Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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80
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941 Ratings
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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
941
Reviews:
447
Avg:
3.51
pDev:
21.65%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
159
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 941 |  Reviews: 447
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thick, oily black without light getting through. Not much lace. The head is milk chocolate brown and frothy.

S: strong coffee roast, with smokey and chocolate notes.

T: initially sweet milk chocolate which fades to bitter coffee grounds. Bitter hops or intermixed. Licorice dominates the finish.

M: moderate carbonation and thick body, oily and creamy.

Overall: This is a bold and big beer. I though the flavors were tough to transition between but the booze are well hidden.

 482 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch tan head that fades to a thin cap. Random lattices of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of Good & Plenty candy first and foremost along with minor hints of wood and roasted malt. Slight whiffs of soy sauce come out as the beer warms. Definitely an interesting smell in a RIS, let alone any beer to be honest. I like black licorice, so I am not as wary of the smell as other reviewers are. Taste opens up with black licorice flavors that slowly fade into dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and wood flavors. The aftertaste is the same as you get from eating lots of black licorice. The mouthfeel on this beer is quite weird too. It's a bit flat with a smooth and thick feel, but the anise seems to have a numbing effect on the palate. I don't like the mouthfeel at all because of this. Overall, I am somewhat unimpressed with this beer. I know Stone is trying to be different with their "Odd Beers For Odd Years" campaign and this is a pretty odd beer. It's not bad per se but the anise/black licorice smell and taste are very one dimensional and pretty much overpower anything else this beer has to offer. For example, I detect no Belgian yeast in the smell or taste of this beer whatsoever. I only bought one bottle to give this a shot and I am glad I did because I will not be buying any more of this version. I love the normal Stone IRS but this one is just way off the mark in my opinion.

 1,449 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.08/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out nice and black in color. The head came and went leaving just a thin tan ring around the glass. The smell of the beer is roasted and a little spicy. The taste packs a punch here. The flavors of roasted malts with Belgian yeast and herbal qualities just scream out with every sip. The mouthfeel is thick and slightly oily. Overall I think this beer is very good, at 12% it can be a bit dangerous though. Either way I think it's a must try.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half-finger high tan head that has good retention properties.
S: Anise really stands out in the nose, which also has aromas of dark roasted malts and chocolate.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, although the flavors of anise and licorice aren’t quite as strong and more balanced with those of roasted malts and chocolate (in line from what you would expect from a Russian Imperial Stout).
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The addition of anise to this beer makes for a very interesting taste and keeps your taste buds stimulated.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the typical malty-rich coffee, chocolate, and molassas flavor of the standard IRS, this Anise Belgo version offers the complementary flavors of licorice, over all fruitiness, and a spicy bit that seems to amplify hop bitterness.

As expected, the Anise Belgo IRS pours a deep and dark brown that's just a hair from pitch black and total opaqueness. A dense and froathy blanket of foam coats the surface with medium tan foam and an impressive display of lace. Hard to keep the appearance off of top mark honors.

French roast coffees, cocoa, heavy toast, and molassas laden maltiness set the stage, but the complimentary notes of licorice, raisons, red grapes, blackberries, and figs all make marks on aroma.

Rich and lavish flavors of the coffee and cocoa dominate the palate while a dance of walnuts, figs, anise, berries, and a dash of sherry begin to decorate the peripheries and announce themeselves individually with each sip. Very complex as layers upon layers of flavor come wave after wave. Delicious throughout, especially for those who like their stouts with more estery character. Even the hops combine with the yeasty phenolics for an increased bitterness, citrusy, and white pepper impact especially in the finish.

Full bodied and extremely creamy, the beer takes on chewy proportions until after mid palate where the carbonation disipates and the malty-dry textrues usher in an alcoholic warming and peppery spice on the tongue and throat.

The Belgian yeast strains seem to be keep the stout a bit clean but create a salty, briney flavor along with estery fruitiness and phenolic spices. All come together in a very bitey and bitter conclussion. Though not preferred to the standard IRS, this Anise Belgo version is a great variant from the original.

 1,772 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A small snifter at the Front Door in Boise, ID.

This beer appears a very, very dark brown colour, nearing black, with a half finger of arrested foamy beige head, which leaves some thin webbed lace upon its retreat. It smells of sweet chocolate malt, earthy licorice, mild booze, and somewhat bitter leafy hops. The taste is heavy caramel malt, baker's chocolate, Sambuca, a bit of burnt fruit, and fairly strong, bitter earthy hops. The carbonation is sedate, the body heavyweight, almost full, with a thick smoothness. It finishes still all over the place, the leafy hops, chocolate, licorice, and astringent booze fighting amongst themselves.

I like big left-coast hops, and I like anise flavours - however, I never thought to blend them, and this makes it abundantly clear why. A challenging beverage, this one, replete with flavour, but maybe just not yours.

 864 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate and roasted coffee notes with some anis and light lactose notes. Taste is a very nice mix between some anis which is well balanced with black chocolate notes and roasted malt with light dry astringent coffee notes. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really liked the addition of anis to the classic Stone RIS but I can’t say I really noticed the Belgian yeast strain that was used.

