St-Ambroise Scotch Ale - McAuslan Brewing
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Ratings: 109 | Reviews: 69 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by thehyperduck:
3.56/5 rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
341 mL bottle from the LCBO, care of the brewery's winter sampler pack. Bottled Sept. 27 2012. I tend to love McAuslan's offerings, so I've got high hopes for this one - which happens to be the only brew in this pack I haven't tried previously. Served only slightly chilled.
Pours a beautiful deep translucent copper-ruby colour, topped with about one finger's worth of foamy, fizzy, light beige-coloured head. It fades away rather quickly, with only a thin film on the surface remaining a few minutes later. The aroma is pleasant and very malt-forward, with lots of toffee and molasses sweetness, as well as some raisins and black cherry. The peat becomes a bit more noticeable as the glass warms to room temperature.
The taste is alright, but not especially interesting. Sweet malt notes are in the forefront at first, with lots of butterscotch/toffee accompanied by vanilla, figs and raisins. These flavours are abruptly interrupted with a solid dose of bitter dryness - a little leafy, with hints of dark chocolate, molasses and rum. On the light side of medium-bodied... too thin for something that is supposed to be a winter sipper. The carbonation seems high at first, but settles as I sip my way through the glass. Not something I'd want to drink large quantities of, but this bottle is fine for a cold afternoon.
Final Grade: 3.56, a respectable B grade. St-Ambroise Scotch Ale isn't one of McAuslan's best beers, not by a longshot. That being said, it makes for a decent warmer during the cold winter months, reminding me of some of the heavier I&G offerings (e.g. the rum cask). I doubt I'd go out of my way to try this again (perhaps on-tap), but to be fair its presence is no reason to avoid the sampler, because the oatmeal stout and pale ale are both excellent.
[Updated Jan. 1 2014]
I grabbed another sampler pack for last night's festivities and never got around to opening this one, so I figured I'd give it another comment on a slow afternoon. This is still my least-favourite McAuslan brew, but that's not a huge criticism because I love most of their other beers - this one's just not for me. Something about the combination of thin body, fizziness, sweet flavour and booze rubs me wrong, but beyond those gripes it does taste pretty darn good. Not a bad beer, and worth a try if you're into sturdy Scottish-style ales.
Serving type: bottle
02-24-2013 19:08:59 | More by thehyperduck
More User Reviews:
3.99/5 rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
I particularly love rich, sweet scotch ales and therefore came into this one with high expectations (doubly so in fact, considering that this brewery's oatmeal stout is excellent). Poured into an English pub glass, a dark reddish brown with two inches or so of light brown foam. Smells of sweet caramelized malts, brown bread, dark raisins, a cola-like brown spice, and a faint whiff of peaty smoke. However, the latter element is downplayed on the palate as compared to some other takes on the style, with toffee, dark dried fruit, and light molasses flavors taking center stage. Minimal to no hop flavor, as per the style. Moderately thick mouth-coating body and low level of carbonation, again hitting style targets. One can detect some booze on the palate but this is not overwhelming. Does have a subdued but detectable sourish campfire smoky "tang". Tasty and comes across like some uber-technical brewer had Ray Daniel's "Designing Great Beers" open to the scotch ales chapter in an endeavor to brew a Platonic ideal of the "wee heavy". Recommended.
Serving type: bottle
01-24-2014 02:14:59 | More by CalgaryFMC
3.93/5 rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
St-Ambroise Scotch Ale may not be tartan, but this dense and dark candied cherry coloured beer looks hearty enough to withstand rain and windstorms and whatever else cool climate throws its way (it even manages some unlikely highlights). Its head, appropriately, stretches like a big grey cloud over the surface.
I like scotch in general, but I *love* Islay scotch specifically. Likewise, I like scotch ales, but my favourite examples of the style are those that capture the sea brine and peat notes that distinguish Islay single malts. This bouquet has just an inkling of those flavours but it's enough to add some additional depth (and make me that much happier).
