Gavroche | Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

very good
238 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-07-2001

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Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 442
Photo of EdTheEdge
4.83/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a ruby tinged brown from an 11.2oz bottle into an ordinary pint glass. A wonderful thick, creamy light tan head builds up rather quickly when pouring which requires multiple pours to fill the glass.

The color in the glass is striking as the tan head contrasts rather nicely with the reddish ale making this an aesthetically appetizing beer.

Smell is grassy, fruity, malty and not very hoppy. But there is a freshness in the aroma blend that I really enjoyed.

Taste. Well that's what this beer is all about. I really enjoy a well thought out non complicated beer from time to time. Gavroche is one of my favorite all time beers. It is refreshing and not overbearing in taste. The ingredients are well balanced and I can not detect much alcohol at all. Many of the reviews emphasize fruity flavors. I don't get that I do get a perfect balance of fruit ,grapefruit and strawberries, and malt and a slight hoppiness.

I enjoy the dryness of this beer and carbonation is perfect. This beer hardly leaves an aftertaste if it does it‘s a bit of hops. Gavroche is a very clean tasting and refreshing beer.

Overall I'd have to give this beer near perfect scores. I've had it several times over the past year and each time I have enjoyed it more each time. When I don’t want a Hop Bomb like and IPA a Gavroche usually comes to mind…

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Photo of MattU
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

App- into an oversized red wine glass pours a deep ruddy copper with straw colored highlights. 2 finger head sticks around for a couple minutes then falls to a small layer of bubbles and leaves great lacing tO the end.

Aroma- notes of sherry vinegar and cherry followed by a light note of black pepper. Vague notes of malty sweetness and vanilla - gorgeous.

Taste- delicate malty sweetness with notes of toffee and caramel that quickly fades to a smooth dry finish. Tart cherries and sherry vinegar flash across the middle of the pallet. A vague sense of black pepper on the finish. Not even the slightest taste of alcohol, this beer hides the 8.5% very well.

Mouthfeel- smooth and delicate with spritsy carbonation. While the mouthfeel isn't heavy it's still full and lively.

Overall- exceptional beer. There's so many things going on with this beer but it's all in such tight and controlled harmonious balance that nothing overwhelms anything else. So deceptively smooth and refreshing. Outstanding brew.

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Photo of Lukie
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a very cloudy, strong marmalade, oak like colour with a massive, massive, massive head. The head slowly fades away into about 2 inches on the top, which clings to everything in it's path. Insane.

Hard to pick out an aroma through the thick head. Slight spiciness, and peppery with hints of malt and caramel. Sour orange.

A very complex and strong bodied beer. There is a big malt sweetness, with some incredibly complex spices. Lot's of caramel with some green apple, sour fruits, aniseed, and pear. It actually changes from mouthful to mouthful, it is just that complex and indepth. Just insanely great.

A wonderful lively mouthfeel, with a lot of active carbonation, but not too heavy in the body. Moderate, with a slightly watery finish making this amazingly refreshing. Another huge hit with me from the Sylvestre clan in France.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a damn good beer, I wish I had more than one right now. It was well worth the price i paid for it. I drank this one straight from the bottle and the head was overflowing as soon as i opened it and remained throughout the beer until I finished it.

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Photo of wattoclone
4.51/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark unfiltered amber with white head. Delectable fruity aroma of apricot, pear and apple. The taste is slightly sweet, yeasty with a tart cherry finish. Very easy, smooth drinking. Sort of like a cross between a saison and a Belgian pale ale, it was very enjoyable. Thankfully, on draft at Capone's so I didn't have to travel to France.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.5/5  rDev +19%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre's Gavroche is a classic of the biere de garde style that starts with a high original gravity of 17.5-18º Plato, and is given 4 to 5 weeks aging.

