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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.

866 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 866
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: 866 | Reviews: 395 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of karengarys
2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This pours dark dark mahogany leaving a very fluffy head. It is a bit overcarbonated, bumping down the appearance due to the frustration I had while cleaning the extra foam off the counter.

Smells good and bad at the same time - at least to me. Somewhat fruity.

Taste is not what I would expect from a strong dark. Way too fruity and sour. It is like it accidentally had a leinenkugel berry weiss mixed in. um... Fruit and sour. That is about all I can say for it.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat or wet given the seemingly overcarbonated pour. Not rich like I would hope.

I really don't want to finish this, but at the price I will - it isn't so bad I have to pour it out, it just is not my cup of tea. or, stein of brew as it were.

karengarys, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Live Review. Poured from 1pt. 9.4oz bottle into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale pint glass. Sticker with "batch 331" on the side of the bottle. Purchased at Chuck's Fine Wines in Chagrin Falls for $11.99.

A Beautiful, abundant head which easily spilled over the edge of the glass. I had intentionally tried to get a head and indeed it worked, the head likely reaching 5 inches even though I only left 3 inches of space. Body is a pleasing maple syrup color that appears very dark but with direct light behind it the syrup color is revealed. Very nice look for the style and be careful with making too much of a head. By the way, head stayed around for several, about 10 minutes.

S Sweet nectar of malt and it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite beers, Gulden Draak. Little to no hops in the nose but a smell of alcohol is also in there.

T Sweetness for sure in the very front but then quickly that is replaced by a stab of bitterness that I really did not like and it stayed into the aftertaste as well. I can taste the alcohol which is not a quality that I like very much. I continue to taste it as I write this and I get that sharp kick of maybe....an overripe orange...not grapefruit just after the rush of nectar sweetness.

M Full as this is a big beer with big tastes and reasonably high ABV. Very appropriate to the style.

D Not that good with the punch of overripe orange and high ABV, not to mention the high cost.

Notes: I am glad that I tried this beer which is in one of my favorite styles but I was dissapointed to taste that punch of overripe oranges near the beginning that stuck around into the aftertaste. A good example of Belgian Strong Dark Ale but not my favorite.

adamette, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a blackish mahogany with a silky tan head. The nose has sweet malts, oak, spices, chocolate, dark fruits and a bit of barnyard funk. The taste is equally complex with rich bready malts, candy, cocao, figs, cherries, christmas spices and a subtle yet very well balanced oaky manure presence. Creamy body is well carbonated. A unique Belgian style strong ale from JP. One of their better ales in my book.

rye726, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

After being disappointed by the Calabaza Blanca a few months back, I had little hope for this beer, despite some favorable feedback I'd heard. And I'm happy to say this low expectation was wildly exceeded by this beer. This is some powerfully sour, fruity, and malty magic in a bottle.

Appearance was surprisingly dark with a ton (as in too much) head which spilled everywhere. Aroma is powerfully sour and very champagney. Flavor had a significant and surprising amount of maltiness, of course accompanied by a giant sour punch. There was also some light fruitiness, which makes sense given the sour presence...fruit was a mix of dried fruit (dates, raisins) and citrus. Mouthfeel was full and rich.

This is a very good beer, and quite a unique one. I believe I bought this bottle at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee.

BeerBelcher, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of FrognutUnl
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

FrognutUnl, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of robbyc1
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite beers now, this review score is from several tastings since I first had it in late 2007.

Pours light black with some highlights, hazy but has a look that it might be filtered, not sure. Thin head goes away quickly but lace is very nice.

The nose reveals the taste, which is deeply complex, has the notes of a yeasty dark belgian ale, with stone fruits, chocolate notes, all revealed by the unusual sourness, not a true lambic, but barrel sourness from the yeasties stored there. Really makes it refreshing and dry and wanting more. Also notes of leather, spices unknown, and coffee.

