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

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double StoutLe Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout
481 Ratings
Le Coq Imperial Extra Double StoutLe Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The style “IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT” and the name “ALBERT LE COQ” are synonymous. In the early 1800’s the Belgian A. LE COQ exported Imperial Stout from England to Russia and the Baltic area.

After the import traffic increased dramatically in the early 1900’s, A. LE COQ was invited by the TSARIST government to brew his legendary IMPERIAL EXTRA DOUBLE STOUT within the Russian Empire. In 1912 the first Imperial Extra Double Stout left the Brewery in TARTU, the former province of LIVONIA, now ESTONIA. World War I and the Russian Revolution, however, brought a dramatic end to A. LE COQ’s venture. Production ceased until 1921 and his brewery was nationalized by the BOLSHEVIK government. The facsimile label on each bottle of Imperial Extra Stout pays homage to A. LE COQ without whom this classic style would never have reached its legendary place in the world of beers.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 02-19-2001

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Ratings: 481 |  Reviews: 402
Photo of nriech
3.67/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2001 vintage

Appearance: This is the black hole of beers. There was no light at all escaping from this black swirling mass of thick stout. No head to speak of. Not even a hint of color around the rim.

Smell: Like a sour port with coffee with over ripe fruits. Very warming smell. Still hard to describe but very nice.

Taste: At first I couldnt place what I tasted. Then it hit me. Theres a back taste of saltyness here. It only lasted for the first minute or two but it was definately salty at first. Theres also a bit of a sour almost like a Flemish but not quite as strong. It does overpower what I think might be a very flavorful beer though. What does come through though is very dark roasted chocolate, grains, sweet barley, and sour oak.

Drinkability: Pretty much only drinkable in a tasting enviorment, would never drink this on my own but just once a year when I have a different vintage. Dont turn this one down though, very interesting and a good brew to widen your views.

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Photo of TripelJ
3.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2001 Vintage ~ Courtesy of the Cock and Bull - Thanks Howie!

11.2 oz. corked bottle poured into brandy snifter @ room temperature.

Every once in a while I have a beer that makes me realize just how seriously I take my hobby and this is one of those beers. Pours a visciously viscous and opaque liquid darkness that seems to suck in all surrounding light like a black hole. An aggressive pour yields a one inch tan head that recedes quickly with no lacing. The aroma is complex with a perfume like fragrant character--sweet, spicy, alcoholic--soy / worcestershire sauce? This is a full body-and-a-half beer, no question about that, with its thick, smooth mouthfeel. Taste is equally as complexing/compelling as the nose--thick and smooth, creamy roasted sweetness, a sweet/salty soy sauce interlude followed by a vinuous dry, acidic finish that is bouncing w/ ripe dark cherries and green grapes. Roasted bitterness lingers on the palate but is hardly a reminder of the imperial revelation experienced only a few moments ago. Overall, the most unique Imperial stout and possibly beer that I have ever had. This stout is a nice glimpse at the complexity of beer.

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Photo of HimerMan
1.9/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

From the bottle - tasted twice (once with Gaskill), purchased from two different places. Unless I tried two corked/skunked bottles of their beer, this is the worst stout I've ever had. The pour was like an oil slick, with absolutely no head whatsoever. From appearance alone, it looked like a solid stout, however, the taste was intense soy or tamari sauce, extremely bitter and strangely salty. I will have to try this again, but - my impression on this is weak at this point in time.

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Photo of wchesak
2.62/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

11.2 oz 2003 9% alcohol

Poured into a Val-Dieu glass (snifter)

A - very dark, oil like color, no carbonation at all but a few bubbles on the edge

S - about 2 feet from it and it smells like i have my nose in a bottle of whiskey, surprisingly as I move in closer the smells become more complex - port, ripe dark fruit, vanilla

T - chocolate malt with the beginning hints of whiskey notes, mid taste a slight hop that lasts briefly, than moves to whiskey notes

M - medium bodied for the style, somewhat surprisingly to me, no carbonation, velvety in texture

D - once was enough for me, maybe would want to try another year, but not for the cost, ill stick with ten fidy

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Photo of faernt
4.47/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this because it is a classic. I have a 2001 vintage before me. It's closed with cork and opened still. Still is not my favorite choice for a first impression of a beer. The aroma is of wine and as I poured it into the glass the wine aroma expanded. As I bring it to my nose a little oakiness comes up and when I drink it the wine and oak increases to the level of some of my favorite Chianti. The chocolate and coffee then kick in and, really, l am finding little to separate this from a robust earthy wine except it is a little more full bodied.

