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Maracaibo Especial - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial

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

626 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 626
Reviews: 301
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: 626 | Reviews: 301 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of techfed87


4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carefully poured, this beer produces an average sized head, with very fine bubbles. Nose is sour, lively. I'm not picking up a lot of cocoa notes, however I'm sure they will become more pronounced later on.

First sip is about as sour as the nose, but the cocoa is much more prevalent here than what was aware before. Mouthfeel is frothy and effervescent and very lively.

Very satisfying and very noteworthy, this is another very good reason why Jolly Pumpkin is one of the best breweries in the state.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 02:32:17 | More by techfed87
Photo of Phelps


3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle received from BulbMan in a recent trade. Blend 3, 2009. Bottle says it's a spicy brown ale, brewed with cacao and spiced with cinnamon and orange peel. Poured into my Bruery tulip.

Looks: vermilion. Pours a dark ruby-tinged orange, hazy to the point of near-opacity, with a frothy one-finger head of sandy tan foam. The head recedes fairly quickly, becoming a medium-weight ring with a large blot of grayish film. It lingers for quite a while.

Smells: lightly tart, with citrusy orange peel, a bit of caramel and the subtle sweetness of apple juice.

Tastes: like all Jolly Pumpkin beers. Maracaibo has a distinct tartness; or rather, a distinct lack of tartness. It seems at first sip that it should be more sour than it is, like it builds to a crescendo that never fully materializes. The subtle tartness does ensure that there's not a puckering character that builds after each swallow; instead there's a nice, lightly drying finish. I also pick up flavors of caramel again, as well as a nice bit of toasty breadiness, coriander and a light cherry vodka character.

Feels: fizzy. A medium carbonation causes the beer to foam up quite a bit as it moves about the mouth, and the body just a shade under medium. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but it works.

Drinks: Jolly Pumpkin does this to me all the time. I want to like their beers more than I do; I just need MORE. More flavor, more tartness, more something. Maracaibo is a nice, well-balanced brown. It's just a little subtle for my palate. It did pair nicely, however, with some balsamic-doused salad. The astringent character of the vinegar brought out flavors in the beer I hadn't noticed before.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 05:53:42 | More by Phelps
Photo of rudzud


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kinda shocked this is the first Jolly Pumpkin I've reviewed. Had to start somewhere! Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Bottle nearly bubbled over upon opening but I managed to pour before it could happen. The result was a nice hazy amber pour with a fluffy off white head that slowly fades leaving thick lacing with minimal spiderweb lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - Picking up some nice malt aromas along with what I understand is typical Jolly Pumpkin funk. Picking up some dark, rich fruits.

T - Really nice tastes with this. That funky yeast adds a nice spin on a traditional strong dark ale. Not getting much in the line of chocolate, as is said on the label. There is some nice malt flavors but that light sourness is really enjoyable for me.

M - Typical light/medium carbonation but there is some nice creamyness to this. Very pleasant on the mouth.

D - This has alot working for it. This killer head, creamy mouthfeel, and the nice tartness coupled with your typical strong dark ale flavors. Hard to believe this is 7.5%, as it drinks much lower. A really tasty brew from Jolly Pumpkin!

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 05:11:43 | More by rudzud
Photo of NCSUdo


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

750 mL botte, Blend 2 2009

A: Hazy brown under a medium white head. Small amount of lace and decent retention.

S: A bit acidic, some toasted malt, dark fruit, hint of apple.

T: Sour, sweet, bit of earthy yeast, some hits of cocao, mildly bitter, maybe a hint of alcohol, some apple. Lots of stuff going on here, could use some better balance but still good.

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation is slightly high but feels right. Drinkability is good, crisp body helps this. Overall, another solid beer from JP.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2010 00:28:11 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 09/15/10 notes. Had at a small DC tasting.

a - Pours a dark amber color with 2 inches of fluffy white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices and dark fruit. Also some fruity malts and bready malts.

t - Tastes of sour, dark fruits, spices, bready malts, and caramel malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good dark ale. I wasn't expecting the taste to be quite as sour, but it was still enjoyable. Would try again.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2010 03:00:46 | More by mdfb79
Photo of 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 drpimento


3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured with a smallish, light tan head that quickly subsides and no lace. Color is a clear orange, medium amber. Aroma has just bare hints of the ingredients in the description and some malt and a little earth. Flavor is big on the tartness that is JP's trademark and kind of trumps the other qualities that are similar to the nose. Body is dominated by the carbonation and I think could have maybe used a little more density. Finish is like flavor. Another good appertif. One and done. If you can share the big bottle or maybe cook with the leftover.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2010 23:40:44 | More by drpimento
Photo of goatgoat


3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Batch 2.2009.

