Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

827 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 827
Hads: 1,643
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 6.62%
Wants: 333
Gots: 376 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007

Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 827 | Hads: 1,643
Photo of sfreshnock
3.57/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I am very susceptible to beer hype. Just have to know what the big stink is about. Black Albert, my latest buy in, is indeed worth the endless praise. Poured nice and slow into a tulip style glass, the head was immense for a 13% ABV beer and it stuck around for some time. Fantastic looking beer, period. The smell on the other hand was dull and acrid, not overly phenolic, more like like flat pepsi. Flip Flop again. Taste is full of flavors that easily come to life. "Caramel Sundae Syrup" at the tip and back of my tongue intertwined with sour cherries and raisins. Aftertaste is much like a Flanders Red. Black Albert does noy give his ABV away in the mouth. Mouthfeel is sticky and leaves my teeth wet with an oily film. Very drinkable for a high ABV beer. I could drink another if it was cost effective. (809 characters)

Photo of datamike
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great aroma with some fruity esters and a bit or roastiness. No Belgian phenolics though.

The taste is good; complex, raisiny, fruity, moderate roast level, bitter chocolate. Definitely some aspects of age here - sherry-like notes of oxidation. Nothing special here though. Either of Southern Tiers Imperial stouts (choklat, oatmeal) is superior in every way.

The real problem here is that there is nothing "Belgian" about this beer.

A decent beer, but severely over-hyped and overrated in my opinion.... (507 characters)

Photo of daythree16
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours completely black with a very thin head that fades pretty quickly.

Smell is raisins and dark fruit. Very sweet aromas. Taste definitely follows suit. Huge dark fruity sweetness that overpowers everything else. It does have a roasted quality that tries to assert itself, but it just can't. The 13% ABV also makes itself known big time, as each sip gives way to a warm alcohol finish bordering on burn.

Mouthfeel is silky but still has nice carbonation. Drinkability is not very good. The cloying sweetness just makes it hard to put away. I'm glad I'm sharing this one, because I doubt I would even want all of the little bottle.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with this one, especially considering all the hype. Not terrible by any means, just not the stellar brew I was expecting. (790 characters)

Photo of nhindian
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch '0' review.

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle generously split by russwbeck, thanks Russ!

Lot D.

A - Pours a chocolate brown, with lighter brown highlights. The head is aggressive and bordering on excessive as it continuously rises, almost 3-fingers in height. Certainly can't say it doesn't look impressive, however, with its tan color and great retention. Lacing is much better than the normal version, with generous amounts of foam sticking to the glass.

S - The smell is much more up my alley than normal Black Albert. Gone are the funky sour aromas I've encountered in two separate batches that just seemed out of place, and they are replaced by a much more roasted profile. Big notes of coffee and dark chocolate from the malts, a distinct Belgian yeast smell, and some slight booze.

T - The taste is definitely more mellow and robust than typical Black Albert. A very roasty beginning paves the way for espresso and caramel malt, along with a good amount of chocolate. The Belgian yeast strain is actually a bit of a deterrent, imparting a funky flavor that just kind of seems weird given the rest of the flavors. I'm sure it has its niche, but can't say its my preference. Some dark fruits and sugar, giving the impression of rum soaked raisins. The alcohol is much more hidden here than in the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with high carbonation. Like most Belgians this too has above average carbonation, which for the style may need to be swirled out a little. Leaves a strong chocolate and roast aftertaste.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. Much better than normal Black Albert but can't say it's a favorite of mine. The flavors aren't amazing and in my opinion the yeast clashes with the typical stout flavors. (1,754 characters)

Photo of craytonic
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Near perfect pour, huge cappuccino head, but no quality lacing. Near opaque with some brown/mahogany mixed in.

Smell: Fudge, roast coffee, dark rum, dark malts, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits

Taste: Doesn't taste like your typical RIS, has a major tangy fruit element to it. Also fudge, chocolate, molasses, dark malts, roast coffee, licorice. Perhaps Kaluah and dijorno. Perhaps a bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel: A bit thiner than I expected; a bit to sweet, somewhat brandy like

Drinkability: Thankful for the smaller bottle (538 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled poured into a CBS snifter. First beer of baller and its components tasting

A - Deep, brown color with a light mocha swirl of foam sitting on top. Looks to have a medium body

S - Smells of deep cocoa with a light teriyaki smell as well. There is a light lemon peel in the nose

T - Cocoa with a hint of lemon. There is a bit of salty teriyaki on the backend. This is interesting for a stout. Not the typical flavor profile and a bit lemony for my taste

MF - Light and creamy with very light carbonation. Leaves a thick, creamy feeling that lingers on the tongue

O - an interesting beer that is a bit different for the style. Definitely not as Belgian as I expected. It does have an interesting lemon aspect that you don't expect for a stout. Worth a try because it's different but not world class. (808 characters)

Photo of jkendrick
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: P ours a one finger head that jhangs around longer than you'd expect. Leaves some good lace. Solid black color.

