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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,591 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,591
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 319
Gots: 379 | FT: 24
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,591 | Reviews: 823 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle sample from Adil. Thanks friend! Midnight black in colour with a creamy, dark beige head that quickly subsides to a thin cap. No lace on this pour. Smell and taste are strong vinous aromas, Belgian yeast, herbal and fruity American hops, dark grapes, red wine, and a burnt grain chalkiness to end. Quite a bit of alcohol in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is viscous, velvety, somewhat chewy, dryly parched finish. A unique take on the style, not as roasted, smoky, or bitter as US versions. My least favourite of the four stouts that we tasted, though still a great beer.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-pours a dark black completely opaque liquid. The head is the color of a brown paper bag, it is tight and very creamy looking. The head retention is rediculous, it lingers and doesn't move leaving a thick lace all over the glass

S-interesting, wild yeast sets in first with notes of raspberries and a touch of candied fruits. Sweet rum lies behind with a touch of roasted malts. Light notes of dark chocolate are present at the very back with more dark fruity sweetness.

T-very tasty! Much more like an imperial stout in the taste but still a hint of the belgian yeast. Roasted malts are right up front balanced by just a touch of wild yeast. Dark chocolate is quite strong, notes of toffee and a hint of coffee. Dark fruity sweetness takes over in the back, lots of cherries and plums.

M-full bodied and extremely smooth and creamy. Low carbonation but holds up throughout and doesn't fall off. So soft on the palate, wow this is tasty.

D-this is a delicious brew. I was thrown off a little by the nose with all of the sweetness and yeast. However, the taste was beautifully done and brought a fantastic variety of flavors. Great feel and so smooth!

Photo of clvand0
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark black with a tall head that hangs around and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very sweet with a strong blend of molasses and roast. The flavor was a much stronger than the aroma foretold. Licorice and molasses sweetness upfront. Also notes of dark fruits and a hint of spice that is probably from the yeast, some coffee, dark malts, alcohol. The huge sweetness makes it very heavy on the tongue. The alcohol is huge and the mouthfeel is very thick. The drinkability is ok, but I don't think I could have more than one in a day.

Photo of jera1350
3.81/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pure black color with a lovely head of fluffy light brown foam.

The nose is very subtle. There is a subtle malt and cream scent, but there is a larger scent of alcohol.

Quite boozy, it shows it's 13% abv well. Deep roasted dark malt with lots of bittersweet chocolate, some lactose sweetness and a bit of coffee. Moderate hop bitterness. Not extremely complex, but fairly so.

Mostly smooth with a touch of prickly carbonation and some creaminess. Finishes dry with a full body.

Very much a sipper. A nice RIS. Definitely more European than American for the style. Glad to have tried, but wouldn't need it again.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Val Dieu chalice. Pours a wonderful looking dark black liquid...filling the glass completely midnight black with an incredible tan head with amzing retention. Head litterally lasts minutes upon minutes...and therefore leaves great lacing! This beer already looks fantastic!!

Aroma is light, surprisingly! Very mild Belgian yeasts, malty, and mild booze. Other than that, perhaps a little bit of chocolate and some fruits.

Tastes like a Belgian style Stout. Lot's of great strong flavored fruits up front. The fruits really take the bulk of the flavor, followed by a completely thick, viscous, and boozy mouthfeel. The carbonation is slightly high, surprisingly...but definitely not overkill! Big malty characteristics. Sweet and medium to full body. A great and tasty beer from De Struise!

Photo of SirSketch
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A mountain of light brown head forms, about 1 1/2 inch, when poured. Black and completely opaque.

S - Sweet maple syrup, raisins, creamy milk chocolate and caramel aroma. All combine to make a great smelling beer.

T - Surprisingly, it has a very roasty, almost burnt coffee flavor that the nose doesn't lead on about. Bitterness really pulls through and there is even a tiny bit of hop flavor underneath. Does not come off as strong as other 13% stouts.

M/D - Rich and creamy mouth that leaves a sugary stickiness on the top of the mouth and tongue. Overall, an enjoyable beer and I'm glad I had the chance to try it!

