Nightmare Before Vicious Sour Wheat IPA
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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American Wild Ale
not listed
4.2 | pDev: 6.9%
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 18
Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 10/20/10. I could have swore I previously uploaded this review after having it a second time at the imminent liquidation bottle share.

Served in a nonic at Al's of Hampden from the handpump. This brew appears a hazed amber orange color. A finger of fluffy off-white head forms across the too and slowly recedes leaving an entire curtain of lacework sticking to the glass.

The aroma of this brew is absolutely tangy with a combination of bretty wet leather, lactic sourness and citrus qualities like oranges from the hops. A faint grain sweetness underlays everything with a bit of toasty bready grain.

The taste is sweet with a grainy flavor that is slightly toffee-like mixed with a caramel sweetness. It turns citrusy with orange rinds and changes again to funky brett quality. There is a lactic sourness throughout and the finish has a toasty grain flavor coupled with citrus hops. Some sips yield quite a malty backbone and others are surprisingly tart and bitter with an herbal, minorly resinous hoppy oil aftertaste.

This is quite a peculiar brew. It is medium to full bodied with a light level of carbonation. Quite drinkable but the only downfall is this brew is uniquely and individually identifiable as different contrasting styles that while enjoyable by themselves clash a bit thrown all together. Not that this brew is bad, there is just a lot going on in a contrasting manner. The alcohol bite is not hidden at all for 7% and it really accents the hop bite and sourness intensity on the tongue. Worth a try.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to petesuphi for sharing this firkin at the inaugural Imminent Liquidation event on 3/5/11!

A - Emerged from the firkin as a pretty amber/orange-toned liquid with a slight reddish haze and a creamy white head that reduced to a swirly film on top and some spotty lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - Initial aroma blends sour fruit, Brett, herbal hops and a hint of floral notes. While this is sour at heart, it also displays quite a bit of hoppy flair.

T - Not unlike the aroma, the initial flavor is quite sour with a wash of citric tones and herbal hop bitterness. The Brett really adds depth and plenty of tartness, giving the flavor an almost cidery yet citrusy character. Finishes with moderate sourness and a hint of medicinal, herbal bitterness.

M - Light bodied and somewhat soft and slick, yet delivers lots of pucker on the palate with a hint of bitterness.

D - I found this to be a really nice take on a sour. While the sourness indeed dominates this brew, the hop presence is definitely noticceable and adds even more depth and complexity to the beer without going overboard.

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Photo of Deuane
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Al for offering a firkin of this up for enjoyment at the inaugural Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share Event.

A-Hazy, golden kissed copper color with a thin white head that diminishes to a thin ring of retention.

S-Sweet-tarts, wet cardboard and musty attic. The lightest hint of hop spiciness attempts to poke through but gets beat down by the funkiness each and every time.

T-Dirty mustiness overwhelms and is the front and center star of this show. Sharp and quite tart with notes of apple cider vinegar, sour grape mustiness and a bit of fruitiness.

M-Medium-light bodied with a nice lingering sour bite. Not overwhelming but pleasant.

D-A solid sour that was a nice way to kick off the day with. I enjoyed numerous, generous samples of this special offering throughout the day.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A firkin courtesy of Al.

A: The ale is a coppery orange color, hazed over in every pour. A half a finger of cream-colored head comes along for the ride.

S: The nose is Jolly Pumpkin funk, having crowded out any IPA aspects. Too bad too, because it promised to be an interesting combination.

T: The JP strain is immediately evident, a dirty funk that steals the spotlight. The horseblanket flavors are dry and tangy, not the usual citric flavors. Again, the IPA must have faded away, well hidden as it is behind the bretty dirt. Interesting but I'd love to see it in its prime.

M: The mouthfeel is chewy and dirty, funked to the appropriate level. A good starter beer for the day.

D: Two glasses before I moved on. A nice bite but I'd never know that there was an IPA lurking below the surface.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/02/11 notes. Had at a local tasting thanks to ryan (RB); thanks Ryan.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour fruit, sour apples, fruity malts, spice, brett, and oak. Also some light brandy, maybe from the barrels. A very nice smell.

t - Tastes of oak, sour fruit, spice, and light brandy. Apples stick out again. Not as sour as the nose; a step down.

m - Light body and low carbonation.

d - A pretty good wild ale; I enjoyed the nose a lot. Would like to try again.

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Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Andy - many thanks!

Pours a hazy golden-copper color with a 1.5-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust pale malts with large amounts of wheat twang. Also present are solid amounts of funk and light oak aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though a bit more one-dimensional. Light malt and wheat flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by funk and tart barrel flavors and tannins. The tart flavors take on a citrus edge through the middle of the sip. The funk intensifies then and carries through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer and was surprised how well the funk and tartness held up in a light wheat beer. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of mrandypandy
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant/Brewery in Ann Arbor, MI.

A- Pours a hazy medium orange with a fizzy white head. Excellent lacing. Sticky...
S- Wow. I'm bad describing flavors and aromas, but "sour" really jumps out. Citrus (orange, tangerine) also plays a big role here. Some barrel notes from the oak as well. Top notch.
T- Better than the aroma (which was hard to do). Citric acidity, fruity citrus notes. Some sour apple and oak. Delicious.
M- Medium body, good carbonation, adidic and crisp. No complaints or issues here.
D- Very high. Not sure of the ABV but there's no alcohol detected, and the flavor profile is really intriguing. I bought a growler to take home and contemplated getting a second...

