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Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien - BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)

Not Rated.
Abbaye De Saint Bon-ChienAbbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

898 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 898
Reviews: 262
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.42%
Wants: 111
Gots: 184 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) visit their website
Switzerland

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ggaughan on 06-07-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 898 | Reviews: 262
Reviews by brother_kenneth:
More User Reviews:
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. 750ml capped bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a course 1 finger layer of big bubbles that collapses quickly. Beer is a clear, dark mahogany. No lace and no legs. Not much to look at.

Nose is tart cherry and raspberry with hints of vinegar, soy sauce, oak and booze. Aromatic and very complex. Nice.

Opens mellow and juicy cherry, raspberry, vinegar and red fruit pulp. Amazingly complex. Layers of oak, barnyard, and a big bold tartness preside over the middle. Acidic and puckering with big fruit and funk notes. Finishes tart vinegar, red fruit and a slight bit of soy sauce. Sour finish. Awesome!

Light to medium bodied with low carbonation. Slick and oily in the mouth and goes down puckering and dry. Finishes dry with a filmy aftertaste that coats the palate. Solid.

This is a beer that's been around for a long while and its easy to see why. Great balance and complexity and just an all around solid offering. Definitely worth seeking out and its one of those rare non-gueuze beers that ages wonderfully!

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle provided by the ever generous nchrist13 at a recent Madison BA tasting.

Sample size: perhaps 6-8 oz (I kind of helped myself to the lions share of this one, sorry other Madison BAs). I must get some more of this in a trade to try again and expand on this review. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Wine like Burgundy but displaying ruby/copper hues when held directly to light more reminiscent of beer. Thick off white head when agitated that settles to a thin skim. Easily reagitated to a healthy looking foam.

Nose: Upfront about the barrel aging aspect that brings forth a funky, acidic, tannin rich woodiness. Strongly vinous smells of dark fruits but equally aromatic amounts of sour/tart cherries, think Supplication meets NG Belgian Red. Also precent is a background spiciness that mixes with dirt and sawdust to give this dog a really nice solid base. I got teary eyed when I smell this beer (no joke).

Taste: Style limitations be damned, this is the Best Biere de Garde of all times. Bordeaux dark fruit vinous flavors. Cherry background sourness. Earth, moss, damp wood. Much less acidic then I would have guessed from the nose. Mild amounts of caramel and vanilla. Musty.

Mouthfeel: Sublime. Vinous with mild carbonation and acidity. Light but fulfilling sourness. Woody. Medium bodied. Dry finish.

Drinkability: Perfect.

I owe Nick big time for this one.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is #00276, brewed in 2007 and blended in Dec 2008. The beer is a murky, amber-brown coloring with a peppering of small carbonation bubbles throughout and no head. Aromatic as soon as you pry the cap off. Wow. Aromas of tart cherry, tannins, old world fruit sweetness in the backbone, apples, roasted notes, and an abundance of spices, including cloves, coriander, and nutmeg. Very layered nose, and more and more comes out as you drink. Great. Flavors are fruit rich forward, with a blast of berries and cherries enveloped in tart and slightly acidic notes, keeping a perfect balance across the palate. Darkly sweet plum and fig backbone, with a spiced blend that warms a bit, as well as provides some edge to all the smooth and rich notes. The tart turns slightly sour towards the tail end of the palate, which does a solid job of cleaning up all of the majorly rich and heavy characteristics. Smooth, mid-bodied in mouth, with a tart and fruity aftertaste that has a slightly astringent feel to it. The finish is crisp, with a slightly sour linger. Very delicious beer worth seeking out.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With the taste of the '11 Grand Cru lingering on my memory, those flavors are so exhilarating that this standard Abbey de Saint Bon-Chien is drawing me like a moth to the flame. But this '06 vintage rewards me with its brightness and none of the burn.

