Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

267 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

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Reviews: 267
Hads: 793
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 151
Gots: 178 | FT: 11
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 267 | Hads: 793
Photo of flagmantho
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 275mL bottle into a tulip. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: extremely dark brown, though not quite black, with no light let through at all. Head is a finger of frothy dark tan foam which stuck around for a little while.

Smell: extremely rich and roasty, although not astringent. There's a fair amount of chocolate aroma as well as a rich, dark fruitiness that reminds me of raspberries. Very enticing indeed!

Taste: a strong alcoholic taste is present right up front, but this mellows into a very rich malt flavor. There's smokiness, chocolate and a fig or date like fruitiness that works well. Very sophisticated; I love it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a decent carbonation and a nice, smooth creaminess. I am surprised there's not more body, but there you have it.

Overall: a very rich and satisfying beer. I like the sophistication of the flavor. (877 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a brewed in 1976 edition bottle, 6oz(170ml)

I've always wanted to try a Courage Imperial Russian Stout ever since I read about it many years ago. Here is my chance.

I remove the cap, which isn't a crown cap...kind of surprised me given the age of the beer, and give it a vigorous pour into my NB Goblet. A few bubbles show up and then a light sheeting of foam appears and then disappears almost immediately. There are still *some* bubbles in the middle and around the edge of the glass. Oh, forgot to mention, there was a decent hiss when I popped the cap.

Zooming my nose over the glass, this smells very strong. Strong as in strong dark fruits, very sherry like notes, some caramel sweetness and good doses of chocolate. And a huge presence of alcohol. Just by the smell alonge I know this one is not for the faint at heart.

First sip and...the sherry like nose is there in the flavour. Wow. What a punch it delivers! The chocolate I mentioned in the nose is here and is rather big and bold bring lots of sweet tones..the dark fruits, not so much.

Seeing as this is a RIS and they are known for roasted malt goodness, I was worried as I didn't sense that in the smell at all. The taste, happily, shatters that worry. Very nicely roasted malt flavours are exploding every which way but loose and the alcohol? Wow. What a difference between smell and taste. It pretty much dominated the smell but the taste doesn't expose the 10%abv at all. Yeah, there's plenty of warming after the swallow, which is where I prefer it, but it sure isn't noticeable in the taste at all.

Cool, I just noticed that after a few sips, the foam makes a comeback of sorts. Big old island off center and now a complete ring around the glass. That surprised the hell out of me.

Big bodied and silky smooth with a surprisingly nice tingle of carbonation periodically during the session. 6oz?? I want more, damn it.

Drinkability? For a ~34 year old brew...absolutely incredible! Hell, if this was still being brewed and a fresh bottle is what I was drinking right now I'd say..absolutely incredible!

Bottom line(I haven't one of these in a while):
What can I say? I'm going to do my best to seek out more as this is one of the finest drinking experiences I've *ever* had. I'd LOVE to see Wells and Young's bring this beer back! (2,320 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/12 bottle #6255 2012 vintage from notes

A shes pretty dark alright both the liquid and the foam, the head lasts for few sips leaving a little soapy lace

S dark roasted espresso with some bakers chocolate and licorice, faint fruity notes but I'm not getting the pear the bottle suggests but I do get some of the smokey notes and just a little booze

T the flavors similar to the nose but the intensity of the dark roast is upped a fair bit, some char and more smoke with even stronger espresso and I get some faint creme brulee and even some earthy hops shine through, its pretty intense and I'm loving it

M feels solid, well not quite solid but its pretty thick liquid, a little slick with some faint heat and an aftertaste I'll be enjoying tomorrow at this rate, very nice

O this ones a hit, rich and dark with no real flaws anywhere, just a little booze here and there but that's to be expected in a fresh 10% RIS

for 5 bucks I'm going to throw a few away for aging, strange the bottle says it can be kept for up to 13 years, seems random and unlucky (1,098 characters)

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)

Photo of Brad007
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bog standard pitch black with a two-finger head that parts not too long after.

Aroma is strong on alcohol with a sweet, creamy backbone. Not much else here.

Dark fruit, roasted coffee and cream stand out as the dominant flavors, followed by the alcohol itself. A bit more aging will bring out the bouquet of flavors obscured by said alcohol.

Mouthfeel again is warm from the alcohol, resulting in an unpleasant dose of carbonation.

Again, there is hope for Courage if aged for a sufficient period of time. (518 characters)

Photo of bark
3.71/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch black, the liquid might be clear. Or hazy. I don’t know as the liquid is totally bloody black. There is quit a lot of yeast in the bottle, though. The finger thick head is warm brown, it sinks slowly leaving no lacing.

The smell got notes of liquorice, dark chocolate, Irish whiskey and alcohol. It is smooth and a bit sharp at the same time.

