Tuesday, November 27, 2012

McAuslan Brewing - St. Ambroise Vintage Ale

ABV 10% (Bottle 341ml)
The Brewery

The Bottle

Brewed just once a year by Peter McAuslan and brew master, Ellen Bounsal.  Made with a blend of wheat and barley malts, including Munich malt, this unfiltered ale has a lovely deep-orange colour, rich maltiness, hints of caramelized fruit that recall plum pudding, and a surprisingly crisp, balanced finish provided by classic Goldings hops.

The Pour
Pours crystal clear with a one finger bubbly head that dissipates quickly with colours of  deep orange turning to ruby red in the centre. 

Aroma
Lots of sweet caramel malt but with a unique profile that includes a bit of spice and big splashes of sherry/red wine and candied/dried fruit.  There are also welcome hints of maple syrup.

Taste
Strong alcohol hit with lots of warmth and a bitter hop finish.  The malts impart caramel, dark fruit, and sherry/wine flavours that carry over nicely from the nose.  The wheat gives it a frothy mouthfeel as it passes over the tongue which balances the big alcohol feel well. 

Overall
I got the impression that this beer should best be enjoyed after being cellared as suggested on the bottle.  As it is now, I'd call it an Imperial English Ale.  It seems to still be fairly young (which makes sense just having been released), indicated by its big alcohol hit, and will mostly likely mellow nicely with age.  I give it a strong B with the definite potential to get better with age.


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