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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian StoutBelgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
941 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: 941 |  Reviews: 447
Photo of Fulkrum78
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours dark as night with a dark brown head that is only there for an instant before it fades to lacing around the glass. I'm catching the anise right off the bat on the nose for this one - definitely a licorice component there. The flavor is... interesting. Licorice predominates, but the malt backbone is definitely there. A little coffee, and I can somewhat see the cocoa others mention. Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. It's an interesting take on the original for sure, though I think this is one I will remember vs. revisit.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber served into a goblet at around 50 degrees.

Appearance is very much the same as the traditional Stone IRS with nearly black color, thick capuccino head, and good lacing. A really nice looking imperial stout.

Aroma is similar but different. You still get a nice big hit of roasty black malt, coffee, and chocolate. But, there is an underlying hint of anise which, at this point is actually pretty nice.

Flavor is where the anise is really noticble. It still has that great stout base - creamy smooth, thick, and luscious. That liccorice flavor comes through pretty strong although it does complement the beer's other characterisitics. The Belgian yeast really starts to make itself known in the taste as well and seems to impart a little sour funky quality.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and perfectly carbonated. The alcohol is strong but doesn't get in the way of enjoying the beer. If anything, it's the anise that starts to wear thin before anything else.

Ovearll an interesting variation on the original but also not nearly as good.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an oversizes snifter. Pours very dark, with a creamy tan foam head that leaves soapy lacing along the sides as I swirl the beer. The head dissipates quickly enough, leaving a ring of small bubbles with wisps of tan smoke slowly swirling.

Has a bready, almost doughy aroma, with a ton of alcohol slamming the nose. The anise is rather prominent, such that is smells like a sambuca pastry. Hints of vanilla and cocoa are underneath.

Starts sweet, almost syrupy, with black licorice, bready malt, and boozy hops. Think of it like drinking essence of good'n'plenty, with a bitter finish.

This has a heavy, thick mouthfeel, owing to both the adundant malt, high alcohol, and sweet anise. Has a dry, slightly tacky finish.

Without a doubt, this is the least hoppy brew I've ever has from Stone. It is a decent enough stout, and this is the second time I'm enjoying this ale, so it was good enough the first time to warrant a second look. I also appreciate Stone trying a different take on a well-tread style of beer. Still, it tastes like the experiment that it clearly was.

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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 Edruil
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler filled on 6/23/2012 with 2011 Belgo-Anise IRS. Poured same night into Stone IRS snifter

Appearance - Black as night, viscous and thick to the eye. Head is a beautiful creamy brown but, unfortunately, dissipates all too quickly

Smell - Wow. Big, big anise. Anise is nice, but the roasted malts barely make it through, and the anise drowns out pretty much any other notes I might be looking for - such as the Belgian yeast. The anise is much too strong on the nose

Taste - The anise isn't as big as it is on the nose, but still big. If you don't like anise, this is not a beer for you. Still, the flavors are surprisingly balanced after the strength of anise on the nose. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, oak, and a dash of mint are there, the malt sweetness is there, hops are mostly absent. The fruity Belgian yeast esters do come through, though not strongly, and add a pleasant background to the typical IRS flavors. Acidic, and the bitterness and dryness linger on the palate

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, oily, satisfying. Good carbonation. Rich.

Overall - Certainly an interesting take on the style. Stone is, after all, well-known for doing their own (bold) thing, but I think this is one instance where they deviated a bit too much from the norm. Don't get me wrong, this is still in my opinion a good beer, and enjoyable. However, I wouldn't take this over their regular IRS, and I can see how anyone that isn't an anise fan wouldn't like it at all. The anise gets a bit too much attention, and the Belgian yeast touted in the Belgo-Anise moniker doesn't come through as strongly as I'd like them to. It's worth a try (if you like anise, that is), but with the regular Stone IRS as great as it is, I can't see myself choosing this over it.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber of this one about a week or so back at Argonaut, curious to see how this one differed from the original. Poured a deep oily black color with a thin brown head. Aromas of black licorice, chocolate and vanilla. On the palate, this one was medium bodied, with flavors of oak, anise and black licorice.

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Photo of TommyW
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A- Black body with a one finger, tan/brown head.

S- Smell of anise and roasted malts. A little of the Belgian yeast aroma pops through as well.

T- Big hit of anise right away, this faded slightly to let some more of the standard Stone IRS flavors come through (roasted and chocolatey). There is a little bit of the Belgian yeast character there as well, but it is brief.Then the anise came back and lingered for a bit. Just a little too much anise flavor for me.

