Maracaibo Especial | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Maracaibo EspecialMaracaibo Especial

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by marburg on 02-28-2005

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Reviews: 331 | Ratings: 800
Reviews by falloutsnow:
Photo of falloutsnow
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Schaumburg, IL
Date: Batch 937, Bottled 2011-12-19
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

At one year, four months of age, the beer resembles a fairly solid Flemish brown ale more than a spiced Belgian brown ale as the label describes. While solid, there's not much that differentiates this from others in the style. Overall, a good beer, but also a bit steep in price considering some 750s and four-packs of some Flemish ales from Belgium are less than the price of one 750ml bottle of this. I would try this again, fresh, to see if there was a difference, but would not keep one to age.

Pours a 1cm tall head of beige-colored foam, made up primarily of small, densely packed bubbles, a few medium-sized ones mixed in for variety. Retention is about average at one minute, the foam leaving very modest lacing along the sides of the glass, a few spots and thick lines. Body is a dark, cold amber brown, very hazy (about 80% opacity), with light bringing out brighter orange-brown hues to the beer. Carbonation is visible moving up the sides of the glass, slow and not particularly numerous.

Aroma is acidic: tart with a Brettanomyces influence, cellar must, tart raspberries and/or cherries, and a very slight cinnamon and cacao nib edge as the beer warms.

Flavor is like a Flemish sour brown ale, with amber and pale malt sweetness heavily touched by Brettanomyces-influenced raspberry tartness and hints of oak, must, cacao, super-faint orange peel, and spices. Front of palate finds mildly sweet pale and a touch of caramel malts with tart raspberry esters and a bit of cellar mustiness. Tartness appears in mid-palate, bearing sour raspberry or cherry flavors with it, along with continued malt sweetness, a bit of oak, cellar mustiness, and just a hint of cacao. Back of palate finds continued tartness, raspberry esters, oak, slight tannins, and super-faint orange zest. Aftertaste is of caramel and pale malt sweetness, slightly bready, with lingering Brettanomyces-influenced tartness, hints of raspberries, oak, and vague spices.

Beer is with carbonation levels of medium-high intensity. This leads to a mouthfeel that is slightly fizzy at first, but quickly becoming smooth and foamy. Closes semi-dry, slightly puckering, with little residual stickiness on the palate.

 2,290 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of gottajiboo2
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Phatz for sharing this beer among many others at the sour beer tasting last year. (from my beer notes)

Appearance, poured a cloudy brown with a thin sand dune colored head.

Smells of sour, sweet, and an almost minty essence enter my nostrils upon first whiff.

Tasted to me at first like one of my home brew batches that went a rye. It was hard for me to pick out some of the other flavors that were there. Tart and sour just kept coming to mind.

At the time I was thinking half a glass of this is about enough for me. But I have been trying many more "sour" beers over the past year, and for what ever reason I am starting to appreciate them more. I almost have a hankerin for one after a meal at a restaurant.

I will definitely try this one again, might even have to adjust my review, who knows.


 819 characters

Photo of thelagerheads
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I like to carry the expended bottle caps from my open brews in the pockets of my shorts for a few hours to jangle around with the silver pieces and keys. It's like a currency until I drop them into my wicker basket of used caps. Now I'm thinking about how I can carry the pint + 9.4 oz wine-like bottles from Jolly Pumpkin on me. A holster with a bullet belt for the caps? A sidecar with my favorite pet in tow like a motorcycle has? Maybe even an IV bag to keep me from certain dehydration?

This one starts with the typical fruity keg-o'spice and then languidly ends with a gradual fog of descending cacao cloudiness. Not how I prefer my darker beers to be but this one tricks the palate into believing that there are actually two beers at work here and really in essence there are: the standard fare high quality super mofo Jolly Pumpkin brew with a russet echo.

 867 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Thanks, Kevin. Always willing to try something I haven't had from Jolly Pumpkin... surprised it took me so long to try this one. Pours opaque with a tawny brown center and vivid, copper edges that show just a lightest bit of translucency. A super huge and foamy, light-beige head billows up and grows and grows and grows, finally settling at well over three fingers and lasting for a while.

Didn't really know what to expect from the nose, but after one sniff, I'm pleasantly surprised. Acidic cherry skins, slightly vinous grapes, moderate oak, and that signature Jolly Pumpkin, musty and old-world funk. The critter evoke a light tartness and even a touch of sourness, maybe even a bit of sour lemons in the periphery. This is listed as an American Brown Ale? C'mon... this is a funky ass American wild.

The taste is slightly more "brown ale-ish", but when I say that, I mean that it just has some more brown ale characteristics... this is still very much an American wild. Some mild tobacco with hints of caramel and cocoa powder but the oak barrel and wild yeast reigns supreme, as is the case in many Jolly Pumpkin brews. Sharp lemon peels, more cherry skins; a touch of astringency but not nearly as acidic as I was expecting from the nose.

I'm getting some underlying floral notes, kind of earthy, dirty, and woodsy, and it's working nicely with the musty, wet wood oak flavors from the barrel. The finish is dry as all hell, leaving your palate wrung with heavy flavors of dry oak, and some cheesy, cotton-y funk. This one might be a little over-carbonated... The bottle wasn't a gusher like many others, but the biting essence is heavy and it's quite tingly on the palate.

Another damn fine beer from Jolly Pumpkin, this is something that could be thrown back, beer after beer after beer. You must understand however, this is far from an "American Brown Ale". It may have started as a brown ale with some caramel and Munich-type malts, but the oak barrel aging and wild yeast strains have turned this beer into a full-fledged American wild ale... funky, dry, and mildly tart - characteristic of many beers being churned out by Jolly Pumpkin.

