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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Reviews: 447 | Ratings: 941
Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Bottle.

A: Upfront anise, light fruity esters, coupled with coffee-like deep grain roast and light oak.

A: Deep black color, opaque with a frothy head that still has solid retention.

T: Flavor is complex blend of coffee-like deep grain roast, anise, dark fruit, light bitterness, and oak.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderately light carbonation with a light gentle smooth alcoholic warmth.

O: Excellent; the beer has aged very well and the anise aroma and flavor that was overpowering when fresh is now super well balanced and provide a nice contrast to the beer’s deep roasted grains and oak character.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
1.24/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bomber poured into an oversized tulip.

Looks beautiful. Such a frothy, rich and creamy cocoa-colored head. This is as good as this beer gets unfortunately.

Right from the aroma I detect a sharp tartness and acidity. It combines with a citrusy aroma to develop a funky fruitcake aroma. It's weird.

Flavors just as tart, just as weird and just as messy. It reminds me of an orange creme cordial gone bad.

I can't even finish an 8 ounce pour. Bummer.

I have had really poor results trying to age Stone's beers.

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Photo of Pierre_Pressure
2.51/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Pitch black color with a small head. Some lacing. All in all this is what I expect to see out of my stouts.
S: This is...different. As expected, anise is the most readily discernable scent. There is a definite sweetness here as well. I wish the anise was a bit stronger here; I love stouts and I love black licorice and this doesn't quite smell like either.
T: Licorice is at the forefront of the flavor to start off with hints of typical stout notes. Fresh from the fridge there is a good bit of sweetness, which combined with the odd flavor combination makes this a slow sipper. The problem is, the warmer this gets more the other flavors fade and you're left with what amounts to a glass of liquid licorice.
F: Some thickness, but not quite on par with other RIS I've had.
O: It pains me to say this as I am a huge fan of licorice and I love my absinthe served strong, but, well, lets just say this beer misses the mark. It's very difficult to get through an entire bottle alone.

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Photo of mig100
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage cellared by Whip-In in Austin, TX and served on draft. The anise has pretty much fully integrated itself into the beer at this point and although it's a bit flat, the standard IRS flavors, oak and belgian yeast character have melded seamlessly. Very surprised by how good this is.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.11/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Pittsford Pub in Pittsford, NY. Cool to see this here, even though I've heard it was a disaster when released in '11. Hope time has tamed down some of the more unpleasant flavors that I've heard about.

This one pours a deep, dark, opaque black, like every Stone IRS variant. There's a small head, and a small amount of lacing.

This one smells like chocolate, dark roast, and just the slightest hint of dark licorice.

I've heard that when this beer was released, the anise flavor was just overpowering and unpleasant. 4 years later, the anise seems to be pretty mild, which is nice, because I don't love anise or licorice flavors. It's a nice earthy counterpoint to the bitter chocolate and bitter dark roast of the malt. There's some slight hop bitterness, but way less than fresh IRS, of course. This really is pretty solid- it seems time has been quite kind to this beer.

This is pretty thick in body and mouthfeel, creamy, and very drinkable. There's a moderate level of carbonation.

It was interesting to try this beer all these 4 years later. I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of GarrettB
3.91/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Here too, the date of my notes are unknown and unrecorded. But the color of the brew deeply impressed me, summoning Japanese vocabulary like "makkuro" - deep, deep black and abysmal. And the smell is a bouquet of black licorice, sweet vermouth, sweet raisins and tempura sauce - a frenzied blend of deep, roasted Japanese flavors and English candies. While cold, this brew supplies a mild carbonation and a timid flavor, like a bold Pepsi, but as it warms the flavor quickly begins to explode with flavor, especially on the back end. The front gets more of that tempura-laden umami, but the anise remains strong and on point. Whatever the temperature, the booziness never quits, and yet the sharp alcoholic nature of this brew plays well with the other flavors. This is a heavyweight, swinging it's limbs without a care for the damage it cause, but the taste is fine, and well worth the exploratory pour at Stone.

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Photo of Beerbuddy21
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had it on draft at Rock and Brews in El Segundo, they have apparently been aging it for 3 years. $7 for a tulip glass.

