Thankfully, I am blessed to have a wonderful memory when it comes to flavours, be it with food, or wine, or beer.
Just thinking about a beer I've had will bring the flavours to my mouth. I will remember where I had it, who I was with, and what I thought of the beer.
When I was invited to try a beer that hadn't been released, wouldn't be released until today (November 4), I couldn't say no. I can never say no to good craft beer. And though this beer is a new release, I've had it before: that is to say, I've had previous vintages of it.
Yes, today's beer review is about a vintage ale. A Russian Imperial Stout.
St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe 2013 (9.2% ABV)Appearance: a deep walnut that allows no light to pass through (my test: shining the flashlight on my iPhone through it. I saw nothing come through), with a light cocoa-brown head that comes on strong and foamy but settles to a thin, bubbly cap.
McAuslan Brewing Inc.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Nose: intense cocoa, plump raisins, and bourbon.
Palate: dark-roasted coffee, prunes, and bitter, dark chocolate. It finishes with a heady, whisky-like mouth; over time, a trace of vanilla can be felt on the tongue.
Overall impression: it's no secret that McAuslan is one of my favourite breweries. There is nothing they make that I don't like, or love. That's because they do nothing half-way.
This in an intense Imperial stout with loads of flavour and a strength that will ensure its longevity. When I originally tried the 2012 vintage, I knew that this ale will be something that you can set down for several years and it will hold up well.
I still have a bottle of the 2012, and have added a 2013 to the collection. In a few years, I will hold a step tasting and will see how each vintage has matured.
But, in the meantime, I suggest that you stock up now, because this wonderful stout is available in limited quantities only. I got mine at Bières du Monde, in Aylmer, where I plan to pick up more. They also sell a special McAuslan beer glass, specifically designed for the stout. Get yours before they're all gone.
You can also find it in the LCBO.