La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

BA SCORE
89
very good
1,989 Ratings
THE BROS
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La RojaLa Roja
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
jollypumpkin.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,989
Reviews:
790
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
12.28%
 
 
Wants:
175
Gots:
338
For Trade:
21
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,989 |  Reviews: 790
Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of largadeer
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Bright and clear reddish-amber for the first 3/4 of the bottle, hazier after that. The three-finger off-white head retains incredibly well.

Smell - Plenty of fruity sourness and barnyard funk, a bit of oak and hints of leather and tobacco. Strange but inviting.

Taste/mouthfeel - Leather, sour cherries, tobacco and moderate funky brett. Tannic, oaky and fairly sour, but not overly acidic. A hint of maple syrup appears as the beer warms, but it's otherwise very dry. Light-to-medium in body, highly carbonated and crisp. Impressive complexity without compromising drinkability. An excellent and unique beer.

 624 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 4/8/2013. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart cherry, cranberry, lemon zest, green apple, plum, raisin, red grape, caramel, leather, vinegar, hay, straw, grass, oak, clove, musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, oak, and moderate malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big tart cherry, cranberry, green apple, lemon zest, plum, raisin, red grape, caramel, leather, vinegar, hay, straw, grass, oak, clove, musty funk, and yeast/oak earthiness. Good amount of fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart cherry, cranberry, green apple, lemon zest, plum, raisin, red grape, caramel, leather, vinegar, hay, straw, grass, oak, clove, musty funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of tart/fruity/funky yeast, oak, and dark malt flavors; with a great sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately slick/acidic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome sour red ale. All around great complexity and balance of tart/fruity/funky yeast, oak, and dark malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on with the balanced acidity. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,640 characters

Photo of mothman
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a slightly older bottle as it has the older label.

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1 finger of beige head. Very nice retention leaving a lot of splattered lace. Color is a hazed copper ruby.

Aroma: Nice and funky. Some sour tart notes. Cherries, oak, caramel, and a few spice note4s. Some horse blanket. This beer is very mouth watering.

Taste: not as sour as I was expecting it to be, based on the aroma. A lot more malts here, caramel. Then the spices come in. It has nice oak and cherry flavors. This beer is doing fine.

Mouthfeel: A little sour, but fairly smooth. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends slightly dry, but relatively clean.

Overall, this beer is holding up great. Nice sour cherry flavors and a good amount of oak shows through. I enjoyed it a lot. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
750 ml brown glass bottle
$15.99 @ State Line Liquors, Elkton, MD

Blend 10
Bottled 6-24-2011... just over a year old at tasting; and I should note that this tasting does not necessarily represent the other samples I've tasted. In fact, it's noticeably different in that it's not as highly carbonated and much less sour.

Appearance: The first pour was a hazy, almost cloudy, orange-accented russet brown body. The second pour, with the lees roused, was completely cloudy like a hefeweizen. Even a fairly rough pour brought up only a short head of khaki foam, and unfortunately, the head retention and lacing were both limited.

Aroma: Caramel malt, toffee, fruit (berries, dark fruit, sharp apple, black cherry), some minor mineral and earthiness.

Flavor: There's more caramel to it than you might expect, and that fits entirely well with the Flanders oud bruin tradition. It's not overly sweet, and the gentle tartness balances it nicely. The lactobacilus (and possible wild yeast) is kept in check and there's nothing harsh or overtly phenolic. No real hops are present, although there is some underlying spiciness, and it finishes with some drying oak (which actually makes it kind of a Flanders red / oud bruin hybrid).

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light in body. Surprisingly moderate carbonation (which is probably just be this batch; or perhaps my bottle was mistreated along the way and lost some C02). Smooth.

Overall: For the price, a beer of this quality done in the Flanders style (more oud bruin than Flanders red in my opinion) is a steal. And let's face it, there aren't that many out there. Absolutely worth trying.

 1,656 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up at Whole Foods in DC a bit back. Served in a Jolly Pumpkin tulip.

Pours an amber-brown with a thin off-white head that falls fairly quickly and leaves a thin collar. The nose brings a bit of light lactic acid and some cherry. A bit of cherry pit and mild oak. The flavor really pushes on from there with some nice lactic presence as well as cherry and cherry pit. Oak is good. Really nice. Mouthfeel is crisp and acidic with a dry finish. Impressive. Another winner from JP.

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Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 2, bottled 3-18-10.
Been eyeing this in the fridge for a long time, waiting for a good day to do it. After a really long day at work, and more work coming this weekend, and lots of pain trying to buy a new house, I figured it was time to do it.

