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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,489 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,489
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 318
Gots: 362 | FT: 19
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: 1,489 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brokenleadedcask


4.15/5  rDev -2.1%

A- Deep dark body, small head that disappears to trace. Unique lacing, when swirling the beer in a glass a very fine uniform tracer of bubbles shows where the liquid has been.

S- Typical dark Belgian smell, yeasty and some malt backbone

T- Dark roast malt, yeast, nutty flavor and slight hop tinge

M- Thick and viscous with good carbonation

D- Would drink it again but wouldn't have two back-to-back due to %13 ABV

03-18-2009 01:36:05 | More by brokenleadedcask
Photo of Yesac


3.98/5  rDev -6.1%

Thanks to jwinship83 for trading me a bottle of this to try

A - black, nice medium sized light brown head with a nice even lacing on the glass.

S - Strong, potent boozy smell over all. Faint malt.

T - The boozy tastes over power everything else, roasted malts... Not complex.

M - Thick bodied, smooth

D - Easy drinker, however I wasn't impresses with its boozyness taste.

03-18-2009 00:10:59 | More by Yesac
Photo of humanawho


4.68/5  rDev +10.4%

A - very deep black color with a strong head of brown cream

S - nice sweet aroma with some candied figs and some slight spicyness some hints of vanilla extract

T - very smooth with some nice chocolate flavors and deep roasty notes there are some vanilla and fig flavors

M - great it is very think but crazy smooth with nice carbonation

D - extreamly drinkable nice and smooth

03-16-2009 21:46:05 | More by humanawho
Photo of Crosling


4.47/5  rDev +5.4%

Pros: The appearance is perfect. Very Belgian, natural carbonation, long lasting foam. I've had 3 bottles of it so far and it's perfectly conditioned. Mouth feel is very thick & layered. Flavors are brilliantly unique, concentrated and complex.

Cons: The nose gives off a potent dark fruit and fudge-like scent, but is the weak point of the beer. Smells a bit out of balance.

Such a beauty. A beer to put away. It should evolve and improve for at least a decade.

03-16-2009 06:07:45 | More by Crosling
Photo of prototypic


4.03/5  rDev -5%

Huge thanks to lightindarkness. Very generous of you, dood.

Appearance: Carbonation appears to be very active. It's attempting to escape the bottle after cracking the cap. Doesn't appear so bold upon pouring. It's onyx in color with absolutely no light slicing through. Black Albert, if nothing else, bears the right name. The head is mocha in color and never seems to quite recede. Left a light, sticky coat of lace on the glass.

Smell: The nose reveals an abundance of malt. Chocolate is the primary variety, but there's healthy amount of roasted malts, as well. There's a hint of dark fruit (mostly plum) and molasses. It does have a faint hoppy aroma, but it's pretty well buried beneath the malt avalanche. Nonetheless, it's a nice find. Alcohol is noted, but is contained pretty well. This is very deep, nice smelling beer.

Taste: It's sweet and full of chocolate flavor initially. Roasted malts are not quite as strong, but are easily noted. At the secondary level, it has a nice mesh of flavors that's equal parts molasses, dark fruit, and roasted coffee. They bolster the character and depth of the flavor quite a bit. It does have a somewhat sour taste that's interesting. I honestly don't care for that aspect and believe it has a negative effect on the flavor. It just doesn't play well with the other elements. There's a little hop buzziness on the tail. That's a nice addition. Alcohol is masked extremely well. I was expecting it to run a little warm, but it doesn't. It finishes a little sour and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The body is on the lighter side of thick. It's smooth, but carbonation seems to prevent it from reaching the next level. Drinkability is above average. But, this is a big, badass beer that can easily kick you around with its 13% abv. I'm not having much trouble with this bottle. It's a nice sipping beer that I'll enjoy for a while.

Black Albert's a very solid beer. I like it quite a bit, but I can't say it deserves all the hype. Actually, I believe some the hype has faded quite a bit. The only real problems I have with it are the slightly high carbonation and the sour flavor that's been incorporated. Less carbonation and sourness would improve it a good bit. As it stands, they don't have an overly substantial negative effect, but they do enough to prevent it from reaching its potential. Just my opinion. That being said, it's still a good beer and is easily recommended.