Much like the Grand Cru, the beer pours a modestly carbonated hazy rust color, revealing reds, browns, purples, and mauve highlights when held to the light. Its tawny appearance releases the daintiest of foam structures that deflate from the acidity and alcohol beneath. With little to discuss in the retention and lacing department, the beer is left to look like wine.

Mouthwatering aromas abound with fruit, wine, spice, and must. Sour cherries, grapes, apples, figs, dates, and apricots strike the nose with a forceful scent. Backed by notes of Balsamic vinegar, sherry wine, and Merlot-type tangy notes the beer is savory and rich to go along with its strong acidity. Earthy tones of dried limes, leather, weathered oak, cellar musk, tobacco, and sea air keep the aromas varying and inciting.

The taste of all that sour and musty fruit that pierces the taste buds with sharp flavors that accompany dried wood, earthy sea brine, figs and dates, tobacco and leather- and all woven together by savory balsamic and sherry. It's a sublime taste that at first seems too intense with sourness, but is then softened by mature fruit sweetness. Other intangible complements to the beer reveal almonds, vanilla, and light caramel and seem to alternate with each sip.

Its elegant textures are sharp on the palate at first but then softened by ghost of maltiness that soothes the palate against vinegar-like acidity. Wood spices offer some astringency and gives the beer an almost-peppery finish. Surprisingly, the warmth of eleven percent is hardly felt as it is tightly woven into the acidic notes.

This sultry ale is a culinary delight on all fronts: it's savory, sweet, sour, and salty. Highly satisfying to taste, the beer is mature, surly, and unpredictable all at once. I simply cannot get enough of it!

Photo of Bitterbill
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle.

Pours a cloudy rusty/reddish brown with a tiny head of foam that disappears almost instantly. Lacing, no.

Smell is of cherry, oak and vanilla, and funk.

Tartness from the cherries hits my palate right off the bat. Oaky notes move in bringing some vanilla and wood
and throughout each sip, an enjoyable taste of funk makes taking the next sip easy peasey.

Fairly light bodied with light carbonation. Wine like mouthfeel.

Well now, this is a real winner and a treat!

Photo of ricke
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008.

A: Reddish brown color, slightly hazy. A small head quickly disappears.

S: Tart berries, perhaps some lemon and tart apples as well. Subtle malts and a decent amount of funk - mud and wet hay.

T: Some semi-sweet fruity notes and malts that's quickly overshadowed by tart flavors and funky notes. The tartness is really good in this one, sharp and edgy, yet not puckering nor astringent. Perhaps a slight taste of vinegar. The finish is really dry with a decent amount of sweet alcohol, a hint of minerals and lingering tartness.

M: Medium body with semi-aggressive carbonation.

D: A good beer, quite interesting. It has an edgy character due to the way the tartness mixes with the aromas and the gentle sweetness. Would definitely have another.

Photo of brownbeer
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted the 2005 vintage that clocks in at 15.5% abv, rather than the 11% noted here.

It wasn't much too look at with no head and muddied color.

The nose was much better, though. It had sour fruit notes(mostly cherry for me), vanilla, noticable alcohol. It lets you know you're in for something big.

Similar notes on the palate with an added acidic bonus and finishing with light oaky tannins.

I thought it didn't taste terribly different from the pinot version but both were great.

This would be a great winter warmer to split with a couple of friends. Thanks nightbrew for pulling this from your secretive cellar.

Photo of generallee
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a capped green 1pint 9.4oz bottle. The bottle reads hand crafted in 2006 at 11%abv. aged in oak and blended October 07. Also there is what I think is a bottle number or batch number on the neck label that reads 00276.

Appearance: The body has a dark and murky appearance with a dark brownish burgundy color and some lighter reddish high lights. Near the edges of the glass there are some tine bubbles of carbonation. The head is a small, creamy off white layer of foam that slowly fades to just a small ring of tiny bubbles. Lacing is slick and minimal.

Smell: Its aroma has nice tart fruit, funky earthy yeast notes with a hint of oak.

