Calabaza Boreal
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Calabaza BorealCalabaza Boreal
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Belgian Saison
4.06 | pDev: 10.84%
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Calabaza BorealCalabaza Boreal
Notes: Collaboration with Anchorage Brewing Company. Ale brewed with grapefruit peel, juice, and peppercorns. Oak barrel aged and bottled conditioned.
Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 398 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy dirty yellow color ale with a nice large foamy head. Aroma of tart notes with some herbal and piney notes. Taste is a nice mix of herbal notes with some sour notes with typical funky Jolly Pumpkins strain and a dry finish. Body is about average with good carbonation. Bottle is a bit old but another wonderful creation from Jolly Pumpkins.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip to a light golden yellow topped by a dense and rocky two finger white head which retains well and fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with decent lacing.
S: Smells of lemony tartness, some spices, a little oak, some funk and a little horseblanket. A little grassy at times as well
T: Taste is slightly tart and funky with a slight peppery note. Nice spice and slight grassyness in the middle with a lemony tart undertone throughout. On the swallow this beer has a slight grapefruit rind like flavor with some lingering tartness and spice.
M: This beer has a moderate amount of body with a slightly slick and oily mouthfeel. Carbonation is surprisingly low for the style but not too low as to significantly detract. The finish on this beer is quite dry which is overall pleasant and expected.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer. It has some great flavors with a good bit of complexity that make it a joy to drink, This one has aged well and doesn't taste like it has fallen off at all. It's worth a try if they remake it.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 6/2016:
I watched the small white bubble lava flow rise up the neck before I poured. It was very slow, but I knew to pour slowly. With that caution, half my glass was still fluffy white head. The other half was chill haze golden.

Nose is wonderfully funky, with a hint of spice. Barnyard hay, musty wood, funk countered by what actually smelled like carbonated lemon seltzer. How does one smell carbonation? I don't know, but there it is.

Taste starts with earthy funk, joined quickly by a tart grape and lemon note that barely sets foot on my palate before the barn falls over upon it. Fuzzy, but softly so, the horse blanket softening the tiny blows a tad. A citrus zesty, lingering funky bitterness ends the beer, though my tongue still has a tingle upon it - thinking more a light spicy flavor than lingering carbonation.

Quite enjoyable, as many JP beers I've had are. I like the earthy funk. The tart notes aren't strong enough to overcome this, but put up a battle. I could use a little less tart, but only bring it up because you asked.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours yellow, with a very light white foam head. Aroma is spicy and sour, lots of brett, pepper, cloves and grape fruit. Taste is complex and not easy to drink, an ale for advanced pallates. Cheers.

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Photo of LAp
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tried in a glass on tap at Jolly Pumpkin. I was extremely excited to try this beer, particularly given the breweries involved, and the story behind the collaboration (and how JP inspired the founder of Anchorage to start a brewery) is tremendous. That said, this beer, while excellent, didn't quite live up to the hype.

There was a distinct brett funk, and good interplay between sour and saison, but the body left a little something to be desired. I was also disappointed that the peppercorn and oak didn't come through more prominently. They were certainly there hiding in the background, but not quite to the degree I would have liked to see. Nonetheless, a great beer, and one well worth trying.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I don't get any peppercorn, no oak aging, not much funk and not a whole lot of grapefuit juice... this is a pretty average saison ale that is not worth the eight-dollar price tag or the great breweries involved (Jolly+Anchorage)

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Photo of Dunkelganger4
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy gold orange hue with a thick white head.
Aroma: Grapefruit and barnyard Brett funk
Flavor: Starts off with grapefruit predominantly but then shifts gears into a more pithy and hay-oriented flavor. It finishes with a very slight but very lingering cardboard taste.
Mouthfeel: Nice thin medium body that has a slight carbonic bite that helps the citrus notes pop.
Overall: I was very excited to try this collaboration but it fell slightly short of expectations. The aftertaste of cardboard and grapefruit pith overtook the palate from the actual grapefruit juiciness. The peppercorns were no where to be found.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw with a large foamy head. The nose is straight funk with citrus peel. Taste is more citrus zest and mild spice. This is not as sour as I was anticipating from the initial sniff. Surprisingly clean finish. Thin body but enough carbonation to puff it up a little. Nice brew.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle poured into a tulip
(A)- Pours a hazy golden apricot orange color. Some decent white froth and retention
(S)- Lots of orange and grapefruit zest meets some lemon grass and subtle dry funky earth
(T)- A juicy orange and grapefruit front. Subtle spice meets a subtlely sweet yet dry earthiness
(M)- A nice carbonation level and balance. Bright fruit zests meets a lightly sweet yet dry funky backbone. Curious if any time will develop this further

