Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
943 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 943 |  Reviews: 449
Photo of Arbitrator
1.8/5  rDev -48.6%
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 n2185
2.04/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of brown head that recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Lots of black licorice on the nose. The roasted malts make a weak showing with some sweet chocolate aromas and some smoky aromas on the finish. The aromas just don't mesh well.

T: Holy Licorice Sticks, Batman! Black licorice dominates the flavor. There are some roasted malt flavors at first with a decent smoky kick towards the finish. A somewhat strong alcohol burn is present as well. The aromas didn't really mesh and the flavors don't either. This just tastes like a smoke-infused imperial stout with a shot of Jager in it.

M: Thick body with medium carbonation, the anise gives it a very floral, perfumey quality that makes the body seem a bit lighter.

O: I love Stone, but this beer is awful. I also love black licorice and can enjoy herbal liquors like Jager by themselves . . . but this just does not work. It tastes like licorice, smoke, and booze. I would have liked to tried just their regular IRS brewed with a Belgian yeast, but I can't detect any difference that the yeast makes thanks to the overwhelming anise.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.46/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2011 bottle into a snifter. Pours pitch black with a very large mocha head. The lace is pretty intricate as well.
I'll smell again when it warms. On a cold pour I get earthy hops, anise and chocolate. As it warms the anise becomes more prevalent with a hint of alcohol.
Bittersweet chocolate are right out front on the taste. A hint of coffee sits on the tongue. The anise gives it an almost smoky taste (or maybe it's just something smoky). Goes down perfect.
If you like licorice, grab a few. Certainly a dessert stout, it is delicious and I'll grab a few more for sure.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.7/5  rDev +34.3%
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.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Live review of a 22 oz bottle.
A: Opaque black with a nice solid one-finger head and lacing.
S: Anise and licorice candy is in the forefront. It is very strong. Behind that is a nice abbey bread aroma, molasses and chocolate, and coffee. Nice crisp aroma.
T: Strong dark creamy chocolate, molasses, bitter bite of the licorice candy character, which lingers with a chocolate-covered orange liqueur with a slight wood and whiskey bite. Decent, but a bit strong with the anise.
M: Creamy to a crisp finish with a good carbonation throughout.
O: This isn't usually like me, but I'm going to give the overall rating a lower score than the other categories. I don't think I'm going to go out of my way to try this one again. It's worth trying, but that's about it. Get yourself the original Imperial Russian Stout instead.

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Photo of avalon07
4.36/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a big, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing. An great-looking beer.

S: Not surprisingly, the anise was front and center in the smell, along with some chocolate, malt, and coffee.

T: Like the smell, the anise was a dominant force, though this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Also had traces of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a little hops in the finish. Not your typical stout flavor, but very tasty.

M: A lot of carbonation and a typically slick finish. Full-bodied.

O: Because this beer doesn't conform to typical stout norms, some people won't like it. I think the anise is an interesting and creative addition to the style.

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Photo of ncketchum
2.54/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served in a Chimay goblet, split two ways with my dad for Father's Day

A = Exactly what I expected: jet black, black as night, with 2 fingers of dark chocolate head

S = Blast of licorice/anise, which overpowers the coffee, chocolate, and alcohol that follow

T = Again, the anise overpowers everything else, hints of chocolate, malt, coffee, and alcohol seems to be amplified by the anise

M = Thinner than anticipated, very strong alcohol

D = I was quite disappointed by this offering, as the regular IRS from Stone is one of my top 3 beers of all time - maybe this is why I was disappointed, more looking for the old standard and not something that is, in my opinion, a completely different beer. That being said, even after I step back and consider it a completely different beer, I was not impressed and had a difficult time even finishing half the bottle.

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Photo of perrymarcus
2.63/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours your standard R/IS jet black tone while yielding about a 1" mocha-colored head. decent retention and lacing. nice looking beer, but so are countless others in its style.

nose packs a big wallop of black licorice. secondary notes of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, but boy does that anise dominate. not my cup of tea, but it's not terrible.

taste follows the aroma. unfortunately. just an anise bomb. the other characters are there in the background but relegated to second fiddle. disappointing, as i had high hopes for this one.

decent, medium-full bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, not one i appreciated. not a drainpour, i just think the anise was overdone; some may appreciate it, but it's not for me - i'll be sticking to the regular IRS.

