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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.

901 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 901
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: 901 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, allowed to warm some before being poured into my DFH signature glass.

Stone's first official Odd Year IRS release pours an uncompromsing black, with close to three fingers of surprisingly frothy mocha foam serving as a crown for the beer (perhaps a bit of influence from the Belgian yeast strain). The nose is fairly heavy on the black licorice notes, but there is a faint coffee/chocolate hint of the base beer struggling to be heard as well. The flavor is still anise heavy, though not quite as much so as the nose suggested. Any spicy phenols from the Belgian yeast play right into accenting the notes of licorice. Those faint coffee/chocolate notes are my only reprieve with each sip. The body is on the full side, though not quite as much as most stouts (I suppose increased attenuation should have been expected with the switch in yeast strain), and has a solidly low key carbonation. If a licorice flavor works for me in a beer, it's in small doses, adding another layer to an already tasty beer. For me, it can't come close to carrying a beer as the main attraction. With so many options for an Odd Years beer (I would love to have seen a chilies treatment similar to one of GK Mad Man blend that was making the rounds last year), a brew that could be aka'd as Stone IRS: Jager Barrel Edition just doesn't quite cut it.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 04:46:12 | More by axeman9182
Photo of Krakistophales


4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a finger of caramel colored head that recedes into lacing.

S: Big time aromas of anise, liquorice, dark roast, black coffee, caramel, and toffee.

T: The anise and liquorice is first and foremost, then fades into a dark roast/coffee/espresso bitterness, finishing with a slightly creamy sweetness and more of the anise/liquorice.

M: Definitely more of a buzz than from the original from the anise/liquorice, warms well, good carbonation.

O: I think I like the standard edition better, but this is definitely a tasty treat. Strong on the liquorice/anise, but I like that, and plus, what did you expect with a name like "belgo anise"?

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 02:16:58 | More by Krakistophales
Photo of NefariousR


4.38/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. glass bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Same familiar, blacker-than-Hades appearance I'd expect from a typical Stone RIS. However, the head's a bit thinner and dissipates more quickly as well.

S - Dark coffee, chocolates, vanilla, a bit of licorice, and a lot of dark fruits, the aroma is extremely floral and complex.

T - A primary assault of dark coffee is quickly overtaken by a strong anise flavor and a slightly Belgian-flavored malt body. Tastes vaguely of gin in the aftertaste.

M - Somewhat lighter than expected, but still fairly thick. Medium-carbonation.

O - This is one of the most interesting beers I've had in a long time. I wouldn't say it's better than the standard Stone RIS, but the two are really incomparable. Get a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 01:57:11 | More by NefariousR
Photo of BobZ


3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. Bottle poured into my Duvel Tulip. 2011 odd-year release.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black. A richer head than the traditional Stone RIS, about a ½” that recedes to a ¼” and hangs around, nice lacing too.

Smell: Roasted malt, followed by the anise/licorice, also a bit of chocolate & coffee.

Taste: Just like the nose, big on the roasted malt bitterness, I found the anise to be noticeable without being overwhelming. I liked the combination of initial smoothness from the Belgian yeast followed by the anise flavor; however, the bitterness of the roasted malt is heavy and it combines with the alcohol to finish with an almost “burning” sensation (bordering on astringent).

Mouth feel: Very smooth up front but the finish is a bit harsh.

Overall: Again, I liked the initial combination of flavor; however, the finish was way too hot, maybe this will mellow with some age. I may give this one some time in the cellar and try it again in a year or so.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 01:53:29 | More by BobZ
Photo of John_M


3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
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).

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 16:32:59 | More by John_M
Photo of Eldalonde


1.98/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Black pour with a full thick creamy tan head and sheets of lace clinging to the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate and loads of licorice, anise, coffee, and subtle hints of oak. The anise is really strong in the aroma and is really dominate.

T - Chocolate, loads of anise and licorice, coffee, belgian yeast, booze, and spices. The anise is so strong and overpowering that it turns this beer rather one dimensional. A bitter burnt roasted malt and spicy finish.

M - Somewhat oily and flat.

O - One needs to love licorice in order to really appreciate this. Just way too much licorice for me. Was not able to finish this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 13:33:05 | More by Eldalonde
Photo of Jparkanzky


3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From bottle into snifter.

