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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: 423 | Ratings: 1,007
Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blend #2, 2007.

Pours clear, dark amber with a one inch head of dense beige foam. Torn ropes of lacework remain throughout the glass as well as a solid skim coat on the surface.

Aromatics lead off with oak-laden ripe fruit, earthy must, and rotting cedar.
Cherry pits, moss covered spruce, and peach pulp on pineapple skin follow through.

Medium bodied and creamy, but with a sharpish mouthfeel.

Sour fruit and clove-studded cedar start the pallet. A drying tartness, firm bitterness, and warming alcohol follow through along with cherries and grapefruit pith.

Finishes with lingering sourness, an almost numbing lemon bite, and alcohol-laden malt.

A great sour on steroids. I just prefer a bit more acid and less sourness.

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Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruddy and chestnut-colored with a moderate haze. A billowing off-white head forms from a gentle pour and lasts until my glass is emptied.

Smell: Bretty barnyard funk, wet earth, spice, autumn leaves - signature Jolly Pumpkin.

Taste & mouthfeel: A perfect marriage of dry woody tannins, funk and sourness. Green apples, red wine and funky barrel make up the bulk of the flavor, though there's an undercurrent of spice, subtle enough that I couldn't say which spices were used. Carbonation is high, crisp, almost champagne-like. Despite its 9% ABV, the body is light and drinkability is high. Dryness is neverending; there's not even the slightest hint of sweetness here, and the finish is long and tannic.

Notes: Received from wolfsblood - thanks! Awesome stuff.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity. Blend 1,2007.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1" beige head over the cloudy reddish amber brew. Head stays longer than a mooching relative, with thick merignuey lace. Aroma is tart and fruity. Taste starts with a peek of malt, then tartness takes over, with a wisp of alcohol at the end. Mouthfeel is a bit rocky being so tart, and drinkability cramped a bit as well. COuld maybe do with a touch more sweetness, and the style category here could be more towards a sour or lambic-influence. Interesting, nonetheless.

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Photo of shroompod
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blend 2, 2007

With a careful pour I only managed to get a third of a Pint , rocky dense head takes awhile to clear. Cloudy reddish brown in color.

Nose has the funk, some smoky bourbon notes.

Tart up front on tasting . Typical barnyard. Some chocolate comes through. A pretty complex beer.

Mouthfeel is medium , somewhat dry finish. Carbonation is explosive.

Overall a very nice beer I'll be looking to age.

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Photo of akorsak
3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 750 mL capped bottle, 2007 Batch 2 picked up at Anderson's in Maumee.

A: The ale is active, slowly creeping up the neck of the bottle upon opening. When poured into a glass, the off-white head is thick and dense, covering a ruby red ale that shows off darker mahogany shades.

S: The signature Jolly Pumpkin tartness grabs you immediately, acidic with the acetic twang. Underneath the tartness lies cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

T: The ale is not as tart on the palate as the nose would suggest. In fact, the tartness is almost a nonfactor in the taste. The body of the ale is relatively light, a dark ale that is loaded up with spices. Sour cherry, cinnamon, apples and nutmeg appear throughout the sip. I preferred the ale cold, that brought out more of the sour side.

M: The ale starts off promising before devolving into a run-of-the-mill spiced ale. I'd've liked to see more sourness last throughout the ale.

D: The ale is decent, but the flavors never really came together for me. I'd rather have one of JP's plain old wild ales.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle
Blend 4, 2007

Pours a nice dark golden brown color, very nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus creamy off-white head, which leaves some nice thick creamy sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some bourbon, figs, raisins, plums, slight yeast, and oak. The taste is very slightly sweet, very nice touch of sourness, malty, with some yeast notes, dark fruits, with a nice tone of oak/bourbon. Full-medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is another very tasty brew from JP, one of the best from them in my book, highly recommended.

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Photo of John_M
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Available by the glass the other day at Max's X-mas in July event.

The beer pours a dark toffee brown color with very good head retention and decent lacing. On the nose, as expected, the beer is very sour. I also get a hint of pickled ginger and soap, but the over-riding aroma I get is sour funk. The flavors generally replicate the nose, though I get some nice bitterness as well, which helps to counter some of the sour. Nevertheless, the predominant flavor in this beer is sour funk. The beer is medium bodied and surprisingly drinkable given the abv. Actually, the abv. is amazingly well disguised; I would never had guessed it was up around 9%.

