received an 11.5oz bottle in a trade with a beer blogger in Quebec
(thanks, Marc-Oliver!). I paid the equivalent of $33 for this bottle. I
poured it into a tulip glass.
Appearance: One of the darkest beers I’ve ever seen. Absolutely midnight
black body and a huge, dark brown frothy head which laces and retains
Smell: Sweet red grape, black licorice, roasted malt and a hint of alcohol.
Taste: It begins with a remarkably sweet red grape taste, which a unique
flavor since some beers of the style tend to have a sour grape
component to their palate. Black licorice and a general confectionery
sweetness come rushing in through the middle and the palate ends with a
strong, dry bitter note. It’s actually one of the most bitter beers of
the style I can recall, which certainly makes it unique. There’s a
subtle alcohol warmth and accompanying dry flavor in the aftertaste,
too. The roasted malt has a very unique dark chocolate and almost peanut
butter taste to it.
I’ve had many rare, exclusive, hyped Russian Imperial Stouts and there’s
definitely a difference between them. St. Ambroise Russian Imperial
Stout is a very tasty beer for sure, but nothing I’d consider a Hall of
Fame brew (or a contender for such). Although I’d be hard pressed to
point a flaw in the palate other than it not having an obvious bourbon
barrel character to it.
Drinkability: For a pretty hefty beer, St. Ambroise Russian Imperial
Stout is a cinch to drink. In fact it might almost be too drinkable
because the mouthfeel is so soft and comfortable, the finish is so
smooth, the texture is so soft and the aftertaste is so pleasant. Sure
there’s a touch of alcohol warmth and dryness, but it’s very easily
overlooked. It seemed to sit heavier on my system than most 9.2% ABV
would, though. Still, it made for a perfect dessert brew and if this
were readily available and reasonably priced I’d buy it all the time.