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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
93
outstanding

271 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 271
Hads: 802
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 149
Gots: 179 | FT: 12
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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Reviews: 271 | Hads: 802
Photo of Sammy
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1978 170 ml. Dark reddish to black with small ring of mocha head. Aroma of chocolate and sharp alcohol on the nose. Some smoke when drinking. Sweet,cocoa chocolate smokey, a slow sipper. Warming alcohol, like a 40 or 50 proof. Surprisingly not thick, but rich. A cognac.There is still some carbonation there.Worth its weight in cognac price.Cigar tobacco and scotch aftertaste. Barleywine taste day after.
Thank you Hopdog.
After 5.5 years had a fresh bottle(so cognac ageing not there yet as only year old) courtesy of Gary. Very creamy, light chocolate and roast. Very good, and uncomparable to the US versions. (613 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in May 2011.

Best before 9/19/24.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Thin foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, and some alcohol. There is a distinct cinnamon aroma that comes out as the beer warms. Taste is of dark malt, dark fruit, cocoa powder, and roasted coffee beans. There is a mild roasty bitterness and alcohol warming in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with a nice historic element to it. I am very happy I was able to find a bottle of this after reading it was coming to the US. (741 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger thick light tan head on a jet black body. thick lacing.

S: vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted malt, oak and raisin for dark fruit.

T: lots of dark chocolate throughout with right amount of chocolate sweetness and bitterness, middle of the road roasted malts, toffee, wood, vanilla and espresso.

M: medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: full flavored, excellent balance and nice dark chocolate flavors which I really enjoy in this style. (480 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is close to being jet black in color. It poured with a finger high tan head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and licorice in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of roasted malts along with notes of licorice and hints of cigar smoke. The roasted malt flavors linger though the finish.
M: It feels nearly full-bodied and a little dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a very good representation of the style and hides its alcohol very well, making it easy to drink but pleasant to sip.

Note: 2010 vintage (652 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Geist. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a good light tan head and a nice cap and collar. The nose carries a good dose of chocolate and mild roast. A bit of malt sweetness then comes through in the flavor. Very nice for an English version of an RIS. Good creaminess throughout the feel. Quite chewy. Moderate alcohol. Winner of a beer. (380 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in May 2011

Appearance: Pours out with a thick (but not massive) tan head; what it lacks in vertical dimension it more than makes up for with lacing action; the beer itself is not as dark as some of the American versions, appearing more as a fudge brown

Smell: Rich chocolate, with coffee, tobacco and dark fruity undertones

Taste: In the flavor profile, this beer shows its old world muster, bringing a subtle blend of chocolate, coffee, pipe tobacco and dark fruit; compared to a lot of the domestic RIS brews, this is like an old world Cabernet vs a California, with incredible subtlety and refinement; after the swallow, instead of walloping the tastebuds, it finishes rather dry - surprising but well-appreciated

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation; hides the ABV incredibly well

Overall: So glad I had the opportunity to try this beer as it shows off quite a different dimension for the RIS style than I have had before; I still like the powerful, big American versions very much, but this is a different pathway (1,053 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer poured out as a deep black color with a brown foamy head on top. There is a moderate lacing and pretty good retention as well. The smell of the beer is rich and roasted with a sweet berry aroma coming off of it also. The taste is chocolatey with a roasted malt and coffee, there is also a strange fruity flavor in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and very rich. Moderate carbonation and smooth. Overall this is a very good Russian Imperial Stout. Very rich and very enjoyable. Worth checking out! (509 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Do beers get any more regal? With tried-and-true, time tested recipe and fantastic brewing technique; it shows that we just don't make'em like they used to... or do they?

Same as it ever was, this true imperial Russian stout boastfully displays his masculine dark side with slight-of-black coloration, complete opaqueness with a slight haze that's noted by it's less than mirror sheen. But its billowing tan head shows exuberance and puts on quite a show as the foam builds and then recedes, leaving silhouettes of lace behind.

Strong French-pressed coffees, cocoa, burnt fruit and molasses starts the show with a rich and luscious aroma that swirls around rummy alcohols for a slight plummy vinous scent. Brown sugar, apples, and pears join in the fun but only in background notes.

