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
Photo of nortmand
4.97/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought spring of '05

Deep amber brown pour with a fluffy tan head.

Sweet chocolate smell. Lemony alcohol presence.

Rich chocolate flavor.Some roast near the end. Leaves a slightly bitter coffee flavor aftertaste.

Nice even natural carbonation, very drinkable and nice. Although I love the new sour beer direction of Jolly Pumpkin, this brings back fond memories of their early days.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.94/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle opened with a slow hiss
poured into an oversized wine glass a hazy dark brown with amber tones when held up to the light. A one finger high light tan head rose off the surface and fairly quickly disapated to half it's original size. Very patchy lacing but sticky as hell, clinging to the walls of the glass after each sip as it slowly recedes.

Sour and Funky on the nose, very fruity, Plums, Nectarines, a few sour cherries. Some peppery notes and sweet brown sugar.

Cherries and pepper on the palate with lots of earthy barnyard funk

Medium body and fizzy all the way through the finish which is super dry and wonderfully bitter.

This may only be my second Jolly Pumpkin experience, but god damn they make some fantastic beers. Amazingly unique, a style all their own. These beers greatly remind me of good funky wines. These are perfect to serve to any wine aficionados you may know

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.89/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is of an older bottle. It is at least 2 years old, but is not marked with any date or batch number.

A - It pours a hazy reddish brown, with a sizeable white head that reduces to a small foam cap, it also has some good streaky lace.

S - Funky JP aroma; tart and suggestive of a wide bouquet of fruit. JP is ridiculous. Every time I drink it, I wonder why I ever drink anything else.

T - Perfectly funky; sour and tart, notes of apples, pears, apricot and oak, also lightly acetic. This brew is amazingly balanced. JP is so much better with a year or two on the bottle.

M - Awesome; exceptionally smooth, yet vibrantly effervescent.

D - This is one of the most delicious brews. End of story.

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Photo of putnam
4.85/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Copper brown with a fussy, resigning mass of noisy foam on top. The aromas are of healthy, fresh Dubbel: plums, nectarines, cinnamon, cocoa, pepper. On the palate it is Bruin/Dubbel/+ intense with big, arcing, streaking lines of firey fizz. The fruits and sugars are wiry and natural, evoking baked fall fruit pies, chalky, sweet, dried spices, brown sugar, and -- I swear -- raw cocoa. The finish is deliriously bitter.

I've just come from drinking an Oro de Calabaza with family and freinds for a friend's birthday. It was followed by a Tempier 2001 Cabassou, lamb chops and a 30 minute drive. That should expose any falseness in a beer, and this one passes with flying colors. America is the greatest county ever! Dexter is America!

Jolly Pumpkin's beers are horribly under-rated.

(this really is a surprisingly terrific beer!)

There are very few Dubbels that can approach this quality level. And I could care less if it comes from my state. This could come from Nunavut or Samoa or Poland. It defines natural, pure dubbel the way that Southampton and Allagash can define their beers of Belgian and Flemish nomenclature... and few others.

((Thanks for the parcel, marb))

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Photo of ktel
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful, tight head. Cloudy, reddish-brown. Tart aroma yielding to leather, coriander, vanilla, cherry & toffee. Firm, soft structure from bottle condition. Malty flavor lingers on, demonstrating lightly roasted malt, spices, and dried fruit. Very long, wonderfully complex finish. Tremendous balance & restraint, beguiling complexity. Wonderful beer.

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Photo of bditty187
4.73/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy, reddish-brown in hue with copper interwoven, the coloring is quite impressive. Beige head, the bubbles were loud and fizzy like soda. Odd. At the apex the head was only a half finger tall then the bubbles quickly faded to a soapy cap. In other words, the head retention was poor. The subsequent lacing was disorganized clumps but there was lots of it! I must say, I am impressed the soapy cap lasted the entire consumption. This really improves the appearance. When all is said and done, this is a damn good looking beer.

The nose is funky. I smell a barnyard with horses running free in an apple orchard. Old wood splashed with vinegar… there must be baked goods nearby as I smell bananas, hints of brown sugar, and caramel. There seems to be a trace of cocoa powder lightly sprinkled on a basket of dark fruits. The suggestions of spice, earth, leather, and vanilla round out the nose wonderfully. Many of these aromas are nearly hidden behind the barnyard and vinegar notes. It is a shame the maltiness and fruitiness wasn’t louder. Oh well, the nose is a pleasure to smell. Modest in potency, chatty… I can’t wait to take a sip.

