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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
94
outstanding

753 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 753
Reviews: 265
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 145
Gots: 167 | FT: 9
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 753 | Reviews: 265
Photo of jennybeer
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of marbh13
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheBeard89
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of LakerLeith
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bobcathokie
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of afreer5488
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mikepcarney
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of paulish
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE: 275ml. Brown glass. Branded gold and red pry-off pressure cap. Classy label art. "No. 079025 of 210,000"

Acquired: At an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2012.
ABV: 10%.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Snifter.
Expectations: Sky high (given its reputation and current high ratings).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~.25 inches wide. Dark khaki in colour. It recedes too quickly for me to note any other characteristics; the retention is pathetic (~8 seconds). Leaves no lacing. It was fizzy (audibly so) while it lasted.

BODY: Opaque ink-black. True to the style. No yeast particles or hop sediment are/is visible.

Overall, it looks pretty basic for a Russian Imperial Stout. Nothing stands out as unique or special.

AROMA: The dark, schwarz, and chocolate malt base doesn't bring the usual sweetness to the fore, and the reticence of the malts lets the espresso and coffee notes take the spotlight. When I look for the pear mentioned on the label, I find a hint of it, but I'd never identify it blind. There're notes of faint fudge and chocolate as well as a kiss of tobacco, and this aroma suggests a rich brew, but I'm not seeing evidence of all that much intricacy considering the style, and I wouldn't even call it a dessert beer. There're some interesting notes of chewy caramelized fruit (perhaps raisin or fig) and grape. I find none of the smokiness promised on the label.

Aromatic intensity is average for the style.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Much more fruit-emphatic than most beers I've had in the style, with suggestions of grape, fig, prune, date, and raisin - all of which are accompanied by a chewy caramelization as well as a touch of rum soak. The malt backbone is standard: schwarz, chocolate, and dark malts, but they don't bring all that much sweetness to the table, and the chocolate is far too reticent and muted. Immediately, it's obvious this isn't a horribly deep or expressive brew, and the balance is a bit rough around the edges. As it warms, its emergent burnt sugars and ashen notes don't do it any favours.

None of the pear or smokiness promised by the label actually comes through in the taste, and I do get the harshness of espresso and its concomitant roast, but none of the flavour. Some might even call it slightly acrid. What does work well is the faint hint of tobacco, which lends it an interesting (and seemingly true to form) character.

Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Above average.
Flavour amplitude: Decent.

It has a dragging rough harshness, lending it a dry scratchy extinguishing presence on the palate that doesn't suit the taste particularly well. It's overcarbonated to boot, and certainly full-bodied. Frankly, there's just no harmony of texture and taste. This needs work. Has a stale overall presentation of flavour. Off-puttingly poor execution.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, or astringent.

Faint metallic off-character is noticeable as it comes to temperature.

OVERALL: Maybe this was a classic 10+ years ago, but today its fundamental lack of balance and problematic mouthfeel hold it back substantially. There are far better (and cheaper) beers in the style now, and I see no need to revisit this. I'll enjoy finishing the glass, if only for the worthwhile tobacco and - harsh as it is - roast, but I couldn't recommend this to friends or trade partners and it doesn't live up to its high reputation. Shockingly shallow, and a mess of a build for a Russian Imperial Stout. Is this really what used to pass as a world-class paragon of the style?

Low C- (2.55)

Photo of LehighAce06
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dwagner003
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of RichD
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mine's a 2013 vintage.

A: Black with a creamy beige head. Very creamy lacing.
S: Vinous, with loads of black chocolate and espresso.
T: Holy cow, it’s a cracker. Incredibly smooth and chocolatey, with dried fruit. Espresso coffee and amazingly creamy. A touch of oranges in Cointreau. Slightly bitter in the finish. Medium sweet. Slightly fruity finish. Just a touch spicy.
O: I feel like I've just drunk a milkshake. Amazingly creamy. A superb beer.

Photo of AnitaBrewski
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mabermud
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 Bottle

The darkest brown you can imagine, that's the body. Quickly retreats to a fine film of darker brown lather, that's the head. As the liquid is swirled around, the lather easily melts from the sides of the brandy snifter.
Sweet and deep, rich malt. That is the smell. Very rich aroma.
Hmmmm. Maybe a little oxidized, or maybe not, since this is the first time I have had this beer. The usual start of a rich stout, interesting finish. Chalky dark chocolate. Dark bread and leather finish. There is a dry, cognac aftertaste left in the mouth that soon goes away.
Nothing to write home about, but everything melds together well. Low carb, fuller body. The feel.

Overall: Nothing traditional here. At last, something not too sweet. People in the US are addicted to sugar. This is not what to expect from what is currently going around the US as a Russian Imperial Stout. This is down to earth and not overly built. It tastes raw, like something made in the 1800s. I dig it.

Photo of Brihon
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of marieli
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Brewed May 2011. Started at 54 degrees. Poured like a dark brown espresso, not much head, could have been my fault. Smelled terrific. Nice blend of malt, coffee and chocolate. There was no one dominant flavor for me. I thought it came together nicely with malt and coffee more present, a hint of chocolate. I didn't get fruit, but something was managing the bitterness very well. Medium body. Would have preferred a little more creaminess, but still a great beer.

Photo of dannycohen62
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kermitthefrayer
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Electros
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of morebeergood
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sunset, a great treat.

Photo of Jtrigonis
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Shadman
4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. Absolutely delicious right off the shelf. This sample was 2012 vintage. Worthy of the name Imperial.

Photo of papat444
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

***2012 Vintage (bottle No. 046094 of 210,000)***
Best before 16/08/25

Very thick black pour, good lacing despite ABV. Flavor is espresso, bit of cherry and burnt chocolate. Major roasted bitterness in the finish but doesn't impede on the drinkability. Nice gem.

Photo of Nick4444
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 753 ratings.