Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

Not Rated.
Abbaye De Saint Bon-ChienAbbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Educational use only; do not reuse.

274 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 274
Hads: 961
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 19.63%
Wants: 127
Gots: 204 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) visit their website

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ggaughan on 06-07-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 274 | Hads: 961
Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

**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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a murky, mahogany-hued body with a flourish of angry, fizzy carbonation that dies suddenly, POOF, leaving you with a slim, beige ring.

Smell: That aroma houses vague notions of bready malted barley, a round robin of lightly tart fruits, hint of lemon, and plenty of resolute, strongly aromatic phenolics, as if some sneaky joker dosed my glass with a drizzle of Italian dressing.

Taste: A predominately breaded maltiness with some minor influences of caramel, though effectively no real sweetness to it. Even early into the first opening sip those punchy, funky phenols are building up on the tongue. Various fruit flavors and tartness are interwoven into the taste, some cherries, some non-identified berries, some strawberries maybe. Small squirt of citric lemon juice. Fair degree of oak character throughout. Dry, warming, phenolic finish with one last zip of tartness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation. The lively effervescence gives the mouthfeel a nice fluffiness.

Drinkability: Like that time I drove out to Myrtle Beach, it makes for a reasonably decent, one-time visit. However, with the alcohol, palate-wearying phenols, and hefty price-tag, I just don't see myself returning to it.

 1,250 characters

Photo of ynnpar
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

 765 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.61/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Label read handcrafted in 2006 & blended in October 07, 11% alc./vol. Paper covering the cap read 00276. Served in my Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or goblet. Poured a translucent caramel color with a tight off-white foamy head that consumed 3/4 of the glass before settling into a thin, consistent cap. Some specks of lacing present during the tasting. Nose was vinous and oaky; reminded me of a Cabernet. Taste consistent with nose; some acidity and tartness also revealed. Mouthfeel was light and lively with some astringency and a nice slick feeling. Lots of complexity, but a little too characteristic of a wine for my general enjoyment.

 652 characters

Photo of ADR
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A relatively expensive ($21 for me) "Biere de Garde" that "matured in 8 different barrels of Merlot, Cabernet, and Grappa." 2004 bottling...

Dark and opaque purple-brown color, head is fairly nice, big bubbles and average duration. Laces in fat rings. Boozy aroma, seems to have a lot of grape influence, but not being an appreciator of wines, it just seems rather heavy and oppressive. Mouthfeel is almost thick, carbonation underdone but still apparent. For me, a lot of the delicate spiciness and yeastiness of the beer (at least what may have been the original beer) is overwhelmed by a heavy application of alcohol as in fortified red wine, especially by the swallow, which has a peppery tannic quality to it. The impression seems very pronounced. Some bittersweet chocolate helps out on this one. Frankly, I can appreciate the time and effort in making this brew, but I'm not particularly impressed with the profile and its not worth the cost to me, but other's mileage should vary.

 991 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a vivid red colour, flat, non-existent head, no lace either. Decent colour, but looks pretty bland.

Funky shit on the nose. Loads of sour notes, with boozey spice as well. Blackcurrant, pepperberries and raspberry, blackberry all with a touch of horse blanket. Refreshing, a bit on the off side and not quite reined in, but hey that's how I like my beers, and my women.

Taste is funky from the get-go: quite vinegary with bacteria all over it. A bit stale and barnyardy with a touch of leather on there. Bitey, acidic notes come through mid-to-late with hints of cranberry, plum and peach as well. Finishes surprisingly clean, but also with a touch of residual sugar, which is unnecessary. Not a bad palate for the style, leans a little lambic-wards but good funks and good tartness, just not quite crisp enough to really hold me.

Big and full body, quite syrupy really. Bit of strip back from the bugs in here, but not too much, leaves a coating on the mouth.

Decent cleanser; could be better. Interesting drop, but it's also good, and points for handling a difficult brief.

 1,085 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip glass)
Blended Oct. '07
A- This beer pours a warm, dense but clear deep brown body with a red hued glow at the base. The thin yellowish-beige head last as a thick ring for the full beer. There is a slow carbonation of tiny bubbles that kept glide to the surface.

S- The light aroma of bright tartness has a faint musty hint that almost smelled like bad breath that turned into a wet wood aroma as the beer warmed. There was a finish of soft dark cherries that grew as the beer warmed.

