La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja
2,007 Ratings
La RojaLa Roja

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,007 |  Reviews: 792
Reviews by flayedandskinned:
Photo of flayedandskinned
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/0/13
Poured into a standard tulip glass

Appearance: (4)
Pours a murky reddish brown with a tightly bubbled, 2 fingers tall, light tan head that quickly fizzles down to a mere puck on tap the of the beer. The head leaves light, sporadic blotches of lacing as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
Tart notes of cherry juice leap out of the glass immediately. Accompanying these notes of cherries is a slightly sharp, vinous acidity. Just before the acidity starts to get a tad acetic in the nose, a soothing layer of matured Brettanomyces comes into play; big notes of dried apricot, musty earth and damp high. The nose is a rounded out by a pleasant, gentle caramel malt backbone. As the beer warms, some woodsy vanilla undertones surface.

Taste: (4.25)
As soon as the beer lands on your palate, you're rushed by a blast of clean, lactic acidity with a strong cherry presence. Providing some welcome contrast to the tartness is some of the Brettanomyces character that was found in the nose; tones of apricot, sun worn leather and barnyard funk. The light stone fruit character takes hold of your palate though out the smooth, caramel driven malt backbone and tart, off dry finish. Long, lingering notes of cherries, lemon juice, dried apricot, sweet breads and a slight woodsy vanilla presence.

Mouthfeel: (3.75)
Nice full body for a sour, with moderate to high carbonation. Does have a slightly watery finish.

Overall: (4)
One of the few sour red ales that don't get overly acetic; I am particularly a fan of the apricot heavy brett character this beer showcases. Jolly Pumpkin does a fabulous job of balancing the sourness with a smooth malt backbone, as a sour red should. Want a fantastic, year round sour red ale? Look no further.

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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 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.

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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 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 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 oberon
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn how cool is it to see Jolly Pumpkin showing up here in the Buffalo area!This is one of the few offerings suprisingly that I havent tried from JH till today,this poured a light hazed amber/brown with a tight well formed light brown head in my oversized wine glass.The barrel aging shows with hints of vanilla and wood with some lactic sour notes.Very food friendly but flavorful starting out with notes of grape and brown sugar with quite a hefty sour acidic finish but not not to much,yeasty esters thruout.A very nice beer from the home state I like a good Biere de Garde if it can be found and this is quite nice,oh and did I say food friendly?

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Photo of khoff5
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

An affordable funk becoming ever more available at bars in Madison, La Roja, has taken a special place in my heart as the cheap, punchy, sour brew of choice for finishing off a long night off big beers. It's big enough to stand out but not so over the top as to offend beer drinkers that shy from acidic or sour beers.

Appearance: Pretty muddied red/orange with minimal lacing but aggressive and attractive carbonation.

Aroma: oaky lambic core covered in generic sour fruit with hints of cherry cough syrup and lemon zest.

Taste: Biscuity amber malt body, fruity yeast, oaky and earthy finish of sour fruits and vanilla. Slightly barn yardish.

Mouthfeel: Moderately funky and sour. Medium body with great carbonation.

Drinkability: Killer.

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Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Roja pours a light-ish ruby red color with some copper tints popping out here and there. Translucent with a slight clarity as light busts through without much of a problem. A slightly foamy, beige head bubbles up and perches at about a quarter-inch, but fades to nothing but a ring relatively quickly.

Tart cherries make up a large portion of the aroma here; sour, juicy, and very fruit forward. It's a nice, clean smell - freshly picked and overly juice cherries, rather than syrupy and medicinal. Pungent, lively, and in-your-face. There might also be a little bit of a grape aroma, borderline vinous, but I'm really getting mostly cherries from this. Very light oak in the background but no real discernable funk or barnyard - at least not right away.

As expected, the taste is lightly tart up front but not too heavy - not quite puckering or lip-smacking, just a few notches below that. Cherries are abundant, but the grapes come out much more on the palate, and La Roja actually does have a strong vinous character to it. Oaky and woody notes come out big-time, especially near the latter half of the sip. Light yeast and funk notes come out a bit, too, but not as heavy as many of Jolly Pumpkin's other offerings. Oak and sweet cherry aftertaste, dry and carbonated heavily.

A solid offering from Jolly Pumpkin and a relatively "easy going" sour/wild ale that would be nice to easy newbies into the style without scaring them away.

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Photo of ricke
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Ruby colored with some orange hues. Slightly hazy. A big dense but still quite fluffy head with an off-white, almost yellowish, color stays around for quite a while. Good lacings.

S: A rather fine-tuned smell, with some faint champagne-like characteristics. Plenty of fruity aromas (mostly ripe apples). Some vinegar. Sweet chocolate. General pleasant tart notes. Plenty of funk going on as well - wet hay, dirt and horse blanket. Some phenols. An interesting smell to say the least.

T: Not as rich as the smell actually. Fruitiness (sweet cherries and currants, tart apples) and a semi-harsh funkiness (horse blanket, stable). Grass, chocolate, yeast, barrel notes, and dry earth. The finish is semi-dry with notes of green apples, grapes, some alcohol, faint medicinal phenols and a floral bitterness.

