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: 798
Photo of WoodBrew
3/5  rDev -24.6%

This beer is really sour. Beer pours a rich amber with white head that is leaving a nice lace. The scent and taste were primarily sour dough. The mouthful is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall not for me.

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Photo of rand
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 750 mL bottle to pint glass

A: The brew yields a giant foamy head on a gentle pour, obviously well bottle-fermented. Is cola-brown in color, kinda oily viscous as well.

S: Tart cherries are the dominant note of a lively bouquet, per usual for a JP offering. Woody, oaky notes as well, touches of pepper.

T: The flavors are an interesting play between tart fruit and nutty sweetness. Oak and white pepper add complexity, while notes of alcohol rounds the palate.

M: Chewy, full-bodied and well carbonated.

Another tasty treat from Jolly Pumpkin. Definitely recommended of you're like me and find most brown ales boring.

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Photo of churchillps
2.86/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On no planet is this a brown ale---it's definitely a sour, and a merely average one at that. Very thin mouthfeel, faint smell of orange, and overpowering sweetness, almost nutra-sweet-y. Cannot taste the cacao at all. Really pretty beer with a great creamy head, though.

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Photo of macher0
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Winos in BG. I had this beer a while back, but just getting around to entering the review. Boring day at work.

A. Light mahogany with dark amber hues. Translucent. Poured a thick, fine bubble egg shell head that retreats to a frothy rim. Strong laces. Healthy head.

S. Traditional JP yeast. Neutral oak, light malts. Bretts.

T. Medium to light tartness. Medium roasted malts. Neutral oak. Fairly simple flavor.

O. Smooth, medium body, medium body.

O. This is a very straight-forward, lightly sour ale. I usually pass on browns, but this is not your typical brown. This is a sour, no doubt. This has session written in BIG LETTERS. I go for this every summer, but this can be enjoyed any season.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, part of a gaggle of new offerings from this brewery now available in Alberta, after their introductory onslaught a couple of years ago.

This beer pours a hazy, verging on dark bronzed amber colour, with four fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and frothy beige head, which leaves a bit of sudsy rock outcropping lace around the glass as it evenly bleeds away.

It smells of sour, fairly yeasty pale grain, bittersweet cocoa powder, a touch of gingerbread - one heavy on the cinnamon, natch - and somewhat stale blood orange and random grocery aisle melon fruitiness. The taste is rather tart toasted grainy malt, further sour bacterial/yeast notes, wheat crackers, dry chocolate wafers, wet tobacco, bar-top nuts, muddled orange, cherry and lemon acidity, damp, almost dank wood, and musty floral, earthy, and weedy hops.

The bubbles are a bit tight in their manifestation as a not-quite fully dull sword, the body a sturdy medium weight, and not un-smooth, sort of just barren, in a good way, if that makes any sense. It finishes off-dry, the yeastiness driving the show, with some vinous fruitiness (not necessarily grapes, just wine-like overall), toasted caramel malt, and floral, perfumed hops putting a dot on it.

Not yer standard American Brown Ale (it does say 'special', right on the label), that much is certain right off the bat - the yeast and guest spices taking that bow of mea culpa. However, it all seems to slowly work towards a common goal of good taste and whatnot, as the cocoa and spices blend into the base brown ale more or less behind the scenes, and the funk slowly, but surely trails off by the end. As usual, this brewery's beers are pretty hard to categorize or pigeonhole, and, well, all the power to them.

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Photo of dar482
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The is quite funky with sweetness and cherry and apple peel. There's a bready body in the middle with a tart finish of vinegar and red wine on the finish.

This beer has a wonderful balance of sweetness and bready malt with its funk and tartness on the finish.

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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 JulioH
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Had this one on tap. It looks nice, OK, a nice reddish color. Smell immediately reveals the character of the beer, it smells sour, like raspberries. Taste is a nice blend of wild ale with brown ale. It doesn't feel like a mix where both beers are pulling on opposite directions, yet it's hard to classify this as a wild ale or a brown ale. It is a completely new style, and most likely will fall under wild ale.

