Brewed by Charles Wells
Style: Imperial Stout
Bedford, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 526   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.85/5   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
As Originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Enjoy now or allow to mature in the cellar.
Brewed to perfection only once a year, Courage Imperial Russian Stout enjoys a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh smokey, fruity finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DYCSoccer17 (3603) - Woodland, California, USA - MAR 6, 2013
Smallish bottle purchased at The Davis Beer Shoppe. Best by 8/25/16. Number 040821. 2012 Vintage. The aroma on this starts with a charred, burnt character with some unsweetened cocoa powder as well. There is also a vinousness here. Not much in the way of sweetness. Light metal. Perfectly opaque black body with a medium, strong, tan head that leaves great lacing. Beautiful. Starts with a dry, woodiness, before this becomes a little roasted and slightly burnt in the middle. Malts are nicely-attenuated. Finish has some leathery flavors. With a little ethanol late. Finishes quite dry. This is a really nice example of the style. Not your typical sweet sugary mess that you get from most American brewers.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Cantabrian (974) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - MAR 2, 2013
I had been grooming my Aussie-imported 2011 bottle for almost a year when I found that the supermarket down the road was already selling the 2012 batch. But before drinking this beer, one should hold full awareness that this product sustains the most plausible claim to be the original recipe for the Russian Imperial Stout or, as they name themselves, Imperial Russian Stout. Being the “original” per se does not entitle it to superiority (see Kaikoura crayfish), as many copies are often better than their inspirations, but it loads the drink with a respectable historical value. Particularly for this Courage stout, it does not disappoint at all. If we accept that it indeed came before all other imperial stouts, perhaps also inaugurating the term “imperial”, mundanely used for other styles, it does an imperially good job. The aroma of dark chocolate, so strong in the bottle, and then mingled with oaken bourbon barrels in the glass must have driven the great empress of the north to literally melt in winter. Black and slick, it pours with a nice cream-coloured head, with interesting carbonation and not much lace. Pretty brute, as it must have been. And brute is the flavour as well, with the high alcohol not completely hidden by chocolates, dates, grapes, roasted malts and some bitterness. Brute and enchanting. A full-bodied, broad palate where the alcohol spreads around the mouth lined with a velvet touch and an iron tingling of a horse-drawn sleigh. It may not be perfect as its Yorkshire cousin from Tadcaster, but this is royalty that deserves the due reverence and respect. I’ll have it again and proudly toast to Her Majesty. За дружбу между народам&

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jacobwennbom (357) - Uppsala, SWEDEN - MAR 2, 2013
Quite dark but not absolute black. Nose is roasted malt, coffee and fruity notes I can’t place (grapes?). Taste is bitter and roasty. There is coffee and fruit (pears?). Good.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Darkover (1534) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - FEB 27, 2013
Very dark brown with a big brown head. Aroma of dark fruits and chocolate. Flavor of dark chocolate and roasted malts, medium sweetness, medium bitterness, full body, thick feel. Really good!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Jimthechap (2064) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - FEB 24, 2013
It is a truth universally known that Jimthechap loves an Imperial Russian Stout. I am an adherent, enjoying the fulsome healthy body, rich dark chocolates and the anti-freezing alcohol content, It is not the alcohol content that draws me to this example. The land of origin and the pedigree of the brewer bring me to this beer, and what it says is: Almost impenetrable black in colour with a good carpet of dark cream coloured head. Aromas of treacle tart, dates, dark chocolate, cinnamon, mace, plums, carob, port, oak and rich old whisky. I am worried that I may be recycling terms of previous well-loved stouts, but I think this provides an insight that this is a beer well worth savouring. The mouthfeel is filling, voluminous and then pillowy like sucking a marshmallow. Just sexy and oily. As you sit and appreciate this, you have to put to one side the flavours as you type: chocolate, cocoa, burnt caramel and Yorkshire parkin. There’s more too it than this, such as the on-going chocolate mousse on the tongue. It is a stunning beer and is catapulted immediately into the pantheon of my favourites. Just gorgeous.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
fiulijn (18390) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 21, 2013
Vintage 2012, 10%
bottle 154035/210000, bb 16/08/25 L2229 12:04

Black color, with generous brownish compact head. The aroma is modern, the resiny hops seem to prevail over the light roastiness; also light biscuit touch. Good mouthfeel, not too thick, rather dry, with high carbonation; very good flavor of roasted malt, dark chocolate, some cookies, coffee, spices; very strong bitterness, with a resiny long final; moderate alcohol perception; overall it also has a very light fruity vein.
I didn’t expect so much, but they really did a good work!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
VictorStr (1740) - Helsingborg, SWEDEN - FEB 18, 2013
Svart eller väldigt väldigt mörkt brun. Brunt skum. Söt och fruktig smak. Rostade bönor? Dislike i början, helt OK i slutet.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
fidelis83 (2270) - Clinton, Iowa, USA - FEB 18, 2013
Pours black with a 1 finger, creamy tan head. Interesting aroma, oily roast, dark chocolate and coffee seem normal to the style, but there are big notes of berries and tree fruit that seem odd, but not necessarily out of place, some dark fruit, roasted nuts, lots of herbal hops and dried cattails. Flavor has lots of oily roast up front, overdone croissant, dark caramel, roasted nuts, sweet tree fruit, earthy, tobacco, campfire smoke, bittersweet chocolate chips, molasses and hints of licorice and warm pie spices. More dark fruit and spice come out as it warms. Heavy body with a creamy entry, oily middle, dry, somewhat astringent finish and light, sharp carbonation. Nice, no-razzamatazz Impy stout. It’s awesome, and very complex, without needing adjuncts or special aging vessels to achieve it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Archibaldo de la Cruz (1121) - FINLAND - FEB 15, 2013
Bottle. Very dark brown color, medium sized tan head. Roasted malt in the aroma with notes of coffee, dark fruit and some chocolate. Sweet, roasted malt, coffee, dark fruits, some alcohol and decent bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body. Roasted and dry finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
mjs (6114) - Helsinki, FINLAND - FEB 15, 2013
(Bottle, 0.33 l - #156565, 2012 Vintage - BBE 16/08/25, from Systembolaget, 20130215) The beer poured black. Its head was medium sized and lightly brown. Aroma had liquorice, roasted malts, dark chocolate and saltiness. Palate was full bodied with medium carbonation. Flavours were roasted malts, liquorice, sweetness, dark chocolate, cocoa and bitterness. Aftertaste was rosty, ashy and bitter. A bit too sweet and aftertaste was too harh. Aging would quite likely soften both. Othrwise nicely balanced and alcohol was quite well hidden.

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