The long neck forces a slow pour and nice creamy bubbly head that fades pretty quickly though. THe beer itself is pretty clear rosy reddish light maroon color.

The nose is really nice. it has some light sour fruit, a little raspberry, a little bolotin cherry, tart fruits, but very juicy. A very light dry farmhouse funk, lacto style funk, but very light even though this beer has a bit of age. There's a touch of oak and vanilla, with a light creamy malt in the background, and just a faint hint of bourbon.

The taste is lighter than the nose, but not by a large margin. It is fairly sour and tart, with lots more nice fruit, with a little berry, and some sour bolotin cherry. Some acidity comes through, with a light creamy malt taste. Some nice oak tastes with a touch of vanilla. A very light warming booze, with some sweetness as well. A light red malt taste. And of course some lacto funk, a dry and slight farmhouse wild yeast funk, making itself known, but not dominating. More so than the nose at least. Some light bitterness comes through with that, most likely from the yeast and acidic fruit flavors. It finishes with a little flemmy taste, and lots of lingering tart fruit, pretty dry at the same time too.

The mouth is medium to lighter bodied with decent carbonation.

It has an OK drinkability, nothing special, but for a wild at 7% it's fairly drinkable. Some of the flemmy taste gives it a tougher swallow, and a very light warming booze with the sour and tart fruits. But for what it is, it's fairly drinkable.

 1,784 characters

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn how cool is it to see Jolly Pumpkin showing up here in the Buffalo area!This is one of the few offerings suprisingly that I havent tried from JH till today,this poured a light hazed amber/brown with a tight well formed light brown head in my oversized wine glass.The barrel aging shows with hints of vanilla and wood with some lactic sour notes.Very food friendly but flavorful starting out with notes of grape and brown sugar with quite a hefty sour acidic finish but not not to much,yeasty esters thruout.A very nice beer from the home state I like a good Biere de Garde if it can be found and this is quite nice,oh and did I say food friendly?

 651 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - There was some minor gushing when I opened the cap, but I didn't lose any beer and it is forgiveable in a barrel aged beer. This one has a comically large and tenacious head. Fairly dark orange brown color, somewhat hazy.

S - Spicy, acidic aroma. Earthy and somewhat fruity.

T - Tart, citrusy acidity. Earthy, dirty flavor with fruity notes; lemony and grapefruit like. Finishes with strong bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M - Heavy carbonation, but with a fairly thin body. Maby some tannins.

D - Has a good bit of flavor while remaining light, but the acidity is a little too acrid for my taste and I think a little more residual sweetness would balance it out better.

 692 characters

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

Served in a bottle at DBGB Kitchen & Bar in New York, NY

A: Pours a lightly hazy dark amber to garnet red in color. The beer has a half finger tall off-white head that reduces to a thin ring at the edges. No lacing is observed.

S: This beer definitely has some light vinous notes along with the aromas of sour cherries, tartness, light sourness, and just a hint of mustiness.

T: The tartness of the sour cherries definitely comes through in the taste as well as some light vinous sourness. There is a hint of mustiness and a very light bitterness in the finish. Very nice balance and complexity.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoy this beer and it pairs so well with pork. I really like the tartness and the light sourness, making this beer very enjoyable to drink and certainly one that I could enjoy multiple glasses over a meal. I need to pick some more of this one up at some point soon.

 966 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4/5  rDev +0.3%

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

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my lost Abbey stemware. Poured brown in color with a frothy off white head taking up the top 1/2 inch of the glass. The head had some decent retention and left some great lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a very nice mix of sweet, fruity, malty flavors and a tart, funky, sour flavor. It has a lot of sweet and sour cherry flavor coming through in the nose as well as some grape and apple cidery flavors. Very complex and appealing aroma to it overall.

The taste is a little more moderate in the sourness then what was in the nose. It has more of a tart fruitiness to it with a moderate sourness coming through more in the finish. Some apple, grape and cherry flavors all come through in the fruitiness. Some caramel and malty flavors help give the beer a nice base.

The mouthfeel is a little above medium bodied and carbonation is also above average. Drinkability is pretty good, it had a lot of great flavors to it. It was pretty well balanced between the tart and sour flavors and the sweet fruity flavors which definitely helped the drinkability. Very good beer overall.

 1,111 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Pours a beautiful, deep ruby amber. Nice white head that settles fairly quickly but leaves a nice lace.

S – Soft sour apple and tart unripe papaya.

T – Tart and sour cranberry / unripe apple. Hay. Touch of golden raisin. The entire profile is fairly soft on your palate and not overwhelming tart.

M – Medium body. Dry, clean finish with a light residual tartness.

