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Courage Imperial Russian Stout | Wells & Young's Ltd

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
289 Reviews
Courage Imperial Russian StoutCourage Imperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd
United Kingdom (England) | website

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
Reviews:
289
Ratings:
885
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
18.25%
 
 
Wants:
167
Gots:
189
For Trade:
14
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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 885
Photo of drpimento
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heavy hitter. Poured at a good temperature with a super size tan, foamy, frothy, fluffy head that settle very slowly and some lace. Color is a very dark, almost opaque, but clear amber brown with lots of bubble trails. Aroma is malt, dark, ripe fruit, yeast, wine. Flavor's like nose with subtle sweetness, soft carbonic tang, roast/yeast/hop bitter and a little clashing between some of those qualities. Body is soft and full; ditto carbonation. Finish is like flavor, long, and quite boozy. Big beer. Neat that Courage is able to come back with a beer like this.

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Photo of slentz
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter at about 50 degrees. Brewed May 2011

A: Beer pours out a dark cola color with light penetrating the pour. Easy pour leads to a fat finger worth of beautiful mocha colored head that is very slow to dissipate. This beer looks really great in the glass. 5.0

S: Smells immediately of dark fruits, raisins, dark malts, black licorice, chocolate. Beneath it all is a hint alcohol. 4.5

T: Bitter with lot of coffee notes that are not really pronounced in the nose. The finish is quite bitter with only a hint of sweetness.
4.0

M: Mouthfeel is light and smooth. Goes down quite easy. 4.0

O: Overall a very nice beer. Looks awesome in the glass. Falls a bit short of other imperial stouts but still a very solid offering. I'd try this again but the price is kind of high at $6.50 for 9.3 oz. Definitely glad I got to try this though. 4.5

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Photo of tectactoe
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Review #200! Pours a deep, jet-black color with a khaki colored head, thick and bubbly with reasonable staying power. Nose contains a powerful amount of dark chocolate and cocoa beans, roasted, nearly burnt barley, and a slight alcohol character. This beer has an incredibly body - viscous, rich, silky, creamy and chewy - everything an RIS should be. Flavors are an excellent combination of bitter cocoa beans, dark roasted coffee, sweet licorice and tobacco, heaps of roasted malt, big roasted and charred profile, a slight hint of smoke, faint nuttiness, a touch of molasses, and lots of underlying sweetness in the dark of dark fruits; dates, currants, blackberries. The hops aren't exactly vibrant in the taste, but are still necessary for their bittering element; somewhat ashy and herbal to provide a good counterbalance to the sweetness and richness of this beer. Alcohol warms and adds character without being abrasive or rough. Huge body, low-medium bout of carbonation.

Had this beer once before and it was just as great as I remembered. Makes me wonder why I don't get this more often. Truly a fine example of a Russian imperial stout done right.

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

A - Jet black pour but what makes this one different is the consistently thick, toffee colored creamy layer of foam on top, incredibly sticky on the sides of the glass too, like cotton candy.

S - Dark roasted milk chocolate aroma with a perfect balance of coffee and light smokiness.

T - Evenly balanced across the palate with dark chocolate coffee roast, cream, dark fruit, some smokiness, and a lingering dark roast chocolate bitterness. Alcohol presence is ever so slight for a beer of this ABV making it a dangerous sipper.

M - Rich texture and full medium body with light carbonation, border line silky.

O - A great example of the style and perfectly executed - this beer is a benchmark. A definite try.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed May 2011

A - Very dark brown, but not so dark that you can't see the brown through the upper edges. Small head quickly runs to ring. Some cling.

S - Cocoa and soy sauce permeate the nose.

T - Taste follows smell completely. Gobs, yes gobs, of soy and hersheys syrup. Toasty malt is an afterthought in finish.

M - Medium body, creamy texture, good carb, enjoyable balance.

D - Did not perceive much heat, so ABV well hidden. A nice beer.

