St. Amand - Brasserie Castelain

Not Rated.
St. AmandSt. Amand

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

101 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.7%
Wants: 4
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie Castelain visit their website
France

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 83
Photo of Patrick999
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh, a biere de garde, I wish there were more readily available. Found this one at Total Wine in North Miami. Rather boring-looking label with a generic description of "French Country Ale," but you just know that there's a real beer within the contents of that boring bottle.

A - Popped the cork and poured; it's darker than I expected. I was expecting something light and cheery, while this is a kind of sinister-looking amber with a bit of a glow to it. No matter - nice head, good lacing to be seen.

S - There's some subtle stuff going on here. A bit of earthy hop, wet hay - definitely somewhat "farm-y." Some honey-toast as it warms. Ever so slight undercurrent of mustiness, courtesy of the native yeast.

T - Very nice. A hint of sour to begin, some substantive grassy hop, and a honey-toast sweetness tracking with the aroma that is perceived rather than fully tasted. Moderately dry and quite refreshing.

F - A slight grit in the feel, maybe attributable to the local water. Beyond that, it's weight on the palate is extremely light. Well-carbonated but not terribly sharp.

D - Another excellent biere de garde from Castelain. You can enjoy the 750 with no trouble, and not feel too guilty about it. Enough going on to keep you interested, light and refreshing enough to keep you drinking. Would pair well with nearly anything, but this is one of those beers that makes me wish I was sipping it outside a Parisian cafe, watching the women walk by. The French can't brew beer? I call B.S. on that one; there's more than enough evidence to the contrary.

If you see this dull-looking bottle on the shelf, buy it.

Photo of jettjon
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 750ml caged cork bottle, decants with a pop. Dated 3/8/07; I’m assuming this is a “best by” date. Consumed on 6/10/07. Into a cervoise a pale, hazy mahogany color with Champaign-like carbonation. Thick, creamy brown tan head, about one fingers worth. Slow fade to a clumpy cap and good sheet-like, sticky lacing. Sweet malt and herbal hops on the nose. Earthy barley malt flavor out front tempering lightly peppery hops. Weak tea flavor, suggestions of honey; subtle overall. I find this brew light yet with a decent hop/malt character—an FPA perhaps? Mouth is semi-viscous with gentle carbonation smoothing things out. Wet on the edge of watery, but in a good, thirst-quenching way. Drinkability is very good; it’s simple and enjoyable with a subtle yet not boring flavor. ABV at 5.9% is suitably light for this style.

Overall: I’ve really been getting into saisons of late, and this one is a nice take on a light summer drinking ale. A bit darker and hoppier than a saison, still, very good in its own right. I’d have no reservations buying several more of these to sip on a hot day.

Photo of Beerenauslese
2.64/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Luscious transparent orange-amber color, pours a three-finger head that lasts, leaving mounds of cappuccino foam, then thinning into lace.

Smells of clove and cinnamon spice and tropical fruit.

Tastes flat, nothing special leaps out. Spices are faint, a little bannana, a little citrus, but otherwise the flavors are murky.

Mouthfeel is flat, with little carbonation.

A pour of this is OK, but one is enough.

Photo of Thrasher
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL flip top bottle. Dark amber with big head which vanishes. If you ask me, this beer is identical to Ruddles County Ale. Rich, malty, sweet, delectable. Heavy apple cider qualities, chewy, a tiny dead bit of alcohol in the middle. A mild dryness and a little bit of spice denotes the hops. Nothing to discern it as French or even Belgian. No present yeast; I guess it had already done its job by the time it was bottled. I swear, it tastes just like Ruddles. Which is fine by me, Ruddles is one of my favorite beers. Just not what I expected from a biere de garde. Perhaps its a fraction sweeter, and lacking the creamy British mouthfeel. Anyway it's damn good. Maybe even tastier than Ruddles.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sunset orange/red in color, with a thin, wispy top. A nice looking beer, with an attractive enough bottle, though the French have a long way to go to catch up to their neighbors to the East in terms of creativity on this (and other) measure(s).

Lots going on in the aroma. Fruit hits the nose first, with orange and apple dominating the field. A bit of coriander spice blends nicely with an herbal/floral hop character to create an overall very inviting boquet.

