Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
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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no score

(Send Samples)
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 TheBrewo
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As the next of Stone’s “Odd Year” releases continues to roll out, we figured we would finally tap into their 2011 stock. We crack the top and pour a brew of the darkest browns, letting only a speck of light through at the bottom, into our shiny new Founders’ snifters. It holds a two finger head of creamy, foamy hot chocolate colored bubbles, showing excellent retention. Swiss cheese lacing is left around the glass as it goes at a turtle’s pace, eventually leaving an island of only the biggest bubbles at the center of the liquid. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be moderate. The nose is bright and heavy, with thick milk chocolate syrups, cocoa powder, bittered licorice, spicy clove and anise, big cereal grain, thickly roasted chocolate malts, malted milk balls, light coffees, soft diacetyls, cooling vanilla twang, earthy honey, and root beer sweetness. With warmth comes that hearty booziness, tinny metallics, dried woody oak, and more of a smoky char to the malts. Our first impression is that the flavoring shows much more soured acidity than expected, offering an interesting contrast to the dark and brooding malt base. As we sip, the taste opens with soured Belgian yeast, limey citric rind, lactic acidity, and biting cherry syrups that border on cloying. Crashing in comes the malt bill, with depth of roasted chocolate and coffee malts a mile deep, light smokiness, faint leathers, and straight milk chocolate fondue. The peak comes through with surprising citric and grassy hop notes, along with continued base of char and chocolate, milk and dark chocolate shavings, toasted cereal grain, and white sugars. Washing through the finish is a revival of the depth of the beginning, with black cherry fruitiness, plum, soured yeast pucker, charred roast, dry grassy hops, cereal grain, fusel booze, and general sweetness of chocolate and milkiness. The aftertaste breathes of oakiness for really the first time in the tasting, vanilla skins, red wine grape skins, dried anise, black pepper, raw licorice, burnt caramel, roasty chocolate malts, fusel booze, and that soured Belgian yeastiness. The body is full, and the carbonation is light to medium. Each sip gives frothy slurp, cream, sip, and pop, with the lips left sticky and coated. The mouth is slickly coated, giving way to eventual chalk astringency across the hard palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips well.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its beautiful look and aroma. From the pour, you are given a beer strong in color, with a robust and contributory head. The aroma follows nicely, giving a serious blend of anise spice, simultaneously sweetly and richly roasted malts, and the booziness. Each filler note, as well, burst through the seams, affording general bigness to the entire event. There was no mystery as to why each note was in its place. The taste was a bit lighter, but showed a new side to the beer as the yeasty sourness took off. The oak was lost, but that was probably due, in part, to its age. This is a great take on a fantastic base IRS, with each sip and whiff taking you deeper and deeper. (3,155 characters)

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

finally got around to drinking this one, it spent a lot of time in the fridge so it aged slower

A: pours black with a quarter inch of light tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the snifter
S: smells of black licorice. the anise really dominates the nose so all I'm getting it that with a hint of roasted malt. very long and lingering finish
T: tastes of anise, roasted barley, molasses, and more anise. swallow is more anise, roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee
M: thick in the mouth with soft carbonation and a slightly drying finish
O: not sure what to think of this beer. age seems to have done it well as while the anise is there it isn't overpowering although it does dominate the drink. Id have liked for the flavors that came out in the swallow to be present when the beer was still in the mouth though. I couldn't pick up the oak or the belgian yeast though. (883 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.16/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber from whole foods

a: served in a sweet unibroue tulip, the pour creates a thin topping of mocha colored head, falling back to leave a placid surface, the beer itself a deep black in color with some browns peeking through the edges

s: a steady current of star anise weaves licorice aromas through a body of deep roasted barley and dark chocolate, impressions of root beer and sassafras root, toffee and vanilla, molasses, some oaky spice, fresh genuine licorice - prominent but not overpowering the base beer but rather adding a nice compliment

m: carbonation on the lower end of the moderate range, gentle on the tongue, with a full bodied mouthfeel

t: the palate brings a pungent star anise flavor over roasted barley, dark chocolate, and burnt sugars, additional flavors of molasses, vanilla, spicy roots - sassafras, and sweet alcohol, hops impart a moderate bitterness to to the finish, the blend of flavors works out well - I can dig what the anise brings to an ris

o: obviously not for everybody - but I dig it, the anise blends well with the ris base and the oak adds a spicy vanilla complexity, not unlike a number of dark european anise liqueurs, a big beer with an interesting complex of characters

consumed on a snowy january eve (1,252 characters)

