Gavroche | Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

very good
445 Ratings

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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Ratings: 445 |  Reviews: 239
Photo of Macca
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a cloudy dark amber colour with 2 centimetres of a very thick beige head.

A sweetness to the nose. It remind me of Maltesers. Getting some dark fruits as well.

That Malteser taste really comes through on the palate. There is a medicinal element as well. Yeasty spiciness. Malted milk characteristics.

High carbonation. Medium bodied.

A very interesting beer. I liked it.

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Photo of LazyL
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A hazy rusty dull copper with an enormous soft tan foamy head. There is an slight dome of foam trying to resist spilling over the edge of the tulip glass. There is a malty alcohal scent and some nut notes on the nose. The taste is earthy with some honey and a slight boozyness. The mouthfeel is heavy and somewhat dry. This is not as good as I remember.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Gavroche pours a beautiful glowing orange color that has a copper hue in the center and a more yellowish hue on the edges. It decants very clear, aside from a bit of yeast that I let in with my pour. Despite being French, the billowing head does not immediately back down and when it inevitably retreats it leaves nice lacing.

The aroma is very unique. It is sweet, vaguely tart and slightly spicy. This beer really smells like a Belgian ale, which makes sense given the area of France that it was made. The sweetness has a definite caramel sort of vibe to it and when I put my nose deeply into the glass I also get some grassy hops. The yeasty esters really dominate the nose on this one though.

The flavor carries a bit more malt than in the aroma. It has a very grainy sort of malt character that is accented by caramel sweetness and a toffee. The hops taste of dry grass and meld with a slight earthy spice note that I am guessing is from the yeast. I am not getting nearly as much tartness as I picked up in the aroma, but there is still some present. Alcohol is definitely noticeable.

This beer really shines in the mouthfeel department. It is on the lighter side of medium with a lively amount of carbonation that is right up there with that of a fine Belgian ale. The finish is wonderfully balanced leaving just a bit of toffee and some grassiness on the palate.

Overall I thought this was a very well made beer. It was not anything mind blowing, or overly exciting, but it had plenty of great flavors and drank very well.

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Photo of Franz4
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice

A- open the bottle and a champagne like explosion covers the counter. What I get into the glass has a robust head that settles rather quickly. Color is a translucent reddish brown. Explosion leads me to believe there may be more to this bottle than intended...

S- has some wine-like notes to it, grapes with a touch of toffee in the background.

T- Taste is of dark fruits that have turned. I'm getting dates and the taste of fig newtons.

M- Highly carbonated, I'd like to try a bottle of this that's not quite so explosive.

O- this is a "meh" beer for me, it could be the style, or it could be the bottle, not sure yet, but I guess I'll just have to try a few more to find out.

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Photo of madpentzer
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed off notes from a tasting at Beer U: Craft Beer Around the World at Stone Brewery.

A - Pours a nice copper color with a finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - Smells sweet with some sour notes in there. Also, picking up some bread. Some funk in there, too. Probably the yeast.

T - Nice malt with a little bit of hop bite. Also, some funky sour notes, but not tart like a lambic.

M - Great carbonation and very easy to drink for a beer of its strength.

O - I really liked this beer. Champagne-like effervescence and great balance between malt and funk makes this one of the better examples of its style.

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Photo of Matt1516
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure if it created anticipation or nearly gave me a heart-attack but struggling to open the bottle with its banded cork is quite an experience.

Best Before: 14/12/12

Poured into a tulip--medium to strong carbonation provided a frothy cream-coloured head for 3 minutes on an amber base.

Smells of white bread and yeast. Creamy mouthfeel.

Malty taste with sourness (a little banana) and a crisp, dry carbonated finish. You can definitely taste the alcohol but it doesn't overpower.

An interesting sipping beer, but a too strong to say it's highly drinkable.