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Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%
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

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Photo of Lerxst
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark brown with a one finger mocha colored head that has good retention and leaves wisps of lace as you drink.

S-Smells like I've opened a package of black licorice. Strong anise aromas arise from the tulip and punch me in the nose. An underlying oakiness is there as well along with dark fruit, charred malt and hints of chocolate.

T-The anise is once again up front and stays throughout. Its a tad too much, IMO, as the anise is pummeling the wonderful flavors underneath and not letting them have their say. I can pick up some soft undertones of the oak, a slight earthiness (I presume from the Belgian yeast), hints of charred malt and dark fruit. I can't pick up the chocolate from the nose here.

M-Seems a tad thinner than the "classic" recipe, but maybe its just me. Not quite full bodied, medium carbonation, lush and chewy.

O-A nice variation on one of my all time faves. But if I have to choose between this or the "classic" I'll take the "classic" every time. But this is still a quality brew.

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Photo of silentjay
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a thick pitch black with a grayish mocha colored head that rises up a few inches in my Duvel tulip glass, sticks around forever, and laces very well.

anise is the first thing to hit the nostrils. its not similar to black licorice or jagermeister, but more traditional anisette that would be found in traditional Italian pizzelle cookies. behind the anise, there is some coffee, some chocolate, but thats about it. smells like coffee with white Sambuca added.

anise again dominates, but once the palate adjusts, the stout qualities and belgian yeast are detected. some fruitiness and spice from the belgian yeast and some roasted malts are content to stay behind the anise. not being a huge fan of anise, I wish they toned it down a bit.

medium to heavy bodied with soft carbonation and a distinctly anise aftertaste.

its just there from beginning to end. I wish it was more of an accent rather than the dominant quality. I can see some people loving this. as for me, I'm glad to have tried it. Its definitely unique, just doesn't work overly well for me.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.27/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that started it all for me. That first beer that I reviewed: Stone Imperial Russian Stout. It was so good that it literally compelled me to write something about it. How does it get any better than that? How about…anise oak chips and Belgian yeast? Yep, that’ll do it. It’s really hard to not over-hype this in my mind’s eye, with the nostalgia and all, but I’m trying my hardest. So, like always, here’s an objective review for a beer that may or may not rock my world. Cheers!

A: Black as night, though not as thick around the top – there’s some light shining through in places. It’s done well; it doesn’t look too syrupy. The head is bold and crisp, receding to leave random hints of dark brown around the edge of the glass in a slight ring. Lacing is thin but creamy, adding a pronounced sheet of film as I twirl the glass. Wonderfully dark with some light, lively tendencies to balance.

S: Wow; I was definitely not expecting a nose this oaky. The woodiness is so strong that it reminds me of a nice leather jacket or a brand new cigar humidor – very, very pleasant. Coffee is next, providing a nice bitter change of pace, followed soon by familiar chocolate and heavily-kilned malts. There’s just that slightest hint of the alcohol and Belgian yeast at the finish, combining for earthy, estery, and peppery aromas. A very well-rounded, delectable nose, with some of those promised sprinkles of anise in the background. I especially love the spirit that wood aging brings.

T: Big peppery booze out the gates – it rouses the taste buds and warms all the way down. The anise is huge, too - almost too overpowering at times. The aged wood/leathery tastes are there for the entire ride, no doubt about that, but they are most prevalent right after this spicy start. A savory transition, indeed. The palate expands to fit in roasted coffee beans and some incredibly tart hops, seeming to appear in just the right place. The bitters overwhelm the biggest part of the oak aging just as it’s about to show signs of syrupy over-saturation. Perfect execution. Some sweet chocolate and toffee tastes are prevalent in a mixed sort of way, but they make their counterpoints nonetheless. As for the special Belgian yeast strain: well, it’s mild. It doesn’t pack the punch that the yeasts of the classic Belgian ales do, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t deliver at all. The medicinal, estery aspects of Belgian yeast make a slight appearance near the finish, providing a light pick-me-up in a mostly acidic manner. Sweeter hints like rose, clove, banana, and bubblegum arrive sporadically throughout. Just because it isn’t perfect, though, doesn’t mean that it isn’t great. I’m still glad they decided to make this a Belgo-Anise stout instead of just an Anise one; it certainly adds depth, even if it is only slight.

