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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.

910 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 910
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: 910 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the typical malty-rich coffee, chocolate, and molassas flavor of the standard IRS, this Anise Belgo version offers the complementary flavors of licorice, over all fruitiness, and a spicy bit that seems to amplify hop bitterness.

As expected, the Anise Belgo IRS pours a deep and dark brown that's just a hair from pitch black and total opaqueness. A dense and froathy blanket of foam coats the surface with medium tan foam and an impressive display of lace. Hard to keep the appearance off of top mark honors.

French roast coffees, cocoa, heavy toast, and molassas laden maltiness set the stage, but the complimentary notes of licorice, raisons, red grapes, blackberries, and figs all make marks on aroma.

Rich and lavish flavors of the coffee and cocoa dominate the palate while a dance of walnuts, figs, anise, berries, and a dash of sherry begin to decorate the peripheries and announce themeselves individually with each sip. Very complex as layers upon layers of flavor come wave after wave. Delicious throughout, especially for those who like their stouts with more estery character. Even the hops combine with the yeasty phenolics for an increased bitterness, citrusy, and white pepper impact especially in the finish.

Full bodied and extremely creamy, the beer takes on chewy proportions until after mid palate where the carbonation disipates and the malty-dry textrues usher in an alcoholic warming and peppery spice on the tongue and throat.

The Belgian yeast strains seem to be keep the stout a bit clean but create a salty, briney flavor along with estery fruitiness and phenolic spices. All come together in a very bitey and bitter conclussion. Though not preferred to the standard IRS, this Anise Belgo version is a great variant from the original.

BEERchitect, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of MCorrea
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pours pitch black with with an off white head. The head quickly fades, leaving a tan collar.

S- Lots of licorice and Dark chocolate. As the beer warms up, the anise really comes to the forefront.

T- A wallop of licorice, chocolate, slight oak.The anise rises to the forefront on the finish. I'm surprised that I don't taste as much of the belgo yeast influence as I was expecting. Especially since it was so apparent in the Belgo Old Guardian (and not really in a good way).

M- Probably my favorite part of this beer. Nice, chewy, creamy, smooth. Wonderful.

O- A cool interpretation of an already solid beer. Stone IRS ages with the best of 'em, so I'm going to stash one away and revisit in a few years.

MCorrea, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

IRS Belgo Anise on tap at Valhalla in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, part of an upcoming Stone event there. Surprised to find this new release on tap after I just had and reviewed the bottled version.

Appearance: Served on a twelve-ounce thick goblet for eight dollars, IRS Anise comes looking a deep, unfathomable black, with less than a finger of head that nevertheless remains throughout. Along with the good retention there is a thick lace around the glass.

Smell: Salted black liquorice harking back to the wife’s childhood. Cookies, yeast, a tad of spice. Underwhelming nose that should be way better, but at least the "Belgo" part is present here, unlike in the bottled version.

Taste: Smoke, coal, darkness. A tad of burning wood and hops. The anise is much less pronounced than in the nose. Tingly finish, a lip-smacker! Some chocolate melting on a pot in the stove with British-style hard sugar diamonds.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, flavor and carbonation. Smooth, pleasant, but a little too thin for such a big beer. Too heavy on the anise, but more balanced than the bottled version.

Overall: Extremely drinkable! You could pound and chug this, despite the hefty ABV. It is, however, a bit of a disappointing beer. Enjoyable all around, but really, I expect so much more from a Stone Imperial Stout! Better on tap than in a bottle, as the anise is more evenly distributed and the Belgian yeast and oak do come to play a bit. Still, there is no reason to stray from the classic release or come back to this for seconds.

DoubleSimcoe, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of GhettoFabulous
2.35/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I cracked open a bomber of this expecting a joyous evening of black licorice-infused imperial stout. I am an absolute fiend for black licorice, and am a huge fan of the Abyss and Uintas Labyrinth - two phenomenal RIS's that employ anise with great success. Basically, as a big fan of the regular Stone IRS and anise, I was excited as hell to try this beer.

After cracking the bottle and pouring it into my tulip, the utter blackness of the beer was striking - seemingly even darker than the regular version of the stout, which says something considering the vacuous darkness of the original. It really looks beautiful pouring into the glass, leaving a nice finger of brown foam and is looking like the perfect carbonation level for an imperial stout.

