Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,639 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,639
Reviews: 828
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.18%
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,639 | Reviews: 828
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a De Struise chalice. Bottled June 2007.

Appearance - Pours a dark black (redundant?) with lots of murky sediment as I pour it. Pours with a nice mocha head. Settles to a thick collar.

Smell - Belgian characteristics all over. Cherries most predominant. Raisins and chocolate behind it. Boozy, too.

Taste - The dark chocolate is pervasive, but it's all combined with a great cherry flavor. Chocolate covered cherries. Mmm. Very hoppy in the back end. Loses its roastiness and becomes more of a BSDA in the end.

Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy. Definitely boozy, but well carbonated. No signs of age, even at over 5 years.

Overall - A really great hybrid of BSDA and stout. The fruit flavors blends extraordinarily well with the deep chocolate roast. The booze is forgiven for this quality of flavor.

Photo of Altenor
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, almost totally black with a chocolately head that dissipates fairly quick. No signs of lacing on the sides of the glass but good looking RIS nontheless.

S: Black cherries, chocolate powder, raisins, some gooey dates, light booze and a touch of funk. Enjoyed the smell quite a lot. It was sweet smelling and welcoming. Couldn't wait to try my first sip.

T: Lots of sweet dark fruits, molasses, a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. Very round and a long, long chocolate milkshake finish. I don't know why but I get a little of a marshmallow taste as well. So yes, it's sweet. A touch of roasted malt and caramel is present too. I just have one question, where's the 13% ABV? It goes down so easy, a little too easy for 13% which makes it dangerous.

M: Good carbonation in the palate gives it a creamy, silky mouthfeel. I wouldn't say it's full bodied, more medium that moves quite nicely and full of flavor.

O: A great beer. I was expecting a lot from it and don't know if it really lived up to the hype, but it is well made and full of flavor. Definetly would recommend, especially if you prefer sweeter stouts.

Photo of vfgccp
3.62/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Creamy mocha head. Poor retention and lace. Midnight brown with murky brown highlights.

S - Red grapes, kiss of booze, chocolate covered raisins, black cherries.

T - Sweet black cherry opening. Molasses, caramel and malt center. Milk chocolate and booze finish. Balanced a shade too sweet.

M - Medium/light, especially for the style.

O - Sweet with a porter-like body.

Photo of Etan
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

330ml into a snifter. Batch "0", Ba no. 14, so 2007 maybe?

A: Pours a nice jet black with a thick dark chocolaty head. Great retention.

S: Lots of chocolate, molasses some dark fruit esters. Sugary with some vinous esters.

T: More robust and bitter than the aroma. Heavy roasted malts and grainy bitterness, black coffee and dark chocolate, slightly sweet alcohol and some grape-like dark fruit esters.

M: Yep, this is thick as all hell. Slight carbonation, viscous and creamy body.

O: A very good robust RIS. Perhaps a little more sweetness in the taste would be good, but other than that this is very good.

Photo of dtmets84
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unsure of the bottle date but the notched lot is B-6-BB.

Black body, plenty of dark brown head.

The nose smells off almost a bit of a funk to it and the taste follows the nose. Warms up and becomes a bit more enjoyable

Body is thick and heavy, as it should be.

First time cracking a bottle, would not seek this out agaim.

Photo of jrenihan
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BB April 2013.

Beer is black with a moderately sized tan head. Head fades fairly quickly. Some lacing.

Smell contains burnt caramel, candied dark fruit, fig, raisin, brown sugar, roasted malt. We are clearly in Belgian stout land. Has some similarity to the Pannepot series. Good smell.

Taste is similar to the nose. Burnt caramel, raisin, fig, candied fruit, sugar, roasted malt, wood, and a bit of chocolate. Reminiscent of port, or perhaps a dark rum. Aftertaste has a definite milk chocolate flavour. The alcohol is absurdly well hidden- is this really 13%? I would believe you if you told me it was 8 or 9.

Full bodied, low carbonation, velvety. Alcohol heat is present but shockingly low given the ABV.

Overall, very good. Not sure how far out they put the best before date, but this one clearly has a few years on it. Perhaps that is what has made it so smooth. It is a very nice beer but the thing that is most remarkable is how hidden the booze is- I just can't believe this beer goes down as easily as it does.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Sept 2015. Batch 0, lot D. Purchased from a Belgian webshop quite a while back, and stored in my garage. 'Belgian Royal Stout' - indeed.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Black as night; utterly inpenetrable. Large chunks of yeast can be seen floating around at the bottom of the glass. Produces a massive head of creamy brown foam with excellent retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of dark, fruity malt with notes of brown sugar, molasses, marzipan, dried fruit and yeast esters. A warming whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of rich, fruity malt with a spicy, alcoholic finish. Notes of dried fruit, molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, yeast and stewed hops. Very boozy; an astringent, almost solventy alcoholic character. Mild bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with tingly carbonation and great body. The booze lends it a spicy quality. Dries the palate, and leaves an aftertaste of fruity malt.

