Maracaibo Especial
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #1,174
Ranked #9,466
3.98 | pDev: 11.56%
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial
Notes: A sour brown ale inspired by the enigmatic monastic brews of Belgium, and the mysterious mist shrouded jungles of the tropics. Brewed with real cacao, and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel for a sensual delight. A brew to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed!
Reviews: 337 | Ratings: 813 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle, blend 3, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 7.5%. Hazy amber to brown colour, huge off-white head. Nice fruity aroma (esp. oranges), notes of cinnamon, I can’t single out the cocoa. Also hints of apples and farmhouse kitchen. The flavour is sourish and oaky, with fruity and spicy notes, distinct hops in the finish.

Apr 01, 2021
Photo of jeffdr123
jeffdr123 from Florida

3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Oak and Stone. It was labeled as a brown and it pours a brown color, but the brewery more aptly calls it a wild ale. It's a sour brown with the emphasis on sour. A great nose with hints of cinnamon. If I were a bigger sour fan, I would enjoy sipping this slowly.

Apr 01, 2021
Photo of Tsar_Riga
Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage, bought from the Traverse City location in 2017.

A - Semi-transparent, hazy reddish brown body, with a light tan head, quick to fade and minimal lacing.

S - Pungent nose of acidity, apple a la Granny Smith, and malty sweetness.

T - Follows the nose, delivering moderate acidity with apple highlights, tasty, with a quiet finish that bring cacao and a lingering tart close.

M - Brisk and bright, with a mild sour finish.

O - A lovely, well-built sour brown. Nice flavor, great feel.

Dec 12, 2018
Photo of Lahey
Lahey from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Would be nice if the label mentioned anything about this being a sour. This isn't a rich brown ale as stated on the bottle. It's a thin tangy sour. The color doesn't mean shit to me, it's not a brown ale. I should have figured, since it's from Jolly pumpkin. Shame on me for believing the label. Everything they make is a sour, noted.

Oct 23, 2018
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml with a crown cap. Bottled 11-27-13.
Beautiful clear red/brown beer with a 1/2" off white head and good retention and Some lacing.
Lambic sourness, red fruit. Wood. Smells tangy.
Wood. Bright. Fruit. Sour. Clean. Great acidity.
Medium body, medium carbonation. Tangy sourness. Long finish.
Very enjoyable, had this for at least a couple years.
Really good!

Dec 25, 2017
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis from England

4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned
Also described elsewhere as a Belgian sour
Aroma is chocolate and ethanol, syrup and star anise
Flavour is pretty much that with a little vinegar
Chocolate sour? Interesting,needs much more investigation.

Dec 30, 2016
Photo of MMOSNN
MMOSNN from North Carolina

3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Year-old bomber bottle poured into a stemless wine glass.
Look - a deep hazy amber with a one-finger khaki head with nice retention. There is a good amount of lacing with each sip.
Smell - funky yeast hits pretty hard upfront, tart cherries, and sweet citrus notes.
Taste - cherries and yeasty barnyard notes dominate the palate. There's a little bit of sweetness, but it doesn't stand a chance against the other flavors.
Feel - great carbonation and full body, especially considering the age on this bottle.
Overall, I was expecting more of a dubbel-inspired Belgian brew based on the description on the label. However, it seems like they were going for a sour, and even though it's not exactly my cup of tea, it's well executed.

Dec 04, 2016
Photo of NeoClassicist
NeoClassicist from Texas

3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A reference to Venezuela, my ancestor's homeland, in the name, very good.
Made with Cacao, potential there.
Poured into a glass mug with a handle, nice foamy head, good retention, two fingers even after a minute's wait.
Herbal aroma, intriguing.
Tastes thin, feels thin. Like a sour, without the full-on raspberry masochistic assault. Label claims Belgian influence, I can't taste or smell yeast. Not as thick as a Dubbel, not sweet either. Aftertaste is scant and dissolves quickly. Takes effort to finish.
I stopped short of pouring it down the drain, the price was too dear.
$20 here in Honolulu, never again.

Nov 30, 2016
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled 10/25/15.

Pours a dark amber, cloudy, with a one and a half finger head and lots of foamy lacing. Smell brings yeast, cherries, some funk, some sourness, malt, a hint of chocolate- more as it warms. The taste leads more with the malt, then cherries, yeast, some chocolate, light orange. Not getting any cinnamon. Sour up front, it mellows on the finish. Smooth, full bodied, well carbonated.

Liked the stronger malt base and the chocolate with usual JP sourness. The cinnamon was a no- show for this bottle. Very enjoyable to drink, thought it was well worth the purchase.

Jul 05, 2016
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Starts out dark ruby red with a thin beige ring, but the color somehow fades to a gold hue with brown edges when you start running low.

Pretty one dimensional aroma of sweet cherry. Actually, after a while it comes off more like pink Starburst or Laffy Taffy. A touch of maple candy comes off the sticky rim of the glass.

