Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Trousseau Barrels) - BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DefenCorps:
4.68/5 rDev +10.9%
TR3, consumed at John's last night. Thanks, John!
A: Clear ruby red, brilliant clarity. Still without carbonation and looks all the better for it (there, I said it)
S: Big, vinous, funky and sour. Sweet with caramel, candy, honey atop which there's wet hay and leather, barnyard mustiness and a very prominent sweet, fruity red wine character. Reserved tannins are present.
T: Opens with a prominent lactic sourness with a ton of complexity. The interplay between the sweetness, the sourness, the funk and the wine is exquisite. I like the honey-lactic interplay, and the vinous character brings to mind a fruity, dry red wine. Medium funk before a sweet and sour finish
M: Full in body with a great sweetness and sourness. Great, lasting finish.
D: I wish this were a magnum
**Edit 21 March 2012**
It's been a while since I've had one of the Bon Chien grand crus. The magnums were a fantastic price, and the new 375s, not so much. 2008 vintage, TR5 from State Line, $12 or so.
With a faint hiss but mostly dead, this is a brilliant, clear ruby red with a thin off-white head that falls off leaving no lace. I love the color. The nose is a riot. It's gained in acetic character, but not even close to being overdone. Rich fruit character with grapes and red plums, this is moderately vinous. The initial whiffs had a definite blue cheese character, but as it's breathed, notes of buckwheat honey, lavender and hibiscus grow. Rather floral, with the noticeable but unobtrusive alcohol presence, this makes me think of a good rose.
The palate blends honey, red wine vinegar and a moderate fruit character quite brilliantly, along with wet leather and a touch of hay. The mild funk works rather brilliantly with the acidity and the sweetness, this is a very harmonious blend right now. The fruitiness makes me think of an eau de vie, almost like a blend of pear and cherry fruits. Sourness is moderate, with a blend of acetic and lactic acids. The sourness is tempered by the fruit and the moderate sweetness. Some oxidation is present, which enhances the palate despite adding a little fattiness and an array of esters. The wine comes through on the mid-palate without Full in body with a low carbonation and moderate alcohol presence, this beer is a joy to drink. I wish I had more. 4.5x5
08-23-2009 23:01:34 | More by DefenCorps
More User Reviews:
3.65/5 rDev -13.5%
335 ml handbottled in January of 2009, served slightly chilled. Pours into a tulip a murky orange/brown body with no head or lacing. The body is still.
Aroma has musty oak, tart cherry skins, cider vinegar, leathery tannins, and a pronounced vinous note.
Mouthfeel has a light medium body with minimal carbonation.
Taste reminds me of Panil Barriquee, an Italian version of a Flanders Red. This one is much more akin to a wine than a beer. Sour and tart green apple skins accented with balsamic vinegar, is how I would sum it up. Leathery tannins add an acidic note. No real malt or hop character. Lots of musty oak aging character. Finishes very dry.
This is not a biere de garde. It's a Flanders Red or, possibly, a lambic. The aging in trousseau casks adds a pleasant musty oak character. I wish I had laid this one down for a couple of years so I might have gained more of an appreciation for its complexity.
06-10-2009 20:46:47 | More by merlin48
4.22/5 rDev 0%
TR3. Brewed May 2008 and bottled January 2009. This is beer number 1,600 for me and it didn't disappoint.
The beer pours an orange-amber color with a small white head. The aroma is tart cherries as well as some oak. The flavor is cherries, oak, grapes and vanilla. There is a medium level of tartness in the beer. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel.
06-10-2010 01:57:41 | More by Mora2000
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
12.68 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Brewed in May 2008.
Appearance: Slightly hazy raspberry-colored body with not a lot of carbonation coming to the top. Mildly off-white head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a few scant bubbles on the bulb of the glass.
Smell: A good mix of raspberries, sour cherries, and oak sourness. Highly effervescent and bright, which makes up for the possible lack of complexity.
