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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

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933 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 933
Reviews: 408
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 65
Gots: 150 | 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: 933 | Reviews: 408
Photo of cvfish
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a dark brown color that produced a foamy tan head that had great retention and left a great deal of lacing on the side of the glass

S - The aromas produced by this beer had a caramelized maltiness, dark fruits, and spiciness

T - The taste of this beer was fantastic, a good deal caramelized malts, a slight green apple tartiness, strawberry notes, and a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg to finish off

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a bunch of carbonation, but as with most Belgians it works

T - This has to be one of my favorite Christmas beers, very favorable and memorable, another winner from the folks at Jolly Pumpkin

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

Looks a little like cola as it pours: clear mahogany brown stream of liquid, followed by a quickly rising head of frothy tan that almost rises out of the glass. Once settled and topped-off, it displays a thick thumb width of pillowy foam atop a surprisingly clear deep-chestnut and ruby body (subsequent pours disturb the sedimented yeast and add some haze). The head dwindles slowly but steadily to a wide collar that leaves about half of the surface still covered; and one very thick ring of sticky lace around the glass. Unfortunately, beyond that very little lacing is left except for some minor spots and smears here and there.

The aroma, like the appearance, is also a hint cola-like with a sweetish, dark caramel-like maltiness, some mild spice, and a hint of grassy hops - as well as a hint of earthiness and some tartness...

That tartness becomes much more apparent in the flavor, although it's not really that sharp. It lends balance to the sweet, darkly-caramelish malt. And again, it actually is cola-like with a note of cardamom. Lots of fruit comes through, but it's mainly apple. I think of the Stayman/Winesap, Fuji, and Jonahlicious varieties. It never gets as tart as a Granny Smith, but almost - and there are plenty of red berry flavors there as well. It starts with a sweet cola-like maltiness that's then immediately cut-through with juicy tartness, and then followed by a wide swatch of spiciness (cinnamon, anise, nutmeg) across the middle and into the finish. The apple-like fruitiness rises, along with some herbal and earthy/leathery/funky notes, in the finish as the spices fade. Only some residual dry tartness, a dull bitterness, some mineral/leather, and some spent-spice are left behind.

A really interesting, and fairly complex ale. Superb!!! Absolutely worth seeking out!!!

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

Pours deep brown with off-tan head. Nose is reminiscent of Duchesse du Bourgogne - some sour passion fruit and brothy aromas. Palate is pleasantly sour with passion fruits again. Tart on the finish. Easy drinking. Somewhat low carbonation. Like a Duchesse light.

Photo of gford217
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orangish brown, almost tea-like, with a big rocky head that stayed on forever and left good lacing.

The aroma has an underlying battle between sweet brown sugar, dark fruits and spices. On top of that is the signature JP funky tart smell.

The taste starts off with that JP sour kick but then gives way to the underlying sugary sweetness. There's booze-soaked dark fruit, figs and raisins especially with a bit of oak and vanilla in the dry finish.

There was tons of carbonation on this one - very lively on the palate but very dry in the finish.

This is a fairly typical JP take on a Belgian style and, while I can appreciate the funky twist, I probably would have liked the underlying beer on it's own merits. Still, very tasty.

Photo of BMoney575
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 5-12-09
Batch 333/334

Pours a very cool combination of dark and transparent, with a fizzy white head that bubbles away.Lacing is just a thin ring at the very edge of the beer.

Smell is super sour, with a slight Belgian aroma and lots of dark fruit.

Taste is sour, with a strong alcohol warming. Surprisingly malty, which adds a very odd quality. After awhile, a little oak flavor comes through, which accounts for the strangeness.

Almost completely flat, detracts from the flavors a bit.

Drinkability is decent, the alcohol is imperceptible, save for the warming effect.

Overall, an interesting beer, and different from any other JP I've had. Pick one up.

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

Pours a lively muddy brown with a quickly growing half-glass head into a tulip. Nice lacing coating the glass as the head dissipates.

Nose is a thing of beauty, that signature Jolly Pumpkin brett farmhouse funk, slightly sour, mixing with vanilla and dark malts and some anise. Some oak filters in as it warms. I'm a huge fan of the Jolly Pumpkin nose and it makes me want to dive into this full force.

Mouth is medium bodied with a light, lively high carbonation.

Taste has some nice vanilla notes up front, giving way to some sour funkhouse brett and a slight hoppy bitterness in the finish. Oaky wood and earthiness comes out as it warms, combining a bit of black licorice that lingers on the tongue.

Drinkability is great, as are all JP beers, with lively carbonation and just enough sour dryness to keep you coming back.

Overall this a tasty, funky, fully enjoyable brew.