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Photo of Ryan_Graham
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark black. Almost no head. Maybe a centimeter of light brown foam at the top. The smell is very welcoming. It smells a bit like wine-- there are certainly some fruity notes there. At first sip, I found the taste a bit overpowering. However, it eventually grew on me. This is a sit-down beer for sure. It's thick. Very malty. But surprisingly smooth for how much alcohol it has in it. The aftertaste is about as close to perfect as you can get. It hangs around for a good 20 seconds but doesn't leave you running to the sink to rinse out your mouth.

Overall, this is a real beer, I'll give you that. It's solid in almost all areas-- from first appearance to the final aftertaste. I don't know if the taste does enough for me to call this a world-class beer-- but it's certainly right on the border.

I would recommend giving this one a go.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 09-18-2012
Freshness: May 2011 vintage
Packaging: 275ml brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Pint glass
Purchased: Single from Colorado Liquor Mart, Denver

A: Pours with a big, rocky tan head on a black and opaque beer. Very good retention and lacing.

S: Coffee and espresso aromas, plus vanilla, dark roasted malts and a woodsy character. Also get some booze in the nose.

T: Bold dark roast flavors, plus coffee, licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Quite the strong brew here, with a good amount of alcohol warmth.

M: Body is thick, full and chewy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Finish is of chocolate and coffee-like bitterness.

O: This beer is delightful and packs a punch. The bottle is only 9.3 US ounces, but this is more than enough for a taste on this strong ale!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage May 2011.

A real big head is produced on the pour but in control. Light tan, with a creamy top, and a sort of soapy middle, but with huge staying power. Body is classic walnut dark brown, and you can not see through this thing at all.

Nose is very fruity, I'll take a sense of pear on this, but a good dose of fleshy apple as well. Hints of roast and dark cloves. Quite a unique smelling Imperial Stout, I am liking this angle.

The palate hits with classic porter roast, but it's larger and fills with lots charring carbon on the finish, with bitter milk chocolate. Feel has an interesting malt angle, with lots of thickness but flows through your palate without sticking. Fruit hits in the middle with dark berries sensing, and a warm sense of cherries and chocolate.

Overall a real impessive brew, and real enjoyable. Probably not as big or as bold as some people might like, but stands up with the rest easily, and can knock down plenty of others too.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Great Lakes snifter.

This one pours like a delightful imperial stout. A little lightish on the pour, but as it collects in the glass, it takes on the black opaque appearance that I know and love. Velvety, creamy looking head of the dark brown persuasion, excellent retention and heavy lacing. The smell of this thing is deep and dark with a healthy dose of hop bite. Plenty of baker's chocolate and dark fruit along with a hint of molasses. The herbal bite at the end is swift and strong. The taste is similar to the smell. Very robust in the malt department with bitter chocolate and some dark fruit sweetness. The hops are tame but definitely make an appearance to smooth out the intense malts. The mouthfeel is creamy and heavy with low carbonation. Overall, this is a damned good imperial stout. A bit on the spendy side @ $7 for a 10oz bottle, but I'm glad I gave it a go.

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Photo of rastaman
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gravity cask GBBF 2003- present vintage, this is definitely worth the bloody price. So rich and chocolatey, rich, yet smooth, very long finish. Really good stuff. wasn't as vinous, and salty as the 1985 bottle i had gad a week or so earlier. Less porty aged characters aswell. probably one of my favourite beers of the GBBF in 2003, extra special that it was on cask aswell, very exciting.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A little 275ml served in a snifter
2012 vintage

A - Pours the darkest of browns with a thin mocha head morphing into a thin wispy ceiling of micro bubbles.

S - Yeasty dark breads, pumpernickel, raisins, fig jam,

T - Roasted creamy malts, toasted cocoa, firm woody bitterness, brown raisin bread, roasted figs, smoked malts, molasses, cold espresso, finishes with a nirvana mix of fruit bread, caramelized brown sugar, bitter hops, espresso, anise, doughy brown bread.

M - Low carbonation, dense creamy feel, medium weighted body.

Very complex and delicious. The roast takes a backseat and lets the raw heavy malt play out with the yeast. Very raw, bold flavors delicately interweaved together. Wish it came in a bigger bottle.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 275 ml brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, thin tan head that dissipates to an even thinner sparse cap.