The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but doesn't have the thickness or creaminess of Belgian types. It is a nice drinker if you like the sourness, goes well alone or with sweetish savory foods like good barbecue. Should keep well for year round use. Another winner from Ron and co.

robbyc1, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of botham
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap in Ann Arbor, Michigan. pours a deep reddish brown with minimal head and rich amber highlights.

aroma is mildly sour with light fruit notes of apple and a bit of sour grape as well. nicely composed, with a tight profile in the nose.

taste is light, with a distinct sour-funkyness and a bit of bready malt with light fruit notes of apple and grape. supurbly rich with a great wintery character.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a mildly sweet quality and tartness that reinforces the sourness.

drinkability is great. this is a mildly sour brew with a great balance and tasty fruit notes. an easy-going sour beer with a wonderful composition and a very drinkable profile. cheers!

botham, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glad to see more JP in AK.

Blend 5, 2007

Pours a nice dark brown with glowing ruby highlights when held to the light. A fizzy white head reduces to a skim over the surface and ring around the glass pretty quickly leaving minimal lacing.

Nose is defenite funk, some brett influence is clear. Also some lighter fruits, horseblanket and barnyard funk for sure, but doesn't smell as though it will be full blown lambic sour.

Wow! A very interesting beer. A complex profile as there is a significant malt profile, but this still feels like a wild ale all around. The taste starts out feeling like a bright and usually yellow wild ale. Light fruit early with good brett like funk flavor. Some apples early with a bit of Saison like element as well with some belgian yeast aside from the wild ones. The malt profile picks up and throws you a tiny touch of dark fruit with some plummy sort of raisin-date flavor in the middle of the palate, but this is only momentary, although it does reappear in the aftertaste. The finish is brutally dry and brings back a bit of crisp apple and brett. Funk, apple, and a touch of that dark fruit linger on the aftertaste. A VERY complex beer.

Mouthfeel is very much that of a standard sour belgian. Nice and heavy carbonation (actually climbed the neck a bit) but not an abrasively fizzy mouthfeel. Super dry finish with a nice sour kick. A tiny touch slicker in the mouth than your average wild brew, but nothing crazy.

Drinkability is quite solid for this particular style melding brew. Being a sour its not something your going to get hamboned on watching the game, but for what it is, quite drinkable.

Overall this is a very complex beer with a flavor profile that is hard to pick out. There is so much going on in this one it will keep you guessing for a while. The malt profile mixed with a beer profile that would normally be quite yellow/golden in appearance. A brew defenitely worth picking up and trying for yourself. A fun one, and a very good beer.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bathc 333/334. Bottle from kkulacki, and probably my last JP for a long while. Thanks, konrad! Pours a very dark ruby/crimson color. Super pillowy absorba-foam type head. Flavor has a nice muted sourness throughout on a creamy chocolate malt backbone. Fruity, but also dry, with roasted malt and grassy hops. Sourness grows and expands. nice lactic note on the finish as well as a warm alcohol sensation. I also get a hint of allspice and clove. Creamy mouthfeel...medium to full bodied for the style, i'd say. Drinks fantastically, especially on a sort-of-cold california night. another winner from Jolly Pumpkin.

aforbes10, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Noel Calabaza, bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks! Split with him and a friend, w/ my portion poured into a tulip.

Appearance: A hazy, dirty brown/red ale with a foamy, tan, one-finger head with impressive retention that leaves sticky lacing which clings to the head and the walls of the glass as it slowly recedes.

Aroma: Tart and moderately funky in the nose, mildly acidic in places though not quite vinegary, in my opinion. Lifesaver notes and hidden berries emerge as it warms, uncovered as the acidity fades slightly.

Taste: Impressive. Tartness is mild and up front, and melds well with some very nice fruity notes, sour apple, berries, slight spice notes, and banana. There's plenty of funk here, but it's a sweet, rounded, spicy funk. One of the more enjoyable bretted beers I've had.

Mouthfeel: Big effervescence, very soft and smooth, though sort of "disconnected," erratic but soft.

Drinkability: My first Jolly Pumpkin, and one I'm glad to have tried - quite the experience. I'm slowly growing more accustomed to bretted brews, and this one is definitely mild - the tartness and sour notes are heavily fruity and blended well with everything else. That aside, the alcohol is not unreasonably high for the style nor apparent. Just a pleasant, enjoyable beer.

