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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

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933 Ratings
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Ratings: 933
Reviews: 408
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 65
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."
View: Beers (41) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 933 | Reviews: 408
Photo of thepeter
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours dark with an off white head and very nice lacing
smells of sour funk, aromatic spice, gingerbread, and then some more sour but not so much as to over power, just enough to let you know it's a sour. And that is the way it tastes as well. Very nicely balanced between sweet, sour, spicy and not too much of anything in particular. I thought it was a fantastic beer and would get it again, Just what I am looking for these days.

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

Pours a hazy brown colour with some hints of orange around the edges. Incredibly huge white head, bottle was slightly gushing upon opening. Some lacing around the glass. Smells of tart cherry, brown sugar and oak with the Belgian yeast. This isn't incredibly sour, but it is on the verge of being a full on sour ale. Nice sweetness as well. Fairly big carbonation level. Another great beer from Jolly Pumpkin.

Photo of impending
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep garnet chestnut, towering dense head recedes slowly leaving clumpy froth hanging.

Tremendously complex aroma. Wine begun to turn reaches me from the bottle. In the glass the scent opens up to spicy dark fruit belgian goodness, a fair amount of wildness.

The lactic sourness is mild, sweet and tart all rolled together. Happy black cherries and a tart cooking apple. Light bodied prickly mouthfeel which the tart seems to amplify. Long lasting pleasant aftertaste.

I don't particularly like sour, this brew laps at the edge of my limit. The complexity saves it appreciatively. Not nearly spicy enough to be a Noël.

Photo of mithrascruor
2.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a great dark brown color, nearly black when not in the light. Good off-white/tan head is creamy and has good retention.

Smell: Malty aroma with plenty of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove), and sweet raisins. As it warms there's a bit more alcohol in the smell.

Taste: Hits the palette really strong with a bunch of odd tartness and some cinnamon. There's something with the finish and aftertaste that I'd associate with tonic water, and it lingers. The taste is generally more like a gueuze - but with some spices added in. Not really any fruit in the flavor, though there is some malty sweetness in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a fair amount of carbonation, but it is pretty mild.

Drinkability: Definitely tough with the flavor. I will say that there is not much in the way of alcohol in the flavor, however.

I don't know if this was a bad bottle, or if this is how it is supposed to taste. It smelled really good, but the taste is nothing like I'd expect for a Belgian Xmas ale. The taste, in fact, really starts to get on my nerves after a while with the whole "tonic water" flavor. This was pretty expensive, so I sure hope it doesn't become a drain pour!

Photo of flannelman808
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a semi clear red orange-Amber color and is topped with a rocky muted peach/light tan colored head. Large bubbles in the foam stick around a while making for some nice head retention ... lacing is pretty good.

S: Fairly lactic smelling on the nose, this beer has a number of flavors hidden in the bouquet. Sour cherry and cooked fennel seem to stand out to me as well as that trademark jolly pumpkin oak.

T: Far more depth of flavor on the tongue than in the aroma. A dominating crabapple like tartness meets suggestions of fennel and a cacao nib bitterness. All of these flavors harmonize quite nicely for a really unique brew. This is a triumphant brew and one to look for time and again!

M: resinous

O: To the dome ...

Photo of KarlHungus
4.92/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a mahogany color with a billowy egg shell white head that recedes slowly leaving sticky lacing. Like Pavlov's dog I salivate to the aroma of this beer...literally. It is of bretta, oak, plums, and a vague spice notes. The taste is sour and tart upfront with a hop kick that is stronger than I had expected. It finishes with with a firm sourness, oak, and some heat. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a high level of fine carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a wonderful beer. I can see this beer pairing well with a wide variety of foods. I will certainly drink this again may times.

Photo of sholland119
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Station Taproom, 3/5/11.

A-Pours copper amber, slightly hazy with a frothy off white head and good sticky lacing.

