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

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

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460 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 460
Reviews: 394
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 26.32%
Wants: 24
Gots: 12 | 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:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 02-19-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 460 | Reviews: 394
Photo of Brent
3.09/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For starters, this beer wins the award for number of superlatives in the name. 2000 vintage. No caged cork here, and honest-to-goodness-get-out-the-corkscrew cork. Pours a tar black, with a hint of ruby showing through at the very edge against the light. Flat as a pancake - almost no discernable carbonation, which I think is the way this is supposed to be. I would have liked just a little bit of fizz to liven it up a bit. Almost like some Godzilla of cabernets. Aroma of cherries soaked in maple syrup and rum. Cherries vie with roasted bitterness as they assault the tongue. Mouthfeel is rather thin and a little oily. All-in-all, this is probably one of those love-it-or-hate-it beers, and I'm somewhat on the fence. I admire the depth, yet at the same time I'm struggling to work though the whole beer.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.23/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2000 bottle.Pours an extremely oily,dense black color.I like it already.Very complex aroma-cloves,port,raisens,vanilla-and a slight alchohol burn.Extremely full flavored-the flavor mimics the aroma.Also has a nice "burnt" flavor that enhances the very "inky" mouthfeel.Big bodied-again the alchohol burn is there.A truley wonderful brew-I love big beers such as barleywines and imperial stouts,and am particularly fond of ones that you can have more then one of in a sitting.However I must say this is a definate sipper-very intense beer for the style-although immensely enjoyable.A great big bellyfull!!!

Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 Edition: Kicking around last Saturday. This beer is a very dark opaque black colour with no head as I recall, just some faint bubbles clinging for life! The aromas were heavily roasty, nice and toasty, heavy and boozy, and not too shabby. The taste was a nice blend of roasted malts, booze, and chocolate. The mouthfeel was very thick and the drinkability was good, but not great.

Nice to try.

2001 Edition: Like the 99 this is an opque black colour but this version has a nice mocha coloured head that lasts for quite a bit, and leaves some minimal lacing. The aromas are less roasted and more vinous than the 99, and the alcohol is more pronounced as well. The taste is very medicinal, orval, and wine like. The mouthfeel is thinner and the drinkability is just decent. This would probably score a 3.3 or so....stick with the 99 or another vintage. The 2001 is not that good yet!

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.12/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle with a foil-wrapped top covering the cork. "1999" listed as the year this was brewed, ABV listed on the bottle as 9%. Blurb on the bottle noting the history behind this beer.

Appearance: Poured a very dark and mysterious dark ruby-red in color. Only the slightest wisp of tannish-colored head is noted. Dark and foreboding. Only around the very edges of the glass is any light able to be seen. Subsequent, more aggressive pours yields a little more head, but it quickly disappears into streaks of foam.

Smell: A complex beer. That could be the understatement of the day. One of the few beers that I've ever just sat and "sniffed" for a few minutes, trying to place a finger (or nose, rather) on what it was I was smelling. Baker's chocolate, spiced rum-soaked fruits, aged oak...a delicate tapestry of aromas that make for a wonderful aroma.

Taste: For some reason, "unsweetened Hershey's Chocolate Syrup" was the first thing that popped into my mind after the first sip. Bittersweet in flavor, with a "forest"-like, woody flavor lurking in the background. Kiln-roasted coffee bean flavor shows up. A certain "smoky" characteristic is also noted. ABV rises up near the end, threatening to drown out everything else. Finishes with a little dose of warming in the belly, sure to take the edge off those cold winter nights.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and syrupy, just the way a proper Imperial Stout should be. The lack of carbonation didn't bother me...in fact, I rather liked the hefty palate-coating number this beer pulled on me.

Drinkability: One at a time. It'd be tough to drink anything after this one. Certainly a beer to just sit with in your favorite chair, with a roaring fire and a good book, waiting for the snow to pile up outside.

Notes: After writing this review, I checked to see what others had said about this beer and I was surprised at the diversity of scores. Some people really loved it, while others obviously didn't care for it. That's what makes this site so interesting...reading other beer-drinkers opinions. This is definitely a beer I will purchase again, put in the "cellar" and see what happens to it in a few years.

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.29/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 vintage sampled from a chalice at Mugs Ale House in Brooklyn. Label said it was 9% ABV.