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Photo of Potagold4
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Found in Portland at apex bar. Slightly bitter aftertaste, high acid, slight tang in the beginning, like cranberry or tangy fruit? We definitely enjoyed, not our dream beer, but not mad that we ordered a whole bottle. Wouldn't be worried about drinking too much of it like triple karmaliet.

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

Bomber poured into snifter

Pale clear golden yellow with carbonation from brettsmytes. White foam around the edges scant leasings

Aroma of grapefruit rind, dank, citrus

Taste of grapefruit rind Pinetops

Smooth mouth feel sharp bite aftertaste

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Photo of Jwale73
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Patricia for the opportunity to try this beer and for hauling it back from MI nonetheless. 750ml bottle served at 43 degrees in a tulip. Pours a dull golden orange with a dense, rocky, 1.5 inch bright white head. Swaths and clusters of textured lacing are revealed as the head gradually recedes into frothy dollop. Clarity is slightly hazy. Nose expresses citrus rind and light oak tannins as well as a hint of funk (perhaps brett?). Taste consistent with nose; however, there's a grapefruit seed bitterness that comes out towards the back and finishes with a slightly medicinal aftertaste. Peppercorn character is present in the background; however, it's not overly spicy and helps to balance the grapefruit peel bitterness out. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a carbonation just shy of lively and pleasant, mild acidity. Overall, another enjoyable beer from JP. Interesting, balanced and somewhat refreshing.

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: It is a bit of a gusher and then it pours out a cloudy honey color with a frothy head that leaves streaks of lacing

Smell: Leathery barnyard funk, oak, white pepper and grapefruit pith

Tastes: Fruity, at first, with grapefruit and stone fruit tones; in the mid-palate, the pith grows along with the oak, barnyard funk and pepper tones; Brett and pith linger in the finish but the pepper adds subtle heat in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A nice marriage of Brett, Belgian yeast and grapefruit pith and, of course, the pepper

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Photo of dipso123
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I am a fan of Jolly Pumpkin's Oro de Calabaza - which I believe is the base beer for this collaboration - but didn't find the combination of Brett and grapefruit zest appealing in the finish. It struck me a bit like really hoppy brett or sour beers - not a great combination. Saison character very hard to find in this beer. Well made but to my taste not a great idea/recipe.

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Photo of founddrama
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The citrus comes from the grapefruit for sure. The peppercorns come out nicely. Interesting, but I should have just gotten a short pour. Fortunately, it reads like the saison it says on the tin.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours out a hazy gold with a thin head. Smells of brett funk and crackery malt. Taste: dryness, dull bitterness, citrus, tart. Body: medium light body with mild carbonation. Solid and tasty beer. Nothing out of this world.

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Photo of Norvelljeff
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-great looking orange color with large foam head

S-Fruity with a hint of pepper and alcohol.

T-Very strong grapefruit taste.

F- Carbonation is extremely prevalent with this beer

O-Loved it. Would deff drink again if encountered.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy gold with a large three-finger foamy white head. Moderate amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aromas of Brett, grapefruit, lemon, pepper, and some faint oak.

T - The taste follows the aroma pretty closely. The taste starts with a light sweetness of orange, grapefruit, and biscuity malts. The sweetness fades into the Brett and Jolly Pumpkin yeast. The finish has some piney hops, pepper, and grapefruit peel producing a nice bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is creamy with a crisp bite. Dry finish.

O - This was an interesting collaboration that straddles the line of and Wild Ale. Good and Definetly worth trying.

