La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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BA SCORE
4.03/5
Exceptional
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
jollypumpkin.com

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice, and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age from two to ten months.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#7,428
Reviews:
792
Ratings:
2,007
pDev:
12.16%
 
 
Wants:
181
Gots:
335
Trade:
19
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 792 | Ratings: 2,007
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep hazy copper with some definite sediment in the bottle. Good head and some lacing. The smell is of sour cherries and oak. The taste is complex with oak tannins and a funky sourness and bitterness from combined wood and hop flavors. A quite bitter finish that gives this an extra oomph. The mouthfeel benefits from the tart and bitter nature of the brew. A fairly light body, but very bif flavors. Quite refreshing whilst retaining excellent depth of flavor. Very nice beer. I think this brewery consistently challenges even Russian River for the best wild beers in America.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Deep red, with a bit of burnt rust color to it, but fairly bright for it's dark appearance. Opaque, with very slow crawling fine bubbles rising. Minimal head creation with a faint tan color, leaving a thin collar on the glass.

Wonderful bouquet on this brew. A great mix of balanced sweet caramel and tangy sour red fruit. Senses like a bowl of sour cherries, and sweet malts. Definitely getting a Flanders like vibe from this for an American brewery for me is kind of rare and very impressive. Sweet taffy throws itself in the mix too. Real nice.

Palate comes off a little more than disappointing. Light malted body and slightly wet, with not a lot of hint of barrel aging character. Some good sweet mix of cherry/raspberry like tones in the mid palate, with a nice controlled finish. Aftertaste comes off more light and hinting towards a summer light brew, which is impressive since this rolls in at a much higher undetectable abv. Slightly flat carbonation, but not giving to the caramel sweetness on the palate. Some mild pepper finish seems to give a bit of menthol heat too.

Overall an ok wild, but feels more like a summer quencher quick thrower, than a malty classic oak wonder.

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Photo of marburg
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On personal preference alone, this beer is nearly undrinkable. I get too much of a bourbon flavor out of it, and it leads to me to unfond recollections of college parties -- and then I want to stop drinking. It's a pretty serious reaction, really.

But after having this two or three times now and with notes in front of me, I feel qualified to discuss it.

Aromatics include a heavy apple juice redolence that almost reminds me of rotting apples and rock candy. A blast of whiskey in the nose clears the apples -- and the sinuses -- and making it a big difficult to concentrate on what else is there. My mom makes a sugar-sprinkled, butter coated pie crust, however, that lends a slick,oily, sweet, appetizing note to any of her pie desserts -- and there's something of that here as well.

One of Putnam's colleagues at Cloverleaf commented that this could use more bubbles, and I agree. The bourbon flavor weighs heavily on my mind and on my tongue as I find it difficult to swallow at first. More refreshing, lively bubbles would really help a drinker taste this beer. The bourbon barrel flavor lingers. And lingers. And lingers.

Astonishingly nuanced. But I don't think this is for everyone, and after thinking about the suggestion posed to me, I agree; this could use some more vigorous carbonation. Nonetheless, while the bourbon intensity isn't for me, this is an extraordinarily cool beer.

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Photo of thelagerheads
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

La-RRRooow-haaa! I say it multiple times in conjunction with any thought of Le Jolly Punkie. It gets me excited for some reason. I've actually day-dreamed about their brews due to their distinct and original spices, tang and the extreme quality of the product. It's like fresh milk refrigerated in the cow's udder that you can tap your lips into. I also have a tic where I will only buy directly from the brewery so this limits my consumption to a few bottles monthly.

This is an explosive cherry-berry dyed henna with sour bursts. The alkie content is elevated and a cranberry cocktail bomb explodes from the foamscud and makes ruin of the common lot beer and lambics as well. Fresh fresh fresh in your mouth like a miniature Hiroshima making fruit-spice armageddon. Ron Jeffries will make a drunk of me yet.

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Photo of Shaw
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color with a foamy head that reduces to a thin layer in my glass. The smell is spicy and sweet.

