St-Ambroise Scotch Ale - McAuslan Brewing

Not Rated.
St-Ambroise Scotch AleSt-Ambroise Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

72 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 131
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 8
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-25-2002

Formerly known as McAuslan Scotch Ale
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 131
Photo of the42ndtourist
4.8/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The colour's a deep garnet - Brownish in the middle with ruby on the edges, about an inch of head off a good pour. Aroma is sweet and enticing. In the mouth, I get all the trademarks of the style: bubblegum chewiness, caramel malt flavours, a slight hoppy finish. And it's all put together so well... Mouthfeel is slightly prickly from the carbonation.
Another excellent brew from McAuslan. (392 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy, deep-auburn body is topped by a short, creamy, ivory colored head that dissipates shortly but keeps a decent collar throughout the glass. The aroma is outstanding; richly malty with notes of caramel, toffee, dark fruits (plum), and a mild cocoa. The firm body is enhanced by a creamy mouthfeel from a very fine, low level carbonation that leaves it supple and smooth on the tongue! The flavor is also enhanced by the gentle carbonation, accentuating the rich caramel & toffee, light chocolate, and soft, mild fruitiness of the malt. The hop bitterness plays only a supporting role and it finishes semi-dry with a lingering dark chocolate note, some fruitiness, and some swirling notes of alcohol that eventually fade but give rise to a soft note of vanilla and some mild nuttiness. Quite complex. Best mulled over at cellar temperature. Well worth seeking out. (877 characters)

Photo of oqnid
4.58/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer that you must respect!!!
I've tried it in bottle and liked it but on draught...it's an entirely different experience. Although very sweet, this toffy-like beer is very enjoyable. Impressive look, a very dark ruby red finish, impressive head, foam stays with you until your done, overall well rounded beer with a presence you won't soon forget. The smell of alcohol numbs your nostrils.
Faithful to it's style, this brew has the potential to knock you off your feet (litterally) if you abuse. This should be on every Scottish-style lover's lists.
To be enjoyed a couple of pints at a time, even on draught, this is a high ABV beer and because of it's heavy, malty, aromatic, very intense flavor, after 2-3 you tend to "overload" your palate and only the alcohol taste and smell will accompany you 'til the bottom of your glass.
Hats off to McAuslan's for this one! (886 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.39/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/8" mocha coloured head that dissipated quickly and left a slight lacing over extremely dark mahogany liquid.

S: Caramel malt, vanilla and butterscotch are most prominent with a faint smell of alcohol similar to scotch whiskey.

T: Slightly bitter up front which transitions into caramel malt, raisin, apple, and vanilla. The aftertaste reminds me of a somewhat peaty scotch whiskey.

M: Medium to thick viscosity with a medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel of alcohol is present on the tongue at the finish.

O: I quite enjoyed this Scotch Ale and found it quite drinkable; as it wasn't as acidic as others nor as sweet as others in the style. I do enjoy the taste of malt and scotch whiskey, so this was in line with my palate; which likely explains why I am rating it higher than most other reviewers. (816 characters)

Photo of ChrisCage
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a very nice clear ruby red/brown color with a caramel colored head that contains large bubbles and starts off about a half finger thick, before settling into a thick patchwork of foam. Lacing is very good, as there is large swaths of foam sticking to the side of my glass!

S- Beautiful rich caramel and blackstrap molasses aromas right up front. Heavily roasted malt sweetness and hints of smoke permeate my nostrils! Also, minor aromas of dark chocolate, sweet rum, and burnt toast. Simply awesome smells happening!

T- Full flavors of very toasty caramels, molasses and chocolate, tinges of smoke and char, burnt toast.....even woody and liqueur like to a point. I'm thinking there is a portion of black malt used to create this flavor profile! Right before the finish, there is an Earthy Sarsaparilla hint that lingers just slightly! Again....awesome!

M/O- Definitely full bodied and worthy of the 'wee-heavy' monkier! The carbonation is made up of 'wee' tight bubbles that greatly help with carrying the flavors all over the palate and this would be a great brew to enjoy with a stew & dumpling meal on a cold winters eve! I am greatly enjoying this one on its own however and think this is a great example of the style and highly recommend! (1,265 characters)

Photo of CookstLiquor
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful chestnut brown colour, with a nice beige head. Not a ton of aroma, but what's there--hints of vanilla, nuts, caramelly malt--is nice. The nose really doesn't prepare you for the amazing smoothness and flavour on the palate. The vanilla is definitely present, along with some sweet, cooked malt notes. The mouthfeel is amazingly creamy and round, and there's just the right amount of bitterness at the end to tie it all together. Very easy drinking wee heavy. Totally delicious. (495 characters)

Photo of SebD
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown/amber color to it with nice ruby hues coming through. It has a nice thick tan head that dies down slowly and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of caramely malts, molasses, nuts, cherries and dark fruit.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a sweet caramely/maple syrup character to it, molasses and toffee, nice earthy bitterness, with cherries and dark fruit. Delicious

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice sweet balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas. Another great from Mcauslan. (629 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from Viggo courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vanilla, butterscotch, fruit, caramel, malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and very sweet with flavors of vanilla, apples, raisins, butterscotch caramel. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence and is enough to bring a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not as filling as most in the style, good kick, nice representation of style, this is a nice beer to drink for a while if you're in the mood for the style. (852 characters)

Photo of eat
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at Rahman while in Montreal. Not sure how old it is; the bottle is dated best before M015, whatever that means. Pours an extremely dark brown, almost completely opaque with a fine mist of off-white head and ring around the glass. Some bits of cork-looking sediment are present at the end of the glass.

