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Bam Noire | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

very good
343 Reviews
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Bam NoireBam Noire

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by FightingEntropy on 09-01-2007

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Reviews: 343 | Ratings: 836
Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers of off white foam on a dark, ruby colored body with slight haze. The head settles at a moderate pace, but leaves thick lace.

S - Sweet and sour fruity aromas hit the nose first. Peppery notes with a hint of unrefined sugar.

T - Strong sour note followed by a rough, very woody oak note. Lots of spice in the middle, black pepper, chilies, and cardamom. The finish is very oaky, with a little bit of caramel and some herbal hops.

M - Thin body, high carbonation and a very dry finish. There is a good bit of astringency in the finish as well.

D - This beer has an almost overwhelming amount of raw oak character, and that makes it a little hard to drink for me. This spice notes are nice and there is plenty of refreshing sourness, but the oak is rough around the edges (quite tannic and lacking any vanilla character) and there is not quite enough residual sweetness to balance everything out. In some ways this beer reminds me of Rodenbach, but it is not as subtle or complex; I would expect that with some additional aging it might compare more favorably.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 255.

Pours a very dark brown that is clear with a sizeable creme head. Nose is like browned apples. Seems to switch to what smells like cooked plastic. Liked it at first...nooot diggin' the plastic so much. Flavor is deep and robust. A part of it almost seems like roasted game of some sort. The plastic tone kind of comes back, and I have to say it kills the experience a bit. There is just something lacking...something out of line. Feel has a very full carbonation and the liquid is about standard. I personally like the Bam Bière better as it is one of my favorite American produced saisons.

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Photo of tprokop7
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the bottle @ Julio's about a week ago and poured into a Duvel Tulip. Temperature was in the high 48-50F. I love farmhouse's, and I love dark beers, so I was excited about the combination of both...

A - Dark, dark, dark red and not too cloudy. Full off-white head, dissipates to Belgian lace concentrated in the center where the glass creates it. Really is beautiful in the glass.

S - Smell is similar to a Flemish sour... can't really smell much else.

T - Starts out wonderful, like a dark Belgian (think Oerbier). As it finishes, though, you get a strong, burnt flavor. It's different than a typical smokey flavor, and it turns me off from the beer. Also notes of coffee and bitter chocolate in the finish.

D - The burnt flavor ruins this one's long term drinkability for me. I like the beer, but I think it'd be so much better if it was just a bit mellowed.

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Photo of BeaBeerWife
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've only had two beers in this category so far. But it's my favorite in the category! I have tried quite a few Jolly Pumpkins and loved them all, this was the first one I have had from them that I am impartial to. It is completely unique. A variety of strong smells, and a complete lack of traditional taste. I tasted nothing sweet in this beer at all. A very weird experience!! Probably the most unique beer I've had to date, but overall it's just too far out there for me. But I have mad respect!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I usually love me some Jolly Pumpkin, and I've had all of them now but the reserve beers. This one, though, just underwhelmed me. Tasted kinda watery and without enough funk to make it interesting. Oh well. Poured chestnut colored with little head. Aromas are thin and lightly sour. The taste is likewise, thin, lightly sour, clean and light, and has some light malt as well. Mouthfeel is relatively thin. If it had a bit more oomph it would be a lot better. The flavors are okay, they just need to be pushed more in the same direction.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured with a short, tan cap covering the hazy, deep reddish brown beer. The foam was really sticky with good head retention, and very slowly thinned to a thick ring and skim of fine bubbles. The aroma had the funkyness I associate with JP - a bit of barnyard and light vinegar, with an earthy and bready center. There was a very quick, sharp bitterness up front with mild sweetness at the rear and a bit of lingering, grassy bitterness and a hint of chocolate. There were also notes of leather, earthiness, acidic vinegar, and some fruitiness throughout. Medium/light bodied with generous carbonation, it stayed fairly crisp and was on the dry side. Definitely on the mouthwatering side. I enjoyed it and it was a tasty brew, but I think I liked the regular bam biere a little better.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, cola-like, with a slim whitish head.

Sweet aroma, cola, again, maple, then a kick off spice...vanilla, anise, pepper, ...others?...candi sugar...brown sugar?

Taste: smooth entry on the palate, there's the buzz and pop, the sweet and the spicy, mixed with the dark. A bit light on the tongue and in the body, but that's what the saison is, of course. Very drinkable, if lacking in finish. Finishes quickly, but it urges you into another drink. Goes down well, and might make a fine match with dinner, particularly a meat dish, turkey or other poultry, games, etc. Might even work with pasta, heartier vegetarian fare.

