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: 1,981
Photo of JayS2629
1.47/5  rDev -63.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I hope that my palate is just too unsophisticated to appreciate this well reviewed beer, because it was not pleasant in my opinion. I understand what it is supposed to taste like, and it is off the rails for my tastes.

A- Dark reddish brown with descent head that fades fast and leaves minimal lace.

S- Sour socks, vinegar, tart lemon, sour cherries, funk, grapefruit, with grassy hints.

T- Medicinal, super sour, vinegar with cherry cough syrup, grapefruits, funk, and mineal water.

M- I guess this is ok. Medium bodied, nice carbonation.

D- Horrible for my tastes. I understand its supposed to be sour, but this is horribly off tasting.

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Photo of pwoods
1.52/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

750ml brown bottle, purchased at Dilly Deli, poured into a flute.

A: Pours a deep ruby amber with lots of hazing. A huge fluffy head forms and won't go away, lol. Some patching lace from the head.

S: Lots and lots of sour brett. I thought I knew what I was getting into but now I'm kind of scared, lol. Some sweetness and cherries try to peek through.

T/M: Super tart and sour cherries. Brett is overpowering to me. I can't finish this. Lots of champagne like yeast. Body is light and carbonation is extremely high.

D: Nope, sorry. I don't think I should try any more Jolly Pumpkin for awhile. I will eventually, though.

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Photo of RomanW70
1.57/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Seriously infected bottle. Pours reddish brown with little or no head. 10% fizzed out upon opening. Smells like a sour with minimal funkiness. Smells a little "off" Tastes a lot "off.' Very metallic taste, which, when combined with the sourness, comes close to putrid. Really watery with no carbonation. Drain pour. This bottle should never have been sold. I'll rerate when I get another bottle, but since this is the bottle I got, this is what I'll rate. Worst beer experience I've had in a long, long time.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
1.88/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Split a 750 mL bottle from Abe's in Bethlehem (for $7.50 I think) with a friend. Nice amber/brown color with some head that disappears pretty quickly, though this is quite understandable considering the funk. Everything seems good until I took my first whiff--all I got was sour milk. Taste is sour milk, alcohol and some nice malt but is very unpleasant overall. The carbonation is nice and highlights the light body of the beer. I was able to finish my glass but i can't in good conscience recommend this beer. I might try this beer again if somebody offers me a glass but I wouldn't buy it.

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Photo of hopsbreath
2/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bought from a local bottle shop for $11. Split into a pair of Duvel tulips and shared with TulipSnifter. Batch 5.

A: Couple fingers of soapy butterscotch head on top of a putrid mahogany body. Multiple blots of lacing. 4/5

S: Acetone (bleh), sweet vinegar, pie cherries. 2/5

T: Bleu cheese funk, except this ain't a good cheese. Putrid wood and rancid vegetables. 2/5

M: Thin, watery, and not good. 2/5

O: Not recommended. I'm not buying this again. 2/5

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Photo of Mitchster
2.1/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

750 ml bottle with a pirate cat wearing a red hat with french whiskers. Barrel aged and bottle conditioned. Pours to a murky medium brown, forming a modest light tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is kinda funky...cloves, alcohol, distant banana, and this wierd sulfury-leather-yeast-mold-booze thing going on..the funk is like wet, moldy pizza crust. Kinda off-putting at first. Mouthfeel is sharp, ruddy in the finish, and medium-bodied. Taste starts out with a whopping ton of cloves..lots of phenols, followed by some woody amber malts and mild herbal hops. In the middle moderate fusels and higher alcohols appear consistent with a poor ferment. The finish is ruddy like wet cardboard with notes of bourbon, window cleaner, and lots of warmth as it goes down the tube. Sherry like flavors muck it up as it warms.

There are just too many off-flavors here...the alcohol is too strong, the window cleaner fusels, the cardboard finish....tastes like a 70/30 mix between the god-awful Ommegang and the great Maudite. I was excited to try a new Belgian-Style brew from a Michigan brewery, but go ahead and pass this one sucks ass.

