Luciérnaga, The Firefly | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Luciérnaga, The FireflyLuciérnaga, The Firefly

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:

Added by putnam on 10-28-2004

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Reviews: 385 | Ratings: 946
Photo of orangesol
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Ffej of July IX

A - Pours murky amber orange with a thick two finger tall white head leaving thick rings of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of bright citric fruit, lots of barn yard funk, the typical JP brett, and just a tiny bit of acidic sourness.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dry barnyard funk from the brett slowly giving way to a mix of lemon, even more bready yeast, and a faint kiss of caramel sweetness. The finish is even more chewy brett, leaving the pallet dry for some time. This one really grew on me over the course of the weekend.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Lots of tart funk in the feel, lingering through the finish.

O - I had quite a few of these over the two days and it really began to grow on me. It had just enough funk without being too overpowering.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 07/23/11 notes. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Duvel tulip. Batch 2, bottled on 04/29/10.

a - Pour a deep amber color with two fingers of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of head retention and lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of barnyard funk, sour fruits, brett, spices, yeast, and light bananas. Really good nose to it, as it's combining some Belgian like notes and that JP funk.

t - Tastes of Belgian yeast and spice, bananas, light fruit and citrus, and some brett/funk. Not quite as funky, and more spices; a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Like some other JP beers, a little too carbonated.

o - Overall a good beer. The nose is fantastic and sour, while the taste falls back to more conventional Belgian like spice and yeast. Would definitely have it again.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I had a small sample at the January 2006 Heavyweight Open House and I thought it good then, but my curiosity was really piqued when gueuzegeek chastised me for not knowing about the brewery or the brewer. I was really excited when I discovered it on cask at Spuyten Duyvil on my way to BOS for the EBF.

It started slowly for me, as a lightly cloudy, medium-amber colored beer with a very thin, white head that evidenced low retention. Further, the mouthfeel was on the thin and watery side. Enough of the negatives! The nose had a wild mix of brett and apple cider. It was simultaneously tart and sweet on the tongue with the brett lingering on the finish. As it warmed, the mouthfeel thickened and the apple and citrus flavors began to assert themselves. The brett was a lingering tartness throughout the beer, but it was not as overwhelming as it has been in other beers that I have tried.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is hazy and yellow with a soft white head. The aroma brings spice, funk, citrus. The beer is quite tasty, and the funk flavor emerges much more as the beer warms. Citrus and spice add nice depth and complexity. The feel is thin bodied with a distinctive Jolly Pumpkin finish. An interesting and enjoyable brew, especially if you appreciate funky, eccentric beers.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice, a tulip, and a snifter, because the first two overflowed when I poured this beer in. Batch 802/804, bottled 5/20/11.

Appearance - Huge fluffy head that never fully fades. Half of it sticks to the glass in rings as I drink it. Cloudy dark orange body. Darker than most pale ales. Gives a hint of some more caramel malts. Looks amazing, as all JP beers do.

Smell - Light funk and lemon tartness combine with a grassy aroma to create a saison-like aroma. Hops blend nicely to remind me that it's a BPA, though. Bready malts round out the aroma. Interesting combination.

Taste - The lightest of lemon tartness at the start followed by those grainy malt flavors. None of the funk comes through in the flavor, but I suppose it would be out of place. The hops surround the flavor and culminate in a bitter dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation and a tingly dry finish. Slightly bitter in the aftertaste. Easy to drink, although the whole bottle isn't so easy to drink.

Overall - So it's good, but as ever, it tastes like a Jolly Pumpkin beer. Their yeast strain makes everything taste the same. It's all good, but occasionally I'd like to be surprised by a flavor profile.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 296/297 with the Unibroue style bottles, versus the shaped bottles they used early one.

As all great Jolly Pumpkin beers this one lays on a massive thick billowing head with chunky mountainous textures as it rises above the rim of my Maudite chalice. Body is a clouded glowing amber copper hue with the head ringing in off white beige. Lacing is fine and intricate the most authentic Beligan style brewer in the country right up there with Ommegang and Unibroue but with more machismo.

