Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 878 | Reviews: 439 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by superdedooperboy:
3.95/5 rDev +13.2%
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:
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 878 ratings.