St-Ambroise Pale Ale | McAuslan Brewing

very good
224 Reviews
St-Ambroise Pale AleSt-Ambroise Pale Ale

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Golding, Hallertau

IBU: 35

Added by Jason on 10-26-2000

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Reviews: 224 | Ratings: 412
Photo of Ardon
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, top notch pale ale, one of the greatest I have yet sampled and it's brewed only an hour and a half away from me! Fantastic hop oilyness. Very appetizing bitterness with an unidentifiable malt fruitiness up front and a long lingering hop flavour. Perfectly balanced. Appearance is a rich pale amber with a long lingering dense head. I adore this stuff! Even better than their Oatmeal Stout which is saying alot. A great brew for the fans of hops who aren't quite the hopheads who wanna be smacked around by them.

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Photo of Offa
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a wonderful, complex and engaging ale ale, light but with plenty of character and flavour.

Light amber=copper, it has a very large pale tan head, rich and creamy, shrinking very slowly to a permanent thin, rocky head and leaving some good lace.

The aroma is faintly earthy with toffee, citrus, fruit, toast. It's pleasant, full-bodied, and complex.

The taste is citrusy, leafy, with a lot of toast, light winey fruit, a light sweetness with balancing bitterness that just dominates the finish and lingers engagingly.

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Photo of Beersignal
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I will try to be as objective about this one as I can. I have been drinking this beer for about 10 years now... it is my all time favourite session ale and in my top 10 to be sure.

Poured this in one of my tasting glasses (like all the other beers I rate) beautiful fully copper tint with caramel highlights under a generous and fluffy off white plate of foam. The head was tenacious to say the least and, I as I stare at the empty glass, I see sheets of lace all around the walls of the vessel.

The aromas of this beer when it is fresh beckon the nose to plunge into the glass again and again. Full freshness of malts dancing with hops over notes of caramel, orchard and citrucy fruits and just a hint of vanilla up front and in the middle. The finish sees the biscuit quality of the malts return and once again mingle with the hops. So satisfying!

A steady bead emerges from the beer in columns all around the glass as I taste. Omnipresent are the bready malt and hops that are punctuated by accents of caramelized oranges and apples. The very full flavours are consecrated by a sharp but pleasant fresh hop bitterness which quietly dries the tongue. I could easily drink this all day and never get bored.

Hope those of you who have a chance to try this enjoy it as much as I. Hope even more that you get a fresh batch so you can experience the sensory indulgence I just had.

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Photo of peterthepiper
4.69/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I will get this out of the way at first: this is my favorite non-Belgian styled beer. I was very glad to see it available at the local BC liquor store for much less than I can get it in Calgary.

Upon opening, the aroma is quite evident. I find it to be floral, with fruit and hops notes. Beautiful. Pouring, it results in a good white head, that lasts for a fairly short time.

The taste is very similar to the aroma. No beer I have had before has such strong floral notes. But, they are well matched with the hops and other characteristics of the beer. As previous reviewers have mentioned, the balance of the St. Ambroise Pale is impeccable. Mouthfeel is good, with a fair bit of carbonation.

Combining all of these characteristics into a beer results in an excellent, drinkable brew. It's my choice for a session beer.

Poured from a 330 mL bottle.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Beer Store didn't have any St. Ambroise oatmeal stout, so I settled for this. Damn, am I not dissapointed. This is a delicious beer. For a pale ale, it's very yellow. Sort of a copper yellow, or dark blonde. Blonde ale would be a better description for this, I think. Head settles too one finger after poured into the mug. White, fluffy and strong all the way down. Beautiful. Strong hop smell. Strong enough to give your nasal a kick, but not so strong as too be a turn off. Very hoppy taste. I love it. No malt on the tongue, which was a surprisingly good thing. Mouthfeel was bitter and clean. Highly drinkable. I love this beer. When I pick up their oatmeal stout, I'll be sure to get this again. It's delicious. I honestly believe the taste cannot be improved any more.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had to find some good session beer, not out of this world in the taste. Got a 6-pack. Here is my review.