T- The bright tartness had an apple skin quality to it with a soft bitter oak note that turned more cola flavored as the beer opened up. The cola note had a slight sweetness to it as the beer warmed and lead to a light tartness that lingered after the finish for just a second.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight cleaning fizz in the finish. There was no real alcohol heat until the beer was pretty warm and even then it was soft.

D- This beer had a pleasant tartness but it was soft and there wasn't any depth of flavor after that. The flavor was a bit drab and that stung a bit considering the price tag and all the hype around this beer. I don't know if age would bring out more funk flavors but I'm not willing to take the gamble.

 1,266 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 2006

Pours cherry red with hints of etches and a very clarified. Smell is initially inky, some acetone, some oak, some cocoa (oddly). Very rich flavor, cherries, raisins, malt, a little malt and some sweetness. Very warm, very robust. There is a hint of sherry. Thin with sharp, spicy carb and a little bit of off dry character. It's alright, I wouldn't buy a second bottle, but I'm told later vintages are better.

 423 characters

Photo of kegger22
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blended in October 2007.

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Bière de Garde was not my cup of tea. This was my first biere de garde, so it may just be that the style is not to my liking. I do have another biere de garde in the cellar, so I will soon find out.

Saint Bon-Chien was a cloudy, medium brown with a one finger high, beige head that displayed decent retention.

The aroma was sour cherries, sour grapes, sour apricots; just plain anything sour. My mouth puckered in anticipation.

The taste was definitely sour, but not of the mouth-puckering variety. There was a bitterness attached to the sour flavor that made further description difficult. It was not a hoppy citrus or pine bitter that I've become accustomed to, but something different. I will say that the label was absolutely correct about the serving temperature.

The mouth feel was light bodied, slightly oily and modestly carbonated.

Drinkability was only fair, halfway through the 25 ounce bottle and already I'm ambivalent about whether I finish it. Quite frankly, the price did not make me want anymore either. At five bucks, I'm not impressed; at 25 bucks, even less so.

 1,145 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle: This beer poured out as an interesting looking reddish color. The head came and went fairly fast. The aromas of oak, funk, sour cherries and some wine-like fumes come off of this beer. The taste of the beer gets better as it warms up. I found this beer to be very tart and sour in the beginning. As it got warmer, the funk and oak flavors came out more and took over in place of the sourness. The mouthfeel had a pretty good carbonation to it but was a little thin I thought. Overall it's a good sour for sure. I'm not a fan of the style but I feel it would please most beer drinkers.

 597 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

15% 2005 Version
Very lightly carbonated, a vigorous pour towards the end of the pour scares up a quickly disappearing, frothy, at most half-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, red-plum color that shows a red stained, amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has a light tartness to it as well as a Sauvignon Blanc like grape fruitiness along with a nice barrel influence that takes the form of soft vanillin notes, and some spicy oak character. Berry flavors reminiscent of a merlot are noticeable at times in the nose as well. There is a light funkiness here that provides a touch of mustiness, some cured moldy leather notes and a faint yet fruity cheese note. There is definitely a bit of alcohol noticeable here in the aroma too and it provides a touch of heat.

Lightly carbonated, with just a hint of a carbonic prickle. The beer is fairly light, certainly for a beer of this strength, and only has a medium heft to it. There is a light, grape-like sweetness to this beer that is not quite offset by a light tartness in the finish. A bit of alcohol, spicy & tannic oak, and spicy esters provide a touch of bitterness and piquancy to the finish that lingers into a very soft, throat coating burn. This picks up a lightly concentrated, jam-like fruit note that reminds me of a combination of sweet black cherries, blackberries and a rich currant note. This picks up a sweet nuttiness as it warms up, though it does not actually gain any sweetness (in fact it probably gets less so), it is just that it picks up a nut meat sweetness.

While not overly heavy, this is somehow a sipping beer. It really reminds me a lot of a fruity, berry focused, oak aged red wine of some sort (with a touch of tartness thrown in). An interesting beer that is for sure, the slight carbonation makes it seem that much more wine-like. This is definitely a good sipping beer, I certainly wouldn't want to have to finish a bottle by myself.

