St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010 | McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010
Very Good
25 Ratings
St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kwjd on 12-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by ThinkAgain:
Photo of ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev +0.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Matt for sending me this one!

A: Pours a slightly hazy ruby color with a small off-white colored head. Not much retention at all, quickly reducing to a ring of foam around the edges. Decent lacing formation.

S: Sweet and sugary upfront with plenty of dark fruit in the middle - Plums, raisins, and some dates. Some nice caramel and toffee on the back end.

T: Heavy caramel flavor, deep and and rich. Nice dark fruit presence to back it up, mostly raisins, prunes, and dates. Slightly sweet finish.

M: Medium to full bodied, very smooth with no sign of the abv. You can tell its on the high side though, but not in a bad way.

O: A fan of this barleywine, very easy drinking with little harshness to it. Despite being a sipper, rather easy drinking.

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Photo of paxkey
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottles comes packaged in a cylinder.
pours a caramel malt. malt aromas coming from open bottle held a foot from nose.
no head on this. gorgeous body to this beer.
looks rich and inviting.

nice hops on the nose, a little alcohol, but interesting floral notes playing off the malts.
fruity and boozy smelling.
aroma is not strong, but interesting and compelling.

a well made barley wine. delightfull spiciness. very boozy as can be expected of a fresh barley wine.

luxurious mouthfeel with a bit of bitterness in the aftertaste.

really nice stuff.

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Photo of theminutemen
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of irishkyle21
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of mrnobody
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341 ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a fairly clear orange/ruby/amber with a finger and a half of creamy white head which reduces to a ring of foam and a little lacing.

S: Smells of caramel, alcohol, candied fruit (fig, date).

T: Loads of sweet malt and candied fruit gives way to a nicely hoppy and slightly boozy finish.

M: Mouthfeel is full and chewy. Carbonation is high for the style but less than other St. Ambroise products.

D: The finish is a little boozy but the drinkability is pretty high.

I found this pretty similar to DDC's Solstice d'hiver although I thought this was a little bit hot. Since the DDC is also significantly cheaper, I'd give it the edge.

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Photo of papat444
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hoppypocket for this one.

Poured from a 341 ml. bottle into my St-Ambroise Millésimée 2006 snifter.

Appearance: Very hazy reddish-copper body with easily 3 fingers that has good retention and a fat ring that clings to the glass.

Smell: Ripe pears, some grapefruit rinds reminiscent of hops(!) and caramelized sugar.

Taste: A bit of licorice, fleshy fruit and a harsh bitterness like the stems of herbs. It calms down after awhile but leaves its impression. A nice caramel sugar flavor keeps the score from going lower.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, small bitterness in the finish and a medium body.

Overall: Higher ABV doesn't seem to translate into a fuller body. It still has a good mix of flavors but to me, a middle of the road barleywine.

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Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml Bottle from Trappe Du Fromage QC for 7$ - 2010 vintage

Appearance - Brown colour with an above average size fizzy and frothy beige head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel/butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, dark fruits, and some leathery notes. There is also a bit of a buttery/caramel flavour and some anise. The booze is well hidden but I'm getting a bit of the warming feeling from the ABV. It ends with a sweet (not not cloying) aftertaste with some lingering bitterness.

Overall - It's held up very well, and it seems like it could definitely stay cellared for another few years. It's a very good beer and I'll probably buy one every year when it comes out. My one gripe would be the price considering I can get 4 DDC Solstice D'Hivers for 10$ in Quebec.

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Photo of liamt07
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO, packaged in a cardboard tube. 341ml into a snifter.

Poured a golden brown, with several fingers of fluffy white head. Fades to a thin head, with some spotty lace. Nose is composed of some ripe dark fruits, albeit indiscriminate, some oak, sweet booze and a bit of caramel. Taste is sweet boozy fruits, butterscotch and a muted hop character. Sweet and sticky mouthfeel, with a fairly long finish. ABV is detectable, but this one isn't hot. Would be nice with a bit of time on it. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

About a year in by now, thought I would open one of these.

Beer is a nice caramel/dark amber colpur, with a large slightly-off white head. Great retention. A bit of lacing.

Very nice smell. Caramel, honey, sugar, fruity scents (prune and cherry), vanilla, slightly toasted malt, cinnamon, and a bit of other spice. Quite a bit happening and really good.

Very nice, smooth malty flavour. Caramel, brown sugar, a slight bit of bitter hops (still), a bit of dark cherry. Dries the mouth a bit. Still a bit of alcohol heat a year in, but not too much. Not as nice as the smell, but a nice beer.

Full bodied, low to medium carbonation, a bit sticky.

Very enjoyable. I liked this beer when it came out a year ago, and like it a lot now. Hard to remember how it tasted a year back, but I think it has improved. For me, McAuslan is a somewhat hit and miss brewery, but this is one of the hits.

