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Gavroche | Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre

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Very Good
453 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: 453 |  Reviews: 241
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impulse purchase on this bottle, a very strange corking system!

Deep, rich amber with a thin, tan head. The head was composed of loose, large bubbles and is easily regenerated upon swirling. This is definitely a decadent looking beer, very clean and lots of yummy lacing.

This beer doesn't have much of a nose, very straight forward sweetness from the malt. There is very little spice or bittering contrast and there is an almost unnoticeable alcohol bite. I would have liked more of the beer's rich character found in the taste and appearance to present itself in the nose.

A very hearty malt bill that coats the palate with deep flavors. There is a subtle bitterness in the aftertaste that reminds me of coffee and tobacco. Flavors are clean and well defined, there is almost no uncertainty that you're drinking a beer that prides itself on a classical french beer style.

Very bubbly with a light, bitter aftertaste. This beer is quite sweet, but does pack a small punch with its generous alcohol bite. The aftertaste is not unwanted and easily washed clean by the tremendous amount of carbonation.

I'm glad I bought this beer, it was quite straightforward and generic. However, it did highlight on things that I enjoy in a beer, such as a rich, sweet malt and bubbly carbonation. I would drink this beer again, but would also need to be in a specific mood.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I ALWAYS forget "unfiltered," "unpasturized," "bottle-conditioned," and "farmhouse" is really just a suggestion to open the bottle over a sink. Lost a solid two sips to violent carbonation. What I did manage to get into my Goose Island stem was a nice dark amber soda color with several fingers of egg-white head that laces down to a nice film.

Nose is rich malt and a very subtle barn-like earthy/herbaceous note along with a touch of alcohol.

A sip is creamy with nice medium carbonation. Dark fruits, caramel malt, a hint of earthy funk finishing with more delicate berry flavor. Alcohol was pretty hidden, in my opinion.

Very solid beer, nice malt body that isn't too sweet and just a touch of the earthy funk.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Gavroche, charming in name and association with Les Miserables, is a strong beer (8.5% ABV) that comes with a heavily malty nose. Molasses and caramelized brown sugars dominate here, along with vanilla, wet wheat, chocolate malt, and milk chocolate aromas.

On the tongue, the beer gives an immediate shock of cognac-like flavors, where alcoholic sugars with not-so-subtle hints of date, raisin, and wood-grain alcohol wash lovingly over the tastebuds. Molasses and brown sugar join the foray with reckless abandon, and port wine caramels round out the assault. The brew is quite carbonated--medium-heavy--and the fizziness unfortunately seems to shorten the length of the malty aftertaste. Mouthfeel medium-light.

Overall, the flavors present in Gavroche are excellent, the brewers having obviously chosen top-quality ingredients and used them liberally. The brew's one weakness is its high carbonation, which, in addition to slightly robbing the taste, makes the beer feel more like a soft drink on the tongue and soft palate. Still, this is a brew to be reckoned with. Well worth trying.

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Photo of ADZA
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recommendation from Joel and it pours a golden copper hue with beautiful carbonation that leaves a three finger creamy head with dimples that stays and leaves heaps of creamy clingy lacing,the smell is prunes,raisins,boiled candy and dried apricots,the mouthfeel is abit light for my liking and only just above light bodied but very sessionable and has tastes of raisins,maple syrup,apricots,bready malts and finished with a candy sweetness and overall a very enjoyable drop with its high ABV nowherre to seen but not the best out there but nice netherless.

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Photo of RuudJH
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Top fermented french beer. It's actually the first time I have a beer from France.
From a country where it's grapy drinks all the way, you just don't expect malt.
33 cl bottle.

Huge beige head on a dark amber colour, clear with a good amount of carbonation.

Smell and taste have character of roasted malts and caramel.
It's bittersweet, orange peel.
Very well balanced beer: bitter and sweet. Strong flavour.
Refreshing too.

Not at all a bad beer.

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Photo of harrymel
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Unsure of bottle date, but purchased by me in October, 2010.

A: Foamed over immediately upon prying open. Lost maybe three ounces to the foam. Then this pours a fiery copper ale with four fingers of peanut head which deflates to a broken dome. Excellent clarity. Sheeting lace.

S: Sweet malts, hints of caramel, some astringency, some alcohol. Woody, maybe a little oxidized. Hints of tea notes.

T: Sweet with tea and herbal flavors. Some nice tawny malts are subtle, but available.

M: Medium body with lively carbonation.

O: The first time I had this beer, I hated it, this is quite nice actually.

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Photo of IPA35
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby amber. Nearly white head. The beer spouts out of the bottle, be careful and pour directly after opening!

Smells fruity, tart and malty. And something most on BA would probably describe this as medicinal.

This is a sweetish, spicy (the alcohol I think) beer. It is indeed quite earthy and the flavour is pretty unique. If it was not a French beer I would think it is Belgian for sure. A little but of tartness too and it lack in the hop department. (EDIT:) The aftertaste has some raspberry in it.
Enjoyable and very interesting.

The mouthfeel is medium, this is not a watery beer but it isn't oily or anything. The carbonation is not too strong either.

Overal an interesting beer from an interesting style.

(Had this WITH the yeast, their website suggests serving it without the yeast!)

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Photo of Macca
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
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 -16.6%
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 -6.6%
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 -17.2%
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%
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 +2.9%
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 -25.1%
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 +3.2%
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 +7.9%
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 +0.5%
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 +1.1%
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 -6.9%
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 beer...it 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 +7.1%
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 +7.7%
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 +12.9%
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 +6.3%
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!

 1,179 characters

Photo of wajacobs
3.26/5  rDev -14%
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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Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 453 ratings
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