Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

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928 Ratings
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Ratings: 928
Reviews: 442
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 21.71%
Wants: 18
Gots: 161 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: EgadBananas on 05-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 928 | Reviews: 442
Reviews by rangel2:
Photo of rangel2
3.34/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black, creamy tan 3/4ths finger head that fizzles away within the minute. Weak lacing in the 12 oz. chalice I'm using. Pretty good in the Saison Dupont ~12 oz. glass my friend is using.

Aroma is immediately of licorice, bitter chocolates.

First sip is immediately sweet. Not cloying but the sweet never goes completely away. With the second sip comes more coffee notes, carbonation is nice, some toffee. Oak far more present the longer you swig. Faint estery finish, is that delightful pear? Hmm. Roasted barley shines.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Thick, but dissipates nicely with that expected lingering bitterness; licorice is pretty much gone.

Overall, not bad. Not a huge licorice guy, but it's manageable here. Try it once. For the price it's a good deal.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.25

Pours a jet black color with a very small amount of sediment that can be seen floating near the edges of the glass. Thick, deep, tan-leather head that retains extremely well. The nose is full of roasted malts and a bit of anise. The taste is full of anise. Black licorice, along with a bit of figs and raisins, but mostly licorice (anise) and it finishes VERY sweet. It's almost hard to believe it's a RIS, because the sweetness covers up most of the bitterness at all. It's actually a bit too sweet and the anise really overpowers the other flavors. The body is nice, very thick and creamy with a bit of carbonation.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to call this a bad beer, but it's certainly not for me, and not really what I'm looking for in a RIS. The anise is a little too overpowering and licorice-heavy for me, leaving a sweetness that is acceptable at first, but starts to get to you halfway through.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.17/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass this beer was black in color with a small orange/tan head that dissipated quickly.

Coffee/roasted malt aroma. Definitely anise. Some dark fruit. And alcohol, don't forget that.

Lots going on in the taste. Coffee and a bit of chocolate. Raisins. Anise, which really lingered. Boozy.

A heavy hitter. Boozy, but in a good way. The alcohol added to, rather than subtracted from,the taste.

Photo of marvin213
2.58/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pitch black w/ tan head, it's perfect for a rendevous. That bubbling tan fizz, however, disappears with a quickness. As previously noted, anise is extremely heavy on the nose and it does aptly drown out oak notes and Belgian yeast wafts with a similar quickness. 'Tis perhaps the first Belgian beer I've quaffed without it smelling so.

The taste is liquid licorice, or I'd go so far as to say smoked liquid licorice. How can there be double-digit ABV produced by otherwise absent Belgian yeast. Here, it's not necessarily dubbed a 'Belgian' beer. The bottle, nevertheless, leads me the consumer to believe it is. As a Belgian, it's a fail. As an RIS, it's still a miss.

The smoky black Twizzler thing offers some appeal to the feel, and a S'mores-like campfireness accompanies the sipping, but overall, this is indeed an odd-year one-off not worth revisiting.

Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours an opaque inky black with a small light tan head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is oatmeal, chocolate, roasted slightly ashy malt, and a little spice. It's more subdued than expected.

The flavor is roasted chocolate with some black licorice and a bitter tarry finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly watery.

Overall, I don't care for this as much as the regular version. It seems more subdued. I don't get much Belgian yeast other than a slight twang in the finish. The anise seems about the same as the regular.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.86/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an allagash tulip and a red wine glass from me and the wife respectively..

The Head takes up about half of the glass and even after many sips remains. The lace is sticky and a tan/white with many fine bubbles.

The smell is nice subtle fresh cocoa and black liquorish. The Hints of coffee are in the back and subdued.

The taste starts dry with a good numbing carbonation. The dry taste of oak and coffee come in as the carbonation dissipates. The anise leaves a dry almost raisin taste. The alcohol numbs and then leaves a dry roasted aftertaste.

Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone bomber, 2011 "odd year" offering. Typical IRS presentation, thick mocha head stays for a good long while. Tiny bubble sheen, scattered lacing.

Complex nose, chocolate, smokey burnt malts, licorish, dark fruits.

