La Roja | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

La RojaLa Roja
1,993 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,993 |  Reviews: 790
Photo of DovaliHops
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish/light-brown color with a medium white head. Scent is definitely sour funk with some strong cherry aromas. Also get some oak notes along with a hint of brandy. Love the way this beer smells! Taste is initially grassy with oak flavors. Slight sweet vanilla with intense sour cherry flavors. Finishes with fairly strong Brett flavors, oak and brandy. Tasty beer! Mouthfeel is a bit on the light side with a creamy finish. Drinkability is fairly high.

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Photo of chicano4craft
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 6-17-10 Blend 6

Poured into a snifter. Cloudy and deep amber with a tight white head. Carbonation feeds the head for quite awhile. LOTS of sediment. I saw it coming down the bottle neck as I poured.

Nose is, well, sour. Kind of salty. When it comes to Flanders I usually have a hard time getting past the tartness to smell much else.

Taste is puckering! I do get some wood from the barrels mixed some sour fruit. Decent amount of funk.

Mouthfeel is average. Maybe a bit to much carbonation. I nursed a glass for the better part of an afternoon and got a little bored with the flavor. I need a certain amount of fruit to come through for me to really enjoy a sour or Wild ale.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml poured into oversized snifter. Blend 1 - 2010.

A - Reddish to orange edging, slight purplish tinge. Grey to off-white single finger head, not bad.

S - Fruity, very slight caramel, and some pepper

T - Very sour. Sour fruits, like stonefruit, cherry and white grapes. Not much sweetness at all, maybe a touch of caramel at the back

M - It's a pucker beer for sure. Slightly tacky with a decently smooth finish

D - I thought this one was a decent, middle of the road Flanders style. Good for sure, I'd have it again.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy, with a deep garnet color. La Roja boasts a frothy cream colored head.

S: The nose is potent, with heavy notes of bing cherries, granny smith, and a touch of wet hay.

T: Sweet and sour, with a predominate cherry tartness, along with Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of peppercorn.

M: Medium body with heavy carbonation and a touch of astringency.

D: This is along the lines of a Flemish Red, but much drier. I am definitely a big fan of this brew, and I'm sure any fan of sours will also appreciate it.

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Photo of JayS2629
1.47/5  rDev -63.5%
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 bernie879
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated late August '10 into a Duvel Tulip.
A dark, deep reddish brown, 1cm just off white head. Spotty lacing left throughout glass.

Picking up the the spicy, sweet cherry before I even put my nose to the glass. Definate brett characteristics, esp. horsey, leathery notes. Not much of a hop note present, may be adding some of the spicy aspects.

Taking in the first sip the dry sourness hits like crazy. This is followed by the oak really coming out and really holding the beer together, blending well with he other elements of the beer.

I really had no idea what I was getting into with his beer, just heard about them and someone at the local Whole Foods recomended this. I can honestly say this is probably one of the best beers I have had, will be getting it again and will be trying other beers by Jolly Pumpking despite the beers being on the outer ranges of what I am pushing as far as prices. If you see this buy it, truly exceptional.

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Photo of thecarster1
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- vintage 2010 - 750ml capped bottle poured into a snifter, orangey brown, one plus fingers fade to a layer of lace.

s- very sour, leather, touch vinegar, funk, horsey.

t- sour and tart, almost puckering which lingers, lots of leather - i've never actually tasted the flavor leather in beer but i get it now, and it's here huge! ample funk, a bit of lemon, unripe berries, horsey, the funkiness/horse blanket/leather gets more apparent as it warms.

m- light to medium, prickly.

d- nice actually, after you get over the initial puckering sourness it goes down very easily, very flavorful, and did not disappoint. i'd pick this up again!

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Photo of dciBA
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish amber into my allagash chalice. A thin head forms and seems to be sticking around. No lacing whatsoever as the level drops in my glass. Smells of brett funk, and lighter fruits like apricot and some sour green apple.

Taste is quite fruity with a dose funk in the finish. There's also a nice residual bitterness after every swallow. A touch of maltiness really brings this one home. This beer strikes a very nice balance between funk, sour, and traditional beer flavors.

Fairly light bodied and well carbonated. Very drinkable. Each sip leaves a pleasant flavor on your palate that lingers for quite a well. The 7.2 ABV will help keep me warm but doesn't play a role in the taste or drinkability at all. A great intro to American Wild Ales.

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Photo of decadance
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Upon openning the bottle, it gushed for a good minute. Initial appearance...bleh. Appearance in the glass, pleasant. Cloudy red hue, about an inch of head, that retains dang good.

S - Smells like a vinegar bomb. I love me intense sours, but this is a bit over the top.

T- Tastes much more subdue than the smell. I would say there is a hint of sour in the taste, but not overpowering at all. Cherries, but not sweet. A general earth feel.