The color is copper, very clear. Bubbles are present and the head is creamy and sticks well to the glass. The aroma presents itself with hops notes and caramel malts. A great aroma, very inviting. On the taste, it is caramel malts instead of being dominated by hops. However, the finish is dry and slightly bitter. It stays in the mouth for a long time... Very good taste but I would prefer a little more hop bite. Not bad at all, it would be perfect with the additional hop bite in the end. Medium body beer with carbonation that is presents in the mouth. A good session beer for everyday.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Original review YESTERDAY
Appearance; decent head with amber color. Decent retention, fades halfway down the glass.

Smells is of alcohol and some caramel malts. A slight floral aroma is present as well. I'm surprised that the alcohol is this strong on the nose considering this beer is 5% abv.

Taste is sweet upfront with some dry husky grain in the middle that makes for a little bit of an off tannin. This is followed by a decent hop bitterness. The alcohol again comes out a little to boozy in the balance.

The mouthfeel has moderate carbonation but has a slight alcohol astringency.

This beer is not really for me.
3.5, 3.0, 3.5, 3.5, 3.0

First beer in blind tasting

It had a nice amber color with a couple finger s of head that stuck around for a while with nice retention.

THe smll was of caramel malts and hops both added during the boil and dry hopped.

Taste was intensely dry hipped with sweet caramel malts to balance.

Mouthfeel was crisp and full.

this was one hell of a sessionable beer. I wish I would have taken better notes the second time around.

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Photo of vapodge
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.5 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - dark amber; thin, dissipating head; some lacing holds up

S - mild, fruity hops followed by the malt

T - unexpectedly wonderful -- why isn't this beer more well-known? ripe fruit, but not what I've come to expect -- not pungent at all

M - not much carbonation; right amount of bite

D - smooth and tasty make it easy to knock back

Quite possibly my favorite pale ale. easy to drink, but with enough flavor, and flavor not usually present in the style make it worthwhile.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Also labelled as "Biere Blonde".

Golden in color with a nice full off-white head, good carbonation, and some decent lace. Citrusy and spicy hop aroma dominates. Nice hoppy ale with great balanced maltiness... biscuit-like with some nice grainy character. Medium-light bodied with a crisp dry hoppy finish.

The hoppiest Cnadian brew I've had to date... Worth seeking out !

(341 ml / 11.5 oz)

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Photo of sccala
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recieved this beer as part of my latest beer of the month club shipment. It is in the top 3 of best beers I've had in a long time. Served out of a brown glass bottle with a cool looking half lion, half dragon type creature on it....similar to the Lowenbrau emblem....poured into a traditional pint glass ....Here we go...

A- Superb head. About a 3 inch collar with suprisingly good retention. Even to the last sip, there was about 1/16 of foam coating the surface of the beer. Beautiful. Wonderful, textbook lacing all the way down to the bottom of the glass. Very good amber/honey color with a nice offwhite colored head. I would have given the appearance my first perfect score of "5", but the carbonation was a bit too low.

S- MMMMmmm...Hops. Take some very deep drags of this beer with your hands cupping the top of the glass, and you will get deep whiffs of hops, and right towards the will smell something sweet. Kind of like's faint, but enough to make you continually smell it!

T- Take a sip, and the minor issue with the apparent lack of carbonation in appearance proves to be just a facade. A perfect balance of bubbles file into your. The beer is slightly bitter, and then upon the swallow the hops really kick in and massage your throat on the way down.

M- Even 15 minutes after this beer has been completely been drank, it still tastes fresh in your mouth. Wonderful!

D- Very glad this beer was randomly selected as part of this months beers of the month. Drink this beer as an apertif only. You really need to enjoy this one without any food of any sort involved.

