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Maracaibo Especial - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial

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

627 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 627
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 45
Gots: 53 | FT: 3
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: 627 | Reviews: 302 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was surprised on how sour this was. I know the brewery is fooling with wild yeast strains, but this was gushing white. Lambic aroma vinegar. The others who shared the bottle gave great reviews so I am pressing ahead with my impressions. Hypnotic effect for those used to sour beers in terms of drinkablility, it wasn't a cantillon but the sourness overpowered the spiciness.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2006 20:31:39 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

10-17-2012 02:07:48 | More by t0rin0
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-20-2011 22:11:30 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at Connecticut Avenue in DC.

Blend 4; bottled November 19, 2010. Served in a Jolly Pumpkin tulip.

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a single-finger off-white head and some good lacing on the way down. Thin cap throughout. The nose has a bit of cocoa as well as some mild earthiness. Just a touch of funk in the background.

The flavor has a bit of dark cocoa. There's a bit of light oak and earthiness toward the back. Not nearly as much going on as other Jolly Pumpkin beers; this is more "normal." It's a pretty good brew, but there's nothing there to take the complexity to the next level.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 18:40:44 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rusted orange peel with bright Sunkist borders. The large crown is the color of ice cream to which orange juice and cinnamon have been added. Since sweet orange peel and cinnamon are used in this 'Special Brown Ale', that's only fitting. The cap is almost Belgian-like in character and deposits a respectable amount of sea foam lace.

I like the nose because I like Brettanomyces. I'm tempted to score it one notch lower, though, because the things that I believe make Maracaibo Especial distinctive (cacao, cinnamon and orange), (or at least have a chance to), don't have a prayer of being appreciated given all the funk. It better be a different story on the palate.

When I first learned of Maracaibo's Especial's ingredients, I was intrigued. I'm pretty sure I've never had a Belgian-inspired brown ale that uses this combination of fruit and spice. The sad thing is, it doesn't matter because the brewer is in love with light-bodied, sharply carbonated, sour, acidic, dry (in other words, highly attenuated beer)... and I'm not.

If I can get my taste buds to filter out the funk (a near impossible task) I can sorta see what this beer is trying to be. It's clearly brown malty, as opposed to pale or roasted, and has the suggestion of cocoa (make that 'cacao'). There's a warm spiciness that isn't identifiable as cinnamon and a puckery citric fruit zestiness that isn't identifiable as orange. In addition, the flavor profile contains as much wood as your average Upper Peninsula forest. Again, the Brett razes everything in its path, effectively eliminating any chance at depth or complexity.

Simply put, I don't care for the way JP beer feels in the mouth. I respect it, I just don't like it. See several paragraphs above for the specifics. If others love it, more power to 'em.

Maracaibo Especial (and the rest of the Jolly Pumpkin lineup) strikes me as 'no compromises' kind of beer. It seems as though the brewer has a particular vision that he doesn't care to deviate from. Hey Ron, would it kill you to ease off the funk and to allow some of the malt sugars to make it to the end product?

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2007 20:49:14 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy amber in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a two finger high dense beige head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface along with lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: The nose has a slight amount of sourness, which also has aromas of orange peel and cinnamon.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a little sour and has orangey flavors along with some hints of cinnamon and oak.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink with all of the interesting flavors, but it's really easy to drink because any traces of alcohol are well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 02:04:45 | More by metter98
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Kryptic: Poured a hazy brown color ale with a bug light brown color head with great retention and great lacing. Aroma of funky yeast with some brett-like aroma with some sour and tart notes. Taste is also dominated by sour notes with loads of oak and barnyard-like notes. Minimum filtration with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really enjoyed again the wild taste of the JP beers but cannot say that I detected much cinnamon or cacao.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2008 15:49:55 | More by Phyl21ca
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BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical of Jolly Pumpkin in that they take a terrific style of beer and improve it. What would be a solid Belgian-style Brown Ale, became a balances sweet/tart, malty/vineous, woodsy/clean Sour Brown. Spicy and sweet from the right from the start, but quickly evolves into an under-rippened berry tartness, shrarply acidit and with dusty must with Flander's Red-like acetic sourness, toasty malt, and peppercorn bite. Lightly hopped for added bitterness and earthy grass notes. Amazingly holds onto a light toast (almost cocoa) flavor and firm creaminess despite the alcohol and modest astringency. Another true challenge for the tastebuds. An amazingly well crafted Sour Brown ale that draws inspiration from Belgium but made in America.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 04:02:21 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is an interesting mix of orange and brown with a fluffy off-white head.

S: A surprising amount of oak, apples, a bit of chocolate, cherry, and only a mild tartness.

