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Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

556 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 556
Reviews: 224
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%

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)
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Ratings: 556 | Reviews: 224 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of LiquidAmber


4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours very dark brown, appearing black. Nice two finger light brown head with medium bubbles and massive lacing. Good aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, sweet dark fruit. Flavor is exceptionally well integrated, with slight dark malts to start, but other flavors opening up in the middle. Roasted and sweet malt, dark fruit, bitter coffee and chocolate. Finishes with coffee and a well tuned hop bite. Excellent heavy, creamy body is noticeable from the very first taste. A very nice, complex and well done imperial stout. These guys have obviously have kept the craft of imperial stout making alive. Exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 05:31:26 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


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

Presentation: 170ml nip-sized, thick brown glass bottle. Unlike the BA Avatar in the Database, the sample I was holding had the more classic presentation. The dark black background of the main label sits well against the dark purple ringlet that has the words “Imperial Russian Stout” in a rather simple looking Arial-like white font, with “Originally brewed for Catherine II, Empress of all the Russias” in smaller gold font. Inside this there are some Russian words, whilst inside that a Regal Crown has the scripted white letters “O.G. 1098” underneath. Outside this royal paraphernalia, the words “Brewed in the UK, Courage Ltd., Staines, Middlesex” sits above and “As Brewed for Over 200 Years” below. Right at the bottom of the label, it is dated “Brewed In 1993” in simple but prominent white text. Listed as Alc. 10.0% Vol. The simple brass crown cap had a slight speck or two of rust, but nothing to worry about. Firmly applied 11 years ago, it took some removing. A little escape of gas eased my initial fears that a flat dead sample could have been lurking, a ridiculous concern, as I knew that this had lived a good life in the English Yorkshire Countryside before coming Stateside at Easter.

Appearance: Hmmm, what glass to use? Well, I opted for the largest Goblet I had in my armory, a Duvel vessel, freshly washed, cleaned, washed in clean hot water again and then rinsed in cold water and left to its own devices to dry naturally. What a superb choice it turned out to be for it allowed the full glory of the nose to present itself whilst I closely inspected its sheer brown naked body in the hourglass sides of the Duvel Glass. The perfect body has nothing to hide, dark black, almost tar like at first; it takes a powerful light to reveal its dark brown luscious strong body. Pellucid and exotic, like a classic edition of Playboy it begs to be inspected closely, again and again, except that this is most definitely not airbrushed.

Shite!!….I could sit all night and slowly swirl the smallest quantity of this goliath beverage in the forgiving oversized Duvel glass. Presented as such like a fine Brandy, it looks simply fucking marvelous, quite incredible that a beer with no carbonation has such an impressive quality about it, but somehow it does.

Nose: Blackcurrants, and lots of them, I immediately detected dark berried fruits mixed into a thick mélange of currants, molasses, freshly baked spotted dick, alcohol soaked plums and amontillado sherry. There is a hell of a lot going on here and I am far from proficient enough to dissect it all, suffice to say the nose is a meal in itself and exhilarating & invigorating enough to be taken through a freshly rolled up crisp banknote.

Taste: Immensely complex, superbly smooth, Teflon like silky flavors slide over the oral cavity and coat it like a high performance lube oil, embracing the tongue in an orgasmic orgy of mature delight. Sensual and sexy, this releases itself oh so slowly, allowing you to genuinely bask in all of its glory. Dark fruits, plums soaked in alcohol for so long the skins fall off, dark raisins, rich currants, blackberries, blackcurrants, Garibaldi Biscuits and malt soaked molasses. Light sweetness cantilevered against this humongously well aged body makes this a real treat.

I swear the aftertaste will last for another 11 years. Long lingering tasty solute that lays a complex carpet of experiences on the cheeks, tongue, throat and stomach. I could still taste this 15 minutes after the last swallow, which truly helps you to savor the small bottled sample that much more. Mind blowing!!!

Mouthfeel: Smooth, sophisticated, suave – this is the James Bond of Imperial Russian Stouts, a sort of from Russia with Love. Age merely adds massive levels of maturity to the confidence of this British Agent. Brandy like it needs to be sipped and slowly savored.

