Bam Noire | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

very good
348 Reviews
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Bam NoireBam Noire

Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

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: 348 | Ratings: 862
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black saison. The JP aroma of sour yeast, sour, yeasty. Some head. Sour taste dominates, average mouthfeel, another good one in taste and drinkability. A little ginger and soda pop like carbonation.Other spices besides pepper are a melange. A palate flattener. Lacey on a blackish body.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.59/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown with light tan head-nice looking

Light simple sour nose.

Thin citrus mouth.

Light citrus simple sour flavors. Not much of anything for this one. A pleasant, light, simple citrus brew but not worthy of Jolly Pumpkin. Best thing about this one is the cool label. By the way, it's not really bad; it's just not good. It tastes sort of like a lightly spiced, lightly sour "less sweet" 7Up.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 927. Bottled 10/25/2011.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small bubbly patches of lace form quickly fade off the sides of the glass. Smell is sour and tart with some fruit and spice aromas. Taste is pretty much the same with the spices lingering slightly on the finish. This beer has a very high level of carbonation with a very crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the flavor is a bit thin and I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is definitely not rated high enough on here. a perfect example of a dark saison, bordering on a sour. beautiful pour, light translucent brown with a lasting tan head. smells like brett, lots of funk, perfect nose for a saison. flavor really features the brett, the darker malts used, and some really interesting yeast. almost a wild ale. maybe it is a wild ale actually. seems like it. i like the dark malts in this beer, not a common style as far as i know. feel is good, a little thin on the body and on the alcohol content too, it could have been like a 7.2% beer pretty easily, and for the price maybe it should have been. still, its light and drinkable despite its complexity, the carbonation is good, and the aftertaste is delicious. overall this might not be as good as the la roja, but its a realy good beer. jolly pumpkin is moving up my list.

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Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

On draft, pours a hazy reddish brown, lots of head and good carbonation.

Smell is sweet caramel, funk, apples, hazelnut, candied sugar. The flavor is a bit quieter than the nose, but same line of thinking, more candied sugar, fruity with a little bit of funk, apricots. It is pretty balanced, but heavy for 4.3%. It is a bit chalky.

Overall, its good.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy brownish red in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that has excellent retention properties.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of oak and sourness in the nose along with hints of cherries. The cherries become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: the taste is a little sour nd tart and has light notes of cherries and dark fruits.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: this is a very interesting beer that is very easy to drink and quite flavorful for being lighter in body.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In true Jolly Pumpkin style, Bam Noire has all the great funky flavors along with a dry, spicy finish and a underlying toasty, powdery note througout. Here's more on the session...

The beer pours with a deep amber, moderate brown color with slight haze, a very persistant egg-shell white head with a great deal of lacing and retention. A really nice looking beer.

Aromas of toasty malts, vibrant breads, and tart fruits lead the way. Light phenolic spices of white pepper, cumin, and plastics follow up. While the spiciness is nice, the plastics are a bit of a let-down.

Those fruity flavors of lemons, grapefruit, under-ripened berries, orange zest, and pear piths set the flavors. Soon enough the toasty malt character comes in with bold force and do a bit more than just balance; they garner attention and ride the dry toasty flavor deep into the finish. Woodsy, funky, cork-y flavors offer tart and nearing sourness notes that offer more intrigue than distractions.

Quite dry and malty textures offer creaminess up front and then dries considerably and creates moderate astringencies in the finish. Challenging but pleasant and refreshing beginning to end.

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Photo of brentk56
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 512

Appearance: After a brief foamover from the lip of the bottle, Bam Noire settles in the glass with a dark caramel color and a modest cap; not much lacing is left behind

Smell: Oak and tart apples, with hints of pear, leather and farmhouse funk

Taste: Starts out with a dark bread character that quickly moves in a funky, tart direction, with apple, pear, oak and leather characteristics; after the swallow, a touch of licorice adds a vague sweet element, but the beer finishes dry and tart

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with buoyant carbonation

Overall: Not among the top tier of Jolly Pumpkins, this one is missing a depth of flavor compared to the others; still, I would never turn away a beer from this brewery and this one is no exception

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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 emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #250

Pours into a Caracole tulip with a solid cap of foam, moderate level of lacing.