Don't think this is a brew I would return to again, doesn't fit in with the ones that please me most, just for drinking, but I find it recommendable. Tastes good, drinks well...try one with friends and food!

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Photo of russpowell
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 250 bomber pours an effervescent brown/chestnut with 2 fingers of caramel-flecked sand colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Sourness, a bit of dirt, some apple

T: Apple skins, tartness,& apricot up front. Sour cherry, dryness, brown sugar& more apple skins as this warms. Finishes dry, tart with some raspberry & a bit of apple vinegar. This barley gets an above average

MF: Slick with moderate carbonation, body holds up great for the ABV

Drinks alright, bot a huge fan of this style, but spot-on technically. If you like em sour & just a bit funky, then this will please you. I like my Saisons with more malt

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Photo of goethean
4.65/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a champagne-style bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Aroma of sour, almost rancid grapes. has that classic Belgian lambic funk. If blindfolded, I would have guessed that this was an imported lambic.

A bolt of intense tartness is my first impression. thin body. tartness is balanced by a smooth, mellow maltiness. fruity but not cherry-like. oxidized, musty finish, with a detectable hops bitterness.

This is nothing like the refreshing Bam Biere, but is of the very highest quality, which is what I have come to expect from Jolly Pumpkin. Demands that the consumer has acquired a palate for funky, sour, complex, weird ales.

Here is my wife's review: "first, I felt bitterness on the back of my tongue. then this nasty funkiness, like a dog that hadn't taken a bath for a while. ooooh...it was awful."

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Photo of mully
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a- rich brown -- thick head that sticks around -- lots of great yeast left on the bottom of the bottle

s- cloves and some roasted malt

t- crisp, tart clove and a little sour, not truly funky

m - thin - but true to style

d - would be a better sumer beer that winter would be refreshing on a hot day not the best fit for a cold night.

Overall a good beer, could be more sour, good intro to funky beers, good balance, not too much of any one area.

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Photo of beerking1
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pure black, until held up to the light, when you see it is actually a muddy dark brown, with some significant haze. Aroma is dark fruits, with the musty, earthiness you expect from a saison or farmhouse ale, only this one is dark. The is also some tartness in the background of the aroma. Flavor is tart, musty and fruity, with very little malt. Some hop character, but subdued. Finish is complex, with a tartness and some fruit and must. A black saison, very interesting change of pace.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting II on 10/19/07: Hazy dark amber color with a medium tan head that dissipates steadily. Stringy lacing. Aroma of tart fruit, cobwebs and yeast. Light-bodied and effervescent with flavors of dark fruit, straw and peppery spices. The finish is tart and short with a spicy aftertaste. Above average overall.

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Photo of Mudpuppet
4.57/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Riedel sniffer. Pours a medium brown with good clarity.

S- Great nose. Dark malt but fruity notes from the yeast.

T- Some nice sweet malt at the onset moving towards darker coffees and almost leathery taste. This is very good!

M- As always with JP good carbonation. I think the natural carbonation makes a difference in the mouthfeel.

D- I could drink a 6 pack of this no problem. I like the flavor and it goes down very easy. Without knowing the ABV I would say it is a good session beer. If you can get enough to make a session out of.

Thanks to kryptic for the chance to try this!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of jjpm74: Poured a clear dark black color ale with a big foamy head with perfect retention and perfect lacing. Aroma of dry hops with loads of Brett is really enjoyable and classic Jolly Pumpkins. Taste is also dominated by some nice Brett flavours with some light sweetness and huge Belgian malt. Body is above average with some great carbonation. Complex beer with some nice controls of the funky aromas.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Goblet

A - Poured a very deep dark maroonish colored brown. Almost a garnet color with lots of hints of reddish tones around the outside and bottom. Nearly opague as well. A large tan head of about three fingers high rose up and settled reluctantly down into a thin film across the top leaving behind more then adequate sticky side glass lace.

S - The aroma was very thick. Lots of musty wild yeast and a touch of some earthy and woody like smells as well. Very hard to describe, but as others have noted, almost a salty or briney like smell to it. It was very odd, very full and very good. Some light fruit notes way in the back but they were pretty much obscured.

T - The flavor was extremely full as well. Lots of deep musty bread like tones mingled in with a very big presence of yeast. Some strange things going on here as it morphed into a smokey robust flavor that ended in a slightly spicy earthy finish. Nothing like I have ever had before.

M - Nice medium body had alot of carbonation which led to a very nice creamy feel. Great follow through and really no slickness here at all. This was very good.

