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

400 Reviews
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 02-19-2001

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Reviews: 400 | Ratings: 479
Photo of ImperialStoat
1.09/5  rDev -68.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Marmite. Bovril. Vegemite.

If ever you've tried any of these three products then you've also had Harvey and Sons Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout.

I wish I was willing to spend more time promulgating on why this is inarguably the most repugnant liquid that's ever addressed my taste buds, but I'm too distracted by a throbbing in my brain that reminds me in short, painful intervals that the money I spent on this beer could have been spent instead on another bottle of Hanssens Oude Kriek.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

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Photo of PartyBear
4.05/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage.

Inky black, thick and greasy appearance with no head at all and no visible carbonation. Leaves quite strong legs on the glass. As soon as I opened the bottle I was hit by a big sour port like aromas, incredibly sharp, more like a Flemish red than an imperial stout. There are hints of dark malts, behind but the winey sourness and alcohol is just too powerful. The taste is not what you would expect to get from an imperial stout, huge oaky port flavours up front, with sour cherries, and leather. After this there is a very bitter chocolate that pushes through with some liquorish, and mild coffee. As it warms up the darker malty flavours come through more. I can see why some people vehemently dislike this beer so much but just because it is different from what people have come to expect from the style it doesn't make it bad. The flavours are hugely complex and offer something different with every sip. It's not something that I would drink continuously but once in a while it is a treat.

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into oversized white wine glass.

2001 Vintage, consumed at about cellar temperature.

I feel I should preface this review by saying this is an extremely unique beer and it is difficult to assign numerical values to its characteristics.

A - Very black; it looks a lot like coffee. Opaque. A few dark brown bubbles form during the pour but there is no head or lacing to speak of. I can't say I find this extremely unusual since it is 8 years old. There is some decent legging however.

S - As another reviewer pointed out, this stuff immediately reminds me of Flanders Red/Brown. In fact, if I was blindfolded, I wouldn't recognize this as a stout at all. Mostly vinegar with a touch of sweetness to balance it out. Wood and must linger in the background. The years definitely show; a description I came up with went something like "old library" and I realized I'm picking up on some heavy oxidation. No real stout qualities to speak of.

T - This thing still has me confused. Still more akin to a mild sour, but some stout-ish characteristics try to pull through. Sweet vinegar enters first, much like a mild balsamic vinegar. Sweetness grows with low levels of caramel, coffee, and chocolate; a sort of blanket roastiness if you will. Mid to late palate there's a sour "kick," reminding me of leather, hay, and a sharp, chemical-like citric note such as lemon oil. The brew finishes with modest bitterness and lingering "funk" and wood. No detectable alcohol.

M - Thick and oily. Virtually no carbonation. There's a tiny bit hidden in there but it's hardly noticable.

D - This has definitely been one of the strangest beers I've run across, but I'm glad to have experienced it. Probably not something I'll buy again, but it was cool to see what a lot of time could do to a big British stout. Lacking the sweetness of a barleywine or the carbonation of a sour, this is probably the most all around wine-like brew I've ever had.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.41/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

2003 bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: This is one of the darkest imperial stouts I've come across - no doubt. Body is black, opaque, and very oily. I can't see anything through it. Impressive. What's not impressive is the lack of head. There's literally nothing there.

Smell: Sour, like red wine vinegar. This smells like an oud bruin; not a Russian imperial stout. Anise, roasted malt and smoke are also there, but this just doesn't smell right. It's inoffensive, but definitely off.

Taste: Initially, I thought this beer tasted totally different than it smelled, but then that red wine vinegar flavor came through in the aftertaste. Roasted malt, black licorice, and charred wood seem to be there, because I do find them in the aftertaste. It's weird though: while the beer is in my mouth I don't really taste anything. I tried allowing lots of air in while I sipped, but that didn't help at all. A vigorous swish did nothing more than strengthen the sourness. As with the smell, it's not offensive; it's just really weird.

Mouthfeel: Very, very flat and kind of thin too, especially for something labeled "Imperial Extra Double". I don't think I've ever had a beer with such a boring mouthfeel. It's slug-like; kinda gross. Good deal of warming with a semi-dry finish. Lousy overall.

Drinkability: This is one of the oddest beers I've ever had. I don't know if it's supposed to taste like this, or if my batch was infected, or whatever. I just feel confused... and pretty buzzed (the 10% ABV is getting to me quick). It's actually growing on me now.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.42/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked bottle into a pint glass - in retrospect, a snifter probably would have been preferable.

Pours jet black with a mild brown head that fades quickly. No lacing. Nose is boozy with licorice and anise. Taste is very bold - boozy, licorice, anise, oak...a bit of character that almost reminds of a red wine. Mouthfeel is very smooth, with moderate carbonation - really quite a nice feel. Tingles on the tongue and leaves a coating aftertaste. Full bodied.