M - It shines here. It is full, and dry. It is wonderful. This is how I want my brett beers.

D - Not over the top in abv, but after a bomber, you might want more, though it possibly would not be wise.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark peach, decent beigy head and sticky lacing.

Butter, citrus - mostly lemon, hint of fruity sweetness in the background, cherries?

Interesting taste, full mouthfeel is a dominant characteristic, but not as buttery (diacetyl yuckiness) as anticipated. Lots of earthy flavors, oak, average to above average amount of sour. The spicy, herby earthiness (which is the main component here) after a while gets abrasive and overwhelming however unfortunately - needs to be toned down.

Denser mouthfeel than anticipated, creamy and lightly carbonated.

Overall a decent sour, worth a shot. Not a beginners sour however.

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Photo of readbaron
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy dark amber color with very little sticky foam - just a ring, unless you do a hard pour.

Smells potent - very sour - vinegar and cherries. You can also smell spices - cinnamon I believe, and a bit of an apple smell as well.

Tastes a lot smoother than it smells. Pleasantly sour with some oak and subtle spices. No sweetness at all, very dry. I almost bumped up the taste another half a point, but occasionally I'd get some sharp vinegar notes that were rather unpleasant.

Medium bodied and dry. Nicely carbonated.

I'm more than half way through the bomber, and don't feel like stopping yet.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a clear deep amber color. Virtually no head. Just a bubbling ring around the edges.

S - smell is pretty intense. Reminiscent of a jar of pickles. Lots of. Vinager. There is also a soft caramel sweetness and some tart fruit esters like sour cherries.

T -sour. Very sour. More like drinking white vinegar then drinking a beer. Not much else is detectable.

M - smooth. Medium bodied. Lightly carbonated.

D - I could not finish the bottle. This beer was just overwhelmingly sour. But I will say it did pair up fairly well some tortellini and red sauce for dinner and it might be intended to be this sour so while it might not be for me its still a well made ale.

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Photo of digita7693
2.22/5  rDev -44.9%
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 Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with reddish highlights that had a half finger of head which had great retention and left some bubbly lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma made it seem like it would be tart in flavor that consisted of slight vinegar, cherries, funky, oaky, and mild acidic notes. It did have some lemon character as well. The flavor reminded me more of a flanders red but funkier. the cherries were more potent on the palate with oaky, funky, and slight vinegar accents with acidic tart lemony notes. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, acidic, citrusy, oaky, funky, tart, and tingly finish. It drank great and reminded me how tarty this brew was. I definitely need to pick up some bottles of this in the near future.

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Photo of bringonthehops
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


-- tasted non-blind out of a 750 mL bottle -
-- Blend 6: bottled 6/17/2010 --

NOSE: there's a hint of sourness on the nose; cinnamon spice;

BODY: medium bodied

TASTE: sour, but not puckering; tastes a lot like the Drie Fonteinen "Doesjel" bottling - which was an unblended aged lambic; very smooth; not sweet like other Flanders Reds; this is oddly dry - I like it; 7.2% alc. is not noticeable; this is an artisan amber ale aged in oak barrels; blended from barrels ranging to over a year in age. This is one of my favorite breweries in the country.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sticker on the bottle says Blend 10, 2008

A - Semi-filtered dark red/medium brown with a foamy slight tan head that last and has real good lacing. Some unfiltered goodness settles in the bottom of the glass also.

S - Almost a cherry, sour funk on this one with hints of the barrel-aging in the background. A few light spices can be picked up but the sour wins over all.

T - Similar to the aroma in the cherry-like sour flavor, weird b/c I don't think cherries were in this one....must be a yeast ester/phenol. The wood comes through very nicely and subtly but compliments the sour tones very well. Spices are kind of drowned out and the aftertaste is slight charred wood and sour yeast. Nice.

M/D - Medium body that is carbonated to the max, another bottle gusher if I hadn't poured it so quickly. Dry finish because of the wood and sour yeast bi-products. Easy to drink, just the right about of alcohol to provide some warmth.

My favorite Jolly Pumpkin beer so far!

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3.51/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy. Dark amber color. White sediment in spots settle to bottom. Duchesse-like funk.
S: Lambic bacterial funk.
T: Tartness backed with malt. Dark berry fruitiness, especially cherries. Slightly bitter aftertaste from hops and tannins. Only slightly sweet, or maybe just seems sweet because of the associations with fruit.
M: Medium carbonation (prefer more). Super dry finish.
O: Some of the flavors need more time to mellow out, including the bitterness. I appreciate the dryness (many in this style are undrinkably sweet). Overall, I enjoyed it, but would have liked it somewhat cleaner.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by Sweemzander with the tickerazzi. Thanks buddy. Poured into my tulip.

