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: 1,977
Photo of GreatStoutman
4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This was my first venture into sours, and its still one of my favorites. A spicy version of a Flanders Red, its something I make a point to seek out every time I'm back in Michigan.

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Photo of goldenpeanut
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle in good exterior condition. Champagne bottle with champagne crown cap. 56F out of the storage fridge. Poured into Duvel tulip glass.

Bottle gushed slightly on opening, Had to pour into 3 glasses because of voluminous head. Head settled into a very, very rocky structure with a fine mouse on top.

Aroma of sour cherry with cellared notes, not oxidized but aged. Very reminiscent of a good Flanders Red. As head settles the cellared notes increase, this is the first time in an American Belgian bottle I have seen this level of cellared aroma. (applause)

Flavor is very much in line with a Flanders Red but lacks the malt intensity of the originals. The sour is balanced and not over intense but I would like more malt sweetness. The aroma continues to excite me. The flavor is of sour cherries and malt with a brettanomyces lactic sourness in moderation.

Finish is decidedly bitter and tart. I would like less bitter and more malt sweetness personally, but this is a nice interpretation. The aroma continues to please.

The head is supported by nucleation points etched into the glasses and lasts throughout the experience. In the third glass with no nucleation points the head remains in a thin but very creamy layer. Lacing on the sides of the glasses is really impressive, an indicator of quality in the ingredients.

This is probably the best American made Belgian style ale either of us have had. This includes the Omegang line. Flanders Red is almost an impossible style to make, and this is an excellent effort. As accomplished homebrewers we are awed and inspired. My complaints about the malt level are strictly personal preferences, this beer is within the style.

The aroma continues to please, to the last drop.

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Photo of macher0
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is one my favorite beers, especially flanders red. This review has been sitting around for a while, I'm just getting around to entering my review.

Blend 20, bottled 12-31-12.

A. Poured a dark amber-red color with a frothy, 2-finger, fine bubble head. Translucent. The head retreats to a fine bubble rim. As the beer sits, the head/rim is very minimal, but the ale stills has appreciable carbonation.

S. It starts off with a big whiff of JP yeast. Moderate tartness in the nose. Additional notes of fruits such as figs, plums, tart cherries, and cranberries. Moderate fragrance. Earthy. Neutral oak.

T. The taste comes across very similar to the nose. Their is a moderate tartness, but the hops bring a slight bitterness. The taste also has noticeable fruits, mainly dried-tart fruit. The taste has 2 main profiles: fruity tartness that gives way to a hoppy/fruit bitterness with an even neutral oak undertone.

M. Big-time smooth. Medium body, moderate to high carbonation.

O. An outstanding example of a Flanders, or sour ales in general. Belgium needs to take note. this is my favorite Jolly Pumpkin, mostly because it is widely available, very consistent, and solidly delicious. This is defiantly a session able ale. I highly recommend this beer and this is where I point someone who is new to sours.

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Photo of stompilator
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep, cloudy copper, light head with soft, bubbly lacing.

S - Very sour funk, citrus, and a hint of booze.

T - Huge, multi-faceted sourness right up front. Lots of lemon-y notes, berries, and wild plums. Almost tastes like sour crystals are swimming around in it. All the while, a light, crispy malt body hangs on in the backburner. The barrel adds a little more sweetness into the mix, and as the huge tartness fades, you can really taste a woody, bourbon-y sweetness amidst the residual pucker.

M - Very smooth with easy carbonation, but incredibly dry.

O - Definitely the most powerful sour I've ever tasted, but there was still a little bit of breathing room for the other elements to shine. Wonderfully crafted.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The nose has a ton of sour cherries, oak, caramel, earthy notes, vanilla, bourbon, tart grapes and just a bit of spice (cinnamon?). The taste is really strong on the bourbon and oak flavors which are immediately followed by mildly sour cherries, some grape notes, some earthy notes, a bit of citrus and a nice, dry finish. It has a full body for the style (lended to it by the oak, I think) with a medium amount of carbonation and a clean, dry finish. Just the right balance of body and tartness. Pretty awesome. My favorite Jolly Pumpkin so far.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle on atrip to RI. Im splitting it chilled and pouring into a snifter. The beer pours a hazy chestnut hue and is a little foamy with 5cm of beige head even with a very gentle pour. The aroma is big with red grapes and tart cherries mixing with some general booziness. The first sip reveals an average body with silky texture and very fine yet tingly carbonation. Flavor is rich and fruity with red grapes and cherry tartness again. There is lots of wooden oak flavor and bready yeast too. I even get a bit of flemish red lactic action to add to the tart cherries. NO hint of the ABV. very drinkable and complex. QUite a nice beer!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Blend 10 bottled 08-27-10.