Photo of armock
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jwc215 for sending this to me in a trade.

A - Poured a mahogany color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Has a sour fruity yeasty nose

T - Starts with dark fruit then the spice and yeast come out slightly sour

M - This beer has a medium body with high carbonation to it

D - Yet another good beer from Jolly Pumpkin they have yet to disappoint me although this one isn't as sour as their other beers its still a damn fine brew worth getting sometime

Photo of roadhouse
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into three different tulip glasses

Blend 1, 2007

Pours a deep mahogany-ruby color with a gigantic head in each glass ranging from two to three inches. Looks a lot like meringue. It takes a long time to recede and retains well throughout. Lots of lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is very funky consisting of some lactic sourness. Fruity as well with some tart cherries, plum, mixed berries, green apple, and a light oak character.

Tastes of plum, berries, granny smith apples, and general bretty funk. Lactic sourness that was in the aroma doesn't really come through. Some oak in the middle into the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-light, pretty high carbonation that makes it rather creamy but slightly harsh. As for drinkability, well I drank the entire bottle myself and it only got better as I drank more.

Overall I wasn't as impressed as I was hoping to be but it was still good. It's really not that complex, but that's OK.

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

Batch 329

Appearance:cloudy reddish brown / copper color with a two finger head that lasts and sports some big bubbles.

Smell: malt sweetness, yeast, and some ripe fruits are easy to detect.

Taste: nice malt profile here with plenty of ripe plums and blackberries, yeast, some slight sourness, some pepper, and a nice bitterness. There was a hint of lemon zest late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Aftertaste is super long and the flavors stay in the mouth for a while. Lightly crisp and a bit dry throughout.

Drinkability: this one was a drank slowly over a cold evening and one bottle was nice to share. I would not have more than 2 or 3 glasses but the overall beer is tasty.

Photo of craytonic
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007, batch two

Appearance: Color of raspberry tea or red Gatorade. Enormous head, this beer was massively over-carbonated.

Smell: Delicious. A BSDA with a wild yeast, the perfect combination that excited me greatly.

Taste: Hard to get a good read with so much fizz. Appropriate amount of funk, not overpowering like other Jolly pumpkin beers. I get lots of fruits and berries - raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberry, dates, figs, prunes, green apples, etc along with a rich malt and some underlying sweetness and balsalmic vinegar. Also a bit of oak.

Mouthfeel: This beer was horribly over-carbonated. I even tried the sky-high pour to get some of it out, to no avail. Rather dry.

Drinkability: So much potential, but limited by the carbonation.

I hope to try a different batch, one where the carbonation is more appropriate. With that in check, I could put this up against consecration possibly.


Tried 2009 Batch 4. Still the massive head, but this time the carbonation was near perfect. Upping the score accordingly for mouthfeel. Could use a bit more tartness and funk.

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 AltBock
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Capped 750 ml bottle with a neat little Winter scene. This label shows the consumer a grinning Jack O' Lantern wearing a Santa hat sitting on a mound of snow. It must be cold out because I've never seen a blue pumpkin before. Despite the cold temperature, this Jack O' Lantern is still smiling away. Above the cold pumpkin in cool old fashioned letters is the name of the beer. Along the bottom of the label is where it tells you this beer was aged in oak barrels. That's usually something you want to see on a label. To far left of the label is the barcode and Government warning. To far right are 3 separate sentences that talk about the beer. The back of the bottle should contain a batch number sticker. My bottle was from batch number 329.

Appearance: I poured this "Special Ale" into my special Maudite Snifter. At first glance, this beer appears to have a dark mahogany color, but when held into the light, I found out that it is instead a beautiful crimson red with a splash of cherry red mixed in with it. I didn't think the appearance could have been any better, but then I looked at the head of foam. The first pour was nothing but foam. It was in the second pour where the beer finally made its debut. Sitting gracefully on top of this crimson colored beer was a massive 2+ inch creamy head of pure white foam. This tall head of foam sure took its time to recede. Not only did the head of foam leave a film on top of the beer, but along the glass was well. That's a new one to me. Was this beer eye candy? You know it was! It was hard for me to take my eyes off of it.

Smell: Like almost ever J.P. beer I've had, it was sour in the nose. But with Noel, it was on the lower end of the sour spectrum. Along with all the usual aroma offerings, there were two unique aromas in here. That was the scent of sweet black licorice and a tiny splash of peppermint. After a few minutes, those aroma couldn't be found anywhere in the aroma. I have no clue where they went. After those two unique aromas left, the aroma was still slightly sour with roasted malts, a splash of sour cherries, a few sour green grapes, a hint of charred oak, a pinch of milk chocolate, and a subtle whiff of tobacco. It was one of those aromas where not one aroma stood out from among its peers.

