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Noel De Calabaza | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza
1,036 Ratings
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Belgian Christmas Ale aged in oak barrels."

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,036 |  Reviews: 432
Reviews by davewlfpckfan29:
Photo of davewlfpckfan29
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of cbutova
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza

11-16-2012, Blend 15. Thanks to Chico1985 for sharing this.

A- Actually much darker than I imagined, deep brown to almost black in spots even when held up to light. A cream colored head rises up to a finger with a thick foamy consistency. Mostly spotty lace with some webs.

S- Dark fruits and lactic are the overall theme to the aroma for me. Flemish feel throughout with slight acetic hints and a somewhat Oud Bruin characters. Cranberry tartness, cherry, lemon juice, wet oak and toasted nuts.

T- Tartness builds up to being relatively sour over time here, both lactic and acetic. Cranberry is one of the strongest flavors for me with spicy raisin, fig, wet oak and red wine grapes, lemon sours and a slight nuttiness. Complexities are a bit tough to pick up because the sours and red fruit and wine notes really start to dominate.

MF- Lighter end body with a bit of a slickness I often find in beers that have acetic character to them. Carbonation is at a medium-low level and it ends quite sour.

Red wine grapes and cranberries and a general dark tart fruitiness opens up sip by sip. The sourness gains even more strength than those. It isn't harshly sour but it seems to block flavors that might exist otherwise. Winey and Flanders Oud Bruin feel.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 892 - Bottled 09-23-2011.

A: The bottle says it's a deep mahogany color, and I reckon that fits the bill. Billowy, taupe head pours out to at least two fingers, and lacing is ample.

S: Brettanomyces and oak. Mostly brett. I guess almost 3.5 years of aging will do that.

T: Starts out with some fairly ripe plum, but by mid-sip the brett has the spotlight. The plum, which is not particularly ripe, nor too tart, hangs around though, and I get it on the end in most sips. I get a bit of spicy oak every so often, but it's not a strong contributor. Not much of an aftertaste to speak of.

M: Purdy carbonated. Maybe just a smidge too much, but it keeps the beer going down easy, which I like for a wild ale, which is really what I consider this to be, especially after aging.

O: Tasty indeed. After trying many of the Jolly Pumpkin beers several years ago, I decided this was the only one I particularly enjoyed, at least for the price. I wouldn't say this is better than younger versions, just different.

 1,018 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Binny's Plainfield

Blend #1 2007

Jolly Pumpkin's newest release is Noel de Calabaza, their Christmas release. It pours a murky rusty copper with a moderate haze as it rises up the glass. The head grew to a creamy three fingers as I poured then settled down to a thick one finger beige crown. Each sip leaves very respectable drink lines.

The smell of Noel de Calabaza is as refreshing as a winter styled brew could be. The nose is so robust it's hard to put your finger on exactly what's there. Some dark fruits are present along the lines of prunes, figs, and although not a fruit, plum pudding. There's that fresh, juicy, fruity aroma found in so many of JP's beers from the fermentation. It makes your mouth water.

Flavor is very similar to the aroma just not quite as robust. The juicy dark fruits are there and create a great complexity. I'm even picking up some candi sugar, whether it's there or not, it sure tastes like it. There's a bit of sourness on the finish but only enough to make you pucker before the tartness leaves you wanting another drink immediately. As the mouthful disappears a touch of tobacco leaf comes into play.

The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking on this beer. The bacteria ate up a little too much of the sugar leaving the body a little on the light side. The lively carbonation and light body usually work great on these sour ales but this one could use a touch more body to go with the darker fruits present.

Although the mouthfeel is a little thinner than I would have liked it actually boosts the drinkability. The slightly dry finish and tartness on the swallow leave you wanting another drink right away.

Noel de Calabaza is yet another good beer from Jolly Pumpkin. It's refreshing to find all these great barrel aged sours so easily and affordable. Jolly Pumpkin does the beer drinking public a great service by offering these normally expensive hard to find styles in many locations and at an affordable price for such great beers. That's one of many reasons you will always find at least a couple Jolly Pumpkin offerings in my fridge at a time.

 2,110 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled September 25th, 2015, bought at Liquor Shed.

I popped the cap and saw a slow rise of foam that had to be stopped. I poured some into my glass but the slow rising continued. I spent the next few minutes sucking on the bottle to lower the foam. It finally stopped.

It looks dark brown, semi clear, impressive head of off white foam.

The smell is of dark fruits, tartness in a tannins like/venous way. I get some woody notes from the oak.

The taste matches the smell with an additional vanilla flavour that seems to come and go. I reckon that there are some spices in the taste but they're rather subdued.

Medium body, with the carbonation surprisingly moderate considering what I had to go through.

With the alcohol being hidden well, I will enjoy sipping this for quite the while. Good stuff.

 811 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/20/2011. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of strawberry, cherry, green apple, raisin, orange zest, caramel, toast, oak, clove, nutmeg, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of strawberry, tart cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, oak, pepper, hay, grass, light funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Light fruity tartness/spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of strawberry, cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice flavors; with a nice balance of fruit/spiciness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian dark ale. All around nice balance and complexity of yeast, oak, and spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,488 characters

Photo of kjyost
4.84/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Batch 4. Overcarbonated (hello Brett!), but glorious for Christmas Eve! Brett beautifully blended with the dark ale flavours and oak. I could drink this forever!