Rich espresso and molasses on the nose, some woody licorice, dried figs, and faint dry cocoa as well.

Burnt dark malt up front in the flavour, some cocoa and coffee follows, finishing up with dry cocoa and spicy, herbal hops melded with some alcohol heat.

Full-bodied mouthfeel on the lighter end, texture is slick yet residual sugars get sticky on the palate, with low carbonation.

Pretty solid offering for the style, pretty much hits all the right notes. While the hop content is certainly present it still doesn't prevent this RIS from being a bit cloying at first, however it still manages to take the palate on a bit of a ride through some different terrain when all is said and done. Based on that I have to keep reminding myself this is an English rendition, which makes pretty much par for the course in that light.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was talked into this buy the guy at my local bottle shop, and was glad he did that. While expensive for this tiny brew, the size makes for a very easy sampling.

Bottled May 2011

There is some brown in the pour, this ends up being black with no light penetration. A huge mocha head leaves some light lacing, but stayed until the finish.

Smell is fruity, chocolate, roasted malt, and booze. Holds up to the label description, but I am missing some coffee.

Taste follows closely with malt, chocolate, bitter and sweet, a bit of fruitiness, and a hint of char on the finish.

While the beer is not quite thick, it's definitely not thin. It is however smooth as can be and I definitely liked the beer.

What a treat, I might go get some more for aging and comparison. The price tag is hefty at 8 bucks for a 9oz beer, but I have paid worse ratios, so I can't complain. Very solid and nicely complex. It seems light from the fruitiness, but all other parts make this a great stout, perhaps some coffee, and a bit heavier feel would be the only improvements.

DOA

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Black like coffee with nearly six ounces of light brown head. The head is like a cloud as it floats atop the body. Great sticky lacing along the sides.

Burst of roasted malts followed by chocolate and dark fruits. Has a toffee like sweetness that lingers in the back of the nose, but still manages to finish quite bitter.

Dark, bitter chocolate flavor followed by roasted malt. The sweetness is secondary, but is flawlessly integrated with bitter notes. Finish hot and bitter with hints of plum and fig.

Medium-thick mouthfeel with strong, prickly carbonation. A bit unusual for a stout of this magnitude. This one's a sipper as it has plenty of heat and strength.

Courage is a superb RIS. I'm grateful that it is being brewed again. It was great to try a classic that I thought I would never have the chance to. Definitely worth picking two up. One for now and one for later.

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Photo of ADZA
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark kola hue which leaves a two finger head and heaps of clingy lacing,beautiful looking almost spot on.

S-Burnt toffee and raisins,rich sticky date pudding,caramel and candied figs.

T-It starts off like a liquid Xmas pudding with tastes of caramel cake and candied fruits mixed with chocolate and chestnuts and finished with a dark fruity hoppy bitterness that counteracts every sweetness first encountered.

M-Full bodied and a touch boozy which finishes bittersweet.

O-This is definately a brew that would age well and im glad ive got more than the one and look forward to seeing how it ages and if you find definately buy more than the one cheers.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger thick light tan head on a jet black body. thick lacing.

S: vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted malt, oak and raisin for dark fruit.

T: lots of dark chocolate throughout with right amount of chocolate sweetness and bitterness, middle of the road roasted malts, toffee, wood, vanilla and espresso.

M: medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: full flavored, excellent balance and nice dark chocolate flavors which I really enjoy in this style.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Extremely dark brown with obvious sediment. Wafer thin beige head and a nice wispiness throughout.

Aromas leading of molasses and figgy pudding. Later turning into prune juice and raisins almost like a mincemeat pie. Dark chocolate and burnt sugars.

Tastes of molasses and more dark chocolate covered raisins maybe chocolate covered blueberries with the tartness that is everso evident. Dark sugars, fruit and cocoa qualities.

Mouthfeel has sufficient carbonated coverage. Medium body and cocoa powder dryness. Some sugar stickiness.