Aroma is extra stalls and wet moldy hay, getting into burnt wood and delicate puffed rice. Soil and upturned roots....there's alot of depth even though it was off-putting on the surface at first.

Lots of dry wood and toasty malt, giving way to an nice earthy roast midway through. Some berry notes come out halfway through the bottle. A ton of light colored yeast sediment. Yeast is the only similar component to Bam Biére. Not really all that bitter, save for some mild tartness, but much less than and Oud Bruin or Wild Ale in general. It's still fresh though...a far cry from "apple, dark malt and nothing else" mentioned elsewhere.

Mouthfeel is not completely thin, but less than medium-bodied. The carbonation saves it. It feels a bit like a rustic homebrew at times. I'm working on a 750 solo, and i've finished a Madrugada before, but this is a distant relation to the supreme drinkability of Bam Biére.

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Photo of oline73
2.91/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a reasonable amount of light coming through. There are three fingers of off white fluffy head and a good layer of head remains throughout.

Smell: Initially there is a bit of a sour smell. Some herbal/spice smell comes through with a little bit of fruit and sour apple.

Taste: Just like the smell, there is a mild sourness right off the bat. Following that, there is a little bit of roast and some spice as well. Overall I think the flavors don't blend real well and it tends to be a bit watery as well.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit on the thin side. I wouldn't say that this one is super smooth. The finish is quite dry.

Drinkability: I don't think I'll be searching this one out again. I don't think the roast and sour flavors blend real well in this case.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a reddish-brown color with an off-white head. The nose brings forward some oak, mild sourness, a bit of roast, and a light bit of funk. The taste pulls back quite a bit and shows oak and funk more than anything else. The taste is a bit funky and makes the oak known. Drinks pretty well; another nice JP saison.

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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 superspak
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/28/2012. Pours lightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 2 finger foamy and rocky light khaki head with incredible retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a ton of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of sour cherry, green apple, pear, grape, clove, hay, pepper, oak, toast, cocoa, light roast, leather, funk, light vinegar, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of yeast, barrel, and roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of lightly tart cherry, green apple, pear, grape, toast, cocoa, light roast, clove, pepper, oak, hay, straw, light leather, funk, light vinegar, herbal, and yeast earthiness. A touch of earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, toast, cocoa, light roast, clove, pepper, hay, straw, oak, light leather, funk, light vinegar, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and oak flavors with a nice balance of dark/roasted malts; with a good malt/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. High carbonation and medium bodied; with a smooth, crisp, and prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent dark saison style. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and dark malt flavors; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 340/341.
A: A very dark chestnut brown with a reddish cast. It almost looks black sitting on the bar. Clear, until later pours rouse the yeast sediment. Massive head of creamy light tan froth. Initial sheets of lace are left behind, and then frothy rings with each sip.

S: Brett. A bit of mustiness. Some sharp fruit. Not much else.

T: Tangy followed by a splash of dark fruit (some plum, date, fig, cherry, peach). A flash of citrus. Brett. Earth. Mustiness. Barn. Minor maltiness going into the swallow. Damp cardboard. Non-distinct spice. A dust of cocoa. Raspy dry wood (oak, cedar). Dry finish with a hint of everything that came before and a smear of plastic-like phenol.

M: Medium-light bodied. Initially a bit zesty. Later it becomes bristling, and then almost kind of creamy-smooth.

D: I let this beer warm for at least 10 minutes before tasting it, and at that point I initially found it a little lacking as it was seemingly one very basic flavor combination (mostly brett characteristics and fruit), but as it warmed it opened up and became much more interesting. And the yeast pour added some complexity to it to be sure. But even then it was still not that rich or involved. I enjoyed it, mainly for the straw-like, horse-blanket, mineral and tart contributions of the Brettanomyces, and the oak, but it never got off the ground. So, I'd say that it's better than the Bam E.S.B., but I'll take any other Jolly Pumpkin before this one. On a wider scale... it's OK. It's at least interesting. It has a place in the world.

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Photo of mactrail
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Think and sour brown ale.

Vinegar aroma, but intriguing. Appealing sudsy head and lacing along the glass, lasts well. Sour is the main flavor. Really thin and sharp. Tastes like any malt has long since been eaten by bacteria. The taste starts in the back of the throat and works its way forward. If you use your imagination it could taste like a hint of salted plum. Aftertaste is soapy and dishwatery. Just not much taste at all.