Smells of yeast, wheat, molasses, caramel, iron, vanilla, prunes, raisins and cherries. There's even a little dustiness; I'm unsure of this bottle's age but it smells like it could be aged a bit. I'm pretty into the nose actually, it reminds me of Unibroue 17.

Quite sweet, as are most wee heavies; though it's mostly balanced with some drying, earthy hoppiness. The malt body leave a little to be desired, I'm feeling that it's a touch too watery. I'd appreciate some fuller malt. Quite tasty, though, with lots of prune and cherry, some slightly-chocolaty dark malt, charred wood and hints of coffee and vanilla bean with some musty aged-taste showing up in the mouth as well. Only the faintest trace of alcohol, presenting itself as part of an apple-cider-like aftertaste.

The body could definitely be a little fuller for my taste. The very low carbonation hints again at some age.

I'm suspecting this bottle could be a year or two old, especially considering Rahman still had some Unibroue Edition 2004 kicking around. Whatever its age, it's holding it well. Not my favorite McCauslin brew but I'm glad I had a chance to check it out and would probably recommend it to any fan of Scotch ales.

Edit: 15/12/10

I found a new mix pack from St. Ambroise at IGA which includes the rare Scottish Ale. I thought I'd re-review out of curiosity from the only other bottle I've had being of undetermined age. Opaque and dark-mahogany with cola-coloured highlights. A thin, off-white head leaves traces of lacing.

There's fairly obvious alcohol in the nose, along with bready dark grain, molasses, light apple and stone fruit. Much less interesting than the last bottle I had.

The flavour is not as full as I'd like it to be and lacks in complexity as well. There's a dark malt character without showing much roast and a somewhat cloying cough-syrup-like sweetness. Some light earthy hops and slightly-harsh alcohol.

Too light bodied to accompany the flavour. Medium-light carbonation.

I wouldn't be keen on drinking this unaged again. The last bottle of this stuff I found was definitely quite old in comparison; I'd put it at well-over a year, possibly pushing two. I wouldn't have necessarily thought this beer would be a good candidate for aging but enjoyed the aged bottle way more than this fresh one. If you manage to get your hands on some of this, set some aside for a good year and check it again. Ratings remain as tasted with the first review. (2,784 characters)

Photo of 1sophrosyne1
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (1,263 characters)

Photo of Haydn-Juby
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 341ml bottle

A: Nice dark brown with red hues coming through when up against light. Pretty small, maybe half finger head with some lacing.

S: Candied dark fruits. Very sweet candy like smell.

T: The candied fruit in the aroma is not so present in the taste it is still there however. Caramel and sweet malts are the most present flavor in this. Some nice hops that help simmer down the sweetness of the malts. Nicely balance. Its malty but at the same time its not cloyingly sweet. Some of the alcohol is noticeable but that is not out of key for the style.

M: Smooth going down. Leaves a nice caramel after taste.

O: I could picture my self besides a fire sipping this after a cold winters day or paring it with a deeply marinated roast. It was enjoyable. (775 characters)

Photo of Mandrake
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with red highlights and big bubbles clinging to the sides of my glass. A little bit too coke-like, but the head is thick and lasting enough to belay those suspicions. Same colour though, but it leaves good lacing nonetheless. Smell is dark and smoky, with lots of peat and strong malts. Burnt caramel and raisins as well. Taste is a bit astringent and salty, but in the way that a Highland single malt is, and it's actually quite interesting. More fruitiness on the palate, and strong peat again. Mouthfeel has plenty of body, but loses its carbonation quickly and isn't as warming as I'd hoped for, and drinkability is solid but not exceptional. Nice example of the style, I quite like it. (709 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5 dollars for a 341 ml bottles is a little steep, even with the cool cardboard tube it comes in. I would never pass up a new McAuslan beer, but still.

It pours a deep cherry color with mahogany hints. The head is creamy and tan. It has modest retention but leaves plenty of lace webs behind. The aroma is malty and nutty with a nice rum cake feel. Masses of malt flavor bursts forth on the first gulp. Caramel drizzled dough is noticeable. Over ripe fruit - berries, melon and orange - are abundant. Some earthy hop flavor is discernable way in the background. The mouthfeel is heavy and lightly carbonated, with a whisp of cloyingness. The finish is sweet, and boozey, though the 7.2 isnt too prominent.

