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

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Abbaye De Saint Bon-ChienAbbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
Switzerland | website

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ggaughan on 06-07-2006

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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 1,041
Photo of StJamesGate
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany with parchment froth at the edges.
Earthy, barnyard nose with bits of vanilla.
Sugary, fruity, woody, w/sandalwood spice, mild sour bite, some tannins and a bit of peach chutney.
Crisp, medium, smooth.

2011 vintage.

Beautifully balanced and mellowed. Almost like Consecration. Transcends the fact that it’s even sour.

More Swiss craft please!

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler from perfect pour into New Belgium globe

A-Pours an dark amber/brown color with little off-white head. Decent lacing.

S-Aromas of vinegar, tart fruit, red wine, subtle whiskey.

T-Taste notes of vinegar, tart fruit, oak, dark fruit, grapes, red wine, light funk, light whiskey.

M-Mouthfeel has a medium body with a dry finish. Low carbonation.

O-Overall great sour my first from BFM must try more.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of brianmandell
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle Brewed in 2011

I'm gonna keep this one short even though this beer deserves a little more detail. Pours a murky brown color with no head. Looks and smells like apple cider and jammy fruits with a bright acidity. The taste follows suit; sweet fruits up front (mostly apple with a hint of grape or berry) with a bright acidity. The acidity is moderate and pleasant with a hint of acetic acid/vinegar. A musty earthiness follows with a touch of oak and acetic acid and just a hint of booze at the end of a long finish. The taste is sweet up front and finishes tart. The mouth is dried by some oak tannins. Carbonation is light, enhancing the drinkability. This is a very interesting beer that hides its alcohol content very well. Expensive but highly recommended, especially if you enjoy cidery flavors.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Abbay de Saint Bon-Chien, Handcrafted in 2010, Brewed in 2011, Bottle No. 276.

A – Fluctuates from melted honey (darker in the middle and golden toward the edge) when viewed from above, to amber tanned-leather when viewed straight on, to strawberry iced tea when viewed from below. Copper. Hazy, but not completely impenetrable as one can discern a wagging finger when looking through the glass.

S – Decidedly vinous. Slightly musty sour grapes. Just a hint of caramel. Whispers of sour cherry. Wafts of what I take to be oak as it brings to mind Appletons 12 Year. Starting to understand what funk refers to.

T – Unripe white grapes, Chardonnay, rosé wine. Musty, tangy and cherry tartness. Haven’t had many sour beers but it brings to mind Petrus Aged Pale but with a richer flavour and a fuller and weightier presence. The extra aging and higher abv., give this beer a maturity which renders it the finished article. It really does taste a lot like wine, but with none of the wine-like features I dislike about wine. Funky and slightly sweet.

M – Lightly sparkling. The slightly lower carbonation gives it more of a homespun or farmhouse feel where higher carbonation would have led to champagne comparisons. Sleek, wholesome. Part of me wishes it had finer bubbles and a little more carbonation, but perhaps that wouldn’t be to style.

O – This is astonishingly drinkable at 11%, both in terms of flavour and in comparison to drinking a bottle of wine; drinking a bottle of wine in under half an hour would leave me feeling pretty ill but this is a delight. Sits easily on the stomach and the palate. This is the most expensive beer I’ve ever bought at $27.99 before tax. I’d been thinking about buying this beer for nigh on 5 months and I’m glad I finally took the plunge. I was expecting to feel cheated but I’ll be buying this again. When one considers how much people are willing to pay for a decent bottle of wine, this beer seems more reasonably priced. I loved it, and enjoyed it more than any wine I’ve ever had. When I compare it in this way I don’t feel so bad about the price. I look forward to pairing this with some hearty French-Swiss Alpine fare or a berry crumble. Must try.

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Photo of bierdeflanders
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S: Funk with some lemon zest, sour cherry notes, mild floral notes

A: deep copper almost amber in color

T: acidic, lemons, with slight oak notes, little hay with some malt sweetness

O: reminds me of a radenboch grand cru. Surprisingly smooth for a 11% bier.

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Photo of stuppy
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance : dark auburn to brown in color. Some Haze. Low cream/auburn head that disappeared very quickly.