Flavorful, complex, well crafted, alot going on here. Follows the theme started by the nose, more smoke, chocolate, licorish, figs, a late minty note, dry and clean in the finish. Delicious stout, Belgian twist adds to the complexity and interest. Smooth and tasty on the tongue. Go get some of this interesting brew, would love to try it with a charred steak or with a fruity chocolate dessert....c'mon people..the numbers for the reviews of this one are way out of whack

Photo of Mora2000
3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is straight black licorice with a little bit of roasted malt and chocolate mixed in. The flavor is even more one dimensional than the aroma. Other than the black licorice, I don't get anything, which is very disappointing. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The anise/licorice really took over this beer, resulting in a beer I did not care for.

Photo of 1Adam12
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a bottle of this tonight with a friend that is moving away. Poured jet black, maybe an inch head on it. Smelled like licorice. Also tasted like licorice, some malt. More licorice than anything I've ever had. Mouthfeel was creamy and full. I think this needs some time to sit. The licorice is too overpowering right now and I'm hoping that with time it will fade some and have more flavors in it. Good brew, but IMO it needs a lot of time to age.

Photo of bsp77
3.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Near black with initial thick brown head, leaving some light lacing behind.

Smell: Smells like licorice. Or rather it smells like Anise, or maybe that's starfruit. One-dimensional, but interesting.

Taste: Some semblance of a standard RIS at first (chocolate, molasses, coffee) but very mild with light anise. Then the anise really builds until it is a licorice overload, which is about all I am left with after each sip. Don't taste any Belgian notes.

Feel: Not as smooth or creamy as the standard Stone IRS (but it is still smooth), and seems more boozy. Strange finish.

Overall: Way too much licorice. Good thing I like licorice, but this is overkill and one-dimensional. Still, interesting and somewhat tasty.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 "odd year" release

22oz bottles split with a few friends poured into a snifter.

pours out opaque motor oil black with a big creamy mocha colored head, good retention with some great lace at first.

wow, big aroma. lots of anise, raisons, dark fruits, and a smokey beef jerky mostly. some charred wood.

again, lots of anise, think black licorice, a smokey beef jerky, raisony dark fruits, at the forefront. complex. hints of chocolate, charred wood. all the flavors mingle for a great taste.

big, chewy body, mouthfeel is a little dry cocoa flavor, some bitterness sticks around.

overall, i loved this beer. beef jerky and anise, whats not too love. doesnt taste anything like a regular stone irs, much dryer mouthfeel as well.

Photo of ehammond1
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Nearly black throughout, though the edges appear to be a touch of ruby and dark brown. Thin khaki colored head and plenty of lacing. Looks a touch thin and lifeless.

As a fan of black licorice, and knowing this beer was brewed with plenty of anise, this beer is fine by me! As the beer warms, the strong aroma of anise (black licorice) becomes more and more powerful, though there's plenty of roasted malts, and a touch of chocolate as well. The Belgian yeast strain isn't too dominant or overpowering, though it does add a touch of twang.

More black licorice in the flavor and roasted malt. Even though I am a fan of black licorice, its flavor is particularly big here and covers up what I know very well to be a world-class stout. I'm a fan, but a little less anise would probably have been a better move.

The most disappointing aspect of this beer is the mouthfeel. It seemed significantly thinner than the standard IRS and also a bit metallic.

This is a black licorice stout, and knowing that, this beer really succeeds. Not everyone is going to like it, but as a fan of said flavor, I didn't mind it one bit--and am looking forward to having another.

Photo of MattyG85
4.38/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a snifter glass. 2011 bottle.

Appearance: Oily pitch black with no signs of color. Has a small two finger deep tan head that quickly fades into a small patch. Lacing is fairly light.

Smell: Aroma is strong up front with black licorice anise and mint. Also some dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee. Some light hints of dark fruit, yeast, and alcohol. Anise smell really stands out.

