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RATINGS: 792   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.74   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
Belgian Christmas ale aged in oak barrels.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Rastacouere (6161) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 17, 2008
Objectively speaking: Typical stuff from Jolly Pumpkin. Those who usually like them will like it and vice versa.
I like: Bretty. Huge fluffy head. Cherry pits. Vinous. Lots of fruits. Oak. Blueberry jam. Foamy texture. Earthiness. Limited sweetness. Absent 9% ABV.
I dislike: Not very distinguished from other JP, yet itís their Christmas offering. Lactobacillus seems overly enthusiast. Astringent finish. Metallic 2nd half.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8661) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 17, 2008
UPDATED: MAR 24, 2010 My Bottom Line:
Wooden sagacity houses a salient cherry and red wine fruitiness, as a whirlwind of chocolatey malts, cakey yeast and tamed tartness magically lifts all spirits. This is yet another marvelously authentic and idiosyncratic Jolly Pumpkin creation which seems to have somehow burgeoned in the Wallonian countryside.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A frothy castle of foam protects the cloudy reddish brown.
-Carbonation is expansive, but only propels the complex flavors, never impeding on them.
-Alcohol is barely present in this flavor profile.
-The finish is rather subtle, as tartness and wilderness subside to allow more drinkability.
-That fruitiness is very complex; it can be redolent of citrus fruit, grapes, plums, cherries, and many other warped varieties.

Bottles, from 2007 and 2009.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
tronraner (2459) - Walland, Tennessee, USA - FEB 14, 2008
750 mL bottle, Blend #2. Pours a deep, rich dark mahogany with sturdy beige head. The aroma is an earthy sourness with some interesting lemon, mango, muscadine, and general tart fruit notes; a touch of oak is detectable, along with some sweet alcohol and a distant gentle hazelnut note. The flavor is sour right off the bat, but quickly attains an intriguing complexity. Nutty malt tones linger beneath the sourness, with an occasional vanilla hint. The sharp acidity hits throughout the mouth, but is kept in check by a moderate dusty earthiness. Once in a while I get a very distinct taste of fresh plums. The finish is slightly nutty with some alcoholic warmth and leaves a vinous aftertaste. Great beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bikesandbeers (547) - san diego, California, USA - FEB 9, 2008
sampled at the San Diego Strong Ale Festival Nov 2008, an event shared with what seemed liked hundreds of ratebeerians and enjoyed mostly through a straw, since my face was a bloody mess of scabs and stitches. this came from the RB table full of bottles. This one came from DarkElf. the aroma was a bit funky. flavor had a great sour barrels flavor. slightly sweet vinous notes with other dark fruit, finishes with slightt bitterness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
doubleo (1432) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 9, 2008
First off, what a great BA beer for a pretty attractive price, $9.99. 750ml bottle, Blend 4. Pours a dark brown color with red highlights. Very thin off-white head that hangs out for a bit. Smells of spicy red wine, and a hint of french oak. Maybe a little sweet malt smell in there as well. Tastes of red wine and oak with a nice subtle hop flavor in the background. A little malt mixed in with the dominant red wine flavors up front as well. Crisp palate, somewhat thin for being 9.0%. Nice active carbonation. Great red wine barrel aged brew. I will have to find some more of these and hang onto them for next X-Mas.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
beerking99 (199) - Virginia, USA - FEB 8, 2008
This beer is dark brown, and cloudy, pours with a small but dense and persistent head, which leaves lace all the way down the glass. Aroma is slight, but with wonderful sour notes, and a pretty good amount of brett funk on the nose. Perhaps some pediococcus and lactobacillus as well. The Belgian funk comes through in the flavor as well, with notes of dark cherries, more Brett funk, and tart apples, backed by a nice malt backbone, and the barest hints of oak and hop. Finishes dry and tart, but not overwhelming.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
RblWthACoz (964) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - FEB 5, 2008
Blend 4, 2007. Pours a fully clouded and very dark orange brown with a minimal dark crŤme head. Nose is beautiful! Bringing the funk. Itís like having a Flanders or a lambic even. Just wild yeast. I love it. On top of that there are noticeable sugars, minor wood tones., and just a nice, gentle perfume tone. Flavor is great. Nice use of spices that bring just the right level of character, but donít overpower things at all. Minor wood tones. Seems like there is a bit of a noticed alcohol tone. Just enough to notice it. Still all good though. Feel has a nice level of carbonation to it and a good liquid feel as well. Overall the contents are a bit thick and it becomes a sipper fairly soon into the game. But it is definitely well made and a nice one to drink. Something about this reminds me of that 1995 Marriage Parfait I had at Spuyten Duyvil.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
FlacoAlto (4011) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 4, 2008
UPDATED: SEP 4, 2008 2007 Blend 3; Sampled August 2008
8/4/9/4/18 total: 4.3
Pours into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with a frothy, initially two finger thick, light tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber, chocolate toned color that shows a lightly hazed, amber tinged, pale brown color when held up to the light. The aroma is a nice mix of tart fruit and light funk. The fruit aromatics lean towards tart plums, a touch of sour fig, a touch of apple and some ripe Anjou Pear. The aroma has a light mustiness to it, hints of woody mushroom as well as an upfront, barnyard, dried-sweaty-leather thing that only lightly intrudes / combines upon the fruitiness that is the most expressive part of the aroma. A touch of roasted character and some higher alcohols are also noticeable in the finish.

