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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

814 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 814
Reviews: 392
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%

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:
"Belgian Christmas Ale aged in oak barrels."

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 10-21-2007)
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Photo of spdyfire83


3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

285th Review
75cl bottle poured into an unlabeled tulip glass
Didn’t catch the vintage on this

From notes. Enjoyed a couple summers back at a backyard BBQ with the usual suspects in the Mile High Knight's tasting crew. If memory serves correct, I can thank Knownfactor for this one. If memory fails, then it was Bardwashrind. Either way...cheers!

A: Deep brown. 1.5 (frothy white) fingernail head on gentle pour. Again, the art work on the label is awesome!

S: Hints of funk from the start with notes of dark fruit, candied apples, and brown sugar. Hint of spice too. Okay, but nothing over-the-top here.

T: Loads of fig, raisin, oak, spice, and Belgian yeast here. Not too much more than that, but a nice balance of funk as well. Good, but not great. A very holiday-esque brew for sure!

M: Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Though, it drinks a bit lighter than it looks.

O: An okay beer here - Belgian Dark are not necessarily my thing, but such goes life. Fun to try and decently executed.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 19:03:21 | More by spdyfire83
Photo of mlazzaro


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10-5-11 batch 910
Dark looking, dark smelling.

Tan colored head. Composed of tiny bubbles. Brown body w/ mild carbonation level.

Fruity smelling. Raspberry- cherry aromas from microbes. Nice wood as well. Smell fades quickly but was briefly great.

Dark malts were used, but have for the most part fermented out. Very dry to the tongue. Dark malts left a residual roasted flavor. Tartness is mild but unmistakable. Makes you pucker. I expected more oak - wood character is very mild. Definitely more in the smell than the taste.

I like it! Interesting, simple and balanced. Extra "overall points" for going sour.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 00:51:03 | More by mlazzaro
Photo of MadScientist

New York

4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 22:58:05 | More by MadScientist
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2012 15:14:26 | More by ehammond1
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with plenty of red highlights along the edges. There is a very fluffy off-white/beige head that recedes to leave some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with typical Jolly Pumpkin yeast induced Brett smells of some dark fruit notes (namely cherries and red grapes), lemon and a bit of oak emerges as it warms.

The tastes begin with a mild funkiness and lactic tartness. The fruit flavors come through nicely and help to give the sensation of more vinegar-like acidity. A mild toasted bready maltiness underneath with a good oaky tannin aspect. A mild spiciness also emerges as it warms; not really enough to counterbalance the lactic tartness but it is there in the background.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a medium-high level of carbonation. The finish is dry, oaky; the carbonation scrubs the palate a bit too much in the end and hurts the flavor profile.

Overall, Jolly Pumpkin's beers rarely blow me away, but they're always enjoyable. This follows the same pattern and is one that I probably will not revist anytime soon. While it is advertised as a Belgian Christmas ale, many of the traditional dark fruits, caramelized malts and underlying spice are lost by the overcarbonation and Brett yeast presence.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2012 15:57:01 | More by claspada
Photo of bjohn84


4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 910, bottled 10-5-11, drinking with a juicy steak at the cabin after 10 months in the cellar

A - great clarity with a small bit of head that laces nicely on the glass, brown with a slight red hue

S - nothing overpowering, but get great sour cherries, some oak comes through on back end

T- sour cherries, subtle oak, some slight sweet fruitiness

M - enough body to keep it a sipper, but surprisingly very drinkable, light sharp bubbles dance on the tongue

O - awesome balance on this one. Sour is definitely present all the way through, but balance is so that oakey fruit comes throughout as well. Definitely would get this one again!

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2012 23:06:21 | More by bjohn84
Photo of MDDMD


4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-hazy dark brown color with hints of red, a small off-white head with some lacing

S-dark fruit, sour, hints of oak and funkiness

T-Dark fruit, sour cherries, malt, earthiness, spices, light oak

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, abv well-hidden, smooth feel

O-an interesting Strong Dark Ale with unique flavors which are well-balanced

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2012 02:37:03 | More by MDDMD
Photo of Bendurgin


3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Blend one 2009. This one was shared by Andrewinski1 and poured into a chalice. This one pours a slightly muddy dark mahogany with a finger of foam head and some spotty lace.

