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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

719 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 719
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 136
Gots: 147 | 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:
Beer added by: rastaman on 02-11-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 719 | Reviews: 255 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.13/5  rDev -26.4%
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.

Photo of jwat
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of drpimento
4.25/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of st9647v3
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of BWHD
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of chanokokoro
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of maximum12
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of shand
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jdhilt
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of zvanwink
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Naugled
3/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 719 ratings.