M: Light on the tongue, especially when considering its 10.5% ABV. Like most high alcohol Stone Brews, though, it kicks back as easy as soda. Very drinkable, though it sacrifices a certain fullness for being so easy. I love smooth-drinking beers, but sometimes thickness is the more appropriate feel.

O: This is an incredible beer. I love it in so many ways. The nose, the boozy warmth, the deep taste profiles – it’s all good. Plus, it was nice to see a brewer tackle a special edition stout other than vanilla or just barrel-aged. High standards and forward thinking are the things that make me most proud to be a Stone lover. But for this beer in particular: am I in love the way I was with their original Imperial Russian Stout? No. To be honest, I’ll take an original IRS over this in a majority of situations. But I will say this: if the plan was to revolutionize one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts out there, I think Stone has the right idea.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

578th Review on BA
Bottle to snifter
22 oz

Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills, served at 57 F

App- This looks like the original RIS and contained a huge three finger head. Not much in the way of cling. Very khaki in color and very bubbly.

Smell- It's a soft aromatic beer which I was not expecting. The anise and the oak are quite prevalent but that's about it. The toasty roasted malts aren't there. More one sided than anything.

Taste- For the uniqueness of this beer I was expecting to have a face of WTF did I just drink. I had the '11 RIS the other night and it was quite tasty. This seems to be a bit of a base stout with some pepper notes and some sweetness.

Mouth- I like the feel of the pepper, sweet and bubbly. It's medium bodied and a bit higher in carbonation. The bubbles dance and it's quite nice.

Drink- It's an oddity for sure. The flavors are balanced and unique. For every other year this is a nice break from the ordinary. I'll have it again in 2013.

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Photo of ChanChan
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout 2011 odd year release!
Poured into a palm sized snifter.
Appearance: Dark, almost impenetrable by light. Like the classic Stone IRS the head is kaki colored, soapy, thin, and dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma: Burnt malt, dark fruits, coffee, and a good amount of Anise. I get a pleasant bready note as well I am not sure if that is because of the anise, the Belgian Yeast, or a combination of the two.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied to full. This beer feels a lot like a milk stout its quite velvety but not thick.

Taste: Obviously this is very reminiscent of the original Stone IRS. This beer is also similar to the Old Rasputin. This odd year release, however, is unique because of its significant anise flavor. Some will find the first impression to be unpleasant or weird. I think it’s great. The finish is long and bitter much more so than the original IRS. It almost feels like eating a black licorice stick, it’s a bit minty but pleasant!

Overall: This beer gets a lot of bad rep due to the anise notes. It is not nearly as strong as some have made it seem. Sure the anise is present but it is not cloying. Give this beer one or a few years and the anise will serve as complementary note!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark jet black color with a finger of frothy tan-brown head. The head hangs around for quite a while leaving behind some thick lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts and potent anise. There is also some oak and Belgian yeast in the background as well.

T - Starts off with a mix of anise and roasted chocolate malts. The anise is pretty potent. Through the middle, a mix of some oak and vanilla as well as a bit of the Belgian yeast flavor. The finish is a mix of all of the mentioned flavors with the addition of a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and fairly creamy. The oak and the booze in the finish warm the mouth alongside anise flavor lingering.

D - Pretty drinkable. The balance is not quite perfect here. The anise feels a bit too strong and the oak a bit too weak, and the Belgian yeast does not seem to make all that much of a difference.

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Photo of morningthief
4.23/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip.

Pours black with a half finger tan head, as to be expected. Nothing groundbreaking here, but some nice lacing appears after several sips.

A deep whiff imparts dark malt, coffee, chocolate, but suspiciously lacks anise. Looking forward to the surprise in the taste.

Ah yes, there it is. I'm disappointed by other reviewers' reports of overt anise flavor in this brew, as I feel it blends quite nicely. Sweet dark malt, chocolate and a decent amount of licorice round out the flavor. Absent is any hint of Belgian yeast. Did I miss something?

Nothing to balk at here, this is the Stone RIS that you know and love with a good, spicy kick to it. This beer won't break the bank, so definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of SteveStein
4.4/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottom line - tastes like black licorice dissolved in a good milk stout. If you like black licorice and stout, you might like this beer a lot. I do.

22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass. Inky dark, good head if you let it develop. Licorice dominates the aroma and the aftertaste, but taste is of a robust but not bitter stout. Roasted but not smoky, great full mouthfeel. Then after a while the licorice reasserts itself.

