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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Ratings: 1,986 |  Reviews: 789
Photo of dciBA
4.15/5  rDev +4%
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 -4.8%
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 -20.3%
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 -3.5%
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 -23.3%
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 -44.4%
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 +8.3%
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 +7.8%
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 +10.8%
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%
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 -23.3%
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 -0.5%
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 +2.3%
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 +9.8%
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 +4.5%
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 -7.3%
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 +5.3%
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 +3.3%
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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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with a friend. Some sours can pack so much tangy punch, it can be hard to split a 750ml bottle, but this had nice, slightly restrained character. The opening earthy barnyard character is subtle and not so overpowering like an old, stinky gueuze. It's followed by tart lemon and sour cherries. It doesn't come off as the most complex sour, though maybe a year or two in a cellar would change that. but it's pleasantly sour while remaining relatively drinkable and I appreciate that.

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

Old school 750ml bottle with the oval label shared by Ari - thanks! Estimated to be a 2006 or so vintage.

Pours a hazy deep brown color with a ruddy hue. There is a think tan head that recedes quickly and leaves only light lacing. The aroma is funky and pretty tart with notes of tart cherries and sweet malt dominating. A little aroma of wet wood is also present. The taste is a bit more mild than the aroma would suggest, but still very nice. There is a light tartness and signature JP funk mixed with some lightly sweet and tart cherries and damp wood. The body is middle-of-the-road with carbonation on the light side. Pretty drinkable stuff, but not as funky as I would expect from a 4 year old JP beer.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - medium reddish amber, a little too dark to be called clear, but no visible sediment or carbonation. Small white head fizzles out to a thin rim around the glass; no lacing.

S - nice sour funk - interesting without overwhelming. A little oak, cherry, caramel malt, apple.

T - pretty much like the smell

M - light to moderate body, somewhat watery, doesn't have the smooth/oily feel a high gravity brew deserves, much less any true stickiness

D - tasty and fairly easy to drink, though more boozy than a 7% that feels light should be

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear amber in color and poured with a finger high off white head. The head died down into a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The smell has a moderate amount of sourness and some hints of cherries.
T: Like the smell, flavors of tart and sour cherries dominate the overall taste.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink because the alcohol is well masked.

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into my new La Fin Du Monde tulip! Blend 9, bottled on 8.6.10.

A: Pours a nice mahogany color with tints of red at the edges. A nice finger+ of creamy head sits atop the brew. A decent amount of sticky lace sticks to the sides of the glass. A lot of sediment at the bottom of the glass.

S: A good dose of sour funkiness meats the nose immediately, intermingling with hints of vanilla and oak.

T: Sour cherries intermingle with the earthiness of the oak barrel to comprise most of the flavor. Perhaps a hint of green apple as well. Not quite as sour as I was hoping based on the nose, but still quite good!

M: Medium bodied with some mild acidity and a long, dry finish.

D: This drinks really well for a wild ale, perhaps due in part to its lack of a mouth puckering sourness. I had no problem polishing off the bottle on my own over the course of about 2 hours. $12/750 ml is a decent price for a wild ale these days too. Highly recommended.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Blend 10 bottled 08-27-10.

(A)- Pours a dark, yet clear deep blood red color with hints of mahogany shades in there. Produced a great tan to eggshell colored fluffy foam that stuck around for quite some time.

(S)- A great dry earthy clay funk up front that turns into a mild sourness that comes off as very wood/bark-like. Some tart lactic fruits of some sort in the far background.

(T)- A great sour tartness up front. Has a nice delicate woody bite in the middle with some subtle fruits of a rasp/strawberry/cranberry nature. Complex to say the least.

(M)- A nice carbonation level; not too high, but higher than some. Really rather smooth due to its great balance. Sour, with a woody bite, but countered by some mild sweetness and fruit tang.

(D)- Just a great an intriguing beer. Fits the style well for sure. Simply a great beer to get your sour fix. Maybe it is just this particular batch, but was surprised at how low most of the ratings are based upon what is in my glass in front of me.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split from a bottle into a New Belgium wine glass. Poured a murky red red-orange with a minimal white head. There was no lacing evident throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, sour, and fruit. The flavor was of sour malt, raspberries, and wheat. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice Wild Ale. Had a mellow flavor that made it quite enjoyable. Also the aroma on this one was quite nice as well. This one is a must try for any Wild Ale fan if you get the chance.

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La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,986 ratings.
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