Lambicus Dexterius - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Lambicus DexteriusLambicus Dexterius

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BA SCORE
86
very good

87 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 87
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 16.84%
Wants: 270
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Gueuze |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Belgian-style lambic brewed traditionally (100% spontaneous fermentation). Blend of 4 yr, 3.5 yr and 2.5 yr.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 11-08-2009)
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Ratings: 87 | Reviews: 46 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by madtowndmb1:
Photo of madtowndmb1
4/5  rDev +3.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Although I strongly avoid reviewing beers that I have consumed at festivals, I occasionally make an exception. This will be one of those occasions, for I was in a unique position to enjoy a more than ample sample of this particular beer at the recent 2009 Chicago Festival of Barrel Aged Beers and did so slowly and thoughtfully before drinking much of anything else.

According to a Jolly Pumpkin brewer on hand at FOBAB, the fine Michigan brewery known for its wild ales began their endeavor into true lambics more than 5 years ago. In fact, some or all of the beer that went into this lambic is fully aged 5 years in the barrel. I did not think to ask at the time if this was a blended or unblended lambic. I'm kicking myself now but guess from the aroma and flavor that this must be a blend.

While all of Jolly Pumpkin's beers are aged in oak and utilize naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria, this will be their first truly spontaneously fermented beer in the lambic tradition (most of their other beers follow more closely the Flanders tradition). I should add that to the best of my knowledge this is the first commercially available true lambic made in America. The first public release of this exceptional brew was on November 7th, 2009 at FOBAB.

Poured from a black capped 750 ml bottle featuring an attractive label of oak barrels, the Lambicus Dexterius instantly reminds me of the cask lambic I drank during my wanderings in Lambikland last summer. The carbonation is very low and this became the one point of criticism for the beer that I heard over the course of the day. Since Lambicus was only bottled in March, I would guess that this may improve slightly with time but personally, I would not care if it did. I discovered and imbibed in several wonderful lambics in Belgium last summer that were served almost completely flat, usually from cask in small town taverns. Lambicus may not bubble like most of the bottled lambics we get in America, but to me that only made it stand out as unique and reminiscent of those desirous sours that remain unavailable on this side of the Atlantic, Girardin Jonge Lambiek for instance.

Aside from its generally flat appearance the Lambicus shown a gentle orange with total transparency. Sediment did not appear to have accumulated to any significant degree in the bottle. A very minimal white head disappears within seconds of the pour.

The aroma is on point for a lambic featuring sour apple and lemony citric notes as well as hints of damp wood. Well aged cheddar cheese and the much desired horse blanket quality are there too as is a faint mineraliness.

The body has a touch of leatheriness to it but generally makes for easy drinking as the carbonation is so mild. Tartness is mild to moderately present and the sourness is just right in my opinion for the style. This isn't battery acid or straight vinegar but it gets the job done. Quite dry.

Flavors follow the aromas but with the addition of pleasant earth notes and a more pronounced woody finish.
As a geuze hound, I find this beer to be drinkable by the liter.

Without question, Jolly Pumpkin has done it. American brewers should all be proud. Yet another European Style has been successfully co-opted into the range of American beers. The brewers of Brussels and southwestern Flemish Brabant should take notice for it will only take a few more years for the Americans to master and best them at their own most sacred style.

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant – thanks!

Pours a hazy golden-copper color with a thin white head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of equal parts light and medium malts with large amounts of musty funk – wet hay with hints of leather. Also present are slight amounts of citrus aromas and slighter amounts of soft oak.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though more robust. Medium malts up front are joined quickly by large amounts of musty flavors – wet hay mostly as with the aroma with hints of deeper leather. Midway through light amounts of citrus and leafy hops come into play before being pushed aside by light oak flavors that carry through to a crisp ending. Mouthfeel is good, with soft carbonation.

Overall this wasn’t far off from a solid still lambic, but while all the flavors were there, it just didn’t mesh as well as the best from Belgium. Still, an interesting beer that’s worth a shot.

