St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009) | McAuslan Brewing

very good
134 Ratings
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St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009)St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009)

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Viggo on 03-20-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 |  Reviews: 97
Photo of enelson
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of deonreds
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of csustar001
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of vegasmac99
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A : Poured a amber with good carbonation leaving a mild white cap, some good lacing

S: The nose is some blend of dark and light fruits covered in toffee and butterscotch

T : Initial dark fruits with some toffee, caramel and slight Worthers original type taste(candy, not as a bad byproduct). A little bit of heat and some light fruits in the background.

M: Medium-full bodied, well carbonated, plenty of flavor on the palate. No bigtime flaws or off notes.

O: Pretty nice English bwine.

 491 characters

Photo of OldPenguinHunter
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I didn't quite know what to expect upon purchasing this bottle, to say the least- I was surprised.

2009 Vintage:
Looks good in the glass, fizzy carbonation, minimal lacing. Brown opaque color, burnt looking.

Smells funky, you get some smoked malts in there, tobacco, scotch, wood, then there's the fruit: tart cherry, date, and plum. it's kinda all over the place there...

Taste is as equally interesting. It feels like my mouth is doing cartwheels and somersaults. The beer is really everywhere as far as flavor goes. I do get a very dry mouthfeel, the carbonation is really champagne-like. As the same with the nose there's an abundance of flavors from savory to tart. There's also a flavor of barrel, but it's not vanilla-rather burnt oak, I like it.

Mouthfeel wise, I get a very dry smokey-tart puckering that reminds me of a sour ale. I am inclined to think that this beer is innoculated with some brett (maybe from the barrels?)

Overall, this beer is a very weird, but intriguing beer. I do feel like the beer is somewhat tiring to drink (there's just alot going on). But I would be very happy with a 6oz serving though!

 1,131 characters

Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Eighty
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of e30todamax
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of vidguy17
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Howlader
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber brown with floaties and a tiny beige head that dissipates fairly quickly into a thin layer of foam.

Figs, dates, prunes, raisins, bruised cherry, booze, and caramelized brown sugar form the aroma. There's a now of oxidation, cardboard and a vinous note present.

Cherry, cardboard, dates, brown sugar, figs, raisins, and bready malt, lightly toasted, start the flavor, which finishes surprisingly dry and bitter. More cardboard oxidation surfaces as it warms, along with tea-like herbal hops.

Body is fairly thick, with somewhat low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Might be on the edge of too old. Good esters, but the stale flavors are starting to take charge.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had one of these originally when I first started liking barleywines. Didn't think much of it at the time. As my tastes have matured in the last year or two, I have to say this is one of the best English barleywines I've had.

I poured this into my snifter and there was not much of a head. There is some lacing as I slowly sip this into my belly. Oddly, of any beer I've ever had of any kind, this one seems to have no aroma. If I glue my nose to the glass rim and sniff hard, a very subtle sweetness but really, an obviously weak aroma to none at all.

The taste though is right on the money for an English barleywine. Prunes come to mine on my first sip. Moderately sweet as I've certainly had sweeter and less sweet barleywines. Little hop profile which is par for the course.

All in all, I hope to get another one of these and maybe put some additional years on it. Very tasty and one you will want to add to your collection if you like English barleywines.

 964 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

20th Anniversary bottle from Tipples. Had this in the late fall while sitting outside around a fire, and it went great in this atmosphere...warming and thick. Pours syrupy cloudy orange with no head. Aroma of toffee, caramel, booze and some fig and citrus mix. Very warming flavor. Toffee, fruit, candy, a bit on the syrupy side but the warming and sweetness went nicely with the cool night. Not boozy at all. Very nice beer.

 425 characters

Photo of beermanbrian
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Molson2000
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Photo of brystmar
3.07/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


Good looking barleywine -- orange and copper hues emit from the body, surprisingly good head and lace for the style. Aroma is strangely absent, though, showing a hint of booze and nothing else. Strange.

Malty base tastes a touch stale somehow, sweetness in support cannot cover this up. Booze shines through like a pro, minimal age-y qualities. Nice creamy body.

This is the example of an average barleywine. Entirely forgettable.

