Noel De Calabaza | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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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."

Added by BeerBeing on 10-21-2007

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Reviews: 425 | Ratings: 1,020
Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark reddish brown/coppery color with off-white head. Funk, tartness, dark fruits, cherries, yeast, and some oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with funk and tartness with some dark fruit.

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Photo of Savan
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I like a Beer I can not see through... I have never tried this style before, and it reminds me of a barley wine ale and a gose! I do not note any particuliar scent about it... but its not anything fowl. As for taste, bitter notes, oaky and a lil sweetness on the finish. This beer has a light to medium body about it... all this mind you matters not... overall you fill feel very nice by the time you have finished it.

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Photo of DeltaAgent
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a cellar temp 750 mL bottle into a tulip glass. The beer is a deep brown hue with an off-white head that leaves a thin lacing with each sip.

The aroma is mostly malt and a little caramel. There is a hint of apple cider that portends things to come.

The first taste is of bready malts and the aforementioned apple cider. With a little warmth, the tartness becomes more pronounced but not too sharp or overbearing. More dark fruits and caramel persist the rest of the way.

The body is moderate, and the carbonation level is just right. The spices stay with you long enough to pull you in for your next sip. Well done.

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Photo of donspublic
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into tulip, minimal dark cream head, no retention or lacing. Dark brown in the glass no light getting thru. Smells of spices and potential tartness, not quit sure what that descriptor is. Taste is reminiscent of a mulled cider, you have apples, mulling spices and a good balanced tartness. Hides its abv well. Nice drinking beer, great for a chilly night

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Murky deep brown/ dark mahogany pour. Rich looking.
Smells of autumn spices but almost in a farmhouse-like way.
Taste is sour and tart with fruit notes and lightly sweet malts. Nice special ale flavors. Not muddled, but tasty components of apple citrus/ spice and cinnamon, and more hidden notes of darker malts/ fruit and even, to a lesser extent, chocolate.
Feels medium and smooth, well-carbonated.
Surprisingly solid beer that ended up being more complex than I expected. Well-done stuff to sip on a Hallow's eve.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampling a cellar temp 750 ml bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear mahogany with deep ruby highlights and several streams of carbonation rising to the surface. A creamy beige head of 1 cm foams up and rests on the surface of the glass. The foam stays throughout sampling and leaves tight lattice after each sip.
The aroma is malty with some caramel and dark fruit and a bit of bready yeast. No alcohol on the nose or hops that I can detect as I sniff the glass.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth soft texture and fine carbonation that is slightly tingly but rolls across the palate after each swallow. The flavor is more mild than I anticipated from this brewery and the beer.
A mix of dark malt and brown sugar and some fruit with plums and raisin notes. The mild flavor is appealing but I had hoped for a bolder experience. The booze does show up with some warming after each swallow.
I enjoy the beer and dont find any flaws, but admit to being underwhelmed in general as I consume the beer.

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Photo of Bulabeers
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L:Murky reddish brown with very little head that vanishes quickly
S: apples, cinnamon, oak, sour funk
T: apples, oak, astringency, some sort of citrus peel, and cinnamon. alcohol is not present
F: seems good to me
O: unique christmas brew. drank it in June. Happy holidays.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a taster glass.

A: Plum colored with an off-white one finger head that lingered.

S: A fruity sourness that surprised me until I realized it was Jolly Pumpkin. You're in sour country, pardner.

T: Sourness prevailed, in a nice way. Fruity, woody and apple-y with a tinge of sweet malts to give it that Belgian Strong Dark character while maintaining an active sour feel throughout.

M: Low to medium with crisp carbonation.

O: A winter warmer that's not. A Belgian Strong Dark that's not quite. This is Jolly Pumpkin's special take and quite tasty. Sour fans will love it.

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Photo of Mgree909
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Flying Saucer in Ft. Worth and have been so happy with this latest brewery from Michigan that we get here in Texas. They kind of remind me of Jester King of the north :)

From a bomber poured into a tulip, fruity with slight sour and woody notes
Brilliant, deep caramel orange hue with a light, dense, white head.
Not a sour fan but this had nice balance and I really enjoyed a little sweet/bitter

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Photo of Sabtos
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Hmm, I never realized while drinking this that this was from a Belgian style base beer, let alone a Christmas/winter warmer style.

Reddish huge, with cloudy sporadic foaming and fizzing.

