St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe - McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale RusseSt-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

264 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 264
Reviews: 122
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 69
Gots: 76 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: papat444 on 12-05-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 264 | Reviews: 122
Photo of TheHammer
2.8/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Poured with a solid finger of head that produced solid lacing but didn't stick around vey long. The body is a think opaque black that reveals nothing.

Smell: The heavy smell of slightly burnt malt with touches of hazelnuts permiate the beer. Warmning is certainly required for it to come out.

Taste: Starts with a mild thick molassses malt taste that quickly ends up tasting like burnt toast followed by a surprising smoke and hop presence that gives it a hit of IPA bitterness.

Mouthfeel: That bitter smokieness clings like a bad cigar. The carbonation is good, as it does help accentuate the entire beer, for good or ill. The beer doesn't seems to shift to that bitterness far too quickly.

Drinkability: The body is really think and heavy, as you would expect from a stout. It also leaves an odd bizarre dryness in the throat. Can't really say I would want to drink this on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts: This has been the first St. Ambroise beer I've been disappointed with, and given the cost of this offering, really left me with a bad taste it my mouth. Stick to the Oatmeal Stout if you want a better view of what this brewery is capable of.

Photo of smakawhat
3.05/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Special reserve bourbon wood aged 2013 poured into a tumbler.

Good looking and forming head. Creamy dark coffee tan and three fingers deep. Huge lacing while drinking on a classic dark walnut brown to black body. Very nice looking.

Bouquet is a lot of husky grain, and that classic tobacco like smoke I remember from their oatmeal stout. Some bitterness is coming off of this with a bit of red fruit. Not much oak or whiskey sensing hints here.

First sip while somewhat drinkable is shocking. Mid palate brings some red fruit angles which quickly disappear. To replace with lots of bitterness. Some dry tannic wood and huge tobacco mix with a somewhat cherry bitterness and slick but wet oils. The aftertaste is horribly bitter. Unbalanced. A hopped pine sort of earth indistinct quaity that really clashes with everything. Classic barrel aging notes arent even here. Oak round character isnt even present.

Where is the coffee, chocolate, slight roast sweetness and mellow oak feeling? This beer is just a bitter mess of clashing fruit and hop bitterness with a horrid tobacco smoke that doesnt go away. I certainly hope Canada does better examples of barrel aging than this.

Photo of JAXSON
3.16/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Fred. Pours a thick black with a large mocha head. Nose is very roasted malt forward with some unsweetened chocolate and vanilla. Almost charred. Mouth is heavily, distractingly carbonated. Fairly dry up front, which I enjoy, segueing into a massively roasty, bitter finish. Some nice earthy tones, but way too messy on the finish and the body is way too carbonated.

Photo of hoser
3.39/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not the beer's fault but I am bourbon barrelled out but just on how much I love their oatmeal stout I had to try this. I am not sure if it is the harshness of the dark malts in this or the bourbon barrels but I am just not grooving on this.

Apologises to all that loved this it just not my thing and the beer was decent just not their oatmeal stout.

Photo of alpineclimber
3.46/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage bottle pulled from the cellar, the bottle was placed in the cellar October 2010.

Bottle poured into a beer chalice. A two finger mocha head forms on a black brew.

This beer smells of sweet dark malt, cola and dark fruits.

Taste is fairly bitter and the dark fruit is prevalent which leads me to believe this bottle has been a victim of oxidation. The bitterness is cloying in the aftertaste. Not many of the typical flavours of an RIS.
Perfect mouthfeel and carbonation.

I should have drank this one as soon as I got it. I wonder if the twist off cap has something to do with the oxidation. I hope I get a few more of these in the future and I will drink them fresh.

Photo of nbree00
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Bottling

A: Pours a deep dark black color, like crude motor oil. Has a nice 1 inch chocolate brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Love the nose hear, notes of bourbon, oak, chocolate chip cookies, espresso and earth.

