St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe | McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale RusseSt-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by papat444 on 12-05-2009

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Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 307
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage, bought for me by @epiclurk. Thanks =)

Pours a deep, black opaque colour, gorgeously thick, and with a lovely chunky head of deep, dark-chocolate brown. Awesome solid and crunchy lacing. But it's the depth, the heaviness, the amazing dark carbonation as it's tilted; amazing. Such an awesome deep and incredibly rich beer.

Nose is a really wonderfully interesting. It actually straddles the divide between a big, sweet American Impy Stout and a dark, heavy, almost smoky and more hardcore Russian Impy Stout. It has the sweetness, the caress, the slight oak characters and the suppleness of the American variety, but with the rawness, the stark almost austere primality of a Russian. It's gorgeous. And better than that, it's *interesting*. It's a new take on the RIS, almost a hybrid.

Taste is also gorgeous, and again it has that lovely blend of suppleness, sweetness and raw, dark bitterness. Mouthfeel is a little lacking, but it doesn't matter—the flavour itself supplies all the smoothness that is required. There's lovely touches of oak, almost a creaminess in the taste. It's a RIS with the sensuous, gorgeous intrigue of a barrel-aged AIS.

Wow, wow, wow. I did not expect this from St Ambroise. I've had many from them now, and nothing, *nothing*, close to this. No wonder this is a special release. This is truly one of the best Imperial Stouts I've ever had, and because it manages to blend and integrate the two disparate genres, making a synergistic whole. After 1400 reviews, to find a beer that excites me like this? It's just amazing.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, insane... People, count me in, were going nuts to get one. Bought 3 bottles, gave one as a gift and the other two are for me. One is cellared for tasting next year if I can manage to not drink it before.

Simply the best Russian Imperial Stout I ever had so far. This is so good. Worth dying for!

Very dark black color with a nice thick foam head. The head is brown and looks like chocolate milk. The head sticks well to the glass. Perfect looking beer. This is what a stout should look like.

The aroma is chocolate, espresso with some hints of bourbon. Some vanilla notes in there too. The taste is pretty awesome. Bourbon, wow, and then it follows with some chocolate notes and a bitter finish. Light carbonation in the mouth. Lingers long. So good, so awesome. A perfect beer.

2010 bottle: Now at 9.2% ABV and brewed with wood having aged with bourbon, instead of aging the beer in bourbon barrel. Still an awesome beer, maybe less creamy than 2009 version. Still creamy 'tho. On the taste it feels more hot chocolate than the 2009 version. Can't wait for the 2011 and future version.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

what an absolutely fantastic beer. i had heard this was a doozy, but never imagined it was actually this good. serve cold and poured into a pint glass, the cardboard tubed bottle was consumed on 08/28/2010.

what a rich and decadent pour, just black as tar with a huge head that reached nearly three inches high and left a ton of lacing up and down the sides of the glass.

dark roasted malts and huge notes of coffee dominate this one to the point of sheer chaos. rich notes of chocolate and huge vanilla undertones start to come through. one of the fullest feels i have ever come across in my life, simply amazing. a huge and utterly intense expeirence as each sip just leaves me utterly amazed at the wealth of taste. smooth and decadent finish leaves cocoa and roasted coffee on the tongue and a smooth creamy and slightly sweet flavor.

better then i ever could have thought, amazing beer.

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Photo of Cadbury
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tasted the 2013 RIS again August 30, 2016. This beer ages beautifully.

Appearance: Jet black, minimal creamy-reddish brown head retention. Beer almost sticks to the glass.

Smell: Liquorice, chocolate, a hint of smokiness.

Taste: Coffee/espresso, dark chocolate, mild lingering bitterness, hint of cherry.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth, quite thick, minimal carbonation.

Comparing to my hand-written notes from 2013, this beer has improved from a 4.5 to a 4.75, with more pronounced chocolate and espresso flavour and a more aromatic blend.

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Photo of Tuey13
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a 2011 vintage that I am reviewing picked up while in Quebec City this summer.

Pours a very thick, almost syrup-like liquid with a dark mocha head with tight bubbles of a two finger head that sticks around and leaves some impressive lacing on the glass.

