Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Ally’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Ally
Sight: Looks like a well-made shot of espresso. Pitch black and completely opaque. A thick, deep chestnut-brown head, about 2 fingers worth, that settles to a thin layer of bubbles, big and small. Nice lacing.
Scent: Roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate, all in perfect unison. A slight note of alcohol.
Flavor: Bitter hops are the predominant flavor, but the coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes help balance it.
Feel: Smooth, full-bodied, with moderate carbonation. A bit of a lingering tingle from the hops, but this fades as the beer rests.
St. Ambroise, from Canadian microbrewery McAuslan, is like Québec’s version of Brooklyn Brewery; and just like Brooklyn, they have some stand-out beers–the Stout Impériale Russe among them. This Special Reserve brew is nice and bold, like a Russian Imperial Stout should be, and the flavors are well-balanced–not too bitter, not too sweet. I wish I had the patience to age it, because I’m sure it would bump it up to 5 Pint Glass status; and I wish I lived in Canada so I could drink it more regularly.
Concluding remarks: No need to fly to Russia to find a great Imperial Stout; just drive on up to Montréal. Za vashe zdorovye! Santé! Cheers!