1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

886 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 886
Reviews: 439
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 22%

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: EgadBananas on 05-23-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 886 | Reviews: 439 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of exodus1369


4.18/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a great beer! Looks like a great Stout Dark and rich. The small is a bit on the light side had to really get my nose in to it to pick up any thing and it had a very light head. But once it ran past the taste buds it really made up for it. All I could think was just rich caramel taste. Wonderful and a very smooth taste!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 04:09:15 | More by exodus1369
Photo of billab914


2.63/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 02:30:49 | More by billab914
Photo of Brabander


3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A guy in the tasting group brought this beer with him at the tastingday @ de Molen in Bodegraven, Holland. This tasting was organized by THE beerlady of Holland, Fiona de Lange.

We had this bottle after a regular Stone stout and this one was better with a fuller taste and lovely anis smell and taste. For the rest....i had better stouts than this one

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 19:40:52 | More by Brabander
Photo of Mar02x


3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We were at a tasting at the Molen, organized by Fiona de Lange (the Dutch Beer lady). This was the beer I brought with me.

A - A pitch brown beer.

S - A stron anise smell, like black candy 'drop'.

T - The taste is that from black candy.

M - The body is Tha bit thicker than the normal RIS from Stone.

O - It is a good stout, but not excellent.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 19:31:03 | More by Mar02x
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

1.78/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bomber poured into a DFH snifter. As dark as you'd expect with a generous tan head and plenty of sticky lacing.

In fairness to this brew, the measuring stick is the excellent regular version of the IRS, a lofty standard indeed. Having said that, this is, well, a pretty odd beer. Aromas of licorice, bubblegum, fruitcake and, I dunno, flowery air freshener(?) completely drown out the goodness of the base beer.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm really picking up on the 'Belgo' yeast. The licorice is pretty overpowering, but a charred, somewhat dirty presence demands attention as well. There's a burnt plastic element that reminds me of Sweetwater Happy Ending, another beer from another generally impressive brewery that disappointed. Kinda boozy, too. On the positve side, a nice bitterness, molasses and bittersweet chocolate loom underneath. They simply don't get a fair shake here. I'm a Stone fanboy, but this beer misses the mark by a wide margin.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 01:27:47 | More by PDXHops
Photo of Brad007


3.78/5  rDev +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.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 05:15:19 | More by Brad007
Photo of MaximalC


3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, opaque brown as one would typically expect from an imperial stout. Head is nothing to write home about and recedes in short order, though that is not out of the ordinary considering the alcohol content. Strong point here is big, bold flavor. It says anise on the label, and it's certainly there, but I don't find it to be overwhelming. Nice dark chocolate notes linger in the aftertaste along with an alcoholic warmth that slightly exceeds my ideal level of presence, but once again, that can be forgiven in a brew with 10.5% AC. Hops don't impinge on the overall flavor, which is surprising for a Stone offering and a plus in my book. Mouthfeel is sticky, but not viscous. I wouldn't describe this as a decadent stout, but flavorful, balanced, and substantive would certainly fit.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 02:09:55 | More by MaximalC
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from 1/18/2012, on tap in NYC at Taproom 307: pours pitch black color with a huge frothy 2 finger tan/brown head that faded very slowly and left excellent sticky lacing clinging to the sides.

Smells of anise, licorice, coffee, cocoa, caramel, molasses, dark fruit, and more licorice on the tail end. The alcohol is well hidden by the nose if you discount the liquor odor from the anise/licorice.

Tastes like it smells, with anise, licorice, coffee, cocoa, caramel, molasses, syrup, charcoal, dark fruit like plums, dates and raisins, herbs, pepper, light floral hops, toffee, faint vanilla, toasted grains and liquor like Sambuca. The flavor is complex, roasty and very much like an after dinner liquor. Wow, the flavor is rich, sweet and completely hides the alcohol; this is a slow sipper that is aggressive, yet goes down smooth and leaves a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is creamy, crisp and somewhat chewy, with mild carbonation, a medium body and a sweetness that lets the anise and licorice shine through the roasted malts.

