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: 1,982
Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft, in a tulip glass

dark amber in color, white head - good head retention. tart aroma. taste is fruity with a sharp acidic bite, but not too strong. refreshing. medium bodied.

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Photo of Nife
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice beer. VeryComplex taste. Based on a Flanders red but much less sweet and more complex than most examples. Tastes like a combination of yeast consistent A wild ale. Finishes w small sour. Getting a small vegetal aroma- but it's cold here, may be stronger when it warms up. Very interesting and enjoyable. Would order again.

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Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of Belgian yeast aroma notes. Bubblegum and clove. Flavour is very approachable with a mellow sourness bordering on savoury. Finishes with assertive wood notes

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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 jzlyo
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is cherries/berries, big funk/Brett and a hint of earthiness. The flavor is berries/fruit, mild sweetness, slight earthiness and big funk/Brett tartness in the finish.

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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 rodbeermunch
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Looks like a red ale. Very thin, off white head just under 1/6". Hits all the flanders notes, medley of wood, malt and tartness.

Taste was solid, the tartness took hold, plenty of cherrywood notes. The base beer has ample toffee to be there but not obtrusive. Drying wood notes and tannins in the mouthfeel.

A good, but expensive beer. Better options are Cuvee des Jacobins or Oude Tart, but this is what I would call leader of the pack 2nd tier flanders.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was good but drank a little boozier than I expected. It came off almost like a barrel aged sour. That isn't a bad thing, but I felt like something was a bit off. The flavor was nice but there was a weird combination that didn't work on every level.

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Photo of MIbeer27
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Blend 13, bottled 03-04-2014.

Pour into snifter with a murky dull red and shortly lived, half-finger white head.

Aroma of huge oak with touches of earth, tart cherry, vanilla, and vinegar.

Taste leads with mouth-coating cherry tartness, which is more sour than the aroma led me to believe. As it warms, this tartness is subdued. The earthiness, oak, vanilla, and vinegar are all there in supporting roles. The lingering aftertaste is that of red wine.

Mouthfeel is solidly medium with prickly-at-times carbonation. Sourness is on the lower end of medium.

Overall, La Roja was a nice introductory sour. While I admittedly am a novice to sours, I feel like this showed off what a no-frills, barrel-aged sour is all about.

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Photo of drtth
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer was from Blend 8, bottled in June, 2011, just a tad over 4 years ago and has been sitting quietly in the basement waiting for this particular evening.

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear reddish brown color with reasonable carbonation. The 1/4" head is a light ivory color with lots of varied shaped bubbles that soon settles to a ring, an irregular island of foam with an extra bit of thickness in one area. Eventually all that remains is a small island over the nucleation point. There are several small speckles of foam on the glass. Sipping creates several small patches and speckles of lacing even towards the end of the beer..

The aromas include tart cherry, a touch of vinegar and some clear musty, funky character from the yeast. There is also a touch of oak in the background. There is enough of that musty smell that it is sometimes noticeable in the room even two feet away from the glass.

The flavors are pretty much what is expected from the nose and include some tart cherry, a touch of vinegar, a bit of funkiness and some astringent character. However, the oak seems to have disappeared behind the tart/sour flavors.

The mouth feel is light bodied with a slight crispness from the faint prickly carbonation. The finish is relatively long and begins in the tart cherry vinegar flavor that rapidly fades leaving at first some tartness and finally a faint astringent quality that lingers in the back of the throat for quite a while.

Overall this is a well made beer, which is what I've come to expect from Jolly Pumpkin. The beer seems to be a reasonable expression of the style. While it is a bit pricy for regular drinking I could see having it as a special treat or a companion to certain kinds of food with dinner, e.g., salads involving green apples and blue cheese. Based on my experiences with other Jolly Pumpkin beers I also don't think this beer has improved with age. So I think this particular bottle may be a bit past its peak and on a slow slide downhill.

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Photo of Jasonclick
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

aroma: a medium vinegar and medium grape aroma.
appearance: reddish copper in color. no head. appears flat.
taste: slightly tart on the back of the tongue. . has a grape / wine like taste. A little on the sweet side
mouthfeel: no carbonation to speak of... almost flat. Has a medium mouthfeel but slightly watery at the same time. The lack of carbonation makes the sweetness linger on the touge.
Overall: would be better if the carbonation was higher to balance out the sweetness. Nice tartness.