M- Full body with a smooth, easy carbonation.

D- A very good stout with a twist (the twist being lots of anise). For me, I'd prefer the standard version to this, but I must say I'm glad to have tried this.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours very black, not much head, ring and some spot lace.

S - Black licorice first, malt second.

T - Matches smell completely.

M - Medium body, good carb, cleans up pretty well by end of sip.

D - Was afraid from the review to try. Anise is not my favorite spice, but I find it works with this brew. Different and fun. Wouldn't want it all night and probably would never try it again, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of thepeter
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black with a finger off white head
S - lots of licorice and then some roasted malt and a hint of vanilla.
T - Nice at startwith licorice/Anise Flavor as well as malt but gets a bit rough and strong after a second or two. finishes a bit rough as well, stronger aftertaste than I would like.
M - Not quite as full bodied as I would like and over carbonated
O - Did not live up to expectation, nothing close to the original, I would not mind a bit of the anise in my RIS but though.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Stone IRS Snifter. Has a super black color. Thin tan head dissapated to a slight film and ring. Ok lacing.

Aroma is very black liquorish forward. Mostly just roasty after that.

Taste has a bit of caramel but not as much as the aroma would suggest. Seems like those Belgian yeast flavors and the strong roast are kinda clashing.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bite in the finish. Good carb.

Overall I like regular IRS better. This is just OK.

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Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with tan head in snifter. Lots of sticky lacing.

Smell is rich dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and toasted malts. Not really familiar with anise but there is something sweet there that I can't describe....maybe that's it.

Taste follows the smell pretty well for me. Lots of dark chocolate and toasted malt. Not much bitterness for a Stone brew.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, thick and chewy.

Overall this was good.

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Photo of bonkers
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. The pour is jet black with a very thin tan head, light lacing. The anise is definitely noticable in the nose, hints of chocolate and booze. The first sip reminded me of anise based Christmas cookies, there were also notes of chocolate, vannilla, it finished with spices and light heat. The beer is creamy, full bodied, light carbonation, hints of alcohol. Not as good as the original, not bad, but why mess with a good thing.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Medium thickness in the pour. Pitch black. Darker tan, creamy head, with great retention and top notch lacing.

S: Big roasted dark coffee, with a not overpowering mix of anise. Dark chocolate comes through in the background. A light smokiness.

T: Sweet chocolate up front. Followed by a big roasted coffee bitterness and a whole lot of burnt anise. Way too much IMO. Almost has a rubber tire flavor to it. Big alcohol in the finish burns the throat.

M: Full bodied. Almost chewy. Very creamy. Dry finish.

O: Just can't get over that almost repugnant anise in the taste. Every part of this beer is good except the super strong anise. I really hope it will calm down with some age and I will be able to give this beer a little credit.

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Photo of CWVegas
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of maximum12
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glad to have found this, the first year the Stone IRS have been available in the Twin Cities, & they vanished fast in most places. Luckily, the holes in the walls hang on to them a mite longer. Split with my wife, who is watching Heidi Klum, which always seems like a smart thing to do.

Pours is black, about tells that story. Smell is rich as trump, decadent chocolate, more chocolate, a weird/pleasing edge that must be star anise, cocoa chocolate, samuel jackson chocolate. Damn man, that's one good smell.

Stone Belgo Anise IRS smells great, is very filling, & doesn't taste as good as the nose promises. The Belgian yeast is overdone & distracting, being the first thing that leaps out of the morass of soulless black. The great chocolate nose goes MIA with only patterings of powdered cocoa showing. Malts are tangled up in the sweetness of the anus, I mean anise, & taste like sweet black licorice. Nice & creamy, but this would be tough slogging through more than 11 oz.

It's finally come to me: this tastes like Jaegermeister's lightweight little brother. Does that bring back a few bad memories or what? Glad I got to try it, but this is one & done for me, a good beer that stretches the boundaries. Always glad to see that.

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Photo of smcolw
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown where light only passes through the glass edge. Tan head that settles to a single layer of bubbles. Leaves ring lace after each sip.

Dark malt aroma with a light tinge of licorice. No coffee or dark chocolate smells.

Imagine Good-n-Plenty dissolved in a dry porter. It doesn't have any of the burnt elements of a Stout. I'm fascinated by the taste--this unlike any beer I've ever had. So, I have to give it points for originality. The main taste and the aftertaste is mostly licorice (anise). Thinner than most stouts.

