RateBeer
overall
84
25
style
Brewed by Harveys
Style: Imperial Stout
Lewes, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
unknown

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 905   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.37   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Usually only available bottle conditioned as Imperial Extra Double Stout. Has occasionally appeared on cask as Harveys Imperial Russian Stout.
Also known as A le Coq Imperial Stout - bottle only.
Ingredients: Pale, Amber, Brown and Black malts; high levels of Fuggles and Goldings hops
"Regarded as one of the World’s most unusual and prestigious beers. The recipe contains a dense concentration of varied malts and hops to produce a bottle conditioned stout. This brew will improve over six months to one year to develop its complexity. This beer has an intense flavour which is complex and distinctive. The roast, alcoholic and spicy notes combine in this unusually sweet & sour beer."


ThisWangsChung's rating

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ThisWangsChung (747) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - JUN 30, 2013
9.3 oz bottle into a snifter, 2009 vintage. Bottle says 9% A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a one finger tan shade that fades away gracefully. A creamy ring of lace remains on the glass before that fades, as well. S: Man, my fellow reviewers weren’t kidding when they said this had a sour edge. The aforementioned tartness has a wonderful cherry tone to it, as well. When given a chance to open up, it develops stronger notes of chocolate, molasses, soy, and smoke. In a nutshell, the aroma is basically chocolate-coated tart cherries. Epic. T: The first sip bowls me over in terms of layered complexity. It’s also roastier than the aroma suggested. Because I had every expectation of this being sour, its opening presence doesn’t bother me. Flavors become roasty near the middle, and smoky on the back end. A distant aftertaste of earthy notes become prevalent, as well. It’s far more complex than I described, though - the more I sip, the more distinct flavors I pick up (dark fruits, licorice, caramel, tobacco, peat, and leather). The only real flaws I can find is that the depth of flavor isn’t perfectly cohesive, and the finish develops a bit too much char flavor at times. Otherwise, this is some stunningly contemplative stuff. M: It’s creamy, but at the same time, airy and VERY dry. The feel gradually becomes ’wetter’ as more is sipped, giving it the proper decadence it deserves. As a nitpick, it could stand to be a bit beefier in its body - especially since this isn’t something that I’d call ’easy to drink’. O: This ain’t for everyone. I like to think of this one as a rite of passage for most beer drinkers - many will hate it, but those that aren’t initially put off by its strange chocolate-meets-soy sauce-meets-char-meets-sour cherries approach to a RIS will be rewarded spectacularly. In a word, superb; how fitting something of this magnitude was my 500th review on BeerAdvocate.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Beergeek23322 (2493) - Chesapeake, Virginia, USA - NOV 16, 2014
9/4/2010. 2003 edition from bottle. Black with a tan head. Roasted malt, licorice, chocolate aromas with bitter hops. Long bitter finish with a bit of alcohol burn.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
dandeman (559) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 19, 2014
Achetée au Vermont en Mai 2014. Sweet stout with molasses, field berries and coffee flavors. Great complexity. Superb balance. De superbes aromes de boisé, de chêne, combinée à l’alcool aux accents de rhum (est-elle vieillie en fût? je ne sais pas) Présence également de fruits sauvages, de café, de pruneaux et de dattes. Un olfactif complexe et évolutif, à forte dominance d’alcool. Le visuel est noir, opaque, à mousse brune foncée, à grosses bulles et à texture crémeuse mélangée. Quelques traces survivent sur le verre. L’attaque est sucrée, avec de grosses notes de mélasse, accompagnées de fruits des champs. Puis l’alcool entre en action pour offrir une finale chaude et amère. Les notes de sucre sont de mélasse, de crème brulée, de mures et de dattes. La torréfaction est assurée par le café et l’amertume des houblons est mi- terreuse, mi- conifère. Grande complexité. Superbe équilibre.

1.8
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 6/20
slowrunner77 (6114) - Reno, Nevada, USA - OCT 14, 2014
"pours an oily black with no head to speak of. i don’t mind the big abv sippers, but this one is a miss. something’s wrong here. smells had some pleasing port like qualities that didn’t quite add up. smelled a little smoke and tart/sour notes in there as well, which kept me from rating the aroma higher. mouthfeel is nice at first...it’s the type of beer that little or no carbonation can work well for, but it blends right into a flavor that is...just...not ...nice. previous raters used words like tar, musty, paint thinner, soy...too harsh. the otherwise smooth body goes right out the window when you actually taste it. gross finish. i know this isn’t supposed to be an everyday brew, but it’s a bad sipper as well. one reviewer says this is a cigar beer...i agree, to the extent that someone may have used the bottle as an ashtray before the beer was added, giving it it’s "unique" taste. We had a 2003, so maybe it was past it’s prime, but it’s what was on the shelf last month!"