The mouthfeel is a little viscous. Spiciness is kicking in and I'm gettng allspice almost like a jerk rub and a little heavy on the cloves. The complexity is enjoyable and now the stillness is more justified. I like the sensory explosion of this. I think I'll buy more if I can find some and try it with my wife's chicken cacciatore over polenta. This is the most interesting wine/beer experience I've had. I find the ambiguity intriguing.

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Photo of bgildea
4.26/5  rDev +24.2%
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 byrd
4.26/5  rDev +24.2%
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 DagFishHead
4.61/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 edition.
Appearance: Ink black, with dark ruby-brown highlights where it's edge meets the glass. No head, no lace.
Smell: Oak, port wine, licorace, deep roasted malt, plums, over-ripe cherries... incredibly complex. Pleasing alcohol nose-tingle.
Taste: Beautifully balanced oaky port wine, plum and syrupy sweet malt start, then smokey, espresso, date/raisin at the top. Alcohol warmth swells then relents leaving a semidry version of all these flavors lingering in the aftertaste. Super!
Mouthfeel: Sinfully rich, chewy malt. Mouth-tingle from absolutely minimal carbonation combined with high alcohol level.
Drinkability: Incredible in spite of being almost completely flat. I will try this again and re-rate if the next sample has better carbonation.

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Photo of thezach
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Crotor
3.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My only experience with this beer has been a '99 bottle consumed in '04. Unfortunately, it seems to have been a few years past its prime...

The beer poured flat, black, and almost purple-ish. Warm alchol and slight spice aroma dominated at first. Then there was a bit of funky raisin aroma. And an unfortunate bit of nail-polish remover...

The taste was surprising considering the aromas. At first there was all sorts of weird fruit going on, but then it left with a roasty, lingering tobacco component. The beer was completely dry, with no malt sweetness to speak of. I was intrigued by how strong the roastiness became, considering how strong the fruit was at first. I guess I'm not used to encountering these flavors in this succession?

Unfortunately, the mouthfeel suffered dramatically from the aging. The beer seemed thin and astringent, and ultimately too weak to pair with the fullness of the flavor.

I'd like to try a younger version of this beer, and see if it has the malt and body necessary to make this beer great as opposed to just good.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
3.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2003 Vintage picked up at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. The guy didn't seem to confident in selling me this but I made the foolish mistake of asking: "is it worth a try?" he shrugged and said "yeah, its worth a try at least." Confidence not inspired.

I've said motor oil before, but this is about as oily as you can get.

Warm alcohol notes on the nose...tons of dark fruit. Molasses, licorice and syrupy sweet smell are evident as well.

Wow. Not sure if I had anything like this, tons of black licorice, a vaguely fruity taste, ripe ripe ripe fruit.

So different on the mouth, very thick but no carbonation so it has a watery effect. Wicked aftertaste.

You would have to have a hankering for this pretty bad to continuously drink it. Wow.

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Photo of euskera
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was really anticipating this one, then...

No carbonation at all, dark as molasses. Smell was classic stout, but with a port wine feel that pervaded through the taste and the mouthfeel. Something just wasn't quite right. It tasted more of port wine, or very very well aged balsamic vinegar. The total lack of carbonation gave it a flat feeling that just wasn't pleasant. Disappointing in the extreme...

