1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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

1,578 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,578
Reviews: 821
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 317
Gots: 373 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.

(Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Albert Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,578 | Reviews: 821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jjayjaye
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ultra dark with a HUGE stiff dark brown head that resists fading like an ice cream sundae. Sheets of 3D Belgian lacing left behind every mouthful. The really good; licorice, molasses and a hint of chocolate...a supporting role as opposed to the star attraction. The mouth feel is nicely carbonated, somewhat oily with a tang of alcohol. Full flavored, the nose is repeated in the taste. A nicely balanced licorice/molasses blend. Coats the tongue well and adding a mild roast malt note behind. The 13% ABV warms some but is not distracting. A really fine beverage...highly recommended!

Photo of LauraAlberts
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Complete Black, can't see through - two fingers of tan head retention.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel, Little hint of bittersweet Chocolate, hint of mokah, black raspberry, dark cherry.

Taste: Tobacco, Vanilla bean, Molasses, Caramel, roasted nut

Mouthfeel: my favorite part - creamy - can't even taste the 13.00% alcohol.

Drinkability: Highly Drinkable - not heavy. I highly recommend - it is unbelievable. Quite possibly my favorite beer I've ever had.

Photo of Shaggy9356
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to trying this for awhile. Pours a pitch black with dark tan head, more carbonation than I was expecting on the pour. Gorgeous lacing clings to the snifter.

Nose has modest aroma of coffee, sweet chocolate and some alcohol. Mouthfeel adds so much to this beer. Big and balanced, surprisingly creamy, nicely carbonated.

Taste is dry up front with baking chocolate, burnt caramel in the middle, warming alcohol on the finish. Bitter aftertaste detracts somewhat from the overall performance. The balance of the IBUs and malt hides the 13% remarkably well but is still a sipper due to the size. Enjoy this for it is a rockstar and knows it.

Photo of grayburn
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Most beers don't live up to the hype, I've gotten used to this. So as I purchased my 10 dollar, 330cl bottle, I was not expecting anything that revolutionized beer to me. It happened anyway. The big kicker on this beer is the thick and creamy mouth, it really brings together all facets of this wonderful brew into an orgasmic package. Dangerously drinkable, the chocolate and belgianesque funkiness really play like best friends here. My words do no justice, believe the hype.

Photo of Risser09
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge - Lot A, Best Before April 2013

Appearance: Pours a jet black that makes no room for light at all. The head is tan and an enormous 2.5". Tremendous retention and lots of thick, foamy lace. Awesome for a RIS.

Smell: Sweet barley, licorice, cereal grain, and surprisingly, some deep cherry flavors. Wildly different than what I expected. Nice.

Taste: Sweet burnt barley malt, licorice, leather and booze. A bomb of a beer. The booze is the finisher that provides all the warmth you should need.

Mouthfeel: Pretty medium bodied, lots of burnt flavor and some carbonation. Lots of booze that soaks into your skin.

Drinkability: Pretty good overall. Probably way overrated when you consider the onslaught of fives that it originally got. A great beer though.

Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 bottle pours a pitch black body with a small tan head that quickly falls into some sheet lacing.

Complex aroma has fusel alcohol, cherries and prunes, Vienna coffee, dark chocolate, and a herbal hops note.

Mouthfeel is medium full bodied with subdued carbonation.

Taste opens with a nutty dark chocolate note, followed by roasty coffee, powdered cocoa, and dried dark fruits. Alcohol is noticed, but is concealed pretty well considering the strength. A serious hop presence makes itself known, with a herbal hop element. Candy sugars are also easy to identify. Finishes with a dark roasty bitterness.

Seems to have influences of a Belgian tripel with the candy sugars, and of a Belgian IPA with the hopping. Very interesting and complex, but not one of my top ten stouts.

