HeadyDE (885) - Delaware, USA - MAR 21, 2014
bomber pour..2011 odd year..fairly black color with a mocha/tan head..small bubbles atop a larger than expected head..aroma is not the highlight here with stout qualities and as others have stated a somewhat bandaid like presence. mouthfeel is quite creamy and vanilla heavy with roasty qualities..not getting as much of the licorice like stuff from the anise..definitely an interesting offering with some dark fruity plum..mandarin orange in the fray as well...ok..but not on par with the regular ris... chinchill (5377) - South Carolina, USA - FEB 26, 2014
UPDATED: FEB 28, 2014 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 a big step in the wrong direction from the excellent, better balanced, ’regular’ Imp. Stout which I last had less than 48 hours ago. ThirstyBird (3020) - Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, ENGLAND - JAN 25, 2014
Thanks Jef @RBBWG14! Pours dark brown with orange highlights. And a tiny head. The smell is anise, dark roasted malt, chocolate. The taste is dark fruit, anise, dark roasted malt. The body is medium with active carbonation. sandygoonie (48) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 22, 2014
Smell like a stout...but addition of a phenolic bandaid. Taste yeasty and somewhat sour. Not a big fan. 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 don’t mesh that well in this one. But a below average imperial stout is still better than most other beers.
kraddel (9336) - Antwerp, 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 .
Salmoniform (1281) - 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. I’ve not previously had anything quite like it and most likely never will in the future, but I like it. Inbreak (6718) - Loddefjord, NORWAY - JAN 11, 2014
UPDATED: FEB 22, 2014 11.01.2014, 0,65l bottle @ home:ChadPolenz (1847) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JAN 5, 2014
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.
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!).
Nuffield (4245) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2013
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 don’t tend to associate Belgian character with American-style imperial stouts. So, it’s 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 that’s only slightly different than the usual brew, though sweeter and less bitter. It’s possible this palette isn’t what it tasted like in 2011, though three years of cellaring doesn’t 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 there’s 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, it’s 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, it’s a sweet brew that’s 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. That’s 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. It’s 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.
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 isn’t 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, there’s a lot of sophistication to this, which comes out well as it warms. Good stuff. Loved the aroma. Bottle.