M: Medium body and the beer is quite dry from start to finish. The carbonation is rather prominent at fist but it calms down after a while. Actually, the beer undergoes a positive development throughout the journey, it opens up and gets a better overall expression.

D: This is a very good and interesting beer, but not exceptional. The smell outweighs the taste, which is kind of a shame. And as notes, it got better after a while in the glass. Would definitely have it again if it was offered.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.51/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One finger of toasted merangue head sits ontop of this opaque, caramel-colored brew. Aroma is of cranberry, grape, spice, BOOZE, fruit cocktail...actually smells a bit like cranberry-infused vodka.

Taste is tart, yeasty, bittersweet, overly harsh herbal flavor, powerful floral flavors, big peach and plum flesh flavors, peppery spice comes out with warmth. This beer starts out quite funky but things start to come together as you quaff. Overall kinda like drinking potpouri. Interesting, but not quite my style and questionable for beer de guarde if for no other reason than things are a little dark and heavy for the style.

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Photo of Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

La Roja by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. 7.2% alcohol content. 2nd American Wild Ale I've had and very excited. Old school cat design on the bottle red scheme. Blend 3,2009

A- Pours a dark glowing orange fluid with small off white head that falls to a frothy top and light strings of lacing grasping the glass.

S- Smells similer to red wine with floral rose scents and a yeasty tartness. Light hints of oak in the nose as well.

T-M- Excellent, pure excellence. First up is a dash of earthy malts with quick but sharp tart and bitterness funk. Second is a spicy alcohol bite and bourbon heat following. By god I love this beer... It offers up beautiful complexities. I note fresh tart fruits (apples, plums, and citrus). Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with woody bourbon feel lasting on the tongue.

D- Drinkablity is steller and i will be buying out the rest at my local store to celler and enjoy for the next couple of years...Or weeks Cheers!!!

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Photo of C1051
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

La Roja pours from the bottle a deep dark cloudy brown with a bubbly khaki head on top. Hints of red peek out when held up to the light. Aromas of caramelly, brown sugar maltiness accentuated by a mellow spiciness, apples and dark fruits. Wet wood with a touch of cinammon. Fairly mellow.

First sip brings a caramelly, burnt brown sugar maltiness upfront with a heavy helping of dry woody tannins. Apple cider with mellow spices, cinammon, cherry and various dark fruit notes. Finishes fairly dry with a lingering musty cellar aspect. A bit muddled overall...just fails to grab me.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a rush of carbonation that attacks the palate with each sip. Pretty easy to drink overall..however the flavors seem to be fighting against each other. Not one I'd seek out again and honestly my least favorite in the JP line so far.

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Photo of blitz134
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one in the cellar for a while. As the cellar dwindles down I finally pull out beers that don't fall into my normal drinking line up.

Slightly hazy, caramel body. Superb light tan head, 3 fingers tall to start and I slowly topped off the glass to be left with a solid inch of lump foam on top. Very nice, little lacing though.

Sour apple and cherry tart dominates the aroma. A bit of overripe white grapes too. Some lightly toasted malts and a bit of light oakiness. Smells pretty good, but mainly just lots of sourness.

White bread malting underneath. Not puckering sour like I was expecting, although there is still a bit of sour fruits but its toned down a lot by some musty notes. Overall, comes across with a nice earthiness. A touch of astringent wood in the finish. Alcohol isn't noticable. This is okay to me. Unique.

Mediumish mouthfeel. A good bit of carbonation makes this pretty crisp. Fairly easy to drink given its sour nature.

Overall a very interesting beer, not one you'd be likely to have from any other brewer. Flavor, like I said, is just okay to me. Worth a try at the least.

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Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of irrevjim
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a copper red with a thin layer of head
smell of sour cherries, a hint of oak and a hint of cider vinegar and sugar
i don't know what i like so much about the taste, sour cherries and vinegar, some grassyness and malty caramel at the end but the sour cherry stays, it's not a pucker up sour but a nice decidedly sour balance.i am a fan of sours and this one makes me very happy.
feels like just the right amount of small bubbles to enhance the flavors happening, very alive but not too carbonated, medium to large body
i really like this as an interesting hard to nail down very rewarding brew, wish i had the chops for giving it a proper review, also love that it's now available in 12.68 (why 12.68) oz bottles so not to much commitment and less of a hit on the wallet.

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Photo of Aaron420
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 12 Bottled 10-27-10

A: Poured a deep amber almost a mahogany with a small creamy tan head.

S: Soured cherries with a hint of a citrus smell.

T: A strong sour taste through the beginning that is followed with a small taste of oak. With more of the sour cherry to finish up.

M: A good bit of carbonation for a pretty medium bodied brew.

D: A pretty drinkable beer, wasn't sure if I would enjoy this being it was my first taste in the world of sours, but I enjoyed and cant wait until I can venture farther into the world of sour.

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Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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