Photo of DoubleJ
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of Halcyondays' buddies brought this to Beachwood BBQ for the three of us to sample. Sometimes, one of the beer's you've been wanting to taste happens sooner than you think. On to the beer:

Obsidian black color shows no sign of giving way for any light. White head on top create a good contrast of colors. I was taken by surprise by the aroma. Yes, I could smell some roasted malt and chocolate flavors, but also some dark fruits and plums that you'd find in a more traditional dark Belgian.

Yet as much of a surprise the aroma was, the taste was a bigger surprise. It was strange, but still enjoyable in a weird way. A dash of cocoa, a part of dark fruits, some milk/lactose sweetness, and add in some lactic and sour qualities, and you got Black Albert. The lactic and lactose threw my palate off quite a bit....drink a little more and my palate becomes a little adapted to this. The best quality of the beer was how well the 13% ABV was hidden....where's the heat? Seemed closer to being medium bodied than full bodied.

Black Albert is strange. Ok, it's really different from your everyday Imperial Stout. If you're looking for something REALLY different in the style, Black Albert could be the cure, but the price and lack of availability aren't going to encourage me to seek a bottle for myself.

Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2 oz. bottle courtesy of gregoryG,

A: Pours black with a full brown head, lots of lace.

S: Dark fruit oriented, heavy raisin and plum with chocolate.

T: This is quite an interesting take on the Imperial Stout style. This is Belgian for sure. The dark fruit is huge - this is a raisin/fig/prune bomb, residual sugar is very high, with a considerable acidity. Dark chocolate secondarily.

M: Moderate acidity, smooth, but thins out a bit on the back end.

D: This beer is a legend as a it briefly took the No. 1 spot on the BA 100 a while back, but currently is on the outside looking in. This is a very different Imperial Stout, the Belgian influence is clear. Think of an RIS mixed with a Quad 50/50. An intriguing beer, I wish this was available here so I could buy a bottle to go over all by myself.

Photo of ndolover
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a small snifter out of a bottle.

I would like to say that I don't believe this is a RIS, almost more of a Baltic Porter..with a Dubbel mixed in.

A: tawny brown head sits atop a black beer with ruby highlights. The head dissapates quickly and ends up with a 5mm head.

S: Up front figs and dark fruits. Some roast chocolate, cocoa, and bread notes.

T: Figs, raisons, and other dark fruits play with a salty soy taste. Some malty caramel notes. Chocolate and some malt bitterness. More soy and salt as it warms.

M: Some slickness, and astringency, medium mouthfeel (I did have a gusher, over carbonated?) some sheery and fusel alcohol notes, cardboard, but not overly oxidized.

O: Very drinkable for a RIS, but seemed to be more like a baltic or Dubbel with more chocolate malts. This is a fun beer as it doesn't fit a style. Check it out, and ride the soy sauce!

Photo of Pabs311
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours very dark black, not light passing through. a nice looking mocha colored head tops this beer, slowly settling to leave some good looking lacing.

S- Aroma is a bit different from most RISs i've had. Some coffee and chocolate notes as expected but also a good amount of dark fruit, molasses and some licorice or soy pokes through as well.

T- equally as complex as the nose, but more intense. malty sweetness, mingles with some bitterness. flavors come off with coffee, some chocolate, dark sweet fruit and that same soy or licorice (can't nail it down).

M/D- Full bodied and chewy just the way i like my RISs. low carbonation. very nice moutfeel, almost silky smooth. good drinkability as well. gonan cellar the other one i have and check it out in a few months.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14

A: Black, but not quite opaque. Great head, with some nice lacing.

S: Phenomenal aroma. Wow! There is an incredible wild yeast sourness in the nose. Every time I smell the beer, searching for additional scents, I become completely distracted by the incredible sour aroma.

T: Unique for sure. This beer smells better than it tastes. I don't get a lot of stout characteristics (I know this batch is more quad-like). The 13% ABV is disguised extremely well. The beer lacks the complexity I expected from the intriguing scents. The sourness is more present in the aroma, but still very evident in the taste. Again, unique, enjoyable, and impossible to categorize.

M: Dare I say a little thin?

D: A truly unique beer that I will always look forward to.

Photo of SuperSpy
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Corsendonk glass.

A - This is black, black, black. Even when held up to the sun I cannot see any highlighted color on the edges. The head takes up the top two inches of the glass and is the color of espresso crema. As the head dies down there is plenty of lacing left behind, and it finally settles out with a 1/4-inch thick foam cap. I didn't know exactly what to expect from a Belgian Royal Stout, but this isn't far from initial picture in my head.