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Photo of revdrjbob
2.84/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I think this was my first Bière de Garde, and I had to BA search the beer beer before finding that out. Brewed by the same Fenchies that do 3 Monts, which is awesome.
Poured into goblets a rich clear bronze with a huge white rocky head that clung to the glass the whole way down. Very Belgian indeed.
Aroma... well initially, none, then malt and yeast, a bit dank and cellar like funky, then back to the malt again. Very little to no hop aroma, but that expected.
Initially the taste was a bit lacking as well, not very Belgian (or French) for that matter, quite malty and toasty, and not really what I was expecting. But, the description of the style says that hits the mark, so clean cut really. Mouth feel was good, plenty of carbonation, and not too hot for it's 8.5% abv.
Overall a nice introduction to the style, but I think I'll overlook it next time at the bottlo.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked bottle, with an interesting thick steel wire running over the cork and causing it to nearly bifurcate as it bulges around it.

Pours dark sunset orange with 3 fingers of off-white head. As it sits in the glass, the head begins to rise and forms a mushroom of dense thick foam that rises nearly another 2 fingers from the bottle. Quite impressive, I have only seen a few beers that can achieve this. Truly outstanding.

Smells of sweet toasty grains paired with something lactic and fruity that reminds of or Flemish style beers. No hops in the nose. Smells interesting and pleasing.

I had to take a few mouthfuls of foam just to reach this liquid, this head didn't want to fall. Alcoholic medium-toast malts greet the tongue, and as they don't taste like the generic and often used crystal malts, this singular flavor is better than just 'simple'. Maybe at one time hops were present, and I think I taste the sweet sticky remains of their flavors. This beer has a slight yeast character as well, but overall the interesting sweet grain flavors (with some obvious alcohol) make up the flavor. Hard to describe, easy to enjoy.

The mouthfeel is bursting with carbonation, which (in my experience) is consistent with this style. As the carbonation calms down, this beer reveals itself as a medium to full bodied ale with a nice bit of smoothness.

Conclusion: Totally different from the other Biere de Garde that I have tried, but very good. I am intrigued by this beer, and am happy that I picked it up without knowing what it was.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AROMA- Rich, thick, maltiness,- molasses, caramel, Steen's cane syrup, with a big black cherry ester, herbal hop is restrained but noticeable, grape skin and apricot notes, ever so faint musty malt character

APPEARANCE- Gigantic out of control rocky biege head, deep, dfark bronze beer with slight chill haze, thick frothy lace.

FLAVOR- Deep candy-sweet malt base is well-attenuated and kept in balance by assertive alcohol and a punchy hop bitterness. Big dried cherry ester. Big perfumey herbal hop hit in the finish lingers.

MOUTHFEEL- medium-light bodied and chewy, lively carbonation, alcohol numbs palate a bit.

OVERALL- Comes off almost like an American Strong or British Old Ale, very bombastic for biere de guarde, but tasty none the less. Big but balanced, intense, but not really complex. Would probably make a great cellaring project.

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Photo of theopholis
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Body is a clear, deep amber color, the color of old honey. A 3 finger off-white head slowly settles, leaving behind a fair amount of lacing.

Smell: I poured this when it was quite cold. The aroma was very subdued. I did get a lot of graininess and some maltiness. As it warmed, it did start off-gassing a lot more complexity. Toffee, vinous grape and cherry with hints of pepper.

Taste: A very pleasant, soft maltiness with soft malt sweetness. Some toffee on the back of the tongue, along with a hint of vanilla. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Medium body, decent carbonation.

Drinkability: Nice. I will definitely be coming back for more.

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

Poured into a Tulip. The code on the bottle and cork is 19-19, which means?

A: Straight up copper with an ever so slight haze. A big, cloud-like copper-tinged cap slowly falls to a patchwork pillow. Leaves generous chunks of lace.

S: When cold the aroma is nothing to write home about. Add some warmth and things get interesting. Toffee dominates no matter the temp. Vinous grape and cherry aromas give a hint of red wine, while a glint of pepper adds extra interest. A light lemon sourdough funk rounds things out.