Decent, though not as good as the hype led me to imagine. Fruity and boozy - a daunting concoction. I was expecting there to be a more obvious roasted malt character with a defining bitterness, rather than the sweet fruitiness that is actually present. Both the aroma and flavour lacked something undefinable; the result was a well-constructed but sub-par RIS. Worth trying, just lower your expectations a little.

Photo of Dope
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lot B6BB

A: Pitch black pour with a nice big medium brown and dense head. Fades very very slowly, leaving just a smattering of lacing behind.

S: Huh, very interesting. I was expecting a huge roasted malt character but it's fairly mild. It is however, very fruity. Loads of raisin and cherry primarily. I swear I'm getting some berry. Quite earthy too. A bit of cocoa and molasses. It smells more like a quad than an RIS to be honest. Not a bad thing, just extremely unique for the style.

T: Again, loaded with dark fruits up front. Raisin, fig, and cherry. Fades into a chalky, earthy sort of char with some chocolate. Finishes with a bit of spiciness, earthiness and cocoa. Sweet molasses and some anise in the aftertaste.

M: Thick and smooth but not nearly as thick as you would expect for a 13% RIS.

O: What a unique brew. It tastes like a quad blended with a RIS and an english barleywine (all that sweet molasses) and then aged in a wine barrel. I don't know what to think, I've never had anything like it. I prefer my RIS to be super roasty and creamy. This beer definitely straddles some lines when it comes to style. You would honestly not expect this to be an RIS at all if you tasted this blind. It's still very complex, well balanced and tasty. Just a total hybrid style that's hard to judge. Super dangerously drinkable, I will say. Smooth as all get out.

Photo of Converge
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - A gusher as soon as the cap comes off. Pours black as night with a thick, mocha brown head. Head retention is great, and leaves lots of sticky lacing. Surprising for a 13.00% ABV stout.

S - Very deep and complex. A rich array of dark fruits and candi sugar back by a subtle roasty backbone of charred malt and coffee. Figs, plums and prunes are strong. Underlying earthy notes of anise and tobacco. Molasses, cocoa, soy sauce, wood, cola syrup and some boozy dark rum alcohol notes all come through.

T - Certainly an interesting take on an RIS. The base of roasted malt, dark chocolate/cocoa, and coffee is there, but the Belgian influence is definitely there. Dark fruitiness reminiscent of a fine quad is strong; figs, plums, and prunes. A nice helping of Belgian candi sugar as well as cola syrup add a very sweet dimension here. Anise and woodsy notes make for a very earthy finish, with a strong presence of tobacco as well. Finishes with a boozy dark rum character, with lingering flavors of roasted malt, dark fruits, and molasses.

M - Very big. Thick, creamy, and boozy. Carbonation is actually more active than expected, but still very smooth all around. Warming finish, but that was to be expected. Bitterness is kept in check. Really sticky too.

D - While this is undeniably a unique brew, and a very interesting concept to approach an RIS with, it's not quite my style. That being said, I can't imagine an RIS with a Belgian twist being any better than this. True to its Belgian roots, this brew is rich, fruity, and not overly abrasive. I suppose I just prefer a more roasty and astringent profile with my imperial stouts. In the end, this probably wasn't worth the premium price, but I'm really happy I got to try it. While it didn't quite live up to the hype for me, it was still a very unique experience. Thanks to De Struise for crafting this one-of-a-kind brew!

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

Pretty sure this is from 2009. Notched lot is B-6-BB.

Black body, plenty of brown head up top. Caramel and toffee precede the roasty malt, presenting a pleasant bouquet.

A well-blended stout, melding each of the above components with hints of dark fruit at the end. Notes of oak barrels in the background. The alcohol warms my throat as it descends, integrating well with the experience. Body is thick and heavy, as it should be.

Black Albert ranks among the best off-the-shelf RIS. Always happy to pop one of these :)

Photo of 2beerdogs
2.16/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Well I got to try it.

Thanks to aandersen for this one.

Poured a swirl of mahogany. Nose is a confused melange of a mellow RIS and...a Flanders Red. I'm confused.