As delicious as the aromas seem, the flavor spread proves equally as rewarding. Bittersweet chocolate wraps around a strong coffee taste, deeply caramelized sweetness, heavy toast, and creamy smoke. Roast and fruity tartness take turns as roasted barley alternates with slight vinous wines, grape skin, green apples, and blackberries. Low in hops, only a shadow of bitterness follows the complex malt and ester display and does so with a supportive wood taste-turn-bitter in finish.

Full bodied, but not overtly sweet or sugary, there's a right amount of malt and residual sweetness that weaves into the dry roast texture and full carbonation. A long draw into the finish results in firm alcohol warmth, slight burnt grain astringency, and tart wine-like tannin that provides a slightly powdery yet powerful finish.

This is a tremendously respected beer that defies style, prescription, or expectation. It's effortless and gentlemanly personality exudes the notion of tall, dark, and handsome. (1,783 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1989 bottle – drank in 2004: Very dark beer with no head or carbonation. Aroma is mostly comprised of alcohol and a subtle smell of coffee. Taste can be described as a mix between roasted malts, coffee, subtle chocolate and ends with some bitterness and a warm alcohol taste. Very intriguing beer, it almost feel like a mix between an old ale (Gales Prize Old Ale) and a Russian Imperial Stout without extreme hops (Sam Smith Russian Stout) without any carbonation but with a good warming feeling from the alcohol as you drink this. I feel lucky I had the chance to taste this but a vertical tasting of this beer would be paradise… (633 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottling.

Dark brown body nearing black; opaque in the center with translucent edges. Pours with a voluminous head that takes a good 15 minutes to settle.

Heavily roasted, malt forward nose. Notes of toffee and black licorice with hints of charcoal, mineral, bittersweet chocolate. Smells nicely balanced between roasted, burnt malt flavors and sweetness.

Really nice on the palate. Roasted grain, butterscotch and toffee, dark chocolate. Slightly metallic and mineral, from the water perhaps? Licorice comes out more in the finish, leading into a combination of toffee, burnt malt and resinous hops.

I've been wanting to try this beer for years and was glad to finally see a new batch. It's very enjoyable stuff, but I wouldn't say it's worth drinking more than once at $7 for a 9.3 oz bottle. (803 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

275ml bottle, a limited quantity special happy-time goodness event for we here in Wild Rose country, it would seem, according to the rep, at least.

This beer pours a solid oily black abyss, with ever so slight reddish highlights, and one finger of foamy, puffy, and fizzy mocha head, which leaves a thorough, yet loose webbed pattern of lace around the glass as it quickly settles.

It smells of sweet roasted caramel toffee, treacle, thin black licorice, aged dark fruits, soft saccharine booze, and musty, dusty hops. The taste is lightly roasted caramel malt, a touch of soaked brown bread, bittersweet dark fruit, some lighter drupe fruit frivolity, molasses, gritty dry chocolate, a bit of sooty ash, singed brown sugar, leafy, weedy hops, and a simmering alcohol warming.

The bubbles are fairly sedate, and innocuous, the body a more or less sturdy medium weight, a touch hollow, with a bit of astringency maybe screwing with an unjustly expected smoothness. It finishes just off-dry, the bitter cocoa, muddled tart fruit, and straining booze all pitching in to proffer their two-bits towards the overall effect.

An interesting, and heady affair, to be sure, but kind of lacking the gravitas of those New World upstarts, unfortunately. The sly tugging of the booze, while not actually hot, does soon aggravate to a certain degree, even over such a small serving size. Quite nice to try, sure, but probably meant for a more reserved, Old World stout aficionado, than this otherwise biased camper. (1,504 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011, BBD 19/09/24... 13 yr., 4 month shelf life?

Thick layer of mocha foam, leaving striated layers of lace all around the glass. After 15 minutes or so the foam recedes into a floating island, but the skim remains unbroken.

Very mellow chocolate aroma, slight roast, also something vaguely acidic, sweet and ashy.

Creamy and smooth milk chocolatey feel, pleasant residual mild hop bitterness in the background. Definite sipper, very smooth and easy drinking in small sips. Slight nuance of fruity plum in the aftertaste. Cocoa nibs and mild char. Rich and exceptionally smooth as mentioned before. Residual chocolate and dry ashy elements. Pretty nice stuff, glad it's seeing a new revival. (708 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 womencantsail
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with a finger or two of khaki head. Nice dark fruit aromas which offset the roasted malt aroma. Dark chocolate, plenty of coffee, and a hint of licorice. Some nice burnt sugar notes and just a touch of smoke. The flavor is fairly sweet, but still a good roast and coffee character. Some dark chocolate, a touch of toasted nuts, molasses, mild licorice, and some dark fruit sweetness. A well balanced Imperial Stout. (436 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

9.3 ounce bottle - $6.29 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia. Brewed in May 2011. "Best before see neck of bottle." 19/09/24.

