St. Amand | Brasserie Castelain

BA SCORE
85
very good
104 Ratings
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St. AmandSt. Amand
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Castelain
France
brasseriecastelain.com

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
104
Reviews:
83
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
12.43%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
5
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 104 |  Reviews: 83
Photo of Patrick999
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh, a biere de garde, I wish there were more readily available. Found this one at Total Wine in North Miami. Rather boring-looking label with a generic description of "French Country Ale," but you just know that there's a real beer within the contents of that boring bottle.

A - Popped the cork and poured; it's darker than I expected. I was expecting something light and cheery, while this is a kind of sinister-looking amber with a bit of a glow to it. No matter - nice head, good lacing to be seen.

S - There's some subtle stuff going on here. A bit of earthy hop, wet hay - definitely somewhat "farm-y." Some honey-toast as it warms. Ever so slight undercurrent of mustiness, courtesy of the native yeast.

T - Very nice. A hint of sour to begin, some substantive grassy hop, and a honey-toast sweetness tracking with the aroma that is perceived rather than fully tasted. Moderately dry and quite refreshing.

F - A slight grit in the feel, maybe attributable to the local water. Beyond that, it's weight on the palate is extremely light. Well-carbonated but not terribly sharp.

D - Another excellent biere de garde from Castelain. You can enjoy the 750 with no trouble, and not feel too guilty about it. Enough going on to keep you interested, light and refreshing enough to keep you drinking. Would pair well with nearly anything, but this is one of those beers that makes me wish I was sipping it outside a Parisian cafe, watching the women walk by. The French can't brew beer? I call B.S. on that one; there's more than enough evidence to the contrary.

If you see this dull-looking bottle on the shelf, buy it.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Gingerman, NYC...
An excellent depiction of the style, true stuff... Light-bodied, perilously drinkable...
Pours a hazy, dirty blond color...
Smell: Raw hay, slight wheat and honey grains...
Taste: Honey, cotton candy, pears, candied sugars...
Medium-bodied,
Great, authentic stuff...

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Photo of babaracas
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%

Pours a clear orange-red, one finger thick cream colored head, few wispy patches of lace.

Smell: apricot, marmalade note, wet grains, mild earthiness.

Taste: caramel apple, sweet plum flesh, red grape, date bread, grain twang, earthy and herbal notes.

Medium-light bodied, active carbonation, drying and slightly sticky finish.

Best by 11/15. Slightly sweeter than Castelain's "blonde," but similarly as delicious.

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

Overcarbonated. This has been sitting in my fridge for over a month, undisturbed, and when I popped the cork, it came pouring out over the top and onto my lap.

Appearance: Clear, varnished redwood color, with a big and frothy head (half of which I had to wipe up with a towel).

Aroma: Musty and very fruity nose, with sweet grainy malt and a peppery yeast character.

Flavor: Sweet, flour-like malt and the fruity taste of dried cherries, with faint spicy hops and very light clovish phenols. Finishes fairly sweet, slightly caramel.

Body: Medium body, too much carbonation.

A good, tasty beer, not complex but an excellent session brew, or a simple and flavorful accompaniment to dinner.

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Photo of Cresant
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 750 mL brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Bottled 4/2/10. Clear but deep copper in color. The head was cream, rich and appealing. A cap remained throughout.

Smell was sweet malts and citrus. Bread and faint yeast.

Taste was peppery. Faintly chalky, dusty. There seemed to be a light metallic twang. Very fruity - maybe fresh plums and apples. Bread crusts. Fairly drying. Subtle bitterness. Well balanced. Seems mellow and well constructed.

Mouthfeel was medium in body. there was plenty of zip but finished smooth.

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Photo of Abita45
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Michael's Deli in King of Prussia, PA and poured from a bottle into a pint glass. The beer has a nice amber hue and is fragrantly citrus and little head to speak of.

