Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

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918 Ratings
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Ratings: 918
Reviews: 440
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 22%
Wants: 19
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: 918 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TommyW
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A- Black body with a one finger, tan/brown head.

S- Smell of anise and roasted malts. A little of the Belgian yeast aroma pops through as well.

T- Big hit of anise right away, this faded slightly to let some more of the standard Stone IRS flavors come through (roasted and chocolatey). There is a little bit of the Belgian yeast character there as well, but it is brief.Then the anise came back and lingered for a bit. Just a little too much anise flavor for me.

M- Full body with a smooth, easy carbonation.

D- A very good stout with a twist (the twist being lots of anise). For me, I'd prefer the standard version to this, but I must say I'm glad to have tried this.

Photo of thepeter
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.

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

Poured into my Stone IRS Snifter. Has a super black color. Thin tan head dissapated to a slight film and ring. Ok lacing.

Aroma is very black liquorish forward. Mostly just roasty after that.

Taste has a bit of caramel but not as much as the aroma would suggest. Seems like those Belgian yeast flavors and the strong roast are kinda clashing.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bite in the finish. Good carb.

Overall I like regular IRS better. This is just OK.

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a two-finger, light brown head of foam. The long lasting head had large bubbles and left some sudsy sheets of foam on the glass.

S - It smelled a little fruity with raisin and plum notes. There was a touch of black licorice and some chocolate aroma.

T - It tasted strongly of black licorice and burnt molasses. There was an underlying blend of chocolate, toffee and caramel.

M - It was crisp, sharp and velvety smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a clean finish.

O - This was a good RIS. If you don't like black licorice this probably won't be your thing.

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

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. The pour is jet black with a very thin tan head, light lacing. The anise is definitely noticable in the nose, hints of chocolate and booze. The first sip reminded me of anise based Christmas cookies, there were also notes of chocolate, vannilla, it finished with spices and light heat. The beer is creamy, full bodied, light carbonation, hints of alcohol. Not as good as the original, not bad, but why mess with a good thing.

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

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel tulip.

A – Black as night with zero light peeking out. Two fingers of milk chocolate head that settles down to a cover. Good lacing.

S – They weren’t kidding…big star anise smell. Mocha, chocolate, molasses, licorice and coffee.

T – This one tastes a lot like the smell. Star anise and black licorice are the first tastes and they are big. Chocolate and coffee follow behind but are not big. This is not sweet. Roasty all the way through. Finishes with a coffee bitterness.

M – Creamy, full bodied, moderately carbonated.

O – Overall I like this but boy can I see why some hate it. If you do not like the taste of black licorice this is not going to be for you. Wish there was a bit more sweetness in it but overall this is pretty decent. Warm it up and the tastes improve.

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.

Photo of inlimbo77
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgo Anise IRS '11. Poured this one into my Victory Golden Monkey tulip. Waited nearly a year, and still a little scared of what lies under the cap!

A: Pours pitch black. No light getting through here. Maybe some blood reddish hues around the edges at the top. About a half finger of tannish head. Fades down quickly. There are some alcohol feet.

S: I guess that Anise has died a little bit. I get dark bitter chocolate, black licorice, and some dark fruit actually. Not a lot of roast but it is quite cold. Some of that Belgian yeast comes through too.

T: I know this one was panned last year, but I find this to be rather pleasant with a year of age on it. It's different that the regular IRS that is for sure. You get some dark chocolate bitterness up front, and some of that Belgian yeast spice. The Anise is there in the form of black licorice but it's no where near as in your face as I'd heard others mention. You get it on the close and it hangs with you for a while.

M: Full bodied but carbonation help to clear palate. Pretty drinkable.

Photo of jera1350
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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

A-pours a silky deep brown black with a thin layer of tan head

S-roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of smoke

T-Roasted malts, molasses start out and then bitter coffee and dark chocolate finish. The anise is somewhat in the middle with a slight licorice spice to it. The yeast gives it more of a sweeter, lighter finish than most other RIS

M-medium body, very light carbonation, leaves a bitter coffee like coating on the mouth

Not as good as the standard Stone RIS but pretty interesting

Photo of psuKinger
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

"2011 Odd Year Release", Bomber poured into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout Tulip.

A: Dark dark black with a frothy lively light brown head on top that dissipated quickly but clung nicely to the glass. 5.0

S: Deep dark roasted malts and I pick up some Oak as well. Im picking up on some coffee and coacoa, and there's also something in this that I can't describe... Perhaps the "anise" that I am unfamiliar with? 4.0

T: wow. This beer is an amalgam of "Bold" and "Delicate". The big roasty flavors of Stone RIS are present, but the oak is present yet gentle and softening. The beer starts big and roasty, with hints of coffee as well. before the hops step in at the middle, bringing some floral and bittering qualities. Then the oak comes through on the finish, and blends nicely with the hops. Flavors of vanilla and coacoa shine through on the finish, as well. The oak really smoothes this guy out; no alcohol burn is detectable.

While the oak is "mellowing" and the vanilla and cocoa notes intriguing, I like a little more hop "punch" to my imperial stouts... 4.0

M: heavy and viscous, carbonation is present but difficult to detect behind the heft of this brew. 4.0

D/O: a unique brew, definitely worth a try. But it "wore" on me as I worked my way through the bomber. Not terribly drinkable; it didn't leave me wanting more. In fact, I was ready to move on well before my 22-ounce bomber was emptied. 2.0

Photo of maximum12
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glad to have found this, the first year the Stone IRS have been available in the Twin Cities, & they vanished fast in most places. Luckily, the holes in the walls hang on to them a mite longer. Split with my wife, who is watching Heidi Klum, which always seems like a smart thing to do.