This beer is decent, but IMO is a bit simplistic on the nose and palate. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of sour beers, but I don't mind them if the sour is countered with some other flavors as well. In this beer it really isn't; sour is almost all I get out of it. Oh well...

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Photo of Slynger
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Noel de Calabaza pours a deep copper amber color with a huge, fuzzy whipped cap of cream that doesn't look like it's goin anywhere.

Nice nose. Light brown sugar with tons of fruit; plums and cherries, apples and sour zesty citrus. It's funky and it's yeasty with a light spiciness.

Flavor swoops in with the same tools as the nose. Sweetness is very light, but fruit comes in bushels. Pleasantly sour, funky, and yeasty with some light spice. Alcohol is undetectable. Lots of creamy creamy carbonation tickles massagingly, and fills a medium-full body.

Great BSDA that has the depth and complexity I look for in my American versions. Jolly Pumpkin has yet to disappoint me.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Green 750ml bottle capped. Takes some extra effort to get the desired appearance, i.e. pour with some aggresion. I'm sure at some point the style will be changed on this offering so no need to comment directly to that. It has a slightly cloudy brown to tan body. Jolly Pumkin Ales have a signature aroma that comes from their yeast strain. This is no exception. Slightly funky and you really can build up an anticipation of tart just from the aroma.

First drink and like usual I was taken back by how unique this brew is. Its tart for sure and has an almost over the top citrus frontside and a mysterious chocolaty backside. What an odd combination. It works....Kinda. You can tell this is a quality offering but for personal taste it didn't hit the marks with me. Slightly Vinous at times. If you have a tendancy to get heartburn this may trigger it.

I liked it and would consider it in the future. If you like to try beers pushing the lines of styles and taste this is a must try.

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Photo of goschool
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 3, 2007

Appearance: The pour is chestnut with a massive off-white head that eventually fades to a small layer covering most of the beer.

Smell: I'm getting plenty of funk da funk with cranberry aromas and lemon zest.

Taste: The flavor profile is dominated by funk. There's a supporting cast of tart granny smith apples and cranberries up front, followed by Albariño grapes, and a mild earthy character in the mid-palate, and notes of light-bodied African coffee and oak in the finish.

Mouthfeel: It's medium-bodied, tart, and dry with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: This is more quaffable than a 9% beer as tart as this one is should ever be.

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Photo of gregc
4.64/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at spuyten duyvil in brooklyn.

Poured brownish / orange with a thick foamy head

Smelled of yeast, sour fruits and a musty funk.

Flavor was malty and tart with some flavor of fruit, i loved the sour funkiness of this beer.

Enjoyed it very much.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.89/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! Where did I score this?!? Fantastiche! The nose was musty, brett-laden, and simply wild. There was a thin, light brown head, but it quickly reduced to wisps. The color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was thick and efferevscent with just a touch of the characteristic J. P. sourness. There was a bite on the tongue, but nowhere as overpowering as some of the Pumpkin's offerings. The finish lingered with a great bite, but again, not so intense as to put off the uninitiated. It may have been my aging (dated 2, 2007), but I would serve this to guests without hesitation.

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Photo of shivtim
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Love the bottle. So cool.
Pours out pretty hazy with a brown/red color. Lots of bubbles, and chunkies. Big dense tan head.
Nose is general sourness, with some odd citrus. Wild and yeasty.
Taste is more malts than expected. Nice solid malt flavor, enhanced with sourness and slight woody spices. Gets more complex on warming, with a chalky sugarcane sweetness. Quite interesting. Less sour than the nose, but still quite sour.
Mouthfeel is full and good.
Drinkability is ok/good, but with the ABV and the sweet/sour, I wouldn't want to drink a whole bottle at once.

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Photo of bditty187
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Insanely large head! I guess I shouldn't have used my Duvel glass! Oh well, the foam was a rich beige color. The tight bubbles, not quite meringue-like but damn thick, had great head retention. It might be awhile before I can drink this. Subsequent lacing was clumpy and widespread. A tight, thick cap lasted the entire consumption. Oh, the color of the beer is dark ruby, seems clear. This is one damn fine looking beer!