Appearance: Inky black with no head or carbonation whatsoever.

Smell: A winey/raisiny smell, reminiscent of a tawny port. Nice floral hop tones.

Taste: Raisiny sweetness that opens the door for some great hoppy bitterness. Very well balanced. Alcoholic taste is very prominent.

Mouthfeel: Very very viscous, verging on syrupy. Rich and velvety.

Drinkability: About as drinkable as a barleywine gets. If I could find this again, I would definitely have it. I wouldn't plan on doing much else for the day, either.

Photo of dmarch
3.76/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Looks like motor oil as it pours out of the bottle. Thick, black, and no head. Seriously, no carbonation, no head. It's just syrup. Kinda unfortunate since the aroma and taste have potential. Dark fruits like plums and raisins with some cherry flavors all mixed with the sweet flavors of alcohol. I have a feeling it could be perfect 5's all across the board if they would make it a little more drinkable.

Photo of jcalabre
2/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I originally sampled this beer a while back. I am writing this review from my notes.

1999 vintage. Pours like motor oil and tastes of soy sauce. No head. very alcoholic aroma, w/ some more roasty notes. In my view, it's not a very well done Imperial Stout. Alcoholic Soy Sauce is not a taste I enjoy

Photo of marburg
4.57/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Blacker than black. Devoid of all light. Completely opaque. Zero head, save the small population of 4 -- oh, no, 3! -- bubbles clinging to the side of the glass where it meets the surface of the beer.

Aromas of raspberry chocolate truffles, chocolate covered cherries with liqueor, alcohol. Smooth, powerful, bittersweet chocolate flavors. Is that roasted bitterness? Brief and cleansing finish. Mouthfeel moves from silky to syrupy.

Powerful and impressive.

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – It looks exactly like a can of 40 wt. Absolutely no head. Bizarre.

Smell – This is crazy. There’s definitely cherry in there along with super dark malts and alcohol, but there’s another strong aroma that I can’t pinpoint. It reminds me of good Kentucky bourbon.

Taste – This doesn’t even taste like beer. It is so thick that I’m sipping it out of a spoon that I’m using for dipping. If I spilled this on the floor I’d clean it up with a broom instead of a mop.

It is by far the heaviest, thickest substance I have ever drunk. The alcohol is so strong it should be served in a fifth. It tastes more like whiskey then beer. Bourbon, to be more precise. Ancient Age comes to mind.

Also, the burnt flavors are huge. OK – Ancient Age garnished with bread crumbs scraped from burnt toast.

Then, just when you think you’re done, the sweetness stops by to say (loudly) HELLO! Everything dark, of course. Plums, dates, Rainer cherries, and blueberries. The tobacco alone could knock out a gorilla.

This is monster flavor. Like it or hate it, you can’t ignore this one.

Mouthfeel – Completely flat, with the consistency of motor oil. I could pour this down my driveway and beat it to the garage.

Drinkability – Ninety-nine out of a hundred average people would spit this out in the sink. The drunken alcoholic on the corner nursing a bottle of Everclear would need some schnapps and a pack of Kools to chase this down. Buy it as a gift? Only for the experienced, adventurous beer lover.

Comments – Shit!

Photo of Indybeer
4.13/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of a Vintage beer tasting.
Vintage 1999. Poured a pure black, no head, no lacing, and next to no carbonation. Aroma is roasted malt, and sweet, almost wine like. Taste is thick, sweet, and chewy! Lots of alcohol warmth come through, oh such a very good beer! Too bad there wasn't more available!

Photo of nomad
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost black color but still recognizably brown; also had a very brown head, small carbonation, no lace.

Smell was interesting, didn’t think a stout could smell like this... Smelled of thick oak, a deep earthy wood, cherries soaked in heavy whiskey. Came off as vinuous in its soft-feeling complexity. A tiny bit of yeast settled it down on a second pour, at which time the smell was an inviting mix of a wood shed and a kitchen in deep Autumn. A beer for the nose, no doubt.

Tasted of an amazing blend of nuts and heavy malt wrapped in hops, but both then long-matured. All came on top of a heavy wood accent. Also, had a strange fruit taste – earthly but acrid flavor like from black malts. A deep, subtle, and different stout - I'd say its the traditional recipe and then the aging.