T: On the palate flavors of bitter chocolate, day old coffee, cream, and baking spices. I really dig the nose and mouthfeel but the taste isn't super well balanced. It's a little to bitter and roasty for me. Some may find this balances out the sweetness but I actually think it's to dry, and I'd like a little more richness.

O: Overall a solid beer, I'm curious if I would like a fresh one better.

Photo of stakem
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane or sharing this one. 12oz bottle into a snifter. The brew appears black with a brown head. Some spotty lace sticks to the glass as the cap fades. Some lighter brown coloring is seen around the edges when held to the light.

The aroma is roasty with coffee and bitter black chocolate upfront. A spicy oak inclusion like cinnamon or cedar reminescent of incense is present along with some earthy tones. Not bad smelling, just a bit different.

The flavor includes some herbal hops. Roast and bitter chocolate and coffee come out from the level of char to the grain. A hint of fruity hops and alcohol blend into leather and earth. The finish is a bit drying.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is interesting and enjoyable but the barrel character has an awkward spiciness about it instead of a blended smoothness. Still worth a try if you get the chance.

Photo of strangemusic
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Black black black with a ring of chocolatey brown head that's gone too soon.

The smell is big, hot, alcoholic, polished dark wood, cocoa, stewed fruit, toast. You know right away what you're going to be diving into.

Taste initially shows off enormous sweet malt and alcohol, dark fruit compote, leading to a whiff of smoke and lots of woody bitterness with roasty coffee notes and a very long, dry, earthy finish. Aftertaste is long and bitter as well, I can't say I enjoy that at ALL. Would be fantastic but I can't handle the bitterness.

Mouthfeel is really creamy, sticky and heavy. It's quite possibly the most enjoyable part of this beer, really luxurious.

Drinkability? I'm all for big beers but this is a monster. It's almost too big, overwhelming for my tastes, and needs a long while to be enjoyed properly.

Photo of TerryW
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark walnut brew under a big head that coats the glass on the way down. Pretty impressive look.

Nose is dominated by unusual sweet dark fruit - prunes, currants and a whiff of alcohol - that all works together quite nicely. Appetizing.

Sweet, fruity to taste. Charcoal and coffee. Noticeable dry alcohol finish. You'll figure out in short order that it's 9%. Tasty, but strong and won't be to all tastes. Mouthfeel just a little too full and sugary for me.

Worth a drink, not my favorite style, but well made.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.76/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very, very black-reminiscent colour. Head is just stunning. Show-stoppingly thick, ochre in colour, with some impressive - if a little thin - lace left behind. Pretty close to amazing.

Smells sweet, and smokey, in equal measure. Weird bubblegum character with some banana and cherry notes, but also, on the other hand, smokey notes. It's completely separate in fact. Quite subtle, with wood smoke and a hint of bacon. The sweetness is a dominant thing though, which is unfortunate.

Taste is an interesting one. Lots of smoke and roast, with a touch of sweetness to it. Upfront there's cocoa, caramel and a hint of banana. Then gets roasty, smokey and burnt midway and to the back. Ends with a slight sweet note, boozey and vanilla, but it has a heaviness to the end. Quite dry on the back, but retaining lots of flavour.

Full body, a little bit sharp late, and yeah, dries up a lot.

Decent, doesn't quite reach the heights the flavours suggested. Not bad at all though.

Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/8/2011

Bottle shared by Javier, thanks! 2010 batch poured into a Hill Farmstead glass.

A: Pours black and viscous with a big mocha head. Nice retention and a decent amount of lacing. The head is a lingering froth after the initial recession.

S: Dark chocolate and a strong smoke profile that’s redolent of bacon. Coffee melds with roasted malt, wood, dark chocolate, and very faint bourbon. Cocoa and vanilla are evident. On the whole, this seems like a smoked imperial stout with secondary barrel characteristics. It definitely improves when it opens up. I’m really digging the aroma.

