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 PhantomVodoo
2.08/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

2000 Vintage

The wrap says contents under pressure, so it's obviously supposed to be carbonated. Mine, however, is completely flat which knocked it down in several categories.

Black as night. Looks thick and syrupy, but has no head or carbonation at all.
Aroma is heavy of molasses and I don't care for that aroma or taste. Alcohol is readily evident. There is a dark fruit character to the aroma which is nice.

Taste: again big on the molasses. Behind the molasses flavor is dark roasted malts with some bitter chocolate and coffee notes. Alcohol not hidden. Slight dark fruit character. Slightly sour.

Full body. Heavy and syrupy. Might have been exceptional with some carbonation present.
Drinkability: I'd be happy to never have this beer again, although I am curious what it would be like with some carbonation.

Overall, I didn't care for this beer at all. The taste, aroma, and lack of carbonation remind me of Sam Adams Triple Bock which I'm not fond of either.

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Photo of SteveP
4.62/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As with IPA, Imperial Stout developed its strong flavours in order to survive long journeys. During the 18th century reign of Porter, the stronger ("stout") version was exported to the Baltic region. It was given extra hops and a higher abv in order to survive the journey. A Belgian, A Le Coq, was the man in charge of these exports. Thrale’s Anchor Brewery Entire (the contemporary name for Porter) was the one chosen by A Le Coq to send to the Empress of Russia. The brewery was eventually bought by Barclay Perkins, and then in 1955 by Courage. The Courage Imperial Stout is rarely made these days - it hasn't been brewed since the 1990's, and may never be made again. Bottles that do exist can fetch high prices.

However, A Le Coq was also responsible for another Imperial Stout that does still exist. Because of the high import duties on the beer, A Le Coq had arranged to have a version brewed within Russia. Brewing began in 1912 in what is now Estonia. After a few ups and downs brewing of this famous Stout ceased in 1969. However, during the 1990's, when it became clear that production of the Courage Imperial Stout had ceased, the Lewes brewery Harvey & Son, with the supervision of the Estonia brewery, revived A Le Coq's Imperial Extra Double Stout. Only brewed once a year, and then allowed to age for a couple of years before being released, this is the only authentic Imperial Stout still being made (Sam Smith's version is not bottle conditioned, and is too low in abv to qualify).

The 2001 edition is now available. It has a Flemish nose: oaky mature balsamic vinegar and minced pies. The mouthfeel is slightly rough and heavy. There are flavours of soy sauce, chocolate, port, ripe plums and wine soaked oak. There is a long, dry finish. It feels old which flatters the mouth into believing this is a beer of distinction.

The roughness and imbalance suggests that this is a little young to be drunk right now. The 2000 edition however was much smoother. The plums were fresh tasting, there were also fresh figs, and the chocolate was finest Belgian mixed with prune juice. A huge, complex and divine brew.

When compared with other Imperial Stouts (Sam Smith's, Old Chimney's Good King Henry or Bell's Expedition Stout) Harvey's comes out a very close winner to Good King Henry, but does show up Bell's and Sam Smith's for the court jesters they are. However, it has to be drunk when ready. Search out the 2000 or the 1999, and leave the 2001 for another year.

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

We were lucky enough to enjoy a 1999 vintage of this the other evening, thanks Redbones! We missed the dinner, but thankfully for us, there were some beer leftovers.

Oh My! This is a big beer! In such a little bottle.

You couldn't see through this beer, it was the color of night. Yes, really. All I could think of was that it reminded me of a port, and that the alcohol was as prominent at 9% as I perceived it in a WWS.

This is a sipping beer, like I said, it reminded me of port. The taste of raisins was quite apparent. Very enjoyable. A beer like this really knocks your socks off.

I gave it a 4.0 for drinkability...while I couldn't have another at the time, it is a beer I would drink again.

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Photo of goz
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2000 bottle :
Pours super deep black, no carbonation and no head at all. Aroma is very vinous, grape, raisin and other dark fruits took the front, although the alcohol was close behind. Flavor had some chocolate hints, the dark fruits mentioned before, and the alcohol showed up in the back a a bit. Body was a bit light feeling for something with so much flavor.