03-16-2009 01:29:13 | More by prototypic
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -8.5%

A fellow BA has been seeking out this brew for quite some time. This week it arrived in Durham at Sam's Quik Stop. 11.2 ounce bottles at $10.89 each. Purchased two bottles: one for him and one for me.

Very thick and dark pour, although not extremely so. (Not like motor oil, which so many in this style can be.) A short head of beige foam developed, but quickly dissipated. Aromas of rich, dark fruit and roasted malts are very noticeable with every sniff. There's no hiding what this is about! Sweet, roasted malts approach the taste buds first, followed by notes of espresso, dark chocolate and dark fruits. Big, full flavor with a little more sweetness than usual for this style. It's not as boozy as I expected; the alcohol is a bit subdued, although at 13% I suspect one should take it easy! I sipped on this for nearly an hour while reading. The mouthfeel is a tad lighter than most RIS's., which accounts for the higher-than-usual drinkability. Enjoy one of these when you can afford it. I suspect this may be the only one I sample.

03-15-2009 12:14:06 | More by CWiggins
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%

This beer pours a very, very dark opaque brown, with chunks of sediment suspended throughout. The head is a light tan colour, and substantial, leaving a thick wallpaper of lace as it slowly recedes. It smells of fermenting black fruit - prunes, cherries, raisins - molasses, and alcohol warming. The taste is bitter, even sour at first, burnt malt, giving off essences of coffee, chocolate, and port wine. No hops are really evident, the sourness kind of masks that part of my tongue. The carbonation is quite mild, and the sour fruit mellows significantly as it warms, and the finish is actually quite clean, a little boozy malt lingering. The alcohol is very well managed, no direct heat, just that nice stewed fruitiness effect. This goes very well with some dark chocolate, but given the wine-like strength, one is good.

03-15-2009 02:04:32 | More by biboergosum
Photo of wery0001


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Picked up a lable-less bottle of Black Albert, thanks Scoobydank!!

Poured into a Surly Darkness snifter.

A - Jet-black opaque body. When held to the light at an angle a reddish-brown edging appears.

S - Milk/bitter chocolate, sour fruit, dark fruit??

T - Dry dark chocolate up front while the middle tastes of roasted malts and black currants. Ends with roasted coffee and sour, chocolate-bitter, and maybe a slight alcohol taste.

M - Wow! "It tastes so good when it hits your lips" Frank the Tank. The sides of my tongue are going wild with sour taste. A bit of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

D - I could drink this brew all night but the price and availability prohibits me from doing so.

03-14-2009 02:12:38 | More by wery0001
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.43/5  rDev +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.

03-13-2009 15:04:22 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of TomGavin


3.8/5  rDev -10.4%

11.2oz. bottle.

A: Pours a midnight, no-moon-black with a chocolate milkshake/tan head that hits slightly over an inch before rolling back into a 1/4 of an inch. Extremely tight bubbling save for a few.

S: Serious milk chocolate, whipped cream, vanilla, roasted malt, sour fruit--actually more like sour patch kids--black currant, caramel and licorice.

M: Very soft, not velvety, but quite soft. A bit oily. Lighter carbonation heavily concentrated at the front of the tongue.

T: Bitter chocolate, port infused raison, dark berry fruit--raspberry, blackberry, and then, a metallic bitterness, which blows the entire score. The 100 IBUs are perhaps, overkill.

D: For 13% this beer drinks extremely well. The tongue isn't bogged down with body.

Comment: This beer is interesting--if I could use italics, I would, for "interesting." The hype surrounding this beer is intense and I would suggest trying it, but it doesn't hold a candle to the majority of stouts it shares company with as far as rankings go.

03-11-2009 06:16:11 | More by TomGavin
Photo of Fatduck


4.58/5  rDev +8%

Pours a pure black, with a tight, but small, head. Smells a bit funky, in a good way, there is a hint of fruit and spice.

Wow! That is one serious beer. Ive been reading the label as I wait for it to warm. 100 IBUs, seems like a lot, but you barely notice it in this beast. Royal Belgian Stout. I like that, I'm going to have to brew one of these.

There is a hint of coco, some coffee, with an underlying sweetness tempered with a yeasty spiciness, its a very intriguing brew, I wish I had more than 33cl.

03-11-2009 01:09:56 | More by Fatduck
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.03/5  rDev -5%

Poured from the bottle a deep rich black with a massive tan head. I'd bet you could float a quarter on that mother.

