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Beer Information
Average Review High Score Low Score Reviews Tried Consumed
77 84 70 5 14 10
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien by BFM Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes
Bière de Garde
11.00 % ABV

Review by joe1510 on 05/12/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
70 2 7 15 4 7 2005
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.

Reviewed: 7/20/09

Price: $22.00 Served In: Tulip

Review by SAP on 08/08/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
84 3 9 17 4 9 2007
Sampled July 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a muddied amber color that, when held up to the light, shows an almost brilliantly clear, amber hue that is brightened by deep orange notes. The aroma has a light tartness to it up front and also has lots of spicy, woody oak notes. The tartness couples with a jam-like plum character and red wine like berry notes. This also has a nice tannic wine spiciness to it, a touch of chlorine flavor, and also a certain toastiness that seem boosted by both malt character and oak; this toastiness seems to get an aromatic boost as the beer warms up. In the end though, the aroma seems to just dissapate, with no real staying power.

The beer tastes lightly tart up front, as it rolls across the tongue it picks up a biting tannic note and then more tartness as it moves to the finish. This is definitely light bodied for its alcohol level, but does have a certain viscous fullness to it. Woody oak flavors combine with the fruitiness to contribute a character that is quite similar to the berry character that is found in a rich red wine. Flavors of tamarind, dry prune and fermented raisin are all found here and are all more tart leaning than sweet in character. The oak plays a big role here with lots of spiciness and warming character, this also has a tannic mouthfeel and body that keeps this from being any where near watery in texture; in fact the oak really makes the texture of this beer. There is just a touch of sweetness to this dry beer that is more noticeable as a balancing effect for the more dominant tartness and spicy oak notes (i.e. it is not really noticed as a sweet taste).

This is a very well integrated beer and despite the big oak influence this ends up fairly well balanced if you drink it at 60ºF / 16ºC plus. The oak was certainly a bit strong at first, but this really warms into a well melded beer that balances the oak, the rich fruit character and a solid level of tartness quite well. The mix of flavors in this beer also seem to make this pair quite well with food quite well. The expressive aroma that was so noticeable at first did seem to disappear pretty quickly; I am not sure where it went, but the aroma is much reduced after the first few minutes and it hasn’t regained it over the couple of hours it takes to work my way through this beer.

Served In: Tulip

Review by SAP on 01/20/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
78 3 10 15 4 7 2006
Bottle Number 276; Sampled January 2008
This is well carbonated as a soft pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass produces three fingers of tightly beaded, tan colored froth. The beer is dark, damp earth sort of amber color that shows a brilliantly clear ruby color and countless madly streaming carbonation bubbles when held up to the light. The aroma of oak is noticeable as soon as I start to pour this beer; solid vanillin notes, butterscotch, a touch of oak spice and a nicely complex woody note are joined by a light tartness that accentuates notes of plum perhaps a hint of tamarind, there is also a note that is a bit like a funky, farmhouse cheese (ripe cheese, funky feet and a musty, earthy note scent that nose with their light, but persistent presence). There is really a rich, earthy fruit note here that provides a solid backdrop to the oak, there is also some alcohol that provides a bit of singing piquancy to my nose. The oak is definitely the most noticeable component of this beer's aroma, but there is enough fruit and funkiness here to keep this in check and to make this quite enjoyable to smell.

Frothy feeling, but the body is rich enough to temper this quite well. The beer is also a bit more tart than I was expecting, though not overly so, in fact it is quite pleasant for this particular lover of sour beers. The beer comes off as quite dry tasting, but there is still some body left to this brew; the oak seems to provide a tannic structure and velvety body; despite being somewhat light, this definitely comes off as a sipping beer (which is a good thing given the alcohol of this beer). The oak character accentuates the dryness with lots of woody spice notes, almost a bourbon like piquancy. The oak combines with the alcohol to provide some heat to the finish in the throat. Up front there are some nice, tart, fruit notes of plums, raisins, and dried fig, but all with the sweetness stripped out and just the hearty, dark fruit and tart notes left. This is quite reminiscent of an over oaked red wine in many ways; it definitely has a very vinous quality to it (in body, aroma and taste), and the fruit character also is reminiscent of the almost jam-like, concentrated berry character one often finds in the wine world as well. The tartness seems to get a bit more complex as the beer warms up, it is definitely lactic in character and somehow provides a roundness to the flavor profile. The spiciness of this beer can at times be quite piquant; ample, woody black pepper notes, a touch of mace and some turpene-clove. As the beer warms up it also begins to pick up a touch of sweetness, this helps to bring out a bit more of the fruit character.

It is funny that the bottle says this is only slightly carbonated and lightly tart, obviously the wild bugs have done some work during this bottles slumber. This is definitely a bit over oaked, not only does it get a bit too hot in the finish at times (the alcohol obviously accentuates this), but the oak character itself is a bit too dominant in that it drowns out some of the other notes that could make this a more balanced brew. Still, I am enjoying this brew and would gladly try this one again; in fact I seem to enjoy drinking this more than the sum of the component flavors would suggest.

Served In: Tulip

Review by SAP on 09/16/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
72 3 9 14 3 7 2005
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.

Served In: Tulip

Review by Westside Threat on 01/12/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
80 3 9 16 4 8 0
2006 blended 10/07

A: Vivacious auburn hue. Seems to be unfiltered…not necessarily hazy but can’t see through it. The head is sticky like soap suds, a simple khaki color. Few stray streams of bubbles flow to the surface.

S: Mildly pungent oak, some soapy strawberries, perhaps raspberries and artificial blueberries. And lots of peach yogurt.

T: Oak hits the tongue first without as much pungentness as the odor would lead you to believe. Fruity aspects come next with some sharp red berries as well as some blueberries. This is one of those beers that tastes exactly like it smells….and the next step goes right in stride with it. The peach yogurt moves in, dragging the rest of the oak with it. Finishes somewhat floral, quite bitter with browned apple core, some vinegar and some tea qualities.

M: Medium body with a soft mouthfeel.

D: Nice beer. Quality sour with dope brett aspects. Not top of the heap but definitely enjoyable.

Served In: Tulip

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