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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout - Harvey & Son Ltd.

Not Rated.
Le Coq Imperial Extra Double StoutLe Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

450 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 450
Reviews: 391
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 26.98%
Wants: 19
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 02-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 450 | Reviews: 391 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheDoorman
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2003 Bottle.

Pours blackish-brown with a slight reddish hue. Even a forced pur cannot coax a little head. Smells of red wine, alcohol and dark fruit. Tastes of black liquorice, raisons, and a touch of sourness. Medium-full bodied, syrupy feel. Hops are non-existent, partly due to the style, region and aging. This is a very unique beer, probably largely because I've never had a five year old RIS. Interesting to try.

TheDoorman, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of jojox
4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had this twice before, first time thought it was awsome, second time not so much - think I had a bad bottle. This is the 2000 "vintage"

a - jet black, little/no carbonation. some tiny whisping of bubbles on the head, but not foamy.

s - prunes, dark red fruit, port, roasted wort. Very nice!

t - dark, bitter, balanced. A little sour, finished a little bitter. There aren't a lot of malt flavors coming through, it's like port, oak, and bittering hops. And black patent malt maybe. Any sweetness has been incorporated into the charcoal bitterness.

m - thick, viscous, syrupy. Lack of carbonation is confusing, makes it seem thicker and silkier. But disconcerting. But the viscosity is incredible.

d - too much like motor oil to pull another right away.

This is a really interesting beer. I love the bottle and the cork but it's a shame, the lack of CO2 is probably the fatal flaw. Maybe some of my 2003 is still sparkling..

[edit] - After drinking a 2003, the carbonation was light but definately present. The drinkability is greatly improved and the beer was very enjoyable, much more so that the still motor-oil feel of the other. I'm bumping up my score a little to reflect this, although not just changing it - the real risk of losing carbonation should detract.

jojox, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of blackjack000
1.25/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Appearance: Pours out dark black and flat; incredibly dark. A slight fizz, but nothing much else.

Smell: Wine, plum.

Taste: Wine, dry stout that is going flat, syrupy coffee, brown sugar, dates. Strong coffee aftertaste, like when coffee has been brewed too strong and too much water has been steamed off.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and flat, syrupy and smooth.

Drinkability: Thick and wine-like. It doesn't feel so much like a beer, nor an imperial stout. It wasn't what I expected at all. This bottle might have gone flat, and skewed the experience. I really can't finish this. I'm angry that I spent a bit of money on this.

blackjack000, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of hughesm4
1.78/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Bottle from 2003 aggressively poured into a bottle and there is almost no head.
a-Pitch black and the slight head that is there is a deep red in color.
s-Very oakish and liquor heavy along with a variety of old shoes and socks and anything else I would find in my grandpas gym bag.
t-Very repulsive up front that tastes like an OLD imperial stout. There is bitterness and an old cork taste towards the end.
m/d-Feels like an angry WW2 vet is kicking your ass with a cane. We are drinking this one way past its' prime.

hughesm4, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of baconsausage
1.78/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Not sure how I should review this beer, I have not ever had it before, and I feel that this should have been consumed sooner(2003 bottle), or cellared for eternity. Pours a tarry still black and smells of burnt sherry and alcohol. Drinking this is like drinking a salt licorice and baking cocoa, leather soaked glass of sherry that is reminiscent of tamari. Thin in the mouth with an unpleasant lingering bitterness. Curious how other vintages taste, but not that curious.

baconsausage, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of studentofbeer
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 2001 vintage poured a greasy black color with hints of brown at the edges and nary a head to be seen except a bit of brown lace sitting on the top. It smells pretty intense: black cherry, port, bleach, leather. This is not your typical stout or even imperial stout.

The taste shocks the palette more than the smell — the mouthfeel is rather light and a bit oily, and the first taste is acidic, very salty and funky. Then comes a strong fruit presence mostly consisting of that black cherry taste, some sweetness, very dark chocolate and roasty espresso.

It's bizarre, tasting like a lambic stout or something.

The hop bitterness seems relatively low and melds with the roast edges, leaving a dry finish on the back of the tongue while the salty taste continues to mull around the front of the mouth. The aftertaste lasts a very long time, and it's a bit of a strange sensation to have these various aftertastes lingering for so long in different parts of the mouth.

I like it, but I'm not sure I totally get it. The very strangeness of it makes you feel like your tasting a bit of history though.

studentofbeer, Jul 17, 2004
Photo of MikeHRayn
4.5/5  rDev +32%

MikeHRayn, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of oldhippie247
4.25/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted 2008 Vintage bottle.