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Photo of digita7693
2.22/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I have really been looking forward to trying this beer, a moderately priced wild ale in a 22oz bottle. So when I finally saw it on a recent trip to Edinburgh I grabbed one.

A: Dark brown with a slight red hue, about 2inches of head that disappears and leaves minute lacing

S: i like sour, i like brett, but this seems to be over the top, and not in a good way. The sour cherries come through, but smells almost medicinal with wet, rotting wood

T: is similar to the smell, sort of what I imagine sucking on a piece of wet, moldy, rotted wood with some cherry cough syrup poured over it would taste like, but with just a bit of the cherries. mostly the rotted wood, moldy smell.
While the cherries are decent, they are overly light and taste off.

M/D: taste aside it sits comfortably in your mouth, but it is not something I need to drink more of. I got through about two 7-8oz pours and then gave up and drain poured the rest

maybe I had a bad bottle? Who knows. It was like a watered down Supplication with rotted wood and sweaty, musty sock juice poured in. no thanks

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Photo of Alkey
2.35/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought a 750ml bottle of this to share with some friends and fellow BA members but was busy the day of the event so a couple of weeks later I have decided to share it with myself. The appearance of this beer was very nice a dark red and orange color with lots of little tiny bubbles and a nice two fingers of head sitting on top that slowly dissipated. I breathed in the aroma and thought what a strange smell it was hard to notice anything but some sour fruit and alcohol. So I gave it a taste and thought is this stuff bad because I was told it was sour but this tasted like rotten apple cider. I wanted to be sure so as I continued drinking cautiously and noticed the lack of after taste and it wasn't making me sick. I kept thinking to myself I should have shared this with somebody more experienced with this style because I believed it to be an acquired taste.

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Photo of Bung
2.38/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy orange pour, large lasting whitish head. Astringent fruit ester, yeasty aromas. Heavy sour fruit flavors. Almost overly carbonated in the mouth. Yeasty, improves slightly as it warms with some citrus and red fruits coming through, but it is overwhelmed by the sour to me. A wild ale, but just another typical belgian triple or double. Not my cup of tea.

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Photo of Goldorak
2.45/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Sludge-tastic brown with plenty of chunks. If it didn't have that thick greyish head, It would have passed off as raw sewage. Serves me right for procrastinating and ending up with the tail end of the bottle.

Smell: A very progressive aroma that alternated yeasty bread, spice, alcohol vapors and caramel malt.

Taste: Just a round, enveloping rush of booze, not much hops or yeast that I was expecting. Mouthfeel was quick and acrid like a shot of vodka.

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Photo of emsroth
2.51/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle

App: a great red orange but a cloudy body. Being a brewer I've come to appreciate clarity. Low carbonation so a small head but that us acceptable for the style.

Smell: a strong scent of sour, unripe fruit and acid. A strange touch of cinnamon. Occasional scent of alcohol.

Taste: an almost fall harvest taste throughout. Strong flavors of sour apples and cinnamon. A bit of hop dryness and lactic sourness in the finish, but the apple cinnamon dominates.

Mouthfeel: medium body with appropriately low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, I just can't get past the fake apple cinnamon taste.
I feel like I'm drinking my generic cold medicine or a harvest time snapple.

It's got interesting characteristics from the wood maturation.

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Photo of LampertLand
2.53/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure why the liquor clerk had this with pumpkin ales but I gave one try and learned something , I'm not a fan of American Wild Ales , tasted more like a Barley Wine than an pumpkin ale , maybe that's what a Artisan Ale is ? Lesson learned maybe this will help someone in the future

Cheers LampertLand

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.55/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 ml capped bottle with a cool Puss-in-Boots label.

Appearance: Striking kool-aid red body, huge off-white head which leads a lot of lace as it fades. Streams of carbonation make their way to the surface.

Smell: Sour fruit smell, I wasn't expecting something like a Flemish sour. Not bad vs. that style, but not much like a BSDA should be.