Yep, it's a mix of an RIS in mouthfeel, body, and a slight fleeting sweetness. But it has a souring, red wine meets madeira barrel dominance.

Can't say I hated it. It is very different; their own style. But it doesn't do it for me. However, I got to try it, and check it off my kist.

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Black with a beautiful brown head. Somewhat translucent, as I could see considerable sediment. Very nice lacing

Smell – Malt, molasses, and a very pleasant spice.

Taste – This tastes very good. Roasted malt, molasses, spice, and premium red wine.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, creamy, and easy drinking.

Drinkability – This is an amazingly drinkable beer for 13% abv. The alcohol is well hidden and it goes down easy.

Photo of beerboy9960
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Finally getting to try Black Albert for the first time thanks to BarrytheBear and his generosity. Thanks again Barry!!

A: Pours a very dark black with a very thin mocha colored head. Very nice, thick lacing on the glass.

S: Lots of cacao and expresso on the nose. Also picking up hints of dark fruits! Lots of smells going on here!

T: Wow! This is a very complex full bodied stout! Expresso, cacao, and dark fruit dominate the initial taste, followed by an almost milk chocolate/sweet taste on the finish. Lots of bitterness on the after taste as well!! Very nice!!

O: Overall this is a very complex Russian Imperial Stout! Very smooth and hides the 13% ABV very well! I will be looking for more of this in the future! Thanks again Barry!!!

Photo of siege06nd
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great brew shared by IrishColonial. Thanks again, Eric!

A. Dark brown, nearly black, with a half finger of medium brown head and some very good lacing. The head effervesces to a dark brown with each swirl. Love it. Lacing is relatively thick and provides a nice sheen on the sides of the glass.

S. Chocolate, vanilla, and ripe, sweet fruit (aka cherries, strawberries, raspberries). I also detect some subtle coffee roast notes. The fruit on this is impressive and easily the most dominating note in the bouquet. An almost wine-like quality. Love, love, love it.

T. Chocolate, some citrus-like hop, strawberry, cherry, and some spicy character a-la cinnamon and clove. Fruit is perhaps most prominent here, with loads of strawberry and fig notes. Chocolate and coffee provide a solid backbone for these sweeter flavors, and keep this a well-rounded stout that doesn't overdo it with the saccharine flavors. There's also some earthy bitterness from the hop flavors back there. Quite excellent, rather unlike any other RIS I have had.

M. Moderate-full bodied with medium carbonation. Resolves to a very nice fruity creaminess, though. A bit drying and slightly boozy, though impressive at 13.0% ABV.

O. A fantastic RIS here. Very fruit forward and complex without being over-the-top or cloying. The 13.0% ABV is hidden very well. The traditional chocolate and roasted malt notes are abundant, but the fruit presence takes this in a new and interesting direction. Reminds me quite a bit of KtG. Definitely a keeper here.

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 330ml bottle in a DFH snifter. Started at 50 degrees.

A deep, dark black with a moderate beige head that clings nicely to the glass. Aroma is oak and bourbon with some raisin. Flavor follows with oak and bourbon in the lead though not over the top. A variety of other supporting flavors (chocolate, fig, etc.) add a complexity and balance. A very creamy and silky feel with a moderate carbonation of very fine bubbles.

An outstanding beer with lots of complexity and fantastic flavor.

Photo of thecheapies
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'07 bottle. Into a Mad Elf snifter.

Nice little cap of head for an almost five year-old beer. Dark beige in color, and sitting atop a pitch black body. 4.0

Dark fruits, smoke, booze, bitter cocoa, and some espresso notes. Sweetness abound through malt and strength. 4.5

Smoothed out for the strength. Roasted malt bitterness, candi sugar, prune, bitter cocoa, and tart cherry in the finish. Creamy flavors are interesting, as this stout seems to have rounded out its 100 IBUs. Hop character still lingering with dry earthy tones. Puckering and slightly astringent in the aftertaste. 4.0

Creamy body with ample carbonation. A little tannic in the finish. Okay. 3.5

Fabulous RIS. A little attenuated, but prime. Would love to try a fresher vintage. 4.0

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. Oversized glass. Enjoyed on apr´12. Black color, crowned by a thick, small bubbled, lasting head –beige in color- & lacing collars. Toasted coffee, hints of chocolate, figs & floral fragancies to the nose with sugar hues. Involving sweet toasted malt flavor & gentle warming sensation in mouth. Velvet palate. Slightly bitter finish overwhelmed by ripe dark fruits. Brandy notes. Full body, soft carbonation. Fruity & warming aftertaste. Mandatory beer to understand what a Russian Imperial is!!

