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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

599 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 599
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 127
Gots: 119 | 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: 599 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
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 wtfdic
wtfdic

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -5.7%

08-21-2012 14:16:52 | More by wtfdic
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with a finger or two of khaki head. Nice dark fruit aromas which offset the roasted malt aroma. Dark chocolate, plenty of coffee, and a hint of licorice. Some nice burnt sugar notes and just a touch of smoke. The flavor is fairly sweet, but still a good roast and coffee character. Some dark chocolate, a touch of toasted nuts, molasses, mild licorice, and some dark fruit sweetness. A well balanced Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2012 07:27:52 | More by womencantsail
Photo of akttr
akttr

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

08-10-2012 03:06:06 | More by akttr
Photo of NMA
NMA

Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +12%

08-05-2012 18:40:30 | More by NMA
Photo of heygeebee
heygeebee

Australia

3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BB Aug 24(!)

Pours a black body. Very coarse tan head. Clumpy lace.

Aromas of bitter roast malt, burnt coffee.

Taste is quite sharp. Very bitter, and roast/burnt coffee and dark chocolate flavours feature. Hollow mid palate, moderate palate length overall. Opens up more as it warm and the flavours get softer, however, all in all , far too young.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied. Light carbonation.

Suspect needs a year or two in cellar.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 10:38:53 | More by heygeebee
Photo of viverlee
viverlee

Ohio

3.13/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

All-world compared to their Banana Bread Beer. But still like a first rounder who makes a few pro bowls as an alternate and never realizes his full potential.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

LOOK: Pours like chocolate syrup. Decent body that’s actually lighter than it looks at first. Can’t get a head to stick, and there’s medium-low lacing and retention.

NOSE: Campfire, figs, and roasted apples. Espresso and bittersweet chocolate dominate.

MOUTH: Purple grapes and dark fruit accent the wood-burning fire thing going on. Not that I’ve had ‘em this way, there’s some roasted Nutty Bars too. Unusually, I like it less as it warms, sitting here waiting for the balance to shine only to take astringent gulp after astringent gulp with a cayenne gloss halfway down my throat.

Beeradvocate Rating: 93

Hayward Abbey Rating: 78

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 02:07:38 | More by viverlee
Photo of sukwonee
sukwonee

Washington

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

07-23-2012 00:56:21 | More by sukwonee
Photo of caverog
caverog

California

3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

07-22-2012 20:06:12 | More by caverog
Photo of boartfield1
boartfield1

California

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

07-22-2012 19:05:24 | More by boartfield1
Photo of deapokid
deapokid

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

07-16-2012 12:35:37 | More by deapokid
Photo of Rollzroyce21
Rollzroyce21

California

3/5  rDev -29.2%

07-09-2012 13:24:35 | More by Rollzroyce21
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Courage Russian Imperial Stout
Wells & Young's Ltd
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.00 %

Appearance: Dark brown bordering on black. Poured into a snifter with a few inches of soapy off white froth. Leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Looks like a tasty beer.

Smell: Chocolate pudding, cake-y malt, malted milk, vinous alcohol character. There are also some roasted notes with hints of coffee.

Taste: Roasted touches and a hit of alcohol upfront, giving way to a velvety chocolate finish that is complex and delicious. Coffee flavors emerge with a woodsy, earthy hop character to provide some bitterness. Suggestions of yeast tartness, raisin fruitcake and even port wine. Ample flavors with a sizable yet well integrated strength. Exquisite.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied but surprisingly light on the feel for a beer packing as much strength and flavor. Lingering chocolate and malt flavors in a creamy eloquent finish.

Overall: A world class stout. Recently revived after several years of retirement, this Russian Imperial stout can be aged for many years with little ill affect. For the purposes of this review this bottle was aged for over a year.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 20:07:30 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of jwat
jwat

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +12%

07-02-2012 21:09:55 | More by jwat
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
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 BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

Do beers get any more regal? With tried-and-true, time tested recipe and fantastic brewing technique; it shows that we just don't make'em like they used to... or do they?

