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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

443 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 443
Hads: 931
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 31.34%
Wants: 17
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 443 | Hads: 931
Photo of HopHead84
2.14/5  rDev -39%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2


On tap at URGE.

A: Black, very black, with a thick frothy light brown head.

S: Dark chocolate meets black licorice and anise. It isn't terrible but they have taken the base beer and made it much worse.

T: Ash and wretched black licorice with even more wretched and powerful anise presence. A little chocolate, but it can't possibly redeem this flavor. Harsh alcoholic anise finish.

M: Full body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is astringent and dry.

Overall: A bastardization of a good beer. Avoid.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.21/5  rDev -37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter. I hate the word "Belgo" but that's a personal thing. Let's see if the beer is better than the name.

3.5 A: Black color. Almost three fingers of frothy/creamy light brown head. Retention is good and moderate amounts of nonuniform lacing are left.

2.5 S: The anise is sure there. There's tons of it. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing in itself. Rather, this barely smells like a stout. It smells more like a generic strong ale. Light roast with very little of the aromas that are common in stouts (chocolate, coffee, etc...). The Belgian yeast also doesn't work in this. Instead of giving me the standard spiciness, it simply comes off as muddled. The oak smells good though.

2.0 T: The Belgian component is much more apparent in the taste. Peppery spiciness with a fruity zing. Anise is abundant again as is the oak. The stout, however, is lacking again. Light roast and not much else. Like the nose, this seems more like a Belgian take on Arrogant Bastard than the RIS. In any case, it doesn't work.

2.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Seems light on the tongue, but not in a normal spritzy Belgian way. Also lacking creaminess. Not a fan of this either.

2.0 D: Really disappointing beer. I've had a number of American "Belgo" stouts this year and this is by far the worst.

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Photo of WillCarrera
2.21/5  rDev -37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle, 2011 Odd-Year version, poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to ariotofwords for the bottle!

A- Pours pitch black with a finger of brown head that recedes to a collar, leaves spotty lacing.

S- Powerful aroma of black licorice, vanilla and roasted malt, the anise aroma tends to drown out everything else. The aroma is very concerning, I'm not expecting much from the flavor.

T- Anise, anise, anise. It tastes like Jager. There are some flavors of roasted grain, chocolate and coffee, but the anise flavor is cloying and completely overpowering, like having a mouthfull of anise seeds and sugar. This is awful.

M- Medium-bodied, considerably thinner than the rich, decadent feel of the normal Stone RIS, finish has a lingering, sticky flavor of anise and sugar.

O- I'm a big fan of Stone's philosophy of aggressive brews but I've always had trouble dealing with aggressively sweet beers, a category which this transcends, as it's also overly herbal. I made it through about two ounces of this before I gave up. The anise flavor is cloying, unbalanced, and pretty disgusting. Undrinkable. The word "trainwreck" comes to mind, as well as "hatred," "despicable," and "abomination."

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Photo of DirtyDangler
2.22/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Stone Imperial Russian Stout Belgo Anise or Belgo Anus as I like to call it is a very interesting attempt at a unique boutique beer. While the idea was perhaps a good idea on paper it has proven to be a rather interesting disappointing meld of a good idea with some half-baked innovation. While the IRS is an awesome beer, the Belgo Anus is reminiscent of cough syrup or Nyquil. If you have ever had the misfortune of being ill and subsequently taken a remedy such as cough syrup you will understand the flavor and aroma I am describing.
I am a big fan of stouts and appreciate the intricacies that compose their pronounced flavors. Stone makes a great Imperial Russian Stout as well as Smoked Porter. They clearly have a grasp of this style of beer yet, this batch seems to be a beer gone horribly wrong. Its a good thing they decided to not brew the entirety of the IRS batch with these ingredients and brewed some of the original.

A-Very dark as you would expect from a stout. Dark chocolate appearance with a rich dark head that dissipated quickly to a thin layer. Low carbonation.

S-My first reaction to aroma of the beer was an acrid scent that was reminiscent of cough syrup; very odd. I have never smelled a beer quite like this. side from the pronounced smell of anise, it also had faint aromas of chocolate and roasted malts but these were vastly overpowered by the poignant aromas presented by the anise.

