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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BA SCORE
80
good

442 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 442
Hads: 929
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 19.89%
Wants: 17
Gots: 160 | 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: 442 | Hads: 929
Photo of Gavage
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: black in color with a 1/4" tan head. No lacing develops.

Smell: anise is up front with some roasted tones in the background.

Taste: big roasted malt flavors with copious amounts of anise, dark bitter chocolate, prunes, and some moderate earthy tones. Decent bitterness levels. Alcohol is definitely warming here.

Mouthfeel:medium-heavy in body. Crisp at the start, smoother at the finish. Definite dryness arrives late.

Overall. Very slow drinking beer. Anise is unique but becomes a bit overwhelming as the glass empties. (538 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a medium off-white head, good retention and lace.

S: Black licorice and anise city. This is the defining smell, with a light amount of dark chocolate.

T: Very good mix of heavy cacao count chocolate and the prerequisite anise character. A very good mix that works well. The complexity allows this version of the Stone IRS to be much more appealing young than the regular. I'm really enjoying the Stone Belgian creations.

M: Full-bodied, very smooth, soft carbonation.

O: This is a very good imperial stout. I'm very partial to anise, and maybe that's why I like it so much, nevertheless, this is something to try for sure even with my bias. (690 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +19.9%
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 (691 characters)

Photo of billab914
2.62/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into y CBS snifter. It poured black in color with a frothy tan head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma has a strong anise presence. It has more of a bubble gum, fruity, licorice flavor that I don't think works for it at all. I get a little dark, roasted malts to it, but the anise is overwhelming in it.

The taste also unfortunately is dominated by the anise. I get a some vanilla to it up front and some roasty, bitter malts in the finish. The anise is too much for me though.

The mouthfeel is heavy and somewhat creamy. Carbonation is moderate for the style. Overall I just didn't find to be a very good beer. The anise was just too dominating and covered up too much of the IRS flavors. It just didn't work for me. (760 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter. 2011 odd year release.

A very large cocoa brown head off the pour is made somewhat uniform bubbles, good together swirling lacing.

Faint anisette qualities on the nose. Candy, and mild malt feel with lots of sweet Belgian style sense (yeast). Roast character lacking, but definitely a nice bouquet, not an overpowering sugar bomb, I enjoy it.

Taste is all black licorice/fennel/anise. Nothing else comes through, no malty backbone, no roast character, fruit... nothing, just lots of sweetness and exacerbating the sticky sweet quality. After some time the tongue and palate gets really dried out.

Well, pretty disappointed with this Russian Imperial from Stone as well. Drinkable yes but I would rather have Labyrinth from Uinta than this which is sort of similar in style but better tasting. (842 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Pours a midnight black into the snifter, off white/brown head forms and leaves little lacing. Looks appealing and dark. Aroma full of anise, with some oaky suggestions as well. In the flavor, big roasted malt, big anise, some well defined oak/vanilla/wood notes pairing well and even cutting some of the anise flavors. A small piney hop is noticed cold, but upon warming is lost. Mouthfeel is full bodied but ultra smooth. Overall, not an every day drinker, but a nice brewing experiment. (530 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.89/5  rDev -17.9%
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. (616 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night with a tan head that fades pretty quickly. I wasn't sure what to expect with this beer- specifically, how intense the anise was, how sweet the beer was, and how many other flavors were brought to the party to balance things. The answer is that the anise is very dominant in the beer. It starts off very dry and reminds me strikingly of Swedish licorice candies, which are not very sweet, but display a burst of dry licorice flavor. As the beer warms and opens up, it becomes sweeter and more like a pastis. Either way, the dominant flavor is by far anise with its strong licorice notes. You get this in both the nose and taste. I happen to like licorice flavors, so I enjoyed the beer fairly well. My wife, who loves RISs, but isn't a huge fan of licorice, couldn't drink this beer at all- total drain pour for her. I could certainly understand how you could go either way here. I do think the beer is a tad too sweet, regardless, and is fairly one note- the other stout flavors are buried by the anise. It is nice and creamy, and if you love anise you'll probably love the beer. I think it's drinkable, but not great. (1,139 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.61/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid black with a giant tan head that sticks around forever and all over the glass. Smells of chocolate and anise right up front. Dark caramel, roasted grains and spicy Belgian yeast esters in there as well. The licorice/anise aroma is quite strong in this one. Taste is licorice/anise and milk chocolate initially. Roasted grains and dark caramel are in there as well. A hint of alcohol midway through then a long lingering dark chocolate and anise in the finish. Creamy and bubbly mouthfeel, spirited level of carbonation with a thick body. I didn't really find any of the oak but then again I was assaulted by black licorice. I thought this was only ok as is, I wonder how this will age. (699 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.31/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lightproof black colored beer with a small brown head.