S-Cidery and lactic with the distinctive "eau de Jolly Pumpkin" aroma, from the yeast and barrels.

T-Sweet apple, apple cider, slightly sour with a touch of vinegar. Finishes nicely sweet and sour.

M-Medium bodied, crisp and very dry.

D-Deliciously balanced and tasty. Very nice.


Photo of uno99
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 2 Bottled 11-2-10

Served at 50 Degrees into a Lucifer goblet

A: Super dark cola brown - Kinda like swamp water, and by swamp water I mean the kind of thing retarded kids at 7-11 make in front of the Slurpee machine. That's right - One of everything mixed together. Opaque of course. One finger head dies quickly down to leave little lacing.

S: The oak and brett very much carry the scent profile here. If you dig a little deeper - let that nose get wet a bit - You do get a dark fruit malt presence and other Christmas beer characteristics.

T: Spices are much more apparent here than in the nose. They are holding your taste-buds hostage from beginning to end. Finish is a fairly even battle between the spicy and sweetness of the base beer and the brett yeast.

M: hugely carbonated - if the beer were clear I'm sure there would be bubbles streaming up the glass. Also hugely astringent. Very parching on every part of the palate you allow travel to.

D: I just realized now writing this sentence that Noel De Calabaza is 9%. I assumed it was around 6% like the other JP offerings. Very well hidden alcohol plus lots of tart brett and dryness means this is a sipper, but one I could sip all the live long day.

Photo of kbutler1
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. 2007 vintage. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a dark reddish brown color with a massive 3 finger head. Notes of spice, cinnamon, and slight funkiness. Medium mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Sweet upfront with notes of caramel, spice, brown sugar, and some florals. Overall, nothing too great, for an 07, I would have liked to see have more flavors than what it has.

Photo of mothman
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 2, 2007

Poured into chalice. Pours a decent amount of head. Over 1 finger. Beige khaki in color. Good retention. Decent lace. Color is a caramel brown amber.

Aroma: Sourness and spice. Holiday spice flavors. Cherry notes. Oak. Vanilla, cherries, and orange peel. Has a light chocolate flavor and roast.

Taste: Kind of bland. It definitely has a sourness to it. Pretty malty and pretty spiced. Cherries, vanilla, raisins, dry spice. Oak and funk. Bretty.

Mouthfeel: A bit tart, fizzy, and funky. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends medicinal and dry.

Overall, this was an interesting take on the style from JP. It was kind of old so it showed a lot of funk. Not really my thing.

Photo of fastpass17
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25.4oz Bomber, Blend 3, 2009

A: Cloudy with suspended particle's, gushes slightly while pouring; thick coating carbonation that lasts the drink, rich mahogany in color.

S: Spice, then complex fruitiness, a touch of oak, with a nice sour background.

T: Starts with a sour cherries, charred wood peaks in slightly, a nice Flanders like sourness in the finish.

M,D: This stings the palate slightly in start then it opens nicely. This does not drink like a nine percent beer normally does. I enjoyed this it aged nicely.

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

ST: 750 ml poured into a Duvel chalice.

A: Dark almost black brown with a thick off-white slightly brown head. It leaves beautiful lacing.

S: This beer has a delicious aroma: fig, plum, sugar, rum, and citru. It has a slightly sour smell, like Saison Dupont or a Flemish ale.

T: Hops and malty sweetness mingle upfront before plum, fig and truffles take over in the middle. The finish has notes of rum, roast, raisins, and citrus from the hops returning. It has a slight sour note on the end, but the roast and hops linger in the throat. The finish is not heavy though.

M: Surprisingly medium-bodied.

D: Though it has high ABV, one would never know. The beer is balanced very well.

Overall: My god, is this is a complex and delicious beer. It brings more to the table than one would expect from a noel. It is not as heavy as other noels; it is very balanced. While there is fruit, a generous amount of layered hops keep it from being sweet. Flavors weave in and out of the beer effortlessly while building on each other. I have now had three of Jolly Pumpkin's beers, and I have been impressed every time. They are producing beer on a high level, and making beer as complex as wine.