Poured into tulip. Hazy barely brown, more coppery/amber with a thin tan head. Aroma is light fruit, plum, light breadiness, and a nice tartness. Taste starts clean and lightly malty, but quickly get overtaken by a refreshing tartness.

It's not really a Belgian Strong Dark, it may have been before going wild. But that bridge was burnt. So I'll not review it as a BSD because it would do poorly. As a wild it's refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 00:10:54 | More by goatgoat
Photo of mithrascruor


3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy ruby red/amber color. Nice off-white head with good retention and light lacing.

Smell: Semi-sweet aroma with a hint of sourness and cherries.

Taste: Light malty body with a bit of more acidic dark fruits. A big tart/sour taste comes in shortly thereafter. Finish includes some cacao and coriander, and then there's some bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and smooth, with a quite noticeable tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: Not too strong in the alcohol department, but the flavor is a bit odd.

This is a very distinct and unusual flavor; not at all what I would have expected from the description on the bottle! It isn't bad, but it is a bit odd - like a Belgian strong dark blended with a sour red with a bit of spices added in. A nice ale to try, but the flavor is just a bit odd for me (even though I like those flavors individually).

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 03:45:02 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark ruby brown with a decent amount of foam. Glad this one did gush everywhere. The taste has a sour spiceyness upfront, but its not overwhelming at all. Dark fruits like orange and green apples linger through out. This goes down quite smooth and the second glass is drinking even better. Pretty solid beer overall. Glad I got to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2010 01:11:33 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of chaz01


3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle because I wanted expand my beer experience a bit into some of the sours. I'm hardly a sour person, but drinking this with an open mind. Stamp on the bottle says it's blend 2, 2009. Poured into a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Amber-Brown in color with a thick foamy head. A little murky, but you can still see lots of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

S: Aroma reminded me of a Christmas and/or gingerbread cookie right out of the oven, but looking at the label, the spices are really orange peel and cinnamon. Can pick up a little sour fruit aroma as well.

T: Burst of sweet sourness hits you up front with a hint of vanilla. Lots of orange and cinnamon. The finish is more of a bitter sourness with some oak flavors.

M: Medium mouthfeel with lots of carbonation present. Slightly bitter orange peel coats your tongue long after the beer has been swallowed.

D: It may take me a while to get used to this, but I can see how you can easily acquire a taste for these type beers. It certainly makes me want to get another Jolly pumpkin for comparison, but at this stage, this will be a slow sipping beer for me and I may have trouble getting through the entire bomber.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2010 02:06:06 | More by chaz01
Photo of digr


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

A- Dark brown amber liquid pours with a off-white tan smallish 1cm head.

S - Awesome smell. Hard to explain but loved it from the start. the smell is slightly acidic, but fruity, some slight malt character. Reminiscent of a lambic / oud bruin.

T - Nice taste. mild malty medium bodied brown beer with a slightl sour note. Basically a very mild oud bruin taste. Can taste a bit of Brett (sour and mild funk) and a bit of lactic. But very smooth. There is a slight bitter note from bittering hops - no real hop aroma.

M - Good mouthfeel, matches the style. Just enough body to match the slight sour effect. Some tannins show.

D - Pretty easy to drink. There is a slight bite from the tannin or hops. But this is a very different and me likely. I'd love to see how this is on tap vs. bottle.

This is a great beer. If you like a slightly sour brown beer. Nicely balanced in that I can't actually identify any of the extra ingredients but can tell this is a different beer. I can taste some Brett L and Lactic flavors that make this very interesting to drink. I'd like to see more of this on american shores!

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2010 03:19:03 | More by digr
Photo of Yoonisaykul

Quebec (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

First taste of Jolly Pumpkin.

A- Almost opaque brown with orange highlights. Okay layer of beige head. Looked flat pretty quickly. Once we dumped the yeast it became more of a muggy reddish brown.

S- Smells like cinnamon liqueur at first, I then get very ripe raspberries, black currants and bunch of other berries. Typical sour yeast produce. Something reminds me of a fruity soda.

T- Sour and spicy with a cocoa bitterness. Ripe apple. Other than that it's much like the smell.

M- Medium to high carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. Very nice light mouthfeel. Just a little too watery for me to think this is from Belgium (most belgium beers I've tasted up to now have had a great mouthfeel).