Taste/Mouth: The flavor starts with a semi-sweet malty base with a wonderfully complex mix of dry tart fruit, funky earthy east and wood. Some fruit notes that pop out are sour cherries, dry wine like grapes, and tart apple skins. All these flavors work in perfect harmony and its 11%abv is well hidden. It adds another layer of complexity and mellow warmth to the palate. It has a medium body with a silky light texture and soft carbonation.

Notes: This beer shows outstanding complexity, balance and sophistication. I could sip this all night paired up with a nice plate of fine cheese and fruit.

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage pours a rusty brown body with a small and fleeting beige head. No real lacing but carbonation is apparent in the body.

Aroma is musty old oak logs, some caramel, apple cider, and vinegar.

Medium body with a low, but active, carbonation. Earthy and woodsy feel.

Taste has prominent oak tones. Tannic and somewhat vinous. Tastes more like a lambic than a bierre de garde. Apple cider, cherry skins, caramel, and some herbal hops. No hint of the alcohol.

Quite a price tag on this one and although good I doubt I will buy it again.

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A treat on tap at the Blind Tiger in NYC a few nights ago (got to meet the brewer of the stuff that night to boot...) $8.50 for a 12 ounce pour BTW...Poured totally muddy, lighter brown (later pours were no less muddy, but were darker in color) no head, no lace, low low carbonation. Sour yet soft, lactic nose. Complex, flavorful quite interesting and totally different type of beer. I'm thinking to my self what damn style of beer is the mother?!? More sour, tons of soft fruit undertones, spiced up bloody Mary/clamato notes. All sorts of stuff going on here. Somehow it holds together. Absolutely delicious. Gonna buy a bottle as soon as I get a few extra bucks. Highly recommended.

Photo of badbeer
2.94/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 Version.

Murky red/amber color with a beige head, left a ring around the glass. I get some sour and oak notes, but not too much else, maybe some dark fruits. Lightly acidic, metallic, oak, and a touch of some sour cherry or other fruits in the taste; wasn't impressed. Lighter than medium body with a dry finish, light carbonation. Don't know that I'd have this one again, it didn't seem like an off bottle, just not very good.

Photo of Mora2000
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a white head. The aroma is tart apples, oak, vanilla and toffee. Very nice smelling. The flavor is sour apples, oak, caramel and vanilla. The beer is very dry. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very good sour beer.

Photo of bsp77
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Very cloudy lava-orange with thin head and slight lacing.

Smell: Sour apples and cherries are dominant with some oak, pepper and alcohol.

Taste: Wine-like with somewhat sour apples and cherries, oak, pepper and an overall musty quality.

Feel: High champagne-like carbonation with a relatively light body for the high alcohol. Tart, dry finish.

Drinkability: Probably the best sour beer I have had. Of course, after three years of burgundy barrel aging, I am not sure this is really a Biere de Garde, but who cares, it's great.

Photo of ADR
3.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A relatively expensive ($21 for me) "Biere de Garde" that "matured in 8 different barrels of Merlot, Cabernet, and Grappa." 2004 bottling...

Dark and opaque purple-brown color, head is fairly nice, big bubbles and average duration. Laces in fat rings. Boozy aroma, seems to have a lot of grape influence, but not being an appreciator of wines, it just seems rather heavy and oppressive. Mouthfeel is almost thick, carbonation underdone but still apparent. For me, a lot of the delicate spiciness and yeastiness of the beer (at least what may have been the original beer) is overwhelmed by a heavy application of alcohol as in fortified red wine, especially by the swallow, which has a peppery tannic quality to it. The impression seems very pronounced. Some bittersweet chocolate helps out on this one. Frankly, I can appreciate the time and effort in making this brew, but I'm not particularly impressed with the profile and its not worth the cost to me, but other's mileage should vary.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta. 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazy amber-copper color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of medium malts dominated by moderately tart currants and light vinegar. Also present are solid amounts of funk - wet hay more than anything.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as complex. Smooth and medium malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of funk. The funk subsides shortly thereafter and the flavor profile dries up with the addition of tart cherries and currants. The tartness lets up slightly as the fruit flavors carry through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I think this is one of the few beers that benefitted from bottle conditioning as the bottle was superb and the tap decidedly less so. Still, a very good beer that does a very good job of hiding the alcohol and melding a variety of flavors. Well worth a shot any way you can find it.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip glass)
Blended Oct. '07
A- This beer pours a warm, dense but clear deep brown body with a red hued glow at the base. The thin yellowish-beige head last as a thick ring for the full beer. There is a slow carbonation of tiny bubbles that kept glide to the surface.