Photo of acurtis
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ineedabeerhere (Joe) for this one. Opened at a tasting 5/29/10. 4oz. pour from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: This one is advertised as a still lambic so I'm gonna review it as such. Beer is a semi-clear orange. No head, no lacing.

S: Fruity esthers abound in this one. Lemon, citrus, and apricot. Wood and peat overtones with a slight hint of ethanol in the background.

T: Citrus, grapefruit, funk, and a noticeable yeasty bitterness in the middle and end. Abrasive ethanol in parts with a tart finish. Aftertaste is a simple lingering sourness.

M: Medium bodied with no carbonation. Smooth and oily in the mouth. Saliva inducing. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste.

D: Definitely different than any other gueze I've ever had but this one is quite a winner for me. Complexities easily present themselves in the absence of carbonation. I also like the unique, smooth, flat mouthfeel in this one. A beer that present a very different experience to say the least. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of cjacobsen
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to sweemzander for opening this one.

(A) Pours a clear orange copper color. There is absolutely no sign of a head or carbonation in this. Some clear bubbles from a rigorous shake, but that's it.

(S) It smells great. A ton of light and citric fruits. Orange and lemon with a bit of peach. There is a bit of a floral, perfume like smell that couples with the bit of funk in there.

(T) There's a good musk that comes off of the fruits and oak. Orange peel and lemon zest are surrounded by a vinegar-esque flavor.

(M) Smooth, oily, and flat. Acidic.

(O) It's everything you find in a gueuze without the tart punch you get with the addition of carbonation. I think with the carbonation this could be even that much better. It's a solid beer, or a solid base of a beer that could be improved only with a better mouthfeel.

Photo of nickd717
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by sarro at DLD. Big thanks to him for hooking me up with some of this rarity.

Appearance is clear bright golden with - WTF, is this from Lost Abbey? Just kidding, I know it's not supposed to be carbonated. And it isn't. Nary a bubble to be seen.

The aroma is great for a lambic - oak barrel and barnyard funk, slight malty sweetness, and sour citrus notes.

Flavor is very good. Slightly sweet maltiness gives way to a nicely sour and funky beer. Very oaky and barnyardy with green apple, vinegar, sour grapefruit, and lemon. Can you believe the crap that fermented this was just floating around the air not too far from Detroit? That is rather surprising.

Dry and somewhat acidic on the palate with a substantial tannic quality. Medium body. As I mentioned before, a carbonation level on par with that of 2009 Brandy Angels Share from the bottle, or tap water.

Overall a solid beer. I give Jolly Pumpkin heat for being overhyped, especially on RateBeer, but you know, they come out with some quality stuff once in awhile. I could drink more of this, but I'll probably never get the chance. Oh well, rarity's a bitch.

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jsilva
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for bringing this one to a tasting on 5/29/10. Approx. 4oz. pour from a 750ml bottle into a small snifter.

A: Flat as can be (intentionally), deep yellow (or in the case of dehydration it's "piss" yellow).

S: Moldy apricots and burnt rubber. I guess this smells kind of interesting.

T: Peet moss and liquid freeze pops. This is a very medicinal sour, but I will give it a decent score because it's somewhat complex.

M: Slick and oily.

D: Acrid medicinal taste does not do this beer well.

Overall, I don't like flat beers whether it's intentional or not in a beer of a lower ABV class.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ipa247 shared this one. Thanks!

Pours a murky, somewhat turbid orange-amber. In the glass it's completely still. It smells strongly of oak, musty barnyard funk, damp wood and orange rind. Very woody and fruity; apricots and peaches spring to mind. The taste follows suit with flavors of tart stonefruit, apricot specifically. Very tannic, woody, leathery, like chewing on a grapefruit peel. Sourness is mild, and the acidity is balanced by the big tannic character. The body is still, but it doesn't detract from the deliciousness or drinkability one bit. Good stuff, possibly my favorite Jolly Pumpkin beer to date.

