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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
932 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:
#911
Reviews:
307
Ratings:
932
pDev:
10.38%
Bros Score:
4.47
 
 
Wants:
184
Gots:
194
Trade:
13
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 932 |  Reviews: 307
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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Photo of sjccmd
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of Derek
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 932 ratings
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