A: Dark pink/red. Modest head flecks of soapy lace.

S: Whoa who left there wet socks on the basement floor. We got a brett bomb here. I like em funky but this one is a bit overdone. A bit of sour cherry can be picked out but it's a struggle.

T: Luckily the tart fruits come through a bit more in the flavor but the moldy basement is all up in your mouth. Like gym socks that sat in your locker for months. I see where they were going here but I'm not sure I want to follow.

M: Medium to light body. Light carbonation. Dry finish.

D: Overall there's funk and then there's FUNK. This one is just a bit ot far off the funk rails for my tastes.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed copper color, thin cap of head, minimal retention. Scent is mild and contains notes of sweet caramel, bready yeasts, citrusy hops, damp earth and wood. Taste brings the damp funkyness to the front, tastes of yeasty bread red wine, apple vinegar followed up by some caramel and citrus. Quite mixed and muddled flavor, but i think that was the goal with this one. Medium bodied, dry finish. An interesting beer with many things going on at once with neither standing out too much.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 1 pt 9.4 oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice hazy dark amber color with nice red and slightly orange hints. There is a 0.5 inch head that forms and the head is a light tan color. There are some nice tightly packed bubbles that have some bigger bubbles in there as well.

S - Aroma starts off with some balsamic vinegar hints. There is some funk and some slight cherry and fruit aromas as well. There is quite a bit of cherry actually after further inspection. Quite tart.

T & M - Taste starts off with some bread notes that quickly turn into some nice funk and yeasty notes. Not as tart as expected in the front end. The taste is quite clean. There is some tartness ion the middle of the beer that is not as acidic and a bit more fruity. The cherry shines. There is a nice funk and bread character that follows the beer all along and balances out the sour. Very nice. The finish is clean and crisp and refreshing. There is a nice light body but great flavor.

D - Quite high with lower ABV and great not too intense sour flavors.

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Photo of JRed
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber-brown with off-white head sitting on top. Aroma of citrus notes, sourness, and lemon zest. Sour flavors, lemons, spiked apple cider (thanks, Grandma), and some candy. The spritzy body bites the palate and accentuates the flavors. A very refreshing, lively, pleasant drink.

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

2008 bottle, aged about 2 years.

Pours a fairly clear garnet with a heavy sud atop. Lacing is thick and plentiful. As with the best Jolly Pumpkin bottles the nose is rich, integrated, with a wholesome wallop of oak and brett. Cherries and red wine barrel really come out here, wet wood, bugs. I have found that in the past 3-4 years Jolly Pumpkin stuff has tended to become on the bland side for some reason, whether it's less time in the oak, less attention from the brewer, or what have you. I think this would have been fairly nondescript fresh, but 2 years is a nice age here. Mouth is fairly expressive with sour cherries, green apple, oak of course, brett. Green apple is very welcome and is quite strong. A strange bit of mint on the finish that's kind of distracting. Medium carbonation, good amount, soft feel. This isn't the best bottle of La Roja I've had but it's among the better ones.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Meantime tulip. 7.2% ABV, Blend 10 Bottled on 8-27-10

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing with the tickerazzi!

A - Hazed over amber bronze color with a large foamy bone-colored head. Lower retention and some lace left over on the glass.

S - Fantastic brett nose with a great barnyard and horse blanket aroma. Dry straw and amber malts with a slight dirty foot finish.

T - Wild sourness without the big barnyard funk. Amber malts are nice and balance well with the other flavors going on here. Subtle wild nuances give it decent depth.

M - Sharp sour feel with a medium-light body and very dry finish. Not incredibly sour but it's not a training-wheel sour at all.

D - The sour is good but it's incredibly dry and becoming a chore to drink the more I have it. A moderate wild but a little moldy-like.

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

750ml bottle split with a friend at Beer Bistro. Pours a really murky reddish brown, perhaps a little like the color of drying blood. Murky like a glass of clamato but a few shades lighter. A half finger of head on the pour that dies to just a few bubbles.

As always, Jolly Pumpkin had made an insanely drinkable, balanced brew. Light cherry tartness, chewy wood characteristics, light malt sweetness, light apple-like acidity, horse blanket funk in the nose. Pretty chewy mouthfeel, low carbonation, no ABV to be found, really nice.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -- A light crimson pours with great vigor and produces a solid head that takes quite a while to reduce to a nice skim of froth, leaving a little lacing.

S -- Earth and funk and cherries, some acid.

T -- Funky on the front yet mild for the flavor I was anticipating from the nose. A hint of sour cherry backed by a great wood note, earthy, grassy. Definitely not hugely sour but solid.

M -- Well carbonated, light on the tongue. A little dry.

D -- Very nice, worth a pickup. Maybe even two or three.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,993 ratings
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