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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

934 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 934
Reviews: 409
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 66
Gots: 151 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 10-21-2007

"Belgian Christmas Ale aged in oak barrels."
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 934 | Reviews: 409
Reviews by jsanto:
Photo of jsanto
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - dark brown and a small light brown head, that faded fast.

s - dried cherry / dark cocoa. but i lovre the smell, not alcoaholic, but fruity.

t - first taste is a mixture of fruit, like a liquid fruitcake. then the finish ends different with that classic oak cherry taste.

m - carbonated at first, but as it sat it mellowed into a smooth tasting brew.

d - i wouildn't want to drink it every night, but for the holidays these oak aged beers are a real gift.

More User Reviews:
Photo of cbutova
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza

11-16-2012, Blend 15. Thanks to Chico1985 for sharing this.

A- Actually much darker than I imagined, deep brown to almost black in spots even when held up to light. A cream colored head rises up to a finger with a thick foamy consistency. Mostly spotty lace with some webs.

S- Dark fruits and lactic are the overall theme to the aroma for me. Flemish feel throughout with slight acetic hints and a somewhat Oud Bruin characters. Cranberry tartness, cherry, lemon juice, wet oak and toasted nuts.

T- Tartness builds up to being relatively sour over time here, both lactic and acetic. Cranberry is one of the strongest flavors for me with spicy raisin, fig, wet oak and red wine grapes, lemon sours and a slight nuttiness. Complexities are a bit tough to pick up because the sours and red fruit and wine notes really start to dominate.

MF- Lighter end body with a bit of a slickness I often find in beers that have acetic character to them. Carbonation is at a medium-low level and it ends quite sour.

Red wine grapes and cranberries and a general dark tart fruitiness opens up sip by sip. The sourness gains even more strength than those. It isn't harshly sour but it seems to block flavors that might exist otherwise. Winey and Flanders Oud Bruin feel.

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/20/2011. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of strawberry, cherry, green apple, raisin, orange zest, caramel, toast, oak, clove, nutmeg, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of strawberry, tart cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, oak, pepper, hay, grass, light funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Light fruity tartness/spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of strawberry, cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice flavors; with a nice balance of fruit/spiciness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian dark ale. All around nice balance and complexity of yeast, oak, and spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of joe1510
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml
$10.99
Binny's Plainfield

Blend #1 2007

Jolly Pumpkin's newest release is Noel de Calabaza, their Christmas release. It pours a murky rusty copper with a moderate haze as it rises up the glass. The head grew to a creamy three fingers as I poured then settled down to a thick one finger beige crown. Each sip leaves very respectable drink lines.

The smell of Noel de Calabaza is as refreshing as a winter styled brew could be. The nose is so robust it's hard to put your finger on exactly what's there. Some dark fruits are present along the lines of prunes, figs, and although not a fruit, plum pudding. There's that fresh, juicy, fruity aroma found in so many of JP's beers from the fermentation. It makes your mouth water.

Flavor is very similar to the aroma just not quite as robust. The juicy dark fruits are there and create a great complexity. I'm even picking up some candi sugar, whether it's there or not, it sure tastes like it. There's a bit of sourness on the finish but only enough to make you pucker before the tartness leaves you wanting another drink immediately. As the mouthful disappears a touch of tobacco leaf comes into play.

The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking on this beer. The bacteria ate up a little too much of the sugar leaving the body a little on the light side. The lively carbonation and light body usually work great on these sour ales but this one could use a touch more body to go with the darker fruits present.

Although the mouthfeel is a little thinner than I would have liked it actually boosts the drinkability. The slightly dry finish and tartness on the swallow leave you wanting another drink right away.

Noel de Calabaza is yet another good beer from Jolly Pumpkin. It's refreshing to find all these great barrel aged sours so easily and affordable. Jolly Pumpkin does the beer drinking public a great service by offering these normally expensive hard to find styles in many locations and at an affordable price for such great beers. That's one of many reasons you will always find at least a couple Jolly Pumpkin offerings in my fridge at a time.

Photo of kjyost
4.84/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Batch 4. Overcarbonated (hello Brett!), but glorious for Christmas Eve! Brett beautifully blended with the dark ale flavours and oak. I could drink this forever!

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 892 - Bottled 09-23-2011.

A: The bottle says it's a deep mahogany color, and I reckon that fits the bill. Billowy, taupe head pours out to at least two fingers, and lacing is ample.