It has a nicely floral and sweet malty taste, medium hops and with low carbonation, this beer has a nice taste and smooth finish. It is slightly creamy and easy to drink. I don't know if I could have many before the sweetness and mouthfeel made me want to change things up, but for the two plus pints I got out of the bottle it was very good and a beer I could enjoy on a regular basis. I took a bottle to a friend as a party gift and it was well received.

It is an enjoyable beer.

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

(from notes taken early august 2008)

750ml bottle. "best by" date of 16/10/08. possible batch numbers of L7198 and 15:36

poured into tulip

clear, honey-tinted, deep amber, caramel color. lots of off-white head. some lace.

maltose sugar and carmel in the nose. apple juice. faint spices. hay and whiff of yeast. phenols faint in backend. hints of yeasty fermentation.

flavors similar, but just lighter overall. malt mixes with phenolic and aforementioned fruit notes. grassy, hay-like hop gives mild bitterness, ligers slightly into a semi-dry, off-sweet finish. traces of malty caramel and phenols in the aftertaste.

smooth. fluffy, moderate carbonation

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Photo of edbeered
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle(750ml), this pours a hazy reddish amber color, with a small white head that dissipates quickly and minimal lacing on the glass. The smell is slight but malty. The taste is complex, with lots of frutiy flavors present, especially cherry and raisin, along with a toffee or butterscotch maltiness. This beer is suitably rich in flavor, yet light on the tongue. This beer is comparitively light in alcohol(5.9%ABV)for the style, and is very drinkable. This is a very nice brew and worth getting if you can find it.

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

Pours a dark amber in the tulip with a frothy top. Light aroma with some citrus and hop tones. A floral, malty start that continues throughout. Hops are subtle which gives it a pleasant sweetness. It's a citrus texture on the mouthfeel. This would probably go great as a desert beer after some sushi.

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Photo of restman99
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a massive capp that draps lace down the sides of the chalice

Smell: Fruity, with apple and plum tones backed up by caramel

Taste: Opens with the apple and plum fruit flavors, but by mid-palate the caramel arrives, bringing along an herbacious element, as well, that adds a slightly tart dimension; after the swallow, the flavors are nicely balanced and linger well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Sways a bit to the sweet side for a beer of this style, but still has a nice balanced character; a rather unusual flavor profile and a beer well worth seeking out

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fruity nose, not much hop, malt and a touch of pepper. Pours dark amber under a 2” pillowy foam cap. The palate starts with light fruit, pineapple, caramel, pepper and a hint of hops on the finish. Some faint light cardboard flavors suggest the beginning of oxidation. bottled 10-10-11, above average carbonation, a touch of cardboard on the finish, some light fruit, pepper and a hint of hops on the finish. Medium to medium full body, with average carbonation. A fresher bottle is less sweet and crisper with the fruit tending more towards peach and less pineapple. Much better – do not age.

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Photo of pknyc
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Nipitato
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a caged and corked bottle at Marty's Liquors in Allston, MA.

A: Reddish bronze brown. Opaque. Very thin splotchy white head.

S: Musty malty aroma with a background of apples and cinnamon. Slightly sour. Overall very nuanced and quite mellow.

T: Musty malty flavor similar to the nose. Malt has some caramel characteristics. Some spiciness. Sweet fruit (cherries and raisins) esters add character. Mildly sour taste throughout. Nuanced and complex.

MF: Medium body. Highly carbonated. No alcohol warming.

D, notes: I like this beer and would go for it again. Complex yet easy to drink.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

St.Amand French Country Ale (review #700)

Appearance: Clear and copper in color, good head retention.

Smell. Bready, sweet, chocolate. Malty.

Taste: Malty, with toffee and caramel flavor. Hops are leafy and tobacco like in nature. Nutty and lightly roasted malt profile. Overall light and crisp, muted fruit with a small porportion of noble hops. Very faint sour note. On par for style.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, smooth, ample carbonation and some chewey malt lingering. Finish is dry.

Drinkability: Excellent. Could be classified as an amber ale, but its much more full. A great beer.

