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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

736 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 736
Reviews: 245
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 98
Gots: 144 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) visit their website

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ggaughan on 06-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 736 | Reviews: 245 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lpotter
5/5  rDev +15.7%

lpotter, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.75/5  rDev +10%

A beautiful tulip at the Muddy Pig. Opaque red/brown with a driven snow head that drops fast into a ring of saintly white.

My nose is sticken with an assault of lactic acid, tart cherries, grapefruit, pineapple, an indescribably fruit cocktail of acid and sweet and sexy. Taste is deep caramel, a dry caramel, a decidedly robust and mature toffee coating deep acidic fruit.

Low carbonation for a tap brew fits perfectly, the brew appears nearly still but hits the mouth with a bright clarity of purpose. Why can't this be served everywhere? by the quart? for free?

olympuszymurgus, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%

2010 version in an Oak-Clad Gravity Keg poured at Churchkey for Night of the Living Ales

Clear brown pour with absolutely no head. The aroma is full of oak, vinegar, funk, booze, and lighter fruits like apple. Very much like a wine. The taste has big hits of oak and booze. Dark fruits seem to balance it out, unlike the lighter fruits I got on the smell. Lots of acidity and funk lend their hands as the beer warms. It seems to be a different type of sour than the tradition lambics or American Wild Ale. Creamy body with only a small amount of carbonation, warming booze on the back. Very interesting taste, all of the flavors play nicely to create a delicious, balanced beer.

russwbeck, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%

On-tap at Prime 16 into a snifter. I’ve already reviewed this beer from a bottle, but since this is a new vintage, new serving style, and $14, I feel that I just have to review it again.

A: Hazy deep orange body with absolutely no head. A few miniscule bubbles can be discerned clinging to the sides of the glass, but this looks essentially flat.

S: Dizzyingly potent aroma of sharply vinegary acetic acid, grapes that are both richly vinous and sweetly juicy, some light oak, vanilla, and even more grape. Lovely.

T: Purely sour and vinous at first, but as it warms the juiciness of the grapes, vanilla from the oak, and caramel sweetness from the malt all come out to lend some welcome relief from the acidity. The sourness never lets itself get overwhelmed, though, and even adds a jolt of lemony lactic acid on the tail end. Alcohol is remarkably absent for such a strong beer. This is one of the most purely grape-flavored beers I’ve ever had, and I’m loving it. A bit more oak would have made it even more amazing, though.

M: Fairly thick, lightly carbonated body. A bit sticky, but not bad at all.

O: It’s probably not a fair comparison since the recipes were clearly so different, but I much preferred the 2010 to the 2005 I had from a bottle. The sourness stuck around much better, the fruitiness from the wine barrels came through amazingly well, and the alcohol was never a factor. This is a terrific beer, and I’m glad I got to try it on tap; I won’t be paying for it again, though.


woosterbill, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

This beer doesn't have quite the same colour as red wine, but it does have the depth, similar highlighting and the overall opacity. I wouldn't want to spill any on my shirt, that's for sure. What Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien does have that wine does not, however, is a thick, glinting white layer of foam - impressive considering it's every bit as strong in alcohol.

The aroma has notes of fresh fruits as well as some that are a few days turned. There is sweet but, even more so, there is sour. There is a tremendous amount of ripe lingonberry and boysenberry flavour as well as some dried raisins and rotted cherries. Not a drop of alcohol is perceived although there's definitely some vinegar-y acetate going on.

It's actually a curse that sour beers, which I consider to be some of the most refreshing and flavourful offerings out there, are also far and away the most expensive. While this obscure Swiss brewery is hard to find, it's almost as hard to pull the trigger on it given the $20+ price tags. But I assure you, it's worth it! This is something divine.

If I were a chef my imagination would be running away from me at this point; a beer like this could pair incredibly alongside - and in - a number of dishes. (I think I'll go in the backyard and try to catch a rabbit.) It has a vivid but usual lingonberry flavour as well as sticky pomegranate reduction and balsamic vinegar-like qualities. Some of the oak can be tasted, but it's dry, woody and musty without any vanilla or spice notes.

The brewer says on the label that this ages well and, indeed, it certainly seems to. This is a 2006 vintage (bottled October 2007) and in October of 2011 is tasting as impressive as it did at the time of purchase. Scribbled in my notes from then are comments like "top memorable beers" and "wow-wow-wewow" which, if I'm making correct sense of them, because truthfully your guess is as good as mine, they still ring true today.

A lot of brewers nowadays experiment with wild yeasts and barrel aging and while they may present themselves as archers, it's often apparent that they don't even own a bow. They could learn a thing or two from Switzerland's Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien. I have no idea where these guys came from, but I'm glad they're here. Profusely recommended.

biegaman, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

had a firkin of this, 2010 vintage, at Nerax at Novare Res.