I got the impression this was a pretty standard template for a nice, red fruit inspired solid sour.

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Photo of twozni
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Very nice maroon color. About a 1 finger head.

S: Has a sour, almost rotten smell of fruits - mostly apples. Not amazing, but definitely not unpleasant.

T: Sweet taste of fruits with a mild, dry, malty aftertaste.

F: Gives a mild, crisp feeling. Good amount of carbonation.

O: It's a delicious beer and I would drink again.

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Photo of jspaner
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel brown color into my pint glass, with a little bit of white head that lasts a while. The smell is a bit sour, but nice, and not unexpected.
The taste is like mildly sour fruit, with some spice and malt. Hop flavor is very low. The alcohol is well masked, and is not prominent. Hard to detect the "Aged in oak barrels" flavor, but the Belgian dark ale flavor is there.
The mouth feel is good. Nothing special, but not disappointing either. Well carbonated and easily drinkable.
Had never tried any beers from this brewer before, so had nothing to compare it to. That being said, I liked it, and would drink it again. It's a good Belgian-style dark ale, but not exceptional.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber split with a friend. Poured into snifter glasses.

Dark murky brown in color with a fluffy, pillow like head that lasts for a long time.

Smells of funk, tart apples, caramel and spiced fruit.

Taste follows the nose. Like eating a caramel covered Granny Smith apple with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. This is delicious. No alcohol detected.

This beer moves very nicely through each sip. Tight, medium, soft carbonation allows for super easy drinking.

This is a unique, fantastic brew that is a nice change from the "normal" winter warmers. Sweet and tart in the best possible way. I could drink this all day. Will definitely have more. Highly recommended if you like lightly spiced sours.

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Photo of ARoman
4.56/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap, poured into a tulip. The aroma is reminiscent of a dutch, sour apple pie with secondary wood notes, and some late fig and bread crust emerging as it warms. It's a brilliant, clear, deep caramel orange hue with a light, dense, white head that has a low amount of retention and a low amount of lace. A really nice, medium bitter,sweet, and sour balance. The texture is a bit on the thick side of oil with a light, zippy carbonation and a medium full body that's tart with notes of caramel apple pie, sour cherries, and a strong spice as well as secondary notes of slight citrus zest, oak, and a touch of coffee as it warms. The finish starts with a very brief, syrupy and burnt caramel but turns to a zesty spice and oak with a brief character of fig. It's dry and astringent with an aftertaste of bread crust, apple pie, fresh fig, citrus, and a late hint of chocolate. Quite clean for such a big beer.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant dark brown under a 1” off-white foam cap that clings tto the side of the glass.
S: Wine and fruit aromas with a suggestion of port and a little wet horse blanket.
T: Dark dried fruit, rich malt, fruit, tangy tartness, citrus with a moderate hop finish.
F: Above average carbonation, medium body, tart yet soft in the mouth.
O: This is a smooth, malty Belgian Strong Dark ale with a nice balance between wild yeast tartness, Belgian yeast fruitiness and alcohol.

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Photo of silvershark
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11-19-2012 Bottle opened on 5-11-2015

Head: Virtually nonexistent - slight foam.

Body: Dark, not quite opaque, but more opaque than translucent. Almost like a heavy pinot noir but more brown than red.

Aroma: A bit vinegary, clear sour notes. Also caramel and toffee. Slight dark fruit, but more as an aspect of the sourness than an aroma on its own.

Taste: Quite a nice sour note, but not overpowering tartness. More balanced than you might guess given the aroma. A little bitter kick at the end, but nicely blended. Malty flavor really opens up nicely as it warms. Definitely not something to drink directly from a fridge - would much rather have it at about 55F or so otherwise most of the flavors will be masked by the sourness.

Texture: A little thinner than you might expect given the body color. Feels more akin to a brown ale. Would actually be quite nice to drink even on a summer evening given the nice tart quality to it and lack of heaviness.

Overall: Definitely something to store for a few years. I had one back when it first came out and it's an entirely different beer now - much more oaky and bretty than when it first debuted, which served to really mellow out the alcohol forwardness and flatten it out a bit. If you can let it sit for a while, you'll have a really nice winter sour to sip on. As a note, though. It's definitely more of a sour brown type beer, so if you're not into sours, you'll probably not enjoy it as much.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.36/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Solid label art. Pry-off pressure cap. Brown glass. Bomber format.