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Photo of drperm
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL from the Hendersonville Co-op. Also easily found at Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville. St. Amand pours a handsome -- no, gorgeous -- copper color with plenty of generous head, even when poured slowly. The nose is extremely complex -- clay soil, caramel, butter, farmland, and fresh aromatic hops are all in there, along with some more elusive intangibles that are conjuring up all sorts of images of rural Europe for me. On the tongue, the caramel sings out with a spritzy edge, the hops keep it interesting, and the butter moves to the forefront, but what really does it for me is a slight sour twist towards the end -- reminiscent of those Flemish Ales that I’ve recently fallen in love with (such as Duchesse de Bourgogne). This says to me, "drink with food!" Much better than Castelian/Ch’ti, as far as I’m concerned. Take it for Thanksgiving Dinner.

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Photo of ConanSachler
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of CheeseTurds
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer.

I recently went to a Biere de Garde tasting and sampled 4 different kinds- nothing was this good. Very, very drinkable. Slightly tart but not a "sour beer." Beautiful, clear ruby appearance. Complex but smooth drinking.

I don't remember what I paid for this. If I saw it again for $10 or less, I'd grab it in a second.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml tall brown glass bottle with a thick lip that holds a thumbed cork in with a cage assembly and cap with the Ch’ti logo on it. The burgundy and gold edged neck label has the words ‘Traditional Bière de Garde’ wrapped around the word ‘St. Amand’. The main oval label has the words ‘French Country Ale’ above a panoramic view of the French countryside. Underneath the words ‘St. Amand’. Embossed logo of a worker emptying a sack into the Mash Tun around the neck of the bottle. Listed as 5,9% Alc.Vol. Dated (Bottled on?) 15/09/04 on the reverse label.

Appearance: Deep bronzed golden body that is perfectly clear. The head forms easily and slowly rescinds to a thin ¼” bubbly covering, with somewhere twixt a lush carpet and a frothy appearance. Some lacing but it doesn’t last too long as it tends to slide back down into my Glass. Nice levels of carbonation give the beer enough life to reinstate the head when swirled.

Nose: Yet again my trusty Duvel goblet seems to aid in revealing all of the nuances that a brew has to offer in the nose department. Swirled and constantly inhaled this is rather a solid offering. Whilst not exactly funky it certainly has a country feel to it. Mixed in with the grains I get light herbs and spices with a delicate fruity hint, mostly apple in the back end. There is a light caramel feel to the odors too as it warms.

Taste: Lots of grain and freshly baked Farmhouse Cobs in the mouth at the start. Light spices and herbs mingle in the bready middle with a nice back malt base. Tinges of Cox’s Orange Pippin Apples in the back end. Nicely put together, never over the top but never under whelming it manages to bring enough to the Table such that you will not be able to leave a clean plate with this one. The aftertaste is medium in length but tends to get a little fruity as the beer warms and produces a caramel toffee finish in the swallow. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Mildy sweet malty profile in the mouthfeel has a touch of oaky wood to the dryish bready start sometimes, whilst at others a decent toffee feel lingers in the finish. A nice solid offering and it doesn’t want in this department at all.

Drinkability: Oh sooo drinkable. The 750ml was no challenged whatsoever, in fact I had to double my last pour, this one did not last very long. Thirst quenching and very quaffable with a lovely but well-balanced ‘farmhouse’ feel to it. Highly Enjoyable.

Overall: A cracking brew to start the night with. Incredibly well balanced yet with a myriad of interesting flavors that come and go if and when you look for them. A nice brew and well worth the purchase.

So the French can’t make beer?? Right!! Made with Artesian Well Water, Barley Malt from the Champagne region and Hops from Alsace. A true Bière De Garde and a bloody good offering yet again from Brasserie Castelain à Bénifontaine, I have yet to try one of their beers that I did not like.

