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:
4.8/5 rDev +13.7%
TR3 - 375ml bottle. 2008 Vintage. Poured into my Bruery snifter. Thanks to largadeer for grabbing this for me. Pours vibrant Venetian red with ruby notes when held to the sun. The beer is uncarbonated, so the few bubbles that materialize are the result of a vigorous pour, but they evanesce quickly.
The aroma is of wood, tannins, and red wine notes. Tart and sour cherries are evident, along with grape skins and acetic acid. I notice a certain mustiness to the nose, but it's not reminiscent of Brett. As the beer approaches 60 degrees, I detect faint notes of vanilla and some lactic character. There's some sweetness but the pendulum swings unmistakably toward tartness. The 11% ABV is completely hidden in the nose.
The taste is something to be celebrated. I've loved every incarnation of Bon-Chien, but this Trousseau is possibly my favorite. It's very sour and tart, almost puckeringly so. Tannin and wood notes are quite strong. The fruit character is as it was in the nose: cherries, grapes, and possibly currants. The flavor is vinous with ephemeral sweetness that segues back to tart and sour. The lactic notes are apparent, and the alcohol is almost completely hidden. The finnish is sour, with lingering cherries and grapes.
The beer is medium bodied with absolutely no carbonation, but I've always found the absence of carbonation very well suited to the Bon-Chiens. It's really a shame they went from the 1.5L bottles to these 375ml bottles. I'd love to have a magnum of this beer. Seek this out if you've enjoyed the others, this is my favorite of the barreled Bon-Chiens.
07-11-2009 04:16:29 | More by HopHead84
4.8/5 rDev +13.7%
Vintage 2008, TR3
Pours a hazy amber with a thin beige head.
Nose has wild yeast, red wine, oak, ripe plums, sour cherries, musty barnyard funk and vanilla.
Taste has tart cherries, figs, raisins, candy malts, earthy wood, leathery funk and red wine.
Medium body is well carbonated. Dry, acidic finish. Tasty stuff, may need to seek out the bourbon version next.
01-31-2010 05:50:43 | More by rye726
4.8/5 rDev +13.7%
Got this based on a recommendation despite the price tag....worth every freaking penny.
The beer pours a hazy orange with some yellow edging, little head to speak of goes away quickly, doesn't lace per se, but leaves some nice vinous legs.
The smell and taste start off very funky, but there are some hidden green apple notes that end up dominating and really playing a good role front and center.
The mouthfeel is so complex, bouncing between sweet, sour, and bone-dry. Excellent transitioning between.
I could drink this all night, freaking amazing beer.
06-09-2009 05:11:58 | More by grayburn
4.8/5 rDev +13.7%
375ml bottle into red wine glass. Cask ID TR3.
Pours hazy copper with a reddish glow, no carbonation or head, just a rim of big bubbles around the outside of the glass.
Nose is nicely tart, bit of vinegar, lactic, brown sugar, red grape skins, a sharp red fruit note - sour cherries or (closer) currants. Rich and vinous underneath the lightly acidic tart note. Jesus is it hard to make out everything going on in this one. The barrel definitely comes out as well, but lightly.
Taste is surprisingly smooth. No real sour bite up front. Instead, you a get a softly sour lactic note and a metric ton of round, mellow red fruits (red grapes and currants are prominent), some brown sugar, with the Trousseau barrel coming out quite prominently in my opinion. There's a light butteriness to it in both taste and feel that's so unique. Some tannins on the finish, a bit musty, a bit of wet leather on the exhale. Utterly fantastic. Possibly my favorite single experience with Bon-Chien, and I've had quite a few. An absolutely sublime beer.
Mouthfeel is still, but a bit silky and buttery, round. Delicious, with just a bit of acidic bite in the back of the throat.
Going all out on drinkability. Not a hint of booze, and tasting like this, I could drink this forever and ever. Phenomenal.
My love of Bon-Chien isn't hidden, but this may be my favorite variant yet. Get it while you can!
05-22-2009 20:59:40 | More by JohnQVegas
4.7/5 rDev +11.4%
12.75ml capped bottle from batch TR 3. drank from my duvel tulip glass.