 439 characters

Photo of BennyL1
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one sitting for a couple of years now, figured why not tonight? Poured into a globe glass.

This Barleywine pours a dark and stormy amber with a slim off white head that quickly dissipates back into the brew. Streaky lacing is left along the glass which makes it a solid looking brew.

Many different aromas including caramel, brown sugar, and some dark fruits. The nose on this brew is simply great. It seems that every time I inhale I'm getting a new smell. Very nice.

The taste is on par with the nose. Complex and layered, you can get a few different tastes up front. Malty sweetness is the first thing you notice. Some of the same notes that were in the nose definitely come through in the taste. Also getting a hint of vanilla and a tad of bitterness which rounds it out very nicely.

Full bodied with carbonation on the lower side. This beer has a nice feel to it and still has a nice warming effect from the alcohol.

Glad I decided to try this one out tonight. A very solid beer that I'm glad I aged until now. No complaints here, wish I had another.

 1,079 characters

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of frontalot
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of jmathis
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent amber color with a smallish off-white bubbly head that recedes and leaves some minimal spotty lacing along the glass.

Aromas begin with a lot of fruity esters combined with a great deal of lighter sweet caramel candied maltiness. There is almost a fruit liqueur essence of macerated peaches and figs.

The tastes begin with a strong blast of caramel candied maltiness once again. Next I get that fruitiness again with some apricot, peach, ripe juicy pear and fresh figs. Little to no hop character after 2 or 3+ years but there is an underlying drying, earthy characteristic but I think that is the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Finish isn't as super sweet as you would imagine after the aging of this beer but more fruity and sweet mixed.

Overall this was a nice beer, but probably one I should have save for late fall or early wintertime when I would have appreciated it more. I can imagine this must have been much more rough upon initial release as there is still some alcohol presence but age has done this well and given the nice cylindrical traveling vessel is came in, the oxygen and light affects are little to none. Def worth a go for fans of the style because of the lower than normal price point for an already "cellared" beer.

 1,302 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

McAuslan Brewing rings in their twentieth year with their vintage ale that celebrates the milestone with dessert-like confection, brandyish gentlemanship and tawny port succulence. Although I'm three years behind the celebration, the beer makes celebration worthwhile in retrospect.

Russet and garnet in color, the viscous ale carries a hearty cloudiness that amounts to a terse white head that's somewhat short-lived. But her lack of withstanding foam yields the brandy legging with a glossy swirl of the glass.

Brown sugar, maple syrup- all from the malty tones that rise to the nose allow an intoxicating aroma to exude complementary notes of grape, cola, cherry, pecan, apple, and dates. Sweet port wines and advances sherries come to mind as much as beer as that twirling of the glass seduces the nose as much as it does the eye.

Flavors are even more succulent with the full intensity of malty sweetness hitting the tongue. Maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla come alive with flavor in much the way that french toast does but with the backing of port wine and brandy complexity. Rummy alcohol, burrowed wine-like acidity, and bitter cider complement the fold with a pruny and figgy wave that carries the beer throughout its nutty masculine finish.

Of course the full bodied beer does that full-bodied thing that Barleywines do, but there's a finesse to the beer that makes my impressions pull back. Restrained sweetness, oiliness, and viscocity makes the think of younger English olde ales more so than that of English Barleywines. Regardless, the strong alcohol warmth, semi-sweet, and supply bittered ale lingers indefinately with a calm and satisfaction that evokes retrospect and seduction.

 1,707 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 341ml into a tulip.

Brown body with orange highlights. Beige head, with modest legs, good lacing and retention. Quite a bit of sediment here too. Nose has toffee, caramel apple, almond liqeur and bit of alcohol. Somewhat oxidized, twist-off caps certainly don't help this beers case. More sweet maltiness on the palate, clearly more oxidization evident, dark breads, brown sugar and caramel. Alcohol has yet to subside, still quite a bit of heat. Full and sticky feel, oxidation notes are most evident at the end of the mouthfeel. Good on the nose, a bit of a let down on the palate. Still OK though.

 626 characters

St-Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale (2009) from McAuslan Brewing
3.88 out of 5 based on 134 ratings.
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