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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.

655 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 138
Gots: 127 | 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)
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: 655 | Reviews: 244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MasterSki
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.

MasterSki, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of SpdKilz
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.

SpdKilz, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of ConorThomas
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

ConorThomas, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of HopsJunkiedotcom
5/5  rDev +17.9%

HopsJunkiedotcom, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of thecheapies
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.3oz nip that I'm pouring into a snifter glass.

2011 vintage (they brought this one back to life).

Boasting two-fingered tan head on this baby. Hardly any light getting through this one, although it looked dark brown on the pour. The oils are almost sticky enough to keep a lace.

Aged oily hop aromas fuddle with deep complexities from the dark roast. Tree bark, dark chocolate, maybe even a little peach. Any coffee implications are muddled and masked by strange fruits. There's some cherry notes and a hint of evergreen.

A nice charcoal smoky roastiness with a deep, poignant chocolatey character. Some sweetness coming from the grains, and some lovely fruitiness coming from... the yeast strain? The alcohol is riding even saddle with me here, too, but I pay him little mind. Molasses, creme brulee, sea salt/salty caramel, and a slight capsaicin-like burn on the bitter finish.

Hefty, but manageable. Lively bubbles on the tongue. A tad thin of appropriate.

Hey there! Took me by surprise! Seriously! This is one amazing RIS! Great heat, delicate complexities, unfettered brand.

thecheapies, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a dust covered bottle of this 20 years ago from the original Courage Brewery. I really didn't know hat to this of it as it was my first ever RIS & I was fairly blasted, I just remember how damn chewy it was. Obtained this bottle from the Biergarten in Jenks, OK

Pours an effervescent ebony with 3+ fingers of mocha head. Great lacing with good head retention

S: Deep choclate notes, dark fruit, some oaky notes, serious boozeyness in harmony with the style

T: Follows the nose, & vanilla notes with a kiss of booze up front, serious dry notes as well. Carob, a bit of sour cherry & cask sherry notes all mix as this warms, plus so much pkummyness . Finishes dry, boozey, plummy with choclate & roasted malt notes

MF: Chewy as all get out,sticky, warming with slight carbonation, thins out a bit as this warms

A very nice RIS, Wells & Young have reignited the flame. This one will age nicely, there are still a few semi-rough edges to smooth out

russpowell, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of ms11781
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a solid, ink black. The beer actually looks pretty thin and deep brown going into the glass but once it settles in the body seems fuller and it's definitely solid. A massive tan head develops and it's very active. Only about 3 or so ounces make it into a 10oz tulip before the head reaches the top of the glass. A considerable amount of time passes before more beer can be poured into the glass. An impressive thick cap of creamy foam stick around for the duration. Nice soapy lacing is left on the glass.

The nose is a bit subdued. There are some nice aromas but nothing is too strong or stands out above the rest. Some nice roast and more subtle bitter chocolate are present along with a bit of some dark fruit.

The taste asserts itself considerably more than the nose. There is a very nice bitter coffee-like element that comes across first and is complimented by a touch of dark chocolate. The finish is pleasantly smoky and somewhat acrid. Really nice.

Despite looking thinner going into the glass this beer has a full mouthfeel. It definitely feels full but not too heavy. Low carbonation that is surprisingly lively, especially as the beer warms.

This is a really good RIS. The nose was lacking just a bit but the flavors were really bold. Definitely a beer that seems like it would benefit from some age.

ms11781, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
3/5  rDev -29.2%

LadyOfMuchBeer, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of B33R501
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours beautiful, huge creamy mocha head, what a beer should look like. tastes huge chocolate malt bomb, incredible roast with perfect bitterness. yes a little smoke, amazing fruity finish. strong, smooth, rich, satisfying. the one was enough, but i could have had several. only drawback is the price.

B33R501, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of DaveONan
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

DaveONan, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter a deep cola brown with deep ruby hue,roasted malt,bitter chocolate,and alcohol soaked fruit in the nose.Rich tasting with a decent amount of booziness,highly roasted with chocolate undertones.A great imperial stout from an old school brewery in England,nice job here.

oberon, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011, BBD 19/09/24... 13 yr., 4 month shelf life?

Thick layer of mocha foam, leaving striated layers of lace all around the glass. After 15 minutes or so the foam recedes into a floating island, but the skim remains unbroken.

Very mellow chocolate aroma, slight roast, also something vaguely acidic, sweet and ashy.

Creamy and smooth milk chocolatey feel, pleasant residual mild hop bitterness in the background. Definite sipper, very smooth and easy drinking in small sips. Slight nuance of fruity plum in the aftertaste. Cocoa nibs and mild char. Rich and exceptionally smooth as mentioned before. Residual chocolate and dry ashy elements. Pretty nice stuff, glad it's seeing a new revival.

emerge077, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting for this one to come around. Finally popped the top tonight and have another 'on age'

Pours a black/brown/ruby body. Big off brown head, tan, thick and rich. Nice lacing. Darn thing looks great

Aroma isn't unique and is very nice. Black currant, cocoa, burnt toast, leather, plum and raisin.

Taste falters a bit, partly due to the drinkability and feel. Flavors are black fruit and red plum. Leather here and there. Soft raisin and hints of melon. But there is something thin going on here. Just when I think it's going to be thick and chewy, it dissipates. Tannin on the end. Bites without a dryness. Alcohol is high. Hoping age will make this beer better than good.

Mebuzzard, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

whartontallboy, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of flannelman808
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 vintage...