As a wild ale, this is a not overly sour, yet a nice beer to drink. It is sour enough to think sour, yet is fall on the lower spectrum of acidity (sourness).

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a auburn tinted brown body with one finger head and lace patches. The aroma could be summed up in one word, sour, but there are other minor notes that one can detect like wood, tart apples or cherries, and a touch of sweetness. The beer has a mix of these sweet and sour notes and I tend to gravitate towards these rather than traditional sour ales so this beer was mighty fine to me. Sour, tart cherries (still think I picked up apple) along with a touch of sweet malt balance together and go down smooth in a woody, oaky body. All in all an interesting and easy to drink beer.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Avenue Pub, NOLA

A: Rust colored with an off-white one finger head that held on for dear life. Curtainy lacing.

S: All kinds of things pop up. Brown sugar, citrus, coriander, malts and chocolate.

T: The tartness really surprised me, coming from a brown ale. This was surrounded by a sweet caramel maltiness with bits of cacao and some spiciness. But the tart lingers.

M: Medium with medium carbonation.

O: My first Jolly Pumpkin experience. Unusual. Tarty cool.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Forequarter, Madison. A hazy garnet liquid, with a light tan head and superior retention.

It's a sharp, tart, vinous complex brown ale aroma. The aroma is pretty awesome, serious vinegar-yeast / cherry tartness, yet sugar cookie malt in the background. A moderately pronounced alcohol.

Creaminess, cut by moderate carbonation.

I could drink this all day.

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


Pours a hazy deep orange gold with an inch of yellow-white head, dissipates slowly.

Smells of Belgian candi sugar and melon.

Flavor is of melon, lemon, coriander, and a dry vegetal hoppiness over grassy malts.

Medium body with a tingle of carbonation on the tongue.

A nice, interesting tart ale, good flavor and easy-drinking. Not what I was expecting but pleasantly surprising.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

this trip down memory lane of revisiting all the jolly pumpkin beers has been time and money well spent. all of their stuff is awesome, maybe none more unique than this one, a tart brown ale with orange peel, cacao, and cinnamon, all of which are subtle but definite. hazy light brown ambery glow, heady as can be, bone white and patient. the nose is just like the finish, an odd relationship we don't often see, but its loaded with orange peel, citrusy, tart, acidic, yet dry, very clean and refreshing. this one may be a bit light for winter, even as a brown. i taste powdery cocoa chocolate malt, buttery cacao, zesty citrus fruits, wild yeasts and brett all over the shop, and only minimal cinnamon, just enough to make it puzzling. very light malt flavor, but there is a lot of body in this, made luxurious on the palate by tiny tickling bubbles, similar to other beers from jolly pumpkin, but rounder and softer from the cacao. all orange in the finish, a bit of brown malt, and a memorable zest of refreshment. a summer brown i think, but maybe more versatile with the cinnamon. their yeasts kick butt, and so does this beer, can't recall anything even resembling this one.

edit: cracked a bottle from 2012 last night (thanks claystatio) and was surprised how much is changed, still real dry and lively, but after its done gushing out, the cinnamon has really fallen back and the tartness has increased. certainly a cellar worthy brew, but i may prefer it a little fresher.

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Photo of safaricook
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

What we have got here is Batch 958 that was bottled 14DEC11. I have seen this lying around in de Bierkoning for quite some time until I bought it for a hefty price. Couldn't resist and poured it into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Looks not much different than a St. Bernardus 8 with its clear red-brown body and its sturdy beige foam that fades in the glass but can be revived anytime. lacing is there. Bubbles both in the body and in the head are fine.

Smells dominantly funky, some underlying darker malts, maybe a hint of the cocoa addition. spices are there too.

Also funky in taste, not much of the malt caramel backbone left: "Brett eats everything!". Reminds me a bit of a Rodenbach with its lactic acid. Lemon too

Very smooth to drink like a Belgium strong ale but with some rather unpleasant astringency towards the end. medium towards light.

