Bambic | Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

very good
102 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
1560 bottles [330 ml]
180 bottles [750 ml]

Added by womencantsail on 01-25-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 204
Photo of markalansmall
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review of blend 1 & 2. Both from bottle to pint.

Blend 1 bottled 12/1/10 special oak aged sour ale for 25th anniversary of WLT.  11.2 oz bottle.  Appears hazy golden orange with large foam head that creates good lacing. Smell 38/40 hint of fruit lemon/lime, slight straw and oak. Taste 45/50 tart lemon/lime small hint of straw and oak but more of sweet-tart taste. I find it taste great. Mouthfeel 10/10 high co2, tart with strong dry finish. Total 93/100

Blend 2. Bottled 3/15/2011. Appears the same in looks. Maybe a slight bit mellow, but I wood score the same.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the cafe last night. I killed the keg and Lindsey, the sexy dreaded waitress, was as kind as could be about it.

A slightly hazy yellow, sitting next to a fresh Bam Biere is is noticeably different. A tart aroma with hints of work booty leather and foot. The beer came in a strait sided pint glass with no head but it still smells strong.

Taste is great, tart and fruity. It slides down with an oily texture and a light carbonation cutting the aftertaste down to a mild funk and sour. Awesome all around, a super great brew from JP.

I think of this more as a tart wild ale built for speed, made for consumption. I wouldn't save a 12 oz bottle for three years and sip with my pinky out. I would pour it by the pint with friends, eat truffle fries and wonder about the girls with the big dreadlocks.

Jolly Pumpkin- Will you be my girl?

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Photo of
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Jolly Pumpkin pub in Ann Arbor.

Served in straight sided tumbler, just like straight lambic would be served in a Brussels cafe. It pretty much tastes like straight lambic from Brussels, too. This is not an aggressive beer, it is gently sour and vinous, with flavors of white wine, lemon, green grapes, and a wheat-like softness. The subtle funk is very well-integrated and blends seemlessly with the other complex flavours.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a lightly hazy yellow color with a small white head. In the aroma, sweet peaches, sweet yeast, and a note of funky cheese. In the taste, sour peach skins, and just a touch acidic, but WOW, is this tasty! A sour bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dryer sour peach skin in the aftertaste. Sour all day, dry peach skins, and not too overly acidic.

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Photo of SalMineo
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ron Jeffries hit the nail on the head once again for this beer. I absolutely loved it.

Pour-Had that beautiful hazy clouded tinged yellowish golden color to it. It had a bit of nice white head on it. The carbonation was perfect.

Smell-Does anything smell as good as lambic that's been sitting for awhile and fermenting? I detected brett, lemon grass, citrus,spice and tropical fruits. Of course I usually received that beautiful punch in the nose aroma of sour funkiness mixed with Oak.

Taste-The most enjoyable part of this beer. Very acidic and enough tartness to make you want to pucker. I love it. I got some earthy notes from the taste as well as some tropical fruits citrus and lemon. Finishes with tartness that put Jolly Pumpkin on the map.

Mouthfeel-As always the case with his beers. The feel is very crisp. Full mouthfeel and a long finish.

Overall I loved this beer. Ron Jeffries really hit a home run with this beer. Excellent sour beer. It is true that it is a bit tamer than the traditional lambics such as Hansens and Drie Fontein or Cantillon but I don't it's meant to compete with those. I wish I could my hands on some more of this stuff. This beer to me is a perfect example of why Ron Jeffries can put along side Vinnie Cilurzo as the best sour brewers in the United States.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.61/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Blend 1, Bottled 12-01-10 on the back. Thanks to bay01 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a cloudy golden orange color that produced a beautiful white fluffy head with superb retention behind it. Lots of lacing once it finally started to dissipate.

(S)- A bone dry earthy funk with hints at an acidic lemon, grapefruit, and white grape fruit background.

(T)- Similar to the smell in some ways. A superb sour and acidic bite up front mixed with a brett-heavy earthy funk and super tart lemon and grapefruit notes. Finishes bone dry too with more acidity.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level with a great balance of flavors: sour, fruits, and funk. Lots of clay-like earth with the brett aspect really drives this home with the heavy acidity.