The aroma is spicy with notes of dark sour cherries with some red wine vinegar and some oak. Seems to have hints of dried cocoa powder. Spicy flavor with hints of dark fruit and some cocoa in the finish. A nice sour edge with some hints of of oak and vinegar.

The body is light with sharp carbonation. Overall this one is pretty good. Seems to hold up well.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2012 03:20:52 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -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.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2012 01:22:18 | More by chinchill
Photo of dcloeren


4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Home alone for the night, thought I would drink something delicious.

Pours a deep mahogany with ruby edges. Produced 2.5 fingers of rocky roasted marsh mellow colored head. It took well over half of my glass before the head had reduced to a thin film all while leaving some spotty lacing.

The nose is somewhat mild producing the Jolly Pumpkin signature funk that I have come to love. Sweet, yet tart with notes of dark fruits, cherries, a ginger bread spiciness and a touch of oak.

Dark fruit forward with some cherries shining though just a touch more than the rest. The dark fruits really come through with the lactic tartness giving them a little boost. Once it warmed up to just below room temp. I started to get a tart lemony flavor that enhanced this brew tremendously. Great spice cake flavor on the finish.

Medium bodied, chalk full of carbonation giving it a very effervescent mouthfeel. The drinkability of this 9% abv is amazing! Tart drying finish covers the tongue.

Overall, I was very surprised by this brew. I have thoroughly enjoyed every Jolly Pumpkin beer that I have had. I guess the "Belgian Dark Ale" through off my expectations a little bit... this was not your typical Belgian Dark Ale. I loved Jolly Pumpkins take on this and I will definitely be seeking one out for the winter.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2012 00:47:42 | More by dcloeren
Photo of BilbosNuts


4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 890. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a chalice.

A: Pours a murky, dark, muddy brown color. It has a two finger, rocky, light khaki colored head that sticks around for a while and leaves some scattered lacing. It appears to be fairly highly carbonated.

S: Lots of phenolic spiciness, a touch of alcohol, and plenty of dark fruits. Dates and plums are big players here as is a touch of woodiness and dark malts.

T: Like the aroma, the dark fruits are again very prominent. Dates, plums, and raisins provide a noticeable sweetness. Mild dark malts and belgian candy flavors provide a nice backbone. A subtle oak flavor from the barrels is present towards the finish.

M: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. It is very easy to drink and hides the alcohol deceivingly well.

O: This is my first offering from Jolly Pumpkin, and I can say that I'm a big fan. BSDA's aren't really my favorite, but this one might just change my mind. It has everything you'd want in a good BSDA. Solid in every aspect. I look forward to trying others from Jolly Pumpkin.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 03:19:28 | More by BilbosNuts
Photo of SalMineo


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

Not my favorite of the Jolly Pumpkin beers but it was pretty good all around.

Pour-Darkish brown with a little bit of head on it I even saw a little bit of red in there as well.

Smell-Had a citrus kinda of floral smell in there with a hint of spices and apples.

Taste-Sweet flavor with some toasted malts dark fruit and some spices. The sour finish I'm used to on a Jolly Pumpkin I couldn't really detect which I didn't like. It was unusual for Jolly Pumpkin. Just wished it had a bit more an acid sour taste but that's just my preference.

Overall this beer is still really good. Not worth the price tag of $18.00 though that's getting a bit outrageous I think. Still Jolly Pumpkin remains on of my top favorites in the united states.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 15:10:54 | More by SalMineo
Photo of KAP1356


3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Time to start catching up again. Reviewed from notes. On tap at Capone's over Christmas break. Served in a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip...

A - Presented a murky, brown color with some subtle hints of a dark red when held to the light. A brownish cream colored head about 2 fingers thick retains nice but leaves no real lacing.

S - The aroma reminds me of a holiday spiced BSDA with a blanket of funk that I've gotten used to with Jolly Pummpkin. Hints of chocolate, some spices and dark fruits. There is also a slight lactic acidity mixed in with some oak and funk.

T - Favors of dark fruits, spices, chocolate and toffee come out first. The dark fruits mix nicely with the spices and the chocolate. The funk comes in nicely. There is also a vinous flavor present.

