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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

1,512 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,512
Reviews: 817
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 321
Gots: 362 | FT: 21
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: 1,512 | Reviews: 817 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of schroederm
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a snifter:

Absolutely no head at first... Then poof! Think blanket of chocolaty goodness that sticks around and resurfaes with agitation. Lacing is big a broad but fades. Very very dark brown body, almost no light gets through. Aroma is very very unique. Brown sugar and cinnamon aromas with some spiced rum; clove, nutmeg. Coffee and dark chocolate whispers. For all of this, however, its very subtle. Not overpowering, and
extremely enticing. The taste is impressive. Tons of chocolate, where did this come from? Coffee in there too, with a variety of spices and dark fruit. Strongly malty, finishes with just a hint of bitter. Warm, but not hot. Viscous. Feels veltety on the tongue. Excellently carbonated, so as to bring out a ton of flavor. Highly drinkable. Good to the palate, and wow is it good.

This brew is exceedingly unique, and absolutely delicious. I want more. De Struise rules.

schroederm, Apr 24, 2009
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.

BEERchitect, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark black color with a good sized tan head, fades a little on the fast side and leaves a little bit of lacing.

Smell has a good amount of roasted malt and even more of a dark fruit presence that just explodes.

Taste is really creamy and smooth with a bit of an assertive carbonation, tons and tons of dark fruit with a hint of coffee and roasted malt and even a little bit of chocolate. The alcohol is very well hidden and would never believe it is 13%.

Really need to try this on-tap over at Eb's at some point.

deltatauhobbit, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of alyankus
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black with a 1.5 finger head. Settles with nice lacing

N: Higher quality coffee and roasted cocoa nibs predominate with hints of dried black fruits.

P: More coffee, decent quality semi sweet chocolate with a prune-like character on the finish

M: Very rich and creamy the 13% is not at all noticed

D: Very drinkable. Goes down way too easily. The 2nd best stout I've had to this point next to KBS

alyankus, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of spointon
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into my New Belgium globe glass.

A= This ale poured a dark cola brown color with red highlights and a 1" rocky tan head. The head dropped fast and didn't leave much lace to speak of.

S= Tons of alcohol present. I found more stout than Belgian in the smell, with roasted malts, dark fruits, cocoa, and coffee all prevalent.

T= Malty up front, then progressed quickly into a fruity mix of plums, raisins, and treacle. The roasted grain produced a semi-bitter chocolate and coffee character though the middle. Finish was hugely boozy and drier than the earlier sensations.

MF= Heavier side of medium body with the feel being a toss-up between high carbonation levels and a silky smoothness.

D= Not at all what I expected. I thought this would have a lot more Belgian character to it and though it was not unexpected, the huge amount of boozy alcohol was a bit much and made this one less drinkable. Still an interesting beer though!

spointon, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of kbnooshay
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black as fuck with a super huge brown frothmaster of a head. Aroma is of dark fruits and apples. Tastes like a mix of a strong dark belgian ale and a russian imperial stout. Taste is chocolatly and malty as fuck. Just hoppy enough and super yeasty. Feel is smooth and stickey. For 13% alcohol this goes down easy.

kbnooshay, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Gavage
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a short 1/2" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: big roasted malts sweetness, alcohol, brown sugar, and a nice floral bitterness provides a great aroma.

Taste: huge roasted malt profile with some hearty chocolates, lighter coffee tones, prunes, alcohol, and a big bitterness make a truely flavorful big beer experience.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth to start, smooth and almost syrupy late. Aftertaste is long as the flavors last in the mouth for a long time.

Drinkability: huge alcohol levels knock this category down a notch as this is a true slow sipping beer. But it goes down smoothly and a must have for every BA.

Gavage, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of yemenmocha
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with ruby red observable in direct light. Nose is incredible with Black Forest Cake - chocolate, dark fruits, and breadiness. Palate offers a nice correspondence with the nose - chocolate, dark fruit, bready, and some light vinegar/sourness. Finish is slightly chalky, in a good way.

yemenmocha, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Martin2D
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with a dark tan head

S - Belgiany, fruity, not really a hint of stout. Extremely boozy.

T - Fruity, rich malt, liquorish aftertaste with Belgian flavors

M - Medium carbonation and medium-full in body

D - Extremely creamy and delicious. Definitely a different experience then most normal stouts. Worth the try, very good, but theres better out there!

Martin2D, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very deep brown color with a very nice fluffy chocolate milk colored head. Retains the head exceedingly well. Leaves good lacing as well.

S: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder with a nice malty sweetness underneath. Slight alcohol burn.

T: Cocoa and chocolate are big upfront with a bit of alcohol burn going down.

M: Full bodied and silky smooth. Minimal carbonation.
D: Despite the ABV this is very drinkable. I could only imagine how much smoother it could get with age.

drgonzo3705, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of DigitalHype
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 330ml bottle into Westvleteren glass.

Deep, dark, rich brown (almost black). Very creamy, 1/4" tan head. Very sticky lacing. Beautiful! Can't wait. Smells of dried apricots and a faint hint of smoke. 13% ABV, and totally absent from the aroma.

