Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout | Harvey & Son Ltd.

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399 Reviews
Le Coq Imperial Extra Double StoutLe Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 02-19-2001

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Reviews: 399 | Ratings: 473
Photo of mattmaples
4.36/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It certainly lives up to its name. You couldn’t pack more black roasted malts in this thing without it going over the top in astringency. This is by far the blackest beer on the planet. A yummy treat but I certainly couldn’t do two of them in the same night.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.36/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2001 Vintage. Not what I was hoping for, but a decent brew none the less. Very dark body, with an extremely brown, almost non-existent head.

Scent is vinous, wine, roasted malt...and sadly, a bit of cork. Tastes like overly done malts, wine and dark roast coffee. Slight traces of cork in there.

Very flat...despite the warning that contents are under pressure, there is almost not body to this. Flat..lifeless...not even a trace of carbonation.

The taste is not too bad...but this is more akin to a port or sherry. Not really what I was looking for. Not like any Imperial stout I've ever had. It falls short in many regards yet still retains some of the fundamentals. Maybe my bottle was off...but at what point did it go off? Hopefully my 2003 is better.


Update...29 December 2007.

Wow! What a difference two years make! This is a 2003 vintage...not sure of the history before it hit the place I bought it at, but I bought it out of the same cooler and stored it the same as my somewhat disappointing 2001 vintage.

I had mentioned in my review for my 2001 vintage the perhaps the bottle had gone off, but when? My 2003 is completely different.

The initial experience was negative, but possibly my fault. The cork was slightly swollen and had a dark brown ring around it. I thought this was because of a poor seal. But when I started to pull the cork out there was a very audible release of pressure.

Pouring into the glass there was a very vigorous head, reminiscent of American RIS our Double Stouts. I had trouble pouring an 11.2oz bottle into a 16oz glass! Defintiely not flat!

Vinos, malty scents. Memories of coffee, cocoa and dark chocolate abound. Slight brandy notes; defintite wine character.

Roasted malt, dark chocolate flavour. Sour grape/wine background. Bitter, but lacks acidity in the flavour that I find in some RIS, Far, far better than my 2001...more in line with other RIS I've had.

Good mouthfeel. Carbonation and the alcohol are evident...not quite what I expected. Not bad, but I had expected less carbonation.

Regardless, this is one of the best RIS I've had. I'd love to do a vertical tasting of this, or even a side-by-side with some other brewers. At one time, I thought I'd never buy this again, but now...I'd even risk buying a 2001 again.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.36/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, by a small sample of reviews, I can see that this is love it or hate it. 2003 vintage...let's pull the cork.

A - Into the snifter it goes. No head, some small bubbles. Swirling only serves to muster a sheen of very small bubbles on the surface that is short-lived. Need I even mention that it pours like used motor oil? Completely opaque...there's no light penetrating.

S - Holy crap. Might be the most wine-like nose I've ever experienced with a beer. Even beers that are brewed with grapes and berries don't have a vinous nose like this. It doesn't just smell like any old red wine, it smells like a GOOD red wine. Vinous, jammy, bitter chocolate, tobacco, a little oak.

T - Jesus, the surprises just keep coming. When this rushed over my tongue, my first thought was "f'ing A, there's Brett in here!" No doubt, there it is, a leathery funk pervading the earthy, oaked bitter chocolate. Bitter, bitter chocolate and jam without the sweetness. I'm surprised at how non-sweet this is. There's actually some earthy, bitter British hops near the finish. Between the Brett and the hops, this is finishing much drier than I expected. I guess that Brett never wants to allow much in the way of residual sugar; that probably got eaten up a few years ago. Definitely brings to mind red wine, but also a non-sweet SA Triple Bock. Apologies to those of you who rated this poorly, but I dig this. It's fiendishly complex.

F - Only barely carbonated, this is thick, oily, syrupy. Not my favorite feel, but I get it within the context of this beer.

D - In the sense that it's really complex and keeps me drinking, drinkability is very good. As I said, I dig this. Somehow, I bet this is the closest thing to "real" Russian Imperial Stout that I've ever tried. I seriously doubt the old Impy Stouts tasted like Stone or Oak Aged Yeti. They probably tasted like this. Big, malty, with British hops and a definite barrel character, with Brett infection inevitable. This is probably a damned good replica of what RIS used to be. For the adventurous beer drinker only...hell, expand it to the adventurous wine drinker too.