I normally don't like non-beer tastes in beer (fruits, bourbon, caramel, maple), but I find the anise to be an exception, at least for me.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle poured into my Dogfish Head snifter. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Midnight black in color with a nice two finger medium brown head. Pretty good retention.

Aroma: The anise notes are definitely dominant. Coffee and tobacco notes are underlying. Some light chocolate and oak notes as well. Not very well balanced as the anise is overpowering.

Taste: Again, the anise is way overpowering. It actually takes a while before I can pick up any of the underlying notes. Chocolate, coffee, and earthy tobacco notes are there, but are definitely not that strong. The Belgian yeast doesn't leave much flavor either. Unbalanced and anise heavy.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and smooth. Very similar to the regular IRS.

Overall, I didn't hate this beer, but it was definitely a downgrade to the normal version. Some balance would have done a world of difference. Combining the anise with chocolate or bourbon barrels would have really done this beer wonders. The anise was just too heavy handed, for the sake of being bold. Not bad, but a pretty significant downgrade over the great base beer.

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Photo of Docer
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Poured a jet chalky brown with three big fingers of light latte colored head. Took only a short time for the head to settle to a thin blanket with a slightly thicker island in the center. Light lacing about the glass.

Smell: (3.5)
- Slightly salty, licorice nose. Almost a smoked woody touch. Slightly sweet good n' plenty smell for sure. Chocolate and roasty grain and malt. Earthy and grassy herbal touch. Very interesting smell for sure. Light boozy alcohol, and a bit rich and bready. Yeast doesn't shine through too much through the thickness.

Taste: (3.5)
- Very smokey woody flavor. Sure this isn't a smoked woody stout? Salty touch with a chocolate malt bill which isn't too overpowering and sweet. Very woody aged, and classic flavor. Earthy herbal hop notes, a bready yeast touch. Light esters. Overall very interesting.

Mouth Feel: (3.5)
- Certainly dry from the bitter hopping. Touch thick and chewy. Leaves a blanket of creamy stout film on the tongue. Lightly chalky.

Overall: (3.5)
- I think this stout will do far better with age, and perhaps then I will update my review accordingly. For now it is a very different RIS compared to their usual classic version which is known to be one of the best. It's certainly worth the try fresh.. but I am thinking it will be far far better with near 5 years on it or so.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of 1Adam12
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of FARGO619
4.53/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it at the release straight from the tap. I have a bottle of it, and will oepn it up soon. Very strong licorice smell from the start.
A: Dark , pitch black with a tint of red light that shined through from the light. Mocha head that lingered for a bit.
S: Strrong licorice and coffee aroma, dark chocolate hits the nose right away.
T: Coffee, licorice, bitterness from the beginning. Seems to be matured a bit for the taste to come through. I feel this is going to be a better beer later on down the line.
D: It went down smooth. The smell was different from the drinkability. I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I did.
O: Great beer!

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Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.89/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Two things I'm always down with trying: New imperial stouts and new types of spicy bean dip. Naturally, I'm having both tonight.

Stone's Belgo Anise (Anyone know how to pronounce that?) is overall pretty good, although not quite a WOW.

A - Pours a promises deep black with a chocolatey foam head. Lacing evaporates surprisingly quickly.

S - Aroma doesn't open up too strongly, malty chocolate with notes of nickel, however in my tulip it's not quite coming on strong.

T - Immediate chocolate notes with barely a touch of hop bitterness. Robust bourbon flavors lace this beer and light oakiness, although not as heavy as we come to expect.

M - moderately heavy, although not overwhelming in the slightest. Carbonation cuts through what could be a syrupy beer.

Overall a decent effort although not quite as massive as I hoped.

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Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4.47/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed this years batch of standard Stone IRS and this one looks just the same--maybe the head was slightly darker, for sure the head dissipated more quickly. The smell is sweet Sambuca. Somehow the alcohol heat that is so powerful in the aroma of the standard version is hidden or absent in this variant. The taste is definitely different from the standard brew, too. The Belgian yeast seems to have brought out more chocolate and coffee from the malt--this one is the sweeter of the two by a clear margin. The anise is clear and distinct without being overwhelming. I love Sambuca and I love this beer, too. I'm giving myself a genius award for pairing it with Indian food. I win!

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.5 out of 5 with 943 ratings