(A)- Pours a dark, yet clear deep blood red color with hints of mahogany shades in there. Produced a great tan to eggshell colored fluffy foam that stuck around for quite some time.

(S)- A great dry earthy clay funk up front that turns into a mild sourness that comes off as very wood/bark-like. Some tart lactic fruits of some sort in the far background.

(T)- A great sour tartness up front. Has a nice delicate woody bite in the middle with some subtle fruits of a rasp/strawberry/cranberry nature. Complex to say the least.

(M)- A nice carbonation level; not too high, but higher than some. Really rather smooth due to its great balance. Sour, with a woody bite, but countered by some mild sweetness and fruit tang.

(D)- Just a great an intriguing beer. Fits the style well for sure. Simply a great beer to get your sour fix. Maybe it is just this particular batch, but was surprised at how low most of the ratings are based upon what is in my glass in front of me.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A very cool looking luminescent beer. Reddish orange. Cloudy, but not chunky. A very creamy looking off-white head sits on top. Very smooth looking.

S- Oaky, fruity, spicy, funky, sour, floral. Very complex.

T- Very floral, but not a hoppy floral. Oaky and sour, but not quite as funky as the nose would lead you to believe. A great balance of sweet and sour.

M- Wonderfully creamy. The carbonation level is perfect. Stunning.

D- Absolutely wonderful. The alcohol is well hidden. Everything about this screams quality- like every beer from JP.

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Photo of bernie879
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated late August '10 into a Duvel Tulip.
A dark, deep reddish brown, 1cm just off white head. Spotty lacing left throughout glass.

Picking up the the spicy, sweet cherry before I even put my nose to the glass. Definate brett characteristics, esp. horsey, leathery notes. Not much of a hop note present, may be adding some of the spicy aspects.

Taking in the first sip the dry sourness hits like crazy. This is followed by the oak really coming out and really holding the beer together, blending well with he other elements of the beer.

I really had no idea what I was getting into with his beer, just heard about them and someone at the local Whole Foods recomended this. I can honestly say this is probably one of the best beers I have had, will be getting it again and will be trying other beers by Jolly Pumpking despite the beers being on the outer ranges of what I am pushing as far as prices. If you see this buy it, truly exceptional.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +17%
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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Photo of Scriba
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 1, 2009

A: Copper red with a white head that quickly turns into a thin lid. Some lace.

S: Fresh and a little sour. Red currant and blackberry.

T: Red current, black-berry, liquorice and oak. The sourness is refreshing, but mild (which is good, I don't like to drink vinegar...). The taste is complex and well balanced. Very elegant.

M: Nice carbonation.

D: A beer I could sip on all night. Worth every penny I paid for it.

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Photo of pjbfromkc
4.66/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice reddish amber. Nice aromas of tart sour cherries. Not overly sour taste of cherries, lambic and red wine. Mouthfeel tart but a bit watery. I do wish it the beer was slightly more bold, but thats a minor complaint. Overall a very good flanders. There are better out there but this one did not disappoint.

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Photo of merlin48
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml capped bottle, served into a tulip glass at cellar temperature. Body is a cloudy, apricot orange hue. A large tan head towers above, very creamy in appearance. Sheets and patches of clingly lace produce quite the beauty queen look.

Aroma is superior. Sugary caramel, at first, then overwhelmed with grassy and fersh mown hay hoppiness, followed by a solid spice and herbal presence of white pepper, chamomile, and minty coriander.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is ideal, on the bottom side of effervesence. Velvety, almost.

Taste is exceedingly complex and very well balanced. Caramel malt sweetness opens, but is quickly eclisped by the dry, spicy, herbal, hoppiness that makes this ale so delightful. Grassy, herbal, and fresh hay notes lend an outstanding Saison like presence. A dark fruit component of prunes and dates jumps in bed with the faint citrusy mango toward the finish. Very nice in the herbal and fruit complexities. Finishes with a Concord grape skin dryness.