(D)- One of Jolly Pumpkins best beers I have had to date in my opinion. A great wild ale with everything you could and should expect from the style. A great sour kick and brett-funk driven beer.

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Photo of Luk13
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Hill Farmstead Gathering by a generous unknown advocate. Fabulous aroma, a nice mix of lambic and saison. The funky barnyard meets citrus rinds and yeast. I love the yeast profile here. Flavors of lemon and yeast leads to a dry finish along with some lactic notes. Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Awesome wild ale, as close as it gets to a real lambic.

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Photo of emerge077
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Dave for busting out this 750, it's been on the radar for awhile!
Review from written notes.

Into a small tulip glass it pours a peachy opaque orange, a wispy skim across the surface after it settles down relatively quickly to other JP beers. Spotty lace all around the glass.

Acidic, tart fruits, lychee, passion fruit, grapefruit. Lactic tartness alternating with a slight natural fruit sweetness later on as it warms.

Pink grapefruit, peach, lychee... the fruity tropical citrus flavors dominate. Intensely fruity, tart, and dry. Tannic oak dries out the finish, cidery with a slight stickiness on the lips. Effervescent and lush with juicy fruit flavors. I could easily drink this all day and would never tire of it. Super fruit forward, not intensely sour, and very quenching. What's not to like?

Note to Jolly Pumpkin: Please put this into regular distribution! TIA

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Photo of Bay01
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had out of Duvel style bottle bought from the brewery

A: Straw yellow with about one finger creamy head that sticks around

S: Smells fruity, barnyard, and a little acedic

T: I think this has a great balance of fruity belgiany esters and sourness. The sourness is definitely noticable but is not overpowering. Delicious

M: Good carbonation, not sticky or over or undercarbonated.

D: Very drinkable for a beer blended with lambic, wish I could have gotten more of these.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

The beer appears straw yellow colored with 3/4" white head which leaves a thick sheet of sticky lacing slowly cascading down the snifter.

The aroma is delightful. Sour, funk, grass, lemons, lemon zest, pepper.

The flavor is equally enjoyable. Complex and well balanced. Loads of funk with a floral hop finish. Lemons and a hint of assorted citrus. Really drinkable. I would love to have more of this. One of the most delicious beers I have had from Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of miketd
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle purchased at Winking Lizard. Blend 1, bottled on 12-1-10. Pours copper with a small head. Big lemon aroma with a touch of barnyard and Belgian yeast. Flavor is really lemony with some tart funk and a crisp finish. This beer is awesome and extremely drinkable. Not as bracingly sour as Lambicus and a bit more interesting than Bam... the best of both. I see a lot of negative reviews here, and I guess if you're not a sour fan I can see the point. But if you like sours, this is a really good beer... although the price is fairly insane.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of all, a huge thanks to both sirotan and GuruDel for hooking me up with a couple bottles of this amazing beer from JP. Thanks again and cheers!

Second of all, I just do not understand why the Chicago crowd (I'm from Chicago...) absolutely ripped this a new one. I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinions but something doesn't add up here...oh well, not my problem.

Split with my brother-in-law in memory of my grandfather. We miss and love you!

Appearance - Pours into a Ladyface Tulip with a hazy golden straw color. About a finger of fizzy white head is achieved with a careful pour (read this may be a gusher - no such case here - perfect amount of carbonation). The head dissipates slowly and leaves nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Damn is that a potent aroma. More funk than I can remember in most JP beers, lactic sourness, slight wood (not so much rotting as others have mentioned), barnyard, wet hay, and some nice strawberry and banana aromas along with Belgian spice/yeast.

Taste - Thankfully similar to the nose. Acidic and nice tartness up front. More tart than any JP beers I can think of off the top of my head (that I've tried). More so lemon and green apple peel tart flavors emerge as the beer warms, the typical and even more so than average barnyard funk midway through, and finishes dry and spicy with a hint of vanilla and oak.

Mouthfeel - Lighter bodied, decent carbonation, finishes a hint dry.

Drinkability - Immensely so. One of my favorite JP beers. I find it different than the "normal" line up of JP beers which makes it so intriguing to me...because it IS out of the ordinary of their typical beer. Absolutely can't wait to have this again and am SO thankful to my fellow BA's for hooking me up with this beer. Downright tasty.