Aroma of roasted malts, coffee, and dark ripe fruits.

A burst of dark ripe fruity sourness immediately greets the palate followed by rich coffee, raisin, brown sugar, and molasses. Amazingly, the 13% alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, and lightly carbonated.

Perhaps a bit over-hyped? But a quality RIS for sure. A must try.

03-08-2009 21:50:29 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of IBUnit63


4.3/5  rDev +1.4%

beerbuddha was kind enough to send this 330 ml bottle in trade...many thanks for the 'bert and a bunch of great extras! Since this has been blended with KtG in the past somewhere, if memory serves me right, it doesn't hurt to toss it into the Portsmouth snifter. This one warmed on the counter before opening. Actually it gets to be borderline room temperature before I pop the cap. OK, Donnie...let's do this work...

Pours gently into the snifter a jet-black opaque body...moderately viscous, and an awesome peanut-butter-maple 2/3-finger head emerges and sticks for a while. A picture of strength (or maybe the feats of strength).

The aroma of this is a little more understated than I would expect but for the most part smooth. There's a fairly significant presence of tannin shakeout from the patent malt here. Mild, slate-ish austerity...with a slightly bittersweetness and a touch of booze. Hop presence is loose and light. Actually would expect more here.

Now the malt presence reverts to expectations of huge, bountiful husky roast. Dark fruits also have your back here...maybe not as acidic as plums but definitely dates and a prune or two. Definitely the austere slate quality abounds but is backed up by a muted alcohol sweetness. Not as much nuttiness as I would expect but very enjoyable.

This one has depth and bench strength...and no empty clamminess. I don't get an alcohol burn...this is too well-constructed for that. Finishes with a sweet slight booziness that is viscous, warming and velvety...maybe a touch of chocolate. Not quite perfect but very good.

After a while the sweetness emerges along with a more leathery feel. Different from many in its weight class, but it drinks nicely and I would welcome this into my glass anytime.

03-08-2009 11:05:12 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of Brad007


4.13/5  rDev -2.6%

This comes from the only case of Black Albert in Vermont (supposedly).

Pours a deep, dark black color with a thick two, nearly three, finger head that's brown in color. Looks menacing.

Aroma is chock full of roasted coffee upfront with a hint of dark fruit and alcohol heat.

Taste is strong, thick with roasted coffee, faint chocolate and cream and dark fruit dominating the palate. It's got a kick to it but the flavors seem a bit muted.

Mouthfeel is full of dark fruit and roasted coffee with a lot of alcohol heat that lingers in the palate.

Strong and almost a bit too overwhelming for my palate. Needs some aging but otherwise, you're looking at one monster of a RIS.

03-08-2009 02:52:00 | More by Brad007
Photo of imagineiii


4.72/5  rDev +11.3%

This landed in VT for the first time today...

Pours with a decent dark brown head. DARK color, hard to find brown colors around the edges. plus lace.

Coffee notes, dark chocolate, maybe some wheat notes? smells a little sour?

Silky smooth, lingering sweetness. Belgian tartness is awesome at the beginning and again at the end. Dark chocolate is at the end too.

"royally" creamy. Alot going on on the palate. a little lighter than i would like.

Alot of espresso on the palate but suprisingly clean.

EDIT: After reading some reviews of this beer I see "overcarbonated" listed as a detraction from this beer. The bottle I enjoyed had been opened and left on ice for several hours. After I warmed it up, overcarbonation was certainly no longer a problem. In fact I think undercarbonation contributed in a positive way to this beer. If you have the patience, this may be the way to enjoy this brew.

03-07-2009 05:50:04 | More by imagineiii
Photo of TK5150


3.95/5  rDev -6.8%

A- Pours black with a brown/light brown head. The head consists of a mingling of small and large bubbles. Great lacing as well as alcohol legs.

S- Smells of molasses, some fusels, cherry, cranberry, acetone, earthiness, coffee ice cream, and some bitter chocolate.

T- Tastes of molasses, cherry, cranberry, fusels, some alcohol, and finishes extra dry with bitter bakers chocolate. Earthiness as well. Definitely a Belgian. The alcohol shows some heat on the way down. Basically what you smell is what you taste.

M- Full medium bodied, yet creamy as it warms. Would like to see this one be thicker, especially with this being a big stout.