Photo of ummswimmin
4.1/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer initially in Spring/Summer 2011, and I thought that the anise was way too hot. Per the style, I decided to age the stout to improve/change the balance.

My decision was definitely worthwhile. The anise backed off significantly. You can pick it up in the background. Instead of the spice dominating, it comes in to improve the stout. It adds some sweetness/spice to the nose and body. I like the mix of coffee, chocolate, and some sour from the belgian yeast. It works out as a pretty good mix. I like the balance in the way this puts together.

The Belgo Anise plays really well at this point. It just needed some maturing to appreciate what Stone has made. (673 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in Spring 2011. Pours dense pitch black color with a nice fairly dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, licorice, anise, raisin, prune, oak, light coffee, herbal, light clove, earth, and yeast esters. Nice and unique aromas with good complexity and strength, but the anise does overpower the other flavors quite a bit; very interesting. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, licorice, anise, raisin, prune, oak, toast, light coffee, light smoke, earth, and light yeast esters. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, licorice, anise, cocoa, dark fruit, roasted malt, toast, oak, light coffee, light smoke, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of robust roasted flavors, anise, yeast, and oak; with hardly any cloying flavors present after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, slick,. and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a nice and unique imperial stout offering. Nice complexity and balance of robust roasted flavors with anise and yeast esters; and fairly smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering. (1,352 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a thick syrupy black pour with a finger of tan head which dissipated slightly on the quick side. smells of licorice, chocolate, dark roasted grains, toffee. WOAH this is a funky stout! band aids and licorice up front.. looks like that belgian yeast is a force to be reckoned with giving off lots of smoky bandage like notes. very sweet malty backbone, and some chocolate and coffee notes.. but mostly smoky and licorice. full body, low carbonation.. very sticky on the lips.

this is WAY different than i was expecting. solid RIS as usual from stone.. with a weird funk to it from the belgian yeast strain which makes it seem very smoky. the licorice flavor and smell is excellently strong on this one. (702 characters)

Photo of Dope
2.78/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2

This is the "odd year" 2011 release, so approximately 2 years old.

A: Pitch-black pour. Large, dense and fluffy dark brown head. Head fades away very slowly, becoming lighter and airier as it goes, swiss-cheese style. Decent fluffy tufts of lacing left behind. Good retention.

S: Very fruity. Prunes, raisins, misc dark fruit. Maybe even pomegranate? Notable anise on the back end of the smell. A bit of chalky char throughout too.

T: Again, very fruity up front with typical belgian dark fruits. Some chocolate and char mixes in into the middle. And then... oh god, oh god. Pure black licorice. Nothing but bitter anise. It's like washing down black licorice sticks with anise extract. There's some char mixed in with it but I'm already walking to the sink to drainpour this by now.

M: Nice heavy body, somewhat fluffy (higher carbonation) and chalky.

O: Well...an experiment for sure. You better love anise, that's all I can say. The amount of anise in this cannot be overstated. After the initial taste fades it's just pure, balls-out anise. Kind of a burnt, charry anise too. Nothing else. It's hard to get down. I'd rather drink sambuca than this, at least it has a sweetness to it. This is pure burnt bitter anise. Whew. I poured it out after the third sip or so. Just couldn't take it anymore. (1,306 characters)

Photo of falloutsnow
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: None on bottle, purchased in 2010
Glass: Tulip