Served cold into a tulip and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a saison per the label. Expectations are high given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1.5 inches wide. Foamy and frothy. Adequately creamy. Good consistency. Nice complexion. Leaves light lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes. Retention is good - ~4-5 minutes.

BODY: Dark deep ruby of average vibrance. No yeast or hop sediment is visible.

Looks nice for the style. Not unique or special.

AROMA: Faint oak. Caramalt. Winter spice. Amber malts. Sweet and malty, but not too heavy on the candi sugar. Has a mulled character. Very wintery. Hints of dark fruit - plum & date. Maybe some light raisin.

Has no overt hop profile or off-character. Slightly boozy.

Aromatic intensity is average.

Suggests a heavy thick beer with a malty taste and an undisguised ABV.

I do wish the oak was more prominent.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Malty and spicy, with some mint family spicing. Deep amber malts and Belgian dark malts lend it a robust malty sweetness. Sugary, with some candied fruit notes; I'd guess plum and date, but they're so well integrated that they don't ring distinct.

On the sweeter side, sure, but that's to style. Slightly sticky. Definitely too thick and even a bit syrupy. Unrefreshing. Full-bodied.

Quite the malt-bomb, but complex enough. The dark fruit brings some subtlety, and overall this is a pleasing beer for the style, but its depth of flavour is merely average and it isn't quite gestalt. Well-put together for what it is, with a satisfactory build for a dark ale.

Above average flavour duration. Average flavour intensity.

Lacks a harmony of texture to taste, or a harmony of oak barrel to base. Somewhat dry, to its detriment - parching the palate a bit. Smooth, though.

OVERALL: She's kind of a sipper, and the ABV isn't well disguised. This isn't on par with the quality of Jolly Pumpkins saisons and sours, but it's a nice beer in its style - especially considering it's American-brewed. Worth trying and maybe even cellaring, but not a beer I'd buy again. I expected better given the brewery, but it's a nice beer for what it is - and is definitely well above average.


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Photo of Craig_Martini
2.9/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer is gorgeous when poured. Rich, dark, Amber with a hint of red and a medium thick head. Unfortunately the good stops there. Lighter than expected, too much carbonation, not very complex. Didn't get much fruit until it warmed a bit. Just not very interesting. Drinkable, but that's the most I can say for it.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Jolly Pumpkin Ann Arbor poured into tulip. Dark brown appearance with a finger of off white head that leaves spots inside the glass. Aroma is funky, sour, cherries, and wood. Taste is similar with almost no sweetness. Medium bodied, active carbonation, drying and crisp.

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Photo of pigpen892
4.98/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured a deep murky red with lots of foam to spare. Smelled like rotten apples, dates, figs, and sour grapes with an uncannily deep funk perfect for the cold weather. Tasted just as funky as it smelled with the Brettanomyces (I guess) and the oak barrel aging working its magic with the nutty malts to to create a magical flavor. Mouthfeel was just as strange and as wonderful as the beer's other characteristics -- heavy and boozy for a sour or wild ale, light and carbonated for a Belgian strong ale. Overall I love this beer with its perfect and wildly unexpected marriage of dark fruit and roasted malt with crazy yeasty funkiness.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.24/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of Pete_IV
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blend 16 Bottled 11-19-2012
Poured into a tulip

Looks like a brown ale, dark ruby with small tannish head. I get green apples when smelling this beer. After thinking about green apples Im now tasting them? Definitely starts sour that leads to the oaky flavor and stays dry on the tongue.

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Photo of draheim
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a tulip. Pours a deep mahogany brown w/ a soft 1-finger head.

Aroma is gently tart, oaky, bready. Similar to a Flanders oud bruin.

Taste is likewise dry, dart, woody, semi-acidic.

Mouthfeel is balanced and satisfying, semi-dry finish.

Overall a nice sour dark saison/quad. Not sure exactly what this is.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pazzo's in the Loop, into a goblet.

A: deep dark amber with reddish tint at the edges, thin crown of foam that sticks around
S: Happy thoughts because this is great: tart cherries, barnyard funkiness, some deeper dark fruitiness, brown sugar and oak.
T: waves and waves of flavors that follow the nose.
M: a lot of puckering and tart snappiness, and a nice level of chewiness.
Overall: Great beer.

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Photo of kjyost
4.84/5  rDev +19.8%
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!

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,020 ratings.
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