D- Lighter body makes this a bit easier to drink, not to mention it is a fairly tasty beer. Considering the alcohol its pretty easy to drink, actually.

Good beer. Definitely worth a try if you like Belgians and want to try a beer that's half Belgian strong dark and half stout.

03-07-2009 00:14:26 | More by TK5150
Photo of paytoplay


4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Carbonation was high. Aroma was quite outstanding. Acidity and mouthfeel was so clean and fresh / refreshing. Heightened state of flavors lifted them, maybe too much. Small 330cl i guess bottle shared at toronado sd. Could see how this can age for years and years. Great aroma and femenin and lite is what I really felt. Pretty good. Wish it was on shelves and something I could try more often and age.

03-05-2009 04:04:43 | More by paytoplay
Photo of jmalex


4.4/5  rDev +3.8%

What was once an elusive mystery is now available to all, including me! Tonight is the night to open one of my 2 bottles.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Unibroue tulip black in color with a giant light mocha colored head which wants to last forever. It's somewhat rocky and tightly bubbled, eventually settling down to a one-finger high head. The lacing is all over the glass in true stained-glass fashion. Damn.

SMELL: I have to say, this is the first multi-staged aroma I've ever come across. At first whiff, there's no taking this for anything other than a big stout. The roasty chocolate is unmistakable. But then the authentic abbey yeast kicks in, and you're left wondering what kind of Belgian Strong Dark this is. It's bready with big time dark fruit esters going on. Man, this smells crazy... in a very good way.

TASTE: The taste is waaay more in favor of the Belgian Strong Dark aspect that the stout, but the stout flavor are still there, especially on the finish. Dry up front with a bready sort of dark chocolate flavor happening. It goes a bit empty across the palate before coming back strong with caramels and chocolate and a dessert-like sweetness. The slightest bit of alcohol warmth lingers with you long afterward begging for another sip.

MOUTHFEEL: Thinner than you might expect, though Belgian beers should be. So no criticism there. The body is velvety smooth and rich. I can't imagine anything more luxurious feeling.

DRINKABILITY: 13%?! No f'in way. Off-the-charts, crazy-good drinkability. I could drink a 750ml of this easy. Except for the drunken stupor that would follow. Damn, this is good.

I didn't want to buy into the hype, but this beer has A LOT going for it. Not perfect by any stretch, but legitimately a beer worth seeking out. Get it if you can.

03-04-2009 02:22:16 | More by jmalex
Photo of CMW


4.8/5  rDev +13.2%

A - Pours pitch black with creamy tan head with good retention. There are some reddish-brown highlights present when held up to the light.

S - Strong coffee and sour cherry flavors.

T - Similar to the nose, coffee and cherry mixed with roasted malt. Extremely smooth. I detected the alcohol is the first sip but it faded shortly after. This is easily in my top 3 beers of all time.

M - Very creamy, just perfect.

D - Extremely drinkable even at 13%. That's dangerous.

03-02-2009 03:42:53 | More by CMW
Photo of jpaltan


4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

From 2.9.09. Black - deep, deep black, almost purple. cappuccino colored head that is big and pillowy that sticks and stays for quite some time. Lacing is plentiful. Hints of booze and figs and cherries in the nose. A bit of coffee and espresso. Taste is burnt coffee. Rich, bitter with hops. Cherries are up front. The booze is so well hidden it is ridiculous. Plenty of carbonation, but was missing a bit creaminess. Deceptively easy to go down despite 13%.

03-01-2009 19:44:12 | More by jpaltan
Photo of eberkman


4.58/5  rDev +8%

Pours an evil looking oozy, oily, dank black that shows some reddish highlights when held up closely to a bright light. Enormous, billowy golden brown head displaying the tint and terrain of a toasted marshmallow just before it starts to blacken. Head diminishes slowly, leaving a thick slick of lacing alongside the edge of the glass. Looks exactly as I hoped it would. The nose has some mocha tints but is dominated by cocoa, butterscotch, cherries and alcohol. Pretty typical for a big stout and very appetizing. Complexity abounds on the palate. There's a burnt wood sort of tone at the intake, which gives way to a luscious fruity middle, and back to a French-roast coffee sort of burnt bitterness at the end that lingers. A toffeelike undertone persists throughout the cycle. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light, airy and silky for a dark ale of its appearance. I expected something a lot thicker, but I actually prefer what I got. Very smooth and satiny. Nice. And since you can't really detect the alcohol in the taste (and no telltale warming down the gullet), it's dangerously drinkable for such a huge beer. Seriously, I've never had such a strong beer taste so mellow. But stick to one on principle. Besides, there's so much complexity, it's one to savor, not to session.

