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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

907 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 907
Reviews: 440
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 22%
Wants: 20
Gots: 162 | FT: 6
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
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Ratings: 907 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cmq103

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +12.3%

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Nutbrown Ale Schooner glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black with a decent 1/4" dark brown head that reduced to a thin ring within two minutes of sitting. Lacing very minimal, which is typical of the style.

Smell: The aroma blasted forward immediately with anise, followed by expresso coffee and dark chocolate. Definitely a unique combination, as this is the first Imperial Stout I ever sipped that was brewed with anise. The smell reminds me of the Italian Anise flat cookies my Mom used to make during the Christmas season when I was a kid. I do detect a mild booziness in the finish, which is to be expected with a higher ABV RIS. As the beer warms, the anise aroma is more prevalent.

Taste: Wow, the anise bombards the tongue with intense flavor, which turns to dark chocolate/expresso coffee, then finishes with a mild boozy bitterness. Just the right amount of sweetness rounds off the anise flavor. I can't wait until the next sip...I really like this beer!! As the beer warmed, the anise flavor dominated all the other flavor combinations.

Mouthfeel: Creamy texture with the perfect blend of carbonation for this thicker style beer.

Overall: This a full body, "slow sipping" RIS for sure. I really enjoyed this one. One will do though, as you must be a fan of anise (licorice) to truly appreciate. I'f you didn't like the taste of black licorice (or Good 'N Plenty for that matter) as a kid then you probably won't like what Stone was trying to do with this beer. I would buy this again when I'm in the mood for a full-body RIS that stretches the flavor boundaries.

07-15-2011 23:14:48 | More by cmq103
Photo of buffs9


1.63/5  rDev -53.4%

Appearance: Very dark w/ a one finger tan head, a little lacing.

Smell: What I pick up here seems to be a mix of anise and taint.

Taste: Matches the smell fairly well, which isn't good. Licorice, ass and a bit of char.

Mouthfeel: Doesn't feel bad, just tastes bad. Decent body and texture.

Overall: I bought this based on a recommendation from one of the beer guys at my favorite shop. We talked about our mutual love for Abyss, and he said this was a great substitute. Not sure I'll listen to him next time...

07-15-2011 00:08:42 | More by buffs9
Photo of jimboween


4.58/5  rDev +30.9%

hello: lets face it, imperials complement snowstorms and turtlenecks more than tiki-bars and bikinis. it is only with the great merit of stone's RIS and my love for anise that i drink this during the hot part of florida's year.

appearance: it is a perfectly dark, moonless night in a glass. i can hear wolves. this is ed zachary what a stout should look like.

smell: even my nose can smell the anise. start brewing coffee in the other room, rip open a bag of black twizzlers then step back three feet from it, and you'll likely have a similar experience to smelling this beer.

taste: the experience comes in two parts. act 1 is all imperial stout: roasty, burned chocolatey coffeeness. act 2 is black liquorice. not like eating a black jellybean, per se, but more of a morphing trick. like when they take, say, a picture of a zebra's face and morph a picture of your face into the zebra. now do this same thing with tastes, starting with coffechocolate and ending with black liquorice.

mouthfeel: its a heavy bastard. but at 10.something%, i expected more of an alcohol burn or something. not really. it is very smooth and wonderful, and sneakily alcoholic.

overall: yeah, i gave it a high rating. but i am emotionally attached to the flavor of black liquorice. being greek, i am quite comfortable with my alcohol tasting like jellybeans *cough* ouzo *cough*. you like stoutes and liquorice? then have at it, its awesome!

07-14-2011 20:09:54 | More by jimboween
Photo of CampusCrew


4.5/5  rDev +28.6%

appearance: deep dark brown nearly black, nice dark brown head retention

smell: coffee, loaded chocolate, and some herbal sweet spice

taste: tons of dark raw chocolate, mixed with an abundant licorice flavor. It's big, but not over done. I loved it.

mouthfeel: full bodied

drinkability: I know other don't agree, but I love this beer.