1999 Bottle :
Similar to the 2000, but the alcohol was the dominant force from start to finish, taking a much more upfront line to the nose and mouth, and pushing all the other stuff aside.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.11/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Harvey's...or Le coq...or Tartu Brewery Imperial Double Extra Stout is a vintage 2000 edition. At 9% abv it is strong, though not as strong as the new 10% addition. Tar pitch black in color. Thick, heavy malt and highly hopped. Strong and dark chocolate and coffee notes. Hints of banana and a trace of grapefruit. Fairly sweet malt fails to hide the very big alcohol kick. Rich and creamy with very little head. Really worth trying!

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.22/5  rDev +23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 1999 version of Le Coq was recommended to me by a well respected beer store owner. I was a bit surprised to find a cork under the silver foil of this 11.2 oz. 9% alc. brew. It poured like motor oil gone bad. Jet black with only a few bubbles found on the surface that quickly disappeared. The aroma is cherry and molasses and reminded me of a port wine. Each sip of this medium bodied beer gets more complex as you drink it. At first all I tasted was burnt coffee, then after a few sips my taste buds settled down to discover cherry, molasses, coffee and a mild alcohol flavor. It feels silky smooth on the tongue and leaves behind a hint of cherry and molasses after each sip.

This is definitly a sipping beer that would go great with steak or a chocolate dessert. There are a host of flavors to be found with every sip.

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Photo of scottum
1.4/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1


I'm thinking this did not age well. Tastes a bit sour and very much of alcohol. The brew poured out almost black with no head to speak of. The '99 brew is past it's prime for sure. I'm guessing a later year would be a nice beer, but this sucka tastes old. Me thinks me should not finish said brew, but me is a cheap bastard. Yuck!

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Photo of Wildman
4.17/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 edition:
This beer poured as black as the night and like oil hitting the pavement. No real head with even a hard pour and only a slight medium tan ring around the edges. The aroma is of malt, cherries and other dark fruit and some hint of the alcohol. The flavor is of malt, cherries and dark fruit. A very heavy feel to the flavor and body of this beer, with hints of the alcohol. A very different style of imperial as compared to the American versions. Almost more of a wine feel than an imperial. A very dark animal of a beer with hidden elements that may present themselves better if this beer were to be aged more.

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Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small 11.2 oz foil wrapped corked bottle, 1999 vintage. Dark jet-black color,has a small tightly bubbled, creamy tan head. Sweet roasted chocolate, coffee and fruity aroma, sweet fruity plum-chocolate flavors. Nice hoppy burnt bitterness in the finish. Medium-full body with creamy smooth thick and silky mouthfeel, alcohol is very well hidden very smooth and sweet.

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Photo of Gusler
4.53/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

{2000 Release}: Let me say you must like any beer that goes to the trouble to cork and wrap their beers so tightly.
The beer pours my benchmark for stouts and porters, “Jet Black”, the head planetary in size, creamy in its consistency" and the residual lace glutinous sheets that weld themselves to the glass. The aroma of black strap molasses, caramel, coffee, chocolate and even Hickory smoked bacon also comes to mind, but then food and beer are always on my mind, not necessarily in that order, quite complex nose and beer for that matter. Ambrosial start, the top is rich and thick, chewy, full as mere words does not do it justice. Hop spicy bite, moderately acidic, bittersweet chocolate dry and one hell of a fine "Stout" in my book.

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Photo of Amdahl
4.07/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2000 bottle. All that I can say about this beer on appearance is dark. This is the darkest beer that I have seen yet. There is no head from this beer, even with an aggressive pour. Lace is also missing from this beer. The aroma is very fruity. The taste is incredibly complex. It is similar to wine almost. I can taste cherries as the dominate fruit, but other fruits are noticeable. This is a full bodied beer, but not as full as some stouts that I've had. It's a little punchy to consume too many of these.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
2.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I sampled a bottle marked "1999" (therefore, 3 years old); an 11.2 oz bottle. I thought this beer tasted odd, but I have been told that this is how it is meant to taste.

The stout poured to give a dark brown/black beer with a rich, creamy head (chocolate brown), but this head did not linger long.