Aromatics are wonderful spicy black pepper with crushed mint leaves and citrus peels, funky brett notes bringing horse blanket and barnyard funk, this stuff is excellent very lively and unique even compared to other Jolly Pumpkin brews. Tart apples and other fruit notes are detected among the barrage of hops, spices, and malts.

Flavor has an incredible hoppy zesty freshness within the barrel aging and spice additions. Very much like a fresh baked artisan bread with each sip with citrus, ripe fruits including tart apples and tropical notes. As each the last of the bottle is poured into glass spices and yeast notes take over before that however the brett and horsek blanket barnyard funk ride with you the whole bottle and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation very natural organic experience especially in the manner that they brew with open fermentation. Bitter spices and hop oils do sit on the palate after each sip with the tart lactic and brettanomyces adding a slight puckering sensation on the palate.

Drinkability is excellent enjoy with a meal or on it's own as a meal. Great stuff I can't get enough of the vibrance that La Luciernaga has to offer wonderful stuff. Grand cru belgian style pale ale flows so well, makes me want to go and grab a Biere De Mars to see how it's coming along.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium-dark, slightly hazy amber color with a pretty big fluffy white head. Leaves tons of lacing.

Smells of brett, yeasty banana, hints of apple and grape.

Flavor opens with a mild tartness, pretty strong apple and grape, moves into some brettiness and light funk, finishes very dry and vinous.

Mouthfeel is excellent, great carbonation, nice full mouthfeel, very drinkable.

This is a pretty light beer and nothing especially exciting, but it's really nice. Not the best Jolly Pumpkin beer but really solid.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clouded amber gold with a decent crème head and a lot of bubbles floating up all over the bottom of my wide glass. Kind of reminds me of fireflies. Nose is very yeasty with a talcy, chalky edge. Flavor is tangy with a bitter tone to it. Also seems to be a pretty firm mineral influence as well. Tart is the name of the game here though as it kicks you pretty good in the back of the mouth. Feel is smooth with a good level of carbonation and bubble hitting you and a decently balanced liquid feel. Overall extremely drinkable. Another fine American produced BPA.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshly poured from a freshly tapped keg. Highly hazed, golden/amber hue, enormous head, big'n;fluffy, mighty lacing, stays long and large...beautiful, like a tremendous pillowy snowdrift in the glass.

Aroma: Lightly spiced...coriander...gentle lemon touches, too. Soft, lively, and arousing.

Taste: Plump in the mouth, full of yeasty flavor, toasty, bready malt, crisp and zesty. Luciernaga delivers true Belgian flavor, with just enough of everything. Exceptionally tasty, smooth and easy drinking, overflowing with character.

Luciernaga = yum. Stays long in the mouth, filling the senses with that delicious blend of Belgian yeast and malt. My first taste of this beer, and it is deee-lectable. Mmmmm, highly recommended.

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Is it just me, or do others seem to have carbonation issues with every bottle from Jolly Pumpkin? Yup - another gusher...after a few HUGE head pours and more foaming from the bottle, this one settled down perhaps 45 mins after being it ends up looking medium apricot, semi cloudy, long lasting and wild looking tan head, plenty of eccentric lacing and a nice floral, yeasty nose. Yummy, yeasty brew, the expected coriander, medium spicing and fruity notes. Quite drinkable, complex and well worth trying this one, just try to get a fresh and well cared for bottle, from a store you trust and good luck to you...

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Photo of Tone
3.86/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, gold color. 2/3 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sourness, slight sweet malt, hint of hop, slight alcohol, yeast, and slight citrus. Fits the style of a Belgian Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is a strong dryness associated with this brew. Tastes of strong sourness, hint of hop, alcohol, sweet malt, and yeast. Good appearance, aroma, blend, and body.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is the #6 Belgian Pale Ale on the best of lists on This being a top 10 beer for the style, I'm quite excited about getting to review it. Love finding top 10 beers.