A slow sipper that is tasty, unique and enjoyable. Another winner from Stone, but I’d go for other Stone stouts before going back to this as I’m not a big fan of anise, licorice or Sambuca.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2012 04:02:49 | More by CHickman
Photo of beerbellydaddy


3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Pour – pours an opaque blood black and gives three fingers foam with some spotty lacing.
Smell – can smell black licorice, anisette, and alcohol
Taste – as indicated by its scent, a strong black licorice and anisette flavor is at the forefront. It also gives a creamy roasted taste and offers a warm alcohol afterbite with 10.5% alcohol content.
Mouth – it fills ones mouth with a full, creamy, lightly carbonated feel.
Overall – I love pretty much everything from Stone, but this one is not my favorite offering from them, nor is it my favorite Imperial Stout that I’ve tried. This one is a little too heavy on the extra anisette taste and I think it might benefit from a bit more carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 02:55:26 | More by beerbellydaddy
Photo of ggodzik


3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Served in snifter. Pitch black with 1 finger of foamy off white/chocolaty head.

S - Stong smell of anise/black licorice. Sweet.

T - The anise is very prominant. I happen to really enjoy the taste so this was pleasant. Sweet with hints of the high alcohol content. Definitely a sipper and enjoyed in small servings.

M - Lightly carbonated. Full bodied and smooth. Slight heat from the alcohol.

O - Definitely worth a try if you enjoy anise. If not, this may not be the beer for you. Not my favorite offering from Stone but definitely something unique and worth a try if you get the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 05:33:55 | More by ggodzik
Photo of rarbring


3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A black beer with hints of brown, a brown head, rather small, leaves no lacing but has good curtains.

The smell is anise. I don't like anise.

The taste is sweet, dried fruits, dates, and then of course sweet licorice.

Little carbonation, soft and oily, slightly sticky.

As said, I can't really stand anise smells. Probably my loss. But for me this beer suffers from that.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 19:34:07 | More by rarbring
Photo of TechTriumph


3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 release; Poured in a snifter.

A - One inch of creamy, bubbly tan head with pretty good head retention; Pitch black appearance; Nice web of lacing present

S - Loads of anise, providing a licorice type smell, as well as vanilla beans and hints of cocoa

T - Lots of anise present here as well; In addition, I taste vanilla beans, molasses, and slight earthy, roasty, oaky flavors; Just a bit of bitterness in the finish; Faint alcohol warmth present

M - Low carbonation; Full bodied; Smooth mouthfeel with a fairly dry finish; Very mild alcohol warmth

O - I really wish I could try Stone's standard RIS because I see great promise in that beer. This beer was certainly unique, but unfortunately, it had too much anise for my liking. The licorice flavor was very dominating and made it difficult to pull out the other characteristics hidden within this beer. I'm not sure I will drink this one again, but even so, Stone remains one of my favorite breweries and I look forward to trying more of their numerous offerings.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 03:30:33 | More by TechTriumph
Photo of CrystalShipMS3


3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"2011 'odd year' release"

It certainly is odd. There's a funk to the smell. Sort of woody with licorice.

Pours oil-black. Very thick. Holds some of the head but the high alcohol content mostly does away with it. Looks sticky. It is sticky. Very sticky.

This is a sipping beer. It would be tough to pair it with food, sort of a palate wrecker. Big bold dark malt right up front. The licorice pretty much punches you in the face just to get noticed. Maybe a little overwhelming at first but you get used to the beatings. There is a definite woodyness to it but its pretty subtle. There's some dark fruit flavor too, but not much. Leaves a somewhat sour then coffee-bitter aftertaste. It's good but as with most Stone brews it seems unabashedly unbalanced which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Doesn't quite work as well with this beer as it does with their others.

Highly carbonated. It's stings a bit, but not in an especially bad way. It's a bold beer so this quality fits it.

Overall it's a good but one glass is plenty. Not my favorite from the stone family, but it's an interesting take on the imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 22:53:16 | More by CrystalShipMS3
Photo of JayS2629


3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid black with a two finger tan head that fades fast. Low carbonation, sea foam lacing.