Sweet in the mouth, but light enough in body and well-spiced enogh to be refreshing. But this beer achieves drinkability without sacrificing anything in terms of the complexity of the flavor. Don't be fooled by the first sip -- there's more to this beer than first appears. Mango, apple, and more citric fruits water the mouth mid-palate, and sit atop a caramely malt base with a somewhat bready flavor and just a tinge of oak. Nicely hopped at the finish; each sip leaves you wanting another.

I was, for some reason, not ready to be impressed by this beer. But I was pleasantly surprised! A great summer beer that shouldn't be saved for summer alone.

Photo of mickeymac
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a caged and corked 750 ml bottle, it's amber with a somewhat fizzy off-white head that goes away quickly, leaving no trace of lace. The smell is barnyard funk and just a trace of fruity sweetness. This has a light flavor, with a fair balance between light sweetness and a touch of bitterness on the finish. It's very dry and satisfying. It paired well with some spicy Haitian chicken and beans and rice.

Photo of ThirstyBird
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Rich medium amber color. Nice rustic one finger head.

Aroma: Malty a little sweet.

Flavor: Definate malt on front. Some seweetness and a little bitter on the end. The flavor felt a little watered down in my opinion. decent but not great.

Body: Highly carbonated yet fairly smooth.

A nice beer but not my favorite. It is enjoyable enough but would not go out of my way to buy again.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of gpogo
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- White head with brown amber mahogany color. Left a small lacing on the glass.

A- Fruity aromas. Slight sour notes.

T- A bit of toasted malt. Very lightly sour. Pleasant aftertaste, slight notes of apples. Incredibly refreshing.

M- Very smooth. Medium body with moderate-high carbonation.

D- I bought this a year ago and have cellared it until now. I just wished I had opened this sooner. Nice on a cold day, but I imagine this to be great on a fall evening as well. Don't let the "slightly sour" scare you away.

Photo of blakesell
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750ml caged and corked bottle into a pilsner glass.
Bottled 03/07

Appearance- Initally, I didn't think it had much carbonation when I popped the cork, but soon after while sticking my nose in to get a scent, I got a good amount of carbonation right on it. Beer pours an amber golden with a great head of carbonation quickly dissapates to a wafer of foam over the top, lacing clings to the glass in larger sized bubbles.

Smell- Thick and malty like a good marzen with enough lightness to still be refreshing at noon on a Sunday. A touch of cinnamon and cream frosting on the nose.

Taste- Enjoyable big malt upfront. Balanced and malty. No detectable alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Medium full bodied and moderately carbonated, refreshing and effervecent.

Drinkability- This is a great drinker, not too big with alcohol, malty enough to have enough balance. If this came in 6 packs I would drink this again and again. Beer for keeping, but good fresher as well.

Photo of Nipitato
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a caged and corked bottle at Marty's Liquors in Allston, MA.

A: Reddish bronze brown. Opaque. Very thin splotchy white head.

S: Musty malty aroma with a background of apples and cinnamon. Slightly sour. Overall very nuanced and quite mellow.

T: Musty malty flavor similar to the nose. Malt has some caramel characteristics. Some spiciness. Sweet fruit (cherries and raisins) esters add character. Mildly sour taste throughout. Nuanced and complex.

MF: Medium body. Highly carbonated. No alcohol warming.

D, notes: I like this beer and would go for it again. Complex yet easy to drink.

Photo of Hautacam
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy caramel with a very slight tan head.
Smells very good ....yeast, fruits various. No detectable alcohol.
Surprizingly light flavor...yeast, malt... slight hop , sweet with some subtle fruit way in the background....just too light for me.
Mouthfeel is pretty light too....medium carbonation.
Very drinkable , but I wish it was just a bit more intense....it went well with food , but is not a stand alone beer. I like this style, and have had American versions only ( Heavyweight Biere d' Art and City Steam- Careless Love )....prefer those to this one.
My girlfriend likes it , so I probably will buy it again...and who knows , maybe the next one will have a bit more to it.