T: The taste doesn't quite live up to the nose, but letting the beer warm helps. Bittersweet toffee is front and center. A lemon, pepper and coriander spice adds good balance to the toffee. A sourdough taste comes on late. Alcohol adds some heat as the beer goes down, but its flavor is well masked.

M: The body is quite light for the ABV. The beer is dry and slightly puckering. The carbonation feels about right.

D: The nose and appearance are this beer's strong suits. If the flavor had lived up to the nose, the score would be even higher. Overall, I'm very happy I grabbed this.

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Photo of Glory
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the kind of beer I buy when I don't feel like going all the way to my local beer shop..I buy the Gavroche a the supermarket for 5.99 and each time, the cashier has to call someone to double check the price because it never scans properly. Anyways...its a 750 ml bottle and hits a nice 8.5 ABV.

Poured in a Magnum Cabernet Riedel it gives out this great redish copper like color. It's a little hazy and the foam is thick creamy and pretty tight ! Hangs out for a while too !

The smell is a bit odd, I get some sort of burnt plastic smell, kinda rubbery or Sharpie pen. Beneath that is caramelised Malt and a Metalic smell as well... no fruits no spices !

The first few seconds is just a big rush of carbonation going in every directions of your mouth. Then it turns to a weird acid feeling and ends up leaving your palate with a taste of cheese bread sticks. It's a beer on lees and I taste that alot.
That metalic smell is also in the taste...
Its not a bad beer, It's not a great does the job pretty nicely.
Will buy again even though I'm not having the time of my life with it...
I'll probably try to age one just for fun !

Cheers lads


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Photo of rudzud
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was bought on a whim from Julio's to fufill my "mix a six". Quite glad to see I picked a winner, however, this bottle errupted like a volcano when I opened it. Immediate fountain and lost atleast half the bottle. Damn shame.

A - Poured, or tried to, into my Duvel tulip. A deep muddy burnt rust colour pour with a nice 2 finger head that faded into a good white blanket leaving some sticky side lacing.

S - Some nice dark fruity esters as well as a light musty aroma. There are some nice sweet malt and yeast notes too.

T - This reinforces the nose. There are the nice fruit notes (raisins?) as well as yeast qualities, however, there is some definate malt sweetness here too. Not getting any hop qualities, but thats fine.

M - Nice mouthfeel here, not fully low carbonation, just enough to keep it from being syrupy or heavy.

D - Stuff is quite drinkable. The 8.5% is just slightly noticeable. I'm sure a nonexploded bottle would shine a little better than this but it was still a tasty drink.

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Photo of foogerd
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark amber/peach colored body, some light orange hues in the middle. Small eggshell head with nice lacing.

S- Sweet nutty flavor with malts, some booze. Subdued nose.

T- Light fruits with nuts, some yeast, lots of stuff happening, tastes lively.

M- Creamy, thick, and full of carbonation.

D- Very tasty and the alcohol is expertly intergrated. Would love to try more examples of the style from this brewery.

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

This strong ale is darker than I thought it would be. I expected something pale, golden, and clear. What I got was something the colour of an average IPA - deep, orange/amber with some brown. There was lots of tall, creamy head, requiring me to pour it in stages. The head had great retention. It was there for the whole glass, and left some large patches of lacing.

The smell, initially, is of yeast, alcohol, and fruits like apple and peach. As it warms up, it releases smells of dates, liqueurs, and must. It started reminding me of Rochefort 10.

The taste is of yeast and the aforementioned fruits, as well as raisin. There's also a bit of something like... wet dog? At least the dog wasn't a very distasteful one. The aftertaste is slight.

Carbonation is crisp and a bit interesting... the tingle of it is at the leading edge of each sip. You can feel it move like a wave through the whole motion / action, from tongue tip to throat. The finish is slightly dry.

It was a pretty nice beer, with the smell being better than the taste. I may get another someday, but it didn't make a really memorable connection with me... other than the glass and how good it looked in it!

