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

786 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 786
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 150
Gots: 175 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 786 | Reviews: 271
Photo of floridadrift
4.75/5  rDev +12%

96 out of 100 for Imperial Stouts

A: Blackish

T: Sweet, figgy, dates, prunes, little vanilla here and there

M: Creamy

O: Its like 6.99 and its a 10oz or something, its worth it. Its quite enjoyable and it's been around for some time. I highly recommend drinking this beer or getting your distributor to sell them.

Photo of ThomasT
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%

Poured into a whisky tulip glass (I know, sacrilege). 2012 vintage.
Appearance: As black as beer can be. Nice, dark brown, two finger head that was super thick, but actually dissipated a bit. A thin, iridescent oil on the surface and some lacing, but not a ton (probably due to the glass I used).
Smell: Strong smell of overripe fruit and deep coffee roastiness. Hint of chocolate
Taste: Powerful and rich. The body is almost oily and seems to coat your entire mouth with even a small sip. Several different fruit can be tasted, all of which taste slightly to significantly overripe. I detect dates, fig, and plum especially. Moves from fruit into a prominent espresso, almost as strong as espresso itself. Finally, the finish is a rich, dark chocolate the likes of which can only be beat by the absolute richest fancy deserts. Slight, mellow warmth in the throat, but no alcohol taste detected.
Body: Extremely full-bodied
Overall: An incredible beer that clearly lives up to its reputation. Each sip tastes like you are indulging in every item on the desert tray in a grand feast. Cannot recommend enough.

Photo of Chico1985
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Long-time Want finally relinquished, had a couple pours of this on-tap at The Foundry, Northampton MA.

Black pour into a snifter with a half-finger or so of tan head, retention is decent, some lace left. Really cool flavor profile, big dark English-y malts all the way, definitely has a 'classic' feel going on. Great vinous dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum stick out the most and mesh well with dark caramel, baker's chocolate, toast, molasses, tobacco, just a little bit of roast helping to balance out the sweetness. Somewhat reminiscent of old-school English barleywines/old ales. Very smooth malty mouthfeel with pleasant warming alcohol.

Russian Imperative Stout is more like it.

Photo of seedyone
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

10/30/13 Just a taste on tap. Every Imperial Stout I've tasted has some degree of coffee & this one does just that. What sets it apart is the type of coffee. Espresso is way up front here with a smokiness not far behind. The blurb says a hint of pear but I can't imagine the perfumy blush if pear managing any ID in this stuff.

In the end I find it lacks the obligatory sweetness to offset the bitter of the espresso. Even a true espresso is served with a twist of lemon to divert the taste buds.

Maybe things will improve with a true pint.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12%

This is vintage 2013 and its good until 12-09-26. The nose is chocolate, dark dried fruit with a touch of fruit cake. It pours deep chestnut under a finely bubbled tan head. The palate begins with rich chocolate backed by light coffee that blossoms into dark dried fruit and then fruit cake and hints of molasses. It dries on the finish with a slight astringency and a suggestion of chalk. The carbonation is very fine and soft - almost nitro quality. The body is chewy and the beer is slightly warming. Everything is very well balanced. An outstanding beer.

Photo of Furlinator
4.07/5  rDev -4%

Brewed in 2011.

Pours opaque black. The one inch tan head fades to a thick cap on top and leaves shimmering curtains of lace.

The smell is of dark chocolate, black coffee, faint black licorice and a hint of vanilla.

The taste is of black coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and dark stone fruit.

The texture is full bodied with low carbonation.

Brewed using a traditional recipe, this is a classic Russian imperial stout and probably the blueprint from which most modern imperial stouts were derived.

Photo of KellyBelukusBeers
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Luxurious and silky English stout brewed with both real chocolate and chocolate roasted malts. Flavors of Espresso, Molasses with smoky finish. Brewed first for empress Catherine the Great in 1795.

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

275ml bottle served in a mug like glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color forming a big and solid dark beige head. Excellent retention and tons of thick, creamy and lingering lacings left in the glass

S: Sweet. Chocolate cake. Strong notes of roasted malts. Licorice, Oreo and espresso. Dark dry fruits. Light notes of dyacetil. Very earthy and a bit booze in the end

T: Slightly sweet. Strong notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, espresso, dark dry fruits. Brown bread and earthy yeasts. Intense bitterness, a mix of roasted malts and herby hops

M: Creamy, heavy full body. Medium to low carbonation. Dry, bitter and roasted aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. Perfect Russian Imperial Stout

Photo of travolta
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with ruby on the edges. Spotted lacing. Quickly dissipating head that was rocky and chunky.

Nose: vinegar, resin, pepper, pear, nougat, slight bread.

Taste: Perfect mouthfeel. smooth and syrupy, velvety and delicate. Hides it's ABV extremely well. Raisins with some alcohol hotness in the middle and at the end.

Notes: 2012 vintage. An excellent example of an imperial Russian stout.

Photo of tbeckett
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

Photo of siege06nd
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.18/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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

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

Photo of Damian
2.95/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of paul_db
3.03/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

vintage 2011 bottle

Poured out jet black with alot of head.

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

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

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

Photo of Svyturys30
2.49/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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

A- Stereotypical stout, dark brown, black.