Funky. Dark fruits (plums, dates, figs) are mixed with apples, marshmallows, earthy-spicy hops. I even note some caramel maltiness as well as some sourness. Oak. Cola. Chocolate. Port. I swear I smell spices, sugar cookies? This is yet another funky JP beer, I really like the complexity of the nose. It is rich but fairly light too... airy but potent. I am very intrigued by the malty-spicy-sour interplay. I hope it tastes as good as it smells.

I haven't had a sour/funky beer in awhile so the first sip shocked me. Wow! It took a couple sips to get back into the groove. Sour and woody upfront, hints of cola arrives as well as some apples, marshmallows, brown sugar, light port notes and some spice. I am kind of sad I don't taste the earthiness as much as I smelled it. Not as spicy as I had hoped either. Light palate, in a good way, with plenty of flavor. The aftertaste is a great mix of sweet and sour with a kiss of chocolate cola. I dig the palate quite a bit, funky but restraint while still being complex. Tasty!

About medium in body, like I said, it is light in a good way, moderate carbonation and kind of prickly. The mouthfeel works well, refreshing.

It is as drinkable as the style can be. I had a couple dud beers recently but this restores my faith... okay, my faith was never shaken. JP is a great brewery and this is a great beer. I enjoyed every sip, thanks Chris and thank you Jen.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.36/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Near black and a large beige head with excellent retention. Mellow fruity nose of cherry, melon, and citrus ester. Starts off fruity and vinous with the oak character and towards the end becomes bitter and very dry with a burnt malt character. Tart fruit, plum, charred oak, a little medicinal cough syrup astringent in the back, and some malt tones that are earthy, organic. Lots of carbonation is a bit over the top. Improves as it warms but too late for a high recommendation.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend surprised me with this; I didn't know what style it was or what to expect. I just knew that Jolly Pumpkin has a good reputation.

Dark copper brown out of the bottle, med-dark brown in the glass.

Very strong herbal aroma.

Sour--reminiscent of a lambic. Since I didn't know what to expect, I was surprised by the taste. I expected a nutty, malty, hop-balanced brown. Goes to show, color is not a good indicator of taste. I should have been thinking more like a Belgian, not an American Brown.

Smooth mouthfeel, low carbonation, not quite watery, but not thick at all. I'll go with "smooth."

The earthy and hebal aroma doesn't come out in the taste; but it complements the sour and slightly sweet taste very nicely. Yum.

New discovery: I like sour beers!

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Photo of FMetzger
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes. Had this with several other great beers that night. The Noel took the cake.
A: Dark and bubbly. Beautiful. Head was light.
S: SO frickin good I can't express it in words. I had 5/5 written for this. There was malt, SOUR, sweet. A-mazing.
T: No let down in the taste department. Malt came through. Sourness was present. Slight spice?
M: Carbonation was perfect. All of the flavors made for a mouthfeel that was full, and I'm sure the carbonation added to that. Exceptionally clean.
D: I could probably not drink more than one, but it is a great great beer. More than one in a night, no. One every night I have the chance, yes.

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Photo of rowew
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750 ml, capped. Jack-o-lantern in the snow on the label, small label on the back denoting blend 1, 2007.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, average sized head but very dense. Fades slowly and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Smell: mmm .. funky. Yeast and bacteria run amok, with some fruity aromas, and just a bit of sweet malt.

Taste: Nice fruity sour flavors meld well with a good malt backbone. Definitely not over the top sour, but that is the dominant flavor.

Overall impression: Another well done sour beer - its hard to pick out the details of these, but I certainly enjoy them.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750, poured some into a tulip glass. Bottle says Blend 2, 2007. This was a gusher upon opening. Scared the hell out of me. I got some in a glass and set the bottle in the sink to settle down. My tulip glass is half full of beer and half full of foam that is going nowhere. Deep mahogany color with serious bubbles rushing up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is fruity and sour. Some interesting plum and spice blends that intrigue the senses. Taste is somewhat sour, with fruity cherry spice intermingling. Mild alcohol warmth with a slightly bitter and still sour finish. I'm not saying this is real sour, just that the sourness is noticeable to the palate. Surprising to me as a fan of this style, but not unpleasant.

This Belgian strong dark ale is not huge in body, but it does have a nice smooth mouthfeel with big carbonation.

