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

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double StoutLe Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout
482 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: 482 |  Reviews: 403
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 canucklehead
3.98/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A lot of reviewers seem to be of two minds after tasting this beer. I happen to love this beer for all its non stout-like qualities. It pours black as a moonless night with almost no head. This 2001 vintage had the nose of an old Normandy cider. The Taste was of aged chocolate and vinous notes. Smooth as silk with only the vestiges of anything resembling a stout. Truly unique and a beer for those who want the far reaches of the brewing craft.

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Photo of HopGoblin
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 Vintage: The beer was un-corked and poured out beautiful black and thick. There was very little carbonation. Brown bubbles appeared around the edges of the glass. The aroma and taste of this beer was surprising. The beer gave off aromas of fortified wine, mainly sherry. This brew did not taste that of Imperial Stouts that I am used to. The taste was deep and wine-like with hints of caramel and raspberries. The finish was long and tart. When all was said and done this was a good beer, but not what was expected.

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Photo of Sixpack595
1.6/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

This beer is horrible. Oily mouthfeel, strange sickly sweet flavor with an acrid bitterness in the finish. Completely flat with no head. Aroma is weak but a bit cloying. Very strange, but not in a good way. I can honestly think of nothing good to say about this beer.

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Photo of studentofbeer
3.97/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 2001 vintage poured a greasy black color with hints of brown at the edges and nary a head to be seen except a bit of brown lace sitting on the top. It smells pretty intense: black cherry, port, bleach, leather. This is not your typical stout or even imperial stout.

The taste shocks the palette more than the smell — the mouthfeel is rather light and a bit oily, and the first taste is acidic, very salty and funky. Then comes a strong fruit presence mostly consisting of that black cherry taste, some sweetness, very dark chocolate and roasty espresso.

It's bizarre, tasting like a lambic stout or something.

The hop bitterness seems relatively low and melds with the roast edges, leaving a dry finish on the back of the tongue while the salty taste continues to mull around the front of the mouth. The aftertaste lasts a very long time, and it's a bit of a strange sensation to have these various aftertastes lingering for so long in different parts of the mouth.

I like it, but I'm not sure I totally get it. The very strangeness of it makes you feel like your tasting a bit of history though.

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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 cbl2
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Note: 1999 Vintage


After removing the cork from this vintage brew, the liquid pours a viscous black with almost no carbonation, and just a hint of dark brown head.


Soy sauce springs to mind, perhaps worsteshire sauce.


This one rolls on the tongue, with soy dominating, followed by a touch of sweetness, before a burnt coffee bitter finish. This one has held up well over time, though it isn't my personal favorite.

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Photo of granger10
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2000 version. This beer poured into my goblet with no head to speak of. It was had a definite black color and a purple shade to it. This resembled a dark wine in my glass. No lacing. Carbonation was very, very minimal which made the flavors very intense, good at times and bad at times. The nose is complex with plums, soy sauce, thick molasses, and chocolate covered cherries. Taste is also big and complex. This is an extremely thick beer, very syrupy. Lots of vinous flavors here. Plums and cherries are noticeable. There's a strong bitterness from the hops and roasted coffee flavor. Tarty towards the finish. As it warms it gets much better. I would definitely recommend drinking this one at cellar temp and not much cooler than that. The flavors seem to work better the warmer it gets. I can't believe that the alcohol isn't stronger as this beer seems to be up towards 15% or so. Reminds me a lot of the Sam Adams Triple Bock, but not quite as good. This beer is still not my favorite imperial stout and was too expensive to buy this too often. But I am glad I tried it. 11.2 oz was enough though.