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

a: light ring of whote foam around the top of a dull amber-brown body

s: sweet malts; popcorn; a sour note; light grape; dry wheat

t: very mild but sweet; still that sour note; sweet syrupy malts; warms up with each sip; light saltiness;

m: i feel that this is a little aggressive but is good; light-medium body; limited cloy

d: ok; very mild; could be good with some good foods; worth a try and could make a good pairing

Photo of Fugazme
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

A nice copper/orange pour with a 1/2" bright, white head... slightly tan in hue... little retention and a decent swirl.

Aroma is big with some funky blue cheese notes... apricot and honey... even a touch of caramel.

Barnyardish flavor, yet quite sweet, too. A touch of apple leftover on the palate... dry at times, but overall a bit too thin for me. I'd call it decent in flavor and mouthfeel.

Overall drinkability is average for me... but I don't think I'd turn it down... I do like the nose quite a bit.

Photo of erz316
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - the bottle pours out beautiful coloured burnt orange, with a white head to contrast. Cloudy in appearance, but translucent enough to let a good amount of light through to show the color. bubbles arise from the bottom of my glass

S - not much to report here. the smell of hops is very minimal, and a slight fruitiness from esters is actually more noticeable than the hops.

T - a noticeable bitterness from hops comes to the back of the tongue, while there is a very slight sweetness in aftertaste.

MF&D - goes down very smooth, not much carbonation. a good medium body drink, though overall I would say it is ineffectual.

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

Appearance: Clear copper/orange -- very similar to an IPA or an American amber ale. Has a tall, faintly straw-colored head -- fizzy and loose -- with a good retention if you pour hard enough.

Smell: Spicy pils hops (Saaz/Hallertau?) hit first with a faint caramel maltiness. There's an even more faint floral/fruity/earthy yeast funk, which just squeaks this guy into the farmhouse realm. Not bad if you search around, but will definitely not knock your socks off.

Taste: Surprisingly dry and crisp -- very similar to a pale lager or German pils off the bat. Mildly malty with a bit of a swirling citrus-and-flowers scent as you exhale. Mouthfeel is crisp; light with sharp carbonation.

Drinkability: Depends; could be "refreshing" or "bland" depending on your expectations. I was hoping for a bit more character, but it was pleasant enough, and a fairly good value.

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Source/Serving: 750mL bottle, Expires 12/21/11

S: Sweet malt character with heavy toasted biscuit, prune caramel, tart stale red wine, red wine cork and a little hay around the edges. Definitely a nice amount of musty/earthiness balanced against some marzipan and even alcohol (@5.9%, wow). Once you get past the sweetness it has a lot of depth.

T: Quite sweet up front with predominant grape syrup/caramel for almost the entirety of the sip. Slight sour/tart character along with some butter/ almond nuttiness, and lightly floral noble-esque hops which briefly show off some bitterness on the way to the finish to stave off the unrestrained heavy malt forward character. Syrupy body with medium carbonation. More warming than expected and alcohol comes through once its warmed just a pinch. Finish is semi-dry but sticky with butter, almond, and some hay/cork with an earthy washed-rind cheese sort of funk that’s not over the top and pleasant.

Notes: Nice sweet-funk flavors, but not dynamic. The beer does get much better and more balanced as it warms, however, and I had to give this some time to start to appreciate it. I'm fairly new to this style and this is a classic so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

Photo of drperm
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL from the Hendersonville Co-op. Also easily found at Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville. St. Amand pours a handsome -- no, gorgeous -- copper color with plenty of generous head, even when poured slowly. The nose is extremely complex -- clay soil, caramel, butter, farmland, and fresh aromatic hops are all in there, along with some more elusive intangibles that are conjuring up all sorts of images of rural Europe for me. On the tongue, the caramel sings out with a spritzy edge, the hops keep it interesting, and the butter moves to the forefront, but what really does it for me is a slight sour twist towards the end -- reminiscent of those Flemish Ales that I’ve recently fallen in love with (such as Duchesse de Bourgogne). This says to me, "drink with food!" Much better than Castelian/Ch’ti, as far as I’m concerned. Take it for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Photo of horndecker
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caged and corked 750ml bottle. Inviting label. I'm a fan of the Castelain Blonde so I looked forward to this one. I was a bit disappointed.
Deep orange peach color with an off white head that was initially quite active but dissipated very quickly. The nose was funky and citric as expected but not too complicated. The first sip is sour and malt, somewhat akin to lambic, with bright notes of apples and and a biscuity sweetness in the center. And then a quick bitter finish. It doesn't last too long. Everything is over very quickly.
A bit thin bodied I thought, but refreshing and very drinkable with the appropriate meal....