 2,154 characters

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of MadScientist
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A hazy medium-dark copper with glowing red hue. The head is a persistent light-tan foam about a finger thick that leave long thin streaks of lacing.

S: One of the richer sour aromas I've experienced with a strong, well rounded fruity aromas mostly of red currents and tangerine. There is a complementing malt support with some malt sweetness, a touch of chocolate and Pils malt character. The cacao nibs come through at a moderately-low level along with a cinnamon that seems more oak derived. There is some spicy phenols at a low level and a moderately-low perfumey alcohol note.

T: A complex fruit flavor with orange peel, plums, currents and tart cherry finish. The malt is low with a light chocolate note and light sweetness. There is low hops bitterness and a no hops flavor, not that it's needed the sour and tart fruitiness are balancing the malt being moderately sour over all. The finish is pretty dry with an orange and cherry aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied with a moderately-strong carbonation. There is a slight astringency probably from the spice additions.

O: A fruity, well balanced sour with orange peel, currents and plums. The oak and cacao add to the light spicy yeast notes. This would be great beer to introduce your friend to sour beer.

Batch 930
Bottled on 12-01-2011

 1,303 characters

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maracaibo Especial special brown ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Dexter Michigan. 7.5% alcohol 1pt. 9.4fl. oz. capped brown bottle with a firey plum tree design.

A- Pours an glowing orange brown fluid that radiates red in the sunlight. With a subtle pour it produces a mildly active off white head that leaves a thick quarter inch froth on the top with heavily lingering lacing from the beginning to end of the brew.

S- Sour green apples come to mind on the first sniff on to more complex cinnamon and sweet brown sugar like alcohol esters on the back of the nose.

T-M- Citrusy orange peels and lemon come to me on the first bite but with a little warmth and charactor defining I find a spicy carmel hint that is followed by oaky backbone. Mouthfeel is smooth with a astringent bite that tingle the taste buds to lead you to a refreshing brown ale only to be made by a brewery that barrel ages all their beers.

Overall a excellent beer but to little on the brown ale charactor and slighty more wild than normal... but hey whats normal? Cheers!!

 1,050 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Maracaibo Especial with the always sweet artwork pours from the 750ml bottle a deep, murky crimson color with hints of brown as well. A creamy, bubbly khaki head appears and leaves some splotchy lacing on the side of the glass. Looks good to me! Aromas begin with rich caramel and chocolate tones along with a dark baked bread. There's a nice spiciness that's a bit peppery with hints of cinammon along with loads of dark fruitiness. Earthy yeast and mellow woody notes collide. The real cacao really shines through here. Quite enjoyable.

First sip brings a sweet melding of caramelly, brown sugar and mellow cacao. Spicy cinammon and light peppery flavors meld in with a side of baked bread. Big fruity esters run wild all over the place mid palate. Yeasty along with a flash of dry woodiness as the brew flows down the mouth. It finishes with a lingering cacao and a sweet fruitiness as well. I haven't had too many dubbels to compare this to, but it's a damn tasty beer!

Mouthfeel is good with a slight creaminess and smoothness from the laid back carbonation. Being not overly heavy it makes it quite easy to drink and each sip has me coming back for more. I think I could drink this damn near all day! Another winner from Capt. Spooky and JP. Easily one of my favorite Michigan breweries..check this out if given the opportunity! Kudos to marburg for the treat.

 1,376 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Red/brown color with a tiny head. Citrus aroma, cinnamon/clove spiciness. Taste followed suit: citrus, spice, cocoa, all nicely tied together with a pervasive, but pleasant, sourness. A light, easy to drink beer that belies its 7.5% ABV.

 279 characters

Photo of heddar33
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend 2, bottled 2009 consumed 10/26/10

Pours a reddish brown w a good three fingers of head. Head is thick and quite persistent. Smell starts off with some sour notes, particularly green apple. This is followed by some nice bready malts and a decent amount of funk. Very pleasant smell. Taste starts out with a bit of mustiness, followed by tart green apple. Also got a bit of cocoa on the aftertaste, which was interesting and perfect for fall. Taste also includes some definite breadiness and a bit of orange as well. This is easily one of the more complex tasting Jolly Pumpkin beers I have had. Mouthfeel is nice; pretty light and highly carbonated. This is a very good beer overall, though the complexity of the flavor profile eventually caught up with me, making a 750 a bit too much.

 792 characters

Photo of Beaver13
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Pours a murky tea-brown with a small white head that quickly goes to a thin film.

The aroma is bready malts, some maple, nuts, chocolate and some tart fruits. Brett comes out as it warms.

The flavor is strong tart fruity sourness and some wood and brett and a little maple/chocolate/molasses seasoning that is pretty overwhelmed. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with light watery carbonation.

Overall, a nice sour. The spicing is overwhelmed, but I like the tart sourness and the brett. The only downside is the watery mouthfeel.

 545 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
1.75/5  rDev -56%

Photo of VernonKell
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Torey
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of jburchett
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of Franziskaner
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.

 399 characters

Photo of pat61
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.

 391 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Light brown with orange and auburn edges. Thin light brown and creamy head. Regular lacing down the glass. Very pretty.

Spicy (peppery) and tangy aroma, dark fruits, some mild funk, and a light tart sourness as well. Interesting and unique--and distinctly Jolly Pumpkin.

I don't think the flavor marries quite as well as the aroma. The yeast, funk, and mild tartness dominate, hiding the dark fruits, and sweeter, maltier elements of the beer. Mild bitterness. Again, interesting, and distinctly Jolly Pumpkin, but not a beer I particularly enjoy drinking.

Light to medium mouthfeel.

An interesting wrinkle on the style, but not a beer I'm crazy about.

 706 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of jminch
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of doremite
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of HoppySeb
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

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Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.98 out of 5 based on 800 ratings.
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