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Photo of DESTRO
1.88/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

hyped to find it, not hyped after i drank it. something is wrong with this sample, i hope. cracked it open to find no carbonation at all. dead flat. ok i can deal, pours (glugs) pitch black with no head. looks like cold dense old motoroil. aroma? alcohol and stank. yummy! taste? alcohol, sour stank and that often sought after soysauce character. i will admit it was velvety and smooth, quite nice...but that really dosnt help the fact it tasted like spoiled milk mixed with everclear and kikkomans. ok maybe thats being a tad harsh. something must have gone wrong somewhere, (the cork was dry as a mofo) and this beer up and kicked the bucket. i know i need to try this one again, and i will. just a bit expensive to go running back to.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.11/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a heavy, thick black color with obviously no carbonation. Watching this beer pour is some serious beer-foreplay. I felt like I was given a bottle of thick molasses. The taste, like the name might suggest, is very stout. The dominating flavor is the alcohol. There is a sweetness and a bit of coffee, but not until the beer has a chance to live in your mouth ( a few sips in). This is a serious, fierce beer - one made for sipping. I'm a stout man - and this one is DEFINATELY worth trying, but odds of making it an oft repeated beer are slim.

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short 11.2 ounce brown bottle, 2001 vintage.

Pours out thick & pitch black, raising a thin head of dark tan.

Burnt fruit, prunes & raisins, whiffs of alcohol & a sublte smokiness.

Initially sticky sweet, prunes, dates, figs, & raisins bounce back & forth. Dives into a long, smooth, & slightly acidic finish, that is dry & warming. Slick, oily, & very slight carbonation.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.71/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served into a goblet from a bottle (2001 brewed), it looked like motor oil after I empty my oil pan after 6,000 miles! However, it does not appear to be very very heavy. But it is very dark (no light getting through) with very minimal head on it. To discuss the smell is much like discussing what wine smells like (a dark red dry wine) with hints of oak, maybe some mollasses and maybe some raisins in there as well. Upon tasting it, it gives a very dry, malty taste w/ lots of oak in there. No way this was brewed in anything BUT oak!!!! I also got the slight hint of molasses flavoring in there, but I can't be sure. The texture is actually heavier by mouthfeel than what appearance tended to want to show. Not my favorite beer in the world but very interesting, and I love when I can taste the oak barrels!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2001 vintage 9% abv on her pours an absolutely opaque shade of black although comparing this beer to motor oil may seem extreme it's pretty accurate to it's appearance leaves a nice creamy texture tan head lacing is thin and sparse. Oak aging is prevalent in the nose with some strong port wine vinous notes and deep dark chocolate edge and some dark roasts as well are thrown in there. After the first sip it's hard not to compare the flavor to something out of Asian cuisine deep plum and raisin notes, bitter dark chocolate, and a soy or teryaki tone to the flavor it's extreme, once again the oak aging peers through the taste and you can tell the woody tone is in there, wow so this is an Russian Imperial Stout. The sheer texture is a bit cloying coats the palate with a layer of sticky syrup after each sip, it's hard to say that I have had a thicker beer full bodied by all means heavy on the palate. Drinkability for me would questionable it's an experience to sample a beer of this magnitude there is much complexity and alcohol and body but does it creat an experience that I will crave over and over again, probably not.

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Photo of Crosling
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This black beer is sitting in front of me right now. Just black, no tan head like everyone else has described it having. In fact, the head is non-existant, even after a vigorous pour.

Aroma is whiskeyish with other dark fruits and soy sauce notes.

Very cloying and very sweet. Grape, molasses, dark fruits, chocolate covered coffee beans and licorice. Clearly this beer has a lot of potential but something happened with the carbonation. This is a vintage 2001 so the carbonation should still be at a descent level. Reading others reviews, especially prAna's in which we received both our bottles from the same case I noticed that he got a nice big brown head. Where was mine? I'd like to revisit this and see if something happened.