07-14-2011 13:32:51 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of GregSVT


3.8/5  rDev +8.6%

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a dark black with a brown head that fades to a ring and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: At first all I could smell was cocoa and roasty chocolate malts but after a few sniffs I started picking up aromas of dark fruit and then a big whiff of black licorice. The licorice is definitely on the forefront after it settles...I can see why some people wouldn't like this, it smells like Jager in a beer.

T: The taste is full of the licorice from the smell along with some nice cocoa and vanilla flavors. There is a slight roasted malt flavor on the finish but the main component here is the licorice although it's not as pronounced as in the nose.

M: The feel is medium bodied and pretty creamy. Same as the original.

O: I can see why it's gotten such low scores...black licorice is a very acquired taste and even I don't like it but I can appreciate what Stone was trying to do here. The other flavors and aromas are definitely there if you can get past that anise/licorice stuff.

07-14-2011 03:47:27 | More by GregSVT


4/5  rDev +14.3%

22oz into tulip. 2011 release

A: Rich, sludgy black body pours a one finger light khaki head, that holds good retention. The visible level of carbonation is good for style. Lacing is left in small but sticky swaths. 

S: The aroma is fairly forward, with strong hints of anise and vanilla. A bit of a smoky note comes through on the finish.  Medium to strong intensity for style.

T/M: Body is rich in sweetness and nice silky character flows to the finish. The anise is present, but not to the point that it dominates the palate. Hop bitterness is lacking, but maybe due to the oak and anise. Roasted character is present, but not smokey. High overall sweet backbone.

O: A nise addition to the odd year beer series ;). Good, but rather have the original IRS. Having finished the bottle, the anise would blend better if there was a touch less used, but achieved the anise flavor profile. 

07-14-2011 02:12:47 | More by GDBEERMAN
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +10%

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.

07-13-2011 13:53:41 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of DovaliHops


2.08/5  rDev -40.6%

Pours a thick, fizzy black color with a small tan head that diminishes quickly. Scent is...HOLY SHIT! They weren't kidding with the anise... this thing is a black licorice bomb! And I hate black licorice! There are some chocolate and roasty notes as well, but the anise dominates. Taste is anise dominated as well. This awful flavor takes over throughout...with mellow roasted malt flavors and dark chocolate. A bit of coffee and oak as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied but not too sticky. Drinkability is low, as I HATE black licorice, and this beer just tastes like I'm eating a ton of it. That, or a handful of Good N' Plenty. Overall, this beer is AWFUL! I could see why people would like it, but I just can't stand black licorice. Give me the original IRS ANY DAY!

07-13-2011 05:36:43 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of Hatzilla


3.6/5  rDev +2.9%

A - A pitch-black oily pour a with a 2 inch head and lots of lacing.

S - Licorice, cocoa and dark fruit, but the licorice dominates the nose.

T - More licorice with oak, cocoa and dark fruits. Again the licorice is the dominant force, and the aftertaste is a lemon-licorice combination that I'm not crazy about.

M - Smooth, silky with low carbonation and a dry finish.

O - An interesting take on an IRS, but too heavy on the licorice for my liking.

07-13-2011 04:49:14 | More by Hatzilla
Photo of Dhren1979


4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Vuntage: 2011

Serving Type: 22 oz Bomber poured into a Tulip glass,

A: Pours a very dark brown, aklmost black but for hints of a reddish hue. The head is tough and doesn't want to leave as expected. Color is caramel. Lacing is tight.

S: Sugary malts but it is quickly overpowered by the roasted aroma of licorice.

T: A roasted licorice (anise) flavor which plays very well with the roasted coffee malts that are present.

M: Thisk as oil! Ok, not really but you get the picture.,,Carbonation is minimal which is expected with a RIS.

O: I like this stout a lot!! It's different from the other RIS that I have had and I like that creativity. I also love the taste of anise in the notes so this added a big plus for me. I know many people don't like real licorice taste so this may not be for everyone.

07-13-2011 04:04:37 | More by Dhren1979
Photo of jnn4v


3.58/5  rDev +2.3%

A: Looks fantastic. It's identical in pour to Stone's normal Russian Imperial Stout. I was expecting some additional head from the Belgian yeast, but apparently that's not happening. Black, viscous and next to no head.