Taste: Sour and citric, malty and earthy, a little carmel. The flavor has a slight metallic twang to it as well. Very tart, this beer starts to get on your nerves as the level in the bottle drops, kind of makes you wish for a traditional BSDA.

Drinkability: Well, this beer is just eccentric enough to not be A) Good or B) worth the money for the bottle.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.56/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dim scarlet red. Small beaded streams of carbonation rise very rapidly. The light tan head is fluffy and airy. Good retention is noted. Lacing is quite nice. Aroma is funky, sour, vinegar like and a little vegetal. Flavor is sour, vegetal, funky, tart, acidic, tannic and really not that appealing to me overall. Mouthfeel is quite carbonated. Fizzy feel to it. Airy and a bit gaseous. Light body. I'll pass.

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Photo of JulioH
2.59/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25


I was disappointed with this beer, even though it was on tap. It was very watery, it almost tasted like a watered down red flanders ale. No good.

Pour a red beer. Some sour, lambic smell, a little bit of brett. Taste is not there. It is dry, and very watered down. It gives you a sense of the red flander beer, but not the right type. It is just to watered down. If you use your imagination, you can taste the lambic, but it is simply not worth it.

Maybe next year's batch will be better. Maybe JP need a better quality control.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An odd and dissapointing beer. Poured a clear tranish brown in color. Kind of thin looking. Overly carbonated with a giant head resting on top that slowly receded to a thin film.Nose is nutty with just a slight hint of spice.

At first I thought this beer was an amber ale with te flavor. Malty sweet with some peppery and spicy tones around the edges of the tongue. Very thin in flavor. Also has a wooden flavor that reminds me of my 7th grade woodworking class. Slightly dry and very watery mouthfeel. Oddly enough for such a huge head on the beer there was very little carbonation in the mouthfeel. Just kind of a strange beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with a huge foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of brett is quite powerful a not the best of mix with the spices that are included in here. Taste is really weird it start with some great sourness and oak which is all ok at this point but when the spice kicks in it really doesn’t provide an enjoyable overall mix. Body is also a bit thin but carbonation is quite lively. I really enjoyed the JP beers that I had but I just don’t think this one is a good mix.

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Photo of rwf08
2.86/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel glass

A: Hazy caramel amber color. Thin white head with many many tiny little bubbles. head doesn't stay around too long. No lacing.

S: Communion wine smell. Tart, earthy, musty, some funk on the end. Not much else going on.

T: Winey, some wood. Mild tartness but not near the mouth puckering I'd had hoped for. A bitter astringent finish.

M: Thin with lots of carbonation. What I would expect but this just seems very seltzer like. I assume from the lack of flavor not just the thinness and carb.

D: Well I could finish this one but I wouldn't buy another. In the words of Jim Carrey "eh...I've had better". I'll just stick with La Folie until I can find something better.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

My initial reaction was that this beer tatsed more like wine than any beer I've ever had. After a little while, it was dominated by a familiar taste, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Then, it hit me.... Jim Beam! After that, it was so dominant - I finally had to stop. Halfway through the 750, I had to pour it out. It was starting to make me sick. Amazing that this is a relatively low ABV beer, because the whiskey flavor is all I could taste. I like beer, not whiskey. Not for me.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.95/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a Victory tulip. Batch 7, bottled 6/25/10.

A- upon opening, this thing gushed so much that I lost a good third of the bottle to paper towels. Yet, when I poured, I got a light one finger offwhite head that quickly fades. The body is a nice shade of cherry red. Looks solid enough

S- nice cherry aroma, getting a pleasant tart aroma out of it as well

T- yeah...the cherries coming through taste stale, and aren't very vibrant. The sour characteristic is lacking tremendously. Very medicinal taste

M- thin, but that's expected

O- all things expected, this was a letdown. This has been in my possession for awhile, and I cellared it fine....not sure what the conditions were like before me, but I assume sitting on a store shelf collecting dust. Not sure if this was an infected batch or what, but I am horribly let down

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Photo of Living816
2.96/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Disappointing. Once and done beer for me. Bottle says "Blend 10. Bottled 5-28-2012"

Lovely aroma. Tart, acetic, sweet, sour, slightly herbal and oakish. Lots of little bit. Copious little floaty bits in it. Reddish brown color. Teensy head.