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Photo of Jason-Dallan
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. I have had it many times and today bout a 6 pack. i am reviewing this over the fifth and 6th beer.

a- This beer pours a copper colour with huge head. It pours a 2-4+ finger head depending on pour and previous lacing in the glass and leaves a nice thick film of head throughout the rest of the beer.

s- nice fruity hoppy smell. smells of lots of caramel and great smell of fruity hops. also takes on a bit of the smell of tea which becomes more apparent the more you drink of this beer. It smells very strongly from a bit of a distance.

t- tastes great. easy to drink. hops are very apparent for a beer at 35ibu. leaves long lasting fruity hop aftertaste for a while after drinking. bitterness is not too high but the aftertaste is great and long lasting. also tastes of some tea after drinking more as stated above.

m-the mouthfeel is good nothing wrong with it. carbonated beverage to me

o- one of my favourites had it many times before. its good

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Photo of mcsquint
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.5oz bottle into pint glass
A - Dark golden amber with large, creamy white head. Considerable lacing on the glass.
S - Malty, fruity, yeasty. Slightest hint of citrusy hops
T - Full malt flavor with fruit and yeast, followed by a very tasteful use of hops. This is delicious!
M - Light to medium with a very crisp finish. Leaves you longing for the next sip.
D - Very drinkable. This bridges the hop gap between British and American pale ale.

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Photo of IdeaSpeeder
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 341ml bottle poured into a small pint glass.

Appearance - The filtered brew pours a light-amber/golden colour with a thick, creamy white head. Head retention is fantastic - when it does eventually dissipate it leaves behind a thick trail of white lacing.

Smell - A strong sweet smell. Predominately grainy with light notes of flowers and toffe, and perhaps a very light hint of spice.

Taste - Tastes of toasted grains at the beginning, with sweeter toffe and fruity like flavour kicking in towards the finish. Has a good hop backbone, yet not overbearing...

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel isn't quite heavy - creamy almost, but not in the same way say..a cream ale is. Carbonation is low and unobtrusive.

Overal 4.5/5 - Side Note: One of the best 'balanced' pale ales I've had in ages.

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Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.5 oz brown twist, no description and no freshness date.

Appearance: Hazy orange amber with a wonderful web like white lace that clings everywhere and leaves thick rings all the way down the glass.

Smell: Fragrant fruity and hoppy floral make for a sweetish aroma. Slight sweet tea nose within, very appealing.

Taste: Smooth with a moderate body that boots a crisp malty palate. Rustic hop bitterness and a lightly pungent hop oil flavour linger on top with a fruity and sweet grain mix. Fruitiness fades from peaches to apples while the hop bitterness cleans up. Pale malt character holds strong though is certainly not dominant.

Notes: Not much else one could ask for in a pale ale, seriously one of the finest pale ales I have ever had the joy to drink.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

- enjoyed at Cathedral Mountain Lodge in Yoho National Park, BC... served up by CBA

A: Quite red... a beautiful copper-amber with red highlights. White, thick head of seafoam. While I probably wouldn't call this much of a "pale" ale, it looks quite nice.

S: Wow, what a nice smelling brew... spruce and woody aromas that are boldened by the wooded surroundings (which likely also play a role in the aroma I get). A soft citrus nose, and a sweet touch of malts.

T: A perfect balance of hops and malt on my palate. Citrus rind flavours, a bit of bark, and a soft earthiness.

M: Smooth and rich... very nice in a pale ale. Soft carbonation, and a bit of a creamy finish, finally finishing nice and clean...

D: An excellent beer... perhaps not exactly 'pale,' as mentioned, but there's no love lost on that. Easy ABV, and great to sip away at outdoors. I will certainly be seeking out more of this.

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Photo of berley31
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with an average-sized, white head that diminished to a 1/2-sized finger. Great lacing on the glass, all the way to the end of the beer. Body is quite clear, and a nice, dark-yellow color. A very handsome-looking APA.

S: Terrific aroma of hops, herbs, and orange.

T: A very refreshing, yet slightly-intense flavor of hops that ends fairly bitter, but not overpowering, and with citrus undertones. Taste stays with you for awhile.

M: Medium-bodied and slightly creamy, it's quite soft and pleasant on the palate. Lively carbonation.

D: An excellent APA with a lot of character, yet easy to drink at the same time. Another winning entry from a Quebec brewery. McAuslan Brewing and Unibroue are doing VERY well for themselves.

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Photo of FrostBlast
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341mL bottle

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

APPEARANCE : Dark golden orange with an off-white head, about 2cm thick. Head dies out with average speed, leave some lacing, not much. Lacing is very fast to die out. Very pleasing look.