Taste: I really like this, and I wish the bottle was bigger than 12 ounces. A good mix of sour fruits and oak, which I had hoped for and was expecting. The sourness levels mix quite nicely with the sour fruit, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, and maybe some granny smith apple in there. I'm not exactly sure what the Trousseau grape is, but the barrels seem to work nicely here with the yeast and the brew.
Mouthfeel: This is probably being generous, as the look of it in the glass told me what was going to happen, but there's a fight from the carbonation that helps not seem as watery as I thought it was going to be. And for 11%, it does maintain a semblance of effervescence and doesn't seem cloying in the least, thankfully.
Drinkability: I admit, I probably shouldn't have paid -- yes -- $16 for this bottle, which is pretty ridiculous, but alas. Is it worth that price? To me, absolutely not. And that's what has to take this down to my current rating. A solid brew, but for the "VERY LIMITED EDITION" stamped on the back label, in addition to the label saying that it would keep for many years, I wonder, "Really? How many years?" With the carbonation already seeming like it's lost its edge, my advice would be to drink this sucker now, unless I was somehow supposed to wait at least 5 years down the road?
06-04-2010 18:36:07 | More by asabreed
4.05/5 rDev -4%
375ml bottle. Newer vintage TR-5 version. Served in a tulip and split with a few fellow BA's.
A: Pours with very little head. Slightly opaque, it appears a nice Crimson red in my glass. Lacing is pretty skimpy.
S: Tart cherries with strong woody undertones. Vinegar and alcohol are present along with a slight amount of sweetness.
T: Much like it smells, there is plenty of cherries, currants and dark fruit flavors. Funky oak barrel bug action is also right up front, helping to give an overall tannic, vinous taste. Very Port like. The sour and sweetness play nice, but the balance seems to be a little uneven overall. Some age will definitely benefit this beer.
M: Medium body. Feels a little syrupy. Very or little carbonation, but it fits with this kind of barrel aged beer.
D: 11%??? Seriously? I'd have thought maybe 6-7% tops. This is really drinkable, and a 375ml would be no problem for one person to consume. The lactic sourness and wood could be a bit of a burden on the palate if you drank too much though.
I've had several different kinds of the barrel aged Abbaye De Saint Bon-Cien's before, and this is just as good as the rest. However, I prefer the Bon-Chien's with some age on them and this version is no different. Also the price is pretty steep for a 375ml bottle. Around here they're like $16 a piece.
09-28-2009 20:36:11 | More by heliosphann
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
A lovely bright ruby amber ale with no head but good clarity. Nose is full of malt, oak and winey alcohol. Taste is very dry white wine with a caramel malt care. Firm sourness is not too aggressive and would go nicely with most foods. Some notes of whiskey and lots of oak. Finish is dry and short with fusel alcohol with grains and whiskey. Quite nice really. As it warms notes of light cherry and mild vanilla bloom. Feel has light carbonation and a crisp light texture with mild carbonation. A superb ale that will please sour lovers and wine heads together. This one is begging for some big tasting cheese or linguini with white clams.
08-28-2011 03:23:39 | More by scootny
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
TR5 bottle, brewed May 2008. Filled right up to the cap, nice to see that, since it cost so much. I sampled a good portion of the TR3 bottle I brought along to DLD, and figured it was worth a repeat buy to try the other barrel (TR5) and properly review.
Poured into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip at a height of 6", producing 2 fingers of ecru foam. Miraculously it lasted quite awhile, a big difference from the stillness of the TR3 batch. It was a ruddy brown with a ruby jewel tone when held to the light. After 15-20 minutes there is still a skim across the surface, with some minimal lacing on the opposite side of the glass.
