Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
BA SCORE
92.2%
Liked This Beer
4.24 w/ 926 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:
#898
Reviews:
305
Ratings:
926
Liked:
854
Avg:
4.24/5
pDev:
10.38%
Alströms:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
183
Gots:
194
Trade:
12
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 926 |  Reviews: 305
Photo of retry4z
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3.5/5 rDev -17.1%

You had this beer. Write a review.
(on tap)
retry4z, Oct 27, 2014

Update: From a bottle. Prune and figs.

127 characters

Photo of vbiliyar
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of mpenning13
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
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 kkleu357
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Dark black body. Big aroma of toastyness and sweets. Taste is mostly molasses. A little too much for my liking. It’s ok.

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Photo of JoeBond
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 Vintage bottle

Pours dark with a thick head, aroma is strong on the fruit as advertised on the bottle itself.

I'll just say that personally, the fruit aroma and aftertaste were too overpowering to me.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.57/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: dark black color no head almost whatsoever

S: lots of licorice a little roast

T: I'm getting a little old age beer taste but it's pretty good

M: thin

O: I think this beer is a touch oxidized the underlying beer is quite good but I'm getting a little green apple taste very faint but it's there. I think this beer would be amazing fresher

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter glass. Pours a deep brown-black body along with a thick khaki head that leaves behind a nice coating of lacing throughout. Aromas of cocoa powder, espresso, roasted malts, lightly fruity hops, and some caramel. Flavors of cococa, espresso, and a dose of roasted malts. The hop presence provides a pinch of bitterness which was somewhat off putting for me. Smooth mouthfeel and evenly carbonated. Semi-dry finish. Lightly bitter in the finish. I can understand the British character here, but I do not see why this beer should be rated so high here. I've had numerous RIS brews worthy of much higher marks. Otherwise, a solid RIS for those looking for a nogstalic British character.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BB Aug 24(!)

Pours a black body. Very coarse tan head. Clumpy lace.

Aromas of bitter roast malt, burnt coffee.

Taste is quite sharp. Very bitter, and roast/burnt coffee and dark chocolate flavours feature. Hollow mid palate, moderate palate length overall. Opens up more as it warm and the flavours get softer, however, all in all , far too young.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied. Light carbonation.

Suspect needs a year or two in cellar.

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Photo of fermentedbarley
3.61/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The stout pours close to perfect. Ideal color with a slight head. The smell is outstanding with only a slight hint of something that keeps it from perfect. Not sure what that is. The taste shows something related to the smell that is even more prevelant.....something detracting. A bit bitter. It's a decent Imperial Stout.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage.

Pours a very dark brown color. It doesn't have the pitch-black opacity of more modern imperial stouts, as expected. The head is three fingers high (poured aggressively) and mocha in shade. While the retention fails to impress, webs of lacing manage to stick to the glass.

The age has done this very well. In addition to notes of sherry oxidation appearing vividly, there's a very powerful aromatic note of dark chocolate. Of course, I pick up nice amounts of dark fruits - when combined with a touch of non-harsh alcohol presence ringing distinct, I'm really reminded of rum-soaked raisins. Err, make that rum-soaked raisins coated in chocolate. Some smoke appears as it opens up, as does some caramel. Needless to say, the aromatic complexity is endlessly intriguing, helped by the world-class balance and boldness of notes.

A bit of a letdown next to the nose. It opens up with some espresso and dark chocolate, before trailing off into notes of dark fruit and rum. It finishes somewhat charry and acrid. The notes seem a lot more muddled tasting them compared to smelling them. And that's where the disappointment sets in: it tastes similar to the aroma, only it's far more indistinct and undefined.

I really enjoy the initial feel - creamy, soft, and full. The finishing feel, however, is wanting. It has the dryness I want, but affects the palate with too much astringency (thanks to all the char). It's still a sipper, natch, and it still coats the mouth like a big, rich imperial stout should.

I've always wanted to try this, but after hearing how this directly inspired Stone's IRS (an imperial stout I'm not particularly thrilled by), it gave me a little pause. I still picked up a bottle the minute I found it, and I'm here to report it's just decent. Not amazing, not great, just solid. I'm glad this was pre-aged, because I don't think it would be very good fresh. I would be intrigued to try this with, say, 10 years of age on it however.

3.61/5: An interesting history lesson, but not quite as fulfilling as some my favorite imperial stouts

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Photo of DamienI
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rastacouere
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1989. Ebony pour, calm, still. Extremely oxidized nose, woody, vinous. Very complex fruitiness, plenty of grapes, marshmallow sweet aspects, mushroomy vegetal damp earth undertones. Very salty, soy-lkike. Sourish vinous palate, once again very salty, very woody, intense vegetal aspects. Surprisingly still some hops in there, powerful smoky oxidized finish. Medium bodied, rather slick. Interesting, I don’t think this is one of the great vintages, but I’d love to try one with less oxidation.

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Photo of koopa
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

93' Vintage thanks to the fine folks (Zach and Jenn) at Tap and Table.

Appearance: Pours dark dull brown (at least by candlelight) with zero head, no retention, and no lace.