Update: I had a second bottle of this that had quite a bit of acetone. Seems there may be some bottle variation with this beer, or perhaps it just isn't aging well.

Photo of mbudner
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to TempsPerdu for sharing this one with me.

A- No carbonation, just a few bubbles around the edges from the pour. Hazy orange in color.

S-A whole not of barnyard funk. Stinky cheese, sweaty socks and "horse blanket" (I usually don't use this term because I've never actually smelled a horse blanket.) Bitter citrus (lemon or grapefruit peel.)

T-Very funky, lots of very weird flavors. Drying, very bitter grapefruit (interesting component mixed with the funk), some rubber. This is very complex and I don't know that I have many bench marks to compare this very traditional Gueuze to. Very interesting. Bananas? (who knows)

MF-Drying, completely flat, a bit of a syrupy burn to the finish. I know the intention is to be flat, but I don't love that feature of this beer.

D-Wish it had a bit more carbonation, one of the funkiest beers I've ever had. Possibly a little out of my league as most of my exposure is to less traditional blended gueuzes.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jedwards
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to ThirstyBird for sharing this at a tasting.

Barely noticeable hiss as the bottle is opened. Pours a brilliant hazy orange with no head to speak of. Nose is powerful citrus, oak, and a vague saison-y quality -- almost surprisingly, I don't get a lot of what I think of as the JP "house character" from this. Taste has a distinct tangerine flavor fading to grapefruit/apple, with an incredibly astringent oaky finish. The mouthfeel is slick and slightly carbonated, and dominated by tannic dryness. I doubt I could drink much more than my pour of this.

Really glad to be able to try this beer -- tastes like no other beer I've ever had. It's so great that more breweries are doing spontaneously fermented beers, and unlike some of the others I've had this one has been allowed to mature properly before release. Already looking forward to future spontaneous beers from JP.

Photo of Caudalie
2/5  rDev -48.2%

Photo of triptens
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lucky enough to try one of the first bottles of JP back in September thanks to the man himself.

A - Pours a flat deep golden straw color.

S - Cantillon-esque funk, very musty with blueberry and lemon rind. Vinegary and pungent cheesy smells.

T - Lemon rind, blueberry, sour green apple.

M - Very dry and acidic. Perfect amount of sourness for my taste. Finish is lasting and quite pleasant.

D - I've had it a few times so far and every time we've finished a bottle I've been eagerly waiting for a release date. On the eve of the new year it's finally here! Can't wait to get a few bottles of these and watch them evolve over the years.

Photo of ChrisPro
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of pperez38
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of boothbeer
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Graduation Sour Tasting. Split 4 ways.

A: Pours a gold, almost orange color, and a little cloudy. No head on this beer at all. Dont even see any bubbles.

S: The best way to describe this is as a spicy grapefruit. Also get some funk and wood scents.

T: Grapefruit and lemon flavors come through. A little spice and some sweetness as well to go along with a mild sourness.

M: Very dry and flat. There is zero carbonation. Has a mouthfeel of water. Intended or not, I think the "not impressed" 2.0 is the best way to describe my thoughts.

D: Pretty disappointed with this one. Smelled good, and other than no head, looked good. But the mouthfeel killed it for me.

Photo of Habmike
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one has been inconsistent for me. I've had it twice and it was different both times. Thanks to klevelandrocks for the trade!

firey orange and amber hues

smells sour, farmy, acidic

tastes sour, extremely angular and acidic, antifeezeish (2nd bottle),

first bottle tasted pretty sour but not overbearingly sour. It was funky and farmy the first time but not nearly as angular and intense...more round and easy

completely flat (spontaneous fermentation from barrels with no yeast or sugar added)

My overall score of this beer is more a mix of both bottles. My first bottle I would have given a 4.3-4.7 but the 2nd bottle was closer to a 3.3-3.7...looks like I need to give this one another shot!

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Lambicus Dexterius from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
86 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.