T: The cherries are probably the most prominent fruit to go along with the mild tart flavor and a moderate level of funk. There's quite a bit of oak in the flavor too and lends a very dry feeling to the beer.

M: As noted before, the high presence of oak makes the beer fairly tannic and dry. I enjoyed this, my girlfriend did not.

D: Another interesting offering from Jolly Pumpkin. Certainly not my favorite, but I'd definitely give it another try and I'd like to see how it might develop with some age.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 02:30:13 | More by womencantsail
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acurtis

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

08-31-2013 04:56:08 | More by acurtis
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - $13.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Blend 1 - Bottled 11-9-10.

Appearance: Dispenses a clouded, medium-brown body with a tall, gushing, slowly receding, off-white head.

Smell: Presents a slow shambling toasted, molded bread maltiness and toasted, earth-strewn nuts with a quick snap of phenols bringing one to attention, then, the cacao and cinnamon slips past followed by ripe fruits, a even little berry.

Taste: Toasted maltiness, slight caramel sweetness, and with more chocolate flavor than I'd ever have expected. Pinch of cinnamon, but also a clovesque, peppery note alongside acedic berries soothed with umeshu. Becomes predominately earthy and acidic as it progresses. Finishes with a flourish of engaging, burp-inducing carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. High carbonation.

Overall: As always, it’s another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2012 01:02:04 | More by ChainGangGuy
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kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +0.5%

12-02-2011 15:55:27 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

08-31-2013 05:01:04 | More by jaydoc
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

03-09-2013 22:50:55 | More by spycow
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4/5  rDev +0.5%

08-15-2012 00:40:56 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Single finger head with excellent lacing on a murky copper body. Aroma of tart dark fruit, caramel and toasted malts, breads and candied citrus. Flavor follows very well with caramel, candied fruits, brown sugar and bready malts. Light to medium body, oily and light to medium carbonation. Almost has the sense of a brown blended with a sour beer. By the time I finished this one I loved it and wanted another. A very nice and complex brew. It's just a little too thin for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-25-2012 03:45:32 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anticipating foam, I opened the bottle and poured quickly. Only a plume of gunsmoke escaped from under the cap. It poured a deep chestnut color, with reddish highlights. Not opaque, but very effervescent. Sandy foam and lacing stuck around for the duration of the bottle.

Notes of oak, spice, fig, and apple in the nose. Very pleasant aroma.

Taste is moderately complex, a blend of tart to sour apple from wild yeast, figs, raisin, mystery spice, and dry caçao nibs. Slightly roasty malt in the middle. The finish is dry, but it seems more attributed to the yeast or chocolate aspects than to oak barrel aging. One bottle goes down easily, and it becomes slightly more mild as it warms up to room temp. The carbonation isn't too overdone, but gives a lighter balance to the richer flavors.

Strangely enough, once the bottle is empty, it's still halfway full of foam...

A winner from JP...

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2006 15:04:39 | More by emerge077
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JAHMUR

Connecticut

4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-15-2011 20:30:16 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Murky turbid brown with a massive 3 finger head that lasts and lasts.

Smell: Bretty funk with undertones of cinnamon and cacao. The spices come out more as the beer warms, but never to the point of overpowering the funk.

Taste & mouthfeel: Cacao and cinnamon are the first flavors tasted before the funk and tartness consume the palate. The mouthfeel is dry and highly carbonated, a common characteristic with Jolly Pumpkin beers. Cinnamon and cacao appear again in the finish, lingering for a moment along side the drying tartness.

Notes: Excellent stuff, one of the better JP offerings I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2008 22:50:16 | More by largadeer
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, part of a gaggle of new offerings from this brewery now available in Alberta, after their introductory onslaught a couple of years ago.

This beer pours a hazy, verging on dark bronzed amber colour, with four fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and frothy beige head, which leaves a bit of sudsy rock outreach lace around the glass as it evenly bleeds away.

It smells of sour, fairly yeasty pale grain, bittersweet cocoa powder, a touch of gingerbread - one heavy on the cinnamon, natch - and somewhat stale blood orange and random grocery aisle melon fruitiness. The taste is rather tart toasted grainy malt, further sour bacterial/yeast notes, wheat crackers, dry chocolate wafers, wet tobacco, bar-top nuts, muddled orange, cherry and lemon acidity, damp, almost dank wood, and musty floral, earthy, and weedy hops.

The bubbles are a bit tight in their manifestation as a not-quite fully dull sword, the body a sturdy medium weight, and not un-smooth, sort of just barren, in a good way, if that makes any sense. It finishes off-dry, the yeastiness driving the show, with some vinous fruitiness (not necessarily grapes, just wine-like overall), toasted caramel malt, and floral, perfumed hops putting a dot on it.

