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Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

656 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 656
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 138
Gots: 128 | FT: 6
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rastaman on 02-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Courage Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
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Ratings: 656 | Reviews: 244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bernat1971
1/5  rDev -76.5%

bernat1971, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of essie
1/5  rDev -76.5%

essie, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of Rons35
2/5  rDev -52.9%

Rons35, Mar 12, 2014
Photo of Sephiroth
2.28/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

1993 Vintage, courtesy of JHop. Pours almost totally still, a thin ring large bubbles remains around the rim, the color is extremely dark brown. Aroma of chocolate,roasted malt, and dark fruits. Slight alcohol presence.

Tastes pretty oxidized. There are remnants of what I am sure was a great beer, but this bottle has turned. Somewhat chalky finish. Bad drinkability. Now that my review is finished, I am dumping the rest.

Sephiroth, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of Svyturys30
2.45/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was the first stout that I had ever had. The bottle was 49,096 of 210,000. I didn't really know what to expect when having this stout.

A- Stereotypical stout, dark brown, black.

S- I picked up a hint of cocoa but then the rest of the smell was overpowered by the stoutish smell.

T- I was not a fan of the taste. First taste was alright, but the rest tasted like tree bark. I couldn't finish the bottle.

M- I thought that feel of the beer was alright, just tasted bad.

O- I personally would not recommend this beer to anyone unless they were a stout buff. I don't know a lot about them, so I can't offer a lot of advice, just my opinion.

Cheers!

Svyturys30, May 23, 2014
Photo of Raziel313
2.5/5  rDev -41.2%

Raziel313, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of Stunmai
2.73/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The bottle says it is 2012 vintage so it has been aged less than a year. There were some really nice molasses, licorice, and fruity tones to this beer. Parts of it were good, but most of the taste is nothing but a strong taste of alcohol. I haven't had this before, aged or otherwise, but it was way too hot for me. Maybe if I saw another bottle for sale, I'd buy it and age it for 3-5 years, but as it was, I just wasn't impressed for what you pay for it.

Stunmai, Sep 19, 2013
Photo of Damian
2.8/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank from a 9.3 US fl.oz bottle purchased at Berman's Wines & Spirits, Lexington, MA
Brewed in May 2011
Best before see neck of bottle. 19/09/24
Served in a snifter

Thin in appearance for the style yet still rather attractive. The medium brown liquid was topped by a three-finger tall, super tight and foamy, mocha colored crown. With such an enormous head, I was anticipating the beer to be over carbonated. As the head faded, a huge wall of streaky lacing stuck in its wake. With time, the crown settled to a thick, frothy cap.

The nose was really complex and interesting. Sweet and boozy with subtle sherry-like notes. Slight oxidation. Dark fruits were apparent. Plums and raisins came through strong. Moderately smoky. Hint of tobacco. Good dose of dark chocolate. A touch of umami/soy sauce was present. Just enough to lend the beer some additional complexity.

Unlike the aroma, the flavor profile was exceptionally harsh. Dark fruits appeared briefly on the front end before boozy and ashy notes took over. The beer had an overwhelming char-like presence. Notes of soy sauce were apparent. I definitely picked up some oxidation and the tell-take "wet paper" flavor. The beer finished super hot. Dry, bitter, earthy hops were noticeable in the finish as well.

The beer was definitely lighter bodied for the style yet still creamy and smooth. A fine, spritzy effervescence turned the liquid frothy and slick on the palate.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout is a beer supposedly designed for aging, but my three-year-old bottle was a hot, acrid mess. I would love to try another vintage to see if this beer lives up to its heralded reputation.

Damian, May 28, 2014
Photo of NeroFiddled
2.98/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It is with sadness that I write this review. It doesn't appear that the '93 Courage Imperial will be able to age for 10 years. Hopefully, my bottle was an exception and there are still some quality bottles left. The appearance and aroma were fine, as I remember them from previous tastings, but the flavor has deteriorated greatly. The unique "burnt currant" has been replaced by a more acidic note. The complexity of flavor has dwindled into a single, basic flavor. There's not much left at all.

NeroFiddled, Jul 16, 2002
Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
3/5  rDev -29.4%

LadyOfMuchBeer, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of Naugled
3/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found a 2011 bottle locally and was excited at first. But after drinking it left me flat. Maybe I had a bad bottle but it was very disappointing to me. At best this is was an average RIS. Based on other reviews I plan to try this again to see if it was just my bottle.

Aroma was dominated by treacle. The head was good but had large bubbles like a soda. Body was thin and the flavor was a bit harsh with a late lingering astringency. I do drink quite a few RIS's it's one of my more favorite styles.

I found this to be average at best, but I will try again, perhaps it was a bad bottle.

Naugled, May 08, 2012
Photo of Rollzroyce21
3/5  rDev -29.4%

Rollzroyce21, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of paul_db
3.03/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

vintage 2011 bottle

Poured out jet black with alot of head.

Once the head settled, not really a pronounced smell that would indicate what you're about to sip on.

The taste followed just that, not alot of flavor at all. Slight bitterness and a bit of malt character but i felt like i was drinking cold coffee mixed with alot of water.

This had to have been a bad bottle/batch i had.

paul_db, May 25, 2014
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.1/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Brewed in May, 2011.

5.0 A: Dark brow color. Aggressive pour gave two fingers of creamy/frothy tan head. Retention is very good as it settles down to a very creamy half finger, which persists quite long. Lots of lacing. Damn fine looking.

