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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.

639 Ratings

(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 CuriousMonk
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -5.7%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of SpillyBeers
5/5  rDev +17.9%

SpillyBeers, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of admiralcrunch
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

admiralcrunch, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%

Big thanks to Huhzubendah for sharing this bottle with me. Owe you one for this.

At the time of this review, this is the #50 top Russian Imperial stout on the "Top Beers - Russian Imperial Stout" list on beeradvocate.com. Served in a snifter.

Beer is dark, black, with a big dark brown head of small and medium bubbles, decent retention, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation, it seems a little overcarbed for the style.

Aroma is sweet, nice roast, overall a mild aroma.

Beer is quite drinkable, for a 10% beer you'd never guess it, not a hint of alcohol or heat in the entire thing, medium bodied with a thinner finish, mild sweetness and bitterness on the finish, mostly from the roast. This is the re-release of this beer, as is my understanding, a very solid RIS. I enjoyed it and would have it again.

drabmuh, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%

A huge thank you to xpimptastikx for hooking me up with this. I am huge fan of the style, and am grateful for the opportunity to taste this stout for the first time.

The beer appears dark mahogany with a substantial beige head that leaves copious lacing on the tumbler. The aroma brings roast, dark fruit, malt, raisins, toffee. Nice flavor. The finish brings a healthy amount of hop bitterness. Prominent dark fruit with a strong hop presence in both the aroma and flavor. Unusual for the style and really delicious. Glad I was able to acquire some of this.

Huhzubendah, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of RViator325
4/5  rDev -5.7%

RViator325, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of beergoot
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%

A black abyss signalling black, dried fruits over rich, roasted malts in the nose. The light brown head lingers on and on while the taste of sweet, burnt bitterness infused with a welcoming alcohol warmth satisfies the palate. Yeah, baby! This is one mean, mutha of an imperial stout.

beergoot, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of slentz
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Bottle to snifter at about 50 degrees. Brewed May 2011

A: Beer pours out a dark cola color with light penetrating the pour. Easy pour leads to a fat finger worth of beautiful mocha colored head that is very slow to dissipate. This beer looks really great in the glass. 5.0

S: Smells immediately of dark fruits, raisins, dark malts, black licorice, chocolate. Beneath it all is a hint alcohol. 4.5

T: Bitter with lot of coffee notes that are not really pronounced in the nose. The finish is quite bitter with only a hint of sweetness.

M: Mouthfeel is light and smooth. Goes down quite easy. 4.0

O: Overall a very nice beer. Looks awesome in the glass. Falls a bit short of other imperial stouts but still a very solid offering. I'd try this again but the price is kind of high at $6.50 for 9.3 oz. Definitely glad I got to try this though. 4.5

slentz, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of eric5bellies
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a deep deep Ebony colour with an off White tanned head that reatins well and laces.

S - Nice aromas of licorice, chocolate, roasted malt and toffee.

T - Bold flavours of chocolate, licorice, caramel,toffee with a nice warming finish. This is a big stout. The ABV is masterfully hidden

M - Fullish body and low carbonation. May be a littel on the thin side

O - One of the best RIS's I have tried to date, if you see it, buy two and cellar one, as it will get better with age. Awesome beer. So pleased that they decided to brew it again, It is a true classic.

eric5bellies, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of Mississipping
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%

A: Pours extremely dark brown with a one-finger caramel colored head that dissipates slowly leaving behind moderate lacing. 

S: Dark chocolate, roasted barley, and a touch of dark fruit.  A hint of coffee, hops, and booze in the background.

T: A lot of dark fruit (raisin and fig) with some dark chocolate up front.  Some roasted barley and a touch of booze toward the back end, but overall pretty well balanced. 

M: Thicker side of medium with a good bit of carbonation.  Smooth and creamy on the tongue.  Slightly drying at the finish as the hops shine through.

D: Very drinkable, but just a little underwhelming.  It's really neat to get to try this, but it wasn't quite as balanced as I was hoping it would be.  A bit of booze on the back end and a little sweeter than I would have liked.  Overall, though, it's a nice treat.  

Mississipping, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of drummermattie02
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

drummermattie02, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of groetman
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

groetman, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Domingo
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%

Pretty cool to see this being brewed again.
A deep brown-black with a lively head that stays and laces for the life of the beer. Visually, it's pretty much perfect for the style.
The flavor profile takes on the characteristics of both the US versions I've had, and the stronger European export stouts, too.
Massive roasted malts that provide just the right amount of sweetness without being cloying or overdone. A hint of vinous character from the yeast. The hops are extremely herbal in this case. Medicinal and giving off a little bit of spearmint character. There's definitely come rummy alcohol heat, too. Everything comes together in a fine package that's both unique and extremely flavorful. Like a little bit of a chocolate dessert with some rum.
A welcome bottle in my fridge, I'll be buying more for sure. I do wish the bottle was a hair bigger (since I tend to split stronger items) but that's not really a gripe about the beer itself.
Good stuff, and a very cool tradition that has returned.

Domingo, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of Caskaway
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Caskaway, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of dgugliuzza
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Black like coffee with nearly six ounces of light brown head. The head is like a cloud as it floats atop the body. Great sticky lacing along the sides.

Burst of roasted malts followed by chocolate and dark fruits. Has a toffee like sweetness that lingers in the back of the nose, but still manages to finish quite bitter.

Dark, bitter chocolate flavor followed by roasted malt. The sweetness is secondary, but is flawlessly integrated with bitter notes. Finish hot and bitter with hints of plum and fig.

Medium-thick mouthfeel with strong, prickly carbonation. A bit unusual for a stout of this magnitude. This one's a sipper as it has plenty of heat and strength.

Courage is a superb RIS. I'm grateful that it is being brewed again. It was great to try a classic that I thought I would never have the chance to. Definitely worth picking two up. One for now and one for later.

dgugliuzza, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%

A - dark brown with large milk chocolate head and excellent lacing.

S - raw cacao and roasted malts.

T - chocolate covered espresso beans with a light dark fruit tone.

M - medium body and carbonation, very creamy.

O - Exactly what a RIS should be.

xpimptastikx, Dec 30, 2011
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 639 ratings.