T-To my surprise, the flavor of the beer is very mild in comparison to the smell of the beer. I prepared myself for an immensely overpowering flavor but was in fact taken off guard by the “relatively” mild flavor emitted by the anise. This is a relative statement as the anise still overpowers the other flavors almost to the point where you’re not sure if you’re still drinking IRS. Although the flavor is mild in comparison to the smell it still does not yield the most pleasant flavor. I was not sure what flavors my tongue was detecting but in my book when you're unsure of what you're tasting, its no bueno. I don't really know if I was able to detect the Belgian yeast or the aging of the oak chips. All I know is I was tasting anus. Excuse me, anise.

O-I won't call this beer a flop but I definitely won't call it a success. Perhaps a toned down version will prove to be good. 22oz is far too much bottle for this kind of beer. It was an innovative idea but it seems like the measurements may have been miscalculated somewhere on the way. I mean Stone made their claim to fame with Arrogant Bastard by messing up their measurements. Perhaps this is a victim of the same event but the outcome wasn’t quite as fantastic? Ok so I am either calling it Belgo Anus or Belgo Licoranus.

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Photo of Proteus93
2.24/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: The fairly typical looking imperial stout... jet black, brown head, retention is good. There's not a whole lot more going that makes it stand out from others.

S + T: As soon as I cracked the bottle and started the pour, the heavy anise aroma filled the air. Some of the chocolate scents that I would normally associate with the stout are there, but overwhelmed by the licorice-like smell wafting from the pour. The flavour is very much the same... hints of chocolate, and maybe even a little touch of dark fruit, but it's so buried by anise that it is not really worth mention. The alcohol comes out quite a bit as it warms, and doesn't help matters. It's very intense, enough so that it is coming across more like Ouzo or Sambuca than it is a stout, and that's unfortunate.

M + D: While the scent and flavour could be attributed to going a little too far with an ingredient, the mouthfeel is a different story. It's fairly thin, which goes on to add to the experience being more like an anise apertif. The hot finish of booze concludes the experience as a rather unpleasant one. The vanilla notes from oak aging and the delicate nuances of Belgian yeast seem wasted here. I am very fond of Stone products, their stout being no exception. However, this was a very unpleasant experience, and that really bums me out.

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Photo of surprenant1138
2.25/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep black with a quarter inch creamy tan hea with good retention of lacing. Aroma is of black licorice, and that is pretty much it. I hate black licorice. Taste is of black licorice. I hate black licorice. This tastes like a stout with black licorice in it. Maybe there is some oak there. I love Stone IRS, but I hate black licorice. This makes the first Stone beer I dislike.

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Photo of JLeege
2.29/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- Pours jet black, with a large, long lasting khaki head. Good lacing left behind.

Smell- Lots of black licorice, almost a bit tangy. Subtle chocolate, maybe a hint of Belgian yeast. Fairly one dimensional.

Taste- Dark chocolate up front. Leading into the strong anise notes, which comes across as a distinctive black licorice flavor. A little oak after that, with a lingering taste of licorice, rubber, and subtle chocolate on the palate. Some alcohol heat on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation, a bit lighter than expected. A bit “hot” as well.

Overall- There is nothing really too Belgian about this, just anise overload. It is ok if you like licorice, if you don’t, don’t even waste your time. I have a feeling my other 2 bottles will age for quite a while, as I am not really eager to have this again anytime soon. Hopefully it will get better.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.29/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance -- Pours an impossibly dark brown with a slim creamy tan head. Handsome.

Smell -- Anise, anise, burnt malt, more anise, earthy yeast, cocoa, and anise.

Taste -- Whoa, LOTS of anise! Some well-roasted malt and cocoa eek out, as well as what seems to be the Belgian yeast flavors, but anise is really drowning everything out. Bleh.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Could be fuller, but not bad.

Overall -- Not a fan. Instead of giving the phenolic Belgian yeast character a 'boost' with the anise, it drowned everything out. For all I know, this could well be regular IRS with heaps of anise. Not good for drinking, but I bet this would make some mean gingerbread.