Pours deep, deep brown to black. Head is tan and fluffy.

Nose is an awesome sweet and sour at the same time, which follows through on the palate.

A bit of the roastiness that was not that evident on the nose is a bit more prominent on the palate. Plum and dark fruit notes are balanced by bitter roasted malt. sourness, and rich dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is relatively light for a 9% Imperial Stout with so much flavor.

I first tasted this beer (from the old corked bottles) about 3 years ago and did not like it at all. Since then I have developed a far broader taste and now love this beer. Don't expect a typical Imperial Stout, but keep an open mind and enjoy.

oldhippie247, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of admiralcrunch
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2003 Vintage, served tasting style

I served a bottle of this at a tasting last night.

Cork was difficult to pull out, but showed no signs of damage. It looked exactly like motor oil - no carbonation, slick, and black. Someone who had it as their first beer of the night said it was "disgusting." I was worried it would smell infected or oxidized as with some of the recent reviews, but it wasn't nearly that bad. It tasted slightly sour, which I would never expect from RIS but it makes sense considering how long it spent in barrel. Mouthfeel was a little too slick - I heard many comments of "motor oil" or "wine." As for drinkability, I'm glad I had nine or ten people to share it with. Still pleasantly surprised at how good it was, given the mixed reviews.

admiralcrunch, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of BeerHonky
4.4/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Corked bottle, 2000 vintage, enjoyed at Spuyten Duyvil. Poured into a small snifter. Motor oil black with no head whatsoever. Huge aroma here...initially smelled like alcohol and nail polish, but as it warmed up it evolves into a wonderful mix of soy sauce, alcohol soaked raisins and cherries. Roasty malt and wood aromas present as well. Full bodied, obviously, with little to no carbonation. Slick, viscous mouthfeel transports all the flavor directly to the back of the palate and throat. Sweet chocolate malt, soy sauce, and wood appears which then quickly transforms into a sweet fig and date fruitiness. Big alcohol warming affect too. Flavors change dramatically as this beer warms up. More dark fruit appears later on including prunes and plums. Surprisingly this beer isn't not too sticky or cloying. Every sip is different so make sure you have some time on your hands before sitting down with one of these. This is a bizarre beer which truly does taste like a piece of history.

BeerHonky, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of MrBen
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried the 2000 vintage, 11.2 fl. oz., 9% ABV. After I pulled the cork, I was immediately taken by an aroma of Worcestershire sauce and molasses. This beer poured heavy and very flat, save for some streaks of dark cream bubbles that swirled around the middle. The beer left a very narrow ring of tiny bubbles around the glass during about the first half, then nothing. The color was a very deep, opaque black, and the beer had enough body to temporarily discolor the clear glass I drank from.

After the beer opened up a little bit, I smelled and tasted hints of Worcestershire/anchovy, molasses, capers, soy sauce, and even Thai-style fish oil used in that cuisine. There was a small note of chalkiness in there too. The alcohol was not kept secret, even from the start, and became more pronounced, both in taste and smell, the more I drank.

The mouthfeel was nothing too exciting; rather flat, only bubbling up a bit after agitation. I was left with a slightly dry feel between sips. I would say this beer has a medium finish at best.

Overall, I think it's a good beer, just not on its own. It really screams out to be paired with good food. It'd also go well during a day at sea. The whole time I wanted to reach for a juicy, grilled, burger or steak. This beer also would go nicely with some bold seafood dishes (smoked salmon), as well as strong, veined cheeses and others, such as parmesan and even mizithra. At more than $5 per bottle, it would make an expensive ingredient in a beef marinade, but a splash or two would be nice in there. I may try to find other vintages of this, but there are so many other beers I would like to taste first.

MrBen, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of supernaut
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting. A old-school corked bottle lended a unique vibe to this one.

A - decent for the style. Little to no head, very little observable carbonation, and just a smidge of lacing. A jet black syrup pour makes me wonder what I've gotten myself into...

S - Kind of a medicinal scent to this one. The booze factor is up there, and its not hidden in the nose.

T - Old school flavor. A bit like a smoked out port. Hints of wood across the board, and a very burnt malt sensation throughout. Some sweetness but nothing compared to the hickory tones that seem to dominate. Alcohol is a big player in this one. As with the nose, not hidden in the least bit.

