La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

very good
1,988 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: 1,988 |  Reviews: 790
Photo of miked234
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of maximep
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a great beer. the perfect intermediate beer if you're trying to get someone who doesn't necessarily like sours into sours. theres two reasons i say this. first, the sour upfront punch is countered by JP's incredible balancing of this initial sour with a pleasant sweet ending. the mouthfeel is near perfect. i often feel that JP gets their mouthfeel off, it always feels a bit too thin but this one is rich and silky at the same time... a real treat. not much hops presence, a bit in the middle of the taste, it's a more citrusy taste than an oily resiny one, which fits well for the style. worth seeking out if you're into the sours.

 634 characters

Photo of zacheney
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass at cellar temperature. Watch out when opening this one; the damn thing started fizzing like champagne.

L - Cloudy amber-brown color with a 1 finger bubbly tan head that rapidly dissipated. Surprising after the geyser that I experienced opening this thing. Nice lacing, though.

S - Almost wine-like. Definitely darker fruity notes, like dark cherries, and vinegar acidity. Some oak aromas can also be picked up and maybe the slightest bit of caramel. A touch of alcohol aroma here as well.

T - Follows the aroma. Sweetness of cherries, grapes, and caramel suddenly leads into sour acidity. The trademark barnyard mustiness of Brettanomyces can be picked up towards the finish.

F - Medium-bodied with a sharp, extremely dry finish. Slight tingling from the carbonation, nice warming sensation from the alcohol, and slightly sticky mouthfeel but the highlight here is the intense dryness at the finish.

O - I can see this being one of those beers that you give to someone who’s not that into beer and they say, “This can’t be beer...I actually like this!” It definitely is a nice representation of the style with both sweet fruity notes and sour acidic notes. Not my favorite because it smells and tastes too much like wine for my taste, but still a nice offering from JP.

 1,322 characters

Photo of jbertsch
3/5  rDev -24.8%

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

A-Deep red/brown body. With a substantial light brown head.

S- Intense cherry and citrus smells permeate off this beer. You also get a nice under lacing of bready sweet notes.

T-prominent sour tropical fruit flavors. Nice malty flavor that finishes with a clean grapefruit flavor.

M-medium body with high carbonation.

O-very good sour. Not to intense but just enough sour flavor. Great brew.

 396 characters

Photo of KevdoggNasty
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

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

I love the Puss in Boots pirate character on the bottle. I enjoyed the beer in a tulip glass.

Appearance- There is a solid two-fingers of egg shell colored foam, falling slowly and leaving behind a little sheet of foam. The body is golden-amber with much darker hues of brown and red at the sides of the glass.

Smell- A big punch of sour cherries and a slight funk that smells of soaked wood. Not much more is going on than that, but it smells good.

Taste- Heavy dose of sour at the front of the drink. Some sour cherries, white grapes and unripe raspberries. I also get some red wine qualities from this one.

The finish is earthy and has a little bit of the funky wood character. And man is it dry! This one is pretty complex, and for being over 7% ABV it is impossible to tell.

Mouth feel- This one is fairly creamy, almost no carbonation noticeable. It also goes slick over the tongue, a more medium body than light.

Overall- This wild ale has plenty of sour fruit qualities and woody funk to spare. I would have appreciated maybe a little more sweetness, or even some heat.

The caramel malt is more earthy than anything else. However, the complexity already inherent in this beer makes it a wonderful drink.

 1,224 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 freduardo
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

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

Poured from a bomber into a tall Against-the-Grain tulip. Sticker on the bottle says ``Blend 18 Bottled 09-30-2011''. The bottle gushed just a bit upon opening (good thing I was holding it over the sink). The beer was a reddish-amber color with a nice level of carbonation and a thin off-white head. The nose had faint notes of tart tropical fruit with a tiny bit of barnyard funk that seemed to fade with time, leaving only the sour fruit notes.

