Gavroche - Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

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very good

385 Ratings

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Ratings: 385
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.19%
Wants: 16
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre visit their website

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-07-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 385 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drpimento
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting beer. Very complex; a lot going on. Poured with a nice head and some lace. Most left after a while. Aromatic. Slightly hazy amber. Quite malty, with some zesty spicyness with some sweetness in the background. Good body. Finishes extra long. no indication of alcohol.

Photo of kimcgolf
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque dark brown with medium thick tan head that lingered well and left okay lacing. Nose was a very pleasant sweet chocolate-caramel and roasted nuts. Mouthfeel was thick and sweet, with just a slight tingle from the hops. Flavor followed the chocolate-toffee nose very well, and this all rounded to a nice, long finish that was sweet, without overdoing it.

Another good beer from Anchor.

Photo of klewis
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a light copper color with a massive head that comes to rest as a thick blanket of foam.

S: Big smell of caramel, raisins andother dark fruits, and a touch of cabernet.

T: Bready taste with fruity undertones. Mostly on the sweeter side, but with a subtle hop presence to balance things out. A bit musty.

M: Light-bodied for a beer of its ABV. Somewhat high level of carbonation, yet still creamy and soft. The flavor quickly fades leaving a bit of bitterness behind.

D: Only my second biere de garde, but it seems spot on for the description. Easy drinking and worth a try.

Photo of crwills
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I can't remember where I got this, but it may be the first example of this style that I've reviewed.

Had this sitting on the patio on a warm late summer afternoon, which I guess is a bit strange, but it worked out. Poured into a wine glass, medium brown with a two-finger fluffy head. Spicy, peppery smell, not too heavy, but with hints of some mildly toasted malts. Very solid mouthfeel, with lots of yeasty and bready notes. The spice and pepper carries through, with some mild hints of fruit and smoke. Some sweetness as it warms up, and the mouthfeel seems to get heavier. Surprisingly drinkable for a high-ABV beer.

Photo of thierrynantes
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33cl), tasted in 1999.

Appearance : Great autumn color slightly glowing, with white foamy head. Good effervescence, made up of small bubbles, supports a generous cloud.
Smell : sweet aromas (caramel) and spicy (anise).
Taste and mouthfeel : mouth open and lively, soft shades of malt and orange. The alcohol dominates in the mouth and just hide aromas relegating them to second place.
Drinkability : a very good beer in the style bière de garde.

Beer translated from french 5-6-2008.

Photo of tpd975
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one has been sitting in the fridge for awhile, and I finally decided I wanted something different from my typical IPA/DIP/RIS while watching football. So in honor of the greatest American sport I popped open a French beer, what has become of me?

A: Pours a nice deep nutty reddish brown color. To call the head thunderous would be an understatement. It puffs up real big and airy. Kind of reminds me of whipped egg whites or meringue. It does die down but a half finger of head remained for the duration of enjoyment with sparse lacing left behind.

S: Nice aromas. The nose could be described as a perfect combination of dark fruits, brown sugar, buscuity malt, and bready yeast. It is a nice smelling beer that is very inviting.

T: It is a very malty brew. Nice toasty nutty taste with a hint of caramel and brown sugar sweetness. There is some hardy spice in there as well. Pie spices are the best way to describe it ginger or nutmeg maybe?

M: Very lively. Sparkling and bubbly on the tongue and throat.

D: Very enjoyable brew. For just over $2 a bottle this is one I will buy some more of to be enjoyed at a later date.

Overall: Very nice brew. I enjoyed the unique looking bottle and this beer looks nice in the glass. It has an inviting aroma and nice mild taste. It would be a great beer to have along side a nice dinner and may pull it out next time we have guests over for a nice dinner. It's a nice beer and if you can find it I say give it a try. When it comes to this one Viva La France.

Photo of goochpunch
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a slightly hazed amber marmalade with a thick, rocky head that looks like nutmeg-tinged whipped egg whites. Lots of champagne-like carbonation races to the head. Smell is loaded with caramel and toffee with a lightly toasted malt presence. Hops are earthy and almost woodsy. Flavor is a mix of toasted malts, big caramel, and loads of fruity esters. I get lots of apple and pear. A sweetness is present on into the finish, but never feels overpowering nor does it stand out all that much while intermingling with the other flavors. Finishes with a great balancing bitterness and a leafy, herbal, earthy hop presence. The aftertaste reveals an almost roasted malt quality. Mouthfeel is on the verge of chewy yet has a very active carbonation (which never gets so overbearing that it stings). I'm highly impressed by this. Tastes rather "English" to me. One of the better Biere de Gardes that I've had, for sure.

Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours clouded orange/amber with a thick, towering, fluffy head that descends to a well-retained thin cover. Some trailing lace slides down the glass with only a bit of stickage.