Drinkability: Fantastic, sampled alone at first, but I chose to finish the last 50ml of this with some big chunks of 5 Year Old Aged Sharp English Cheddar that I had been saving. An absolutely incredible mix. I so want to give a 5 for Drinkability, but I suppose that the sheer complexity and richness may prove a tad too much, it certainly deserves a 4.5, but could so easily be a 5.0 for me.

Overall: Damn, this is one fine brew indeed. 11 years after it was brewed, this one bottle has most certainly stood the test of time incredibly well. A World Classic for sure, but moreover this is really a Highly Educated Gentleman of the English Bottled Beer Aristocracy.

A Huge Thanks to fellow BA and Yorkshireman BSF for this one, delivered whilst we shared a brew at the Doncaster Beer Festival during my Easter trip to England. I am truly indebted to you for this master libation. Thank You, Thank You Sir; it has matured extremely well, no thanks in part to your master cellarmanship. I owe you a few Gallons of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord next year!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2004 05:01:38 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of nickfl


4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 04:48:34 | More by nickfl
Photo of champ103


3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black, opaque color. A massive tan head rises with excellent retention. Spiderweb lace is left all the way down the glass.
S: Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate all intermingle. Dark fruits of cherries and plums. Very nice and well balanced.
T: Lightly roasted malt, some chocolate and coffee. Dark fruits again. Kind of grainy and sugary.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A bit on the watery side. Easy to sip on. The alcohol is nice and warming.

This is very welcoming and warming. A nice imperial stout, and obviously has roots as one of the original. Something I enjoy and would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 00:26:17 | More by champ103
Photo of Alieniloquium


4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

275 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. May 2011.

Appearance - Pours a sedimenty black with an ample head. I chose this glass because I thought it would all fit. Barely does. Retains magnificently with lacing all over.

Smell - This is what an RIS should smell like. Chocolate roast. Booze, but appropriate to the style. Bitter coffee that is amplified by a grassy hop aroma.

Taste - Maybe not as good as the nose. The hops are dominant throughout, masking some of the malt complexities. Chocolate is secondary to a deep coffee roasted malt flavor. Finishes quite bitter, as I would expect. Unlike many American RIS's, the hops are purely bittering, but the flavor is still pretty extreme.

Mouthfeel - Just a touch abrasive from the bitterness. 275 mL is a good serving size for this. As it warms, it gets more hoppy and bitter. The carbonation is remarkably high, which makes it seem even more abrasive.

Overall - Wonderful example of the style. Surprised to find a true English RIS exhibiting such American characteristics. Maybe I'm just confused as to what I should be expecting. It's extremely hoppy, but on the bittering end at least. I'd go for it a little more if it weren't as palate-crushing, but I suppose it needs all of those hops to survive the long journey to Catherine the Great.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 02:25:46 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in 1975 sampled in 2008 at the ripe old age of 33 this is officially the oldest beverage that I have knowingly sampled.

Bottle opened with a nice hiss and poured a solid black with a smallish tan/brown head that lasted forever. I'm really surprised the carbonation has held up so well all these years.
Aroma is heavy with wine/port like smells. A slight chocolate and some band aid in there too. Taste is port or sherry, salty with a bitter aftertaste that doesn't quit. Quite a unique experience. This beer has stood up well, but was obviously better years ago. Definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 06:22:06 | More by johnnnniee
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.


Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 01:53:57 | More by woosterbill
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Small bottle served in a small nonic.

Appearance: Pours hazy and dark brown with dark tan head. Meager lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits and booze, in that order.

Taste: Well-roasted malts impart hints of coffee, dark chocolate and licorice. Mildly bitter. Slightly tart; a bit more than I'd prefer up front but better balance by the finish. A hint of smoke in the roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth. Some harshness from the 10% ABV.

