God damn. That dog definitely did not get his rabies shot. This satanic looking dog seems to be much more sinister than his sweet and solicitous cousin, Bam Bière. (How’s that for some alliteration poetry nerds?!) This dog looks like he has the bite to match, but how assertive will Bam Noire be? Alpha dog, or runt of the litter? Time to run them numbers…
Appearance: A head fluffier than cotton candy, a newly acquired pillow, or a drifting summer cloud. The body is dark, but doesn’t warrant the title of “noire” – it’s more of an opaque dark amber/brown color with the conventional unfiltered, bottle conditioned look.
Smell: Wine, oak, sour cherries, grassy funk. As I kept my schnoz in the glass, I picked up some more weird, unconventional smells. You know the smell you get when opening a fresh band aid? It was very similar to that; similar to a gauze strip or medicine cabinet. Never thought I would ever describe a beer smelling like a band aid… wonder what this will taste like.
Taste: The first sip was not as sour as the smell would have suggested. It was more tame upfront, then it transitioned to the tart, and it finished with a long lingering of oak. Pretty complex for Jolly Pumpkin, and very complex for a farmhouse. The main flavors I’m getting out of this brew are oaky bitterness and slightly tart dark fruits: imagine a citrusy date, raisin, or black cherry but in a very subtle, light way. Not as robust as you would find in a Belgian Quad, but clearly identifiable within the beer. The body is a bit thin for me, with it feeling a little watered down, however this is a farmhouse. There is a weird off taste that I’m getting at the end of the brew which resembles something that’s been freezer burned. The oak mellows out as the bottle nears its end, but this off flavor sticks around for a little bit.
As you can tell from the pictures, the Bam Noire is very effervescent and generously carbonated. It is a bit too much for my liking, but that’s the nature of the beast when bottle conditioning beer. I’m sure some homebrewers out there have had a bottle or two explode on them from over carbonation, however at a commercial brewery, they should be able to dial this in. At 4.3% ABV, this brew is certainly sessionable and goes down pretty easily.
Overall: On the whole, I did enjoy this beer, however it certainly had its flaws. It had enough carbonation to make me think that I might float away like Charlie and Grampa Joe, luckily there were no fans above me and I didn’t happen to be anywhere near Hershey, PA. Additionally that freezer burn taste wasn’t too pleasant after I finished, and the body was thinner than Prince William’s hair; that being said the flavor of the brew was enjoyable with unique tastes of tart, dark fruits. All said and done, I’d give this brew a low B. Not the best Jolly Pumpkin I’ve had, but I appreciate their twist to what can be a dull, boring, and predictable style of craft beer.