260/1241) Home: Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke: 2014 Reserve St. Ambrose Russian Imperial Stout by McAuslan of Quebec: ***; 9.2%; rather than using chocolate malt, the barley was roasted; there is so much going on in both the nose and the flavours but what I took most from this was how warming it was and how long the flavours lingered - one of the longest finishes I can recall; the nose is wine and coffee; flavours of sharp red wine, molasses, raisins, figs, chocolate, vanilla; it was quite an experience;
In recent years, the LCBO has alternated on an annual basis between carrying McAuslan's Vintage Ale and their Russian Imperial Stout. Last year McAuslan came up with a work-around and released three vintages in one package. This year, the year of the 25th anniversary of their Russian Imperial Stout, it is not listed at the LCBO. McAuslan responded by shipping twenty-five kegs of the Russian Imperial Stout to twenty-five Ontario pubs and set a time of 8:25 at which the kegs will be tapped. I was expecting a count-down like New Year's Eve but it was all very subdued. Best of all, I managed to get the very first glass. Quite a number of samples were handed out but that's the sort of place the Monk's Kettle is.
This very nearly did not happen. The previous night an unusually heavy thunderstorm knocked out power in Etobicoke and the Monk's Kettle was without refrigeration. They set three kegs on ice, including this one. It made for sparse selection for those not drinking the RIS.