O: more rustic than expected, and with the high ABV more apparent. Good but not world-class.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 16:02:31 | More by chinchill
Photo of drpimento


4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heavy hitter. Poured at a good temperature with a super size tan, foamy, frothy, fluffy head that settle very slowly and some lace. Color is a very dark, almost opaque, but clear amber brown with lots of bubble trails. Aroma is malt, dark, ripe fruit, yeast, wine. Flavor's like nose with subtle sweetness, soft carbonic tang, roast/yeast/hop bitter and a little clashing between some of those qualities. Body is soft and full; ditto carbonation. Finish is like flavor, long, and quite boozy. Big beer. Neat that Courage is able to come back with a beer like this.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2012 04:28:43 | More by drpimento
Photo of francisweizen


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

1983 vintage sampled at the Kulminator in Antwerpen, Belgium. $4:-) From the mangled bottle pours forth one insanely good beer! Deeply dark and opaque with no hints of light showing through! A HUGE head of tan foam, that leaves excellent lacing, even after 21 years in the cellar. The aromas are heavenly, as this is the ultimate imperial stout. The aromas are all across the board and consist of currants, dark chocolate, pure cocoa, strong french coffee, pure unadulterated alcohol vapors, deeply roasted malts, lightly medicinal (orval-like) hops and more! The taste is so rich, so deep, and so endless, that it is hard to describe. The first thing that hits tongue is the deep coffee flavor, than the chocolate and malts come in with a one-two punch, than the hops and other herbal flavors come and linger on your tongue for an eternity. 21 years old and this is not oxidized one freaking bit. This beer is so old, that IT can legally drink itself in the states! The mouthfeel is so thick, creamy, and smooth, with no loss of texture after all of these years, and the drinkability is simply amazing. 10%+, you HAVE to be kidding me. Wow, i've always loved imperial stouts, and I thought that I have had some of the best imperial stouts out there....than, I had this. This is without a doubt the perfect imperial stout (and one of the oldest recipes is used as well). A classic amongst classics, and perhaps the best beer that I have ever had in my life...(it gives the St. Lamvinus a run for it's money, and this one was only $4!!!)You simply have to find a way to try a well-cellared example of this beer. I see them on eBay ocassionaly, so perhaps it is worth a try. If not, do have one when you get to the little piece of heaven that is the Kulminator in Antwerp. No wait, don't have any, save it all for me...PLEASE!

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 21:43:14 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to NewBrewBB for the birthday surprise. 275ml bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. 19/09/24 indicated on the bottle. Brewed in May 2011 indicated on the label on the neck of the bottle. Pours slightly darker than cola with a loose, dense, half-inch, khaki-colored head that exhibits excellent retention. Thick arcs of lacing are exposed on the tilt side of the glass with each sip. Nose reveals cocoa, a trace of char, dark fruit, brewer's licorice and a suggestion of ethanol towards the back. Taste follows nose; however, there actually seems to be some slight oxidation present in the flavor profile as well as a hint of soy sauce behind the char. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with an even carbonation that falls just short of lively. There's also some residual acidity at the finish. Overall, I have to say that I was a bit let down by this beer, especially given the $7.95 price tag. I don't even think this is a beer that will stand cellaring. Pretty much a swing and a miss for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 00:50:29 | More by Jwale73
Photo of hopdog


4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with egajdzis (thanks!). Vintage 1981. I've also had various other vintages, but this one was by far the best I've had to date.

Poured a dark, dark reddish brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of chocolate, smoke, and light coffee. Tastes of dark fruits, coffee, chocolates, and brown sugar. Light vinous quality as well. Sweet and smooth body. Lightly spicy.

Notes from and tasted on 5/6/05

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 02:12:26 | More by hopdog
Photo of Mebuzzard


4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting for this one to come around. Finally popped the top tonight and have another 'on age'

Pours a black/brown/ruby body. Big off brown head, tan, thick and rich. Nice lacing. Darn thing looks great

Aroma isn't unique and is very nice. Black currant, cocoa, burnt toast, leather, plum and raisin.

Taste falters a bit, partly due to the drinkability and feel. Flavors are black fruit and red plum. Leather here and there. Soft raisin and hints of melon. But there is something thin going on here. Just when I think it's going to be thick and chewy, it dissipates. Tannin on the end. Bites without a dryness. Alcohol is high. Hoping age will make this beer better than good.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 06:48:59 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of maximum12


4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dlello2 for this bottle in a large-format trade involving massive quantities of beer, er, yeast samples moving through the mail. Quaint 9.3 oz. bottle poured into a miniature snifter.