S: Anise, licorice, coffee, dark chocolate, anise, and licorice. Maybe some Jägermeister too? Come to think of it, that's exactly what this is. Coffee Jägermeister.

T: Fortunately it's not nearly as repulsive as Jägermeister. Good Stone RIS base character - cocoa powder, molasses, and coffee, but definitely with heavy anise flavors at the beginning, middle and aftertaste. No hint of Belgian yeast in the flavor anywhere that I could find. And I'd have to really strain to pretend I could taste oak.

M: Texture is great - just like it looked in the appearance. Viscous, thick and only slightly carbonated. Just about right for a RIS.

O: My wife threatened to pour hers out immediately, but then again, she hates licorice. If you're not a big fan of anise, don't buy this beer. Then again, that should be self explanatory since anise is IN THE NAME of the beer. If you do like anise and Russian Imperial Stouts, you'll like the beer.

07-13-2011 00:14:33 | More by jnn4v
Photo of OakedCanuck


3.15/5  rDev -10%

22oz bottle into cervoise. from notes

A - Pours a nice medium black, slight brown edging. One finger sandy brown head. Medium lacing.

S - Lots of anise. Smells like the old black liquorice candies that grandma would give you when you were a kid. The old kind that were crazy powerful. Also pick up some chocolate, brown sugar and vanilla.

T - Very strong liquorice/anise which makes me remember the high school days of mixing cokes and sambuca. The chocolate/coffee/vanilla is also there, just like the classic Stone RIS. The belgo yeast is provides a faint funkiness but is drowned out by the anise bomb.

M - Medium, stinging, warming ABV.

O - An interesting experiment from Stone, as usual. I didn't really like it but I have had worse. As always, it is well constructed, just am not convinced about the ingredients.

07-12-2011 20:43:44 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.05/5  rDev +15.7%

22oz bottle into snifter in the 50's.

Pours with a short tan head over an opaque black body. Head fades quickly to ring, but no lacing.

Anise comes through strong in the aroma, but accompanied well by the sweetness of black strap molasses, vanilla, and cocoa.

Smooth and elegant on the palate. Flavors of dark chocolate, black licorice (star anise), rich coffee, sweet bread, and just a subdued hop bitterness in the finish. If I looked down and saw a mint sprig sitting in the glass, I would not be surprised.

The mouthfeel is terrific - starts off a bit sticky, but finishes with a rather a spritzy, dare-I-say Belgian lightness, which keeps it feeling more like 8%, not 10%.

I really enjoyed this one, and shocked to see it with such a low rating, unless people are not reading the label, or otherwise just averse to original takes on 'traditional' styles. Stone did a fine, fine job w/this one.

07-12-2011 05:35:27 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of MadCat

New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +38%

Stone seems to be getting some flack for these Odd Year releases. And they're not getting as good of reviews as the regular version does either. But I think this is a perfect example of Stone doing what Stone does best, making crazy beers that aren't for everybody, and it just so happens that they've finally hit the note where its clear that they aren't for all Beer Advocates either. Which is totally cool for me, because that hopefully means more Belgo Anise IRS for me!

Appearance: Like the standard IRS, this pours a thick black color with a muddy brown head that doesn't get too big or stick around, but it does leave decent lacing.

Smell: This is an anise bomb! Tons of anise in the nose, with plenty of chocolate, caramel, coffee, oak, and roasted malts in the background. A less discerning nose might only get anise out of this, but the beauty lies in that they didn't mask what makes the regular IRS so good.

Taste: Again, you get hit with tons of anise up front, with chocolate, caramel, coffee, oak, and roasted malts backing it up, and then a nice sweet anise finish to it. It is exactly what Stone says it is on the bottle, tons of anise! There is less bitterness to this than the regular IRS. I also don't detect any Belgian yeast flavors. But still a win in my book.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth, and creamy, low carbonation gives this a mouthfeel that is like drinking dessert.

Overall: This isn't for everybody, but I'm in love with it. It reminds me of when a friend and I put a shot of jaegarmeister into Guinness, but on a much more delicious scale. This was worth the wait with the massive delays.

