Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

271 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 271
Hads: 802
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 6.18%
Wants: 150
Gots: 180 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rastaman on 02-11-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 271 | Hads: 802
Reviews by puboflyons:
Photo of puboflyons
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From the 275 ml. bottle no. 046168 of 210,000. Sampled on May 20, 2014.

The pour is as black as night but as it slowly leaves the bottle there seems to be a growing cloudiness in the look. Modest tan head that fades.

The dark burnt malt and espresso aromas really tingle the nose along with some meaty fruits and mild to medium bitterness. No booze of note.

The body is full and bold just like the nose.

The dark burnt malts kick in on the taste upon first sip and then the espresso, chocolate notes follow. Then the pear-like meaty fruitiness expresses itself and bringing up the rear is a dry but acrid bitterness. Form 10% ABV the alcohol is well masked. I wish I had more than one of these to drink. It has a 2016 expiration date so I bet it ages beautifully. (769 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffsta1
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a fantastic stout, quality through-and-through, really a benchmark.

Fine, thick head. Dark, opaque-ish brown-black color. Dense, rich mouthfeel.

Flavors of smoke, molasses, hint of licorice. A bit sweet but far from cloying. Good bitterness on the finish. Plenty od depth here, but not overwhelmingly intense. Food friendly.

Really fine bubbles. Wouldn't mind if they lasted just a bit longer.

Man, this is just good. So good. Can't think of a better stout for daily enjoyment. (489 characters)

Photo of BBMuffins
5/5  rDev +18.8%

This is hands down the best beer I've ever had. I love a variety of styles, but this beats everything by a tremendous margin. This beer is literally perfection. The beautiful smell, the marvelously delicious and complex taste, the black-as-night look, and not to mention the incredibly smooth texture... This is beer heaven.

I honestly can not believe how good this beer is. I'm not even going to rate it's attributes, it's a solid five through and through. I don't think I was ready to drink this beer. I should have waited until my nose and taste buds are experienced enough to fully pick this beer apart. Then again, I'm not sure I would have ever reached that point as this beer is a labyrinth of flavor and smell.
Byzantinian all the way down.

I'm upset that I can't taste this taste and smell this smell forever. (821 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Long-time Want finally relinquished, had a couple pours of this on-tap at The Foundry, Northampton MA.

Black pour into a snifter with a half-finger or so of tan head, retention is decent, some lace left. Really cool flavor profile, big dark English-y malts all the way, definitely has a 'classic' feel going on. Great vinous dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum stick out the most and mesh well with dark caramel, baker's chocolate, toast, molasses, tobacco, just a little bit of roast helping to balance out the sweetness. Somewhat reminiscent of old-school English barleywines/old ales. Very smooth malty mouthfeel with pleasant warming alcohol.

Russian Imperative Stout is more like it. (694 characters)

Photo of rudzud
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, these were shared with JLindros and Threelions at my birthday celebration. a 2011 and 1972 vintage! Yes, 1972....bought it online a long long time ago from someone in the UK. Reviewed side by side:

A - Both have a very dark dark black body, with the 2011 having a thin mocha head that fades to leave a thin halo, whereas the 1972 has nice legs by clearly no carbonation. Combined, evens out to a 4.

S - Aromas are much better in the 2011 vintage with nice molasses, chocolate, sweeter malts, faint dark fruits. The 1972 is light touches of chocolate and dark fruits, along with a fair amount of oxidation. Combined, evens out to a 4.

T - Taste is, to be expected, far superior with the modern vintage. Very nice chocolate, coffee beans, roasty char. The 1972 version is incredibly oxidized. Light soy sauce and vinegar notes, but once you get past that there are some nice fainter chalky chocolate notes. Not the worst tasting oxidized beer I've ever had. Combined, evens out to a 3.5

M - Mouthfeel is better on the 2011 version, good light creamy carbonation whereas the 1972 is thin with no carbonation. Combined they even out to a 3.5.

O - Overall this was a fun experience and I've been waiting to drink the 1972 Courage stout for close to 4 years now. Incredibly oxidized, but, I expected that to a certain degree. Was a good time.

Serving Type: Bottle (1,367 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like the look of this Courage Imperial Russian Stout (2013 vintage). It says “Take courage son, you’re about to drink an Imperial Russian Stout”... at least it says that to me. From Wells & Young’s, purveyors that are obviously not afraid to use additives in their brews for banana/chocolate gains, comes this semi-aged RIS that has the beer-world ablaze with claims of awesomeness and much hype heaped upon it... let’s see if the hype lives up to the, err, hype... or whatnot.

Poured from an almost sample-sized 275ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep chocolate brown/black body with a dense half centimetre khaki head that sticks around well. The lace in the glass reveals a Bahamas-like island pattern, specifically Eleuthera Island... maybe a bit of Cat Island too. 9/10.

