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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St Ambroise Vintage Ale 2010 Review


I was so happy when I saw the 2010 Vintage Ale from St. Ambroise that I got a bunch of bottles - some to age, some to drink. On my way home I was very excited to go through the last year's notes and compare the 2010 ale to the 2009. Unfortunately, when I came home I realized that I didn't take any notes or write a review of the previous year's ale. That's very weird because I have a photo of it...wait...my laziness. That's probably the reason. Anyways, the 2010 Vintage Ale will be the baseline.

As you can see from this awesome, and overexposed photo, the vintage ale comes in a very standard bottle with the standard, modified for this brew, St. Ambroise label. I followed the instructions and poured the bottle into its appropriate glassware after storing it in a cool and dry place...just a couple of degrees north of the recommended serving temperature.

The beer has a deep amber color that looks absolutely stunning in the glass. It pours with a tan, medium head that is just a bit lacy. The aroma is fairly standard for an extra strong ale with dominant sweet dried fruit/honey scent and some more subtle flowery, alcoholic tones as well as just a touch of caramel. The taste starts off sweet, but the sweetness doesn't hold for long and is quickly displaced by hops and slightly bitter and bold roasted malt flavours. The sweetness seems to come accompanied by notes of caramel, raisins and honey, the latter of which hangs around long into the finish. The finish, itself, is bittersweet with touches of malt and hops as well as honey. The one thing I didn't like about it was the slight copper taste. The high alcohol content is well masked, though long sips will reveal it. Overall, this is one of the best strong seasonal beers of 2010 that I have tried and my purchase of multiple bottles seems to be well justified.

Scores:
Cost - $4.95 for a 341 mL bottle
Taste - 8.9/10
ABV - 10%

Overall - 8.9/10...well balanced with bits of everything I like

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