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 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.

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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 mntlover
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky brown with amber highlights sports a nice brown two finger head that falls to ring with some sparse lace.

Aroma is nice sour malty notes big orange notes or more like those chocolate oranges you can buy. Nice spice notes with cinnamon dominating.

Taste just like the aroma nice malty brown ale with a good sour brett kick. Orange pops out after sour dies down some. Finish is lingering brett, orange and spice cinnamon dominating but some earthy notes also perhaps from the yeast.

Mouthfeel is medium with lightly peppy carbonation.

Overall an enjoyable brew nice brett notes on brown ale the orange was a nice addition. Hear Jolly Pumpkins all taste the same as a knock sometimes. Myself I enjoy the funky notes in all there brews.

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Photo of cfrobrew
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A Very opaque brown with a small head

S Heavy brett smell with a few other bugs in there too but largely brett, some sort of sour barrel smell as well, very nice

T Very similar to the smell , which I was pleased with. Dry with a tartness that isnt terribly strong . I would imaging thats much from the brett, there isnt a lot of sweetness left.

M Somewhat thin but not more than should be expected from a brown, very nice for the style

O I really enjoyed this beer. I liked it more while it was cooler and the brett was subdued so the other characteristics could come out. As it warmed up and breathed it became much more dry and brett heavy. I enjoyed it cool so I cooled the rest down after my curiosity was sufficed, to bring back some of the other flavors. Great beer, pricy but worth trying since I cant get it back home in TX...

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Photo of weonfire
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A - Deep Copper. full finger and half head. dissipated within a minute or two.

S - Awesome. deep aged orange? sweet molasses. pear?

T - Mellow sour flavor. cinnamon. very nice

M - Could be fuller. From the smell I expected more. But i do like.

O - very nice. I would get this again.

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Photo of MarioM
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: dark Ted, almost mahogany in color maybe a dark red with a delicate creamy head with little lacing, lingered for a while. Light to moderate carbonation with small creamy boubbles.

S: Fruity, lift malty characterwith a little hint of Belgian yeast and dried fruits along with some brown sugar or dark syrup.

T: Tart, a tad sweet, fruity with a little alcohol and slight sourness from the barrel aging. A little but of floralness and some spices. Balance is more towards a tart fruitiness but well within the Jolly Punpkin style of brews.

M: Slight bitterness but still moderately sour character. A little fruty and phenolic but quite different and makes me want to continue drinking this ilunique brew.

O: A must try for the Belgian Brew Advocate who thinks he's/she's had all Belgian brews available. Not as strong as I would expect, abv wise but the flavor and experience is there. A must have for those Jolly Pumpkin fans, especially on tap.

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Photo of Fanhitter
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Served at JP on draft, in a snifter.

Pours a nice, deep auburn-red color with a light foamy top. After a few sips, a light amount of lacing lingers and dissipates down the side of the glass. A nice ribbon of bubbles remains across the top of the beer halfway down. Looks like a nice cold-weather brew for a sour.

Smells sweet and sour with a nice spice-laden aroma as well. The citrus note takes a backseat to the sour cinnamon nose.

Tastes nicely seasoned, with a warm cinnamon burst. For lack of a better comparison, i liken it to a fresh cup of tea with lemon and honey after its sat on the countertop for a few hours.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. This is a no-brained for a breakfast/brunch beer. Easy drinking to say the least.

Overall, I'd say this is one of my favorite JP brews I've tried. Would definitely order it again. A great seasonal.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Half finger of head on a cloudy, light brown body.
The aroma is orange chocolate, alcohol and nuts.
The taste is quite boozy and sour throughout, a big dose of lemon bitterness in the middle, finishes with a touch of sweetness. It's a bit confused.
Crisper texture, moderate carbonation and medium body.
It smells amazing but the flavor didn't back it up. Fairly bitter for the style.

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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!!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Single finger head with excellent lacing on a murky copper body. Aroma of tart dark fruit, caramel and toasted malts, breads and candied citrus. Flavor follows very well with caramel, candied fruits, brown sugar and bready malts. Light to medium body, oily and light to medium carbonation. Almost has the sense of a brown blended with a sour beer. By the time I finished this one I loved it and wanted another. A very nice and complex brew. It's just a little too thin for me.

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Photo of jbeezification
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 oz bottle, sticker on back indicates 'Batch 349'. Served in a Trappistes Rochefort oversized wine glass at 49 degrees.

First off, this is a gusher. I felt the carbonation as I was popping the top and luckily I made it to the sink before it poured everywhere and had my glass ready.

Obviously there is lots of head, but it settles to a fine pencil thin head which stays around for a while.
Smells of nut and sour orange peel.
Quite a bit of orangey sour with a cacao bitterness. This is quite complex and very enjoyable.

I can't help but call this a weird beer, its labeled as a brown ale, yet it is sour and brewed with cacao and cinnamon. This is not a introductory beer because it would take a strong palette to appreciate the complex flavors and depth of this one. I almost don't feel worthy to appreciate all that this beer is made of and am greatful to have been able to get a bottle in Texas where it is not distributed (yet(hopefully)).

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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

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a little pour from Anita at Great Fermentations. Thanks!

A light brown color with some auburn notes. Quite a bit of foam and carbonation, as it wanted to foam out of the bottle. Smell was really neat, with sour beer tang, a bit of spice (maybe cinnamon) and some richness from the cocoa and brown malt. The flavor is equally complex, with a fair bit of sourness and a pretty dry finish. Some pineapple notes in there, too. Mouthfeel is pretty light and zippy. Overall a neat beer. Very interesting ideas that really came together well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - $13.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Blend 1 - Bottled 11-9-10.