The name Gavroche refers to a character from Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables", a playful, idealistic, and free-spirited child (or "street urchin") who's shot down by the National Guards in the Saint Jean market. This quote from the book may explain his reference in relation to the naming of the beer... "Gavroche was a whirlwind. They saw him incessantly, they heard him constantly. He filled the air, being everywhere at once....He vexed the loungers, he excited the idle, he reanimated the weary, provoked the thoughtful, kept some in cheerfulness, others in breath, others in anger, all in motion!"

The beer pours a mostly clear, deep amber body beneath a creamy head of light tan that holds remarkably well and leaves some nice splashes of lace about the glass.

The nose is malty, toasty, spicy, mildly fruity, and just slightly musty or woody. 80% of the grist is made up of Munich malt and you can smell it.

The carbonation is lively, but it's more zesty than prickly on the tongue as it's bottle-conditioned bubbles are quite fine. Medium bodied.

The flavor is malty but not sweet, with a combination of spice and sublime alcohol and herbal hops that balance its caramelish and toasty side. Part of it's malty 'sweetness' may be due to the addition of brown sugar to the kettle. It finishes mainly dry with some lingering toasty and nutty malt, and a smear of grassy, herbal, and almost licorice-like hops.

Quite enjoyable!

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: medium amber with red-orange tint; fat head of wonderful foam

S: herbal hops, some earthy/woodsy notes

T: woodsy, some sharp spices; tangy yeast, muted sweetness, bittering hoppiness but also some very wine-like characteristics

M: chalky, dry, medium-bodied but very crisp and fresh

O: this is almost like the red ale of farmhouse ales - a delight for a summer's day on the farm, but with some depth and heart

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Photo of beerphilosopher
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't know that I trust the French, and I am even more unsure if I trust a French beer ... based on past experience, but here goes with the Gavroche. Pours a sparkling, dark amber red color with a really thick, dense light tan head that lasts and lasts. So fa, so good. Nose is quite malty, but flirts with a strong hop presence. Carries a nice fruity scent as well. Smells quite rich and earthy. Palate is slightly biting with a malt assertiveness up front. Rich and fruity without being too sweet. Make no mistake, there is substantial hop flavors here, balancing out the maltiness quite well. Alcohol is present and detectable. This beer is medium-bodied and finishes quite dry, thanks to the hops. I'm really quite impressed with this beer in every regard. A very good Biere De Garde ... almost a Belgian Saison bred with a German Bock if I were to describe it in comparisons. I like it, I say! My beret off to the French for this one.

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Photo of Brad007
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber color with streaks of blonde. Thick, frothy head that greets the eyes.

Aroma has a bit of spice and a bit of funk as well upfront. Otherwise, very clean.

Taste? Crisp with a slight hint of spice and fruit. Very clean profile. Alcohol is barely noticeable. Not much else beyond the flavors mentioned.

Mouthfeel is full of carbonation with lingering spice and fruit. Warms the throat.

An interesting take on the biere de garde style. Easy to drink and enjoy but beyond that, nothing really complex to report about.

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Photo of dave750
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hazy deep red color with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Topped by a tall, thick red-brown head that lasts a resectable amount of time. The smell of raisins arrives first closely followed by apples, yeast, and bread dough. Fades with an alcohol zip.
Bold bitter hops, roasted malt and caramel initial taste. Minty, herby hops and a pleasing tartness along with a sharp alcohol bite emerge at mid-taste and continue to the finish. Bread dough joins in as flavor fades. Alcohol warmth and bitterness strengthen late. Medium body with excellent carbonation and balance.
A complex, well balanced beer that is a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of putnam
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tawny orange. Active poof of noisy white on top. Aromas of spiced, dessicated chunks of nectarine and tangerine. Forest resins, vanilla, gravy. Big mouthfuls of fizzy fruits are bound tightly with dry wood tannins. Brandied, boozy, dried red and yellow fruits are abundant. Glazed with burnt sugars. Packed with powdery, dry, sweet brown spice tannins. Dry vanilla husk flavors infuse the dusty, floury finish.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the distinctive little brown bottle into my tulip glass. A slow and steady pour gives way to thick head. The beer is a golden pink color with good clarity. The rest of the beer, still in the bottle, appears to have a lot of yeast floating in suspension.