Surprisingly thin body, just enough smoothness but without being too slick. But with a very zingy action on the mouth from the hops, it was hard to drink a lot of this beer.

Photo of putnam
4.87/5  rDev +42.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured it. I didn't read any other reviews. I stuck my nose in the glass. A little Flanders-brown-ale yeat speaks up at first. All cherry and raspberry confit. Chocolate covered red sour berries. Chateauneuf du Pape with cinnamon sticks in the glass. This stuff smells cool and refreshing as well as cthonic and gut-filling.
Burnt Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez syrup is exaggerated on the ooze-like texture. This is serious, alive, Imperial. Think: the power of Rogue's Russian I.S. combined with the soul of Sam Smith's combined with the unruly, sour yeast of Goudenband, and you have this beer. Hardly drinkable...but seductive. Note to self: must make all efforts to stock this.

Fresh stock. 4.28.2004
Much creamier, more slick and densely chocolated than the last sample. I've been experimenting with Dutch process cocoa, brown sugar and whole cream, trying to combine them with just enough sugar to make it edible and just enough cream to create a pasty texture. This approximates that. Bitter fudge in a semi-liquid state that melts even more on the palate.
Also found in this challenging, mind-boggling liquid: creosote, tar, rum, pepper, nutmeg, raisins, Domecq Venerable PX, roasted branches, burnt apples, leather, black oil, laquer, grease, dates, tamarind paste and kirsch.
Probably underrated at 4.85

Photo of Dogbrick
4.15/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2000 Bottle: This beer reminded me a lot of the 23%DFHWWS, even though the ABV is much lower in this 11.2oz bottle. This was probably my first corked Imperial Stout. Pours a black tar color with an ultra thin light beige head. No real lacing to speak of. Aroma will knock your socks off with licorice, chocolate and port wine. Full bodied flavor with a great roasted aspect. Flavors of malt, alcohol, spice and coffee come in wave after wave. This beer also has a very long and roasty burnt cedar finish. The only way to enjoy this beer is SLOWLY.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

I'm not sure of the vintage, didn't think to look. It is 9% abv, though, not the 10% listed, maybe that's for an earlier year?

Appearance is in a word, black. To expound...

...there is no head whatsoever, barely a crown of tan bubbles on the outside.

Aroma is immediately fruity and vinous, like a red wine. Just a background hint of earthiness or woodiness.

Taste - big tannic, fruity taste and a mouthful of alcohol! As the heavy sweetness lets up a little, some dark, *dark* roasted flavors come through, only to continue developing into an even darker strong charcoal taste. The aftertaste is a mix of slight bitterness and some yielding but still plenty strong charcoal smokiness with just a touch of sourness on the sides of the tongue. Mouthfeel is huge, heavy, oily and thick. Don't believe me? Tip your glass, straighten it up and observe the viscous coating left on the glass. Good for another 3000 miles and protects against thermal viscosity breakdown, don't you know...

I'd have to be in some kinda mood to have a 2nd one of these, one is plenty. I'd only mark it as awful (1.0) if the beer tasted nasty, which is definitely not the case here. Still, this 9% brew drinks more like a 12% brew, the alcohol is a bit too intense for a higher drinkability score.

Photo of hotstuff
3.46/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 Vintage. This particular imperial stout poured a small head with very large bubbles that dissipated quickly. There was no lacing on the sides of my glass. The aroma was that of vinegar in my opinion. It had a smooth taste and a lingering aftertaste.

Photo of TheDM
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001 Vintage. This brew poured a very small head of large dark brown bubbles that quickly disappeared leaving a ring of very small bubbles around the top of my mug. This aroma of this brew is amazing. It is very strong licorice aroma that can be smelled from across the room. Its body is 70,000 mile motor oil thick black. It has a strong licorice and roasted coffee flavor with a noticibly high alcohol content. A very interesting brew with a fair amount of complexity to it. I would like it better if the alcohol content was more hidden and the mouthfeel was more smooth. None-the-less, it is a very potent stout indeed!

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.09/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It was very interesting reading the reviews on this one. Most stated the same characteristics, but the ratings were all over the place. This is one of the strongest tasting beers I've had. As others noted; burnt coffee, cherry, bitter, tart, sour, flat (no head, no lace). The guy who sold me this talked me out of it several times, but I finally had to try it. I'm glad I did. A definite sipper, and I coudn't drink two in one sitting. Overall, a quite unique, complex, and interesting treat. The overall effect reminds me of when I had Expedition, and maybe even Westy12 and Rochefort 10. Strong, sweet, and a blast to the taste buds!