The smell is luxurious... espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice, molasses, vanilla, and oak with a smoky note there as well. Smells wonderful!!

The taste is phenomenal... thick, velvety and very rich! Tastes of espresso,bitter chocolate, and licorice mix with the smoky wood and oak... also a little sweetness and even a litter bitter hop taste which is impressive for a beer over 2 years aged. Not very boozy as i am sure it has mellowed and transformed over time.. but the alcohol is definitely there, but to me... very smooth. I love every sip of this and how it transformed as it warmed... i got more of the vanilla bourbon as it warmed as well as the bitterness increased in a good way.

I loved this beer... it was well worth the $6.99 I paid even after carrying it in my backpack as i was on my bike back to my fiance's apartment haha! I hope to try a 2013 vintage this Holiday season or even score another 2011 or 2012 to compare. If you can find this.. buy it. I love the fact that the bourbon does not dominate and overpower like many barrel aged stouts.

St-Ambroise always impresses... try if you can find this!!


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Photo of ultrastiledivita
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341 ml 2010 picked up back in december has been sitting around for about 6 months now decided to pop it in.
poured into ddc tulip

appearance: Black. you can't see through this thing, lovely caffe latte coloured head that was about 1 finger wide. this beer is also as other reviewers have pointed out wonderfully silky and oily as it pours.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, major wood notes some vanilla

taste: I got an initial hit of vanilla that led to chocolate and finished off with the same taste in the back of my mouth that i get when i drink espresso. important to note that i get a pretty heavy wood taste shining through here, adds an another layer to this beer.

mouthfeel: not the creamiest of stouts ive had, slightly carbonated, if you like stouts this is easy to drink. slightly chewy as well

overall i loved this beer, it was complex tasty and delicious. however i will add this is without a doubt a sipper. I really enjoyed it and look forward to trying my other one 6 months from now to see how it ages.

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Photo of Simonizer360
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This ale is one of the darkest I've ever seen. It's darker than cola and it's quite opaque. The head is creamy brown, a bit like crema on an espresso. It's almost syrupy and has a unique feeling.

Smell: Smells hops and caramel. The smell is very rich and pleasant.

Taste: Wow. You can taste a bit of alcool, the bourbon in there. It tastes a bit smokey and mahoganey , and it also has a caramel taste.

Mouthfeel: A bit syrupy, bubbles are thin and silky. It feels like your mouth is being caressed.

Drinkability: That's a beer you wanna sip. I drank mine in more than an hour. It goes down pretty well but at this price, you rather sip it.

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Photo of ludachris
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah, my two year anniversary here on BA, and I think this beer suits the occasion nicely.

Poured into my snifter, this stuff is slick, oily, and black as tar, refusing to emit even a hint of light. I think my pour was a little too gentle since only a finger's worth of creamy mocha head was yeilded. It still nonetheless displays a good amount of retention, leaving spider legs of lace behind. After a few swirls, strips of alcohol film coat the sides of the glass, announcing that, on top of its deathly black body, this is a big beer.

Shew. What a doozy. Big, robust, and complex in the nose. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, and alcohol are the first things I detect but are only half the story. Rich dark chocolate, espresso, and a perfectly pronounced roasted character also assert themselves in the nose and blend seamlessly with everything else. From the sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate to the roasty coffee notes to the warming character of the bourbon and alcohol, everything compliments eachother. 'Inviting' seems like an understatement.

Smooth and sweet vanilla and oak grace the tongue first and remain at the front of the palate throughout, but its prominence is short lived with a pronounced semi-bitter roasted malt, woodsy character asserting itself midway through. Notes of chocolate and more vanilla are in the back, keeping everything in check and the roasted character tamed. A healthy dose of rich and earthy hops is what we're left with in the finish; an assertive but welcomed end to this wonderfully complex beer.

Full bodied, rich, smooth, and creamy in the mouth with a good dose of carbonation. Its balance is unmatched to any other RIS I've had to date, as is its drinkability. High in alcohol, rich in flavour, yet incredibly easy to drink. The alcohol is very much subdued in the taste with its only true presence coming in the warming feel it imparts in the chest. A tad more creamy in the feel, and I would have had no problem giving this a perfect score.