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip glass. Only got about 2-3oz, as I was sharing with a few friends. Body is a deep dark black with garnet highlights, topped by a dark tan head. Aroma of chocolate malt, a light hoppy bitterness, and some sweet dark fruit. Palate has a strong raisin component up front, along with bittersweet chocolate, dark malt, and a whiff of bittering hops. Lingering raisin sweetness lasts for a while on the finish. Body is thick, rich, and creamy, but not oily. A thoroughly enjoyable offering from a consistently great brewery.

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

330 ml. bottle poured into my Dogfish goblet. Let sit open about 20 minutes before pouring.

Initial appearance tells me this is a very dark beer. Dark, almost black chocolate, but definite tinges of brown when held up to the light. Very frothy dark tan head of millions (I counted) of teeny-tiny bubbles. Decent retention. Ring of head stayed nicely. Tight lacing breaks up rather quickly and disipates in a minute or two.
Big malty chocolate nose with minimal alchohol coming through. At least initially. Dark ripe fruits, raisins, anise, bitter and sweet.
Tastewise, not as strong as I had imagined it would be. A level of sourness comes through the bitter chocolate bite. Makes this not as strong tasting as other Russian Imperial Stouts. Also makes it a little more drinkable. Not a huge mouthfeel. Not necissarily thin, but doesn't stick to the palate either.
Very nice RIS. 13% never makes itself known. Very smooth for a beer of this strength. Maybe expected a bit more body. I traded a Dark Lord for this. Would I again? No. But I'd definitely drink it again.

Photo of firkinhophead
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle in a snifter at nearly room temperature. Thanks to Rusty Diamond for the hookup!

Pours a dark purplish-brown that allows some light to come through around the edges. A loose, active head settles to a ring that revives nicely with a swirl to form a tight foam that is clingy but not particularly sticky.

aroma of earthy malts, alcohol, char, wet coffee grounds, some pruney, over-ripe fruit.

tastes of roasted malts, sweet alcohol, coffee, and herbs. Medicinal astringency in the finish. Quite dry, with only a flash of dark fruit. Belgian yeast lends a funky tang.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than anticipated, but this is a highly attenuated stout. Hot alcohol on the breath. Carbonation is a tad prickly, adding to the medicinal character.

An interesting take on the style and worth a try, but to me it lacks complexity to match its big alcohol bite and bitter finish. Would certainly improve with age.

Photo of Derek
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Produced by the Deca Brewery, best before April 2013. Imported by Horizon Wines, Inc. Canada.

A: Black with a tan head, great retention & lacing. Very impressive for its strength.

S: Burnt espresso, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, tar, pine, pleasant fruitiness (plums, dates, cherries) & certainly some sherry-like alcohol in the nose.

T: Black strap molasses, espresso, great fruitiness (plums, figs & pear), burnt toffee, with hints of a pleasant roasted sourness, soy-sauce, tar-like resin & tobacco; plenty of bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Very full, thick, creamy body with a slight roasted acidity. Incredible body for something this strong, with very little residual sweetness. Carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of moderate.

D: Amazingly drinkable for its strength.

I'm often not a fan of stouts over 10% abv, as they start to loose their stoutness. This is by far the best high alcohol stout I've had. Blows away Dark Lord & the Abyss, IMHO. I'm guessing it's not actually anywhere near 13% though.

Big thanks the Wildone for this CanBIF5 treat!

Photo of everetends
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle I only have rhinos00 to thank for. This was one of the many amazing beers I found in the BIF box he sent me. Serving this one up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours pretty much what I am looking for in a Russian Imperial Stout. Nice dark and flat black color. This beer is not letting any light through whatsoever. The beer produced about three quarters of a finger of head. THe head is a nice mocha brown and has the lasting retention I am expecting. Falls to about a half finger but it throws up some nice and serious lace on the glass. Just has that classic RIS look.

S: The nose is just a bit of a let down to be honest. Getting first thing out of the gate being some serious booze presence. This just screams some serious alcohol in here. Then there is a decent amount of earthy grains coming out. Maybe a little bit of some dark fruit and chocolate. With that said, thats about all that is happening here. This is really booze dominant and I should have probably waited a little while to drink this one.