The name makes you think there is some promise here, but the flavor just doesn't live up to it. The great roasty malt flavor of the regular Stone RIS is almost non-existent, and is covered up by the belgian yeast and unusual anise flavor.

Glad to have tried it but wouldn't have it again, or recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Serving: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter

A: Deep, inky black pour; opaque, sludgy looking; thick chocolate milk colored head with good retention.

S: Familiar notes of the original IRS to be found - dark roasted malts, black coffee, gourmet dark chocolate, dark fruit (plums/prunes), a vinous, boozy wallop that intensifies as the beer warms. Yet above it all is a huge smack of anise, bringing the distinct aroma of sticky, sweet black licorice. Even the booziness struggles to keep up with the overpowering licorice – this quickly becomes one dimensional as the stout reaches room temp.

T: Like the nose – the taste of licorice overpowers as the stout warms to room temp. The first few sips do showcase the bitterness of dark, roasted malts and black coffee, underlined with a bittersweet dark chocolate and a touch of vinous-like dark fruits; but the licorice rapidly takes charges and overpowers all other flavors to the point where the palate is left trying to discern a what was left of an otherwise solid IRS that has been transformed into sticky-sweet, slightly boozy mess. Also worth noting that I don’t pick up anything that would suggest the Belgian yeast at work.

M: Thick, chewy, creamy, but even that seems an afterthought given how dominant the licorice flavor has become.

O: If you like licorice – well this is your kind of stout. I do enjoy licorice, but in moderation. This, however, was anything but – it was a licorice bomb. I know the underlying IRS is fantastic, and I know Stone puts out fantastic variations of its IRS, but this version is just disjointed. Unbalanced, too sweet, over-done with the licorice. I finished the bomber, but the struggle was real. Maybe some age would help tame some of the licorice, but I’m not sure.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Normally a fan of the Stone Imperial Russian Stout, which has solid chocolate and espresso flavors and molasses and anise sugars in it, but something about the yeast and oak gave this a tannic, tart aspect that was not to my liking.

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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 chinchill
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz 2011 bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours near black and sits black and opaque in the glass. Small bubbly head sonn retreats but some lacing is provided.

Aroma: sweet, woodsy with a hint of vanilla.

Flavor: robust and rich with a very obvious contribution from the anise, a more moderate impact of the oak, and some funky-fruity aspects from the Belgian yeast. Probably less sweet than the anise makes it seem, but seems a little too sweet.

Feel: full body with soft, medium-low carbonation.

O: interesting but the special treatmnet is heavy handed, making a big step in the wrong direction from the excellent, better balanced, 'regular' Stome RIS which I last had less than 48 hours ago.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a brownish, almost blackish body with decent head and lace patches. Hate to say it but the "jager" comparisons hold some validity as it has that overpowering licorice/anise type aroma and is dominant in the taste. That being said, I didn't find that to be the only aromatic or taste sensation and I wouldn't call this beer a disaster (just not a fave of mine). There are also touches of dark chocolate and some other sticky, almost syrupy sugary malt goodness in the aroma and taste. Smooth beer, lighter body for a stout, actually easy to drink and overall isn't bad but sometimes the sweetness, especially that "jager" aspect, become to much at times. Worth trying but not something I will try to find again (which won't be hard).

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.89/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Inky black with a khaki collar and a few islands of foam.

Smell - Black licorice. Sweet. Faint chocolate. Train wreck of a smell. I keep going back for more whiffs even though it's terrible.

Taste - Fruity. Anise is strong, amplifying the fruity flavors. Chocolate and bitter aftertaste. Not anywhere near as bad as the taste.

Mouthfeel - Lots of fruit without being overly sweet though. A lingering anise flavor. Not too boozy.

