Though the weather has not cooled enough to have me wanting stouts on a regular basis I simply could not pass this one up when seeing it a little while back. I am not one to keep black licorice around the house, but I really was interested to see (or rather taste) how that flavor worked with a big, bold stout. The answer is that I think it works well and certainly much more so than I thought roasted buckwheat did.
Easing into the weekend . . .
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, CA)
Name: Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Style: Russian Imperial Stout (or maybe Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer)
ABV: 10.50% (on bottle)
Tasting Notes: Stored in the fridge and pulled a little early to warm a bit before being served in a snifter.
Aroma: A full, smooth, chocolately roasted malt character with a more subtle licorice aroma underneath. Well balanced and quite pleasant overall with maybe a bit of alcohol there. – 9/12
Appearance: Dark, dark, dark brown (black) in color. One finger light brown head that is pretty thick, holds fairly well, and leaves some legs on the glass. Opaque and even so at the edges when held to light. – 3/3
Flavor: A deep roasted malt flavor with notes of bittersweet chocolate and a light molasses-like sweetness. The licorice flavor comes through middle to finish with some bitterness and a bit of astringency (from roasted malt profile) coming out near the finish. Otherwise finishes fairly smooth with some lingering chocolate and anise. – 15/20
Mouthfeel: Full body with a moderate to low level of carbonation. Smooth and pretty creamy on the palate with a bit of warmth noticeable. – 4/5
Overall Impressions: First significantly sized glass of stout in a long time. I actually prefer this one not as warm as I usually do a big stout as the licorice gets to be a little too prominent and out of balance. The aftertaste and astringency are like that after eating some very dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. I could see this one pairing really well with the appropriate desserts. – 8/10
Overall: B+ (39/50)