Reviewing for the sake of future update, as I believe this one certainly is not best consumed fresh.

A) Looks great... deep dark black with a thick cocoa head.

S) You can smell the anise along with hints of chocolate and vanilla. Fairly pleasant.

T) The flavors hidden within are great but the presence of alcohol and strength of the anise are far too much.

M) Good carbonation but the alcohol burns the palate.

O) Great potential for the future, but not recommended fresh.

I split a 22oz bottle with my wife. I had placed the bottle purchased that day in the fridge for many hours and removed it 30 minutes before pouring. After pouring, I immediately took a sip (which was much too cold) and had doubts as to whether I would want to finish the entire glass due to the heavy taste of alcohol and bite it had behind it. I let the glass sit at room temperature for 30 more minutes and began drinking it, and when it was all said and done, I finished my glass of approximately 11oz's 3hrs after first taking the bottle from the fridge.

The final few ounces were much much better, so if you insist on drinking this fresh, I would drink it at or near room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 13:31:11 | More by Jparkanzky
Photo of colforbin73


3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a VERY WELL MADE beer -- and when you break it down -- and read the words -- you should know what you are getting into with this one -- ANISE. know what that means?: black liquorice, absinthe, ouzo, jagermeister.

pours a rich gloppy black -- a deep burgundy black plop in the glass settles with a rich dark tan head and burbly brew texture -- made by a witch?.... the aroma is a DEAD STOP. take your time with this beer. no need to rush. there is oak in there somewhere...

you get amazing depths of flavor as this beer warms. beneath the spicy aromatic liquorice there is a rich chocy malt profile -- the texture is super rich and sweet with a good touch of oak. there is adequate bitterness but this beer is all malt, anise and rich silver spoons attitude.

given the choice, i would take a straight RIS -- but this is a rich rewarding beer. try it with something salty like a good sausage or even a pepperoni pizza...

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 05:42:54 | More by colforbin73
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch tan head that fades to a thin cap. Random lattices of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of Good & Plenty candy first and foremost along with minor hints of wood and roasted malt. Slight whiffs of soy sauce come out as the beer warms. Definitely an interesting smell in a RIS, let alone any beer to be honest. I like black licorice, so I am not as wary of the smell as other reviewers are. Taste opens up with black licorice flavors that slowly fade into dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and wood flavors. The aftertaste is the same as you get from eating lots of black licorice. The mouthfeel on this beer is quite weird too. It's a bit flat with a smooth and thick feel, but the anise seems to have a numbing effect on the palate. I don't like the mouthfeel at all because of this. Overall, I am somewhat unimpressed with this beer. I know Stone is trying to be different with their "Odd Beers For Odd Years" campaign and this is a pretty odd beer. It's not bad per se but the anise/black licorice smell and taste are very one dimensional and pretty much overpower anything else this beer has to offer. For example, I detect no Belgian yeast in the smell or taste of this beer whatsoever. I only bought one bottle to give this a shot and I am glad I did because I will not be buying any more of this version. I love the normal Stone IRS but this one is just way off the mark in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 04:10:47 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BEERMILER12


3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 "Odd Year" Release

A: Pours pitch black with about 1/2 an inch of chocolate brown head

S: Dark fruits most likely from the Belgian yeast along with fairly strong notes of anise/black licorice, faint notes of oak, chocolate, coffee and malts. Pretty much what you'd expect given the 'amped up' regular version

T: Pretty much dominated by the anise and yeast. The other aspects that usually make this an amazing beer are overshadowed, and the oak is barely present

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Not cloying, and none of the flavors, not even the anise, stick around for too long

O: Not bad, and definitely holds up to the name, but you REALLY have to like black licorice or else you will not like this beer

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 02:20:47 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of surprenant1138


2.23/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

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

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2011 02:15:18 | More by surprenant1138
Photo of srandycarter


3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours very black, not much head, ring and some spot lace.

S - Black licorice first, malt second.

T - Matches smell completely.

M - Medium body, good carb, cleans up pretty well by end of sip.