Sweet cherry flavor balances out the acetic sour element making this a very approachable sour compared to some of their other extreme takes. Maracaibo is much closer to a Flanders Red than anything resembling an American Brown.

Reading that there is cacao, cinnamon and orange peel is a total shock, as this was a very balanced, smooth, but one dimensional sour. Not in a bad way, but it's just not the spicy, Belgian-esque and decadent concoction you might expect with that ingredient list.

May 11, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sweet is better for browns than tart... in my book. But, Maracaibo is still a well-constructed tart.
I particularly like its Looks; lots of protein swirling in my glass. Smells tell me I'm going to get tart. Tastes tell true, although not too much. Maybe it is all the spices and citrus rind and cacao, but something controls the tart well. In the finish, it remains well balanced.

I Had Maracaibo with tomatoes stuffed with rice and raisins (where I got some sweet to balance the sour/tart.) They paired well together; making one of my favorite dishes even better. That helps me think this Brown is as much Belgian as American. I try to like JP's whole strategy of making beers that go well with food, but I find their ales sometimes too tart. I am glad this one is not.

8/20/20 Had again from a bottled that appearing to be dated 2015 and was at a reduced price. But I am glad to report that the tart was even more modest than my notes above indicate. So, I've improved the rating for Feel. Having edited that review and satisfied with it, I'm keeping count of Maracaibo over at UnTappd.

Apr 24, 2016
Photo of SerialTicker
SerialTicker from Michigan

3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this one at Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit.

Whatever... really not all that impressed, sadly. It has the nice spiciness of a brown (or, moreso an amber or red ale), but something about the yeast in this one is slightly off-putting. It's not that delicious puckering sourness that I tend to enjoy, it was ever-so-subtly metallic. Not bad by any means, but lacking. Nice little "trunky funk" and I do like the malt flavors, but the sourness itself seems a little off. Not JP's best.

Apr 21, 2016
Photo of byronic
byronic from Canada (ON)

3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks nice but doesn't have much of a nose. Has great flavour up font. A sweetness that becomes tart after which any taste seems to disappear completely. On a positive note the abv is well hidden and this goes down easy.

Feb 21, 2016
Photo of polloenfuego
polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer looked great and had a nice nose. Taste was sour up front, but the flavor faded fast leaving me wanting more. Feel was thinnish, though there was some nice carbonation. All in all a fair beer, but I was expecting the flavor to last a little longer and give me a bit more.

Feb 21, 2016
Photo of Stolenface1
Stolenface1 from Virginia

3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber/brown color with billowing head that doesn't stick around very long. Aroma of sour apples, caramel, slight cinnamon & orange, stone fruit, and slight funk. Flavor is exactly like the aroma but adds oak, tannin a very slight chalky cocoa powder on the finish. Its barely there, but its there. Any more and i think it would overpower the other flavors. I get orange more than any of the other spices, again, a good decision. There are also hints of leather and maybe slight cherry. The feel is dry, but has a sturdy base. I think the cocoa and cinnamon accentuate this perceived dryness. Overall a very unique and enjoyable experience. Only quarrel is there is a touch more booze on the finish than what would be expected for 7.5% ABV.

Dec 25, 2015
Photo of Ciocanelu
Ciocanelu from Romania

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky amber color with beige head. Aroma is tart, slightly acetic and spicy. Taste is just a bit tart and spicy but no detectable specific spice. Medium body and soft carbonation. Quite nice and easy drinking overall.

Dec 07, 2015
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut with a nice head of foam that leaves strands of lacing

Smell: Tart,with brown bread, cinnamon, chocolate and orange peel

Taste: Bready forward, with tartness building, bring with it the flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and orange peel; leathery and dry after the swallow and through the finish though the underlying flavors remain throughout

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A rather unusual take on the style; high quality as are all the brews from this brewery

Nov 29, 2015
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps from Oregon

4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Whole Foods. 2013 bottling. I haven't had this in years.

A clear brown with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this looks great! The nose is fantastic. Deep and complex with light acetic notes, cocoa, light roast, earth, mushrooms, some grain. The Brett character on the nose is just excellent - so deep! A little cotton candy, brilliant! The palate opens bright, fruity and funky. A blend of acetic and lactic acids, hay, funk, mushrooms, earth, cocoa is present. The mid-palate leans heavily of Brett-derived flavors of clove, some allspice and musk. Drying, incredibly funky on the finish, this is quite marvelous. Light in body and medium-heavy in carbonation, this feels great on the palate. Very highly recommended.

Aug 15, 2015
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brownish amber under a 1” white to cream colored foam cap that grips the side of the glass.
S: Funky Brett with fruit and hints of cocoa, apples, and spice.
T: The palate follows the nose with lightly spiced fruits with light cocoa leading to a pleasant finishing tartness.
F: Big Brett texture, effervescent, medium to medium light body.
O: An excellent sour funky brown ale.

