Beer Review: STONE BELGO ANISE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT

Beer Review: STONE BELGO ANISE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT

Stone Brewing Co.’s 2011 Odd Year release, the Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout, presents itself as an assertive and pitch-black concoction with a deep tan head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. The absence of any lace and the impenetrable darkness of the liquid make a bold statement from the outset.

Appearance:

The beer pours with an intimidating jet-black hue, accompanied by a dense head of foam that dwindles down to a mere film. Its refusal to allow any light to pass through underscores its formidable nature.

Aroma:

The initial olfactory experience is dominated by black licorice and a distinct Jägermeister character. The resonance with this potent spirit might resonate more with the younger crowd, who may be more familiar with it than traditional black licorice. Beneath this bold note, nuances of wet dog, dark chocolate, and herbal hops emerge.

Taste:

The flavor profile unfolds with black licorice taking center stage, followed by a subtle herbal earthiness, potentially influenced by the Belgo yeast. Dark roast notes and modest wood tannins contribute to a complex interplay of flavors. The persistence of licorice and dark roast long after each sip creates a more subdued and refined tasting experience compared to the bold original Imperial Russian Stout.

Mouthfeel:

The mouthfeel is perceived as thicker than the OG IRS, bordering on silky. The overall texture is notably denser, adding a layer of richness to the drinking experience.

Overall:

Despite initial reservations, this reviewer found great pleasure in Stone’s Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout. The dominant anise flavor was appreciated, as was the nuanced complexity beneath it. The substantial mouthfeel added to the overall appeal. Although there is a temptation to age this beer, its irresistibly tasty nature may prove to be the only obstacle to resisting the urge to crack open a few bottles in the near future.