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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Ratings: 1,020 |  Reviews: 425
Photo of laituegonflable
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a metallic red colour, thinning at the edge. Head is massively fluffy, off-white, over-generous but sinks down nicely leaving uneven specks of lace. Looks a bit weird, but weird enough that it just seems naturally flawed, and natural flaws are inherently beautiful.

Smells lovely. Bretty goodness with massive funk, sourness and crisp tart notes. Cranberry, apple with a jellied apple kind of appeal. Touch of blackcurrant, fig, there's a real sweet fruitiness underlying; so much berry, but the tartness just kicks it up to the party hard level with an emphasis on getting busy with it! I could smell this forever. Yum!

Taste is similarly funky, not quite in the same league though. Lots of spice to it, with cinnamon, cumin and coriander, touch of star anise as well. Gets a faint echo of the barnyard funk late, with bretty goodness giving some cranberry, wet lucerne and green peppercorn. Touch of leather on the back and slight boozey notes back there as well. Bit heavy on the front and the funk doesn't quite speak for itself on the back, so it's not all that refreshing. But good, and mostly clean.

Not very dry, which is a good thing. Good, full body with a bit of pull, but manages to defend against over-dryness as well, which is positive.

I think there's masterpiece potential to this, but it falls clearly short. Just a couple of heavy-footed emphases where there don't need to be.

 1,404 characters

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -1%

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

On draft at Green Dragon in Portland, OR.

Half finger of white head. Orange brown body with good lace.

Tart nose, cranberry/vinegar.

Sour, but vegetal and some peppery spice up front. Grapefruit on the end.

Lively texture.

Good sour, similar to Bourgogne de Flandres. That said, probably good to pair with food, especially lighter, leafier fare.

 350 characters

Photo of beerme411
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of beerwolf77
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle.

Cloudy rusty brown hue. Solid finger of white head. Smells mildly sour, spices and bready malts are present as well. A little bit of that JP funk. Flavor is a nice mix of lactic sour a sweet malt. Modest hints of spices. Very nice. Medium body with mild carbonation. I've always passed this by but not anymore. This stuff is real good.

 349 characters

Photo of Pellinore1
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of JustinMatthew
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Batch: 626, Bottled: 9-29-10 (Aged a little over a year)

Poured from a 750ml into a standard tulip glass. Extremely dark brown in color with a large fluffy off-white head that hangs around through out. Smells slightly of vinegar and fermented grapes, sweetness and malt. Taste is incredibly smooth.. vanilla, Light vinegar and fermented grapes coming through. A little oak, some cherries, pear, and sour apples. After taste is similar to La Roja with a slight oaky finish and that of vinegar and sweet malt. All well balanced through out, simply perfect. This beer just made my list of favorites overall.

*also I love the label artwork big time!

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Photo of bmur112
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of burnheartsMKE
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of kbuzz
3.59/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my trusty tulip glass. Batch 915. Bottled 10-20-2011. Gave a good pop w/ plenty of smoke.

A: Pours a cloudy dark brown mahogany color with a one finger off white head that faded quickly. Some bubbles shooting up through the glass, but not a lot. Average looking beer.

S: Vinegar funk associated with tarts/sours. Smells like a lot of other JP beers do. This one gives a bit of biscuity malt and a touch of fruitiness...but mostly just funky bready yeast.

T/M: Wow. Interesting. And rather complex for a JP beer. A nice little bit of tartness hits first on the palate followed by dark fruit sweetness - cherries and plums...finishes with a more confectionary dark fruit sweetness in the way of raisins and dates...and even a bit of molasses. Some booziness. And definitely more of the oak throughout the taste than in the nose. Perhaps even a wine-like "sherry" taste. A bit thin...I'd call it medium/thin and fizzy, but not overly carbonated.

O: This is the most interesting offering I've had by this brewery. Definitely different. It's a fizzy, slightly tart version of a Quad. Good, not great. Certainly glad I gave it a pour. If you like Belgian Quads and are also a fan of the "JP funk", than this will be right up your alley.

 1,266 characters

Photo of LizBB
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

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

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Shared at Christmas with Family.
Deep velvety thick haze...brown/amber. Little head, with slight lacing.
Bitter and sour cider aroma; almost like a champagne.
Taste of bitter/sour apple cider. This does not resemble a Belgian Ale at all...
I taste no belgian yeasts, but it simply tastes like a cider or apple type champagne.

Alone, it is actually ok, but its not what I was expecting at all for a "Holiday" Ale, or any Ale for that matter, and certainly not worth the $15 I paid for it...I would never ever buy again.

Edit...had another go at it ...on tap
I must have reviewed this before I ever had a sour. Its deff sour but it does have a weird spice to it. I love sours and still can't fully enjoy this brew. But not as bad as I though.

Ok third go at this december 2013 on tap at theresas in wayne pa. Much better than I remember. Tart but balanced with the chocolate malt and subtle spice. Really like JP and this brew is pretty spectacular

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Photo of OldIronLungs
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of flexabull
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted blind courtesy of Retail1LO, thanks again!

