Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by EgadBananas on 05-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 447 | Ratings: 941
Reviews by bohemiandonut:
Photo of bohemiandonut
2.64/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have been equally dreading and anticipating my review of this beer. Not realizing that the traditional Stone IRS would also make an appearance this year, I had been holding a grudge against all things "Belgo" for months. Let's see what's going on.

Pours like a familiar friend, but one that once lifted to the nose is suddenly run over by a Good & Plenty truck. Okay I admit it's not too bad, but I must submit that Belgian yeast, anise, and oak chips are perhaps the three flavor "enhancements" most likely to fail as far as my experience goes. I can smell those taunting oak chips, the missing chocolate depth, replaced by an herbal nightmare that I'm actually putting off tasting. Well, here goes nothing.

The taste is odd, full of licorice, and thankfully easy on the oak chips. The alcohol is masked quite well, and Stone strikes a fairly nice balance here between the sweetness of the yeast, dry malts, and subtle bitter hops. If you're a fan of anise, anise, anise, and Stone IRS, lucky you. Myself, I won't be having this again any time soon. Very glad to see IRS back on the shelves though, those were some expensive months without it.

 1,148 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
2.95/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.25

Pours a jet black color with a very small amount of sediment that can be seen floating near the edges of the glass. Thick, deep, tan-leather head that retains extremely well. The nose is full of roasted malts and a bit of anise. The taste is full of anise. Black licorice, along with a bit of figs and raisins, but mostly licorice (anise) and it finishes VERY sweet. It's almost hard to believe it's a RIS, because the sweetness covers up most of the bitterness at all. It's actually a bit too sweet and the anise really overpowers the other flavors. The body is nice, very thick and creamy with a bit of carbonation.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to call this a bad beer, but it's certainly not for me, and not really what I'm looking for in a RIS. The anise is a little too overpowering and licorice-heavy for me, leaving a sweetness that is acceptable at first, but starts to get to you halfway through.

 910 characters

Photo of jcr8611
4.75/5  rDev +35.3%

Photo of ricksrealm
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of blackwingedhorde
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.17/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass this beer was black in color with a small orange/tan head that dissipated quickly.

Coffee/roasted malt aroma. Definitely anise. Some dark fruit. And alcohol, don't forget that.

Lots going on in the taste. Coffee and a bit of chocolate. Raisins. Anise, which really lingered. Boozy.

A heavy hitter. Boozy, but in a good way. The alcohol added to, rather than subtracted from,the taste.

 404 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of marvin213
2.58/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pitch black w/ tan head, it's perfect for a rendevous. That bubbling tan fizz, however, disappears with a quickness. As previously noted, anise is extremely heavy on the nose and it does aptly drown out oak notes and Belgian yeast wafts with a similar quickness. 'Tis perhaps the first Belgian beer I've quaffed without it smelling so.

The taste is liquid licorice, or I'd go so far as to say smoked liquid licorice. How can there be double-digit ABV produced by otherwise absent Belgian yeast. Here, it's not necessarily dubbed a 'Belgian' beer. The bottle, nevertheless, leads me the consumer to believe it is. As a Belgian, it's a fail. As an RIS, it's still a miss.

The smoky black Twizzler thing offers some appeal to the feel, and a S'mores-like campfireness accompanies the sipping, but overall, this is indeed an odd-year one-off not worth revisiting.

 862 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours an opaque inky black with a small light tan head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is oatmeal, chocolate, roasted slightly ashy malt, and a little spice. It's more subdued than expected.

The flavor is roasted chocolate with some black licorice and a bitter tarry finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly watery.

Overall, I don't care for this as much as the regular version. It seems more subdued. I don't get much Belgian yeast other than a slight twang in the finish. The anise seems about the same as the regular.

 561 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
3.86/5  rDev +10%
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.

 558 characters

Photo of Britton
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stone bomber, 2011 "odd year" offering. Typical IRS presentation, thick mocha head stays for a good long while. Tiny bubble sheen, scattered lacing.

Complex nose, chocolate, smokey burnt malts, licorish, dark fruits.