A: deep dark mars brown with a tan head. An enormous amount of light-medium tan head forms with a gentle pour (one to age for sure). Sea foam style, with a silly web of lacing clinging to the glass. This is quite opaque.

S: Brandied bing cherry and lope (honeydew) are subtle but present not unlike Sumatran coffee. oh and there is some of that Sumatran coffee quality as well.

T: Milk chocolate malt ball and a shove of citrus pith bitterness jump out in front. All of this quickly followed with a café au lait like quality along with a finishing bitterness reminiscent of powdered dark chocolate. As we warm up this begins to show more fruit... bosc pear and the green near the rind of a cantaloupe.

M: Rich and long finishing and at the same time there is an abundant amount of carbonation.

O: Fantastic stuff, this beer incorporates an incredible depth of flavor. I will be buying as much as I can find and cellaring for as long as it stays good. 3-10+ years and I'm guessing it may go well further.

flannelman808, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Geist. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a good light tan head and a nice cap and collar. The nose carries a good dose of chocolate and mild roast. A bit of malt sweetness then comes through in the flavor. Very nice for an English version of an RIS. Good creaminess throughout the feel. Quite chewy. Moderate alcohol. Winner of a beer.

Thorpe429, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter glass. Pours a deep brown-black body along with a thick khaki head that leaves behind a nice coating of lacing throughout. Aromas of cocoa powder, espresso, roasted malts, lightly fruity hops, and some caramel. Flavors of cococa, espresso, and a dose of roasted malts. The hop presence provides a pinch of bitterness which was somewhat off putting for me. Smooth mouthfeel and evenly carbonated. Semi-dry finish. Lightly bitter in the finish. I can understand the British character here, but I do not see why this beer should be rated so high here. I've had numerous RIS brews worthy of much higher marks. Otherwise, a solid RIS for those looking for a nogstalic British character.

CuriousMonk, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of enelson
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

enelson, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of GreatPumpkin
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

GreatPumpkin, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

kjkinsey, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of HattedClassic
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brown with decent head that is a dark tan. A nice amount of lacing that sticks to the glass.

Coffee, dark chocolate, and hints of pear that mix together to form a unique and complementary smell.

Dark chocolate and cocoa with noticeable undertones of pear. The aftertaste contains pear with hints of dark chocolate.

Biting carbonation and a smooth feel.

An amazing Imperial Stout. By far the most complex and unique stout that I have ever had. Too bad it's pretty expensive.

HattedClassic, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of callmemickey
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May 2011 bottling

A: Deep brown-black body. A massive pale khaki head leaves behind a nice coating of lacing.

S: Cocoa powder, espresso, roasted malts, lightly fruity hops, and some caramel.

T: The flavor lacks the fruitiness and sweetness that was in the nose. Cocoa, espresso, and a healthy dose of roasted malts. The hop presence provides a pinch of bitterness.

M: Smooth, evenly carbonated. Semi-dry finish. Lightly bitter in the finish.

O: A nice imperial stout that is clearly British in character. Glad this has been revived and I hope it's offered for many years to come.

callmemickey, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle poured into a Swiss wine snifter.

Pours with a huge 4 fingers of rocky dark tan head that slowly crumbles leaving lace everywhere. Body is black with faint/slight dark brown highlights.

Smells of well integrated roasted malts on top of English hops. There remains a fruity, almost grassy hop aroma, and it nearly takes center stage in the aroma. There are hints of cocoa powder and slightly burnt toast. Once the glass is half drained, I distinctly smell fuggle hops, but my nose may be deceiving me. I wonder if this is dry hopped? Maybe that is one of the factors that helped it age over long periods...

The flavor is big and dark, with black coffee and dark chocolate notes rising from the liberal use of dark malts. There is a moderately high dose of hop bitterness and even some hop flavor, both of which are common finds in American versions of this style, but less so in English varieties. There is a touch of fruitiness that is sweet and and fleeting in the beginning of the flavor- I suspect that this will broaden out and overpower the hop flavors/bitterness over time. There is also the faintest hit of port, and I imagine this quality will grow and if the bottle was kept all the way till the "best by" date (12 years from now) the port character would dominate.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated and slightly less smooth than I would expect, but then again this is still young. There isn't much alcohol burn which is nice.

Conclusion: I truly wonder if this is how the original Courage RIS tasted. If so, it was a groundbreaking beer in its day, and is still an excellent one now. I am very happy to see this brewed again, now all I need is for Thomas Hardy's Ale to be resurrected and will never ask for another beer-related miracle again! Sometime I will get a few more of these and let them age.

allforbetterbeer, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of jayhawk73
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Huhzubendah .. Thanks Matt.

Pours a dark brown with a one finger cocoa head. Great lacing for a 10% abv brew. Excellent nose with molasses, hops, dark fruit, caramel and slight alcohol present. Very balanced and aromatic nose. Taste follows the nose profile, with the exception of the hops.... Which are way out front on this beer. Feel is full with a big hops bite on this beer. Relatively dry finish for the style. Overall, a good beer- glad I got to try this one. Cheers!

jayhawk73, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/08/12 notes. Shared by Huhzubendah; thanks Matthew.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, dark fruits, and light coffee. Pretty nice and roasty.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, sweet vanilla, and dark fruits. A tiny step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. A tiny bit overcarbonated, but nice.

o - Overall a very nice RIS. Very roasty and the taste has some nice vanilla to it as well. Would like to have it again.

mdfb79, Jan 12, 2012
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.