Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
923 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
Ratings:
923
Reviews:
303
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
182
Gots:
194
For Trade:
12
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Ratings: 923 |  Reviews: 303
Photo of kinggimp
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smutty33
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

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Photo of ofYYC
3.17/5  rDev -24.9%
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 -5.5%
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 -1.2%
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 -4.7%
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 +8.1%
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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Photo of JOldewurtel
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of prisdefer
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
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...

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Photo of Jacob17
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
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 -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Lucaskowalik
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.22/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BrutisDestructus
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of madelf66
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Everydayoff
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

275ml bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. This one is vintage 2013.

Deep brown to opaque black color, it tops with one finger of foamy tan head that withstands with good retention before slowly collapsing to some everlasting bubble film atop and leaving plenty of patchy and spotty lace along the way.

The aroma is enticing with chocolate and espresso coffee in the lead, then it is suggestion of dried-fruit in kind of dark raisin, prune, and plum. Sweet breadiness and roasted note is also there with touch of dark bread, vanilla, caramel, creamy, and some smokiness.

Sweetness is upfront in the palate but not that cloying. Chocolate and espresso coffee closely follow together with notes of roasted, smokiness , dark bread, vanilla, and caramel while the presence of dried-dark fruit is still existing providing some liveliness before the warmth of alcohol poking through. The finish is quite lasting with all the flavors mixed up giving a pleasant end.

The body is full with smooth mouthfeel and rather small to moderate carbonation through the palate, slight sticky, very dry finish. Very well done, it is delicate, robust, and very tasty. Great for aging in order to see how it is matured by time.

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Photo of N1Nkasi
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sweffin
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nunya
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of archero
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of a 1993 Courage Imperial Russian Stout. Was given bottle from my brother 23 years ago and aged it from that point till now.
Poured an off black, almost chalky black in appearance with zero head and zero lacing. The smell was very nice, it was like cask aged wine, just a smokey woody scent. Taste was shocking, I did not expect much and got a very nice surprise, full of whiskey notes and wine flavors, this beer turned into a gem. Overall it had a smooth finish and notes of smoke and earth with a very awesome wine finish. I think this beer was exceptional, not due to age but just pure taste, it was like nothing I ever had so hard to compare.

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
4.22 out of 5 based on 923 ratings.
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