3.9
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
MichaelAwesome (4606) - Wanne-Eickel, North Rhine-Westphalia, GERMANY - AUG 25, 2014
Ein wuchtiges Bierchen, das wir uns auf der Cider Farm in Lewes geholt haben. Geröstete Malze, dazu ein harter Bumms an Kaffee und Schokolade. Stark und aromatisch mit viel, sehr viel Schokolade und ein klein wenig Säure zum Schluss. Feine Sache das.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
McTapps (4606) - Ruhrcity, North Rhine-Westphalia, GERMANY - AUG 25, 2014
Bottle from the Middle Farm Cider Center. Pours out in a deep black colour with long lasting smooth, beige head and smooth body. Aroma of dark chocolate and cappuccino. Taste of dark, bittersweet chocolate, cake, strong coffee, cream, torf and woods. Smooth and rich finish. Enjoyed it a lot. Very complex beer, perfect to enjoy slowly.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Alengrin (2464) - BELGIUM - JUL 17, 2014
Tasted as A. Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout, apparently in honour of a Belgian brewer called Le Coq, who exported imperial stout to Russia throught the Baltic region and whose company was later taken over by Harvey & Son, which restituted this brew in the nineties. One of those - unfortunately rare - beers that get a few years of ageing before being sold, in corked bottles. The specimen I tasted back in 2005 formed practically no head, only by strongly forcing it, a milky, dark beige edge of foam appeared. Ink black colour, wine-red hue nearly invisible. Powerful aroma of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, toasted bread, dried plums, cane sugar, ketchup, cork, candied figs and, above all, black coffee. The taste is incredibly intense with a mouthfeel as thick, syrupy and oily as I have rarely encountered since then; a very dense and robust maltiness, dark fruits, overall a profound, warm, toasted, mouth filling, spicy bitterness dominates and smoothly leads to a sticky, peppery, bone-dry and very long finish. Intense, thick, powerful, admittedly not very subtle, but all the more fascinating and a brew I will not easily forget, that is for sure. In terms of style, I think this beverage is best described as a missing link between an actual imperial stout and a Baltic porter, and this seems to be confirmed by its history.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
RussianDragon (517) - - MAY 27, 2014
11.2 oz bottle. 2003 vintage - my last of several bottles of this vintage that I’ve held onto until now. Pours an opaque deep rich black with rapidly fading brown head that leaves no lacing, only a small collection of brown bubbles on the surface. The beers is viscous, and leaves legs when swirled. Aroma is complex and overpowering: wood, the richness of soy sauce, oak, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, wet tobacco, and booze. Flavor is palate-wrecking: fig, raisin, plum, cedar, cigar char, soy sauce, butterscotch, vanilla, rum, lactic tang and roasted malt. Alcohol is well-hidden, full mouthfeel. Palate coating finish. A not-so-distant cousin to Sam AdamsTriple Bock; one of my favorites for many years. A pithc black beer with a chocolate brown head, though disappearing. The aroma is light though complex containing notes of wood, burnt caramel, prunes, raisins, and chocolate both sweet and bitter. The flavor is very complex too; at first it is very woody, in the middle: fruity, combined with hops, oil, soya, spices, licorice and chocolate. To end on a dry woody finish combined with notes of licorice and chocolate. The palate is great and all in all this beer is great!

4.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Bill Becker (410) - Casper, Wyoming, USA - APR 15, 2014
2008. Gorgeous black colour, good +1" head of foam, lacing is pretty spectacular. The smell is roasty, lots of chocolate, big notes of Brett, light aroma of tartness. Chocolate and tartness up front in the taste, licorice, Brett flavours, and roasted malt. It kind of sounds like a mess, eh?, but to my palate, it is hitting on all cylinders. Smooth and creamy full body with ample carbonation. Just a damn treat to drink. 9%abv, 9.3 oz bottle.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
hohops (369) - Kent, ENGLAND - APR 14, 2014
Bottle. Appearance is pitch black, with a finger’s worth of a mocha head. Aroma- sweet candy, liquorice, smoke hints, leather, tar, a bit of toffee and molasses. Taste- roasted malt hints, liquorice, sugary sweetness, some blackcurrant, a bit of fruitcake, some coffee in the finish. Coats the mouth but slightly cloys. An interesting stout.

1.7
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 5/20
ludhaber (62) - Massachusetts, USA - MAR 29, 2014
This is unique all right. But there are lots of unique things in this world that have taken things too far. This beer is barely drinkable. It is a real challenge. I could think of some interesting food pairings with it but as a drink on its own it’s awful. Coffee and hops bitters dominate and put this beer over the top. Even with aging I have a hard time imagining this as a good beer.


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