Beer served on draft at Meridian Pint in Washington D.C. in a shaker pint for some reason. Wouldn't have been my first choice of glass but whatever. Beer is yellow and hazy with a big white head of small bubbles, some lacing, nice carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet with wood and funk in the nose. Interesting, a little grainy in the nose too.

Beer is thin and tastes exactly like it smells. It finishes a little dry with oak, tannins, and some grain, the forward is mildly sweet, some pilsen malt and some lactic acid sourness, the brett comes through nicely in this beer. Overall an interesting beer and I'd have more of it.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured amber brown with slightly reddish orange highlights that had a finger of head and left good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I definitely got some spices on the first whiff but it also seemed like it had vinegar notes with barrel funkiness, honey, herbs, brett, and faint apple notes.

T: Upfront it had a nice slight tartness with the spices really popping out more on the palate alongside slight lemon, grains, and punchy brett notes. It had some underlying vinegar and apple notes as well.

M: The brew was medium body with a good amount of prickly carbonation that had a spicey, zesty, tart, and slight dry finish; interesting.

D: It drank pretty good and was quite different from other belgian pales that I've had but it did have the Jolly pumpkin signature slight funky tart flavor.

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Photo of aasher
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a light bodied And very cloudy gold in color with a billowing three finger, bright white soapy head. The nose is right up my alley, kind of like a barrel aged saison. It's light and features a slight amount of citrus with a mellow yeast character with soft oaking and traditional Belgain pale malt. I love the citrus. It's both lemony and has a nice tangerine side to it. The flavors are nice and light. The citrus character is the first thing you notice, followed by how soft everything is. The oak is perfect! It really does drink like a light barrel aged saison. This is definitely one of the most impressive Jolly Pumpkins. The mouthfeel is very light yet also velvety smooth. This beer is top notch and definitely worth your while.

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Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy golden color with a reddish hue along with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a spicy Belgian yeast aroma laid over a fine malt bill. It's loaded with spices and seems almost sour smelling. The taste is good. It has a smooth pale and light crystal malt flavor that is accompanied with spices and fruity Belgian yeast finish. The barrel aging adds a certain smoothness to the brew. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is my first Jolly Pumpkin brew. I can't wait to try some more. This is a damn good drinking beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle at our recent sour tasting.

Batch 387/388. The beer pours a clear medium-dark orange color with a large cream-colored head. The aroma is oranges, yeast, pineapple, mango and some tartness. The flavor is citrus fruit with some yeast and low-medium tartness. There are also some spices similar to white pepper. There is a little funk as well. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Memphis Taproom, served in a tulip.

The Firefly has a hazy bronze appearance with some gold trimmings. A whisp of off white foam on top that has pretty good legs, leaving some minor spots on the glass. Looks a shade darker than the standard Belgian pale ale. Smell is fruity, a lot of esters. bready yeast and some earthy hop aroma. I get a nice sniff of apple skins with traces of orange. Not sure if this is aged in any sort of barrel but some wood accompanies the pale ale, some floral aspect. Fruity in the middle with apple orange and coriander. A bready finish with yeast. Pretty light bodied, not as spritzy in the mouth as other Belgian pales, this could stand to be a bit crisper but im just nitpicking. A glass of this is ok for me, a whole bottle would be better shared.

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Photo of biegaman
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Luciérnaga, despite its deep orange colour, does indeed emit a good deal of glaring light. This luminosity persists even after I've considerably mucked up the clarity by pouring in some of the sediment. Its head is a spectacle - the kind of spectacle normally ever only observed in Belgian ales. From the pour it was overly zealous, layer upon layer of bubbles would stockpile until soon there was as much foam as there was beer.

But it didn't take long before the appearance was again in proper proportion. Although much of it is now crystallized in thick reams onto the glass, what foam still floats above the beer is ultra creamy, with large bumpers of foam surrounding the outskirts and a giant mass of caked froth imposingly plunked in the middle like some monumental two-ton statue.