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Photo of micahgoldfus
4.37/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured like oil, just pure blackness. A few bubbles, a little bit of dark-brown lace, that's about it. The smell was of chocolate malts, rich and smokey, but with a tinge of sweetness tucked in there as well. The taste was delicious and powerful. Burnt chocolate and coffee malts, a the presence of alcohol, and once again the sweetness burried in there, potentially from brown sugar or molassas. There was no carbonation, and the beer left a long, wet, lasting impression in the mouth. It was thick and syrupy, leaving me full and happy, like I just ate a meal. I slowly sipped this beer for an hour, with the flavors coming out stronger as the beer warmed. This was my first Russian imperial stout, and if they're all like this, I think I need to keep exploring the style.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.44/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2003. Cellar temp poured into my Brooklyn snifter.

A-Jet black. No head. barely any bubbles from pouring. Why did the bottle say caution contents under pressure.

S-chocolate covered esspresso. Port. Sweet alcohol. No hops.

T-Chocolate soaked in port. Slightly corked, but ok. Roasty bitter. Slightly tart. Chocolate covered espresso beans. As the beer warms, the hop bitterness comes out. Nice.

M-medium thick. A little carbonation would make this more drinkable. No alcohol heat.

D-This is an interesting beer. Different take on the imperial stout. Could it have had some carbonation? yes. That would have brought out more of the aroma.
This is a good beer for a winter night.

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Photo of wyllder
1/5  rDev -70.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is vile.

There are no two ways about it, you might as well drink soy sauce.

This pours midnight black. It might be appealing if it had a head, or maybe some hint of carbonation or some hilights around the edges. It has none of that. Inky black with a few small, clear bubbles that immediately gave me the impression all was not well here.

The nose. For me to describe anything other than a cloying, briney, downright reminescent of soy sauce scent, would be pure and utter fabrication.

The flavor is no better. I've had other Russian Imperials, and if this is/was the essence of the style, then I'm grateful to all the breweries who decided to experiment. Any chance at the complex flavors others have noted is washed away in sea of salty, soy sauce, brine. This beer tastes like a severely over salted syrup.

Mouthfeel is puckering and downright offensive.

Drinkability should be negative numbers. This stuff has Fear Factor potential.

I'm sorry. I've had the unfortunate occasion to encounter this twice now. The first time I had only a sip, and the second time I braved a full bottle. The bottle took me over an hour to work my way through and every sip was torture. Warming only helped to accentuate the brinyness and actually made this worst. If you like this, more power to you. If you tried this and didn't like it, I hope this review lets you know there are others who feel the same way.

btw, I let 3 others at the bar sample this and they all thought it tasted like shit.

I can only hope this is the only beer I ever 1-out.


I have since sampled this when two friends ordered it. One was significantly better, and I would probably rate in the high 3's as Russian Imperials go. The other, however, was nearly as repulsive as the one I reviewed above. Subsequently, I will not be changing my rating.


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Photo of BgThang
2.66/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to peanut at the dilly deli in cincy for giving me this 2003 vintage bottle as a present to show how generous the people of cincy are.

He told me the back story of how the brewer was in england then the czar of russia moved him and his family to russia to brew for the czar and so forth.
I had high expectations of this beer.

When I opened it there was little to no carbonation.
The smell was that of soy sauce. It was a beer that may have been past its prime. I tried to quaff it down but I could not do more th an a few sips. It was soy with some twang to it.
It did make a nice marinade for some beef I had.

I am glad I was able to try this beer

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Photo of amicar
3.78/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting. Poured into my favorite tasting glass dark and inky from a corked bottle. Is this supposed to be carbonated? At all? Smells musky and like fortified wine. Taste took some getting used to, but has a sweet roasted flavor balanced by the tart port or sherry like sense; A little raisiney as well. Sticky and thick in the mouth. Drinkability is hard to asess. I almost was going to bring this one back to the store for a replacement at first. But I kept trying and it became more like a warming evening apetif feels. Grew on me substantially. One bottle was more than satisfying though. Could probably split it, given all its funky attributes.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Its black with the faintest amber highlights, but flat.
It would have better appeal with some creamy brown/tan head

S- Faintly hoppy with hints of toasty malt

T- Rich with solid balanced bitterness from front to back; I got more of a molassas flavor on the back end. Hop bitterness does NOT linger like many American versions of RIS

M - Moderately thick and viscous. full bodied, no problem here

D- First, you have to like Russian Imp. Stout (wife won't touch the stuff, which leaves more for me), I would drink it again, but there are a few easier to acquire American RIS's that I would reach for first.