T: Smoked bacon with dark chocolate, roast, and wood. Bourbon is faint. Blackstrap molasses surfaces midpalate and roasted malt turns to char. Finishes with dark chocolate, wood, ash, and a little astringency.

M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is full, sticky, and very dry.

Overall: A pretty good smoked barrel aged stout. It’s a bit harsh in the flavor at times, but pretty good overall. It reminds me of some powerful bourbon barrel beer smoked bacon I've been enjoying lately.

Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle, 2011 edition. The encasing cardboard tube has a little blurb displaying the Cyrillic, French, and English versions of 'cheers'. Awesome!

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with ever so slight cola-hued basal edges, and a teeming amount of dense, foamy, pillowy chocolate milk head, which sticks around like the nagging sniffles, before giving way to the clarity of some broad Joshua tree lace around the glass.

It smells of mildly caramelized malt, baker's chocolate, dark drupe fruit, an acrid vanilla woodiness, bitter citrus and leafy hops, and a boozy, nose-twitching twinge. The taste is bitter chocolate malt, a bit of weird saltiness, woody bourbon cask essences, softened west coast pine and citrus hops, and a skulking alcohol edginess.

The bubbles are as soft as you could really want them to be, the body a near-full weight, smooth, and almost unobstructed in its silky smoothness. It finishes mostly sweet, in a tempered manner, however, as the wood influence and hop bill continue to assert themselves in the sanity-keeping dance that is this beer.

Well, I would imagine that demanding ol' Kate would have appreciated this offering - lots and lots of stuff going on - sweet, bitter, salty, floral, tangy, fruity - you name it, it's here. The booze, at this point, makes things a little iffy as far as outright drinkability is concerned, but that's a minor piffle for the regal imbibers amongst us.

Photo of mulder1010
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341 ML bottle poured into a globe glass
Thanks to Lukie for this one!!!!

A-- Poured oil black with just a few touches of cola on the sides of the pour. In the glass it was all black. Very thick looking in the glass. Just under half a finger of dark brownie looking head, that gave way to a lighter shade of leather brown. No carbonation shown at all on the sides of the glass and some good lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Small traces of bourbon followed by smoke, espresso, wood, vanilla and chocolate. Bourbon, Vanilla, espresso, and chocolate really awaken when the beer warms up more. Good smell and reminds me of a brownie out of the oven.

T-- Wood and bourbon right off the bat. Followed by espresso notes and chocolate. Just touches of vanilla sweetness in the taste. Well balanced taste to this. Get a lot of flavors in the taste.

M-- Medium feel and a little bit higher carbonated that what I expected. Not all that thick but it does make it easier to drink I think. Very creamy in the mouth. Bourbon drops off a bit in the mouth and get the barrel, roasted coffee, a little acidity from the coffee. Does finish with a kick of bourbon with a kick of acidic coffee. Vanilla and chocolate really drop off from the mid palate on. More about wood and coffee.

O-- Quite nice beer. Not overpowering at all. Well hidden ABV all the way through. Just a tad bit over carbonated to me and a little too much acidic coffee but otherwise very good. Bourbon in the right places and pretty easy to drink.

Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341 mL screw top bottle in a cute cardboard tube. 2009 vintage.

Pours a thick, opaque, still near black, chocolate color with a thin, quickly fading mocha head. Nose of smoke, espresso, roast malt, ash, oak, mild bourbon sweetness and dark chocolate. Flavor has a mild dry, acrid bitterness thoughout, like an old cup of bad coffee. Not bad, just gives the stout a unique smokey dry finish. The smoke and dry wood provides a strong balance to the sweeter flavors, molasses and dark chocolate, light oat and brown sugar. Chewy, medium thick body with soft carbonation. A respectable, subtle BA RIS that would probably be better enjoyed fresh.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours pitch black with a large, creamy dark tan head.
Nose shows liqourice, alcohol, sweet coffee liqueur, heavy roast, bready malt and coconut.
Decadent flavour. Soft roasted malt, cocoa, sweet malt, coconut and oak with a little bourbon and booze as well.
Nice creamy carbonation and slick body.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, deep brown with a nice dark tan head. A decent amount of lacing remains off of a two finger or so head.

