Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

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Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
941 Ratings
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Wells & Young's 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 rastaman on 02-11-2002

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Ratings: 941 |  Reviews: 312
Photo of LarrysDeerGut
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SharkNado
2.99/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of Beersnake1
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of bret717
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
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

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Photo of bsullivan
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of timmy2b
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of 1971bernat
1/5  rDev -76.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Photo of Lamar
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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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.

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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.


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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

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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
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 941 ratings