853. Jolly Pumpkin – Noel de Calabaza (2011)

853. Jolly Pumpkin - Noel de CalabazaI’ve given up candy and sweets for Lent this year, so I’m enjoying this as a dessert. I decided to start digging into some of the older beers in the beer cellar. I’d heard at the time that Jolly Pumpkin uses some funky bugs in their beer which would make it pretty unique after a few years. I finally decided to crack it open after about 5 and a half years.

Location: Poured into a goblet style glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 9% ABV, 22 IBUs, ~300 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s Deep dark brown, nearly black in color with a ton of carbonation in it, leaving a huge tan, creamy head, with incredible retention. The aroma is lightly malt and almost date-like.

Taste & Feel: The body is light and the mouthfeel is crisp from all of the carbonation in it with a bit of an acidic feel. The flavor up front is a bit hard to pin down, but it’s a bit of a sour-acidic, blueberry porter-like flavor. In the middle, the flavor is quite rich and sweet in the middle, almost like a dark fruit (like black cherries or prune juice). The finish has the same sweet flavors along with an equal dose of acidic tartness. The black cherry-like sweet tart flavor lasts for a minute or two in the aftertaste while making you pucker a little bit.

Food Pairing: I would definitely pair this beer with something like a chocolate cake or cheesecake to balance out the dark fruit tartness a bit.

Overall Impression: My first impression is that there was a good amount of bottle conditioning with this beer over the last 5 and a half years, as it had a ton of carbonation in it. The creaminess of the head helped, but the carbonation brought out the tartness quite a bit. While it was a fairly tart sour beer, I was expecting it to be even more sour than it was, given the amount of time the bugs have had to eat away at the residual sugars in the bottle. I’d love to see what this beer tastes like fresh to compare it. Overall, it was one of the best sour beers I’ve ever had, even though I’m not a huge fan of the style.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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Author: kkozlen

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