Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 901 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by superdedooperboy:
3.95/5 rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2011 "Odd Year" Release. 22-ounce brown glass bottle poured into a tulip glass. Served at cellar temperature, approximately 50 degrees F.
Pours deep, dark brown, nearly imperceptibly so, as it appears at first glance black as pitch. A large, fluffy head of cinnamon-tinged foam builds to a nearly explosive crescindo before slowly imploding and settling into a thick crown, leaving a beautiful latticework as it falls away. Clearly a product of its "Belgo" yeast roots.
It's difficult to discern much of anything other than the black licorice-like aroma of anise in the nose -- there seems to be a faint hint of espresso mixed in with the root-beery presence, but it's almost impossible to say that it isn't just an expectation rather than actual perception. Either way, I love the aroma of anise, so it isn't necessarily a bad thing (and, as the name not-so-subtly announces, the beer IS brewed with anise).
Luckily for those who always balked at the presence of a black jellybean in their fruity pile, licorice doesn't quite dominate the palate. The rather sweet malt base is almost milk-chocolatey, with some fruity, cherry-like notes nuzzling up beside before the anise jumps back in, creating a flavor not unlike root beer but with a creamier mouthfeel and roastier flavor. Hop character is almost non-existent except for the presence of a touch of pine and citrus along with a powerful dryness that leads into the finish; more anise and chocolate continue through the back and into the finish, with a lingering sensation of both that is rather enjoyable if not a tad bit cloying.
Though it's fermented with a Belgo (read: Belgian) yeast strain, the characteristics of the yeast are surprisingly absent; one would expect particular phenols and/or esters from most Belgian yeasts, but neither are omnipresent. Instead we seem to have a very well-rounded Russian Imperial Stout (or Imperial Russian Stout, depending on personal word order preference, as Stone demonstrates) with an obvious addition of anise. Though oak chips are mentioned on the bottle, they don't appear to play much of a role in flavor, any vanilin probably being masked by the anise.
Very drinkable, at least for the first half of the bottle before the 10.5% ABV kicks in; the somewhat light body (for the style) combined with a creamy mouthfeel help out immensely. A bit of a soy sauce-like character is noticeable at times but only rarely and hardly keeping the beer from being enjoyable. Not for licorice-haters yet not necessarily for licorice-lovers either, this is an interesting RIS to say the least, and a rather tasty and interesting beer to say the best. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in interesting beer; not so much for those with a hatred for licorice or root beer -- or Imperial Stout, for that matter.
Serving type: bottle
07-23-2011 06:24:13 | More by superdedooperboy
More User Reviews:
1.84/5 rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1
Consumed May 26th, 2014 from a cellared bottle. Kept in a dark refrigerator at about 50 degrees since purchase. Serving temp about 50 degrees F.
Appearance is about one brown shade short of being black. No highlights. Mocha-colored head about a finger tall forms then provides sticky sheeting throughout the rest of the glass.
Aroma is weird: herbal, peppery and slightly medicinal more than anything else. A slight cocoa note at the end of the whiff. Is this what anise devolves into in three years?
Flavor is strange and, for the most part, disagreeable. Up front is a slightly sour, slightly tart fruit note. Stout characters (chocolate, coffee, roasted malts) are almost completely absent. Slightly powdery, yeasty floral note on the finish. Aftertaste of old, sour coffee. Wretched. As others have said, it is like putting a shot of Jägermeister in your beer.
Mouthfeel is slightly thick and there is some alcohol heat, but it took some effort to stop wincing and focus on this instead of the flavor.
I recall not liking this beer fresh and age has done nothing to change that. I'm not surprised they didn't re-brew this one. What surprises me is that it was released at all.
I poured out the remainder of the bottle after about five or six sips. Revolting.
Serving type: bottle
05-26-2014 19:47:49 | More by charlzm
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 901 ratings.