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Photo of Copyrightkilla
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one has been aging for some time... I was waiting for the right opportunity, and I just did our taxes and we're looking at a decent refund. Good enough of an excuse for me!

A - Pours a slightly hazy ruby red, little visible body carbonation, finger of head with some retention and some thin sporadic lacing.

S - Surprisingly boozy, rich caramel, dark brown sugar, burnt sugar notes, musty greens, hints of newsprint and resiny grape skins.

T - Again, the alcohol is not afraid to mark its presence, but the rich caramel and dark fruits balance out the heat with a hint of peppery spice. The grape skins and some sour citrus lemon rind notes linger on the palette alongside some buttery caramel.

M - Medium bodied, surprisingly smooth, though the ABV heat does rear its head on the finish with the slightest of heat.

O - A tasty barleywine loaded with flavour and a solid ABV kick that will remind you that it's not a style to be messed with. Surprisingly drinkable given the heat, but the flavours warm nicely. A perfect evening night cap.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber orange colour in a brandy snifter glass. Tastes of dark fruits with a strong malty background and a touch of orange to the finish. Very nice mouthfeel and its incredibly easy to drink. The 10% is well hidden. Very nice barleywine overall. Going to see what some age does to the last couple bottles I have.

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Photo of korguy123
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes - LCBO Winter 2010 Release

A- Clear copper / brown pour. Finger width egg shell head. Quickly settles to thin cap. Lacing is minimal.

S- Sweet toasted malts, cane sugar, strawberries, vanilla with a touch of dark stone fruits. Faint floral hops with zero evidence of the alcohol.

T- Cane sugar, bittering hops, prunes and figs with a mild yeast touch. Lingering bitter aftertaste with a hint of alcohol.

M- Medium bodied, sticky on the lips with a slight burn on the tongue and the way down.

O- First of the Vintage Ales I've tried and I'm left satisfied but wanting more from them. I'm slowly starting to realize that the English versions of barleywine aren't my usual choice.

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Photo of MattyV
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep copper/brown colour with a 1 finger creamy beige head. Lots of bubbles rising to the surface, appears to be highly carbonated. Aroma's a mix of toffee, fruity esters, and lots of alcohol heat; smells distinctly English. Taste is sweet caramel and toffee malt, slightly toasty, dark fruits and some muted oak/vanilla. Alcohol is noticeable and provides a considerable burn in the finish/aftertaste. Full, slightly oily mouthfeel. An enjoyable, definitely English-style barley wine that demands respect with an alcohol presence that will knock you over if you're not careful.

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Photo of kwjd
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since the other entries for the St Ambroise Vintage Ales have their own entries, I'm assuming the 2010 Vintage should have one too.

Poured a bright orange colour with 2 fingers of thick white head. Nice head retention as a solid layer of head remains throughout, with lacing over much of the glass. Smells of sweet fruit, caramel with some mild hops. Flavour is has a little bit of a boozy kick. Nice medium-bodied mouthfeel. I think the 2009 version was a bit hoppier than this. I bought several of these so I'll see how this ages.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This draft of the St-Ambroise Vintage Ale looks a precious amulet, belonging behind security-protected glass. Its foggy amber tone may not allow any clarity, but it sure does glow when held against the light. And the lacing it leaves glints like something in the window of a crystal store; surely it would make a lovely piece for someone with more money than I.

Quebec usually sides with their French roots but this brew clearly identifies with the British influence. Its fruity esters, hard-hitting minerals and toasty-sweet maltiness are right out the playbook of a Burton or Chiswick brewer and resemble some of the great English strong ales, Fuller's Vintage Ale not the least among them. It is sugary and enticing.

St-Ambroise Vintage Ale has enough alcohol present to burn a tiny hole in your throat; it isn't mindlessly quaffable but is superbly fitted to smaller snifters. A bottle or two may be worth stashing away for aging. Tough call. The alcohol really comes out the woodwork with warming, but so too does an added appreciation for its subtler, more nuanced tones.

Like something right out of a CAMRA guidebook, this barleywine is replete with massive sweet malt and ripe fruit of the pear, orange and lemon varieties, with generous hop notes that produce peppery, grassy and floral notes. Nothing so dark so as to suggest coffee or dark fruit is present, a cast of exclusively pale malts produce bready and sweet flavours. It actually could be mistaken for a mai-bock.

McAuslan Brewing has a good reputation for high quality and consistency - Millésimée 2010 is no exception. But do note that it is principally similar to the last few Vintage Ales, and whether that makes it worth the price of purchase depends highly on what else is locally available for higher gravity offerings. I stashed one away in the cellar, but I don't expect it to improve much and await its maturation with minimal anticipation.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this for a while to let it mellow out a bit.

