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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe - McAuslan Brewing

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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

248 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 248
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 68
Gots: 68 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: papat444 on 12-05-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 248 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tuey13
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a 2011 vintage that I am reviewing picked up while in Quebec City this summer.

Pours a very thick, almost syrup-like liquid with a dark mocha head with tight bubbles of a two finger head that sticks around and leaves some impressive lacing on the glass.

The smell is luxurious... espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice, molasses, vanilla, and oak with a smoky note there as well. Smells wonderful!!

The taste is phenomenal... thick, velvety and very rich! Tastes of espresso,bitter chocolate, and licorice mix with the smoky wood and oak... also a little sweetness and even a litter bitter hop taste which is impressive for a beer over 2 years aged. Not very boozy as i am sure it has mellowed and transformed over time.. but the alcohol is definitely there, but to me... very smooth. I love every sip of this and how it transformed as it warmed... i got more of the vanilla bourbon as it warmed as well as the bitterness increased in a good way.

I loved this beer... it was well worth the $6.99 I paid even after carrying it in my backpack as i was on my bike back to my fiance's apartment haha! I hope to try a 2013 vintage this Holiday season or even score another 2011 or 2012 to compare. If you can find this.. buy it. I love the fact that the bourbon does not dominate and overpower like many barrel aged stouts.

St-Ambroise always impresses... try if you can find this!!

Cheers!!

Tuey13, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of thehyperduck
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341 mL bottle-in-a-tube picked up at the LCBO. 2013 edition, listed at 9.2% and served at cellar temperature. This is one brewery that almost always manages to impress me, and I've probably heard more good stuff about this stout than any of their other offerings - so picking up this one was a quick decision.

Pours thick, black and totally opaque like old engine oil, topped with just under two fingers' worth of dense, creamy, dark tan-coloured head. Its recession is a gradual process lasting more than a few minutes, eventually culminating in a modest cap with a sheet of lacing around the edge of the glass. An impressive-looking stout, and the aroma ain't half bad either - bourbon and oak are noticeable contributors, in addition to roasted malts, molasses, vanilla extract, ethanol and smoke. Not bad, but I could use a bit more coffee/chocolate to entice me into a sip.

This is a delicious imperial stout, with the barrel ageing process bestowing upon it a number of interesting traits not typically found in this style. Toffee and molasses sweetness form much of the backbone, with big notes of bourbon, black coffee and charred wood to keep things interesting. Toward the finish, there is a brief but intense splash of licorice, with dark chocolate and roasted malts soon overtaking it. The aftertaste is quite bitter, with a smoky, char-like tannin astringency lingering on the palate for quite a while. The alcohol doesn't figure into the flavour strongly, but it's not exactly hidden, either. Full-bodied, with light carbonation that gently prickles the tongue, accenting the velvety-smooth mouthfeel nicely. A slow sipper if there ever was one; this is a brew to savour.

Final Grade: 4.48, an outstanding A grade. St. Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe is a fabulous barrel-aged stout that all fans of the style should actively seek out. While this fresh bottle is drinking rather nicely, this is the sort of beer that is just begging to be cellared for a year or two - frankly, my mouth is watering just thinking about a mellower, smoother version of this stout, a concept almost inconceivable to begin with. Hopefully I'll be able to procure another bottle before the stock runs out, although if history is any indicator this stuff will fly off the shelves (for good reason). Don't hesitate to grab a bottle of this if you spot it, because it's well worth a try and absolutely worth the 6-7 dollar price tag.

thehyperduck, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Vyronian
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Vyronian, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of kevinlater
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

kevinlater, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of CanuckRover
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A 2011 bottle put aside for a couple years.

What a pour. Thick (in the best way) black liquid pours into a snifter and sends up a lively mocha head. Pretty much opaque. Glass covering lacings right to the finish. A 5 on appearance.

Dark red fruit on the nose with a hit of alcohol. Slightly smokey and roasty, but really it's all about big fruity malt flavours in the aroma.

Deep and dark. Loads going on with this. Bitterest chocolate. Vinous. Boozey wood. Ever-present dark red fruit. Even after a couple years I get significant hop bitterness.

Another 5 for mouthfeel. Incredibly satisfying imperial stout. Thick and chewy while being shockingly easy drinking.

Glad I laid this down for awhile. Well rounded and quite tasty. Great stuff.

CanuckRover, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
3/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

smakawhat, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of groleau
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

groleau, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Kegatron, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of cosmonick
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

cosmonick, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of Kmat10
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Kmat10, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of DenisKolkin
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

341 ml bottle that comes in an awesomely decorated cardboard cylinder. Picked one up for $5.95 CDN which is a lot for figured I would have to try this at least once. 2013 Vintage and ABV is indicated as 9.2% on the bottle rather than the 9.1% listed here.

Left the bottle out for about 30-40 minutes after being in the fridge so that it would warm up a bit. Then served into a pint glass.

