La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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La RojaLa Roja

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

Style: American Wild 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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-14-2004

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Reviews: 789 | Ratings: 1,978
Photo of jwhancher
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
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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Photo of jthahn
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber, poured into a snifter. Blend 14,2009.

A - a lovely read shade, the beer is quite clear and free of sediment.

S - reminds me of supplication. Light wine notes, as well as cherries. Wonderful smell.

T - crisp with a great amount of sourness. This is certainly a tart beer but very refreshing.

M - again very crisp. The beer is light but does a lot of work on your mouth. The sourness means the beer lingers fpr a while.

D - a bomber is easy to put away. This beer is light with excellent flavro and aroma, perfect for multiple drinks.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

La Roja! I am constantly amazed that a beer of such quality is consistently available to me at a reasonable price. I've had old bottles, young bottles and from the tap and each one is a god damned treat.

Pours a ruby red with brown highlights, a white wisp of foam on top with grapefruit and candy sugar aroma wafting off. The flavor is top notch, some Germanic malts, mineral salts and grapefruit rind, some hop aromatics, some love and care.

Each blend has highlights, each batch some variance. Blend 10 from 2012 is particularly superb with candy sugar notes and a delicate tartness buoyed by funky breath. God damn if it doesn't just get me all hot and bothered.

Jolly Pumpkin, marry me.

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Photo of thelagerheads
4.9/5  rDev +22.8%
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 corby112
4.89/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark amber color with foamy white head. Excellent aroma of oak, whiskey, vanilla, sour cherry, wood and dark fruit. Oak whiskey flavor along with sour cherries and dark fruit are an amazing compliment to its spicy amber flavor. Amazing!

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Photo of ImusBeer
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was a wonderful lightly spiced beer. I poured a dark amber with off white head of about two finger. As it died down a small amount always was on the surface. There was a small amount of lacing as well.
The smell was all Spices, nutmeg and coriander mainly with some citrus. The tast was also citrus spice malt & nutmeg with a very carbonated mouthfeel. At 750ml is just too much but what bliss, I also have to mention that I had list at a pub and paid over $25 USD.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What more do you want? A refreshing beer by any standard, an a great example of the style. I have had better but not by much.

Look- a pleasing amber color.
Smell- the pleasing acidic aroma of a good sour brown.
Taste- awesome, tart and sour with a bit of cherry and dark fruit.
Feel- just a tad thin for such a tasty beer, the carbonation is tight if a bit underwhelming.
Overall- instead of witty comments, I will just drink another.

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Photo of frazbri
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby brown body with a high tan head. Aroma of oak, apple, apricot, and vanilla. Flavors of vanilla, oak, black curran, and bourbon.

I was at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Festival and saw the listing for Jolly Pumpkin. I had visions of pumkin ales and other kitche brews. I passed it by... big mistake. The labeling and beer names may be jolly and jovial, but this is serious beer. Its been a long time since I've had a beer that blew me away. La Roja did. All Hail Jolly Pumpkin!

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle

A: Deep hazy amber with a chunky tan head, good lacing and good head retention

S: Great aroma, sweet and sour, apples, caramel, caramel apples, some yeast and other fruit. Excellent!

T: Sour, apple skin, dry finish, yeasty, no hint of alcohol, slight bitterness, again: Excellent!

M/D: Mild amount of carbonation, full bodied, creamy texture, really drinkable but a sipper.

This is probably the best beer I have ever had (at the time of writing) and I am very impressed with what Jolly Pumpkin has made here.

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Photo of schusterbauer
4.84/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a dizzying experience, all around.

murky red/brown beer fills the glass and the smell of jack daniel's whiskey fills the air (quite specifically jack daniel's). underneath the bourbon aroma is a host of musty, fruity and spicy notes -- library books, rotting lemon peels, wet gravel, burnt pizza crust.
the first flavor that jumps out to me is wood -- rain-soaked wood chips. then come unexpected spice flavors, pizza spices, like oregano, rosemary. maybe some mint. citrus and honey manifest in the back of the mouth.
and this is just some of it. there are so many flavors blending and competing here that it would be damned near impossible to identify them individually. but i think that's the point.
despite all of the rugged flavor interactions, the beer feels pristinely clean in the mouth. texture is smooth, even though the flavors might contort your face a bit when swallowed.

this is adventurous, challenging, rewarding, superbly-crafted beer.

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Photo of barleywineman
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer is very fruity, bitter sourness but not very,
you get cherry strawberry aromas,some kind of barrel aged wood notes & alchol filling vapors, it's perfect for warm summer thirst quenching drinking! It's sort of like a Bordeaux in beer form Awesome an amazing style of beer great color, swirl it and it creates a finger of head each time. this is the Batch 3 2009
Go get it! distributed by Stone Brewery San Diego Ca

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Photo of nickhiller
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: copper and cloudy, thick swirls of particulate. A clean khaki rim from soft bubbles just surface, lacing like soap bubbles.