SMELL : First nose is almost absent, but what is there is mostly grassy hops, with some pale malt. Second nose releases more pale malt aromas and seems fresher than the first nose. Third nose is all about pale malt with some hops to sharpen it up. Hops are there but somewhat indistinct, very well blended into the malt profile.

TASTE : Somewhat toasty pale malts (this toasty side was absent on the nose) with some caramel malts as well, very fruity. Red apples, pears, sugary candy apples. Hops are present but well blended in the malt, as was the case on the third nose. Very fresh, very refreshing.

MOUTHFEEL : Good carbonation, not too explosive on the palate, allows the beer to fully take its place in the mouth, expanding the flavours everywhere. Quite lengthy aftertaste for a pale ale.

OVERALL : This is my standard everyday beer and has been for quite some time. I just never got down to reviewing it. Now that it's done, I think I appreciate it even more. Definitely one of my favorite pale ales around, and I've had some pretty good ones, including Yakima by Benelux and Edward by Hill Farmstead. St-Ambroise Pale Ale totally measures up, even though their production is much larger. They don't cut the corner for this beer - after all, it's their flagship product.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Since I was a kid I've always found this was a really good looking label for a beer.

A- Wow. In my many years of drinking this straight from the bottle I never notice how nice of a head you can get. Beautiful. True lacing. Just clings to the glass everywhere trying to stay alive. Slight yellow hue to the head. Liquid is a true copper (I think).

S- Honey. Lightly roasted malt. Zesty lime hops. Pear.

T-Follows the smell. Bitterness seems perfectly placed.

M- Medium to full bodied. Carbonation also medium to high.

D- High. I don't think I'd mind being stuck with cases of this. You can drink this all the time and not get sick of it. If I had to choose a lifetime supply of a beer (that I had to drink and couldn't sell of course) this would be it. You can drink this all the time and not get sick of it.
A part from mouthfeel which could be a bit crisper, this might very well be a perfect beer.
I've had so many of these growing up as my dad often kept some the fridge. I felt it was good but I was missing so much.

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Photo of santa109
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served at 46 degrees. Best before date on the bottle: June 30th, 2008.

A: Poured an orangey amber with 2 fingers of thick bubbly off-white head into a pint. Lively looking head that leaves an impressive amount of lacing throughout the drinking session. The head also doesn't fully go away as a thick ring forms along the glass and a thicker than average film sticks around all along capturing some big bubbles.

S: Very nice aroma of grapefruit, citrus and pine from the hops. A underlining bready sweetness is also present.

T: Initial malt sweetness that quickly cedes to a controlled grapefruit, citrus twang from the hops. Once swallowed, a brief malt revival occurs with some bread type of taste and then it yields to a slightly pungent lingering aftertaste of hops. Very nice balance going back and forth in this one.

M: Tingling mouthfeel due to the carbonation which really helps to push the full hop flavors through. Slightly sticky feel that leaves a dry finish.

D: Another area where this beer shines. The balance between the flavors makes this a highly sessionable beer.

Overall, a superior APA due to its balance. Especially enjoyable outside in the warmth of the summer.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good tasting beer. Pours a dark amber with a fluffy white head. Smell is very floral, with hints of banana, apricot, and plums. Taste was very good as well, very fruity, with and almost banana bread taste. Nice dry finish with some hoppiness. Mounthfeel was light and bubbly, but not too fizzy. This a highly drinkable beer, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

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Photo of ludachris
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from my latest trade with TheHammer. Thanks Markasaurus rex. Had this before and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pours a clear copper hue with golden highlights and a two finger chunky, off-white head that leaves some suddy, watery lace.

Excellent mash of toasted malts, biscuit, juicy citrus and herbal hops in the nose.

Quick dash of biscuit and toasted malts before a burst of herbal hops and citrus hit the tongue, but both manage not to over assert themselves in the midst of the malt.

Medium bodied, lightly creamy with a dry hoppy finish and kick of carbonation. Very well balanced and very, very easy to drink. Only complaint would be the somewhat watery finish.

Overall, the best beer I've had from this brewery thus far. Loved their oatmeal stout but for me, this brew tops it. Tasty, great hop presence, excellently balanced and an easy quaffer. One of my favorite APA's I've had to date.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent amber colour, with a single finger of thin off-white head seated on top; low retention but some lacing remains. Not the most impressive-looking stuff but I do really like the smell - sweet malts, toffee, fruity apricot and date notes with some wheat and citrusy hops. Quite nice.