CrellMoset, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of Angus703
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 333/334 (I guess they mixed 'em) 16.9 oz Bottle

Poured into my new 16.5oz Cervoise from BeerAdvocate, thanks guys for the cheap set. More money for great beer.

Appearance: Dark sort of brown with a redish hint to it, beautiful lacing, not too much not too little perfection.

Smell: First thought is wine, second is malt, then some spices

Taste: winey fruity, sour aftertaste, but soft enough to be very drinkable

MouthFeel: surprisingly great, almost feel the lacing on your cheeks.

Drinkable: I agree with Sevenfiftymilly 10!

I had the privilege to visit this brewery but only one 16.9oz bottle of Noel left. I'm buying more next Christmas, if you get a chance buy it, and absolutely age one.

Special Ale indeed.

Not to mention great, great artwork, Mahalo to Laurie Jeffries who was so friendly when I came in to buy her families awesome beer. I love the Black Beard flag.

Angus703, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured dark, murky and rustic orange with a billowing cream colored head that was frothy and took up the major portion of the glass. Had to wait awhile before the head settled. After slowly collapsing the head was towering in the middle while calving along the edges. The visible carbonation was feverish and highly eruptive with a showering display of small tighly knitted bubbles rushing rapidly to the surface.

S: moderately light with just a touch of funk sourness. Some cinnamon, soft toasted nuttiness and nutmeg were the most noticeable aspects here. Some ripe fruit manages to sneak in (plums).

T: A beautiful funky yeastiness with ripe fruit (plums) compose the initial flavor. Deliciously malty with some nutmeg and a musky yeastiness shines here as well. Theres a huge herbal hoppy nature to the drink with some apple and licorice notes as well. A dark malting with hints of toasted grains is detected while some rum-cola and licorice notes linger about in the finish.

M: light-medium with a slight creaminess providing a warm roasted feel. A nice carbonation tingle is experienced bringing out a warming and dry boozy fade.

D: Good drinkability, warming with a nice roasted feel and dry booziness. Deliciously malty and a nice Belgian winter sipper.

beerthulhu, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of nrbw23
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a slightly hazy reddish brown color. The head is a thick layer of tiny bubbles, descent retention and left a handful of spots of lacing on the glass.

S- Smells of yeast, spices, and sour fruits. I could not pick up any alcohol or any hint that this one was barrel aged. It did seem like there was quite a bit of stuff going on here.

T- Again seems like there is quite a few things going on. Started out with some spices and malts then turned sour. I could pick up some cherries, plums, touch of hops, caramel malts, oaky flavours and every finish was sour. Nothing here really over powered the other well balanced and complex for sure.

M- Medium in body and carbonation was good.

D- Very interesting brew here. Easy to drink and could do this one again.

nrbw23, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of tpd975
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to SeaBass for sharing this treat.

A: Pours a golden murky brown hue with a medium head. Okay retention with some spotty lace.

S: very nice, brett, sour cherry, with light raisin and sweet caramel.

T: fruity flavor of cherries with a mild musty scent. Oaky flavors melded nicely with the fruits. Mildly acidic and not overly sour. Finished with a little xmas spice.

M: Medium in body with good carbonation.

D: Another tasty treat from JP.

tpd975, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of cjgator3
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle
Batch #342

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that possesses excellent lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is very fruity and sour with some funk, spices, yeast and oak. I love the aroma, there is a lot of stuff going on that keeps you wanting to sniff over and over.

T- The taste starts off sour with some oak flavors and other spices quickly coming in. There is also some fruits in the flavor as well. The most amazing thing about the taste is that the 9% ABV is very well hidden, it's almost hard to pick up on it.

M- The mouthfeel is on the lighter side with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Noel De Calabaza is dangerously drinkable considering the high ABV. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall, Noel De Calabaza is one of my favorite beers from Jolly Pumpkin. Highly Recommended!

cjgator3, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of pwoods
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped brown wine bottle, purchased at Hyde Park Wine and Spirits, poured into a chalice.