May 24, 2015
Photo of Brenden
Brenden from Ohio

3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This one is a thick brown-red, heavy in the body with a foamy off-white head that settles to big bubbling at just under half a finger's height. Retention is pretty good, as is the mix of spotting and patching.
This is a good sour brown, hearkening to the Oud Bruin style while retaining and American character. The typical may have a touch more sourness, maybe a bit more yeast to create a more complex interplay, but this tart, sour and malty beer does the job. I just want to draw a little more out of the spices, but they are present.
The medium, somewhat steely mouthfeel I expect greets the palate, a nice crispness leading into solid smoothness the whole way, some dryness and a bit of acidity easing it with no harshness added.

May 17, 2015
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner from Missouri

3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Light brown in color and very murky looking. There's a good half inch of densely packed head. Brussels lacing. I smell cinnamon, orange peel, and Belgian candy sugar. The taste tart orange peel and cinnamon. That and the Belgian candy sugar dominate the palate. There's a Granny Smith apple tartness at the back of the palate. There's a massive amount of bubbly carbonation pricking my tongue.

Apr 19, 2015
Photo of vickersspitfire
vickersspitfire from Texas

3.09/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The body is a deep brown, murky color, almost like water but with a few golden hues floating around. The head is thick, two and a half fingers thick and it’s very creamy and billowy and its an off white color. Mild lacing marks every sip.
Floral hints mixed I with some mild apple butter.
Sour up front, but this fades as it warms up and a lemon zest flavor starts coming out. I cannot detect the cacao or the cinnamon even after it warms up a bit.
Crisp and medium to light bodied.
Pretty good overall, a bit to sour in my opinion for a brown ale, but still a very good ale.

Apr 04, 2015
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27 from New York

4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours (SRM 8-9) almost clear amber with a casual drifting carbonation. An enormous, creamy-beige head pushes out of the bottle impatiently. An eternal dense head leaves thick patches of lace on my grandfather’s Rupert Brewing mug.

Fermented apples waft through the air, carrying the aroma of Brettanomyces. Spicy yeast allows some malt and apple vinegar.

Fermented autumn fruits comprise the bulk of this beer, bringing forward memories of apple harvesting. Quite earthy with sourness and acidity, leaving room for sweetness and some semblance of balance. The malt is toasted with caramel. A long, sour finish yields to light bitterness. Warmth reveals further character and hints of ginger.

Maracaibo is a medium to full bodied beer, highly effervescent with dry, but not warming, alcohol and a soft, woolen texture.

The brown ale base is present, supporting this Belgian-influenced beer. This beer is fun and is just as I had hoped for from Jolly Pumpkin. This one will work well with relaxed or animated conversation and pairs with good cheese.

Blend 10 -- 14.Dec.2012 -- The more I drank, the more I wanted to drink.

Mar 22, 2015
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer from Ohio

4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

1pt.9.4 fl.oz. bottle
Served in a Jolly Pumpkin snifter

The color lies between a burnt orange and a rust. It appears cloudy. A lively mountain of tan head coats everything inside the glass.

The aroma comes across as sour apple and cinnamon. I don't pick up any cacao or orange. However I do detect that lovely farmhouse aroma of mildew and funk.

The taste is full of that funky, sour taste one would associate with a saison. The cinnamon comes through, and I can even pick out the orange. The cacao still eludes me.

Medium mouthfeel. Highly effervescent.

I swear this beer is way more sour on tap. It is probably a difference in age of batch. I cannot make out the bottling date or batch number. The stamp is partially missing. i never had that problem with the stickers. Anywho, this is another quality beer from Jolly Pumpkin. They rarely disappoint. I was hoping for more sour, but I still like it a lot.

Mar 14, 2015
Photo of dcmchew
dcmchew from Romania

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany, hazy, with a really cool creamy slightly off-white head.
Ah, ok, so it's a FOB. Did not expect (from the label) to smell this mix of lactic acidity, slightly sour cherries and pretty rich caramel malts. Add to that some light nuttiness, citrus peel, faint cocoa powder, a whiff of fresh toast and some rustic wine notes, gone a bit too sour, of course.
A really nice mix of sweet and sour in the taste, like caramel and lemon juice (and peel), with the funky tartness gaining more and more ground. Subtle fruity notes, with apple, orange, faint cherry, and those added cocoa nibs (/powder?) show off for a bit on top of the toasted malts. Dusty kind of spices, a bit earthy, with some cinnamon, faint nutmeg, a touch of pepper. Tartness sticks till the end, which is slightly yeasty, but nice and dry, almost mildly bitter.
All the sour notes disappear in the aftertaste, leaving a bit of nut, a "dusty" note, just hinting at cocoa (not too strongly) and toasted malt. Medium body and carbonation.
A pretty tasty sour, authentic, but doesn't surpass the top of its Belgian counterparts.

Feb 25, 2015
Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 813 ratings