The smell is of coriander, black pepper, a whiff of ginger. Bready yeast and orange peel soon come to dominate the aroma.

The taste is of carmelized bready graininess with coriander and ginger. It has a sprinkling of black pepper, presumably from the alcohol, which is present, but in an enhancing way. Slightly nutty in the background, it has a candy sweetness that is balanced by a subtle hop spiciness. Dry, somewhat aniseedy finish. Very complex.

Light-to-medium bodied, with the flavor clinging to (dancing on?) the palate.

A complex, delicious bottle-conditioned brew to sip on!

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Buckspin for the recommendation. Pours a dark golden color with a a large foamy head. Smells a bit on the yeasty side. Tastes quite yeasty too, a nice sharp somewhat citrusy flavor, bit of a bready aftertaste, pretty neat combo. A bit way carbonated for me, but overall a really good beer and worth seeking out.

Photo of BuckSpin
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11oz bottle (Order #1003, whatever that means) in a tulip glass

Poured with energy, crackle, snap, full of life. Soft floral nose, initially delicate, faint fruit sweetness, a little musty, cork (but not corked in the bottle), slight caramel aspect. With some time to bloom the aroma grows sweeter (but not sugary) with a slight grapefruit rind tartness, yeasty, even some artisan breadlike qualities. The head was easily 3 fat fingers of snug, semi-sculpted latte/dull cream stained foam that faded slowly & steadily to a pinky's worth of the same with barely any lacing. Clouded & hazy, its a beautiful blood/burnt orange hue, warm, tealike, a strong parade of bubbles rising thru it. on the tongue, just a wonderful taste explosion. Subtly spicy, faint caramelized malts for sweetness, but with a pleasing, semi-sharp bitter aspect keeping it all in check & well balanced, a most flavorful & subtly complex brew. Its quite light in mouthfeel but very robust in taste, a wonderful dichotomy and most enjoyable.

It continues to stay the course with spiciness, bittersweetness, faint dark caramel...all still held in check with that bittering aspect, the bread getting more like toast with a faint burnt quality as it sits longer on my palate. The alcohol, very well hidden, starts to show itself as my mouth warms, teeth softly tingle (I can see where this would be a fantastic autumn beer!) with a cool heat as it finishes bittersweet, yet also clean, leaving a pleasing, warm, chewy with a kinda woodsy feeling.

That was excellent, a fantastic beer. I can now see how this would be a great cooler weather beer, but I also enjoyed its simplistic complexity. This would pair fabulously with just about any cheese that comes to mind, and would also be great with spiced meats, rustic loaves, stews, wild game. A most pleasing personal discover, and easily one of my most enjoyable autumn beer experiences of late. Highly recommended, a very versatile, simple yet sophisticated beer that is sure to please. Check this out if you can, you will not be disappointed!

Photo of blakesell
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a belgian 'cereal bowl' chalice.

Appearance- A hazy mellow gold with a nice frothy head of thin foam. Not much lacing.

Smell- Fuggles upfront, soft watery undertones, a strange malt character like nothing I've ever smelled. This smells different than the bottle I drank 2 years ago.

Taste- A light thirst quencher. Biere De Garde is a style that intrigues me every time. I haven't had one the same as another. a strange lingering fruityness that sneaks up on me. Really accents the beer pretzels and smoky mustard I have along with it. Has a stone flavor, like someone dropped some gravel in there, but it's not bad if that makes any sense.

Mouthfeel- Light and not unpleasant at all. A dry finishing beer with a plethora of flavors that while they sound unappetizing, are actually very nice.

Drinkability- Very much so. This beer I could drink all day long with no problems. The 8.5% alcohol is so deciving that I would have been fooled and been acting like a fool long ago if I had this poured in a college 'yard' glass.

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Into a tulip glass, pours a ____ color, enormous head springing forth, a fluffy cloud of bubbly foam that never gets thinner than a half inch, all the while leaving trails and webs of lace around the glass. Just lovely. The aroma is hard to pick up through the massive head, easier as it warms, but whats there is earthen, a fair malt, a bit fruity, honey, a yeastiness thats a bit spiced. The flavor is fully of malts, not so sweet as toasted, earthen spices, herbal, drying through the middle into the finish. It feels... old, like an artifact, not quite of this age. That said, its a fine beer.

Photo of brendan13
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This one was a gusher. Deep orange amber colour with a thick 1" beige head that hangs around forever.
S - Musty & earthy with some sweet, toast like maltiness.
T - A very complex mix of phenolic spice, tartness & sweet, toasty caramel malt notes. Some dark fruit tastes in the backgound. Slight alcoholic warmth.
M - Medium bodied with a fairly high carbonation.
D - An interesting, very tasty beer. One would be enough but that one is a good one.

Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The head on this beer is enormous. It's full, stable, and intricate. Sitting atop a deep orange colored liquid (with a bit of haze), this is a fantastic looking beer. I love beers that are visually attractive. The aroma is a little faint, but it does have some great characteristics: a bit of yeast, a little funk and tartness, some toasted grain and malts, a little pepper, and just a bit of over-ripe fruit. The smell could use some more strength, but the smell is respectable nonetheless. The taste is a bit sweet, with some pale malt flavor up front, a little toffee, and some yeast. It's a little tangy as well. The beer seems to hide it's alcohol pretty well. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with a nice amount of heft. It fits together pretty well. Nothing in the beer stands out and says “I'm great”, but it is a solidly good and very enjoyable beer. I'd certainly have another one of these.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up on a whim while buying beer at one of my favorite stops in Portland ME.

A - foamed over as soon as I started the cap. in the glass it shows a deep cloudy amber color with a very tall off white head.
S - Wow, this is nice. Creamy caramel / toffee swirled wtih a earthy yeastiness and a touch of tartness.
T - take the aroma stir in some spice, raisin and fig and you've got something there. Very complex and wonderfully balanced.
M - medium bodied, although vigourously carbonated on the pour it settles down nice and smooth. Finish is dry and clean.
D - Very drinkable on a warm summer evening. I only wish I bought a few of these rather than the one. Hard to believe it was an 8.5 abv. Doesn't drink that way at all!

worth a try if you see it and like saisons, biere de gardes, etc

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Furiously bubbled pumpkin skin orange beneath a massive head of soft, creamy, sandstone colored foam. This so-called French Red Ale isn't really red, but then most brown ales aren't really brown. The appearance isn't what I expected given the style. It's still a reasonably attractive beer, even if it won't win any biere de garde beauty contests.

There isn't much of interest going on in the less than aromatic nose. Gavroche is primarily toasted malty, with a pinch of herb and a dash of spice. Again, the stated style wouldn't be among my first three guesses. I need more power and more definition before I can even begin to be impressed. Note: warming opens things up nicely.

This Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre offering tastes better than it smells, but it still doesn't add up to anything overly wonderful. I expected much more complexity than I've been given. The beer is malt-dominant with a hint of caramel-like sweetness. The flavor profile also contains fruity esters and a hint of Belgian yeasty spiciness. Alcohol is easily noted, although it's buried pretty well considering the ABV.

The mouthfeel follows along in the 'above average' groove that was created by the rest of the beer's attributes. It's on the firm side, with a decent amount of smoothness and no real creaminess. The bottle-conditioned carbonation strikes me as just about right.

Gavroche (a street urchin in Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables') suffers from an abundance of simplicity. I know that biere de gardes are open to a great deal of interpretation, but I don't see this as a member of that style at all. To me, it tastes like a caramel malt-driven maibock with a hint of Belgian yeastiness. I expected more from the creators of 3 Monts. Now *that's* a biere de garde.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: copper to amber color with lots of carbonation & thick, foamy head settles to a still-impressive layer with decent lacing
s: spicy malts on the nose, with some sourness
t: interesting - moderate caramel-like malts with balanced spice and yeast, slight medicinal taste, warming alcohol at the finish
m: medium body with lots of carbonation, goes down smoothly
d: this one was tasty both when it was too cold & when it warmed up, pretty easy to drink and a nice surprise given the sour nose. definitely prefer this to the 3 monts offering.

Photo of vancurly
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice bottle - a miniature of the large 3 Monts bottle. Dark, reddish amber; poured a big souffle head, off white, nice lace

S: A complexity of rich malt, and an initial salt air/off/gamey note. Faint hop fruitiness warms to red wine-like berriness.

T: Earthy, almost raw mushroom like. Hint of briney shellfish. Spirit / brandy. Musty, subtle fruit, malts, honeycomb. Fairly bitter.

M: Thin bodied, slightly astringent, winey.

D: Closest beer I've tasted that comes anywhere near Orval. Complexity of un-beer-like aromas & flavours makes this quite intriguing.