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

2001 vintage, corked, sampled from a 16oz snifter served at 50F

inky black in appearence with little signs of carbonation but some bubbles and a thin tan skim of a head forms after awhile in the glass. very rich and complex full of chocolate wood vanilla oak aromas with some roastiness and alcohol. smooth dry taste that becomes more viscous and thicker, has a very dry woody quality in the aftertaste that seems to keep getting drier the more you drink.

the thing that strikes me the most is that there is some carbonation, but has to be smallest amount that I have ever had in a beer, and was corked but not capped and really didn't show anysigns of oxidation. definetly think this worth getting a few more to see how it ages, different from your usual capped and carbonated Imperial stouts but this is probably as close as you could get to tasting a beer the way it originally was produced.

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

1999 Vintage

This is a deep rich brew, which I--one who normally loves deep, rich brews--found hard to finish one bottle. I'll give a recipe which I feel best approximates Le Coq:

Take a cup of dried black currants, raisins and prunes and combine with a half quart of used motor oil, 3/4 oz of grain alchohol, and 1 tsp of soy sauce. Blend well and strain through a sheer, black stocking used by an 84 yr old woman for over a week and not washed.

Tough to fathom, I'll admit, but there you have it.

It definitely has its place in the world, but where that is exactly I'm not quite sure. No, it's not really that bad, it's well, it's mighty hearty.

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Photo of merlin48
3.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle, 2000 vintage. Corked bottle with a label that details the history of the style. Very interesting. Pours the blackest of black and leaves no head or lacing. Aroma is unique. Dark fruits, port wine, charcoal, alcohol and cocoa let you know that this is going to be interesting. Mouthfeel is absent of carbonation, but is coating and full bodied. Taste is highly complex, with all kinds of dark fruits, sour cherries, some cocoa, oiliness, and immense tones of burnt, roasted dark malts. Oh yeah, there's a big alcohol punch, as well. This one is a beast to figure out. It's a big one, for sure, and has a variety of flavors marching all over the palate, but hops seem to be missing in action. This puppy would benefit from a few years in the cellar, in order to bring out even more complexities. Although this one is a true historical masterpiece, its drinkability suffers from the flat carbonation and syrupy aftertaste. This Imperial is straight out of the 19th century, and worth a try for its historical significance, if nothing else. Very different.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle. 1999 vintage.

Interesting. This stout took some getting used to for me at first.

Pours deep black. No head and only a few tiny bubbles across the top of the stout. Scents are sour dark fruits like plumbs and cherries. Some bitter candy, alcohol and a touch of molassass and worcestshire sauce. A very vineous quality to the scents.

This stout has a very port wine taste to it. Dark fruits like cherries and plumbs and raisins are dominant. A sour wine flavor at first warms to a sweeter molassass flavor. Some carob appears as it warms also. The flavors give a real after dinner or a great stout to have on a stormy day quality. The flavors meld together well.

The mouthfeel is spectacular. Silky smooth with a velvety warm finish. It coats the mouth and is very gentle on the palate. It drinks very easy and is a sipping stout. Go slow. Let this stout reveal itself. It took me a little time to get used to and enjoy this offering. Very nice.

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Photo of emarone
3.63/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow! I had a hard time with this beer at first, but it definitely grows on you with each successive drink. It nearly oozes out of the corked bottle, thick and opaque with no head to mention. It has a fruity, alcoholic aroma with hints of cherry and raisin.

It fills the mouth quite nicely with smooth and subtle spice and fruit flavors, quickly tapering to a long and bitter aftertaste, which is a bit offputting at first but becomes less so over the course of the beer. At three years old, a little longer in the bottle might take the edge off the end of the beer, which is the only downside to the beer.

Definitely not a beer for beginners, this one will challenge even the most steadfast beer drinker.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2001 Vintage

Raw alcohol opens the nasal passageways for a multisensory romp of an imperial stout. Light cocoa and spiced cherry with a barnyard touch of brett are just a few pegs in this tasting wheel of a beer. My boss described this as corked burgundy and I can think of no better a description. Go get yourself a bottle of real earthy pinot noir, pull the cork, and let it go bad. If you concentrated that, you'd have the le coq.