The flavor was acidic, tart, and very refreshing without being sour in an overpowering way. Medium body. At mid-palate, I get some of the contributions from the oak-aging, but it's kept in-check by the tart character of the beer. The beer claims to be ``brewed in the Flanders tradition'', but it lacks the accompanying, balancing sweetness of, say, a Rodenbach. Still, whether this beer is an American Wild Ale or a Flemish Red Ale, it is a nice example of one of the most refreshing styles of beer one can find. I am overjoyed that American brewers are not afraid to produce beers in the Belgian tradition. If you like sours, don't pass this one up.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of BMMillsy
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle with dinner at Blue Tractor restaurant in Ann Arbor. This one starts off a little funky, but really just gets better as you go along. Pours a deep beautiful red color with creamy off white head. A great aroma of cherries, vinegar, sweet fruits. Flavor follows with mostly big cherry notes, heavy sweetness, and a funky tart unlike most other sour beers I have encountered. Another unique beer from Jolly Pumpkin. One of their more complex brews, true to the sour roots.

 476 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Blend 12 (Bottled 7-11-2011)

A - A vigorous pour yields two fingers worth of densely packed, slightly fluffy, audibly fizzy light khaki colored head... Impressive retention, especially for the style... Once faded, what's left is a full veil of lacing and a moderately thick collar... The color is a light brown with a distinctive ruby red hue... Some sluggish to moderate paced small bubbled carbonation... There's a bit of a glow to this one...

S - A bit tart... Some light vinegar notes... Cherries... Strawberries... Even some raspberries... Perhaps some light tannins as well...

T - Some faint strawberry up front... Lots of wood notes - possibly more than any other beer I have ever tried... Potent vinegar... Actually this one is a bit bland...

M - Light to medium bodied... A bit thin... Very very light carbonation... A touch of dryness...

D - This one is a mixed bag... Excellent aroma and appearance... The taste and the mouthfeel are a bit sub par... I have a love hate relationship with Jolly Pumpkin... I keep trying their offerings to find something that rivals the wonderfulness of Oro De Calabaza and most, like this one, leave me greatly disappointing...

 1,178 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of bastu
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of SalMineo
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle with sticker "Blend 2, Bottles 1/29/2012" to a Duvel tulip the beer pours a deep rich amber color with a decent 1 finger white head, some retention but not much, not much lacing. Like so many of these wild ales, it almost appears flat. The aroma is a blend of a sour tart cherry with hints of oak, vanilla, and vinegar. Lightly fruity. The flavor is much the same with an initial taste of the sour tart cherry from which a grape fruit character builds, vinegar flavors, hints of oak, vanilla. Mild bitterness, no hint of alcohol. Very pleasing. Finishes a bit dry with a lingering sour cherry on the tongue. Overall, very enjoyable.

 651 characters

Photo of July2Nov
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy red with a spotty shortlived head. Lace trails on the glass are intermittent. The aroma is of lemon and earthy notes, malt too. Sour notes upfront in the taste, doughy caramel malts and herbal notes build over time providing fantastic balance to the moderate sourness. Kiwi and tropical fruit notes also show. The mouthfeel is full and creamy with carb bubbles. the finish is sweet and sour pretty much equally, with sour lingering longer. Alcohol is impeccably well hidden for 8%.

This is a fantastic Belgian Red Ale. I wish I tried it sooner. Seek this out.

 571 characters

Photo of ScottyC54
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

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

Melbourne Bros. Glass
A ~ Eruption! But after a couple minutes, the pour is deep Amber with effervescence that forms into a head all but for a couple seconds. Spritzy mineral water carb.

S ~ Tart cherries with layers of oak long beneath. Slight artificial grape. Vinegar & a splash of alcohol on the end.

T ~ Cherry following through with a berry/vinegar note with a strapping oak middle fading into a whiskey mash/boiled barley note. Splash of Salinity before the dry finish.

M ~ Tart. Not pucker tart, or Sour, but very good! Oakiness is mid-palette & it lingers for awhile. Heat is there which is the only drawback on the feel.

D ~ A good Wild! Easy drinking. Heat would probably diminish with age. Check it out!

 721 characters

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.

 748 characters

Photo of ryanw111182
1/5  rDev -74.9%

La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,988 ratings.
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