When this first hit the LCBO in either January or February, it was bitter-sweet. I was ecstatic that this magnificent seasonal made its way down to Ontario, but sad that it was made available almost solely in Toronto; a place close enough but not all that realistic at the time for me to travel down there for a beer. Lucky for me, I ran into a fantastic LCBO manager who had no problem doing an inter-store transfer for me, thats how I got my hands on 7 of these bad boys. From start to finish, this RIS is near flawless. I'm sure one or two of these will be cracked during the cold winter months, and the rest will sit in my cellar. Bring on the '10's!!

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Photo of Tim2000
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341 mL brown bottle, 2009 vintage.

Pours an oily black with a thick coffee-coloured head that clings to the glass.

Aroma is of molasses and brandy-soaked fruitcake.

Burnt sugar, molasses and toffee make up a strong roasted malt backbone. Black cherry and chocolate notes pick up towards the middle. Slightly earthy towards the finish with an increasing grassy, slightly astringent bitterness. Alcohol is present and gives the beer some heat. Thick and syrupy with fairly low carbonation.

Fantastic and complex beer. I imagine that it will only mellow and improve with age.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

341ml bottle poured into chalice april 23 2010

A black as black can be even before it hit the glass you could see how dark this one was, thick dark mocha head has great retention and leaves loads of lace right down the glass. this beer looks pretty sexy

S dark roasted coffee with some dark bakers chocolate a little vanilla, earthy wood, and even some mild hops. I do detect some booze but it's pretty well hidden

T now I can taste a little bourbon I was looking for on the nose and some molasses to go along with everything I smell, a great tasting beer if you like utter darkness. the booze I could barely smell is there but still quite well concealed.

M not as thick as one would guess but still quite nice with and initial silky feel and it ends up creamy from the bubbles

D a damn fine beer this is, solid all around and if there was a 4.75 option it would have got that once or twice. this beer could be a little dangerous at 9.1% it's just that easy to down

I like the presentation of this bottle in its tube with the Kremlin looking rooftops. but all gimmicks aside this is a world beater a truly great beer that everyone should try and well deserving of its place in the Canadian top 25. A big thank you to ritzkiss for sending a bunch of these my way.

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Photo of VbolieuV
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Edition. (9.2% this year.)

Pitch black with a really small creamy head. Nice dark chocolate and espresso smell, with bourbon and vanilla undertones. Really intense dark chocolate taste, like 90% cacao! Nice espresso notes too, with a bourbon and alcohol finish. There's some carbonation in the beginning but it stops quite fast then it gets pretty creamy which is nice. Really really good, it's not the first time I taste this beer, I had it a few years ago (the 2011 and 2012 I believe) and I don't remember them much, but this one is really spectacular.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Having absolutely loved their Oatmeal Stout, I expected great things from this brew. Thankfully, from the get-go, McAuslan's RIS did not disappoint!

I let this one warm up a few degrees in the bottle before pouring into a snifter. Impenetrable dark mocha hue, with about an inch of thick, tan head. Lots of sticky and sheeted lacing to boot. Looks fantastic.

The nose is potent and sweet, but very enjoyable. Dark chocolate, bourbon and brandy, marshmallow, caramel and roasted malt.

Wow; this is truly great stuff. The oak does wonders for this brew, evening out the sweet caramel and chocolate and letting the hop bitterness provide a late kick. Similar flavours as in the nose. The alcohol is covered fairly well, but it is evident in the finish.

Mouthfeel is velvety and sticky, with the carbonation providing a good spritz on the back of the tongue.

A stellar RIS. Definitely going back for a couple others to let them age a bit. Man, I love this brewery...

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Photo of TwilightTavern
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a brandy snifter

when poured from a bottle, i immediately noticed how thick the beer was. The thickest beer I've ever drank in fact. Thick one inch medium brown head that dissipates to half an inch that lasts forever, the longest head retention I've ever seen on a beer thats 9 abv+

Walnuts were the first impression the aroma gave off. Next was typical dark chocolate and espresso typical of RIS', and finally dates, and alcohol.