Stone's BARIS is a unique offering, blending fairly noticeable anise flavor (for me at least, even in a two year-old bottle) with a traditional stout chocolate and roasted flavors, as well as using a Belgian yeast to impart above-average raisin and prune esters for the style (I'm guessing). The resulting beer is, to me, quite good (but I like anise), though I found the ethanol presence to be too noticeable as the beer warmed, which detracted from my overall enjoyment. Still, one I'd like to try again, particularly fresh.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan to brown foam, densely packed, small bubbles on bottom with medium-sized ones persisting on the top. Head has above-average retention, lasting a few minutes and leaving some substantial spiderwebs of lace on the glass as it descends to a thick ring around the glass and a thin island of foam atop the body. Body is an opaque dark brown to black color, carbonation is not visible either in the center or through the sides of the glass.

Aroma primarily of roasted malt (charred toast) with notes of chocolate, anise, and sweet, dried fruit (prune and raisin) esters. Ethanol lingers in the background, but has mellowed, two years in.

Flavors are similar to the aroma with front of the palate picking up chocolate, charred grains, and anise, leading into a mid-palate that features stronger roasted malt flavors with equally strong prune and raisin essence, with anise that cuts through, though does not distract (for me) from the main elements of the stout. Ethanol is also present. Back of palate notes an increase in the prune and raisin-like esters slightly, but still well-balanced by the roasted malt and chocolate nuances. Ethanol flavor in the back of the palate becoming increasingly strong as the beer warms, detracting a bit from each sip as the flavor lingers. Lingering aftertaste of chocolate, burnt grains, anise, and ethanol.

Beer's body is heavy, with mid-level carbonation that creates a thick and slightly foamy mouthfeel. Alcohol burn noticeable from mid-palate onwards, particularly in nostrils and throat. Finish is dry, with slight stickiness around the palate. (2,225 characters)

Photo of yamar68
2.72/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Great looking imperial stout - coffee black body draped with a dense layer of mocha head that laces well and produces a good bit of lacing.

Weird. Fresh oak and peppermint? Quite astringent, cinnamon, most of the classical IRS notes are smothered by a strange layer of this metallic minty herbs.

A bit more approachable on the tongue... the chocolate and smoke that I associate with straight Stone IRS is evident immediately, but again, there's this overlapping set of flavors that's hard to pin down... minty or medicinal?

The massive anise character holds the palate hostage... too much too fast.

Honestly, I'm not sure how Greg could release this one with a straight face. (681 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Vintage 2011. From notes. Reviewed 9 July 2011.

A: Super-dark with vague head and little lacing. I like it.

S: Loads of licorice! Pungent and powerful anise. I like it a lot.

T/M: The beer is creamy with lots of chocolate...and obscene amounts of anise. It's mostly pleasant, but soon gets old and the licorice reminds me strongly of mouthwash.

O: Interesting. I would recommend trying it, but wouldn't consume any more of them. (493 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
2.95/5  rDev -16.2%
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. (910 characters)

Photo of MeowTom
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- I love the black black black body and the head is a nice size that is a dark brown. The head stays put will assist you in a mustache.

S- It's a combination of coffee and raisins. I actually don't detect too much of the anise...I know this at least a year old and I'm not sure how long they aged it, but it has taken a very interesting twist. I wonder if it is the esters or if raisins were added.

T- Wonderful take on a style that seems to go ever which way with interpretations. I'm getting fruits and raisins all over the place. I can't seem to get away from them. The alcohol is still there, but it's fine.

M- Thick and chewy. The carbonation is actually pretty well done for how thick it is.

O- A really intense beer that is doing a lot of wonderful things. I'm seeing a lot of negative reviews on this beer, but I think that with a little time this beer is only going to get better and I will be buying another soon to age another year. (950 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a brown head of foam. Fair lacing on the glass.

Roasty, malty, light star anise and wood nose. Licorice stands out the most out of all scents.

The flavor is a deep roasted malt base with black licorice that is not overpowering as other reviewers have noted. Picking up some of the oak chips near the end. Impossible to tell there is belgian yeast used here, but whatever. Nice overall taste.

