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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

865 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 865
Reviews: 395
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 61
Gots: 141 | FT: 9
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 865 | Reviews: 395 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev -0.7%

ej285701, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep murky redish brown with a massive tan head comprised on tiny bubbles. There is a decent amount of lacing as it drinks.

S: Right up front I'm picking up huge scents of sour cherry, and brown sugar. In fact, there isn't much nuance to this nose. Those are the two overly dominant smells.

T: There is a light sweetness right up front that lasts only as long as the beer fully engulfs the palate. As soon as I swallow the first sip, the tart cheery flavors come on strong. There is also a funky sour that persists as it drinks (and not in a good way). The finish is way too sour and dry, and the 9% abv is totally noticeable.

M: Full Bodied beer. The flavors and carbonation play nicely on the palate at the start, but it becomes dry and boozy in the finish.

O: I'm really not impressed with this beer. It's too tart and too boozy. In fact, I've only ever had one beer from Jolly Pumpkin that I've actually enjoyed. And with bottle prices eclipsing $17.99, it might be awhile before I try another one of their beers.

trxxpaxxs, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Blanco
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Blanco, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of adamant1912
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

adamant1912, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of tclapper
5/5  rDev +24.1%

tclapper, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -0.7%

orangesol, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of codynevels
4/5  rDev -0.7%

codynevels, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -0.7%

JAHMUR, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of nanobrew
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

nanobrew, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ithinkimasofa
4/5  rDev -0.7%

ithinkimasofa, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of freduardo
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

freduardo, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of whartontallboy
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

whartontallboy, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of lpotter
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

lpotter, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev -0.7%

sbricker, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Jspriest
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Jspriest, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

WVbeergeek, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Opens and starts gushing immediately. I try to get a nice eight oz. pour before setting the bottle off to the side to settle down.

Appearance: Really deep mahogoney brown in color, with plenty of head. About three fingers worth, and very fizzy.

Aroma: Almost spot on aroma for a wild ale, which I think is a good classification for this. Huge brett and barnyard character is apparent upfront. Horse blanket and wet hay in full force, but feeling balanced. Grassy, dry notes are in there as well with a nice counter of sweet cherry.

Taste: The funk and dry grassy notes in the aroma are there but everything else seems not as bright. A touch of spice and a bit of sweet cherry make nice complementary notes. Pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, not as bright of carbonation as you might think after the gushing. Very dry finish.

Overall, a really nice and funky wild ale. At one year in the bottle, all the yeast critters have really imparted a nice funk throughout and dry finish. Really balanced and easy to drink. I plan on getting this again and sampling it at different ages.

Gosox8787, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad

A: Murky brown color with almost no head whatsoever. Very thin lacing of tan on the top.

S: Pretty solid. I get that great jolly pumpkin tartness right off the bat with some darker smells underneath. Caramel and some roasted malt. Freshly cut cedar as well.

T: I haven't had as many jp beers as I would like to have had, but this one was definitely sub-par for me. The taste was caramel, chocolate, and honey with a bit of apple cider/cherry tartness. It didn't have quite enough of the tartness or the darker flavors to really stand out for me. Not a bad beer, but not one I'd spend the money for again.

notchucknorris, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of AleWatcher
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

the blend 1, 2007 vintage. served Christmas eve 2010.

Trying to clean out the voice notes on my iphone...
Reviewed from those notes.

A muddy brownish rust color with a huge frothy creamy tan head that was initially gigantic and made me fear this beer was severely over-carbonated and possibly infected. The head settled into a frothy cap and left some nice thick lacing behind. Good retention. Looks nice.

The nose has a Saison Dupont note from the yeast, but this beer has a great interplay of sour tart cherries and a musty earthy quality that blends into the oakiness. Some definite malt sweetness. This is quite tasty.

Last year we opened up a fresh bottle of this-- and I can say for certain, I prefer it with age. The sour tart cherry comes forth more and more and any spice notes died out from the fresh one. This almost turns into an entirely different beer.

Upon initially pouring this, it felt a bit thin and a tad overcarbonated. As it warms up, it improves on both of those aspects.

I split this 750 ml with my brother-in-law, and we had no problems killing the bottle. It went quite quickly actually. We both felt I should have had two of them.

AleWatcher, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of Fulkrum78
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/brown out of the bottle. Big white head that sticks around. Lacing is nice. Lots of carb on the tongue. Fruit and esters on the tongue. Mouthfeel is definitely peppy with all the carbonation. Overall a nifty beer, though something I'll probably have one of and that's it.

Fulkrum78, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 626. Bottled 09-29-10. Tasted 09-11.

Pours a murky brown-tinted black with a huge, rocky and frothy 5-finger tan head. Retains a solid ring for most of the brew, lace still sticking near the top from the first pour.

