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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,577 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,577
Reviews: 821
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 316
Gots: 373 | 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:
Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.

(Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,577 | Reviews: 821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you for sending Absumaster the RIS original formula version. Absolutely black, with a bit of creamy head, it looks rich and thick. Aroma of maltiness and a little coffee roast. The flavour is chocolate,roast, malt, a little coffee, mid-sip bitterness. The real feature of this beer is its balance. Its not too sweet, not too chocolate. Just eminently drinkable. A fine RIS.

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black color with a 2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin cap. Nice thick rings and dots of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark roasted malt, dark fruits (raisins/plums), and bittersweet cocoa powder. Taste is surprisingly somewhat sour. Dark roasted malts, cocoa powder, and dark fruits coming through on the finish. There is a slight soy sauce flavor that comes out as the beer warms. Very mild roast/cocoa bitterness on the palate quickly fades after each sip. Good level of carbonation with a silky and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS from Struise but the sour flavors I get from this one threw me off.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: Dark ebony with a thick, creamy head.

S: Lots of dark chocolate combined with a bit of anise, layered atop some molasses and hints of dark rum.

T: Much the same as in the nose. A very good amount of complexity going on here.

M: Very thick with lowish carbonation and not too much of an alcohol feel.

D: Very good. Gets better as it warms, although it is a bit much to handle that much of. Glad they had this on tap, as I'd really wanted to try this beer, but found it hard to shell out $10 for a 12-ish ounce beer.

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin dark tan head that left some lacing on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits in the nose—plums and prunes seem to stand out in particular. The smell intensifies as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is dominated by strong flavors of dark fruits. It's a little one dimension, but seems like you are having a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that's on steroids.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and rather smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No warming sensations from the alcohol are perceptible.
O: The label calls this beer a "Belgian Royal Stout" and this is something I definitely agree with because it seems like an imperial version of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Judging this beer on its own merits and apart from any of the common styles, I found this beer to be remarkably easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is exceptionally well hidden. This is a pleasant beer to sip.

Note: June 2007 Vintage (BA No. 14)

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly opaque dark brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head never quite reaches the anticipated Belgian standards and descends rather quickly, leaving some dots and dashes of lace

Smell: Coffee, dark chocolate, charcoal, tobacco and dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a blend of dark fruit (figs and prunes) and coffee, with a bit of dark chocolate thrown in for good measure; by mid-palate, the fruity hops start to assert themselves but, after the swallow, they seem an afterthought, taking a back stage to the roasty charcoal malt flavors; lots of tobacco on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation; a bit thinner than I expected, but that is the Belgian character

Drinkability: With all the hype around this beer, I was truly expecting something different; I would say that this is still quite a good beer, though it should not be judged head to head against the best US-brewed Russian Imperial Stouts - it has some subtle, Belgian elements that add a nice twist

Photo of BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really great to see this very popular Stout available across the river at Kegs Liquors. Let's see what all the hype's about.

Certainly Russian Imperial Stout-like to the eye. An opaque dark brown color gives the resemblence of chocolate milk, espresso, and well...Stout. A dense, shallow head falls on the beer and holds quite firm while offering a moderate amount of lacing.

The roasted and toasted grains give a French Roasted character immediately to the nose. Grassy and earthy hops give a sharp, fresh aroma that kinda dominates the nose. There might be some fruitiness and spiciness beyond that but difficult to note past the hops. A light phenolic-spice note is the only real influence from Belgian Ales--tamer than expected, yet nicely executed.

Malt sweetness governs the foreground of flavors with a caramelly, Milk-Stout taste that makes the beer very inviting. Hops soon provide a very sharp grassy flavor that is perhaps too bold at times. Some berry tartness along with grapes, apples, and plumbs come through a bit, but man those hops make it difficult to pull out the subtle Belgian characteristics. And the spicy Belgian yeast character balances the beer well.

Quite full, round, and rich textures. The hop bitterness does a good job off setting the sweetness. The light acidic, berry apple tartness, and alcohol reduces the weight of the beer into a surprisingly easy to drink beer. However, again hops give a sharp bite on the throat that edges on astringency.

The beer is caught somewhere between a hoppy American Stout, A Sweet Stout, and a Belgian Double. Though the beer shows slight hints of a Belgian yeast, I expected more Belgian character througout. Maybe the intense hops threw it off.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge deep brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep dry black chocolate with an intense hoppy dry finish. Taste is also a very nice mix between some deep dry chocolate malt with some dry hops and a dry roasted malt and coffee finish. Full body with great carbonation and no alcohol was apparent. Very complex and not totally American in it approach to the style. A more creamy body would render this even better in my opinion.

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

Ebony with no highlights along the edges of the snifter. After the loud escape of CO2 on crown cracking, the huge head of cappuccino colored froth was no surprise. It's whipped creamy and is beginning to leave a beautiful array of delicate lace. Given the ABV, glass coverage is fairly extensive.