The aroma was evident as soon as the cork was removed from the bottle, but the aroma was somewhat sour, smelling of green olives with a hint of oak.

The taste was very, very strong, and very bitter and sour, with a burnt malt flavor and the noticeable taste of alcohol. The aftertaste was hoppy with a hint of bitter chocolate.

The moutfeel was full and sharp, and the flavor lingered on the tongue.

The drinkability was not great -- too bitter and sour.

I would like to try this one again, but from a different year.

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Photo of marc77
3.99/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Jet black and opaque. No head whatsoever in this bottle. Completely flat. There was no audible release of carbonation after opening the cork. A shame. Swirling the brew releases vinous, sherry notes and notes of deep chocolate dusted prunes. Dark, singed carbonaceous roasted barley adds a dryish sharpness. Hints of tart green apple and unripe plums, along with heaty fusels. The aroma would be more pronounced if there was carbonation to release it. Bittersweet, rich chocolate sweetness at first, followed by bitter, smoky, slightly acidic deeply roasted and dark caramel malts. Even without the carbonation, this beer is still quite good, being akin to homemade chocolate milk well laced with brandy. Hop bitterness has faded significantly, allowing malt sweetness to dominate, being only countered by roasted grain bitterness. Mouthfeel is of viscous, stagnant oil due to the complete flatness. Finishes w/ molasses sweetness and notes of prune lingering long on the palate. My 1999 AND 2000 bottle obviously had cork problems. I've had this in the past before reviewing, and there was carbonation. If this beer wasn't totally flat, it would be stupendous. Am I just unlucky, or have others experienced this as well? It says wonders for a brew to be utterly flat yet delicious regardless.

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Photo of purplehops
4.62/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was vintage 1999 at 9% abv. This stout poured a rich black with a cocoa colored head that only lasted for 20 seconds at most. The aroma was alcohol and fruit with a touch of molasses. The taste starts with a bold warmth of alcohol like a Calvados and finishes with a thick malty after-taste with hints of dried apricots and plums. Each sip brings more and more complexity of flavors to you taste buds. I'm glad a bought a few of these because I think it will age for a few more years to come. Here's hoping.

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Photo of aracauna
4.14/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Imperial Stout Blind Tasting notes (11-16-02): Headless, one of the darkest. Big alcohol and fruitiness makes it smell a little like banana bread soaked in wine. This is a very nice aroma. Very-wine like buttery mouthfeel. Very dry, very unusual. Coffee and dark chocolate also present. The oddities in this make it a sipping beer in small quantities so it hurts on the drinkability. Amazing beer.

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Photo of cokes
4.7/5  rDev +37%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999. The definition of black. Very small, wispy tan head. Staring into the glass filled with black ether, and specks of foam, mixed with tiny round bubbles, I feel like I am at the edge of existance, exploring a map of the cosmos.
Mindbending aromas of ripened fruit, dark and otherwise. Plums, prunes, cherries, raspberries. Heavy port and sherry aromas as well.
Taste is all of the above and more. Hugely vinous. With the port and sherry flavors coming to the forefront. Ventures through a range of fruits. Too many to possibly descipher. So cryptic and mysterious. Cherry and berry hues betwixt the plum syrup. Mangos and anise dance forbiddenly, with molasses cutting in. Liquorice shows up and strikes up a conversation with the heavy oak tones. An absolute melee of flavors. However, roastedness is oddly excluded. Present only in the periphery. Finish dries out, and leaves you wanting to revist the place you just left.
Moderately thick, viscous mouthfeel. Null carbonation.
With a touch more roastedness, I doubt I could even fathom how good this would be. I can barely fathom it now.

Oynx under a wispy and short-lived tan lace.
Burnt cedar, sherry, candied yams and pine bark aroma.
Smoky up front. Teryaki glazed cigar ash. Light, dry toffee sweetness with some molasses. Immensly woody with sour oak and dry, spicy cedar characteristics. Earthy as hell too. The vinousness traits are unmatched. Grape, plum, raisin, raspberries port, brandy. Damn.
So very, very bold and complex. Thick palate paint. A beer that takes an entire evening to drink. Smiling all the while.