Smell is strongly of smoke and licorice. There is a little chocolate cake scent here but licorice real obscures any other scents.

Starts out sweet and thick with a sharp metallic hit of something on the tongue. Chocolate and patent malt with the taste of green Anise bulb. Tastes different from anise the spice. This tastes like Anise the Italian vegetable. There is a green vegetable taste here that is a bit of a twang on the taste-buds. Tastes frankly a bit weird and I LOVE black Jellybeans.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Drinkability is a miss here. The green anise just clashes with the rest of the beer. (659 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
2.14/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12/11/2011

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. (529 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Poured jet black, brown head, plenty of bubbles and lacing. A very good pour leaving one sexy looking beer

S: Dark, bitter chocolate, roastiness, coffee, booze, liquorice, wood

T: To much anise for me is the first thing I noticed. Very in your face. Roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, booze and roasted notes, wood, Belgian yeast leaves some warming spice and even an underlying bubblegum pop to it.

M: Big and full, hearty. No issues.

O: I made it through half the bottle before the overbearing anise just did me in. I did not want anymore. I applaud anyone who stomachs a bomber of this (598 characters)

Photo of John_M
3.15/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at Matt's (slatetank) birthday stout tasting.

The Belgo Anise pours a blackish brown color with fairly good head retention and minimal lacing. On the nose.... good grief!!! The licorice aroma in this beer is completely overpowering, making it impossible to detect anything else. Also, while I think a hint of licorice is fine in the aroma profile of an IRS, this is just completely over the top. The flavorful profile is nearly as bad, though as the beer warmed up a bit, I started to get detect a hint of chocolate and coffee. However, the anise flavor continues to completely dominate the flavor profile, which adds an extra added degree of sweetness that I really don't care for. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, smooth, licorice finish. Also, I should add that this beer is pretty boozy, which coupled with the licorice and sweetness, really hurts this beer's drinkability. I cannot imagine trying to drink a bottle of this stuff.

Uggghhh.... You have to give Stone credit for experimenting and trying new things, but this is one experiment that didn't pan out (IMHO). (1,099 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.31/5  rDev -6%
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. (1,105 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.81/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Stone Bistro on 6/30/11.

A - Poured dark black with a small amount of brown head

S - Intense licorice domonates the nose with some faint roasted malts in the background.

T/O - Heavy licorice with roasted malts and coffee. The anise/licorice really dominates this beer and I think it would be much more balances and better overall if they toned down the anise. That said, I normally HATE the taste of licorce yet I somehow really enjoyed this beer, which scores some points with me.

M - Medium to full body. Chewy. Lightly carbonated. (563 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 6/2011 notes. Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours a dark brown, near black. Thin tan head and slight lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and a hint of anise and Belgian spice. A spicy, estery flavor up front followed by roast malt. chocolate and light caramel. Finish is anise with a light hop kick. Nice light creamy body. Side by side tasting with the regular Stone RIS, which had a more standard smokey and dark malt and dark fruit flavor up front, but still had a somewhat estery finish with a strong alcohol component. The Belgo has a nicer finish than the standard, but a more unusual overall taste progression. It is unusual and interesting. (662 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.43/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Nice dark khaki head with low retention and lace. Dark brown body with cola highlights.

S – Liquorish, vanilla, root beer, burnt marshmallow, chocolate nougat, gingerbread, and a light coffee note.

T – Dark liquorish with a creamy, delicious, 70% cocoa. Root beer and vanilla center. The root beer transitions into a ginger-like spiciness as oak builds through the backend.

M – Medium body with a spicy sweet finish.

O – Fantastic complexity. The flavors are potent, but if you’re a fan of them you’ll love this beer. (539 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours motor-oil-black with a large tan head that sinks into decent lacings.

S: Lots of liqourice up front - kind of sweet (probably from the Anise - duh). Hard roasted malts but also some coffee, and dark chocolate. Faint notes of vanilla.

T: More balanced than the smell; the liqourice is held back just a tad and the roasted malt and the vanilla comes out. Coffee and chocolate in the back to help balance the Anise. Some very faint notes of dark dried fruits.