Appearance: Pours a black body with a quickly growing, durable, dark tan head. Meager lacing.

Smell: Tar-scented roasted malts, spritzed with booze, dusted liberally with powdered licorice and sprinkled with dark fruit skins soothed and smoothed with mellowing notes of chocolate and mocha.

Taste: Well-roasted malts lending bold coffee, dark chocolate, fire-pit smoked plums, with some alcoholic heat wrapped within the malty flavors. Slight creosote taste, some licorice whip. Slightly tart fruitiness, helping a bit to cut through the hard roast overtones. Herbal, spicy hops, moderately bitter. Picking up some mineral-laden aspects in-between the firmer tastes. More creosote and licorice on the rear, with the bitterness and peppered alcohol accents lasting into the dry, warming, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel overall.

Overall: Courage, indeed. (1,036 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a healthy head of off white foam that receedes slowly and leaves nice, thick lace. The liquid comes out of the bottle a clear, reddish brown, but fills the glass with an opaque, black body.

S - Roasty malt with lots of caramel and dark fruit.

T - dark chocolate up front with candied cherries and figs. Some orange and more dark chocolate in the middle with a finish of licorice, mint, anise, and light char.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Nicely made, it has a really nice balance of dark fruit and chocolate malt with almost no coffee like roasted character. Spicy and very seasonally appropriate for winter. (670 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in my swanky new Sweetwater snifter.

Nice to hold some brewing history in my hands, even if it isn't from the original re-brewers (read: not Wells/Young). It pours a straight onyx topped by a tall finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises dark chocolate, roasted malts, light molasses, and a touch of darkly-roasted coffee. Pretty dern British, so to speak (as far as stouts go). The taste brings in more of the same, with a touch of clove lying near the bottom of things. The body is a light-feeling medium, with a light carbonation and a creamy, smooth feel. Overall, this is a great-tasting stout that drinks way the hell too easily for anyone's own good. If this is anything like the older stuff, I will work my ass off to get a vintage bottle... (761 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.05/5  rDev -27.6%
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. (496 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to shibbypwn for adding this to a nice trade.

Pours a huge 2.5 finger fluffy and darker colored head that fades fairly slowly, with some lacing but less than I expected, the beer is not quite pitch black but close, with some light sneaking through.

Nose has nice stout tones, plenty of chocolate, dark chocolate, powdered cocoa, hot cocoa, some baker's choc, hint of roast, some light caramel and dark malts, a nice creamy coffee like aroma with that, and a light toasty bready like malt aroma.

Taste is similar, dark malts but adds some extra roasty malts this time, more coffee and espresso, but think and gets a bit syrupy and over roasty, not quite acrid but more like over roasty. Then chocolate with a nice dark chocolate, cocoa powder, baker's, etc. and a bit of caramel. Some hops I think add some earthy bitterness but could be more of the roasty malts adding it, which get slightly soy sauce like but not quite. A chewy over spicy earthy hop comes through a bit more as it goes towards the finish. Then finishes fairly bitter, a bit salty almost briny with over roasty malts, roasty malts, and a bit of chocolate linger, with an over dry finish, and a light booze.

Mouth is fuller rich bodied, fluffy, decent carb, bit of warming booze.

Overall pretty good, quite big and probably needs a couple years to settle the large overroasted malt flavors, but nice chocolate, nice bitterness, dry finish, quite a bit beer, much bigger than I expected from a U.K. beer. (1,482 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I enjoyed this in a snifter chilled purchased from Half Time.

The color is dark mocha with thin sandstone cap with ultra fine bead with webbing of lace sticking to the glass and retention is very good. The smell is dark chocolate, molasses, plum, currant, prune and light biscuit odors with a mild toffee and vinous element. The feel is great with slight fruit tinge and dark toasted texture with moderate bitterness and carbonation with sublte sweet edge and semi-dry finish with alcohol well hidden.

