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 Philousa
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sits a cloudy tan, faintly red with a thin head. Tart characteristics dominate the nose with fruity esters, mostly cherry and grapefruit. Light and fruity taste, mainly strawberry and cherry, which turns green apple tarty. No evidence of hops in aroma or taste really, except for the mild bitterness at the end. On the watery side of the spectrum with a dry finish.

I had this at the Winter Kraftbrew Beer Fest in San Jose, which featured mainly porters, stouts, and winter warmers. When I tasted the Gavroche, I was reminded of the Sesame Street song "One of These Things is Not Like the Other". Despite my palate being somewhat muddled by the darker beers, I felt this was a bright, light beer that might be a good intro into Lambics. I'm not a fan of Lambics, but this is as close as I've come to one that I liked. Sweet fruit was balanced well with pale malt and the minimal amount of hops necessary to bitter the beer. Definitely open to trying again.

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A- Pours a clear amber. Massive tan head necessitates multi-stage pour. Fades slowly to a nice cap.

S- Lightly fruity tartness, a touch of earthy/mineral hopiness, and some bready maltiness.

T- Grape skins and cherries...twinge of tartness, and a moderate sweetness. A bit of an earthy and spicy hops.

M- Well carbonated. Medium feel. "Fine carbonation" creaminess effect. Very nice.

O- Quite good. Enjoyable on all fronts, and the 8.5% ABV is well concealed.

Future outlook: Glad to have tried, and enjoyed it, though I doubt I will be seeking it out again anytime soon.

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

I'd never had this one before, and decided to snag the last bottle on the shelf at my local proprietor.

Pours a hazy, ruddy reddish brown. Head is a light maple cream color. Moderate carbonation, which is faintly visible in this slightly cloudy brew.

Aroma is very woody, smelling of oak and light butterscotch. A slightly sweet, mild fruity scent is present as well.

Taste is more complex than I had expected. There's a butterscotch-like flavor here, which complements the aroma somewhat. The malty sweetness is complemented by a pleasant bitterness and slight tinge of acidity. Body is noticeable, and mouthfeel is reasonable -- not watery at all. Although this beer is relatively high in alcohol, it's hidden well and I wouldn't be able to guess at the ABV if I hadn't seen it already.

Overall, a tasty ale. If I hadn't read the label, I would have thought that this was either a Flemish sour or an Oud Bruin from its appearance. Definitely the most unique French beer I have had in quite some time. I would definitely pick this one up again.

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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.

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

A - Beautiful dark red that is clear with a lacey/foamy head

S - Bready, Nutty, good

T - Caramel notes dominate with a complementary breadiness that reminds me of great english ale.

M - Very high carbonation, light in body which was surprising for the malt characteristics.

D - Incredibly smooth, booziness in well "hidden". Definitely looking forward to trying brews from this French Brewery

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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!

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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.

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Photo of dbossman
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Muddy auburn and cloudy with a thin head, which is surprising considering how much foam gushed out of this bottle when I cracked it open; minimal lacing

S: Cider vinegar, granny smith apples, honey, herbs, and a musty grainy and bready quality dominate; but there sure is an interesting, pungent vinegar and apple tartness that pervades

T: Dry tartness up front; a touch of cider vinegar but mostly lots of dry fruits (pears and apples) mixed with a musty, mineraly, bready base

F: Nicely carbonated and even a bit creamy from the yeast

O: An interesting, tart, tad funky biere de garde; not boozy but still a bit tough to drink a ton of

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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.

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Photo of chocosushi
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4oz Pour->Unibroue Tulip
A ~ Sprayed a bit upon opening, without losing more than an oz, this one pours a cloudy strawberry-red with a great cap of puffy head & pretty great lacing.

S ~ Wood, tart grapes, dry grass. . . sweet malts lend honey & molasses. . .touch of red wine vinegar & pear

T ~ Malt lends notes of Red Grapes, vanilla extract, & dried cherries with a touch of prune. There is some proofed dough as well. Yeast is fruity & lends notes of sliced pears. Bit of spice buried in there.

M ~ Really great feel to this one. Smooth, full, creamy, with medium bittering. Clean finish for what someone could call a "sweet" beer. ABV is marginally detectable.

D ~ Would not say world-class, but this is a very well executed beer that stays within its style to a T. Worth the Price tag (about 3.75 a bottle) for those who are a fan of the style. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
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 +0.8%
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 +2.6%
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.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
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 +2.1%
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 +3.2%
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 -7.9%
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 +9.8%
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%
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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Gavroche from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
3.78 out of 5 based on 442 ratings.
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