This is a sturdy Scotch Ale. Its definitely worth seeking out if you like malty beers. Im aging a bottle, I bet it will develop well. (844 characters)

Photo of elricorico
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown in colour with a finger of beige head that formed even during a careful pour. Fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Head fades to a thin cap after about a minute.

Rich caramel malts aroma, laced with a liquor heat. Some fruitiness, perhaps raisin.

Taste is dry, with a fair toffee impression through the front half of the mouth. Dark fruitiness mixes in midway seemingly increasing in sweetness as it passes. A liquor heat fills out the back end, warning of the ABV, but not overpowering the other flavours. Pretty tasty.

There's a bit of creamy body, and the carbonation doesn't get in the way, it is fairly soft and natural feeling.

All around a good beer, nothing huge about it, but everything is big enough to be interesting. Thanks go to orrshow for bringing me a bottle. (806 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came with a mixed 12 pack. Solid Scottish wee heavy that has a fresh malty bite. Lots of complexity yet very drinkable. Kind of tasted like a Xmas ale at times which is no bad thing . Would be great if this was available in six packs
as it is often hard to find a good Scottish ale in BC (287 characters)

Photo of Seanstoppable
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a finger of head. Head quickly evaporates until there is only a crown. Visible carbonation in the glass.

Smell consists of sweet caramel, with a minor alcohol character.

Taste is a sweet caramel/almost molasses quality to it. The molasses characteristic is also due to the thickness of the mouthfeel. A slight hint of alcohol at the back.

Overall, a fairly good, standard scotch ale. (410 characters)

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (1,056 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (1,734 characters)

Photo of cratez
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: slightly hazed cinnamon brown body with a thin tan head. Sticky beige lacing covers the glass while drinking.

Smell: alcohol, ripe pit fruit, and caramel. At first the booze comes on a little too strong, later it mellows out.

Taste: sweet malt, sherry, prunes, and warming alcohol. Nicely balanced sweetness in the aftertaste.

Contrary to what the label says, I do not detect any traces of vanilla or butterscotch.

Mouthfeel: smooth and crisp, almost refreshing for a scotch ale.

Drinkability: considering the high alcohol content, this is surprisingly drinkable. I was expecting it to be much more of a sipper, but I could probably drink a few of these. There's a pleasant mix of fruit, malt, and sherry in the smell and taste. Well done, McAuslan. (806 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown hue with a small head. This is probably 2 years old or so though so I didn't expect much head. Aroma is fairly typical to the style. Quite sweet full on the malt, caramelic with vanilla undertones and good earthy peat notes. More of the same in mouth with a restrained alcohol feel. A rounder body would make it a top example, but as it stands now, it's just a pleasant and well-made beer. Still in decent shape and just a slight hint of acidity indicates this is certainly not going to improve anymore. RIP. (519 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark copper hue which leaves a creamy two finger head and sporadic lacing,the smell is fruity xmas cake,herbal hops,butterscotch and whiskey,the mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and has tastes of raisins,xmas pudding,fruit cake,herbal spicy hops,butterscotch and finished with a hint of whiskey and overall im not the biggest fan of this style but i love this drop its tasty,warming and comforting all at the same time and for me i think its a good transition to the SAWH's and thoroughly recommend cheers. (519 characters)

Photo of JOaikido
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A somewhat pricey bottle I bought a week ago and finally am getting the chance to enjoy.

A- Foamy beige head. Colour dark red brown with highlights of purple and amber.

S- Milder than expected. Very faint caramel and cherries. Alcohol.

T- Slightly strong flavour of alcohol. Slightly sweet, which I like. Feels almost like a good wine. Flavour of berries and cherries come through. I feel it has a good balance between bitter and sweet.

MF- Creamy, thick, smooth. Slight bite from the carbonation, especially at first. This improves as it sits.

D- A beer to slowly savour on a quiet evening. Loses a few marks for the overall feel of high alcohol (seems somewhat out of proportion with the actual alcohol content).

Overall I really enjoyed this beer, but I wouldn't buy it regularly unless it came down in price. (830 characters)

Photo of irishkyle21
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep dark brownish purple. Decant head but little stamina, some very nice lacing though. Smells of dark fruits, molasses alcohol. The taste is pretty much like the smell with more of a alcohol bite to it and some chocolate in there as well. A very nice warming beer better for fall/ winter (IMO). (309 characters)

Photo of IdeaSpeeder
3.9/5  rDev +6%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of leaddog
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a medium copper brown with a thin, bubbly off-white head. Bubbles are present.

Smell- Vanilla, butterscotch, dark fruits, sweet malts, buttered rum.

Taste- Predominant flavours are the fruits and vanilla. Hint of butterscotch comes through. Sweetness remains as you drink this with no bitterness coming through in the aftertaste. Very, very minimal hops flavour.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with light carbonation and good smoothness.

Overall- Good representation of the style by St Ambroise. There are some unique sweet flavours that I quite enjoy. Worth a try for those looking to get into the style. (621 characters)

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St-Ambroise Scotch Ale from McAuslan Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.