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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,500 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,500
Reviews: 815
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.65%
Wants: 319
Gots: 363 | FT: 21
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website

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: 1,500 | Reviews: 815 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of armock
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%

Thanks to champ103 for hooking this up in a trade and to ccrida for giving me an idea how old this bottle is since my bottle is from the same batch and I've had my bottle for at least six months.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate scents theres also some dark fruit scents and mild alcohol

T - Follows the nose roasted malt with chocolate flavors some dark fruit and quit a bit of alcohol warmth

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - As far as Imperial Stouts and 13% beers are concerned this is pretty easy to drink it is a little warm but the taste is very good and makes up for that this is a beer that if you have the chance to get some you need to get it

armock, May 23, 2010
Photo of ccrida
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%

33 cl bottle (BA No. 14, Lot B-6-BB) that I bought 1.5 years ago and cellared since. Poured into my Delirium snifter, Black Albert is black with a very dark tan, creamy head leaving scattered, foamy lace.

Smell is rich but not overbearing, nicely integrated, chocolate, berry liqueur, very elegant. The heat is only evident on the deepest of snifts - clean but singeing.

Taste is not as integrated, there are distinct notes of fruity Belgian esters, a nice roast, and very strong ethanol. The phenols are strong too. I like the grape esters with the roasted grains, but unless this really cleans up or changes drastically over the LONG haul, the gratuitous ABV is clearly a detriment. Nevertheless, it really grows on me, aided by it's warming from cellar temp.

Mouthfeel very nice, velvety carbonation and malt, but again, the high ABV is unduly drying. It also impressively retains a high level of digestibility.

Drinkability is surprisingly high. I guess I quickly adjusted the the high ABV (which, honestly, is quite clean), and got to enjoying the rich qualities of this Belgian Royal Stout. Suddenly this bottle seemed way to small, even though I was carefully savoring each sip. The price of course is prohibitive, and not something I'll be buying on a regular basis, but it's definitely yet another great beer from De Struise. Really impressed by this beer, especially how it evolved as it opened, or at least my palate adjusted.

ccrida, May 20, 2010
Photo of billshmeinke
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%

12 oz. bottle (cap not cage and cork) poured into a la fin du monde tulip.

Semi hard pour produces a 3 finger head. Beer is pitch black with some brown yeasty bits floating around. Takes awhile to die down to a thick layer of foam on top. Some chunks of lacing left behind.

Smells of sherry and pecan pie. A bit of chocolate in there as well. Some doughy yeast.

Tastes follows smell. There is pecan pie, sherry, chocolate fudge cake, doughy yeast, and some vague dark fruits. A smoky roasted coffee and sherry flavor lingers. Really interesting and different. Not very much like anything else I have ever tried.

Mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. Nothing too surprising here. Pretty much what you would expect from an RIS.

The alcohol is well hidden. This is a really interesting and tasty beer that works really well as an after dinner drink.

billshmeinke, May 19, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%

Poured into a wine glass. Beer is brown to black and forms a thin broken off white head that gravitates toward the walls of the glass but does not leave any lacing on the sides. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice, subtle and sweet. Some estery notes in there. Really nice and subdued.

I'm not sure what I expected, beer is smooth, finishes clean. Not too dry not too sweet. Nicely balanced and easy drinking. Some carbonation in the mouth, not roasty at all. Like a smooth quad of sorts. I'm really enjoying this beer. Very very smooth. For 13% you don't notice at all. Very drinkable.

drabmuh, May 15, 2010
Photo of 05Harley
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%

Best before date: April 2013

Purchased through Kracked Kettle, Netherlands.

Price - $17.37 US

Appearance: Pours with a two inch lite tan head. Black in color as the name suggests. As the beer warms some lacing appears on the glass but doesn't stick around long. sediment present in the snifter as the bottle comes to an end.

Smell: Chocolate upfront with raisins. A bit of roastiness and a fair amount of alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate and fruit sweetness first followed by a dry taste. Finishes with a mild bitter taste. Alcohol noticeable but not a surprise at 13%.

Mouthfeel: Creamy feel and silky smooth.

Drinkability: This beer is best served on the warmer side. If served too cold it tastes infected to me. Let this one warm up a bit and enjoy what it has to offer. Personally I like the draft version much better, but that can be said for many beers.

05Harley, May 12, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%

Huge thanks to tytoanderso for this ridiculous extra. 2008 vintage.