Aroma of anise with coffee, toffee, licorice, dark fruit and chocolate. Hint of vanilla.

Follows the flavor with a nice licorice bite, sweet dark fruit underneath with roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Nicely balanced.

Smooth, creamy, rich and thick.

Great stout. Nothing amazing.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 19:20:23 | More by JayS2629
Photo of Fubar1453


3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black like any other imperial stout.

S: Not much of a smell. Burnt coffee, dark chocolate, little bit of alcohol.

T: Anise, licorice, burnt coffee but not very bitter. Does a good job of covering the alcohol.

M: Very sticky, and a little clumpy at times.

O: Nothing special, wouldn't buy again.


Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 00:36:03 | More by Fubar1453
Photo of russpowell


3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahogany/black with a pinky of brown colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, cocoa, a little anise

T: Molasses, plums, carob& dryness up front, some cherry boozeyness & leafy hops. Molasses, stone fruit & ainise as this warms with a touch of oakyness. Finishes with cherry, oaky notes, booze warmth & a bit more molasses & carob, plus just a bit caramel, chicory & oddly; cayenne pepper

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, somewhat slick

This is a quirky kind of RIS, but I do think that Stone's claims of historical accuracy are valid. Many years ago I tried courage RIS in England, this reminds me of that beer in many ways. I prefer the "Americanized versions, but this is interesting & good enough I would buy again

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 23:21:56 | More by russpowell
Photo of Flounder57


3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Stella glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a nice mocha head that has reduced to a thin layer and left some clumpy lacing on the side of the glass. Pitch black with no signs of carbonation and clarity.

Smell: Anise/licorice aroma, chocolate, roasted coffee, and sweet malts.

Taste: A weird blend of all the flavors. Anise flavor is a bit overbearing and burns. Good at first, but goes downhill fast. Burns as it goes down. The anise kills a lot of the good features of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium carbonation, smooth, lingering tastes in your mouth that I am not too crazy about, and booze sticks around for a while and is not well hidden like most RIS.

Overall: This is probably a good twist on their normal RIS, which I haven't had yet, but this beer was alright and enjoyable to drink. The anise was just a little too much for me though.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2012 23:30:30 | More by Flounder57
Photo of cookedw


4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: To me, this is as sexy as a stout gets in look - pitch black pour with a good 3/4" dark tan head. There was a good amount of lacing, and the head did not subside quickly. Appearance isn't that important to me, but this beer lets you know to buckle up.

S: The anise awakens your nose immediately, front and center. Behind that is a deep dark fruit note, predominantly currants, maybe a little bit of raisin...something along those lines. There is also a coffee bitterness that plays well with the anise. I could not help but be reminded of a birch beer while drinking this.

T: The bitterness is pretty punch-you-in-the-mouth strong on this, which was kind of surprising and very assertive, even though that's kind of a theme with Stone's stouts. Coffee notes were more like a burnt roast with some slight thinness reminiscent of chicory. As this subsides, it yields to the dark fruits again. As I got used to the bitterness, I also noticed some vanilla up front. The oak certainly feeds into the bitterness, but this plays well with the high carbonation to detract from the fact that you're drinking a 10+% ABV beer. But the anise in the taste is a little clashing, here combining with the oak to give a very woody flavor not unlike peanut shells. On the back of the tongue in the finish, however, the anise shines. I found myself tasting licorice and fig long after.

M: I really enjoyed the carbonation on this. The beer itself was thick and coating, but the bitterness combined with the high carbonation kept it bubbly, enough to make the beer dance on the palate.

D: You won't notice you're drinking a 10.5% ABV beer at all. The mouthfeel coats, but the complexity of the aroma and long-lingering taste will keep you coming back for more. This one really surprised me just how delightful it was to drink.

O: A delicious, earthy beer. I'd say that it's so earthy, it's almost like topsoil...very deep, rich, moist flavors that coat and compel the tongue. I could not get over how enjoyable the beer was to drink - I'm glad I've got another bottle!

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 01:27:45 | More by cookedw
Photo of Sunnanek


3.85/5  rDev +10%
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...