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Photo of mikul93
2.32/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A Pours black with a nice healthy 2 finger head that dissipated quickly. Light lacing

S The anise is very dominant. Smell some hints of chocolate and light hops.

T Anise and lots of it. Not a very well balanced beer. Some hints of bitter chocolate and roasted coffee and I stress "hints".

M It's a smooth beer. It's definitely coats the tongue.

O I went into this with a very open mind after my buddy was praising it. It's just not for me. The anise is just way to much. Could not finish the beer.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
2.32/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

bomber into an oversized wine glass, split with the wifey.

Ap- used motor oil with minimal head

Ar- anise, black licorice, alcohol

T- exactly the same as the nose. Anise flavor is overwhelming in the aftertaste.

M- medium/heavy body, good carbo for this style.

O- Yuck, I won't be buying this one ever again. It's a smooth beer but that aftertaste is just too much for me. If you are a black licorice fan you may want to try this one though.

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Photo of crusian
2.33/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from central market...25% off, sweet!
Pours a tad darker than the regular irs... as noted by the darker head. Has a nice finger of head that dies quicker than the regular.
Smells like jager-ham... with mint. This does not smell good. As it warms the anise really becomes prevalent.
Taste is a bit better than the nose... but that jager ham really gets to me as I try to sip. There is a lot of anise on the palate... I hate anise, but it is balanced well with sweetness and roasted malt. This is definitely different, and does have a bit of jager ham aftertaste, which is not appealing at all. I am really interested to see where this goes in the cellar... I think this will change dramatically.

reviewed 7-2-11

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.34/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A-Pours obsidian black. No highlights, no light, nothing enters. The coffee colored head forms impressively but dies down quite quickly. There is not much lacing here. Pours a bit less sludgy than other big stouts.

S-The black licorice aroma from the anise is present to a near sickening amount. The anise is almost blocking some of those great roasty and chocolatey scents that make the original Stone IRS so awesome. There is some smoky aroma there as well. All in all, this one is perplexing. I don't love black licorice so I may not be very excited about the impending flavor.

T-The anise sets in quickly. I was expecting it to be more potent, but happily its less serious on the palate than in the nose. Actually, after the second sip...yeah the anise is in full throttle. Once again, the anise is killing the rest of the flavors. This is one of those beers that should have just stayed away from all the gadgets (oaking, anise etc.). Not in the same league as the original Stone IRS.

M-Pretty thick, slick. Low carbonation. The feel is good but the flavor is off. I don;t really want this beer to sit on my tongue.

O/D-Not for me. Didn't know what anise was before this so my own fault here. Just not as good as the original. Not a drain pour, only because I am too stubborn to pour most anything out. Just not for me. This one's going to take a while to finish... Belgo Anise; more like Belgo Anus.

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Photo of bayougutter
2.37/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured to a snifter and what an immpressive looking beer, dark and black with a creamy 2 inch tan head with decent lacing.

The aroma is heavily licorice to the point of nothing else coming thru. Not good.

The taste was even stronger with the licorice with sweetness. Over the top in a bad way.

Mouthfeel: Don't know because I didn't finish it.

Overall I didn't like at all and won't have again. YUK

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Photo of GhettoFabulous
2.39/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I cracked open a bomber of this expecting a joyous evening of black licorice-infused imperial stout. I am an absolute fiend for black licorice, and am a huge fan of the Abyss and Uintas Labyrinth - two phenomenal RIS's that employ anise with great success. Basically, as a big fan of the regular Stone IRS and anise, I was excited as hell to try this beer.

After cracking the bottle and pouring it into my tulip, the utter blackness of the beer was striking - seemingly even darker than the regular version of the stout, which says something considering the vacuous darkness of the original. It really looks beautiful pouring into the glass, leaving a nice finger of brown foam and is looking like the perfect carbonation level for an imperial stout.