A - An absolutely picture-perfect Stout. Black, tan froth, lots of lace

S - Chocolate covered raisins, so perfectly expressed. Intensely mouth-watering aroma. This is an amazing stylistic fusion; it is the best of both worlds, fully melded.

T - Exceptionally tasty. Dark fruitiness, heavy roast, suggestions of coffee and chocolate, vinous flourishes, woody tones. Finishes with notes of oxidation, cocoa, fig compote, and fabulous deliciousness. I also occasionally pick up on a fleeting fruitiness normally found in Oud Bruin. This is the ultimate in Belgian-American style re-interpretation; everything is simultaneously so decadently American, but is also so sublimely Belgian. Definitely the best of both worlds, and so mutually complementary. My only caveat is that this brew does not benefit from 'airing out', it is best served quite cold.

M - Perhaps a bit more could be done here; it is good, but it is the only weak link.

D - This is a phenomenal brew; a paradigm of the Belgian Imperial Stout style, a style which seems currently to be ascending. Plus everything about this day sucked, except this beer. That is worth a lot in my book.

ktrillionaire, May 07, 2010
Photo of Gosox8787
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle split between myself and a friend. Poured from the bottle into two snifters.

Appearance: Dark brown to chocolate brown in color. Some yeast settling toward the bottom of my glass. Two to three finger dark mocha head, that has very good retention.

Aroma: Chocolate and coffee. Lots of fig and sugar notes in this. Smells really sweet. Not a ton of booze noticeable.

Taste: Roasted coffee notes hit the palate first. Then an explosion of sweetness, candied figs and raisins are the strongest notes. Chocolate and coffee notes in the background provide for an incredibly sweet stout. No noticable hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and relatively smooth. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: The ABV doesn't feel like 13%. The sweetness keeps you wanting more, but it does feel like a heavy hitter after half a bottle.

Overall, a really unique and sweet stout. The dark fruit flavors really come in full force and mkae this unique. Definitely worth the tasting. Certainly memorable.

Gosox8787, May 07, 2010
Photo of sk8man121
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%

11.2 oz bottle poured into goblet. Batch #14; I don't see a vintage but I'm guessing 2009.

A: Pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Looks exactly how I'd expected.

S: Nose is of bitter chocolate, alcohol and astringent herbs. Very fruity w/ hints of black cherry & raspberry.

T: Quite possibly the fruitiest imperial stout I've ever tasted, and I mean that in as good a way as possible. Alcohol is pleasantly warming, chocolate/cocoa is evident but far from overpowering. Bitterness is high, almost like a fine espresso. Absolutely perfect.

M: Silky and mouth-coating. Carbonation is very low and for good reason; any more would be distracting.

D: I went to the liquor store tonight for a Chimay Blue and almost fell off my feet when I saw this beer on the shelf, and for only $10.49. Rarely do I agree that a beer truly lives up to the hype, but this is absolutely perfect and beautiful.

One of the best beers on the planet.

sk8man121, May 06, 2010
Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%

2007 vintage.

Pours dead black and chocolatey. Completely opaque with a gigantic chocolate brown head that absolutely will not die.

Smells like an American wild, a dry stout, and then a good dose of firm Belgian yeast. A bizarre blend, for sure, but the earthy stout actually blends pretty well with the sour and alcohol.

Tastes like a dry stout at the very beginning, moving into a middle of sweetness that's like a blend between a chocolate lambic (assuming such a thing exists) and teriyaki sauce. It's a whole hell of a lot all at once, and all of it is pleasant, but it doesn't really cohere into any singular thing. It's like a big explosion of goodness, which is mostly nice, but sometimes people don't want to explode.

mynie, May 03, 2010
Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

cratez, May 01, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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!

cpetrone84, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of clvand0
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

clvand0, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of jera1350
3.83/5  rDev -9.9%

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.

jera1350, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%

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!

ShadesOfGray, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of SirSketch
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%

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!

SirSketch, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%

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.

DoubleJ, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

Halcyondays, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of ndolover
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%

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!

ndolover, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Pabs311
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

Pabs311, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

Huhzubendah, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of SuperSpy
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%

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.

SuperSpy, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of zdk9
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

zdk9, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%

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

NYCWheatFanSC, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of Dotcubed
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%

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.

Dotcubed, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of weissbierdrinker
2.95/5  rDev -30.6%

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.

weissbierdrinker, Mar 17, 2010
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,500 ratings.