Initial acetic vinegar aroma when the cap was pulled off, but that has segued into mellower territory, some vanilla and soft cherry, lactic cheese, and traces of balsamic vinegar. Flavor is similar, but bursts with cherry tartness, and savory oak barrel funk, alternately savory and tart, getting the salivary glands working overtime. Long dry finish that has woody oak and cola spice elements. Sort of clean and tangy, not abrasively sour. After finishing an 'o6 St. Bon Chien yesterday, I can say that this is much mellower and less alcoholic in overall feel. Although it lacks carbonation, it's full bodied and so savory and complex, like a good red wine.
A top 5 Oud Bruin in my book...
07-13-2009 00:21:59 | More by emerge077
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Bottle: Poured medium murky amber color ale with a small bubbly head with no retention and no lacing. Aroma of oak and sour notes with some light white wine notes. Taste is also a complex mix of sour notes with some oak and vinous notes and well balanced acidity. Body is quite full with low carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very complex and another winner from a fine brewer.
02-15-2010 03:09:04 | More by Phyl21ca
4.6/5 rDev +9%
TR3 batch... I don't know what that means... oh well. Ditmier cracked this gem at a tasting at his house a while back.. reviewed from pretty good notes... poured into my small La Trappe glass.
Bright only mildy hazy orangish/brown ... no head... no bubbles... yet still pretty.
Nose is unlike any biere de garde I've ever had.... much more like a sour.. sour cherries and some malty sweetness ... musty... a little acetic
flavor is is more vinegary with a bunch of oaky tannins.. sorta leathery.. sweet fruity maltiness pushes through with a vinous element that lets you know it has a port heritage... the funky and sour notes play a back fiddle up until about 2/3'rds of the way through this ride... then bam.. everything comes full circle... no hints of alcohol... beyond complex for my weak palate.... I would buy a half dozen of these if they every crossed the COOP shelves.... I want to let them develop for a lot longer ... wow... seriously a top shelf beer... and most people would never guess this was even a beer... just too much going on.
Eric... I truly appreciate the chance at this marvel.... I know we enjoyed some epic beers that night, but this is maybe the best in my mind.
08-27-2009 09:03:29 | More by JohnGalt1
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Appearance: Brilliantly clear ruby-amber, a sort of sunset hue. No carbonation and no head.
Smell: Big vinous red wine notes from the barrel along with a good bit of esters from the yeast; cherries, figs, plums. A bit of mustiness and vanilla come out as it warms.
Taste & mouthfeel: A melange of sweet and tart fruits (strawberry, cherry pie filling, figs) hit the palate first, slowly transforming into more vinous, tannic and earthy/leathery flavors. There's a bit of balsamic-like acetic acid in the otherwise clean finish, lending a touch of tartness. The lack of carbonation brings this one step closer to wine; a true hybrid beer, and an amazing one at that.
06-21-2009 22:08:36 | More by largadeer
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
Pours clear and copper in color with modest amounts of head. Oaky aroma with a vinous quality and burnt sugar. Oak and vinous flavors along an alcoholic and tart finish. Appropriately moderated carbonation keeps the mouthfeel nicely full and smooth. I prefer the more prominent wood flavors here over the Vin Jaune barrel.
03-10-2010 01:17:48 | More by vacax
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
a - pours a deep rusty burgundy color. slightly cloudy on second pour, no head and very few bubbles, looks almost like wine
s - some sour apple mixed with oak up front on the nose, some alcohol evident, creamy vanilla notes, a little blackberry jam, slight leather aroma
t - nice sour cherry punch up front with some vinegar, mix of sweet, tart and sour, rounds out on the mid-palate with the oak barrels being prominent, dark fruits mixed with cream and vanilla layers on top of the oak, tartness trails into the finish with lingering oak and sour cherry, a little bit of alcohol heat on the finish, but nothing that would suggest 11+% abv.
m - medium-bodied with very low carbonation, not overly dry on the palette
d - a sipper for sure, but this one is fairly easy on the palette relative to some other sour ales, the oak aging really seems to soften the sourness and tartness
Very good beer overall, though the $17 price tag will probably keep me from getting another bottle anytime soon. Great one to split with another sour lover.
