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Beer #94 - Courage / Russian Imperial Stout

Beer #94 - W/C 12 December 2016

BREWERY // Courage Brewery was founded by a Scottish shipping agent of French Huguenot descent, John Courage, in 1787. The brewhouse was located in London's Bermondsey, an area which in recent times has once more become a centre of brewing innovation with the different breweries along the 'Bermondsey Beer Mile'. But that was in the past. The company has merged and been bought and sold over the past 230 years and now exists as a brand only. A brand that was purchased in 2007 by Wells & Young's who have re-instated several of the historic Courage beers in their Bedfordshire brewery.

TASTING NOTES // The first stouts were brewed in London around 1720 and quickly became popular across the globe. The stronger versions were especially popular for export with Empress Catherine the Great of Russia regularly ordering large quantities for herself and her court. Seeing a smart brand alliance, the beer was named Russian Imperial Stout. A little like an 18th century version of Invivo Wines allying themselves with Graham Norton. Courage stopped brewing Russian Imperial Stout in 1993 and it took until 2011 for Wells & Young's to revive the beer. Master brewer Jim Robertson was one of the last people to brew this beer last century and he rekindled the original recipe when the beer was revived. “Crafting the beer is a meticulous process which had to be adapted to work in a modern, automated brewery” said Jim. “Its unique flavour is created with a large amount of raw ingredients, double the amount you would find in a regular beer and we also mature each brew for at least five months in accordance with the original recipe. It is this intricate brewing process that means we can only produce a limited number each year". The flavours of the beer will continue to develop over many years and the bottle you hold in your have has been aging for 3 years.


This is a very big beer with a huge aroma of roast espresso, figs, rum and smoke. As you might expect, there is a lot of body and flavours similar to the aroma with more cocoa, liquorice, anise and spicy hop bitterness. At 10% this is a beer to be savoured. 

BREWERY // Courage by Charles Wells
BEER // Russian Imperial Stout
ORIGIN // Bedford, England
ABV // 10%
TEMPERATURE // Room temp - 14-16C
FOOD MATCH // Stilton, Figs & Crackers. Vindaloo Curry. Tiramisu. Dark Chocolate
GLASS // Snifter, Tulip, Wine Glass

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