Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

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Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
940 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: 940 |  Reviews: 312
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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of NonicPanic
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 170ml nip-sized, thick brown glass bottle. Unlike the BA Avatar in the Database, the sample I was holding had the more classic presentation. The dark black background of the main label sits well against the dark purple ringlet that has the words “Imperial Russian Stout” in a rather simple looking Arial-like white font, with “Originally brewed for Catherine II, Empress of all the Russias” in smaller gold font. Inside this there are some Russian words, whilst inside that a Regal Crown has the scripted white letters “O.G. 1098” underneath. Outside this royal paraphernalia, the words “Brewed in the UK, Courage Ltd., Staines, Middlesex” sits above and “As Brewed for Over 200 Years” below. Right at the bottom of the label, it is dated “Brewed In 1993” in simple but prominent white text. Listed as Alc. 10.0% Vol. The simple brass crown cap had a slight speck or two of rust, but nothing to worry about. Firmly applied 11 years ago, it took some removing. A little escape of gas eased my initial fears that a flat dead sample could have been lurking, a ridiculous concern, as I knew that this had lived a good life in the English Yorkshire Countryside before coming Stateside at Easter.

Appearance: Hmmm, what glass to use? Well, I opted for the largest Goblet I had in my armory, a Duvel vessel, freshly washed, cleaned, washed in clean hot water again and then rinsed in cold water and left to its own devices to dry naturally. What a superb choice it turned out to be for it allowed the full glory of the nose to present itself whilst I closely inspected its sheer brown naked body in the hourglass sides of the Duvel Glass. The perfect body has nothing to hide, dark black, almost tar like at first; it takes a powerful light to reveal its dark brown luscious strong body. Pellucid and exotic, like a classic edition of Playboy it begs to be inspected closely, again and again, except that this is most definitely not airbrushed.

Shite!!….I could sit all night and slowly swirl the smallest quantity of this goliath beverage in the forgiving oversized Duvel glass. Presented as such like a fine Brandy, it looks simply fucking marvelous, quite incredible that a beer with no carbonation has such an impressive quality about it, but somehow it does.

Nose: Blackcurrants, and lots of them, I immediately detected dark berried fruits mixed into a thick mélange of currants, molasses, freshly baked spotted dick, alcohol soaked plums and amontillado sherry. There is a hell of a lot going on here and I am far from proficient enough to dissect it all, suffice to say the nose is a meal in itself and exhilarating & invigorating enough to be taken through a freshly rolled up crisp banknote.

Taste: Immensely complex, superbly smooth, Teflon like silky flavors slide over the oral cavity and coat it like a high performance lube oil, embracing the tongue in an orgasmic orgy of mature delight. Sensual and sexy, this releases itself oh so slowly, allowing you to genuinely bask in all of its glory. Dark fruits, plums soaked in alcohol for so long the skins fall off, dark raisins, rich currants, blackberries, blackcurrants, Garibaldi Biscuits and malt soaked molasses. Light sweetness cantilevered against this humongously well aged body makes this a real treat.

I swear the aftertaste will last for another 11 years. Long lingering tasty solute that lays a complex carpet of experiences on the cheeks, tongue, throat and stomach. I could still taste this 15 minutes after the last swallow, which truly helps you to savor the small bottled sample that much more. Mind blowing!!!

Mouthfeel: Smooth, sophisticated, suave – this is the James Bond of Imperial Russian Stouts, a sort of from Russia with Love. Age merely adds massive levels of maturity to the confidence of this British Agent. Brandy like it needs to be sipped and slowly savored.

Drinkability: Fantastic, sampled alone at first, but I chose to finish the last 50ml of this with some big chunks of 5 Year Old Aged Sharp English Cheddar that I had been saving. An absolutely incredible mix. I so want to give a 5 for Drinkability, but I suppose that the sheer complexity and richness may prove a tad too much, it certainly deserves a 4.5, but could so easily be a 5.0 for me.

Overall: Damn, this is one fine brew indeed. 11 years after it was brewed, this one bottle has most certainly stood the test of time incredibly well. A World Classic for sure, but moreover this is really a Highly Educated Gentleman of the English Bottled Beer Aristocracy.

A Huge Thanks to fellow BA and Yorkshireman BSF for this one, delivered whilst we shared a brew at the Doncaster Beer Festival during my Easter trip to England. I am truly indebted to you for this master libation. Thank You, Thank You Sir; it has matured extremely well, no thanks in part to your master cellarmanship. I owe you a few Gallons of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord next year!!!

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Photo of snglmltrblnd84
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of BBMuffins
5/5  rDev +17.9%

This is hands down the best beer I've ever had. I love a variety of styles, but this beats everything by a tremendous margin. This beer is literally perfection. The beautiful smell, the marvelously delicious and complex taste, the black-as-night look, and not to mention the incredibly smooth texture... This is beer heaven.

I honestly can not believe how good this beer is. I'm not even going to rate it's attributes, it's a solid five through and through. I don't think I was ready to drink this beer. I should have waited until my nose and taste buds are experienced enough to fully pick this beer apart. Then again, I'm not sure I would have ever reached that point as this beer is a labyrinth of flavor and smell.
Byzantinian all the way down.

I'm upset that I can't taste this taste and smell this smell forever.

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Photo of mbuell
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Jacobprice
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of dogfooddog
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1993 six-ounce bottle served this evening at room temperature at Monk's Cafe. Next to no carbonation, and a few large chunks of sediment slip past into the belgian chalice glass, but sink to the bottom and do not mix. I end up drinking them when I finish the glass but they don't even impact the already hyper-intense taste.

Huge odor of alcoholic sweet fermeneted raisins. Even my nose can get this one. If I was smelling/tasting this beer completely blind I would have guessed it was a port.

this is one of the most complex beers I have ever had (rivals any lambics or westvleteren 12's no matter how old) and I am debating on what does not deserve a '5.'

Taste is the most port/wine-like beer I have ever had. Tremendous complexity, and the lack of carbonation make this feel like a very raisiny port wine. It is without a doubt magnitudes better than any other imperial stout I have ever had and really makes the rest of the genre pale in comparison. It is a terrible shame this is not available (I have not seen this or any vintage retail in almost a decade of looking). I don't feel the 10% when drinking this beer.

I have never had anything like it, and quite possibly never will again. At 12+ years old, it is afaik the oldest beer I have ever drunk as well.

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Photo of mikepcarney
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of abex44
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Irishman_Scott
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of mmars010
5/5  rDev +17.9%

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 940 ratings