Taste is burnt toast, dark chocolate, espresso, extremely malty, and even hoppy bitterness atypical of RIS'. Exceptional complexity.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, extremely thick, and leaves a nice alcohol bitterness on the palate, along with a slight hint of molasses.

I'm aware that there is a novelty on high abv (or "big beers"), and particularly RIS', and I'm even more sure that the fancy case the 341mm bottle comes in may not help either, however all aside, this is a truly exceptional beer, and possibly one of the best I've ever had in any dark beer style.

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Photo of MrHall
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel workhorse of a glass.

A: Motor oil black, black as death itself. Beautiful light brown mocha head (reminds me of Dieu Du Ceil's imperial - Quebecois know how to make this beer with the beautiful head) that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a nice thin brown ring.

S: Dark chocolate is this first thing that hits. Also I get some licorice, blackberries, and maybe some oak, but that may be because I know it's spent some time in bourbon casks.

T: This is where the oak comes in.(Sidenote: Isn't it amazing what oak can do for beers that it doesn't do for wines) The first tastes seem to be oak, bourbon, and 85% cacao chocolate, followed by vanilla, with a lingering bitterness, but from what? Roast or hops? They say they're using English and U.S. hops in this beer, and you get them at the end, but with the oak, vanilla, chocolate, and espresso, they sure have their work cut out for them. Still between the hops and the smoky roasty malts. The bitterness lingers forever. As I come to the end of the beer though, I wonder if the oakiness isn't distracting.

No. It isn't. It's fucking delicious.

M: Perfectly carbonated and thick-as-molasses texture.

D: Who knows? Drinkable? Not so much? You won't likely "reasonably" want more than one in one night but all I can think of is this:

Want. More. Now. I bought 3 bottles and will drink one a night and then get more.

I think I'll hopefully get a few bottles for aging too.

Is this the best IS in this country? I dunno, and I'm not even that really fit to judge. I almost think this beer is too complex for me and is likely laughing at me in my glass. If it isn't I think it's down to two beers, both from Montreal.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: poured a pitch-black color stout with a super large deep brown foamy head with great retention and some great lacing. Aroma of bourbon and vanilla with some deep roasted malt notes. Taste is a nice and well balanced mix between some black chocolate with light coffee notes with lots of vanilla form the bourbon and a finish that is dominated by dry roasted malt notes (maybe a tad too dry even). Body is full with some creamy notes and great carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well done with great balance between the different flavor thought maybe a tad too dry.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jim at Sherbrooke for the sample. Comes in a cardboard cylinder like their Vintage offering, 341 ml brown bottle, 2009 edition.

Pours absolutely pitch black in appearance, tall thick spongy deep beige head, large loose bubbles. Good retention, thin patches of lacing.

Aroma of molasses, licorice, roasted malt, slight char, dark dried fruits.

Intense roasted malt up front in the flavour, molasses sweetness, dark dried fruits, dry cocoa appears near the finish, the whole flavour profile is remarkably smooth. Faint notes in the aftertaste of light herbal hops, a hint of grapefruit pith from the Cascade, but predominantly English characteristics.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy velvety smooth, slight alcohol warmth on finish and aftertaste.

Wow, this is one helluva RIS, refined and full of character, it seamlessly carries things in all the right places. Go out of your way to get your hands on a bottle of this, it is well worth the effort. McAuslen pretty much nailed it with this one.

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Photo of JOaikido
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

341 ml bottle, 2010 vintage.

A- The darkest, blackest beer I've ever had. Good foamy head with tight frothy bubbles that are a light brown (moka/cocolate) colour.

S- Coffee, smoke, a touch od alcohol out of the top of the bottle. In the glass, more of the same plus a note of citrussy hops. Avery nice blend of aromas overall.

T- Chocolate, coffee and hops bitterness up front. Taste of alcohol in the finish, but not overdone. Reminds me of good coffee liqueurs, though less sweet. Plenty sweet for a beer though. An interesting bourbon note in the alcohol finish. Personnally I like it, but then I like a good bourbon over most other whiskeys.