06-29-2009 00:09:30 | More by WeisGuy
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
Poured into a snifter. TR 5, brewed in May 2008, bottled in January 2009.
3.5 A: Murky amber plum color. No head formed. I never know what score to give appearance when the beer is intentionally flat.
4.5 S: This smells amazing. It's at least as good as any other variant I've had. Strong, rich and vinous red grape. Big hit of mixed berries followed by plum, apple, and plenty of cherry. Tangy lactic fruitiness behind that. Caramel, light toffee, and a big hit of oak with vanilla underneath. This is extremely smooth with all the aromas integrating very well.
4.0 T: The taste is also super complex and powerful, but it has a couple issues. Like some of the other variants, this has a very noticeable tannic astringency. It's not so bad that it dominates the taste, but it does distract from the better flavors. Big tangy lactic acid twang. Again, very vinous with red grape, berries, cherries, plum, apple, and lime. Caramel, toffe, tobacco, and raisin. Again big oak and mild vanilla. The booze is well hidden.
3.5 M: Medium to heavier medium body. This one does have a bit of carbonation in it, but it's just barely noticeable. Except for the tannins, this is fairly smooth and somewhat crisp.
4.0 D: Another quality variant. While this one has some issues, it's still mighty tasty and definitely worth a try.
08-17-2012 01:00:26 | More by DavoleBomb
4.05/5 rDev -4%
Thanks to bmanning for opening this bottle up. Reviewed from notes.
Pours a nice caramel amber with a pretty decent sized off-white/tan head and a bit of lacing on the way down. Nose brings forward pleasant scents of oak, cherry, vinegar, caramel, and a touch of brown sugar. Taste brings both acetic and lactic acid, although in fairly small doses. The underlying cherry mixes well with the caramel bready sweetness, which is quite light, but quite nice. All the components of the beer fit in well with the slight sourness, creating a nice mouthfeel. At the same time, the acetic character gets to be a bit much toward the end.
10-14-2010 11:05:55 | More by Thorpe429
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
gregc hooked me up with this one. thanks greg!
375ml bottle. TR3, brewed may 2008, bottled jan 2009. sampled may 26/2010.
pours deep orange, not quite brown, and crystal clear except for where the sediment at the bottom of the bottle obscures clarity. pretty much no head except for a very thin ring of fine white bubbles that clings to the edge of the glass and manages only a few spots of lace.
aroma is neat. light alcohol. lemon. malt vinegar. leather and a bit of horse blanket. a little more barnyard than i've had in the other abbaye de saint bon chiens. touch of butterscotch. white bread. cracker. grain. bit of biscuit. red and white grape lending shades of wine to the background. salty and almost spicy character.
taste is wacky. i get very little sourness out of it, but maybe it's just really well balanced. lots of different fruity character. white and red grape. bit of lemon and orange peel. butterscotch and a bit of toffee. woody. very little of the barnyard character i got in the aroma, just faint hints of it. light alcohol and a touch of sourness in the finish. white bread. cracker. bit of grain. light vanilla.
mouthfeel is great. medium body with a nice dry finish. low carbonation level. i'd like just a little more carbonation, but i'd rather see it low than high.
drinkability is great. very well balanced, hiding its alcohol well. balanced sourness too. nice depth and complexity from the barrel, without just slamming you in the head with it.
03-27-2010 02:25:20 | More by grub
4.6/5 rDev +9%
Got the last one of these from the batch we got into work. Opened it at the behest of d0b and my desire to toast Arturo Gatti's passing. Long live the champ! From a 375ml that was filled to about a ¼ inch from the cap. Dated "Brewed in May 2008." Served this too cold had to let it warm to just about room temperature before it started to sing.