S: All the usual suspects

MF: Medium carbonation and medium bodied, almost too thin.

T: All the normal imp stout flavors are here, but there is more of a burnt taste than I like and it is on the dry side. The bitterness is intentional I suppose, but it didn't sit well with me, particularly in the aftertaste. The high ABV is very noticeable and I think it should cellar a lot longer.

Overall: It's just a bit too bitter and too hot for me, especially given the relatively thin body for an Imperial stout. (625 characters)

Photo of calcio360jrd
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in my duvel tulip

First time i had tried this one, been on my radar for a while, and just scored 2 through 2 trades over the last week. Aggressive pour produced a little off white head that quickly diminished. The smell had that traditional RIS smell of dark fruit, little coffee, and definite alcohol presence. Taste was a little sweeter than i like for a RIS, but in no way unpleasant. The mouthfeel was the weirdest part of this beer. I hold all RIS to CCB Zhukov standards, black albert was just very thin feeling, almost felt more like a brown ale. Just didn't blow me away this one. I'll let the other one i have sit for a year or 2 til i come back to it again. (682 characters)

Photo of mrandypandy
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

< 12oz bottle, not sure where I obtained it from. It's been aging in my cellar for 1-2 years so we'll see what time does for this one.

A- Pours medium black with a dark cherry/brown head. Ruby/brown highlights at the edges, some floaties as I get down to the bottom. Poor retention and average (at best) lacing.
S- Muted. I'm trying really hard to pull anything from it, but I can only get some faint sweetness and vague dark fruits. Raisins in particular.
T- Intriguing... There's almost a sour note right at the beginning, followed by roasted malt tones in the finish. Fruity; figs, plums, raisins. Not sure cellaring has been kind to this one though.
M - Medium to full body. Smooth, creamy with a bite at the end.
D- Small bottle, so finishing wasn't an issue. Not sure I'd want another one afterwards, but I'll still finish the other three in the cellar.

Overall - I was a much bigger fan of this beer fresh. I remember it being smooth, mellow, with a nice coffee finish. Now I get muted dark fruits (figs, raisins) with a sour bite at the front. Again, recommended fresh but not with a few years on it. (1,113 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PHawk for this beer in a trade. You da man Parker.

(Sung to the tune of Fat Albert)

Hey Hey Hey, it's Black Albert.
And Im gonna pour a dark cola highlighted beer for you.

And you're going to smell alcohol, coffee, and dark fruits too.

You'll taste bitter chocolate now with figs, tobacco and candy can, It's not too heavy, it's got that Belgian thang.

NaNaNa, gonna be a good beer, With some alcohol too. NaNaNa gonna be a thin beer.

This is Murchmac coming at you with an intersting belgian RIS, and if you're not careful, you might believe the hype before it's done.

NaNaNa, thought an RIS with a belgian yeast was interesting, Hey Hey Hey. NaNaNa, that was the only thing. Hey Hey Hey (711 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The scores are from Batch 0, if I counted my scores from Black Albert, they would be much lower.

Black Albert Batch A4BB

I was going to try this side by side with Black Albert Batch 0, but when I opened this it exploded with head out of the top before I could even get the cap off. Not a good sign. After pouring ever so slightly to avoid the ridiculously fast growing head, the first smell definitely leads me to believe this is infected. It smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin to be honest. The taste is light and while not sour, it certainly isn't what I'd expect from a RIS. I don't think I'm going to review it anymore than that. Pretty disappointed here, let's see what happens with Batch 0...

Batch 0 Lot D

A: The head on this is huge. You really have to be careful when pouring to avoid a Duvel type 6 inch brown head. Black pour.

S: The smell is distinctly Belgian, very sweet. A bit of roastiness is mixed in as well giving it that stout feeling to it. It does smell more like a Quad than a RIS though.

T: This is the taste I was expecting. It really is hard to believe that this is an older version of the infected mess I opened first. The Belgian yeast and funky taste is there, along with a bit of dark fruits, but it also has a nice roasty character. The Belgian tastes seem to start the beer, and stout characteristics end it.

MF: Thankfully this has a medium body and was not light and watery like Black Albert. A bit boozy, with a dry aftertaste.

O: This was ok. It isn't great and overall sort of weird, but there isn't anything wrong with it. Is it worth the price it goes for? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it. (1,640 characters)

Photo of pdxwhisky
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont Station.