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Photo of puboflyons
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Photo of joeseppy
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Extremely dark brown with obvious sediment. Wafer thin beige head and a nice wispiness throughout.

Aromas leading of molasses and figgy pudding. Later turning into prune juice and raisins almost like a mincemeat pie. Dark chocolate and burnt sugars.

Tastes of molasses and more dark chocolate covered raisins maybe chocolate covered blueberries with the tartness that is everso evident. Dark sugars, fruit and cocoa qualities.

Mouthfeel has sufficient carbonated coverage. Medium body and cocoa powder dryness. Some sugar stickiness.

First bottle of liquid of liquid Courage I've tried. Imperial made for the Tsars of olde. Very delicious and should not be passed on if you have the chance.

Photo of StoneTSR
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: Nope. No light is getting through this beer...it's just black. On top of that motor oil-like beer sits a solid, light beige head. In the three minutes since I've poured this beer it has probably faded from a full finger to about three quarters of one. Excellent retention with very strong lacing as well...in fact, the lacing is gorgeous; nice, heavy layers cover the whole back of the glass. As good as it gets for an Imperial Stout.

SMELL: A light, chocolatey, coffee aroma wafts up from that impressive head. Some bitter hop smells lurk beneath, but they are just barely detectable.

TASTE: This is a very different type of RIS. Yes the coffee/espresso flavor is there, along with a touch of dark chocolate. Where it gets a little different is the slight tart, fruit flavor at the finish. It's almost a tart apple, but not quite...and just a touch. The finish is a little roasty, but pretty clean for a Russian Imperial Stout.

MOUTHFEEL: This is a velvety, smooth beer that goes from pleasantly sweet at the start to a nice, dry finish. The body is big, but not overwhelming. Very well put together.

OVERALL: It's a shame we don't see this beer more often in Colorado, but it truly is a wonderful Russian Imperial Stout. The intensity of the fruit and the subtle hint of tartness serve to set this beer apart from the rest. It may not be the Russian Imperial Stout I'm used to, but it is undoubtedly delicious.

Photo of JulioH
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This bottle pours a very dark beer. It immediately forms a nice brown head that dissipates to leave a one inch foamy top. Smells of chocolate, prunes, brandy and coffee. Taste reveals a nice dark bitter beer. Not overly bitter, but taste of dark chocolate, leaves a bit of acidic taste and then a lingering taste of brandy or alcohol, which I don't find offensive. Smokey too.

Mouth feel is light. Leaves the mouth dry. Not a thick beer.

Awesome beer to age.

Photo of woemad
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

9.3oz bottle purchased at the Mid Columbia Wines & Spirits in Richland, Washington. According to the neck label, this was brewed in May, 2011.

Poured a super-dark brown color, with only the faintest lightness visible at the beer’s extremities when held up to light. Big, creamy tan head that hung around for a while and left sheets of lace on the sides of a Chimay glass.

The aroma was initially of brown sugar, chocolate and dark fruits, in that order. As it warmed up, the fruit scent increased, eventually becoming the dominant partner.

Like the nose after it warmed up, the taste starts off with a bitter, prune-like blast of dark fruit flavor, with some bitter coffee following right behind. Soon there’s a mildy sweet chocolate thing happening, along with some molassesy, brown sugary flavors are in the background. The bitter flavors essentially take the part of Panzers in the beer’s Blitzkrieg, with the sweeter elements mopping up like infantry. There’s a little bit of warning in the form of alcohol heat that this beer is not to be toyed with, but it’s hovering in the background rather than pointing a gun at your head.

The body was somewhere between medium and full. Mouthfeel was creamy.

This took the edge off of a day spent filling in for someone else at work rather nicely. It would be equally at home after dinner or before going off to bed. The price (which I don’t specifically remember but recall it was rather high for the small bottle size) would keep me from regularly picking this up, but it would make a nice, occasional reward for good behavior.

Photo of Impfan
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very complex aroma and flavor of walnut/pecan, pears in brandy, campfire, dried fruit with a hint of green olive, roast coffee and cream, vanilla and figs.

Finish is quite lengthy, and the overall effect is elegant, layered and restrained, while at the same time ebullient.

A marvelous tribute to the granddaddy of all Imperial Russian Stouts.

Photo of dar482
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer has a wonderful chocolate aroma with a bit of roasted malt and coffee. Hints of dark fruit.

The flavor follows with chewy chocolate, cocoa, some roasted malt and coffee. The dark fruits of plums and figs come back.

The beer is smooth with a medium plus to full mouthfeel. The beer is restrained and well crafted. Incredible attempt at the style.

Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black with a small off-white head. Aroma is malts and sweet fruit. Flavor has a strong dose of sweet fruit mixed with roasted malts. There is also a touch of coffee and chocolate, and the smokiness helps balance these flavors out. This has a nice full body a goes down smooth. It is one of the best beers I have had. Everything about it is just pure joy - from the rich aroma to the complex and well-balanced flavors. I will have to get some more bottles to age.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pure black body, topped by two fingers of dense dark tan foam.

Aroma is deep roasted coffee, hint of chocolate, big bouquet of fruits.

Taste starts with coffee, sprinkles in some raisins. Some alcohol, not hot, in the finish.

Smooth and slick, not real thick.

A classic well done.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 786 ratings.