I'm a tad worried about the condition of the bottle. I'm sure this is meant to be a low carbonated beer but this has none. Like it didn't even hiss as I took of the cap. My review may be a tad suspect, but as a famous wine writer once wrote "There are no great wines, just great bottles" or something like that. This beer pours with a few white rimmed bubbles and then quickly nothing, a swirl of the glass, nothing. A pleasing hue of tan, chestnut maybe, with a sort of ruby tint.
The nose is meadow-y, all grass and fresh blooming flowers. Very pasture like funk with the barn animals all home for good measure. As this warms it takes on many more similarities to Trousseau, with its winy red currant and cranberry fruits and more of the warm trodden soil. It also has a highlight of redwood in there somewhere and pretty dried rose note. Very expressive stuff.
I can't say I liked this at first, but it is one that grows on you. The next thing you know you are looking around for another 375ml to down. Plus this is contemplative stuff. You have to pay attention to what is going on, this just doesn't just come out and rip off all its clothes and say look at me. You have to do some coaxing, whisper some sweet nothings.
Tobacco, whole clove, dried raspberry and a whole lot of funky lactic acid are easily apparent here. The beer is wildly complex and full of action, everything bouncing around quickly but the flavors staying with you long after it is gone. This has plenty of the sour, yet bitter qualities similar to fresh cranberries. Add the winy, earthy Trousseau qualities and it becomes something alive. I love the sour, fruity, tart mid-palate here and the bitter, earthy finish.
The carbonation, or complete lack there of hurts this for me a bit. But I really like the high off-setting puckering acid as opposed to the muscular, sinewy frame. This makes sense to me being that I love wines from the Arbois and their sneaky power and teetering acid. But that may not make sense to anyone else.
At first I was on the fence with this but you need to drink it to become sold on it. The more you drink the more it all comes together and makes sense. I could easily put back 2-3 of these just trying to dissect them. The 11% ABV is hidden well and I always feel that sours, at least for me, are sort of a restorative both to the palate and the brain.
07-12-2009 03:24:44 | More by bryanbrick
4.2/5 rDev -0.5%
Side by side comparison of TR3 and TR5
A: The pour of both batches is amber in color with a slight cloudiness. There is some slight carbonation, but noting in the way of head formation.
S: TR3 has a very lactic, lemony nose with a bit of white grapes an only a touch of oak. TR5, on the other hand has a fair amount of oak character with a more reserved tartness and a bit more sweetness.
T: While the fruit character in the nose of TR3 was not all that sweet, there is some definitely sugar and caramel on the palate. The tartness gives the beer a nice balance, as do the slight presence of tannins.
TR5 is a bit more heavy on the wine and grape character, and again, has more oak to it. The dryness and funkiness are present, but moderate at most. The tartness is on the lower side as well.
M: Both beers exhibit a medium body with very mild carbonation and a very dry finish.
D: Despite the surprisingly high alcohol percentage, both beers are very easy to drink. The flavor profile is very different from the two batches, but quite complex and kept me coming back for more.
02-03-2010 00:41:50 | More by womencantsail
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Shared with Dyan the other evening. This was the TR 3 version (will try the TR 5 later).
The beer pours a cherry ice tea color with literally no head retention or lacing. As this beer is completely still, that's no surprise, though I will say the beer does look attractive. On the nose I get a lot of the usual bon chien grand cru aromas, which means the usual riot of sweet ice tea, bubble gum, watermelon and sour cherry. All of this is wrapped around some considerable barnyard funk, though it's not as intense as some of the GC bon chien I've tried. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, but with a bit more funk and the tell tale acidic zip on the finish. There is also some noticable vanilla on the palate, which I assume is from the extended oak barrel aging. The sour component is also there, but in this case it's nicely balanced by all the other flavors. In this beer, it's no more then a single note in a chorus of other flavors. As always, this beer has a wonderful sweet and sour flavor component, something I really, really like. Mouthfeel is very light and lively, but with the expected long, smooth finish. Drinkability is very good, with the 11% so well disguised it's almost unnoticeable.