M: Aftertaste lingers with a modest bitterness and shy sweetness. Body is full while carbonation is held back.

O: Quite nice with the Anise - I can't help but wonder - how would this beer had tasted without the Anise... (690 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black with a deep brown cap that started out about an inch and a half high and settled to a lasting half inch. There was some clumpy lacing on the glass. The anise is front and center in the aroma, with bready and roasted notes around the edges. Hints of chocolate and raisins, malted milk. Sturdy bitterness, but this was overshadowed by the medicinal quality of the anise -- a fairly intense licorice flavour that seemed to drown out a lot of the malt presence as well. Malty sweetness, roast and chocolate were still present, but muted. Full bodied with fine, creamy carbonation and mild alcohol warmth, slight astringency, nice texture overall. I can't say that I'm a fan of anise, so this worked out better than expected for me. However, I vastly prefer the regular version and found that any Belgian character that might be present couldn't really stand out against the anise. (882 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.89/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Bruery Tulip.

A - Pours a deep dark brown with a dark tan-brown head. Fades to the edges leaving some lacing on the glass.

S - Strong Licorice and some chocolate.

T - Similar to the scent, but more muted and balanced.

D - Good carbonation, heavier body.

O - If you like Good and Plentys, this one is for you. Better than expected. (361 characters)

Photo of dgilks
2.81/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch inky black with a large tan head. Good head retention and nice lacing.

Big anise aroma with a touch of chocolate and smoke. For me the over the top anise kills the aroma.

This is quite sweet with a lot of liquorice. For me I don't get the awesome chocolate and coffee of the normal RIS. The anise just kills it.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation.

For me this is hit and miss. I love liquorice but I find that the anise kills the awesomeness of Stone IRS. I think that Stone IRS with Belgian yeast would be fine but the additional liquorice is over the top and almost unpleasant. (605 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours the universal hue for stouts (dark, dark black) with a one-finger brown head into my glass. If it looks like a stout, it must be a stout, right?

Creamy and spicy with only a mild amount of roasted malt in the nose. A bit of cocoa here and there. Very balanced for the style. I don't feel overwhelmed at all.

The anise is present upfront and it is actually kind of unpleasant. I don't know why but it detracts from the creaminess and the roasted malt. I'm just not feeling it.

Mouthfeel is a bit weird as well but somewhat more tolerable. Again, not my thing.

Pass, big time. I would rather have the original. (618 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, I let the bottle sit for a half hour after taking it out of the fridge before opening it. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is anise, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and some root beer. Taste is similar to the aroma. I think the anise flavor is the strongest in this brew, but it doesn't quite overpower the roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and coffee flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew. But if you don't like anise or licorice, then this beer probably isn't for you. (667 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.17/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I avoided this one for a while but tried it at a beer festival and liked it. When I saw it for $6.99 at a local Giant Eagle I grabbed a bottle.

A - Pitch black of course with tons of carbonation bubbles and an inch of dark mocha head. Lacing is somewhat sticky.

S - Smells of the traditional of the style with a bit of fruity hints from the yeast. Nice roast and chocolate with a mild hop presence.

T - Taste starts off kind of bitter with the hops then quickly the roast hits with a nice coffee taste. Second sip delivers more of the Belgium yeast with a bit of fruity sweetness. Overall the finish is creamy with hints of hops and roast but only mild and balanced.

M - This is drinking pretty great, almost as good as the original. A medium to heavy body but not cloying.

Overall I like this version but will always prefer the regular version for the style since they are the same price.
As a hater of black licorice and Ouzo (anise liquor) I found that those flavors in this stout are now very balanced. (1,012 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up from Julio's. One bottle for now, one bottle for a few years from now.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a rich, oily black with an almost two finger mocha head that receeded to leave a mocha halo with minimal side lacing.

S - Cool, you can get some nice roasty malts and some slight chocolate along with light anise. As it warms though everythign is overpowered by the anise, theres some alcohol notes as well.

T - Very much like the nose. It starts with some nice roastd malts and chocolate, but all that is quickly overwhelmed by the anise. That being said I really dig the anise potentcy. Looking forward to see how this ages.

M - Low carbonation which is to be expected with this style. Its a touch syrupy, but I can accept that. Slightly creamy but the alcohol definately present.

O - Overall, I like this beer, but I feel its too rough around the edges. With time this could mellow out into something really, really nice. (940 characters)

Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 442 ratings.