M/D - A little on the rough side. Not as drinkable as some of its classmates, nor as refined a mouthfeel. Tad syrupy, and a little sticky on the palate, with some undesirable bite and dryness. Nothing terrible, but nothing smooth either. Kinda heavy in fact.

Falls in the "worth a try" category. Many have noted that this beer reflects what an "original" RIS was all about. If I had to summarize this beer "malty port" would suffice. Good but not great.

supernaut, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of Starchild
4.45/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage.

Perfectly sealed bottle with wet cork pours dark deep space beers into waiting pint glass. The beer didn’t have the much carbonation, but enough for 1/4 inch of head, which dissipated into a foam ring. Not the best carbonation I’ve ever seen, but can you really compare a 5-year-old beer with 2-week-old newborn ale? In terms of tastes the most prominent flavor is silky port. The aggressive imperial alcohol sure takes the backseat in this beer after a few years. Hints of espresso, plum, and dark chocolate linger in the background creating an interesting overall mocha flavor. The strong butter backbone acts like thick cream to smooth out this stout. Mid pint the alcohol barks, but is immediately hushed by the smooth warm aftertaste that coats the back of your throat. It's so dry and coying.

The beer is a little bit plain, no surprises, but it really doesn’t need any since this was the “original”. I don’t give originals any sort of privilege, but you can’t hold it against them if other beers mimic how they taste and what they do.

This is the oldest barleywine I’ve sampled and I’m stunned.

Starchild, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of Buildscharacter
2.35/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer is "interesting" to say the least. It pours of of the corked...yes.. corked bottle and doesn't even give a hint of carbonation. No bubbles, nothing.

It smells like sour grapes, or red wine. When you swirl it around in the glass it sticks to the sides. Looks very different from the other stouts that I have had.

I take a sip. Sour. Remindes me of some of the bitter Belgium beers that I have had. Reminisent of red wine. Very shocking actually.

The beer is smooth in your mouth and goes down easily, but I don't particularly enjoy the flavor very much. It's too bitter for a stout. Too different for me to enjoy.

Buildscharacter, Jun 13, 2005
Photo of Ambiorix
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled, 2003 vintage. Black pour with practically zero head. The nose was raisins, soy sauce, and some vinous notes. The flavor had some barnyard elemtns to it, soy sauce, raisins, baker's chocolate. The finish had some alcohol notes, and a bit of coffee. This beer had been on my wish list for some time, and I was disapointed. I don't think this bottle aged well, so perhaps it was past its prime.

Ambiorix, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of bewley
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1999 Vintage

This is a deep rich brew, which I--one who normally loves deep, rich brews--found hard to finish one bottle. I'll give a recipe which I feel best approximates Le Coq:

Take a cup of dried black currants, raisins and prunes and combine with a half quart of used motor oil, 3/4 oz of grain alchohol, and 1 tsp of soy sauce. Blend well and strain through a sheer, black stocking used by an 84 yr old woman for over a week and not washed.

Tough to fathom, I'll admit, but there you have it.

It definitely has its place in the world, but where that is exactly I'm not quite sure. No, it's not really that bad, it's well, it's mighty hearty.

bewley, Mar 13, 2004
Photo of Amdahl
4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2000 bottle. All that I can say about this beer on appearance is dark. This is the darkest beer that I have seen yet. There is no head from this beer, even with an aggressive pour. Lace is also missing from this beer. The aroma is very fruity. The taste is incredibly complex. It is similar to wine almost. I can taste cherries as the dominate fruit, but other fruits are noticeable. This is a full bodied beer, but not as full as some stouts that I've had. It's a little punchy to consume too many of these.

Amdahl, Dec 14, 2002
Photo of jedwards
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Yep, I'm one of the folks who likes this one.

Bottle is a 2003 vintage, the last imported to the US as far as I know. Like the Gale's Old Ale, these have a wine-style cork and are often stored upright in very dry (refrigerated) environments, which causes the cork to shrink and over-oxidization to destroy the beer.

This bottle has not died yet -- pour is completely headless, large bubbles cling to the sides from the agitation. Beer is opaque, black and slick, leaves wide legs on the glass when swirled. The smell is molasses, burnt sugar, and soy sauce oxidization -- taste is similar with the addition of a bitter roasty edge, and slight plum/prune notes. Oxidization sourness and almost a hint of salt. Mouthfeel is the big hit on this beer, slick and oily without a trace of carbonation.