07-11-2011 22:45:45 | More by MadCat
Photo of rdilauro


3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

Pours a deep dark black coffee chocolate color. I was excited to try this one since I've recently tasted Stone's Imperial Stout which I raved about.

The bouquet of this brew was not as brilliant as I was hoping or expecting. I did not sense the chocolate or coffee in terms of the stout

Right away I noticed more carbonation in this stout. I did start to pick up some coffee/expresso tones. I also noticed a little burnt caramel as well as a hint of vanilla.

I did not detect any oak and tasting so many wines over the years, oak is something I generally pick out pretty easily.

But I did enjoy this, not the best, but still a very good stout

07-11-2011 14:29:32 | More by rdilauro
Photo of dgilks


2.78/5  rDev -20.6%

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.

07-11-2011 04:53:04 | More by dgilks
Photo of BeardedRiker


3.6/5  rDev +2.9%

It's too bad this beer isn't getting to high of reviews. It definitely sounds like a stout that would taste excellent. It's also too bad that I'm not a liquorice fan either. :P But when I saw this at my local store I couldn't help but pick it up. A new, different beer from Stone? Even though the beer is a stout and it's summer here in Texas...yes please! Give me that beer.

Oh boy does this stout impress with its look. It is black as midnight. Black as coal. It's a black hole. Light cannot escape from it. Even when held up right in front of a light I can't see through it at all. The head pours thick and looks like a chocolate foam. It's so creamy-looking! It recedes fairly quickly and leaves some lacing.

If I said this smelled like liquorice would anyone be surprised? Well, that's the dominant smell but there is some sweetness there too like dark fruits. I think the oak chips soften up the nose because this doesn't have as strong of a smell overall as most stouts though it's difficult to smell much else than the anise (liquorice aroma). Dark malts are in there too. In some ways it smells sort of like a root beer but less sweet and liquorice being dominant. I'm not really sure what I should think about the smell. On one hand I'd say the anise is overpowering but on the other hand I've never smelled a beer like this. However, a good beer has balance to it and the smell is definitely not that albeit the smell is interesting and unique.

Taste in many ways is like the smell. The anise is very strong. I'd recommend letting this sit out for awhile before drinking because if you drink it very cold the anise is extremely overpowering, sort of like if you drink a very hoppy beer ice cold. With the anise there is a lot of warmth from the 10.5% ABV but it doesn't have a boozy taste. I'm not picking up the Belgian yeast much. Sweet chocolate and dark fruits come in at the end that helps balance out the beer more but in the end this beer is simply not balanced enough for me to really enjoy it. The flavors are good but the anise if just too overpowering.

I find it interesting that this is called an Imperial Russian Stout instead of an RIS. It's definitely not a heavy bodied beer like an RIS but it's still up there. If you disregard the overpowering anise, the Belgo Anise IRS (OMG! It's a government beer!) is pretty drinkable. It's syrupy and velvety with medium carbonation.

I think I'm with most here in saying this is an interesting try at a beer. The anise brings a different flavor that I've ever tried but it's too dominating to make this a more balanced and therefore much more enjoyable beer. Perhaps people who like liquorice will like this more but to me, and it seems the vast majority of others, think there's just way too much of it. I'm really not sure what to rate this overall. It's an interesting take and not something I've experienced before...but I don't like it too much. Maybe next time Stone you'll figure out how to balance this better.

07-11-2011 02:45:58 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of fdkayti


4.22/5  rDev +20.6%

A- Black black black with a two finger tan head, good retention. Heavy lacing.

S- Black licorice, and that's pretty much it. Spicy.

T- Dark chocolate, licorice. Jesus Christ a lot of licorice. The usual coffee flavors, maybe some dark fruit notes (black cherry?). Good spiciness.

MF- Thick and creamy but really fuzzy. Over the top carbonation. Heavy, almost hot chocolate like feel.

O/D- Cant taste the booze, which for 10.5 is pretty amazing, I think.Why do I continue to drink this style all summer? Because I love it so. Even for not being a black licorice eater, I still really liked it. Try this!

