La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

very good
1,985 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,985 |  Reviews: 789
Photo of cavemanlawyer1999
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of diamondlie
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%

Photo of banger7
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of crwills
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a tasting with northyorksammy, biegaman, grub, and derek. Thanks guys!

Attractive caramel colour with no head. Mildly sour orange or tangerine aroma. Flavour is wild yeast, brett, and mild apple/pear flavours. Fairly restrained compared to other Jolly Pumpkin beers I've tried. Good mouthfeel, rather dry. Spicy aftertaste, although I can't identify the specific flavour. Good stuff!

 394 characters

Photo of MCain04
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

FInally getting around to trying this one, 750ml bottle for $15, batch 7, 04/09/13. Poured into Hill Farmstead stemware.

Pours a murky orange-brown with minimal tan head, average retention.

Smells like a green-apple pie. Sour green apple, sweet red apple, vanilla, cinnamon, chardonnay grapes.

Tart green apple taste, not too funky, crisp and dry at first, some lactic acid, sort of a mellow body, cinnamon and spices linger with an oaky aftertaste coming in on the back end. Very good, but it seems like a significant portion of the middle of the taste is watery and without definition, and not a lot of barrel character.

Feels crisp and dry, smooth, refreshing, perfectly med-high carbonated.

Overall, great flavors make this a really enjoyable experience. Not the most sour of sours, and a bit of a let down on the barrel character, but over still a very nice beer that I'd be happy to enjoy again.

 906 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Blend 11 2007. Served in a Duvel tulip.
Poured a hazy amber/brown with a low head. Really nice fruity aroma with some sour cherries and anise. Starts out tart and fruity, but not nearly as sour as the aroma would suggest. Effervescent mouthfeel. There is some woody flavors and vanilla in the finish. Hint of spice. Interesting take on the style.

 360 characters

Photo of mgbickel
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Piraat tulip. Bottled on 06/24/2011...consumed today...

A single finger of bone foam formed on top of the muddy amber body. The head dissipated quickly, leaving behind small trails of lace.

Funk and fruit dominate the nose...wild yeast up front with cherries and fermented malts lingering around in the background.

The taste starts off with a puckering sour-ness that lasts pretty much throughout the taste. The middle finds a caramel backbone that is joined by phenols and spices...interesting and enticing all at the same time.

Medium bodied with a dry finish; moderate carbonation.

This is a very drinkable beer that grows on you as the bottle level gets lower...great example of a "wild brown"...

 739 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gotta love American brewers doing funky oak aged Belgian ales, and doing it right. Appears an inviting deep russet red-brown, a healthy and foamy head both in the glass and in the remainder of the bottle, lasts as long as the beer does. This is really lambic-y up front... tart lime and apple, lemon rind, funky wet wood and dust. However as you drink it and as it warms, the delicious hearty caramel notes of a well made Belgian ale come through from underneath. Once your tongue gets used to the sourness there's plenty more to this beer. Sweet, earthy, ripe, and fruity. This beer has an excellent prickly and lively texture, quite complex flavors, and keeps you interested through and through. A real piece of work in artisan brewing.

 738 characters

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 4, 2009

What a find here. Saw this one at my local liquor store and finally decided to bite--I'm glad I did. Pours a beautiful amber auburn red color with decent sandy head that laces nicely all the way down the glass. Smell is nice with some yeastiness, some vinegar, and some fruit. Some bourbon-like aromas too--vanilla, oak, and butter. Taste follows with some real complexity. I do, however, recommend drinking this at near-room temperature, as it really opens up. Big bold vinegar, apple, yeast, oak, butter, vinegar, must, yeast, and some others that I can't pick out. Robust, but balanced at the same time, I like it. MF is smooth and medium bodied, a bit of a dry finish. Drinkability is great, the bomber disappeared way too fast.

 747 characters

Photo of oldsailor
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of sisuspeed
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing Dave!

Pours an almost clear, burnt-red, with a thin white head. Leaves some light lacing behind.

Light vinegar with a hint of nail polish in the aroma. Red grapes and sweet malts. Touch of vanilla and caramel. Light oak. Nice. More sour acidity than I was expecting from JP.