D - Was afraid from the review to try. Anise is not my favorite spice, but I find it works with this brew. Different and fun. Wouldn't want it all night and probably would never try it again, but definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 06:37:11 | More by srandycarter
Photo of Ynot2


2.55/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was excited to try this beer, I love most Stone beers and this should be no exception.

Pours a black, solid dark with 2 finger deep beige head. This looks nice in the tulip glass.

Aromas of alcohol, spices, oak?, Belgian yeast, earth, and caramel maybe waft up as I bring the glass towards my nose.

Initial flavors hit the tongue and I think WTF? Way too spicy and sweet, alcohol and licorice but nothing melds together in a good way. Not sure what the goal was, but pretty sure they missed the mark.

Mouthfeel is pretty good for a Belgo. No real complaints but nothing that blows me away. Thick enough, and creamy, decent carbonation but could have been bumped up a notch.

Overall, not impressed. The spices were too strong and varied to enjoy the complexity I think they were going for. Glad the standard IRS was released this year as well as it is great.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 04:20:00 | More by Ynot2
Photo of Trilogy31


3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an obsidian black with a frothy two fingers of mocha tinged head leaving pretty lacing, impressive appearance. The nose has hints of mint chip, licorice slight hints of chicory coffee and roasted malt with the faintest wisp of belgian yeast spice. The taste brings prominent notes of mint chocolate chip ice cream up front, brandy barrel spices, cacao. Finishes with very dry cocao powder and oaky tannins. I was somewhat impressed by this beer and the mint chocolate notes i enjoy i can see as being interpreted as unpleasant. Good beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 03:34:35 | More by Trilogy31
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic


3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours into my snifter jet black with a little more than a finger of mocha colored head that had moderate retention and lots of sticky lacing.

S - Deep roasted malts, lots of anise, sweet molasses, chocolate, vanilla, oak and spice.

T - Anise and oak are both very upfront and present, has a nice spice to it, a little on the sweet side with chocolate and vanilla, roasted malts kind of take a backseat to all the other flavors, finish is a touch on the warm side.

M - Smooth and creamy, just a little on the thin side to me.

O - This is really very enjoyable, as long as your an anise fan of course! Definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 02:41:23 | More by StoneBrewFanatic
Photo of jayhawk73


4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep black w/ a beautiful two finger chocolate head into my snifter. Just about perfect looking beer. Impossibly black, great carbonation and lacing.

S- Toast, chocolate, coffee, malt.. Nice smelling beer. Just wish the smell was a touch stronger. Not quite as good as the IRS version.

T- All the smells present here. Really nice beer. Not quite up to the level of IRS, but it's really well done. Enjoyed this one quite a bit.

M- Rich, luxurious, velvety. Very nice. Great aftertaste as well.

O- Great beer. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 00:15:26 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of Beejay


3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Voluptuous chocolate colored head, atop a very black beer.

S: A nice strong chocolate smell, followed by a bitter black licorice scent. There is definitely a candy like smell about this one.

T: Rich chocolate malt, with touches of fruit. The licorice flavor comes out in the finish alongside a strong earthy bitterness. The anise really adds a level of complexity that I don't think could be achieved through the regular brewing process. Perhaps not amazing, but certainly well executed and tasty.

M: Medium bodied, and creamy smooth. Carbonation is a bit low though.

O: Overall quite tasty, something very interesting, and a good departure from the norm.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 00:05:08 | More by Beejay
Photo of BeerLover99


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

A: opaque black, 1 finger oatmeal head, cool lacing

S: belgian yeast, citrus, hint of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, licorice

T: sweet yeast, big malt, spices, roasted nuts, slight boozy finish seems a little too chaotic on the palate

M: med, smooth, mild chewy, could be heavier
(Baltic porter body)

O: I was intrigued by this beer, picked it up.
Big sipping adventure. I think it tries to do too much.
Think I'll pass on getting this again; the Stone
RIS was amazing, but this was just too odd.


Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 23:02:59 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of mondegreen


2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz Bomber into a Stone IRS tulip.

Pours jet black with a two finger khaki head. Nice looking, healthy IRS heritage here.

Nose is... alarming. Is that spicy licorice? WTF? A distinctive roasted sweetness and hot alcohol notes keep this thing from falling off the map right away. Smells decent, but things just seem out of place.