S: Brettanomyces and oak. Mostly brett. I guess almost 3.5 years of aging will do that.

T: Starts out with some fairly ripe plum, but by mid-sip the brett has the spotlight. The plum, which is not particularly ripe, nor too tart, hangs around though, and I get it on the end in most sips. I get a bit of spicy oak every so often, but it's not a strong contributor. Not much of an aftertaste to speak of.

M: Purdy carbonated. Maybe just a smidge too much, but it keeps the beer going down easy, which I like for a wild ale, which is really what I consider this to be, especially after aging.

O: Tasty indeed. After trying many of the Jolly Pumpkin beers several years ago, I decided this was the only one I particularly enjoyed, at least for the price. I wouldn't say this is better than younger versions, just different.

Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/20/2011.I know it's a little late for a CHRISTmas season beer but I gotta good deal today on this home state beer.Poured into an Ommegang chalice a true to label deep mahogany with a thinner slight off white head atop.Oaked sherry vinegar aromas along with some sour/lactic notes,a bit of dried cherry as well.Spiced phenols and that sherry vinegar on the palate,a sharp sour bite hits in the finish.For those who like the sour biting somewhat heavy handed phenolic Belgian darks this is for you,(and there are many)but for me I respect it but don't go outta my way for it.

Photo of MadScientist
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 10-5-2011
Batch 910
A: A medium amber with good clarity and a light redish hue. The head is thin but long lasting, composed of fine bubbles

S: The moderately-strong sour aroma has my mouth watering in anticipation, this is going to be tart. Some barnyard aromas come along with that sour. There is a moderately-light aroma of figs and a light nuttiness. Some Belgian yeast character is evident with scents of pepper an a faint fruity aroma. No hops.

T: This isn't as tart as the nose suggests but very tasty with that sweet-tart balance going on between the fruit tartness and a light bit of sweetness from caramel malt or dark candied sugar. There is a light hops bitterness and no flavor. There are light fruit esters is again fig but the tartness brings this citrusy lime-peel like flavor. The balance is moderately to the tart. The finish is dry the aftertaste is sweet-tart and fruity.

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O: If only more Belgian Dark strongs were soured.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Blend 3 - 2007. Pours a dark cola brown with red hints as well and a small white cap on top. The head stays around awhile. Aromas of brown sugar, orange peel, fruit and an array of spices. Yeast tones and a mild oaky aroma as well with just a touch of a sour undercurrent. Nice.

First sip brings a light caramelly / brown sugar maltiness. Big fruity tones move in with orange peel, citrus, cherry and toffee. Spicy flavors move in with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Sour / funky flavors on the way down with a mellow oaky undertone that's classic J.P.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. Another Jolly Pumpkin brew that I can hog a 750ml of to myself without a problem. Seek this one out and you will enjoy. I look forward to try my other bottle of Blend 1 soon.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, Blend 3, 2007. This was a chestnut color with red highlights, and a fairly small head. Pretty nice nose, mostly fruit with a little spice. Similar taste, but something in there gave it an almost medicinal taste, which was not at all enjoyable. This was an OK beer, but probably not one I'd try again.

Photo of Beaver13
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, labeled Blend 1, 2007. Pours a dark tea color with a thin off white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is yeasty bread, acidic pears and wood.

The flavor is very dry woodiness with yeast and some sugary fruits that are very acidic and slightly tart/sour. The mouthfeel is medium with some sharp carbonation but a watery texture that washes out some of the flavor.

Overall, it has a definite Jolly Pumpkin character. I didn't like it as much as others. It would be better with more sourness and less dryness.

Photo of merlin48
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml initially pours a glass of thick and creamy beige foam that hangs around several minutes, becoming pitted and meringue-like. A dark mahogany body with ruby highlights eventually appears underneath. Geeez! This looks more like a dessert than a beer. A thick layer of sheet lacing clings to the goblet and completes the extraordinary appearance.

Lovely aroma of fruity berry and kiwi with lemon/lime accents open the bouquet. Brett funkiness joins in, along with mint and star anise notes to create a really vivid nose.

Mouthfeel has a medium body with some oak tones and silky carbonation.

Taste is incredibly complex. Berry fruitiness carries over from the aroma, but some darker fruits emerge in the taste. Figs and prunes add a soft touch here. Anise(which I don't care for) and pepper join with a minty note to add a unique spiciness. JP's trademark funk is also at play.

