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
935 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:
#922
Reviews:
309
Ratings:
935
pDev:
10.61%
Bros Score:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
184
Gots:
198
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 935 |  Reviews: 309
Photo of MrNuggets
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1983
Never has a beer smelt like this before! Strength is not surprising, what gets me is what builds it.
Flavors leave me at a loss for words. Many tastes from my past mold into something new and unusual. Fruit? You bet, and they're dark. Dark as all hell. A noticeable coco presence picks up in the finish. Who would have though a stout of such an imperial nature could go down so smooth?
A great drinking experience.

 424 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Courage Russian Imperial Stout (9.3 oz. bottle) has a thick, creamy, tan head and a very dark brown appearance. When one swishes the bottom contents and pours it in, then a heavy, grayish cloud descends into the glass. Good lacing is left around the glass as well. The aroma is rich, with raisin, dark-roasted barley malt, black cherries, chocolate powder, and black bread crust. Taste is of rich, sweet malt, dark fruits, chocolate, dark-roast coffee, brown sugar, lots of bitterness, and fudge. The mouthfeel is velvety, thick, and heavy, and Courage Russian Imperial Stout finishes semi-dry, rich, and dense. Overall, this is a world-class beer, and I give it an extremely strong recommendation. Please try it!

RJT

 718 characters

Photo of R4ed
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1977 Vintage(31 years old) THANKS Rayj! 170 ml, 6 fl oz. brown bottle > Postel chalice

Once the cap was pried off a wonderful, black and totally opque syrup oozes out of it's home after 31 years. The head is simply amazing after all of this time, it's a dark brown, creamy color crowing at 1" deep with moderate to quick dissipation and plenty of foamy coverage left over.

The aroma is of old chocolate, with a "wild" ale scent and some "brett" like whiff's. Oily alcohol and tangy fruits with only mild "off" aroma's of wet carboared. Dense chocolate and dry graham cracker, slight, green, herbal hop.

This is a chalky, smokey malt and very, very complex after all of these years. Worcestershire sauce, figs, peanutbutter, smokey barley, peet moss and a wonderfully thick chocolate current that features subtle raspberries. The hops add a decent dry-bitter effect and the heat is pretty hot and reminds me of vodka going down. Later, there's syruppy molasses and only a slight "off" flavor of the classic wet-cardboared effect.

The feel is oily thick, more like slick actually with no carboantion at all. Dense, full and still lush.

This was a very nice treat to have a beer brewed from before I was born. Much respect. Highest quality, bar-setter for the style.
---cont...
This is my second bottle, a fresh bottle from may 2011 so i will base my scores on the fresh bottle not the 31 year old vintage i had back in 2008.

The look is just perfect, chunky, dark and opaque with a dark brown head. Fresh and heady look!

The aroma is huge, tones of dank chocolate, balanced with a unique earthy, musky English hop aroma with dark wheat, oats and vanilla to top it off. complex and inviting.

The flavor and balance sets the standard IMO. The first of it's kind and still proves to be one of the best, and from my point of view, the single best RIS you can get. multi-layered malt flavor's, thick and heady, smooth, grainy and a bit earthy in flavor's and feel. The full feel is also insanely drinkable with layers of vanilla, slightly sweet chocolate, graham crackers, musty-earthy, hearty hops and yeast, all very English really makes this classic work. the hops are not bitter or anywhere near 100 IBU's but the hop flavor is classic English with it's highly effective flavor within this complex classic beast.

If you love IRS or RIS you simply must try this one. A top version and original beast. for the ages.

 2,433 characters

Photo of Vylo
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black with a small off-white head. Aroma is malts and sweet fruit. Flavor has a strong dose of sweet fruit mixed with roasted malts. There is also a touch of coffee and chocolate, and the smokiness helps balance these flavors out. This has a nice full body a goes down smooth. It is one of the best beers I have had. Everything about it is just pure joy - from the rich aroma to the complex and well-balanced flavors. I will have to get some more bottles to age.

 474 characters

Photo of macbethkid84
4.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of horshack7
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: From a 9.3oz bottle is a black abyss of darkness. On top the head is dark beige three fingers tall and very frothy. As the head thins out thick lacing is left behind.

Aroma: Large amounts of espresso, dark chocolate, with cocao undertones that carries a light bitterness. Dark fruits, very dark roasted malts as well as hops. Notes pear, minor burnt hops.