Taste: Anise is strong but blends in pretty well with the dark chocolate, coffee, and dark malts. Mint flavor is pretty strong. Belgian yeast is also stronger than the smell leads on. Light hints of dark fruit, vanilla, and oak. Overall a pretty spicy stout but fairly well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and chewy. Moderate level of carbonation. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

Overall: Far from a typical RIS but pretty good. The anise and mint are strong but not completely overwhelming. I happen to like black licorice so that probably is a factor.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.04/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To start off, I'll admit I had to look up Anise. It just didn't compute in my vocab. Once I noticed things I recognize (ouzo, Jägermeister), I realized what I'm working with: something I really really REALLY DO NOT LIKE. LIQUORICE!!!

I say that to say this: I wasn't expecting that smell. The apperance was ok, the head should be better for an RIS. Big and froathy this was not.

Then I put my nose to the rim of the Duvel tulip . . . OH No. Not that. I hate liquorice. That being said and to be fair to the rating process, I give it a 4 because I have a bad nose, and if I can get anything off a brew then it must be killer strong.

The taste, luckily, isn't as strong with the Anise. But, just being there totally distracts my ADD taste buds to the point I just can't get over it. This is going to be the first Stone that is going to be difficult to finish.

What am I going to do with the bottle I put in the Cellar? I'm thinking it's going to be there for a Long, Long time.

Photo of mondegreen
2.99/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz Bomber into a Stone IRS tulip.

Pours jet black with a two finger khaki head. Nice looking, healthy IRS heritage here.

Nose is... alarming. Is that spicy licorice? WTF? A distinctive roasted sweetness and hot alcohol notes keep this thing from falling off the map right away. Smells decent, but things just seem out of place.

Tastes like someone dropped a licorice potpourri in my Stone IRS. I cannot believe Stone was going to make this the only release if IRS this year. Thank God they changed thier minds. Anyways, this thing is way way way overspiced. They could have cut the spices by half and still been overpowering.

Mouth is great for a Belgo Stout. These things are usually water thin, but this one has a nice character.

Overall, this I an experiment gone awry. I'm getting no oak, which COULD have helped balance this thing out a little. I'm not sure who Stone's target audience is with this spice bomb. Bored housewives? Santa's elves? Whatever. I'm sticking with regular IRS for the rest of the year.

Photo of chinchill
3.44/5  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.

Photo of daveytheformer
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from notes.

Pours a thick brownish black with a fluffy mocha tan head that fades to some lacing.

Aroma is of chocolate, coffee and whole lot of anise. A whole lot

Tastes right off the bat are tons of anise and coffee. That's followed up by dry roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a little caramel. Then more anise.

Mouthfeel is medium with pretty light carbonation.

Overall this beer is good. I do like this but I don't love it. I'm not really sure if I'll get more of these to cellar or not.

Photo of Fulkrum78
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours dark as night with a dark brown head that is only there for an instant before it fades to lacing around the glass. I'm catching the anise right off the bat on the nose for this one - definitely a licorice component there. The flavor is... interesting. Licorice predominates, but the malt backbone is definitely there. A little coffee, and I can somewhat see the cocoa others mention. Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. It's an interesting take on the original for sure, though I think this is one I will remember vs. revisit.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black inky body with a thick creamy and bubbly tan head that last a long bit. There are sticky sheets of foam that hold to the glass after each sip leaving register marks. The beer is a bit to dense to see any carbonation.

S- The woody root beer and anise aroma is full and doesn't allow for any roasted malt character to come through. It is not really offensive just 1-dimentional

T- The inky black roasted malt has a dubble bubble bubble gum hint and a dark nougat note underneath. There is a mellow but full anise flavor that fades into a inky bitter bite that lingers after each sip. As the beer opens there is more of a root beer quality to the anise flavor.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a touch of fizz in the finish and the alcohol is well hided with only a soft warmth coming through as the beer warms.

O- The anise flavor dominates and the clash is similar to brushing your teeth and drinking a Russian Imperial Stout. I get very little roasted malt flavor and don't notice any of the yeast character or barrel character coming through at all.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at The Attic for the Stone event and just found my notes.