Overall - It's not awful, but the anise is a huge detractor. I expected something unpalatable from the reviews.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.24/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Stone Belgo Anise RIS 2011
Slick black pour, rich cappuccino head of two finger widths. Body near solid black. Now when I hold my pint to some light i see on the edge of the inside of the glass some tan floating objects, and even more sitting on the bottom as I lift up the glass and look underneath, these objects look like large sawdust chunks. Interesting. No cork involved here. Part of Stone's craft I suppose.
Smells nice with slight anise and powdery milk chocolate. Muted scent, but nice what's there.
This tastes a little nicer than I remember the first and only other time I tried it, and it just must be the age i put on this one (2 yrs.). Milk chocolate smoothness, and the anise seems more tame and lends a creamy note somehow, with the anise more resembling now a syrupy bite reminding me of Bosco syrup as if I'm tasting it in an egg cream. I didnt expect to like it this much now, given my prior mediocre thoughts on the initial taste of once having it fresh years past. As it warms i pick up more licorice, and I'm one who does like licorice. Maybe that factor is the dividing line between promoters & detractors of Stone's BARIS, who knows. More warming and here comes the Sambuca sensation, but althewhile this feels creamy and smooth. There is a lingering burning sensation in my mouth after the taste, somewhat odd and numbing, but I'll chalk it up to the anise. I'm sure not for everyone, but yes for me and only with some age.

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Photo of gillagorilla
4.06/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (so glad to find this one)

A: Pitch black all the way through with a nice slightly mocha head that is about 1 finger thick but disappears pretty quickly. Also, it pours with a lot of tiny bubbles that stick to the sides of the glass.

S: Reminds me of the Belgian Yeti. It is quite sweet with just a hint of licorice in there (anise) with just a hint of malts. There is a subtle undertone of roasted malts aged on oak as well.

T: Wow, very interesting. This tastes like what I imagine a much better version of the Belgian Yeti would taste like, maybe this is what it would taste like if it had anise in it. Lots of belgian sweetness (like a tripel or quad) with notes of anise. There is quite a lot of oak in there as well. It almost tastes different with each sip. It is a swirl of anise, sweet malts, belgian yeastiness, and a bit of roastiness with oak. No alcohol burn at all. The worse part is definitely the tangy aftertaste but you don't really start to notice it until about halfway through the bottle. It is very belgian and tangy.

M: Quite prickly and coarse. It is a bit syrupy but has a nice level of carbonation that helps out alot.

O: I can see where all of the love it or hate it comes from with this beer. It has a very polarizing flavor profile. I was so surprised to find this so long after it was released (they must have kept like 20 of them in the back for a while). I wonder what this tasted like fresh though.

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Photo of jhartley
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pulled this out of the cellar, around 2 years old, 2011 "Odd Year Release". Poured from a 22 oz bomber to a snifter.
Poured a dark charcoal black color with a frothy tan 1 finger head, which dissipated rather quickly. No light shining through this one at all! Of course another great silk screen printed bottle from Stone.
Huge aroma's of Anise and Oak!! No doubt about it, the bottle doesn't lie. Not picking up on too much of a funky smell from the Belgian yeast that was used. A nice roastiness is present as well.
Tastes...Well no doubt on this one either! Tastes just the way it smells! Anise, oak, roasted malts. Sweet but tart currant/cherry flavor. Anise and oak DOM-I-NATE! Definitely not what you would expect in a IRS, but Stone really pushed the envelope on this one.
After 2 years in the cellar the alcohol doesn't play a huge role in this, comes out a bit at the end with a little back-of-the-throat burn. A good amount of carbonation which helps on this with the somewhat sweetness on this.
Overall Just a beautiful looking beer and I enjoyed it a lot, which is surprising since I am not a huge anise fan in general, but in stouts I think it adds a little something extra to the flavor profile. Not something I would actively seek out again, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As the next of Stone’s “Odd Year” releases continues to roll out, we figured we would finally tap into their 2011 stock. We crack the top and pour a brew of the darkest browns, letting only a speck of light through at the bottom, into our shiny new Founders’ snifters. It holds a two finger head of creamy, foamy hot chocolate colored bubbles, showing excellent retention. Swiss cheese lacing is left around the glass as it goes at a turtle’s pace, eventually leaving an island of only the biggest bubbles at the center of the liquid. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be moderate. The nose is bright and heavy, with thick milk chocolate syrups, cocoa powder, bittered licorice, spicy clove and anise, big cereal grain, thickly roasted chocolate malts, malted milk balls, light coffees, soft diacetyls, cooling vanilla twang, earthy honey, and root beer sweetness. With warmth comes that hearty booziness, tinny metallics, dried woody oak, and more of a smoky char to the malts. Our first impression is that the flavoring shows much more soured acidity than expected, offering an interesting contrast to the dark and brooding malt base. As we sip, the taste opens with soured Belgian yeast, limey citric rind, lactic acidity, and biting cherry syrups that border on cloying. Crashing in comes the malt bill, with depth of roasted chocolate and coffee malts a mile deep, light smokiness, faint leathers, and straight milk chocolate fondue. The peak comes through with surprising citric and grassy hop notes, along with continued base of char and chocolate, milk and dark chocolate shavings, toasted cereal grain, and white sugars. Washing through the finish is a revival of the depth of the beginning, with black cherry fruitiness, plum, soured yeast pucker, charred roast, dry grassy hops, cereal grain, fusel booze, and general sweetness of chocolate and milkiness. The aftertaste breathes of oakiness for really the first time in the tasting, vanilla skins, red wine grape skins, dried anise, black pepper, raw licorice, burnt caramel, roasty chocolate malts, fusel booze, and that soured Belgian yeastiness. The body is full, and the carbonation is light to medium. Each sip gives frothy slurp, cream, sip, and pop, with the lips left sticky and coated. The mouth is slickly coated, giving way to eventual chalk astringency across the hard palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips well.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its beautiful look and aroma. From the pour, you are given a beer strong in color, with a robust and contributory head. The aroma follows nicely, giving a serious blend of anise spice, simultaneously sweetly and richly roasted malts, and the booziness. Each filler note, as well, burst through the seams, affording general bigness to the entire event. There was no mystery as to why each note was in its place. The taste was a bit lighter, but showed a new side to the beer as the yeasty sourness took off. The oak was lost, but that was probably due, in part, to its age. This is a great take on a fantastic base IRS, with each sip and whiff taking you deeper and deeper.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