I'm all for crazy flavors, and sour beers demand some respect for stretching the mind. But I'm just as interested in a delicious and drinkable beer, which this isn't.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle - $8.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Batch 1013 - Bottled 1-31-2012.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, dark russet-toned body with a tall, well-frothed, airy, off-white head.

Smell: Funky, phenolic aroma, first and foremost, sporting notes of leather saddle, decomposing tree bark, ultra faint cocoa, slight dark fruitiness, spicy-scented gentian and ginseng root, and, well, a hint of musty, ole ass.

Taste: Leather-bound raisins with heavily toasted, nutty malt and a little touch of chocolate powder. Very low sweetness. Shredded gentian, a touch of mentho-lyptus. Soiled wooden note, hint of citrus. Extra spice. Splash of stomach juices atop old straw. Some of those early malt hints try to come forth on the back half. Dry with a tongue-coating lactic funkiness on the heavily sudsy, positively gassy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Highly carbonated, foaming in the mouth with each sip.

Overall: As always, it’s another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin.

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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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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 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 womencantsail
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with batch numbers 258 and 259 on the label.

A: The pour is a dark brown with a ruby red highlight when held to the light. A fluffy off-white head forms on top and settles down to a thin layer.

S: The signature Jolly Pumpkin tartness is there along with notes of cherries and leather. A light earthiness along with a touch of funk.

T: The sour cherry flavor is noticeable for just a moment on the front end. Soon it is followed by leather and tannins and even a bit of tobacco on the finish. A slight acidity throughout, but a noticeably bitterness and roasted quality.

M: The body is somewhat light and tingly on the tongue with plentiful carbonation and a somewhat astringent finish.

D: I enjoyed the flavors of the beer, but I found the finish to become a bit tiresome and drying. Still a good beer, but not Jolly Pumpkin's best.

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

Appears a dark plum ruby amber hue with yeast sediments floating abroad streaming upward from the bottom with the bubbles from the fine carbonation, forms a nice sized light beige head with dimples from the stream that I poured into my glass. Aroma has tart raisins with green apples flowing with tobacco leaf qualities galore as I dig deeper it's more of the same with some cider and mild vinegar tones. Flavor brings dry dark chocolate edges with soft fruity sweetness rounding out the dry tart edges, herbal qualities from the hopping flows freely and comes out very notably here. Body is medium with very nice spritzy fine carbonation that carries the body much lighter than it actually is, much like a farmhouse schwarzbier really flows well on the palate. Really leaves a dry palate with each sip, due to the tart sourness this beer contains each sip really leaves nothing in the finish besides a dry puckering effect. Drinkability overall is great and purchased a couple standard Bam's to compare this variation side by side, I love Jolly Pumpkin this dark version a farmhouse ale is no different quality and the little doggy is sporting bat wings I guess it's the right time of year for it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Deep brown body with a huge off-white head. Almost overflows the glass. Foam sticks to the side of the glass and rests atop the body like a pillow until the last sip.

Smell - At first I smelled dark malts. Then I noticed the funk and a hint of acidic tartness. Some grassy aromas as well. Smells nice, but the flavors clash a bit.

Taste - A bit of tartness up front, but it's hardly sour. Grassy and funky as well. In the back are the dark malts. The blend of flavors clashes even more in the taste than it does in the smell.

Mouthfeel - Kinda heavy for a 4% or so beer. I'm surprised. The dark malts really heft it up. Nice carbonation, but it drinks sluggishly for such a light beer.

Overall - Interesting, but not something I'd buy again. The dark malts muddle the flavors a lot.

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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 vfgccp
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Deep burgundy ice tea. Thick off-white head with solid lace and retention.

S – Tart and crisp with a touch of malt that you normally wouldn’t get in a saison. Honey-like sweetness.

T – Opens crisp and tart with a bright carbonation. The profile shows great restraint and balance. Lemon center. Malt shows through on the backend with a light dryness.

M – Medium frame with a great, well balanced carbonation.

O – A fantastic saison with a unique malt character.

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Bam Noire from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.77 out of 5 based on 862 ratings.
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