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 ChiSox05
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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Photo of Mdog
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
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!

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.94/5  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.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. The liquid is released from the bottle a light amber color with a very tall three finger head that sits well above the brew, not wanting to fall at all. The clarity on this is outstanding, and a moderate to full carbonation is seen advancing towards the top of my glass. The aroma is interesting. I get a mild musty earthyness, with a light tartness that reminds me of cherry, along with a faint tannin-like spiceyness. I like how these all work together to round each other out. Flavors are much different from the aroma. There are lots of fruity notes of dry raisin to almost fig, with a solid musty earthy undertone. As it warms, a spicy cherry-like character comes through to add a nice complexity to it. There is definately a lot going on in this one. It is nice. The feel is moderate, with a very active carbonation. It is both filling yet light as I drink it. I just looked at the ABV, and there is only a hint of alcohol in the flavor of this one, but it blends well with the flavors that are there. I enjoy this brew.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am sampling this beer at room temp poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a bright amber with blush wine highlights. A fluffy and spongey off white head of 3 cm foams up even with an ultra gentle pour. Numerous fine streams of carbonation rise to the surface of the beer.
Aroma is some white grape and a bit of general funkiness and yeasty dough. I also get some sour cherry and a bit of winey booze.
The head is receding very slowly and remains at about 1 cm for most of sampling.
First sip reveals an average body with silky smooth texture and fine gentle carbonation that creates some tingle as I swallow the beer.
Flavor is generally sweet and funky with red grapes, cherries, and general fruit mixture. There is a bit of doughy yeast, some musty funk and some mild chocolate on the finish. I also get just a bit of peppery alcohol on the finish.
THe beer is an easy drinker and is tasty, I was hoping it would be a little more sour going in, but make no mistakes, this is an interesting and tasty brew. worth the couple $$ i paid for the bottle.

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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.

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

Poureda slightly hazy reddish-copper color with massive tannish head. No lacing. Smell is fruity and nutty, with moderate alcohol notes prominent. Taske is more fruits and nuts, with initial strong alcohol notes, that become less noticeable as the beer warms and is comsumed. Strong, vibrfant mouhtfeel with some hops showing through at the finish. An OK beer, just not really my style.

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Photo of dgallina
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce brown bottle. Labeled as a bottle-conditioned "French red ale." No freshness dating.

Poured clear reddish-orange with 1/3 glass of soapy foam, very good lace. Smells spicy with black pepper, yeast, and citrus fruits (lemon, orange). Flavor begins with sweet and slightly musty grains, develops a toasted center with metallic and peppery spice notes, finishes with caramel and strong alcohol sting. Medium-oily body with lots of carbonation, but decently balanced creaminess. An interesting, though not definitive, take on the biere de garde.

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

Cloudy hazy ruddy dark reddish tan topped with a tall densely packed bone colored headcap.

Tight fruity nose of red apples and cherry. Some dusty hay like scents.

First swigs: Light flavors of vanilla and red apples. Clean flavors. Airy and Earthy with hints of a mineral spiciness. Aftertaste is a a vanishing metallic hint.

Light feel with easy soft whispering carbonation. 8.5% ABV is hidden. Seems more like a Flanders red than a Biere de garde.
Last swigs:

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Photo of biegaman
2.4/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought expecting to be either very pleased or very disapointed. Unfrotunately, it was the latter. Foul smelling. Simply foul, yeast notes gone arye. Plain unattractive appearence, clouded and murky straw yellow. Looks polluted. Head diminished all but immediately. Mouthfeel is thin and flat, like warm soda. Alcohol fairly noticable. Flavour is generally distastful, lacking in any character. No saving grace in the flavour department, an odd blend on the palatte. Over ripened notes but of ... not sure what exactly. Drinking tihs beer was like trying to read fuzzy writting. Difficult and gave me a headache. Generally off balance, drinkability very low.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The color is almost red/brown with a slight tint in the head that has a little retention with a lacing that stays nicely. Sour wood, apple, cinamin, and plum are flavors making it more complex. This beer is fruity and then earthy with a slightly sour finish. It's woody with some suddle flavors. The mouthfeel is a little off, it's harsh and full of carbonation. Overall I wouldn't have another of these particular beers right away.