Taste: Espresso notes in the front followed by a huge rush of milk and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is smoother than melted chocolate. Hops and malts are roasted so very dark with a floralness and bitter sweet chocolate tones. Some dark fruits with some pear notes to finish it off.

Notes: Dam this one freaking amazing almost an adreniline rush. Cheers.

 726 characters

Photo of Sathanas
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With an extremely balanced amount of dark fruit and chocolate to contrast the coffee tastes and aromas, Wells and Young create a perfect example of an Imperial Russian Stout.

 174 characters

Photo of henchilada
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Abinlp
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a memorable beer. Quite expensive in the bottle, about $8 for 10 oz. Yet I've never so willingly spent that money. Its got as luxurious a mouthfeel as any beer I can think of, but its the taste that leaves you so impressed. I don't know if I can say its the best beer I've ever had, but I can't really think of more than a couple that I'd put in its league, of any style. I was a bit surprised to see it listed at 10%, as I've had maybe 5-6 bottles of this and never recall an strong alcohol note with it. Heading to the UK in November of 2016 and I intend to find this on tap there.

 591 characters

Photo of justinm4bama
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ThomasT
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%

Poured into a whisky tulip glass (I know, sacrilege). 2012 vintage.
Appearance: As black as beer can be. Nice, dark brown, two finger head that was super thick, but actually dissipated a bit. A thin, iridescent oil on the surface and some lacing, but not a ton (probably due to the glass I used).
Smell: Strong smell of overripe fruit and deep coffee roastiness. Hint of chocolate
Taste: Powerful and rich. The body is almost oily and seems to coat your entire mouth with even a small sip. Several different fruit can be tasted, all of which taste slightly to significantly overripe. I detect dates, fig, and plum especially. Moves from fruit into a prominent espresso, almost as strong as espresso itself. Finally, the finish is a rich, dark chocolate the likes of which can only be beat by the absolute richest fancy deserts. Slight, mellow warmth in the throat, but no alcohol taste detected.
Body: Extremely full-bodied
Overall: An incredible beer that clearly lives up to its reputation. Each sip tastes like you are indulging in every item on the desert tray in a grand feast. Cannot recommend enough.

 1,107 characters

Photo of Korbynlehr
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I wish I had pecan pie to go with this.

39 characters

Photo of Impfan
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very complex aroma and flavor of walnut/pecan, pears in brandy, campfire, dried fruit with a hint of green olive, roast coffee and cream, vanilla and figs.

Finish is quite lengthy, and the overall effect is elegant, layered and restrained, while at the same time ebullient.

A marvelous tribute to the granddaddy of all Imperial Russian Stouts.

 346 characters

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

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.

 229 characters

Photo of mythaeus
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bitterbill
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a brewed in 1976 edition bottle, 6oz(170ml)

I've always wanted to try a Courage Imperial Russian Stout ever since I read about it many years ago. Here is my chance.

I remove the cap, which isn't a crown cap...kind of surprised me given the age of the beer, and give it a vigorous pour into my NB Goblet. A few bubbles show up and then a light sheeting of foam appears and then disappears almost immediately. There are still *some* bubbles in the middle and around the edge of the glass. Oh, forgot to mention, there was a decent hiss when I popped the cap.

Zooming my nose over the glass, this smells very strong. Strong as in strong dark fruits, very sherry like notes, some caramel sweetness and good doses of chocolate. And a huge presence of alcohol. Just by the smell alonge I know this one is not for the faint at heart.

First sip and...the sherry like nose is there in the flavour. Wow. What a punch it delivers! The chocolate I mentioned in the nose is here and is rather big and bold bring lots of sweet tones..the dark fruits, not so much.

Seeing as this is a RIS and they are known for roasted malt goodness, I was worried as I didn't sense that in the smell at all. The taste, happily, shatters that worry. Very nicely roasted malt flavours are exploding every which way but loose and the alcohol? Wow. What a difference between smell and taste. It pretty much dominated the smell but the taste doesn't expose the 10%abv at all. Yeah, there's plenty of warming after the swallow, which is where I prefer it, but it sure isn't noticeable in the taste at all.

Cool, I just noticed that after a few sips, the foam makes a comeback of sorts. Big old island off center and now a complete ring around the glass. That surprised the hell out of me.