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Photo of drink1121
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass

A- Hazy, pale straw with a creamy white head all the way down with sticky lacing

S- Funky. Sweet malt with melon, light strawberry, sour apple and lemon. Buttery, vanilla oak in the background.

T- Sweet but not overly sweet. Tart apples and citrus. The taste isn't nearly as complex as the smell. It kind of dies out a bit.

M- great creaminess and good consistency

D- I could drink this alll night. This is one beer that I would prefer a bomber of

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Photo of jampics2
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, purchased at the Winking Lizard. The label reads "We here at Jolly Pumpkin created this special blend of our Bam and Lambicus for our friends at Winking Lizard's in celebration of their special anniversary". Poured into an open-mouthed goblet.

This beer looks fantastic in my glass. It's an orange color with hints of gold and honey in the mix. A white head sits atop the actively bubbling body and stays put. The beer is cloudy but not muddy, and some outstanding lace is left behind.

The smell is so expressive, I could catch whiffs of it as I prepared to take a few pictures. My mouth started watering as the hints of lemon, tart cherry and barnyard brettanomyces funk wafted towards me. While I'm admittedly not a huge fan of the Jolly Pumpkin house brett strain when used in farmhouse ales without any lactobacillus, the blend rounds out the rough edges and has some wonderful sour and tart characteristics from the Lambicus. A bit of musty blanket notes rounds out a full and excellent nose.

I'm one of the lucky ones who got to try the sour component of this beer, "Lambicus" when it was released a year ago. Truth be told, that beer will rip the enamel off your teeth with it's sourness. It's seriously one of the most sour beers I've ever had and borders on astringent, but, shared with friends, it can be enjoyable in small doses despite it's harsh apple cider vinegar notes. This blend brings forward the best parts of Lambicus (the lemon rind, oak, lactic sourness and just a touch of that acetic, vingear quality) and interjects the best of Bam - the funk, pepper, mineral, earth, ginger, corriander, pear and peach. The BAM malt base creeps back in mid-palate, anchoring the beer with a solid pale malt base. The finish is a touch dry but not as much as other sour beers.

Lambicus was flat as a pancake - intentionlly so, but it made the beer slightly syrupy and a bit difficult to put away. Meanwhile, Bam has lively carbonation that allows the beer to really express a plethora of flavors. Luckily, this blend fell in Bam's direction and has perfect carb. A medium body feels lighter than it is because of the crisp flurry of bubbles, and the aftertaste has some lingering sour and horseblanket funk. This beer is drinkable and enjoyable and I'm glad to raise a glass of it to all the Winking Lizard employees who work so hard to make their tavern the best in the state of Ohio. Cheers for 25 great years and here's to 25 more!

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Photo of backfat
4.39/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super bowl tasting. We had quite a few tasty brews this night. I did not expect for people to bring out such heavy hitters for a random tasting. Awesome night and this by far was the highlight. A big Thanks to a great BA, TurdFurgison for this treat.

The pour is a muddled honey yellow, hazy and fizzed. No gushing. whew, I was a bit worried about this. The reviews of this beer have been all over the place, and I have noticed a pattern that the negative reviews and warnings of this beer being bad often coincided with gushers. Great lace and nice retention.

The aroma is dominated by sour hay. Mint, brett, and funky, funky, FUNK!, sour apples, vinegar, and pear. It is quite spicy and herbal. This beer smells amazing. I often would catch people smelling the empty bottle long after the beer was gone.

Stingily sour. sharp, acidic, bright, and tart, full of lemon and lime zest and topped off with about 14 pounds of lovely bleu cheese. Mineral and malt as it warms. The only flaw is that the lemon characteristic (that I find in a lot of JP beers) becomes a bit overwhelming as this beer gets up to room temp. Nothing terrible, just slightly astringent and mouth puckering.

Carbonation was nice, appropriate, and noticeable.
This was the beer of the night for me. I want more.

I have noticed ever since I began reviewing again that I have become a bit of a hater rater. not to say that I have been purposely rating low, but I tend to stop and really think about each score before I give it. I have definitely been following a C average guideline and not cutting too much slack when it comes to composing my opinions on beer. It was hard to find flaws in this particular case. I hope the bottle you get is delicious as this one, cheers!