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Photo of zander4dawin
2.79/5  rDev -31.3%

Light, hazy golden beer with a soapy head. Light tart fruit notes, peach, tangerine, plum, grapefruit, and pumpkin notes. Really tart and somewhat hard to drink.

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Photo of michiganmatt
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review Date: 9/5/14
Other notes: Bottled 4/23/14. This was my second time having this beer. I picked up a bottle earlier this summer before I started reviewing beers, and remember enjoying it. I have been trying to review all the JP beers I can find, so I searched and managed to find another bottle of this single-release beer to review it, before it falls into beer oblivion, never to be seen again.

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours a bright golden-orange. Medium head retention, although the carbonation on this beer was very high when opening, so not sure how long the head will last. Moderate haziness, but still can see through a little bit. Small to medium sized carbonation bubbles rising slowing to the top. Good lacing at the top of the glass, not so much in the middle.

Smell - 4/5
Tart citrus (grapefruit?), apples, lemon, maybe a hint of pine smell. Maybe a small hint of spiciness as well. Overall a good smell, different from other JP beers, yet it still has a similar core.

Taste - 3.75/5
Citrus, tartness, piney hoppiness. The tartness has flavors of tart apples and lemon. The beer has a moderate level of sweetness. The citrus has an orange-grapefruit vibe. There is a small amount of spiciness to the beer (I am assuming this is the peppercorns). Not sure how much I like the pine taste in this beer...I personally am not a giant fan of the piney taste, but it does make sense in this beer ("boreal"), so I think it's a good twist on the typical JP saison. Although it doesn't taste much like a saison to be honest. Also, leaves a not so great aftertaste in the mouth

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
Medium body, smooth. Carbonation is light. In between creamy and crisp. Nothing special overall with the mouthfeel

Overall - 4/5
Overall this is a decent beer, but would not make it into my top two or three favorite JP beers. Maybe not even the top 5 (of the 11 I've tried). But still a good brew. This was a single release so I wouldn't be able to get again even if I wanted to (not sure if I'd want to, given so many other good JP beers).

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Photo of wedge
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy gold topped with some amazing looking dense eggshell foam. Smell is funky barrel, floral, and citrus. Brett, straw, pungent flowers, dry wood, peppercorns, and grapefruit (though not nearly as much as I expected). The flavor is where the grapefruit peel breaks free, but it meshes well with the earthy, floral Brett. Peppery citrus rind, apricot, lemon tartness, white wine, and oak. This has that Jolly Pumpkin character all over it. More dusty, rustic funk than grapefruit, which I appreciate. Very dry, lightly acidic, and bordering on too bitter, but otherwise clean and easy drinking. Good stuff...

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Photo of tastybeer
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pale gold beer, large white head that is very bubbly. Aroma is juicy, sour, tart, floral, hay, wildflowers.... Very nice smelling as a whole. Taste is dryly tart initially then sweet and fruity. White wine, tropical everything, flowers, citrus skins. A very interesting beer and very enjoyable. Grapefruit is definitely there, and it works very well with everything else.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

OCT 17, 2014
Bottle from Whole Foods in Tanasbourne. The first pour is crystal clear, golden yellow with a dense, white head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose opens with an intriguing blend of Galaxy hops (pineapple juice-like), grapefruit and spicy, clove-like Brett funk. Earthy, farmhouse-y, moderately spicy with the pepper complementing the Brett expression quite nicely. Swirling the glass brings some sulfur as well - or is that the combination of black pepper and the hops? A touch smoky, not unlike black cardamom. The palate opens bright, crisp, snappy with a pronounced Brett character with flavors of clove, white pepper, barnyard, a touch of honey and a pronounced bitterness. The bitterness is a blend of hoppy, oily bitterness, a citrus (grapefruit) peel bitterness, a mild pith-like astringency, and a touch of spicy astringency. The spice character grows on the mid-palate with earthy and smoky black cardamom, white pepper and clove. Pineapple juice-like fruity sweetness is present. Drying on the finish, this beer is light in body and fairly airy on the palate. While the bitterness does keep me from drinking large sips, this is an excellent beer. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4/5  rDev -1.5%

An interesting saison, with Brett on the nose and in the taste, along with orange/grapefruit and Belgian yeast flavors. A little sweet fruit in the mid palate, finishes bitter with grapefruit peel and peppercorns.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 750ml. Juvenile label art. Baby blue unbranded pry-off pressure cap.