MF- Soft and warming, even when quite cool in actual temperature dur to alcohol. Definitely one for late night or cold evening sipping. Fairly thick feel, but not overdone.

D- A very good sipping beer. Watch out for that alcohol kick.

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Photo of Agold
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up the 2009 vintage of this beer last summer when i was in Montreal. This beer pours like pitch black oil with a dark dark brown head in to my Duvel Tulip. Some good sticky lacing down the glass. The nose has some bourbon and chocolate and vanilla with a little bit of raisin. The flavor more than makes up for the nose. Light lingering bourbon flavor complements a roasty malty chocolaty base. The heavy mouthfeel coats leaves a great aftertaste of bourbon, but it is by no means overwhelming. I really enjoyed this beer. I had been putting off trying it until i got some glassware that was not a shaker pint and the wait definitely paid off. I'm really glad i have a friend in montreal who has more of these.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle into my Rodenbach tulip. Huge thanks to Freud for this rare bad boy...Black pour with a super thick and frothy tan head. Looks like a nitro poured tap, great retention and lacing...An awesomely complex and alluring aroma, sweet yet bitter with a tin hint of smoke. Malty to start, tons of sweet chocolate, very creamy, vanilla, and a really smooth bourbon. Smoke bite in the middle and hops on the finish, make it even better...As great as the aroma was, if it translated equally sweet on the taste it would be too much, thankfully it doesn't. The taste is a great roasted coffee that is so easy to drink. The mouthfeel is tannic, full, viscous. The finish is pretty hoppy bitterness that breaks up the coffee in the right amount. As the beer warms too much bourbon starts to creep on the finish, not terrible just distracting.

McAuslan nails another one. This is a must try if you can get it.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It finally happened! I walked into the SummerHill LCBO and they had the McAuslan St. Ambrois Russian Imperial Stout in stock! Not after tricking me though. There were none on the shelve where the display was, so I had to ask a very helpful employee to check the back for me. Eureka!

As per my last post praising the design of the bottle and packaging, I had been awaiting this beer for quite some time, and with much anticipation. The St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is among the best Oatmeal Stouts that I have ever had. It is delectably creamy, filled with smooth roast, chocolate, and hop flavors, and really creates an exceptional balance in an appetizing beer. That being said, it is a standard 5% abv, and not supremely rich - so I was getting very excited for the 9.1% abv Russian Imperial Stout brewed by the same masterminds.

Beyond all of that, Russian Imperial Stouts have become among my most favorite beer styles due to their ability to carry complex and appetizing flavors in such a compelling balance of sweet and savory. This new example by McAuslan may have also just set a new standard for excellence...

McAuslan's owners and brewer have said that since day one, they have wanted to brew a Russian Imperial Stout. But before launching a rich and drastic beer like that they would play among the more relaxed and common beer styles to warm people's palate to the idea. This really has proven to be a perfect approach. Their beers are distributed widely now across Canada, and other breweries have opened first with extreme beers and just never built traction. Hopefully this will be one of many new and exciting beers to come from McAuslan.

So on to the good stuff! I opened the wonderfully designed tube that the beer comes in and slid the bottle out falling into my hand. It felt heavy - I know that its the same weight as any 341ml bottle of beer, but something about it just forced a powerful presence in my hand. I grabbed a deep and wide bottomed slightly tuliped snifter to pour the stout into. And wow did it ever pour gracefully.

It pours out like oil with extreme smoothness and finesse as black as the night. I let it go very slowly so that a nice creamy head would develop, and so that I could watch it even longer. Rich deep and full foam was growing off the surface of the beer until the bottle was empty and a sturdy, dense two inch head was raised from this black beer. I really do mean black, not dark brown, or hints of amber - it was completely pitch black. The head also was immensely dark; the brownest shade of creamy tan I have ever seen. The contrast in the glass was beautiful; a profoundly dark and generous black beer resting calmly below a mountain of crowded carbonation in a pillowy foam. I did also test it, you can scoop it with a spoon.