With the bigger malt profile, I expected this to be mild on the sourness, and it is. The nose is actually somewhat breakfasty smelling. I get wheat pancakes with maple syrup and a bit of orange marmalade, especially the bitter zesty parts. Joining all of this are aromas of fig, woody vanilla, spice, plum, cherry and a sizable boozy pepper note. Not getting as much funk as I'd expect from a JP, but again, deeper and darker malt profile could be getting in the way.

The palate does a bit of a flip from the nose. Where the nose had a good deal of fruitiness, the palate is a bit drier and more austere- full-bodied with a chewy bran-like malt, a mild tartness and a nice oaky creaminess which mildly helps to offset the sizable bitterness, coming both from the leathery-leafy hops and the big booze character that takes over the latter half of the presentation, forcing the finish to be much too bitter and peppery.

Overall, I wasn't terribly impressed with this JP, and I can't quite tell if it's because the beer itself is mediocre (which I'm less inclined to believe because I trust the other BA reviews here) or if it could be attributed to poor storage. I know a beer like this should be able to last a year. I also know this beer came into town the same time as the other 6 JPs I've previously reviewed whose freshness and storage weren't an issue.

But it seems like this oddball Noel went to none of the major beer sellers in town. I've only found it in boutique wine shops who have beer selections but don't focus on beer. What to make of this distribution decision, I'm not sure. Still love JP though.

TheWhiskerReview, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of micstache
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First review on BA. Enjoyed on 9/1/11. 750ml poured into Sam Adams glass. Batch 1,2009 sticker on bottle. Large release of air upon opening. Thought to myself, gusher? Looked away for a second and came back to two inches of foam sticking out of the bottle.

A- Fairly gentle pour yields an almost immediate four finger ivory colored, meringue-like head that lingers for the better half of ten minutes. Vigorous carbonation. Bubbles steadily rising from the bottom of the glass. Dark amber/brown/red in the center and a beautiful golden orange around the edges.

S- Overwhelming brett in the nose, but the good kind of overwhelming. Horse blanket and balsamic vinegar with lighter hints of cherry, nutmeg, maybe corriander? Definitely some tart apple. Has an almost flowery/soapy essence to it. Slight alcohol in nose. Brown sugar shows itself with warming.

T-First sip is strong, dry, and bretty. Getting some banana in the far back end along with a very faint smokiness from the oak I'd imagine. The oak and spices are much more subdued than I would have hoped for. Also, not as much dark fruit presence as would be desirable but both of the previous two statements get better with warmth. Candied sugar becomes noticeable. Oak is ever present but hiding.

M- Stinging, airy carbonation. Very light in the mouth. Can't find alcohol content on bottle but am starting to feel it. Alcohol is definitely masked well after seeing it is 9%.

O- A must try if you enjoy sours or wilds. Definitely strong Flemish characteristics to it. I love the brett but as many have said in regards to JP, they could probably step it back just a botch to allow the beer itself to shine. It was hard to find any "holiday" nuances due to the brettiness and extreme carbonation. If the Batch 1, 2009 is in reference to month and year which is most likely, I may have to seek out a fresher bottle to see how it tastes. Flavors all much more pronounced once the beer reaches room temperature. Overall I certainly recommend this beer to the sour lover, but don't go buying any cases of it.

micstache, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this one today at Mile High in Lakewood, Colorado. Poured a nice burnished reddish-brown color with a big, creamy tan head. Tart on the nose, with aromas of wood, raisin, brett and berries. On the palate, this one was medium bodied and tart, with more brett and wood, along with flavors of raisins, brown sugar and caramel.

emmasdad, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of diybrun
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to glass with the finesse of Charlie Parker when he wasn't high, or was just high enough.

A - Dark brown, maybe coffee appearance, bordering upon the blackest of blacks. Big, big head that lingers well.

S - Tart cherries, funkiness best described as Jolly-Pumpkin-esque.

T - What a treat. Very sweet, tart, and acidic cherry flavor - reminiscent of something like Duchesse De Burgogne, although not as strong. And by cherry, I don't mean maraschino sugary cherry. I mean dark cherries, more than a little sour but still ripe, if that makes any sense. Raisiny plummy goodness is very subtle, but becomes more apparent as the beer warms. There is a wonderfully complex bouquet/cacophony of things going on here, and nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. The aftertaste is dry, very dry.

M - Medium to slightly-more-than-medium carbonation, light on the booziness, not necessarily an overtaxing slow sipper but not one you'd get a whole lot of out of pounding down while drinking with your bro's on Karaoke Night. I'm not hating! This is a good beer, maybe even a great beer, and one of my new favorites from Jolly Pumpkin.

diybrun, Jul 18, 2011
Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 865 ratings.