Pours is black, about tells that story. Smell is rich as trump, decadent chocolate, more chocolate, a weird/pleasing edge that must be star anise, cocoa chocolate, samuel jackson chocolate. Damn man, that's one good smell.

Stone Belgo Anise IRS smells great, is very filling, & doesn't taste as good as the nose promises. The Belgian yeast is overdone & distracting, being the first thing that leaps out of the morass of soulless black. The great chocolate nose goes MIA with only patterings of powdered cocoa showing. Malts are tangled up in the sweetness of the anus, I mean anise, & taste like sweet black licorice. Nice & creamy, but this would be tough slogging through more than 11 oz.

It's finally come to me: this tastes like Jaegermeister's lightweight little brother. Does that bring back a few bad memories or what? Glad I got to try it, but this is one & done for me, a good beer that stretches the boundaries. Always glad to see that.

Photo of SawDog505
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

13 oz tulip. A wonderful pitch black, with a 1 inch dark brown head, that sticks around for 4 minutes. Then it settles into a little film. The smell starts with cocoa, liquorice, coffee, & booze. Taste is all that, with a little more liquorice & booze then the smell would have u expect. Body a touch thin, with plenty of carbonation. It is different than so many of the other RIS, solid beer.

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.

Photo of 1Adam12
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a bottle of this tonight with a friend that is moving away. Poured jet black, maybe an inch head on it. Smelled like licorice. Also tasted like licorice, some malt. More licorice than anything I've ever had. Mouthfeel was creamy and full. I think this needs some time to sit. The licorice is too overpowering right now and I'm hoping that with time it will fade some and have more flavors in it. Good brew, but IMO it needs a lot of time to age.

Photo of cjacobsen
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(A) Pours opaque black with a qtr inch brown head on it.

(S) Licorice, licorice, dark malts, licorice, coffee, and licorice.

(T) Not nearly as big on the licorice/anise as the nose, but it's still very present. It's not as overwhelming as I expected. I'm not a huge fan of black licorice, but the taste in the anise blends well with the cocoa and coffee and the roasted qualities of the malts. Fairly well blended.

(M) Very smooth, just like the original stout. Ends less dry than the original, but well balanced.

(O) Ok, the smell was a bit off-putting, but expected. Worst beer ever made? No, not by a long shot. Tastes like pepperoni? Not even. It was different, heavy on the anise in the nose but not as heavy in the taste, and still a well made beer. I'm curious to see what, if anything, time will do to this beast.

Photo of HalfFull
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle poured into a large wine glass. I've been hoarding this for the right moment, yet I'm not quite sure this is it! Pours rich and opaque black, with half an inch of chocolate foam. Shows decent retention and lacing.

Anise is pronounced on the nose, along with some dark chocolate malts. Anise is a nice accompaniment to the chocolate yet any Belgian influence is rather remote, or perhaps they are just too similar to differentiate. Hops are more prevalent with some warming. An oak chip on the other hand, never commits to the game.

Cherry chocolate and anise come forth on the flavor, and combine to offer an interesting black licorice flavor. These attributes also thin the body and feel somewhat, making for a rather 'clean' R.I.S. In the end this brew drinks rather easily and unobtrusively yet offers a lingering finish one might expect from the style, of sorts at least.

In the end, an enjoyable, albeit untraditional IRS, though surely worth a visit.

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle.

Pours an almost-black brown with a milky, tan, top layer that washes the glass. Smells very "dark" - I pick up the anise, as well as tobacco and coffee beans. Taste is a unique offering of chocolate-covered anise. Sort of sweet. The spiciness of the yeast gives it a warm feeling. I can't really tell too much of the oak chips but for the finish, which is *dry* to say the least. Interesting brew, maybe not as crazy as I'd hoped for tho..

Photo of beerbully
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into pint glass

A-jet black thick head moderate lacing that quickly runs down the side of glass

S-Chocolate, anise, smoke

T-Initially a heavy taste of medicinal anise that gives way to a chocolately flavor. somewhat hot

M-A little hot with some burn down the throat a bit oily

O-Not as good as I had hoped being a fan of Stone RIS. A bit hot and too much anise. Alcohol provides a decent amount of heat.

Photo of Ootppizza
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

i'm not a big fan of anise so i'm a little biased. over all a beer i could enjoy one of but thats it. I put it on tap at my pizza place and for the most part people enjoyed but it was a very limited crowed. The after taste is so strong that it kind of kills any beer you want to have afterward.

Photo of doughanson78
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Medium thickness in the pour. Pitch black. Darker tan, creamy head, with great retention and top notch lacing.

S: Big roasted dark coffee, with a not overpowering mix of anise. Dark chocolate comes through in the background. A light smokiness.

T: Sweet chocolate up front. Followed by a big roasted coffee bitterness and a whole lot of burnt anise. Way too much IMO. Almost has a rubber tire flavor to it. Big alcohol in the finish burns the throat.

M: Full bodied. Almost chewy. Very creamy. Dry finish.

O: Just can't get over that almost repugnant anise in the taste. Every part of this beer is good except the super strong anise. I really hope it will calm down with some age and I will be able to give this beer a little credit.

Photo of daveytheformer
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from notes.

Pours a thick brownish black with a fluffy mocha tan head that fades to some lacing.

Aroma is of chocolate, coffee and whole lot of anise. A whole lot

Tastes right off the bat are tons of anise and coffee. That's followed up by dry roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a little caramel. Then more anise.

Mouthfeel is medium with pretty light carbonation.

Overall this beer is good. I do like this but I don't love it. I'm not really sure if I'll get more of these to cellar or not.

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Hatzilla
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 918 ratings.