Remember Stone Imperial Russian Stout? We do, and with quite a bit of affection at that.
Now Stone has released the Belgo Anise edition, giving us something that already was sublime with the addition of an even better flavor. Impossible, you say? You have every reason to, but I'm going out on a limb here: This Belgo Anise IRS might just be the ale to knock Deschutes's the Abyss down from its throne.
Here you have everything that is great about an excellent beer -- and feel free to read my tasting notes on the standard edition if you need a reminder -- amplified. The flavor is just a bit deeper, with the malts coming out to play in fuller force than last time. Heavy as the 10.5% ABV is, it's still not insanely pronounced here; think of it as a foot soldier, assisting general Anise.
Ah yes, the anise. I can go either way on that flavor, but here, here it is balanced perfectly into the mix. It hits at the end, gently at first, until it takes over the flavor profile almost gingerly. Just sit back and let the anise seduce you. It is an amazing feeling.
Go out and pick up as many bottles you can of this beer. It's cheaper than the Abyss and possibly better.