 1,948 characters

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky, mahogany-hued color a slim, beige ring of foam that quickly recedes leaving minimal lacing.

Aroms begin with grainy pilsner maltiness with some lightly tart fruits, hint of lemon and plenty of strong phenolics.

The tastes follow the nose with the same crackery pilsner malts with some complementary light light toasted malt charcter. No real sweetness to it. As it warms the funky phenols are build up with various fruit flavors and tartness. Some cherries, non-identified berries and a small burst of lemon. Oak character throughout.

The mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied with medium-high carbonation. The lively effervescence gives a nice fluffiness with a dry, warming, phenolic tart finish.

Overall I enjoyed this beer but it did not wow me in any way shape or form. The flavors seemed mellowed and slighly muddled together and the aroma was less than impressive. For the cost I would seek something else.

 927 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from one of the supposedly six kegs available worldwide!

This is an interesting beer with sour and sweet elements. Cherry is the main flavor and aroma--it has both of the main flavor elements. It's a medium bodied beer, but has a carbonation that makes it feel richer.

 276 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

West Lakeview

2005 Vintage
15.5% abv

This monster, middle aged, Swiss beer pops open with barely any noise. A hard pour produces bubbles, not really head but bubbles that eventually fall to a thin skimming. The Lack of head is understandable with such a big brew and a few years on it, but I would have loved to see kind of life. The body is deep orange with some slight red highlights.

The nose seems to be a little dead as well. Dry, cracking cedar is the first thing that jumps to mind along with a muddled dose of random fruit; oranges, cherries, maybe some grapes all with a layer of cobwebs stretched over them. There's mousy attic funkiness that's rather enjoyable with a quick hit of light caramel and a splash of booze. As this beer sits in the glass the nose seems to really open up to better things. It's a very unique, interesting aroma to be sure.

The flavor is where things seem to come together. The barrel aging still has cedar notes off the bat but segues into dry, brittle oak rather quickly. The fruitiness is everywhere. Soft cherry plays a big role with semi-sweet orange making a grand showing as well. An orange liqueur makes its presence known with a touch of heat and the swallow brings a touch of sourness. This is one of the more interesting beers I've come across. A lingering, soft sweetness sticks on the tongue briefly after each drink.

The lack of carbonation threw me off the first couple sips but as I crawl into the glass a little deeper it seems to work very well. The body has a medium feel, which is surprising considering the abv, and the velvety smoothness is already built in without the carbonation.

15.5% is a heavy load to drink any day of the week, with that said this beer goes down surprisingly easy. The only noticeable alcohol adds complexity and there's no heat involved. The fruit and barrel aging keep it moving well with all things considered.

If you have any of the '05 vintage left I would recommend drinking them very soon. I believe they have gone downhill a lot already and just keep on rolling. This is a crazy unique and interesting beer though so it's worth trying.

 2,144 characters

Photo of b3shine
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Dutch's (served in a snifter). Looks decent, although there's no head or carbonation to speak of. Smells good; nice and tart. Tastes good too; the age has helped marry all of the flavors together. Mouthfeel is the weakest link; very pedestrian. This is mostly due to the lack of carbonation. Overall, a privilege to get to try, but slightly disappointing (just because my expectations were so high). I'm not a fan of flat sours.

 440 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Provided by ibrew2or3

A: Pours a cloudy murky shade of brown with a small whispy head. No retention or lace which is typical of the style.

S: The aromas are very wine like. Lots of oak with notes of red fruits. Hints of tart and sour.

T: The oak plays nice against the red fruit. Hints of spice and a touch of vanilla. Nice tartness rounds things out.

M: Medium in body with a dry finish.

D: Pretty good. One tasty brew.

 425 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Gingerman, NYC...
Hazy, amber hue... Hardly any head nor lacing...
Smell: Sour essences abound...
Taste: Extremely sour, purple grapes, alcohol definitely present with a warming glow, yeast, lambic qualities...
Pleasantly drinkable for such a flavorful, robust, and high-alcohol content beer...
Good stuff...

 318 characters

Photo of aleigator
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%

Tap @ Moeder Lambic - Brown color, with coal-red hints, haze, has a thin white head.

Vinous aromas, in which a fermented touch wrapes up ripe grapes. Also cherries, which develop a funky tartness along with musty yeast and oak.