Tastes like someone dropped a licorice potpourri in my Stone IRS. I cannot believe Stone was going to make this the only release if IRS this year. Thank God they changed thier minds. Anyways, this thing is way way way overspiced. They could have cut the spices by half and still been overpowering.

Mouth is great for a Belgo Stout. These things are usually water thin, but this one has a nice character.

Overall, this I an experiment gone awry. I'm getting no oak, which COULD have helped balance this thing out a little. I'm not sure who Stone's target audience is with this spice bomb. Bored housewives? Santa's elves? Whatever. I'm sticking with regular IRS for the rest of the year.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 19:38:33 | More by mondegreen
Photo of david18

New York

3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on a recent visit to Rattle N Hum in Manhattan's midtown area. I'd never heard of this style so naturally I was very curious about it. Not crazy for it but interesting nonetheless.

Appearance was very dark with a medium size, and also dark, head. Carbonation did stick around for a while and left a bunch of lacing.

Aroma was kind of a mess. Combination of the belgian yeast with the dark fruit and roastiness of the malt resulted in an uncomplimentary combination.

The flavor was also bit all over the place. Strong alcohol combined with roastiness combined with a sweetness; all of which didn't blend well.

Overall, like many "belgo" american hybrids, I think this beer missed the mark.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2011 19:30:01 | More by david18
Photo of ktrillionaire


1.9/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I should've just stuck with the regular Stone IRS. That is all you really need to read.

A - It pours jet-black, with less head than the regular version. Average RIS.

S - The nose is just exactly like the Brach's root beer barrel candies. Exactly. The only other thing I could compare it to is a Key West Root Beer (1 part Jägermeister, 1 part root beer Schnapps, splash of Coke...) which is also a dead-ringer.

T - It tastes like 2 parts melted root beer barrel candy, 1 part Vodka with a float of black Sambuca and garnished with a black licorice stick. I like black licorice. I do not like this beer whatsoever.

M - Feels like a normal RIS. I cannot allow much of the repulsive fluid into my gullet, so I cannot dig for specifics.

O - Though I am not the boss at Stone, nor am I privy to any inside information... this one is a one-and-done. It has to be. MFs are losing their livelihood if this travesty is perpetrated again.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 18:19:20 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of scootny

New York

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

A Huge head that has me licking the sides of my glass like an ice cream cone. Beautiful near black brew with a streaked head of light and dark brown. Layered nose with big anise facet that gives way to dark fruits, cherries, oak, smoke, and molasses. Nice chocolate as well. Taste follows nose with a well integrated alcohol sweetness and firm bitterness as well. Lingering bits of molasses and bread as well as anise and sweet booze. Feel is lighter than it has a right to be and creamy smooth as well. A fine beer that while flamboyant in anise is well crafted and quite drinkable. Very good stuff here.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 05:35:25 | More by scootny
Photo of trappistlover


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(22oz bottle from Total Wine Desert Ridge). Pours black with a massive khaki head. Aroma has licorice, chocolate and some dark fruit. Taste is dominated by anise and it has some sweetness and a touch of roasty bitterness. Full bodied with slick texture. Finish is quite smooth even with the anise. Some alcohol is noticeable. I’m torn on this one. I love anise and I love the idea behind this beer, but I wasn’t blown away as I had hoped

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 07:48:21 | More by trappistlover
Photo of smakawhat


3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 02:40:31 | More by smakawhat
Photo of SirSketch


3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Thin head that retains well and has a mocha color. The beer is basically black with only a minute reddish-brown color peaking through.

S - Chocolate black licorice, and some vanilla. There may be a bit of fruity alcohol and clove, but the star anise blankets much of the other aromas.

T - More roast and less chocolate than in the nose, tropical fruit that reminds me of canned pineapple, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Then comes the licorice, star anise flavor that takes the reigns and makes for a strong, overpowering licorice aftertaste.

M - A bit thinner than I remember the original, maybe from the yeast strain or oak. Not off-putting, though.

O - Although I love the initiative and experimental attitude, this is really a 'kitchen-sink' beer that is so much less enjoyable than the standard IRS.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 02:33:57 | More by SirSketch
Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 901 ratings.