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Photo of bnes09
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber color with a murky haze. Clean, berry, vinegar aroma. Flavor is mildly tart. Hint of fruit and oak. Deep earthy funk. Not the greatest balance. Medium bodied. Finishes flat and watery. Low carbonation. As far as sour reds go, it's just ok.

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Photo of irrevjim
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

 778 characters

Photo of rodmanfor3
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer blurs the line between styles and falls short of what could be a better beer. Not as sour as other Jolly Pumpkin offerings. Not one that I would buy again.

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Photo of 303beer
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful red color. Total sour smell. Wasn't expecting this because the bottle says artisan amber ale. Semi cloudy with small floating debris. Hardly any head when poured. Damn that's a sour for sure. Not bad but it's for sure sour.

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Photo of leaddog
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a copper red with a finger of bubbly tan head.

Smell - tart cherries, oak cask aromas, caramel, spices, apple cider vinegar, earthy hops.

Taste - Starts off with the tart cherries then goes into the apple cider vinegar and the caramel sweetness. The oak cask aromas, spices, and touch of earthy hops help round out the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes sweet from the cherries and then sour.

Overall - A unique and well made beer from Jolly Pumpkin. I like the fact that the sourness doesn't overpower the beer itself and the sweetness is just at the perfect level. A well executed beer. One to try if you haven't yet.

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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 FLima
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber reddish color with a thin head with short retention.
Strong sour funky aroma with notes of apple vinegar, sulphur, horse sweat, oak, vanilla and red currants.
Tart flavor with notes of apple vinegar, spices, green apples, lemon, grapes, yellow fruits, oak, plums, muffled spicy and earthy hops, bourbon, mild caramel and toasted malt, processed orange juice, lactobacillus and Bretta. Dry aftertaste with a round tannic bitterness.
Light towards medium body with appropriate carbonation. Acid acetic sensation. Alcohol of 7.2% abv is very well disguised.
Very good Flemish Red Ale, even though it has a firm tartness it still reveals great complexity with a myriad of fruits. Faithful to style and plays well the sweet and sour combo. Nevertheless, I would rather have a Rodenbach which is less vinegary.

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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 TreyIsWilson
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy dark amber with a one-finger white head. Lots of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma of vinegar, oak, and dark cherries.

T - The flavor is tart cherries, green apple, and vinegar. The barrell character comes through in the finish giving it a nice oakiness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice approachable Wild Ale. The balance of sweet and sour make this very quaffable.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: It pours a nearly opaque cloudy dark reddish tinted chestnut with a one finger head that quickly dissipates
S: Fruit, sour, winey aromas with a little bready malt in the background
T: Rich and malty with tart berry flavors and then the caramel from the malt begins. It has a spicy, tart finish with a little of the vanilla caramelly wood from the bourbon barrels.
F: Medium body and above average carbonation.
O: A well made, refreshing and easy to drink wild ale

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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 SomethingClever
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

poured into snifter

A: lovely reddish brown hue slight gaze pretty good clarity not much head at all looks bubbly in the glass

S: lots of oak barrel and vinegary grape smelling like wine

T: very wine tasting a lot like grapes dry can taste the barrel not very sour as the nose might have hinted at.

M: very flat not hardly any carbonation at all medium feel odd texture without the carbonation yet quite lovely it's not sharp and tart but more buttery and soft with light tartness

O: It's not bad but not something I would seek out this style confuses me a little why not just have a glass of wine. nice buttery texture though.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 25.9 oz bottle into my tulip glass, this beer pours a mainly clear, deep amber red color with some nice streams of bubbles rising to the top of the glass with a slightly off white head that is about 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch thick when first poured that quickly settles to a thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with some cluster swirls of foam. Not very much lacing however. Floral aromas of some yeasty, sour, funky notes along with some oaked goodness that gives way to hints of caramel and spiciness. Some subtle yeasty, funky flavors upfront that gives way to a nice tart sourness which if followed by some subtle oak and grape notes. Rounded out with a hint of just ever so slightly salted caramel sweetness. Just an extremely superb flavor profile. The flavors seem to blend together perfectly! Has a crisp, yet wmooth and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. has a very clean finish that really coats the inside of the mouth and lingers for a long time. Easy to drink in all the right ways. A very remarkable beer indeed.


 1,098 characters

Photo of gsmit
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very good for the style... But I am not a huge fan of sour beers.

I would have liked it to have been more fruity and less vinegar tasting... And maybe some more vanilla from the oak barrel.

The potential is there... But it misses the mark for me.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,982 ratings.
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