Photo of UnionMade
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very classy presentation, with an unusually shaped bottle. The neck is slim, rising to a bulbed top, reminiscent of very old style bottles.
Pours a hazy reddish brown, topped with a voluminous head. Surprisingly good head retention, better than average for a belgian/french style ale. Sticky lacing clinging to the glass in streaky clumps. The aroma is rather uninspiring, unfortunately. Rather metallic, immediately, approaching something like an ancient, rusty beer can, some relic you'd find in the woods. Dusty, wooden malt lurking beneath, along with petrified fruit, watercolor paper and walnut hulls. Watercolor paper has a unique sort of scent and flavor, probably because it's sized with some sort of glue to improve its relationship with the paint. I can't help but think this has been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. The flavor isn't so bad, but the malt is very muddy and tends towards wooden, papery, nutty flavors. I think I was just expecting something different, a little more vivacious. This is very much a wedgewood blue kind of beer. The epitome of muted tone. Really nothing bright about this, kind of like seeing an Edward Hopper painting in person. Angular colors, with an empty sort of feel. Floral hops are well presented in the finish, opening up the flavor a little. Powdery and nutty at the end, with charged carbonation.
Not very impressive. The packaging and price tag led me to expect something much, much better. Not bad, by any means, just unexciting. I'm guessing my bottle wasn't at its peak, so I might revisit this if I were assured of its freshness.

Photo of aaronh
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks like a typical Irish red ale, a bit less red, but topped by a monstrous head. Lightly sweet aroma has a bit of a unique smell as well. Flavor is slightly tart, but yet sweet. Some slight caramel notes, some fruit flavor, and then a decent amount of bitterness. Noticeable, at least. Mouthfeel is fairly effervescent, drinkability is OK. The beer just seems a little un-interesting to me though. Glad I tried it, but don't expect to try it again.

Photo of weeare138
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to mughugger for opening this up at the original "Tasting in Paradise". We got into a conversation on sour beer and neither of us knew what style this one was. It said something like, "French Brown Ale" and we were thinking it was something much different...
Appears a hazy amber with a small light tan head that quickly fades out. A few remnants of spotty lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of malty toffee, roasted grain, mild spice, gentle fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas that also has a bready yeastiness combined with the sugary, grainy, caramel flavors that leaves me feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, malty, sugary, with a little bit of spices hanging on till the semi-dry finish.

Photo of Jwaks
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Serving 11.2oz bottle

An awesome pour produes a huge and surprisingly dense head that nearly runs over its boundries, plenty of healthy dense lacing adorns the glass just above a respectable milky white cap of froth. A noteworthy dose of fine bubbles meander their way through an amber body tinged with copper and a touch of haze.

Gentle hop aromas meld with generous spicy malt, grainy bread and mild floral scents on this brew's wonderful perfumy bouquet. As the beer warms and breathes, it reveals new scents of sweet and sour fruits, tart red berries, dried currants along with hints of nuts, juniper wood and whiffs of alcohol.

Robust bready malts, bitter floral hops and a bit of fruit lead the charge and break rank to reveal undertones of malt, sweet and sour fruit and a bit of nutty, earthy spices on the mid palate all of which eventually tie neatly together with a full creamy off-dry finish featuring flavorful tart red berries, hints of wood, citrus zest and jasmine. A cascade effect at every turn reveals interesting new flavors, with bready malts, bitter floral hops and a bit of spice lingering from start to finish. The sour fruit requires balance, it is a bit too mouthpuckering and the dry, tart finish needs a touch of sweetness.

A well developed creamy body allows this beer to handily coat the palate, it's a great performance for mouthfeel while a slightly dry finish and lingering sour notes keep drinkability in check.

Overall, this is a well-crafted, complex brew with a myriad of sublties and intriguing nuances.


Photo of ChiSox05
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange copper colored with a light haze. Strong carbonation, head has a mind of its own, pour carefully. Little lacing.

Leafy, earthy aroma. Sweet malt with a faint hops. Some hay or dry grass.

Taste has yeast, some pepper, dull sweet malt on the finish and alcohol, a bit of raisin too.

Medium bodied, much carbonation, spicy tingle.

Emphasis on yeast and spice rather than much sweetness. Got better as it warmed.

Photo of Mdog
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Orangish-red with a fading head, no lacing.

Smell: Tart, spicy, musty.

Taste: Starts sweet, then fruity tartness before a finishing kick of spicy black pepper.

Mouthfeel: Unlike anything I've ever had, it seemed to explode with bubbles on my tongue and then left it buzzing.

Drinkability: Pretty good, I'd have it again.

A friend from work gave this to me. Never had a Biere de Garde before, but I'd try some more from the style. The mouthfeel was exceptional!

Photo of warriorsoul
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked one of these up after a sample at the Belgian Beer Fest.
Dark copper in color with half the glass filling with aerated foam...leaves some webbed lacing as it fades.
Very inviting in the aroma...boatload of malt, mild spice, banana..
The taste is mildly sweet...quite spicy with a bitter finish. Fruity with citrus mainly...peppery esters, bready yeast flavor as well. Finishes very real sense of the alcohol.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and as was seen in the pour, quite carbonated...very easy to consume a couple of these.

Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
85 out of 100 based on 385 ratings.