Looks great in a (correct) chimay tulip glass. Nice nose, good lacing. But then the taste - wow, much thinner than I anticipated. Very little aftertaste, and thin mouthfeel.

For 8.50 for 30cl, my expectations were not met.

Not a true RIS, but a "Belgian Imperial Stout".

Won't pay that much for this again. (338 characters)

Photo of microwavabledish
3.51/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a Tulip, its black as pitch, even when held up to light. Poured nicely with a rocky/fluffy two finger high, mocha colored head. Looks delicious.

The nose is a boozy, roasty smell with a hint of coffee and dark molasses and some dark dark cherry.

The taste is slightly fruity, with some major roast character. As it warms it gets nice and sweet, with a lingering alcohol in the back of the throat.

The mouthfeel, while thinner than other RIS's is still substantial enough to be in style. The carbonation is low and it goes down quite easily.

Notes: Really good on a cold night with some hearty food and a light sweet dessert. Drinkability is a 3 because while one of these goes down quite handily over an hour, having a second one is just about out of the question considering that its 13% abv. (810 characters)

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.51/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got to enjoy half a bottle of this rare one. Split it with my brother.

Pours out black with a pretty decent brown head. The bubbles stay around, there is not much lacing, but the bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Smells a bit sweet and roasted, and you get a bit of alcohol smell. The taste is a bit sweet, not much fruit like some others in the style, but you get a nice bit of bitter roastedness, which I love. Then there's a hint of the black malt and chocolate sweetness. The tastes are all sort of muddled, maybe from the yeast. I kind of wish it were more bold and assertive -not harsh - but I think the yeast made it hard to really distinguisg flavors. But I enjoyed it, if not for the rarity. For the style and the ABV, this one was surprisingly drinkable. Maybe I only wanted more because I only got half of a 11.2 oz bottle. The cost may limit me buying it, but if I ever get a shot to have it on tap from the source, I'll take it. (951 characters)

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.51/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to CVfish for this bottle

A - this RIS pours a motor oil dark, with two fingers of chocolate milk colored head, too dark to note carbonation

S - a superb nose comprised of chocolate/coffee and coffee, like a quality RIS

T - chocolate dominates the taste, some roasted malts, there is an underlying peaty/earthyness to the flavor as well

M&D - smooth and complex, flavorful, well done RIS, this one is worth trying at least once (439 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.49/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re reviewed since 12.08.08 as my last reviewed was disappointing.

A - Pours nice black and huge heavy sticky head.

S - Chocolate and coffee.

T- Nice, burnt coffee, black licorice, but ends with burnt taste in mouth.

M - Medium to heavy, good carb, not great balance.

D - Overwhelming after one.

Better than I thought, but it is still not one of my favorites. (364 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle at Bier Temple in Brussels. I'm immediately impressed by the huge boozy dark fruit nose. This is very comparable to a Baltic Porter. In fact, after tasting it I would have certainly assumed as much. As the beer warms chocolate and molasses shine through in the scent but the beer remains dominated by sweet/sour prunes, dried apricots, and currants. The flavor follows - booze soaked plums and raison served over espresso. This one is hot, full bodied, and at times syrupy. Very good beer but not as interesting as I would have guess from the hype. Not particularly drinkable. Too boozy and syrupy. (617 characters)

Photo of MsRif
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had from a bottle purchased from Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA. Poured an oily black color with a viscous consistency. Chocolate head that quickly receded, leaving some spotty lacing. Had an aroma of BOOZE, roasty malts, dark chocolate, sweet malts and a bit of earthiness. Taste is of roasted/sweet malts, BOOZE, hoppy bitterness/earthiness, dark chocolate and coffee. The booze is VERY forward in this beer...there is no hiding of that 13% ABV. I almost found it undrinkable. I don't mind a high alcohol brew but I felt the booze overwhelmed the rest of the flavors/complexity of this beer. As it came up in temp, it actually tasted more booze forward to me.

Full bodied. Syrupy with light carbonation. Not creamy...sticky and thick.

Yes, it was good. Not "great." Hardly at the top of my favorites list. I'll pass on it in the future. (842 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.46/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lot C purchased through Etre about 10 months ago and cellared since. Best before date of July, 2015. Not sure how old this is, but assuming it's got a little bit of age on it, at least a year. 11.2oz bottle poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a very dark jet black with a half finger of creamy mocha brown head that has decent retention and slowly fades to a flat top. At the end of the glass there is a couple brown sedimentation specs, but other then that it looks awesome for the style.

S- Some dark fruits, chalky chocolate, a lot of booze that almost makes it smell like you are drinking whiskey, not overly aromatic.

