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

Abbaye De Saint Bon-ChienAbbaye De Saint Bon-Chien
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Style:
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
Ranked #2
ABV:
11%
Score:
96
Ranked #517
Avg:
4.36 | pDev: 10.09%
Reviews:
326
Ratings:
1,166
From:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
 
Switzerland
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  150
Gots
  244
SCORE
96
World-Class
Abbaye De Saint Bon-ChienAbbaye De Saint Bon-Chien
Notes: The Abbey of Saint Bon-Chien, winey, tart and complex, matured - slowly - in oak barrels. The beer that forged the legend of the BFM across the Atlantic.
Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 1,166 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by BGDrock:
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BGDrock from Canada

4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark, murky amber, like burnt caramel; limited head retention.
The nose is funky fruitiness, ripe apples in a barn, mild dried fruit, lightly floral; maybe some over-ripe apricot and strawberry.
Amazing, complex flavours, fruity + funky + acidic + umami; almost impossible to describe, it's a taste of its own - apple cider, peach pie filling, dried apricot, red currants. All balanced by cider vinegar acidity and tang; off-dry finish, very long; fine carbonation, light and almost flat (which may be poor handling by the retailer); medium body.

This might not be for everyone, but I love the funkiness and weirdness. Needs more carbonation, but again, that might be the fault of the handling.

Dec 28, 2019
More User Reviews:
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DaPeculierDane from Wisconsin

4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drinkability: Perfect.

I owe Nick big time for this one.

Aug 31, 2007
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 27, 2013
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SpeedwayJim from New York

3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 25, 2014
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Roguer from Georgia

4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Murky reddish-brown appearance, seems fairly clear. Essentially no head, just some light, quickly disappearing bubbles, but that's not a surprise for the style. Rating somewhat in the middle: looks fine for the style, but ultimately does not look appealing.

Big, complex sour nose: huge whiff of oak right off the bat, followed by big sour notes, vinous fruit, slight must, caramel grains, tannins, light toast, a bit of barnyard funk, and a touch of sweetness that is difficult to place. Sour, tart, funky, sweet - everything blends together quite well on the nose.

Flavor follows, at first light and delicate on the palate, but quickly building to a sour peak, followed by fruits, that followed by a cloying sweetness, and finished with fresh plums and berries. Softer oak - vanilla and tannins - lingers throughout. Very little vinegar to the sourness, although there is a touch of it, marking this as a cousin to a Flanders red ale.

I often review beer flavors in halves or thirds (not unlike a cigar review). This brew seems to have four distinct flavor phases, waves that come over discretely, followed by the finish. They follow one another closely, the result of which is that there is a lot going on seemingly at once; while your mind and palate are grappling with the flavors they just experienced, newer ones are already coming in and asserting themselves.

Very active and slightly puckering on the palate; cloying, long finish. A bit watery on the front end.

Sep 20, 2015
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Mar 01, 2014
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Lucular from Maryland

4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at Lures Bar & Grille. Aroma and flavor are incredibly complex with white wine, leather, oak, funk, dark fruit, tannins, and sour vinegar all coming into play. 11% abv is well-hidden.

Aug 10, 2018
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JackieKu from Taiwan

4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle. Poured into tulip.

A: Hazy cropper. No foam.
S: Plum, tart, and slightly balsamic. Slightly toasted.
T: Raspberry. Slightly balsamic. Medium sourness. Low bitterness. Dry (though there is a touch of sweetness).
M: Full bodied. Low carbonation.
O: Overall it's quite impressive, even I was misunderstanding it's a stout until I poured it into the glass. The aroma is so complex yet elegant. And the flavor is strong, complex, and balanced. Might be the best sour beer I ever have.

Oct 19, 2015
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle.

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

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

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

Fairly light bodied with light carbonation. Wine like mouthfeel.

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

May 03, 2015
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Kurmaraja from California

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers and, somehow, more than the sum of its parts. Beautiful aubern / caramel tone with crystal clarity ... light and loose head. No real lacing, just clinging spots. The aroma isn't generally deep. Just a sherry, red wine sort amped up on some vinegar acidity - sharp apple cider, caramel undertones, nutty, oak, acidic white grapes, taut. Flavor follows through and it lingers ... light and acrobatic.

Sep 08, 2015
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adamtbit from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I can remember the first time I ever tried this beer, on tap at Hay Merchant in Houston, it incited a need deep within to drink more and more as I found myself coming back every day for a week or two just for this beer. I've since had it in a bottle as well, it wasn't quite as effervescent from a bottle. Only tried the 2014 edition so far.

Pour was a nice red/garnet color with about a finger of sticky lightly brown-colored foam. Nice lacing on the glass as it drank very slowly with small sips. After each sip I felt slightly dismayed that the glass was emptying so quickly.

The scent is aromatic and fruity, similar to a brandy, but with a heavy dose of balsamic vinegar, definitely betrays the flavor of the actual beer. The vinegar flavor is what makes this sour unique, it's like the finest aged vinegar from Italy.

Flavor is the aforementioned balsamic, as well as caramel, fruits, and a bit of citrus.

First review, and this is my favorite beer, as well as one of the most well-crafted beers I've ever had.

Aug 11, 2016
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ynnpar from England

3.6/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i had this at a nice little place called Beer Table in Park Slope, Brooklyn. At $18, it was by far the most expensive half pint or so that I've ever had. And while I was happy to be drinking it at the time, pretty soon after I left I knew that it hadn't been worth it. That's not to say it wasn't an interesting beer. It was served from a cask, very little (no?) carbonation, no head and no lacing. It was watery brown to red in color and had a slight sour smell and taste that was at first quite off-putting. But after a few more sips I got over this initial response and was able to enjoy it for what it is. Don't know that it's what most people would consider a beer, but it's full of complex, mixed flavors and, if you're feeling flush at least, is worth a try.