A- this one pours out of the bottle a bright cherry colored body with some slight golden highlights. the beer has no head on it other than a small crown of reddish hued head. no lacing is left behind.
S- the main attraction here seems to be some vinegary sweetness. there is also a definite fruit presence. lemons, grapes and cherries. maybe a little bit of green apple. there is also some sweet caramel malts and a touch of toasted bread. light musky funkiness. the nose is pretty complex.
T- the taste starts out with some ripe fruits (apples, lemons, cherries, and grapes). after that i get some red wine vinegar and some sweet caramel and toasted bready malts. mildly sour. no trace of the alcohol. lightly funky and musty. a little bit of vanilla from the oak barrel. wow.
M- light bodied with a very low level of carbonation that really works with this one. the high level of alcohol (11% ABV) is really well hidden. theres only a slight warming from it.
D- wow. this beer is a sleeper hit. very reminiscent of a flanders bruin. a great mix of sweet and sour with exceptional balance. if it wasnt for the price, rarity, and strength i would want one of these several times a week. man. check this one out. its great.
01-18-2011 03:45:21 | More by jwinship83
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
4.68/5 rDev +10.9%
375ml capped bottle poured into my Oerbier glass.
This is batch TR5, which was Brewed in May 2008 and Bottled in January 2009.
A: This beer pours a brownish red with a minimal white head on an aggressive pour. There is no lacing in the glass and the head dissipated rapidly. If you try to look through the glass you can't, but at an angle you have a clear "rim" around the glass.
S: The nose is of sour cherries, oak and a mild bit of funkiness.
T: The taste is a refreshing mild sour cherries, oak, hint of vanilla, some mild acidic vinegar and a bit of sweetness; this could be mistaken for a fine wine.
M: The mouthfeel is light & refreshing with no carbonation, as no carbonation is needed in this beer nor was intended to be in this beer (as it was bottled without prise de mousse).
D: This is an extremely drinkable beer, no hint of the 11% abv, I could drink this all night long.
I have Batch TR3 hidden away and will try that one in about 2 years.
08-17-2010 01:20:23 | More by uturn
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
4.6/5 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
4.6/5 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
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
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
A - Brownish body, amber hue. Almost no head, which dissolves to almost nothing after a minute. Clarity good.
S - Complex toasty malt (not dark malt), with a musty fruit ester. Very moderate note of deep esters.
T - Medium malt profile that is riddled with complexity. Fruity caramel with alcohol and fruit esters. Little to no hop flavor. Balance titled towards malt; phenolics are limited, spice is minimal.
M - Light body with good astringency. Slight warming from alcohol.
D - Very welcoming and complex.
I'm not too big on Bier de Garde, but love Saisons and Farmhouse Ales.... this could become a new favorite.
10-12-2010 03:08:23 | More by WoogityBoogity
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
4.45/5 rDev +5.5%
Picked this up at West Lakeview Liquors - version TR5. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip.
A - Hazy, mostly opaque, coppery-orange color. Poured with some big bubbles that dissipate pretty quickly to a ring. There are also some big bubbles stuck to the bottom of the glass that occasionally rise upwards. I didn't expect much from this, and I didn't get much! Nice color though.
S - Caramel, funk, grapeskins, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, some light citrus hops, some nuts particularly pistachio. Oddly tart as well, with some tannic woodiness and maybe a touch of booze.
T - I can't believe this stuff is 11% - the alcohol is super well-hidden. Taste is very grape and red wine, with some bready malts and a touch of burnt sugars. There's also a light amount of bretty funk and lactic flavor. Not super sour or tart - I'm actually really surprised that the taste is so mellow - you could sip this stuff all night.
M - There's some alcohol warmth in my chest, but the texture is very smooth with low carbonation, and a nice tannic and dry finish.
D - I've been reading about people pounding the magnums and totally couldn't believe it, but after splitting a 375ml with a buddy and seeing how fast it went I can totally believe it.
EDIT: Drank my TR3 bottle approximately two years later. Tastes quite similar, but with a but more vinegar and funk. Sill no bubbles - I wouldn't expect any.
