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.

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Ratings: 941 |  Reviews: 447
Photo of Achoo_Bacca
1.75/5  rDev -50.1%

Photo of bobhits
1.75/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Dark deep brown with a decent head, looks more or less just like their regular stout only perhaps a touch less head.

I’d never heard of anise before having this, turns out it’s a spice that tastes much like black liquorish. Apparently, Stone really like this spice because it more or less dominates the aromas and everything else is left out.

The flavor is even worse with the anise just controlling everything. Yes, there is oak in the finish to mellow things out, sure chocolate is apparent, and it does have some roasted flavors. This isn’t anything like their traditional Russian Imperial. It is so odd and off that even calling it an Imperial Stout seems a touch out of line.

Thick and creamy in the mouth with virtually no alcohol to be noticed.

This beer is an amazing failure. Their attempt with the Old Guardian very well could age for a few years and become a decent beer and at least it came out as a crazy different version of the original. This is just awful beer.

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Photo of imperialking
1.75/5  rDev -50.1%

Photo of PDXHops
1.8/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bomber poured into a DFH snifter. As dark as you'd expect with a generous tan head and plenty of sticky lacing.

In fairness to this brew, the measuring stick is the excellent regular version of the IRS, a lofty standard indeed. Having said that, this is, well, a pretty odd beer. Aromas of licorice, bubblegum, fruitcake and, I dunno, flowery air freshener(?) completely drown out the goodness of the base beer.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm really picking up on the 'Belgo' yeast. The licorice is pretty overpowering, but a charred, somewhat dirty presence demands attention as well. There's a burnt plastic element that reminds me of Sweetwater Happy Ending, another beer from another generally impressive brewery that disappointed. Kinda boozy, too. On the positve side, a nice bitterness, molasses and bittersweet chocolate loom underneath. They simply don't get a fair shake here. I'm a Stone fanboy, but this beer misses the mark by a wide margin.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.8/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a pitch black with rubyesque edge translucence. Very short-lived light beige head with no lace.

S: Chocolate, coffee; when cold, I pick up clove or something that must be from the Belgian yeast. I didn't really pay attention to it, so when I revisited the aroma after the beer warmed, it was gone: replaced by strong fennel seed notes. I like anise, but WOW, that's overdone.

T: Clashing combinations of roast and fennel seed: not black licorice, but the after-dinner chew you get at Indian restaurants. Reminds me of Jagermeister, actually. I can't stand that stuff.

M: Thick, chewy body. I can't fault Stone here; the texture is spot on. The finish, however, lingers with an herbal anise flavor that becomes unbearable after less than half the bottle. It just isn't in balance with the low carbonation.

O: I like anise flavors in beer, but the strong, herbal bitterness this contributed made it profoundly unbearable to drink. For the last half of the bomber, I poured in a shot of Elijah Craig bourbon, managing to ruin the bourbon without salvaging the beer. What a waste. I guess I'm not worthy, or something. I wonder if I can return my second bottle. Don't get this.

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Photo of harrymel
1.84/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Vintage 2011, odd year version.

A: Black ale with cherry hedging and excellent clarity. Single finger of light mocha foam falls to a thin sheet of the same. No lacing.

S: ANISE SEED TAKES 90%+ OF THIS AREA. As I really dig deep, I can reach in for some roasted notes, but again, the anise seed is exactly what I'm getting. I expected some of the Belgo yeast to add character here, and maybe it does, but the anise seed is soooo powerful, I can't seem to really enjoy everything this beer could offer. Sometimes, just as I start to smell this, it reminds me of root beer, but then it just becomes overwhelming anise seed without any attempt at balance.

T: Soooo, this is like anise seed tea, carbonated. There are some burnt coffee flavors in here. I'm tasting some of the belgian yeast in the finish, but overall the Anise is just too powerful to really enjoy an entire bomber of this beer. It reminds me of Raki, a turkish liquor that is also really strong in the anise seed flavors, and to be sipped over the course of quite some time (this is also quite thin and refreshing and flat).

M: Thick and creamy feel with lower carbonation and a dry finish. Really a nice combination and the finish allows for resonance. Too bad the resonating flavors are offensive in intensity.

O: This is really disappointing. I think this idea could really be great, but the execution here is a bit monolithic in profile of the flavor. The look and feel are great, but my olfactory and gustatory sensations are offended, this was a drain pour for me.

 1,538 characters

Photo of ChaseT
1.85/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner glass.

Appearance: Great. Almost black with a slight tinge of brown. Great mocha head that sticks around awhile and is easily restored with a few swirls.

Smell: Bad. Straight anise. Jagermeister has more complexity. This reminds me of a Southern Tier gimmick imperial stout.

Taste: Not much better than the smell. The base beer is so good and this is just not good at all.

Mouthfeel: I'd rate this higher, but it really is hard to appreciate the mouthfeel when it tastes so bad.