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 18:07:07 | More by Sunnanek
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review adapted from notes taken 7/17/11

Appearance: Jet black with a tan head - some tan around the edges if held to the light - some lacing

Smell: Black licorice - like, a punch to the face with a fist made of licorice - this aroma overpowers everything - as it warms, burnt malts, chocolate, coffee, and some sweet aromas emerge

Taste: The flavor is about 90% black licorice - kind of tastes like a nasty black jellybean - so much licorice - beyond this, the beer is actually good - oak, chocolate, coffee, burnt malts, roasted malts, a touch of Belgian yeast - as this warms, some of the black licorice drops and the Belgian component becomes more obvious - regardless, it's not bad

Mouthfeel: Heavy, smooth, nicely carbonated, kind of a prickly spiciness

Overall: Very strange, but really not a disaster

If you hate the use of anise, you are going to hate this beer. The black licorice component of this beer is absurd, but not awful. I imagine this will get better over time.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 22:36:03 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of thepeter

United Kingdom (England)

3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black with a finger off white head
S - lots of licorice and then some roasted malt and a hint of vanilla.
T - Nice at startwith licorice/Anise Flavor as well as malt but gets a bit rough and strong after a second or two. finishes a bit rough as well, stronger aftertaste than I would like.
M - Not quite as full bodied as I would like and over carbonated
O - Did not live up to expectation, nothing close to the original, I would not mind a bit of the anise in my RIS but though.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 22:59:04 | More by thepeter
Photo of sweemzander


3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Some tan froth and lace.

(S)- Straight up licorice and lots of it! Pretty much all there is. VERY subtle bits of molasses and raisin.

(T)- Again, mountains of licorice like the smell was. Not much else to it besides licorice really. SOME roasted qualities, but subtle.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. The balance is ok, but you really really gotta love black licorice.

(D)- Again, if you do not like black licorice, stay far away from this one. It was still enjoyable, but I am also not a big black licorice fan.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 22:12:44 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Drinkerofales


4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pure black with a dark mocha head which is gone quickly.

Smells of black licorice(duh) and mint, coffee and a slight hop presence. Bready malt and burnt toast flavor come in as the beer warms. Booze have a play in the mix too.

Tastes of coffee, roasty toasty malts, and opposite the nose, a hint of anise. Tastes of some alcohol burn, but nicely done.

Feels full bodied, great thickness, just what I want from a stout. Low carbonation rounds out this great textured beer.

I love the flavor and complexity, I am new to the RIS category, but the flavors in this beer make me desire more stouts, and jealous of those who have the CBS and KBS available to them.


Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 09:46:25 | More by Drinkerofales
Photo of scottfrie


3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours black with a thick dark brown head that faded into a thin wispy film that left behind a great network of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Black licorice, anise, rich fudge brownies and a bit of roast fill my nose. The anise really stands out and dominates just about all other scents.
T: Rich and chocolaty flavor with the anise coming through near the finish. I get a hint of vanilla mixed with sweet roasted malts as well. The anise wasn’t as strong as the nose, but there is still a pretty good amount of it.
M: Medium-thick body with a clean and chewy mouthfeel. Carbonation is even and smooth.
O: Definitely a love it or hate it beer. This was too much anise for me to ever want to drink it again, but I didn’t think it was so awful that it could not be consumed. I’ll stick to the regular version from now on.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 01:16:45 | More by scottfrie
Photo of JohnnyHopps


2.75/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I sampled this beer on tap when it first was released. I allowed my bottle to mellow since that sampling. The fact that a lot of these are still on store shelves speaks volumes about the quality of this product.

The scent was fairly nondescript, only giving subtle hints of maltiness. Only a slight head appeared, and the stout appeared thin. The initial taste was that of black licorice and something on par with Nyquil except a carbonated version. In the aftertaste, there is a hint of a tart tea. But a pleasant aftertaste does not replace the trauma of cold medicine flavored beer.

I have enjoyed many of the Stone beers over the years, but this is not their best effort. Next to the initial RIS, this seems a bizarre modification on an otherwise great beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 16:33:53 | More by JohnnyHopps
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 886 ratings.