Musty and confounding smells exhume from under that soapy lather. It is a sort of fruity character that emerges, with complimenting hints of yeasty fresh-baked bread as well as a light acidity that comes to very closely resemble tangerine or other tropical fruits. It is a tinge floral, with each sip the fleeting scent of orange blossoms. Its perfumy, peppery must is surely the coriander and grains of paradise. Damn, this smells delicious.

And perhaps that is because it is more and more reminding me of one of my favourite beers - Orval. It has that same funky, bready Brett character that results from inoculating the beer with wild yeasts and/or bacteria. This yeast and the barrel have each imparted a lightly tart/vinegary, very dry, fairly funky character. The lemon juice-like, lingering tartness is a great match for the bready sweetness of the pale malts.

The brewer should also be commended for using the spices with proper restrain. Although I wonder if I would have actually clued in to their inclusion if I hadn't already read so on the label, I'm enjoying the secondary flavour and texture they impart. The faint peppery spice is an added dimension to the softly sweet pale malts and the arid dryness of the yeast. The carbonation is lower than expected and the mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy.

Jolly Pumpkin may be dedicated to the "traditions of old world craftsmanship" but they're also clearly intent on new world innovation. Although time-consuming maturation, barrel aging and the use of wild yeasts have become more common amongst micro-brewers these days, it should be noted that this Michigan brewery was among the first to dare to try. One can only assume it is because of successes like the Firefly that others decided to follow suit.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled lightly chilled, December 2004
Pours a hazy light amber to copper color, the haze is entirely a chill haze as this beer was quite clear before I chilled it. It is topped by a tan head that is quite thick, frothy and creamy at the same time. As I was pouring it, I thought that I got some aromatic notes of oak, but more the woody component, which I was not really expecting. As I go in for a more extended sniff, I get a complex mix of wood, orange peel, cobwebs, and a bit of herbal character. There is a definite dominant note here that I cannot quite place, it is sort of spicy, yet combines all of the above descriptors as well.

My first taste; this beer stats out soft and smooth, and then moves to a certain mouth coating fullness, it then finishes with a slightly sharp astringency, yet throughout it remains refreshing. The interesting aroma from the nose is in the taste as well, and there is a certain tannic backbone here as well, perhaps the contribution from the barrel fermentation. This beer is quite interesting, and certainly not at all what I expected. The taste is subtly spicy with soft, smooth notes of orange, grass/ hay, ginger, and coriander. Ah that is what it is, the coriander is what I was sensing in the nose. And I also see that grains of paradise was used too, which also makes sense as I always felt that this contributes a sort of dusty dried ginger type thing to a beer.

As it begins to warm up I start to get and enticing note of green beans that have just been spritzed with lemon in the nose. And despite it sounding weird, this beer really does evoke thoughts of chewing on old dusty cobwebs. I really like the fact that this beer has a certain fullness and body to it, even though it is relatively low in alcohol, it gives this beer a certain richness that is quite appropriate for a December evening. There is a certain soft creaminess to this beer that I am really digging, it just envelopes my mouth in an extravagant celebration of taste.

Despite all I have said, this is currently lacking that certain... something, that would put this over the top, but given Jolly Pumpkins stated goals and practices, I have a feeling that this will become more complex and challenging (this is definitely a good thing) over time. And please don't let my statement make you think that this beer is not superb, this is a beer that demands to be contemplated, quite the tasting brew, and I am enjoying the complexity that is inherent in this tasty brew. To finish, I have got to say "damn I wish I lived in Michigan."

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Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip. Bottled 6/13/12.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a touch of haze to the body and a robust effervescence. Head is two thick fingers of frothy ivory foam; quite attractive.

Smell: sweet malt aroma with a little bit of funk and a hint of tartness. There's also an interesting lemongrass-type character in the mix. Interesting and alluring, if a bit atypical for the style.