Overall - At the restaurant I had a sampler of seven beers on-tap: Bam, Bam Noire, Fuego, La Parcela, Belipago, an IPA (can't remember the name) and Nightmare. Nightmare was hands-down the best offering of the night.
Unique, tasty, and next to Super Friends IPA (Ithaca), this is one of the few beers that recently came out of nowhere and really took me by surprise.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the JP Cafe in AA.

Deep hazy burnt orange color. One finger white head with very light retention. JP signature funk with lemon juice and a floral aroma on nose. Funky and light citrus sweetness and tartness up front. Midpalate and finish are moderately bitter with some lingering citrus hops and a lemon and green apple-like sourness. Weird but pleasant flavor overall. Alcohol is very muted. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Not much alcohol warming and a fairly dry finish. Not overly drinkable due to the bitterness and tartness, but the uniqueness would lead me to get a second glass. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer - will definitely get down to JP to get another glass of this before it kicks.

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Photo of MmmmbeerMike
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A little twist on the normal review. I had this at the Detroit Beer Festival on Oct. 23, early in the day while I could still distinguish it from other beers. I found it fruity, not too bitter for an IPA with a solid sour-apple taste and oak flavors. Here's the back story, from one of the brewers who was on hand. Jolly Pumpkin has a sister brewery in Traverse City that makes the wheat IPA. Jolly Pumpkin takes that beer and conditions it in an oak barrel for six months and then serves it as the Nightmare. I tried both beers back to back and they are wildly different.

Jolly Pumpkin doesn't do any inoculations of bacteria, so the flavors generated in the beer are from whatever is present in the barrel. They also clean the barrel only with 180-degree water, which isn't hot enough to kill the bacteria, but does get the sludge and dead yeast off.

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Photo of philbe311
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the handpump at Al's of Hampden...

A - An fluffy whipped off white head... Excellent retention for a cask pour... A burnt copperish orange color that is darker as the top of the glass and lighter at the bottom... Very sluggish carbonation that looks like it moving through molasses can be seen towards the top of the glass... Once settled this one become very still...

S - Ripened granny smith apples... Ripened fruits... Wheat and grains... Yeasty... A touch of caramel...

T - Green apples... Mildly sweet oranges... Sour patch kids... Bready malts... Wheat... Moderately floral... Delicate hops linger beneath the surface... A tinge of spiciness... Yummy all the way around...

M - Light to medium bodied... Ultra lush... Ultra creamy... Ultra smooth... Fluffy and whimsical... Minimal carbonation... Sleek...

D - The first sip or two are a little on the challenging side, but this one quickly becomes enjoyable sip after sip... I'm not quite sure what style this is, but regardless it is a stellar, unique, and enjoyable offering... Worth every bit of the $8 pour... American brewing artistry and creativity at its finest...

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Photo of Slatetank
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on cask at Al's of Hampden, served cask temp in a Nonic.

A very hazed light brown with deep amber hues and a thick cap of beige comprised of large bubbles w/ spacious gaps and lace clings ok. The Smell is very strong, lots of yeast sourness in the aroma w/ light lemon juice, strawberry w/ a gentle tea-like herbal scent and slight caramel note w/ vanilla from the wood which has some oakiness. The feel is intense, bitter and crisp w/ sour and acidic textures. A light sweetness creeps in w/ toasted accents and it has a very dry tannic finish.

The flavor of strong pine melds w/ a lemony and subtle fruity sour entry. Midway into the taste a gentle spice character and mild grassy taste w/ slight bitter flavor begins to surface, but a nice orange rind accent moves forward w/ lemon juice and subtle floral notes adding to the melange. The taste of pepper and oak round out the flavor as the beer finishes w/ a semi dry wild yeast flavor. The beer is a strange brew, I am not going to lie -a cross between an american IPA and wild ale w/ brett and hops making a delicious combo. It is head scratching w/ so much going on it is hard to say it is truly easy to drink, but I know it sure was worth the price of entry!

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Photo of orangesol
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint. My very first review is also this beer's very first review.

A - Pours hazy dark copper with a small, thin, off white head that lasts until the final sip, leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Starts off with a blast of strong sour notes straight to your face slowly giving way to hints of the hops that lie beneath the sourness. A bit of a bready note from the wheat helps to keep things in balance as much as it can. A very intoxicating nose to say the least.

T - It is described as a Sour Wheat IPA, and it is listed under a wild ale. First sip starts with a dull wheat flavor quickly giving way to the crisp taste of the hops that lurk in the shadows of this beer. It then rounds out the trifecta with the addition of the tart sourness. Aftertaste is best described as a tart IPA. It matches the description given to a T

M - Smooth as silk thanks to the hand pull. Good carbonation but it did seem to thin out a little bit toward the end. No big deal.

D - Even with the somewhat high price I ordered two. It is not every day you get to have an original beer like this. I love when breweries take chances like this. Who knows, maybe this will become the new trend?

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Nightmare Before Vicious Sour Wheat IPA from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 18 ratings