Taste: Not only was this J.P. beer slightly dry and sour, but also lightly malty. This taste kicks off with a gentle touch of roasted malts. Immediately after the malts, this beer goes into the sour flavors. However, there wasn't much to the sour part. All I got was a slight taste of sour green grapes and cherries. What was lacking in the sour part was quickly picked up by the beer's dry finish. This dry finish consisted of charred oak, a subtle touch of milk chocolate, and a quick splash of black licorice. I noticed that as the beer warms up, this beer was more dry and that more of the beer's sourness emerges, but no new flavor emerges from the background. In the end, I would have liked more sour fruits to round off all the charred oak, but I know I can't everything.

Mouthfeel: This Strong Dark Ale was more on the medium bodied side of things. This Dark Ale did feature a nice crispy oak based aftertaste of charred oak, a little roasted malt, a touch of sour cherries, a splash of black licorice, a hint of dried east, and a drop of alcohol at the end. The only flavor in the aftertaste that decided to stick around for a little longer was the charred oak. Not only did it have a good aftertaste, but I thought this beer masked its 9% ABV. I could a gentle touch of it here and there, but I couldn't feel it go to work on me.

Drinkability: Overall, this was a nicely done Strong Dark Ale. Sometimes I think this beer relied too much on the oak, but again that's a very minor problem. The one big problem I saw was the hefty price tag this beer had on it. Compared to some of their other beers (price and taste), I would more than likely go after one of those instead of this beer. If you want a nice expensive winter time beer, then you should think about this Jolly Pumpkin beer.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Champagne bottle poured into a chalice; Batch 329

Appears a chilled ice tea shade of brown with a bubbly, rocky off-white head. Head bubbled up and took some time retreating into the glass. A decent amount of lacing is strewn about.

Nose is of candied sugar, apples, pears, horse blanket, and dry brown bread. I'm not a huge fan of Brett, but I like how it doesn't dominate here. It plays nicely with the other aromas.

Rather tart overall, which is to be expected. Notes of granny smith apples, pears, brown malt, and some oak. This is a pretty tart, dry beer, like most of JP's offerings. This almost has a vinaigrette-like flavor with all of the tartness from the Brett and the carbonation.

A little on the fizzy side and not as full as I would like for a BSDA.

This is another one for the lover of Brett. While I do enjoy these from time to time, this one didn't rock my world and I had a slightly hard time getting through the whole thing. I enjoyed the flavors, but I felt like this bottle may have been a little off. This is on the try again list.

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

A - Two fingers of light brown head on a reddish brown body with nice clarity. The head recedes quickly, but leaves nice lace.

S - Sweet and sour acidity reminiscent of a Flemmish brown. Toasted malt and mild caramel with notes of sour cherries and balsamic vinegar.

T - Fruity acidity, followed by brown malty flavors of toffee and caramel. Yeasty fruit in the middle, with notes of banana and guava. The spice begins to come out in the finish; nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice are complimented by a restrained woodiness.

M - Medium body, very high carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - For a wood aged, sour beer this is pretty drinkable. The flavors do not overwhelm and the sourness is restrained and this, combined with a just slightly sweet finish makes for surprisingly good drinkability. The aroma is among the best I have had in a JP beer, but I was a bit disappointed in the flavor at first. Towards the end of the glass, more of the barrel character began to come out and the beer displayed an overall complexity that is more than the sum of its parts. A very nice beer, overall and one I would buy again, though I doubt I'll have the chance.

Photo of zdk9
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Lots of foam. This one is a gusher out of the bottle.

S- Cider yeast, coffee grounds (weird but interesting), balsamic vinegar. I'm not too familiar w/ sour beers so perhaps this is some aspect of horse blanket. And then there are some nice spices: cloves, some unidentifiable others.

T- Sour apple, a touch of bitterness, spicy pine needles.

M- Not as carbonated as the foam display would indicate. Smooth. Ok

O- This beer was not at all I expected, neither from the style, nor name, nor description. In the end it was very similar to Bam Noire, which I really enjoyed. But I can't say it was very malty, nor all that dark. I did enjoy it though.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tim Burton...no! Pours a semi-cloudy chestnut brown color with a darker brown hues throughout. A health pour left bigger bubbles, but quickly hid to the side of the glass and eventually dissipated altogether. Limited lacing as well.

The nose is has a lot going on. The malt is light but still noticeable. Some kettle caramel notes with a brown sugar backings. Some molasses and some stale notes as well. The esters really come out with a darker fruits, plums, figs, and dates. Some winey notes with a light boysenberry backings. Some yeasty and funk notes. There are some weird spice notes that are kind of muddled. Hard to pick out, I would like to see them more distinct.