S: Quite a bit of roast atop chocolate and hints of coffee.

T: Similar to the nose, with the roasted malt again taking the forefront. Hints of smoke along with chocolate and espresso.

M: Medium body. A bit too dry.

D: Pretty good all around. Glad I was able to try this, as the smoke character added a certain uniqueness to it.

Photo of Sammy
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick black with lots of initial light brown head, that leaves lacing down the glass. A little smoke and expresso in the aroma. Above average and creamy mouthfeel, not the thickest of the style but very good. Bitter in a high proportion to sweet, this is a dangerously good drinker. Very very good, with expresso buffered by baker's chocolate.Bottle courtesy of Lubiere. Kudos to the brewery for pricing this properly for a limited edition ($6)

Photo of augustgarage
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy northyorksammy (thanks!). 2009 vintage. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Opaque seal brown liquid topped by two fingers of dense creamy somewhat active fawn colored foam. Rich creamy layers of lacing with the appearance of mocha. Light glassy legs.

Roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, clove, cinnamon, and barrel aromas (vanilla, coconut, vague char) combine to good effect in the nose. Slightly plum-y as well from the alcohol esters.

The hops are notable upon first sip, contributing a spicy moderate bitterness, but they are quickly consumed by the rich malt character which is toasty, smokey, and offset by treacle and dark fruit. The finish suggests tobacco, spice, along with an earthy clay-like quality. Very well balanced and full of flavor.

Medium-heavy bodied, with a cakey velvety feel (rather than oily). Well carbonated. Warming but not hot.

The barrel aging adds a subtle complexity to a rich forward base - I imagine this will continue to age well if you have some cellared, but it is drinking well now.

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours like a tall glass of liquid Darth Vader. Rich inky black and shiny. Topped by a surprisingly frothy dark beige head. Laces amazingly. Retains well too.

Aroma is chocolate, brown sugar, coffee grinds, ash, oak and rum and raisin ice cream.

Full flavored. Chocolate covered raisins. Cold coffee, roastiness and toffee sweetness with a perfect roast rich maltiness nicely balanced against a floral bitterness with an underlying inkiness with oak and vanilla at play. Bourbon comes to the fore with every sip. Nary a trace of booziness, surprisingly so considering the abv

Nice rich pillowy mouthfeel, nice and full and rich without being cloying or sticky.

Maybe I came into this with heightened expectations. It's a great beer. Full flavoured with a lot going on, and yet it seems to be lacking a certain je ne sais quoi It's not quite the world-beater beer I was expecting.

Photo of Long813
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date: Sept 2009
From: liamt07

A: Pitch black body with two fingers of dark mocha head. Retention is decent and leaves little lacing.

S: Nice notes of roasted malts, chocolate, oak, vanilla with mild coffee beans.

T: Mild flavours of roasted malts, mixture of chocolate and caramel. There is some oak notes and some alcohol.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. The texture is smooth and is still a little hot. Alcohol comes through near the end.

D: Thanks again liam, this is a pretty well rounded brew. I do enjoy it, but don't see it as being the RIS it was hyped up to be.

Photo of mmapes
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Mathieu for the trade of a 2011 bottle, opened in 2013. Hate to drink it so soon, but if it's excellent, I'll try to find some more to take home.

Pours black with a thin tan head.

Smells very rich -- malty molasses, brown sugar... smells like a great stout. Scent seems to fade quickly. It's probably too cold; it has been refrigerated. Rich grains on the nose as it warms up.