T: Gotta admit that the taste is much better. I was really worried with the nose. Getting some pretty dark and nicely roasted malts. Some chocolate and caramel for sure. There is a nice touch of vanilla pushing its way out as well. Then a touch of espresso coffee mingles with those dark fruit (cherry, plum and raspberry) flavors you expect from a belgian brewed beer. The belgian qualities are nice in the yeast category as well. There is a decent fruity candied presence here as well. The hops come out in the end with some of that booze I got from the nose, but the booze is no where as dominant here. In the back there is a touch of burning wood as well. Much better.

M: Full bodied brew that is on the lighter side. Still has a nice wieght and creaminess to it. Carbonation is kept in check but still adds a touch of crispness. ABV is totally there and has a good amount of heat in the palate, throat and absolutely warms you up in the ole tum tum. Aftertaste is some dark fruit with some chocolate.

D: This is actually a pretty easy drinking 13% brew. I am constantly reminded it is 13% when I take a whiff, but otherwise its not that bad in the other categories. It goes down pretty easily and the warmth is rather comforting. If I had a 750ml bottle, I would be more than happy to tackle it. The flavors are nice and just a touch different from your typical RIS, which is always nice. Good brew.

Photo of rpstevens
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from a bottle into my snifter.

The appearance is black with a thick tan head that is a little lighter than other imperial stouts. As the head fades there is a decent amount of lacing that is very slow moving down the sides of the glass.

The smell is not very impressive. There is definitely some caramel and coffee present, but it's not very strong. The end of the smell has a light roastiness.

The taste is much better than the smell thankfully. The caramel and roasted coffee flavor really pop at the beginning of the taste. There is also some vanilla and the taste finishes with some roasty goodness and a nice amount of hop flavor.

The mouthfeel is superb, smooth, not too heavy and very well carbonated. The beer is surprisingly light and crisp for a stout with this kind of appearance and there is no alcohol present in the taste. This is a very drinkable beer and I wish I had more than one.

Photo of John_M
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Ebenezer's the other day.

The beer pours the expected rich, dark black color with very impressive head retention and lacing. Unlike the bottled version, I get a considerable aroma of chocolate, cherry and coffee. On tap this beer smells pretty nice. On the palate this beer is flat out deliciuos, and really doesnt' taste all that much different from the bottled version. While there is a goodly amount of rich chocolate and some coffee aroma, I also get quite a bit of cherry and plum flavor. The intermix of flavors is just lovely, and I really am impressed by how light, soft and creamy on the palate this beer is. Given the 13% abv, drinkability truly is amazing. While you can tell the alcohol is up there, there is nothing hot, heavy or tiring about this beer, though perhaps it wasn't the best idea to order a second glass (but how often does one get to have this beer on tap at Ebenezer's).

The more I get to have this beer, the more impressed I've become. This is delicious stuff.

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

Appearance - Pitch black, 1 finger tan head with some splotchy lacing.
Smell - Caramel and chocolate.
Taste - Roasted and caramel malts, rich chocolate with a smooth transition to bitter black coffee.
Mouthfeel - Silky with a thick, medium-body (there was an unexpected, but pleasant lightness to this beer) and light carbonation.
Drinkability - A little bit of heat and rather rich, but still very drinkable.

Photo of colts9016
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this PhylCA21, thank you for the bottle.

Poured into a pint glass at 52 degrees.

Appearance: A very dark black color in the beer. There is a 2 finger head that is massive. The head is a medium brown color that creamy and foamy. There is a lot of bubbles on the side of the glass. The clarity of the beer is non existent.

Nose: A very nice dark roasted with chocolate, espresso, molasses, raisins and caramel and black malt. There is a very nice hint of floral, and citrus and wood. I also could smell phenols and alcohol. There is also the burnt characteristics. .

Taste: A very heavy roasted dark malt, black malts, chocolate, espresso, a touch of molasses, raisins, toffee, phenols, and a touch of alcohol. There is an aggressive hops that give is some floral, burnt, and wood characteristics.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is carbonated, heavy, thick and chewy. The body of the beer is heavy and thick. The finish on the beer is full and pleasant. I have been waiting to try this beer and I am very pleased with. I really enjoyed this beer a lot.