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Photo of wajacobs
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at ABC in Long Beach.
It pours a deep amber with a big lasting white head. The aroma has a faint soapy fragrance and cellar musty-ness that gives way to some nice floral hoppy note The flavor is mineraly with just a slight grassy sweetness up front that gives way at the end to a tart acidity. Gavroche is an extremely light and refreshing beer with little CO2 explosions that contantly tickle the senses.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impossibly corked with just a contorted nub of a cork scrunched down with a sort of packing crate staple gripping the bottle lip. Weird. I used a screwdriver to pry off the band and to inch the nub up enough I could grip and pull with my hand. Most awkward bottle closure ever.

Poured all head and took a long time to settle down (and each subsequent glass refill again erupted into all head, even when just the remnants of the bottle were being poured in the end). Color is reddish orange (or dare I say simply amber, both unique and yet not). Smell and taste have hints of caramel and some very mild hints of orange or other fruits. Mouthfeel was average.

Hey, I'm glad I tried my first French Red Ale, I recognize the quality and enjoyed it, BUT, the truth is it's not much more than just any beer and in a blind taste test with the head already settled down I would have had no idea of this beer's foreign pedigree and just scored it a little above average.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle,

A: Pours red amber with an almost gushing off-white head, thick lace, good retention.

S: Crystal malt, hay, fermented oranges and melon. Peppery notes of Belgo-French yeast.

T: Crystal malt dominated, quite a bit hoppier than the usually biere de garde. Light acidity, malty but well attenuated.

M: Medium-bodied, dry, ashy at times, prickly carbonation.

D: Not really what I was expecting in this style. Has its good points, but not something I'd revisit.

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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.

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Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perfectly clear reddish orange with a decent enough head. The aroma is fruity and deeply nutty with some root herb. The hoppiness is both bright and earthy. The aroma is rye bread and some mild fruity sweetness. Overall this beer is nicely dry and has some complimentary pear and peppery notes. The carbonation is lively.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber color. Slightly hazy. Fluffy head.
S: Spicy. Caramel maltiness.
T: Toffee/caramel maltiness. Some esters. Warming alcohol.
M: Well carbonated. Smooth. Finishes clean, long. Not too sweet and not too dry.
O: A very drinkable beer. Not super complex, but has some interesting malt-derived flavors.

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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.

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Photo of NightINgale
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle...

A - Deep amber body, almost clear. Beautiful white pillowy head. Great head retention and some lacing.

S - Smells very malty, with strong caramel and bread notes. Hints of plum and raisins. Some yeast.

T - Tastes malty, with strong caramel, plum and chocolate notes. A bit of earthy hops and some bitterness, which lingers on for a while. Bready in the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, with some moderate carbonation. Some alcohol presence, some warming sensation. Quite smooth, though a little spicy on the tongue.

D - Drinks pretty well for its abv. This beer definitely has enough flavour and body to be enjoyable. Reminds me of other beer styles, like red ale, brown ale and dubbel.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a more indepth review but I lost it to IE's treacherous lack of form saving. Serves me right for not using Firefox.

Appearance: Overwhelming head that overflowed the glass, however as a result the head was abundant, lace filled and well sustaining. The body is a cloud of yeast and carbonation.

Smell: Didn't take much warming, but it helped it's case. Very fruit as grape, citrus and yeast filled caramel malt make their presence known. I'm catching a slight acidic tone though.

Taste: Starts with a abundantly citrus mix of orange, lemon and tangerine backed by the mild malt and large yeast presence that defines the beer. It then turns to a slight kick of fruity hops that have a slight acid and solvent alchohol taste to it.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation and transistioning are exceptional, and the alchohol taste seems to cleanse the palet leaving only a fruity yeast aftertaste. Only downside is it is a little bit dry.

Drinkability: I find it very difficult to rate "high class" beers high in this catagory. The yeasty dryness and big carbonation really hamstrings it here. Still, no bloating issue and I had not problems getting it down.

Final Thoughts: This beer, and I suspect this style reminds me very much of trappist beer, specfically Chimay Red and Blue. It's nice, but it's not something I'd regualarly buy. I would recommend it though.

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Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
3.78 out of 5 based on 445 ratings.
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