Sourness and wine define a sharp dryness, in which warming spices, a lot of oak and slick acidity create a pleasant complexity. Fruitiness developes berry and lemony hints, as the sourness becomes even more recognizable towards the end. Although the alcohol is well hidden, carbonation is too high for the complex character of the beer, metallic notes disturb the fragile balance, as it rolls over the palate. Giving the beer more time to age might help, as it has great potential.

 713 characters

Photo of Casey10
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap from Lions Pride 07 version. Wanted to try a rare beer not sure if I am a fan of this style but it was interesting to say the least.

A - light shade of tan reminded me of a white russian.

S - strong sour smell

T - Very stong sour odor, very tart.

M - Strong sourfeel burning, definately felt a burn.

D - Don't know if I would drink this again. Not my style it was strong as well so can't say it has high drinkability.

 439 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed 2010, Blended 2011. Poured from a 750 ml into a Lost Abbey chalice.

A- pours a dark pink with a 1 finger tan head. Some bubbles and dripping lacing remain on the glass.

S- cherries, deep vinous notes, earthy.

T- tart cherries, bitter and earthy vinous notes, orange peel, alcohol.

M- medium body and carbonation. Smooth start with a dry, boozy finish.

O- 5/10 sourness. More bitter, vinous notes than tart or sour notes. Not sure ifi would spend the money for another bottle.

 487 characters

Photo of Mavajo
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 1,087 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage... brewed only once before in 2003, yet considered #1 in style (?)

A hard call to make and a harder one to justify. This review submitted only as "notes to self" because this sample its not pouring or sampling consistent with previous reviews. MAYBE THIS ONE IS A DUD. Purchased through Finger Lakes Beverage Center, in Ithaca NY.

Background - $20+ investment to consider "the best" after having an enormous time enjoying the complexity of Southampton Biere De Garde.

A clear lifeless amber color. Poured aggressively yields a shallow head of large bubbles that is probably evidenced more because of the rules of Fluid Physics rather than Artisan Craftsmanship.

Smell is slightly tart wood aged grape and berries and alcohol. I second the iconic reviews revealing similarities between this and "port & wine" and the ones that suggest "an ale to offer wine drinkers".

This one has a singular medium body with a good tasting tart grape/apple flavor that lingers significantly with spicy character.

I could go on. Hope you have better luck with yours.
Scored so as not to significantly rock the boat, which has some validity because there is such a wide interpretation of style 'allowed'.

 1,205 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage pours a rusty brown body with a small and fleeting beige head. No real lacing but carbonation is apparent in the body.

Aroma is musty old oak logs, some caramel, apple cider, and vinegar.

Medium body with a low, but active, carbonation. Earthy and woodsy feel.

Taste has prominent oak tones. Tannic and somewhat vinous. Tastes more like a lambic than a bierre de garde. Apple cider, cherry skins, caramel, and some herbal hops. No hint of the alcohol.

Quite a price tag on this one and although good I doubt I will buy it again.

 545 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duchesse de Bourgogne goblet. Pours a dark red-orange amber. Thin, fine off-white head that has good retention and light lacing. Aroma is sour, vinegar, ripe apples, cherry. Flavor of tart light fruit, cherries, apples, apricots; sour and vinous. Flavors are well integrated and nicely supported by the oak components and the background neutral malt. Unusually well blended sweet and sour fruit and dry woody flavors. Medium to heavy bodied with nice carbonation considering the thin head. Sour beers are always a gamble for me and this was quite expensive, so I'm glad that it is so pleasant and well made. The best biere de garde I've had. 2007 bottle aged in my cellar for over a year.

 702 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap @ Poor Henry's in Montville, NJ.

10 oz pour, 2013 vintage.

Reddish-brown, mahogany color and clear with a small head. Slight chill haze from a cold pour. Complex aroma that really opens up as it warms. Cherry, oak, vinegar, and incredibly sour. The aftertaste is a bit odd, maybe from too much oak? A little alcohol warming coming through in the finish, although I would never guess this was 11%. Very dry. The sourness was a little over the top for me and needed to complemented by some additional fruit or toned down with less oak, a la Rodenbach Grand Cru. Regardless, a real treat to be able to try on tap.

 619 characters

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien from BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
95 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.