1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Educational use only; do not reuse.

933 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 933 | Reviews: 408
Photo of aforbes10
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of nrbw23
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of tpd975
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of cjgator3
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
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!

Photo of pwoods
4.11/5  rDev +2%
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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of SaucyA
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of Zorro
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of Itoclown
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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!

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.

Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours dark brown with a large head that descends to a thin, lasting cover, leaving some lacing.

The smell is of sour fruits, some chocolate, earthy notes, and vanilla/oak.

The taste is of sour fruits/funky, with chocolate that becomes stronger as it progresses. A bit of bitterness is well-rounded. Vanilla notes emerge showing the oak nicely. Oaky/woody dryness in the finish.

It has a creamy, medium body. A bit of effervescence would liven things up a bit, but the creaminess, though not quite "Belgian-esque" is nice, and lends a smooth drinkability to it.

Very drinkable - sourish, but with a sweet and bitter balance. Alcohol is very well-hidden in taste. I could easily drink too much of this! I love it!

Photo of glid02
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split this one with the very generous daryk77.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a huge and rocky 2.5-finger head. The head slowly recedes into a thin pancake of bubbles on top of the beer with a thick ring aorund the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of dark fruits - more cherries than figs - with some light tartness and yeast funk.

Tastes great. Slightly tart cherries up front followed shortly by sweet Belgian candy sugar. As the sip ends a light funk joins the tartness and lingers for a while.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is active, but not as much as it has been in other JP offerings I've had. For this kind of beer I think it's welcome. The thickness makes it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The light tartness makes this one tasty, and the flavors meld together well.

Overall I at first thought this was a tart dubbel, but after I tasted it a bit more it has a lot of Oud Bruin characteristics. Very solid to say the least and definitely worth a shot.

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

Big fluffy off white head just kept growing after pouring from a big bottle. The fruity sweet aroma fills the room while waiting for the head to dissipate a bit. Another different but delicious brew from Jolly Pumpkin. A funky off kilter taste of dark dried fruit. The body is medium with a bit of carbonation. The Oak barrel flavor seems to turn up as a bit of sourness rather than the typical bourbon alcohol flavor. In fact it is hard to detect any alcohol at all. But at the same rate it is a great winter beer.

Photo of Jettanbass9
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am not a huge brett fan but all i can say about this beer is, Wow...

A - Dark mohagany brown with laces of cherry red and finely beaded head. Crystal clear with a quarter inch head.

S - Medicinal funk, slight citric acidity, slight hint of oak and dark fruit that lingers.

T - Layers upon layers of flavors. Citric acidity and cherry tartness followed by very controlled barnyard funkiness, dark fruit lingers in the background and HOPS! yes hops in a brett beer... herbal, earthy hops, nothing extremely present but very perceivable.

M - boarderline low to medium mouthfeel. At 9%, its almost amazing there is still something that lingers even after the swallow.

D - Did i mention i nearly finished half the bottle as i wrote this review? Wow... extremely drinkable. Flavors are very controlled in this brew, very, very well balanced even for such unique flavors. For such a great beer, its easy to savor and even easier to put back. Glad i splurged on this Holiday beer buy!

Photo of Morphoenix
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours with a nice, sandy/tan colored head that rises to about a two-finger height. Deep dark brown coloration gives it an ominous appearance at first, but holding it up to the light reveals gorgeous tinges of burgundy and ruby. Scent is highly appealing; offers generous hints of sourness, spices and festive fruitiness. Tasting reveals sourness reminiscent of tart cherries, as well as a very satisfying malty sweetness. The label professes the presence of "layered hops" but I am struggling to detect their influence on this brew. Upon close scrutiny, there is a slight hop flavor, but this is certainly dominated by the fruity sourness and spices mentioned earlier. This one has a nice mouthfeel that's not too rich, yet not too thin. It hits the mark very well. Not a beer that I could see myself drinking tons of in one sitting, but definitely one that I will come back to (given the chance).

Photo of Yetiman420
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into two Unibroue pear shaped glasses and had problems with foam once it hit the straight portion.

Reserved the yeast for the end and the beer poured with an appetizing brown color and white foamy head.

Pre-yeast taste had the trademark JP sour/funk and this one tasted along the lines of a brown ale. I didn't notice much of the oak barrel advertised on the label (maybe the oak came out as it warmed up a bit).

The yeast added a richness to mouthfeel which I felt detracted from the sourness. Lacing on both glasses was nice.

Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm always somewhat cautious about putting down the cash for JP beers, cuz they tend to be gushers for me...this time I made sure to leave the bottle in the fridge for several days before opening, and the result was a fizzy/active pour, but not an over the top all out gusher. Medium tan head, leaves interesting splotches of lace and islands of foam on the surface. Grape juice, lemon and vinegar in the nose. Notes of citrus, smoke, sour cherries, berries of all sorts, and some woody notes. Complex, intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable creation.

"Blend 4, 2007"

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

A: Pours a murky brown with ruby highlights. Small head that subsides to a light frothy layer. Light lacing.

S: A bit of musty Flemish funk with light aromas of cherry and oak.

T: Mint, vanilla, currants, a blend of spices, and a mild earthiness make up a multi-faceted blend of flavors, each distinct yet harmoniously balanced in the overall taste. A touch of alcohol. Big and complex.

M: Full-bodied and a bit fizzy. Slightly dry.

D: Quite nice, and nicer with age I'd bet. This one is an easy sipper and definitely one that I'd have again.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.