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Photo of xymyl
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color: Orange/gold with an ivory/white 1 finger thick head that lingers a long time, with very small bubbles.

Aroma: Sweet yeasty (slightly autolyzed) esters, peaches and pears, very faint caramel malt sweetness and a spicey dryness.

Taste: Hints of sweet fruit followed by dryness. The spice detected on the nose is barely present. Caramel and a very slight (not unpleasant) oxidized note.

Body and drinkability: Light to medium/light, easy to drik and quite enjoyable. The only downside might be the almost chalklike dryness that may surface now and then.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Peach-ish gold with a full pillowy light beige head and very nice active carbonation. Lightly spicy and sour malt aroma with some earthiness. An upfront dry tart fruit flavor hits you straight away; blueberries seem to come to mind and dominate. Fairly light bodied and airy due to carbonation levels with a dry tart finish.

Looked great, smelled good, tasted OK ...

Per label: "Unfiltered and Unpasteurized" & "Bottle Conditioned with Live Yeast"

(11.2 oz brown bottle with slim neck and phalic knob at top with "Brasserie De St. Sylvestre" embossed around the neck)

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Photo of clickpush
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: 33cl bottle to pint glass. Comes out with a slightly amber body and a big fluffy white head that leaves some nice lacings.

Nose: Very earthy hops, like grass, and some fruit notes from the malts. Yeast present too, combining with the alcohol to make a warm scent.

Mouth: Very alcoholic in flavor and honey sweet. The hops are pretty much cut out of the flavor, replaced by the bready taste of malt and yeast.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.05/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

11.2oz bottle, 4 pack for $10.99 at Merchants. Pours out to a sparkingly clear burgandy, although this is bottle conditioned and there is yeast in the bottom, it somehow evaded the pour. Forms a voluminous soapy head with superior retention and solid sheets of lace. The ose is a letdown. I was expecting a farmhouse ale and this is more like a Eurolager that was brewed in Greece or Spain...i.e-Damm and Ceres. Grassy hoppiness and alcohol and mild fusels sting the nose with odd phenolics indicative of a warm ferment. The mouthfeel is relatively smooth despite the high carbonation and has a medium-dense body and a semi-astringent finish. The taste is less than expected...peppery fusel alcohol, doughy middle, toast, way too much fact, the most of any beer in recent memory. Bitterness is medium strong and chemical in nature, like hop extract. Honestly, there really isn't much more here to describe.

Not a good beer..again reminds me of something Ceres would brew. Chemical, hot, boozy..this beer just sucks and I feel totally ripped off for buying a 4-pack of this.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.63/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Orange-red body, hazy yet homogenous. Big billowy head, this beer take a little while to pour. The head fades slowly, leaving a little lace. Smell is sweet malt and a little earthy, a touch of honey. Taste is sour with sweet bready malt and a little pepper. Bland, but also touches on cloying. I don't like it, too sweet, annoying. Mouthfeel is sharp but also a little buttery smoothness. I wouldn't consider getting this again.

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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 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.

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Photo of edskirk3
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with a friend of mine who's in a BOTM club. It's allegedly "from a traditional farmhouse brewery."

The head tries to shoot out of the glass as soon as I pour it. Very active carbonation going on. It takes me a little while to pour the whole bottle. It's a thick creamy head that takes on a soapy appearance as it dissipates. It sticks to the sides pretty well. The color, by the way, is reddish amber.

A few whiffs confirm this brew's farmhouse origins. It's a pungent, funky aroma. Nearly perfume, but not so much that it's overbearing. A stronger whiff reveals the solvent-like alcohol notes.

There's some light sweetness, and inhibited hop bitterness going on in the palate. The yeast almost dominates the taste, but not quite. It's a bit dry and crisp. And musty. And lighter-side-of-medium bodied.

Overall, Gavroche isn't bad. It would go well with some pungent cheese, as would most fermented French beverages I suppose. In fact, I can sense some earthy characteristics that seem familiar to me from whenever I've had a glass of wine. I wonder if they fermented this in a wooden vessel.