S - Surprisingly subdued but there are definite hints of dark fruits, especially figs. There is something akin to, but not exactly like, licorice. It smells tasty, but not like something extraordinary.

T/M - Definitely full-bodied, almost velvety. The flavor is something between a Dubbel and a Russian Imperial Stout. There is dark chocolate and raspberry, roasted barley and raw sugar. The finish is that almost-but-not-quite licorice that was in the aroma. Definitely a tasty brew.

D - I could sip on this all night. I wouldn't have guessed it was packing 13%. I would recommend this to any BA I know.

Photo of zdk9
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black as night. Half a finger of cocoa head.

S- Sherry. Some alcohol. Bittersweet chocolate. A little like Kaluha. Sweet orange.

T- Espresso. Bittersweet chocolate. Nice fruit- raspberry, sweet cherry. Some liquor.

M- Milky, but alcoholic. Well it is 13%, hard to blame it.

D- Delicious. A beer to savor on a special occasion.

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14

A - Pours black with a medium tan head (about 1 in) that recedes rather slowly to a sturdy and even microfilm

S - Lots of berries, licorice, and dark fruits, with even a bit of a tart twang (but obviously not infected). Some light chocolate notes. Alot like a nice quad

T - Lots of licorice, dark bruits and berries (blackberries, raisins, dates?). Even a hint of wood.

M - Very light and frothy, over-carbonated for the style, which hurts the appreciation of its flavor profile.

D - A good quad, but thats apparently NOT what this beer is trying to be. Would give it a 3.5, but it claims to be a Belgian Royal stout on the side, not a RIS as listed here. Hmmm...

would not seek out again

Photo of Dotcubed
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Regular capped bottle. If it was corked I'd probably let it sit around longer but I need the space in the car.

Poured only a half glass in my Sam Adam's glass. Gave me a good bit of foam, maybe half centimeter. Poured more & was rewarded with a huge plume of thick foam. Tinted dark khaki. Smells dusty.

Pleasantly tar-ish. Has a good firm bitterness. Oily. Intense. Some licorice.

Clearly a well crafted piece. Takes some getting used to as there hasn't been many like this in my glassware.

Need More Like this.

Photo of weissbierdrinker
2.96/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A big thanks to klevelandrocks in helping me get a beer off my wants list.

Pours a thick oily black color with a tan head that fades leaving a small amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell is of ink and used motor oil and some other strong smell I can't identify.

Taste of cherries, cough syrup, booze. The finish is dry and sour. A very thick oily beer that has an after taste of cough medicine. I don't find it to be as well balanced as the label states. Perhaps some people like it but it's a bit to boozy for me.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a brown foam - great retention, great creaminess, and pretty nice lacing. The nose is concentrated and strong: raisin, anise, molasses. Pretty good presentation.

The flavor is super strong with lots of booze, dark fruits, espresso, oak, and maybe some smoked wood. Somewhat sour, but nothing too overbearing. Bitterness comes through, with a long finish. Great beer, but over-rated.

Photo of BigMike
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was told by Matt at Capone's that this beer was a little over a year old when i bought it.

Poured into a tulip glass. Pretty black in color. No light coming through. The head is pretty creamy and tight and is a hazelnut color. Lots of viscosity as this thing just clings to the glass for dear life.

Smell is beautiful. Lots of dark roasted chocolate. Tons of espresso. A faint blueberry aroma way in the back and an old world belgian yeastiness.

Lots and lots of roasted malts. i mean an insane amount. this thing is roasted espresso and chocolate. What sets this apart from most imperial stouts is the blueberry undertones and the belgian yeast. I mean this thing is amazing.

13%abv??? Are you kidding me? This drinks like liquid velvet. Smooth rich and creamy. How such a HUGE beer could be so easy to drink just amazes me. This beer is a good time.

Drinkability is incredible. I'm waiting for the abv to hit me because it hasn't yet. Even at the ridiculous price this is worth picking up. I want to try every beer from De Struise.

I can't find any faults with this beer. I really think this may be my first perfect score. I'm going to sit here and enjoy the rest of this beer and decide on what my final score is going to be.