The nose is superb and richly satisfying with lightly sweet dark malts and bourbon, vanilla, caramel and oak, with huge espresso, chocolate and a touch of berries. Its complex yet smooth, and really is a perfect depiction of how the beer looks. I still can't get over how incredible it looks, and now how amazing it smells. It brings you all of the typical Russian Imperial Stout flavors in waves rich, nose tingling sensations.

When you finally dive in, the first thing you taste is the head, which lasts and lasts. It is creamy with a whipped and delicate texture, filled with light coffee and chocolate, and bright notes of whisky. Beyond the head though comes a stampede of pungent and abounding flavors and aromas. First the mellow sweetness from the malts shines through followed by semi sweet and bitter chocolate flowing over the front of your tongue. As a beat goes by, in comes huge roasted coffee, deep oak, spicy and soothing bourbon, bitter bakers chocolate, a glimpse of vanilla and some light oak appearing at the end. There is also a hint of blackberry peering in from the deep with still some whisky malt sweetness.

The whole background is a complex array of fresh hops giving added bitterness and balance to an intricate beer, and also creating a crisp and slightly dry finish. The mouthfeel is sublime and creamy, just as it poured. Its extremely viscous, and glides like oil everywhere coating your palate.

Really, I was happily impressed by this beer, and immediately went out searching for additional bottles. I have four right now in the cellar for ageing, as this beer should build in smooth rich arrogance over time. It is going up among the best Imperial Stouts that I have ever tasted, and also among the best beers I have ever had. Please do go find a bottle, serve it around 12 degrees Celsius (54F), and drink it on its own. This beer deserves your attention, and it will reward you tremendously.

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Photo of eat
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oily black (literally), as dark as a stout can get with a beige-caramel coloured head. A thick three finger head settles down to a solid covering over the surface of the beer. Decent retention and nice lacing.

Smokey roasted malt, coffee, caramel, fresh chocolate chip cookies, subtle whiskey. A decent showing of hops appears as it warms. If the smell isn't jumping off the beer I don't ever rate it higher than 4. While this smells really nice, this isn't the case here.

I had already created a strong image in my mind of what this beer would taste like, which is, of course, a bad idea. So it's not what I was expecting. It's quite a lot subtler than I was thinking it would be (though not in a bad way at all) and is extremely well-balanced. Coffee blends seamlessly into a prominent hop profile, resulting in a lingering dry, bitter finish. Metallic and a touch astringent, with the high ABV blending into the whole, serving a purpose rather than just being strong. Everything is sitting on top of an awesome dark roasted malt. This is reminiscent of Peche Mortel although it's definitely a unique beer. It actually tastes something like a cross between Peche Mortel and Guinness Foreign Extra. This is an incredibly well-balanced stout, one of the best-balanced beers I can remember trying. Everything is right in proportion.

The feel is really great. I'm almost always left wanting more body, even in the best of stouts, but this one is just about up to my liking. Perfect light carbonation.

I was at first surprised by this one. I guess I expected it to be a little more similar to their oatmeal stout but it really isn't at all. This is a whole other beer. I'm always super impressed when a brewery can release two beers of similar style tasting nothing alike. So well-balanced, tasty and drinkable. The only bad thing about this beer is that it could be a one-off.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near black impenetrable body with a two finger dark chocolate head, lots of patchy lacing, slowly going down to a nice thick collar of foam.

Lots going on in the scent, licorice, smoke, tobacco, coffee, goldings hops, leather, really something.

Taste is tobacco, coffee, lots of floral hops, dark fruit (raisin), leathery, with only a slight bit of ethanol lingering in the finish. Really well balanced and not overly boozy and rich which can sometimes be a turn off for the style.

This is a full bodied smooth nicely bitter brew with plenty of carbonation. It is nearly chewy and has a pleasant lingering bitter finish.

This is definitely the best St. Ambroise brew I have had and likely the best RIS I have had to date. It is beautiful, complex, smooth, and oh so drinakable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Espresso, cocoa, bourbon vanillans and caramels, and malted milk candies all play into this lush and viscous imperial stout with power and finess that'll satisfy the hardcore stout lovers but also win over some bourbon fans as well.