The taste is similar. The malt has more of a sugary base with a light malt backing. Some minor Special B/caramel notes. Would have liked a bit more malt complexity. The spice and esters come out more and somewhat dominate the beer. Plums, figs, earthy/mushroom notes, and a bit of pepper and nutmeg. A touch of funk that I think would come out more with age. Some hints of brett notes but more of a barnyard like taste. Some oak and vanilla notes in the end and become more apparent as it ages. Some minor alcohol but mostly clean.

The body is closer to moderate. A light carbonation, that could be more for style. Some warming the alcohol is hidden well. Overall there are some nice notes with esters and spice but the malt is limited. I think as it ages the funk will come out more. Overall not bad.

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

recorded review reflects original blend 4 2007 review when sampled in dec 2007.

vertical tasting between blend 1 2007, blend 4 2007, and batch 329 2008.

750ml bottle labeled "batch 329" purchased dec 2008. sampled feb 8/09.
4.5/4/4/4/4 = 4.1

pours crystal clear red-brown, a little lighter than the 2007 blends. still has the nice garnet highlights and a small dense off-white head, but not as long-lasting as blend 1. spotty lace.

aroma is good. light lemon and malt vinegar. orange peel and citrus. bit of alcohol. white bread and cracker. bit of grain. horse blanket. touch of leather.

taste is good. date, raisin, red grape. touch of caramel. bit of dark chocolate. light alcohol. lemon. leather and horse blanket. orange peel. whole wheat bread. bit of cracker. grain. touch of biscuit. more fruity and malty than the 2007 versions, but less nutty. medium-low bitterness level. bit of raw oak. earthy.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium-high carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. nice balance. not overly funky. doesn't quite have the depth of the older blends, but nice.

750ml bottle labeled "blend 1 2007". sampled feb 8/09.
5/4/4.5/4/4.5 = 4.45

crystal clear deep red-brown that shows beautiful garnet highlights when held to the light. a big fluffy tan head forms and seems to last forever. i'm half way through drinking the blend 4 and this one still has a solid cap of foam on top, with plenty of thick lace.

aroma is good. initially it seems less sour than blend 4. lemon and malt vinegar. bit of dark chocolate. chestnuts. light alcohol. leather and horse blanket.

taste is good. touch of caramel and fruity sweetness. the lemon, citrus and malt vinegar are present but more restrained than in blend 4. bit of dark chocolate. hazelnut, chestnut, and a bit of pecan. date, fig, and a bit of raisin. earthy. leather. bit of tobacco leaf. alcohol.

mouthfeel is good. medium body with a semi-dry finish. just over medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. tasty and balanced. i like the barrel character here. this one after a year of age reminds me of blend 4 when it was fresh, but still not quite the same. good stuff.

750ml bottle labeled "blend 4 2007". sampled feb 8/09.
4.5/4/4.5/4/4 = 4.3

pours crystal clear deep red-brown showing beautiful garnet highlights. the dense off-white head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is great. sour lemon. malt vinegar. bit of alcohol. chestnuts and hazelnuts. cracker, wheat bread. faint spice, much less than when fresh. the fruity notes also seem less present.

taste is great. light lemony sourness and malt vinegar. wood and earth. leather and barnyard funk. whole wheat bread. cracker. grain. alcohol. bit of dark chocolate. hint of grapefruit and orange peel. medium bitterness level. a bit winey too.

mouthfeel is good. medium body with a dry finish. high carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. nice balance. it's drier and less fruity than when it was fresh, which i don't think i like quite as much. it's lost some of its depth and the higher carbonation takes away a little more.

750ml bottle labeled "blend 4 2007". sampled dec 15/07.
4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5 = 4.4

pours slightly murky red-brown with just a wisp of white head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass. no lace.

aroma is great. big sour lemon and funky blast. bit of hazelnut and pecan. light alcohol. vanilla. grain and crackers. hint of spice, but very light. orange peel. cherry.

taste is excellent. nice lemony sourness. vanilla. hazelnut. grain and crackers. bit of alcohol. cherry. orange peel. touch of date. light grapefruit. leather. bit of barnyard funk.

mouthfeel is good. low carbonation. medium body. nice and smooth.

drinkability is good. good balance with the funk and everything else. great barrel character that doesn't overpower. excellent depth that just keeps you going back for more. when the bottle was gone we immediately started discussing opening another - a testament to how good and drinkable it is. another winner from jolly pumpkin.

Photo of karengarys
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
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.

Photo of adamette
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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.

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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 robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of botham
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

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.

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