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St-Ambroise Pale Ale | McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Pale AleSt-Ambroise Pale Ale
Very Good
416 Ratings
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:
Our flagship beer -the one that put McAuslan on the map. St-Ambroise Pale Ale is a golden, generously hopped brew, and a perennial favourite of the many pale ale drinkers who have enjoyed its rich, fruity flavour since 1989.

Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Golding, Hallertau

IBU: 35

Added by Jason on 10-26-2000

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 416 |  Reviews: 227
Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
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 ritzkiss
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, had numerous times but never reviewed. A Canadian classic.

Pours into a pint glass a perfectly clear caramel with a couple fingers of head building up and then slowly receding, leaving small islands of lace down the glass.

Nose is floral hopping, a sweet caramel and biscuit malt, a hint of anise?

Looking for a hoppy West coast APA? This is not your beer. Looking for an immensely drinkable, slightly on the malty side pale ale? This is it. Light to medium floral and grassy hopping, touch of fruitiness, light sweetness, caramel biscuit malt. Light bittering into the finish, tough of honey?, hint of citrus rind.

Not really sure why I like this one because normally I gravitate to the West coast APAs but this is just a well-crafted beer more along the lines of an English Pale Ale. Before I was heavily into craft beer a couple friends and I did a blind tasting and this one took second place. Quite approachable, well made, pairs well with just about any meal - a winner.

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Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a thin white head. Aroma is fairly sweet, with caramel malts and little bit of floral hops. Malty flavor with some mild bitterness. Medium bodied with a really nice smooth mouthfeel, and very easy to drink. This is more like an English Pale Ale than an APA, but I like this beer a lot!

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Photo of yelterdow
3.11/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass about 45 minutes out of the fridge. 11.5oz. bottle, here goes.

Appearance- A deep, burnished russet color, this beer pours rather thick with a terrific three-finger head that condenses into a very nice portion of suds. Lacing is evident, clinging to various parts of the glass.

Smell- The malts are prominent, with their bready, sweet aroma overtaking any hop presence. I'm not sure if there is a staleness factor here, as there is no freshness date on the bottle.

Taste- The hops do make an appearance here, mildly bittering the tongue while the malts run amok. The balance is pretty good, but the finish doesn't feel right... a metallic character with a semi-dry tartness hinders whatever the ingredients intend to offer as a curtain call.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Easy and gently effervescent, the texture is nice for the style. APAs routinely deliver a nice hop smack to seal the deal, but this particular beer doesn't pull it off. Average at best.

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Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into pint glass dec9 2009

A golden copper with a fingers worth of head with decent retention and lace

S very fruity with a fair bit of malt

T not far from the smell but I pick up on a little bit of toffee I didn't smell

M crisp and carbonated not to bad

D not the best balance but a straight across the board good beer, nothing spectacular but pretty solid overall

I think this beer could use a little more hops but that's my only complaint with this beer

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Photo of Travlr
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at the Faculty Club, University of Toronto, courtesy of MSF.
Deep orange brown, with a small white head and great lacing.
Aroma of pine nuts and orange peel.
Bitter taste with a background of orange and coriander, with a bittersweet finish.
Nice body.
Very drinkable.

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Photo of Long813
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

G: Stein

A: Bronze/copper clear body with 1.5 inch head with poor retention, leaving fine lacing.

S: Floral hops, citrus fruits, subtle caramel and biscuit malts.

T: Sweet peaches, caramel and floral esters upfront with hops following

M: Light-medium body and medium carbonation. Leaves sticky finish that is more dominant than the hops.

D: Nice smooth and great tasting beer. It could be a little more hop dominated, but all in all it is fine. The price point is also expectational.

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Photo of jbowers56
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear bronze appearance with a fairly large head. Very nice head retention, remained throughout the glass.

Very fruity hop nose. Get notes of citrus, pineapple, lots of lovely fruits! Didn't get quite as much of the malty sweetness as others seem to describe, but I think I served it a little cold.

Really nice taste. Very good fruity hop flavours, mostly citruss with some slight grassyness. Malt acted to sort of sweeten it out and balance the flavours. If I lived in Canada (or didnt have to pay quite so much for the bottle in australia), this would be the beer I'd go to whenever I needed something refreshing but still very interesting.

Fairly light mouthfeel, but nothing wrong with that for a pale ale.

Drinkability was very good, I had to stop myself guzzling this down quickly (only bought one bottle).

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a really nice clear, light caramel orange with a bright white frothy head. Laces respectably.

The aroma reveals nuances of toastiness, caramel and citrus zest and grapefruit notes. Some fruitiness comes out as it warms.

The taste is a wonderfully satisfying caramel malt at first parried by a good hit of bitterness in the finish--mild hints of orange and grapefruit rind linger in the aftertaste. As does a good dose of chalky, minerally dryness. Sort of an English-American pale ale hybrid maybe.

Medium mouthfeel, bright, with a nice slow fade in the finish.