This taste is familiar yet fresh with dark currant flavors and subtle dark sugar and molasses taste with some vinous and sweet toffee flavors side by side with slight toasted malt, cocoa and a pine-like hop echo with mild dark cocoa essence and very light alcohol. The great thing about this russian imperial stout is how drinkable it is. I have tried the original courage and this bottle which is over 2 years old still has a vibrant fresh taste even though it has some age. I love how the yeast fruitiness mixes with the rich malt and the alcohol does not even really makes an appearance til it nears cellar temp. I love this and would recommend it to anyone interested in a traditional Imperial Stout (1,210 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You kind of have to take this one for what it is, and not what you'd want it to be (present day). There is something about this beer that definitely strikes me as an old world version of the style. Which makes sense, since this is an older recipe and basically what they were going for. Intense in its own way, but of course nowhere near a Dark Lord or anything like that. An interesting ris worth trying out to see what it used to be like. (440 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a dust covered bottle of this 20 years ago from the original Courage Brewery. I really didn't know hat to this of it as it was my first ever RIS & I was fairly blasted, I just remember how damn chewy it was. Obtained this bottle from the Biergarten in Jenks, OK

Pours an effervescent ebony with 3+ fingers of mocha head. Great lacing with good head retention

S: Deep choclate notes, dark fruit, some oaky notes, serious boozeyness in harmony with the style

T: Follows the nose, & vanilla notes with a kiss of booze up front, serious dry notes as well. Carob, a bit of sour cherry & cask sherry notes all mix as this warms, plus so much pkummyness . Finishes dry, boozey, plummy with choclate & roasted malt notes

MF: Chewy as all get out,sticky, warming with slight carbonation, thins out a bit as this warms

A very nice RIS, Wells & Young have reignited the flame. This one will age nicely, there are still a few semi-rough edges to smooth out (956 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -39.4%
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) (3,775 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in May 2011. Served in a Surly Darkness glass.

A - Two-plus fingers of creamy light mocha foam that slowly settles to a meringue-like cap. Intricate glass-coating lace patterns linger on the sides of the glass. The body is an extremely dark brown that could be confused with black in low light.

S - Massive milk chocolate, toasted biscuits, roasted malt, hint of Whoppers, mild dark fruits, light smoke and char, and a bit of musty and fruity brettanomyces. The brett imparts a hint of playdough, but otherwise this is quite enjoyable.

T - The taste has less brett presence to it, and more in the way of cocoa and chocolate syrup, raisins, dark fruits, and a mild amount of licorice, char and espresso bitterness. The brett adds a hint of leather and a faint medicinal flavor in the finish, but this is more traditional English stout than the aroma suggests.

M - Carbonation is surprisingly zesty, with a mix of dryness and stickiness to the texture. Medium-full body, chewy and viscous., with a hint of warming alcohol after 6oz or so.

D - Tragically, I think the 275ml serving size is a bit too small. I savored this for roughly a half-hour, but would have gladly appreciated another few ounces. I'm curious how the brett manifests over time, as it's already quite present. In any case, I'm glad they've resurrected this beer as it's quite unique and unlike almost anything I've had in recent memory. (1,414 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Courage Imperial Russian Stout, Vintage 2012. Alc 10% Vol., 9.3 fl. oz. "brewed to perfection only once a year. Enjoy now or age up to 13 years." Clearly, I've chosen now.

Solidly Stygian hue, with a slim cocoa-tan hue, thin but for the center, a creamy nucleas adrift in a sea of black.

Aroma: roasted malt, molasses, char, smoke. Dark, deep, devilish. Even demanding.

Taste: Dark roasted, toasted malt, thick, rich, a little viscous. Dark fruits abounding, fig and raisin, ultimately dry, no sweetness, with minor bitterness, just a touch of hops. A torrent of flavor, wave after wave, depth of taste returning, nothing but darkness, ending dryly. Quite complex, rich and rewarding.

What else does the label say? "Enjoys a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh smokey, fruity finish." Don't know about the pear (?), but the rest sounds pretty close. Also, "No. 70, 610 of 210, 000."

Is this truly the original Russian Imperial Stout, or Imperial Russian Stout? I thought that was Le Coq? This one claims it was originally brew in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Who knows for sure?

It definitely tastes like an original article. Fruity flavors are becoming more prominent through and through, halfway into the bottle. More chocolate, more coffee, more of everything you want from an Imperial Stout, with less of the hops you get from American versions, and much less sweetness. This is almost perfect, actually. Too bad it's so small, rare, and expensive. Alas and alack. (1,513 characters)

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
93 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.