The fruit smell, almost vanishes for me in the tasting. But, it still retains a some sourness. Coffee, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and raisin flavors. There is some damp funky mushroom, too. Bitterness and strong alcohol in the back. Finishes out "stout", just like it should.

Has a creamy mouth feel, with perfect carbonation. Rich and complex. Excellent brew!

DigitalHype, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of YonderWanderer
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy hell, this is a tasty beer. Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours a solid black, with hints of brown, yet no place for light. A thick dark tan foam sits atop, which is surprising for the high ABV.

S: Cocoa, coffee, booze, roasted malts, and some dark fruits. Very enticing and blended very nicely.

T: This beer is 13%? Wow. A hint of alcohol is present, warming the throat, and providing a nice compliment to the rich array of other flavors. Chocolate, coffee, and fruit are all present, and there's a slight hint of the Belgian yeast. However, without knowing, this would easily be mistaken for not-a-Belgian stout.

M: Smooth and cream.y Alcohol warms pleasantly.

D: This is a fantastically balanced and tasty stout. Incredibly well done. It's a sipper at 13%, but it doesn't drink like a brew that strong.

YonderWanderer, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of larsee01
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz glass bottle poured into Chimay chalice

A--Dark dark dark. Light doesn't escape it. Thin, creamy, brown head. Brownest I've seen. Thick.

S--Coffee. Fruity booze. Heavy molasses.

T--Nutty and boozy. Fruity warmth balanced by rich coffee that's mildly bitter. Yeah, I've mentioned booze twice, but this would definitely pass for less than 13%! I see this beer weighs in at 100 IBU, but it's so balanced on the heavy malt side that this finishes sweet.

M--A little on the thick side, but not sticky or heavy. Creamy. Full bodied and lingers on the palate, but not in an offensive way.

D--HOO boy. 1 and done. Not that it's the beer's fault. It's a KO and you know it.

larsee01, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of Domingo
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been looking forward to this for a while!
Since this one's only 11oz, I poured it into wine glasses.
Dark brown to black with a pretty rocky tan head. For 13%, that's pretty impressive.Not a ton of lacing as I work my way down, though.
Smells very much like an American stout. Roasted coffee and nuts, cocoa, molasses. Maybe a little booze, but not picking up Belgian yeast. I personally think that's a good thing as it can be out of place sometimes.
The taste is pretty divine. Molasses, hot cocoa, espresso, and a definite cherry brandy flavor. Not too sweet, but definitely not a dry one. There's a bit of peppery sour yeast in there, however it fits right in. If someone didn't point out it was Belgian, I doubt most people would notice.
Went down VERY quickly for 13%, but then again the small bottle plays a role in that. Very creamy texture, though.

I'd love to have more of this as it's great. Problem is, $10 for 11oz (of an uncommon beer) makes this something that isn't for every day. Hopefully a larger bottled version will be more common.

Domingo, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of MiScusi
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle

A- pretty thick black color with a dense packed tan head of super-fine bubbles. Pretty good retention.

S- strange. Like a sweaty yeast character, almost sour, but not really. Lightly roasted grain in the wayyy background. Other types of fruity notes at low levels also.

T- combination of weird yeast funk, chocolatey dark malts, and some fruit weaved in there.

M- pretty darn thick.

D- I wasn't loving this beer completely. It was good but I wasn't wanting more than my half bottle.

MiScusi, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of daryk77
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle

Great looking beer, plenty of head, off brown cascading down the glass.

Smell was great too, dark fruits, raisins, dark roasted malts, almost a clean smokiness.

Wild taste, really fruity up front, sweet caramel malts and a perceivable hop presence. Ends roasted (like the smell) and slightly bitter from the malt and hops.

mouthfeel is chewy and delicious

Drinkability is very nice, alcohol is well incorporated and incredibly balanced. Whoever got a growler of this to review is very lucky.

So is it worth the price? For $9 a bottle it is pricey but I would buy it more than once as a treat. There is really no other beer like it for better or worse. Taste is uncanny and I feel it was money well spent, will buy more to lay down, I am sure it will age incredibly well.

daryk77, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe one of the most expensive beers I have purchased is you are considering the price per oz. I of course paid it in hopes of knocking another one off the 'best of BA' and the fact that it just got distribution in Minneapolis.

11.2 FL OZ - 13% Alcohol - BA No 14

A:Black? sure. Albert? sure? A 2 cm bubble layered brown head sits a top the small Belgian Tulip it's poured into. Cascading brown foam with every sip.

S: Cocoa, Roast, Small hop profile, yeast, alcohol.

T: This one is pretty high on the sweetness, almost citrusy sweet initially, and has quite a bitter finish for a stout. This is a Royal stout though, mhhhmmm. Let it warm for a bit and the alcohol became a bit more noticable.

M: Medium, was expecting a little most adhesiveness to the palate, but it faded quickly across the tongue.

D: Price being the biggest issue and a beer this big probably has a tendency to kill the esophagus. Interesting flavor,but not a favorite RIS for me, worth trying from hype.

MPLS, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of nlmartin
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came my way from another BA zapata. Thanks!... The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine glass ever so lightly chilled and aloud to warm up to room temperature.

