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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

601 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 601
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
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)
View: Beers (39) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Courage Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 601 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rmaste6282
rmaste6282

California

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

02-20-2012 19:13:55 | More by rmaste6282
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a few bottles of this for $5 a pop. Been wanting to try this for years now, and I could not pony up for the 20 year old aged bottles at Monk's. Poured into my TJ'S Everyday 7th Anniversary 'gold' rim plated snifter.

Courage pours out the dark red/brown/black mix when in mid air. When in the glass all nestled, Courage is a black looking stout, with a creamy froth of beige/tannish foam with legs and stick.

Smell is very inviting and bold and layered. Im really digging the smell. English qualities with the signature coffee, chocolate, roasted malt of an IRS. The english yeast provides an extra layer while there is a nice burnt/smoky/ash quality as well. Dark fruit with significant warming.

Taste is pretty exquisite. At this young stage Courage jumps out with roasted malt, milk chocolate, coffee beans, slight vanilla, a burnt English Baltic Porter quality with some smoke on the end. Layered is an understatement. As with the smell, dark fruits jump out at the end.

Feel is approaching full, this for sure coats the mouth on the way down with a slight warming quality without being hot. I cant taste the alcohol. Carb is light but present. Im sure this will smooth out even better with time.

This went down the hatch very easy like and I was surprised at the depth of this RIS. Im not a huge RIZZ guy, but I can appreciate the nuances of this beer. I have another bottle and it's taking a ten year dirt nap. I'll update then.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 17:16:38 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black, opaque color. A massive tan head rises with excellent retention. Spiderweb lace is left all the way down the glass.
S: Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate all intermingle. Dark fruits of cherries and plums. Very nice and well balanced.
T: Lightly roasted malt, some chocolate and coffee. Dark fruits again. Kind of grainy and sugary.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A bit on the watery side. Easy to sip on. The alcohol is nice and warming.

This is very welcoming and warming. A nice imperial stout, and obviously has roots as one of the original. Something I enjoy and would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 00:26:17 | More by champ103
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3oz bottle poured into a snifter. Brewed May 2011.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced a giant frothy tan colored head with enormous spots and rings of lacing. A ridiculous retention that is lasting forever.

(S)- A nice mild roasted bread component with bits of raisin and a cocoa-like yeasty dry finish. Lots of dry roasted bread components actually.

(T)- Again, a deep and dry roasted bread/grain profile. Plenty of cocoa, raisin, and coffee with subtle spicy grain kick.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level and a great balance. A great combo of roasted grains, dark fruits, and a dry finish. Sure doesnt feel like its 10%.

(D)- This one has been on my want list for quite some time now. Very happy it was brought back out of retirement. I look forward to seeing how this ages in the coming years. A great stout that I think can definitely improve with time.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 19:12:33 | More by sweemzander
Photo of sdsurfer217
sdsurfer217

Ohio

4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed May 2011

Poured into a Brooklyn Tulip

A: Dark Chocolate brown, with no light passing through. Has a cappuccino brown head that started as 3 fingers worth of foam and laces the glass as it dissipates.

S: Smells a little boozy, but also has the bittersweet chocolate notes as well as some coffee. Maybe even a touch of hazelnut aroma to it. There is also a floral/fruity note, maybe pear or apple, but it’s not very strong.

T: The taste follows the aroma, except there is no alcohol burn. Chocolate and coffee dominate the palate, with an exceptional roasted marshmallow finish. Very little smooth RIS, with just a touch of bitterness

M: Rich mouthfeel, feels slightly heavy on the tongue and coats my mouth completely. Not very much carbonation.

O: Great beer that is balanced and delicious. Perfect cold weather beer as it hits very well on all the roasted flavors, and after half the beer, I feel the warming sensation from the 10% alc, although I can’t detect the alcohol except through my nose. A great example of what a RIS should be.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 17:17:13 | More by sdsurfer217
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

3.45/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Thanks to whoever shared this.

A: Black with brown highlights; on top is a light brown head that settles into a ring. Ok.

S: Super roasty, ashy, and flinty. High minerality, light chocolate. Good, but a little restrained.

T: Tasty roastiness Dark chocolate, coffee, char, ash, and supper-bitter hops. Very, very intense. A bit harsh.

M: Medium body, prickly carbonation. Meh.

O: I'd heard a lot about this one, but it really didn't impress me. Maybe with a bit of age the rough corners might smooth out, but as it was I didn't find anything too enjoyable about it.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 01:53:57 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Pasatron
Pasatron

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

02-12-2012 00:29:07 | More by Pasatron
Photo of beermaned
beermaned

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

02-10-2012 14:25:59 | More by beermaned
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011

A - Very dark brown, but not so dark that you can't see the brown through the upper edges. Small head quickly runs to ring. Some cling.

