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 allforbetterbeer
3.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Corked and foil-wrapped 11.2 oz bottle dated 2001 per the label. Bought at Sundevil Liquor in Mesa, AZ. Label states the ABV is 9%. The cork was in excellent condition (couldn't as for better). Poured half the bottle (without disturbing whatever may be on the bottom) into a snifter.

Pours without head. The body looks black, but when held to strong light shows muddy-grey highlights. There is still some crimson life left in this beer, but it takes some strong light to show it. I didn't expect any red colors to be left, and I am impressed.

The smell is surprisingly powerful. Vinous notes, almost grape-like sweetness, and tawny port are prominent. A little swirl brings up a tiny bit of carbonation, and reveals that this was a stout at heart with sweet but charred notes of roast. Powerful, interesting, and complex. I am blown away by how this smells.

The flavor is crazy. I am not sure where to start. When it first hits my tongue I get a very sweet port-like flavor but this is very short lived. The next flavors are something like roast mixed with a tartness, and maybe the after-effects of what used to be hops. To this point the beer is quite tasty and easy to enjoy. It is in the aftertaste that things get strange. I think that this was infected (maybe intentionally?) with a lacto strain. A pleasant tartness and vinous flavor seems to be the result in the primary flavor. However in the aftertaste, there is an almost bitter acrid savory (almost salty?) taste that might be the long term result of this infection when paired with the roasted malt flavors. It reminds me of the aftertaste of infected Deschutes Abyss, except thinned out. As if the roast and the tartness conflict and produce a strange savory unpleasant taste. However aside from this mildy gross flavor, the beer overall is quite drinkable.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly thick after almost 11 years in the bottle. There is just a touch of carbonation left which surprised me, but I imagine this is due to the cork's excellent condition.

Conclusion: The more I drink this the more I think it was infected with lacto/pedo bacteria. In a way, I think that it is still somewhat tasty because of this, as the tartness is actually pretty nice and not overpowering. I wonder what it would taste like without it. If you love extreme aging for its own sake I say that you should try an example of this vintage, otherwise you will most likely feel that you wasted your money.

 2,451 characters

Photo of Pintofbrown
2.53/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I poured this authentic RIS into a shaker pint.

Appearance- This one is a looker. Great three and a half - finger Tootise Roll colored head is quite magnificent. So many pock marks dapple the cap and are accompanied by tiny bubbles. And of course, the retention is great, with big, random flecks of chunky lace.

The body? Pitch black.

Smell- How incredibly unbalanced is this one! The list includes: red wine, roasted malt, wood chips, some dark fruit, and soy sauce. All of these flavors mixing together create some rather unpleasant scents.

Taste- Unfortunately this stout is not much better here. I get a definite feel of leather and some more red wine to lead off the drink. A nice touch that went far too quickly was some dark cherry tang.

Roasted malt is also doing some good things here, but it takes forever to pick it out after adjusting to the weird flavors. The finish is strong with some fresh mint and soy sauce. Wow. Wow not in a good way.

Mouth feel- The feel is good. Technically, this beer is fine. This one is pretty flat and slick, but for how long this was aged, I was expecting that. And the body is bordering on full.

Overall- Well, it is not terrible. But how incredibly strange can an RIS get? The smells and flavors are all over the place, and maybe parts of them worked, but as a whole it is mostly a mess.

Honestly, for how much a bottle of this was, I could never justify picking it up again.

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Photo of ajs4bd
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ROGUE16
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.09/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The look is classic: opaque black with a thick tan foam. Not much more to ask for.

The smell is a link to Dark Lord, its long lost cousin: sweet chocolate, port, dark fruit and anise.

Mouthfeel is spot on: thick, full and chewy.

Overall, the flavors lean toward the sweet: caramel, toffee and dark chocolate take the lead. The signature flavor of this beer is a strong licorice note which has a cooling, minty finish that seems to be interpreted by some as a soy/acidic flavor. My guess is that's the source of polarization on the reviews and, needless to say, if you don't like anise flavors, this is one to avoid. My objection isn't to the flavor itself, but rather the lack of balance; there should be more char/coffee to balance the sweet and licorice. With repeated sips this lack of balance builds on the tongue. Overall this is a very interesting beer (both from a taste and historical perspective), but it's difficult to imagine a lot of repeat visits.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'99 bottle into a Duvel tulip. Shared with friends.