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Photo of scooter231
4.35/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, black hole- just total darkness. No head. Very intimidating. Smell is very fragrant- lots of raisins and dark fruits, hints of red wine. Very fruity. Taste is also winey and fruity, with hints of coffee. A bit bitter, but not overly so. Mouthfeel is slick and oily and decidedly dense- just full. Drinkability is quite high considering the alcohol content- very, very sneaky. A solid brew, this guy is. Impressively intimidating and sneaky.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.35/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out black, strong yeast aroma possible flanders. Alcoholic, no head, creamy, molasses comes to mind, some chocolate, some roastiness, some fig. Huge mouth feel creamy, syrupy. Flanders sourness appears in the finish, some whiskey character,, some coffee. A complex character, aroma extraordinary, unique alas.

This is a 2000 bottle. WOW,
I apologize but the discriptive words escape me at the moment

Finally up to temp.

The alcoholic aroma almost overwhelms the fig, molasses, chocolate aroma. With the suttle roastiness apparent, attributiting to the fig character in the flavor, delectable. Some chocolate appears with some raison. Alcohol is apparent in the flavor it adds a gentle warming to the palette. Very nice mouthfeel being creamy with full body, nice alcohol warming. Pleasant to the senses. Aged as this one is some of the characteristics are some what hard to ascertain in the chilled condition which this one sat in 38 degree refrigerator. After warming the aroma, flavors are almost overwhelming with the pleatherea of them that you get this one is a must for the stout drinker.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.35/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I lifted the cork on this 2001 vintage with some anticipation of an exuberant torrent from the newly liberated brewing art genie. The cork freed-- nothing happened.
This black as widower’s weeds stout cascaded into my tasting glass and swirled to rest. “Starless and Bible black” I intoned as I held the glass to the penetrating nosey rays of the intense room light only to have them disappear into the black liquid..

Little head- a rather disappointing moment.

But from the scant head, rose a phoenix-- a nose although mild yet complex in nature that hinted at thoughts of ale, alcohol, sherry, and toasted malt.

But the flavor-- ah the flavor!
A splendorous moment upon my palate as it reveled coated with this Cossack’s blood.
The hops side of Ale, burnt side of malt, and other assorted flavor notes-- that of chicory, hints of sherry, maybe even molasses leaped upon the scene. I’d even venture a daring stab at licorice somewhere in the background-- in essence “more of everything” from this dark libation..

Alas the show ended with a fine long clean finish, as if bidding homage to the final days of Tsarist Russia.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.33/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 9.3 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. 2008 bottle.

Appearance: Pours very dark and black. Nice four fingers of deep tan head which slowly fades into a thin layer. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big aroma of sour dark cherries up front is the dominate smell. Some hints of dark fruits including raisins and plums. Also some chocolate, Brett, and dark roasted malts. Smells a lot more like a wild ale than a imperial stout. Very interesting.

Taste: Like the smell, a big taste of tart and sour cherries with hints of dark raisins and plums. A subtle burnt roasted malt presence emerges towards the finish with hints of chocolate. Finishes somewhat dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a lower level of carbonation. Tart with a dry finish. Alcohol is hidden fairly well.

Overall: Probably the wildest version of a stout I've had. Is this really a stout or an American Wild Ale? I happen to like sour beers so I like the flavor going on here.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black hole body with a thick sticky light tan head that last and last. There is no sign of carbonation in there.

S- The flanders red tartness has a cherry quality to it and some smoke notes to the dry black charred grain in the finish. The black grain is mellowed in the finish aswell.

T- The slight tart sour flavor reminds me of a nice flanders red with some chocolate malt and dry black roasted inky malt soon taking over. There is a slight cinnamon quality to the black malt and a smokey note. The dry finish has a tartness and cherry hint to it with a gentle roasted bitterness that lingers a bit afterwards.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real astringency or alcohol noticed.

O- This beer has lots of nice layers but much of the malt flavors are hidden. The flanders tartness, smoke and black roasted grain surprisingly work well together. Even though it was complex it was very nice to drink, and not to heavy as to need a chaser or a spoon.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark fruits, licorice, saddle soap, leathery funk, figs, and cherries. A whole lot going on. Raspberries, and maybe a bit of barnyard. Burnt fruitcake and some bubblegum. Some industrial asphalt kind of aroma as well. This is crazy complex.