The palate is very tasty. My complaint about the nose is unfounded in the flavor profile. The malt is present and accounted for… caramely with some brown sugar and hearty breadiness. Quite nice! Next comes some apples with a smattering of dark fruits. Not until the end does some barnyard funk and vinegar emerge. By this time the beer is well established and these flavors only add complexity. The alcohol is hidden, impressive. Throughout the flavor profile I detect an underlying spiciness with a kiss of earth and leather. This is a complex beer and damn tasty. I really like it. Smooth. Succulent. Complex. It is a work of art. The aftertaste is extremely long; it is spicy, slightly hot, earthy, malty, vaguely sweet, caramely, with a finish of vinegar and barnyard. Yes! The palate is awesome!

Around medium in body, maybe a tickle fuller, low but creamy (silky) carbonation, the mouthfeel is sinful. Wow. It fits the flavor profile perfectly. Heavenly mouthfeel!

My word… this is a wonderful beer. Jolly Pumpkin seems to be the Russian River of the Upper Midwest. My JP virginity was popped with this beer. I am quite happy. After quaffing my 750ml bottle I could ramble on in some drunken rampage about the virtues of its drinkability but I will restrain myself. Every aspect of the palate fits me perfectly. It is malty good with Belgian spiciness and enough funk to keep George Clinton happy. Did JP brew this beer for me? Because this is exactly something I’d create (if I homebrewed (and could brew something like this)). In summary: Yummy. Thank you very much RedHaze, this beer was splendid! Highly Recommended!

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Photo of 3Vandoo
4.73/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My best friend who is also a BA here Beerbubbabacon shared with me a bottle of this superb beer, quite a pleasant and nice experience.

Dark burgundy in color, with a nice foamy beige head that let herself slowly die.

Her taste is superb, actually it reminds me of "Duchesse de Bourgogne"'
first the fruity flavours such as cherry hits you, followed by spices and a subtles cranberries and cacao flacours.

Her taste is superb, it reminds me of a Sherry, warm you up, very complex. Cherry like flavours with a good alcohol finish and balanced as well. Spice are quite dominant, coriandre and gingers seem to be present but fruits are there too, oranges zest, cherry comes into the complexity with a whole of cacao reminding of chocolate. Also a oaked flavours come and put a whole to this beer!

Thank you to the brewery who have given a sample of this beer to my buddy!

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Photo of icetraxx
4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured an amber red with a nice creamy head into a tulip glass at the Jolly Pumpkin Brewpub in A2. The head dissipated into a cap and laced the the glass nicely.

S: Vinegar, yeast, a tinge of malt, but then I had to dig in and take a taste. The aroma was very nice, but could of been stronger, this seems to be a reoccurring problem with jolly pumpkin brews.

T: The fine wine of beers, and the acidic-sweet nectar of life. Flavors were all over the place, but the sour/bitter/sweet combination was balanced like a finely tuned machine. Exotic yeasty flavors, hoppy fruitiness, oak, a tinge of malt, and one of the most refreshing and cleanest finishes of any beer I've ever had. There were a ton of flavor complexities, but I was enjoying myself too much to pay attention to each one, I enjoyed the macro view of all these flavors.

M: Creamy and delicious, not perfect, but damn good.

D: Me and my friends all agreed on the superiority of the Maracaibo Especial even after tasting just about everything on tap (including the hard cider), two of us bought the $15 750ML bottles before we left, and many ordered a second pint of this even though we had already been brew pub hopping all night. I could drink this all day and all night. Sour. Delicious.

O: Sour. Delicious. My friends have also become believers in Jolly Pumpkin after trying this beer, and now they are my favorite brewer.

As my friend put it: "This is beer nector from the Gods".

One of the best beers I've had yet, I bow to you, Mr. Jeffries.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could tell as soon as I popped the cap that I was in for something special. There is a wonderful nose on this beer. Plenty of spice, tartness and funk. The taste is incredible. The taste has a nice dose of cacao. The mouthfeel is full and creamy and just the perfect amount of carbonation. This beer is a real treat.

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Photo of montageman
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 347. Poured into a pint glass.

A really interesting complex beer unlike any brown ale I've had before. Lots going on here - chocolate, orange peel, cinnamon & an overall sour flavor. The cacao lends a dry, bitter finish along with the orange peel. Thoroughly enjoyable. Highest recommendation.

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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.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A touch candy-apple red, a hint mahogany brown. A fluffy tangerine tinged head stays strong and falls gently back into the glass. Little islands of lacing stick and hang onto the glass as it fades. Not much in the way of carbonation.