finally got around to drinking this one, it spent a lot of time in the fridge so it aged slower

A: pours black with a quarter inch of light tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the snifter
S: smells of black licorice. the anise really dominates the nose so all I'm getting it that with a hint of roasted malt. very long and lingering finish
T: tastes of anise, roasted barley, molasses, and more anise. swallow is more anise, roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee
M: thick in the mouth with soft carbonation and a slightly drying finish
O: not sure what to think of this beer. age seems to have done it well as while the anise is there it isn't overpowering although it does dominate the drink. Id have liked for the flavors that came out in the swallow to be present when the beer was still in the mouth though. I couldn't pick up the oak or the belgian yeast though.

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Photo of blackie
4.16/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber from whole foods

a: served in a sweet unibroue tulip, the pour creates a thin topping of mocha colored head, falling back to leave a placid surface, the beer itself a deep black in color with some browns peeking through the edges

s: a steady current of star anise weaves licorice aromas through a body of deep roasted barley and dark chocolate, impressions of root beer and sassafras root, toffee and vanilla, molasses, some oaky spice, fresh genuine licorice - prominent but not overpowering the base beer but rather adding a nice compliment

m: carbonation on the lower end of the moderate range, gentle on the tongue, with a full bodied mouthfeel

t: the palate brings a pungent star anise flavor over roasted barley, dark chocolate, and burnt sugars, additional flavors of molasses, vanilla, spicy roots - sassafras, and sweet alcohol, hops impart a moderate bitterness to to the finish, the blend of flavors works out well - I can dig what the anise brings to an ris

o: obviously not for everybody - but I dig it, the anise blends well with the ris base and the oak adds a spicy vanilla complexity, not unlike a number of dark european anise liqueurs, a big beer with an interesting complex of characters

consumed on a snowy january eve

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer initially in Spring/Summer 2011, and I thought that the anise was way too hot. Per the style, I decided to age the stout to improve/change the balance.

My decision was definitely worthwhile. The anise backed off significantly. You can pick it up in the background. Instead of the spice dominating, it comes in to improve the stout. It adds some sweetness/spice to the nose and body. I like the mix of coffee, chocolate, and some sour from the belgian yeast. It works out as a pretty good mix. I like the balance in the way this puts together.