Pours a hazy amber orange-red colored beer with a light fizzy head as usual for cask.

Nose has a nice tart sour fruit aroma, great tart fruits that just dance around the nostrils, berry, lots of grape skin, bit of Brett funk and lactobacillis like acidic fruit, nice funk overall.

Taste brings a great funk and sour/tart fruit, berry, light sour fruit and sour malts, bit of Brett funk as well, lactobacillis again bringing some acidic tastes, bit grainy and bready, and some interesting berry fruit with a bit of grape skin and seed. Finishes with a bready malt, tart flemmy fruit, sour but not puckering, a bit more grape skin and dark red wine, and even a hint of oak and vanilla, hint of booze.

Mouth is med bodied, bit of warming booze and acidic feel, good carb esp for cask.

Overall awesome, so tasty, great tart sour fruits, sour malts, a bit bready, not mouth puckering or over the top, very tasty and nice funk to it at the same time.

jlindros, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of Daniellobo
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

Rich, complex, sour and vinegary, take on a saison... Extraordinary if one is into that range...

Presentation: 10 oz draft serving. The menu offers a brief and fair description. pointing to the main character of the brew and notes Alc. by Vol. (11%) Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber serving with a nice creamy 1/3" head, moderate retention with a nice creamy surface ring and touches of lacing.

S - Things start to pick up with a nice vinegary nose... Funky, complex, tart, sour apples...

T - With an spectacular range that continues in the taste. Very complex vinegar edge, the rich sourness has fruity touches, green apples... woody complexity. Vinous touches over the tart range... Hint of spices...

M - Medium body and medium/low carbonation, very nicely balanced, long lingering dry finish...

O - Not for all palates, maybe a tad provocative and complex out of the blue, but if one is into this funky/sour range this is really a true delight.

Notes: Not the first time I have it. Always on tap... But I'd love to get hold of a couple of bottles. And I see myself revisiting it, so it is a bit of an overdue review for a brew, that maybe is not for regular consumption but definitely leaves a nice dent in the memory.

Daniellobo, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of heysuz
2.5/5  rDev -42.1%

Intro: Spilt a 750ml in a tulip glass with a friend.

Appearance: Ample head that recedes to cap but stays, deep rosewood coloring.

Smell: Strong aromas of fruit and spices with a touch of vanilla.

Taste: Tastes like spoiled cider with vinegar in it, may have been a bad bottle. Very sour like sweet tarts.

Mouthfeel: Can feel the alcohol in the chest other than that it does not have a bad feel in the mouth.

Overall: Had to drain pour it in the end, the sour and vinegar was too strong. Doubts about the beer started with the green bottle.

heysuz, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of mclaughlindw4
4.45/5  rDev +3%

2009 Vintage

Light brown, slightly reddish color. No head, no lacing.

Initial aroma is of acetic acid. Further sniffs reveals some spicy and fruity aromas. This is a hard beer to describe. The acidic/sour/tartness kind of greets you up front, and builds towards the middle. Towards the end is some spicy and almost bitter flavors.

Now as I drink it I start to smell and taste the oak. The flavors are complex and each taste is an adventure. Never had a BFM I didn't like. Wish they weren't so expensive.

I was worried by the giant wiff of vinegar I got when I opened it. But that smell seems to have dissipated and I am left with a very pleasant smelling beer. I will be drinking an entire bottle to my head tonight. Looking forward to trying one of the douzes I bought as well.

mclaughlindw4, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of zaphodchak
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%

On draft at Churchkey in DC; the 2010 blend, aged in several different kinds of barrels.

No head, garnet body.

Vinous nose, woody and mellowed.

Taste follows nose in that it is vinous and woody, but less tart. Aftertaste is decadent.

Mouthfeel isn't carby, but not thin either.

Awesome overall-- ordinarily I'd be suspect of something like this.

zaphodchak, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

I had this again and it was much better. I'm not going to update appearance or Mouthfeel.

Smell: Sweet and malty with strong notes of vinegar and raspberries.

Taste: Quite sour but still very smooth. Reminds me a bit of raspberry vinegar. Along with the vinegar sourness, there is a tartness. The finish is acidic, but the alcohol is nowhere to be found.

Overall: I'm really glad I got to have this again, thanks to Max's for getting rare beers over and over again. Quite smooth and very good and now that I know what it should taste like I would have another.

Old Review
I had this on-tap at Max's, poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber with a half finger of thick off white head that left a layer on top throughout the pour.

Smell: Mild vinegar sourness with sweet malt. There is a mild off smell.

