Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe Special Reserve (2016) – Russian Imperial Stout at 9.2% ABV | 84 IBU

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Stout Impériale Russe Special Reserve (2016) Russian Imperial Stout at 9.2% ABV | 84 IBU (C$6.01 at NLC Stavanger, 341 ml, bottle date 12-Oct-2016, acquired 27-Nov-2016, reviewed 27-Nov-2016)

Appearance: opaque unrelieved black  with two fingers of creamy dark brown head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: toasty malt, boozy dark fruit, chocolate, marshmallow, leather and tobacco, oak, bourbon, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Full viscous body, moderate-soft carbonation, lingering bitter and warming finish verging on astringent. (4/5)

Considering I’ve now collected four different vintages of this one, I figured it was time to try it new, just to establish a baseline. I’m glad I did: I’m not disappointed by it, as such, but I feel like there’s room for improvement, and I suspect ageing might accomplish some of that improvement. As it stands now, as a young RIS, it’s definitely hot, with some edges that I think (hope?) ageing might smooth. In particular, it feels to me like both the alcohol heat and the slight astringent thinning in the finish could stand to mellow. Very good, but I have high hopes that it will exceed that some day. I’d recommend buying at least two, with the intention of ageing one, but you won’t be disappointed by trying it fresh, either. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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