Imperiale Russe pours with a viscous pour that seems to crawl into the chalice. The thick black beer reluctantly gives up its carbonation for a developing creme of roast-stained foam that mimics well made espresso to the tee. While retaining surprisingly well, the lacing initially coats the sides of the glass but later drifts into the liquid. Do stouts carry a better appearance?

The aromas of malted milk, bourbon alcohol, bittersweet cocoa, espresso, and caramelized oak all fill the nose early on- seems like every reach with the nose brings about another scent that wasn't noticed before. Cherry like esters also introduce complimentary notes of anise, sherry, and red wine.

Succulent and savory flavors of Espresso, roasted grains, chocolate brownies, walnuts, licorice, and malted milk candies fill the mouth with even the most dainty of sips- a testiment to the strength of flavor and its lingering. Initial richness morphs at the mid point into a bourbony tanic-oaky taste that ushers in more caramel and vanilla earthy-sweetness.

The magic happens in the mouthfeel where an early robust textrue of cream, fullness, and viscocity turns quickly into a tanic dryness, alcoholic warmth, while still retaining a marshmallowy feel late despite the linger of roast and hop bitterness.

This beer demonstrates a plethera of characteristics that take place in a matter of a second or two. I think a hundred bottles would continue to reveal flavors that wouldn't have been detected in the 99th. But that's how it goes with the most complex of complex beers.

As a Kentuckian who knows bourbon, I often find bourbon aged beers to be far too timid in its bourbon influence. No such risk with Imperiale Russe- the bourbon character is alive and well in this formitable imperial stout.

Again- a serious shout out goes to flipper2gv for the generosity and patience.

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Photo of dgilks
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ink. Oily black with a big, creamy tan head. Good head retention.

Wonderful aroma. Rounded. Liquorice. Roast and bitter chocolate. Some alcohol. Nothing over the top but really well composed and well integrated.

Rich. Not too sweet but clearly big with lots of roast and chocolate. The liquorice is not over the top and works well. Mild alcohol. Very nice.

A touch chalky before a rounded creaminess comes through. Moderate carbonation works well.

A delightful beer. Big and bold but refined at the same time.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

341 ml bottle that comes in an awesomely decorated cardboard cylinder. Picked one up for $5.95 CDN which is a lot for figured I would have to try this at least once. 2013 Vintage and ABV is indicated as 9.2% on the bottle rather than the 9.1% listed here.

Left the bottle out for about 30-40 minutes after being in the fridge so that it would warm up a bit. Then served into a pint glass.

Appearance - Black as night like in an unlit mine shaft. I've recently commented on some dark beers and how they had been the darkest beers I'd had, but this one takes the cake. Towards the end of the glass even tilted this towards me as to spread out the liquid and looked directly into the sun and... not a glimmer of light made it through. Wow. Also 1 finger of dark brown head that receded moderately. Beautiful spidery lacing left everywhere. If the head was more impressive of lasted longer this would have scored quite a bit higher. Still very impressive.

Smell - Lots of coffee, licorice candy a complex mixture of chocolates. Caramel and butterscotch mixture. Wonderfully dessert-like. Pretty much having a platter of strong rich dark chocolate and all the combinations with other dessert items in front of you with a black espresso. Also some vanilla and smoky oakiness. Slight element of rum soaked pastries and fruitcake.

Taste - Enormous flavors here, and found that there was about four stages to this beer with every sip. First a mild sweetness of the caramel and butterscotch combo transitioning into about a second where the palate is actually clear and void of much. Then boom a massive licorice and smoke explosion with some coffee and dark chocolate mixed in. To conclude a dark chocolate (like 95% pure cocoa) and coffee mixture that lingers on the tongue for a long while.

Mouthfeel - Rich, decadent velvety smooth, great warmth in the back of the throat. Obviously heavy bodied prohibiting you from mass consumption and also an oily texture to it. The slickness coats the mouth and tongue throughout the session.

Overall - Excellent RIS, huge flavor and very good representation of the style. Don't know if I will purchase another this year due to the cost, but definitely worth trying at least once.

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing
4.21 out of 5 based on 307 ratings.
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