Well carbonated, the beer definitely froths up as it rolls across the tongue (though not excessively). Fruit flavors abound, accentuated by a solid, lactic sourness; flavors of tart / rip plum, fermented raisin and a definite zinfandel red wine sort of thing that are expressive enough that they add the perception of sweetness to this otherwise dry beer. Barrel notes (that accentuate that Zinfandel note) of spicy oak (this one the most dominant of the barrel notes), perhaps a hint of vanillin and a light tannic character that just coats the palate. Quite light for a winter seasonal, but still has some heft (more contributed by the oak than anything), this is incredibly easy drinking a perfect beer to quaff.

Probably the most refined of the three blends that I have tasted so far, though it seems close to batch 2. It doesnít have any sharp, aggressive funkiness to it, such the experience of this beer is a much more integrated, balanced experience. This really does have a sort of refinement to it, that when coupled with the light tartness and the fruitiness, reminds me a lot of wine; it has the richness, oak and fruitiness of a red, but still has the bright flavors and acidity of a nice white.

Blend 2; Sampled February 2008
9/4/8/4/18 total: 4.3
A very careful pour produces a three finger thick, light tan colored head that grows to five fingers in height that even crests the top of my glass. The beer is a dark , burnt chocolate brown color, but shows a lightly hazy, ruby color with multitudinous bubbles steaming up through it when held up to the light. As the head slowly recedes it creates a mushroom topped, structural, mesa as well as a varied rocky structures. Interesting fruity notes mixed with light funk greet my nose as I am visually inspecting this brew. Upon closer inspection sour notes of apples, lactic acid and tart plums are found up front. The fruitiness is substantial and also takes on aroma reminiscent of bright berries and fresh picked red grapes. Underneath this is a hint of dark grain character, lightly toasty bread, funky notes of musty cellars, spicy oak (becomes much more noticeable as my nose gets used to things), well-fermented fruity cheese, musty cotton balls, sharp Brettanomyces derived funk, and butyric acid aromatics. A fantastic and appetizing smelling aroma, I canít get enough.

Lightly sweet, which along with the appetizing tartness, accents substantial fruity flavors. The flavor is reminiscent of a mix of red grapes, tart-yet-ripe plums, aromatic apple varietals, blackberries and touches of grapefruit. Ample lactic notes provide the sourness here, yet does not overwhelm this beer at all. Very light feeling, in both texture and on the palate; this is helped along by the substantial carbonation that creates a light and airy quality to this beer. A spicy finish mixes peppery carbonation with lemon pepper, woody ginger, and noticeable spicy oak character. Speaking of oak, the influence of the barrels is definitely here, but it is quite well integrated, I actually had to remember that these were barrel aged before I noticed the characteristic flavors, but once I did, well, they are definitely a contributing factor here; soft notes of butterscotch, perhaps a hint of vanillin and lots of spicy, tannic, woody notes are found here, especially towards the finish. The dark malt flavors seem to kick in towards the finish; at first well browned, toasted grain notes are noticed and then also some light burnt grain notes, both of which linger on in the finish. The finish can actually be a bit astringent at times with its mix of dark grain flavors, spicy oak and alcohol.