A good funky beer that is probably a tad too old to show what it was originally made of. Still can imagine a underlying strong Belgian ale. More of it would do it good. Still pretty complex.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled in December 2011.

Pours out a light brown/amber body with a thin head. Smells of funky Jolly Pumpkin house yeast, brett, and light toast. Light chocolate and caramel in the nose. In the taste: toasty caramel malts and funky brett and yeast. Finishes dry and very tart. Toast towards the end. Spicing is subdued. The chocolate comes out more in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is rather thin and light. Lively carbonation slowly builds in the mouth. Overall this is a tasty beer, but definitely not Jolly Pumpkin's best.

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

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/30/2010. Pours lightly hazy reddish copper color with a nice 2-3 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart apple, cherry, lemon, orange peel, pepper, clove, cinnamon, toast, cocoa, hay, grass, leather, funk, light vinegar, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of tart apple, cherry, lemon, orange peel, cocoa, toast, pepper, clove, hay, grass, cinnamon, leather, funk, light vinegar, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy/spicy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of green apple, cherry, lemon, orange peel, cocoa, toast, pepper, clove, cinnamon, hay, funk, light vinegar, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/spice/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a fairly creamy, crisp, and slightly acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent wild brown ale! All around great balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of joe1510
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Binny's Orland

Maracaibo Especial pours a hazy, murky, deep crimson with glowing orange highlights. I can just barely make out some tiny, fast rising carbonation bubbles. A one finger off-white head forms on the pour and quickly falls to a skim coat with fat edges. Leaves nice sticky lacing after each drink.

The aroma is fantastic with a big hit of sour cherries, peaches and pears up front. The upfront aromas are of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. The middle brings mild oak that leads flawlessly into cinnamon and the sweet orange peel listed on the label. As it warms the cocoa comes across faintly to finish things off. The aroma on this beer just pulls you in. Probably the best aroma from a Belgian Sour I've yet to come across.

The flavor doesn't quite live up to the aroma but it would be extremely tough to do so. Sour funky tart cherries lead the way trailed by a refreshing lighter, but still tart, underipe pear. Finishes off with tart green apple and all the wonderful spicing. Mild oak mid-palate followed by Mild cinnamon and a bigger dose of refreshing sweet orange peel. Maybe it's my mind playing tricks on me but the faintest hint of cocoa seems to linger after the swallow.

Champagne like mouthfeel. Light bodied with very active carbonation that creates a frothiness in the mouth. Puckeringly sweet up front leads to some residual sugar to balance things out. Not quite as dry as expected.

This beer is a thirst quencher. The sour and tartness leave you needing a sip right after your last. Very satisfying with the perfect spicing.

An incredible beer from Jolly Pumpkin. This is my favorite sampled from them so far. The crazy mix of spices work perfectly without one overshadowing the others. A great combination of sour and sweet make this an incredible, approchable beer.

Reviewed: 10/13/07

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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.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 12-19-2011

(A)- Pours a cloudy dull orange color. Some good white froth.

(S)- Slight chocolatey nuttiness with an underlying yeasty dryness.

(T)- Quite fruity in a dried fruit sense: Figs, raisin, honey, and orange peel. Subtle underlying cocoa and nut elements.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Quite fruity for a brown ale, though perhaps a bit too old at this stage.

(O)- Honestly, this is not my favorite by Jolly Pumpkin, however I think I want to give it another try and track down a much fresher bottle to compare

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Photo of haazer
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Off white head atop a brownish, amber looking beer.

S - Slight sour notes. The base beer brown ale is present in caramel, and some nutty aromas.

T - More funk tastes than sour. Dark caramel, toasty malts. A tiny bit of chocolate, and a dried plum taste.

M- Light to medium body with mid level carbonation.

O - Went with this $8.50 small pour at the prohibition taproom for my first beer during PBW. Should've went with the Obscura for price, but still an ok beer. Different take on a brown ale with the "sour" part.