D- Okay. Having split this with my friend, I want more but still cant say drinkablility is that high.

Good. I enjoyed drinking this but this is listed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I'm not sure about this . This is awful sour. Maybe I just lack experience with the style.


Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 05:53:16 | More by Yoonisaykul
Photo of bamadog


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

Review is from notes taken on 4/28/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Gusher alert! The sucker oozed foam for at least five minutes before I could get a pour. Pour is a murky brown and looks a bit like very much like spiced cider; starts with a massive four finger light tan head with amazing retention; head is very fluffy and leaves a puffy web of lacing; body is very cloudy and there are tiny bubbles of carbonation on the sides of the glass near the surface.

Smell: First sniff is sour/tart/acidic fruit, reminiscent of apple, but also something a little darker; a pretty faint presence of
Brett funk; a bit of an orange scent combined with a candied sugary presence.

Taste: Very nice, and quite a bit going on -- the sour/tart/acidic apple-like fruit is definitely there, but also that darker presence that reminds me of raisins or figs, perhaps dates?; faint hints of light cocoa (a little powdery) and just a bit of sour funk from the Brett; slight spiciness with some orange at the end.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is strong and prickly, not sharp; body is light and crisp and comes across smoothly and is foamy while it sits in the mouth; mouth is left with a fair amount of stickiness that's dry and the belly is left warm from the acidity and possibly helped by the 7.5% ABV.

Drinkability: Not too shabby and another great offering from JP. Nothing is going wrong with this beer, and the sour/funkiness from the Brett is actually fairly mild in this offering so it's pretty good for someone who doesn't have tons of experience in this area of beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 13:41:02 | More by bamadog
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.9/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is of an older bottle. It is at least 2 years old, but is not marked with any date or batch number.

A - It pours a hazy reddish brown, with a sizeable white head that reduces to a small foam cap, it also has some good streaky lace.

S - Funky JP aroma; tart and suggestive of a wide bouquet of fruit. JP is ridiculous. Every time I drink it, I wonder why I ever drink anything else.

T - Perfectly funky; sour and tart, notes of apples, pears, apricot and oak, also lightly acetic. This brew is amazingly balanced. JP is so much better with a year or two on the bottle.

M - Awesome; exceptionally smooth, yet vibrantly effervescent.

D - This is one of the most delicious brews. End of story.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2010 01:30:01 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Jayli


4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 4/16
Special blend 3, 2009 poured in to my Portsmouth tulip.

A: This beer pours a murky caramel brown with a two finger of off white head to it. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving sticky spots of lacing.

S: Nose is of sour tartness, touches of sour apple and orange peel, and cinnamon. A bit of funk is noticeable

T: Taste is uber tart on the forefront, there is some definite funk going on up front. Hints of nutmeg when you really look for them. A touch of breadiness and the finish has a sour smoked apple and orange peel flavoring mingled with the cacoa.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, slightly oily body with a sticky finish.

D: Goes down easy, nicely balanced, funk and sour are present but not overwhelming. I could enjoy a few glasses of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2010 14:18:25 | More by Jayli
Photo of Dubber55

New York

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brown/amber with nice cap, a little more than 1 inch of foam

S: Vinegar, sour, funk, citrus

T: Tart, bitter, orange peel, some vinous qualities, dry finish

M: Medium to light, a bit too much carbonation

D: Very good, easily finished the 750ml

Drank by itself but probably better with food

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 23:50:35 | More by Dubber55
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Dark brown pour with a large cream coloured head. Cherry, dusty cocoa and balsamic aroma. Essentially a sour brown ale, this beer has nice vinous and vinegar notes, which bounce off a substantial fruity malt background. The cocoa does turn up, but isn't as strong as I would have expected, and is more of an accent than anything. The sourness is mild and nicely integrated, with elements that remind me of a kriek, in that it comes across more fruity than sharp. The funk is there too, and adds a wonderful dryness to the finish. Medium body and carb.

Thanks Eric for bringing this one over!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 20:00:21 | More by bobsy
Photo of ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Capped 750ml, no date on the bottle, brought by viggo - thanks for the JP treats man! I think I remember him saying this bottle has some age on it.

Pours the color of dried blood though with a much more voluminous body and some murk, hints of purple play in and out. A nice creamy head builds, has some staying power and leaves some lacing down the glass.

Nose reveals a light lemony sourness, a hint of sour peaches, cherry, a light cocoa and a hint of faded spices and a light bretty funk.