This one comes from tap to snifter a very dark brown color with a light brown cap of head. Retention is good and lacing drops some spidery legs in plenty.
The licorice I expect from the anise is there along with the additional almost coriander seed-like note. The Belgian yeast is evident but doesn't take away from the stout character. This is, of course, well-hopped, offering some citrus, herbal and flowery notes under a big malt. This is a good aroma, but something's missing that6 would push it beyond that. I had Weyerbacher's tiny a few weeks before this, and it just had more depth to it.
I can say tyhe same for the taste. The big malts base is there, roasty, chocolatey and coffee notes laying a backbone complemented by herbal, floral and citrus hops gently in the back. The anise doesn't mingle perfectly with the contrasting flavors, but refrains from being off-putting. Belgian yeast huddles underneath and whispers here and there. Flavors are big and may cover it up a bit.
The mouthfeel is a big and full as an RIS should be. Smoothness comes out from middle to finish and this beer goes down nicely despite the high ABV.
This seems like a good standard for an interesting beer. Having had Tiny, I'd say that beer would be the exceptional one in what will -probably be a series of attempts from many brewers, and this one will remain a solid, good example of the style. 4s across the board.

Photo of rdilauro
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark black coffee chocolate color. I was excited to try this one since I've recently tasted Stone's Imperial Stout which I raved about.

The bouquet of this brew was not as brilliant as I was hoping or expecting. I did not sense the chocolate or coffee in terms of the stout

Right away I noticed more carbonation in this stout. I did start to pick up some coffee/expresso tones. I also noticed a little burnt caramel as well as a hint of vanilla.

I did not detect any oak and tasting so many wines over the years, oak is something I generally pick out pretty easily.

But I did enjoy this, not the best, but still a very good stout

Photo of mentaltraveller
2.91/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. black bomber. Pours black, with a nice fluffy head. Retains sticky lacing. Faint taste of chocolate, but the anise overpowers everything, including the alcohol. The lack of balance makes this beer unpleasant and disappointing, as I enjoy the regular Stone RIS. I would drink it again, but not buy it again.

Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A small snifter at the Front Door in Boise, ID.

This beer appears a very, very dark brown colour, nearing black, with a half finger of arrested foamy beige head, which leaves some thin webbed lace upon its retreat. It smells of sweet chocolate malt, earthy licorice, mild booze, and somewhat bitter leafy hops. The taste is heavy caramel malt, baker's chocolate, Sambuca, a bit of burnt fruit, and fairly strong, bitter earthy hops. The carbonation is sedate, the body heavyweight, almost full, with a thick smoothness. It finishes still all over the place, the leafy hops, chocolate, licorice, and astringent booze fighting amongst themselves.

I like big left-coast hops, and I like anise flavours - however, I never thought to blend them, and this makes it abundantly clear why. A challenging beverage, this one, replete with flavour, but maybe just not yours.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a deep black color, very dark with no color tinges at all. A very small tan head formed on top with a little bit of retention, but eventually there was nothing on top. Left behind wisps of thin lacing.

S: A surprising amount of cocoa on the nose with some roast and a little bit of licorice. There is a touch of molasses and a hint of dark fruit.

T: Again, quite chocolaty - surprisingly so. There is some coffee and more licorice and the anise comes through a little bit. Slight hop presence on the back end. Really, much better than expected.

M: Full bodied with medium carbonation. It is rather oily and slick with a dry finish.

O: Compared to what I had heard about this beer, I liked it a good bit. For being rather fresh, the usual harshness was gone and was replaced with lots of chocolate. Prefer the regular RIS to this for sure, but not bad at all.

Photo of MrVonzipper
2.71/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Pitch black with a bubbly khaki head. Seemingly less head and retention than the IRS. Low retention and light lacing. Oily and viscous.

Black licorice and and dark rootbeer just dominate the nose. Oak and chocolate are hiding in there trying to show themselves as well.

At first I thought the anise flavor has started to mellow a little bit after trying it when it was released til now. After I kept drinking I realized it's not the case. The anise just really masks all the amazing flavors of the IRS.

Full bodied creamy and viscous mouth with medium creamy carbonation.

Overall this beer is just such a disappointment from a brewery I love. It was just such a bad idea and so heavy handed on the anise. This ended up being a drain pour for me because it was almost like drinking straight Jaeger and was starting to make me feel sick. It sucks that they wasted all these ingredients and didn't just make more IRS which in my opinion is just a perfect Russian Imperial.

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 928 ratings.