The taste is spicy, with a large flavor of alcohol. I also taste musty flavors that must come from the oak barrel aging that Jolly Pumpkin uses. The aftertaste is sweet and lightly syrupy. There are lots of wine-like flavors in this beer. This is a bit more subtle than some other beers of the same style. This beer makes you think about it, rather than pounding you over the head with extreme flavors.

The body is crisp and light, thanks to the higher ABV.

This is a very interesting brew. It's not an everyday beer, but one for a special occasion. This would probably be a good beer to give a person who's fond of red wines.

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

Had a chance to try this one at ABF in June, & it kind of stuck around in the back of my mind for a while, till I had a chance to pick a bottle up recently. $10 doesn't go far these days... or does it?

I pop open the cap, & once again, Jolly Pumpkin says "hi" with the near obscene trademark bellow of gas that escapes from their bottles. I recompose myself & pour out a glass, because by this time, everyone else at the table is already in defense mode, & dinner isn't going to eat itself.

The beer pours out like soda. Once a few seconds tick by, just a minimal amount of head remains. White froth sits atop a very appetizing strawberry colored body. Minus the umbrella(& a very evident concentration of spicy yeast), I think I just poured myself a Sex on the Beach. :confused:

My sexuality now in question, I go all in & take a strong manly slurp. I have failed. Orange, lemon, lime, & reruns of Dharma & Greg float through my head. No, no, I can take it, just let me put on my toolbelt first.

The carbonation is intense. The fruit makes way for your mouth to start puckering up. Of course it's sour, but the carbonation being so strong, it doesn't stick around very long. The residue from the bitter fruit ride to the end, where a bready/buttery finish tries its best to absorb & dilute the experience from your recent memory.

You know how your wife likes to gab. We can't let her know about the rest of the bottles I hid in your garage. It's best we not speak of this again.

P.S. The tupperware social is at 8.

 1,524 characters

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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

A- Poured gently from the bottle to yield a thin white head, which slowly receded... no noteworthy lacing. The body was a hazy reddish brown, and exhibited no visible signs of carbonation (no bubble trains).

S- HUGE funk (brett and pedio?) on this nose with big aromas of dark fruit cider, oak... and even a hint of vinegar (acetobacter?)

T- Sour fruit and oak are dominant on the palate, and I feel like there is a lack of corresponding sweetness here. Restrained earthiness and nutiness on the palate quickly turn to vinous notes that last through the finish.

M- A nice medium body which exhibits a fair amount of unattenuated sugar and a nice soft carbonation. Not bad for the style.

D- At first the unbalanced funkiness is a bit too strong, but after several sips the beer becomes very drinkable. Would definitely drink again!

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Photo of thecarster1
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- vintage 2010 - 750ml capped bottle poured into a snifter, orangey brown, one plus fingers fade to a layer of lace.

s- very sour, leather, touch vinegar, funk, horsey.

t- sour and tart, almost puckering which lingers, lots of leather - i've never actually tasted the flavor leather in beer but i get it now, and it's here huge! ample funk, a bit of lemon, unripe berries, horsey, the funkiness/horse blanket/leather gets more apparent as it warms.

m- light to medium, prickly.

d- nice actually, after you get over the initial puckering sourness it goes down very easily, very flavorful, and did not disappoint. i'd pick this up again!

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

Appearance:
A vibrant red/amber colored beer with generous carbonation fueling a thin, tan head. There is a little lacing on the sides, but the bubbles aren't tight enough to hold on.
There is also ample sediment for those of you that want to know if it was actually bottle conditioned...it was.

Smell:
This beer maintains a delicate balance between sweet and sour. The only noticeable fruit in the nose is cherries.

Taste:
The fruitiness that is less distinct in the nose presents itself as boldly tart cherries, unripened banana and peaches. There is a little funkiness, but mainly it's a well made amber ale touched by the sour fairy princess.