The St. Amand is another winner for me.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lovely, rosy amber hue, like a nectarine skin, with a thick, fuzzy, creamy, beige-toned head.
Fresh fruit and bold effervescence in the nose, floral, herbal, with a hoppy zest, juicy and jubilant, making me anxious to raise it up to my lips, ...and away we go...
mmmm, big, brisk, bouyant feel in the mouth, happy hops on the palate, tingles the tongue. Medium to full body, never -ending fruit factor, peach, apricot, cherries, mango and more...I'm liking it big-time. Very glad this comes in the economy-size package, which allows me to sample more tastiness at one time. Overall, this is an excellent hoppy session ale, like a fruity saison, perhaps?

In my first review, I merely rounded it up as a French Alpha King...nowadays, I say "not quite, but almost"....I still like it lots, though...

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Photo of BenZ
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure if my bottle was old, or what, but I picked up some very different things than the other reviewers. The nose was very pleasant, with hints of fruit, coriander and lots of sherry. The taste reminded me of a Flanders Red Ale that I have had, except that the flavor was only about 1/3 as strong. There were other flavors in there as well: maltiness, maybe the slightest hint of saaz, and the classic Belgian esters. This beer was fantastic, and if it was a fluke, it would be too bad. I'll try it again if I ever run across it.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged 750ml from Waterbury Beverage, Waterbury, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a thick 1" off-white head, over a clear, copper brew. Big bits of foam lace throughout the drinking experience. A slight sour aroma accompanies the malt and hops smells, making for an interesting orchestra. Taste is primarily of the medium (caramel) malt, but a hops crispness is present throughout. Mouthfeel is somewhat effervescent, but the overall package seems to work quite well. Disappointing only to see that this brew isn't more widely enjoyed by the masses.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL flip top bottle. Dark amber with big head which vanishes. If you ask me, this beer is identical to Ruddles County Ale. Rich, malty, sweet, delectable. Heavy apple cider qualities, chewy, a tiny dead bit of alcohol in the middle. A mild dryness and a little bit of spice denotes the hops. Nothing to discern it as French or even Belgian. No present yeast; I guess it had already done its job by the time it was bottled. I swear, it tastes just like Ruddles. Which is fine by me, Ruddles is one of my favorite beers. Just not what I expected from a biere de garde. Perhaps its a fraction sweeter, and lacking the creamy British mouthfeel. Anyway it's damn good. Maybe even tastier than Ruddles.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a nice and clear amber/ruby color. Totally clear. A massive white head retains fairly well, but dissipates to a 2 finger billowy foam crust leaving very nice lacing.

Nose is loaded with nice fruit flavors. Some slight sour notes in the nose. Slightly vinous.

Wow! Now THIS, THIS is Biere de Garde. A fantastic brew. Opens up with a nice belgian-like yeast note, then flowers into huge fruit flavors. Plums, a bit of raisin, and a very nice creaminess. Some biere de gardes are a bit too sour (im talking to you BFM) and some are a bit too malty (im talking to you La Choulette) but this one is just where It oughta be. The finish has a nice touch of dryness. Some slight spice in here as well. Man, great stuff.

Mouthfeel is a touch, just a tiny touch to thick, and could be a bit drier on the finish. Carbonation is right where it should be, but maybe a tiny bit more would be ideal.

Drinkablility is quite solid here. Could easily session this brew like crazy. It is a touch heavy for the abv, but aside from that no real issues.

Overall, Wow! Biere de Garde has never been a favorite sytle of mine, but this one could totally turn that around. Many Biere de Gardes just have that slight something that if changed would make it great. Well, this one has that something. A great Biere de Garde.

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Photo of Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been sitting in my fridge for a few days. Thought I'd finally try it.

Color: Pours a decent amber color with a one-finger head.

Aroma: Spicy with raisin aroma. Malty. Inviting.

Taste: Smooth with some spiciness and hints of raisin in the middle. Smooth and nice.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and impressive. Warming.

Verdict: A complex ale that doesn't fail. I have no idea why I was avoiding it all along. The best example I've had so far of this style.

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St. Amand from Brasserie Castelain
3.78 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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