Photo of jeonseh
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Photo of BlastBeats
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles of Black Albert at a bar down the road from where Urbain brews his Struise beers in Oostvleteren, Belgium. That was a memorable trip..

Poured appropriately into my De Struise cervoise glass (which I also got from that bar).

Appearance: an unrestrained, straight down the middle pour was unable to generate much of a head; just some large dark brown bubbles that formed a ring around the inner edge of the glass. The bottle describes Black Albert as being "black as hell" so I'll stick with that description.

Smell: not a whole lot going on in this department.. some roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of that unmistakably "Belgian" aroma.

Taste: man this beer tastes good.. I'm getting tons of chocolaty flavors (milk and dark). Somewhat surprisingly, there's not a lot of hop bitterness for a beer that supposedly packs 100 IBUs (which is fine by me).

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied and as smooth as silk; tough to beat.

Overall: I might actually prefer Black Albert to Cuvee Delphine; though I haven't done a proper side by side and have only drank the latter in the wrong context. Either way, this one will not disappoint.

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

2007 bottle (B-6-BB)

A dark, chocolaty brown colored beer; not completely opaque, as light penetrates the edges of the glass somewhat. Small foamy brown head that settles slowly; pretty much no lacing at all.

The nose has prominent fudgy chocolate, booze, prunes and other dark fruit, and some faint yeasty, spicy esters. The taste also packs a fair amount of complexity, with more of that dense fudgy chocolate, fruit, boozy warmth (but not heat), as well as caramel and subtle Belgian yeast notes. Roasty but no longer very bitter, semi-dry finish.

Moderately full-bodied but not viscous or particularly chewy; medium-low carbonation. Overall very creamy and smooth. I really enjoyed this flavorful stout, it’s a bit of a change of pace with its reserved Belgian influence. Very easy to drink considering its very high ABV. Definitely wish I had a few more bottles.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.64/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Ultimate Wine Shop in NJ
No bottled on date. "Lot B-6-BB," whatever.
(supposedly from June 2007)
Poured into a standard US pint glass

If a fresh Black Albert is at all like my aged variety, then this is a dried plum and grape-forward RIS with some noticeable ethanol characters. Despite the fairly high rating to this beer, it does not live up to the hype of being particularly noteworthy, aside from its cost and limited availability. Some reviewers seem to pick up characters that I cannot find at all in the beer, a testament to either individual wishing or poor quality control. I would be curious to try a fresh bottle of this out, but considering there is no easy way to tell on the bottle when it was brewed, I will refrain.

The pour produces a 2cm head of dense, small, dark tan to light brown bubbles. This fades, in a few minutes, to a 0.5cm cap atop the beer throughout the drinking session. As the head descends, it leaves some pleasant washes of lacing along the sides of the glass. Body is dark brown to black in color, totally opaque, only the slightest of hints of amber-brown highlights. Carbonation is not even visible through this. An excellent looking RIS.

Aroma is of sweet, syrupy raisins and prunes, as if cooked into a compote. The back of the sweetness is roasted malt, slight rum, even more sparse vanilla, and a bit of ethanol is hiding in the nooks between these two. I don't know where people are citing chocolate and coffee in this beer: I know what both smell like, and this has neither. Scents are kind of one-dimensional, disappointing, this comes across as a stronger Samuel Smith's or Big Eddy RIS in terms of dried fruit sweetness.

Taste is equally dominated by syrupy raisin and prune flavors in the front of the tongue. Rum arises mid-palate with continued dried fruit sweetness. Back of palate picks up a flash of sharpness from ethanol and not much else. Char, roasted malt, and some chocolate are only noticeable in the aftertaste. For a stout, it seems strange that the most desirable part of its flavor is in the ghost of its main taste.

Beer is medium-bodied with gentle carbonation that creates a foaming, but rolling effect that makes this very pleasant on the palate initially. Ethanol heat felt from mid-palate through close, in nostrils and throat. Closes with a spicy ethanol burn on the back of the throat. Finish is expectedly dry, but a bit sticky from the sweetness contained in the beer.

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this near Cocoa Beach in 2010.

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle, lot is A 6 BB.

Appearance: A very dense brown-black body with a good 2 fingers worth of foam.

Smell: Nose full of sweet chocolate, some coffee, figs, raisins and dark fruits.

Taste: Dates, candied fruit, and faint coffee. While good, it really lacks in complexity and depth.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth for the ABV and has a strong start but the back end doesn't hold up to the promise. Could be fuller.

Overall: Doesn't live up to the hype IMO. For the strength of the ABV, the style and the pedigree of the brewery, i expected better. Good but not great by any means.

