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Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

736 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 736
Reviews: 261
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 144
Gots: 158 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: rastaman on 02-11-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 736 | Reviews: 261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Keith_R
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of BrewerB
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of meanmutt
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of SquidVicious
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of draiiinage
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of aminobutyricacid
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of bifrost17
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of wilfonzo
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 09-18-2012
Freshness: May 2011 vintage
Packaging: 275ml brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Pint glass
Purchased: Single from Colorado Liquor Mart, Denver

A: Pours with a big, rocky tan head on a black and opaque beer. Very good retention and lacing.

S: Coffee and espresso aromas, plus vanilla, dark roasted malts and a woodsy character. Also get some booze in the nose.

T: Bold dark roast flavors, plus coffee, licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Quite the strong brew here, with a good amount of alcohol warmth.

M: Body is thick, full and chewy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Finish is of chocolate and coffee-like bitterness.

O: This beer is delightful and packs a punch. The bottle is only 9.3 US ounces, but this is more than enough for a taste on this strong ale!

Photo of AvidAlex23
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of videofrog
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of wtfdic
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Photo of akttr
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of NMA
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of heygeebee
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Photo of viverlee
3.15/5  rDev -25.9%
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

Photo of sukwonee
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of caverog
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of boartfield1
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of deapokid
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
3/5  rDev -29.4%

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.