JohnC (3008) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - OCT 17, 2004
This is a great looking beer. It pours a clear burnt red with a bubbly tan head. The aroma is slightly sweet. The flavor starts out a bit sticky & finishes dry. I really enjoyed this beer. Thanks, bleen. Silphium (3293) - Traverse City, Michigan, USA - SEP 20, 2004
I was surprised when the interesting 750 mL bottle turned out to be a local microbrew. This beer poured fiery orange-red with a medium, dense cream/tan head. Rich aroma of bourbon, burnt caramelized sugar, toast, butterscotch, toffee, dark fruit, and cinnamon. The flavor tried to match that complexity but came up a bit short, with a strong emphasis on bourbon (oak/vanilla) that highlighted underlying toast and breads, spices (especially cinnamon and pepper), and alcohol. A nice dry, spicy, biscuity Belgian Strong Ale despite a somewhat hollow finish after the initial flavor development. A promising beginning if this is the quality Jolly Pumpkin will continue to produce. I would like to try the beer minus the effects of barrel aging, however...these barrels are becoming a brewing cliche. Eyedrinkale (3235) - Astoria, New York, USA - SEP 19, 2004
Amber color with a smallish head. You can taste the bourbon in thi sright away, as it’s stioll a bit young to be enjoyed now. This sttuff will most likely get much better with age, but who’s got that time on their hands? Taste is mildly sweet and a tad bitter, yeasty and malty. egajdzis (6904) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 18, 2004
Poured a dark copper color with a small off white head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of watermelon, vanilla, cherry cream, and caramel. Barrel aging was prominent in this beer, vanilla came through leading to sweet malt. Alcohol was pleasantly noticed. JCW (1279) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - SEP 8, 2004
I love barrel aging and I liked this one, but frankly the barrel aging over shadowed the beer. Dark amber colored translucent pours with a frothy white head. Aroma is sweet, like brown sugar and alcohol. Flavor is dominated by the aging -bourbon. Full bodied with a sweet finish, thanks TAR.
unclebleen (620) - California, USA - AUG 28, 2004
Pours a medium hazy caramel color with a medium and partly dimishing head. Aroma is bourbon, fruit and spice. Holy heck the flavor is bourbon galore. Really quite interesting. Rich and smooth body. I liked this. Inveigler (371) - Ferndale, Michigan, USA - AUG 14, 2004
An absolutely outstanding merger of bourbon and Belgium. Plenty of our Kentucky libation in the aroma with some cinnamon and spiciness. Nice rosy color -- bordering on the dark side of amber. Rich, flavor that starts and ends with the bourbon, but contains a nice malty middl.e. The yeast spiciness is subtle, but there if you pay attention. Amazing that this stuff is brewed in Michigan. The Jolly Pumpkin is a welcome addition the Great Lake State. Schroppfy (2362) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - AUG 10, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 13, 2005 Rerate: Sour, bourbony, no depth. Downgraded (as opposed to upgraded over time, as the other JPs have been by me). Original: You’ve got to get to the end of this one - the yeast must be in there for a little heft and a little substance beyond the alcohol-laden bourbon fumes. With the final pour this softens and gets more complex; one can get a bit of cookie doughiness and sweetness and even some earthiness, but not a lot. Aging potential is very high, but as with the Oro by this guy, La Roja is so young the yeast is just clumped at the bottom in a lifeless heap - I suggest a tad warmer than usual cellar temps and also a little swirling from time to time - but what do I know? ClarkVV (7120) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 29, 2004
2004 draught at the MBGSBF. Pours a deep reddish-orange with some darker browns swimming around. Medium sized dark yellow/cream head, quite bubbly and translucent. Aroma holds some yeast, red berries, stiff caramel malt and some spicy yeastiness as well as a hint of the bourbon aging. The aroma dosent prepare you well enough for the flavor however, which is intensely bourbon tinged. Very interesting as this is my first belgian ale with bourbon aging. Strong and lightly bitter, but there is ample sweet malt to back it up. This kinda takes away from the belgian characteristics, though they are hard to hold down, as there is a ton of yeasty complexity in here. Maybe tone down the barrel aging and this would easily be in the mid fours.