A: The cork slides out completely silently, and the beer pours an utterly flat, thick black color that coats the sides of the tulip with bright brown legs. Pretty nice for such an old, flat beer.

S: Definitely sour, but a great balance of coffee and molasses maltiness with acetic sourness. Smells like a Flanders Black, if there were such a thing. I'm a fan.

T: Sour up front, followed by coffee, chocolate, tobacco, soy sauce, and basement must. Tastes old but not spoiled, sour but not overbearing, roasty but not astringent. It's not great, but it's pretty darn tasty, especially with its rich chocolate aftertaste.

M: Still, thick, and sticky. Ok.

O: It took some getting used to, but in the end I really enjoyed this one. Not quite like any other beer I've had (even other sour stouts), it was definitely worth trying. I don't think I'll be buying more, but who knows.


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Photo of mdvatab
1.31/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Found several 11.2oz bottles of the 2003 vintage at Parti Pak.
Poured into snifter.

Aroma: Winey, bretty, and sour. Black licorice. Mouth waters in anticipation of the tartness. This is not how an imperial stout is supposed to smell...

Appearance: A hard pour yields no head whatsoever. This one looks flat as hell. The body resembles thick black ink.

Flavor: Black licorice up front, then Jaegermeister, then sour and funky, then a very strong bitterness, which clings to the palate like duct tape. Unpalatable...

Mouthfeel: Full body is thick as pudding. Had the flavor of the beer been even the least bit tolerable, the mouthfeel would have been great. Carbonation is low to non-existent as expected.

Overall: Lesson learned... I usually carry my iPhone w/ me into bottle shops to check BA ratings on beers I don't recognize. Had I done so this time, I would have promptly returned this $9 disaster to the shelf. I can only hope my fellow Indy BA's heed this warning and avoid this brew. 100% bonafide drainpour material.

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Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of meerkat2
2.5/5  rDev -27.1%

Photo of Yoshio
2/5  rDev -41.7%

Photo of JRod1969
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of SFLpunk
1.33/5  rDev -61.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to Andrew for this one. 11.2oz brown glass corked bottle. 2003, 9% ABV on the label.

Pours a thick, still black with some brown hues around the rim. Nose smells just awful...maybe infected, maybe just awful. Like old meat and tire rubber.

Palate...ugh...here goes...is foul. I can't believe this passed my lips! Acidic, acrid, rubbery, like a mouth full of top soil and vinegar.

Notes: AVOID this beer. Wow, that was f***g awful.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2008; capped, not corked.

Appearance -- Pours a very dark oily brown with a finger of stiff creamy mocha head. It looks a bit thinner than the average American interpretation, but whatever. Handsome.

Smell -- The aroma is dominated by dark chocolate, roast char, raisin and tart cherries. Lots of vinous character, almost to the point of seeming infected, or least what I usually attribute this level of dark fruit character to in an RIS. However, smells quite good on the whole.

Taste -- Significant improvement from the nose. Big roast malt character, dark chocolate cherry bonbon, chocolate-covered raisin, hint of smoke and char. Again, very vinous and fruity in the tradition of the proper English style. Lingering flavor of dark chocolate, and berry skin.

Mouthfeel -- Feels full and creamy, almost velvety. Milder carbonation really makes this feel nice.

Overall -- Glad I picked this one up. a year before this I had a 2003 corked bottle (as pictured) and it was total garbage: soured, flat, and definitely 'corked'. If you're interested in trying this, do yourself a favor and hunt down a capped bottle.

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Photo of herman77
4.41/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

*2008 bottle, 9%abv

A: Black with a huge thick tan head. Looks extremely creamy, almost like Guinness. Great retention and great lacing.

S: Sour, tart dark cherries with hints of roasted malt and dark coco powder. More than anything, the sour tartness dominates.