Photo of jaz
3.25/5  rDev -5%
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.

Photo of jeffboo
4.05/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 1999. This pours like cold, black coffee- no carbonation, just black liquid. Aroma is lambic-like, strange aroma for a Imperial.I can't quite describe the aroma other than lambic-like with maybe some smoke. The texture is very chewy,with a tar like consistency. The roasted malt dominates the flavor,with chocolate and smoke in the finish. The sweetness is balanced with astringent roasted malt and a lambic-like tartness, almost like a red wine. It is warming like Expedition stout, but even thicker. I'm also picking up molassas and brown sugar the further along I go. Very interesting, try it if you find it- unlike other Imperials.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
2.08/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

2000 Vintage

The wrap says contents under pressure, so it's obviously supposed to be carbonated. Mine, however, is completely flat which knocked it down in several categories.

Black as night. Looks thick and syrupy, but has no head or carbonation at all.
Aroma is heavy of molasses and I don't care for that aroma or taste. Alcohol is readily evident. There is a dark fruit character to the aroma which is nice.

Taste: again big on the molasses. Behind the molasses flavor is dark roasted malts with some bitter chocolate and coffee notes. Alcohol not hidden. Slight dark fruit character. Slightly sour.

Full body. Heavy and syrupy. Might have been exceptional with some carbonation present.
Drinkability: I'd be happy to never have this beer again, although I am curious what it would be like with some carbonation.

Overall, I didn't care for this beer at all. The taste, aroma, and lack of carbonation remind me of Sam Adams Triple Bock which I'm not fond of either.

Photo of SteveP
4.62/5  rDev +35.1%
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.

Photo of PatandDavid
4.37/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We were lucky enough to enjoy a 1999 vintage of this the other evening, thanks Redbones! We missed the dinner, but thankfully for us, there were some beer leftovers.

Oh My! This is a big beer! In such a little bottle.

You couldn't see through this beer, it was the color of night. Yes, really. All I could think of was that it reminded me of a port, and that the alcohol was as prominent at 9% as I perceived it in a WWS.

This is a sipping beer, like I said, it reminded me of port. The taste of raisins was quite apparent. Very enjoyable. A beer like this really knocks your socks off.

I gave it a 4.0 for drinkability...while I couldn't have another at the time, it is a beer I would drink again.

Photo of goz
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2000 bottle :
Pours super deep black, no carbonation and no head at all. Aroma is very vinous, grape, raisin and other dark fruits took the front, although the alcohol was close behind. Flavor had some chocolate hints, the dark fruits mentioned before, and the alcohol showed up in the back a a bit. Body was a bit light feeling for something with so much flavor.

1999 Bottle :
Similar to the 2000, but the alcohol was the dominant force from start to finish, taking a much more upfront line to the nose and mouth, and pushing all the other stuff aside.

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.11/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Harvey's...or Le coq...or Tartu Brewery Imperial Double Extra Stout is a vintage 2000 edition. At 9% abv it is strong, though not as strong as the new 10% addition. Tar pitch black in color. Thick, heavy malt and highly hopped. Strong and dark chocolate and coffee notes. Hints of banana and a trace of grapefruit. Fairly sweet malt fails to hide the very big alcohol kick. Rich and creamy with very little head. Really worth trying!

Photo of WanderingFool
4.22/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 1999 version of Le Coq was recommended to me by a well respected beer store owner. I was a bit surprised to find a cork under the silver foil of this 11.2 oz. 9% alc. brew. It poured like motor oil gone bad. Jet black with only a few bubbles found on the surface that quickly disappeared. The aroma is cherry and molasses and reminded me of a port wine. Each sip of this medium bodied beer gets more complex as you drink it. At first all I tasted was burnt coffee, then after a few sips my taste buds settled down to discover cherry, molasses, coffee and a mild alcohol flavor. It feels silky smooth on the tongue and leaves behind a hint of cherry and molasses after each sip.

This is definitly a sipping beer that would go great with steak or a chocolate dessert. There are a host of flavors to be found with every sip.

Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
78 out of 100 based on 460 ratings.