M - Light to medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation. The acidity makes this one a bit lighter than mose BSDA's I have had.

O - Not a bad beer, but one I wouldn't rush to get back to. I like my holiday beers to be a specific way and I think the sour treatment takes away a bit from this one for me.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 04:40:53 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Lemke10


4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 750mL bottle of this as a closeout special at Everett’s in South Beloit, IL originally priced $13.99 marked down to $7.97.

Batch 897 bottled on 9-27-2011. Pours a dark brown color with a hefty head of big bubbles on top and small bubbles on the bottle. Carbonation constantly rising throughout the pour and well afterwards. Scent is loaded with yeast, some floral hints as well as citrus. Taste is tart like that of pears and sour apples. Texture is creamy and filling. Finishes with a bitter/tart after taste. Not noticing too much of the oaky taste but I’m sure the aging in oak did this beer wonders. A great, full-bodied, refreshing beer. Now if they only they sold Jolly Pumpkin beers where I live, I’d be set!

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2012 00:27:03 | More by Lemke10
Photo of Parrotshake


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy brown with a monster off-white head. Held up to the light, the reddish highlights look lovely.

Going in I knew nothing about this beer so the nose is quite a surprise. Herbal biere de garde type funk. Cherry and plum, burnt brown sugar, wood. Not at all what I was expecting, and mighty appealing.

The taste is similar. All the big Belgian notes of dark and dried fruit, raisins, Christmas spices, caramel. A bit of vanilla, lemon, sour cherry. A funky tang to it. Big, big flavors. A friend of mine brought this bottle back from the States and was saving it for a special occasion, yet when he finally got around to it declared that he didn't like it and drain poured most of his glass. Myself and the other guy he was nice enough to share it with sat on ours for ages and both really enjoyed it. It's that kind of beer. Works well in smaller doses, as a sipper or probably with food. Full-on, strange and... pretty great.

Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation. Lighter than an other 9% Belgian Dark Ale I can think of, but not exactly easy to drink - really gives your palate the business. Drinkability is more like a 3.75. I'd definitely have it again if the opportunity presented, this time maybe not as a nightcap at the end of a fairly long tasting.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 04:01:04 | More by Parrotshake
Photo of brotherloco


4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Batch 890. Bottled 9-21-2011. Served in a tulip.

Pours a semi-translucent brown with ruby-red highlights. A two finger beige head forms, gets pillowy, and then settles to a thin covering. Delicate lacing dots the glass.

Aroma is lemony and tart. Some other fruit sneaks through like plums and cherries. A touch salty. Some funk is there, but doesn't dominate.

Flavor is tart start to finish, but evolves across the palate. Sweet fruit starts things out, peppery spice move in, and then things get more bitter, salty, and dry through the finish. Still getting citrus lemon notes along with some dry oak. A little sting of alcohol, but nicely blended.

Medium bodied with high natural carbonation. A very nice active mouthfeel.

A delicious and welcome sour departure from typical Christmas beers (although I love them too!)

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 04:59:37 | More by brotherloco
Photo of runbirddrinkbeer


3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, dark, reddish-brown appearance: when poured into a standard tulip glass produced a monster head. 4 to 5 inches of off white foam. Even with a softer pour on subsequent attempts from a bomber, massive carbonation persists. Sour aroma dominates. Taste is primarily sour cherries and malt. Lasting afterimage on the tongue of vinegar/acetic acid. Becomes more complex as it warms. I'm more of a hop monger but still found this very interesting.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 01:23:29 | More by runbirddrinkbeer
Photo of nimrod979


3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottled on 10/5/11 Batch 910.
This ale pours a slightly murky mahogany with striking red hues along the sides of my Chimay chalice. Poured a quick off white head that has settled to a thin layer with some moderate lacing. I like the label too.

Aroma is tart apples and cherries. Vinegary smell. A bit of Belgian spice, and funk.

There are several nuances with the taste. Quick hint of malts before it sharply turns sour. Tart apples, cherries, dates. Slightest hint of spice.