 537 characters

Photo of largadeer
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

 611 characters

Photo of zestar
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

 1,352 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.2/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours with half a finger of orange-tan head on an opaque, black body. The foam disappears quickly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S - Earthy notes of chocolate and licorice with a bit of clove. Surprisingly little else, maybe a little molasses but that's about it.

T - Dark sugar notes up front with lots of molasses and brown sugar as well as some licorice. Some slightly fruity notes of cherry and red apple in the middle as well as a bit of tobacco. The dark sugar dominates the finish and the anise is right there with it in a sort of charred, woody way.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - To be honest, this sounded a lot better than it turned out to be. The anise works with the dark malt in a strange way that makes it come off more like licorice with a very dark, syrupy character rather than the bright, spicy notes I would normally expect. The Belgian yeast character is kind of subdued and only contributes a few fruity apple and cherry notes in the middle. The oak is really the last straw as it gives the beer an astringent harshness in the finish and contributes to the burnt character of the molasses notes. It isn't quite a drain pour, but it is pretty disappointing and I definitely won't be drinking this beer again.

 1,293 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice large fluffy thick 1 finger darker head that fades at a medium pace with some thick lacing, over pitch black beer, no light coming through there.

Nose is kinda weird, plenty of anise in there, but not spicy anise. It has some sweet sugars and a light cinnamon, kinda like those Italian anise flavored snowflake shaped cookies. Some light chocolate, hint of cocoa, a bit of roast, some vanilla and a light toasty oak.

taste brings plenty more anise, again not spicy or crazy, but a light but definite anise, but not really licorice either, its weird. Again some sweet malts and hint of cinnamon as well as other nutty spices bring a anise cookie flavor. Some creamy chocolate, hints of roast and cocoa, some caramel and darker malt flavors. A slight darker fruit and Belgian stout like roundness (if you know what I mean). The sweetness comes lighter but there, and brings some warming and slightly tingly booze. Some vanilla and hints of toasted oak round off the flavors. Some bitterness comes through partly from roasted malts and partly from a bit of earthy hops, which seem to pop up at the finish but are quickly pushed back down by the spicy booze and anise flavors that linger for a while.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, creamy, decent carbonation for the style, and warming and spicy booze.

Overall not bad but not great either. The anise is at least not overpowering, but not quite what I was hoping. Interesting but weird flavors, the darker malts are there but not as big as it should have been, and the anise cookie flavor and aroma was interesting but not quite right for this beer IMO.

 1,617 characters

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

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

Right off, let's look at the components of this beer: Belgian yeast, anise, and oak chips. Do they seem to incorporate well into the Russian Imperial Stout category? I think so. Certainly Belgian yeast has been used to great effect; and the oak chips should help to dry it and give it a little more character. What of the anise? Well that's been done as well; and a licorice flavor occasionally ends up in the style anyway due to the combination of dark malts and 'minty' hop flavors.

In tasting it fresh, the anise is quite strong. It's fairly bright in the nose, and quite bold in the flavor. That may change as it ages, however I think it'll probably remain the dominant note given my experience with it. What we'll end up with is a softer, almost sweeter malt, with almost as much anise as it currently has, leaving it almost cola-like. But who's to say? A big hit of anise seems to be what they were going for as the bottle reads "...this Odd Year version doesn't just have 'notes' of anise... it screams it. Big, loud and proud. Like the Russian Czarists. Presumably". (Hmmm... whomever wrote the text for this bottle could use a refresher in grammar). That said, the brazen note of anise hurts the aroma because it's so bold, and it blocks out the remaining complexity of the beer. Intended or not, it's a bit of a pitfall.

The Belgian yeast works within the confines of the 'brightness' of the anise, and it's sometimes hard to find it in there. I pick up some spiciness (clove, pepper), some vanilla (or is that coming from the oak?), and some dark fruit (raisin, plum). Beyond that I get a little bit of molasses, and some buttery sugared bread in the malt.

The oak makes its way through though, and lends a raspy edge to it. That should die down a bit with age, and if the anise cooperates, some nice woody character may shine through.

As for the rest of the beer, it's well put together as it always has been. It seems that they've reduced the bitterness quite a bit, although I might be imagining that. With all that anise, however, a bold bitterness isn't even needed as it dries it on its own.

Overall, I'd have to say this beer needs to be looked at hedonistically rather than stylistically; and that's basically asking "Do you like the flavor of anise"? Well, do you punk?

But I also think it has immense possibilities for cooking and food-pairing: a reduction drizzled over crispy-baked, golden and fatty pork-chops atop a bed of fried brown rice and grilled green pepper; just brushed onto a porterhouse steak with some fresh crushed pepper while grilling and then set aside raw carrots and basil-infused mashed potaotes; as an accompaniment to a wide variety of Indian dishes; or in an ice cream with peanut butter - the possibilities are endless and I hope some professional chefs pick this beer up and run with it!

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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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