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Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

602 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 602
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 10.87%
Wants: 130
Gots: 120 | FT: 6
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 602 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 04:07:25 | More by biboergosum
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne


4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This years release. Grabbed two more to sit on. Pours out deep brown to black, small mocha head, very little lace.

Chocolate, coffee and liqorice start the smell off. Fruit, earth and booze come out as it warms.

Chocolate, earth and expresso beans make a very rich start to this brew. Alcohol and fruit back it up with molasses and a hint of smoke at the finish. The aftertaste is a slight coffee and anise. So smooth and creamy going down that its hard to just sip it.

Damn, that was a great brew!

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 20:07:00 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of innominat


4/5  rDev -5.4%

11-15-2012 19:17:39 | More by innominat
Photo of Beeradelphia


4/5  rDev -5.4%

11-13-2012 09:40:50 | More by Beeradelphia
Photo of Chugs13

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

11-04-2012 01:17:39 | More by Chugs13
Photo of cclark67789


5/5  rDev +18.2%

10-31-2012 17:21:13 | More by cclark67789
Photo of wsfletch


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

10-29-2012 03:56:59 | More by wsfletch
Photo of rolltide8425


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

10-29-2012 02:16:32 | More by rolltide8425
Photo of tobelerone


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I know this beer was out of production for quite a while and was a favorite of many in years past but I found it to be merely good, not great. Perhaps the quality was a little higher in earlier years or the standards for this style have risen, or both. Needless to say it's a nice imperial stout but it didn't knock my socks off.

The appearance is right on; black bodied, with a big rocky tan head that has strong retention and nice lacing. Aroma is quite roasty and bitter, with notes of anise, plums, and baker's chocolate and hints of booze.

The flavor follows suit; it's complex and tasty and comes in decidedly on the less sweet side. Strong roasted malt and bitter qualities; anise and chocolate/cocoa powder, again some booziness is detected; dark fruity notes of plum and raisin; a touch of herbal hops detected in the aftertaste. Some charred smokiness and molasses notes also emerge. The finish is fairly dry for this style.

Medium-full body; medium carbonation; reasonably smooth overall feel. Worth a try for sure; this beer has a reputation for being a great cellar candidate but I couldn't resist drinking mine after only about a year in the bottle. Will return in the future and take another look, I think.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 12:06:14 | More by tobelerone
Photo of drinkAK


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

10-23-2012 09:21:47 | More by drinkAK
Photo of metter98

New York

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 13:09:15 | More by metter98
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some dark amber highlights and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall tan head that slowly reduces to a very thin film covering the majority of the surface if the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts, licorice/anise, pine/resin hops, and just a hint of espresso/coffee. There is also a very light presence of dark fruit.

T: Similar to the smell, there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted malts with some lighter notes of dark fruit sweetness. There are notes of espresso/coffee and licorice/anise which lend a light amount of bitterness in addition to light amounts of pine/resin hops.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: The classic example of the style (Russian Imperial Stout)... Very enjoyable, with well hidden alcohol that makes it pretty easy to drink. Nice complexity to both the flavor and the aroma.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 00:41:26 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of cjac


4/5  rDev -5.4%

10-17-2012 03:09:30 | More by cjac
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.25/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2012 22:23:00 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of mattizmyname

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

10-16-2012 03:25:27 | More by mattizmyname
Photo of bigorange


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

10-15-2012 00:06:07 | More by bigorange
Photo of Keith_R


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

10-11-2012 00:07:25 | More by Keith_R
Photo of Zach136


4/5  rDev -5.4%

10-11-2012 00:04:55 | More by Zach136
Photo of BrewerB


4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cheers to Healthy Spirits for including this in their March 2012 Beers of the Month selection. Label indicates this was brewed in May 2011 and has a best before date of 9/19/2024.

Pours a dark roast coffee black with a finger or two layer of medium tan foam. Bittersweet chocolate, light charcoal smoke, and a touch of fruitiness round out the initial aromas with a cinnamon stick spiciness coming through as the beer stands. Roasty malts and scantly sweetened cocoa entice the palette first before bitter chocolate takes over. Smoky, dry with a bit of blackberry on the backend. Thick mouthfeel seems appropriate for beer of this caliber and is akin to a well-pulled espresso shot. Well-crafted in every aspect, one to sip slowly. I'll definitely be picking up some for the cellar next time I see it.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2012 02:47:18 | More by BrewerB
Photo of meanmutt


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

10-05-2012 03:46:20 | More by meanmutt
Photo of SquidVicious


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

10-01-2012 02:58:01 | More by SquidVicious
Photo of draiiinage


4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

May 2011 vintage

275mL bottle ($5.99) poured into a snifter

A: Black, medium viscosity, 3 fingers of espresso foam head

S: Strong dark fruits and rummy aroma, perhaps a hint of oak? Almost reminiscent of a barleywine.

T: Dried fruits, vinous, warming smooth alcohol with a light chocolate coffee on the back of the palate. Aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate.

M: Pleasant tingle from a combination of strong alcohol and medium high carbonation. Carbonation is borderline high for the style, but I think it works well in conjunction with the smooth backing of malty sappy coffee.

O: One of my favorite imperial stouts. I'm going to have to go back to the package store and get the remaining 3 bottles to age and see if another year makes any improvements.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 04:15:13 | More by draiiinage
Photo of aminobutyricacid


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

09-20-2012 16:50:35 | More by aminobutyricacid
Photo of bifrost17


4.78/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The bottle date says "bottle May 2011"
poured into a brandy snifter.

A: It pours exactly how you'd expect it to, jet black, viscous, motor oil. Once it's in the glass it's beautiful, opaque, when I hold the glass up to light nothing comes through, I can see my reflection in the glass. The head is surprisingly big for the 10% abv.

S: The aroma is spot on for what I like in Russian Imperial Stouts. Huge chocolate, dark fruit, bitter espresso, roasted malt, a slight sweetness, and big alcohol.

T: The taste is awesome, but not quite as good as it smells. Up front you get an initial bitterness, then it gets really sweet in the middle of your tongue and almost tastes like cola, this beer is extremely carbonated for the abv. Definitely warming as it goes down. The finish is pretty bitter and dry. All the qualities I just listed are things that I love in Russian Imperial Stouts. The 10% is hidden very well, the nose suggests that it's going to be pretty boozy, but that doesn't come through in the taste all that much.

M: Mouthfeel is full bodied and surprisingly carbonated. Not too sticky or viscous.

O: I've heard a lot about this beer and just happened to stumble across it at the bottleshop today. This beer, for me, is a perfect example of the style. Everything that I want in a R.I.S is in this beer. The Courage Imperial Russian Stout is worthy of all the hype and respect that it gets. If you haven't tried this then seek it out. I recommend getting a few bottles for the cellar, I know that tomorrow I'll be heading back to the bottleshop to pick up a couple more for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 04:36:02 | More by bifrost17
Photo of wilfonzo


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

09-20-2012 01:05:21 | More by wilfonzo
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 602 ratings.