The aroma is slightly sweet, earthy, and the yeast reminds me of a Belgian.

Flavor is really nicely balanced between sweet and bitter. It's similar to a Belgian strong pale or saison but neither as dry nor highly carbonated. A little bit of tart and sour like a green apple but not puckering.

Mouthfeel is nice with medium body, medium carbonation, and not too heavy in any one trait. Like I said, nicely balanced.

Drinkability is better than I expected for the style. Alcohol is well-hidden and it would be enjoyable whether it was 80 degrees or snowing.

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Photo of jellikit
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange. Hazy. Medium, foamy white head. Sticky lacing.

S: it's hard to say for sure as I am sitting in a pub/pizza joint. So, melted cheese and greasy meats? I pick up notes of caramel and butterscotch. Prunes.

T: uh..liquid fantastic ness. Light saison flavors. Apricot. Cherry. Light funkiness.

M: high carbonation. Medium body. Dry.

O: yum.

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Photo of shertz
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Nonic Pint Glass. Got this at a local bottle shop for $4.

Looks-Popped the cap and foam roared out. Poured about 3-4 finger head...Nice. Caramel in color with lots going on inside. Very nice appearance.

Smell-Very fruity. Cherries and plums dominate. Just a delight to smell.

Taste-Got that fruity taste in first sip, with some cherries prominent. Some bready malts balance this out. Very nice taste.

Mouth-Pretty carbonated. Alcohol is hard to find.

Drinkability-Very nice. I realize it is 8.5%, but I wouldn't know it if they hadn't said so. Very nice.

Final Thoughts-This is a great beer that I really can't compare to anything I've had before. Seek this one out and enjoy something that comes from France.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.34/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge initial head that disappates towards the end of the lass. Retention is decent. Color is moderately clear amber.

Smell is wonderful. Phenols of apricots and plum come out intensely with a touch of clove. As the beer warms up a nice hint of black current pulls through.

Taste has a good amount of residual sweetness. Raisin, toffee and a touch of fruity esters namely apricot and plum provide an underlying complexity that makes each sip more and more though provoking.

Residual sweetness on the palate with a touch of creaminess.

This is a damn good beer. I don't notice the 8.5% abv, I drank this beer as fast as I would a 4% abv kolsch or hefeweizen.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle, capped. One of my favorite styles so I am excited to try. I pop the cap and it explodes! Second time in as many weeks. Pours out a dark orange, honey color with a huge head that lasts and is tan in color. Slightly cloudy as I am sure the yeast was mixed in after that explosion.

Smell is dead on BdGarde. Dusty yeast with some hints of earth and orange peel. Maybe a little lemon and honey mixed in with a dash of mushroom. Very lively in the mouth. Dry yeast and some tangy sour notes mix. Pretty long and complex which takes me by suprise. Medium to medium heavy in terms of body. Sponge cake, clove and other spices are present as well. Although the flavors are great, it could be a bit more complex. I say that but as it warms and settles, the flavors to gain complexity. I love the dry ending. Aftertaste has some great grassy hop notes. My favorite part.

I am really enjoying this beer. One of the reviews that I read stated to drink this at cellar temp and I agree 100%. A lovely beer.

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Photo of pkalix
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very heavy, durable glass bottle (12oz?), pours a hazy reddish orange with creamy foam topping. looks different but i can appreciate the
smells like a higher powered malty ale, a little sweet....
sweet and fruity at the front, an over-ripe fruitiness midway and a little bitter at the end. tastes a little wine-y too- the over-ripe fruitiness is a product of that wine-y taste. it even sems to have a little 'kriek" in it.
overall, not bad. i understand the pride that goes into making (most) a product and i enjoy all the different styles for what they are. this is a good beer.

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Photo of scottford
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a bottle at a Cora in Strasbourg. Best by date: 12.11.15

Pours a hazy copper - almost hazelnut - shade of brown with 2-3 fingers of an off white head.

