I felt like a dark and heavy beer tonight so I went down to the beer cellar and picked up a bottle of Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing. We don’t see too much beer from Stone here in Norway, so this beer was bought at Systembolaget in Sweden last year.
This beer is part of Stone’s 2011 “Odd-year” release and is a version of their Stone Imperial Russian Stout brewed with star anise, oak chips and fermented with a Belgian Yeast strain.
Very dark brown color with light brown head. The head has medium retention and does not leave much laces on the glass.
Strong hints of anise up front. I’m also getting coffee and cocoa beans.
As the beer warms up some woody hints appear along with a slight smell of roasted malt.
The anise is also the most dominant part of the flavor. There are also some hints of cold coffee, milk chocolate, oak and vanilla. The beer has an earthy element to it that might come from the Belgian yeast used. There is also a slight sourness to the beer which I did not expect.
The mouth feel is smooth and the carbonation level is mellow but a bit sharp.
Up front there is quite a lot of anise and coffee. After a short while it gets quite bitter with hint of cocoa. Towards the end of the finish I get some small hints of alcohol.
This is a very complex and powerful beer. It’s really balanced and despite the ABV of 10.5% there is no hint of the alcohol in aroma or flavor. I really enjoyed this beer. Score: 4.7/5.
I bought this beer from Systembolaget in Sweden and it’s still listed on systembolaget.se, so if you’re lucky you might be able to get a hold of a bottle or two. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.