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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

639 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 639
Reviews: 241
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 138
Gots: 125 | 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: 639 | Reviews: 241 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rollzroyce21
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Rollzroyce21, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
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.

Stinkypuss, Jul 04, 2012
Photo of jwat
4.75/5  rDev +12%

jwat, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of drpimento
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.

drpimento, Jun 28, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
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.

BEERchitect, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of twiggamortis420
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.

twiggamortis420, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +17.9%

CEDAMA, Jun 23, 2012
Photo of st9647v3
4/5  rDev -5.7%

st9647v3, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of BWHD
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

BWHD, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

seeswo, Jun 17, 2012
Photo of chanokokoro
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.

chanokokoro, Jun 11, 2012
Photo of pokesbeerdude
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.

pokesbeerdude, May 25, 2012
Photo of pmarlowe
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.

pmarlowe, May 22, 2012
Photo of maximum12
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.

maximum12, May 15, 2012
Photo of shand
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 9.3oz bottle into a snifter.

This beer pours black with a fairly sizable head for the style, that quickly drops down to a decent foam on top of the brew. The aroma is rich and roasty, with toffee, dark chocolate, burnt coffee, and a nice, mineral earthy quality. The taste is also very good, it comes on strong with the coffee flavors at first, but then gives way to a great mix of fruit and roasted malt. The fruits aren't dark like in most RISes, these are bright fruits that are quite delicious and make this a unique drinking experience. The mouthfeel is lighter than the average RIS, but it works great with the fruit flavors. The drinkability is exceptional, it doesn't feel anywhere close to 10%. Overall, this is an amazing and unique imperial stout. The fruit flavors that this beer has fresh are really quite unique. I wish I had another to put away for longer.

shand, May 13, 2012
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

CheapBeerBuzz, May 12, 2012
Photo of jdhilt
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a four-fingered light tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Light chocolate nose and flavor is chocolate, sweetness then burnt chocolate finish. High ABV is hidden. $7.49 for a 275ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

jdhilt, May 10, 2012
Photo of zvanwink
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

zvanwink, May 10, 2012
Photo of Naugled
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found a 2011 bottle locally and was excited at first. But after drinking it left me flat. Maybe I had a bad bottle but it was very disappointing to me. At best this is was an average RIS. Based on other reviews I plan to try this again to see if it was just my bottle.

Aroma was dominated by treacle. The head was good but had large bubbles like a soda. Body was thin and the flavor was a bit harsh with a late lingering astringency. I do drink quite a few RIS's it's one of my more favorite styles.

I found this to be average at best, but I will try again, perhaps it was a bad bottle.

Naugled, May 08, 2012
Photo of FunkyFibes
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

FunkyFibes, May 06, 2012
Photo of Greywulfken
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: black beer, doesn't look as thick as some Imperial stouts; with a fat dark head. Thinned and left some lace along a stout flute glass.

S: black and chocolate malts, roastedness, espresso notes,

T: semi-sweet, drying and bitter; lots of roasted malt, some smokiness and plenty of espresso. Some vanilla/molasses sweetness. Deep down, just a hint of dark fruit.

M: smooth, medium body, minimal carbonation, smooth coating, smoky aftertaste

O: what I imagine to be a fairly traditional take on the RIS: the label says, "As originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia" - no wonder she was impressed. No gimmickry here - a very refined drink - a must-try for all devotees of the style and advocates of good beer.

The 2012 bottling found its way my way, and I found it a much better tasting-beer than the previous bottling I tried (2010? 2011?), and I have adjusted my review/scores accordingly. My previous bottling date had some astringency and seemed a little thin. The 2012 was a fuller and more rewarding drink - outstanding.

Greywulfken, May 03, 2012
Photo of Mikeymcglynnigan
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Mikeymcglynnigan, May 01, 2012
Photo of TasteTester
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

TasteTester, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of Tilley4
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Score! I knew they were brewing this beer again but I'd never seen it during my travels. I was surprised to see several bottles on a shelf at Tower's in Atlanta a couple of days ago. I picked up two, one to drink now and another to throw in the cellar for a while... Let's see how this is fresh...

Dark bittersweet chocolate aromas are rolling out of the wine glass I poured this in... Huge and pungent... A nice punch of booze... Licorice and a definite sweetness that reminds me of some sort of fruit... This really smells amazing... This smells authentic to me... Old and earthy and dark and rich... Really nice...

Punch of hops right up front that quickly fades out but is followed up quickly by this earthy dark chocolate/roasted malt rush of flavor... Again, this tastes like something I would have had 100 years ago... It's rich and dark and full...Not particularly complex which is ok with me because it's delicious... I'm really glad I got to try this beer and I'm looking forward to seeing how it holds up with several years in the cellar...

A nice treat that I'm glad I got to have...

Tilley4, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of ncketchum
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Duvel tulip. Brewed in 2011. Good till 2024.

A - pours jet black, aggressively poured so resulted in massive chocolate head, hung around for quite some time, then left a fine lacing

S - molasses and roasted malt. No alcohol to speak of

T - sweet chocolate up front, followed by malt, then a significant hop character. Aftertaste is coffee with hops lingering

M - pretty thick, not too carbonated, not much alcohol burn

O - a great, unexpected find. I was told this was quite limited in this area, a nice big stout that apparently will age nicely, so I'll look for a couple more to put away for a bit.

ncketchum, Apr 14, 2012
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 639 ratings.