Appearance: Dispenses a clouded, medium-brown body with a tall, gushing, slowly receding, off-white head.

Smell: Presents a slow shambling toasted, molded bread maltiness and toasted, earth-strewn nuts with a quick snap of phenols bringing one to attention, then, the cacao and cinnamon slips past followed by ripe fruits, a even little berry.

Taste: Toasted maltiness, slight caramel sweetness, and with more chocolate flavor than I'd ever have expected. Pinch of cinnamon, but also a clovesque, peppery note alongside acedic berries soothed with umeshu. Becomes predominately earthy and acidic as it progresses. Finishes with a flourish of engaging, burp-inducing carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. High carbonation.

Overall: As always, it’s another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin.

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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 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 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 flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with very little haze and almost no effervescence. Head pours a fat finger of frothy ivory foam which leaves a nice lace on the glass. Attractive!

Smell: sweet malt with a light hint of chocolate, plus a definite sour aroma. This seems more like a "wild ale" than an "American brown ale". I like sours, so I like this.

Taste: super sour right off the bat, followed by a sweet, caramelly, nutty malt flavor. A good example of a sour brown ale. I like it!

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and concomitant creaminess. Bodacious!

Overall: I like this beer quite a lot. I think it is misclassified as a simple brown ale and needs to be set up as a sour ale or wild ale. Still, I like sours so I like this beer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle with dinner at home. Pours light brown with heavy carbonation and a big fluffy white head. Sour aroma with hints of toffee candies. Light in the mouth and a great sourness, light vinegar, pairing with an interesting toasted flavor in the malts and ever so slight spice. There is a crisp finish that I assume comes from the orange peel and spices. This is light and airy with heavy carbonation. Went AMAZING with saurkraut and roasted pork. One of my favorite JP brews.

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Photo of davewlfpckfan29
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

We got this bottle from Julio's in Central Massachusetts.
The batch is from January 8, 2011. So we had it eight months later in August.

Carbonation and lacing is a really nice brownish red color, the body of the beer is a nice unfiltered looking mahogany colored brown.

Really nice tartness to it, and also a sour taste. It has a great complexity of both a sweet and sour side to it which I really appreciated. We also believed that it has a slight lactic taste to it as well.

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

A: Pours a hazy brownish amber with a creamy, lingering khaki head.

S: Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted nuts, caramel, cocoa, oak, must, and cider vinegar are present on the nose.

T: Opens with malty and spicy notes of dry bread, caramel, biscuit, roasted chestnuts, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and nutmeg chased by notes of pickle brine, oak, must, and cider vinegar. The finish is tart and well integrated with a combination of bread, nut, cocoa, spice, oak, must, and vinegar flavors.

M: Medium in body, chewy, and very, very dry. Carbonation is firm, but quite expressive. Alcohol presence is minimal. This ale can easily sneak up on the unsuspecting drinker.

O: This is an excellent sour, one that is reminiscent of a dubbel, an American brown ale, and a Flanders oud bruin all at once. For fans of sour ales, I highly recommend Maracaibo Especial. It is definitely one of Jolly Pumpkin's most unique and interesting efforts.

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Photo of ricknelson
2.21/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Six of us attending a beer tasting that I hosted in my man cave pub gave this beer a score of 8 out of a possible 30 for and an average score of 1.33 It ranked dead last out of the 12 beers we tasted. The group of six were divided evenly, 3 that favored IPA's and 3 that favored Stouts. It actually was so bad that no one even finished the 5 oz pour, and a good portion of it was dumped down the drain. It had a very vinegar taste. Maybe it was a bad bottle, I still have another one un-opened. But do I dare try it!

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Photo of Dope
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blend 2, bottled 11/10/10. Closing in on 2 years old.

A: Pours a murky reddish-brown with a huge, ridiculous fluffy tan head. Fades very slowly, leaving a huge island of foam behind with lots of fluffy lacing all over the glass.

S: Green apples with lots of cinnamon. Leather.

T: Tart apple mixed with some cinnamon. Sour throughout, not tart. I get some cocoa and toast and other spice. Ends drying and cinnamony. Lots of spice. Kinda tastes like a sour winter warmer.

M: Medium bodied and astringent.

O: Well, definitely not a brown ale, that's for sure. Quite sour and very little brown ale character. Judging by the other reviews, this is supposed to be sour and not a brown ale. Ah well, should have read them before I wasted my money on a miscategorized brew.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Have a big, thirsty towel handy when you open this - the sample I opened fizzed like a bottle of champagne in the locker room of the team that just won the World Series. It pours a hazy mahogany with a VERY thick light cinnamon-tan head that settles down after a bit. Aroma has a strong overtone of sour apple with a little pear mixed in and a malty hint. Flavor has a malty core, a strong overtone of sour apple, and a woody undertone. Is this a Belgian, or a Sour? Whatever, it’s tasty. Texture has good tang and fizz, though body is a bit on the thin side. Lovers of sour ales should enjoy this one.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very lightly hazy amber to garnet red in color. The beer has a finger tall creamy light tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: Moderate to heavy aromas of sourness (likely from brett) along with some much lighter notes of cinnamon and orange peel.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell with a light amount of sourness (brett) upfront. After that there is a strong presence of oak along with lighter hints of orange peel bitterness and some light spiciness (cinnamon).

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: This beer is really very interesting - very unique combination of flavors and smells. I like the sourness and the barrel flavors in the beer but it is not the easiest to drink. Good beer for sipping and the alcohol is well hidden.

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