Big bodied and silky smooth with a surprisingly nice tingle of carbonation periodically during the session. 6oz?? I want more, damn it.

Drinkability? For a ~34 year old brew...absolutely incredible! Hell, if this was still being brewed and a fresh bottle is what I was drinking right now I'd say..absolutely incredible!

Bottom line(I haven't one of these in a while):
What can I say? I'm going to do my best to seek out more as this is one of the finest drinking experiences I've *ever* had. I'd LOVE to see Wells and Young's bring this beer back!

 2,320 characters

Photo of Thrifty101091
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2013 bottle, drank on 10/22/15

Lots of delicious pear, fruity notes that are stronger than anticipated. Very nice overall

130 characters

Photo of Rothobinide
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wonderful to see bottles of this in Atlanta. A beer I've been wanting to try for a long while. I wondered whether I'd be disappointed after the long wait, but no, this beer is superb. Pours an extremely dark brown, almost black, unless held up to the light. Short coffee crema colored head, but the head clings to the side of the glass in a sheet, not just rings. Smells of Christmas pudding cooked in a coal fired oven- slightly sooty and redolent of fruit and brandied cake. Dry and intense in flavor, tightly wound. Nice lingering, ashy bitterness with dry fruit notes, licorice, espresso, and bitter chocolate. Superb, and surprisingly bracing and dry with a bit of alcohol bite that is nevertheless integrated with the beer in the sense that it underscores the other flavors instead of dominating. A huge beer, and a great pleasure to drink.

 846 characters

Photo of bifrost17
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The bottle date says "bottle May 2011"
poured into a brandy snifter.

A: It pours exactly how you'd expect it to, jet black, viscous, motor oil. Once it's in the glass it's beautiful, opaque, when I hold the glass up to light nothing comes through, I can see my reflection in the glass. The head is surprisingly big for the 10% abv.

S: The aroma is spot on for what I like in Russian Imperial Stouts. Huge chocolate, dark fruit, bitter espresso, roasted malt, a slight sweetness, and big alcohol.

T: The taste is awesome, but not quite as good as it smells. Up front you get an initial bitterness, then it gets really sweet in the middle of your tongue and almost tastes like cola, this beer is extremely carbonated for the abv. Definitely warming as it goes down. The finish is pretty bitter and dry. All the qualities I just listed are things that I love in Russian Imperial Stouts. The 10% is hidden very well, the nose suggests that it's going to be pretty boozy, but that doesn't come through in the taste all that much.

M: Mouthfeel is full bodied and surprisingly carbonated. Not too sticky or viscous.

O: I've heard a lot about this beer and just happened to stumble across it at the bottleshop today. This beer, for me, is a perfect example of the style. Everything that I want in a R.I.S is in this beer. The Courage Imperial Russian Stout is worthy of all the hype and respect that it gets. If you haven't tried this then seek it out. I recommend getting a few bottles for the cellar, I know that tomorrow I'll be heading back to the bottleshop to pick up a couple more for sure.

 1,594 characters

Photo of hegelec
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Without doubt the tastiest beer I have ever sampled. Nothing else I have ever had tastes quite like it, so bear with me as I try to put this touching experience into words.

1975 vintage, 180 mL bottle that has spent the last 34 years in the cellar of a beer collector in England. Acquired privately at an amazingly cheap price.

Pours a thick, syrupy, opaque black with a finger of tan head. A FINGER OF HEAD! The carbonation here is remarkable given the age.

Smells ... so unique. Fruity, woody, funky, meaty ... a hint of roastiness. Will this taste anything like a stout?

Yes! Sweetness envelops my tongue as I take a modest sip, followed by a slightly roasty astringency, and a sharp bitterness lingers long after I swallow. The stout backbone is very apparent from beginning to end, but the flavours have evolved dramatically. Honey, fig ... a faint saltiness ... soy, meat, tobacco -- but these are really well-integrated into the whole ... woody sherry-like notes, lightly oxidized. Absolutely heavenly: words fail me.

The mouthfeel is luxuriously full, syrupy, and with a creamy carbonation that is astounding after all these years. I am floored.

This beer is simply overwhelming. The drinkability is only hurt by the fact that I could only ever have one in one sitting.

 1,283 characters

Photo of Kanutasan
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 935 ratings
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