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Courage Imperial Russian Stout - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

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738 Ratings

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Ratings: 738
Reviews: 262
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 144
Gots: 163 | FT: 8
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: 738 | Reviews: 262 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrew311
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Great Lakes snifter.

This one pours like a delightful imperial stout. A little lightish on the pour, but as it collects in the glass, it takes on the black opaque appearance that I know and love. Velvety, creamy looking head of the dark brown persuasion, excellent retention and heavy lacing. The smell of this thing is deep and dark with a healthy dose of hop bite. Plenty of baker's chocolate and dark fruit along with a hint of molasses. The herbal bite at the end is swift and strong. The taste is similar to the smell. Very robust in the malt department with bitter chocolate and some dark fruit sweetness. The hops are tame but definitely make an appearance to smooth out the intense malts. The mouthfeel is creamy and heavy with low carbonation. Overall, this is a damned good imperial stout. A bit on the spendy side @ $7 for a 10oz bottle, but I'm glad I gave it a go.

Photo of twelveinches
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of keanlacrosse
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to NewBrewBB for the birthday surprise. 275ml bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. 19/09/24 indicated on the bottle. Brewed in May 2011 indicated on the label on the neck of the bottle. Pours slightly darker than cola with a loose, dense, half-inch, khaki-colored head that exhibits excellent retention. Thick arcs of lacing are exposed on the tilt side of the glass with each sip. Nose reveals cocoa, a trace of char, dark fruit, brewer's licorice and a suggestion of ethanol towards the back. Taste follows nose; however, there actually seems to be some slight oxidation present in the flavor profile as well as a hint of soy sauce behind the char. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with an even carbonation that falls just short of lively. There's also some residual acidity at the finish. Overall, I have to say that I was a bit let down by this beer, especially given the $7.95 price tag. I don't even think this is a beer that will stand cellaring. Pretty much a swing and a miss for me.

Photo of weirdboy
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter: Inky black body, looks like highlights are trying to poke through, under a dusting of khaki head that leaves thick legs.

Sharp dark fruit with alcohol in the taste. Rum-like, with a graham cracker & mild cocoa undertone once it clears. Complex, & kind of seesaws btw. varying levels of easy-going pleasantness & booze.

Dark chocolate, espresso bean, with a nice pear or baked apple fruit flavor just at swallowing, then comes with some intense alcohol dryness. Creamed coffee aftertaste that unfolds & gets better & better. A little tart flavor there too, like dark chocolate-covered cherry.

I seldom make a big deal about mouthfeel, but this is both full-bodied & kind of buoyant - just floats off, doesn't coat or weigh down. Awesome feel.

Fight btw. dark & light, good & evil, tasty but challenging at times.

Photo of tremotrav
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

9.3 oz bottle, May 2011 batch, poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pitch black in color, nice think light brown head.

S: Full aroma of roasted chocolate, malt, and coffee.

T: Can really taste the roasted flavors and smokiness. Ends with a bitter aftertaste.

M: Full and heavy yet smooth across the mouth with a nice bite on the finish. Definitely thick and feel it coat the mouth.

O: Been wanting this for a while. Perfect for the winter season, it would be more of my "go to" beer however it is a bit pricey per bottle to stock up on it at $7.99, so I can only buy a few at a time. I wish it was the same cost as Old Rasp.

Photo of pwsoldier
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with an enormous medium brown head. Retention is stellar, barely seems to fade. Lacing is solid.

S: Big, rich, hearty roasted malt. Some bittersweet chocolate and a touch of coffee. A little dark fruit in the background, cherries and figs maybe? A little earthy. Smell is surprisingly mild for such a big RIS.

T: Huge amounts of bitter char from the roasted malt and coffee up front. Turns into a wonderful semi-sweet chocolate (almost like a truffle). Touch of dark fruits here and there but it's mostly the malt. Wonderful transition of roasted malt flavor from bitterness to borderline sweetness.

M: Oddly thin, especially for a 10% RIS. Expected this to be much thicker and creamier.

O: An interesting RIS. A bit thin and a bit subtle on the smell, but wow did they hit the taste just right. Really showcases the malt bill and doesn't require any additional flavors or barrel aging to make it delicious.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3 oz bottle, May 2011 batch, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours an opaque black color, topped with a massive, thick tan head that has pretty good retention, leaves good lacing.

S- Lots of roasted aroma, chocolate, coffee, some smoke, also has a distinct pear aroma.

T- Similar to the nose, has a big chocolate center, some coffee, charred grain. Again there's a pronounced crispy pear flavor that blends into the background, surprisingly this actually works pretty well. Finish is roasted and dry, sweetness is kept to a minimum.

M- Medium-bodied, lots of carbonation produces a pretty smooth feel. Alcohol is warming but doesn't show up too much in the flavor.

O- A very tasty stout, the fruity aspect is interesting and done pretty well.

Photo of BillHilly
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows cocoa, dark chocolate, oatmeal and a fair bit of earthy hops. Pretty nice stuff, very interesting.
Flavours are incredibly rich. Chocolate truffles, espresso, sultanas, prunes and booze. A bit too full on.
Nice thick body, could use more carbonation though.
A nice array of flavours but too sweet and boozy for me.

Photo of rmaste6282
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of BARFLYB
4.44/5  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.

Photo of champ103
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of sdsurfer217
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

Photo of woosterbill
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
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.


Photo of Pasatron
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of beermaned
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of srandycarter
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of jpbebeau
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of DaveHS
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of jfcaa193
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 738 ratings.