Pours black with a cockamamie, stink-eye of a head that overwhelms my little glass. Stands tall for a while, if anyone cares. Has one of those noses on it that say 'Don't drink me, I'm too good smelling to go away!' The smell is classic big stout, plus. Lovely malts, sweet, nice hoppy bite, dark fruits. Melded together like a Jason Bourne roundhouse.

Courage Russian Imperial Stout is deserving of its street cred. Great dark malts dominate with only the barest crack of smoke. Rich deep chocolate of course, with a dose of bitterness that might stem from the chocolate or leaf from hops. Flashes of peat. Smooth. Smooth & creamy, almost to the level of a cream ale. Lovely to drink; this bottle is too small by a factor of six.

A beer this legendary is often a let down, but that's not the case here. This beer excels in almost every category, but is a standard bearer in the nose & mouthfeel. Excellent. Love to see this one show up locally.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 02:46:31 | More by maximum12
Photo of Gmann

New York

4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murkey black/deep deep brown color with small yeasties floating about. The creamy light brown head was short and settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of a smooth roasted malt, a touch woody. A hint of chocolate and toasted pumpernickle. Some anise. Overall aroma not all that strong.

Big roasted malt flavor. Lots of burnt toast and a good amount of dark fruit. The roast is heavy with lots of char. There is a caramel sweetness that transitions into a slightly sour dark berry flavor. Dark chocolate and anise round everything out. Pretty much the definition of a RIS here; big, bitter, and malty.

Thick feel with semi-soft carbonation that leads to a mostly smooth flow. Sweet and bitter on the palate; good initial balance but the finish is a bit bitter. Sticky finish as you would expect.

A good traditional RIS. I imagine more of the dark fruit flavors would come out as it ages.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 00:53:40 | More by Gmann
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows cocoa, dark chocolate, oatmeal and a fair bit of earthy hops. Pretty nice stuff, very interesting.
Flavours are incredibly rich. Chocolate truffles, espresso, sultanas, prunes and booze. A bit too full on.
Nice thick body, could use more carbonation though.
A nice array of flavours but too sweet and boozy for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2012 01:35:34 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of Suds


3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An utterly black beer, this brew is a moderately sweet, heavy, classic example of the style. Not overly hopped, yet still bitter, it has some fruit notes in the smell and foretaste. Lots of malt and huge roasted notes. Coffee, chocolate, and raisins. It has a thick, but not quite syrupy character. This is a fine beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2013 01:19:16 | More by Suds
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 21:31:41 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of ADZA


4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark kola hue which leaves a two finger head and heaps of clingy lacing,beautiful looking almost spot on.

S-Burnt toffee and raisins,rich sticky date pudding,caramel and candied figs.

T-It starts off like a liquid Xmas pudding with tastes of caramel cake and candied fruits mixed with chocolate and chestnuts and finished with a dark fruity hoppy bitterness that counteracts every sweetness first encountered.

M-Full bodied and a touch boozy which finishes bittersweet.

O-This is definately a brew that would age well and im glad ive got more than the one and look forward to seeing how it ages and if you find definately buy more than the one cheers.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 14:42:17 | More by ADZA
Photo of BARFLYB


4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a few bottles of this for $5 a pop. Been wanting to try this for years now, and I could not pony up for the 20 year old aged bottles at Monk's. Poured into my TJ'S Everyday 7th Anniversary 'gold' rim plated snifter.

Courage pours out the dark red/brown/black mix when in mid air. When in the glass all nestled, Courage is a black looking stout, with a creamy froth of beige/tannish foam with legs and stick.

Smell is very inviting and bold and layered. Im really digging the smell. English qualities with the signature coffee, chocolate, roasted malt of an IRS. The english yeast provides an extra layer while there is a nice burnt/smoky/ash quality as well. Dark fruit with significant warming.

Taste is pretty exquisite. At this young stage Courage jumps out with roasted malt, milk chocolate, coffee beans, slight vanilla, a burnt English Baltic Porter quality with some smoke on the end. Layered is an understatement. As with the smell, dark fruits jump out at the end.

Feel is approaching full, this for sure coats the mouth on the way down with a slight warming quality without being hot. I cant taste the alcohol. Carb is light but present. Im sure this will smooth out even better with time.

