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Category Archives: Franches-Montagnes

Review of Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2007)

Hi guys.  Welcome back.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2007) produced by the Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes located in Saignelegier, Switzerland.

I’m super excited about trying this beer.  I had a 2008 Grand Cru several months back and I absolutely loved it.  I have no reason to believe that this beer will not be spectacular.

The website, brasseriebfm.ch, gave this mouthwatering description of the Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien.

L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien, Strong sour ale, 11% vol. is a real UFO is a beer brewed in honor of the former brewery cat, sanctified when he disappeared. This vintage amber-red reflections is matured for several months in oak barrels having already contained wine or distilled spirits. These barrels will give complex aromas that beer. In the mouth, it recalls the plot of a fruity red wine with marked acidity.

This bottle was #00276.  Let’s pour.

This brew came in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 11.0%.

It poured a deep ruby red to almost burgundy color.  It was hazy with a light tan head. The crown was sized fairly well, quite smooth and even a bit creamy.  The retention time was rather good considering the age of the beer.  The lacing was thin, but it was nice and even around the snifter.  I saw a thin skim of clear alcohol sticking to sides of the glass as I tilted it from side to side.  On a side note… as I poured the second half of the bottle, the cap was a lot more fizzy and it seemed to dissipated more rapidly.

The nose was…. PHENOMENAL!!!  Extremely sour with wonderful fruits of tart black cherries, dark grapes and green apple.  A slight vinegar waft was discovered and as it warmed I began to pick up notes of subtle funk and beautifully blended woody tones.  Only a minor amount of booze was found.  It kind of smelled like sherry.  Very, very wine like in the bouquet.  The complexity and balance of this thing was unbelievable.

The taste was just as fascinating   The sourness wasn’t as “puckering” as some of the other Sours I’ve tried in the past.  It was relaxed, smooth, calm, harmonious and enjoyable.  More relishes of dark grape and the black cherry flavoring seemed to punch a bit more.  It was somewhat sweet in that regard.  A slight vinegar savor and acidity was there, but an awesome woody finish combined with a minute funkiness helped polish and soothe the overall profile.  Incredible…. just incredible in my opinion.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Dry and snappy, but not quite as sharp as I had anticipated it being…. and that was a good thing.  The carbonation was on the lower side and a little bit of warmth was felt after the swallow.  An outstanding amount of flavor was left drenching the palate after each sip.  It had one of the longest finishes that I’ve ever experienced.

You know, this has to be one of the greatest brews that I’ve ever had and it totally reminds me of why I fell in love with craft beer.  It was so complex, balanced and delightful.  Every sip brought a smile to my face and each swallow uncovered little nuances that only added to the satisfaction of the session.  The drinkability was superb as well.  I could have killed this thing rather quickly, but I tried to take my time because I didn’t want it to end.  If you guys love Sours and ever have the opportunity to try an Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien…. don’t pass it up.  They are a touch expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion.  I have no doubt that I will judge all Biere de Garde/Sours that I try by this one.  I send my greatest thanks to Jerome Rebetez for creating this true work of art.  Have you guys ever had one?  What were your thoughts?  I’d love to hear another opinion.  Feel free to leave a comment if you’d like.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.9 out of 5
Grade:  A+  

 

Review of Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru No. 3 (2008)

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying my first ever brew from the Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes located in Saignelegier, Switzerland.  I have a 2008 Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru in my possession and I’ll tell ya, I’m super excited about trying it.

I couldn’t quite make out the commercial description from the website, brasseriebfm.ch, so I’m just going to copy what was written on the bottle.

Ale matured in Trousseau OAK BARRELS (single cask in a Trousseau barrel from Arbois, France).  Hand bottled, without prise de mousse in January 09.  This Grand Cru’s complexity will increase with age.  Barrique No. 3 brewed in May 2008.

I can’t wait any longer.  I’m ready for a sip.

This beer came in a 12.68 oz. bottle with an ABV of 11.0%.
It poured an opaque amber/caramel color with a ruby red cast when held toward a light source.  It didn’t form much of a head with a very gentle pour.  What foam that was generated was off white in color and fizzy.  The retention time was non-existent and little to no lacing was left behind either.  A ton of clear alcohol was left on the sides of the snifter when I tilted it however.  A little bit of sediment made its way into the glass, but it quickly settled to the bottom.  
This brew had a flat-out gorgeous aroma.  Extremely complex too.  Hints of soured red apple skins as well as other soured berries (cherries and grapes).  Only the slightest tone of alcohol was found and the oak was distinguished fairly easily with a gentle swirl of the liquid.  A tad bit of funk was determined also, but it was very mellow and manageable.  Only the most faint vinegar and acidity was found as well, however a solid backbone of bread and/or yeast pushed forward and gave it a bit of roundness.  Wow!!!  What a fragrance!!!  One of the best I’ve ever smelled.  
The taste was very sour, acidic and tart on the initial intake.  A lip puckering goodness of soured grapes and cherries.  Very wine like I thought.  Again, a solid backbone of fresh breads and yeast.  It kind of tasted like what I would imagine baked whole wheat bread soaked in red wine would taste like.  Toward the end the oaky/wood and funk really shone through and it did nothing but compliment the overall flavor of the brew.  A beautiful and well balanced flavor profile to say the least.  Awesome. 
The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Sticky and very dry with a sharpness at the beginning that gave way to a silky smoothness as the palate adjusted.  The carbonation was very low and I received absolutely no heat or warmth whatsoever from the alcohol, which I found unbelievable considering the 11.0% ABV.   An absolute ton of flavor was left behind for me to ponder long after each sip had passed.  
Man!!!  This is a “world-class” beer if there ever was one.  The aroma and taste were divine to say the least.  This thing has to rank near the top of all the Biere de Garde’s produced.  Granted, I haven’t even begun to try all that are made, but I positively loved this one.  Even though the drinkability was rather good, it needed to be taken slowly, so as to let it open up a bit.  It started crazy tart and sour, but mellowed so well and those complex woody, yeasty and funky characteristics stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park.  If you guys ever get the chance to try an Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru of any vintage, I would highly recommend it.  I have no doubt that it could appeal to both craft beer and wine drinkers alike.  I have to give it a couple points just for the extreme rarity of it also.  Have any of you guys ever tried anything from Franches-Montagnes?  What was it?  Did you like it?  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me your opinions.   
Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.  
Until next time.  Cheers. 
Score:  4.75 out of 5
Grade:  A+   
 
 
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