S: Dark chocolate, grandma’s booze (you know the one I’m talking about - the stuff you snuck out of her locked drinks cabinet that was a mixture of brandy and rum, she said it was for the Christmas fruit cake but you knew she really had a drinking problem) molasses and prune/date round out what is a solid RIS aroma. Take courage son, this review will be over soon. 9/10.

T: From the heady aroma to a very well-balanced flavour. Take the above aromas, to recap: Dark chocolate, grandma’s booze, molasses, prune/date - minus the boozy aspect (you can hardly tell this is 10% ABV) and you are spot on the flavour. Nothing jars or dominates this brew - it is equal parts sweet and bitter with a hint of sourness in the mildly bitter finish. Everything in this brew has reached an almost sublime equilibrium, and for that Courage Imperial Russian Stout deserves a 9 for flavour. 9/10.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with a light but dense and slightly oily carbonation. Not much to complain about here either. 9/10.

D: The biggest downside to this beer? The packaging. 275ml is not enough. This is one Russian Imperial Stout that I wanted to keep on drinking, over and over and over and over like a monkey with a miniature cymbal the joy of repetition really is in this brew (to coin some Hot Chip lyrics). Aside from my slight soirée into the world of descriptive Indietronica this is quite the world class RIS that, like it or not, you really should pay your respects to if you ever get the opportunity. 9/10.

Food match: Garlic roasted cigars with nebulised sturgeon eggs and black truffle fennel foam. (2,399 characters)

Photo of ThomasT
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%

Poured into a whisky tulip glass (I know, sacrilege). 2012 vintage.
Appearance: As black as beer can be. Nice, dark brown, two finger head that was super thick, but actually dissipated a bit. A thin, iridescent oil on the surface and some lacing, but not a ton (probably due to the glass I used).
Smell: Strong smell of overripe fruit and deep coffee roastiness. Hint of chocolate
Taste: Powerful and rich. The body is almost oily and seems to coat your entire mouth with even a small sip. Several different fruit can be tasted, all of which taste slightly to significantly overripe. I detect dates, fig, and plum especially. Moves from fruit into a prominent espresso, almost as strong as espresso itself. Finally, the finish is a rich, dark chocolate the likes of which can only be beat by the absolute richest fancy deserts. Slight, mellow warmth in the throat, but no alcohol taste detected.
Body: Extremely full-bodied
Overall: An incredible beer that clearly lives up to its reputation. Each sip tastes like you are indulging in every item on the desert tray in a grand feast. Cannot recommend enough. (1,107 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter a deep cola brown with deep ruby hue,roasted malt,bitter chocolate,and alcohol soaked fruit in the nose.Rich tasting with a decent amount of booziness,highly roasted with chocolate undertones.A great imperial stout from an old school brewery in England,nice job here. (289 characters)

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of tectactoe
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Review #200! Pours a deep, jet-black color with a khaki colored head, thick and bubbly with reasonable staying power. Nose contains a powerful amount of dark chocolate and cocoa beans, roasted, nearly burnt barley, and a slight alcohol character. This beer has an incredibly body - viscous, rich, silky, creamy and chewy - everything an RIS should be. Flavors are an excellent combination of bitter cocoa beans, dark roasted coffee, sweet licorice and tobacco, heaps of roasted malt, big roasted and charred profile, a slight hint of smoke, faint nuttiness, a touch of molasses, and lots of underlying sweetness in the dark of dark fruits; dates, currants, blackberries. The hops aren't exactly vibrant in the taste, but are still necessary for their bittering element; somewhat ashy and herbal to provide a good counterbalance to the sweetness and richness of this beer. Alcohol warms and adds character without being abrasive or rough. Huge body, low-medium bout of carbonation.

Had this beer once before and it was just as great as I remembered. Makes me wonder why I don't get this more often. Truly a fine example of a Russian imperial stout done right. (1,159 characters)

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of FadetoBock
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Todd
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm still shuddering from excitement and respect after sampling this beer @ Redbones tonight. What a treat! I mean seriously, this is the first and last time that I'll ever taste this beer. It's the last time it was brewed, and this is the last round to hit us in the US. Very well matured, extremely smooth and palatable. An absolute classic, with a lot a kick after all these years.

Our pile of samples still had dust on them ... from like 10+ years ago. (459 characters)

Photo of alarmclock314
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bobcathokie
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Beerhunter247
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of macbethkid84
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of innominat
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

275ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

Pours a pitch black color with a small dark brown head along with some light brown lacing. Nose is sweet, chocolate and vanilla.

Taste is rich and smooth, there is a light bitter coffee bite that's there and is crisp on the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Very delicious beer. (336 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
93 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.