St-Ambroise Scotch Ale | McAuslan Brewing

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St-Ambroise Scotch AleSt-Ambroise Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
McAuslan Brewing
Quebec, Canada

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as McAuslan Scotch Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-25-2002

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Ratings: 139 |  Reviews: 75
Photo of Shadman
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahagany red with an impressive tan head. Decent retention and slight lacing noted.

Rum raisin, slight peat malts.

Not bad! Some nice dried date like sweetness along with a slight smokey flavor. Alchohol bites just weakly. Hops come into play in the finish to provide a slightly clove-like spice. Hops also contribute to a dryer finish

If you're looking for a wee heavy with a chewy mouthfeel you've come to the wrong place. Feel is more medium than others I've sampled.

A decent take on the style. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was pleased to find this at the local bottle shop...

A - Pours a dark ruby red colour, finger and a half of big bubbled tan head with decent retention and no lacing.

S - Mild but boozy, touch of smokey peat and caramel, but a little disappointing.

T - Tasty scotch ale with a touch of ABV heat off the top, smokey peat, vanilla and caramel come through along with a touch of ginger on the finish.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes wet, with a touch of ABV heat.

O - Overall a tasty scotch ale with some classic flavours familiar with the style. Glad I had a chance to try it, though I`m not certain I would go out and grab another.

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Photo of Long813
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown body with one finger of mocha head. Retention is poor as is lacing.

S: Aroma of sweet malts and dark fruit. Light notes, but distinguishes the style.

T: Light in flavour as well, hard to pick out much. Sweet malts with dark fruit mixed in with a distinct earthiness. Some amount of bitter hops, but only faint.

M: Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation. The texture is very water like with some earthy aftertaste that lingers. No alcohol notes.

O: It's a easy brew to drink, but I find that it lacks character. It's very watery for what I like in a Scotch Ale.

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Photo of ludachris
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Its deep chestnut brown body gives off rich mahogany red highlights when held up to the light. Small streams of carbonation steadily move upwards along the sides of the glass. Just under two fingers of whipped and whispy light tan head sit on top.

Gooey alcohol soaked dates let me know it's a scotch ale right off the bat. Butterscotch, toffee, and caramel add further layers of sweetness to the nose. Although very sweet, the alcohol component does have a medicinal quality to it. This just inches to a 4.

Both the alcohol and hop character surprised me in this one, both of which swirl around at the back of the palate. The alcohol isn't overpowering but is medicinal and subtley astringent while the hops have an earthy bittering quality to them. All of the sweetness takes place at the front of the tongue, consisting of dates and figs with toffee peaking through,

The balance is a bit off and the feel is a tad too filmy for my liking. It's light to medium body sports an average amount of carbonation for the style, which is a bit less than what I'm use to in other beers.

Overall, this is a decent scotch ale from a brewery that I was expecting more from. From start to finish, there's nothing overtly wrong with this offering, I would, however, have liked to see a fuller body and bigger sweetness. It's worth a try but Traquair and Jacobite will still remain my go-to's.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a finger of head. Head quickly evaporates until there is only a crown. Visible carbonation in the glass.

Smell consists of sweet caramel, with a minor alcohol character.

Taste is a sweet caramel/almost molasses quality to it. The molasses characteristic is also due to the thickness of the mouthfeel. A slight hint of alcohol at the back.

Overall, a fairly good, standard scotch ale.

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Photo of Otterburn
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 ml x 4 pack i dont if its a new regulor brew or a limited offer

Color is Brown With reddish reflect
Small head that last
Low carb

Smell caramal hop alcool malt

Taste malt caramal hop

Mf is liquorous low carbonation fois hop after taste

Good scotch ale, Hoppy and less sweet that i expected

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well, still not a big fan of Scotch Ale's but have been wanting to try this one for a while.

A- Dark brown with amber highlights. Decent sized kaki head.

S- A little something reminds me of those pickled beets in a Shawarma (but I'm probably way off). Sweetness underneath Bit of hot alcohol. Cardboard in the back. Warming up brought a mix of marshmallow, root beer and cream soda.