A really nice balanced beer for JP which is pretty par for the course for them it seems. Light sourness pairs with a touch of musty funk and a decent malt backing. A touch of cocoa coming through, not much spicing. Dry yet juicy finish, a hint of cherries, citrus. Spot on carbonation, a light residual sweetness floating in there as well.

Pretty nice beer from JP, would gladly drink this one again and am interested to see how a fresher version might integrate the spicing in a little more. Fairly light and refreshing, yet complex. Thanks Eric!

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 20:54:34 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of WwRGSwW


4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pretty dark brown with a large head.

S- Sour smell with some citrus

T- AMAZING. this beer is one of the best beers ive had ever!

M- medium to light, carbonation is there in force.

D- No harsh aftertaste, and you want to keep going back for more.

I enjoyed this beer so much, that I got a bottle to-go for later. Bartender informed me, that she preferred the bottle vs. the tap.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2010 06:10:47 | More by WwRGSwW
Photo of icetraxx


4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured an amber red with a nice creamy head into a tulip glass at the Jolly Pumpkin Brewpub in A2. The head dissipated into a cap and laced the the glass nicely.

S: Vinegar, yeast, a tinge of malt, but then I had to dig in and take a taste. The aroma was very nice, but could of been stronger, this seems to be a reoccurring problem with jolly pumpkin brews.

T: The fine wine of beers, and the acidic-sweet nectar of life. Flavors were all over the place, but the sour/bitter/sweet combination was balanced like a finely tuned machine. Exotic yeasty flavors, hoppy fruitiness, oak, a tinge of malt, and one of the most refreshing and cleanest finishes of any beer I've ever had. There were a ton of flavor complexities, but I was enjoying myself too much to pay attention to each one, I enjoyed the macro view of all these flavors.

M: Creamy and delicious, not perfect, but damn good.

D: Me and my friends all agreed on the superiority of the Maracaibo Especial even after tasting just about everything on tap (including the hard cider), two of us bought the $15 750ML bottles before we left, and many ordered a second pint of this even though we had already been brew pub hopping all night. I could drink this all day and all night. Sour. Delicious.

O: Sour. Delicious. My friends have also become believers in Jolly Pumpkin after trying this beer, and now they are my favorite brewer.

As my friend put it: "This is beer nector from the Gods".

One of the best beers I've had yet, I bow to you, Mr. Jeffries.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2010 05:52:39 | More by icetraxx
Photo of jampics2


3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Jolly Pumpkin Ann Arbor.

Ruby red with a 2 finger head that slowly subsides.

Smells of spices and Belgian yeast. Sultry, sunkissed spice, like a tropical fruit that has never been tasted before.

Tastes like spice, yeast, orange, passion fruit, chocolate, and some yeast, bugs, and barrel.

Mouth is a touch light, but good, refreshing, drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2010 03:54:02 | More by jampics2
Photo of Beerenauslese


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent cloudy amber with a good head leaving traces of lace on the glass.

Smells of wet straw, wet horseblanket, orange peel, tropical fruit, spice.

More of a Belgian reddish brown sour ale than a strong dark ale, with notes of chocolate, orange, cinnamon, lemon. Long finish of citron.

Mouthfeel is light, with good carbonation.

A bit puckerish, and I need it to be paired with some food.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2010 02:53:52 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of vrazionale


4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. Bottle reads "Blend 3, 2009."

A - Pours a ruddy caramel-brown body with a thick but light-bodied creamy-white head.

S - Tart cherries, basement funk, under-ripe raspberries, pomegranate, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, some coffee roastiness. A good amount of tart fruity esters on the nose - all work well together in concert.

T - The flavor profile has more of the darker roasty flavors that were in the background on the nose. Interesting savory herbal component alongside the tart "pop" from the wild yeasts. The finish leaves a lot of the same fruity flavors from the nose: raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, with some blood orange and lemon coming out, as well. Very dynamic and engaging.

M - Lighter-bodied than I expected, given that it is brewed with cacao and various spices. I suppose that was an unfair expectation, though, likely based on other beers I've had that have been brewed with cacao and spices....at any rate, the brew is crisp, tart, and very, very refreshing. Carbonation level is spot-on.

D - I'm a total sucker for brews like this - I could drink this all night. So rich and dynamic to quaff and drink by itself, and so many possibilities for food pairings - I'd drink this with charcuterie, a slightly sour, semi-firm cow's milk cheese, or with a whole roasted chicken. This beer is yet another reason why I love Jolly Pumpkin...

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 02:45:58 | More by vrazionale
Photo of np0x


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
Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
89 out of 100 based on 626 ratings.