Same as it ever was, this true imperial Russian stout boastfully displays his masculine dark side with slight-of-black coloration, complete opaqueness with a slight haze that's noted by it's less than mirror sheen. But its billowing tan head shows exuberance and puts on quite a show as the foam builds and then recedes, leaving silhouettes of lace behind.

Strong French-pressed coffees, cocoa, burnt fruit and molasses starts the show with a rich and luscious aroma that swirls around rummy alcohols for a slight plummy vinous scent. Brown sugar, apples, and pears join in the fun but only in background notes.

As delicious as the aromas seem, the flavor spread proves equally as rewarding. Bittersweet chocolate wraps around a strong coffee taste, deeply caramelized sweetness, heavy toast, and creamy smoke. Roast and fruity tartness take turns as roasted barley alternates with slight vinous wines, grape skin, green apples, and blackberries. Low in hops, only a shadow of bitterness follows the complex malt and ester display and does so with a supportive wood taste-turn-bitter in finish.

Full bodied, but not overtly sweet or sugary, there's a right amount of malt and residual sweetness that weaves into the dry roast texture and full carbonation. A long draw into the finish results in firm alcohol warmth, slight burnt grain astringency, and tart wine-like tannin that provides a slightly powdery yet powerful finish.

This is a tremendously respected beer that defies style, prescription, or expectation. It's effortless and gentlemanly personality exudes the notion of tall, dark, and handsome.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2012 05:09:03 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 02:21:29 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of CEDAMA
CEDAMA

California

5/5  rDev +17.9%

06-23-2012 07:33:39 | More by CEDAMA
Photo of st9647v3
st9647v3

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -5.7%

06-19-2012 00:27:01 | More by st9647v3
Photo of BWHD
BWHD

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

06-18-2012 02:27:39 | More by BWHD
Photo of seeswo
seeswo

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

06-17-2012 19:04:47 | More by seeswo
Photo of chanokokoro
chanokokoro

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 9.3 oz. bottle into a 10 oz. nonic half pint glass

Pours pitch black with a beige half finger head, considerable lacing present. Aromas of roasted malt with espresso undertones dominate accented with pleasant inviting booziness. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied the flavors of roasted malt, espresso, dark fruit, all accented with notes of apricot, pear, and apple. Very complex and satisfying this brew justifies its historic status.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 03:53:42 | More by chanokokoro
Photo of pokesbeerdude
pokesbeerdude

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

HUGE thanks goes out to Bitterbill for sharing this with mkorpal and myself at the Library Bar in Laramie, WY. 1971 (!) bottle. (short review)

Opens with a surprising hiss, pour yielded a nice cap of foam with nice lacing, definite legs. Nose was the highlight of the beer, huge sherry, toffee, and caramel are dominant and can be smelled from some ways away. Taste was much of the same, nutty, buttery, and toffee like, but beginning to start to show it's age a bit. A little soy sauce, but definitely not SATB style. Mouthfeel was surprisingly full, and still surprisingly warm, maybe even a touch hot, incredibly carbonated for the beer's age.

Side note: after the tasting had mostly concluded, we poured out the last 1/4" in the bottle to see what was left. There were some chunks, and a very slight brettanomyces profile (VERY SLIGHT), and that may have contributed to the lively carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 00:00:28 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of pmarlowe
pmarlowe

District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in May 2011. Thanks to spry for this. Tulip glass.

A: Pours black with three fingers of Coke float-ish head. Quite good retention. Leaves a few streaks of lace.

S: Dark, espresso char, some dark fruit (black cherry and blackcurrant).

T: Heavy roast, dark coffee, and a hint of cherry.

M: Medium full body, creamy, very well supported by medium light carbonation

O: Superb example of the style: big and roasty, with nice fruit to provide some complexity.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2012 05:28:44 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
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
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 599 ratings.