I really like how light feeling this brew is, it has substantial flavor though, and I would not have guessed this was 9%. Quite a tasty brew, this is so much better than the blend 5 I had previously. Much more integrated flavors, characterful, yet easy drinking and not nearly as harsh as the blend 5. Perhaps the only think that mars this beer is a touch of hot alcohol, that thankfully is only noticeable at times.

Blend 5, Sampled December 2007
6/47/4/15 total: 3.6
Pours with a frothy, only one-finger thick (despite moderately aggressive pour), dirty tan colored head. The beer is a murky, brownish tinged, concentrated amber color, but does show a hazy cranberry color when held up to the light. Obviously a bit sour as I notice a nice, light tartness to this beer as I am inspecting its color. Upon closer inspection the nose yields notes of granny smith apples, tart plums, and some dusty malt. The tartness is possibly the most noticed aromatic note and leans towards a mix of heavier lactic, but some definite acetic notes as well. Once you start digging around in the aroma, you get a note of substantial funkified Brett in the finish (musty earth, moldy cotton, dank cobwebs and a definite goatiness). With the lightish sourness, the aroma is most notably quite fruity in character. After a bit of time some spice notes kick in (notes of black pepper, Mexican oregano and epazote) as does some light biscuit malt notes and some spicy oak, which is more than a hint, but is so well integrated that it can be hard to pick out at times.

Lightly tart tasting up front, but it picks up a bit more tartness as it moves across the tongue. The beer is quite dry, devoid of sweetness and is quite light and refreshing on the palate. Fairly light bodied, in fact down right amazingly so when you take into account the 9% alcohol. The light carbonation could be a bit higher, but the acidity helps to offset this lack. Fruity esters add a sort of phantom sweetness and bring out notes of Fuji apples, ripe plums, star fruit and even something like papaya. The finish has a phenolic sharpness to it, that is approaching a sort of plastic like note, though it also takes on a sharp clove like turpene note towards the very end. Brett derived butyric acid notes lend a soft influence of barnyard funk and moldy, musty cellar notes.

The second pour from the bottle yields a bit more yeast aromatics as well as more pronounced aromas of sharp plastic. The taste remains much the same with perhaps a touch more yeast flavors. This could definitely be quite a bit more carbonated, in fact I think the overall experience would be improved for me if it was at least 3 volumes of CO2, though I do like how light and easy drinking this beer is. This is funky enough to hold my interest quite easily through the entire 750ml bottle, it does lack a bit of sophistication and integrated character that I would like to see. The finish can be just a touch too sharp and phenolic at times, but this really is a minor complaint. I will be quite interested to try some / all of the other blends of this brew.

Purchased: <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace Liquors, Tucson, AZ

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
yobdoog (1888) - Kingston, New York, USA - FEB 3, 2008
Some JP tends to be a bit too funky for me. OMG someone just said, but this one was great. Aroma has some funk, sourness, tart cherries and bit of merlot. Some sour fruit, cherry, peach skin. Taste is good funky, sweet peach and merlot with some sour cherry candy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
hiddenvariable (207) - pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 2, 2008
bottle. first jolly pumpkin iíve had that didnít gush! pours a cloudy mahogany with a thick, dense, light tan head that thins a bit, but doesnít want to give up the ghost. the sweaty barnyard smell just eminates from the glass, and leaves nice sheets of lacing. spicy vegetable grassy hop with loads of funk is how it smells initially, with lots of apple and pear and cherry, and hints of caramel malt coming out as it warms. and somehow, the taste manages to be totally different. more like spicy cherries with a chocolate malt, and spicy earthy hops picking up the rear, all with that solid background of musty funkiness. very lightly tart finish, just enough to make the fruity taste quenching, lightly bitter and quite drying. medium bodied and very coating and quenching. plenty of carbonation, but it doesnít stick out very much. overall, this is a very complex but drinkable beer. if the funk got toned down a bit, this would be a masterpiece, but i think it kind of gets in the way. all the same, i quite liked it.

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