S- Sour cherries, green apples, huge notes of funky Brett yeast. A touch horsey, composty, and weird as it may sound... candy-cornish? Some hints of Luden's cherry cough drops, White and green tart grapes, some cinnamon, anise and lemon pepper. This really has brilliant depth.

T- Nicely tart and full of dark sour cherries, lemons, granny smith apples, strawberry hulls, funky horse blanket yeastiness, and spices. Picking up the cinnamon and maybe some chile heat on my lips. Not really tasting any cocoa. Not really understanding how this is a brown ale... but it's really good! If I'm truely rating this by style it'd be a 2 or so, but I'm really loving this so it's gonna be a...

M- Tart and full of fruit! Cherry, raspberries, lemon, green apples, and spiced with horse poop, cinnamon and pepper. Truely mouth puckering.

O- This brew couldn't not fit the style more, but it's absolutely brilliant! I feel bad about grading this one on a curve. As a brown ale it sucks, but as a WILD brown ale... it's crazy good! I will be getting more of this immediately, drinking some, and cellering a few.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maracaibo Especial
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 7.50 %

LOOK: Pours with a fierce crackling off white head. In the shade of a very dark brown, certainly not clear, and a little thick looking.

SMELL: A bit sour smelling, with notes of apple cider vinegar and muscovado sugar, old lemons, leather, oak, bourbon.

TASTE: Sugary malts tempered by a nice lactic sour, not unlike a good flanders red from Belgium. This has a more biting sourness, delicious malt body, and notes of sour dark cherry. A bit of cocoa, some mild bitterness, oaky tannins and more sour to go into the finish. A complex ale.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, and drying with flavors lingering into the after taste.

OVERALL: A complex sipper worthy of being sipped and savored. Would pair well with stronger cheeses and fresh meats.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This poured with a very nice, thick, deep-tan head that evidenced decent retention throughout. The color was deep brown with garnet highlights. The nose had a light brett-driven mustiness overlain with a chocolaty smell such as what hangs over Hershey, PA on a production day, only lighter in this beer. The mouthfeel was full and thick, bursting with effervescence. I got a cocoa-like flavor on the tongue and the same on the finish, but accompainied by brett in the latter. Man, I am in love with the Pumpkin!

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Photo of elNopalero
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This pours with a ruddy amber color with thin foam.

There’s a tartly sour aroma on this. The flavor has notes of dark cherries and some tobacco leaf. Great finish, with a Bretty character than hangs out for a chat. Interesting brew, much more inspiring than this review!

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Photo of Boz12
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from Jolly Pumpkin! Poured from a bottle into my Lost Abbey teku glass.

A: Dark orange color with a half finger off white head. Hazy.

S: Some nice funk. A little cinnamon and bread. Tart apple.

T: Smooth subtle malt character with a liberal dose of a mildly tart brett funkiness. Apricot and bitter orange peel. Maybe some apple and cinnamon.

Overall a really interesting beer. The fact that it says "Special Brown Ale" on the bottle is something that should be noted. It is definitely not your typical brown ale. It almost reminds me of a sour helles bock, who knows. Regardless, it's a really tasty beer.

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Photo of WwRGSwW
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pretty dark brown with a large head.

S- Sour smell with some citrus

T- AMAZING. this beer is one of the best beers ive had ever!

M- medium to light, carbonation is there in force.

D- No harsh aftertaste, and you want to keep going back for more.

I enjoyed this beer so much, that I got a bottle to-go for later. Bartender informed me, that she preferred the bottle vs. the tap.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Capped 750 poured into a chalice.

Deep chestnut brown with a two finger head that drops down to about 2cm and maintains this height through most of the ride. Layers of sheeted foam are left in its wake.

Yeast, cacao, plums, belgian sugar, and spicey aromas that I would associate with a winter warmer (OSA). A little bit of hop dryness paired with a dash of peppery alcohol. Very interesting.

Mouthfeel is full but a little prickly from the carbonation which rises up quick but smoothes out toward the middle. Tastes of dark fruits, cookie dough, quick flash of citrus, cinnamon, earthy malt, hop oil, and bakers chocolate. The finish leans toward dry with just a wee bit of alcohol in the finish. Delicious.

This is a real treat. I could see myself taking down a couple 750s of this over the course of an evening. Complex, balanced, damn tasty and an abv that isn't so high you have to limit your enjoyment. Highly recommended.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into a nonic pint.

I've had this before and loved it-- and since I don't want to waste time reviewing this beer at my upcoming Jolly Pumpkin tasting, I figured I'd get to it tonight.