Aroma: some Grape musts, sour cherry, and wood . No alcohol or hops present. some funk. I think some floral notes as well behind the sour cherry

Flavor: Some malt sweetness comes through in beginning,leading to sour cherry and grapes flavors, gives way to sourness and some oak and vanilla in the finish, no hop flavor

Mouthfeel: med light body, med carb, some alcohol warmth but very smooth, dry finish

Overall: Very drinkable. The alcohol is hidden well with this one.

on tap at Max's Taphouse

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Photo of wedge
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

@ Triangle Wine Co.


Foggy, glowing brownish-red color, looking pretty flat, with no head to speak of. Sour fruit and spicy wood aromas...dusty grapes, cherry tartness, oak, and mild port. A little much on the sharp acetone perhaps. Sweetish upfront, quickly turning tart, with a dry wooden spiciness, slight acetic notes, vinegar, cherry, and no booze at all. Slick, dry, and tart in the mouth. A good Flemish Sour-esque beer. Not sure I'd ever spend $30 on a bottle though...

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Photo of tastybeer
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of jonesmr
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had this beer on- tap at Mekong in Richmond, VA.

This wild sour beer had a tart, almost fruity taste. The lingering taste and mouthfeel made me crave more and more. This beer was good from the first sip to the last drop.

This beer is a must have if you like sour beers.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Moeder Lambic in Brussels. Murky brown pour with a one finger off-white head with great retention and lacing. Nice woody, subtly sour, almost vinous nose with hints of balsamic vinegar, oak, and dark fruits. The taste follows suit with even more of an earthy, vinous character with hints of sour cherries, leather, balsamic vinegar, brown bread, grape skins, and vanilla. The mouth feel is medium bodied with perfect carbonation, a tart finish, and huge drinkability for the style. Overall, this was the surprise highlight of a night filled with great beers. Highly recommended!

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Photo of pimpinmidget
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2007 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy reddish brown / rusty copper color with a slight red/beige head that fades quickly leaving very little lacing.

S: Reminds me of a nice wine with a champagne quality to it. Tart cherries come thorough with hints of grape, funk, vinegar, oak and slight booze.

T: Tart cherries and slight funk with a hint of a malt backbone that leads into a very nice oakiness. Much like the nose, has a very nice wine quality to it. Slight alcohol at the very end lends itself nicely. At 11% ABV, this one hides it nicely.

M: Light to medium body with a nice dry finish.

O: Very nice and very complex. As complex as this is, it is very balanced and very enjoyable. Can't wait to try other vintages to compare to this one.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Did a side-by-side tasting of 2007 and 2010 vintages.

A: both pour an auburn-brown color, with very light, fast dissipating head. Carbonation is obvious as the head dissipates in both, although the 2010 retained on the edges a little longer

S: both have similar light notes of date or raisin malt, and some yeasty sourness. The 2007 seemed a little more on the sour side with maybe some notes of plum, as well; the 2010 a little more on the sweeter notes and the notes of alcohol were more prevalent. Overall, other than the alcohol notes, I didn't notice a huge difference between the two.

T/M: there is less of an American-style taste in both, as they tend towards notes you would expect from a sour, or even a wine. The 2007 has light malt notes, mostly earthy (I get a little root beer) followed quickly by the sour side, which is actually quite subdued. It seems mellowed out by the woodiness that takes over the ending of the taste, which does end up leaving a little dry feel. The alcohol was mildly notable with early sips of a colder beverage, little less present as the glass warmed.

The 2010 hits the mouth just a little stronger. There is a little more taste of fruit up front, some (sour) cherry it seems to me. The complexity of this vintage seems a little less to me. The note of alcohol is stronger, as is the carbonation. The dry feel of the end taste is a bit stronger and woodier, as well.

O: the 2007 seemed more "refined" as a balanced drink, with no overpowering notes. The 2010 was a little more exciting in the sense that it was bolder (to a degree), but lacked the complexity. Me and my girlfriend both enjoyed the older vintage.

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Photo of Zraly
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage. Poured into a Teku glass. Burgundy with mahogany tinge, off-white head in appearance. Nice looking. Smells are very complex and wine-like; very pleasant and fragrant.

I've had this on tap before on more than one occasion at The Birch in Norfolk. However, now that I am at home and have more room to collect my thoughts, this is a good time to write a review.

