topherh (1928) - Kearney, Missouri, USA - JUN 28, 2011
Bottle pours black with a brown head. Aroma is dark chocolate, anise, and roasty malt. Flavor is fruity, chocolate, black licorice, some chocolate, and roasty malts. Rather dry finish with a lingering bit of spice. Nephilium (1819) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - JUL 6, 2011
This starts off with a big anise and vanilla nose, there’s almost no roast aroma that gets through that punch. Pours an opaque black, with a thin dark tan head that fades quickly, leaving lacing behind. This is a well made beer. The flavors blend together and play off of each other. The anise balances the vanilla, and the roasted malts play off the woody oak. Slick on the palate, and no noticeable alcohol heat. About the only thing that could make this beer better is if it were cooler outside. I’ll be picking up some more of this in order to make this happen. GandGKevin (934) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - JUL 7, 2011
First of all I hate anise. That being said this was really tasty. Smells like a black licorice stick. Tastes like chocolate covered licorice. I could get over hating licorice. highibus (821) - Vail, Arizona, USA - JUL 9, 2011
Wow, what a great combo. Aroma is huge roasted malt, anise and sweetness. Black as night. Up front roastiness and then a big licorice hit as it warms. Unreal. Limgering malts keep coating the tongue. Really nice. IrishBoy (4200) - Bakersfield, California, USA - JUL 16, 2011
Bomber from Imbibe Wine. Nose is the licorice-like anise, chocolate, and very light vanilla. Black with a big cinnamon tan head. Flavor is heavy anise, bitterness, chocolate, and a little woodiness. Finishes with lighter bitterness and anise that lingers. The anise makes it very different!
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 I’ve had. I was not sure I even liked it until a second bottle.
As is usual with Stone, appearance is beautiful. Heathen (1500) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - AUG 20, 2011
THOUGHTS: Very different. Tons of anise. If I didn’t know better, I’d have though someone poured Sambuca in my beer. Hid alcohol incredibly well. A little like a chocolate biscotti in flavor and aroma. A little too heavy on the anise, actually. Went well with chocolate chip and pecan cookies.
TECHNICAL: Bottle. Poured a very dark brown that was basically opaque black in the glass with an average tan to light brown head that mostly diminished but left excellent lacing. The aroma had moderate to heavy caramel, dark chocolate, coffee and chocolate syrup; moderate pine hops; spicy yeast; wood; vanilla; licorice; cheap cola; nuts; and tons of anise. The initial flavor was moderately sweet and lightly bitter; while the finish was heavily sweet and heavy to nearly harshly bitter with a long duration. There was chocolate syrup, anise, licorice, wood, nuts, chocolate, dark chocolate, dark and prune-like fruit, raisin, fig, burnt toast, slight burnt bacon, chocolate biscotti, a little spicy Belgian yeast, coffee and light alcohol. The medium to full body was fairly oily but also a little syrupy and sticky on the lips with fizzy carbonation and a somewhat metallic nad lightly alcoholic finish. Dogbrick (13027) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - AUG 30, 2011
Sample at the Jackie O’s Bottle Sale on 08/27/2011. Inky black pour with a medium beige head that diminishes steadily. Partial rings of lacing on the glass. Anise bread aroma with notes of yeast and malt. Full body with flavors of black jelly bean, spicy yeast, malt and herbs. The finish leaves a black licorice aftertaste. Probably a beer you will only appreciate if you are a fan of that particular flavor, and I am. Good brew. hayduke (5217) - Eureka, California, USA - SEP 3, 2011
This 220z bottle poured pitch black, that was indeed black even when held up to a bright light. Very robust tan tan head and lots of sticky lacing rings. The nose first is a blast of anise that shifts to a dark roast chocolate malts. Rich full body and a smooth creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is one that shifts as you go along starting of course with the licorice taste, but that fades and is replaced with ripe fruit, chocolate, along with a mild sense of dark roasted to chocolate malts and oak in the background. The finish moves to a belgian yeast fruitiness, and more chocolate. The high alcohol in this is remarkably well hidden. Great beer. 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 it’s 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.