It's a good beer but if I didn't know I wouldn't have pegged it as being in the top 25 beers in Canada as it's rated here. It's number 17 as of right now and I kind of feel like I've had way more than 16 Canadian beers I liked better than this. But still, great malt backbone for a pale ale. Very nicely done.

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Photo of TheHammer
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
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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Photo of ludachris
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
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 nighthawk
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341mL bottle from the "Premium Taste Pack". Freshness date printed on back label, pouring this one into a pint glass.

A generous head is produced on first pour, several fingers high, slowly receding to one finger of white cap that lasts until the beer is finished, and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. Body is a crystal-clear copper.

Nicely balanced aroma with some wheat, toasted biscuit, toffee and a nice blend of herbal and sweetly citrus hops.

Flavours of honeyed, toasted biscuit, a touch of wheat, caramel, finishing with some dark fruit and nicely bitter and floral hops. Throughout, the malty flavours mingle with nice, grassy (but not abrasively so) and tea- and flower-like hops.

Mouthfeel is a full medium body, with nicely assertive carbonation that gives it balance and a refreshing bite. Clean and crisp.

Great drinkability, it's a beautifully balanced, flavourful and refreshing beer. A pleasure to knock back a few, this beer is probably one of my favourites to session, or order while at a discerning bar.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear copper color with a finger of white head. Head initially evaporated sporadically, but finally settled down into a thin covering. Minor lacing left on the glass.

Very faint scent of hops and citrus.

Minor hop taste up front, but not a full hop bite. Flows into a nice smooth caramel malt flavor. Again, not a very full taste, but more mellow. Very nice balance between the two.

Very smooth, very drinkable. Not overly full of taste, but sometimes that is a good thing. Nice and light and something I would choose for a nice session beer.

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Photo of decimator
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Poured a clear gold copper colour with a thick creamy 5cm thick head. The foam was long lasting, left a 1cm cap and the lacing was pretty good. Overall it looked pretty damn good.

S - Smells delicious. Bread, toasted cereals, herbs and hops.

T - The hops hit pretty quick but they are not overpowering. Also caramel and a hint of toasts and some mild tangy fruits are also present.

M - Good carbonation, smooth with dry finish. A bit watery at times.

D - Easy to drink.

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Photo of NightINgale
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Copper body with an off-white frothy head. Some lively bubbles visible. Depending, on the pour, one can achieve quite good lacing. Head retention is decent, the head does not fully dissipate and leaves a thin cap.

S - Some modest hoppiness, with pine and citrus notes. Some nice strong caramel/toffee background. Some pleasant graininess.

T - Starts with a moderate hop bite, bringing loads of pine and a touch of citrus to the palate. You can also taste the caramel/toffee maltiness, but the beer is not sweet, nevertheless. The finish is quite dry and bitter, with some caramel in the background. Overall, a taste that's only appropriate to the style.

M - Light-to-medium body to it, some pleasant carbonation. Not bad.

D - Very high. This is one of my go-to session ales, and in most cases, it does not get boring after a few pints, especially if you're into APA's!

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Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shiny copper makes a most handsome tone for a pale ale. This particular one is splendidly lustrous and overtly transparent even despite its deep-set colour. Its head is stocky and is a spic and span tone of bleach white but does become partly corroded. Apart from the inherent density of its toasty, golden-brown shade there is nothing to either dampen the beer's brightness or detract from its clarity. I say again, this is one handsome beer.

The aroma is abnormally hoppy for a simple pale ale. It isn't an aggressive, in-your-face kind of American hopping, it is a much more mild and much less obnoxious variety. It bears a very flowery fragrance and a raw, almost musty, kind of earthiness. The smell is exceedingly 'green' and exhumes a distinctly herbal, vegetable-like quality. This kind of hoppiness is rare in the US and it's even become quite difficult to find in England.

The more familiar fruity notes of the hops become slightly more pronounced in the taste. The beer's flavour leans a little less on the pungent, earthy notes and more heavily emphasizes citrusy fruits, or at least their piths and peels. That near green tea-like herbal attribute is not entirely lost, but candied grapefruit does seem to push it aside a little. A lightly bready malt bill underlines the flavour, it harboring notes of biscuits and toffee.

This beer already strongly reminded me of a dry-hopped and freshly tapped cask of British pale ale or ESB but its low carbonation, flowery bitterness, and light body really seals it in my mind. If I didn't know any better I would have sworn this poured from cask; it has that characteristically flat body, thin but supportive maltiness and resinous, floral bitterness that often describes traditional English bitters. It also shares their seemingly endless drinkability.

I can't make the case enough: if you're a fan of traditional-style, cask conditioned, hop driven English ales than you should love St. Ambroise Pale Ale. It has biscuity malt, flowery hoppiness and sessionable drinkability up the yin yang. It's quite befitting for a brewery in Montreal, a city with culture both modern and antiquated, to do such a thing as combine all characteristics of an old-world ale at an amped up level typical of the new-world style.