Photo of ToasterChef
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my Uprising Chalice at Novare Res' First Anniversary Party. The beer lives up to its name, it is black as night. There is a tan head that settled to a thin coating that lasted until all the beer was gone. It has a roasted malt smell that I rather enjoyed. The first thing that I noticed about the taste was a chocolaty sweetness, followed by roasted malts (of course, this could be more from the aroma than the taste) and a bit of caramel. The beer is 13% alcohol and you can taste it and feel it's warmth, but it isn't overpowering or distracting; in fact, it's quite nice. The beer has a heavy body, but is very drinkable. You don't want to consume this one too quickly, even though it is tempting. This exceptional beer should be enjoyed slowly. Seek out a bottle as soon as possible, or just head to Ebenezer's Pub and get it on tap.

Photo of Pencible
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque black with tan head. It smelled like dark chocolate and prunes, with some creamy vanilla and grape and a hint of coffee. It tasted like bitter dark chocolate and sweet prunes, with some roasted coffee with cream. It was somewhat thick with mild carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had an interesting smell and flavor. It tasted very clean and masked the alcohol disturbingly well. It had good body too, but not as full as desired. The prune/grape character really threw me off and kept me from loving this, and there wasn't much depth or complexity beyond that. Definitely an enjoyable stout, but it didn't quite seem to live up to the hype.

Photo of BZero007
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recived in a trade from bmanning Thanks!

Poured in to my Portsmouth Tulip glass. The apperance was very surprising as I expected more of a dark belgium look and taste to it. The beer poured a very thick and black color with a serious amount of Head. The head was a light brown color and helped releas allot of the aroma. The aroma was mainly a sweet chocolate and dark fruits. The thickness of the brew was actually decernable from the aroma. The taste was a very thick stout that was a welcome surprise. Again I expected something totally different and was pleasantly surprised. The taste came threw with allot of chocolate and dark fruits in the background. The carbonation level was a perfect level and helped lift allot of flavor in the brew. The only down side was this was not a larger bottle that I had....Will be getting more later in the future. Must have stout.

Photo of jwhawkins81
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma - Sweet cherries

Appearance - Poured a dark black with a dark tan head with plenty of carbonation.

Taste - Malty roast chocolate coffee with unmistakable bitterness. A good amount of sweetness. Not what I would consider a complex beer but definitely a big one.

Mouthfeel - Thick but with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability - Not too bad but at $9.99 for an 11.2 oz beer maybe just once a year. . . maybe.

Photo of Sean9689
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into goblet.
Thanks to TurdFurgison for the trade at DLD '09.

A - Pours black with a nice tan head which sticks around for a little bit. The head finally disipitates and leaves a small little tan ring around the edge of the glass. The head is very sticky and leaves a good amount of lacing when tilted around.

S - Sweet chocolate right from the get-go on this one with some subtle hints of dark fruit, and some boozy alcohol mixed in there as well. Not a whole lot from the smell, but that doesn't mean it doesn't smell good!

T - Dark fruits, alcohol, and a hint of dark chocolate. Reminds me of a chocolate raspberry desert of some kind, which I like. A bitter alcohol finish on this that's too hot.

M - Very rich and smooth, medium-full bodied, good carbonation for the style.

D - I like this RIS, but it's not in my top-5. Overall, would drink again if I get more, but not going to search around for it.

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

Big up to Phyl21ca for the trade.

Pours a beautiful thick black, can't see any highlights at all in this one. Three fingers of mocha foam that drop to about a finger -- super creamy texture to the head, looks nitrogenated almost, or like a mousse. Awesome!

Smells like stone fruits & alcohol, very rich smell. Taste is very fruity: getting a lot of apple, plum, raisin, with some deep roasted malts & just a tiny bit of smokiness.

