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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe - McAuslan Brewing

Not Rated.
St-Ambroise Stout Impériale RusseSt-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe

Educational use only; do not reuse.

124 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 124
Hads: 280
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 71
Gots: 81 | FT: 5
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 124 | Hads: 280
Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition. Enjoyed in the same release year.

A: Pitch black with a noticeable oil-like thickness during the pour. Dark brown coloured foam head that recedes to a ring that clings around the glass.

S: Boozy hints of bourbon, dark roasted coffee, dark fruits (plums & dates), dark chocolate, toffee, and some underlying fruity hops. Very good and especially liking the noticeable bourbon presence.

T: Flashes of bourbon & dry woody elements- Very pleasing. Bittersweet dark chocolate and espresso beans compliment the bourbon & wood. Molasses-like malt serves as a great backbone, with a good balance of probing fruity hops. Delicious.

M: Full body with a moderate carbonation. Thick, oily, and syrupy, with a slightly chalky finish that's appealing.

D: Very drinkable RIS with noticeable bourbon and wood elements that integrates well with the overall flavour profile. Will be picking up a couple more to cellar and taste later.

2011 Edition. Enjoyed 2 years later (2013). Thought I would add this to my original review to see how it compares.

(4.0) A: Pitch black with a thin mocha head that dissipates to a ring rather promptly. Pours noticeably thick and oily and leaves attractive lacing.

(4.5) S: Bourbon-soaked raisins, rich dark chocolate, espresso, dark woods, vanilla, and solid caramel backbone. Incredibly boozy and rich with plenty of dark fruits with raisins most prevalent.

(4.25) T: Identical to aroma with a strong bourbon, dark fruit, and dark wood taste the main focus. Slightly herbal with strong roasted malt flavours. Bourbon-wood combination is very defined and one of the best I’ve tasted to-date. Not noticing as much the fruity hop elements evident back in 2011.

(3.75) M: Medium-thinner bodied with moderate carbonation. Tends to be a tad thin but with an appealing oily creaminess.

(4.0) D: Definitely a bit more boozy and perhaps somewhat of a slightly thinner body than when fresh, but still great with a couple years of age. Tough to say for sure not having them side-by-side to compare but I may be leaning to the fresher version of this. In hindsight, should’ve aged a third one for 1 year – that would’ve been interesting.

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Photo of BBP
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

This pours exactly how a stout should. It spreads a thick head even in the snifter I've chosen to drink it out of. Retention is top of the line, as the head has barely shrunk a bit. Lacing is also quite nice.

The aroma is excessively potent at first. It smelled very well rounded, and it was obvious that the hop base was sufficient. The malt is also quite rich as well. Cocoa played a good part. The bourbon was minimal but evident.

The taste was a little bit different than I expected. It was considerably more smoky than I imagined. The bourbon was quite minimal, but potent in a subtle way. Chocolate and coffee both balanced well with each other and filled in any blanks that the excess of flavor could have left. This beer is very well done, and nicely balanced, but it lost a bit of it's appeal with the cocoa and smoky dryness.

The body is medium full and medium heavy. Carbonation is more subtle than the head would suggest, and it fills the drink without interference to the mouthfeel. The finish is moderately dry and slightly sticky.

Overall, this was a very nice beer, and the serving size is generous enough that a single bottle should do most anyone. My only complaint was the excess of cocoa leaving a bit too much dryness around for me. If this was changed, it would easily be one of my favorite Canadian brews. Regardless, I'll be sure to grab a couple more while it's here to see how it handles some age.

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Photo of jegross2
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing.
Score: 91

2011 vintage bottle served in an oversized brandy snifter glass.

Appearance: Jet black and completely opaque. Pours three fingers of foamy chocolate-brown colored head that slowly recedes into a full finger of dense foamy heady. Amazing lacing. 5/5

Smell: Chocolate malts, coffee and hazelnut. Some toffee and dark fruit and maybe a hint of licorice. Light booziness in the aroma too. 4/5

Taste: Huge, consistent coffee-forward flavor throughout. Some dark fruit that gradually increases on the mid-palate as the beer layers. Light chocolate flavors weaved into the coffee. Lingering bitter coffee finish. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. Acidic bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: A lot more coffee flavors than expected in this Russian Imperial Stout. Very delicious, but very coffee-centric. I'd certainly try another bottle if I could easily get my hands on some.

