Beer of the Week: Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire

Posted on August 3rd, 2011


About: Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin is perhaps best known for their American take on traditional Belgian and French styles like saisons and bière de garde. Jolly Pumpkin is also known for a characteristic tart-ness of many of their beers, and those of us who love sours are big fans of their work. Much of that characteristic flavor comes not only from their yeasts but from their particular aging process – all of Jolly Pumpkin’s beers are matured in oak barrels before being re-yeasted and left to bottle-condition.

Billed as a Dark Farmhouse Ale, the Bam Noire asserts that it’s “Dedicated to the dark side.” Let’s find out.

In a Nut Shell: Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Noire is a bit tart, a bit dark, and a bit unbalanced – but still worth a taste. 

Review: Coming in at 4.3% ABV, the Bam Noire pours a cloudy chocolate color and is highly carbonated (maybe even a little too carbonated.) The smell is mostly muddled alcohol with a hint of fruit, but that fails to do justice to the flavor that follows. There are plenty of higher-toned tart yeast and fruit flavors, contrasted with nutty and dark malt flavors – like you might find in a brown ale. However, the contrast here feels a little too strong, with representations of the lighter and darker flavors and not enough in the middle to round it out. But though the flavor feels a little unbalanced, this beer is still highly refreshing, with plenty to enjoy about it. This might make a nice pairing for a cheese and fruit plate, where stronger flavors could help to bring out new tastes in the beer.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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