Taking a whiff of this sludge, there is a modicum of smokiness and oak, but black licorice absolutely inundates the olfactory center. At first I think this is a good thing, because I am an overzealous black licorice aficionado, but after taking my first sip, I have to reconsider. The anise is so strong in this beer that it dominates the chocolate, vanilla and wooden notes that you can suss out with your taste buds if you try really hard. The mouthfeel is also disappointing, in that the carbonation which looked good upon pouring has really dissipated and taken much of the life out of the beer.

The life that this beer does have is pure anise. This tastes like someone melted down a bucket of black licorice, mixed it with some alcohol and poured it in a glass. The heat is really strong and practically fuming with alcohol. Absinthe, though even hotter than this, seems a closer relative than the original Stone IRS.

Overall, very disappointed with this. The overwhelming anise flavor in this beer shows that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. At $5.50 this a nicely priced beer, but i can't help feeling stupid for having bought four bottles of it assuming it would be delicious. I struggled, but succeeded in finishing this bomber, and I have to recommend that you find at least a few others to split this with if you're inclined to try it - though it is more of a flavor oddity than a delicious beer actually worth your time. This is not a very successful beer and I have to wonder what it might have been like if Stone had cut the anise by say, 75%.

GhettoFabulous, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lightproof black colored beer with a small brown head.

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

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

Mouthfeel is thick.

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

Zorro, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.6/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Zaya rum tasting glass. Black like coke mixed with tar. A finger of dark tan head. Very sticky lacing, head doesn't last long. Smells straight up like a black licorice stick. Overwhelming. Same taste up front. Some coffee bitterness on the finish. Booze is hidden well. Tacky, sticky drying finish. Coffee. Tannins. Amazing if you like licorice. If not, stay away.

WestValleyIPA, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

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

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

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

M: Big and full, hearty. No issues.

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

barleywinefiend, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

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

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

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

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

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

Halcyondays, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of Manoftyr
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Pours black, not 'quite' motor-oil slick though, a sizable medium-tan head rises and bubbles its way back down to a film. Good lacing and legs.

Aroma-Huge notes of star anise and black licorice are immediately apparent, they weren't kidding when they said this beer screams it. I also pick up aromas of molasses, cocoa and coffee but its buried under there.

Taste-While the anise is still a star player it isn't nearly as huge as it is in the aroma, a good thing in my book. The first flavors are that of rich dark cocoa and black coffee which are cut almost immediately by the anise right before mid palette, plenty of licorice in there. The finish is the most 'blackly bitter' finish I've ever tasted on a beer; this is a pretty unique creation.

Mouthfeel-The mouthfeel is full, but not lusciously so; the carbonation is between reserved and assertive, kind of neutral.

Overall/Drinkability-Well, if the goal was to make a beer that screams anise then Stone certainly accomplished what they set out to do. The anise character is a bit harsh, even if tasty and refreshing, so that makes this a slow sipper.

Manoftyr, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I added this despite the already existing Belgo IRS as an assumption that it was an earlier iteration of the proposed Belgo Anise Release, and essentially a different beer due to how long ago it was originally added to the database and that it was a Tap Takeover version. If not correct, Bros., feel free to delete and move my review to the former. Cheers!

A - As expected, this looks fantastic. Black as night, vicious pour, solid two finger mocha head and nice lace. Classic Stone IRS. I know that aspect will end with the aroma...

S - There's a myriad of things going on at all times. At times, it's a bold chocolate, roasted, burnt malts, coffee roast bitterness, espresso. And then you get the additions. The anise is fairly bold itself, definitely more than usual. And there's very distinctive spicy, Belgian yeast notes and definite woodiness. Though it's a very nice smelling IRS, I have to hold the regular as the control here, and it's not quite as good.

T - All the normal 2011 characters are here: Big chocolate/dark chocolate, burnt malts, roasted and toasted notes, big coffee with some bitter roast notes. In addition, the anise is more intense along with the same spicy Belgian yeast tastes. The oak plays a more miner roll here, and subtlety works. The usual tastes are still as intense as ever, so the new additions have a hard time overpowering, which is good.

M - Full bodied, thick, chewy, great as always.

O - Though I definitely like the normal version more, this is still an amazing RIS and a welcomed, unique spin on my favorite RIS of all time.

EgadBananas, May 23, 2011
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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 910 ratings.