I have a few more bottles from this case that I waxed down below the foil.. hopefully they hold up for a few years.

jedwards, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of HopGoblin
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 Vintage: The beer was un-corked and poured out beautiful black and thick. There was very little carbonation. Brown bubbles appeared around the edges of the glass. The aroma and taste of this beer was surprising. The beer gave off aromas of fortified wine, mainly sherry. This brew did not taste that of Imperial Stouts that I am used to. The taste was deep and wine-like with hints of caramel and raspberries. The finish was long and tart. When all was said and done this was a good beer, but not what was expected.

HopGoblin, Aug 06, 2004
Photo of jaz
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured like a cold blend of espresso and alcohol. No head at all, and little carbonation. Smell was bold and strong, with a rich aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and alcohol. The taste was the same; kind of like drinking espresso with whisky in it. Burnt coffee taste and alcohol was very dominant, mouthfeel was heavy and watery. A little over the top for the style, IMO.

jaz, May 31, 2003
Photo of SteveP
4.6/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As with IPA, Imperial Stout developed its strong flavours in order to survive long journeys. During the 18th century reign of Porter, the stronger ("stout") version was exported to the Baltic region. It was given extra hops and a higher abv in order to survive the journey. A Belgian, A Le Coq, was the man in charge of these exports. Thrale’s Anchor Brewery Entire (the contemporary name for Porter) was the one chosen by A Le Coq to send to the Empress of Russia. The brewery was eventually bought by Barclay Perkins, and then in 1955 by Courage. The Courage Imperial Stout is rarely made these days - it hasn't been brewed since the 1990's, and may never be made again. Bottles that do exist can fetch high prices.

However, A Le Coq was also responsible for another Imperial Stout that does still exist. Because of the high import duties on the beer, A Le Coq had arranged to have a version brewed within Russia. Brewing began in 1912 in what is now Estonia. After a few ups and downs brewing of this famous Stout ceased in 1969. However, during the 1990's, when it became clear that production of the Courage Imperial Stout had ceased, the Lewes brewery Harvey & Son, with the supervision of the Estonia brewery, revived A Le Coq's Imperial Extra Double Stout. Only brewed once a year, and then allowed to age for a couple of years before being released, this is the only authentic Imperial Stout still being made (Sam Smith's version is not bottle conditioned, and is too low in abv to qualify).

The 2001 edition is now available. It has a Flemish nose: oaky mature balsamic vinegar and minced pies. The mouthfeel is slightly rough and heavy. There are flavours of soy sauce, chocolate, port, ripe plums and wine soaked oak. There is a long, dry finish. It feels old which flatters the mouth into believing this is a beer of distinction.

The roughness and imbalance suggests that this is a little young to be drunk right now. The 2000 edition however was much smoother. The plums were fresh tasting, there were also fresh figs, and the chocolate was finest Belgian mixed with prune juice. A huge, complex and divine brew.

When compared with other Imperial Stouts (Sam Smith's, Old Chimney's Good King Henry or Bell's Expedition Stout) Harvey's comes out a very close winner to Good King Henry, but does show up Bell's and Sam Smith's for the court jesters they are. However, it has to be drunk when ready. Search out the 2000 or the 1999, and leave the 2001 for another year.

SteveP, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of Yoshio
2/5  rDev -41.3%

Yoshio, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of tiffanya
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A *huge* stout for sipping! Big and rich, with hint of char. Syrupy full-bodied mouth-feel with minimal carbonation. Roasty bitter grains and hops, with notes of sour wood, black licorice, and espresso.

For me this stout is a bit too big and the bitterness is too lingering unless accompanied by a couple of sweet brownies. ;-)

tiffanya, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of liddytime
1.45/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I had high hopes for this one seeing as this was probably the closest representative to a "true" RIS.

Poured jet black with absolutely zero carbonation.
Nose was anise and tar.
Taste was absolutely horrible. Seriously, like oxidized soy sauce steeped in moldy gym socks. It is a stretch to call this beer.
I poured it out after a few sips.
Bleeccchhh! Save yourself the six bucks and get ANY other impy stout recommended on this site!

liddytime, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of maltydog
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Deep, dark and inky black. No head at all. Nose -Offers a hint of what is to come - dried cherries and prunes with a pleasant woody background. Taste - offers notes of fino sherry, charred oak and the aforementioned dried fruits. Glad I found this one!

maltydog, Dec 19, 2006
Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
78 out of 100 based on 450 ratings.