Photo of Jesse13713
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -Pours with a huge head and appears to be very well carbonated. You can definitely tell it is a seasonal holiday brew with it's dark red and brown hue. Once settled in the glass, it looks very warm and invites you to drink it on a cold winter's night.

Smell - My nose was initially filled with a very sour smell. It smells like granny-smith apples with cherries while a complexity of spices add to it; helping balance out the sour into something a little more sweet in the end.

Taste - Very unique and complex. It tastes like cherry with a champagne aftertaste and a hint of oak as well. For my first few drinks, I was tasting a different spice in every drink. You can definitely tell that this holiday brew was made with a lot of care and that the brewers knew exactly what each individual spice would add to the swarm of spices that attack your taste-buds.

Mouthfeel - A variety of spices with a solid cherry foundation. Quite sour until your palate adjusts.

Drinkability - Perfect to share with a friend on a cold winter night. Despite it's complex spice structure built on an oaked cherry foundation, I could not finish a 750ml bomber in one sitting. That doesn't mean, however, that I wouldn't finish it the following night. I already find myself wanting to grab another bottle before the holiday season is officially over.

An extraordinarily well-crafted beer. The brewers definitely did their research on what every single spice and fruit would add to its complexity. I was astounded at how many different flavors I was still getting hints of as I continued to surpass the halfway mark of the bottle. Noel De Calabaza is a truly unique holiday brew that stands apart from many of it's competitors.

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

Thanks to Jesse13713 for splitting a bomber of this with me.

A: Pours a deep, dark brown, with hints of mahogany. The head on this beer is huge- two fingers of frothy white head is putting things conservatively.

S: Yeast funk and oak start things off here, followed by a healthy dose of dark fruits- cherry in particular. Smell is spicy and powerful, sweet and complex.

T: Dark fruits and sour funk really dominate here. A flavor very similar to that of vermouth is noticed throughout, alongside a subtle but enjoyable oak. Spices once again come through- perfect for a Christmas beer.

M: Warm alcohol even without any tastes of it showing up; medium body, with medium-light carbonation. Lingering tart finish coats the palate.

D: A sipper for sure, but great to return to as the glass warms to see how the flavors are changing with the temperature. Highly recommended.

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

Blend 5 2009

A: Looked like cola color wise. Minimal off white brownish head with poor retention.

S: The nose was great with quite a bit of sourness. The oak was coming through nicely as well. A touch of spice but not that much. There was a nice fruitiness in the nose as well.

T: One of their most balanced beers IMO. It was just complex while not having it hurt drinkability. The oak comes through. The sourness is nice because it is not heacy on the lactic acid. A soft sour if you will. The fruitiness cut down on the sour and balanced it out.

M: Medium body. Carbonation was good. No complaints.

D: I really loved this beer. I am going to have to grab another bottle when I see it.

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

A- A very dark body, a bit crimson but darker. Almost like concentrated blood hues with an oatmeal off-white cream hat. Very very creamy with good retention. Big fluffs of lacing, nothing like the froth below it. When held to the light it reveals a tad bit of carbonation and deep toasted biscuit, toffee body.

S- Some candied belgian sugar sweetness, a nice envelope of funk and citrus. The funk is that of diaper and goats. Some caramel sweetness and astringency of spice. Bit of orange zest. Reminds me of clove and ginger with the sharp astringency.

T- Opens minor sour nature of lactic acid. Little bit of bitter hints meld into it Fades extremely quickly leaving the malty middle with sweet belgian sugars, some astringent spices, and citrus.. mostly of the orange kind for me. Finish has a bit of heat and alcohol to it. Good biscuit and tingle of spices. Finally the oak comes out with some earthen hits on the finish, bit of wood similar to a tooth pick residue.