T: A very nice mix of classic RIS qualities (dark chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malt and coffee) with light sour/tart dark cherries. It doesn't seem like a good mix, but it actually goes extremely well together. As it warms, it gets even tastier! More dark fruits like dates, prunes and black cherries come out more. Slight tartness mixed with slightly bitter roasted malt flavors linger in the aftertaste.

M: Medium to fuller body, smooth and soft carbonation. Nice.

O: Very well done. Not sure what age has done to this, but if anything it has done it well. Its almost like a mix between a RIS and a wild or sour ale. Worth seeking out, or at least this vintage is.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.33/5  rDev +26.2%
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 maximum12
1.41/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Thanks to my lovely wife for always buying me a few bottles I'd never have purchased myself over the holidays; it's a lovely surprise, since I never know what will show up in the "beer bag". 11.2 oz. bottle, 2003 vintage. Thanks hon!

Pour is dead flat black that could be used as a backdrop to the stars. Minimal carbonation, as might be expected after 8 years. Smell is nothing like expected: sherry. Dark fruits. Good at first, but then morphs into a bit of sourness. Oh oh.

Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout is fouled by bitter, dry dark fruits that eat up whatever else is allegedly in the brew. Malts briefly rise out of the slime & die quickly, their lungs filled with bile. Impossible to have more than a few sips of this.

To the drain. Glancing through the reviews, it looks like the 2003 was not a good year for this brew. Blech. Love to try it again, but I'm sure I won't if I had to pay for it.

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Photo of gfreed
3.92/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After you tear off the foil wrapping from the neck, ensure a successful completion of the project by *having a corkscrew on hand* because that's the only way you'll get the cork out of the bottle. Once you pull the cork, expect an aroma full of sherry and dried fruit, mostly cherries and prunes. You'll get no head from this beer. It's noticeably thick and carbonationless, and the ABV is not afraid to smack you after three or four sips (emphasis on *sips*). Sherry is the dominant flavor, not to mention (once again) the dried fruit. Finishes bitter and dry. It's quite good but in small amounts. Split the bottle with a friend. It's a fine accompaniment to a big bag of caramel corn.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
1.98/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2008 vintage

A- Pours near pitch black into my Ithaca Tulip glass. Three fingers of thick and sticky foam float upon this brew! Tons and tons of soapy lacing all over the glass! To dark to see if any carbonation is flowing.

S- Sour cherry and chocolate... those notes dominate over anything else! A touch of funk and barnyard? Kinda unusual for an Imperial Stout. What roasted notes that there are, are over powered by the sour cherry! Kinda like a one note guitar solo...

T- Sour cherries covered with bitter chocolate! That's really it... nothing else to even talk about. Not much coffee, some burnt roasted malts, no hops... just sour cocoa! This is damn close to a drain pour! No sign of the 9% so thats a good thing I guess...

M- I wish I could light a match in my mouth and have it go on fire just so that this flavor goes away! This is pretty damn awful!!! The sour and chocolate get a touch better as it comes to room temp, but it's still like having a mouthful of chocolate covered sour patch kids in your mouth!!!

O- I was so excited when I saw a Russian Imperial Stout from England (the country that started it all)... but I gotta say... this is a real let down! Too much nasty sour and bitter chocolate. That's all is has... no other notes or taste... just sour! Sour should never dominate in a RIS... Don't bother... Yuck!

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Photo of amphion1065
4.12/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An 11.2 oz. corked bottle from 1999, purchased at Lord Hobo. Poured into a tulip. Reviewed from notes.

The pour is pure black, with absolutely no head. Though the appearance was rather unremarkable, I was pretty shocked at the lack of sediment coming out of this bottle. Barely any bits of suspended yeast in my glass, and almost nothing left behind in the bottle itself.

The smell is pretty wonderful. Lots of rich dark chocolate and raisins. For the most part, the dark fruit flavors have subsided and left a lot of deep, chocolate malt behind. A slight note of oxidation, but nothing too noticeable.