07-10-2011 22:49:49 | More by fdkayti
Photo of Diesel76


4.15/5  rDev +18.6%

Picked up a bottle at the stone brewery gift shop since my local stores did not have it in stock yet. (Also piced up a bottle of their regular IRS).

I cracked this one open first, and greatly enjoyed the Oaky flavor... it went very well with the Tri Tip I had grilled up for dinner.

Nice thick pour... I love not being able to see thru my pint glass... I enjpoyed this so much I went and picked up two more bottles and have them stored in my wine fridge to enjoy this winter!

07-10-2011 20:29:43 | More by Diesel76
Photo of biglite351


3.23/5  rDev -7.7%

A - black as night. Tall tight brown head.

S - licorice (the anise obviously) malts,dark chocolate with a hint of hop.

T - licorice, cocoa powder, malt, yeast and just a hint of hop bitterness in the finish.

M - tingle through entire mouth and tongue. Potentially too much tingle. Medium amount of coating.

O - you MUST be in the mood for licorice and not mind the bitter hit.

07-10-2011 20:25:33 | More by biglite351
Photo of zaphodchak


3.95/5  rDev +12.9%

Half finger tan head, dark garnet body.

Nose is soooo anise. Delicious licorice.

Taste follows the nose, quite bitter with a bunch of anise to temper it. Pretty dry otherwise.

Mouthfeel is a bit prickly, but good.

This is big on anise, but I'm not picking up the Belgian yeast. Still quite nice if you like licorice.

07-10-2011 03:24:25 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.9/5  rDev +11.4%

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.

07-09-2011 15:16:49 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of nickfl


3.18/5  rDev -9.1%

A - Pours with half a finger of orange-tan head on an opaque, black body. The foam disappears quickly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S - Earthy notes of chocolate and licorice with a bit of clove. Surprisingly little else, maybe a little molasses but that's about it.

T - Dark sugar notes up front with lots of molasses and brown sugar as well as some licorice. Some slightly fruity notes of cherry and red apple in the middle as well as a bit of tobacco. The dark sugar dominates the finish and the anise is right there with it in a sort of charred, woody way.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - To be honest, this sounded a lot better than it turned out to be. The anise works with the dark malt in a strange way that makes it come off more like licorice with a very dark, syrupy character rather than the bright, spicy notes I would normally expect. The Belgian yeast character is kind of subdued and only contributes a few fruity apple and cherry notes in the middle. The oak is really the last straw as it gives the beer an astringent harshness in the finish and contributes to the burnt character of the molasses notes. It isn't quite a drain pour, but it is pretty disappointing and I definitely won't be drinking this beer again.

07-09-2011 05:12:18 | More by nickfl
Photo of smcolw


3.7/5  rDev +5.7%

Dark brown where light only passes through the glass edge. Tan head that settles to a single layer of bubbles. Leaves ring lace after each sip.

Dark malt aroma with a light tinge of licorice. No coffee or dark chocolate smells.

Imagine Good-n-Plenty dissolved in a dry porter. It doesn't have any of the burnt elements of a Stout. I'm fascinated by the taste--this unlike any beer I've ever had. So, I have to give it points for originality. The main taste and the aftertaste is mostly licorice (anise). Thinner than most stouts.

Worthy of a try because it is a very different beer.

07-09-2011 01:17:20 | More by smcolw
Photo of mindlucent2007


3.95/5  rDev +12.9%

Pours a menacing black body with a quarter-inch tan bubbly and fluffy head that settles into a small mass. There appears to be lower carbonation and pretty much no lacing. The scent is smokey, molasses, coffee and licorice. Taste is dominated by the anise, but at the same time it is not overdone. This is a smooth stout and carbonation is very low. I don't sense a strong kick to this brew and it definitely has a light mouthfeel with no aftertaste, except a faint trace of coffee. No alcohol detected at all. A well-developed Imperial Russian Stout and you can tell that Stone took the right approach as usual delivering a unique and complex, but very drinkable heavier style stout. A great style and one of the better stouts I have experienced in a minute.

07-09-2011 01:15:38 | More by mindlucent2007
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 907 ratings.