S: intense passion fruit, also floral, like violet, musty Brett of course, brown sugar, a little sherry, strong minerals--like quaffing the air in a iron mine.

T: lots of the tart tropical fruits--passion fruit, goji berries, pomegranate--caramel, a little apple cider vinegar, rich malts on the finish give it a nice roasty-toasty-bready deliciousness before the dryness wipes it away. Some lingering vanilla bean and rum.

M: light-bodied, crisp and very dry, a touch of alcohol heat.

O: the smell is absolutely exceptional, it smells more like a freshly cut passion fruit than a freshly cut passion fruit does. Not sure why this one doesn't have a higher rating. It might not be the rarest JP out there, but it's certainly top-notch.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was blown away the first time I had this beer. It pours a hazy amber color with a 4mm off-white head. The smell is incredible, a lovely punky and sharp aroma. The taste is a rush of sour with notes of soil, wood, citrus, and spices. The aftertaste is sweet/sour and hangs in there in a pleasant way. The mouthfeel is medium, lots of carbonation, and a mild stinging from the acidity. The beer is surprisingly complex in its flavor. This is a great sipping beer.
WOW! Man do I love this beer! Not only is it my favorite from Jolly Pumpkin but one of my favorite American-man beers period.

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Photo of ken3c
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear deep red. A thick creamy head recedes to layer of fine foam. Lots of lacing is evident.

Smells like carmel and vanilla. It's quite pungent.

I taste the carmel and vanilla notes but also a nutty finish. By nutty, I mean like black walnut. I'm sure it comes from the oak conditioning but it reminds me so much of black walnut that I find myself picking my teeth. Now, I think, I know what chewy tastes like.

Medium body and silky smooth. Very warming.

At first taste, I didn't think I'd like this beer as much as the Oro de Calabaza. Near the end, I knew I'd like it at least as much. Now, I can't wait for the next one. As far as I'm concerned, this is a truly great beer.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

popped the cap on this bottle and a little foam started to ooze above the surface.

Poured into an oversized wine glass a hazy dark amber that when held up to light displays lighter tones of golden amber. There was a quick one finger head that fizzled into a substantive layer or dense slightly off white bubbles. Moderate amount of lacing.

Super funky nose, very burgandy-esque. Earthy, barnyard mixed with cherry like fruit. The oak is extremely well integrated, only a faint hint of it on the nose, a it toasty, maybe a small amount of vanilla.

Sour taste, tart fruit, white cherries, plums, berries, earthy, wet wood, mushroom. Oak is more present in the taste as it warms. Decent amount of acidicy this would be a amazing food beer.

Feels full in the front of the mouth, but gets lean toward the finish. Off Dry finish. Fairly light amount of carbonation, but it's just right

This is a fantastic beer. Would be amazing with food, I could see it going well with a matter of fact I may just try that this weekend

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Photo of shawnsmith1
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 1 Bottled 1-13-2011

A: pours a slightly hazy amber-red into tulip. 1 finger tan head.

S: Bursts sour cherry right out of the gate. A bit of funk and some fruit esters (apple, pear) overtop of earth and mushroom.

T: tart, sour.

M: light bodied, lively carbonation. Finishes a touch spicy (white pepper), with cranberry skIns, wood/ cherry pits.

O: reminds me of a kriek lambic. Light bodied, with some complexity. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of DukeKensington
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I bought this beer I didn't realize it was barrel aged. I read Amber Ale and then grabbed the bottle. I've had a few others from Jolly Pumpkin, and I'm always curious to try an amber ale. It says a lot about this beer that even though I took my first sip expecting a vastly different beer, I wasn't even remotely put off by what I got.

A - A fairly murky burgundy with a very attractive head that recedes quickly.

S - My first hint that something was different about this amber. Tons of fruit aromas. Coming back to it later after realizing it had been barreled age the oak was a little more obviously present, but still just barely.

T - Sour, but still very sweet. The oak flavors were way stronger than the aromas. A few other (not unpleasant) flavors I couldn't really identify that I might chalk up to yeast. But I could be totally wrong. If all ambers tasted like this I would drink more of them.

M - I can basically best describe the mouth feel with the word "wine". Fairly thin, with a pleasantly mild amount of carbonation.

D - One of the best beers I've had lately. It solves the "beers my girlfriend would like" conundrum very easily. As an added bonus, the alcohol content is not outrageously high. Of course, it's not exactly cheap, but definitely worth the money spent.

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Photo of goethean
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Badly over-carbonated. Nice complex malty aroma. Caramel flavor. Medium to light-bodied. Slight hops dryness towards the end. Complex, indescribable interplay of bitterness and sweetness. I think that there are lots of (off?) flavors just below the threshold level. You can't identify butterscotch, or oxidation, or sweaty horse blanket, but I think that together, the blend of trace amounts of these flavors contribute to an interesting beverage that beckons you to try it again in the hopes of nailing down exactly what you're tasting.