Recommendation: If you do not like coffee and sharp bitterness, avoid this beer. Otherwise, enjoy!

Pairings: Chocolate cake? Maybe biscotti? How about a bagel with cream cheese!

Cost: $7.99 for a 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml Bottle - 2010 edition

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a huge size frothy brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some really good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for a very long time.

Smell - Chocolate, malts, hops, roasted/toasted nuts, coffee

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and its very thick and syrupy. I can taste chocolate/coffee mixed with malts and a roasted/toasted/burnt taste. I can also taste the hops and a bit of bourbon. It ends with a coffee and chocolate bitter aftertaste.

Overall – This is a pretty heavy duty beer. I was surprised by the amount of bitterness it had.. not only from the burnt coffee flavour but from the hops. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it's still a way above average RIS.

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Photo of blaje
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours really black with an oily look.
Treadmendous head forming immediatly. Creamy, thick, surprisingly dark moccha in colour. Terrific look! Head comes down leaving patchy lacing. Wow!
N: Coffee, Moccha, herbal notes of fresh tobacco. dark fruits and maybe animal touch like wet leather! Brown sugar faintly coming up
M: Bitter! Bitterness is up-front and fantastik. I realy enjoy this since I'm an IPA lover. Carbonnation is medium and suits very well this beer. Flavours of coffee, alcohol and smoke flavors comes up after rewarming a bit, just like with the nose. Very complex in flavour.
Aftertaste is neverending, tremendous!
Almost perfect for a RIS.
Will age very well...

2013 edition: still tremendous beer!

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

Pours jet black, reddish tan head with some lace lingering around the top of the glass. Smell is of roasted malt, bourbon, oak, vanilla, lightly smokey, coffee, milk and bittersweet chocolate, also scent that are a lot like fudge brownies. Taste is of roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon, chocolatey finish with coffee and bourbon, so complex and delicious. Light-med carb, silky and lightly creamy, full body. This is absolutely fantastic far and away the best from St.Ambroise and probably the best RIS from Canada, maybe even better than Singularity, awesome stuff.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near black impenetrable body with a two finger dark chocolate head, lots of patchy lacing, slowly going down to a nice thick collar of foam.

Lots going on in the scent, licorice, smoke, tobacco, coffee, goldings hops, leather, really something.

Taste is tobacco, coffee, lots of floral hops, dark fruit (raisin), leathery, with only a slight bit of ethanol lingering in the finish. Really well balanced and not overly boozy and rich which can sometimes be a turn off for the style.

This is a full bodied smooth nicely bitter brew with plenty of carbonation. It is nearly chewy and has a pleasant lingering bitter finish.

This is definitely the best St. Ambroise brew I have had and likely the best RIS I have had to date. It is beautiful, complex, smooth, and oh so drinakable.

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Photo of uno99
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO. $5.50 I think they were.

A: Poured into a Tripel Kameliet glass. Looks delicious. whats amazing is how dark the head is. Not Tan, but dark like dark chocolate, especially when you swirl the glass a bit.

S: I'm not going to bother mentioning the obvious RIS scents, but pretty strong in the fruit department. Leather, smoke, ash, tobacco, oak, soap.... all present here. Quite inviting but not huge.

T: This stuff is no joke. hugely powerful flavor. finish is long... Very long...(episode of Mama's Family long!) Everything is well balanced here. The bourbon isn't a big player but is present most in the finish.

M: Might be the thickest beer I've ever had, Although it has been a long time since I've had an barrel aged stout of this strength.

Overall: this is fantastic stuff, and I hear it ages well so I'll set some aside and come back in a year or two and re-review.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. "J 15 11" printed on the back label. Bottled in June or July? Not sure.

Beer is jet black. A fairly vigorous pour results in a very large cocoa coloured head. Fantastic retention- head just sits there, very slowly dissipating, leaving a moderate amount of lacing.

Lots of chocolate in the nose, and the bourbon is quite noticeable. Vanilla and oak are present. Alcohol is noticeable, but the bourbon probably plays a role in that. Very deep smell, very nice.

Taste is great. The bourbon flavours are very well integrated with the base beer, which is full of chocolate and roasted malt. Moderately bitter for the style, though I don't pick up a lot of hop flavours beside the bitterness. Vanilla is strong and very nice.

Moderate carbonation, full bodied. Fairly silky.

Overall, just a terrific beer. Lived up to my expectations for sure. Really glad the LCBO brought this one in, and look forward to seeing how it ages.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Marche Omni. 2011 vintage.