The taste is very much the same: Raw and smooth at the same time. Lots of sharp alcohol, some solvents. But also smooth delicate notes of fine milk chocolate, plums in Madeira, coffee and sweet liquorice. Full body. The aftertaste got lots of warming alcohol, some cocoa and distinct notes of black coffee. The long finish got some notes of dried fruits and salt liquorice.

The carbonation is smooth, the bubbles few and small. The liquid is quite light and semi-smooth.

This one is way too young now. I have tasted an 18 year old bottle of Courage Russian Imperial Stout from 1993, and that was a much more interesting experience. I really hope this one will age as well as the previous vintages. (1,069 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

275 ml bottle, 2012 vintage, bottle #053469. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like dark fruit, dark bread, molasses, chocolate, and some coffee. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some woodiness, toffee, and a bit of anise noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, and I'd like to try this again in the future. (506 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 avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of tan-colored, foamy head that lasted an average amount of time. Below average lacing.

S: A big aroma of malt, coffee, and a lot of dark fruit.

T: Tasted of coffee (a lighter amount than I expected), roasted malt, dark fruit (plums, raisins), and hint of chocolate. A complex, inviting flavor. Not as overpowering as you might expect considering the style, but still a fantastic flavor.

M: A fair amount of carbonation with a silky smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An excellent example of a Russian Imperial Stout. Well made, subtle, and very drinkable. (660 characters)

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

Brewed May 2011, best by 19th Sept 2024, consumed 25 March 2012. $7 or so from the Village Pump. Served in John's Thomas Hardy's tulip

A very dark brown/black with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this is a top notch stout. The nose is pretty excellent as well. Plenty of heavily roasted malt lending lots of bitterness, smokey notes, burnt sugar, dark caramel (minus the sweetness), a touch of ash and (welcome) acridity, as well as unsweetened cocoa and some coffee. Wow, this is one beautifully complex beer. Is the dark malt here exclusively black patent? Anyway, there is also some hop character, earthy and green with a touch of eucalyptus. Excellent stuff.

The flavors on the palate are stunning. Heavily roasted with plenty of grainy bitterness along with an herbal, minty hop character up front. The palate expresses, in order of strength (to my palate, at least) dark chocolate (70%, mildly sweetened), coffee (a nice creamy espresso), smoke (smoldering briquette)and peat. The peat lingers on into the finish, lending an aggressive but refined smoke note. The mid-palate is surprisingly fruity as wellAll sweetness that's present does exhibit a bitter side as well (burnt sugar, black licorice, buckwheat honey-like grainy character). Medium-full in body with moderate carbonation, this beer has a wonderful finish, with the aforementioned bitterness and sweetness, along with some char, a moderate fruit character and a touch of alcohol. Pretty excellent stuff IMO, I will have to buy a few more to cellar, despite the price. (1,577 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Smoky aroma has a chocolate undertone and hints of molasses and coffee. It pours a rich, warm sable just a whisker above black and with a very thick, somewhat fluffy tan head that hangs around for a little bit. Flavor has elements of roast quality coffee, molasses and chocolate with a hint of licorice. There is some subtle sweetness and bitterness that balance each other nicely. Full-bodied texture is quite fizzy and a little syrupy - doesn't get any better. A truly worthy RIS. (482 characters)

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 barnzy78
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

275mL bottle, dated 16/08/2025, presumably bottled in 2012, #049313 of 210000

Pours black with tons of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle (I left almost all of it in the bottle), tan colored head fades quickly to nothing leaving some lacing on the glass on its way down. Much more appealing aroma with rich, sweet, decadent dark chocolate and malt, faint anise, smoky roast, and booze. Very sweet and rich, with both dark chocolate & baker's chocolate, caramel, dark fruit, smoke, roast, booze, there actually is pear on the finish as the bottle states. Smooth, chewy, and full bodied mouth-feel. Overall, I poured it and thought it was going to be a disappointment, but I standcorrected - it was a world-class quality Russian Imperial Stout! (751 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. Bottle # 022761 bought at Max's in Baltimore. From notes.

A - Black pour with one finger of beige head that faded fast. Good carbonation and spotty lace with some filmy retention.

S - Chocolate, a bit sour, roast, dark fruit.

T - Super chocolatey, a bit sour again, roasty, coffee, dark fruit.

M - Very smooth and silky feel, dry finish and good carbonation.

O/D - Decent stuff but by no means does this live up to the hype. The sour note is a bit off, but you can see the potential for a very good stout hidden in there somewhere. Dark fruit flavours played well with the rest, but this just didn't do what most say it does. (644 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

275 mL bottle of the May 2011 vintage pours a light black color with a rising, rich and frothy brown head. Retention and lacing are both phenomenal. This is the best looking beer I have seen is a long while.

Nose is fruity, chalky, alcohol and dark chocolate. Very nice, very British smelling beer. Love it.

