubbel and I got a sour brown. Re-write your copy.

It is a well made beer. It has good small bubbles, a decent medium body and as a sour brown it makes sense. I don't like sour brown. Call it sour and I have no problem. It's true to style but who knew...True.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2007 02:55:40 | More by faernt
Photo of TheLiterati
TheLiterati

California

3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I read the description of this special brown ale and admit that I was enticed by the description: "Brewed with real cacao and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel for a sensual delight."

What the heck - it was Valentine's Day, I didn't have a date, and so I figured curling up with a good ale and a good book in front of the fire place would be a nice way to spend the evening.

I have to agree with some of the other BAs, here: I just can't get my head wrapped around this beer. While the appearance was rather nice - a deep, rich brown - and the smell was equally enticing, what with all that cacao, cinnamon and sweet orange essence tickling my nostrils, once the beer hit my palate, I was somewhat confused.

To be fair, I'd had a not so tasty small serving of greasy fish n chips a few hours before which seemed to leave a coating of some sort on my tongue. As well, I wasn't feeling 100%. So perhaps that was the problem.

Rather than give up completely, I stored the rest of the bottle with a airtight top and decided to give it another try the next day.

I did - and though it definitely hit my palate with a more pleasurable taste the next evening, and I noticed the nice balance of carbonation and more of a spicy flavor, my final conclusion is that this beer is interesting, but in an average kind of way. I can tick it off on my ever-growing list of beers I've tried, but it's not one I'll likely go back to.

PS - this bottle was from Batch 254.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 21:27:52 | More by TheLiterati
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

One thing is for sure. The Jolly Pumpkin label art is some of the best.

Tried this beer the other night from a 750 ml. bottle.

As expected, the beer pours a rich amber brown color with an excellent, thick head. Head retention and lacing are both impressive and this beer looks like it will be excellent. The nose is very complex and attractive. I get aromas of cherry, wood, maple syrup, bourban, vanilla and fuji apple. The beer smells fantastic.

Considering the smorgasbord of aroma on the nose, and considering the impressive look to this beer, I was shocked by the flavors on the palate. The flavors are VERY disappointing. One gets a hint of underlying sweetness, spice and malty brown ale, but it's completely overwhelmed by the sour/tartness to this beer. The beer has a somewhat light mouthfeel, with a weak, almost watery finish. Drinkability is really poor (at least for me), given the excessive, all pervasive, sour/tart flavors. Considering all the stuff I get on the nose, I'm amazed by what I taste on the palate. Sour, sour, sour and more sour.

Ultimately, I was unable to finish a glass of this beer. There are too many other great beers in the world to try to choke down this.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2007 12:39:15 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of stegmakk
stegmakk

New York

3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Batch 931 bottled 12-2-11
Drank 4-19-13

Appearance-Brown orange...liquid leather. Nice head fine bubbles dissapated fine lacing.

Smell-Sour fruit. Some bready malt mixed in.

Taste-For what is labeled special brown with cacao, cinnamon, orange flavors...none of that is present. Sweet sourish taste yes...helles yes. I dont have anything against a sour belgian kind of beer. I just expected more flavors and a better blend.

Mouthfeel-went down smooth with fine carbonation tingling on my tongue.

Overall-Not a "drainer"...but I Would not buy again. At $16 for a big bottle...not worth it. Much cheaper sour beers with more flavor out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 00:10:16 | More by stegmakk
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.11/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 12-19-2011

(A)- Pours a cloudy dull orange color. Some good white froth.

(S)- Slight chocolatey nuttiness with an underlying yeasty dryness.

(T)- Quite fruity in a dried fruit sense: Figs, raisin, honey, and orange peel. Subtle underlying cocoa and nut elements.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Quite fruity for a brown ale, though perhaps a bit too old at this stage.

(O)- Honestly, this is not my favorite by Jolly Pumpkin, however I think I want to give it another try and track down a much fresher bottle to compare

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2013 21:24:53 | More by sweemzander
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ML bottle purchased from Gary's in Bernardsville for $7.99...
"Ale Brewed With Cacao Nibs and Spices" on the front logo sticker...
As with many of the Jolly Pumpkin beers I've sampled, there is a noticeable Oak-aged presence in the smell as well as taste with this one...
An aggressive pour yielded a humongous frothy and foamy head that left quite a bit of lacing before gradually receding... Dark brown, mahogany hue, murky and cloudy...
Smell full of spices, caramel, sweets...
Taste was average due to the strong suggestion of oak-aged flavors that pervaded this sample and took away most of the taste... Bitter and sour, I wasn't too thrilled about this one...
Mouthfeel also took a hit due to the heavy amount of oak in this one and the cloying flavors...
Same story with the drinkability, which was average at best in my opinion...
Not a favorite of mine...

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 22:08:19 | More by dsa7783
Photo of phisig137
phisig137

Virginia

3.15/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one in a trade with Northertimber.... thanks Chris.

Once I pop the cap, the bottle erupts into a volcano of foam and beer. I manage to get a glass full and clean up the mess. The result is a gorgeous hazy mahogany color, with a two finger head. Great retention leaves behind only a ring around the top of the glass.

Aroma is woody, funky, sour, spicy, and round. Quite complex, I think the sour pops out more than anything else. Hints of vanilla tell you this was barrel aged, but you can also smell the actual wood.

Flavor is interesting. Slighty sour all the way through, but not overly so. There are some chocolate and cinnamon flavors, but buried deep in there. Little in the way of malt and hop flavors, I get mostly spice and barrel funk. Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. Drinkability is decent.