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Photo of zerk
3.49/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep black with a thick tan/pink head. I have had this before where is has no head, and I think the cork may be to blame in those instances. Aroma is a pungent mixture of vinegar, port wine, grape, cherry, and light oak-like aroma. Flavor starts vinous and fruity, then to more of a roast malt, finishing with an espresso flavor. As the beer warms, it mellows a little bit. Has a full body and medium carbonation. Goes great with chocholate brownies.

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Photo of Viking
4.2/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black body. Thick and syrupy, leaving a slowly running coating on the glass when swirled. Very little head from my bottles. (Maybe a bit off? Anyway, it was still good.) Rich, wonderful aroma of tofee scented malt and tart fruit. Beautiful bitterness to the brew that blends well with the rich malt. A bit of a salty aftertaste, however. Alcohol, though not apparent in taste of smell, provides an immediate warming effect. Very nice Imperial, but I too must place it short of the elites.

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

2000 vintage. Pretty darn big and tasty, not very elegant, extreme roast coffee roastiness and quite bitter, i would love to lay one down for a while so it softens itself up a bit and becomes a bit drier, quite a sweet start, not overly impressed, but very different, and well worth a try.

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Photo of stcules
4.48/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An "amaretto" and chocolate smell, with liquorice and toasted hazel nut notes. No head, quite flat. A full body, similar to brandy. Taste of berries. A great beer.

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

I think that my bottle of this is a little off. The beer pours thick and black like motor oil with virtually no carbonation. The smell is alcohol, burnt/chocolate/coffee, and a slight sourness. The first thing to hit my mouth is a sour flavor, but it lasts for only a second as the character of the beer shows through. Sweet maltiness with some dark fruit, chocolate and slight coffee flavors and then there is just enough hop bitterness to balance this out. I agree with Matt Maples that if this had any more burnt/dark malt flavor it would be over the top, but as is it is pretty nice. Smooth and slick on the tongue and it leaves a coffee like aftertaste. The drinkability is hurt by the sour taste. Beyond the slight sourness this is a great brew. I will have to try to get a better bottle sometime because it has great potential.

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Photo of ADR
4.36/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1999 vintage...sherry or brandy wine-like aroma, dark and forbidding color, thin head as black as some Porters are in color BELOW the head. Foam is spidery, lasts about 40 seconds. Low carb...Bitter hops/dark malt molasses/rum-soaked fruit flavor out the wazoo! Burnt raisins, molasses/fruit again. Cough syrup body. Whoa baby...Slight tartness at finish, associated with vinous aroma. One bottle is the perfect amount, I have no idea when I'll crave another. Dang. I have no idea how to fully rate this beer (I personally can't give it THE highest taste or drinkability ratings even if it is an outstanding example of style). Its on my list under the new category "Historical Honour"...ADR looks at the glass, the brew is sticking to it like the "Blob" did on the diner in the classic sci-fi movie...probably one of the more astringent of the Imperials in aroma, maybe the most molasses and prune in the taste.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.58/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...interesting bier! Jet black color and nice creamy mocha-colored head. Nose hits you with fruit (choco-covered cherries?). Wonderful mouthfeel with the same choco-cherry woody flavor. Nice brew! Thanks VENOM!

overall: 4.65
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of mattmaples
4.36/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

Presentation: 11.2oz vintage looking bottles, corked and finished with a silver plastic wrap. The year 1999 in noted on the label a the vintage year. Actual history on the label about the beer.

Appearance: Pitch black with a brownish lace that holds tight.

Smell: Hints of ripe bing cherries soaked in alcohol and whiffs of roasted grain and wood.

Taste: Syrupy mouth feel and full bodied with a minimal carbonation ... deep bitterness from the roasted grain and hops, acidic twang from the wood and roasted character cut through the sweetness. Then a quick burst of date like fruitiness followed by a complex dark roasted coffee and wood taste that lend to a long lasting finish.

Notes: Flavours are quick yet complex. Stylistcaly speaking this is as close as you can get to an Imperial Russian Stout in modern day. Truely a interesting and remarkable brew. A great brew today though a few if not several years of aging could benifit this brew. Brewed for A. Le Coq & Tartu Brewery Estonia.

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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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