Distributed by the Shelton Bastards. 7% ABV. No specific style is identified on the label; just "ale" and "Belgian style biere." Reviewed as a wild ale per the Shelton Bastards' website.

Purchased at a local H-E-B grocery and served cold into a snifter at low altitude in Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the breweries responsible.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger in width. Weak off-white colour. Decent thickness. Has a webby airy consistency. Lacks sufficient creaminess. Cobwebby light lacing adheres to the sides of the snifter as the head recedes. Retention is average at best - under 2 minutes.

BODY: A vibrant orange-copper. Translucent and transparent, with superb clarity. Appears aptly carbonated. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible within. Has a subtle lemon cloudiness; it's a biteen witbier-esque.

Overall, it's a nice looking wild ale, but it doesn't stand out compared to other brews in the style, and it's not a unique or special appearance overall.

AROMA: Magnificent clementine, ripe citrus peel (including the grapefruit promised by the label), subtle white pepper (i.e. peppercorn), mango, lime, sea salt, and Belgian pale malts. I do find some oak on the front end, but there's no rich barrel sugar character or toastiness - just neutral white oak, lending little to the base beer. It has a damn near perfect floral hop character, which plays well with the spices and malts. What really works here is the fresh juiciness and ripe fruity notes - wow.

Evokes pollen and nectar without ever seeming too sweet. In fact, a kiss of brettanomyces sourness prevents any sweetness from being noticeable. While the brettanomyces is nicely complemented by barnyard character inclusive of notes of hay, faint earthiness, and straw, there isn't any real saison-like brett-induced funkiness. It's just that murky sourness coupled with the barnyard notes.

Overall, this is a mouthwatering aroma of mild strength. I can't wait for the first sip.


TASTE: The barnyard character is nice, but is more fitted to a farmhouse ale than a wild ale: hay, straw, earthiness, some funkiness (I was wrong earlier), subtly integrated brettanomyces sourness with a bit of accompanying tartness, white pepper, and peppercorn.

Aside from the brettanomyces, the only real Belgian attribute here is the Belgian pale malt base. I don't find the clove-ridden biscuity yeast you'd expect in a Belgian style brew.

The grapefruit peel is noticeable, but is only one citrusy note among many others, all coming together to evoke a juicy ripe fruit taste which works very well in this flavour profile. It's joined by notes of lime, salt, and buried oak. The hop notes don't stop there; it's got a marvelous floral hop presence which fits perfectly into this build.

Constructively, it does get too bitter in the late second act, and never quite feels like the gestalt whole it would require to truly be great. I could also go for more sourness, especially since they're styling this a wild ale. This drinks more like a farmhouse ale with wild and pale leanings - which is fine.

As it comes to temperature, I pick up on some orchard apple, a touch of crackery malt, a kiss of white wine, some vague zest, and still more spicy ale esters.

Overall, excepting the mildly irksome bitterness, it's a well balanced brew, managing its sweetness, sourness, and (mostly) its bitterness impressively well. It's a pleasant brew to drink, but whether you consider it a wild ale or a saison, it's not complex or intricate compared to the best beers in the style. There's some enjoyable subtlety in this build, but more is needed to compete with the big dogs.

TEXTURE: Not as dry as you might expect given Jolly Pumpkin's involvement, but still dry and lightly starchy. Smooth, medium-bodied, slightly overcarbonated, and somewhat refreshing. Thickness is apt for this flavour profile. Slightly acidic.

Overall, this texture is a good companion to the taste, but doesn't coax out additional nuances or elevate the flavour profile to new heights.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, harsh, or rough.

OVERALL: The ABV could be far better hidden, but overall this is quite a drinkable and enjoyable brew. While it straddles the line between a wild ale and a farmhouse ale in interesting ways, I can't say it's a world class brew by any means. Well worth trying. It won't disappoint, but it won't blow away the discerning drinker. Glad I picked this up.


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Calabaza Boreal from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 398 ratings