Pours black with a small dark tan head. Head just leaves a ring around the glass but sticks around. Thick gloopy. Serious sediment at the bottom.

Straight up burnt fruitcake. Raisins and caramelized sugars. Bitter espresso. Sweet upfront but surprisingly balanced. Bitterness from roasted malts balances out the sweetness. A touch of acidity is surprising, but adds complexity.

Full body, low carbonation. Silky and chewy. Finish is surprisingly dry leaving behind a touch of sweetness and acidity.

I can see why some don't enjoy this beer. The wild character may be off putting, but it does seem likely that this is what the original RIS's tasted like. I find the funk and acidity to subtle and complimentary. Despite everything going on in this beer, I find it easier drinking than many of the high abv sweet american-made RIS's.

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Photo of brewstien82
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 vintage

A-Black as night and scarcely raises a head as it slides into the glass.

S- An amazing complex aroma of figs,prunes,burnt fruitcake,hot tar,black cherries,dark chocolate,espresso,saddle leather,burning wood, pine needles mollasis, and licorice .

F-Burnt chocolate, leather, black licorice, alcohol, rich caramel, custard, scotch,the finish is long and espresso like with a moderate bitter finish. Long aging it does develop some lactic acidity,just like old vatted stouts.

M-Full body is very rich without being cloying.

D-It is a very complex and tasty beer that does not disappoint those those that can appreciate the style and the amazing flavors that can come from a beer this old, akin to an vintage port or old barolo. Would be good to sit and sip around a fire with a nice cigar, would also taste great with wild game sausages,deep chocolate deserts intense fruit tarts, or stilton cheese.

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Photo of Hampton73
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is 2000 vintage in a wrapped cork bottle. Pours dark and thick with no head. Just a brown fringe around the edge. Totally opaque Dark brown glass of history.

The first impression is of a fine dark red wine. Alcohol and dark fruits in the nose. But more. Barnyard smells.

The beer flows down the tongue with a thick feel. And the flavor echoes the nose.

It is easy to see why people in the 1800's compared this style of beer to wine. And thumbed their nose to the wine snobs, because beer is better.

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Photo of nomad
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost black color but still recognizably brown; also had a very brown head, small carbonation, no lace.

Smell was interesting, didn’t think a stout could smell like this... Smelled of thick oak, a deep earthy wood, cherries soaked in heavy whiskey. Came off as vinuous in its soft-feeling complexity. A tiny bit of yeast settled it down on a second pour, at which time the smell was an inviting mix of a wood shed and a kitchen in deep Autumn. A beer for the nose, no doubt.

Tasted of an amazing blend of nuts and heavy malt wrapped in hops, but both then long-matured. All came on top of a heavy wood accent. Also, had a strange fruit taste – earthly but acrid flavor like from black malts. A deep, subtle, and different stout - I'd say its the traditional recipe and then the aging.

Surprisingly thin body, just enough smoothness but without being too slick. But with a very zingy action on the mouth from the hops, it was hard to drink a lot of this beer.

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Photo of counselor
4.32/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black wit a dark tan head that dissipates quickly. The aromas are intense licorice, alcohol, coffee and chocolate. The taste of this beer is huge, layers of dark semi sweet chocolate, espresso, coffee, intense licorice and warming alcohol. The beer grew more intense as it warmed sending aromas out of the snifter. I will be getting more of this beer and enjoying it by the fire

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – It looks exactly like a can of 40 wt. Absolutely no head. Bizarre.

Smell – This is crazy. There’s definitely cherry in there along with super dark malts and alcohol, but there’s another strong aroma that I can’t pinpoint. It reminds me of good Kentucky bourbon.

Taste – This doesn’t even taste like beer. It is so thick that I’m sipping it out of a spoon that I’m using for dipping. If I spilled this on the floor I’d clean it up with a broom instead of a mop.

It is by far the heaviest, thickest substance I have ever drunk. The alcohol is so strong it should be served in a fifth. It tastes more like whiskey then beer. Bourbon, to be more precise. Ancient Age comes to mind.

Also, the burnt flavors are huge. OK – Ancient Age garnished with bread crumbs scraped from burnt toast.

Then, just when you think you’re done, the sweetness stops by to say (loudly) HELLO! Everything dark, of course. Plums, dates, Rainer cherries, and blueberries. The tobacco alone could knock out a gorilla.