Another solid offering from Jolly Pumpkin. Playful, intense, and complex. If I liked anise or licorice, I might score the taste higher.

Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm always somewhat cautious about putting down the cash for JP beers, cuz they tend to be gushers for me...this time I made sure to leave the bottle in the fridge for several days before opening, and the result was a fizzy/active pour, but not an over the top all out gusher. Medium tan head, leaves interesting splotches of lace and islands of foam on the surface. Grape juice, lemon and vinegar in the nose. Notes of citrus, smoke, sour cherries, berries of all sorts, and some woody notes. Complex, intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable creation.

"Blend 4, 2007"

Photo of Mora2000
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

Blend 2, 2009. Pours dark brown with a large beige head. There is some sourness in the aroma. Some tart citrus and some caramel malt. The flavor has some tartness and a little bit of funk. Medium body and very drinkable.

Photo of FMetzger
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes. Had this with several other great beers that night. The Noel took the cake.
A: Dark and bubbly. Beautiful. Head was light.
S: SO frickin good I can't express it in words. I had 5/5 written for this. There was malt, SOUR, sweet. A-mazing.
T: No let down in the taste department. Malt came through. Sourness was present. Slight spice?
M: Carbonation was perfect. All of the flavors made for a mouthfeel that was full, and I'm sure the carbonation added to that. Exceptionally clean.
D: I could probably not drink more than one, but it is a great great beer. More than one in a night, no. One every night I have the chance, yes.

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with some floaties and a creamy off-white head. Spotty lacing. Expected sweet and sour combo that is Jolly Pumpkin. Caramel, chocolate malt, funky yeast, and dried fruits mixed with red wine, oak, apples, and vinegar. It leans towards the "Belgian Stout" in several areas, including the initial taste. A strong caramel/chocolate combo up front with an equally strong fruity sweetness that borders on syrupy. As the beer warms and you progress through it, it takes on more of the oaky, vinuous qualities I was hoping for. A little sour, either from the barrel or the yeast, or both, but I enjoyed how it gave the brew a pop in the finish.

Photo of ehammond1
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Thanks for sharing this one, Gborobeer!

(Aged for 1 year)

Dark brown with ruby edges and a small light brown head. This leaves dotted and spotted stick down the glass.

Yeast-forward aroma, as most Jolly Pumpkins are, with mild dark fruits (cherries and raisins), and simple fruit bread/cake aromas as well.

The flavor has a very mild yeast funk, lots of earth, dark bread, and mild cherry and raisin character. Well balanced and very drinkable.

Medium, creamy body with moderate carbonation.

Very enjoyable funky winter ale.

Photo of Mantooth
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Samichlaus snifter.

This cola colored brew is a nice combination of green apple tart and fruit rind bitter. It pours with a small mocha head that dissipates as it rests; the luxurious lacing remains constant. The nose is a bit soapy with some vinegar and malt present. The mouthfeel is sticky and dry. Serve it cold and take your time in drinking, it slowly evolves into a very nicely crafted brew. I look forward to having it again.

Photo of Morphoenix
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours with a nice, sandy/tan colored head that rises to about a two-finger height. Deep dark brown coloration gives it an ominous appearance at first, but holding it up to the light reveals gorgeous tinges of burgundy and ruby. Scent is highly appealing; offers generous hints of sourness, spices and festive fruitiness. Tasting reveals sourness reminiscent of tart cherries, as well as a very satisfying malty sweetness. The label professes the presence of "layered hops" but I am struggling to detect their influence on this brew. Upon close scrutiny, there is a slight hop flavor, but this is certainly dominated by the fruity sourness and spices mentioned earlier. This one has a nice mouthfeel that's not too rich, yet not too thin. It hits the mark very well. Not a beer that I could see myself drinking tons of in one sitting, but definitely one that I will come back to (given the chance).

Photo of williamjbauer
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled served in a shaker pint from 22 oz bomber bottled in 11-23-12

Dark cola with rapidly fading khaki head with poor retention expected with 9%abv. Minimal lacing? This bottle exploded when I opened it and sadly lost a few foamy oz on the floor. Nose full of orange rind, funky yeast and dark fruits.

Taste initally a bit fruit with like citrus tones and bready notes then tart dry biscuit funk takes the wheel with complex robust oak wood flavor. Medium body, high carbonation. Dry talc mouthfeel.

