This year Stone Brewing is releasing 2 beers in their “Odd Beers For Odd Years” series. Initially the idea was to just release Old Guardian and Imperial Russin Stout in Belgo/Belgianized odd versions. The Stone faithful complained, the brewery lamented and will be releasing both. The Belgo Old Guardian has already arrived. Next up is the Belgo Russian. 2011 will be an odd year for it indeed. Details from the label indicate this beer will full of star anise, a seed pod of the evergreen tree that boasts a licorice flavor. Bottle copy:
Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thing, rich and well, sinful you might feel certain that you are to be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about taking a sip. It almost seems evil. Rest assured, however, that our ever faithful gargoyle has done his job well by successfully warding off all evil spirits. In fact, we guarantee that no sin was committed in the production of this seemingly pernicious brew. We will admit that we used copious does of decadence in creating the viscous beauty you have before you, but no actual sin… You’ll have to add that on your own.
This particular edition is brewed in the authentic historical style of an Imperial Russian Stout, and then, shall we say… embellished. Specifically, by using a Belgian yeast strain, adding liberal amounts of star anise, and oaking it (which arguably could be considered “historical” as they used wooden barrels back then rather than todays stainless steel).
While our original version is “intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate,” this Odd Year version doesn’t just have “notes” of anise… it screams it. Big, loud, & proud. LIke the Russian Czarists. Presumably. Truth is, we can’t say for certain, but one sip it’s easy to imagine it to be true.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout (Belgianized)
Availability: 22oz Bombers. Draft.
Arrival: Late Spring, 2011.