It's a little under carbonated. Clean finish. The sourness isn't overwhelming, which is good because I'm still adjusting to this style. but this was a bit different for a "Christmas" beer and the cherry flavor adds a nice touch. A little overpriced.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 19:33:37 | More by nimrod979
Photo of SHODriver


4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep mahogany shade of brown with a small tan head that dissipates quickly from a standard pour
S: Smells delightfully sour with some spice notes and a bit of dark malts hiding in the background
T: Sourness and funk start things off with hints of leather and some spicy yeast flavor, a little bit of caramel malt comes forward along with a whisper of some chocolate and oak flavor. Sourness on the aftertaste with a bit of residual sweetness and spice notes
M: ample carbonation is a bit prickly but the beer still feels spot on in viscosity
O: I love sours and I enjoy what Jolly Pupmkin does with beer. This beer is very complex, nuanced and enjoyable to drink

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 04:19:24 | More by SHODriver
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2012 22:47:47 | More by oberon
Photo of RickS95


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

Very dark, dark brown. Not the darkest, but set beneath the vibrant offwhite head, it provides a great contrast. The head is very creamy looking with moderate retention. Sadly, my words don't do the looks of this beer justice.

Smells mostly like apples, not something I've seen in beer before. Maybe a bit of cherry as well. Very unique.

The taste is slightly unique as well. Apples, raisins and a variety of spices.

A hint of sweet. A bit of tart. Dry finish. Medium bodied. Very clean and moderately easy to drink. The high ABV is well-hidden.

This was a strange beer, but it worked. A bit different than other beers of the type, something making it more American than Belgian.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 05:03:50 | More by RickS95
Photo of NittanyBeerFan


3.08/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at TJs. Poured into a Belgian wine glass.

Not much head on this one, nor is there any foam that I can stir as I swirl. There is an oily film that gets left on the glass, though. The color is garnet with ruby hues as the television behind my beer illuminates the body.

The aroma is decidedly Belgian, but unlike many JP beers, the bugs play a supporting role here rather than a dominant one. The signature dry funk is harder to locate here, as the Belgian base comes through more. There are some notes of dates, cherries, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. The flavor is similar, but more flat, as this Christmas ale falls short of the quality of other Jolly Pumpkin offerings. Muddled fruits, a hint of phenolic pepper, and that balsamic vinegar just doesn't quite do it for me.

Undercarbonated, slick, and medium-to-full bodied, this doesn't really hit the mark for a BSDA. Short on the complexity, short on the texture, and short on carbonation, it's no wonder this one falls short.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2012 03:09:31 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of billab914


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 627 bottled 10/5/10. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Bruery tulip. It poured a very dark and deep ruby color with a frothy off-white colored head covering the to of the beer. Loved the color.

The aroma has a very nice tart, sour cherry flavor to it. I get some funky, very slightly musty notes to it as well. Just a hint of spice is there. Very nice aroma to it, I really liked the sour cherry flavors that came out in it.

The taste shows a little more of the malty, dark fruit characteristics coming through the tart, sourness. I do get some more of the tart, sour cherry flavor to it though, especially in the finish. The finish also shows a little more of a spice to it as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied overall with carbonation being above average. Overall it was a very nice beer. I really liked the sour cherry component to it, but it also didn't overwhelm you with the sourness. Really nice mix of flavors overall with some good depth and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 23:27:24 | More by billab914
Photo of atr2605

New York

3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours pours dark brown with a light tan super foamy head with very good retention
S-dark cherries, raisins, and candied sugar
T-tart dark cherries that is quickly followed by hop bitterness and finishes pretty clean
M-medium bodied with alot of carbonation
O-very interesting beer. defintely a unique version of the style. If it wasn't so expensive I would try it again

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 22:17:49 | More by atr2605
Photo of wisrarebeer


2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Batch 898. Bottled 9/28/2011.

A: deep copper color, clear, intense dense rocky off white head
S: full, deep roasted malt with yeast and hops, nice balance and traditional
T: noticeable tartness in finish which is not appealing for a Belgian style dark ale
M: hard to get good read on mouthfeel with tart finish, wished it had more malt and yeast domination
O: I was really looking forward to this beer but was ultimately disappointed due to the tart finish

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 23:23:54 | More by wisrarebeer
Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 814 ratings.