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Friday, September 30, 2011

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

It's Friday, and that means at 9pm, I'm watching "Fringe" on Fox!

The show is dark and complex, and it really pushes the limits creatively. When I watch a show this intense, this well produced, I want a beer that is equally well produced and intense. One that pushes the envelope of creativity, style, and most importantly, taste. I want a beer to challenge and please my palette in the same manner "Fringe" challenges and pleases my mind.

In the craft beer world, few, (if any any), push the envelope further, or more aggressively, than Stone Brewing.

While wandering the aisles of Julio's Liquors this afternoon, I noticed that they still had an ample supply of Stones odd year release "Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout". This beer had gotten great reviews in the press, and I love Anise, so I've been dying to try it.

Without further ado, here's the review!

Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
10.5%ABV, 52 IBU's

This beer pours pitch black, with no head, only a thin, dark brown bavarian ring, with an oily sheen.

Smell is malty, with notes of dark roasted coffee, anise, alcohol, and even hops present.

Mouthfeel is full and oily, with alcohol warmth on the tongue, and sensations of vanilla and wood.

Taste is complex, very BOLD, yet oddly balanced- alcohol is noticed first, followed by woody oak and hops, dark roasted malts follow, with vanilla and anise and a spicy warmth overwhelming everything else. Vanilla and woody oak notes round out the aftertaste.

This is an excellent beer. Brewed with warrior hops and bavarian yeast, its aged on oak chips that mellow out all the strong personalities of the components and deliver a surprisingly drinkable 10% abv beer. I do wish that the ABV was lower so that we could get a better distinction between all the ingredients in this beer, but perhaps that would be too much flavor and taste, even for Stone. 

I give this beer a 3.5-4 on my scale of 1-5.

Cheers!


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