Taste: lightly sweet malt with a nice, Brettanomyces-like funk and and just a mild hint of tartness. The lemony character persists from the aroma, and the overall effect is quite enticing.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a very robust, mouth-filling creaminess. I guess that's the bottle conditioning, eh? I love it.

Overall: an interesting and tasty beer. Very refreshing and each sip leaves me wanting more. Perhaps a bit exotic for the style, but intriguing and quaffable nonetheless. I'd love to have this beer again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inflatablechair brought this bottle over tonight.... Thanks Sammy!! Batch 801/803 bottled on 5/25/2011. Poured into my HotD goblet... nice foamy off white head atop a hazed light orange brew. Good lacing..

Nose is bretty with a not as much JP funk as some other brews... good phenol presence with a big blast of fruit basket.

Flavor is much more approachable than I was expecting.. tangerine with lemon zest ... coriander like spiciness.. a bit of stone fruit comes swinging mid palate.. still is pretty damn dry.. the heavier than most JP body helps add to a perceived sweetness... carbonation is spot on.

I normally don't care for Jolly Pumpkin too much... but this was a refreshing change. Thanks Sam.

All 4's

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Photo of yourefragile
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Chilled hazy copper, golden amber color with steady carbonation. A massive, rocky foamy white head with great retention and large sticky webs of lacing. Later pours are a little cloudier as I have trouble keeping the sediment out of the glass in the pour.
S: Fairly sharp, slightly sour, very earthy aroma. Slightly spicy (coriander and pepper) and some ripe fruit, but not sweet. Not overly complex, the musty earthiness is the strongest smell.
T: Medium body with strong, bubbly carbonation. Light and zesty in the finish. Body is slightly sour and very earthy like the nose. Grass, grains, orange, pepper, coriander and other fruit rind like flavors are prominent. Body and finish is fairly dry, yet full. Personally, I would like a little more sweetness or tartness to put this beer over the top for me, but still an excellent American take on this style (reminds me a lot of an Orval).

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750,

A: Pours golden with fizzy white head, but good retention.

S: Relatively light nose, some funky malt is there.

T: Definite Brett earthy character, wool, with a hint of lime and sweet citrus in the finish.

M: Very mildly acidic for JP, soft and easy carbonation which I like, medium-bodied overall.

D: I remember having a bottle of this back in early 2007 and it was one of the best bottles of my early drinking career, it blew my mind, a 5 in taste easy. I've tasted it a couple times since then; frankly, it's not as good as I remember. This bottle in taste would be 3.5-4, that's it. I put it at 4.5 because of the memory of that original bottle, but it's not as good as that currently.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's beers like this that remind me I'm just not all that "in" to sours. On tap at the TDR hopfest event.

The beer pours a tawny amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty wild, showcasing primarily white pepper and barnyard funk, with a hint of vanilla and tropical fruit. There is virtually no malt presense in the nose, which tends to accentuate the peppery hop aroma and the funk. The flavor profile tends to replicate the nose, but I'm really picking up some considerable hoppy bitterness in this lean, very dry and funky beer. Really, I'm not sure when I have ever encountered this type of flavor combination. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a long, bitter, sour funk finish.

Intriguing and unusual, this beer is surprisingly drinkable with the alcohol barely noticeable. Not my cup of tea, but even I can appreciate the craftmanship that went into the making of this beer, and what a quality beer this is. Impressive.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange golden color. Good head, only minimal lacing.

The aroma is a little funky with some barnyard smells, some brett sourness, and some soft spice.

The taste is a nice blend of wild ale flavors, a touch of sweetness and spice. Starts with a little candy sugar sweetness, and then morphs into a soft funkiness with a touch of sourness, and finally some coriander and cinammon.

Nice light and refreshing mouthfeel with good carbonation.

Very drinkable and interesting. A nice beer.

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Luciérnaga, The Firefly from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
4.05 out of 5 based on 946 ratings.
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