Worthy of a try because it is a very different beer.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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 GallowsThief
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel tulip.

A – Black as night with zero light peeking out. Two fingers of milk chocolate head that settles down to a cover. Good lacing.

S – They weren’t kidding…big star anise smell. Mocha, chocolate, molasses, licorice and coffee.

T – This one tastes a lot like the smell. Star anise and black licorice are the first tastes and they are big. Chocolate and coffee follow behind but are not big. This is not sweet. Roasty all the way through. Finishes with a coffee bitterness.

M – Creamy, full bodied, moderately carbonated.

O – Overall I like this but boy can I see why some hate it. If you do not like the taste of black licorice this is not going to be for you. Wish there was a bit more sweetness in it but overall this is pretty decent. Warm it up and the tastes improve.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, opaque brown as one would typically expect from an imperial stout. Head is nothing to write home about and recedes in short order, though that is not out of the ordinary considering the alcohol content. Strong point here is big, bold flavor. It says anise on the label, and it's certainly there, but I don't find it to be overwhelming. Nice dark chocolate notes linger in the aftertaste along with an alcoholic warmth that slightly exceeds my ideal level of presence, but once again, that can be forgiven in a brew with 10.5% AC. Hops don't impinge on the overall flavor, which is surprising for a Stone offering and a plus in my book. Mouthfeel is sticky, but not viscous. I wouldn't describe this as a decadent stout, but flavorful, balanced, and substantive would certainly fit.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgo Anise IRS '11. Poured this one into my Victory Golden Monkey tulip. Waited nearly a year, and still a little scared of what lies under the cap!

A: Pours pitch black. No light getting through here. Maybe some blood reddish hues around the edges at the top. About a half finger of tannish head. Fades down quickly. There are some alcohol feet.

S: I guess that Anise has died a little bit. I get dark bitter chocolate, black licorice, and some dark fruit actually. Not a lot of roast but it is quite cold. Some of that Belgian yeast comes through too.

T: I know this one was panned last year, but I find this to be rather pleasant with a year of age on it. It's different that the regular IRS that is for sure. You get some dark chocolate bitterness up front, and some of that Belgian yeast spice. The Anise is there in the form of black licorice but it's no where near as in your face as I'd heard others mention. You get it on the close and it hangs with you for a while.

M: Full bodied but carbonation help to clear palate. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of jera1350
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a brown head of foam. Fair lacing on the glass.

Roasty, malty, light star anise and wood nose. Licorice stands out the most out of all scents.

The flavor is a deep roasted malt base with black licorice that is not overpowering as other reviewers have noted. Picking up some of the oak chips near the end. Impossible to tell there is belgian yeast used here, but whatever. Nice overall taste.

Full and smooth. Gets pretty dry on the finish.

This was a nice version of an imperial stout. The star anise works well with the base and the overall beer was enjoyable.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

13 oz tulip. A wonderful pitch black, with a 1 inch dark brown head, that sticks around for 4 minutes. Then it settles into a little film. The smell starts with cocoa, liquorice, coffee, & booze. Taste is all that, with a little more liquorice & booze then the smell would have u expect. Body a touch thin, with plenty of carbonation. It is different than so many of the other RIS, solid beer.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Stella glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a nice mocha head that has reduced to a thin layer and left some clumpy lacing on the side of the glass. Pitch black with no signs of carbonation and clarity.

Smell: Anise/licorice aroma, chocolate, roasted coffee, and sweet malts.

Taste: A weird blend of all the flavors. Anise flavor is a bit overbearing and burns. Good at first, but goes downhill fast. Burns as it goes down. The anise kills a lot of the good features of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium carbonation, smooth, lingering tastes in your mouth that I am not too crazy about, and booze sticks around for a while and is not well hidden like most RIS.

Overall: This is probably a good twist on their normal RIS, which I haven't had yet, but this beer was alright and enjoyable to drink. The anise was just a little too much for me though.

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Photo of ksimons
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a silky deep brown black with a thin layer of tan head

S-roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of smoke

T-Roasted malts, molasses start out and then bitter coffee and dark chocolate finish. The anise is somewhat in the middle with a slight licorice spice to it. The yeast gives it more of a sweeter, lighter finish than most other RIS

M-medium body, very light carbonation, leaves a bitter coffee like coating on the mouth

Not as good as the standard Stone RIS but pretty interesting

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Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.5 out of 5 with 941 ratings
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