Photo of Tilley4
3.66/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The huge hype surrounding this one has died down considerably now and made this one quite a bit more acccessible..

11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet...

Pours beautifully here... Pitch black with a very impressive mocha colored head... Very dark and foreboding looking brew...

Very rich dark aromas of burnt roasted malts, cocoa nibs, a little yeast, and a surprising amount of hops.... Not getting quite as much of the fruity aspects of this as others but there might be a little there....

Tastes much like the smell... Burnt roasted malts, chocolate, a little vinousness... And a kick of hops at the end that really has me surprised.. Big does of hoppy bitter finish.... Weird...

Overall a nice beer but the downfall of this one is its consistency... Its way way too thin and watery... It tastes plenty rich enough but this has almost a pilsner like thinness to it that's quite off-putting...

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip

A rather aggressive pour into a Chouffe tulip produced a large, beige head that filled the glass nicely. The body is pitch black with minimal ruby highlights around the edges.

Dark fruits with roasted malt off the bat. Cocoa powder, tangy Belgian yeast, licorice, molasses and touch of ethanol.

Dark cherries, tangy Belgian yeast, licorice/star anise, coffee grounds, and dark chocolate. The flavors are all in equal parts, sliding on the palate, and leaving an oily presence behind.

Full body, rich and robust flavor. Carbonation is nice and low. Creamy feel.

An excellent, fairly available RIS. This is one of those beers that everyone needs to have multiple times a year. Delicious.

Photo of b3barron
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Pour yields a quarter inch of mocha head with a little bit of retention. Smells of dark cocoa and dark fruits. I get a little bit of roasted malt/smokiness too. Bitter chocolate up front and a decent hop presence throughout. Finished with dark fruits followed by dark chocolate that lingers for a while. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are true to the style. An excellent RIS.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.43/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Photo of TexIndy
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330cl bottle into a snifter. Bottle had a lot code but no way to convert that to a date so no idea on the age of this one. It was pitch black in color. Had a large brown head that quickly settled into a thick collar and thin film covering. Good slow sliding lace with minimal stickage.

The aroma was espresso, dark fruits, roasted and toasted malts, dry chocolate malts and alcohol. The taste followed the aroma with the coffee and fruit flavors dominating. Alcohol is prominent in aroma and taste. Somewhat sweet from the fruits. Good but not great for the style. Medium mouthfeel with acidic after-taste.

Overall, a good but not great RIS. I waited till the hype died down on this one before getting it and glad I did. It's good and worth trying but doesn't make the top portion of my RIS list. Recommend if you can easily get and not overpay. Rotation - not avail here in TX so got from ummagum. If here, I'd not get another as there are better RIS out there [1x-taste;BOT]

Photo of Lunch
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 11.2oz. bottle purchased at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina into my Darkness snifter at the appropriate temperature (02/13/10).

A: Pours an extremely dark shade of black with just the faintest ruby hues capped with a thick creamy head of about a two fingers. Some faint lacing is left on the inside of the glass.

S: Dark fruit is easily detected along with roasted malt, chocolate, cocoa, barley, coffee, caramel and some booze.

T: Dark fruits and chocolate hit the palate first with layers of cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, roasted malt, roasted barley, and some blueberries. The alcohol comes through slightly adding a nice sense of warming.

M: Fuller-bodied and quite thick with great creaminess.

D: For a 13% abv. Imperial Stout, this was extremely easy to drink.

Overall this quite an interesting take on an Imperial Stout and certainly one that has many features that make it stand out along with some inherent Belgian qualities that add great depth. Highly Recommended.

Photo of jgasparine
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured from the bottle with a nice creamy textured, light brown head, which slowly receded to a collar with some nice lacing. The body was a completely opaque dark brown- almost black.

S- Thick booziness, roasted and caramel malts dominate the nose. Peppery overall with the ethanol on the nose, and it seemed to perhaps even showcase some fusel alcohol as the beer warmed.

T- Incredibly rich candy and roasted malts, laced with some heavy booze, a touch or sourness, and some unanticipated yeast esters that come through as rum-soaked dark fruits. Very intense.

M- A thick, heavily textured and syrupy body with some nice soft carbonation. Gorgeous.

D- A bit too big and too boozy for me to quaff. A small bottle is best split with a friend IMO.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,591 ratings.