This went down the hatch very easy like and I was surprised at the depth of this RIS. Im not a huge RIZZ guy, but I can appreciate the nuances of this beer. I have another bottle and it's taking a ten year dirt nap. I'll update then.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 17:16:38 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of ngeunit1


4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a big finger of frothy chocolate-khaki head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Roasted chocolate and a bit of caramel malts, some dark fruits, molasses, black licorice, vanilla, earthy hops, and a touch of booze.

T - Dark chocolate and caramel malts, some plum and other dark fruits, molasses, black licorice, roasted coffee, cocoa, earthy hops, some bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and almost creamy with a sweet, roasty, and warming finish.

D - Great RIS. Great balance and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 06:23:48 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of srandycarter


4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011

A - Very dark brown, but not so dark that you can't see the brown through the upper edges. Small head quickly runs to ring. Some cling.

S - Cocoa and soy sauce permeate the nose.

T - Taste follows smell completely. Gobs, yes gobs, of soy and hersheys syrup. Toasty malt is an afterthought in finish.

M - Medium body, creamy texture, good carb, enjoyable balance.

D - Did not perceive much heat, so ABV well hidden. A nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 06:30:59 | More by srandycarter
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1975 nip bottle, shared with my good friend Troy to celebrate all the hard work we put into planning Toronto's first beer week.

Some rust on the exterior of the bottle cap, but otherwise its in good nice. Its very reassuring that upon cracking the crown there's an audible hiss of carbonation. 35 years and the bubbles are still there! A thick residue similar to brown cocoa butter is clumped on one side of the neck.

The pour results in a dark brown liquid that verges so closely on black that it might as well be. A very fine whispy head takes up residence and slowly fades. As expected, there'snot really anything in the way of lacing. The nose has strong vinous notes - strong red wine, some soy sauce, bitter chocolate and tobacco. Certainly an old school RIS. Much the same can be said if the flavour, which has held up incredibly over the past three and a half decades. Stong tobacco notes and a resilient bitter chocolate. Red wine mixed with soy sauce and fleeting coffee notes. More going on than I can really put my finger on... Light carbonation, but its still there!

An extremely interesting brew. I've always wanted to try something older than me, and this one has me beat by seven years! Not only has it held up well, but its actually a very pleasurable example of the style, and its neat to see a traditional take along the lines of the A LeCoq stout. Worth the expense.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 12:37:25 | More by bobsy
Photo of homebrew311


4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Great Lakes snifter.

This one pours like a delightful imperial stout. A little lightish on the pour, but as it collects in the glass, it takes on the black opaque appearance that I know and love. Velvety, creamy looking head of the dark brown persuasion, excellent retention and heavy lacing. The smell of this thing is deep and dark with a healthy dose of hop bite. Plenty of baker's chocolate and dark fruit along with a hint of molasses. The herbal bite at the end is swift and strong. The taste is similar to the smell. Very robust in the malt department with bitter chocolate and some dark fruit sweetness. The hops are tame but definitely make an appearance to smooth out the intense malts. The mouthfeel is creamy and heavy with low carbonation. Overall, this is a damned good imperial stout. A bit on the spendy side @ $7 for a 10oz bottle, but I'm glad I gave it a go.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 07:53:42 | More by homebrew311
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 275 ml brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, thin tan head that dissipates to an even thinner sparse cap.

Rich espresso and molasses on the nose, some woody licorice, dried figs, and faint dry cocoa as well.

Burnt dark malt up front in the flavour, some cocoa and coffee follows, finishing up with dry cocoa and spicy, herbal hops melded with some alcohol heat.

Full-bodied mouthfeel on the lighter end, texture is slick yet residual sugars get sticky on the palate, with low carbonation.

Pretty solid offering for the style, pretty much hits all the right notes. While the hop content is certainly present it still doesn't prevent this RIS from being a bit cloying at first, however it still manages to take the palate on a bit of a ride through some different terrain when all is said and done. Based on that I have to keep reminding myself this is an English rendition, which makes pretty much par for the course in that light.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 03:35:27 | More by IronDjinn
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 556 ratings.