I'm fascinated by the Jolly Pumpkin ales that I've sampled. Exceptionally crafted, highly complex, and dangerously drinkable. Very different, and worth seeking out.

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Photo of BLACKOUT0213
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i thought this beer was great. in fact love concencration and when i took my first swig that is exactly what i thought of! mouth feel was full and sparkly. the taste was not quite as sour as the great concencaration but the aftertaste was, i thought, was much better and very desirable. overall a great beer at 11.99 a bottle i think it is a great substitute for the beer that i've been trading for.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a gushing, exploding bottle, pours a cloudy amber color. Fluffly white head sticks around forever. Aromas are super estery and fruity. Also the funk of yogurt is picked up. Sweet maltiness appears with some hops to support. Brett makes a strong appearance giving a good lambic quality. This is a really amazing beer overall with a very distinct flavor.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazed, rusted amber with a tanned head that maintains a strong presence and leaves strings of lace. Toasted sweetish malts only last so long in the nose before the brett hits. Highly acidic aromas of cranberry, cherry, and bitter oranges. Flavor reminds me of a mix of biere de garde and a flemish red, to dumb it down. Nice caramel and toffee from the malts, but the yeast has it all on lock-down. Peaches, raspberries, cherries, bananas, oranges, cranberries, and pineapple all working together with an incredibly refreshing acidity. Lots of brett funk. Mouthfeel is a little on the syrupy side, but I really wouldn't go so far as to say that. Excellent carbonation that is active, but not piercing. I could drink this all night.

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Photo of bahumutx
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Blend 5, 2008

Appearance: Pours with a one finger head. Dark and cloudy copper.

Smell: Tart like a granny smith apple. Some vinous aromas are also there. There is a very slight muskiness and malt sweetness to the aroma also.

Taste: Much like the aroma.... Starts with a nice tartness that is very close to that of a granny smith apple. The tartness continues throughout along with a slight wood flavor. Ends with a nice malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and dry mouthfeel. The tartness makes your mouth water some. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable.

This is my first beer from Jolly Pumpkin and think it is great!! I look forward to trying their other offerings. Keep up the great work Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Remember that movie Shrek 2. It’s puss in boots. Opened the top and the bottle started gushing, but not too bad. The pour is a very cloudy darker amber color with an off white with a slight tan hue. Interesting there where brown yeast flakes on the top as well.

The nose had a very Belgium influence. Sweet esters and malt mixes with a sour complexity. Reminds me more of a Flanders Red.

The taste is really impressive. Extra sweet malt with sugary notes, especially brown sugar. Fruit flavors are very noticeable as well. Green apple flavors, like granny smiths, as well as cherry and cranberry tart flavors. There is a dry finish with some tannin notes at the end as well.

The body is light with the dry flavor and carbonation rather high as well. Really this feels like a Flanders Red with the fruit and tart textures. Whatever you want to call, the cat’s got style.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a clouded ruby amber brown...I guess at this point it's safe to call it mahogany. Forms an effervescent light tan head that leaves at least two fingers worth of foam. Very nice presentation as it the head dwindles a collar of lace is left with each sip, leaving all senses appeased includinig the visuals. Aroma has tart cider oak barrel notes, it's almost perfumey in nature enticing to say the least...vinous as in from the vine notes run rampant as well. Amongst the poetry of aromatics this beer has to offer, comes an amazing spice mix and funky wild barnyard notes, in the words of Vince Vaughn's character in Swingers this beer is "so money". Taste definitely rings in with a rolling crescendo of different flavors, bready at times with hints of charred oak some bitterness from herbal hop bursts entwined with a caramel inspired malt profile. WIth thos spice additions delivered from the heavens above, also comes the backbone of the flavor profile that tart cider character. Delicious on multiple levels not much left to report here. Mouthfeel...this is beer that captivates your palate with it's medium body and fine carbonation it really goes down much too smooth. This is beer really captures the Belgian style ales mouthfeel that most American brewers have a hard time recreating and I'm guessing this is being pulled off with all of the traditional brewing methods. Drinkability is excellent on both in number and leaving me to desire more of the incredible flavors melded in this brew. This Haiwaiin/Spanish speaking individual up in Dexter, MI has not disappointed me yet and so far I've had the Bam biere, Blanca, Oro de Calablaza, and the Luciernaga all incredible I really admire these products.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 750ml bottle into an oversized wine glass the beer was a dark orange/amber color with a healthy slightly off-white head that was fluffy and retained well. Lots of carbonation fed the head and some nice chucky lacing throughout the sample.