Nov 19, 2008
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wcintula from New York

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Feb 04, 2012
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iKrystin from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Jan 13, 2013
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chet90si from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Dec 10, 2014
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NittanyBeerFan from Pennsylvania

4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's 8th anniversary party. The surprise of the night for me.

The appearance is really pedestrian, and its dull and murky brownish body doesn't do it any favors. Nor am I impressed with the thin and almost soapy looking bubbles of what one might try to associate with head. Fairly still, not very thick, so there are no legs, and not much going on that could create any lacing.

The nose and flavor turn this around completely. The aroma is packed with oaky tannins amid a very clean and subtle lactic sourness. Tart cherries and over-ripe fruits leave the final impression. The flavor takes all of this and adds on it, bringing in toffee, some bready malty notes, and solid earthy funk and more of that delightful sourness. More fruits come through, too, with the cherries, as sweet strawberries and over-ripe pear round it out.

Lightly carbonated, and thinly bodied, for such a big beer, you would never know that it packed a punch. Insanely mellow, that 11% ABV never even makes an appearance, much less become the focal point of the beer. A masterfully crafted brew...now if we could only do something about that appearance...

Dec 04, 2011
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superspak from Michigan

4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3500th review! 375 ml bottle into tulip glass; 2013 vintage, blend #6. Pours slightly hazy reddish copper color with small off white head with decent retention, that reduces to a ring of lace that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tart cherry, raisin, plum, prune, berry, red grape, apple, vanilla, toasted oak, brown sugar, toffee, leather, light red wine vinegar, musty funk, and yeast/oak earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, dark bamt, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big tart cherry, raisin, plum, prune, berry, red grape, apple, vanilla, toasted oak, brown sugar, toffee, leather, light red wine vinegar, musty funk, and yeast/oak earthiness. Moderate fruity/tannic/acidic tartness and slight oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, raisin, plum, berry, red grape, apple, vanilla, toasted oak, brown sugar, toffee, leather, light vinegar, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; with a fantastic sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, fairly acidic/tannic, and slightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible sour biere de garde style. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A highly amazing offering all around.

Sep 05, 2015
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danipp from Germany

4/5  rDev -8.3%

May 14, 2013
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PeakedInHighSchool from Missouri

3.75/5  rDev -14%

May 08, 2014
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Durge from Connecticut

4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rare gem once again procured from The Lion's Pride in Brunswick, Maine. This vintage 2010 brew has a hazy brown color with rusty edges, a polite scattering of off-white bubbles that surround an inner island on top, leaving a respectable lace. The aroma offers a beautiful blend of tart red wine and deep, woodsy malt and intense yeast. A beer you can enjoy just smelling. Wow. The flavor follows with a deliberate lemon sweet tart and briney brown bread malt. Absolutely to be savored! Suggestions of a nice chianti tempered by the deep earthy malt and lemony sweetness. This is so divinely balanced: sweet, tart, seaweed, mellow, sharp. And goes down so easy but you don't want to rush these flavors. There's an underlying vanilla that pushes the malt and other complexities tease the senses. Body is medium-plus, with a somewhat heavy feel, with low carbonation, but just right for this brew. I'm highly pleased and would say this was one of the best flavorfests I've enjoyed for many months. Don't pass on this if you are a fan of the sour/Flanders side of beer love!

Oct 23, 2012
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eawolff99 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Oct 26, 2014
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Marius from Netherlands

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

vintage 2008 - Bottle shared at Pre-Borefts Ratebeer Tasting 2016. Semi-hazy copper pour with no head. Notes of cherries, sherry, dried fruit, oak, vanilla, cocoa and some copper-like oxidation. medium body, light carbonation and a sour finish. 4.4 / 5

vintage 2012 - Bottle shared at Pre-Borefts Ratebeer Tasting 2016. Semi-hazy copper pour with no head. Notes of cherries, sherry, dried fruit, oak, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate. medium body, light carbonation and a sour finish. 4.5 / 5

Jan 03, 2017
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atrocity from Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%

Apr 25, 2014
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csmiley from Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to bhalter8 for sending this my way.

Blended October 2007

A - Color is mostly copper with a slight reddish tint. The off white head looks pretty good for an 11% brew. Retention isn't bad either. It settles to a moderate sized ring. Lacing is minimal.

S - Tart and warm are the first two words that come to mind. Apple and lemon start it all off. A hint of sweet caramel comes in around midway. Wet hay and oak quickly follow the sweetness. It ends with black pepper and warm alcohol. The nose is quite impressive.

T - Wood stands out a little more in the flavor that the aroma. It mixes pretty well with the caramel sweetness. Tart fruit pounds away at the middle with hints of cherry and apple. The oak really permeates the flavor all through this one. Alcohol is definitely present but stays well under control at all times. Finishes with some warm spices.

M - Fuller bodied. Very mild carbonation that just barely tickles the back of the throat. Seems that helps cut down on the heat from the abv as well. Finish is sweet, hot, tart...it's all over the place really. I like it though.

D - Drinkability is very good. I would never guess this beer to be at 11%. Even though the alcohol is masked well, this one is still a sipper. The abundant flavors guarantee that. It starts out pretty tart but as it warms, the tartness really starts to mellow. The oak really comes through as well. I must say, I'm quite impressed with my first brew from BFM. Very highly recommended.

May 04, 2010
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Phillyz from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -8.3%

Jun 08, 2013
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1166 ratings