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Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

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Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
BA SCORE
4.24/5
Exceptional
932 Ratings
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd
England, United Kingdom
wellsandyoungs.co.uk

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rastaman on 02-11-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#912
Reviews:
307
Ratings:
932
pDev:
10.38%
Bros Score:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
183
Gots:
195
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 932 |  Reviews: 307
Photo of CTAKIS
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of CayseyW
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hayley_86
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of bnes09
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage. Dark brown, tootsie roll color with gentle transparency on the pour and some haze. No head to speak of but this is expected considering the age. Pleasant booze, bourbon, oat, roast and licorice aroma. Cocoa is prominent at the front of the tongue. Espresso in the middle. Spicy hops at the back dominate through the finish. Good balance of molasses sweetness, roast and hop. Medium body with slightly sticky texture. Very well carbonated for the age. Overall, a very well executed RIS. A little light for the style and hops seem to dominate in the finish. Tastes very young for 5 years old. Great brew.

 631 characters

Photo of JoeB51982
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 11.5 oz bottle in a snifter via our friend from across the pond----Thanks Keith!
This tasty beast pours a deep, dark, murky, blackish brown with a subtle light head of off white
foam that subsides to a thin ring, thin light pool, and shows subtle light lacing. Nose of heavy
dark chocolate, dark coffee, black raisins, brewers licorice, and sweet toffee with deep roasted
notes. Flavors hit the note with dark bruised fruit and heavy dark cocoa mingling with extra dark
coffee and a touch of vanilla with heavy char notes. Excellent mouth feel; full body, low carbonation,
and a rich coating char loaded finish with a wafting hint of herbal hops.

Overall----Excellence, a perfect example of the style from England.

Worthy!

 741 characters

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of bb-magic
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of keithmurray
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage
Bottle #075309

Appearance - dark, murky mahogany body with almost no head

Smell - espresso, fudge, chocolate, coffee bean, char, port

Taste - fudge, espresso, chocolate, roasted coffee bean, black licorice, char, hint of red wine

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, low carbonation, fudgy upfront, char and smoky on the back end, fudge lingers in the back end

Overall - nice, classic RIS here, decent flavors, a bit heavy on the char, but still enjoyable

Price Point - $2.99/9.3 oz bottle

 498 characters

Photo of kinggimp
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smutty33
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

12 characters

Photo of ofYYC
3.17/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a solid blackish brown without any real head. Smells quite sour, poisonous even. A high proof smell, to say the least. Taste is very similar to the smell, powerfully sour, with bold flavors of bakers chocolate and black coffee. Not necessarily a bad tasting beer, but definitely not something I'll be purchasing again any time soon, unless, perhaps, I come across a fresher bottle. Maybe I just got this one at an odd point in the aging process. Definitely an interesting experience, though.

 498 characters

Photo of dd43
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a 2012 bottle, some definite oxidation in the nose as well as the flavor. Kind of a wet brown paper bag thing, it was a little strange but not a terrible off flavor or anything. Some sherry notes in the aroma, perhaps from age. I don't know what this beer tastes like fresh. Very minimal carbonation, I might have liked a touch more. Roast character for an imperial stout was subdued, was more of a raisin and fig kind of flavor profile. I'd like to get a more recent bottle to see how it compares.

 504 characters

Photo of WildMaverick1200
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark as a cloudy night in the middle of the woods - just like any stout should be. Very little foam, dissipates quickly. Aggressive and surprising smell of peaches and vodka, somewhat unusual for the style. Sour-sweet taste followed by notes of dark cacao and coffee. Very evident aftertaste of wood and a bit of smoke. It's thick and gooey, but not as much as I would expect for a beer with this much alcohol.

Overall, very nice brew. Aggressive but balanced flavors and favorable texture. Very easy to enjoy as a sipper.

 524 characters

Photo of dvmin98
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage sitting on the shelf. Color is deep brown. Smell is very mild oxidation. Roasted malts. Flavor has just a touch of oxidation. Get the roasted malts and some really good chocolate notes on the back end. Overall, I really enjoyed this and having a 5 year old bottle of beer that I didnt have to age, found on the shelf for $4 is a good deal

 357 characters

Photo of mynie
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, "best before" dates is August of 2025.

