Wherein I taste three distinct ales

A certain bespectacled (therefore: wise) and tie-loving professor would encourage his journalism students at the University of Western Ontario to “pour a cold one” while writing. I decided to take his advice and live blog my way through St-Ambroise’s 2013 Vintage Ale collection to discern the subtle differences between the years, using only the finest tasting methods.

St Ambroise Vintage Ale 2013


0:00 “Serve… preferably in a port glass or brandy snifter.” I’ll use this Lit Espresso coffee mug instead. It counts if it’s sort of the right shape, right? Plus it’ll stay cool longer. Bonus.

0:25 I pour half the bottle, because I am a manchild and cannot trust myself not to drink the entire thing in 15 minutes.

0:55 Pours a nice amber colour. Or apricot. Can’t really tell because I’m using a coffee mug.

1:22 I taste top notes of plum paired with holiday spice. Must be those famous Munich malts. Those Germans sure know how to pretend they invented beer.

3:55 It reminds me of Polish gingerbread cookies (pierniczki) filled with plum jam. Brings me back to my middle school days. God, why didn’t I take up drinking sooner? I could have been a cool kid!

12:00 It’s warmed up to room temperature. Perfect! Now all the subtle notes will have come out. It’s starting to taste a bit like banana bread because the malt is making way for the grain flavours. And is that toffee peeking out from under the hops?

12:05 Dammit, I’m drinking beer at room temperature.

12:35 Here comes the rest of the beer!

14:52 I am not an adult and cannot nurse a beer. I don’t deserve nice things.


0:00 Okay, I’m determined to make this one last. Malty goodness, here we come!

0:10 Pouring into a Scotch glass on account of it looking pretty damn sweet.  The colour is more transparent than the coffee mug let on. Almost zero head.

1:01 This one definitely seems more mellow, with a few grassy notes. Must be showing its age!

4:32 Wait, could it be that the crystal Scotch glass opened up the flavours? This journalist knows confirmation bias when he sees it! B-b-b-busted!

14:08 Took me this long to pour a second glass, I’m on track! To liver damage. This is a 10 per cent extra-strong beer.

19:22 Listening to a 2Pac remix. TURNT. UP.

21:21 It’s starting to taste like a David’s Tea clerk sweetened this beer. What if I can only taste malts after this?

23:45 The sweet-sensing taste buds in my mouth have annexed their neighbours after holding contested, and possibly illegal, referendums.

27:16 Thank god that’s over. I can’t wait to try something different!


0:00 This is going to be insane! Just imagine the difference three years will make.

1:12 I paid $14 for three bottles of the exact same beer.


Categories: Drinks, Features

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