Appearance - Black as night like in an unlit mine shaft. I've recently commented on some dark beers and how they had been the darkest beers I'd had, but this one takes the cake. Towards the end of the glass even tilted this towards me as to spread out the liquid and looked directly into the sun and... not a glimmer of light made it through. Wow. Also 1 finger of dark brown head that receded moderately. Beautiful spidery lacing left everywhere. If the head was more impressive of lasted longer this would have scored quite a bit higher. Still very impressive.

Smell - Lots of coffee, licorice candy a complex mixture of chocolates. Caramel and butterscotch mixture. Wonderfully dessert-like. Pretty much having a platter of strong rich dark chocolate and all the combinations with other dessert items in front of you with a black espresso. Also some vanilla and smoky oakiness. Slight element of rum soaked pastries and fruitcake.

Taste - Enormous flavors here, and found that there was about four stages to this beer with every sip. First a mild sweetness of the caramel and butterscotch combo transitioning into about a second where the palate is actually clear and void of much. Then boom a massive licorice and smoke explosion with some coffee and dark chocolate mixed in. To conclude a dark chocolate (like 95% pure cocoa) and coffee mixture that lingers on the tongue for a long while.

Mouthfeel - Rich, decadent velvety smooth, great warmth in the back of the throat. Obviously heavy bodied prohibiting you from mass consumption and also an oily texture to it. The slickness coats the mouth and tongue throughout the session.

Overall - Excellent RIS, huge flavor and very good representation of the style. Don't know if I will purchase another this year due to the cost, but definitely worth trying at least once.

DenisKolkin, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of dobmaster
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

dobmaster, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of TwilightTavern
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a brandy snifter

when poured from a bottle, i immediately noticed how thick the beer was. The thickest beer I've ever drank in fact. Thick one inch medium brown head that dissipates to half an inch that lasts forever, the longest head retention I've ever seen on a beer thats 9 abv+

Walnuts were the first impression the aroma gave off. Next was typical dark chocolate and espresso typical of RIS', and finally dates, and alcohol.

Taste is burnt toast, dark chocolate, espresso, extremely malty, and even hoppy bitterness atypical of RIS'. Exceptional complexity.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, extremely thick, and leaves a nice alcohol bitterness on the palate, along with a slight hint of molasses.

I'm aware that there is a novelty on high abv (or "big beers"), and particularly RIS', and I'm even more sure that the fancy case the 341mm bottle comes in may not help either, however all aside, this is a truly exceptional beer, and possibly one of the best I've ever had in any dark beer style.

TwilightTavern, Nov 12, 2013
Photo of AugustusRex
4/5  rDev -5%

AugustusRex, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of DamageCase76
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

DamageCase76, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of kbuzz
4/5  rDev -5%

kbuzz, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of FrostBlast
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341mL bottle

2013 vintage

I never mention bitterness in my reviews, my bitterness taste buds are ridiculously under-
sensitive.

APPEARANCE : Deep dark brown colour, oily looks on pour. Mocha head that rises pretty high as far as bourbon aged stouts are concerned - then drops down leaving some average-heavy lacing. The head really got me enthusiastic about this brew.

SMELL : First nose is mostly roasted malts, coffee, mocha, with some molasses on the background. Second nose opens up the caramel/molasses profile a bit more. Third nose shows some smoke as well as expanding on the previous elements.

TASTE : Pitch black coffee, like espresso. Pitch black chocolate, I'm talking 95% cocoa. I know I never usually mention bitterness but this brew hits home for me, which means it must be VERY bitter for anyone with normal taste buds. Very nice complexity, yet pretty straightforward, nicely funnelled. Extremely coffee oriented.

MOUTHFEEL : Pretty much follows what the appearance seemed to predict - almost oily texture. Pretty high carbonation for a stout aged in bourbon barrels and this kinda cuts down on the oily factor, but since I like my bourbon aged stout on the oily side, I simply gave it a few more swirls in the glass and I got to something I really enjoy.

OVERALL : Yet another outstanding product from the McAuslan brewery. This is something very special to me since the brewery is 5 minutes walk from my place. I always taste everything they put out and their pale ale is my standard "everyday beer." I'm glad I have such a great brewery right next to my home and I'm glad they put out such an amazing bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

FrostBlast, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of JRod1969
4.25/5  rDev +1%

JRod1969, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of valianes
4/5  rDev -5%

valianes, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of anson42
4/5  rDev -5%

anson42, Sep 28, 2013
Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Ivanhoes_Backpack, Sep 23, 2013
Photo of Shurikane
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Shurikane, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of strang
4.25/5  rDev +1%

strang, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

ImFlyerThanYou, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of AnHeroicHippo
4.25/5  rDev +1%

AnHeroicHippo, Sep 09, 2013
St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing
94 out of 100 based on 248 ratings.