The palate, however, is much closer to a Highlands scotch in its makeup. Peated malts fall by the wayside and in their place there's plenty of dark honey, dried fruits, butterscotch, vanilla, toffee, and roasted nut flavours. It's not a bad little ensemble, especially when you factor in the gritty earthiness contributed by the hops. Very well put together.
The mouthfeel is a tricky thing - syrupy on some sips, rich and malty on others with just the right amount of sweetness and campfire smoke. I don't know where I stand on it. One thing's for sure: 7.5% is a hard fact to believe. The beer is far heartier and more satiating than your average ale but is far from the heaviest hitter in the 'wee heavy' category.
It's hard to go wrong with anything that has 'St-Ambroise' on the label. While not all their brands live up to the world-class Oatmeal Stout, they are all solid, serviceable, and widely agreeable beers in their own right. Most of them - this Scotch Ale perhaps chief among them - are also great examples of their respective styles.
Serving type: bottle
01-21-2014 00:43:04 | More by biegaman
3.89/5 rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Serving Type - 341ml bottle, poured into a small pint glass
Appearance - Pours an amber/light brown colour. When held to the light it takes on a deep red. On top sits a finger of off white head which dissipates quickly into a light foamy residue. No carbonation is visible.
Smell - Vanilla and butterscotch right away. Very sweet.
Taste - Vanilla is here as well up front. A strong malt backbone with a lingering biscuit-y taste towards the end and pleasant but subtle hop bitterness. There is also notes of alcohol here and there.
Mouthfeel - Very smooth, fairly low carbonation, fairly heavy body.
Serving type: bottle
12-13-2013 02:35:46 | More by IdeaSpeeder
3.58/5 rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Picked up as part of the St. Ambroise taster's pack at LCBO. Reviewed second bottle of two in the pack. Served fairly cold into a pint glass.
Appearance - Reddish / copper color. 3/4 of a finger of white head is poured but expires quickly leving a soapy residue on top. Tons of bubbles give the illusion of high carbonation.
Smell - Caramel and vanilla are present some underlying oakiness, if you're looking for it.
Taste - Sweet vanilla and toffee and caramel smack you in the mouth almost at the point of being cloyingly sweet, then the hop presence (bitterness) just cuts through like a hot knife through butter to removing and tracing of cloying sweetness. While this wasn't my particular point of enjoyment, I think it creates a better balance which is reflected in the overall score to some extent.
Mouthfeel - Low-medium carbonation. Mild dryness on the finish. Booziness is subtle until the end once the beers warms a bit and then becomes quite noticeable.
Overall - Not my favorite scotch ale, I think the palate cutting bitterness keeps this a very balanced brew and not one that is extreme.
Serving type: bottle
11-29-2013 05:04:42 | More by DenisKolkin
4.09/5 rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Tasted on tap in a a weizen glass over 25 minutes.
The pour is a red cordovan with an ample tan head of which most falls quickly, but some residual head stays around a bit. Essentially no lacing.
It has a candy nose with cherry, some booze and brandy and a touch of orange. Toffee is prominent early, and folds into more muted earth and peat with warming.
Sweet and toasty in flavor, and not quite enough hop bitter to balance all the red fruit, but very drinkable. Butterscotch and vanilla are almost soothing before an astringent phase stops them short 2/3 through each gulp. This brightens up the end, but then leaves this otherwise savory brew lacking on length.
A few more bubbles would help the light-medium body and the flavor profile, both. It's fine in the mouth, but without more hop oils, it's thin. Based on what I'm reading, though, I think a draught pour is better in this regard than a bottle…especially one that has been on the shelf.
This is a nice twist on the style, but as noted, I'd expect more heft…especially with 7.5 percent booze. On the flip side, it's easy to quaff, so you can reach the level of full attitude adjustment in just a single happy hour. And, it's pretty good with the food of northern Europe and related cooler climes.
Serving type: on-tap
11-03-2013 21:06:18 | More by 1sophrosyne1
St-Ambroise Scotch Ale from McAuslan Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.