1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

615 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 615
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 134
Gots: 117 | FT: 5
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Courage Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 615 | Reviews: 238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +3.3%

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

12-15-2012 06:11:06 | More by wordemupg
Photo of voltson

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

12-13-2012 03:24:51 | More by voltson
Photo of jk3

New York

3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

12-09-2012 21:14:26 | More by jk3
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -5.7%

I poured from a 275 ml bottle, 2012, into a snifter. The pour is inky black, light tan head. The aroma is more fruity than expected, notes of coffee and chocolate. The flavor is rich with chocolate, coffee, and some fruity notes. The finish lingers with a mix of chocolate and fruit. The beer is smooth, light carbonation, no dicernable booze. Interesting beer, IMO it should improve with some age on it.

12-09-2012 14:07:33 | More by bonkers
Photo of Travcofarms


5/5  rDev +17.9%

12-07-2012 15:39:47 | More by Travcofarms
Photo of nickfl


4.03/5  rDev -5%

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.

12-06-2012 04:48:34 | More by nickfl
Photo of kylehay2004


4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

12-06-2012 04:44:40 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of andant

New York

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

12-06-2012 01:43:32 | More by andant
Photo of rarbring


4.03/5  rDev -5%

A brown and black colored beer. A high tan head with good lacing and good curtains.

Smelling of sweet dark bread, dates and figs, dark coffee and chocolate.

Tasting of sweet bread, grown sugar, dark coffee and grape-fruit zest.

Medium carbonation, a soft and sticky texture. A big body with a very dry finish.

Crammed with lots of taste. Not bad at all :)

12-05-2012 21:33:38 | More by rarbring
Photo of Jimmys


4.18/5  rDev -1.4%

2012 bottle into chalice. No. 116846.

A: definitely dark brown. not quite black. brown head. retention and lacing are average/below average.

S: tobacco. licorice, but on the mild side. chocolate nibs. black cherries. sweet dry powdered chocolate.

T: dried tobacco leaves. dried salami. brown sugar. more leaves. there is a serious meatiness to the otherwise dry body. good shit.

M: moderate amount of carb on a full body of flavor.

D: nice to have an english version of a style that has become highly americanized. dry while managing to have plenty of flavor. a very enjoyable RIS.

12-02-2012 05:08:07 | More by Jimmys
Photo of bark


3.7/5  rDev -12.7%

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.

11-28-2012 21:10:12 | More by bark
Photo of ScottP

New Hampshire

4.75/5  rDev +12%

11-26-2012 23:51:46 | More by ScottP
Photo of kevgod


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

11-21-2012 02:05:48 | More by kevgod
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

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


4.53/5  rDev +6.8%

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!

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


4/5  rDev -5.7%

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


4/5  rDev -5.7%

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

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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


5/5  rDev +17.9%

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


4.75/5  rDev +12%

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


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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


4.03/5  rDev -5%

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.

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


4.75/5  rDev +12%

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

New York

4.15/5  rDev -2.1%

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

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

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

10-21-2012 00:41:26 | More by dbrauneis
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.