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Photo of fastpass17
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Mike!
Blend 1, Bottled 12/1/10

A: Cloudy in appearance, golden yellow in color, white head lasts the drink.

S: Funk followed slight horse blanket comes through first followed by banana, spice, vanilla and, oak.

T: Creamy malt sweetness, mixed fruit, followed by a nice sour, lemon zesty tartness, the drink finish with vanilla.

M,D: Very refreshing in the mouth, it cleanses the palate. Please make more of this it is delicious.

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Photo of WhyBeNormal
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just in case you didn't know, Bambic is a blend of JP's Saison-style Bam Bière and batches 2 & 4 of their Gueuze-style Lambicus Dexterius. And Lambicus Dexterius itself is a blend of 4, 3.5, and 2 year old 100% spontaneously fermented Lambic-style wild ales.

Had at a certain restaurant ... hmm, I'll be damned if I can remember where ... :p

Bambic has a citrusy/zesty spice ester sweetness to it, with a lactic sourness, bit of musty funk (especially along the side palate), and some earthy spiciness. Really really fucking good.

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Photo of sholland119
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #900.

Blind BIF #5, Beer #1. Thanks to abraxel for the chance to try this one.

A-Pours a hazy peach with virtually no carbonation. Just a pool of white head at the edge of the glass.

S-Nicely sour on the nose. A nice helping of farmhouse, barnyard funk with just a bit of sweetness detectable underneath it all. I'm liking it a lot already.

T-Crisp bite right away. Tangy funkiness. A healthy amount of peppery brettiness gives this a great kick. Puckery, and I love it.

M-Light to medium bodied, exceedingly dry. My tongue has shrunk to a fraction of its usual size. Fizzy, fine carbonation is a bit overdone here, but the only flaw I can find in this beer.

O-A really excellent beer. I will be savoring every drop.


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Photo of alexgash
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle. Blend 1, bottled 12-1-10.

Mostly cloudy, brassy orange body. Three fingers of whipped, meringue-like head. Great lacing up the side of the tulip. Lots of horse blanket on the nose. Acidic citrus (tart orange and lemon), a hint of vinegar, and a little cheesy funk.

Bright, tart, acidic citrus flavors up front. Grapefruit rind is prominent. Faint tropical fruit sweetness can't do much to cover up the tart acidity. Light horse blanket and wild funky notes. Finish is dry, with lots of lingering grapefruit. Moderate body, with a slightly oily feel, before the dryer finish. Very appetizing and refreshingly bright and tart. Another winner from JP!

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Photo of aasher
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Major props to my buddy Matt for bringing me three of these from Cleveland. He picked it up from the Cleveland Heights Winking Lizard. This beer pours a muddied Purdue gold (awesome by the way) with a funky looking, lumpy off white head which laced the glass. It looks beautiful. It smells great too. It smells of dry cider, pears, hibiscus, and lactic acid. It's sharp and pungent when it hits the nose. The flavor it top notch as well. It reminds me of a stronger tasting Fleur (the way it's drinking some 8 months after bottling). It's floral, acidic, full of granny smith apples and has a sour that is near perfect, not too light and not too sour. This beer melts in your mouth. That's the easiest way of saying it but it drinks light and just dissolves into your palate. It doesn't leave you squirming with the aftertaste and leaves you wanting more. I don't know why the last couple of reviews have been so negative. This beer is excellent. I'm looking forward to trying this after I sit on it for a couple years.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was shared by funkydelic with beeruser, StayWhatYouAre2, 67couple, others, and myself at a recent tasting graciously hosted by beeruser! Blend 1! Bottle 12-01-10! 330 mL bottle. Served from bottle into a Duvel Parra tulip. Poured golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, massive funk, tart cherry, sour, and pineapple. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, big funk, and citrus. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. Did I really just get pineapple on the nose of this one and citrus in the flavor!? Nice... The nose on this one was excellent as was the flavor. Everything on this brew worked really well together at complimenting each other and not leaving any component 'out to dry'. A must try for any sour fan out there that has not done so already...

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Photo of Spider889
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from notes, I was inspired to finally post this up after the recent thread concerning the beer. A decent number of people are hating on this beer for some reason, time to get up a good review of it.