S- The light aroma of bright tartness has a faint musty hint that almost smelled like bad breath that turned into a wet wood aroma as the beer warmed. There was a finish of soft dark cherries that grew as the beer warmed.

T- The bright tartness had an apple skin quality to it with a soft bitter oak note that turned more cola flavored as the beer opened up. The cola note had a slight sweetness to it as the beer warmed and lead to a light tartness that lingered after the finish for just a second.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight cleaning fizz in the finish. There was no real alcohol heat until the beer was pretty warm and even then it was soft.

D- This beer had a pleasant tartness but it was soft and there wasn't any depth of flavor after that. The flavor was a bit drab and that stung a bit considering the price tag and all the hype around this beer. I don't know if age would bring out more funk flavors but I'm not willing to take the gamble.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle split and poured into a snifter. 2007 vintage. Bottle 00276

A: Pours a hazy copper ruby with a 1 finger off white head. Quick to dissipate it doesn't leave any real lacing.

S: Port wine like smell with a sour twist. Very fruity, oaky and boozy. Fruits are like a fermented dark cherry.

T: Like the smell this is very much like a port in flavor with a great sour twist. Has really had a chance to age gracefully. Very complex beer here. Goes down with one flavor and has an intense tartness after swallowing. Love it.

M: Not a lot of carbonation left in this one. Still a very dry finish. Very warming and certainly a sipper. Real nice feel, makes you want to sip on it all night.

Overall an amazing beer I am very glad I could try. One of the most complex things I have ever tasted. Sweet like a great oak aged beer yet still very sour and tart.

Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at the BFM 10th anniversary party last weekend. It says it is limited to 1,276 bottles or more but I saw probably 100 bottles or more consumed at the weekend so I think those numbers may be a little low. We took 4 bottles home as well. The beer is a sour ale from what I could make out at the brewery. It may not be a gueuze totally but I thought that was the best style match.

The beer poured a hazy, dark brown color with a slight tan head into my BFM glass. The aroma of the beer was pleasing. There was some vinous qualities in the beer as well as some wood tones as well. This goes the same for the taste. There is a sour, vinous taste with some wood and earth notes as well. The taste is really dominated (in a good way) by a sour funkiness. I was originally suprised that this years version of Bon-Chien was this style but I really enjoy it and rate this up there with the other 2 years that I have had.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 12.69 fluid ounces bottle into a Belgian tulip.

A finger and a half of spritzy oatmeal-colored head forms from the pour and takes its time receding, eventually becoming a thick layer of lace that spreads over the body. Vigorous carbonation surges upwards through all sides of the cherry- and plum-skin- colored body. It's a good-looking beer.

We've got a tart smelling beer here, suggesting cherry and other dark fruit. There's a dark malt and burnt caramel aroma that suggests an oud bruin here too. Vanilla and vinous notes develop too. I'm looking forward to drinking this brew.

Tastes like it smells and that's a good thing. A momentary hint of vinegar but then the tart dark cherry and burnt caramel or caramelized sugar flavor veer this beer into tasty territory. The finish reminds me of a crisp apple with a touch of earthiness.