Highly drinkable. Alcohol content is well-hidden. Call me a Philistine, but I actually enjoy this more than the more vinegary La Roja Grand Reserve.

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Photo of SirSketch
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Deep blood red, even purple in spots, and an off-white head clinging to the glass.

S - Such an amazing sour nose with floral notes, apricot, honey and sugary candy aroma to back it up. I don't even need to drink this beer, the aroma is that good!

T - Starts out shockingly tart, but soon mellows out and tastes of cherries and an earthy, rose-water floral character. Quite a bit of malt influence in the form of sweet graham cracker and grainy flavors.

M - Medium bodied, not too dry and doesn't leave an overly sugary mouthfeel like most sours.

O - Goddamn delicious! Balanced in all of its flavors, extremely layered and extremely drinkable

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Photo of gregc
4.79/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a copperish color with a decent amount of head that slowly subsided.

Smell was sour fruit and funk, the first pass it almost smelled like a red wine.

Taste was really good in my opinion, caramel, sour fruit with a bit of pepper in there too. Nice tart finish.

Im a very big fan of wild / funky and sour ales, so i wasn't surprised i really liked this one. Another good beer from Jolly Pumpkin, to bad its so hard to locate here in NY.

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Photo of nortmand
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark amber and crystal clear, with a red hued foam and a decent two finger lacing.
The smell has a deep banana tone with a muted spiciness and, dare I say it, creamy backdrop.
Ripe bananas abound upon first gulp. The beer actually has some creamy qualities, different from what I've had before, on the sides of the tongue. It ends with intermingling roast and alcohol flavor. In fact, my only complaint with this beer is that the alcohol isn't hidden too well. But, considering the brewery's size, I can't complain too loudly.
Nice, fizzy mouthfeel, that rolls smoothly across the tongue.
Very drinkable, this brewery is already producing phenomenal beers, I can't wait for the future!

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Photo of putnam
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At this early stage (Ron Jeffries opened this brewery only last month!) this must alreadly be included among the best Belgian inspired breweries in North America.
On the nose it offers a wealth of fruit cocktail sweetness with intense aromas of cherry jam, browned pastry crust and toasted, mashed hazelnuts and almonds.
On the palate it shows its breeding and class with firm, powdery cocoa-flavored tannins that overlay and restrain loads of chewy fruits. Lots of dry, peppery chalk flavors combine with nougat, glycerin and brandy notes - the latter hyperactivate the texture and leave the impression that this is a more transparent, medium-bodied liquid rather than opulent and thick. The effect is definitively dry.
On the finish volatile, sinus-clearing fumes of cracked anise, pepper, cumin and rye explode from the back to add an odd, tragicomic twist to this beer loaded with dualities.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blend 5, 2009

A - Pours a cloudy chocolate covered cherry red/brown color with a 1 inch head that fades to a 1/2 inch cap. The lacing is somewhat little on this beer.

S - Smells of sour fruits (cherry), vinegar (balsalmic maybe), and funky yeast/bacteria.

T - Tastes like it smells. Tart sour cherries, balsalmic vinegar, and funk all blend together. Very tasty.

M - Beer has good carbonation, so it is pretty smooth. It leaves a coating of funk taste in the mouth (not a bad thing).

D - Very, very good. I am very glad I picked this one up. However, at $11.99 a bottle I will save this one for a once in a while drink.

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Photo of J-Rye
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The bottle was marked as Blend 9, and bottled on 4-19-2013. This was another fantastic beer from Jolly Pumpkin. It was a bit more puckeringly sour than expected. In my experience their beers are moderately sour, but this one, while not full force like Sour in the Rye, was on the more sour side of the spectrum. It wasn't so sour, however, that the oak and malts didn't make their ways through.

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Photo of seedsofchaos
4.74/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Jolly Pumpkin! A friend of mine is a beer geek and always has delicious treats whenever we come over and is always surprising me. Served from the March 2008 batch into a brandy snifter... I think... We had several beers in us by this point...

A: Nice amber color with a head that sticks around.

S: Immediately I thought: "TAFFY!" It smelled so sweet... almost like candy. The taffy smell eventually mellowed into a sweet apple scent mixed with a little funk that I couldn't describe.

T: The fist sip was almost overpoweringly sweet. Then it just became a smooth sweetness that I really enjoyed. Very fruity with just the right amount of acidity.

MF: Good carbonation I remember... a little hard remembering the exact feel now, looking back.

D: Fantastic! This was a great beer to sit around and share. I think this would also make a great one to sit outside on a fall day. Reminds me of drinking fresh cider... but better.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,978 ratings.
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