T- Quite burnt right up front. Woody. A little sour. Still a bit of cardboard I think. I think it's probably significantly less malty than the style.

M- Medium body. Medium carbonation. Quite crisp but not dry.

O- This is not the Scotch Ale which will get me to understand(love?) them.

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Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came with a mixed 12 pack. Solid Scottish wee heavy that has a fresh malty bite. Lots of complexity yet very drinkable. Kind of tasted like a Xmas ale at times which is no bad thing . Would be great if this was available in six packs
as it is often hard to find a good Scottish ale in BC

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Photo of spinrsx
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear brown colour with a fair size fizzy light brown head. There is an average amount of carbonation, and there isn't a whole lot of carbonation. The head didn't last for long before it was gone.

Smell - Molasses, nuts, toffee, butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - There is quite a bit of carbonation on the tongue, and the beer feels slightly watery. The flavours include butterscotch and nuts mixed with malts and brown sugar. It finishes with a toffee and molasses aftertaste.

Drink - I don't think that scotch ales are my thing, but it might be a good beer for fans of the style.

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Photo of eat
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at Rahman while in Montreal. Not sure how old it is; the bottle is dated best before M015, whatever that means. Pours an extremely dark brown, almost completely opaque with a fine mist of off-white head and ring around the glass. Some bits of cork-looking sediment are present at the end of the glass.

Smells of yeast, wheat, molasses, caramel, iron, vanilla, prunes, raisins and cherries. There's even a little dustiness; I'm unsure of this bottle's age but it smells like it could be aged a bit. I'm pretty into the nose actually, it reminds me of Unibroue 17.

Quite sweet, as are most wee heavies; though it's mostly balanced with some drying, earthy hoppiness. The malt body leave a little to be desired, I'm feeling that it's a touch too watery. I'd appreciate some fuller malt. Quite tasty, though, with lots of prune and cherry, some slightly-chocolaty dark malt, charred wood and hints of coffee and vanilla bean with some musty aged-taste showing up in the mouth as well. Only the faintest trace of alcohol, presenting itself as part of an apple-cider-like aftertaste.

The body could definitely be a little fuller for my taste. The very low carbonation hints again at some age.

I'm suspecting this bottle could be a year or two old, especially considering Rahman still had some Unibroue Edition 2004 kicking around. Whatever its age, it's holding it well. Not my favorite McCauslin brew but I'm glad I had a chance to check it out and would probably recommend it to any fan of Scotch ales.

Edit: 15/12/10

I found a new mix pack from St. Ambroise at IGA which includes the rare Scottish Ale. I thought I'd re-review out of curiosity from the only other bottle I've had being of undetermined age. Opaque and dark-mahogany with cola-coloured highlights. A thin, off-white head leaves traces of lacing.

There's fairly obvious alcohol in the nose, along with bready dark grain, molasses, light apple and stone fruit. Much less interesting than the last bottle I had.

The flavour is not as full as I'd like it to be and lacks in complexity as well. There's a dark malt character without showing much roast and a somewhat cloying cough-syrup-like sweetness. Some light earthy hops and slightly-harsh alcohol.

Too light bodied to accompany the flavour. Medium-light carbonation.

I wouldn't be keen on drinking this unaged again. The last bottle of this stuff I found was definitely quite old in comparison; I'd put it at well-over a year, possibly pushing two. I wouldn't have necessarily thought this beer would be a good candidate for aging but enjoyed the aged bottle way more than this fresh one. If you manage to get your hands on some of this, set some aside for a good year and check it again. Ratings remain as tasted with the first review.

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Photo of flipper2gv
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, cola like color. Head is off white, minimal and really doesn't stay long. A bit hazy.

S: As expected, malty sweetness dominates. Caramel, dark honey, nuts, cereals. Some fuity sweetness also there: cherries, raspberries and raisins. Some mineral smell. Quite strong for a scotch ale.