S - Cocoa and soy sauce permeate the nose.

T - Taste follows smell completely. Gobs, yes gobs, of soy and hersheys syrup. Toasty malt is an afterthought in finish.

M - Medium body, creamy texture, good carb, enjoyable balance.

D - Did not perceive much heat, so ABV well hidden. A nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 06:30:59 | More by srandycarter
Photo of jpbebeau
jpbebeau

Washington

4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle, brewed May 2011, to tulip. (Best by...19/09/24.)

A: Pours a little thinner than I'd expect of the style, from the look of it—distracted my pour, so I produced a four-finger fluffy mocha head. Dark, but not quite black. Nice lacing and impressive legs.

S: Great nose of chocolate, dark fruits, smoke, and leather.

T: Sweet fruits and dark chocolate. A bit of roasted malt bitterness at the end—just enough for a nice drawn-out aftertaste. No hint of the 10% ABV.

M: Not thick (as I expected from the pour). Finely carbonated (as I expected from the pour). Really pleasant. The carbonation seems to hide a bit of the flavour initially, less so as it sits and warms.

Shame it's so expensive for such a small bottle...wouldn't mind drinking more of it! Can't justify it, though. Glad to give it a try and look forward to having it another time.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 05:56:26 | More by jpbebeau
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4/5  rDev -5.7%

02-09-2012 15:03:20 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of DaveHS
DaveHS

California

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first had the pleasure of trying John Courage Russian Imperial Stout in 2003, during a visit to Antwerp. My friend Francis (francisweizen) and I were presented with a 6oz nip bottle with a faded, curling black label. The words “Brewed in 1983” were printed beneath the circular red white and gold design. I was thrilled at the opportunity to try something that was brewed the year I was born. I was also skeptical that it wasn’t past its prime. The bottle opened with a faint hiss. The nearly flat, coal black beer swirled into our snifters with an oily brown sheen of thin bubbles. It was nearly ten years ago and I still remember the aroma. Candied cherries, fruit cake, blackstrap molasses. Faint, vinous sharpness added a dimension to the cherry aroma that was unlike anything I’d experienced from a non-lambic or fruit based beer. The mouth-feel, though thinner than a fresh imperial stout, was rich and lush, with flavors of black currant, coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Six ounces between two people usually wouldn’t last very long, but we nursed our 3 ounce samples for about half an hour. The next time I got to try John Courage was two years later. It was a 1993, the last year it was brewed before it disappeared from the market. The experience was no less immersive or memorable. I've been excited about this release for months now, and it's finally here. I've never had the beer fresh. I expect it to be a very different experience.

A-Courage Russian Imperial Stout pours chocolaty brown with a fluffy coffee-colored head that leaves behind an intricate web of spidery lacing as it dissipates.

S- The chalky dry aroma just barely conceals notes of cocoa powder, pear juice and baker’s chocolate. Mild, grassy hoppiness peeks through.

T/M-The first sip is roasty and dry. Not nearly as sweet as the average English Imperial Stout. Bitter chocolate dominates the flavor profile, with dark fruit notes creeping in towards the back end. Very different. The finish is dry with a faint, sticky fruit juice sweetness and a warming quality on the back of the throat.

O- An elegant, gorgeously structured stout that has earned its reputation as a classic. A proven winner in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 02:29:59 | More by DaveHS
Photo of jfcaa193
jfcaa193

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +17.9%

02-07-2012 00:17:03 | More by jfcaa193
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just something to put me to bed. From a tiny 275 ml bottle from May 2011, on to the beer:

This imperial stout foamed up much more than anticipated. Black bodied as expected, with tanned colored foam that is thick and leaving lots of whispy lace going down. The aroma leans towards the charred side. There's a little fruit and licorice coming to its side.

The focus in the Courage Inmperial Stout's taste is less about the malt than I've encountered in most Imperial Stouts. Straight up cherry syrup and dribbling of bitter chocolate makes up the initial flavor. Some pine and vague star fruit pop out of their shells. That big malt body only really shows itself off in the body, which it is big and smooth, and the 10% ABV hidden well. Further time in the glass crates an overall profile that becomes more mellow and melds better, enchancing the taste score a notch.