Taking a whiff of this sludge, there is a modicum of smokiness and oak, but black licorice absolutely inundates the olfactory center. At first I think this is a good thing, because I am an overzealous black licorice aficionado, but after taking my first sip, I have to reconsider. The anise is so strong in this beer that it dominates the chocolate, vanilla and wooden notes that you can suss out with your taste buds if you try really hard. The mouthfeel is also disappointing, in that the carbonation which looked good upon pouring has really dissipated and taken much of the life out of the beer.

The life that this beer does have is pure anise. This tastes like someone melted down a bucket of black licorice, mixed it with some alcohol and poured it in a glass. The heat is really strong and practically fuming with alcohol. Absinthe, though even hotter than this, seems a closer relative than the original Stone IRS.

Overall, very disappointed with this. The overwhelming anise flavor in this beer shows that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. At $5.50 this a nicely priced beer, but i can't help feeling stupid for having bought four bottles of it assuming it would be delicious. I struggled, but succeeded in finishing this bomber, and I have to recommend that you find at least a few others to split this with if you're inclined to try it - though it is more of a flavor oddity than a delicious beer actually worth your time. This is not a very successful beer and I have to wonder what it might have been like if Stone had cut the anise by say, 75%.

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Photo of ms11781
2.4/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Spring 2011 release. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a solid black with a nice finger of brown foam for a head. Head dissipates to a decent ring of soapy, tan foam around the glass. Some wispy foam is left on the glass with each sip.

Anise dominates the nose to the point where I pull back a bit as I stick my nose in the snifter. Black licorice and some dark chocolate are present as well. Tough to find with the overpowering anise aroma but they are there. I also get an almost mint like aroma mixed in with the anise. It also could be that I've never smelled anise this strongly and it's a product of that. Either way I must say that it isn't terribly pleasant.

The taste pretty much follows along with the nose. Extremely heavy anise up front, along with the same minty flavor. Some roasted character does break out in the taste and it wasn't detectable in the nose. Some black licorice makes an appearance again towards the finish, which is somewhat bitter from some dark chocolate. Finishes closer to the regular version but even that has a tough time overcoming the front end.

Big bodied with light carbonation. Seems a bit thinner than the regular version but perhaps that's because of the different flavors that are introduced here. Semi-dry finish in regards to the style.

Overall, I'm not terribly impressed with this one. I love the regular version and typically seek out stouts that have anise aromas and/or flavors. This one just overdoes it and misses the mark. It makes me realize that I like anise as long as it's complimentary and not the star of the show. It looks like a nice RIS, pretty much feels like one but the flavors and aromas just don't work for me.

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Photo of eclipse54
2.41/5  rDev -31.3%
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).

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Photo of SFGuy187
2.46/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Looks like a normal Stone RIS, but that's about all it has going for it.

S: Licorice orgasm. Yuck.

T: See above.

M: See above.

O: See above. Stone done messed it up with this licorice disaster. And since BA.com requires my review to be at least 250 character, I guess I'll further comment about how I hate this licorice bomb from hell.

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Photo of julian
2.47/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Just like the regular IRS, this pours pitch black like an ebony goddess in the night. Nice frothy brown head, maybe even creamier than the regular. 4.5

S: Immediately on the nose is black licorice, and a lot of it. This is fairly dominant and I can’t really identify any other aromas. 2.5

T&M: Mouthfeel is fairly viscous and silky. The taste unfortunately is ruined by the extreme amount of anise/black licorice flavor. This is too much. I don’t particularly enjoy licorice, and I enjoy black licorice even less, but despite this obvious bias, this does not work in a beer. 2/4

O: I’m not impressed. Stone took a superb impy stout and ruined it by turning it into a cheap Uzo-ish black licorice bomb. This is not a flavor I personally enjoy, and not something I seek in a RIS. I might like mild notes of it, but a dominant anise flavor ruins this beer for me. This is a severely unfortunate let down. 2

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Photo of xnicknj
2.48/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours a viscous blackness with a thin layering of tanned head. Retains for a minute, leaving some spotty lacing on the glass.

A stiff kick of anise in the nose with some Belgian funk. Slightly sweet with chocolate and coffee. Malty and robust with alcohol warmth.