Not sure what was intended here, but I sure did not get what I expected.

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Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared at tasting with Fly, Dewbrewer, Humulone_Red and others. Thanks guys!
Rich dark caramel color with glowing orange edges. Tart cherryish malty aromas to it. Very dry and tart cherry and brettyness to it. Slight funkiness in the taste and the flavor is rather mild. Unique, but quite nice and drinkable. Grew on me as I had more, and the oaky-ness of it was strong and more enjoyable after the first sample. Nice beer

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Photo of Floydster
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle purchased from Beverages and More in Torrance for eleven dollars three or four months ago, blend three from 2007, poured into my Duvel tulip glass

A-Medium brown with a red or purple tint, 3/4 inch bubbly off white head, did not stay long at all, not much retention or lacing

S-Citrus, funkiness, cherries, tart, brettanomyces, Belgian yeast, vanilla, oak, caramel malt, some hops, and vinegar

T-Started off with a funky sour taste full fo cherries that I was not expecting when I first bought this bottle, some sweet malt in the middle, tart in the finish, as it warmed I could taste oak and vanilla flavors along with plums and raisins, also some citrus later on that was mostly grapefruit and tangerine, hops really died down in this one probably, balance would have been more efficient if they were present, not bad overall

M-Sour and spicy mouthfeel, thin to medium body, tons of carbonation, taste lasted for quite some time, more tarty than I thought it would be

D-Could not finish the bottle by myself but got close, fairly light on the stomach, ABV is high at nine percent, smooth and goes down easy

One of the better Christmas beers I tasted from this past year, only second beer tasted from Jolly Pumpkin and both have been pretty good, will drink again next year when it is released, recommended during next winter because it will most likely taste much better fresh even though it is bottle conditioned

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re-rate:Dec 7, 2007
Had a different batch, this time I had blend #2.
This is much better than the original bottle . Doesn't have the funky smell/taste with it. Much more of the typical JP funk and sourness. Glad to see it was a bad bottle and not the beer itself.

Blend #1.
Pours a murky brown in color. Smell is off. Smells a bit skunky, not funky. The typical JP sourness/funk is there, but a bit subdued. The typcial Christmas spices are present. Mouthfeel is nice and no sign of the ABV in the taste.
Still can't get over this "dirty sock" kind of skunky smell. Will let the other bottles sit for awhile and see where this one goes.

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Photo of dgallina
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped dark green wine bottle tagged with "blend 1, 2007"

Pours cloudy dark red and brown with an insanely huge tan head. Like most of the Jolly Pumpkin beers, smells strongly of sour wood, yeast, perhaps a little dust. The christmas spicing comes through in the flavor. Tastes like a Flemish sour red ale with a dollop of orange peel, pepper, and anise layered on top. Alcohol not at all obvious apart from some spicy fruitiness. The body is airy and light, alive with a bit too much carbonation. A winner from Jolly Pumpkin. The bottle goes quickly due to the sour quenching character.

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Photo of DrJay
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 5, 2007.
Dark tawny colour with a fluffy beige cap. Chunky, sticky lace and good head retention. A little hazy. Funky aroma - lemon zest, earthy and acidic with a light vinegar character. Great flavour. There's a tartness that formed a solid backbone, with a bit of brown sugar. Earthy and fruity, notes of sour cherry and plum, light woody oak, with a hint of leather and tobacco in the finish. Medium bodied with ample carbonation that didn't overwhelm. Nice texture with a bit of puckering tartness. Sugary, yet dried the palate in the finish. Light alcohol warmth. Great stuff from JP, just as I've come to expect. I hope they pull this one out again next year in time for Xmas.

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Photo of McGowan
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into a tulip

Aroma: musty, a bit citrusy, tobacco, the tiniest bit of seawater. A touch phenolic.

Appearance: Dark plum. Against light an effervescent crimson. Half-inch nearly white head receding to a persistent milky froth, with lingering lace.

Flavor: Complex. Cherries, sour apricots, subtle caramel, anise, dark chocolate, green apples, tart but not puckering. Oak all over the finish. Very little alcohol considering the strength. Roasted almonds long after it's gone.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Balanced carbonation. Silky on the tongue.

Overall: Smooth. Very pleasurable and balanced, yet memorable. Nothing overly aggressive. A winner.

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,007 ratings.
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