Photo of BastardFromABasket
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

After popping the cork caught a nice bready yeast aroma out of the bottle. Had a big foamy off-white head that dissipated after a minute. Color was clear amber. Smelled of malts and a bit of yeast but not much hops. Tasted of malts up front - a bit of skunk (not unpleasant) - with a hint of dark fruit and finished with some hop bitterness. Mouthfeel was medium bodied with fine bubbles but not overly effervescent. Overall very good.

Photo of TheEclecticGent
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - This beer pours a slightly hazy orange-amber color. Looks good and looks like what I expected from a Biere de Garde but maybe a tad more orange than most. Some head (2 mm) dropping to just swirls by the second sip.

S - Got a bit of a flat smell, some spices and maybe aged fruit. A hay like note in here. It's got that wet cardboard smell that always worries me a bit.

T - Tastes flat as well. Yep, it's got that wet cardboard flavor as well that I don't like. There are some spices in here but they are muted and the dominant flavor is that strange malt flavor that I call "wet cardboard".

M - Mouthfeel is flat, with very little carbonation.

D- Not impressed.

Photo of BDLbrewster
3.12/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy light orange amber with tons of visible carbonation, small frothy head and very little lacing.

The smell is strong with barnyard, lots of earthy goodness. Slight mustiness, nice rich yeasty scents and a small amount of alcohol phenols buried under about a 8 inches of musty earthiness.

The taste is fairly in line with the nose, aside from an odd sugary worthers original lactic candy flavor that works the sides of your tongue you get pretty much what you smell. The barnyard is toned down in the flavor, but all the bready yeast and a slight touch of alcohol are there. On the dry side and I think I taste a touch of funk in there as well.

The mouthfeel is on the thin side and quite slippery with ample carbonation and finishing on the dry side.

Overall, run of the mill and a fair representation of the style. Not a stand out in my mind, but good in its own right. The price was great if that makes up for anything. $5 for the 750ml.

Photo of edbeered
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle(750ml), this pours a hazy reddish amber color, with a small white head that dissipates quickly and minimal lacing on the glass. The smell is slight but malty. The taste is complex, with lots of frutiy flavors present, especially cherry and raisin, along with a toffee or butterscotch maltiness. This beer is suitably rich in flavor, yet light on the tongue. This beer is comparitively light in alcohol(5.9%ABV)for the style, and is very drinkable. This is a very nice brew and worth getting if you can find it.

Photo of hiku7
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light bready pils malt aroma, with pear esters, spice, and a tiny bit of funk. No hop aroma. Slight whisp of alcohol as it warms.

Pours brilliant dark copper with a one-finger off white head. Short lasting. No lacing. Thin foam, moderate carbonation.

Fruity pear esters, and strawberries. Toasted sweet malt flavor. No hop bite. Very mild bitterness in the finish. Good balance. Some vinous flavors a bit reminiscent of grapes. Could be slightly oxidized.

Medium body. Smooth, delicate feel. Crisp dry finish and moderate carbonation. No astringency.

Very enjoyable. My first venture in the style. I will try others.

Photo of Poser
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber in the tulip with a frothy top. Light aroma with some citrus and hop tones. A floral, malty start that continues throughout. Hops are subtle which gives it a pleasant sweetness. It's a citrus texture on the mouthfeel. This would probably go great as a desert beer after some sushi.

Photo of Abita45
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Michael's Deli in King of Prussia, PA and poured from a bottle into a pint glass. The beer has a nice amber hue and is fragrantly citrus and little head to speak of.

It has a nicely floral and sweet malty taste, medium hops and with low carbonation, this beer has a nice taste and smooth finish. It is slightly creamy and easy to drink. I don't know if I could have many before the sweetness and mouthfeel made me want to change things up, but for the two plus pints I got out of the bottle it was very good and a beer I could enjoy on a regular basis. I took a bottle to a friend as a party gift and it was well received.

It is an enjoyable beer.

St. Amand from Brasserie Castelain
85 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.