M- Feels mild to medium bodied, smooth, bit of cream power to it. Puckering and lingers like a dose of spices will. Does have some issues thinning out. Hot in terms of flavor occasionally.

D- I like it. I did drink it over an hour so it may be a bit biased in terms of how easy it went, but fairly simple to drink. The alcohol does seem to wander outside the overall presentation occasionally giving me pause, but nothing disappointing outside of that. Just a simple, good beer.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle split with sourbatchkid and poured into two duvel tulips.

A- a hard pour yields a massive four fingers of fluffy rocky tan head that hold for a good bit slowly before settling to leave a thing sudys cap but not without leaving a tons of chunky sea foam lace all over the glass. (He body of the brew is a very dark brown with a deep ruby glow at the edges when held to light.

S- dark fruits and some tart cherries on top of a sweet chocolate slightly roasty malt hit.

T- nice sweet and spice up front then a tart funky fruity blast. The funk doesn't over take the brew letting the bsda be the star. Light cocoa and dark bready malts work well with the darker berry hits and tarter cherry.

M- on the fuller side of medium in body with a nice wild carb that really fizzes up great.

D- I like this brew. I tend to like most of jp offerings but this one is extra good. The funk doesn't over power the base beer and the blend of flavors hits all the right spots.

Photo of JLeege
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blend 1, 2009 ~ poured into an oversized snifter

Appearance- Pours a deep deep amber color, with a big rocky off white head. Great retention and lacing left down the glass.

Smell- Dark fruits dominate the aroma. Cherry, plum, grape. A little oak and spice.

Taste- Fruit again is all over the palate. Plum and cherry. Tart throughout, slightly sour. A little barnyardy funk too. The oak presence is noticed towards the end of the drink. A little earthy, woody, a whisp of vanilla even. A nice brett-y dryness on the finish. It is hard to put this down, I could sip on this forever.

Mouthfeel- Prickley carbonation. Medium body. A tad tart on the tounge. ABVs are hid quite nicely.

Overall- I have not had this fresh, but this beer has obviously held up excellently. Must find more! Highly recomended.

Photo of Tifore
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tremont Tap House. Poured into a snall tasting glass.

A - Has a deep mahogany color with orange hues. It is pretty clear with perhaps a slight haze. A nice one or one and a half finger head that is off white in color, light tan, with some nice sticky lacing left on the glass.

S - Lots of the typical Jolly Pumpkin barnyard funk with some dark fruits like dates and currants as well as some blackberries and blueberries. Some sweetness comes through as well, brown sugars and molasses.

T - Taste is funky yeast and sour with some nice spice coming through after. Some good sweetness is present as well and I'm really impressed with the taste. A great Christmas ale that differs from the norm. I like it.

M - Mouthfeel is light with some good carbonation and a dry finish. No taste is left over in my mouth.

D - A very nice Christmas ale. Not as heavy as the norm but I like that. I have the Batch 1 version of this and I'm gonna give it a few more years and then open it up.

Photo of timtim
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 2, bottled 2009 sticker on the back. total gusher. brett beer aged for a little more than a year. what did i expect? mahogany with a huge, tan head that holds and leaves tons of lace. nose is dark fruit, spice, vanilla, oak and fruity, funky bretty goodness as well as hops? hard to believe they stood up this long, but there is definitely an underlying earthy hop character. reminds me of a slightly bigger, slightly brown sugar sweeter aged orval with cherries and vanilla. taste is just what the nose suggested with a big oaky finish and slight pricklyness. relatively easy to drink for such a big, funky beer. out there, but another amazing beer from jolly pumpkin.

Photo of jminsc76
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at F02 (not sure if presently; the notes for this review were written several weeks ago).

Into a tulip, pours a small beige head atop a murky amber body. I couldn't take too much notice of the visuals as I was in the middle of a friend's birthday celebration, but I'm pretty sure everything checks out.