T: Nuts are in the front. Lots of sweet fruits too like the ones said in the smell. Malty sweetness are still present, but as much dominant as in the smell. Honey, caramel and milk chocolate. Interesting.

M: Lighter than expected, more carbonation than expected too. Not bad, but not impressive here.

D: Easy to drink, balanced, not too much alcohol present.

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Photo of elricorico
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown in colour with a finger of beige head that formed even during a careful pour. Fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Head fades to a thin cap after about a minute.

Rich caramel malts aroma, laced with a liquor heat. Some fruitiness, perhaps raisin.

Taste is dry, with a fair toffee impression through the front half of the mouth. Dark fruitiness mixes in midway seemingly increasing in sweetness as it passes. A liquor heat fills out the back end, warning of the ABV, but not overpowering the other flavours. Pretty tasty.

There's a bit of creamy body, and the carbonation doesn't get in the way, it is fairly soft and natural feeling.

All around a good beer, nothing huge about it, but everything is big enough to be interesting. Thanks go to orrshow for bringing me a bottle.

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Photo of bobsy
3.36/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A great looking beer with a cola coloured body and a large off-white head which left copious amounts of lace. This is a pretty classical scotch appearance, as you would hope for from a brewery named McAuslan. The aroma is also very solid, if a little simplistic. It gives off pleasing notes of sweet caramel, with a subtle smokiness lurking in the background.

I'm initially hit with strong butterscotch and toffee flavours with some elements of dark fruit and smoke faintly detectable. After a while this seems to degenerate into a more generic malty sweetness, which is a bit of a letdown. Even for a scotch ale, its lacking hop character, which could perhaps have rescued it from blandness. The flavour, then, is just average, but this is a huge letdown when you know what this brewery is capable of. Fairly thick, chewy body and moderate carbonation. Drying and warming at the same time.

This is a decent beer, but too boring to have again, and especially not at $4.95 a pop. There's very little complexity to it even though it has the core components of the style present. Kinda ho-hum.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This looks like a glass of root beer. Head quickly dissipates leaving a thin ring and an unexpectedly large amount of visible carbonation. A fairly deep mahogany.

Boozy fruit on the nose with some very dark caramel notes.

As expected, large amount of alcohol soaked dark fruit, raisins. Very nutty flavour, borders on oaky with some pretty strong vanilla extract flavours.

A bit on the thing side but offers a pretty smooth drink.

The combination of a thin body and strong abv might lead to me getting a little sick of this after a bottle.

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Photo of oakbluff
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle- vintage- not sure, likely 2007. Appearance- dark chestnut with reasonable clarity. Not much head, think ring of lacing. Nose- musty toasty malts, mineral like. Taste- initial flavour is booze, then dark fruit, vanilla, butter.Tthin bodied with a maple sugar like finish. Drinkability is ok.

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Photo of cratez
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: slightly hazed cinnamon brown body with a thin tan head. Sticky beige lacing covers the glass while drinking.

Smell: alcohol, ripe pit fruit, and caramel. At first the booze comes on a little too strong, later it mellows out.

Taste: sweet malt, sherry, prunes, and warming alcohol. Nicely balanced sweetness in the aftertaste.

Contrary to what the label says, I do not detect any traces of vanilla or butterscotch.

Mouthfeel: smooth and crisp, almost refreshing for a scotch ale.

Drinkability: considering the high alcohol content, this is surprisingly drinkable. I was expecting it to be much more of a sipper, but I could probably drink a few of these. There's a pleasant mix of fruit, malt, and sherry in the smell and taste. Well done, McAuslan.

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Photo of AlexF
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark beer with little head. Quite persistant however. Some minimal lacing. Looks like a super dense beer!

Sugary smell, molasse and caramel. Again, looks dense.

I'm a bit deceived by the taste. I expected an intense malty taste... but it's a bit watered down. Overall, an interesting taste with hints of coffee and a Werther's Original finish with a bit of warmth. Doesn't hide well its alcohol content despite a not-so-high abv.

