Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 879 | Reviews: 439 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by eclipse54:
2.3/5 rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
I had this on-tap at The Front Door here in town. The list just said "Stone IRS," so I hastily, excitedly, and regrettably ordered a glass to start the evening.
I was sitting close enough to the taps to watch the pour, and it came out looking exceptional. My excitement rose as I eagerly anticipated my first taste of the 2011 batch of this (normally) phenomenal brew. It poured black with over an inch of brown head that left a plethora of sticky, wet lacing behind. The waitress brought it over, but before she could even set it on the table, I knew something was amiss...
My nostrils began to recoil in fear and, dare I say, they began to cry a little. "Oh-no" I thought to myself as the overpowering scent of licorice began to surround me, "could this be the Belgo-Anise." I smiled at the waitress and gratefully accepted the glass she had so promptly brought me. My mind began arguing with itself, debating over whether or not my memory of the previous vintage involved so much licorice. I nervously brought the glass to my nose and inhaled. Off-putting licorice was the first scent to jump out, though tiny amounts of chocolate and coffee followed. I gave a small, premature sigh of relief as I lowered the glass to my lips and braced for the first taste.
My taste buds were immediately overcome by the burning licorice sensation that ensued. My tongue darted around inside my cavernous mouth, as if seeking a dark corner where it could take refuge from the onslaught of anise that was occurring. No such relief existed until I swallowed the horrendous liquid, and even then a film of anise doom coated my mouth. "Dammit" I thought as I sat there disappointed in myself for not first inquiring about the identity of the listed "IRS." I decided to take another taste, for the sake of the experience, for a second shot at objectivity (which was pointless), for science, for courtesy, for whatever. Still, dominating licorice, that only grew more intense as the brew warmed. Faint caramel, chocolate, and coffee were barely noticeable beneath the anise; hell, they may have been entirely in my hopeful head, but the notes indicate their presence so I reproduce them here. This was not "my cup of tea" at all. In fact, my only consolation was the bottle of the normal IRS I knew* I had waiting in my fridge back home.
Mouthfeel is smooth, but very sweet, the anise seeming to lend an extraordinary amount of sugar along with it. A sticky and dry finish leaves one considering another sip, but not daring. It took a lot of will-power to choke this one down. I was happy to offer tastes to the rest of my table just so that there would be less for me to finish on my own. I did feel a little guilty for subjecting my companions to such a certain demise, but they had caught notice of my horrid expressions and were curious to see if it was "really that bad." The consensus returned that it was. Needless to say, I will be taking extra precautions to avoid this in the future.
*Flash forward two days, when I am ready to drink the normal IRS that was in my fridge. I pull it out to begin letting it warm slightly, but I do, my eyes catch something that just doesn't seem right... I glance down at the label and notice, in subtle blue lettering that is lost amongst the rest of the decor of the bottle, the words "Belgo-Anise." I shake with rage as it place it in the cellar next to the other 2011 bottles, which I subsequently double-checked to verify that they were indeed normal variants (they were, thankfully).
Serving type: on-tap
08-09-2011 01:08:28 | More by eclipse54
More User Reviews:
3.43/5 rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
22 oz 2011 bottle served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours near black and sits black and opaque in the glass. Small bubbly head sonn retreats but some lacing is provided.
Aroma: sweet, woodsy with a hint of vanilla.
Flavor: robust and rich with a very obvious contribution from the anise, a more moderate impact of the oak, and some funky-fruity aspects from the Belgian yeast. Probably less sweet than the anise makes it seem, but seems a little too sweet.
Feel: full body with soft, medium-low carbonation.
O: interesting but the special treatmnet is heavy handed, making a big step in the wrong direction from the excellent, better balanced, 'regular' Stome RIS which I last had less than 48 hours ago.
Serving type: bottle
02-26-2014 23:52:47 | More by chinchill
3.81/5 rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Poured a brownish, almost blackish body with decent head and lace patches. Hate to say it but the "jager" comparisons hold some validity as it has that overpowering licorice/anise type aroma and is dominant in the taste. That being said, I didn't find that to be the only aromatic or taste sensation and I wouldn't call this beer a disaster (just not a fave of mine). There are also touches of dark chocolate and some other sticky, almost syrupy sugary malt goodness in the aroma and taste. Smooth beer, lighter body for a stout, actually easy to drink and overall isn't bad but sometimes the sweetness, especially that "jager" aspect, become to much at times. Worth trying but not something I will try to find again (which won't be hard).
Serving type: on-tap
01-18-2014 16:12:56 | More by clayrock81
2.95/5 rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5
650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.
Appearance - Inky black with a khaki collar and a few islands of foam.
Smell - Black licorice. Sweet. Faint chocolate. Train wreck of a smell. I keep going back for more whiffs even though it's terrible.
Taste - Fruity. Anise is strong, amplifying the fruity flavors. Chocolate and bitter aftertaste. Not anywhere near as bad as the taste.
Mouthfeel - Lots of fruit without being overly sweet though. A lingering anise flavor. Not too boozy.
Overall - It's not awful, but the anise is a huge detractor. I expected something unpalatable from the reviews.
Serving type: bottle
12-02-2013 10:55:34 | More by Alieniloquium
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 879 ratings.