Just a suggestion, but I would be careful not to serve this beer too cold. The beer was much better after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting out, as opposed to fresh out of the refridgerator.
Another impressive effort from BFM. No surprise there.
08-24-2009 15:06:37 | More by John_M
4.6/5 rDev +9%
Bottle was from Trousseau No. 3 (TR 3), Brewed in May of 2008, and Bottled on January of 2009.
A- Poured with no foam/head at all and no apparent carbonation. The body is a very hazy (opaque) aged copper brown. Disappointed with the lack of head and carbonation, but intrigued by the color and clarity... hence the average 'appearance' rating.
S- Smells sweet and tart at the same time. I am anticipating infection of acidobacter or lactobacillus based on the nose. Underneath this acidic/sour nose, I am detecting some vinous aromas and some pronounced oakiness.
T- Tartness and fruity oakiness is heavily pronounced... tastes acidic, presumably from acidobacter. Underneath all the tartness lies a substantial sweet malt character. Many other unidentifiably nuances here... just wonderful.
M- Medium to full body... yet seemingly well-attenuated. Interesting. Not very textured, but somewhat oily. The carbonation is ultra-fine... almost not detectable... just enough carbonation to tickle the tongue a bit.
D- Exceptionally drinkable despite its alcohol content. In a blind tasting I wouldn't have guessed this to be a biere de garde... rather a unique Flemish brown. Either way, this is quite enjoyable!
Note: As this beer warmed-up from fridge temperature, it's aromas and flavors were enhanced... so much so, that I needed to amend (positively increase) my review/rating. DEFINITELY DRINK WARM- Almost room temperature.
08-30-2009 17:24:00 | More by jgasparine
3.43/5 rDev -18.7%
Drank from a 12.68 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Whole Foods, New York, NY
Brewed in May 2008
Served in a tulip
The beer poured nearly flat. A thin mass of light tan bubbles covered the murky, crimson-amber liquid.
Musty and tinny in the nose. Fairly reserved overall. A touch malty and sweet. Slightly fruity. Some barnyard funk and fumey alcohol aromas appeared as well. The alcohol presence became more prominent as the beer warmed.
Metallic notes again came through strong in the taste. Dry and steely. Fruity in the center. Sour cherry notes were noticeable. Semi-sweet with an acidic, vinegar-like twang. Quite vinous. A touch funky. The finish was super dry and oaky. Crisp, clean and moderately sour with a touch of alcohol warmth.
As I anticipated from the pour, the mouthfeel was nearly flat. The liquid itself was medium bodied and somewhat syrupy. Slightly creamy.
Drinkability was a mixed bag. Although this beer was disappointing in nearly every sense, the 11% ABV was incredibly well masked. The alcohol really sneaked up on me and made this much more tolerable.
This beer falls somewhere between a biere de garde and a wild ale. Whatever it is, I most definitely would not recommend it (especially considering that I paid $15 for my bottle).
05-16-2010 20:27:37 | More by Damian
3.63/5 rDev -14%
Picked up a bottle of this at Green's on Buford Highway on Friday. Slow Saturday afternoon, so I decided to crack one open.
Pours a murky brown. No head at all, and no carbonation. Little lacing, but the beer does coat the glass very similar to wine.
Smell is alcoholic, tart, cherries and a hint of sugar.
Smells better than it tastes. Taste starts off with a puckering tartness, which quickly descends and leaves a tangy malt and not much else behind it. A bready malt presence lingers. Not exactly the complex beast that I was expecting.
Watery mouthfeel. Tough to drink more than one of these.
Overall, for the price tag, I'm a little disappointed in this one. It's not bad, just for $12 for one bottle, I was expecting more.
09-13-2009 20:57:41 | More by jdubjacket
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Trousseau Barrels) from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
92 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.