09-22-2009 06:30:52 | More by MasterSki
4.43/5 rDev +5%
TR3. Poured into a big wine glass at a moderately cool temperature. Deep, hazy red-brown. A mere smidgen of froth rings the glass and soon disappears. Some bubbles rise lazily to the surface, looks fairly lightly carbonated.
Smells like tart red wine along the lines of fresh red currant and cranberry, old wine barrel, damp cave, rocky riverbank, hint of vanilla. Cohesive blend of fresh and dank/musty notes, complex and alluring.
Very pleasant fruity red wine flavor, moderately sour with a slight touch of fruity sweetness, well balanced, refreshing and extremely drinkable. Old barrel and mineral notes, good complexity. I can't help wishing for a bit more acidity at first, but halfway into the glass the thought doesn't even cross my mind, it drinks perfectly as it is, with a nice easygoing tartness making it extremely refreshing and enjoyable. Long finish, old barrel and minerals, becoming completely dry and a touch bitter so I want to drink more.
This is a very nice beer, if it came in six packs I would always keep one in the fridge.
09-08-2012 05:37:49 | More by Beerzebub
4.43/5 rDev +5%
Wow, thanks Matt. A long time want right here. These beers are all great. Really pleased to try this one side by side with the 2006 "regular" version. So much fun.
Beer is reddish with a haze and basically still, no carbonation, no real head, no lacing, no retention.
Aroma is nice, oaky, vinous, tart, tannic but not overly so.
Beer is sour / tart, nice body, I'm always amazed how well these beers hide the alcohol. Medium to light in body, sweet with a mildly dry finish, tart in the corners on the back, tannic, succinic, lactic, no hint of acetic but the beer remains bright. A really great beer and I'd have it again. I might try to get them all now...these variants could be quite interesting.
12-25-2012 03:27:06 | More by drabmuh
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
The top comes off with no sound at all and the pour is a hazy, deep amber with a collection of big bubbles along the top that collect around the edges as a collar that ends up lasting longer than I was expecting.
The aroma is tart with sour cherries and an emerging funk that's not too prevalent in the nose. There is definitely some oak tannin presence and maybe a hint of vinegar and brown sugar.
The taste is better and more complex than I was expecting. The fruit presence is still there but is more sugary sweet than the aroma with the tartness being balanced well. There is a big overarching wine/oak character that lends itself to a very dry vinous finish with a little funk thrown in.
The mouthfeel is slick and almost still but with just enough carbonation to make the beer work. It's medium to full-bodied for the style.
This is a very impressive and complex beer from BFM and I can't believe I've waited this long to try one of the Grand Crus. It's exceptionally drinkable given the ABV which I never would have pegged at over 10%.
12-11-2009 03:27:03 | More by gford217
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
4.35/5 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
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color with slight ruby/amber hues when held to a light source and a .5 finger fizzy light beige head that instantly disappears leaving the slightest of rings.
Beautiful vinous oak funk aroma. Nice vanilla presence from the oak along with some dark fruit; berries, dark grape and cherries. The sweet grapes really shine through with a healthy dose of earthy funk.
The sweet vinous oak notes present in the aroma really come through in the flavor with a nice amount of earthy funk. Lots of dark fruit; berries and dark grapes. The funky oak and vanilla notes balance out the sweet vinous notes perfectly, making this a delicious extremely quaffable beer. The 11% ABV is almost completely masked with no alcohol heat or warmth in the finish. The wine/grape presence from the barrels are more present in this than any beer I've had before and I love it. Slightly sour and puckering without being acidic. Extremely refreshing and highly recommended.
08-29-2009 05:05:44 | More by corby112
District of Columbia
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Appearance: Pours a still ruby/mahogany
Smell: Some sort of red wine, leather, vinegar, tart cherry, balsamic vinegar with honey.
Taste: Delicious. Red wine, leather, vinegar, tart cherry, balsamic vinegar, honey. Like a barleywine on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Dry and Still
Drinkability: Exceptional; much better than I expected. Hard to put the glass down. Wish this one was in the larger bottles.
It is hard to rate this one, so much of the appearance and mouthfeel of a beer comes from the carbonation; but this one is intentionally still. I wished it had a bit to it and rated it as such. I prefer this to the regular version.
06-21-2009 18:15:51 | More by craytonic
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
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.