This is monster flavor. Like it or hate it, you can’t ignore this one.

Mouthfeel – Completely flat, with the consistency of motor oil. I could pour this down my driveway and beat it to the garage.

Drinkability – Ninety-nine out of a hundred average people would spit this out in the sink. The drunken alcoholic on the corner nursing a bottle of Everclear would need some schnapps and a pack of Kools to chase this down. Buy it as a gift? Only for the experienced, adventurous beer lover.

Comments – Shit!

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.3/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2-oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2003 Vintage. This is a blended review with a new bottle on December 11, 2008. The original review was on March 29, 2008 and I did not want to fully re-review, but I think it possible the second bottle was in better condition.

A = First bottle: Dark, dark thick brown liquid, almost black with a foamy cappuccino brown head, fair retention, slowly resolves to a foamy layer on the surface. I suspect the head from the first bottle may have been from a flaw. Second bottle: The second bottle was almost flat and I would give it a lower score simply for appearance, but it otherwise seemed to have better tastes and smells.

S = First bottle: Very distinctive smell, there is an almost vinegar bitter/sour smell as well as burnt toast, chicory, slight yeast esters, there is a slight smell of a dusty unfinished, but clean basement. Second bottle: Much less distinctive but more straightforward. Still has burnt toast, chicory, musty but clean basement, but also has hints of dark molasses and just a hint of Turkish coffee with evaporated milk.

T = First bottle: Sour cream, in a good way. That is, I get frothy cream but at the same time there is extreme bitterness along with roasted/burnt grains, oak flavors, very light flavor of mulling spices. This is an extremely complex flavor. Extremely long bitter finish. Second bottle: Many of the taste elements are the same, but the extremity of the bitterness is diminished. I get slightly more sweet notes of molasses, but still mixed with bitter tree bark and roasted/burnt grains. The sour taste is not as present though, this and the lack of a head are what leads me to wonder about whether the first bottle had some infection or other imperfection. The thing is I really liked the first bottle, I just think the second one is slightly different and probably a little better. Both had strong, bitter herb tastes though that could be considered somewhat medicinal. This is not a beer for everyone. That is for sure.

M = Both bottles: Heavy bodied, creamy smooth texture of light carbonation, great mouthcoating.

D = Both bottles: I have a hard time giving a single score for drinkability on this one. I would not want this often, so that would seem to argue for low drinkability. On the other hand, I think this is a really good beer everyone should try which pushes the other way. In the end I will give it a good rating. It is definitely something I liked and will try again. Probably not incredibly often though, quite bitter.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.29/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 vintage sampled from a chalice at Mugs Ale House in Brooklyn. Label said it was 9% ABV.

Appearance: Inky black with no head or carbonation whatsoever.

Smell: A winey/raisiny smell, reminiscent of a tawny port. Nice floral hop tones.

Taste: Raisiny sweetness that opens the door for some great hoppy bitterness. Very well balanced. Alcoholic taste is very prominent.

Mouthfeel: Very very viscous, verging on syrupy. Rich and velvety.

Drinkability: About as drinkable as a barleywine gets. If I could find this again, I would definitely have it. I wouldn't plan on doing much else for the day, either.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.29/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 Edition
Deepest, darkest, blackest color you can have, with a head that doesn't foam, just exists as a slight toasted brown ring, that swiftly diminishes away.
Aroma: incredible! Dark as possible, whiskeyish, licorice, cherries, chocolatey, dark rum, mollasses, every sensation that ever wafted from an Imperial Stout is here in ample supply, more twisted and viscous and damnable as ever.
Taste: small, if even, evidence of hops, but a vast buttress of dark, tangible malt is fully in command of this entry, here. Rich, thick, sticky sweet, with a mouthfeel that doesn't get quite as full as I like...a bit too slick, with a finish that clings for a time, but not long enough.
I like the idea behind this ale, and the historical connotations, but it's not as well-balanced as it could be. The strength, somehow, didn't stick out..wait, no, here it comes...the missing IS qualities had me reaching for the Old Rasputin bottle waiting for me, but might that be tempting a sadder fate than my evening deserves...
This is quite an interesting, and a good, stout, but isn't going to vault to the top of list of favorites any time soon. Save for special occasions only. Not an everday drinking IS in the least.