Full and smooth. Gets pretty dry on the finish.

This was a nice version of an imperial stout. The star anise works well with the base and the overall beer was enjoyable. (590 characters)

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I really don't like anise. So I am being slightly biased with this one, granted. Still, having already produced an IRS so magnificent, this one doesn't live up to expectation. The anise is just overpowering and it gets in the way of other flavors. A hint of it would have worked nicely, but there's way more than a hint. It's a beer for the Jager fan, I suppose. I bet this really hits the spot for a small niche of people, but for me I'll stick to the regular IRS or the bourbon one if I see it. (496 characters)

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

Anise. Mmkayy. The first sip of this did not work for me, and I was prepared to not appreciate this beer. That did not last long though as I felt my mouth being coated by the thick body of the beer and the ingredients continued to hit mouth with the flavor profile. It gelled with my tastebuds and worked pretty quickly. The standard Stone RIS is a beer that, in my opinion, shouldn't be messed with, so I take this...decision...as a dangerous one. It works though, in its own way. But it'll be a one time shot for me as the anise is something I don't really want to return to. Excellent mass produced experiment with anise though. That should be commended. (657 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
2.21/5  rDev -37.2%
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." (1,192 characters)

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

Truly one of the most memorable beers of the last couple of years. Very dark but more dark golden brown than black. A nice spritziness with a decent beige head. Thick bodied, though not as syrupy as a Barleywine.

Sweet with a candy and fruity flavor. The anise taste is like a liqueur. I don't even like licorice but I find this very drinkable in a totally off-beat way. Loads of dark malt, a touch of burnt sugar, caramel. But also sharp and tart in a fruity way.

I am not a big fan of Stone brews, but this one is audacious enough-- but well made-- to be likeable. (568 characters)

Photo of shigg85
4.42/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in a wide-mouth snifter at Popeye in Ryogoku, Tokyo. Pitch black with a thin murky head. Immediate smell of licorice anise is suprising in its accuracy. Roasted hops flavor present as well accompanied by raspberry perhaps. Very drinkable as the anise flavor is not as strong as the smell. Very little head even when I spin it. Overall, an amazingly interesting, delicious beer. (393 characters)

Photo of brystmar
1.37/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Brendan comes through with the tick!

Decent looking pour, I guess. But holy balls, I can smell this garbage from my chair. Mint, currants, dirty socks, and armpit hairs make up the aroma. More mint and mildew round it out.

Imagine having a mint porter that was poured through a pair of heavily used sweatpants. That's Belgo Anise. Am I really gonna give this a worse rating than the Peat Whiskey Black Hole? Maybe; goddamn this is awful.

So bad, not sure my drain will even accept it. (487 characters)

Photo of trentet
4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a tough time with this beer at first, and I'll be up front. My buddy Mano and I who split this beer with me do not like black liquorice. The first sample glass was hard to finish. I sat staring at the bottle for a few minutes with that taste on my tongue but after a bit it grew on me. I poured another sampler full and tried another taste. It went down a lot easier and I could taste a whole lot of complexity beyond the overwhelming black liquorice flavor. Mouthfeel was excellent for the class. We began to think of things we could marinate in this beer and agreed lamb would be perfect with a mess of garlic. It's a beer that needs a little time to appreciate and it hurts you a bit while your drinking it but I liked it overall once I got used to what it had to say. (777 characters)

Photo of Danny1217
3.27/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours pure black. Looks like oil with a thick brown head. Keeps the nice appearance of regular Stone IRS. The smell is a big hit of anise. A bit overpowering. Other scents are very hard detect beneath the anise. The taste is similar. Anise dominates. It's hard to taste all the complexities found in Stone imperial stout with the anise dominating this much. It's also hard to taste any Belgian yeast, which is disappointing. The mouthfeel is very good though. Very viscous and rich. Goes down smooth. While it is disappointing, it still isn't a bad flavor at all. Just very strange. Not something I'm particularly interested in trying again, but very interesting to try at least once.