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Photo of berley31
4.45/5  rDev +15%
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 dgilks
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours quite dark for a Pale Ale but it is a crystal clear amber colour with a billowing off white head with decent head retention.

Aromas are fruity and quite sweet. The fruitiness is not quite fitting into any particular fruit box but it works.

There is big flavour here with lots of hop bitterness, a good dose of fruity hops and a solid malt backbone to hold it all up. There is lots going on here but it is almost up to IPA levels of bitterness. Quite good.

St Ambroise Pale Ale is crisp and refreshing with plenty of carbonation to counter its medium body. A very good mouthfeel.

This is a good beer with lots of flavour but the bitterness is almost overwhelming (and I like bitter beers). A very good beer.

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Photo of Cs1987
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Darkish amber, 2 fingers of bubbly head which reduced. High carbonation.

Smell - Sweet, good balance between the malts and the fruity hops.

Taste - Sits somewhere in between the typical English and American style pale ales. Well balanced, but a little too sweet without having the right level of malts or hops to back it up in my opinion.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. I would enjoy having a few pints of this in one sitting.

Overall - This beer was great at first, but seemed to get slightly worse over the last half of the glass. Still, this should please both APA lovers and EPA lovers.

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Photo of seand
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber, with one or two fingers of puffy white head. The head dissipates for the most part, but a few millimeters stick around on the surface. Lacing is decent.

S: Mainly sweet, light fruit and malt scents. A bit of hops in the background.

T: Starts lightly sweet, moving into a nice hop bitterness on the finish. Fairly full flavored and balanced.

M: Mouthfeel is good. Medium carbonation, fairly smooth, finishes dry.

D: Very very easy to drink. A very nice session beer.

There's nothing necessarily incredible about this beer, but it's well executed overall, and definitely a nice one to keep around.

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Photo of taylocd
2.84/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had very low expectations for this one. It was my final selection in filling out a mix-your-six, and the "BLONDE" was much more prominent on the label than "PALE ALE", thus the reason for my low expectations.

A - The appearance was much better than I had was anticipating. It had the tint you'd expect from a good pale ale, though not quite as opaque as I'd have liked. There was a decent head and minimal lacing.

S - There was not much in the way of smell from the beer, but it beat the macro brews.

T - As with appearance, I was pleasantly surprised at the taste of this beer, but only because I was expecting a "blonde", which I took to mean more of a pilsner style. As for a pale ale, it left a little to be desired (I'd have preferred a bit more bitter flavor), but it was acceptable.

M - Again, it was decent, but far from great.

D - This one managed to overcome the lack of flavor by being smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of Shadman
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No faults in the appearance of this one...bright copper orange color, clear, with a rich 2 finger width of head that had superior retention and lacing.

Lot's and lot's of pale malt aroma, biscuit/bready with a floral hop lingering not far behind.

Balance is quite superb. Full bodied malt tastes quite crisp up front along with a nice hop character. If the two were just a wee bit more in lock step it would score a 5.

One of the better APA's i've tried.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

St-Ambroise Pale Ale pours a cloudy, amber-copper color. It's topped by a light, off-white head that quickly fades to a film. Lace clings to the side of the glass. The aroma is an interesting mix. There's a bright interplay of fruit, caramel, citric hops, and a mild, phenolic twang.

The beer itself is well-attenuated with only a mild residual sweetness upfront. The malts are predominantly toasty before moving into a very mild malty sweetness that's a mix of caramel and fruity esters. The finish has a moderately bitter, herbal hop quality. This pale ale is light-bodied and moderately carbonated with a pleasing dryness in the finish.

I liked this beer a lot. It's balanced, but only mildly sweet. The dryness is pleasing and helps make this a good session beer.

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Photo of number1bum
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with two plus fingers of creamy beige head. Retention is excellent, keeping a thick and full lace and thoroughly coating the sides of the glass with stick. Leaves very nice rings as it falls.

Smell has a nice biscuity and pale malt base with some floral, herbal and slightly woodsy hops. It's a bit on the light side, however.

Taste also consists of a biscuity, bready malt base with a bit of pale malt sweetness. Hops are again herbal and floral, and slightly grassy and spicy as well. It's nicely balanced and well put together.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite smooth, although it's not all that creamy with only a modest oily feel. Carbonation is appropriate.

This is a very solid, tasty pale ale. Looks incredible and drinks very nicely. Solid brew that I'd be happy to have again.

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Photo of brendan13
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear orange hued dark golden colour into a pint glass with a 1.5cm slightly off white head that hangs around for a fair while.
S - Citrus and floral hop character with some bready and vauge caramel malt character.
T - Citrus and floral hops also quite predominant in the taste. Bready maltiness also comes through as well as a minerally character with some light caramel hints.
M - Light side of medium bodied, low to medium caronation.
D - I quite enjoyed this beer. Nothing outstanding but I'd drink this again for sure.

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St-Ambroise Pale Ale from McAuslan Brewing
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 416 ratings
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