Overall really liked the oak ascent, thought it was nice for the style. I'm just not a huge fan of these dry spicy style belgians despite the nice sour tart highlights.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Noel de Calabaza one of the most sought after Jolly Pumpkin ales with so much character going on in each sip. The color is a pale hazed caramel brown color with an off white tan khaki head forming thick, fine Belgian effervescent style head forming thick this is Batch 903 bottled on 10/3/11. Aroma has tart apples dark brown sugars flowing thick and living thick, hints of oak and spices run through this wild open air fermentation ale. Flavor is nice a thick layer of spices and tart apple make for a fall festive ale/slash ready for snow type of beer warming with alcohol and complexity wrapped into one ale. A bit of horse blanket hints of leather grand complexity that only this beer has to offer, there's no other ale I can think of tasting to compare to this one. Super juicy with fruit and alcohol, spice with hints of dark fruit and layers of smooth alcohol. Overall quality is high unbelieveable super Christmas ale that goes on again and again, flows so nicely.

Photo of chinchill
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Batch 626. Bottled 9-29-2010. Served in a Unibroue snifter. A strong pssst upon opening, and some beer may have been loss in foamy overflow had I not had my glass ready at hand.

Pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights. A large, foamy/creamy beige head starts a bit pillowy, and gradually settles to a full covering, leaving gobs of sticky lacing on the glass.

Aroma: The rich and complex aroma is woodsy, spicy, fruity and boozy; sweet but with a hint of tart too. Seems every bit of 9% ABV if not higher, but pleasant and inviting nonetheless.

T: Mildly tart and bitter from start to finish, but has some sweet fruit too. A bit spicy, including white pepper, nutmeg, salt and allspice with some oak.

M: medium-full bodied; near creamy smooth; rather high carbonation that works very well. Some warming from the alcohol both in the mouth and on the way further down.

O: A delicious Christmas beer that remains quite enjoyable on this early summer night. True to style; in this case meaning this could pass for a fine Belgian brew but has its own distinct sensory profile.

Photo of FrognutUnl
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Cola colored with a half finger width off white head that dissipates fairly quickly to a swirl of foamy bubbles leaving a fair amount of lace on its way down clinging to the sides of the glass if swirled a bit.

S - Fruity and herbal with a nice tart leathery floral smell and notes of cinnamon.

T - Slightly sweet toasted malts with herbs, cinnamon, and slightly tart/leathery. The finish is slightly sweet and peppery. This stuff is what pretty darn awesome.

M - A little thin even with plenty of carbonation to hold it up. Medium in body.

D - Despite the thinness of the mouthfeel, this one hell of a beer. The flavors are balanced perfectly and it is not overly sour, but you certainly know the bret is there. Definitely recommend it to anyone who likes sours.

Photo of Itoclown
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Enjoyed on Christmas.
Batch: 333/334
Look: Very dark, can't see through... Looks like I'm pouring Coke. It foams quite high but disipates throughout drinking.
Smell: I could hardly smell this beer. I don't know if it was if the foam was masking the smell. But what I could smell was some dark malts, Belgium yeast and caramel. Some other things I couldn't put my fingers on.
Taste: This one was VERY tough for me to get into. It's very complex. Some spice and some alcohol. After you swallow it leaves the spiciness in the mouth... almost like nutmeg and caramel. It feels a little like highly carbonated barley wine.
Mouthfeel: Very bubbly on the tongue but not to the extent that it screws with the taste. Just right.
Overall: I was really excited for this beer but when I opened and poured my first glass I was a little turned off by lack of its scent. It also took a few sips to get into... The more I had the more I began noticing its complexity. It's not my favorite style but I can say that it's probably the best I've had of its kind. If I had more money I would probably buy a few more bottles. I'm definitely going to purchase more Jolly Pumpkin products. I recommend this beer.

Photo of glid02
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split this one with the very generous daryk77.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a huge and rocky 2.5-finger head. The head slowly recedes into a thin pancake of bubbles on top of the beer with a thick ring aorund the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of dark fruits - more cherries than figs - with some light tartness and yeast funk.

Tastes great. Slightly tart cherries up front followed shortly by sweet Belgian candy sugar. As the sip ends a light funk joins the tartness and lingers for a while.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is active, but not as much as it has been in other JP offerings I've had. For this kind of beer I think it's welcome. The thickness makes it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The light tartness makes this one tasty, and the flavors meld together well.

Overall I at first thought this was a tart dubbel, but after I tasted it a bit more it has a lot of Oud Bruin characteristics. Very solid to say the least and definitely worth a shot.

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 934 ratings.