Photo of cvm4
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #14

A - Pours very black, just like any stout. There's some tan bubbles floating around but not much of a head.

S - I'm picking up a smell almost like a red wine. Very fruity and complex smelling.

T - Dark cherries, raisins, plums with a dark chocolate undertone. The aftertaste is when the bitter cocoa and coffee show up. There's a lot going on in here and it is melding together wonderfully.

M - Great carbonation, just heavy enough to coat your mouth.

O - A sipper of a beer. If you're not open minded and expecting something else then you won't like it. From what I gather, this beer should be aged and I could only imagine it'll get much better.

Photo of jegross2
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. Black Albert is probably De Struise's best known beer, and it was one of the four beers that was blended to make the Baller Stout that I reviewed a month or so ago. I have been looking forward to drinking this beer for a long time.
Score: 97

Bottle marked from Lot B-6-BB, which, according to this helpful website, means that this brew is from June of 2007. I received this as part of a trade with BeerAdvocate user readbaron back in early January 2011. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 02/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a super dark brown, almost pitch black-like, color with a finger of creamy brown/mocha colored head that quickly settles into a decently thick (maybe 1/5 finger) still-creamy layer that covers three quarters of the top of the beer. The head stays like this for a little while before ultimately settling into a ring around the glass. There is a very faint layer of dark brown highlight atop the body. Excellent lacing with solid retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Holy Moses. This one smells like a dense sweet chocolate dessert you'd have after a nice steak dinner. Tons of thick, rich and complex chocolate aromas and sweet dark fruit. There's a nice blend of fudge, bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate and roasted chocolate. Raising/fig, plum, light hops and a really faint note of dark cherry and currant too. The dark cherry aroma grows in the nose as the beer warms. A light blackberry aroma seems to come out as well as the beer warms. Complementary aromas of coffee grounds and oak in the background. There's a hint of alcohol ester towards the back of the nose as well. I could smell this beer all day. 4.5/5

Taste: Oh wow. Complex, rich and satisfying. Very flavorful and balanced. The taste largely follows the nose, but with much more than a mere hint of currant/dark cherry on the palate. My first impression is roasted chocolate, dark cherry and a hint of blackberry. A sweet raisin/plum and thick, bitter chocolate contrast really balances out the acidity and light tartness of the blackberry/cherry flavors, rendering Black Albert really smooth and creamy. Fudge, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder coat the midpalate, along with light amounts of coffee, oak and a little spice to balance out the sweeter chocolate and dark fruit flavors. There's a very mellow "alcohol" flavor present as well, but it strangely enough works really well with the flavors combinations of the beer. The chocolate and dark fruit is so rich that it is almost chewy. The more I drink this brew, the more I think the flavor comes in waves. The first wave is roasted chocolate, followed by some cherry/currant/blackberry, followed by dark fruit, coffee, oak and more chocolate. Finishes with flavors of roasted bitter chocolate, dry plum, some coffee, and light cherry. Roasted chocolate lingers on the back of the tongue. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Perfect stout mouthfeel. Medium-full bodied with light carbonation -- just enough to perk the berry/cherry flavors on the palate. Very chewy, thick and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Moderately sweet finish. 5/5

Overall: One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have ever had the pleasure to try. That says a lot considering that Russian Imperial Stout are my favorite style of beer. I need to get another bottle of this stuff.

Recommendation: Seek this one out at all costs. The flavors here should have mass-appeal. Even to sours lovers. If you like The Abyss, you need to get your hands on a bottle of this stuff.

Pairings: I feel like this beer would work really well with a warm chocolate cake because the cherry/berry flavors would contrast the chocolate elements, as they do in the beer itself, while the chocolate/coffee flavors of Black Albert would complement the chocolate cake. I could also see this one with some caramelized onions and steak or as a digestif.

Cost: $9.99 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fills a Dogfish Head snifter dark brown, almost black. No light passes under a tall, dense, creamy, chestnut brown head that never dissipates, but leaves big patches of lace.

Rich roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate dominate with notes of dates, spiced rum and raisins. Black Albert warms well.

Roasted malt and chocolate are up front. Molasses, oak, cigar and charred beef follow through and the finish is short and fruity. Black Albert has amazing balance for 100 IBU beer and becomes more complex with warmth.

Creamy smooth texture and full body. Alcohol is quite present but less than others I have had at 13%. The carbonation is soft and there is a dry finish.

This makes for a great reading beer, but would also work well with long conversations, steak or ice cream.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,639 ratings.