Gavroche | Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

very good
239 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 239 | Ratings: 443
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The yeast taste predominates and it is more of a decent Blegium produced outside of France. Reminded me more of a Unibroue than a beer de garde, that flavour being understated. Quite drinkable, some grain and creaminess in mouthfeel.. Nice yeasty head and pleasant aroma.

 271 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thick patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, caramel, fruit, earth, and yeast aromas. Taste is much the same with bread, caramel, candied fruit, and cherry juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice fruit and caramel qualities that make this one tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

 598 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep red color with a fizzy cream colored head on top. The smell of the beer was pretty earthy to me I thought. There werre some light roasted notes and caramel on the nose. The taste of the beer was semi-sweet with a pretty strong bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was pretty good it had a medium body to it. Overall it's a decent brew from France.

 385 characters

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is a slightly hazy copper color and has some yeast particles are visible floating in suspension. It poured into a tulip glass with a three finger high foamy beige head that has good retention properties. A light amount of carbonation is evident.
S: Earthy aromas dominate the smell; there are notes of toasted malts, fruits and sweetness.
T: The taste is rather well balanced between malty sweetness and mild amounts of hop bitterness. There are notes of apples, caramel, grapes and yeast in the flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a little bit of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is quite drinkable due to its balanced taste and interesting flavors. I would definitely try this again.

 760 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With a lot of technique and ingredients taking this beer in several directions, the results are fairly simplistic. A Red Ale for sure, but some nuances that help its flavor and a few that seem lacking.

The beer's pour sure fits the bill- chestnut brown with a slight amber-red highlight. Creamy, lightly tanned foam crowns the beer and holds firm for the bulk of the session. Mostly clear, the beer has only the most modest of haze. Moderate on lace to showcase a clean malty character, this Red is on par with those from Ireland.

Boldly malty with caramel, toffee, bread crust, light nutty notes, and a bright freshly kilned barley flavor that brings out aromas of craker jacks candies. Slight estery notes remind me of apples and peaches for a slight fruity companion in scent.

Very malt-dominant yet not overly sweet. True malt flavor gives a rich taste of the bready to toffee flavors explained in aroma. Full flavored with just enough caramel sweetness to support the grain, wood, pecan, savory malts, fruity esters, and mild yeasty spice. All merge for a well rounded and effortless flavor profile.

Medium-full early but as the carbonation subsides, so does the creamy mouthfeel. This allows for a fleeting malt sweetness and allowing for a light woody and hoppy bitter finish of malty-dry character and soft malt linger. Very appealing procession across the surfaces of the mouth.

A very nice Red Ale but with unusual fruity notes, spicy notes, and more robust malt character than is expected. All these are welcomed as the influence of brewing traditions from Ireland, Belgium, England, and France converge.

 1,620 characters

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

750ml bottle, with one of the strangest, yet eventually simplest (thanks, honey!) cork enclosures that I have ever seen. A beer that apparently celebrates the lowly newsboy, and is also part of a seasonal gift pack available in Alberta, with one glass per bottle, which is two glasses too may, IMHO.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, silky, finely foamy off-white head, which leaves some random swaths of splattered fuzzy lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of bready, lightly biscuity pale malt, soused apple and pear puree, a bit of oily nuttiness, and some floral, earthy hops. The taste is somewhat sour bready caramel malt, middling earthy yeast, some well proffered orchard fruitiness, earthy, leafy, and somewhat spicy hops, and a rather subtle booze warming.

The bubbles are quite frothy, and a bit fizzy, the body medium-light in weight, and generally pretty smooth, nothing else taking further issue with the status quo. It finishes off-dry, the bready malt putting down roots, the yeast planning for their late spring vacation, the fruit aping in a somewhat garish manner, and the sole efforts of the drying alcohol almost appreciated by this point.

A beer redolent of the French countryside? You bet, unequivocally. The best part, however, is the relative lack of yeasty offsets, which usually seem to bleed over for this style, yet do us the favour of forgoing that altogether here, leaving us with a pale malty, kind of obscured boozy beau of a bevy, if you'll excuse my French.