A: Pours a murky, deep muddy brown. A big tannish head forms and does not move for the duration. Good lacing.

S: Lightly sour and funky. A pleasant sweetness from caramelly Belgian malts. Yeasty and lightly lactic.

T/M: A great Belgian winter ale enhanced nicely by the JP funky strains. Sweet malts balanced by the nice spicy yeast character. Not to sour or tart, very palatable. Some sour cherries in the back as well as other sour and tart citrus. Body is about medium with great Belgian carbonation.

D: The 9% is hidden very well and the beer just drinks easy. It took me at least and hour to finish the 750 only because you want to slow down and savor it.

pwoods, Jan 03, 2009
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.

jsanto, Jan 01, 2009
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.

magictrokini, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of ATPete
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped

Pours a beautiful deep brown color with a relentless tan head that sticks around most of the glass. Nose of straight Jolly Pumpkin funk, which i have grown to love, lots of lemon zest, wet wood from the oak and a hint of wintery spice. Good flavor here, lots of sourness and funk, roasted malt sweetness is mainly an after thought if you ask me, this one is pure funk driven right now. Medium bodied, silky smooth and crazy drinkable for a 9%er. Great beer.

ATPete, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 342. Green Cap :)

A - Jeez. This looks like the Stone/JP/Nogne brew I poured a few hours ago. Almost exactly the same except some of the bubbles in the head are bigger. Otherwise, it's a nice, deep chestnut brown with an off-white head. Go read my last review for a description ;)

S - Let's see. I haven't had a (real) JP brew in a minute so I've gotta get my nose in tune. Apple cider vinegar, dry oak tannins, lemon pith. Sour, unripe fruits... spices. Y'know, like most JP brews, it's totally "wild" forward, and everything else takes a backseat.

T - I'm pretty sure this is the most exciting offering I've had from JP yet, and I've had the vast majority of their lineup. It's super dry and oaky up front, slightly tart in the middle and transforms into a sweet, delicate mix of random fruits and spices on the backend. There's even some hops thrown in for good measure. It's ever-changing, and the 9%(seriously?!)abv is nonexistant.

M - Medium-thin bodied with abundant carbonation.

D - It's got an awful lot going on, but that's also what makes it a beauty. Not one to pound back, but enjoyable to relax with.

Notes: My boo bought me this for Christmas. She's a keeper.

SaucyA, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of Zorro
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Clear beer, deeply reddish Brown in color with a tall tan colored head.

Immediately in the scent I detect light vinegar in this bug beer? Vanilla, oak, and grapes with a fainter lemon aroma.

The taste starts out sweet and sour with a definite vinegar twang. Stout hop bite with an alcohol burn in the throat. This is woody with a mushroom flavor and some vanilla.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not real drinkable, the vinegar elements put me off.

Zorro, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of paco1029384756
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruby brown color with three fingers of lasting, fluffy white head, heavily carbonated.

Scent of sour cherries, yeast, and oak. Not typical for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but very good

Taste of sour cherries, strong oak, yeast, and malts. Finishes with a dry lasting flavor of oak.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and smooth.

paco1029384756, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of Itoclown
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Itoclown, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of swanmann
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle indicates batch 333 of 334. It poured DEEP mhabogany amber, nearly cola colored, with tons of sticky tan head, settling after about five minutes. Sweet fruit aromas dominate before warming. Subtle chocolate and alcoholic notes soon appear. Fruityness dominates the taste, with a slightly syrupy palate, some caramel and chocolate do appear. Quid delicious! Cheers and Merry Christmas!

swanmann, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of keepersj12
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Christmas, New years, Fourth of July, I don't care. This is one damn good beer. Aroma of sweet fruit, bourbon. Dark amber with a big foamy head. Flavor is very complex. Vanilla, fruit, wood, bourbon. Very dry finish. A bit sour. Very drinkable considering the alcohol content. Be careful.

keepersj12, Dec 20, 2008
Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 866 ratings.