Smells similar to that of a Belgian tripel, just toned down. Those spices do tend to stick out though.

There's barely any taste on the front of the tongue. The most predominant taste in this beer is a slight "twang" in the back of your mouth. It's not unpleasant... just different. It's more malt-forward, with those spice notes being downplayed significantly.

Feels very smooth on the palate.

Overall, this is a very good beer and at 8.5% alcohol I really have no idea where they're putting it. This is a good and filling beer.

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Photo of Todd
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle. No freshness date. Labeled a special bottle fermented ale. Strange profile of some kid with a cap and scarf. Very French.

Appearance: Dark red/brown with a nice off-white, sticky, creamy lace head comprised of various bubble sizes. Colour reminds me of real cherry juice.

Smell: Rather clean smelling with a really faint tartness and light malt toasted aroma. Perhaps a bit herbal and earthy in the nose too.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel (from the lively carbonation) upfront. Medium bodied. Very herbal, slightly medicinal, spice flavour in the first sip; ginger-like. This is followed by a abrupt crispness and sharp, quick, hop bitterness. It wants to be tart, but is held back. The brew then settles into a slightly toasted (a bit roasted) malt character with strong coffee-milk-like flavours and mild caramel notes at the end (more like malted milk). Malt sweetness is oddly creamy, lacto-like. Finishes with the later on the palate.

Notes: One of the more interesting brews to have blessed my fridge in a long time. So complex and distinct.

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
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!

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Photo of Kensai
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, never thought I would fall in love with a French beer, but here I am!

This is definitely one of my favorite ones and I'm looking forward to trying more of this 'Bière de Garde' style.

The bottle is dark and sturdy, one of the best I've ever seen for a beer. When you pour it you see its beautiful orange-brown color and a healthy rich foam. The smell is sweet earthy.

Take a sip and you realise this is an unusual beer, not your average lager or ale. The taste is very complex, not at all bitter. A sweet malty aftertaste is really what I like in beers and Gavroche delivers exactly that.

With an ABV of 8.5% you are above average for this style of beers so be warned if you consume many in a row...

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a Hennepin glass

Looks like: Dark Amber, heavy head, excellent retention, pretty lacing

Smells like: Cereal grains, (bready, sourdough, oatmeal, wheaties), yeasty (just a hint of banana) and hops (herbal, rosemary a bit of mint)

Tastes Like: Very subtle beer, it's hard to make out individual flavor notes. Hints of caramel and molasses, banana like yeast flavors and dry lemon peel hop flavors balance this beer out very nicely, just a hair of peppery alcohol. It creates a delicious and integrated sort of "whole" character to the beer.

Feels like: Dry, astringent, cleansing, snappy carbonation

Drinks like: For eight and a half percent alcohol by volume, it's EXTREMELY drinkable.

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Photo of carpezytha
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish copper, with hefty cream colored head that slowly dissipates leaving almost no lace.

S: Cedar, malt, forest floor. Some saddle leather.

T: Interesting combination of woodiness, malt, a light barnyard note, and malt. Some sweetness that is quite well balanced by the yeast and hop notes. Even some leather which was a plus in this beer. The dried fruit is there but well hidden.

M: Jaunty, light but not thin.

D: Having never heard of this beer, I was pleasantly surprised. Well done; this is a daily drinker, not so precious that you have to savor every drop, but keeps rewarding with a complex array of notes. I did not see any yeast residue but the last glass poured definitely had more of a yeasty note than the first.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Gavroche has a very thick, fizzy, quickly-dissipating, cream-colored head, an opaque, red-orange, bubbly appearance, with considerable lacing left on the glass. The aroma is strong, sweet, sour, yeasty, and even nutty. Taste is of sweet, yeasty, sour bread, bread crust, grain husk, alcohol, light fruits, and somewhat harsh bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy,and Gavroche finishes wet, heavy, and cloying. This is a "big boy beer", and it won’t be for everyone.


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Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
3.78 out of 5 based on 442 ratings.
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