Unexpectedly smoky, a little sharp. Long malty sweet finish. Oily, fairly thick mouthfeel. Strong molasses flavor. Not cloyingly sweet like some Russians Imperials, but very flavorful with a long finish. I hate to admit that I'd like something a tad bit sweeter and a tad bit less smoky, but it's really very good. Might buy more if it's not too expensive.

Photo of bobsy
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A surprise bottle sent this way by papat - cheers Patrick! I drank this 12ozer immediately after Brasseurs Illimites' take on the style, while watching the opening ceremonies in Vancouver.

This is a wonderfully packaged beer, and the pour continues that. A pitch black body sits under a resplendent foamy mocha head that leaves streaks and globs of lace on the glass. Retention is fairly decent, and my last sip still has a patchy film on it. Nice combo of espresso and tobacco in the aroma, with slight hints of wood and vanilla. Bourbon notes come through as it warms, but are not as strong as expected, but better balanced for it.

Flavour is pretty good. The coffee leads off, and melts into dark chocolate, with an underlying smokiness. The bourbon character is mild but present throughout and adds a nice complexity. Some spiciness and a nice sweetness. Something is missing that fails to push this to the next level, but its still enjoyable for what it is. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, with a nicely alleviating carbonation. Alcohol is AWOL and this is extremely easy to drink.

A very good imperial stout, but I'd still say this is middle of the pack. Thanks again Pat!

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for this long-time want, Barry. 2009 edition.

Appearance: Black, near opaque body. Dense and lasting brown head.

Smell: Roasted, borderline charred malt, dark chocolate, very faint whiskey and oak. A touch of tar-like acrid malt as it warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: The palate is heavy on dark chocolate and black licorice, with some burnt bread bitterness beneath. Subtle whiskey sweetness, very light oak. Medium bodied, and not terribly sweet or rich. Finishes with a lot of licorice and light tannins, charred/roasted bitterness. A smooth, dark chocolate heavy imperial stout that's light on the oak and whiskey flavors. Quite good.

Photo of Jeffo
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this beer several times, bottles being provided by several people. Cheers to everyone who's helped over the years. We put this one up against Half Pint's $ellout $tout and Driftwood's Singularity in The Great Canadian BA RIS Showdown. Always good times.

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

Note: This is a re-review. I reviewd the 2009 a couple years back at 4.75

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, tight, thick looking, dark tan head with great retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Really good retention on this one. Head slowly fades to a good cap and coats the top of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains and leaves some great lacing down the glass. Really good looking beer.

SMELL: Roasted malts, charred, burnt malts, dark chocolate, then some bourbon, oak, and light mint aromas. Minty gum and light vanilla in there as well. Bold enough and very well balanced between the base and barrel.

TASTE: Roasted malts, plenty of charred and burnt malts as well, and some dark chocolate up front. The swallow bring some bourbon, oak, vanilla and mint notes in the milder yet lingering finish. Aftertaste also bring some charred malts and bitter, dark chocolate as balance to the barrels. A touch milder than I remember, but the balance between the base beer and barrels works really well.

PALATE: Medium, slightly fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Quite creamy on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers. Solid, though a touch hotter than I recall.

OVERALL: Really good beer that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don't think this one impressed me as much at the 2009 did way back when, but it is still a top class BA Imperial Stout and I'm happy to have been able to drink a couple bottles this past summer. Cheers to everyone who's made that happen. This one also finishes top spot in The Great Canadian Showdown, though all the beers were really close. Cheers to Canadian brewers pushing the envelope a little.

Photo of rudzud
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to JLindros for sharing, he said this is a super limited beer. 2010 vintage

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown almost black hire worth a thin head that faded to leave a thin halo.

S - Aromas of dark malts, strong dark fruit note, syrupy.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, nice Russian nose, good smoke, charred malts, sweeter dark fruits, chocolate.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, boozy, alcohol hidden well.

O - Overall this beer was a tad disappointing. Lots of dark fruits and char, good but not great.

Serving Type: Bottle

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing
94 out of 100 based on 264 ratings.