Mouthfeel:
It's quite a sour beer, but not the most sour beer I've had. The carbonation and sweetness does a lot to push a vinegary, sour beverage to being both drinkable and elegant.
There is a slightly bitter and funky aftertaste that lingers, but it's not as strong as other sours I've had.

Overall:
The beer's pretty sour and is definitely worth the price. It's no cantillon, but it gives me hope that someday...on the east coast...we can drink some tasty sours!
Even though they're still made several states away.
I would compare this beer to an ommegang zuur.

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Photo of Durb777
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of jklecko2
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of sammyg832
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750ml bottle into glass. Label is stamped bottled on date of '06/09/2017',
Medium amber colored body, with just a hint of red. Totally murky body. Any head quickly dissipates to thin ring. No lacing.
Aroma of berry fruit, mated with cherry. Funk and oak also.
Tart, sour taste of berry. Just a touch of sweetness but strongly countered with the sour. Lots of oak tannins. Caramel and spice are complimentary, but this is touched with the sour. Leather and funk are there too.
Medium mouth feel, which is greatly influenced by the sour nature of the beer.
From the appearance, aroma, and taste, this is a sour beer through and through. A good example of a sour beer, with funk, without fruit added. An excellent and well done barrel aged beer, then bottle fermented.

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Photo of patrick16o
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Pours an earthy red tone with a thick, pillowly light tan crown. A tad bit hazy with good head retention. The aroma has hints of plum, citrus, and spice. I find the flavor quite difficult to discribe. It is tart, sour, and citrusy, with maybe a hint of caramel and malt. Very unique, unexpected taste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good.

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Photo of calsbeek
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brewery is so underrated in my opinion. Once all the hype surrounding "imperial double black smokey chocolate stouts on oak" dies down, I hope this guy gets his due cred.

La Roja pours dark ruby red with a dense rocky head that quickly disappeared to a thin layer of tight bubbles.

The aroma is just exceptional. The nose on this beer is as finely balanced as any of the great Flemish style sours that are so over hyped (read: Red Poppy). I'd go as far as to say that the nose is worth buying a bottle by itself, but lets move on.

The taste of the beer cannot hold up to the nose. But when you're greeted by damn near perfection at first sniff, its hard to measure up. Weak body with little in the way of tartness or acid. Just a little barrel comes through at first. But the back end comes around and you pick up the spices and this makes up a bit for the wateriness.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice light body, good carbonation, slick on the pallette.

Overall, I think this is another very good beer from Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of anabar
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Boonedoggle
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of cultclassic89
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of aclockworkchris
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jorjoria
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy dark orange with little head.
Fruity aroma with a large peach and cherry notes as well as apple. Also a nice earthy undertone.

Nice sour taste but by no means over the top. Sorta reminds me of eating sour cherries in northern MI Great earthy flavors. All and all a great beer.

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Photo of JDV
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy brownish red color with foamy off white head. Smell is funky, tart cherry and some musty vinegar. Taste is funky, dry, fruity, with some cherry and very faint sweetness, but predominantly dry. Decent, but certainly didn't blow me away.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.94/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a bottle down at Total Wine in DE. Heard some great things about this beer so I opened it to enjoy during this year's Winter Classic. Go Flyers!

A: pours a murky amber with finger wide head. Head fades down to a thin lacing. Sticker on bottle says "Blend 8 - bottled on 6/10/2011".

S: mild to moderate sourness. Subtle oak, caramel, some spiciness, with a nice floral bouquet which reminds me of an elegant red wine.

T: moderate sourness with an acetic vinegar like quality that carries a red grape like taste. Superb.

M: sour with a nice bitter bite. Feels moderately full. After my second fill in my snifter, I'm feeling the alcohol but it neither smells nor tastes like 7.2% ABV.

O: a fantastic American wild ale. Can't believe I didn't try out JP's offerings before this. Will definitely check out more and will revisit this one again when I'm yearning for a sour ale that's both available and somewhat affordable.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 2,007 ratings