Taste: Really disappointed. There is an initial taste that reminds me of overly ripe/rotten fruit. Kind of taste like fruit that was left outside in 100 degree heat. That went away and even more so as the beer warmed. After that was a pleasant barrel aged strong sour ale. Vinegar and mild bourbon flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with mild carbonation and a finish that is a bit dry.

Overall: I just couldn't get past that initial taste. I was bummed out by this.

oline73, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%

Poured on tap at ChurchKey DC into a tumbler. I could not get enough of this beer. Listed as a Wild Ale not sure about the Biere de Garde angle here. Vintage 2010. Perhaps this review should go somewhere else?

A flat next to nothing carbonation body of glowing ruby red orange and clear. No head given whatsoever, this belongs in a wine glass as far as I am concerned. Love this color.

Nose is a cinnamon tartness, mixed with cherry. Not particularly dry funky but sense of wine viniousness, some tart, and a "meaty" backbone and smell. WOW!

Taste is a vinous almost out of the cask like texture. Soft bodied and supple bringing mild tart fruit punch sensations with cinnamon and tart sour cherries. Finish gives a slight novocaine texture.

11% abv? Could have fooled me. It feels like you could drink this till the cows come home. Just one heck of a tasty brew! I just devoured this like crazy drank it all night.

smakawhat, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%

2010 on-tap at Beachwood BBQ.
Pours a very murky brown with a rust red tint. Has virtually no head, just a bubble or two on the sides. The nose is tart and sour with a very earthy funk behind it. That taste follows suite with the nose and is full of tart fruits and earthy notes as well as a funky unique taste. For the lack of head I expected a much flatter beer but in the mouth there was some decent carbonation with a bit of heat from the alcohol. Really liked this beer.

BdubleEdubleRUN, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of Kshock
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

Couldnt figure out or find the burgundy cask on here, but the photo of this was the closest so i went with it.

Blended August 7th, 2006

A- Dark Ruby red color, with some haze to it. Not much retention, quickly resides to a white ring around the glass, no lacing.

S- Smells of caramel sweetness up front, but immediately goes into a lactic sourness. In between a sour beer and a wine. Nice nose.

T- slight lactic sourness up front but finishes really nicely. Very clean on the back end, a nice balanced beer.

M- Nice light to med mouthfeel, very pleasant on the palate.

O- Very nice surprise, didnt know much so i didnt expect much, but it was very legit.

Kshock, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of brouwer
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Bought at Charleston Beer Exchange by recommendation.

2009 brew; Blended in 2010
Aged in Oak Barrels

On uncapping the bottle there is little carbonation, and it pours a red caramel color with a small head of 1/2 to one inch. Little lacing.

The smell is fruity with a champagne like effervescence.

The taste is tart and sweet with fruity aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is brisk with again, almost champagne like sensation.

This is a pleasant departure for beer. Not your every day beer.

brouwer, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of AleWatcher
3.28/5  rDev -24.1%

This was a 2007 vintage courtesy of JohnQVegas. I shared this one at a recent tasting and it really didn't impress anyone a whole lot...

Reviewed from notes dictated into voice notes on my iphone.

Rusty murky color with a minimal head and very low carbonation.
Smells a bit like a Flander's red. An acetone note is pretty prominent. Cherries, oak, vinous winey quality, some malts, little sweetness, and some generic non-desripct spices.
The flavor runs the same course-- starts off with some malt notes, followed by a spicy and tart note with a relatively dry finish.
Not exactly sour, but not unpleasant. The body is very wine-like... Low carbonation, almost to the point of being flat.

Overall-- this isn't my top choice. It just doesn't work for me. There's too much going on. It's as though they brewed a really complex and interesting base beer and said, "Hey, let's sour this thing and age it in some barrels!" when they didn't really need to do that.
Sometimes less is more.

AleWatcher, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

From notes 8-13-2011
Thanks to Brad and/or Norm (Rob)
Had 2006 and 2009 vintage, review is based on 2006.

A - CLouded amber/red body, white foam ring

S - some nice and complex funkiness

T - Some sweet malts, tartness, wood, a lot of stuff going on here, very complex. Something reminiscent of apple.

M - medium body, drying

O - GOod beer, very complex and weird. I like it

ColdPoncho, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%

Thanks Brad for oulling this from his cellar.2006 vintage. Pours a hazy reddish orange. Smells tart and fairly sour. the aroma is pretty nice. Tastes smooth and tart. Fairly sour but not overwhelming. Is tart and enjoyable. The mouthfeel is thick but lowly carbonated. It's enjoyable but not really my cup of tea

Edit: 2009 vintage i liked considerably better... Bumped up the taste

Urbancaver, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of Mavajo
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%

Pours a hazy brown with minimal head. A brisk pour yielded a moderate, big-bubble foam, but this was more a product of a very aggressive pour, rather than any genuine head.

