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St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009) - McAuslan Brewing

Not Rated.
St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009)St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

130 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 130
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Viggo on 03-20-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 96
Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A : Poured a amber with good carbonation leaving a mild white cap, some good lacing

S: The nose is some blend of dark and light fruits covered in toffee and butterscotch

T : Initial dark fruits with some toffee, caramel and slight Worthers original type taste(candy, not as a bad byproduct). A little bit of heat and some light fruits in the background.

M: Medium-full bodied, well carbonated, plenty of flavor on the palate. No bigtime flaws or off notes.

O: Pretty nice English bwine.

Photo of OldPenguinHunter
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I didn't quite know what to expect upon purchasing this bottle, to say the least- I was surprised.

2009 Vintage:
Looks good in the glass, fizzy carbonation, minimal lacing. Brown opaque color, burnt looking.

Smells funky, you get some smoked malts in there, tobacco, scotch, wood, then there's the fruit: tart cherry, date, and plum. it's kinda all over the place there...

Taste is as equally interesting. It feels like my mouth is doing cartwheels and somersaults. The beer is really everywhere as far as flavor goes. I do get a very dry mouthfeel, the carbonation is really champagne-like. As the same with the nose there's an abundance of flavors from savory to tart. There's also a flavor of barrel, but it's not vanilla-rather burnt oak, I like it.

Mouthfeel wise, I get a very dry smokey-tart puckering that reminds me of a sour ale. I am inclined to think that this beer is innoculated with some brett (maybe from the barrels?)

Overall, this beer is a very weird, but intriguing beer. I do feel like the beer is somewhat tiring to drink (there's just alot going on). But I would be very happy with a 6oz serving though!

Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Eighty
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of e30todamax
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of vidguy17
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Howlader
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber brown with floaties and a tiny beige head that dissipates fairly quickly into a thin layer of foam.

Figs, dates, prunes, raisins, bruised cherry, booze, and caramelized brown sugar form the aroma. There's a now of oxidation, cardboard and a vinous note present.

Cherry, cardboard, dates, brown sugar, figs, raisins, and bready malt, lightly toasted, start the flavor, which finishes surprisingly dry and bitter. More cardboard oxidation surfaces as it warms, along with tea-like herbal hops.

Body is fairly thick, with somewhat low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Might be on the edge of too old. Good esters, but the stale flavors are starting to take charge.

Photo of Odysseyalien
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had one of these originally when I first started liking barleywines. Didn't think much of it at the time. As my tastes have matured in the last year or two, I have to say this is one of the best English barleywines I've had.

I poured this into my snifter and there was not much of a head. There is some lacing as I slowly sip this into my belly. Oddly, of any beer I've ever had of any kind, this one seems to have no aroma. If I glue my nose to the glass rim and sniff hard, a very subtle sweetness but really, an obviously weak aroma to none at all.

The taste though is right on the money for an English barleywine. Prunes come to mine on my first sip. Moderately sweet as I've certainly had sweeter and less sweet barleywines. Little hop profile which is par for the course.

All in all, I hope to get another one of these and maybe put some additional years on it. Very tasty and one you will want to add to your collection if you like English barleywines.

Photo of BMMillsy
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

20th Anniversary bottle from Tipples. Had this in the late fall while sitting outside around a fire, and it went great in this atmosphere...warming and thick. Pours syrupy cloudy orange with no head. Aroma of toffee, caramel, booze and some fig and citrus mix. Very warming flavor. Toffee, fruit, candy, a bit on the syrupy side but the warming and sweetness went nicely with the cool night. Not boozy at all. Very nice beer.

Photo of beermanbrian
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Molson2000
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of brystmar
3.07/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


Good looking barleywine -- orange and copper hues emit from the body, surprisingly good head and lace for the style. Aroma is strangely absent, though, showing a hint of booze and nothing else. Strange.

Malty base tastes a touch stale somehow, sweetness in support cannot cover this up. Booze shines through like a pro, minimal age-y qualities. Nice creamy body.

This is the example of an average barleywine. Entirely forgettable.

Photo of BennyL1
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one sitting for a couple of years now, figured why not tonight? Poured into a globe glass.

This Barleywine pours a dark and stormy amber with a slim off white head that quickly dissipates back into the brew. Streaky lacing is left along the glass which makes it a solid looking brew.

Many different aromas including caramel, brown sugar, and some dark fruits. The nose on this brew is simply great. It seems that every time I inhale I'm getting a new smell. Very nice.

The taste is on par with the nose. Complex and layered, you can get a few different tastes up front. Malty sweetness is the first thing you notice. Some of the same notes that were in the nose definitely come through in the taste. Also getting a hint of vanilla and a tad of bitterness which rounds it out very nicely.

Full bodied with carbonation on the lower side. This beer has a nice feel to it and still has a nice warming effect from the alcohol.

Glad I decided to try this one out tonight. A very solid beer that I'm glad I aged until now. No complaints here, wish I had another.