Flavorful, complex, well crafted, alot going on here. Follows the theme started by the nose, more smoke, chocolate, licorish, figs, a late minty note, dry and clean in the finish. Delicious stout, Belgian twist adds to the complexity and interest. Smooth and tasty on the tongue. Go get some of this interesting brew, would love to try it with a charred steak or with a fruity chocolate dessert....c'mon people..the numbers for the reviews of this one are way out of whack

 691 characters

Photo of Hoops4life511
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of Mora2000
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is straight black licorice with a little bit of roasted malt and chocolate mixed in. The flavor is even more one dimensional than the aroma. Other than the black licorice, I don't get anything, which is very disappointing. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The anise/licorice really took over this beer, resulting in a beer I did not care for.

 405 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of 1Adam12
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

 451 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Near black with initial thick brown head, leaving some light lacing behind.

Smell: Smells like licorice. Or rather it smells like Anise, or maybe that's starfruit. One-dimensional, but interesting.

Taste: Some semblance of a standard RIS at first (chocolate, molasses, coffee) but very mild with light anise. Then the anise really builds until it is a licorice overload, which is about all I am left with after each sip. Don't taste any Belgian notes.

Feel: Not as smooth or creamy as the standard Stone IRS (but it is still smooth), and seems more boozy. Strange finish.

Overall: Way too much licorice. Good thing I like licorice, but this is overkill and one-dimensional. Still, interesting and somewhat tasty.

 777 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
4.45/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 "odd year" release

22oz bottles split with a few friends poured into a snifter.

pours out opaque motor oil black with a big creamy mocha colored head, good retention with some great lace at first.

wow, big aroma. lots of anise, raisons, dark fruits, and a smokey beef jerky mostly. some charred wood.

again, lots of anise, think black licorice, a smokey beef jerky, raisony dark fruits, at the forefront. complex. hints of chocolate, charred wood. all the flavors mingle for a great taste.

big, chewy body, mouthfeel is a little dry cocoa flavor, some bitterness sticks around.

overall, i loved this beer. beef jerky and anise, whats not too love. doesnt taste anything like a regular stone irs, much dryer mouthfeel as well.

 737 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.74/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Nearly black throughout, though the edges appear to be a touch of ruby and dark brown. Thin khaki colored head and plenty of lacing. Looks a touch thin and lifeless.

As a fan of black licorice, and knowing this beer was brewed with plenty of anise, this beer is fine by me! As the beer warms, the strong aroma of anise (black licorice) becomes more and more powerful, though there's plenty of roasted malts, and a touch of chocolate as well. The Belgian yeast strain isn't too dominant or overpowering, though it does add a touch of twang.

More black licorice in the flavor and roasted malt. Even though I am a fan of black licorice, its flavor is particularly big here and covers up what I know very well to be a world-class stout. I'm a fan, but a little less anise would probably have been a better move.

The most disappointing aspect of this beer is the mouthfeel. It seemed significantly thinner than the standard IRS and also a bit metallic.

This is a black licorice stout, and knowing that, this beer really succeeds. Not everyone is going to like it, but as a fan of said flavor, I didn't mind it one bit--and am looking forward to having another.

 1,205 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.38/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a snifter glass. 2011 bottle.

Appearance: Oily pitch black with no signs of color. Has a small two finger deep tan head that quickly fades into a small patch. Lacing is fairly light.

Smell: Aroma is strong up front with black licorice anise and mint. Also some dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee. Some light hints of dark fruit, yeast, and alcohol. Anise smell really stands out.

Taste: Anise is strong but blends in pretty well with the dark chocolate, coffee, and dark malts. Mint flavor is pretty strong. Belgian yeast is also stronger than the smell leads on. Light hints of dark fruit, vanilla, and oak. Overall a pretty spicy stout but fairly well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and chewy. Moderate level of carbonation. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

Overall: Far from a typical RIS but pretty good. The anise and mint are strong but not completely overwhelming. I happen to like black licorice so that probably is a factor.

 984 characters

Photo of RyanPS
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of dcstarkey
4/5  rDev +14%

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of wo87810
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
3.51 out of 5 based on 941 ratings.
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