First bottle of liquid of liquid Courage I've tried. Imperial made for the Tsars of olde. Very delicious and should not be passed on if you have the chance.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

275 ml bottle, 2012 vintage, bottle #053469. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like dark fruit, dark bread, molasses, chocolate, and some coffee. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some woodiness, toffee, and a bit of anise noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, and I'd like to try this again in the future.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

275ml bottle poured into tulip. 2012 vintage.

Pours a perfect black with a thin head of loose mocha bubbles that leaves a ring of distant raincloud lace as it recedes.

Smells of melted black chocolate, candied dark fruit, licorice root and fresh coffee grounds.

Tastes of dried cherries coated with black chocolate, dark bread dusted with brown sugar, campfire smoke and warming alcohol.

Feels big and silky. Full bodied with smooth carbonation. Finishes dry with baker's chocolate and dried fruit.

Verdict: Highly recommended. A nice big stout with lethal drinkability. I have a couple more of these, so I'll see how they handle some further aging.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a bottle into a tulip. "No. 063233 of 210000."

A: Jet black with caramel foam. I swirled the last third of the bottle to stir up some head but it fades fast.

S: Strong and sweet caramel and chocolate. Hint of alcohol.

T: A huge load of roast coffee and chocolate that quickly turns to a bitter finish. The bitterness of some hops and roasted grain blend well together creating a unique bittering sensation. After a few more sips, I'm noticing some spice notes, maybe nutmeg, it's hard to put my finger on this one.

M: A bit full to sit down and drink more than one of these. The coffee flavor lingers on the back of the tongue long after swallowing.

O: Great stout, it's a concentrated punch of flavor. Even with all that flavor it's not too robust to enjoy. The whopping 10% alcohol is covered nicely here. One of the better stouts out there. 10% is just a tad high for my taste, but I wouldn't have known otherwise. This beer gets good overall marks for its uniqueness and bold, full flavor.

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Photo of draheim
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

275mL bottle (19/09/24) a L1262 21:05) into a tulip. Pours a deep chocolate brown w/ a monstrous head that slowly settles to a dense pillow, leaving behind a tan web of lace.

Aroma is raisins, figs, molasses, chocolate. Rich and complex.

Taste is roasty, bitter, balanced. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, molasses. Everything works in harmony. 10% ABV completely hidden.

Mouthfeel is smooth and balanced. Surprisingly light on the palate with a dry finish.

Overall a solid imperial stout. I'm hard-pressed to find any flaws here. Just a tasty, rich, complex beer in a conveniently small-format bottle. What's not to like?

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A 1983 vintage I scored off ebay-'Not for consumption" my ass!!!Great sounds of carbonation when I opened it.Poured jet black with a very slight head that remains all the way down.Extremely vinuous aroma.Plenty of black currant and raisens going on.Theres a slight metallic odor-while not unpleasant its right there in front.Some great port like flavor-a slight sourness throughout.Very grape like.Very bright and lively mouthfeel.Even with the sourness its quite smooth.Overall a fantastic beer.Even after 21 years its still quite something to behold.If you can find a bottle treat youself.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/12 bottle #6255 2012 vintage from notes

A shes pretty dark alright both the liquid and the foam, the head lasts for few sips leaving a little soapy lace

S dark roasted espresso with some bakers chocolate and licorice, faint fruity notes but I'm not getting the pear the bottle suggests but I do get some of the smokey notes and just a little booze

T the flavors similar to the nose but the intensity of the dark roast is upped a fair bit, some char and more smoke with even stronger espresso and I get some faint creme brulee and even some earthy hops shine through, its pretty intense and I'm loving it

M feels solid, well not quite solid but its pretty thick liquid, a little slick with some faint heat and an aftertaste I'll be enjoying tomorrow at this rate, very nice

O this ones a hit, rich and dark with no real flaws anywhere, just a little booze here and there but that's to be expected in a fresh 10% RIS

for 5 bucks I'm going to throw a few away for aging, strange the bottle says it can be kept for up to 13 years, seems random and unlucky

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Courage Imperial Russian Stout from Wells & Young's Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.
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