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of frontalot
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of jmathis
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent amber color with a smallish off-white bubbly head that recedes and leaves some minimal spotty lacing along the glass.

Aromas begin with a lot of fruity esters combined with a great deal of lighter sweet caramel candied maltiness. There is almost a fruit liqueur essence of macerated peaches and figs.

The tastes begin with a strong blast of caramel candied maltiness once again. Next I get that fruitiness again with some apricot, peach, ripe juicy pear and fresh figs. Little to no hop character after 2 or 3+ years but there is an underlying drying, earthy characteristic but I think that is the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Finish isn't as super sweet as you would imagine after the aging of this beer but more fruity and sweet mixed.

Overall this was a nice beer, but probably one I should have save for late fall or early wintertime when I would have appreciated it more. I can imagine this must have been much more rough upon initial release as there is still some alcohol presence but age has done this well and given the nice cylindrical traveling vessel is came in, the oxygen and light affects are little to none. Def worth a go for fans of the style because of the lower than normal price point for an already "cellared" beer.

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

McAuslan Brewing rings in their twentieth year with their vintage ale that celebrates the milestone with dessert-like confection, brandyish gentlemanship and tawny port succulence. Although I'm three years behind the celebration, the beer makes celebration worthwhile in retrospect.

Russet and garnet in color, the viscous ale carries a hearty cloudiness that amounts to a terse white head that's somewhat short-lived. But her lack of withstanding foam yields the brandy legging with a glossy swirl of the glass.

Brown sugar, maple syrup- all from the malty tones that rise to the nose allow an intoxicating aroma to exude complementary notes of grape, cola, cherry, pecan, apple, and dates. Sweet port wines and advances sherries come to mind as much as beer as that twirling of the glass seduces the nose as much as it does the eye.

Flavors are even more succulent with the full intensity of malty sweetness hitting the tongue. Maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla come alive with flavor in much the way that french toast does but with the backing of port wine and brandy complexity. Rummy alcohol, burrowed wine-like acidity, and bitter cider complement the fold with a pruny and figgy wave that carries the beer throughout its nutty masculine finish.

Of course the full bodied beer does that full-bodied thing that Barleywines do, but there's a finesse to the beer that makes my impressions pull back. Restrained sweetness, oiliness, and viscocity makes the think of younger English olde ales more so than that of English Barleywines. Regardless, the strong alcohol warmth, semi-sweet, and supply bittered ale lingers indefinately with a calm and satisfaction that evokes retrospect and seduction.

Photo of liamt07
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 341ml into a tulip.

Brown body with orange highlights. Beige head, with modest legs, good lacing and retention. Quite a bit of sediment here too. Nose has toffee, caramel apple, almond liqeur and bit of alcohol. Somewhat oxidized, twist-off caps certainly don't help this beers case. More sweet maltiness on the palate, clearly more oxidization evident, dark breads, brown sugar and caramel. Alcohol has yet to subside, still quite a bit of heat. Full and sticky feel, oxidation notes are most evident at the end of the mouthfeel. Good on the nose, a bit of a let down on the palate. Still OK though.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/8" tan head that collected around the edges of the glass over murky deep amber liquid.

S: Sweet barley malt and honey. A second smell gives a hint of figs.

T: Figs, cherries, honey, caramel tasting barley malt and yeast. Sweet initially with a somewhat bitter finish. Quite nice.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a low level of carbonation. Somewhat puckering in the back corners of the mouth.

O: One of the more memorable barleywines I have tried due to the useage of Belgian trappist yeast. Quite drinkable and pleasant.

Photo of BoringBunny
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of Infamous7100
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a hazy light brown with hints of orange into my snifter. Thin head, no lacing.
S: very intriguing and very sweet. All kinds of fruits and malts melding together.
T: loads of malts, carmel notes and hints of the fruits,perhaps plums and figs. However, i get a ton of boozy notes throughout.
M: Thick and creamy with a low to medium carbonation level. A pleasant boozy, sweet hang at the back.
O: nice brew. Walks the line between and Belgian dark and a barleywine. The dark fruit notes and sweet malt on the nose are more prevalent than in the taste. The booze overshadows what i feel is the best quality of this type of beer, the flavor. Its aggressive in taste, yet a smooth sipper. Nice pick up.

Photo of papat444
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppypocket for this one.

Poured from a 341 ml. bottle into my St-Ambroise Millésimée 2006 snifter.

Appearance: The same bubbly thick foam with a look like swiss cheese on the sides of the glass. A dark red-amber body.

Smell: Raisins, dried cranberries and other assorted fruits.

Taste: Strong dark fruit with a hint of wood and some candied flavor. More candy than actual sugar.

Mouthfeel: Real low carbonation with a medium body and the feel is not greatly expansive.

Overall: ABV is upped from previous versions but it drinks just as well, if not better. Has more of a sweeter edge.

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St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009) from McAuslan Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.