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
no score

(send 'em beer!)
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 Grebdioz
4/5  rDev +14.3%

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.

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

I've looked for the Stone RIS since I got into craft brews five(ish) years ago (which started due to Old Rasputin), I've not had any luck until this year where I've been lucky enough to get both the Belgo Anise and regular RIS. I decided to start with this one.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet.

This pours a pitch black color which stops light from getting through even the edges. There was a small mocha head which very quickly dissipated. The smell is mostly of anise and licorice, there are also roasted malts, coffee and an alcohol smell. The mouth feel is thick and creamy very nice. The taste is of roasted malts, espresso coffee, licorice / anise, maybe a hint of sweetness, it ends big with a good hop bite a slight alcohol burn (surprisingly well hidden though considering how fresh this is) and you get some anise lingering after flavor. Overall this is a nice taste brew, love it, can't wait to try the regular soon.

I have 5 more of these so I might make additional notes when I try them every 6-12 months or so.

--- EDIT ---
One major negative for me is after drinking this beer perhaps from the loads of anise I had one of the worst stomach aches ever, I'm scared to tr another bottle. Hopefully it was something else.

Photo of TechBrew
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of LittleDon
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black and oily. Pours with a minimal head and produces a small bit of lace. Roasted coffee competes with anise in the aroma. While the coffee/chocolate characteristics of the malt predominate, there is a noticeable licorice presence. It makes for an odd combination. Heavy body up front with a bit of carbonation. RIS until somewhere middle to finish, where the anise shows up. Some alcohol is present in the finish where I get a sugar aftertaste and a hint of smoke.

Photo of bmmortale
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of beerman999999
3/5  rDev -14.3%

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 Wetpaperbag
4.72/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been looking forward to this seasons IRS. Finally a few bottles popped up in my area, but they were of the Belgo style. I'm excited to see how this one tastes.

A- Thick jet black, tan tight frothy creamy head with clingy lacing. Pours thick as I would expect.

S- The smell of the anise is there, which is great. I hate when beer companies say something is in the beer and you don't taste it. The bottle and name clearly state it will be there and in the smell it is but it isn't overpowering. The chocolate and malts are shining though as well.

T- The flavor of what I would expect with this stout is there. Big bold dark roasty malt favors. Big chocolate taste, with a nice bitterness in the end. The alcohol is there, but very subtle. Man this beer is tasty. Oh and the anise flavor it is there, but it compliments the rest of the flavors nicely and isn't overpowering in the slightest. This is excellent. I will have to grab a few more, and perhaps cellar one.

M- Thick, hearty and chewy. Great balance of carbination and this is tasty.

O- Excellent! I'm glad I snagged this. I also like black licorice.

Photo of MordorMongo
2.75/5  rDev -21.4%

Photo of zaphodchak
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of gshak
4.6/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this beer is drinking fantastic right now, and I dare say, I prefer this to the original. Here's why:
A- nothing much to write home about. Pours viscous and stays flat in the glass with no head whatsoever.
S - Strong notes of anise, oak, molasses and milk chocolate.
T - This is where the beer really shines. A cherry-like tartness opens up the palate. Molasses follows through, accompanied by milk chocolate, and coffee notes. Bittersweet toffee notes take up the baton and last quite a while, transcending into an all anise and woody finish. I'm really digging this!
M - Definitely full, and the (minimal) carbonation really helps his beer deliver a fulller flavor.

An extremely well crafted beer, and one that will age with the best! Glad I have a few more of these!

Update - 9/12/2012. The tartness has kicked up several notches in the last 7 months it spent in the cellar, aka wine cooler at 60 degrees. The taste now reminds me of chocolate covered sour cherries with some anise and wood in the back. It is easier to knock down a few ounc es of this in a sitting, but 22 oz is a challenge. At this rate this might turn into a world-class sour in about 2 years time, and I am not sure I like my stouts that way. On current tasting., I'd kick this down to a 3.75 at best.

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

Nearly black with a big foamy brown head with great retention. Big anise and Belgian sugar aroma with notes of chocolate. Strong anise up front with chocolate and an oak dry end. Although the anise stays powerful throughout the roasted malts comes bleeding through. Full mouthfeel with lightly frothy silk.

Tasted against the regular RIS, this is much more complex and enjoyable however if you don’t like anise it may be a bit strong. I think I may buy another to cellar awhile to mellow the anise a bit for a more balanced and drinkable beer. Overall, I do like the flavor here it’s just as it is I think some is getting lost in the powerful flavors.

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of kkrez
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of yergermeister
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of TicoCali
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of ohtheguilt
2.5/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of bishopdc0
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an allagash tulip and a red wine glass from me and the wife respectively..

The Head takes up about half of the glass and even after many sips remains. The lace is sticky and a tan/white with many fine bubbles.

The smell is nice subtle fresh cocoa and black liquorish. The Hints of coffee are in the back and subdued.

The taste starts dry with a good numbing carbonation. The dry taste of oak and coffee come in as the carbonation dissipates. The anise leaves a dry almost raisin taste. The alcohol numbs and then leaves a dry roasted aftertaste.

Photo of sammo
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle poured into my TJ's 7th Anniversary snifter.

The body of the beer is completely opaque pitch black. Surprisingly, it is topped by a 1/2 cm layer of light chocolatey-colored head that clings tight to the glass. No lacing, but a swirl does give good looking oily legs.

The aroma is surprisingly balanced despite the addition of a considerable amount of anise (as evidenced by the name of the beer), which has an extremely dominant flavor. I get hints of spicy Belgian yeast masked against the aromas of the classic Stone IRS. There are considerable amounts of roast, dark fruits, and coffee. The anise is a theme throughout, thought it doesn't overpower anything. The flavor follows suit, and even adds some oaky flavors. The yeasty spices do fade behind the dark fruits and the rich roast. As the beer warms, the anise increases in intensity, though it strikes a good balance, in my opinion.

The mouthfeel is just what one would expect from a russian imperial stout. It is full-bodied, lightly carbonated, and somewhat syrupy. Overall, this isn't tops of the style, but for a novelty "odd beer," it is definitely worth a try. Interested to see what else Stone comes up with for further Imperial Russian Stout variations down the road.

Photo of Theniz
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of PeteRiz
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Crimsontider22
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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