Aroma is interesting -- funk, barnyard, fruit, malt, caramel and as it warms, booze. The flavor brings a lot of these same notes. Sour, tart, fruit, caramel, vinegar, malt and a fairly healthy booze presence. The sourness on this beer doesn't ride the sides of the tongue like a typical sour -- rather, it's a sort of tart bitterness that rest on the center rear of the tongue. Mouthfeel is fine.

Interesting beer. I felt the booze was a bit more prominent than I would like. Perhaps it's because my bottle was relatively young? I think this is one that could be aged for years -- I may buy another and throw it in the cellar for a few years. Really interesting, dynamic brew. Something about it made me think of Consecration -- but this has a lot more going on, with a thicker syrupy mouthfeel. I felt like it was a bit unnecessarily abrasive however. I'm really interested to see if that changes some with age.

Mavajo, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of billshmeinke
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%

Amber body/hazy.

Smells of lactic sourness barnyard funk, hay, caramel, toffee and a touch of bourbon, oak and vanilla.

Taste follows smell. Lactic sourness, hay, toffee/bourbon, grapes, nice balancing bitterness.

Medium to full bodied, nice balance between tart/sweet/bitter.

billshmeinke, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of bootlegger1929
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%

From a bottle bought at vintage estates.
Looks a dark reddish light brown with a slow burning thin filmed head that lingers throughout the glass.

Oak and light lemony vinegar in the smell. Enticing for sure.

Flavor is much of the same with a pretty heavy almost syrupy body.

Very good beer. I'm very much enjoying it

bootlegger1929, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%

750 ml bottle poured into mini snifter. 2006 vintage. Murky, old brown leather color. Medium, beige head, low retention and lacing. Aroma dominated by sour apples, horse blanket and a bit of syrup and nutmeg. Taste is puckering and includes spicy vinegar, sour green apple, and an earthy funk. Refreshing in a sour kind of way. Delicious, maybe not to the average beer drinker, but certainly a gem to anyone in the mood for a world class sour beer.

KickbacksSteve, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -20.1%

**11/24/13: I intend to re-review this beer as this review isn't up to par.

75cl green glass (ugh!) bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Westvleteren goblet in Belfort, France. Served at a cold temperature straight from the refrigerator. Reviewed live. My expectations are high for this one.

A: There's no head whatsoever. This is a disappointment. Nontransparent solid amber-copper colour. Generally appealing.

Sm: Wine-esque. Grape, dark fruit, and caramelized malt. Some alcohol. Mild strength aroma.

T: Sourness aplenty, grape, caramelized malt, and fringe esters. It's nicely complex, though the sourness may turn many away. Well balanced in spite of the sourness dominating. Well built for the style (a style which seems to have a very loose definition anyway - I've had five in a row here in France and none are even remotely the same).

Mf: Smooth and wet. Suits the flavours on the body pretty generally. It's certainly not tailored to them.

Dr: High ABV is incredibly well concealed. It's well built for the style, but suffers from an unfairly high price. Very drinkable, especially considering the ABV. The sourness may be off-putting to some, but fans of the style will be pleased.

kojevergas, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of rootbeerman
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

2006 brewed, 07 blended according to the bottle. Chilled on an A/C vent to close to what the bottles states for serving, 61-64°

A: pours with a very short lasting head, no lacing just a quick showing then gone. Body is brown a touch cloudy, with a light red hue when held to the light.

S: a little funk, a touch of fruit and dry malt sweetness. Also oaky wine.

T: doesn't taste anything like 11% abv. Sweet a touch of oak and wine, a little red wine dryness. Light funk but not the main flavor. A little bit of yeast spice. Some dark fruit. Amazing.

M: a little coating upfront but drying on the back end, similar to red wine. A bit fizzy at first but I've been sipping on it for over an hour and carbonation is nearly gone.

O: very good, not a starter into craft, I could drink this daily if only my wallet could handle it.

rootbeerman, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of rvdoorn
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

Shared this bottle with PapaEugene. 2010 vintage
Look: The beer pours a orange-copper cognac-like color, with a short lasting small head.
Smell: Intensively sour, wood, floral, citrus, grapes, green apples and funk.
Taste: Leather, funky, vinegar, sour apples, red wine, grapes, citrus, earthy, and oak. Alcohol is perfectly hidden.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation
Overall: Very complex and tasty brew. Very puckering sourness, great!

rvdoorn, Jul 16, 2011
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
96 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.