Capped popped off way to easily, and the beer gushed a bit before I was able to pour it.

Pours a murky brown color, with some floaties, and a decent white head. This doesn't look very appealing in the glass.

First whiff, ahhh... funk, and I am pretty sure this is the good intentional kind. Notes of vinegar, grass, sugars, lemon, and yeast.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose. Light funk, vinegar, spices, lemon, and sour tartness. The flavors are nice, but they are on the lighter side.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but thin.

Overall, this tastes like a decent, but flawed sour. It tastes ok, but I was hoping for better when I smelled this one.

 704 characters

Photo of jjfancybeers
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of bradner
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of GRPunk
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A couple of milestones here... Both the 12th day of Christmas beers and a calendar year of MI beers for NBS.

Capped, 750 ml bottled marked Batch 904 Bottled 10-04-2011, poured into a Chimay goblet. Fun label, kind of reminds me of Angry Birds.

A- 1-finger tan head with spots of yeasty sediment is created with a moderate pour. It drops to a thin film, but redevelops with a swirl. Deep brown body is really complex. Held to the light, I get garnet hues and moderate carbonation. It's like a mahogany, with a mix of dark browns and reds. Good stick is left on the glass. A final pour from even if bottle creates a heftier head and clouds nicely, even with a thick cake left in the bottom of the bottle.

S- Traditional JP funk right at the pour. Candied, green apples with hints of Holiday spice. Almost apple pie-like, buttery crust and all. A little warmth pulls out black pepper and dark bread. Lots of cellar and barn-like aromas. Christmas is my break from barn activities, but this conjures visions of the farm. Subtle, clean wood notes. I would like the malts to shine through a little more. It relies on the funk just a little too much.

T- Really nice. Richer than expected from the aroma. Dark bread and cracked black pepper at first. Funk blends into Granny Smith apple finish. Moments of cider vinegar. Light wood characteristics. Spots of spice provide a nice kick. So smooth for the given ABV.

M- Sour qualities make for a dry finish. Short of puckering. Moderate body and carbonation.

O- Quality Christmas sipper. Much in the mold of the JP signature funk. Not a traditional BSDA by any means, but a quality beer all the same. Nice complexities. Any booze is smooth and subtle. Deceptively drinkable.

 1,719 characters

Photo of JRed
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogony in body with foamy off-white head that stays. Aroma of Belgian candy sugar, brown sugar, hints of dark fruit zest, some booze. Tastes of rock candy, dark fruit zest, slight brown sugar, some booze, sourness and acidity. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A wonderful zest-filled brew.

 302 characters

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

A: Very dark brown with a small light tan head.

S: Funky sour hits the nose first, with some oak and vanilla in the back. Cherries and dark fruits are there, but not prevalent. Smells good.

T: Tasty. Oak, cherries and other dark fruits (Cranberry?), some spice, with a slightly sour finish. Ends with a small hoppy bitterness and slightly hot, but in a pleasant way.

M: Medium to light body with medium/high carbonation. Fits the beer well.

O: Tasty! I love the oak in this in combination with the sour flavor. A little more spice and this could be my favorite winter ale. Still, not a bad beer to celebrate xmas eve with.

 630 characters

Photo of Gtg642
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of EseLocoSS
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of JohnK17
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

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

On Tap at Khyber Pass Pub. I've been ducking this one for a bit now.

Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza goes in the tulip a dirty brown crick water color with some hints of red up to the light on the edges. A nice cusp of evenly layered cream/light brown foam on top leaving minor sticks.

Smell is ripe with fruit, winter spice and souring bugs/old wet wood. The fruit comes out a bit more with time giving off berries. A small scent of caramel/chocolate at the tail end.

It took me a while to warm up to this as it warmed up for me, but cold, a nice spiceiness mixing in with caramel malt and slight chocolate. Warming up the bugs come out and dance with the winter spice, plum, cherry, slight vinious taste from the barrel/wood.

Bugs are there but not enough to dance around in my stomach lining, which makes this a bit more drinkable in the long run. Acidity is down, small lactic bit, with a trace amount of vinegar, yet not to flanders levels. The carb died down towards the end making this one go down pretty easy like, while the body is a nice medium build.

I would buy a bottle of this stuff from time to time if it were not so damn expensive. I like Jolly Pumpkins sour program/ and their wild yeast strain but it does not keep me coming back for more. It does however, set JP apart from other wild producers.

 1,319 characters

Photo of SolarMikey
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Tschnab
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blind Tiger

A- pours a deep ruby red with a couple of bubbles clinging to the glass's sides.

S- lots of tart fruit like rasberry and cherry. Oak and funk come in next, followed by a good touch of winter spices.

T- tons of that tart cherry/ cranberry mixed with ginger and cinnamon makes this taste like a Holliday cranberry sauce almost. Good amount of tartness and funk makes this a great all around beer.

O- a beer that marries the flavors of sours and Holliday ales perfectly. Loved this one from jp.

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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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