T- Chalky cocoa, roasted malts, fairly boozey, finishes with a light lingering aftertaste of cocoa. Not overly flavorful with a lot of chalkiness to it.

M- Fairly on palate but a somewhat smooth finish, medium bodied, low carbonation.

O- At first I thought this might be a bad bottle, but the other bottles of Cuvee Delphine/Kabert all had the same chalkiness and weren't overly flavorful. Overall I wasn't that impressed and there are a lot of better stouts out there. Perhaps drinking Kate the Great right before kind of ruined it a little bit. I'd like to try it a little bit fresher and see if that makes a difference. (1,253 characters)

Photo of bbeane
3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Poured into a DFH snifter... starts with a small light brown head that disappears quickly leaving minimal lacing. Beer is pitch black in color with no light showing through when held to the ceiling

S- First nose is kind of weak... some mild dark fruit aroma with a hint of wood. As it warms, the dark fruit aroma becomes more evident along with some booziness

T- Starts out with some dark fruit sweetness mixed with a hop presence and some heat. As it warms the malty sweetness starts to overpower the hops and surprisingly the boozy heat seems less evident

M- Has nice body... bit chewy with light carbonation

D- Honestly... total disappointment. The appearance, aroma, and taste were average at best for the style and especially for the price

CHEERS!! (761 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.44/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ryan for this one. Batch No. 14, according to the label.

A: The pour is certainly fitting for the style. Nearly black in color with an initially formbidable tan head that eventually settles down to a thin cap.

S: A heavy aroma of dark fruits, particularly prunes, figs, and plums. A touch of alcohol but no real roast, chocolate, or coffee. Almost cloying, to be honest.

T: The flavor is somewhat complex. Certainly the fruits noted in the aroma are well represented, but there is an underlying flavor of roasted malt and some light bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a fairly substantial level of carbonation, which I am unsure of at this point in time--even after drinking a fair amount of my glass.

D: As this one comes to temperature, the alcohol becomes more noticeable and the bitterness becomes more of an astringency. Not my favorite, but certainly worth trying. (889 characters)

Photo of davedahl
3.44/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good - but not up to my expectations based on the hype surrounding it. I had a 8oz pour in a sherry glass for $10 at Binny's in Chicago's south loop.

The pour was far too cold but produced a completely black brew with a creamy chocolate-milk type head of tight tiny bubbles. Slight lacing.

Taste was chocolate malt, roasted malt at the front; dark fruit (dark sweet cherries plums) in the middle; and little hop balance and alcohol burn in the finish.

Nose - nothing. Seriously partially because how cold this beer was there was zero aromatics. After I warmed it a bit in my hands I detected rich dark malt and sweet cherries - but you really have to search for them.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, alcohol bite, viscous. The 13% alcohol is hidden well.

So hmm. This was good, but not great. I had this only once previously, about a year ago with BA member bgramer and I recall getting a lot more out of it at that time. I think this is probably better bottled and aged than on tap. (985 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a Troegs pint glass.

A: Vigorous pour yields a 1 finger fine creamy-chocolate head with excellent retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is spotty with waves coming out of the brew at points.

S: Dark fruit, plum, faint chocolate, roasted malts, lactose, slight coffee and booze sourness.

T: Ripe plum is apparent upfront and lingers throughout. Chocolate and coffee comes in towards the middle with a weird Belgian spiciness. Finish is more of the same but booziness peaks its nasty head and stays as the aftertaste which is a bit unpleasant.

M: Medium bodied and very very coarse and highly carbonated. Mouth is very lively and quite watery. Finish is slightly sticky and messy. Lingers a bit long.

D: Overhyped, overspiced, and overcarbonated. I understand that this is a Belgian imperial stout but the flavor carbonation and body don't work for me. I won't be having this again. I expect and like coffee and heavy chocolate in my stouts. This one delivers that, but cancels it out with other flavors that don't meld quite right. (1,079 characters)

Photo of aqsprint
3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very dark brown/amber. 3 fingers of foam. Great lacing all the way through.

S- Roast, chocolate, and that Belgian aroma.

T- A little fruity, chocolate, figs. Alcohol burn down the throat. Disappointing considering its the 31 spot in the top 100. Over all I think its over rated.

M- A little thin, but not bad.

D- Drinkable beer, but I will not be having another any time soon. (384 characters)

Photo of pepsican
3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

black pour with a thick khaki head. Aroma has strong grapes, green apple, and sugar. Flavor is very complex. I got chocolate, tofee, tannins/white grapes, green apple, light hops, tobacco, and cherries. Finishes lightly sweet, oily. A bit of alcohol bite rounds it out. I was expecting a bit more, but it was a pretty good try. (327 characters)

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 827 ratings.