The aroma doesn't lie, this is a tasty ale. Lightly roasted biscuity malts, some toffee and light fruit sweetness throughout the sip. Notes of wood, grapefruit and floral hops come forward toward the end of the sip, with some lingering astringency on the palate afterward. Beautiful balance between the malts and hops; neither are overpowering but they're both flavourful and interesting. On the light side of medium-bodied, with just enough carbonation to keep the brew feeling crisp and refreshing.

I picked this out of the singles bin at the LCBO, not really knowing anything about the beer or brewer, and not really expecting much. I'm glad I selected this though because it was definitely worth a try. This APA is highly sessionable, perfectly balanced, and enjoyable all around. I would definitely consider picking up a pack of this in the future.

[Updated Jan. 3 2014]

This is now available in cans - I picked up one and compared it with Naughty Neighbour, Crazy Canuck and Conductor's Craft Ale in an APA showdown. While I enjoy all three of those beers, St. Ambroise Pale Ale wins by a comfortable margin. This is one of the best pale ales available on the market today - a fabulous session ale that I have had on multiple occasions since my first review, and something that all BAs should consider worth a look.

Final Grade: 4.42, an A grade.

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Photo of Shiloh
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Prettiest brew I have seen in quite sometime...arrived with close to a two finger crown with a multitude of carbonation that seems never ending.
The colour is mix of bronze/orange, deep and slightly murky.
As consumed the head decreases by half but is survived by a mountainous cling to the top.
The nose is fruity, mainly currents and light of green apple.
The taste starts to the malts, somewhat grainy but ends to a nice hoppy pop to finish and linger.
Very impressive.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went to the Beer Store and planned on getting some Griffon Rousse, they did not have any so I had this instead. I'm glad I did.

This poured beautifuly a deep red with a head that never disappears, absolutely perfect. Smell is extremely hoppy with a hint of a malt that almost resembles something Belgian, but is very obviously not Belgian. Flavor-wise this one does not disappoint. It goes down strong with a very aggressive hop character, the aftertaste is bitter but also contains some fruity aromas as well. This beer goes down quite nice, a pleasure to drink.

The hops might be a bit much for some people to handle, but if you like bold, flavorful and hoppy beers this one is a must have.

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Photo of TheHammer
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Number three of my McAuslan mix pack, and apparently one of the best beers in Canada. Lets see how this bad boy does.

Appearance: Wow, pours with a solid two thumbs of head that lace very well and retains decently. The body itself is a clear bronze that boasts an abundance of small bubbles of carbonation. The only downside I can see is the retention could be better.

Smell: A very fragrant beer as fruity esters and floral hops harmoniously dominate the nose. A background of lightly roasted caramel malt and an almost shortbread biscuit scent are in the background. My biggest qualm though is it took quite a bit of warming to come out and could be stronger.

Taste: Starts with nice sweet caramel malt with a hint of peaches that shifts to a more floral, fruity and herbal hop mix balanced with a solid backing of grain, and a still somewhat sustained malt. The only thing stopping it from a perfect score is that the starting tastes seem to hold strong for a little bit too long.

Mouthfeel: Exceptional transitioning and a prime example of using well balanced hops to clean up the pallet, but still allow a degree and malt and hop aftertaste to linger for just the right amount of time. Carbonation is exceptional as well, and the only issue is the somewhat dryness left behind.

Drinkability: Certainly no issues getting this one down, and is sitting very admirably in my paunch. Smooth going down, and an honest pleasure to drink all around. The dryness is the only issue, as it doesn't quite make the beer as refreshing as it could be.

Final Thoughts: Wow, I'm not the hugest fan of Pale Ales, but this is without a doubt the best one I've had thus far. This beer certainly deserves to be one of Canada's top 25. You would not go wrong buying a 24 of this, and I'm considering doing just that. I got one more bottle of this in my mix pack, and I am going to enjoy it, that is for sure.

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St-Ambroise Pale Ale from McAuslan Brewing
3.92 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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