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Photo of wl0307
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BBE 30 Sept. 07, served lightly chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: an incredibly huge and cappuccino-like foamy beer head gradually builds up as the beer finds its way into the glass… very impressive indeed. The colour is dark reddish-brown, with a lively but not OTT carbonation.
S: an aromatic, hoppy and yeasty note arrives along with very lively scents of fruit-perfume, slightly-nutty and caramely maltiness, and dried-longan fruit tartness+ripe dark-cherry sweetish aroma; a touch of rummy-raisiny note stays firmly in the background with a bit of alcoholic boost. Pleasant and reasonably complex, but it could've been better without the slightly alcoholic and syrupy edge.
T: at the first sip the lively-fizzy body somehow hinders the immediate imagination of my tastebuds… At the second sip, the complex structure gradually reveals itself: black-cherry+longan-fruit's tartly-sweet flavour with a touch of (very) dark chocolate’s sour aftertaste arrives initially on the palate, followed by lightly sweet yet dryish malty savour; finished with a delicate hoppy bitterness and profound tangy-dryish aftertaste (reminiscent of wood-barrels), lingering quite well and leaving a tannic touch on both sides of the tongue…
M: a bit sharp and alcoholic mouthfeel at first, becoming more and more mellow as the carbonation decreases in strength, yet the slightly warmish mouthfeel remains throughout. Very soothing.
D: on the balance, this is a full-bodied ale and, to me, is more like a winter-warmer which I could play with—very satisfying and not to be consumed quickly. BTW, it's very thirst-provoking too, despite its strength...

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

The liquid is almost clear (the beer is bottle fermented) with a nice deep amber-brown shade. The finger-thick head is airy and beige, leaving a thick lacing.

The not-so-strong smell is malty with a sweet, nutty – earthy – fruity flavour. There are also some traces of alcohol and aroma hops.

The taste is earthy with mineral notes and a bit sour (like a very prudent Lambic). There are fruity notes of apricot and yeast. The aftertaste is a bit sweet with an almost British bitter-like bitterness and hoppy flavours of apricot and cherries.

The carbonation is very strong with small, almost sharp, bubbles. Fine for the style.

An pleasant and wily beer (the 8.5% alcohol isn't noticable at all!) with a interesting blend of Belgian and British flavours.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lives up to it's label with a reddish-brown hazy body under a big foamy tan head. Lace clings to the glass as it settles.

Smell: An interesting smell right away, musky malt and fresh orangey hops aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Like a porter in some ways. The malt is toasty and very full with some dried date flavor. But it thins toward the end with some metalic off-taste and alcohol coming through. There is alot of carbonation, enough to make me back off from drink more than a couple cups of this ale. And the alcohol, though pleasantly warming, might also be a limitation to the drinkability. Finishes dry and a bit sticky.

Drinkability: I could enjoy a couple of these at a session, and the off-notes aren't as noticable after you roll the bottle a bit and finish pouring.

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Photo of ggaughan
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared this bottle with my brother at UJ's on the Manatawny. The beer poured a hazy redish color into the glass with active carbonation and a medium tanish head. Based on the name it could be confused for a flemish sour or Flanders Red but it is really a Biere de Garde and that comes across in the taste and smell. The aroma is a clean an fruity (cherries, grapes, etc). The taste is a bit fruity with some good hop bitterness and carbonation. They did a good job of masking the high abv in this one. The beer has a medium body but due to the active carbonation, it is not overly drinkable, at least for more than one.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this one in my Westmalle glass, where it showed a lovely dark amber, brown colour and with a nice stable head.
Smell was pretty full and complex, with marmelade, honey and some woody notes. Some smokiness of the dark malts (munich?)
Taste was like the smell promised, malty, slightly bitter, and fruitiness like cherries and ripe dark fruits. The use of dark malts was apparent in richness and toasted notes of the brew. The body was a little too big for my liking.

This beer proves that breweries in France are also able to produce beers, that are not shameless copies of Belgian ones.

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