 1,559 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out with a huge head that never gives up; the liquid underneath is a cloudy amber color; plenty of lacing action

Smell: Malty as a Marzen, though there is something vaguely vinous underneath

Taste: Very malty, up front, with a ton of caramel flavor; by mid-palate, there is a hint of wood, vinous flavor and yeast and those flavors add another dimension to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: I was really expecting something different from this brewery; this is not a bad beer, but it is very sweet and that aspect overwhelms the other things that could otherwise make this a more interesting beer

 669 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

33cl bottle served into a Gordon tulip in a cafe in France. Cost was 5 euro. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a four finger head of nice soft cream, great thickness, and wonderful retention for the high ABV. Colour is a clear gold.

Sm: Clean cream, bacteria, wood, maybe some pine, and barley. Mild in strength.

T: Wood (mainly pine I suppose), bacteria, some fringe esters (piney but fruity), and other tree-evocative notes I can't quite place. Complex if strange, but well built and balanced for what its trying to do.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but short of crisp or refreshing. A bit flat and muted. Not complementary of the flavours of the body.

Dr: High ABV is well concealed, drinkability is decent, and flavours are distinct. It isn't to my tastes, but fans of the flavours will enjoy it.

 796 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cellar notes: This has been kicking around for over a year and a half since my initial review. Bière de Garde was meant for storing, so let's see how this one survived.

Chunky sediment, red body. Apple tartness, followed by a dry bready sweetness. Strength is there, but not overt. Fairly one dimensional. Still not my cup of tea...

Original review:
So this obviously isn't a Flanders Red, the packaging is a little deceptive. 4-pack states that it's from the French part of Flanders, and the bottle says "French Red Ale". Easy to get confused, oh well...

Pours with alot of foam, that settles slowly and leaves lace. Hazy deep amber, suspended particles from bottle conditioning. Bready malt smell, a little earthy and sweet. Taste is a bit sweet also, and astringent in the aftertaste. Reminds me of a few euro lagers i've tried that were old. This has a bit more character though. As it warms, a little caramel comes out.

Mouthfeel is fairly full and malty, it's decent in that respect. I split one with a friend, then drank another later the same day, so it's drinkable.
Not worth the $9.99 a 4-pk. though...

 1,119 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a murky brown color ale with a super huge foamy head with good retention. Aroma of grainy malt is quite dominating with a light funky touch coming from the yeast. Taste is quite complex with some caramel malt that end up a bit dry with some sweetness and a light funky and bitter finish. Body is above average and alcohol is well hidden. Better the most take on this sometime ambiguous style.

 407 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at Sycamore - Columbia, MO.

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a two-finger head of bubbly, off-white foam.

S - Aroma was black cherries, sweet breads and some yeastiness.

T - Mild sour cherry flavor with a malty sweetness. Some toffee and a spicy bitterness added just enough bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a somewhat dry finish.

O - This was pretty tasty. Another great bottle find at Sycamore!

 478 characters

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

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, 1320 bottle coding. Pours very hazy/cloudy reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, apricot, cherry, pear, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance an complexity of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, apricot, cherry, pear, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast earthiness. A fair amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, cherry, apricot, pear, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately crisp, and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Biere de Garde style. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,488 characters

Photo of oberon
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoy the biere de garde style,this seemed to be out of that category in its traits.Poured a hazed lighter amber shade with a huge blooming white head that never settled.Aromas of pilsner malt with a faint leafy note,not really a whole lot going on.Flavors are dryish and lightly toasted,a bit of freshly baked bread in the finish.Does not seem that it could be 8.5%abv.,its rather light.Eh I was expecting more,there are many better of the style.

 456 characters

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!

 1,626 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruit, honey, caramelized malts, some Belgian yeast, some spices and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel, honey some fruit followed by an odd wild Belgian yeast flavor. The malt character is hearty and there’s a very mild hops presence but not much balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, not the best representation of style, not a beer that I would choose again as there are others that better in the style.

 811 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

 1,762 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge head (more than six fingers thick) that fades slowly and rockily. Amber color with a slight chill haze.

Malty aroma with classic Biere de Garde smells. Some mild perfume in the background.

Spicy and warming. The higher alcohol level is evident, but the puckering (slightly astringent) Italian-like spices balance this well. Overall, this is a malty beer with little notable hop. Solid body with a lower carbonation level than the head would indicate.

