Courage Imperial Russian Stout
Eagle Brewery

Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #71
Ranked #1,226
4.26 | pDev: 10.56%
Eagle Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
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Reviews: 322 | Ratings: 964 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.42/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared 250 ml bottle, brewed by Courage 1992. ABV is 10.0%. Black colour, no head nor carbonation. Aroma of roast malts, molasses and dark dried fruits, oxidised of course, but not bad. Sweet flavour with the same elements. No acidity.

Mar 19, 2021
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5


Bottle to snifter. 2012 vintage though I just picked this up a few weeks ago, so god knows where it has been.

LOOK: thick black, full look, small tan head fades quickly, but reforms admirably.
AROMA: super pungent, very nice mix of cocoa, fig, dates, prunes, roasted malt, red wine.
TASTE: roasted malt comes through more here than the dark fruit notes, but they are also present.
FEEL: super smooth, a little flat, but to be expected with an 8 year old thick stout.

Very Impressed. This is a beautiful and simple beer from a time before Pastry Stouts and Hop-Bombs, and Super Sours. not to disparage those other things too much, but you have to respect getting so much flavor and mileage from a simple recipe.


Nov 22, 2020
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Manta200 from Kentucky

3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage double pack from Jungle Jim's. 2013 and 2012 vintage
Poured into snifter, pitch dark, no head at all.
Dominant boozy smell with coffee notes.
I am tasting dark chocolate and coffee, like it!

Aug 03, 2020
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edthehead from New York

4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1977 Vintage. Dark medium body. Espresso, bakers chocolate, raisin. Little bit of oxidation from the years, but can definitely see its former greatness.

Jul 24, 2020
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mothman from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. #066482
Tan head with some lace. Dark brown/black color.

This is a master crafted RIS. Dark chocolate, cocoa, figs, raisins, molasses, massive port notes, other dark dried fruits, caramel, bakers chocolate. Smooth, silky, easy drinking. Full bodied with a great feel. Perfect level of carbonation. I’d rather have this over pastry stouts any day. Amazed with this bottle.

May 08, 2020
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jkblr from Indiana

4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

275mL bottle bb 8/16/25 (2012 vintage) poured into a snifter at fridge temp 10% ABV. The beer pours very dark brown to black in color with light brown head. There was a small head from an aggressive pour that settled to a film and thin ring quickly. There is some lacing left behind. The aroma is dark roasty coffee and dark chocolate with licorice and fruit mixed in. The taste is bittersweet, mildly ashy chocolate and roast malt that finishes with apple, pear, vague smoke and tobacco. Bitterness is medium to heavy. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. There is a hint of alcohol as the beer approaches room temp. Overall, very good. I would like to try this with both less and more years. The complexity is still there at 6 years old but all the flavors and aromas kind of run together. Worth a try if you enjoy the style. Original review date 11/20/18.

I thought this bottle would be younger, but with an 02/09/26 date it's around the same age at time of review. 2013 bottle. Turns out the brewery holds these bottles for 5 years before turning them loose. Purchased in a gift pack with a snifter and a 2012 bottle that will be aging for a while. Original review stands. Lovely beer. July 19, 2019.

Nov 20, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

from 2011, so about 8 years old now, definitely mature, definitely a little oxidized, but made for this kind of ageing obviously, and still doing just fine. we enjoyed this one as a night cap last night, seemed like a good evening for something old and dark and strong, now that fall has fully set in here in denver. its more brown than black in the glass, chocolate looking, a little dusty looking too, with a patchy tan head bubbling up slowly. it smells like its been in the bottle awhile, but has a classic english grain profile, the dark bitter roasted elements tamed a bit by time, and plenty of english crystal type sweetness through it for balance. the yeast is bready and timeless, and to me makes this beer, even though it isnt a central flavor agent or anything, it really brings it together, adds a cool maturity to it, and makes it special to me. lots of chocolate to it, some brown sugar and molasses too, hints of wet tobacco and licorice as well, but not overly complex, its old enough to sort of be decaying in on itself just a little, smoothed out some nuance but really a pleasant drink, no trace of its alcohol strength either after the initial vapor dissipates. im not sure i would keep this for much longer in the cellar, it seems about maxed out right now, still delicious, but i cant imagine any more time being good for it. cool beer, aged really well, a great cap on a really fun evening with new friends, and a perfect segue into fall. id like to try it fresh to compare...

Oct 12, 2018
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RichardLeahy from Australia

4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 275 ml bottle into tall glass. You don't need a pint glass for this one. Pours dark and syrupy, tan head, coffee/liquorice aroma. Head fades quickly to patchy froth. Taste is blackened grain, caramel, coffee, alcohol and Vegemite (an Australian yeast extract that you spread on toast). A little less impressed on this sampling than previous, but still an iconic stout and deserves its reputation.

Sep 26, 2018
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Beersnake1 from California

4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1977 bottle. Poured from slightly colder than cellar temp, but allowed to warm. Slight hiss when I cracked the cap, which was surprising. Other than that, no signs of carbonation. Nose is heavy on licorice, molasses, and dark fruit. A bit of root beer and soy sauce as well, but not in an off-putting way. Taste shares some similarities with the nose, but has a distinct smokiness and burnt taste. Bitterness sticks around on the palate, and this is a burnt taste. Plenty of black licorice and some distinct soy sauce flavors. Not getting the root beer from the nose. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. Overall, I am really glad to try this 41 year old beer, and it didn't disappoint.

Mar 24, 2018
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bret717 from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

Look- pours black w/tan head

Aroma- subtle sweet chocolate, doughy bread, slightly fruity

Taste- rich, chocolate coffee followed by intense prune and roasty bitterness

Feel- full-bodied and creamy

overall- very enjoyable RIS

Mar 02, 2018
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bsullivan from Connecticut

4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

1993 Vintage, 170ml bottle into white wine glass

I was skeptical of ordering a bottle from my birth year, but wow was I impressed. Poured deep dark brown, sediment stayed stuck to the bottom of the bottle for the most part. Smell and taste was overwhelmingly sherry, I would not have believed you if you told me it was in the 10/11% ABV range.

Feb 28, 2018
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timmy2b from New York

4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage. Very dark black pour with almost no head at all. Scent is of Raisons with a subtle hint of chocolate. Raison flavor with chocolate in the aftertaste. Very mild amount of coffee as well. A little heavy and slightly boozy on the tongue. Very drinkable, but it is a sipper.

Jan 07, 2018
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Lamar from Maryland

4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ideal Russian Stout; full of espresso and coffee like flavors. Rich and full bodied a simply great stout. I drank this one fresh; so rich and full of flavor and alcohol that it will age wonderfully. I will grab a few to sit down.

Dec 23, 2017
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bnes09 from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Oct 26, 2017
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
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.


Oct 04, 2017
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
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

Sep 16, 2017
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ofYYC from Canada (AB)

3.17/5  rDev -25.6%
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.

Apr 22, 2017
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dd43 from Connecticut

3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Apr 17, 2017
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WildMaverick1200 from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Apr 04, 2017
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DVMin98 from North Carolina

4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
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

Mar 27, 2017
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mynie from Maryland

4.56/5  rDev +7%
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.

Mar 11, 2017
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
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...

Feb 20, 2017
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -12%
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.

Feb 17, 2017
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Lucaskowalik from Canada (AB)

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Feb 02, 2017
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JackRWatkins from Alabama

4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Jan 30, 2017
Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Eagle Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 964 ratings