Medicinal around the edges, but markedly complex. An experience, I'd say, for more mature palettes as this beer differs from every single beer on the market right now. Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout needs some more time to age; almost four years old, this beer still drinks young, but with a lot of confidence to mature over the coming years. Buy a case and drink three every winter for the next eight years.


Relax, relax.

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Photo of MrBen
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried the 2000 vintage, 11.2 fl. oz., 9% ABV. After I pulled the cork, I was immediately taken by an aroma of Worcestershire sauce and molasses. This beer poured heavy and very flat, save for some streaks of dark cream bubbles that swirled around the middle. The beer left a very narrow ring of tiny bubbles around the glass during about the first half, then nothing. The color was a very deep, opaque black, and the beer had enough body to temporarily discolor the clear glass I drank from.

After the beer opened up a little bit, I smelled and tasted hints of Worcestershire/anchovy, molasses, capers, soy sauce, and even Thai-style fish oil used in that cuisine. There was a small note of chalkiness in there too. The alcohol was not kept secret, even from the start, and became more pronounced, both in taste and smell, the more I drank.

The mouthfeel was nothing too exciting; rather flat, only bubbling up a bit after agitation. I was left with a slightly dry feel between sips. I would say this beer has a medium finish at best.

Overall, I think it's a good beer, just not on its own. It really screams out to be paired with good food. It'd also go well during a day at sea. The whole time I wanted to reach for a juicy, grilled, burger or steak. This beer also would go nicely with some bold seafood dishes (smoked salmon), as well as strong, veined cheeses and others, such as parmesan and even mizithra. At more than $5 per bottle, it would make an expensive ingredient in a beef marinade, but a splash or two would be nice in there. I may try to find other vintages of this, but there are so many other beers I would like to taste first.

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Photo of beerluvr
2.72/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

2000 version. Poured with very, very little carbonation, only a scant island of small bubbles in the center of the glass. Nose is of prunes, figs, deep roasted barley. The taste was burnt grains, tanginess and hot alcohol...not a great mix here. Finished very bitter from the roasted barley with flat mouthfeel. Tasted way past it's prime...couldn't finish it. I'd like to try a fresher sample someday.

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Photo of Suds
4.45/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2001.
Words cannot describe the utter blackness and deep thickness of this beer. It literally pours like cold and thick syrup. Very brief shadow of a head; no hint of a bubble from then on. It's an absolutely still liquid. The first tastes are a little rough-edged and difficult to describe. As your senses become accustomed to the beer, though, it settles into a teriffic mix of multi-layered malts and fruits. The alcohol is extraordinarily well balanced. Consume in ultra-small sips...it's amazing. Aroma presents a variety of sensations: hints of alcohol, smoky scents, molasses, pitch, cocoa, and countless others. There's an unrelenting fullness and mouth-coating sensation in the body. Take your time to enjoy this one...it's worth the price.

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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 Starchild
4.43/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage.

Perfectly sealed bottle with wet cork pours dark deep space beers into waiting pint glass. The beer didn’t have the much carbonation, but enough for 1/4 inch of head, which dissipated into a foam ring. Not the best carbonation I’ve ever seen, but can you really compare a 5-year-old beer with 2-week-old newborn ale? In terms of tastes the most prominent flavor is silky port. The aggressive imperial alcohol sure takes the backseat in this beer after a few years. Hints of espresso, plum, and dark chocolate linger in the background creating an interesting overall mocha flavor. The strong butter backbone acts like thick cream to smooth out this stout. Mid pint the alcohol barks, but is immediately hushed by the smooth warm aftertaste that coats the back of your throat. It's so dry and coying.

The beer is a little bit plain, no surprises, but it really doesn’t need any since this was the “original”. I don’t give originals any sort of privilege, but you can’t hold it against them if other beers mimic how they taste and what they do.

This is the oldest barleywine I’ve sampled and I’m stunned.

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Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 482 ratings