A good *whiff* yields sour cherries and barnyard funk that's quite sharp though not highly intense. Also getting some oak and Christmas spices. Mmmmm, bugs.

Flavors of spices, sour cherries, and of course the same sharp barnyard funk found in the aromas that let's you know this is a Jolly Pumpkin Christmas beer you're drinking. That being the case, I highly recommend quaffing versus sipping.

Mouthfeel is light, dry, and highly effervescent.

Overall, this has become my new favorite amongst the Christmas ales. Imagine the funky flavors of La Roja meeting a slightly more cherry-fied version of an oaked St. Bernardus Christmas. You got it?

Mmmm - like drinking a funky sour Christmas candy - I could probably put away two to three per session.

Photo of jwinship83
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped bottle from batch 627. bottled 10/5/10. drank from my duvel tulip. im excited to try this again, everything jolly pumpkin makes is a challenge for me to analyze.

A- this one pours out of the bottle a thin looking dark brown colored body with a full finger of beige colored head. the head lasts the entirety of the glass, and leaves behind a solid wall of lacing. cant ask for any more from this.

S- the smell is all over the place. the first thing i pick out is the funky and sour yeast. lightly acidic and barnyard like. its also very sweet smelling and fruity. raisins, cherries, and green apples. a little bit of brown sugar. the oak barrel comes through lightly.

T- the taste starts out with some brown sugar and fruity malts. plenty of green apple, raisins, and cherries. then i get a mild vinegar like tartness and the classic barnyard funk that has grown on me with time. some spices that i cant seem to place. the oak once again comes through lightly. there is great balance here. nothing seems to over power anything else.

M- the mouthfeel is on the lighter side with a rather high level of carbonation which is fine for the style. the alcohol is nowhere to be found. this is tart, but not overpoweringly sour. very dry finish.

D- this is a great beer from a brewery that not everyone knows about. its also a brewery that not everyone would understand. the fact that they make such complex and unique beers exclusively (well at least in the bottle, ive yet to make it to the brewpub) and charge around $16 a bottle and continue to succeed is hard to believe. keep up the good work, ill continue to buy them whenever i can afford to.

Photo of billshmeinke
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a one inch head that dies downtown a nice layer of foam on top leaving good lacing behind

Nose is spicy and oaky. A touch of tanins and the slightest hint of fruitiness. Some brett and funky notes as well.

The taste is of dark fruits that are immediately over powered by oak, chestnuts, tanins, brett, and finishing with a fruity/funky

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite dry

Drinkability is quite good

Photo of rand
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap to Delerium tulip glass

A: Pours out an extremely dark brown, completely opaque, with a huge frothy head. The head shows incredible retention and is frustrating the bartender. Lacing everywhere.

S: The tart Brett-funk hits your nose upfront and dominates the bouquet. Some smoky malts and cranberries are noticed in the backdrop. Really interesting and pleasant nose

T: The grassy, funky notes are noticed at the front of the sip, but a surprising sour cherry flavor is also prominent. Woody, earthy malt character follows, along with spicy alcohol. The beer is full of layers and nuance - each sip unravels new flavors and spice. Orange zest, nutmeg, candied fruit and oak. The sour character carries through to the finish and is joined by drying hops. Finishes tart and clean.

M: Light and festive for the style. Ample carbonation washes away the residual flavors.

D/n: One of the most drinkable beers for the complexity. Sour funky beers aren't always the most popular, but this has so many interesting and flavorful characteristics a wide spectrum of preferences would be satisfied. Can't wait for another.

Photo of jera1350
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

Burgundy color, trace of tan foam, little lace.

Sour smelling with sour fruit.

Sourish with some funk, light cherry fruitiness, floral, herbal hops. Earthy clay like malt. Nice complexity.

Lightly dry, semi puckering and light.

Rather refreshing and very well crafted. Unique and enjoyable, I would have this one again.

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.