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Photo of morimech
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 930
Bottled 12-01-2011. Bought off of clearance shelf for $4.

Popped off the cap and the beer threatened to overflow from bottle. Pours a murky brown with a surprising small head considering its action after opening. Some spotty lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma is full of lactic tartness. Smells like a sour from Belgium. Notes of tart fruit like cherries and lemons. Not bretty or funky.

Flavor is not as impressive as the aroma. Not as tart as I was thinking it was going to be as it is minimally sour. A little harsh with a weird mid-palate blandness. Not really picking out the cacao and cinnamon. Maybe those have faded. Some interesting mild vanilla notes.

Like most sours this feels light. A little undercarbonated which again is strange.

Once I smelled the beer I though I was in for a real delight, but unfortunately the beer did not deliver as I hoped. I might of been disappointed if I payed full retail for this.

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

I enjoyed this on tap at Brass Rail in Campbelltown, review from notes.

The color is dark amber with light hazed brown thick beige head with fine bead. The smell is light wood with mild fruit and wild yeast with lemony rind and light vinegar essence and sour cherries. The feel has funk, spice medium high carbbonation and light chalkiness with very dry nutty texture in finish with some alcohol warmth.

The taste is sweet at first with tangy fruit and gentle sour aspect and some wild yeast flavor with mild toast from the malt with woody dry and mild moist raisin in the linger with hints of spice but cacao and cinnamon are hard to pick up out especially over the barrel and wild yeast acidity. This is a decent brown with sour flavor but feel and aroma are slightly better than the taste with decent drinkability but alcohol is noticeable.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 931
Bottled 12-02-11

P: Gushed once the top was popped and tumbled into a murky burnt sienna body. Head has moderate retention and presented itself as a mound of dense frothy cappuccino that settled to a bubbly big with filmy lacing.

S: Astringent medicinal aroma, chocolate oranges, funky basement yeast, sour dough bread, moldy rye, foam shoe polisher with mink oil, and faint whiffs of tropical fruit bubblicious.

T/M: Taste comes off as a Flemish with sour lemon tea flavor that brings a spiced lemon pinesol essence that coats the palate like cooking oil. Funky basement brett, old leather, oak, cayenne pepper, and berries. Burnt cocoa, very faint cinnamon, linger in the background. Moderate body with spicy carbonation.

O: An interesting beer to say the least. I was unsure about this from the first taste but as it warmed it began to grow on me. Funky and tart but not as spiced as I expected. It's not a fantastic beer but I like the approach Jolly Pumpkin took on this. Probably wouldn't buy it again considering the price.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.18/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Batch 931 bottled 12-2-11
Drank 4-19-13

Appearance-Brown orange...liquid leather. Nice head fine bubbles dissapated fine lacing.

Smell-Sour fruit. Some bready malt mixed in.

Taste-For what is labeled special brown with cacao, cinnamon, orange flavors...none of that is present. Sweet sourish taste yes...helles yes. I dont have anything against a sour belgian kind of beer. I just expected more flavors and a better blend.

Mouthfeel-went down smooth with fine carbonation tingling on my tongue.

Overall-Not a "drainer"...but I Would not buy again. At $16 for a big bottle...not worth it. Much cheaper sour beers with more flavor out there.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a hazy dark amber with a light beige head. Some lace. No bubbles.

S - spice, leather, bubblegum and citrus.

T - orange, cocoa, cinnamon, and soft caramel malt. Mildly acetic.

M - dry and somewhat astringent with a mild tartness. Soft, peppery bitterness with a medium sustain.

O - certainly not a bad beer, but it's probably one of my least favorite Jolly Pumpkins. That isn't a diss, because I've liked all of them quite a bit. The taste was a bit weak upfront, but it had a pleasantly spicy, citrusy aftertaste that lingered nicely.

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Maracaibo Especial from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.98 out of 5 based on 798 ratings.
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