The aroma is as concentrated as expected and is gaining complexity as room temperature approaches. Each sniff delivers dark chocolate liquor, blackstrap molasses and earthy dark fruit. Maybe a bit of licorice as well. If the flavor is this good, then the hype is well-earned.

Black Albert doesn't taste like an RIS because of the sourness. De Struisse Brouwers calls it a Belgian Royal Stout, so maybe beer of that sub-style is supposed to be this tangy fruity. Other first impressions include less malt than expected and a relatively light mouthfeel for the ABV.

The name is an appropriate one because this big stout definitely tastes *black*, or at least significantly dark. Flavors match aromas for the most part: plums and raisins macerated in a mixture of espresso, molasses, dark chocolate sauce and Sambuca... along with a tendril of wood smoke.

The sourness is more easily tolerated over time. It's also nicely offset by a fair amount of both sweetness and hop bitterness. Room temperature is the only way to go. A fantastic job of alcohol masking gives me no choice but to bump the taste score. This really is a lip-smackingly good brew.

The body/mouthfeel doesn't quite make it all the way to impressive. It falls a fraction short on fullness and the carbonation isn't as well-integrated as it could be. On the other hand, the slick stickiness makes sipping a pleasure.

Even though Black Albert doesn't make my 'Top Beers on Planet Earth' list, I'm fine with the fact that it's on the BA list (near the bottom, where it belongs). Yeah, it's overhyped. Yeah, it's overpriced... but I got quite a bit of pleasure out of this little 330 ml bottle.

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had the pleasure of tasting this brew during several different occasions from the tap and from the bottle and I must say this is by far one of the best Imperial Stouts brewed; bar none! First, I don't even know if this should be in the same class with other Imperial Stouts; it has its own distinctive style. The appearance of this brew has to be one of the darkest stouts I have ever seen. The head was so thick and velvety brown head that it looked like a shot of espresso...superb! It had a magnificent scent of sweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee beans and molasses along with roasted malt. The taste is just out of this world. Started off with a blitz of dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted malts; followed by light vanilla hoppy presence and fruit flavors with a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel wasn't too thick along with soft carbonation keeping the brew from tasting too syrupy. The complexity of this brew is such that 13% ABV is totally absent until the glass is almost empty and then you begin to say Wow, this is one hell of a beer! For me this was like drinking a fine Port that I could have sipped all night. I can't say enough about the brews that are being produced at the Struise camp, but I do know that the rating of number one brewer in the world is without doubt; justified! This brew has taken Stouts to a whole new level!!!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So I finally got a hold of some of the elusive Black Albert. I have been looking to try this overly hyped beer since last year, so I naturally jumped at the chance to get some when I finally could. I let this twelve ounce bottle settle for a couple days after I received it and then pulled it out of the fridge, letting it warm up to the cellar temp before decanting into my famous terrapin snifter. It poured black as night, with a nice two inch rise of tan foam which came over the top. Very nice retention left behind even an inch of foam after about 5 minutes. Very impressive lacing on this one as well now, with a rich, and silky looking layer swirling around in the glass. This was a very impressive looking beer from the first look of it.

So I go in for the smell, deep chocolate aroma just whaffing off of this one. Very sweet with hints of vanilla and unroasted coffee. A touch of molasses as well. The Belgian yeast is very noticeable now with lots of underlying dark fruit notes and touches of figs playing around in there. The flavor was very good, though I have to admit not great. It was a different kind of flavor then what I was expecting. Very creamy and frothy, and nowhere near as heavy as any of the big stouts. Lots of carbonation here as it literally is silky smooth on the palate. Lots cocoa and coffee, with hints again of vanilla and figs, prunes and several other light touches of fruit. No alcohol in this at all. Very surprising. There is just no way that this is anywhere near 13% ABV, it's just not even close. This thing is drinking like it's a 7% stout, really very interesting. It was ridiculously smooth with an almost dessert like quality to it. Nice and sweet, but I cannot help but adding that my final thoughts on the flavor were ones of a muted nature. I just kept wanting it to be bigger then it was, and this is where hype attributes negatively.

Overall this was an Excellent stout, above excellent actually, but it did not anywhere near live up to the hype surrounding it. Had I just stumbled upon it I would have thought this was great, and I still do, but it was made out to be so much better then everything else, and while I do have to admit it was one of the smoothest beers I have ever seen, it was by no means the best. Still though its one you need to try at least once as it is highly worth it.

Photo of womencantsail
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Photo of Knapp85
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this with my Grandfather who's name happens to be Albert. I felt that it was a fitting situation. This brew poured out as a deep thick looking black color. The head was pretty big at first but settled pretty quickly. There was a pretty good lacing along the glass and some oily brown tinge on there too. The smell of the beer is heavily roasted and had a pretty strong booze aroma too. The taste of the beer is rich with dark chocolate and roasted malts. The other flavors are a little sweetness that fades into a burnt bitterness in the end. The mouthfeel has a good thickness to it that coats the mouth nicely. Overall this brew is impressive. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -5.9%

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,577 ratings.