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:
304
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
183
Gots:
194
For Trade:
12
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 923 |  Reviews: 304
Photo of Irishman_Scott
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of akk14
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
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 +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of Beginner2
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
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 -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of gshak
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
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 +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of steverx8
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CoreyC
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
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

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

2013 vintage

Dark fruit and licorice in the nose. Toffee and burnt caramel with some spices. Pumpernickel bread. A subtle minty note. Some tobacco and earthy notes. Rich and sweet smelling.

Pours black as black with just a tinge of brown highlights. Small tan head with decent lacing and retention.

Rush of dark fruits and toast, finishing surprisingly dry. Berries and raisins give way to burnt sugar and hearty rye bread. A subtle green hop character is noticeable with a balancing steely bitterness. Espresso with pear and some honey. Smoke lingers on the palate.

Full body with low carbonation. Silky with just a tinge of bubbles.

Much more balanced though not lacking in intensity than many of the American counterparts of this style. Even with 3 years age there's enough roast and hop bitterness to balance out sweetness.

 832 characters

Photo of Derek
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Highly desired for some time... perhaps a bit anti climatic.

Pours with a very thin head, shows some leg.

Really nice aroma: Huge Chocolate, some roasted nut, coffee, light liqueur.

Taste: Rogue chocolate stout comes to mind, it doesn't seem any bigger, very drinkable.

Fairly full body, but not much residual sweetness or booze; roasted acidity is certainly subtle as well.

I expected this to be big and bold, but it's remarkably balanced and drinkable.

 459 characters

Photo of utopiajane
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The pour is viscuous and black with a mocha head of foam that is creamy and lasts well . The beer has excellent clarity and although it is truly black as you drink it will show you honey hues from deep within. head refreshes on each tip. The beer is 10 percent.

Nose is sumptuous with earth and roast. Caramel is strong but soft. Bitter chocolate. There is a dark fruit presence but it's like it has sunk in to the beer because of age and has become a sweet part of the earth in this beer. It remains vibrant though. Powerful and edgy with hints of smoke and char but nothing to show for them really.

Drinks full and creamy with an undeniable smoothness. No alcohol on the palate. This malt is like pillowy softness meets dramatic flavor. The drink follows the nose to perfection except for a brief bit of nut. This beer is foreboding and jolly. I have never used the word jolly for an RIS before but it is. Dry roast lingers bitter in the finish as the palate dries out to show you espresso in the aftertaste.

Complex and wonderful.

 1,036 characters

Photo of PatrickG
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of ChrisCage
4.76/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the 2012 vintage..Best before date of Aug 25/16....within the recommended usage timeframe!

A- This pours an oily thick black color with a coffee colored head that looks very thick and creamy....the resiliency of the head is quite good, keeping in tact for a long time after the initial pour and without having to swirl. The lacing is also outstanding....tons of circular specimens of foam are heartily sticking to the side of the glass and from what I can see, the carbonation appears to be tight and smooth.

S- The aromas are amazingly good and surprising in nature! Initially, there are heavy dark dried fruit....raisins and prunes to be exact.....after this on the forefront, lingering semi-sweet dark chocolate, molasses, rummy oak, OKA cheese and burnt sugary caramel....delicious on the nostrils!

T- WoW! Heavy cocoa, scalded semi-sweet dark chocolate, espresso, dried black cherry and figs, raisins, smoked cheddar tones, black malt with burnt caramel sweetness, Earthy near the finish, with lingering rooty/licorice flavors....extremely well balanced between booziness, sweetness and dryness....just awesome!

M/O- This is heavy in texture....like a milkshake but it's beer! Over time, this has smoothed out very well and the carbonation is velvety on the palate! Highly drinkable and the alcohol is super well hidden for the content! Even with this said, this is most definitely a sipper and I think is probably one of the nicest Imperial Stouts one could find on the market! Will absolutely purchase this one again and I highly recommend this to the masses!

 1,585 characters

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of beaulabauve
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of hansavijaticar
4.71/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rderedin
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

From bottle, pours black with A ring of foam that circles the glass. Aroma of caramel, chocolate, soy sauce, brown sugar, hint of coffee. Taste Sweet flavour, caramel, coffee, dark fruit, vanilla. Alcohol very well hidden.

 223 characters

Photo of 5EKF
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.