D - This again was unlike anything I had ever had, and how it is under 5% abv is simply beyond me. This was just great and I could have easily had another and then another after that.

Overall this was actually my first offering from Jolly Pumpkin and it will be no means be my last. This was simply too unique and too good to pass up. I would love to have this in the fridge to hit whenever. It was in a word, great!

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Photo of geexploitation
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany color that's quite dark in the center, topped by a long-lasting coffee-foam head. The aroma is heavy on the wild yeasts and gives off a tons of earthy (and even some fecund marine) smells). Underneath the sweat and salt and rot is a light toasty malt backing with just a touch of spent coffee grounds. Wonderful aroma. On the palate, hop bitterness up front, with a tart backing that grows into the mid-palate. Toward the end a slightly sweet and smooth nutty malt character comes out. Very interesting tastes here. Overall, this is a really interesting beer. It's an odd category for a beer -- a dark farmhouse ale -- but the results are, at the same time, expected and unique. Very cool.

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Photo of becktone
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eye: Garnet in color with some copper in there as well. Head has excellent retention, great lacing, and is a tainted white in color; texture is somewhere between creamy and rocky.

Nose: Earthy, spicy, smokey, and musty, and damp woody, mulch like aroma. Can't quite put a finger on the spice aroma, but all the others described above combine to form it. Maybe a little bit of cinnamon in there as well. Smells interesting and intriguing.

Tongue: Unlike any beer I've ever had before. Very earthy on the palate. Lots of smoked character as well as earthy wood/mulch. Also some sourness upfront followed by some sweetness. The brew finishes dry with a very woody character-cedar? All in all a very unusual and unique brew. I really like this one, nice departure from everything that I've ever tasted. Not really a "Saison" by all definitions but still an interesting brew to check out.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: As mentioned before if finishes dry, leaving a woody and earthy taste in the mouth. And when I say earthy here, I mean it, this is the epitome of earthy in edible food, besides licking a rock or eating a handful of dirt or mulch you can't get closer than this. It may sound gross, but I find this beer to be quite tasty. Very refreshing, a nice departure from most beer styles. I wouldn't hesitate to grab another. This beer would be easy to session, and I can see it pairing real nicely with smoked pork, smoked chicken, maybe a salad, some steak. Also a nice session beer.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby highlight, a fingers worth of beige, fine bubbled head that fades but still leaves a sticky crown. Sour cherry fruit and some yeasty funk, and slight earthy malt for aromas. Very dry grains, chalky bitterness and an astringent yeast character. The farmhouse funk is bit one dimensional. Some vinous, cherry notes through the middle and settles in the finish with a bit of musty, husky grains and bitter, dry cocoa powder. Descent mouthfeel that’s well carbonated and not too watery for a 4.3. Not bad for a dark saison, I’ve got mixed emotions on this one. It’s an easy drinker right now but I would like to see something bigger for this style.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #250

A - Pours a murky brown with blackish ruby highlights and 2 fingers of tan head.

S - Funky with wet hay and leather, yeast and some cocoa.

T - Wet wood, tart and funky with some cocoa and yeasty flavors.

M - On the thin side and slightly watery.

D - I was hoping for a nice take on Bam Biere and it ended up just being interesting.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out like black cherry cola, with a thin head that remains present throughout the session. As said, the color is a ruby-tinged dark brown, with minimal lace leavings as the glass empties.

Musty aroma reminds of sour cherries and dank, dark basements. The yeast is definitely performing its magic here.

The flavor is certainly interesting, in that it explodes at the front of the sip like a great Belgian fruit beer (not a lambic), brings in generous tartness and a little funk (as expected from this brewer), and then dies in a quick, dry snap. Finish leaves only the ghost of the fruity/funky flavors, and makes the insides of the mouth pucker as when eating grapefruit. With time it reminds of cherry, grape, grapefruit and gooseberry, without being terribly sweet. And balsamic vinegar. Mouthfeel is thin, and being well-carbonated it feels a bit like soda. Definitely the weak spot here.

This is good if you're up for something tart and fruity. Not as good as Bam Biere, which is one of the best funk-gateway beers I can think of. Probably not the best of the Jolly Pumpkin line, but not out-of-character for them either. Nice to be able to sit with a big bottle like this and not feel completely dizzy when it's gone. Still, I probably wouldn't visit it more than occasionally.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
Batch #250
A- This beer pours a murky mahogany brown body that glows with a light red hue as the light catches it at the base. There is a oatmeal colored head that is sticky, clinging to the glass with each sip. There is a sea of tiny bubbles that bounce around the body.