Thanks to Gary at Vinnin Liquors in Swampy for making sure we got hold of a few of these.

02-27-2009 01:24:56 | More by eberkman
Photo of jp62099

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +17.9%

I was fully expecting to be let down by this beer. I mean that is what happens so many times with expensive crazy hyped up beers. This would not be the case.
Black Albert displays many of the classic RIS characteristics but is distinctly Belgian. I have been a sort of skeptical of the RIS style since I had my first one. I keep trying them waiting to be blown away given the hype surrounding them. While this is not a RIS in the strictest since, it has given me a new appreciation for the style and what it can be.
I will not even attempt to describe the smell and taste of this huge and complex masterpiece. I will say that it is silky smooth, and the alcohol is no where in sight. If I had had another I would have been tempted to drink it.
If you come across one of these, do not hesitate, make the purchase. It will sting the wallet a bit, but you will be very glad once you take the first sip. Believe the hype!!

02-25-2009 01:34:11 | More by jp62099
Photo of rhinos00


4.4/5  rDev +3.8%

Acquired this in a trade with drseamus a few months back. Thanks for giving me the opportunity! Split with BA Pecorasc, poured into over-sized wine glasses.

A- Dark, chocolate brown with a fingers width of tan head.

S- Definitely unique, especially considering the style. Strong scent of sour, black currants. In the background there is a nice combination of roasted coffee beans and chocolate.

T- You have to go into this beer with an open mind. Once you put aside your notions of what you think a RIS should taste like, you truly begin to appreciate how great this beer really is. As the nose suggests, there is a sour, sweet tinge of black currants mixed with a chocolate malt flavor. The beer finishes with roasted coffee bean flavor.

M- Medium to full bodied with some carbonation.

D- 13% ???? No way. All alcohol flavor is virtually undetectable. The taste is just so smooth and tasty that it goes down so easily.

Overall, one of the most unique RIS I have ever had. Go into this beer with an open mind and just let it's complexity amaze you. Truly a wonderful beer. Highly recommended.

02-24-2009 04:14:54 | More by rhinos00
Photo of adamette


4.58/5  rDev +8%

Live review. Poured from 330ml bottle purchased at BelgianBeerShop.com into my clean, clear Great Lakes Christmas Ale goblet.

A Absolutely no light gets through this black oil body, even in front of direct light. Head is a beautiful, slow developing but huge, medium brown creamy head that sticks around for several minutes. Great lacing that lasts the life of the beer.

S Deep dark malt with a big smell of alcohol as well. The darkness of the malt is so much that even to the nose there is a bittnerness, like a dark chocolate bitterness.

T Wow...a dark dark malt in a smooth, sweet tasting beer with some bitterness derived not from any discernable hops but from the darkest of roasted malts. I really like the sweetness and despite the high ABV (the highest of any beer that I have rated to date) I really do not taste the alcohol like I probably should. There is a backdrop of alcohol somewhere in the aftertaste though.

M This is maybe the best part of this beer. I am suprised by how smooth this beer is given that several of the strong Russian Imperial Stouts that I have had featured an unwelcome sharpness it them. Make no mistake though, this is a huge, full beer.

D Well, with the huge ABV and even bigger tastes this is a one and done for me. I enjoyed every drop though so I will consider it good drinkability and very appropriate to style.

Notes: What a treat to have this huge beer done in such a masterful way.

02-24-2009 02:02:11 | More by adamette
Photo of HeyItsChili


4.38/5  rDev +3.3%

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with a medium, creamy brown head.

S - Cocoa powder, smokey burnt coffee beans, alcohol, maybe some dark fruits.

T - Espresso, dark rum, dark chocolate, warm, lingering alcohol finish. While the basic components of a RIS are here - the chocolaty/coffee essence, there are subtle notes of things like dark fruit, rum, and the like that set this one slightly apart.

M - Viscous, chewy, lots of carbonation.

02-22-2009 17:40:40 | More by HeyItsChili
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 1,489 ratings.