 458 characters

Photo of Jason
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge pale beige froth with a multi-sized bubbly rocky form. Sticks like a champ and hangs around courtesy of the active carbonation. Cloudy tawny amber hue blocks out any rays of light.

Sweet honey, berry tart fruitiness, chalky toasted malt and some earthy yeast make up the complex yet very inviting aroma.

Big musty palate with a mineral / earthy flavour throughout. Very crisp with an aged dry flavour. Slight tartness jumps in and tosses up a dried berry flavour. Lots of higher alcohols and yeasty flavours going around, spicy phenols dance around with suggestions of clove, ginger and dill. Malt character is very dry with a withered toasted grain flavour.

Must be served at cellar temperature, when it is too cold the phenols and mustiness is fierce. Very complex and a brew that is somewhat of an acquired taste also. This is definitely strong enough to pair up with pungent cheeses.

 901 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded ruby brown with minimal tan head. Nose is sugary, cherry, with a touch of wood. Flavor is smooth with a touch of wood somewhere in there and a slight bit of caramelized sugar. Feel is great. Nice effervescence and bubbly on the tongue. Drinkable, yes. Quite good and worth going to...maybe worth going to again.

 327 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

 811 characters

Photo of Tone
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy, orange/copper color. One inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight pale malt, hint of caramel malt, hint of hop, hint of wheat, hint of yeast, and slight alcohol. Fits the style of a Biere de Garde. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. Tastes of wheat, slight pale malt, sweet malt, hop, alcohol, hint of yeast, and a slight hint of metallic flavors. Overall, except for the metallic notes, a good appearance, body, and blend. Also, this was a more malty Biere de Garde than I've become accustomed to, but still good.

 605 characters

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

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a clear reddish orange amber with active carbonation. Very nice fine, two finger off-white head constantly renewed by carbonation. High retention and finally left massive lacing. Aroma is sour light fruit, cherry and apple with a faint sweet malt. Taste is quite different, light fruit; apples, pears and stone fruit. Slightly tart, but with a sweet caramel malt backbone. Very interesting. Finishes rather abruptly with crisp, slighlty oxidized fruit and sweet, slightly toasty malt. A slight hop kick in the finish. Light bodied, but active carbonation gives a pleasant spicey mouthfeel. Definitely hits all the Biere de garde notes with a bit of a Belgian yeast suggestion in the background. A tart but not overly sour ale I enjoyed this quite a bit.

 798 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed this one both in France and back her in the States. Nice deep, rich brown/amber color, capped with airy thick head. Very malty in aroma and taste. Dry finish with hint of sourness. Nice.

 199 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours an amber color with a two finger head. Some nice lacing develops during the session.

Smell: yeast, earthiness, and some fruit sweetness leaps from the glass.

Taste: yeast is quite prominent here. Some earthy and a hint of roasted tones come through. Apple and red grape sweetness provides some balancing. Bitterness is mild, and there is a hint of spiciness towards the finish. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: very crisp with some finishing dryness. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is long as the yeast and earthiness seem to linger on the tongue longer than the fruity sweetness.

Drinkability: a nice slow sipping beer where one bottle is enough in a session, but I could see having a bottle several nights in row. Give this one a try.

 762 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, that's a clumsy way to keep a cork in the bottle. I'm referring to the top of the 750 ml bottle that I drank omn my ownlast night. On to the beer;

Clean amber colored topped by an inch thick of foam. The lacing it leaves is spotty. The nose is different from what I'm used to, primarily because I don't drink the Bière de Garde style often. Strawberry and dry earthy caramel are the aromas showcased.

Flavor is very dry, but complex. The first part of drinking it yields dry caramel and chocolate powder on the tongue. Once you get past that first stage (6-7 ounces) it becomes very earthy. Fruit esters come out of nowhere as the dry chocolate note dies off. Hints of strawberry as the beer warms. As for the mouthfeel, it is a medium bodied beer with a smoothish texture and hidden alcohol.

I liked this beer, but this type of beer I would need to be in the mood for. The earthy flavor really hits you hard.

 920 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
3.78 out of 5 based on 443 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.