Very unique taste, but I enjoyed it. Definitely off the beaten path of your typical RIS.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
2.15/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into goblet...2001 vintage

A: Pours jet black, a little viscous and absolutely no head at all, just a few bubbles on top....very disappointed...

S: Heavy black licorice, anise, tobacco, dark fruit, and an almost wine-like aroma...very complex, but not necessarily smelling all that inviting.

T: Heavy booziness, black licorice, oak on the finish along with a little coffee and bittersweet chocolate...but it is all completely overwhelmed by the booziness, licorice and oak....nearly undrinkable, and I love RIS as a style, this is just completely off in my opinion.

M: Completely flat and thin for a 10% RIS...

D: The taste combined with the mouthfeel makes this beer nearly undrinkable...terrible. This beer may be past its prime or just bad...my guess is past its prime as some people have enjoyed this in the past and I can't imagine how anyone could enjoy what I am trying to drink...

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Photo of olmatty
2.67/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2001 Vintage

Appearance- Pours a jet black beer with no carbonation at all

Smell-Oak barrel, strong sherry wine alcohol aroma

Taste- Huge oak barrel flavor overwhelms some notes of coffee, licorice and molasses, more like port than sherry.

Mouthfeel- Syrupy and zero carbonation

Drinkability- Beer is not supposed to be a still beverage. Oak aged RIS are typically low carbonation, but this is absolutely NONE! Also, oak barrel presence overwhelms pretty much everything else.

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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 brewstien82
4.32/5  rDev +25.9%
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 erz316
1.38/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

bottle from 2001 poured into la chouffe snifter.

A - oh man, I think I smell some of that soy sauce like flavouring from the cork, just like the sam adam's triple bock. lets hope I'm wrong; ugh, I think I wasnt. the body pours jet black with no head. it looks like it could be a decent tasting stout, but the smell gives it all away.

S - yeah, its like soy sauce, burnt tar, and cork. its not as bad as the sam adams triple bock, but man, its pretty bad.

T - this is undrinkable, but not as much as the sam adams, so I am going to give it a half point more. just because it wasnt as bad as it could have been.

MF&D - there is no carbonation and it seems to be a medium body, but who even cares. I'm not drinking it, and I can hardly get enough in my mouth to assess any of the characteristics.

Note: if it isnt obvious, the bottle had gone bad; the cork has let out all of the carbonation, and the cellaring conditions were probably not even cellaring conditions. it was probably sitting in a warm store room at sahara mart for a couple of years.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001 vintage, in a snifter

A - impenterably black, with only the thinnest possible layer of tan bubbles wells up when its swirled

S - i have to say, when i perused some other reviews and heard the words i dread ever since i had a Sam Adams Triple Bock - "SOY SAUCE"! However, i dont get that from this stout, major roasted malts, deep background brewed coffee (as opposed to coffee beans), some dark chocolates, strong alcohol characteristic, perhaps a bit of anise/licorice. I see that maybe if this were stored improperly or for any reason didnt hold up well that soy sauce would develop

T - super dark chocolate, like thos 90% Lindt bars, with a hint of brewed coffee, similar to the aroma, a bit sharper than the aroma, more tannic, which lends a deep late season cabernet grape taste, i once again see how this could develop into soy sauce, fortunately this one isnt there yet

M&D - those who enjoy cabernet sauvingon will enjoy this beer, that deep red wine feel, velvety on the tongue, slightly acidic, well rounded after nearly a decade, hope to get my hands on a fresh one to compare

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Photo of WorldWideStout
1.84/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

2003 bottle poured into a snifter. Dark black with no head.

Smell is that of very sour apples and vinegar.

Taste is almost exactly the same. At the very end, it tastes a bit like a stout.

Looking at other reviews, perhaps it is supposed to be a little tart, but in my opinion, this beer was far past its prime. When I tried to really let my mouth and nose open up instead of meekly sipping, I almost gagged at the taste.

Because it was quite expensive and had a cool background, I gave this beer more of a chance than I would for most other beers, but after concluding that it would bring me only displeasure, I poured about 80% of it down the drain.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 vintage (9% ABV). Picked up at Hop City in Atlanta. Hadn't seen this before, hadn't even known about it, and it seemed too interesting to pass up. It decants into the snifter without much head, but a wispy, dishsoap crown that is the color of fresh oil (dirty gold) -- with beers this old you kind of expect that. The color is gorgeous, like spent motor oil, midnight-black and completely opaque.

Aroma is wonderful, with lots more dark fruit vibrancy than expected, something very musty and woody that I'll assume is the yeast having worked its magic on the malt all these years, and just the right amount of alcohol to give it a kind of liqueur-like sensibility. Overall nose reminds more of a Belgian strong dark ale than a Russian Imperial Stout.