Taste is a little on the hot side right now, I definitely will look for a couple of these for the cellar. The potential is there but does not seem fully integrated yet. Lots of raspberry and figs with a burnt sugar malt with a fair amount of chocolate and roast. Mouthfeel is a little on the thinner side of impy stouts and the sweetness is pretty low. It opens up more as it warms, and gets better. I like it quite a bit now and like the cellaring potential even more. (779 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
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. (1,006 characters)

Photo of champ103
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (612 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
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. (365 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3oz bottle poured into a snifter. Brewed May 2011.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced a giant frothy tan colored head with enormous spots and rings of lacing. A ridiculous retention that is lasting forever.

(S)- A nice mild roasted bread component with bits of raisin and a cocoa-like yeasty dry finish. Lots of dry roasted bread components actually.

(T)- Again, a deep and dry roasted bread/grain profile. Plenty of cocoa, raisin, and coffee with subtle spicy grain kick.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level and a great balance. A great combo of roasted grains, dark fruits, and a dry finish. Sure doesnt feel like its 10%.

(D)- This one has been on my want list for quite some time now. Very happy it was brought back out of retirement. I look forward to seeing how this ages in the coming years. A great stout that I think can definitely improve with time. (868 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a pitch black color with a one finger head of a cream colored foam. The head fades rather rapidly leaving a trace of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. Upon swirling the brew in the snifter, thick fingers of beer cling to the sides of the glass, very slowly receding to the bottom of the vessel to leave some bubbly and sticky looking lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is huge of a sweeter smell of chocolate mixed with caramel. Along with these aromas are some nice notes of a roasted malt smell as well as a nice expresso aroma. Other lighter notes of darker fruits of cherry and raisin are there as well, with these also being accompanied by some sweet vanilla. With a little bit of grain and a light booze there as well the smell is overall quite warming.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice drier roasted malt taste mixed with a decent showing of some coffee. A lighter sweet flavor of caramel and some chocolate are at the front with these growing stronger as the taste advances and with them being joined by some light fruit tastes of raisin and plum. The coffee seems to dwindle as the taste advances all while the caramel, chocolate and fruit sweet flavors get stronger and stronger. A light bit of a boozy taste as well as some flavors of vanilla work their way onto the tongue at the end, and with a little resurgence of the coffee, end up leaving one with a dark and robust roasty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is quite thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is on the slightly lower side. For the dark roasted flavors mixed with the blend of sweet and the higher abv. the feel is right on and makes this one a slow sipper as it is meant to be.

Overall – A quite tasty and enjoyable Imperial stout. It has a good blend of sweet, roast, and booze to maintain a good drinkability but yet keep you in check all while bathing the tongue with a whole lot of flavor. (2,033 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (1,145 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

11.2 (I think?) oz bottle poured into my tulip. Really excited that I have a bottle of this legendary brew. Not sure of the vintage, but I know it's newer, probably this year.

Pours a very dark black, basically opaque. Not much light getting through this one. Nice, dark brown head forms, and lasts for a good while.

Smells awesome. Bitter chocolate, roastiness, vanilla, slight bit of hoppiness.

I wish I could taste this over and over again. So sad I only got one bottle. Tons of chocolate and, some tobacco, bit of vanilla, maybe some coffee bitterness, slight alcohol twang, slightly smokey. This one has so much going on. I love it!

Low carbonation, very creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Goes down very easy for the ABV.

A historic, legendary brew that lives up to the hype. I hope to see this again, and I hope to try some aged versions at some point. (858 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Paccamacca for the extra!

vintage 2012.

poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: light black to dark brown bodied beer with 3 fingers worth of medium khaki colored head. Head has good staying power and is thick and frothy with lots of big bubbles. As the beers head drops it leaves a decent amount of lacing; its better than spotty, but not quite heavy lacing.

Smell: roasty malts and dark fruits with molasses and brown sugar. A ton of black licorice notes as well.

Taste: A short lived note of sweet milk chocolates and molasses that is quickly inturrupted by huge black licorice notes and super roasty malts that are best described as char and ashen flavors. The flavor is very robust and takes you by surprise because the nose does not lead you to think that the beer would have this intensity. Hint of soy sauce. Earthy hops, smoke, peat moss in the aftertaste with even more black licorice. Char and smokey flavors linger for a long time in between sips.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth body with a spicy slightly boozey kick.

Overall: Really surprised that this RIS is so robust. Took me back a little bit at first. I am not a huge fan of black licorice in my dark beers so I didnt love it, but it was still surprisingly an enjoyable beer for me despite the unpleasantries of the black licorice notes. I think that this beer has really nice cellar potential; if I were to run into a bottle of this again I would drink one with somewhere between 3-5 years on it. (1,527 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
5/5  rDev +18.8%
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! (1,824 characters)

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
93 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.