Flanders sour acidity on the tongue with oak barrel, red grapes and apple. Hint of vanilla and a touch of caramel. Light, grassy hops.

Light to medium acidity in the mouthfeel. Good oak barrel presence. On the drier side. Seems a bit thin.

Overall, this is a solid Flanders style beer. Nice barrel aging with a decent level of sour acidity and fruitiness. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this beer, but if you're a fan of the style and see it, then it's worth checking out.

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Photo of damienblack
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 6, 2008.

Pours an amber, like a lighter apple cider. Not a huge head considering the splooge out of the bottle when I opened it, quickly dissipates. Smell is awesome, tart apple, other wild berries, huge oak barrel whiff. Something else, maybe vanilla. It all combines to form something almost tobaccoey, but not gross. Taste is a lesser version of the smell. Tart apple, in this case the sour kick is very bitter up front when the beer is cold, and then carries through nothing. As it warms it really opens up, the tartness carries through less focused but longer. Like apple cider or granny smith apple. Very much dry, but a lot less barnyardy than other wild ales or saisons. I can't tell if that makes it more or less versatile. Mouthfeel suffers, it's kind of thin through, doesn't really have anything memorable here. Just sort of bounces off the senses so far as chewiness, thickness, or anything else like that goes. Unremarkable there. Very drinkable for a wild ale when it warms, but you have to let it warm first.

Overall, an all around solid wild ale. the best part is the smell, but the taste is pretty good as well. Solid if not groundbreaking. I will buy again, after I try some other JP offerings.

 1,221 characters

Photo of tazzman
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of BrewmanCapote
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of samibr
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of MarcWP
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of ultrasrs
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of tuckerlikesbeer
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of KRG
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lothore
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one has been sitting in my cellar for at least a year.

A- Pours a hazy reddish brown with a nice, fluffy, 2 finger eggshell head.

S- Smell is very malt forward, lots caramel, citrusey sour fruit at the end.

T- A bit of a letdown from the look and smell. It's about the reverse of the smell, with very muted caramel notes steamrolled by a slightly sour wave of bret.

M- Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- This one was looking like such a winner until I took a sip. I felt like I would either love to see it more sour or more caramel barleywinesque with just a touch of sourness but the balance that was struck didn't quite do it for me. I'd love to try a fresh bottle for comparison.

 709 characters

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +25.3%

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

750 mL bottle

A: poured into a snifter. La Roja pours a hazy reddish orange, with some sediment floating around, with a yellowish off-white head. Outstanding head retention with great lacing.

S: Great typical Jolly Pumpkin sour aroma. Sour cherry hints. Some citrus characteristics.

T: The taste is so much different than the aromas. Sweet malts with a fair amount of sourness. Very nice funk quality. Some slight hints of bourbon and vanilla.

M: Very nice high carbonation level. Medium body. Nice flowing beer from the front to the back of the palate.

D: extremely drinkable. If you enjoy sours, then you would love La Roja. I could pretty much drink anything from Jolly Pumpkin for the rest of my life.

 713 characters

Photo of bradfordjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of JackNip
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of phisig137
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My bottle label looks more like that pictured in the grand reserve, but my alcohol is 7.2% according to the label.... maybe it's changed recently. Anyways....

Pours a dark copper, ruby hue, with a one finger head. Good retention flass info a blanket of foam and nice lacing.

Aroma is slightly sour and fruity. Green apples (not acetylaldehyde) and pears come to mind.

Flavor is fairly light, but enjoyable. Big apple and pear flavor, backed by a bit of caramel malts, and a slight touch of wheat. Slightly sour from the wood, but not overpowering. A bit spicy as well, probably from yeast phenolics. Well balanced an integrated. Mouthfeel is creamy, but a little light. Drinkability is good.

Quite a nice beer, and well enjoyed. While it is listed as a biere de garde, it is also much like a Fladers red. I'd consider this to be a good introduction to sour beers. It's not sour enough to turn most people off, but just sour enough to peak some interest. Be warned, this is no duchess, but a solidly crafted brew here in America. I look forward to trying some of the other beers from Jolly Pumpkin, as this gets my thumbs up!

 1,138 characters

La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,985 ratings.
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