A - Pours pitch black with a nice, big thick dark brown head. Fair bit of carbonation coming up. Giant rings of lace with good retention that won't go away at a full finger.

S - Giant coffee aroma. Vanilla. Some whisky. Chocolate. Lot's of roasted malts.

T - Lot's of coffee and a great woody/whisky note. Tons of roasty, coffee elements. No chocolate. This is not a sweet Impy Stout. The barrel has had a big impact on this. A great whisky note with the wood adds an element that I really find interesting. The huge coffee note is good too. Alcohol is there but inoffensive.

M - Nicely carbonated. Full body. A whisky finish too. Great bitterness.

O/D - I had heard this was good but didn't know what to expect. An Imperial Stout of this quality coming out of Canada, let alone Quebec (no offense) is a nice suprise. Well done. Very drinkable. Glad I got 2, and even gladder this will be in the LCBO.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TheSevenDuffs for sending this!


Black, sludge, and more black. 3 fingers of big mocha colored head forms, lacing monstrously.

Roast, chocolate, light coffee, slight dark fruits.

Huge roasted notes, chocolate, dark fruits, slight char.

Creamy and full. Not hugely coating, but it's good.

We get McAuslan here...but not this gem. Shame, cuz it's damn good.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage, bought for me by @epiclurk. Thanks =)

Pours a deep, black opaque colour, gorgeously thick, and with a lovely chunky head of deep, dark-chocolate brown. Awesome solid and crunchy lacing. But it's the depth, the heaviness, the amazing dark carbonation as it's tilted; amazing. Such an awesome deep and incredibly rich beer.

Nose is a really wonderfully interesting. It actually straddles the divide between a big, sweet American Impy Stout and a dark, heavy, almost smoky and more hardcore Russian Impy Stout. It has the sweetness, the caress, the slight oak characters and the suppleness of the American variety, but with the rawness, the stark almost austere primality of a Russian. It's gorgeous. And better than that, it's *interesting*. It's a new take on the RIS, almost a hybrid.

Taste is also gorgeous, and again it has that lovely blend of suppleness, sweetness and raw, dark bitterness. Mouthfeel is a little lacking, but it doesn't matter—the flavour itself supplies all the smoothness that is required. There's lovely touches of oak, almost a creaminess in the taste. It's a RIS with the sensuous, gorgeous intrigue of a barrel-aged AIS.

Wow, wow, wow. I did not expect this from St Ambroise. I've had many from them now, and nothing, *nothing*, close to this. No wonder this is a special release. This is truly one of the best Imperial Stouts I've ever had, and because it manages to blend and integrate the two disparate genres, making a synergistic whole. After 1400 reviews, to find a beer that excites me like this? It's just amazing.

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Photo of gford217
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Aaron, 2010 vintage.

Pours pitch black underneath a thick mocha head that doesn't stick around long and leaves only a small collar.

Aroma is really rich with lots of bakers chocolate, espresso, hints of smoke and tar. Hints of bourbon and oak, maybe some vanilla as well.

Taste is seriously roasty and brings the black malts to the forefront with some oak and bourbon complimenting. I's really bittersweet if that makes sense, tons of roasty bitterness but with some vanilla and licorice to balance it out, semi-sweet chocolate as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth with low carbonation with an astringent bitterness after each sip.

This is a really hefty impy stout, especially clocking in under 10%. Massive roast character with barrel character to even things out. Very nice.

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Photo of nbree00
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeffo for this trade extra.
Vintage 2009

A-Deep brown, almost black, with a fizzy mocha colored head. Fades quickly, no lacing.

S-Mature, soft bourbon and vanilla aromas, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, hot cocoa.

T/M-Tastes like really good hot chocolate with a splash of bourbon. Very smooth and creamy until the very back end, where some dry, roasty flavors present themselves. Very simple, to the point bourbon RIS. Well done. Full bodied with a soft, yielding mouthfeel and low carbonation.

O-This is excellent.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours ink black with incredible viscosity. Light doesnt even penetrate the edges of the glass. The head is compact but very long lasting, and drapes the glass in tan lace. The aroma is a heady mix of fresh roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. The taste is a wall of yummy RIS flavors - roasted dark malts, cocoa, espresso and some light berry notes. Hops provide a good bitterness and a bit of leafy flavor. The mouthfeel is eminently thick with a very fine, creamy carbonation. The finish is pretty dry with a bit of booze heat.