The taste is very nice, if not quite equal to the smell. There is a pronounced soy sauce element to this beer - not totally surprising given its age, but it does detract from the sweetness. Dark fruits and chocolate are present, but they seem a little muted. The aftertaste is very nice though, with those raisins shining through. Absolutely no alcohol burn.

Little to no carbonation, but the beer itself is quite thick. Smooth like velvet and rich like syrup, this is pretty easy to drink.

This beer has held up quite well, in no small part to the conditions under which it was cellared. Though I've heard that a few bottles from this era are undrinkable now, I'm happy to have lucked out.

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Photo of Gosox8787
2.11/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: 2003 corked bottle poured into a Smuttynose tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, almost black and completely flat. Settles into as minimal a lacing as is possible.

Aroma: Tart cherry and pungent raspberries in the nose upfront. Smells more like a sour than a stout for sure. Sherry, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and oxidized red wine are all present too. Very strange. I would definitely not say this is pleasant.

Taste: A slight burst of cherry overpowered by big roasted malt. The roasted malt character is way over the top, like the last couple drops of cold coffee. No sweetness other than the cherries and a touch of banana. Some saltiness in the form of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Actually the saltiness really linger and is a bit overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely flat, but with some body. I cut it a little slack in the score as this bottle is really old.

Overall, a really interesting and unique stout, but it just fails on some many levels. The cherry fruit notes and the salt notes overpower the malt base and the malt base is burnt with any tempering sweetness. I would not buy again, but I do wonder what a fresh bottle would taste like. I have to imagine it would be better.

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Photo of plfahey
3.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle (2003 vintage) poured into a tulip glass (9/6/11)

Appearance-Pours like engine oil, dark and viscous, and nearly still. Beer is black and opaque, with just the faintest hint of wine-red around the edges when held to the light. There are some tiny brown bubbles, but really no head to speak of.

Aroma-Seductive, vinous aroma, with notes of dark chocolate, port-soaked cherries, slight must from the cork, wood, and charcoal, with a hint of burnt/espresso aroma. There's also a slight toffee/brown sugar sweetness, with notes of raisins and figs, and smooth, warming alcohol. As the beer warms, it gives off even more dark/dried fruit aromas.

Flavor-Tart cherries, molasses, and brown sugar open, with a vinous, port like character to go with them. Some slight wood and bittersweet dark chocolate parade through the midpalate, before being swallowed by bitter, burnt roast flavors, which take over the aftertaste. Finishes dry and slightly astringent from the dark malt and alcohol, with lingering tannic wood, cherry, chocolate, and ash flavors.

Mouthfeel-Medium full to full body with hardly the faintest tickle of carbonation. Alcohol is quite warming on both the tongue and back of the throat, though is smooth and not hot. My one complaint is that the burnt malt character grows on the palate, and becomes a bit acrid.

Good and damn complex, but the finish really takes away from this beer. It smells incredible, but the slightly astringent, burnt finish seriously detracts from my enjoyment of the beverage. It doesn't help that the lack of carbonation allows the burnt flavor/alcohol to sit and grow on the palate. I like it, I just wish I liked it more. For a beer this nuanced, it's a shame that it's knocked down by an overly intense, unbalanced finish.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.57/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing an English bottle of this beer that a colleague brought back from London. I've had other bottles of this before that were purchased in the States, but I've never bothered to review it because I kept thinking I'd gotten a bad or old bottle. One was most definitely leaking, and the others always seemed sour- and not necessarily in a good way. I was always intrigued by the history of this beer and so kept giving it a go with no success. This bottle is an entirely different story and goes a long way toward showing me what all the fuss is about. Pours black with brown highlights and little head. Smells quite complex. Rich, smokey, a trifle tart, woody, roasted grains, stewed fruit, and chocolate notes. The taste has even more depths to plumb. Bitter, racey, slightly funky, nice deep chocolate and coffee flavors, and a port wine finish. The sourness is still here, but so well integrated and complementary to the other flavors you know it belongs- you don't think "spoiled", you think "wow". Smooth and warming in the mouth, this is a great beer- I just wish every bottle was this good.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +26.2%
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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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 481 ratings
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