Smell: Truly my favorite part of the brew. Hints of oxidation, soy, light sherry like vinous notes, and a hint of roast malt. Complex and recommended.

Taste: Kind of fell flat compared to the wonderful nose. Not much roastyness left.

Mouthfeel: Very thin, low to no carbonation, and just not that desirable.

Drinkability: Can't score it any higher due to the taste and mouthfeel.

I feel that this bottle wasn't aged as well as the 1983 vintage I had at Kulminator in 2008, although I liked the nose better.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. Bottle # 022761 bought at Max's in Baltimore. From notes.

A - Black pour with one finger of beige head that faded fast. Good carbonation and spotty lace with some filmy retention.

S - Chocolate, a bit sour, roast, dark fruit.

T - Super chocolatey, a bit sour again, roasty, coffee, dark fruit.

M - Very smooth and silky feel, dry finish and good carbonation.

O/D - Decent stuff but by no means does this live up to the hype. The sour note is a bit off, but you can see the potential for a very good stout hidden in there somewhere. Dark fruit flavours played well with the rest, but this just didn't do what most say it does.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to NewBrewBB for the birthday surprise. 275ml bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. 19/09/24 indicated on the bottle. Brewed in May 2011 indicated on the label on the neck of the bottle. Pours slightly darker than cola with a loose, dense, half-inch, khaki-colored head that exhibits excellent retention. Thick arcs of lacing are exposed on the tilt side of the glass with each sip. Nose reveals cocoa, a trace of char, dark fruit, brewer's licorice and a suggestion of ethanol towards the back. Taste follows nose; however, there actually seems to be some slight oxidation present in the flavor profile as well as a hint of soy sauce behind the char. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with an even carbonation that falls just short of lively. There's also some residual acidity at the finish. Overall, I have to say that I was a bit let down by this beer, especially given the $7.95 price tag. I don't even think this is a beer that will stand cellaring. Pretty much a swing and a miss for me.

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Photo of babaracas
3.69/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy reddish brown... dark brown in the glass. One of those fancy DFH glasses that turns any beer into a billowing hefe... oh wait, this one manages not even a full fingers of light brown foam. Settles quickly leaving a thin ring and spotty lacing. Zhukov stains the glass brown. I believe that's progress. Smell: toasted buttered brown bread, and raisin-esque dark fruit. Mild earthiness. Taste: french roast coffee, buttered toasted raisin bread, note of dark chocolate. imo, American versions of this style really long surpassed Brit revivals. This is ok, but I'd have been just as ok never trying it.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows cocoa, dark chocolate, oatmeal and a fair bit of earthy hops. Pretty nice stuff, very interesting.
Flavours are incredibly rich. Chocolate truffles, espresso, sultanas, prunes and booze. A bit too full on.
Nice thick body, could use more carbonation though.
A nice array of flavours but too sweet and boozy for me.

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Photo of Nat1975
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a disappointingly light brown colour, only opaque due to the density of the beer in the glass. When tilted and held to the light, it's certainly a translucent weedy brown. Head is fine enough, leaving thick lacing and a solid persistent half-centimetre of off-white foam.

Nose is very odd indeed. Very crisp and bright—very oddly so. Along with some faint hints of dark grains, there are big fragrant hints of appleskin and cinnamon, and a sweetness reminiscent of fairy floss (possibly the Brett, which I believe is used in the process). There are some deep boozy hints, but they're not framed in a consistent way, leaving the sweet, anarchic brightness to take over. Hmm...

Taste is better, leaving a smooth, if lacklustre roasted sweetness along the front palate. Some mild chocolate, and a hint of coffee come through, but both rather weak, and only leaving a faint impression on the finish, which is dominated by ground earth and a lingering roasted character. The feel is smooth, but far lighter than I expected. In some ways, I'm impressed at how well the booze is hidden, but to be honest, in a beer like this, at this volume, it could stand to be far bigger.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. No, it's not a bad beer (in fact I can see why others love it), but it's amazingly bland for a 10% ABV beer in this style. I understand the push behind it, but it's not a particularly interesting RIS for me.

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Photo of bark
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch black, the liquid might be clear. Or hazy. I don’t know as the liquid is totally bloody black. There is quit a lot of yeast in the bottle, though. The finger thick head is warm brown, it sinks slowly leaving no lacing.

The smell got notes of liquorice, dark chocolate, Irish whiskey and alcohol. It is smooth and a bit sharp at the same time.

The taste is very much the same: Raw and smooth at the same time. Lots of sharp alcohol, some solvents. But also smooth delicate notes of fine milk chocolate, plums in Madeira, coffee and sweet liquorice. Full body. The aftertaste got lots of warming alcohol, some cocoa and distinct notes of black coffee. The long finish got some notes of dried fruits and salt liquorice.

The carbonation is smooth, the bubbles few and small. The liquid is quite light and semi-smooth.

This one is way too young now. I have tasted an 18 year old bottle of Courage Russian Imperial Stout from 1993, and that was a much more interesting experience. I really hope this one will age as well as the previous vintages.

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Photo of deNerval
3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of jennybeer
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 92.2% out of 100 with 926 ratings
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