Purchased at the Crosswoods Winking Lizard. Batch 1, bottled on 12/01/10.

Served in a traditional squat JP 330ml bottle. Love the label.

Pours a hazy copper orange rind color, with a small grayish head. The gray color certainly lends to the feeling that is is an old blend of oak aged lambic. I like it. The head slowly recedes to a powdering floating at the top. Not much lace.

Smells immediately of gueuze upon opening the bottle (before I even began pouring). Lots of dry hay and attic dust in there, with some fruitier Belgian yeast peppering the aroma here and there.

The taste is acidic, with a tart funkiness (I wouldn't say outright sour, though this is only 30% lambic). There's some mild sweetness. I got some apple skins and dank, but not quite wet, oak.

Fairly light bodied, higher carbonation for the style.

This was really drinkable, one of the best offerings at Winking Lizard this year so far (bottle or tap imo). I'd be buying this constantly if it weren't for the $10 price tag.

Finally, I think it is important to note the style, it's a wild ale, not a lambic. Just because there's lambic in it, some people seem to be expecting a sour bomb. If you consider the beer on its own merits, it's a very successful blend of two great beers.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330ml bottle. Many thanks to Eric (gratefulbeerhead) for the bottle.

A- Pours a hazed golden yellow color. Two finger white head shows great retention. Tons of web style lacing all over the glass when I drink this one down.

S- Barnyard funk really stands out in this one a lot in the inital aroma. Cider vinegar with hints of oak come through next with a hint of lemon as well. More funk and something else almost peach like in the ending along with a nice linger of alcohol. The funk really gives this beer a interesting appeal that makes my mouth water.

T- Banryard funk right upfront with a light vinegar flavor to it. The oak to me makes a nice presence right after this and I feel should be right there. A nice tart lemon flavor comes in next which packs a nice light sourness to it. Peaches once again show themselves in the ending but ever so lightly to me. Another cider like funk rides the ending along with a crisp warming alcohol.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is fantastic for this beer beyond the first pour I think. Lots of funk and oak notes left on the palate. Aftertaste is hints of sourness and alcohol along with a boatload of cider vinegar funk. Flavors were well balanced for the style. No off flavors were present although it would be hard to tell anyways. Heavy alcohol drying on the palate which I expected from this beer.

O- I freakin loved this beer. I thought the funk on this was perfect not making it hard to drink. The ABV was drying and went well with the oak that seemed to bring this beer together quite well. I am looking for a couple more bottles of this beer as it is going to be good with a year or two on it!

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Photo of Jesse13713
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Blend 1 - Bottled 12-01-10

Appearance - Pours a cloudy, mystical and sickly orange. Less than half a finger of head presents itself and then dissipates into an acidic foam. Fairly average lacing here. This looks like some kind of potion.

Smell - Definitely the most sour Jolly Pumpkin I've smelled. The tart smell overpowers the hints of light malts. A very lemon-like smell with granny-smith apple present as well. Very funky smelling.

Taste - The most acidic tasting beer I've ever tasted. This tastes like it has ten freshly squeezed lemons in it. Very tart and bitter. The aftertaste gives me that slight chest burn I get from drinking straight lemon juice. It is very refreshing, however. And there are multiple layers of taste that are slighly difficult to unmask. A slight yeast undertone with light malts. As in the smell, reminds me of some sort of magic elixir.

Drinkability - Mouthfeel - Very carbonated and sour. A nice bitter mouthfeel thats acidity becomes almost unbearable as I hold it in my mouth. A very addictive beer that quenches my thirst.

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Photo of hippityhops85
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend 2 Bottled 3-15-2011. Poured into my Russian River -tion glass.

Pours an every-so-slightly hazy orange/tangerine with absolutely no head. Minimal active carbonation seen in the glass. Nice looking.

The nose has tons of oak, funk, and acidic armoas. Total funkiness and barnyard going on here. The oak is pretty dominating as well.

The taste is full of funk, oak, lactic acid, and a slight butteriness on the end palate. The flavor does die pretty quickly after a sip. Take your tums with this one.

The mouth feel is quite prickly and relatively thin bodied. Very refreshing.

I'm very happy to have tried this brew and would love to taste it again with a few years on it.

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Bambic from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
3.97 out of 5 based on 204 ratings.
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