S- This beer has a fresh musty wet leaves smell with a soft pine and dark ruby red grapefruit note to it. There is a dark cherry note smell followed by a strong bad breath smell at the end.

T- The smooth dark roasted malt note has a hint of dark cola and a big cheese rind tartness to it. There is a green pine hop flavor with a nice bitterness at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a full astringent pucker which wakes up the tongue.

D- The wild characteristics and the hops really work together nicely to contrast each other even though the tartness is still much stronger. Nice twist to the original bam. I think age could really do some interesting things to this beer.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Cloudy, chestnut color. Off-white pillow top head. Good head retention.

Sour fruit aroma, and bit funky and floral. Black cherry perhaps. Slight roasty undertone.

Dry, roasty flavor at first, hint of cocoa. A bit chalky. Not as much tartness as I expected from the nose. A bit of earthy and floral bitterness. Maybe a hint of spice, corriander?

Light body, lots of carbonation. I wasn't sure what to make of this. Probably my least favorite so far from JP.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This, in my opinion, is Jolly Pumpkin at their best. The beer has an undeniably "wild" presence but it is restrained enough that it doesn't obscure the beer's nature as a dark saison.

The beer pours very dark with an off-white head that lingers and lingers while leaving fantastic lace as it slowly, slowly falls. All good things much come to an end, though, and it quickly forms a nice compact layer over my beer. The beer itself is quite dark with a nice hint of garnet around the edges of my chalice when I hold it to the light.

The smell is very pleasant. There is a nice burst of aroma hops (Kent goldings, I wanna say but don't hold me to that), they are sightly fruity, slightly spicy, slightly earthy. This mingles with what I think of as a traditional saison yeast character -- subtle notes of tastes I can't quite describe because they never make enough of a showing for you to identify them but together they leave an impression of almonds and apricots. All of this mixes with a nice light acetic note. Nothing too strong, but just a hint of something sour, something rotten.

The taste follows the smell with the notable addition of a nice, long chocolate finish.

The mouthfeel is full at first, but as I drink the beer and the carbonation fades it becomes apparent how thin this beer is.

Ahhh, now this is a beer I could get used to. I could make a heck of a session out of this guy. It combines the best aspects of a saison and a porter with any conflicts that might arise being dealt with by enough funk that you can't notice any problems.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber/ mohogany color, with an off white/ tan head. Aromas of a roasty malt and sour hints. In hte taste, roasty malt and a suttle tartness. A tart and bitter mouthfeel and a small dry, sourness in the aftertaste. A good stepping off for sour beers, because it was not that sour. Different with the roasty malt.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.32/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark bronze with an infusion of blood red. In spite of what looks to be a healthy amount of carbonation, the beige cap barely reached two fingers in height. Although it's creamy and doesn't immediately melt, the head has a featureless surface and isn't laying down any lace. I'm not sure what a 'dark saison' is supposed to look like, but I expected something better than this.

The nose is decent if you like Brettanomyces. If you don't, then what the bloody hell are you doing drinking Jolly Pumpkin beer! There may be a whiff of cocoa that distinguishes this ale from a standard (that is, non-dark) farmhouse ale, but it's subtle at best.

Only on the finish does Bam Noire threaten to fullfill its promise. Prior to that, it's simply another over-attenuated, Brett-blasted JP ale that, like most of the rest, isn't distinctive enough or deep enough to be considered good beer. Once the funk storm has passed, a little (and I do mean a little) dark malt flavor makes its way to the taste buds.

The flavor profile consists of borderline rotten, unripe, spiced peaches; a tannic woodiness; Band-Aid phenols and a sprinkling of cocoa powder, all nearly smothered by a ratty old horse blanket that needed to be washed weeks ago. I like microbes in my beer as much as the next guy, but they have to be used selectively and they have to allow the beer's other qualities to be appreciated as well. What's the point of brewing a dark saison if it doesn't taste very dark because its drinker has to pick the funk out of his teeth?

The mouthfeel is too thin, even for a beer with an ABV as low as 4.3%. That would be fine except that it's also too fizzily carbonated. That combination makes things too harsh in the mouth; a characteristic that improves, but doesn't resolve completely, by the final ounce.

I like Bam Biere. My hope was that Bam Noire would be its delicious doppelganger, but for all the reasons noted above, it isn't. Nevertheless, I will continue to buy and try Jolly Pumpkin beer because one never knows when greatness will appear out the chaos. Continuing to Brett the living shit out of each and every style isn't going to get it done, though.

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Bam Noire from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
85 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.