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:
#921
Reviews:
309
Ratings:
935
pDev:
10.61%
Bros Score:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
184
Gots:
198
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 935 |  Reviews: 309
Photo of novamat
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FBarber
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a viscous black as night color with a thin mocha colored head. Head dissipates leaving a tan oily slick on top of the beer.

Smell is the most remarkable part of this beer. The instant I opened it I was hit with a pungent aroma of dark fruits, roasted malts and rich chocolate. The pungency was comparable to a "hop bomb" IPA. Just incredibly aromatic. Brown sugar, molasses, rich ripened stone fruits and cocoa also come through on the nose.

Taste follows the nose with a lovely array of chocolate, roasted malts, cocoa, prunes, dates, brown sugar, and molasses. on the back end you get some oaken notes, giving way to a mild earthy hop character. Provides a nice balancing bitterness on the finish. The flavor is so rich and deep that its as good an complex as any bourbon barrel aged stout.

Feel is thick and viscous yet completely drinkable. Mild carbonation. Slightly dry finish coats the mouth.

Overall this really is the standard for Russian Imperial Stouts. Just incredible. Put this on the list of beers that you must try before you die. If not for the price tag, this would be the only Russian Imperial Stout I'd ever drink again.

 1,152 characters

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 Mitchster
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$6.99 for a 9.3oz bottle at Binny's in Chicago. 2012 Vintage, No.106675. 10% ABV.
Pours out to a cloudy inky black, forming a modest espresso like head with good retention and average lacing. Carbonation is light, about 2.0 carbs or so. Nose of soy sauce, black walnuts, dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is rich, silky, dense bodied, lightly acidic, finishing lightly dry. The taste is a recap of the aroma, however there is a very interesting balance here between the roast, the hop bitterness (which is earthy, and I think absolutely perfectly balanced), prune juice, rum soaked raisins, figs, dates and soy sauce. I don't get the typical English yeast esters. No oxidation or harsh alcohols, thankfully.

A really nice Russian Imperial stout, considered by many to be the benchmark of the style. I would agrees that's its definitely up in the top 5 that I've had, however considering it's poor availability and price, I'll stick with my Founders.

 952 characters

Photo of Grackos
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of Act25
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing 2012 sourced in Banff Canada.

A: A single finger thick tan head on a jet black body with only modest lacing.

S: Starts with oak and raisiny dark fruit, then vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt.

T: Starts with inky dark chocolate, leaning on bitterness, char, roasted malts, cedar wood, vanilla, espresso, toffee. Complex, twisted, licorice, a dark winding path of flavors. Among the best for intensity

M: Intense. full body and moderate carbonation, lingering licorice feel.

Overall: Rare, full flavored, excellent balance and licorice with dark bitter chocolate.

 581 characters

Photo of LeftoverCrizack
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of unclekeith
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DucksFan16
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. Consumed 06/25/2016

34 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of akopczyk
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of akk14
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

 2,077 characters

Photo of Fabiand
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beginner2
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 More Beers To Try Before You Die", a sequel to his CAMRA classic.

95 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of gshak
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 edition, with a best by date of 8/162025. Imbibed on 4/18/2016.
A - Pours dark brown, not nearly opaque, but thereabouts.
S - Rum-soaked raisins! Very significant dark fruits - raisins, prunes, dates, figs on the nose, liqueur-like even. Makes me wonder if it was aged in sherry casks.
T - I'm getting oak, chocolate fudge, charred malt, ashes, and leather. Pretty sure much of that sounds unappetizing, but believe me, it seems to work for this beer!
M - Full, and the low carbonation provides a creamy mouthfeel, with just enough burst of flavors.
O - Fantastic IRS that definitely seems to gain in complexity as it ages. I wonder what 13 years in the cellar might do to this beer. I think it's drinking great at 4 years.

 728 characters

Photo of mattboyer182
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of steverx8
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CoreyC
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage
A - nice dark black/brown with good tan head
S - very light, some dried fruit
T - bitter dark chocolate, somewhat smokey, too bitter of a finish for me
M - nice and thick
O - ok stout, but not great for me. Too bitter (even at 3 years old) and not a lot of depth of flavor

 285 characters

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