While I was happy to try this classic, it fell just a little short of my high expectations. But it still ends up a good beer, and a good nightcap to my long day.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 06:59:12 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of essie
essie

Colorado

1/5  rDev -76.4%

02-05-2012 08:07:57 | More by essie
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours very dark brown, appearing black. Nice two finger light brown head with medium bubbles and massive lacing. Good aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, sweet dark fruit. Flavor is exceptionally well integrated, with slight dark malts to start, but other flavors opening up in the middle. Roasted and sweet malt, dark fruit, bitter coffee and chocolate. Finishes with coffee and a well tuned hop bite. Excellent heavy, creamy body is noticeable from the very first taste. A very nice, complex and well done imperial stout. These guys have obviously have kept the craft of imperial stout making alive. Exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 05:31:26 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of falcon1
falcon1

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

02-03-2012 22:14:52 | More by falcon1
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in May 2011.

Best before 9/19/24.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Thin foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, and some alcohol. There is a distinct cinnamon aroma that comes out as the beer warms. Taste is of dark malt, dark fruit, cocoa powder, and roasted coffee beans. There is a mild roasty bitterness and alcohol warming in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with a nice historic element to it. I am very happy I was able to find a bottle of this after reading it was coming to the US.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 03:29:26 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of pirmannt1
pirmannt1

Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +12%

02-02-2012 03:09:14 | More by pirmannt1
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

275 mL bottle, May 2011. served at cellar temp.

black, thin tan head of fine bubbles. nice lacing. aroma of coffee grounds, black cherry, slightly metallic. taste is a bit of bitter cocoa, booze, wood. acidic aftertaste. thick, viscous, mild carbonation.

overall - good, but not sure why it's considered a classic.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 03:38:00 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of jriggins6
jriggins6

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

01-31-2012 14:00:44 | More by jriggins6
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a disappointingly light brown colour, only opaque due to the density of the beer in the glass. When tilted and held to the light, it's certainly a translucent weedy brown. Head is fine enough, leaving thick lacing and a solid persistent half-centimetre of off-white foam.

Nose is very odd indeed. Very crisp and bright—very oddly so. Along with some faint hints of dark grains, there are big fragrant hints of appleskin and cinnamon, and a sweetness reminiscent of fairy floss (possibly the Brett, which I believe is used in the process). There are some deep boozy hints, but they're not framed in a consistent way, leaving the sweet, anarchic brightness to take over. Hmm...

Taste is better, leaving a smooth, if lacklustre roasted sweetness along the front palate. Some mild chocolate, and a hint of coffee come through, but both rather weak, and only leaving a faint impression on the finish, which is dominated by ground earth and a lingering roasted character. The feel is smooth, but far lighter than I expected. In some ways, I'm impressed at how well the booze is hidden, but to be honest, in a beer like this, at this volume, it could stand to be far bigger.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. No, it's not a bad beer (in fact I can see why others love it), but it's amazingly bland for a 10% ABV beer in this style. I understand the push behind it, but it's not a particularly interesting RIS for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 11:59:23 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

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

Brewed in May 2011. Served in a Surly Darkness glass.

A - Two-plus fingers of creamy light mocha foam that slowly settles to a meringue-like cap. Intricate glass-coating lace patterns linger on the sides of the glass. The body is an extremely dark brown that could be confused with black in low light.

S - Massive milk chocolate, toasted biscuits, roasted malt, hint of Whoppers, mild dark fruits, light smoke and char, and a bit of musty and fruity brettanomyces. The brett imparts a hint of playdough, but otherwise this is quite enjoyable.

T - The taste has less brett presence to it, and more in the way of cocoa and chocolate syrup, raisins, dark fruits, and a mild amount of licorice, char and espresso bitterness. The brett adds a hint of leather and a faint medicinal flavor in the finish, but this is more traditional English stout than the aroma suggests.

M - Carbonation is surprisingly zesty, with a mix of dryness and stickiness to the texture. Medium-full body, chewy and viscous., with a hint of warming alcohol after 6oz or so.

D - Tragically, I think the 275ml serving size is a bit too small. I savored this for roughly a half-hour, but would have gladly appreciated another few ounces. I'm curious how the brett manifests over time, as it's already quite present. In any case, I'm glad they've resurrected this beer as it's quite unique and unlike almost anything I've had in recent memory.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 05:20:02 | More by MasterSki
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

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

Brewed May of 2011. 9.3oz bottle.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with an utter dark viscosity. About a finger of mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving a nice coating of lacing.

Smell – Chocolate, roast, slight metallic aromas, cocoa, caramel.

Taste – Similar to the aroma but more vanilla and dark fruits. An apparent plum flavor, cocoa, milk chocolate, and raisins.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

Overall – An interesting stout. Heavy in the dark fruits…more so than I have experienced in others. Honestly, not my favorite RIS.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 04:08:27 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of ConorThomas
ConorThomas

Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

01-28-2012 21:21:56 | More by ConorThomas
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.