Anise lovers should like this one, but unfortunately, anise isn't my personal favorite taste. (780 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into a Barrington Brewery pint glass.

A: Black in color with a frothy, two-finger head of tan foam which left some nice ringlets of lacing around the glass.

S: Oak barrel aroma blends with the staunch scent of licorice, fruity esters and herbal, earthy hops melded with smokey, sweet-roasted malts.

T: Slick and sweet, dark roasted malt flavor at first with a whole lotta anise-laced licorice candy nib taste. The rich malts are difficult to appreciate beneath the stark anisette flavoring. The same goes for the Belgian yeast strain employed for this brew. Like adding Sambuca to spicier, fruitier Stone IRS.

M: Rich, full-bodied flavor with he slick addition of anise and herbal, drying hops.

O: I like licorice to some degree, but the anise flavoring just didn't jive all that well with me. It was like an Italian coffee, possibly suited well with pastry dessert pairings. However, the strong, 10.5% ABV and robust licorice flavor wouldn't have me picking it up again. (1,006 characters)

Photo of Edruil
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler filled on 6/23/2012 with 2011 Belgo-Anise IRS. Poured same night into Stone IRS snifter

Appearance - Black as night, viscous and thick to the eye. Head is a beautiful creamy brown but, unfortunately, dissipates all too quickly

Smell - Wow. Big, big anise. Anise is nice, but the roasted malts barely make it through, and the anise drowns out pretty much any other notes I might be looking for - such as the Belgian yeast. The anise is much too strong on the nose

Taste - The anise isn't as big as it is on the nose, but still big. If you don't like anise, this is not a beer for you. Still, the flavors are surprisingly balanced after the strength of anise on the nose. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, oak, and a dash of mint are there, the malt sweetness is there, hops are mostly absent. The fruity Belgian yeast esters do come through, though not strongly, and add a pleasant background to the typical IRS flavors. Acidic, and the bitterness and dryness linger on the palate

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, oily, satisfying. Good carbonation. Rich.

Overall - Certainly an interesting take on the style. Stone is, after all, well-known for doing their own (bold) thing, but I think this is one instance where they deviated a bit too much from the norm. Don't get me wrong, this is still in my opinion a good beer, and enjoyable. However, I wouldn't take this over their regular IRS, and I can see how anyone that isn't an anise fan wouldn't like it at all. The anise gets a bit too much attention, and the Belgian yeast touted in the Belgo-Anise moniker doesn't come through as strongly as I'd like them to. It's worth a try (if you like anise, that is), but with the regular Stone IRS as great as it is, I can't see myself choosing this over it. (1,750 characters)

Photo of arizcards
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber from BevMo July 2011 for $5.99.

Beer poured black as night with a decent tan head that went flat pretty quickly.

Nose is overpowered by licorice, belgian yeast esters are drowned out.

Taste is pretty much the same as nose, licorice is just dominating. The roasted malts which is the backbone takes a back seat. The Anise seems to have mellowed over the last year.

Mouthfeel is the most appealing trait, thick and full bodied with an extra boost of smoothness from the yeast.

Overall i appreciate Stone's innovation efforts but this is one that should not been let out of the lab. I had this brew last August and it was undrinkable. (655 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
2.63/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours your standard R/IS jet black tone while yielding about a 1" mocha-colored head. decent retention and lacing. nice looking beer, but so are countless others in its style. nose packs a big wallop of black licorice. secondary notes of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, but boy does that anise dominate. not my cup of tea, but it's not terrible.

taste follows the aroma. unfortunately. just an anise bomb. the other characters are there in the background but relegated to second fiddle. disappointing, as i had higher hopes for this one. decent, medium-full bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

while i'm a big fan of stone in general and their approach to putting spins on recipes in particular, this was just not one that worked for me. not a drainpour, just not one i'm appreciating; although i could see where some may dig it. personally i'll be sticking to the regular IRS.

(originally reviewed: 06-23-2011) (975 characters)

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