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Photo of WGO
4.28/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice stubby bottle with label detailing some of the history of the Russian imperial stout style. Claims to be brewed under supervision of the first Russian brewery to produce Russian imperial stout.
Pours very thick, head looks like a thick chocolate mousse. Very dark almost black body.
Chocolate, raisins, Christmas pudding like aromas, maybe a hint of bannana.
Smooth almost velvet like. Coffee, bitter very choclaty, malt loaf like.
Mouth feel is very smooth one moment then overly carbonated the next.
Overall tastes great but seems a little disjointed through the sporadic texture and mouth feel.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.27/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2000 vintage corked bottle. Pours opaquely black with a thin brown head that dies to a small ring of bubbles hugging the edge of the glass. Mysterious aromas, treacle, brine, toffee, smoldering coals and port wine. Not your typical coffee-and-chocolate kind of stout aromas, this beer is really complex. The first sip has to be the best, your taste buds are going "WTF?..." One monster of a mouthfeel, velvety and rich. Big on the malty, vinous, winey character and has a nice bakers' chocolate-like bitter finish with enough woody esteriness from the hops to keep the palate cleansed (well, reasonably cleansed considering it's an global assault on the multicontinented palate). Salty and minerally taste in the background. This is a beautiful beer, one that I've tried a few times before and always enjoy. My only gripe it that it is such a slow sipper. Not so much a gripe, just every time I have one, it takes me 2 hours to consume. I guess that's love and caressing a beer.

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Photo of byrd
4.26/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage, Sampled Nov, 2003 - No head whatsoever. Maybe a couple bubbles on top, but a glass of water would probably have more. Solid black in color with slight garnet highlights around the edges. Aroma is has lots of spicy vinous notes, dark fruits, a little currant, and a slight rum tinge. Medium mouthfeel, and despite the flat appearance, there is a very slight amount of carbonation towards the finish. A bit more carbonation would be better, but this little bit is enough to ward off the notion of a fully flat brew. The start is smooth with vinous notes, and is a bit woody. Sweet notes of chocolate and a small touch of currant soon follow. Le Coq finishes with roasted and bitter sweet espresso notes. The alcohol is slightly noticeable, but blends wonderfully with all the other flavors. Coffee bitterness lingers long into the aftertaste. A unique and complex imperial stout that really feels as though it should be enjoyed slowly.

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Photo of bgildea
4.26/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice dark brown/black color. Thick dark tan tan head that leaves a significant amount of lacing.

S: Slight smell of nuts and roasted malts. A little too much alcohol smell for me though.

T: Nice sweet flavor initially possibly brown sugar, which fades well into a roasted malts and semi sweet chocolate taste. Good balance of flavors. Nice and tasty.

M: A good amount of chew to the beer. Nice and thick.

D: The beer is very drinkable. I loved the balance of flavors and i could knock a few of these back.

Overall: Overall the beer was very good. I liked the initial sweet flavor and it finishes with a nice hearty roasted after taste. Great balance, all dark beer drinkers should try it.

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Photo of haz77
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - 2001 vintage. Pours pitch black, with no light coming through whatsoever. The half-finger of dark tan head disappears rapidly, leaving only a thin ring.

S - Port/wine, sweet solvent sourness, molasses, prunes, raisins, other assorted dark fruit, dark chocolate, coffee. Absolutely superb. I'm sure there's more in here but I can't quite distinguish it though everything else listed.

T - Initial port/wine taste gives way to the dark fruit and then the solvent sourness (which isn't as strong as the aroma would have suggested). Finish and aftertaste has a very long-lasting coffee bitterness married to a creamy chocolate flavour. The alcohol only makes itself known from the warming sensation in the aftertaste.

M - Very full-bodied, smooth and coating. Virtually no carbonation.

D - As expected, this doesn't have great drinkability, and one is plenty. However, there is so much to savour in that one bottle that is gets a good overall score.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was served this at Falling Rock when I asked for a DeDolle Export Stout. Poured into a snifter glass.
A slick looking liquid, with red tints. Looks like a wine. No head at all. Reminds me of the Sam Adams Utopias, which has no head.
Smells of strong, dark fruits and alcohol. A bit of coffee as well. Again, I'm thinking of a Cabernet rather than a beer.
Tastes a bit like tannins up front, then the coffee and leather come through. Roasted malt, dark fruits, some chocolate. It's a beer after all.
Mouthfeel seems as though it may be thick and gooey, yet it's slick, oily and thin. More drinkable than imagined, could be a bit strong for some.