Syrupy and sweet up front with an initial kick of unmistakable anise. Dark chocolate with dark roasted malts, supported by and underlying Belgian yeast funk. Definitely an odd combination of flavors, followed by some sweetness. Finishes a little sweet with an alcohol heat.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, sticky and chewy on the tongue. I enjoy the base beer, but this is not what I'm looking for in an imperial stout. WAY too much anise and the funky yeast doesnt help.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
2.48/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a black color, with a nice tan head. The smell has strong coffee flavors and something offensive. The taste was initally full of coffee and finished nice and bitter, then however an offensive taste finishes. The aftertaste makes this one hard to drink. Overall not that great. Wouldnt get again.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.49/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

22oz bottle. i have mixed feelings going into this. one one hand, i LOVE the standard stone IRS. on the other hand, im not a huge licorice fan and i hear thats the dominating taste here. well see. into the stone IRS glass.

A- the beer pours out an opaque black body with a small coffee colored head on top. the head has moderate retention and leaves behind small rings of lacing. so far so good.

S- and heres the anise. strong odor of black licorice comes from my glass and nearly overpowers everything else. im able to pick out some roasted malts as well as some dark chocolate. coffee at the end. nothing from the belgian yeast.

T- the anise is back with a vengeance. dark roasted malts show up only to be moved out of the way by a sickening amount of black licorice. ugh. i cant finish this.

M- the body is full. the carbonation is at a nice subdued level.

O- ill never buy this again. the use of anise is overdone to say the least. they have hidden almost nearly every other aspect of the stone IRS with licorice. this is only my third drainpour. gross. avoid. want my other bottle?

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Photo of ncketchum
2.54/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served in a Chimay goblet, split two ways with my dad for Father's Day

A = Exactly what I expected: jet black, black as night, with 2 fingers of dark chocolate head

S = Blast of licorice/anise, which overpowers the coffee, chocolate, and alcohol that follow

T = Again, the anise overpowers everything else, hints of chocolate, malt, coffee, and alcohol seems to be amplified by the anise

M = Thinner than anticipated, very strong alcohol

D = I was quite disappointed by this offering, as the regular IRS from Stone is one of my top 3 beers of all time - maybe this is why I was disappointed, more looking for the old standard and not something that is, in my opinion, a completely different beer. That being said, even after I step back and consider it a completely different beer, I was not impressed and had a difficult time even finishing half the bottle.

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Photo of begforme4484
2.56/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'll start this off by saying, if they had only used anise and left out the Belgian yeast, I think this beer would have been excellent.

Props to Stone for trying with this beer, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. The appearance was great, looked like a healthy and thick stout. It smell was odd, you could really smell the anise, but not so much the Belgian tones. Interesting, at least. The taste was what put me off to this beer. I think the anise would pair in VERY well with the RIS recipe, but the Belgian Yeast added a sour that did not mix at all. When it hit and melded with the other flavors, I had trouble getting the beer down. The mouthfeel was normal as RIS goes with Stone, but I didn't find myself wanted to keep it in my mouth long enough to really compare it.

I would only recommend trying this beer once, just for the experience.

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Photo of marvin213
2.58/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

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Photo of Arenbeer
2.58/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

22oz bottle into a Goblet glass

Served slightly below room temperature

2011 Odd Year Release

A- Pours pitch black with a 1 finger light brown head that sticks around. Not much head retention but leaves some nice legs on the side of the glass.

S- Smells like root beer. Dark burnt malts with strong anise, fennel, or black licorice. Dark unsweetened chocolate, coffee, slight fruitiness from the yeast, and plenty of fenal alcohol notes. Very unique I'll give it that.

T- The taste is a spitting image of the aroma. Dark burnt malts with an overwhelming black licorice/anise flavor that doesn't blend evenly at all. Behind that is subtle notes of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation and a nice slightly bitter finish.

Overall you gotta really be into black licorice to drink this beer. Me personally I don't think I'll make it through this glass let alone a whole 22oz bottle. The anise is way to strong and becomes almost gross and unbearable the more you drink it. Sorry Stone but not a big fan of this.


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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 443 ratings.