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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Belgo Anise

Serve in Snifter


on tap


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RATINGS: 567   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.56/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
Ale brewed with anise, oak chips and belgian yeast.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
ColovianTrader (464) - - JAN 21, 2014
Starts like any good stout, with flavors of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. The anise taste bites hard, but is somewhat smooth out with flavors of vanilla bean, toasted grain and wood. The Belgian yeast is definitely noticeable but not overly strong. It somewhat detracts from the rich stout flavors in my opinion. Finish is sweet with hints of brown sugar and cream. I like experimental and unique beers, but the flavors donít mesh that well in this one. But a below average imperial stout is still better than most other beers.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
kraddel (5726) - some beerplace, BELGIUM - JAN 18, 2014
bottle at RBWG14 ; Pours black, small grey head Smell is pure anise . OK carbo . Taste is anise, some roasted malts . Not that thick . sweet, vanilla . Ok ..

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Salmoniform (1272) - Sweet Home, Oregon, USA - JAN 11, 2014
2011 poured from bottle to tulip glass. Dark opaque hue with thick brown head that lingered. Aroma is anise, esters, sugar, floral, earthy, bitter cocoa, slight funk, ethanol. Mouthfeel is nice with medium body and good carbonation. Taste is sweet throughout with an astringent following and slight ethanol finish. Slight CO2 bite. Overall, this is an interesting brew. Iíve not previously had anything quite like it and most likely never will in the future, but I like it.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Inbreak (4119) - Loddefjord, NORWAY - JAN 11, 2014
UPDATED: FEB 22, 2014 11.01.2014, 0,65l bottle @ home:
Big brown creamy longlasting head. Aroma is kind of strange sweet spicy, dak malts, anise, yeast, hand lotion, spices, citrus, mint. Taste is kind of strange sour-ish and sweet, yeast, dark malts, anise, citrus, spices, hints of cardboard. Medium bitterness, thin amost medical harsh mouthfeel. Just weird, not even close to my cup of tea.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1610) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JAN 5, 2014
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no specific bottling date other than it being a 2011 release. I got the bottle at a Christmas party (thanks to whomever brought it!).

Appearance: Opaque, ink-black body. No visible carbonation. Pours to a fairly large, brown, soapy/foamy head which laces and retains well enough.

Smell: Huge black licorice notes along with toffee and some chocolate. No roasted malt or alcohol.

Taste: You donít tend to associate Belgian character with American-style imperial stouts. So, itís definitely interesting that Stone choose to experiment with a Belgian yeast strain plus anise on their usual Imperial Russian Stout base recipe. The result is a stout thatís only slightly different than the usual brew, though sweeter and less bitter. Itís possible this palette isnít what it tasted like in 2011, though three years of cellaring doesnít seem to have harmed it at all.

Up front I get a strong, fruity flavor of black cherry and blackberry. This is quickly followed by a strong sweetness of black licorice and a Tootsie Roll-like chocolate flavor. Not much in the way of bitterness, and certainly no hop taste to speak of. There might be some coffee-like bitterness hiding in the background that shows up in the aftertaste, but for the most part thereís not a lot of bitter flavor here. I was actually hoping for a lot of roasted maltiness, but it seems to have faded. As far as the Belgian quality goes, itís difficult to pick up on since the base brew is so strongly-flavored. A hint of alcohol at the end imparts some rum and vanilla flavor, which is nice. Overall, itís a sweet brew thatís tasty and satisfying, but far from amazing.

Drinkability: The first thing I noticed about Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout was its thin, slightly fizzy mouthfeel. Thatís probably due to the yeast strain, though it is a nice change of pace from the usual stick-to-your-teeth viscous mouthfeel of most stouts of this nature. Itís no challenge to drink as it goes down smoothly with surprisingly (and somewhat disappointingly) little aftertaste. Almost no alcohol warmth, either, which is surprising considering the beer is quite hefty at 10.5% ABV.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nuffield (3997) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2013
Really interesting beer. The anise comes out most pronounced in the aroma, but even at that point there is complexity in the chocolate, roasted malts, and woody notes. The Belgian quality is somewhat secondary, except for how the body isnít quite as rich as a great Imperial Stout (I had a Bells Expedition, aged 5 fives, immediately following this, and it was much more vanilla and a bit thicker.) Still, thereís a lot of sophistication to this, which comes out well as it warms. Good stuff. Loved the aroma. Bottle.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jkwalking05 (4535) - Arlington, Texas, USA - DEC 31, 2013
(Backlog) Strong black licorice aroma right off the bat. Malts, wood some dark chocolate, sweet, roast, but mostly dominated by the anisein the overall smells. The look is dark latte colored head, black in color. The taste is better balanced than the smell. Swee

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 3/20
harrymel (1551) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 21, 2013
Vintage 2011, odd year version. A: Black ale with cherry hedging and excellent clarity. Single finger of light mocha foam falls to a thin sheet of the same. No lacing. S: ANISE SEED TAKES 90%+ OF THIS AREA. As I really dig deep, I can reach in for some roasted notes, but again, the anise seed is exactly what Iím getting. I expected some of the Belgo yeast to add character here, and maybe it does, but the anise seed is soooo powerful, I canít seem to really enjoy everything this beer could offer. Sometimes, just as I start to smell this, it reminds me of root beer, but then it just becomes overwhelming anise seed without any attempt at balance. T: Soooo, this is like anise seed tea, carbonated. There are some burnt coffee flavors in here. Iím tasting some of the belgian yeast in the finish, but overall the Anise is just too powerful to really enjoy an entire bomber of this beer. It reminds me of Raki, a turkish liquor that is also really strong in the anise seed flavors, and to be sipped over the course of quite some time (this is also quite thin and refreshing and flat). M: Thick and creamy feel with lower carbonation and a dry finish. Really a nice combination and the finish allows for resonance. Too bad the resonating flavors are offensive in intensity. O: This is really disappointing. I think this idea could really be great, but the execution here is a bit monolithic in profile of the flavor. The look and feel are great, but my olfactory and gustatory sensations are offended, this was a drain pour for me. Serving type: bottle 06-26-2011

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
AndySnow (6317) - Huddinge, SWEDEN - DEC 9, 2013
How: Bottle.
Where: Man in the Moon, Stockholm.
Appearance: Black colour with a brown head.
Aroma: Liquorice, aniseed, raisin.
Body: Medium body, low carbonation.
Flavour: Liquorice, chocolate, aniseed.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jsquire (4076) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - NOV 28, 2013
2011 bottle. Dark beer with a short lived brown head. Nose with lots of molasses, some wood and a darkness that Iíll attribute to the anise. This is not so much a black jelly bean anise flavor but more of a Good -n- Plenty. There is enough sweetness to balance but the whole thing is very big. Lively on the tongue but heavy on the palate. Interesting experiment...

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