A good scotch ale, but I'm not super impressed!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from Viggo courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vanilla, butterscotch, fruit, caramel, malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and very sweet with flavors of vanilla, apples, raisins, butterscotch caramel. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence and is enough to bring a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not as filling as most in the style, good kick, nice representation of style, this is a nice beer to drink for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of Crosling
2.64/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Dark bronze color. Filmy, layered head of foam. Aroma shows a touch of maple, peat, caramel and toast, with a touch of oxidation. Flavor shows a lot of oxidation. Some toast, sweet malts, maple, sherry and cardboard. I don't care for it.

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Photo of MMansfield
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought bottle at NSLC.

Appearance: Pours cola brown with a thin tanned cap, lasts quite a while.

Aroma: Dark fruit, raisins, vanilla, butterscotch, smokiness seems to have faded from this sample. A little bit of tropical fruit in there too as well as some fusil alcohol.

Taste: Fruity and salty. Smoke comes through in the finish, quite high bitterness and also very astringent. Keeps getting better as the drink goes on.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability medium.

Final Statement: Not the greatest scotch ale, but a very good beer. Nice packaging as well.

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Photo of Mandrake
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with red highlights and big bubbles clinging to the sides of my glass. A little bit too coke-like, but the head is thick and lasting enough to belay those suspicions. Same colour though, but it leaves good lacing nonetheless. Smell is dark and smoky, with lots of peat and strong malts. Burnt caramel and raisins as well. Taste is a bit astringent and salty, but in the way that a Highland single malt is, and it's actually quite interesting. More fruitiness on the palate, and strong peat again. Mouthfeel has plenty of body, but loses its carbonation quickly and isn't as warming as I'd hoped for, and drinkability is solid but not exceptional. Nice example of the style, I quite like it.

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Photo of JanM
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of MacAuslan in a Swedish-Canadian beer trade. Can't say I was impressed when it poured in a hazy Coke brown. There was thin but dense layer of foam. The smell was alright with notes of caramel, fruit and some spices. It actually tasted a bit like Coke too, but even sweeter and more syrupy. There was a slight sourness as well. I guess it was OK for a Scottish ale but too much alcohol for my taste.

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Photo of Derek
3.27/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best before D057.

A: Copper-brown, tan head, very little retention,initial hint of leg/lace.

S: Bubble-gum fruity esters, earthy minerals, dark fruit, dark caramel & alcohol.

T: Quite fruity (tropical & dark fruit); assertive alcohol; good bitterness, vanilla, caramel and light mineral flavours.

M: Moderate body is well-attenuated, but dry for the style.

D: Alcohol is a little harsh.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5 dollars for a 341 ml bottles is a little steep, even with the cool cardboard tube it comes in. I would never pass up a new McAuslan beer, but still.

It pours a deep cherry color with mahogany hints. The head is creamy and tan. It has modest retention but leaves plenty of lace webs behind. The aroma is malty and nutty with a nice rum cake feel. Masses of malt flavor bursts forth on the first gulp. Caramel drizzled dough is noticeable. Over ripe fruit - berries, melon and orange - are abundant. Some earthy hop flavor is discernable way in the background. The mouthfeel is heavy and lightly carbonated, with a whisp of cloyingness. The finish is sweet, and boozey, though the 7.2 isnt too prominent.

This is a sturdy Scotch Ale. Its definitely worth seeking out if you like malty beers. Im aging a bottle, I bet it will develop well.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear dark copper with a thick, but not particularly solid head.

S - Very malty with some touches of fruitiness.

T - Very sweet with lots of fruit. Raisins and prunes come to mind. Also some cloying honey tones and molasses. Bitterness is very mind and mostly in the aftertaste.

M - Thick and rich. Not overly carbonated. Kinda sits real heavy in my stomach.

D - Definitely not the right season to be having this one. More objectively, lots of flavour but not sessionable. Definitely worth trying, but not something I'd go to often.

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St-Ambroise Scotch Ale from McAuslan Brewing
3.71 out of 5 based on 139 ratings.
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