 162 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of liquorpig
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JayS2629
3.57/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark, murky brown with a huge pillowy head that fades quickly into a foamy film that leaves thin creamy walls of lace.

The smell has dark fruit notes of wild cherry, plum and berry with mild spice notes, toffee and dark bread. Oak hints throughout with a touch of vanilla. Complex but subtle.

Taste starts out with a sweet toffee malt that fades quickly into herbal, medicinal finish. Dark fruits are there, but tart notes and band-aid like. Plenty of funk. Big metallic aftertaste that lingers.

A bit thin and overcarbonated. Almost fizzy.

High carbonation carries medicinal/herbal flavors with oaky finish and tart notes. Not very tasty to me.

 649 characters

Photo of SGToliver
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of BierFan
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a capped 750ml bottle into a cervoise. Sticker on the back of the bottle says "Blend 2,2009".

Appearance: Huge tan head when first poured. Dark reddish brown body.

Smell: Funky brett sourness. Faint oak and spice.

Taste: Sweet dark fruits and sourness upfront. Finishes kinda dry but still has an acidic sweet tanginess in the aftertaste.

One of the best sour ales I've ever had. Really great stuff.

 416 characters

Photo of ste5venla
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Lanstrum
3/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Who says that all Christmas ales have to be rich, heavy, and overly spiced? Not the artisans of Jolly Pumpkin- their holiday ale is sour, spice, and everything nice.

Dark brown in color, the beer shares rusty orange and red hues. Hazy to the point of nearly opaqueness, the beer is adorned with a dainty skirt of foam that clings to the edges and laces lightly- a far cry from most Belgian influenced ales.

Funky fresh aromas rise from the glass with the scent of caramel, grape candy, and acute red wine. Early spices of pepper, peat, and light medicine balance the nose just as stronger cidery notes latch hold. Delicate cinnamon spice keeps the complexities revealing themselves with each return to the glass.

Tart berries, green apples, and sour grapes are the prominant features of the beer in taste. With just enough toasty malt sweetness to support the acidity, the beer balances out beautifully with simple musty wood notes and saddle leather wafting about. Peppercorn and cinnamon add a spicy complement to the beer in absence of any meaninful hop flavor. Finishing with a tinge of red wine vinegar, the beer has the tendency to make you pucker up.

At first the beer is sharp on the tongue, but then smooth and lightly creamy at middle palate. But a late dryness of alcohol, tannin, and acidity attacks the mouth once more to close the session. Its light carbonation gives a pang to the mouthfeel but keeps the beer dry and lightly creamy.

Where I often feel that Jolly Pumpkin ales are tilted too much toward the phenolic peppery and medicinal side, Noel De Calabaza balances out wonderfull and does so in the vein of stronger Belgian oude bruins.

 1,662 characters

Photo of goblue3509
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lighter cola color with light highlights visible around the edges. There is a thin white head which recedes to skim with some lacing present. The aroma is of dark fruits and sour up front with a slight hint of oak at the back. The taste starts with a sour lactic taste green apples red grapes and present. The middle has a dark fruit taste and then the back end has an oak slightly off putting taste. It was just there kinda unblended. The mouthfeel is moderatley carbonated. Overall it was an okay beer, i am usually a fan of jolly pumpkin but this one left me wanting more out of it.

 593 characters

Photo of jmvecchio1
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of oso
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of alysmith4
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Moose34
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of JoRado
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of SpongeRuiner
4/5  rDev -0.7%

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

A- poured into a chalice. Murky maroon and brown with a very thin sudsy looking head that’s gone before it forms. The liquid is actually a clear dark reddish-brown.

S- heavy on the Belgian earthy character. Seems to be a lot of fruit, like cherry maybe in there, given off as pretty tart. Very interesting smell because it’s not just tart and fruity, there’s some other stuff going on other than the funk that I can’t really figure out.

T- I get a lot of alcohol and slightly sour fruit, but there is also right up front a pretty funky taste. The whole taste rushes to the back of the throat really fast, and then just lingers, going from tart to a dry bitterness.

M- pretty thin. Not so terrible for a sour beer in my opinion... I like them on the lighter side.

D- This beer really grew on me. I wasn’t too sure about it at first. I could tell it was ok, but as I got through it really made a great impression on me.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you TCGoalie for getting me this bottle. I had been saving it for Christmas day.

Pours a very dark walnut brown that gives up some garnet hues when held up to a light. This bottle had some major carbonation and even a gentle pour yielded a towering medium tan head. The head sticks around forever and leaves very nice lace.

The aroma is tart and fruity with some definite mustiness and lactic character. It also has notes of sour apple and pear, and a bit of oaky spice. All of this lays on top of a brown sugar malt base.

The flavor is also quite sour with some cranberry like tartness mixed with earthy brown malts. The sour seems a bit more in control of the flavor than it was in the aroma. Other flavors include slightly tart apples, pear, under-ripe raspberries, spicy oak and a bit of an alcohol hit.

The mouthfeel is medium and quite nice with plenty of carbonation, yet a nice smoothness. The beer finishes very well and is quite dry without being too dry.

I thought this was a very drinkable and a nice sour ale. The wild yeast seemed less in control than in some of the other beers, a quality that I very much appreciated.

 1,144 characters

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,036 ratings