Not yer standard American Brown Ale (it does say 'special', right on the label), that much is certain right off the bat - the yeast and guest spices taking that bow of mea culpa - but it all seems to slowly work towards a common goal of good taste and whatnot, as the cocoa and spices, even, blend into the base brown ale more or less behind the scenes, and the funk slowly, but surely trails off by the end. As usual, this brewery's beers are pretty hard to categorize or pigeonhole, and, well, all the power to them.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2014 05:00:55 | More by biboergosum
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 349 Maricaibo Especial pours a very dark chestnut-colored body that hints at notes of crimson and orange, but never quite makes it there. The full glass sitting on the bar, however, displays a reddish dark-mahogany. The head is initially frothy but settles quickly to become a creamy yellowed-white pillow. As might be expected, the head retention is quite good and the lacing is fantastic.

In the nose, cloves appear right up-front, almost bubblegum-like, and then quickly dissipate. They're followed by tart notes, and then further tones of wet leather, minerals and oil, and thin shears of metal. Subtle spices arise, mixed with fruit, but they never become quite clear.

In the mouth it's medium-bodied, and gently-zesty-then-creamy as it warms across the palate.

The flavor is a broad spectrum of changing flavors as it warms and your taste buds become accustomed to certain notes. The phenols and Brettanomyces appear first, followed by spice/cocoa/fruit, and then leafy and grassy hop flavors. There's a bit of citrus as well, but who knows where that's coming from. I find sweet red apples, green apples, rotting apples, orange, papaya, mango, melon. Then notes of brown sugar and dry biscuits. Even just lightly browned bread dough hot out of the oven! It suggests sweetness, but it's not really sweet. (Well, it is sweet towards the end). The malt moves back and forth between the fruit/yeast/hops in an almost ghost-like fashion - here one second, gone the next. Nutmeg flickers through, adding to the spicy dryness, but there's a real hop bitterness as well. A rigid bitterness. It finishes dry with a strong note of orange rind and some subtle cocoa, as well as a lingering bitterness and some leafy hops and yeasty mineral and earth. The cinnamon becomes apparent at some point in the lingering finish as it just doesn't fade that well. And at that point everything kind of gets tumbled over and just slightly rearranged to go again in the next few sips. And in some of those new sips the cinnamon and orange merge which is quite nice. But there are so many combinations that it's almost not worth mentioning.

Complex. Intriguing. Requiring some focus.

Eye-opening.

Do yourself a favor.

(Those last three lines should be a slogan :)

How is it that a brewery that makes less beer than many brewpubs can produce something that's so compelling?

And I'd even say that perhaps this is not that compelling in comparison to some of their other beers that are more full-throttle, but this one is certainly more balanced in some way.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 02:29:21 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-15-2011 18:09:29 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy, reddish-orange body with a large, off white head. The foam has great staying power and leaves excellent lace.

S - Pungent sourness, backed by sweet malt. Black pepper, a heavy dose of oak, and a bit of vanilla.

T - Toasted malt and caramel with acetic sourness up front. Peppery yeast notes and lemon oils in the middle, followed by strong toasted oak flavors. More spicy yeast and a hint of herbal hops in the finish along with lingering oak notes.

M - Creamy, full body, high carbonation, and a very dry finish.

D - Another nice beer from JP. As with all of their products it is hard to attach a style to this beer, but it is complex and refreshingly sour. Somewhere between a Flemmish red and a acidic, Fantome-style saison; which is a combination that suits my taste quite well.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 04:30:08 | More by nickfl
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Thorpe, serves in a snifter. Beer is brown / black with a thin tan head, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is a little roasty, some acetic and lactic.

Beer is a little chocolatey and a little lactic forward. It is fine but doesn't blow me away. I might have it again in the future but this isn't my favorite from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 15:33:36 | More by drabmuh
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel chalice from a 750 ml bottle...appears a deep ruddy amber hue with a large beige foamy head dwindles leaving behind fine lacing evenly around the glass. Aroma contains perfumey oak notes with tart lactic brett funk, spicing is evident but hard to pick apart and I'm not sure what type of sweetness cacao brings to the mix. Flavor is incredibly complex yet finishes in a combonation between the oak barrel aging effects and the funky wild yeast notes very barnyard with a diverse mix of sweet, tart, and bitterness very interesting brew. Jolly pumpkin beers all share common characterisitics for sure, but this one is somewhere in the middle of how well all flavors are expressed. I'm a fan but Oro and La Roja kick this one to the curb so far I've tasted Luciernaga (favorite), La Blanche, Bam Biere and this one is in the middle. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with somewhat effervescent carbonation and really sticks around with a dry finish a bit ciderish with the tartness. Drinkability is nice like I said I dig what Jolly Pumpkin is doing, and this is just another great beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 18:28:59 | More by WVbeergeek
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Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
89 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.