This is billed as the world's first Russian Imperial. It was originally made by a now-defunct brewer called Barclay's, then sold to Courage and contract brewed at Smith's in Tadcaster, now apparently brewed by Wells and Young's. I don't know, really, why this context is necessary, but it's important to keep in mind that even the most authentic and traditional of beers have gone through a great deal of change.

Smells vinious and chocolatey with hints of sherry. Not as hoppy or aggressively variegated as newer American imperial stouts, of course, but it's still a very interesting and strong.

Tastes interesting. Discernably old, if that makes any sense. Very clearly a dated version of a style that has sense mutated greatly, yet still an obvious iteration of that style. Raisins, coffee, and chocolate up front; sherry and burnt barley in the middle and back; hops, black chocolate, alcohol and char on the finish. There's a mild herbaceousness to it that gives it the vague feel of an old timey tincture, and that effect is quite pleasant.

 1,105 characters

Photo of JOldewurtel
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of prisdefer
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled May 2011; drank 6/17/14 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black hue. Huge tan head with mocha streaks; a curtain of lace.

Apple brandy nose, with a hint of nail polish remover.

Thick mouthfeel.

Apple cider, caramel & burnt sugar flavors up front, with hints of creamy oats. A slight pickle juice taste on the finish. A bit of a mess currently, although certainly interesting...

 382 characters

Photo of Jacob17
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 1993 and 2012 consumed side by side. Rating reflects an approximate average of the 2 drastically different beers. The '93 I was in love with, the 2012 is a wretched mess.


1993 nip bottle appears pitch black in color with no head formation. A rough pour yields scant large bubbles.

The aroma is vinous with chocolate soy and earth with mild tobacco. As it breathes it has suggestions of oak and a spiciness almost like cedar/burning incense.

The taste is brett forward and tart with tobacco, earth, chocolate and lingering vinous almost port flavors that dries out to faint oakiness and leather in the finish.

This is light in body, still and boozy yet exceptional.

-------
2012 bottle

The brew appears black in color with a mocha head that fades leaving a full wall of spotty lace.

The aroma is meaty with minerals and faded herbal hops and a slight raisony aspect.

The taste also includes raison, neutral alcohol and a meaty almost mineral laden character with a chemical aftertaste.

This is medium to fuller in body with modest carbonation. At 5 years in the bottle, i should have waited longer, as I did not dig this so much.

 1,147 characters

Photo of cknoch
2.65/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Lucaskowalik
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

Poured from a 275mL bottle into a small Heineken glass (only glass i had on hand).
L- Dark chocolate brown with a slight red tinge. The head quickly dissipated to a thin film on the beer due to the high abv and is tan.
S- Chocolate, coffee, caramel, espresso, smoky bacon, paprika or cayenne pepper, hearty bread, dates. Very complex with a consuming smokiness.
T- Same as smell but the smokiness is turned up to 11. The alcohol taste is present but does not take away from the taste and instead compliments a nice warmness.
F- Very full-bodied with a nice creaminess and long-lasting dry finish. Almost like I ate a piece of marble rye soaked in espresso.
O- The beer is definitely for the faint of hear and requires a real enthusiasm for dark beers to truly appreciate. I can't wait to buy this beer again because I feel like it would go brilliantly with a traditional American breakfast.

 905 characters

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage

A: pours a deep chocolate brown with a thin, quickly dissipating .5 finger khaki colored head, that stays as a thin trim for a bit around the edges of the glass. some pleasant lacing as well.
S: a more subtle nose, mostly chocolate bit also a bit of the malt there, though honestly not so much roasted malt as a more biscuity sort, reminiscent of crackers, also some ripe fruit characteristics
T: fantastically clean and quite different from american interpretations of the style, less overt chocolate and coffee, has a vinous pinch to it that is quite nice, also some hints of dark fruit and a different sort of roasty quality that feels less like coffee and more like malt, it does have pear overtones as the label describes, though I'm not sure I would have picked out that that's what it was had I not read the label
M: quite dry
O: A fantastically interesting beer that merits revisiting, I will be coming back to this one as I am certain that there is more to discover, some for the cellar? methinks yes.

 1,025 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 932 ratings
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