Appearance: The beer pours an inky black. No opaqueness is noted from light. The head is thick and the color of lightly creamed coffee. Thick webs of lacing remain on my glass.

Smell: The intial aromas of that great my nose are sour dark fruit. Dark chocolate, darkly roasted malt, licorice and molasses.

Taste: Honestly the flavors match the aroma. The flavors are well blended.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The beers body is on the plus side of medium. The carbonation is low. The alcohol is well incorporated. This is a very smooth drinking beer. Is Black Albert that good? I enjoyed drinking this beer. I probably wouldnt seek this out again but this is well worth the try.

nlmartin, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of BarrelO
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. I've heard a ton of good things about this beer, so when I saw bottles for sale at The Wine Specialist, I snatched one up with the quickness. One minor quibble, though: We all know there's no such thing as a Belgian Royal Stout. Get over yourselves, De Struise.

A: Black with a massive Duvel-like tan head that never quite settles down.

S: Chocolate fudge and alcohol.

T: Some nice notes of chocolate, coffee, and licorice. It's kind of difficult to make them out, though, because the alcohol dominates everything at this stage. There is, however, no alcohol burn at all, which is quite shocking. Burnt aftertaste reminiscent of tobacco.

M: Not quite as thick as I'd like it to be.

D: A well done RIS that would be excellent as a nightcap. If I smoked, I would like to try it with a cigar. Is it worth the hype (and price), though? I don't think so. That's kind of my problem with Belgian interpretations of American craft beers in general, though. They're usually quite good. But I can get an American version that's as good or better at a significantly lower cost.

BarrelO, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of koopa
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle purchased from liquidsolutions

Appearance: Ebony body with corners that bare the slightest hint of red/brown. Nice mocha 2 finger foam head that shows some retention and plenty of lacing.

Smell: Much more bitter hop presence than I was expecting from a RIS. Easy to find notes of coffee and roast malt with a touch of chocolate as well. I think the bitterness takes away from the nose.

Taste: Here is a brew that seems a touch disjointed fresh but also screams to me that it will be sensational with some cellaring time under its belt. Potent bitterness from the hops and coffee couple with chocolate and roast malt. Also the brew hits you over the head with a brick of molasses. A touch of sourness that can be mistaken to be astringency. All in all this is tasty!

Mouthfeel: A touch thin

Drinkability: Excellent for 13% ABV but considering its that strong I really can't score it higher than a 4.0

NOTE: This brew got much more tasty for me as it got warmer. I'm finishing the last 6oz at room temperature and find it to be a much better experience.

The beer isn't worth the price but is a delicious must try IMHO.

koopa, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of jkendrick
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

jkendrick, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of Casey10
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is black tan head that thas at least 1 1/2 finger lacing . Smell has coffee dark chocolate feeling. Taste is exceptional. Mouthfeel is typcial of a high ABV stout but delicious non the less. The drinkfeel is great if you can get your hands on this beer it is highly recommended !!

Casey10, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of iasanlee
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a large tan head that leaves tons of lacing. Aroma is a bit subdued, but coffee/dark chocolate and a bit of a belgian yeast smell, and a touch of alcohol. Flavor is intense. Sweet molasses is the stand out. Dark fruits and huge bitterness balance. Huge viscous mouthfeel and an almost astringent aftertaste from massive bitterness. This was a treat. Like nothing I have tried for many reasons. Everyone needs to have a shot at it.

iasanlee, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of cleeze
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been hunting this brew for a quick minute now, deffinatly worth the hype (don't know about he price though).

Poured a pitch engine oil black with a huge cocoa colored tan head. Looks yummmy, Head stuck around for a few to show some bad ass lacing.

Most of all I got a boozy smell out of this. I definitely could smell the 13%. Also I picked up on some chocolate and coffee notes up in there as well.

Taste was exetremely smooth. The 13% is well masked, doesn't taste nearly as boozy as it smelled. Most of all I loved the hop character this has. Meshes very well indeed. Dark malts with chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and slick.

This was so dangerously tasty I feel I could have put back atleast a few before that 13% comes back to bite you in the ass... AMAZING BREW

cleeze, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of Yetiman420
3.43/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.

Massive three-finger head that spilled over. At $11 a bottle, I lost a good $1's worth.

I've had this twice before. Once at a blind RIS tasting where it scored very low in my book (underwhelming against Stone). Keeping an open mind this time around and reviewing it on stand alone credentials.

Aroma is absent. Nothing except a little sweetness and alcohol. I'm not sure if "Belgian Royal Stout" places less emphasis on aroma, but I have to go with the BA category here of RIS which typically has roasted malt aroma with complexity. Black Albert is underwhelming in this respect.

Taste comes across as mild sweetness and slight alcohol sharpness.

The most impressive characteristic is the thick mouthfeel. Really leaves an impression, but I'd prefer impressions to be made with aroma and flavor.

I did my best to regress the blind tasting experience, but even on it's own, this one does not deliver for me. The remaining three will age in my cellar in hopes that time will treat this one well.

Yetiman420, Apr 08, 2009
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,512 ratings.