Very wine like in terms of the flavor complexity. The sourness adds a very defined, acidic tone for the rest of the flavors. Upfront, dried fruits and tart cherries take center stage, with a hint of malt lingering in the back. Vanilla from oak comes through mid-palate. Soft carbonation gives enough lift to keep this from cloying or becoming too much due to the presence of the vinegar notes; balanced appropriately. Interesting spice notes accompany the funk in the finish. The finish is fairly dry and the body is medium, although it has a lightness to it that is airy surrounding a slightly boozy note; quite the feat in terms of notes going together. Finally, I pick up on a herbaceous note throughout, like a combination of thyme and lavender. So in addition to what is already a very complex ale, a floral note ends the flavor composition. Really pretty and a treat to have both in the bottle and on tap.

The biggest piece, for me, is how easy this goes down. I can drink more than one of these, which is not necessarily the case for most ales in the Biere de Garde or Flemish Ale categories. It's definitely not training wheels for the style by any means, but if you know you like that style, you really should try this.

As for food, something very tasty and well-crafted will work. I can see everything from a shepherd's pie to pate to coq au vin pairing well with this. I don't think a nice berry cobbler is out of the question either. A slight stretch could be venison stew, but really, I think the key is something that is full-flavored and can stand up to some acidity and sour notes.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a brown hue with slightly reddish tints with minimal head and lace. Aroma is mostly tart cherries, touch of oak and booze, a little sweetness and dark fruit as well. Fuller body, almost sticky sweet at times, real smooth thanks to oak and the booze is mostly hidden with minor heat flashes on backend. A little bit of mild caramel or sugary sweetness, possibly sweet fruit tastes, but taste is mostly tart cherries and dark fruit with a sour edge. Everything is balanced and well-checked, though, so this beer is never overly sweet or tart/sour at times and is an enjoyable sipper throughout (the ABV starts to hit as you get near the bottom of the bottle). A good treat to have here and there.

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Photo of MattLBC
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This 2011 brew was served in a 5 oz glass so not much head. Color is brownish dark ruby. Nose is a bit sweet & yeasty. Immediately complex on the first sip. A blend if flavors fight to come forward, very enjoyable mouth feel. Some fruity sweetness but the tartness is not hidden either. Definitely worth having another!

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a teku glass. Split with others. 2007 vintage. Let's do this.

Pours a brownish tinged reddish color highly resembling a pinot noir, if it weren't for the elements of cloudiness that are present in this beer. A ton of carbonation and a head about 3 fingers high (off-grey, no less) top the glass, but it recedes rather quickly, leaving behind eventually nothing at all, including no lacing to speak of. Bubbles still glide quite strong towards the top, and sediment is everywhere on this thing, just like a great Flanders red. Viscous and vinous, with a glimmer that you don't see in your everyday sour. Truly an excellent creation here - unique in its own class. (Is it *really* a bière de garde, though?)

Wow, the aromas are all over this thing - quite simply one of the most complex sours I've ever whiffed on. Notes of dried raisins, cherries, green apples, figs, dates, ripe currants, honey, caramel, sour, musty oak softened tannins, and notes of nuttiness, light baking spice, vanilla, and pepper from the wood. Unbelievable stuff - except for the light acetone note that somehow creeps through at the finish. Nearly perfect in terms of its delivery otherwise - the malts, hops, oak, and acetic acid are so well integrated here. So much, you can smell it 5 feet away from you.

The flavor is a little bit more balanced, but it is still undeniably complex and adventurous as far as beers of its kinds go. At first there's a creamy, fruity abundance of red, dried fruits, ranging from cherries to raisins, apricots to overripe apples, and white grapes to tamarind. Then, the oaky sour notes immediately come in, delivering a musty, dry, spicy, and acetic flavor that is impressive as it is definitely tart but enormously restrained in terms of being pucker-inducing. Cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, light vanilla, and musty, old oak and cedar are especially predominant at the finish. Age has done wonders to this vintage - I'd say it's not quite ready, but it's already good enough for drinking. Dry, complex, refreshing, and flavorful - although as it warms up it develops a bit of a burn at the finish. Can't dock it too much, though - this is truly special stuff.

I had the 2011 vintage on tap a long time ago, and was curious to see what age could do to it. 6 years later, a lot is most definitely going on! Unbelievably complex, this drinks like a fine pinot noir from Burgundy, but it towers above most peers of its kind - including most Flanders reds, which this is in the same league as, if not more complex. Excellent stuff, if you can get your hands on this vintage - otherwise, I'm sure most would work. One of the best candidates for cellaring in the beer world, period.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
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...