The Belgo Anise plays really well at this point. It just needed some maturing to appreciate what Stone has made.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a thick syrupy black pour with a finger of tan head which dissipated slightly on the quick side. smells of licorice, chocolate, dark roasted grains, toffee. WOAH this is a funky stout! band aids and licorice up front.. looks like that belgian yeast is a force to be reckoned with giving off lots of smoky bandage like notes. very sweet malty backbone, and some chocolate and coffee notes.. but mostly smoky and licorice. full body, low carbonation.. very sticky on the lips.

this is WAY different than i was expecting. solid RIS as usual from stone.. with a weird funk to it from the belgian yeast strain which makes it seem very smoky. the licorice flavor and smell is excellently strong on this one.

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Photo of Dope
2.78/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2

This is the "odd year" 2011 release, so approximately 2 years old.

A: Pitch-black pour. Large, dense and fluffy dark brown head. Head fades away very slowly, becoming lighter and airier as it goes, swiss-cheese style. Decent fluffy tufts of lacing left behind. Good retention.

S: Very fruity. Prunes, raisins, misc dark fruit. Maybe even pomegranate? Notable anise on the back end of the smell. A bit of chalky char throughout too.

T: Again, very fruity up front with typical belgian dark fruits. Some chocolate and char mixes in into the middle. And then... oh god, oh god. Pure black licorice. Nothing but bitter anise. It's like washing down black licorice sticks with anise extract. There's some char mixed in with it but I'm already walking to the sink to drainpour this by now.

M: Nice heavy body, somewhat fluffy (higher carbonation) and chalky.

O: experiment for sure. You better love anise, that's all I can say. The amount of anise in this cannot be overstated. After the initial taste fades it's just pure, balls-out anise. Kind of a burnt, charry anise too. Nothing else. It's hard to get down. I'd rather drink sambuca than this, at least it has a sweetness to it. This is pure burnt bitter anise. Whew. I poured it out after the third sip or so. Just couldn't take it anymore.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: None on bottle, purchased in 2010
Glass: Tulip

Stone's BARIS is a unique offering, blending fairly noticeable anise flavor (for me at least, even in a two year-old bottle) with a traditional stout chocolate and roasted flavors, as well as using a Belgian yeast to impart above-average raisin and prune esters for the style (I'm guessing). The resulting beer is, to me, quite good (but I like anise), though I found the ethanol presence to be too noticeable as the beer warmed, which detracted from my overall enjoyment. Still, one I'd like to try again, particularly fresh.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan to brown foam, densely packed, small bubbles on bottom with medium-sized ones persisting on the top. Head has above-average retention, lasting a few minutes and leaving some substantial spiderwebs of lace on the glass as it descends to a thick ring around the glass and a thin island of foam atop the body. Body is an opaque dark brown to black color, carbonation is not visible either in the center or through the sides of the glass.

Aroma primarily of roasted malt (charred toast) with notes of chocolate, anise, and sweet, dried fruit (prune and raisin) esters. Ethanol lingers in the background, but has mellowed, two years in.

Flavors are similar to the aroma with front of the palate picking up chocolate, charred grains, and anise, leading into a mid-palate that features stronger roasted malt flavors with equally strong prune and raisin essence, with anise that cuts through, though does not distract (for me) from the main elements of the stout. Ethanol is also present. Back of palate notes an increase in the prune and raisin-like esters slightly, but still well-balanced by the roasted malt and chocolate nuances. Ethanol flavor in the back of the palate becoming increasingly strong as the beer warms, detracting a bit from each sip as the flavor lingers. Lingering aftertaste of chocolate, burnt grains, anise, and ethanol.

Beer's body is heavy, with mid-level carbonation that creates a thick and slightly foamy mouthfeel. Alcohol burn noticeable from mid-palate onwards, particularly in nostrils and throat. Finish is dry, with slight stickiness around the palate.

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Photo of yamar68
2.72/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Great looking imperial stout - coffee black body draped with a dense layer of mocha head that laces well and produces a good bit of lacing.

Weird. Fresh oak and peppermint? Quite astringent, cinnamon, most of the classical IRS notes are smothered by a strange layer of this metallic minty herbs.

A bit more approachable on the tongue... the chocolate and smoke that I associate with straight Stone IRS is evident immediately, but again, there's this overlapping set of flavors that's hard to pin down... minty or medicinal?

The massive anise character holds the palate hostage... too much too fast.

Honestly, I'm not sure how Greg could release this one with a straight face.

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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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