3.0 S: Surprisingly earthy. Smells like a forest stream that someone dumped a bunch of roasted barley in. Mineral, moderate roastiness, anise, "woodzy freshness", light burnt notes, and moderate herbal hoppiness. It's not bad, it's just not what I'm fond of in an RIS.

3.0 T: Tastes as it smells for the most part. Earth tones of mineral, mountain stream, moss, burnt wood, char. Moderate roastiness, anise, a touch of smoke, and herbal hops.

3.0 M: Heavier medium body. Carbonation level is fine, but it feels strange. It's like a creaminess, but it isn't. Too hard to explain, so I won't anymore.

3.0 D: Earthy, "farmhousy" RIS. Not a big fan, but it might interest those looking for a "natural tasting RIS," whatever that means.

DavoleBomb, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of viverlee
3.13/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

All-world compared to their Banana Bread Beer. But still like a first rounder who makes a few pro bowls as an alternate and never realizes his full potential.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

LOOK: Pours like chocolate syrup. Decent body that’s actually lighter than it looks at first. Can’t get a head to stick, and there’s medium-low lacing and retention.

NOSE: Campfire, figs, and roasted apples. Espresso and bittersweet chocolate dominate.

MOUTH: Purple grapes and dark fruit accent the wood-burning fire thing going on. Not that I’ve had ‘em this way, there’s some roasted Nutty Bars too. Unusually, I like it less as it warms, sitting here waiting for the balance to shine only to take astringent gulp after astringent gulp with a cayenne gloss halfway down my throat.

Beeradvocate Rating: 93

Hayward Abbey Rating: 78

viverlee, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of akorsak
3.15/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a bottle of Courage RIS brewed in 1993 and served at Kclinger's Publick House in Etters, PA.

Appearance: The stout is a dep brown/black color. There is a clearly visible flotilla of yeast in the glass. There is little, if any, head.

Smell: The stout has a deep rich chocolatey taste that has withstood the years...

Taste: ...unfortunately the taste has not. There is a definite flatness to the ale. It has lost something over the past 13 years. What I do taste (that is positive) is a nice chocolatey roast flavor that masks the 10% abv very well. I think that this have been around 2-3 years too long.

Mouthfeel: The metallic taste is a bit of a downer, but the thought of a 13 year old stout have certain romantic qualities associated with it.

Drinkability: With this ABV and price tag ($45 for a 170 mL bottle), the drinkability is tough. As I stated though, I would have loved to have tried this 2 years ago.

akorsak, May 10, 2006
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.19/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2013 vintage dates 02/09/26 at 45 degrees into snifter
Aroma of roasted malt
Head small (2 cm), light brown, creamy, quickly diminishing to 2 mm ring
Lacing poor – very small islands with small bubbles
Body black to very dark brown, opaque
Flavor starts slightly weak bitter chocolate; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl; slowly fades away
Palate full, watery, lively carbonation

OK – this is drinkable but not desirable – if this is as originally brewed in 1795 as the label says then I don’t see how RISs became popular. It is singularly lacing in flavor other than the initial weak bitter chocolate taste. Lacing is poor, head is small, and aroma is weak. To add insult to injury, it comes in a 9.3 oz bottle – might as well by on an airplane.

Ozzylizard, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of mquartuccio87
3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

mquartuccio87, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of popery
3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

popery, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of siege06nd
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A. Trying to think of another way to say "black" as this is exactly what this looks like...you know, just like every other Russian Imperial Stout out there. A finger of white sand colored head slowly settles to a half finger. The head is surprisingly tight, consistent, and creamy. The lacing is similarly so.

S. Fudge, coffee, hints of smoke and anise, even some mild pine needle aromas from the hops.

T. Baking chocolate, crispy brownie edges, coffee grounds. A big, dry, ashy finish, which is equal parts smoke-infused cacao as it is cigar.

M. Somewhat high in carb for the style. The finish is also way too dry, dominating the rest of the flavors.

O. This is alright. Probably truer to the style from hundreds of years ago, but things evolve for a reason and the modern RIS has made this obsolete. Plenty of nice chocolate notes here, but the ashtray flavors dominate on the finish and leave a bad taste in the mouth. This is just OK...nothing more.

siege06nd, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of woosterbill
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Thanks to whoever shared this.

A: Black with brown highlights; on top is a light brown head that settles into a ring. Ok.

S: Super roasty, ashy, and flinty. High minerality, light chocolate. Good, but a little restrained.

T: Tasty roastiness Dark chocolate, coffee, char, ash, and supper-bitter hops. Very, very intense. A bit harsh.

M: Medium body, prickly carbonation. Meh.

O: I'd heard a lot about this one, but it really didn't impress me. Maybe with a bit of age the rough corners might smooth out, but as it was I didn't find anything too enjoyable about it.

Cheers!

woosterbill, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle poured into a goblet

A: Pours very dark brown with over 3 fingers of light brown, dense foam. This beer appears highly carbonated. No light penetrates the beer. Retention is very good.

S: Toffee, milk chocolate, light smoke. Some raisin and other dark fruits. After a while, I get some roasted malts as well.

T: Quite nice - much better than the aroma IMO. Lots of roasted malts, quite bitter, with a small amount of toffee sweetness to back it up. I'm surprised how different this is than the aroma.

M: Very nice - thick with good carbonation.

O: I was not impressed at all by the aroma, but the taste is quite nice. The aroma did seem to open up after a while. Not excellent, but a decent imperial stout.

coreyfmcdonald, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of tourdot
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

tourdot, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of pin
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

pin, May 21, 2013
Photo of Pasatron
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Pasatron, Feb 12, 2012
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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 656 ratings.