I don't usually go in for brown ales, in fact I tend to eye brown ales with the same regard as a man that just found a caterpillar in his salad.... The only brown ale I really regard highly is Coffee Bender, which is very different from most American brown ales. This beer also falls into the same category.

I cracked this open to a nice hiss like an adder that has just been stepped on by a careless mule. The body of the beer is a reddish brown color with a caramel colored head. The foamy head sat at attention long enough to make me sit up and take notice before it settled to a clouded map. Nice thick sheets of foamy lacing. Shiny and glowing. Just a gorgeous goddamn beer.

The nose holds some oak, tart over-ripe cherries, and a healthy dose of some malt. Not overly sweet, but sweet enough to make me think this may have originally begun life as a genuine brown ale. The dry malt and tart notes are great. Light oaky vinegar at the backend.

Feel is medium full with ample carbonation. It works well enough.

Overall-- this is now in the running for my favorite brown ale. Just a tasty and pleasant beer to drink.
Well done Jolly Pumpkin!

PS-- this was the 2011 vintage. At our upcoming tasting we will try a 4 or 5 year vertical... So I'll update with my favorite!

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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.

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

750 ml capped bottle poured into a nonic.
7.5% ABV, Batch 937, Bottled 12-19-2011

A - Maracaibo Especial glugs from the bottle with moderate vigor, crowning the mostly clear crimson walnut color with a thick pile of light khaki foam. Depleting somewhat quickly, the suds leave sticky webbing on the pint.

S - With the release of the cap a familiar, inviting, and subdued wild yeast wafts into the air; the Jolly Pumpkin staple. Despite the beer's unfortunate age, this brown ale is robust with character! Light toffee and caramel blend with the toasted amber malt base which, hides coyly behind the ever-present yeast sensation of lightly acidic lemon juice and mild barnyard funk. If age has taken a toll on anything, it's gotta be the almost absent cacao nibs and cinnamon spice, though it's hardly a reason for downgrading the fantastic aroma.

T - Cinnamon spice enters the picture nanoseconds before my first sip, spicing up the brown ale nicely. Tart yeast raises the barnyard a notch in flavor while suggesting Belgian influence with earthy clay and white pepper notes towards the back. Citrus juice and rind play nicely juxtaposed to the amber malts. Toast, caramel, toffee, and a sliver of shaved chocolate complexity finish out providing a great malt base; one that plays well with others.

M - Smooth and medium bodied, this brown ale departs style categorization the second it's wild yeast grips the tongue with tartness, mild acidity, and a higher level of carbonation. Feeling a little lighter than it actually is, the crispness aids in drinkability but this beer would work wonders in fall.

O - I think I was too jazzed to buy this beer for a celebration than I was actually paying attention, hence the old bottled date. Regardless, Maracaibo Especial is pretty fantastic, shining with deep, rich malt complexity, funky yeast, and a twist that puts a unique and welcome spin on a fall classic. I'd love to find this fresh and compare it's cinnamon spice and cacao additions to the aged version, though.

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


Poured into a chalice a nice golden amber color, very nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus creamy tannish head, lots of nice creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, tangy, bourbon, slight spice, plums, figs, raisins, and some caramel. The taste is malty, pretty tangy, some bourbon going on in there, some spices, dark fruit, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden fairly well. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is an awesome brew, highly recommende, slight twist on a BSDA.

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Photo of n811
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip glass from 750 mL bottle purchased at the brewery. Fantastic almond colored head grew to magnificent proportions and then began to collapse in a rocky, fluffy fashion. Beautiful.

Smell is 100% Jolly Pumpkin - funky green apple and traces of wood is what I always get from their beers. Definitely heightens the anticipation...

Taste is a reflection of the smell. Oaky, apple-y, yeasty, malty, wonderful-y all in one. This is not what I have in mind when I think of a Belgian dark ale, but it is what I would expect JP to produce for this style.

I love JP beers, and this is no exception. Highly recommended.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep golden chestnut with a thin tan head. Fluffy streaks of lacing cling to the side of the glass.

S - Tart cherries and apples with a slight hint of sour brown funkiness. Slight clove and spice scent that I didn't pick out as cinnamon until I read the label.

T - Tart apples with some malty oak and a bit of earthiness. Hint of the cacao and cinnamon in the finish. Quite complex and interesting.

M - Medium with crisp carbonation and a dry finish.

D - Seems like more of a spiced sour brown ale to me but it is very tasty. A nice take on the style.

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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.

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