Flavor is amazing...for about 5 seconds. Those initial seconds offer chocolate cake donut, tons of toffee, licorice, young dark pit fruits, tootsie roll and just a little alcohol. More like an old ale than an "imperial" "double" "extra" stout. After that it all starts to go downhill, collapsing in a kind of mess that is partly the fault of the thin, flaccid, watery texture. Also has one of the most disgusting finishes of any beer that I can recall, like watered down wood varnish (toffee-flavored, at that!). Not entirely awful, but nothing I could ever love. I'd take a fresh Dark Lord or even Rasputin any day.

This beer doesn't age well, at least not if I'm judging by this bottle and assuming its storage conditions were appropriate in its eight years of life. I'm wondering why it's offered almost exclusively with quite a few years on it. I have a feeling it would be much better with less age. Hmmm...

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Photo of bobsy
2.84/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Oddly mediocre for something I've anticipated for a long time.

2003 vintage, complete with cork. Pours a midnight black with a collar of brown head. No lacing. Like the surface of a pond devised by satan. Aged cider nose with treacle doesn't bode too well. Chocolate, cider, whiskey, soy, burned coffee and molasses combine into one unholy melange of a beer, which quickly oscilates between great and ghastly. Its a schizophrenic brew, and quite unlike anything I've had before. Oily mouthfeel with next to no carbonation. Quite thick and heavy, coating every area of the mouth.

The peripherals are good, but that's about it.


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Photo of fitzy84
4.37/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottle. Slick, jet black with dark-brown, frothy lacing. No real head. Immense aromas of alcohol, vanilla, burnt malts, woody hints like oak, dark chocolate. Taste is incredibly bitter; mixed with the dairy-cream aspect of the drink almost gives the drink an old cheese aftertaste. The alcohol definitely takes the taste and runs with it. The mouthfeel has a creamy aspect with little to no carbonation. Overall, this was an intense beer for me and it had some great qualities.

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Photo of Pencible
2.86/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2003 vintage. (I didn't actually have this on tap; I had it from a bottle. I just wanted to be able to make a second entry on BA, for this vintage at this age.)

This poured 100% opaque black with no other coloring and no head. It smelled like sherry and balsamic vinegar and cabernet grapes, with some prune and chemical / plastic and alcohol. It tasted like musty cabernet grapes and balsamic vinegar and Worcester sauce, with some chemical / plastic and prunes. It was somewhat thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting bitter aftertaste. Overall I'm not sure if this was oxidized, but I don't think it was because the cork was in good shape. It just tasted much older than six years aged...more like 16. The flavor was challenging to drink. Not necessarily bad, but definitely an acquired taste, and one that can only be sipped. The body was nice, but I was expecting something a bit fuller. I've had a seven-year-old bottle of this before that was much more "normal" and actually very enjoyable. But this one was rough.

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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 gford217
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330mL bottle, 2000 vintage listed 9% ABV, poured into a snifter.

Pours a viscous, oily black with hardly any head at all. It's more like a bubbly tan collar that leaves no lacing.

The aroma is a cross between an impy stout, barleywine and old ale. There is definitely a big of dark roasted malts hiding in there, but the massive malty sweetness, slight tartness and alcohol are more dominant. It definitely smells higher than a 9% ABV and burns the nostrils slightly.

The taste isn't as good as the aroma and is much, much more sour up front with stronger signs of oxidation than the aroma indicated. The malts taste almost burnt and stale leaving a dry bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is super slick with no carbonation to speak of. It's definitely a little light for the style.

This one is definitely past its prime as the oxidation has taken its toll on the taste. The aroma was decent, but this is definitely not one of my favorite stouts with a definitely sourness starting to take over.

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Photo of admiralcrunch
3.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2003 Vintage, served tasting style

I served a bottle of this at a tasting last night.

Cork was difficult to pull out, but showed no signs of damage. It looked exactly like motor oil - no carbonation, slick, and black. Someone who had it as their first beer of the night said it was "disgusting." I was worried it would smell infected or oxidized as with some of the recent reviews, but it wasn't nearly that bad. It tasted slightly sour, which I would never expect from RIS but it makes sense considering how long it spent in barrel. Mouthfeel was a little too slick - I heard many comments of "motor oil" or "wine." As for drinkability, I'm glad I had nine or ten people to share it with. Still pleasantly surprised at how good it was, given the mixed reviews.

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Photo of ricke
2.68/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2003 vintage. Serving date: 2009-06-03. No visual evidence of cork damage.

A: It has a pitch black color. The liquid is thick and lifeless. A rather aggressive pour results in just minimal brown head. The head dissipated quickly but swirls result in some lacings, so the beer seems to have some carbonation.