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Photo of jrenihan
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brewed 2007, blended December 2008.

The beer is somewhere between brown and ruby red, allowing a bit of light through. Pour results in a small tan head that fades very quickly.

Nose is a mix of spices, malt and tartness. Lots of plum and other dark fruit, with a pronounced tartness. Yeast is there as well, along with a strong bready malt scent. Lots going on.

Quite tart, with cherry and plum playing a prominent role. A strong spice component. Quite malty, but any sweetness is drowned out by the sour. Oak is significant.

Full bodied, low carbonation. A fair bit of alcohol heat.

Overall, quite good, but not the world class beer I was hoping for. A bit extreme.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From the 2008 vintage bottle marked 00276. Sampled on July 20, 2013.

The pour has the apperance of a drak red wine more than a beer with a reddish hue, basically no head, and a lightweight texture.

The aroma has plenty of tart, red grape qualities to it with a faint whiff of malts. But it is the sourness that leads the way.

The body is around medium.

Like the nose, the taste has a kind of overripe grape flavor with a sour and sharp bite at the finish. Sour ales are not top on my priority list but for fans of the style it is probably quite delightful.

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Photo of yamar68
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage:

Beautiful burgundy body with an appropriate half finger of beige carb - plenty of legging and minimal lace.

Extremely potent on the nose... fig, red apple, rum, spice and clean alcohol warmth.

Far more palatable than I was anticipating. The booze is prominent but not overwhelming. Papery sour fruit flavors, astringent grape and plum, vinegar, a bit more spice... faint, tasteful oxidation. Really an intriguing beer. Faintly sour, a bit hot, oaky... sweet and tart... incredibly complex.

What a unique treat.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

on tap at beer study in chapel hill .

dark brownish red. no head. mild sourness and cherries on the nose. taste is tart, but not hugely sour. good amount of cherry flavor. vinegar. flemish red characteristcs. extremely drinkable. alcohol undetectable. medium bodied with low carbonation.

overall exceptional. would never turn this down.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Each time I drink this, I am reminded of how lovely it is.

Depending on which one I've had (I've sampled '06/1x, '09/2x, and '11/2x) and how it is served (the '06 and '09 I've had from bottle only while the '11 I've had on tap only) the appearance is different mostly in head and its retention (the '11 had a much more voluminous, defined, and lasting white foam). The color I can only call (a deep) brown-orange (maybe some rose tint?)

Fantastic vibrancy on the nose and on the palate - a rich, dense mix of rosé and gueuze (more mellow on the tart the newer it is).... choice balance in the malt selection - suggestion of dark crystal malt in flavor and body upfront... brief roundness and sweet/sour before slipping away with mild silkiness and a tiny fizz-buzz, leaving behind a lasting bold vinous (red/white hybrid) fruitiness and mild yet insanely complimentary soft sourness - not front and center, but in ideal concert... hmmmm....

...ugh... I'm finding this one difficult to dissect because I always drink the damn glass too fast and/or drift off into dreamland while savoring.... won't be the last time visiting this, I'm sure

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Photo of beerloverofbham
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Brouwer's Sour Fest. Served in a snifter. Review from notes.
Color is a dark orange, like well-oiled saddle leather. Smells of bleu cheese and oak shavings. Very delicate on the palate, with no sweetness and only mildly sour. Lots of funk. Tastes of oak, cherries, and grapefruit bitterness. Little mouthfeel and no lacing. Very complex--probably other things I'm unable to put my finger on.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

2011 Edition.

A: Pours a light and bit fuzzy amber color forming a small yellow bubbled head witb small retention and only few spotty lacings left in the glass

S: Absolutely delicious in the nose. Sweet grains, wood, grapes, wild yeasts. A bit sour and vinegar but not agressive

T: Slightly sweet upfront. Fruity and woody. Notes of sweet malts, dark fruits, mainly grapes. Wild Lambic like yeasts. In overall a slightly sweet sour beer. Hops bitterness is also there to make it perfect

M: Medium molasses body. Low carbonation. Sour aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. Perfect beer. Close to a Flanders Red Ale, I would dare. Even better than the 2010 version

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Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
95 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.