The nose was sour upfront. Very nice! Exactly what I expected from others comments on the beer. A yeasty and funky nose typical of Belgian and Belgian styled sour beers.

The taste reveals its tartness first as a quick sourness then takes over the palate. Not overpowering but rather well balanced and delicate. This does not overwhelm the palate with sourness or tartness but rather a delicate mix of both. The taste finished with a little yeasty and phenolic end with ample carbonation. Some traces of alcohol make an appearance but well balanced with a malty undertone perfectly interjected with a sour finish. Some cherries show up and also lend to balance and tartness.

Medium body, firm and malty base offset slightly with ample carbonation and a nice puckering sour cherry finish.

It's very nice to see some great sour beers. The are satisfying and quenching and deliver eveything I look for especially in the summer. This one is a solidly balanced example. It does not over power in any one aspect and its finish balances its body perfectly. Very well done with La Roja.

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Photo of joemochas
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 17 from 9/16/11. Delicious, way better than fresh. The flavors really explode on the tongue with this one. I'd never had one aged before, and this was excellent.

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Photo of CTAID
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite brews. Described as an American Wild, but I would go as far as to call it a Flanders Red. Reddish copper in appearance, thin head that dissipates but leaves lacing. Smells like only Jolly Pumpkin beers can smell. A funky mixture of citrusy, vinegary, barnyard 'off flavors', oak, lactic acid, and flavors undistinguishable. Yeeeeah. Taste follows the nose, the malt and the hops are not the star of this show. Moderate carbonation, maybe a little bit more than moderate, gives a nice tingly feeling. Very vinegary. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of icetraxx
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at the A2 brewpub.

A: Poured a rather dark amber red into a snifter/large tulip with nearly no head (due to the lack of carbonation), what head was there stayed around for the entire trip.

S: A vivid earthy oak that had my nose submerged in the glass even after I finished this one. There were also aromas of Belgian/wild yeast, doughy and bready malt, vinegar, some restrained barnyard funk, and lactic acid.

T: Sour. Funky. Oak. Delicious. There are definitely some bugs in this one, but they are restrained. Flavors follow the aroma nearly verbatim, but with the oak a bit more restrained than the aroma. Very balanced and a nice mashup of complexity. The oak is highly refined and integrated with the flavors, a true masterpiece of a beer.

M: Suffers due to the lack of carbonation.

D: Rather high, I can -and did- drink this all night. The lack of carbonation isn't a huge factor in drinkability due to the inherent acidity already imparted in the flavor.

O: While all JP brews are aged in oak (as far as I know), this is the only one that I've had that has really screamed oak to me. I still strive for more sour/funkiness in my beer.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I love the artwork on Jolly Pumpkin brews!

The beer comes out a deep and dark yet still see through amber(so shit right?)perhaps burgundy color sporting little to no head despite a relatively aggressive pour.

THe nose is huge! Lots of oak, something in the way of dark rum or bourbon??Vanilla and caramel candy, and a tartness is also present in the way of cherries and vinegar.

The flavor is a masterful mix of the above mentioned players. Sweet makes it's way to tart. Cherry flavor is very pronounced. Oak is also a very big factor. Caramel and 'nilla play good supporting roles. Tannins also give this beer a wine like characteristic.

Lightly carbonated light body.

I have just recently developed a taste for sour beers, and I must say that this beer has definately helped my new found affection for this style grow exponentialy. Drinkability you ask?? Off the charts, I loved every sip!

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Photo of RickSawyer
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy amber with a thin peanut butter head that quickly dissipates. Nose is oaky, merlot. Definitely oaky with some alcohol, red wines run deep, some raspberry. Some definite tannin, like chewing on a grape stem. Taste is spicy and bitter pheonols, peppery, red apple and sour raspberries. This is complex and oaky, quite astringent, dark currants and a hint of brown sugar. The finish is a bit salty and sour. Sort of similar to licking a salted lemon peel. Mouthfeel is smooth, watery and ends dry leaving the mouth with a beautiful tart after taste. First offering f/ Jolly Pumpkin and I am in love.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,977 ratings.
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