This is an interesting foray into beer, that I wasn't expecting at all. I love some of the other beers from Jolly Pumpkin, but this one, not so much. I can't tell if this is exactly the way the beer should taste, or if the bottle was infected (as evidenced by the geyser of foam, and horrendous mess). I'll have to re-review this if I ever get my hands on another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2007 02:28:36 | More by phisig137
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

08/12/08- Purchased at Chunck's WIne and Spirits in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Presentation- 750ml bottle with a batch number on the back of the bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Lightly murky deep brown colored pour. About a 1/2 inch head upon pour. Leaves light lace trails and streaks behind.

Smell- Has lots of different stuff going on. Spices such as cinnimon, maybe a touch of clove with a deep chocolate scent as well. Mild funk also.

Taste- Rather odd taste. Fruit, chocolate and jerk spices all combined. Huh? English like hops with a deep deep chocolate flavor combined with a deep cinnimon flavor. Good flavors on their own, but as my friend Ethan said...kind of two beers in one...or flavors that might not work as well together.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation with a english hoppy/malt aftertaste.

Drinkability- I'd pass on this if offered again. Wasn't really bad., but just not my cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2008 04:54:12 | More by GClarkage
Photo of BTPete
BTPete

New York

3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank on 5/9/10 to tulip.

A: Clear golden brown liquid with a big fluffy head. Thousands of bubbles rise from bottom.

S: Smells of sweet fruit, oak, and an underlying mustiness. A certain yeast character to the aroma also.

T: Slightly sweet then spicy. The spiciness seems to build with time and as the beer warms. Slight funk in the mouth but not very much at all. Less than I would have hoped for.

M: Highly carbed but didn't seem overly carbed. Medium bodied.

D: Good not great for me. Maybe with some time and a building brett character might be better for my palatte.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2010 13:14:57 | More by BTPete
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I am drinking a 750 mL capped bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet. The ale has warmed to room temperature.

Appearance: The ale has a deep brown color that is very hazy. There is a bit of lace around the glass, but not much.

Smell: The ale has a gamey aroma, which I think is par for the course for Jolly Pumpkin. The aged ale suggests hints of a flanders red in the cherry-like nose.

Taste: The ale seems to be angling towards the sour ale zone, but falls a bit short. The flavor is solid and the aged component dries the mouth a bit but not too terribly.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is interesting, as the ale does not appear to be aged too significantly long.

Drinkability: Average. I'd have another, but it is not at the top of my dubbel list.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2006 22:51:05 | More by akorsak
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25.4 oz. bottle, Batch 253,

A: Pours a relatively clear brown, with a full, long lasting white head, great full lacing.

S: Lactic acid dominates, some spice, but not really that complex, the orange peel is evident.

T: Acidity, brown malt and light bacterial funk form the main flavour at first. Orange peel is the main spice flavour, the cinnamon is there, but much more secondary. Struggling to find the chocolate, thought there would be more of it, it's really only there in the aftertaste. A bit of raw oak in there as well.

M: I like that the carbonation is light, acidity for a JP beer is mild, easy to drink for a sour.

D: I liked this beer, but it didn't really impress me, hoping for more chocolate and spice. Would have again for sure if offered, but whouldn't shell out the $12 for another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2008 06:15:56 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of haazer
haazer

Pennsylvania

3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Off white head atop a brownish, amber looking beer.

S - Slight sour notes. The base beer brown ale is present in caramel, and some nutty aromas.

T - More funk tastes than sour. Dark caramel, toasty malts. A tiny bit of chocolate, and a dried plum taste.

M- Light to medium body with mid level carbonation.

O - Went with this $8.50 small pour at the prohibition taproom for my first beer during PBW. Should've went with the Obscura for price, but still an ok beer. Different take on a brown ale with the "sour" part.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2013 19:49:09 | More by haazer
Photo of mrmanning
mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap- MI brewer’s guild fest, winter-06- Dark brown pour with slight haze and a thin beige ring atop. Yeasty spice aromas are first and foremost, with smoked brett and dark cherries. Sour cherry flavours with spices and an earthy yeastiness. Tart finish with some sweet malts towards the very end. Good!

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2006 18:43:24 | More by mrmanning
Photo of gottajiboo2
gottajiboo2

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Phatz for sharing this beer among many others at the sour beer tasting last year. (from my beer notes)

Appearance, poured a cloudy brown with a thin sand dune colored head.

Smells of sour, sweet, and an almost minty essence enter my nostrils upon first whiff.

Tasted to me at first like one of my home brew batches that went a rye. It was hard for me to pick out some of the other flavors that were there. Tart and sour just kept coming to mind.

At the time I was thinking half a glass of this is about enough for me. But I have been trying many more "sour" beers over the past year, and for what ever reason I am starting to appreciate them more. I almost have a hankerin for one after a meal at a restaurant.

I will definitely try this one again, might even have to adjust my review, who knows.

cheers

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 23:22:11 | More by gottajiboo2
Photo of crwills
crwills

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at a tasting with biegaman, northyorksammy, and grub. Thanks guys!

Huge, foamy brown pour with a massive tan head and tons of lacing, even in a plastic sample glass. Powerful aroma, strong and yeasty, like unbaked bread dough. Taste is more fruity, with sour apple, orange or tangerine rind, and some chocolate malt backbone. Solid mouthfeel. Tasty and different!

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2007 21:55:46 | More by crwills
Photo of ksarko
ksarko

Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: cloudy amber color. Thick head. Good lacing down the glass

S: Sour on the nose

T: Champagne burn on the tongue sour flavor. hints of sour apple and caramel.

M: medium body, big punch than leaves fast.

O: Great summer sit around the fire beer. Good to sip on. I really enjoyed this beer. Gives you that punch in the front and makes you wanting more. Great beer overall

Serving type: on-tap in a 23oz beer glass

Serving type: on-tap

04-07-2011 21:19:02 | More by ksarko
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Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
89 out of 100 based on 588 ratings.