This is a fantastic RIS from a very high quality Canadian brewery. Packed with intense flavor, this will please any stout fan.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.16/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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.

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Photo of ultrastiledivita
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341 ml 2010 picked up back in december has been sitting around for about 6 months now decided to pop it in.
poured into ddc tulip

appearance: Black. you can't see through this thing, lovely caffe latte coloured head that was about 1 finger wide. this beer is also as other reviewers have pointed out wonderfully silky and oily as it pours.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, major wood notes some vanilla

taste: I got an initial hit of vanilla that led to chocolate and finished off with the same taste in the back of my mouth that i get when i drink espresso. important to note that i get a pretty heavy wood taste shining through here, adds an another layer to this beer.

mouthfeel: not the creamiest of stouts ive had, slightly carbonated, if you like stouts this is easy to drink. slightly chewy as well

overall i loved this beer, it was complex tasty and delicious. however i will add this is without a doubt a sipper. I really enjoyed it and look forward to trying my other one 6 months from now to see how it ages.

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Photo of liamt07
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up from the LCBO last year, 2009 vintage. Into a snifter, split with Steve.

Pours pitch black, with several fingers of dirty brown head. Decent lace and persistent head. Nose has oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee and roasted qualities all with a milder bourbon note than I had expected, although it becomes more prevalent with warmth. Taste is warm brown sugar, espresso, oak and strong bitterness. The bourbon is subtler than I had guessed it would be, but is present throughout the duration of each sip. Alcohol is there but not substantial, with roastiness and bitterness prevailing long into the finish. A fair amount of oxidation is evident in the bottle as well at this point, and bumped the taste down from a 4.5 - easily attributable to the twist-off caps St. Ambroise uses, which I'm not really in favour of. Mouthfeel is pretty full with a bit of chewiness.

This was nice to finally dig into again (as I traded all of my bottles away except for the first which I had when this was released), but I felt like this declined throughout the duration of the serving. Something I wish I had drank sooner, but I can only hope St. Ambroise moves towards pry-offs for their cellarable offerings, as I remember this being much nicer when fresh.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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Photo of chickenm
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, 12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to Viggo for hooking me up with this. Pours jet black with a huge brown head that leaves lots of lacing. Really nice looking! Aroma of wood, bourbon, and light smoke. Tastes great, it has vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and chocolate. Rich, smooth mouthfeel; the alcohol in this is well integrated and not at all overpowering. Great drinkability, I really enjoyed this one!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Espresso, cocoa, bourbon vanillans and caramels, and malted milk candies all play into this lush and viscous imperial stout with power and finess that'll satisfy the hardcore stout lovers but also win over some bourbon fans as well.

Imperiale Russe pours with a viscous pour that seems to crawl into the chalice. The thick black beer reluctantly gives up its carbonation for a developing creme of roast-stained foam that mimics well made espresso to the tee. While retaining surprisingly well, the lacing initially coats the sides of the glass but later drifts into the liquid. Do stouts carry a better appearance?

The aromas of malted milk, bourbon alcohol, bittersweet cocoa, espresso, and caramelized oak all fill the nose early on- seems like every reach with the nose brings about another scent that wasn't noticed before. Cherry like esters also introduce complimentary notes of anise, sherry, and red wine.

Succulent and savory flavors of Espresso, roasted grains, chocolate brownies, walnuts, licorice, and malted milk candies fill the mouth with even the most dainty of sips- a testiment to the strength of flavor and its lingering. Initial richness morphs at the mid point into a bourbony tanic-oaky taste that ushers in more caramel and vanilla earthy-sweetness.

The magic happens in the mouthfeel where an early robust textrue of cream, fullness, and viscocity turns quickly into a tanic dryness, alcoholic warmth, while still retaining a marshmallowy feel late despite the linger of roast and hop bitterness.

This beer demonstrates a plethera of characteristics that take place in a matter of a second or two. I think a hundred bottles would continue to reveal flavors that wouldn't have been detected in the 99th. But that's how it goes with the most complex of complex beers.

As a Kentuckian who knows bourbon, I often find bourbon aged beers to be far too timid in its bourbon influence. No such risk with Imperiale Russe- the bourbon character is alive and well in this formitable imperial stout.

Again- a serious shout out goes to flipper2gv for the generosity and patience.

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing
93 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.