St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe | McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Stout Impériale RusseSt-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe
BA SCORE
4.21/5
Exceptional
311 Ratings
St-Ambroise Stout Impériale RusseSt-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada
mcauslan.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout is our tribute to the brawny ink-black beers crafted for the Russian Imperial House in the 18th century. Made from a blend of barley malts infused with Cascade, Goldings and Willamette hops, it’s aged in bourbon oak, giving it seductive vanilla, espresso and chocolate notes.

Added by papat444 on 12-05-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,426
Reviews:
135
Ratings:
311
pDev:
9.26%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
74
Gots:
81
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 311 |  Reviews: 135
Photo of headlessparrot
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 edition (which comes in at 9.2% ABV); sure, I could have cellared this, but what fun is cellaring a beer when you can drink it instead.

Pours a pure, dark, inky black (so black my camera can't even auto-focus on it) capped with dense, dark, tightly-bubbled cappuccino head that leaves lots of lacing (impressive for such high ABV). Decently persistent, too.

Smell is rich and thick--bitter chocolate, Caramilk bars, coffee, toffee, vanilla, slight corny-ness, perhaps a faint hint of bourbon sweetness. Bit of a grassy, English herbal hoppiness.

Taste is initially thick and sweet, turning dry and bitter in the mouth. Dark chocolate, herbal hops, light creamy vanilla, hints of bourbon, bitter coffee. Roasted malt. A slight almost sourness on the finish. The alcohol is noticeable. The body is lightly carbonated and syrupy.

I like this beer; but every year I try it and--while I like it--I'm struck by the fact that, if given the choice, I'd actually take St-Ambroise's standard Oatmeal Stout over this any day of the week. So there's that.

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Photo of papposilenus
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Special Reserve, a 341ml bottle in a classy cardboard tube. Thanks, Jesse! Served at cellar temperature in a tulip glass.

Appearance:
Pours a deep abysmal black with, perhaps, a furtive burgundy highlight or two, a vast mocha head, excellent retention, and thick wads of sticky, foamy lace which last all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Nose:
The ghost of bourbon past, with raisins, dark chocolate and orange rind.

Taste:
Vanilla-caramel and tobacco, dark chocolate, fruitcake and campfire smoke. Bittersweet chocolate and sour cherry linger on the palate with a mellow, smoky booziness in the sinuses.

Mouthfeel:
Creamy, very lightly carbonated, silky-smooth and warming. Mouth-coating slickness but with a tannin or chalky character which retains and accentuates the lingering mildly boozy, roasted bitterness.

Overall:
More bitter than sweet and creamy rather than syrupy. After a year of aging, it's a well-mannered, smooth-drinking but surprisingly bitter RIS which highlights the bourbon-oak character of the barrel aging without in any way being overwhelmed by it.

 1,087 characters

Photo of fthegiants
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of RandyFlameThrower
3.64/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of byronic
3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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.

 561 characters

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

Photo of CanadianBacon
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 edition, single 12 oz bottle picked up at my local shop. at almost 8$ its a pretty expensive glass of beer but Very interesting,

Appearance - Poured into a snifter, this beer pours black, absolutely no light gets through. there was 1 finger of caramel colored head that fades to a thick lacing expected of the style.

Aroma - at first smell you get expresso and rich dark chocolate followed closely by oak and whiskey. I then pick up some vanilla and some dark fruits.

Taste - whiskey and oak flavors dominate followed by dark fruit then expresso , extremely rich dark chocolate and vanilla funny how the flavors reverse. The 9.2 percent alcohol is masked very well but this is still a sipper, the flavors kick the crap out of your palate.

Feel - This is absolutely a full creamy body. the carbonation adds to the creaminess this is super smooth for a 9.2 percent beer.

Overall - This is a spectacular beer, Everything a RIS should be and more, Definitely a sipper and at the price point that's a good thing. The flavors and aromas are rich and strong. I know my store has a 2014 edition and im tempted to go pick it up and see how the flavors have progressed over the year. wow. If you can get your hands on it, its definitely a must try.

2014 vintage, drank 2015-11-27.

Appearance - same as 2015.

Aroma - This is where it gets interesting, After being aged a year the Barrel aromas are starting to show their power, I get a strong overpowering Vanilla welcoming me in to take a deeper dive into this beer then I get oak, These 2 flavors overpower the rest but underneath you get a beautiful scent of expresso followed by dark rich chocolate and a faint faint dark fruit. roasted grain is behind all of these scents. I must say the smoothness of this smell is extremely welcoming .

Taste - Its funny how the flavor profile switches again, first im getting 2 flavors mixing, plum and oak followed by some sweet vanilla, then chocolate and expresso together bittering it and some roasted grain on the end. This got really good with age.

Feel - This is now a medium full feel and not creamy at all, The carbonation is prickly on the tongue and then its almost the texture of milk. the oak stands out the whole time keeping the mouthful slightly bitter.

Overall - This beer is an excellent ager and still very much a sipper, It is absolutely delicious yet the rich flavors have a tendency to smack the pallet. Take it slow and you will enjoy every last sip.

 2,475 characters

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

Photo of dfhhead25
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Fievel
3.79/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JMBSH
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KJ2013
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tmappin
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Sunsetlane_guy
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Samer
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Niceroad77
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pitch black with a thumb's worth of head that slowly breaks leaving generous lacing in its wake.

S: Nice nose of roasts, coffee, leather, wood, faint bourbon and some dark fruits.

T: Roasts right off the bat. Coffee, an almost creamy vanilla, bourbon is faint and perhaps faded on this 2013 vintage.

M: Medium carbonation, creamy and very warming.

O: This is a nice beer. After two years in the cellar some of the bournbon has faded, but otherwise no complaints. I might like to try it again with less age.

 518 characters

Photo of CantankerousCaveBear
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of deonreds
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of phatmasterc
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Tivlavrie
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gasc0igne
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

The pour is an almost syrup-thick black with a light cola hue at the edge when held up to light. Massive frothy light russet brown head, very small bubbles. Long retention. Excellent (but messy) lacing.

Smokey bourbon, whipped cream, and milk chocolate dominate the nose. Faint coffee. Soy sauce.

Roasty as all hell. Charred oak, touches of alcohol-like vanilla, and brown sugar at the forefront. Bourbon comes through more in the middle, with a big 'hoppy' bitterness that's reminiscent of 80%+ dark chocolate (more likely cooking chocolate) in the finish. Gets to be a bit too ashy for my taste towards the end but still great.

Full bodied. Carbonation is a bit too low for me, would've liked something more interesting, it feels a bit 'flat'. Feels like it's trying to have a dry finish but it just ends up being a bit clunky and sticky.

Balanced for the amount of things going on here. Quite the contrast between aroma and taste. A must try once for anyone who enjoys bitter/roasty stouts, but the pricetag keeps me from going back.

 1,066 characters

St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe from McAuslan Brewing
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 311 ratings