Taste is horribly tannin. Horrible astringency. Tastes like heinously overbrewed black tea. WAY over oaked. Sticks to the inside of the mouth like a rash, coating the teeth and sucking all out all moisture.

Body is absent. Thin, watery, totally lacking in substance. Slightly sweet on the tongue, slightly tart. Slight funk.

Overall, a disappointing, thin, astringent and bitter sour. At $12 for the bottle, one of the worst values in beer I have come across.

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Photo of Skidz
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pour out a droopy amber-brown and sits cloudy, chocolate brown in the glass with a decent light brown head, fading quickly to glassy surface, no lacings to be found.

Smells like a dusty candy store complete with caramels, toffee and some bits of nuts here and there. Strong notes of oak and vanilla with some apples and turning cherries in there somewhere too.

Flavor is completely drenched in soppy oak, totally blowing over all other flavors. You can pull out some toasted malt character and hints of soggy cherries (as seen in the nose). It's like a Flemish Red stopped short of goodness (no real sourness) and then infused with oak until it makes your teeth feel like an old chalkboard. Finish shines with a warming alcoholic glow and mild bitterness.

Crisp in the mouth with moderate carbonation and a medium body.

This just isn't doing it for me. Very rough around the edges and not very attractive in most respects. Not trashing it, it just could be so much better if the oakiness was toned down... a lot.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Attractive ruby-brown semi-hazy brew. Head is rosy tan and initially large. It fades to a ring leaving little bits of lace straggling behind. Aroma is fun to take in. Maraschino cherries, green apple, rum, butterscotch, toffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, spice, and something tart....Jolly Ranchers come to mind though its been along time since I've had any. Taste is crisp, clean, sour, tangy, fruity...fermented fruity...and enjoyably bitter. Definitely some nutty stuff going on here in an intriguing and mouthwatering way. There's something reminiscent of stinky armpits in this...not to be taken negatively. Earthy and rooty flavors perhaps... Rooibos? The sourness of this grows on you as you get further in. Texture is lightweight and delicate. Grape-like dry, finely gritty, slick throughout, and generally lip smacking. Medium body with soft carbonation. I am enjoying this. A welcome change of pace.

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Photo of cokes
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dusky crimson-glinting brown adorned with a fat gob of buttercreme suds.
Rum-steeped fruit nose, a la fruit punch with cherries, pineapples, and apples, then backed with a stanch vanillin oak character.
Begins with a tepid fruitiness. Again with the cherries, pineapple, and apples. Yeast come in and sprinkles slate and sandalwood earthiness. But that is quickly shattered by the sour-tinged toasted oak. It leaves a semi-acrid and astringent burnt coconut essense mixed with a tannic and lingering sense of black cherry skins as it rides out forcefully vinous.
Light bodied, but it feels fatter with some element of clinginess.
The barrel-aging really just ruins this. It's too bright and forward, and lets precious little of the beer shine through. What they provide it not congruent to the beer itself, and the result is something that is muddled and atonal if not downright ugly. I suspect these are new, and just too intense, After a couple more run-throughs, these barrels might work perfectly. And maybe this would be a whole new animal then, but I suspect the malt-bill is needy as well. Simply put: on the whole, it needs help. It is interesting for a second or two....then it becomes work.

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Photo of jrallen34
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12 oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer is a murky light brown with a tan head that doesn't have much retention or great lacing.

The aroma is light funk and that's about it.

The taste is not good. Its supposed to be a wild ale but its more like a combination between a wild ale and an flanders ale but they don't know which they wanted to do it. Its light sour but not very good with a bad aftertaste. This is a very disappointing effort.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,981 ratings.
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