O – A nice sipping beer with a refreshing tartness. Plays nice with a huge swath of food pairings, from red curry, to caprese salad, to earth cheeses.

 533 characters

Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of russpowell
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle pours a volcanic amber/caramel with floaties (cleared nicely) & 3+ fingers of fluffed up sand-colored head. Very good lacing & above average head retention

S: Sour & oaky, not picking up any weird/funky Brett notes (maybe gave it all up through fermentation? That'd be okay by me! )

T: Sourness, apple skins, oaky dryness & a hint of vanilla up front. Tart raspberry follows as this warms. Finishes sour, tart, slight caramel whispers. with tanic notes & hints of cherry & raspberries

MF: Medium-bodied, spritzy

Drinks great for a sour beer& the ABV; this is my 1st American Wild Ale. I'd just about given up on this brewery, this one takes me back to cautiously happy about their offerings, easily the best Jolly Pumpkin product I've had

 757 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle - $9.99 at Bullock's in Marietta, Georgia. A small sticker on the back of the bottle lists "Blend 3, 2008".

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark caramel body with a pervasive amount of fine effervescence and topped with a goodly-sized, off-white

Smell: Toasted bready and caramel malts cower in the corner from the looming, encroaching wild yeast-derived aromas. I don't blame them, I'd cower too.

Taste: Initial maltiness of heavily toasted bread crusts and dark caramel with a brief, restrained sweetness quickly clear the way for a veritable tide of funk-induced flavors. Sours cherries, unripened Willamette raspberries, freshly-grated nutmeg, Red Delicious apple peelings, a lone drop of vanilla cream, and even some puckeringly tannic, fouled wood barrel tastes. Slight acidity. Fairly earthy and acetic at times. Finishes quite dry with some enduring dusky tannic hints.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Highly carbonated.

Drinkability: As always, it's another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin. To say these beers aren't for everyone is a huge understatement. Paired well with the song "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect" by The Decemberists.

 1,158 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shane for hooking me up with this bottle. Review from notes.

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a large 2 finger head on top, white in color. The head stuck around for a few minutes then slowly dissipated to a thin layer on top. Nice lacing down the sides.

S: Nice sour/tartness up front. Deep sour cherries and other light fruits. Light oak and just a little bit of funk, but the sour cherry dominates.

T: Light but plenty flavorful. A little bit of sour cherry, some apple, peach, and apricot. The sour bite increases a bit as it warms. A slight hint of wood from the aging.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with a good level of carbonation that lets it drink very smooth.

O: Was very happy with this beer. Not overly sour/tart and had a really nice fruit flavor to it. Look forward to getting this one again for sure.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful amalgam of orange, copper, coral and raspberry with radiant orange edges. This biere de garde looks like a tropical sunset in a glass. The orangish beige crown is a good color complement to the liquid beneath. It isn't all that large, though, and it could be firmer and stickier. With a better head and more lace, the appearance would be a gobsmacker.

When assessing the nose, spiced golden rum is the first comparison to come to mind. There's also a boozy cherry presence that's a shade too cough syrup-like to suit me. Musty, earthy hops are present as well, but don't work in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the nose is like a handful of random puzzle pieces that don't quite fit together.

La Roja tastes like a Jackson Pollack painting looks: chaotic, colorful, bold, seemingly without a center, although strangely appealing if one is in the right mood. Trouble is, I don't know that I'd be in the mood all that often, if ever. The flavor profile consists of Scotch whisky-soaked caramels with a ton of phenols, smoke, cherry vodka, indeterminate spices and a dash of Jagermeister. I'm having trouble getting my palate around this one. The trouble is, repeated samples aren't bringing me any more clarity.

The alcohol presence is just too overwhelming and intrudes on whatever else the flavor as a whole is trying to achieve. As a focal point, ethanol doesn't cut it. The beer drinks at greater than 7.2%, as evidenced by the slight burn going down and the growing bloom of warmth currently setting up shop in my midsection. I should have let this bottle cool its heels for another few years.

Warming brings some amount of cooperation among the previously untamed flavor elements. It's possible, however, that that impression has more to do with tongue numbing and brain fogging that anything else. I swear the ABV is 10.0%. The mouthfeel is nearer to full than it is to medium and borders on lightly syrupy.

I want to love the Jolly Pumpkin beers, I really do. They've certainly done their homework on presentation: great brewery name, beer names, labels, bottles, etc. Ultimately, though, the contents of those bottles is the only thing that matters. I have little doubt that with a few years under its belt, this will be a better (if still not a great) beer. Right now, I can't recommend it. Thanks to deejaydan for the bottle.

 2,366 characters

La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,989 ratings.
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