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Photo of captainjferjado
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle from 2003 I recently found at a package store which may have been aging them for the interim years. I should ask.

This beer pours a jet black with little immediate head. This will become a common theme, but its lack of head almost becomes an exaggeration of this style. After the pour there is a short, almost nonexistent and quickly dissipating head.

Its smell is very intense: nutty, bitter, with some sweet caramel and some very faint chocolate. It is a very bitter taste with very little sweetness--much like the nose, but I also find some smoked oakiness mellows the bitterness and gives further character.

Unlike other stouts, this one avoids an unpalatable viscosity remaining smooth with almost non-existent carbonation. Despite the harshness of the smoky bitterness this beer remains smooth and appropriate for slow sipping. As I stated before, I can't help but this "Extra Double" Stout has refined and exaggerated the qualities of a Stout into a fine sipping specimen.

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Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

* 2008 Vintage (9%abv.)
BB 2012, served cool in Gulden Draak tulip-shaped sniffer.
A: surprisingly, the bottle is cracked open with a high-pitch hiss, then the beer just storms out of the bottle taking me totally off-guard; ending in the glass is a pitch black hue coupled with lots of microscopic fizz in action, topped with a super huge dark tan foam, settling very slowly to a thin sheet to last. Totally different in appearance from the previously corked version.
S: acidic mustiness (like a lambic+oak-aged cider) and aromatic old oak woodiness spring to mind, along with secondary notes of black prunes, black cherries, soy sauce and burned woods, against a rich & thick oily black malty backbone. True to the old-ish style.
T: the very smooth foretaste of sour-sweet black malts with a spicy edge come on top of pleasantly sour oily black prune juice, then bitter-sweet coffee, charred nuts and burned malts, licorice root, earthy bitterness as of English hops with a hint of treacle prevail, leading to a long aftertaste that is simultaneously bitter, chewy and sour-sweet, showing at times aroma of charred wood-chips even.
M&D: although the appearance implies a lively carbonated body, on the palate it is surprisingly smooth and silky, finely carbonated at the lowest-necessary level. This classic, full-bodied yet easy-to-drink English RIS is as delicious and well-structured as ever, yet the overall performance is not as complex and desirably "stale" as other much older versions I've tried. But since the essential heavenly elements are all well retained in this new capped RAIB version, I really look forward to trying another bottle in two years time.

* 2003 Vintage (9%abv.) Tasting Date: 15/08/2009
This is actually the last vintage packaged in the traditional corked and sealed version, as the brewery hasn't got the cork-ing line ever since. 6 years old Le Coq this is, BBE 2009, served cool in Hapkin's bulb-shaped sniffer.

4 A: pours a jet black hue, coming with unknown carbonation and a rimmed soapy brown head. Looking just like a proper glass of overly-aged stout...
4.5 S: the nose is surprisingly pronounced for a 6-year-old English RIS - suggesting black malts, a faint touch of warming alc., tobacco, tart apple-juice, sour-sweet Chinese smoked black prunes, old Rioja Grand Reserva-like oakiness with a little musty vinegar and stale woodiness, and utterly bitter (and sour) dark chocolates... Most lingering is the sour woody element that actually penetrates the air to reach my nostrils a good 10cm away from the glass! Hops are pretty much non-existent, driving this ale apart from any contemporary take on the style. For drinkers not familiar with this old-world RIS, I'm sure the balance is not so enticing, but for me a Le Coq's lover the stale+oaky nose in the glass is absolutely welcomed.
4.5 T: lubricating without being oily, the immensely burned bitter foretaste has with it LOTS and LOTS of smoked black prunes, charred wood-chips, and stale woodiness, ensued seamlessly by a flow of tobacco-ish and semi-coffee-ish roasted malts, while the bitterness of a bucket load of hops makes up the really chewy mouthfeel, as well as a lightly spicy leather-ish and black-pepper-cone like undertone in the very end. Beautiful black prunes add to the lingering aromatic finish, with a key note of sourness to it of course.
4.5 M&4.5 D: ever so smooth on the carbonation, the bitterness actually renders the slightly soapy, chewy, powdery and spicy mouthfeel; this full-bodied RIS doesn't show any alc. to my tongue, a loyal witness to how the last vintage of corked Le Coq has matured patiently over the last 6 years... A classic RIS.

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
78 out of 100 based on 399 ratings.
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