A - Pours a dark copper colour with a three finger beige head and lotsa carbonation. Bright. Good thick, sticky rings of lacing with a good cap throughout.

S - Really dark fruit dominated. Very nice. Caramel, sugar, dates, and other dark fruits. I love that strong, malty dark fruit aroma.

T - Really good dark fruit, a little sting from the alochol/yeast blend. Quite sugary.

M - Good carbonation but it could be a little smoother to make it velvetty. Full body.

O/D - Maybe it could use a bit more time to mellow but there is still some harsh alcohol in there. Not their best Vintage release but alright.

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Photo of fostachild
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

purchased at an lcbo during christmas time. pours a clear/bubbly dark red/amber colour. lots of head. amazing smell. very fruity, bit of hops and alcohol.

taste heavy alcohol at the beginning but also sweet/fruity - gets better as you go on. overall good carbonation, good drinkability, and true to the barleywine style.

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Photo of falcon1
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of bobsy
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Luscious orange pour with extraordinary clarity and four fingers of off-white head that eventually settles to a film leaving multiple islands of lace on the way. The nose is packing a lot of heat - alcohol, earth, peppery spice, some floral elements and a hint of brown sugar. Pleasant, but a little young yet and still on the raw side. The flavour reflects this slightly with the alcohol having a kind of prominence that is barely masked by light brown sugar, bready malt, candied fruit and resiny hopping. Medium body and carbonation with a lingering oily bitterness. Could be chewier.

Interesting, but I feel it needs some age to truly shine. I'll be buying two or three more and expect them to improve greatly as time goes by.

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Photo of peensteen
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Caramel colour, fairly pale with some ruby tones, ring of white head and some spots of lace. Smell has lots of caramel and toffee, giant malt presence, burnt brown sugar, some hop charachter and points of wrm alcohol, some dried fruit scents as well. Taste is malty followed by caramel and brown sugars, toffee, almond/nutty flavours, moderate bitterness, over ripe fruits and cherry, faint alcohol and fruit in finish. Full body, lightish to medium carbonation, lightly syrupy and quite nice. Excellent slow sipper and far superior to the 2009 I had a little while back.

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Photo of DaPan
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Kartoffeln
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to do a two-pronged review of a fresh bottle from notes and review a bottle aged for a year, since I didn't submit my tasting notes on the fresh bottle - sorry for the wall of text! The rating is strictly for the aged bottle, since I forgot to score the fresh bottle in the notes; all I can say is that it improved considerably, as the harsh booziness and cloying sweetness diminished to showcase more fruity and yeasty nuances.

Aged a year:

A: Pours a dark, somewhat hazy amber with a modest head of dense, creamy, off-white fizz. Modest retention, dissipating in short order to a ring and leaving scant lacing.

S: Richly sweet caramel, wheat, and Munich malts with spiciness like mulled wine and loads of fresh, candied, and caramelised fruits: Sultana raisins, black cherries, candied figs, caramelised pears, black plums, and a hint of baked apple. Faint undertones of earthy yeast and bubblegum throughout.

T: Bold caramel, Munich, and wheat malts with a much more rounded character than in the nose that showcases a biscuity character. Earthy, nutty yeast and minerality crop up midway through the sip and linger. Rich fruitiness with raisins, plums, candied figs, orange, and caramelised pears leads into floral, earthy, and just a bit woody hops and bready yeast notes. Mild alcohol warmth in the finish, quite a change from how boozy it was before.

M: Full-bodied and somewhat sticky, with modest carbonation that still packs initial crispness on the sip. The long, yeast-and-hop finish provides enough balance to make for easy sipping.

D: Way better with age to wear down the sugariness and alcohol burn, the Vintage 2010 has become a rich, nuanced sipper with surprisingly good balance. It still doesn't stand above the competition, but it has improved significantly in just a year of cellaring; I'm not sure if the cellar being a bit on the warm side affected this.


A: Dark amber with a dense, creamy white head of average size. Retention is good, gradually becoming a healthy ring with minimal lacing.

S: Distinctly fruity with a sugary, candied scent and earthy spiciness. Pale, Munich, and wheat malts with caramel and subdued, earthy hops.

T: Bursting with sweet malts and candied fruit with spicy, boozy warmth, gradually giving way to stronger ethanol notes in a finish dominated by mild, earthy hop bitterness.

M: Full-bodied and somewhat chewy. Carbonation is unexpectedly high, but crisp and creamy. Although it is an English barleywine, it comes off a bit cloyingly sweet.

D: A solid but not terrific barleywine. The pronounced sweetness and the alcohol taste diminish its drinkability.

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St-Ambroise Vintage Ale - Millésimée 2010 from McAuslan Brewing
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 25 ratings