Other comments - Interesting unusual shaped bottle, cork and old English label add to the experience.

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Photo of meerkat2
2.5/5  rDev -27.1%

Photo of stoppertb18
1.75/5  rDev -49%

Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.35/5  rDev +26.8%
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 AMo
1.3/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2003 Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout, tried in 2009 poured a flat brownish black. Zero carbonation, as flat and thicker than wine. The smell was actually there, but it was pungent and offensive of burnt, leather, and sour. Taste was putrid of spoiled sour meat, pureed with soy sauce. Extremely difficult beer to hold in my mouth. It had no properties of beer what so ever. Thick, flat, dense, spoiled liquid feeling. I couldn't drink this due to the spoiled taste and subliminal thought of getting sick due to some kind of liquid food poisoning.

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Photo of Beervis
1.18/5  rDev -65.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

After reading much about this brew, I decided to give it a try. Let me start out by saying that I NEVER pour a beer down the drain, I always finish them no matter what. This one on the other hand, I just could not stomach. After reading some very favorable reviews, it seems you either love or hate this stuff...I personally hated it. I thought it may be a bad bottle, but it seems other people have had the same experience.

Pours from the corked 11.2oz bottle a dark black, motor oilish looking with no head or carbonation at all.

Smell is coffeeish with slight chocolate notes, but mostly a sour mustiness.

Mouthfeel is medium, but without the carbonation to assist, any hint of complexity is overtaken by the soy sauce like taste.

Finish is lingering now that my mouth is coated with slight chocolate notes and a minor bitterness.

This is definitely not drinkable, it's by far the worst beer I have ever tasted. If this is what the original Impy Stouts tasted like, let's just say I am very happy to have the American Double Stout to wash this down with. Just not my style I guess.

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Photo of Pecorasc
2.64/5  rDev -23%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

2003 vintage. 11.2oz bottle with lengthy write-up on the "history" of the Imperial Russian Stout. The cork was sunken into the bottle neck and it took a solid ten minutes to lodge it loose with the help of a corkscrew (which broke), a screwdriver, and pliers.

A- A dissappointingly uneventful pour. No matter how vigorous the pour, no more head was created than if I was pouring water. The color of black coffee with only the slightest edge of light brown. Well below average.

S- Intense umami dominates all other aromas. Slight roast and an alcoholic burn add complexity. The soy sauce aroma is too intense to make this very enjoyable.

T- Bitter and acrid followed by a alcohol burn in the back of the throat and a slowly rising roasted barley aftertaste. Slight vanilla in the background. Very, very, difficult to seperate the mouthfeel from the taste in this case.

M- Completely flat and watery. Not a bubble to be found, and unlike other flat beers I've come across, there is no other aspect of the mouthfeel that can make up for the lack of carbonation. Bottom line, it could not get any worse.

D- The mouthfeel and intense soy sauce aroma and flavor make the beer nearly unpalatable. I would be willing to try a newer vintage of this beer, hoping that the carbonation would hold. I'm guessing the Tsar would be pissed.

Note: looking back through the reviews, it looks like this beer ages horribly. I'll make an effort to re-review with a newer vintage when I come across one.

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Photo of sentomaster
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage

A-dark as can be, with a very thin beige head that quickly dies

S-Wow, massively vinous and dark. big hit of acidity and vinegar, too much so- it overtakes anything else that might be going on and leaves a massively tart and sour impression. Not appetizing and I'm thinking this might be a drain pour.

T/M- Thankfully the acidity doesn't dominate on the palate like it does in the nose. The carbonation is just right and contributes to a slick and oily body that coats your mouth. The vinous aspect translates well onto the palate. Seriously dark flavors of figs, raisins, and prunes coat the tongue with a red wine like complexity. The finish comes back to vinous and vinegar which stick to your mouth and lingers long after.

O- Really different, I'm not sure the nose is quite right, or as it should be. Maybe it didn't age quite right. It is very unique and probably more what the classic imperial stout was like as opposed to the chocolate and roast of the current american double stouts.

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 481 ratings
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