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RATINGS: 1263   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.78   EST. CALORIES: 216   ABV: 7.2%
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La Roja, an artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age between two and ten months. Truly an ale of distinction.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
TheBeerGod (5341) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - FEB 28, 2005
Bottle. Thanks to wohlfs for this! Deep copper body with a moderate tanned head. Nose is spicy and sweet. Candy sugar, alcohol soaked fruit, deep wooden notes, light barnyardy funk, creamy malts, and rum. Taste is more alcohol, spices, light fruity notes, big woody flavors, candy sugar, light earthy notes and more creamy malts. Absolute bliss! Body has a nice carbonation feel to it along with some pleasant spiciness and a fullness that is very welcoming. Ends very dry with lingering spice. Finish is spicy and sweet, again, but the spices seem dominant. Light candied fruit and raw sugar with fresh cut wood notes and malts. Light earthiness and floral notes. Nice beer! Well done American style Belgian!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Mangino (1027) - Mississippi, USA - FEB 27, 2005
Pours a dark red/amber color, big slightly off white bubbly head. Aroma is funky, with barnyard, and malt. Flavor is malty, lots of complex flavors going on here, not going to attempt to describe them. Sweet flavor with a dry but smooth finish. Very nice! Thanks to BBB63 for this one!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Sammy (8942) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 5, 2005
Very satisfying, thanks Wohlfs. Refreshing spices, like most Unibroues strive to be, but without their negative yeast. Reminds of a saison.Rum whiff. Well carbonated. All taste. Lots of different malts. I must try all from this brewery. Licorice, corriander, rum, bourbon, fennel, fruit. Would have again, good choice for my 700th review, ranks 75th.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jollyraider (252) - Los Angeles, California, USA - FEB 1, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 10, 2005 First biere de garde. Tastes red. Great burnished red/brown color. Great Belgian barnyard taste without a huge yeast presence. It’s exciting that Michigan has another talented brewery.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 24, 2005
750 ml bottle consumed with gusto by MartinT, tiggmtl, Rastacouere and myself. Deep, thick reddish-brown with a lasting medium head...sour, vinous, heavily barnyardy malty-thick nose...body a bit thicker than other JPs, again with an absolutely stunning soft but full mouthfeel, vinous, darkly earthy and woody. Sublime.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8135) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 24, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 5, 2009 The Lure:
A plethora of candied fruit aging proficiently in their wise wooden barrel. Lofty, sticky foam decorates the dark amber storm. A Jolly Pumpkin aroma is always seductive it seems.

The Festivities:
Prickly caramel sweetness and oak barrel notes coalesce brilliantly, finishing off into a dry bitterness. A super clean mouthfeel allows a cranberry, red apple and white grape fruitiness and roasted malt to roam intelligently. Tart leanings emerge from the spiciness. The frothy carbonation delivers an authentic mouthfeel, as delicate oakiness develops with every sip. Quiet and understated at first approach, this is one of the rare beers which gets better and better as you slowly down the glass.

A paragon of Flemish brewing tradition seems to have popped up in Michigan, of all places!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
tiggmtl (4548) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 24, 2005
Barnyard character is most pronounced in this one as compared to the other offerings from this brewery. Barrel aging is also noticeable with oak and vanilla tones to the nutty, earthy and musty aroma. Clear, brown/amber with decent, off-white, fine-bubbled head that recedes to lasting cover with some lacing. Strong maltiness in the very fresh fruity flavour with plenty of wood and vanilla leading up to strong bitterness in the finish. Fine-bubbled carbonation and soft texture to the medium body with some light alcohol warming. Bottle enjoyed with MartinT, muzzlehatch and Rastacouere.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Rastacouere (6137) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 24, 2005
Ruby reflects on a brown background. Nicely cloudy. Off-white cover. Earthy, musty cellar flavors comprises a generous fruitiness underneath (grapes, apples, pears). Mellow tart aspects, cloves and earthy dryness in abundance. Mellow barrel notes, possibly the most obvious of the 4 JP and definitely the driest. Cork flavors, bitter finish. Soft and elegant gentle bubbles accompany the lenghty finish. Very cohesive. I’m with Mat. That brewery has seized the meaning of crafting like no other and in the car state of all places!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
matta (1140) - Tampa, Florida, USA - JAN 18, 2005
Immense Thanks out to rater wohlfs for the beer and the distributor / brewery hookup!

Rating# 670
This kitty pours a rusty amber body, and a fat cap of cream whipped head.. and the lacing… the lacing that hangs like 100 year old cobwebs, delicate yet bunched together in spots.
The aroma and flavor are most refined with their mellowed maltyness. Sweet and lightly smoky notes of candy sugar, plums, raisins and dates are upfront. There is an awesome submission of the finest single barrel whisky. Notes of oak cask radiate from the hart of this beer. What I’m finding that I admire most about La Roja is it’s easy drinkable-ity… if that’s a real word. It’s hugely malty, but never cloyingly sweet. The palate is medium, heavy in some aspects but the carbonation is pure perfection. WOW.. Again.. I am absolutely floored by this breweries spin on Belgian Ales. This is an entirely new world of beer… notes of barnyard creep in here at the finish.. it’s Truly a Remarkably well crafted beer!!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 29, 2004
Sampled lightly chilled, December 2004
Pours a hazy amber color, and is topped by a frothy full tan head. As I pour I get hints of apricot, orange, dust, and musty wood. Interesting enough to go in for a deeper contemplative smell. Hmm, this one smells wild and musty, almost has the aroma of a beer that has been in a corked bottle for a while, though this hasn’t. I get fleeting spicy notes that are perhaps reminiscent of grains of paradise, ginger, clove, which then moves into malty notes mixed with musty wood notes. Quite an interesting mix of aromas, I am not quite to sure if the taste is going to be good or bad, it depends on which notes come through the most.

Ok, the taste, it is soft and lightly sweet up front, and then moves to a tangy, orange-like middle, then finishes with some astringency. Definitely an interesting beer. This beer is rich with a healthy dose of malt notes that are full of caramel, biscuits, and crusty French bread. The malt mixes with spicy notes of pepper, ginger, clove, and orange peel. There is a musty tartness to this beer that, though not overwhelming, certainly contributes to this beer. This beer finishes with a slightly hot, astringent finish that I am not quite able to pinpoint.

Ultimately, I think that this beer is a little out of wack, it is sort of in the gray zone between conventionally fermented single yeast strain fermented beers, infected beers, and beers that are fermented purposefully with wild, yet house derived character. This beer needs to decide which way it wants to go, and I would certainly be in favor of it going fully funky, if it can be kept in balance. Right now it is certainly interesting, certainly drinkable, and even enjoyable, but it seems a bit muddled by various competing fermentation by products. I could see a bottle of this beer being laid down for a year or two and becoming quite stellar, if not intriguingly different. While I am being quite critical here, this is a beer that I am quite enjoying, and I will look forward to procuring some more bottles of this beer. Cheers to Jolly Pumpkin for pushing the boundaries in the middle of America, and cheers to my personal Santa who delivered this treat to my doorstep.

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