Roonai (305) - - SEP 4, 2011
bottle hared by deyholla, thanks derek! pours a deep ruby mahogony, rich and clean with an almost ruby-brown head that dissipated quickly. nose is rich nise (shocker), vanilla and caramel with a sturdy malt backing. taste has an equatable complexity with emphasis on the anise (licorice) and some added boozy heat. while i done love anise in general, i appreciate the complexity and balance of this brew. heavy for sure but enjoyable! scotchzi (302) - Florida, USA - JUL 7, 2011
UPDATED: JUL 9, 2011 this beer pours perfect black with a great dark amber head. smells a little sweet with coffee toffee and dark chocolate and lots of licorice. taste is a lot more sweet and the anise really comes through huge. it is for sure one of those beers that is good in smaller amounts. Fantomasus (291) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - NOV 4, 2011
Pours a deep dark roasted coffee with a tightly packed (but creamy) tan head. Smells of licorice, maple, oak, and coffee. Initial burst of licorice like candy sweetness gives way to coffee bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Itís a really interesting (but balanced) flavor that I would love to rate higher... but black licorice over powers and Iím not a big fan. Palate is surprisingly clean and highly drinkable. Worth trying at least once but I prefer other Stone Brews for regular consumption. cryptobard (281) - DENMARK - JUL 31, 2011
UPDATED: NOV 29, 2011 What can I say? I find the complex of flavors here (strong anise, of course) perfect for a desert beverage. Certainly one of the most uniquely flavored beers Iíve had. I was not sure I even liked it until a second bottle.
As is usual with Stone, appearance is beautiful. iugrad93 (265) - Indiana, USA - DEC 25, 2011
Pours a black color, tan head, lacing everywhere. Aromas of black licorice and caramel malts. Taste is sweet and the anise is very prominent, more than I like, and dominates the taste. Palate is full bodied, thick, sticky, and flat carbonation. Overall, the beer is just too much anise for me. I like the beer, but just a tad bit less anise would make it better.
TampaBeer (257) - Tampa, Florida, USA - MAR 20, 2012
Gorgeous midnight purple color. Very sweet as well as some sourness. Reminded me a little bit of a sour ale which I do not care for. The density of flavors combined with an intense sweetness and a strong sour element becomes, to my surprise, a slightly negative aspect. "Gaudy" is a word I would use for this one. My favorite beers are ones with the most intense flavors, however this is kind of a "hot mess" which keeps it from living up to my high expectations. mcnealc31 (255) - Elida, Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2011
Big, bold, black, and very aggressive. Youíll need a few pours to fit all this in one glass. The smell is nearly all anise, with some wood. Itís quite creamy with a lot of that black licorice flavor, dry wood, roasted malt, spicy hops. Outstanding lacing lures you in to try to find more flavors, the ones more common in a Russian Imperial Stout. If you hunt, you will pick up some of the currants, chocolate, coffee, but the anise is the real star here. I could see where some say itís overpowering, but I love the flavor, so itís working for me. The 10.5% ABV warms through the finish, along with a fun bitter bite.
Another unique, tasty brew from Stone. But you have to love anise to love this. If you donít, you will hate it.
MarinaMarket (254) - POULSBO, Washington, USA - SEP 17, 2011
Aroma from the neck is black licorice, molasses, and smoke. I am intrigued! Pours black and with a little coaxing manages a nice thick tan head. Aroma is about the same but a little more subtle and complex. I get faint notes of wood, vanilla, and can I say is smells salty? Very nice sticky laces and a slowly receding head. Very nice flavor, if not a bit "ODD". Strong flavor of salt licorice, and some subtle hints of wood, hops, bittering on the finish. It really sticks around for a bit too. Mouthfeel is medium bodied (for this style) and I get some citrus notes as well. Also important to note that the 10.5% ABV is well masked. While itís a strong flavored brew, it does not have the alcohol notes I would expect of a higher gravity beer. Very interesting version of the Stone IRS. Anyone who likes salt licorice would love this beer. Tasted from the bottle @ 53F. dfhhead25 (251) - Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 10, 2011
Aroma- black licorice, oak, herbs, dark fruits
Appearance- thick, black body with a khaki-colored head
Taste- black licorice prominent, woodiness, bready malts, light hops, relatively complex, slightly disjointed
Palate- surprisingly thicker than regular RIS, feels just about right
Overall- A decent novelty brew IMO, but certainly not sessionable. On par with DFH Black and Red but not near as memorable. bittermestupid (247) - Canton, Ohio, USA - JUL 2, 2011
Pours black as ink with a nice 1/2" thick tan head. Smells of expresso, chocolate, licorice, leather and a slight dried dark fruit note. Taste of dark roasted coffee, licorice, chocolate, vanilla and a touch of tabacco and belgian spices. Rather thick on the palate and it finishs with a long roasted coffee bitterness and some strong licorice notes.