Overall: Really not good. Widmer's W'11 KGB Imperial Stout cost 1/3 as much and is way better. I can't believe that Stone was really going to brew this beer without the regular IRS version. That would have been a disaster. I foresee this version sitting on shelves for a long time to come.

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Photo of t420o
1.86/5  rDev -47%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I bought this against my best instincts. I absolutely HATED the belgo OG barleywine. They ruined the OG barleywine (one of my favorite barleywines) by adding the belgo yeast in my opinion.

A- aggressive pour yields a 2 finger funky mocha colored head that almost looks slightly purple, strange. beer is very dark brown in color. nice lacing. 3

S- Toasted dark malts, toasted bread, strong black licorice, soy sauce, very funky and not in a way that I like. I'm a bit worried to taste this one

T- Toasted chocolate malts and black licorice. Slight hop taste. Really a dumb idea and not executed well. The black licorice just punches you in the face. It tastes like they put the menthol flavored Nyquil in here or something. Stone got me in to craft about 4 years ago and I highly respect them, but this is flat out disgusting. Im getting nasty flashbacks of drinking it as I type this. I drank about 2/3 of it before I was forced to drainpour the beer. First drainpour of the year.

M- good carbonation. A little watery for an imperial stout.

O- Not a good beer at all. I have no idea why they keep taking the base beer and fucking it up with stupid ideas. A huge mistake buying this one.


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Photo of charlzm
1.92/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1

Consumed May 26th, 2014 from a cellared bottle. Kept in a dark refrigerator at about 50 degrees since purchase. Serving temp about 50 degrees F.

Appearance is about one brown shade short of being black. No highlights. Mocha-colored head about a finger tall forms then provides sticky sheeting throughout the rest of the glass.

Aroma is weird: herbal, peppery and slightly medicinal more than anything else. A slight cocoa note at the end of the whiff. Is this what anise devolves into in three years?

Flavor is strange and, for the most part, disagreeable. Up front is a slightly sour, slightly tart fruit note. Stout characters (chocolate, coffee, roasted malts) are almost completely absent. Slightly powdery, yeasty floral note on the finish. Aftertaste of old, sour coffee. Wretched. As others have said, it is like putting a shot of Jägermeister in your beer.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick and there is some alcohol heat, but it took some effort to stop wincing and focus on this instead of the flavor.

I recall not liking this beer fresh and age has done nothing to change that. I'm not surprised they didn't re-brew this one. What surprises me is that it was released at all.

I poured out the remainder of the bottle after about five or six sips. Revolting.

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Photo of Holland
1.95/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: looks just like an imperial russian stout should - thick, heavy head, great lacing, very dark with brownish head.

S: black liquorice overpowers all of the other fantastic smells I know are hidden in the stout. Would be fine, but it's the only thing I can smell. I get a little bit of the yeast esters.

T: bitter black liquorice all over again. Terrible. Some earthy tones and sweet yeast esters.

M: standard for IRS. Rich, full feeling in the mouth that isn't matched by the beer.

O: this is the worst craft beer I have ever tried. Just aweful. Give me a macro brew over this. What a waste of great ingredients. Anise killed this beer.

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Photo of alexhahn82
1.98/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Pitch black, milky head. a hint of lace.

S - Smells like Anise, suprise! ... meh, beats the hell out of the average smell, but Its not my bag.

T/M - Blrrrrgh. I am sure this style, aka, anise, is a little over my head and or palette. But its mad funky and no bueno compared to the standard RIS they released this year. Anise, with a mouthfeel of Anise, and a finishing note of Anise.

O - Anise. Meh. In fairness its totally Anise. And that is about it, Anise, Anise, Anise. If this is a style peeps is trying to pull off, I will stick my head in the ground like an ostrich and bow out of this one. GREAT ANISE BEER!

PP (Price Point) - $6.00 for a huge 22oz Anise bottle of Anise, if you like Anise, this Anise is so worth it.

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Photo of Overlord
1.98/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

I'm getting really tired of not having nice things to say about Stone experiments. This does not make me happy.

Pours a beautiful luscious black with a deep, light tan head that's long lasting. Looks fantastic. Mouthfeel is that familiar Stone IRS chewiness.

Smells faintly of charcoal and roasted malt, more strongly of vanilla and choco powder, and horribly of licorice. Egads. Anise/licorice overload (I cannot detect a difference between burnt/alcohol soaked licorice and anise, apparently).

The taste is just overrun with the awful sugary sweet yeast/licorice flavor. Just utterly ruins what I assume is the damn fine IRS base. Who thought that this experiment was worth putting into mass production?

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Photo of DaftPatrick
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of largadeer
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of mendvicdog
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of CitizenGrain
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of fehrminator
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of IamC0lin
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of Azrael
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of djtomain
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of Ish1
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of brez8791
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of CelticAleMan
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of ithinkimasofa
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of Faina
2/5  rDev -43%

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