S: The smell is rather special and really weird. Think a mix of decent lambic and a not overly roasty and somethat sweet stout - and there you have it. Notes of vinegar, funky barnyard and wet hay, and hint of aged cheese. Beneath this lie another set or smells, more common to stouts - sweet chocolate, roasted malts, wood and some fruity aromas. Initially, I find the smell quite interesting but as the beer warms up and gets to breed, the pungent and funky aromas becomes more prominent and after a while it just gets too assertive.

T: The smell is also very weird, and far from good. The beer actually tastes kind of bad. The character of a tart lambik appear here as well, but is not as prominent as in the smell. But still, here are plenty of tart notes that all in all seems rather out of place. In the mouth, there is not much going on, except for some notes of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. But upon swallowing, things start to happen. A very strong salty taste develops and this does not work well at all with the tartness. Soy sauce, green apples, horse blanket and something that reminds me of pickled fish blend in a devilish concoction. Some sweetness tries to get everything back on track, but fails completely. In the finish there is a strong note of licorice, some wood and a taste of alcohol that doesn't fit well with the other flavors.

M: Full-bodied with a sticky texture. Almost no carbonation and as a result, the beer is too much to handle after a while.

D: This is a very strange beer. It's complex and poorly balanced, and frankly it doesn't taste good. Some parts of it are nice though(some components in the smell and some of the tartness in the taste), but as a whole, it fails to be anything but a disappointment.

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Photo of Bung
3.12/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz. Bottle 2001 vintage. Dark brown pour with red around the edges. Absolutely zero head. Smelled of a port wine or a full bodied red like a Zinfandel. Did not get much sweet from this one, some roasted malt and mocha, mostly red fruits. Full bodied, but not much outside of the dark red fruits and alcohol. Definetely a bit sour on the finish. Have a feeling this one was a bit over aged. If not than something I would not try again. By the ratings sounds like the 2003 vinatage has been received much better.

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

I hate having to do this review, but I feel obligated at this point

At the British Beer Company in Natick, MA I ordered one of these. It was a 1999 Vintage server to me ~32F. Not a good sign. I allowed the brew to warm.

I decorked and took a whiff. Buttersctoch with immediate cayanne pepper. Not good. Poured no carbonation, oil click black, zero movement in the beer. Smells of oxidation, buttersctoch and plain ass. I sent back this $15, 10yr old beer. I have NEVER sent a beer back in my life.

Steward offered me another. A 2000 vintage. Pulled cork which looked in better condition. Smells hinted at some malt. Poured into a new snifer. Again, zero carbonation, oil slick black. Not nearly as much cayanne, but buttersctoch notes were heavy. Zero malt, zero dryness, just ass.

I explained to the nice steward that the bottle recommends it to be conditioned 50-56F. That you were doing these beers a terrible disservice keeping them in the fridge. However, Im confident that they hadnt kept them there for 9 and 10 years. Never the less, these beers were ... BY FAR ... the worst beers Ive ever tasted. Extremely disappointed as I was stoked to try them.

I ended up ordering 2 06 Thomas Hardy's (again at 32f) and allowed them to warm. They were good, but not great. Im sure the keeping temp needs to be adjusted.

Sad sad day for what im sure was supposed to be an excellent vintage beer

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Photo of mugglesandhops
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage poured into snifter. Poured an opaque black with a very short lasting tan head. Smelled very winey, maybe a hint of chocolate or coffee in there. The taste was was big, warm, still very wine like but it was much better than I was expecting after reading some of the reviews.

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Photo of BarrelO
1.48/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. 2003 vintage. Opening the bottle was an adventure in itself. The cork broke in half as I tried to pull it out, and trying to extract the remaining half just pushed it in further, so I ended up having to pour the beer through a hole in the cork.

A: Jet black. No head whatsoever.

S: Like Worcestershire sauce. Seriously.

T: Guh. What the hell? Aside from an occasional twinge of sourness, this is literally flavorless. Is it too old?

M: At least it feels like something that theoretically could be mistaken for a stout.

D: Absolutely horrid. Is this really what the Russian imperial court drank? No wonder the Bolsheviks shot them all.

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

Vintage: 1999, poured into a basic snifter glass. Allowed to warm for at least half an hour. The stout appears an opaque dark brown color with well under half an inch of quickly ebbing ecru foam. Nose and flavor consist of rich molasses, softened raisins, quite sherry-like, dates, prunes, smokey sweet malt. Could honestly use a bit more carbonation for my tastes. Alcohol is pretty much non existent at this point. Mouthfeel is reminiscent of sherry/fortified wine. Glad I had the chance to try this vintage.

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
3.43 out of 5 based on 479 ratings.
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