Yeah, there's a hint of vinegar, but it's minor. Everything from there is delicious tart fruit, burnt/caramel malts, and a slight funkiness. The body is thicker but it drinks refreshing and juice-like.

Quite a beer. Delicious.

Photo of dacrza1
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

DATE TASTED: August 8, 2013 ... GLASSWARE: Chimay goblet... OCCASION: celebrating birthday #37 in style... APPEARANCE: dense, dark amber-brown body with a single-finger froth that settles swiftly to a ring around an island of softened cirrus... AROMA: incredible red wine waft--especially merlot--takes the nostrils by force; secondary fragrant hops with bubblegum yeasts make this an alluring beer to hover over...a bit of cherries and some plum too...complex...PALATE: incredibly dry, warm, full-bodied mouthfeel--definitely worth a chalice and an evening; three sips to thirty sips, just as easy drinking...TASTE: sour but comfortably palatable; deliciously reminiscent of merlot, with a yeasty component that conflates the grape and rounds it... OVERALL: As farmhouse ales go, this is one beauty that made me buy a Saison Dupont on my last shopping trip, if only because the style, when done well, is inimitable; powerful, delectable, alcoholic but sensible in its balance; bought on a whim, this exceeded my expectations...

Photo of tastybeer
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Color is slightly hazy auburn red with a rather quickly dissipating head. Aroma is sweetly stinky. Fermented grape musk, tangy cherry, sweet earthy wood, warm sunny wild flowers. Taste is clean, tart with cherry, and woody. Mouth watering and elegant. Not the slightest sign of alcohol is apparent. Very crisp, clean smoothly balanced flavors. Mouthfeel is slick and softly syrupy, and this beer is highly drinkable. Pretty excellent.

Photo of RomanW70
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2/11 On tap at Julian's in Providence. Dark amber caramel color, barely translucent with medium tan lacing. Looks thick and luxurious. Aroma of apple cider, caramel, bananas, and sour cherries. Absurdly thick mouthfeel with intitial taste of sweet apples that quickly gives way to sour. Very tasty. Some cereal on the finish. Hides it's alcohol very well.

Photo of GilGarp
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2006, blended in April 2007. Bottle #00276.

Served slightly chilled into a chalice, Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien is a deep, murky, redish brown ale with thin long-lasting head.

The aroma of this beer is not far from that of a Zinfandel. It has subtle, fruit, spice, and oak characteristics. The yeast also contributes greatly here.

Flavor is intense and impressive in equal measure. Sweet, sour, tart, and funky. There are cherries, red grapes, and black pepper. The oak barrels used for aging I imagine would have to have been previously used for a red wine. Lots of oak, tannins, and winey elements. Complex and unique for sure.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. It doesn't have the feeling of an 11% ABV beer, probably because it has been aged for so long. Very mellow and fairly well balanced. It finishs dry with a long tart aftertaste.

Overall an amazing and memorable beer. One that certainly bridges the gap between fine beer and wine.

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2006 bottle. barleywinish. Very easy drinking, smooth mouthfeel, tasty with items like fish. Something special. Cognac-like colour. Taste sensation of a Flemish sour without unpleasant sourness at all. Mild spiciness.
5 years pass. Had again the 2011 version? I can only assume. Enjoyed on tap at Ebenezer's Pub. Orange, wild, yeasty, tart, A little apple cider, a sipper that was a delicious drinkable sour. Big Lace.
Had the 2009 version at Bar Volo, a great drinkable sour.

Photo of tdm168
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to jtd1969 for this pretty incredible share.

A - murky brownish amber with a thin, off white head that leaves good lacing

S - tart, cherries, fruity

T - sour cherry, oak, woody, a bit lactic, tart, alcohol

M - full bodied, warm, well carbonated

This was a really nice beer. I haven't had many in this style, but I found this beer to be very complex and yet approachable. I was impressed with it's depth and character. This was a nice beer sit around and sip on amongst friends. This is probably a beer everyone should try.

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Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
96 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.