Mouthfeel is full but not motor oil -- there's enough fluidity & action from the big bubble head to create a little tingle.

I'm getting through this one pretty fast: it's one to savor, but the flavor's so enticing I want to go back for more each time. I have a feeling the high ABV's going to hit me all at once. I like this a lot, but would never guess that it's a stout: way too much fruit flavor, not much in the way of malt/roast/coffee/chocolate character that I look to in a stout. Don't get me wrong, I really like this & can appreciate it on its own terms, but wouldn't call it a stout.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. the edge of the label is marked in three places: "Lot B", "6" and "BB". i am assuming this is the latest batch to make it to the US, with the shelton bros label. tasted in late march/early april 2009. poured into tulip.

nearly pitch black, with just a slight red tint under direct light. huge tan/coffee color head, takes forever to fade. eventually ends up as a thin but constant and foamy layer. very nice curtain-like lacing.

fruity aroma. plums? prunes? moves into milder dark malts and roast with coffee hints. fruitiness meets and alcoholic and faintly phenolic backend. trace of vanilla? the reason this isn't a 4.5 is because everything was hard to pin down, plus it didn't entirely "meld" together.

more fruity flavors. plum. cherry? but also fruity acidity. maltiness is sweet and roasty, but it all just seems a bit watered down. roasted malt and earthy hop meet for a moderate to bold bitterness. more fruity acidity into the finish, with coffee note.

medium body, lightly creamy and vaguely viscous, with acidic and astringent texture. moderate carbonation has fluffy creaminess.

good, but not great. oh well. lightning can't strike the same place twice?

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Brooklyn snifter yesterday. Dark, dark brown blackish pour with a nice mocha brown creamy froth. Milky way wavy bubbly head- tiny bubbles in the middle with bigger ones out by the rim.
Very noticeable whiffs of coffee with a little bit of vanilla, 13% vapor, touch of blackberry.
Like the aroma, huge coffee flavor and really little else. A little malted chocolate and sweet candy in the middle. Heat in the back with nice carbonation. Somewhat of a dry, over-roasted coffee mouthfeel. Alcohol hidden well, but overall too coffee dominated for my tastes.

Photo of bulletrain76
2.75/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

33cl bottle. Black with a medium tan head and brown edges. Alcohol, burnt sugars and malt, and oxidized coffee grounds that come across somewhat sharp and solvent-like. The flavor is sweet with a bitter and sharply alcoholic finish exhibiting more of the stale coffee of the nose. Full bodied and a bit slick with medium carbonation. This was a real surprise. Nowhere near the malt or yeast depth that I was expecting. I hope that this was an off bottle because I can't ever see myself wanting this again.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle acquired in a trade with tai4ji2x. Thanks a lot Xenon!

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A two-finger, brown, foamy head, surges up from a creamy, thick, pitch black body. Fantastic head retention and very impressive lacing for such a high alcohol beer - it's like a blanket! This looks very interesting; the head is unlike any other RIS I've had.

Smell: Coffee, smoke, dried figs, Wiseman Peter says dates, dark chocolate, and floral hops. I wanna say there's some other fruit in there, but I can't seem to put my finger on it - smells kinda like grape jam. Good deal of sweetness here, but it's very smooth and creamy.

Taste: Starts out sharp with what Peter and I believe to be alcohol (Peter is reminded of Gran Marnier). This flavor is quickly supplanted by dates, burnt sugar, and molasses. Charred wood then steps in and joins loads of creamy malt. Finishes with black coffee, cocoa, prickly hops, and alcoholic dryness. Alcohol is masked pretty damn well, but is nowhere near hidden. Overall, very enjoyable. Gets better throughout the session as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, full, mildly carbonated, and dry. I dig. I really dig. Pretty damn sugary, but that's to be expected. Kinda syrupy and sticky.

Drinkability: The ABV crept up on me quick with this one. Beware friends. This was an awesome beer however. I was bordering on 5 in both Appearance and Smell. Very interesting, unique, and delicious. Highly recommended.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,578 ratings.