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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

1,532 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,532
Reviews: 817
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 320
Gots: 360 | FT: 20
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: 1,532 | Reviews: 817 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of squaremile
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This reminds me much more of a Belgian strong dark ale than what I know as a Russian imperial stout. The dark fruits and sweetness are present, and the mouthfeel reminds me of Rochefort 10 in an excellent way. Alcohol is barely present, which I find to be the defining feature.

squaremile, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of dukedevil0
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single 330mL from Sal's in Elmurst, IL. Bottle says batch #14 imported by Horizon Wines in Canada.

A: Pours a dark black with two fingers of khaki colored head and lots of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells of slight amounts of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Some vanillla too. Some alcohol scent like fermented dark berries/fruits.

T: Very much like the smell, some dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, oak type flavors. Some dark fruits or berries. Some alcohol in the finish but melds well with the brew. Gets even better tasting when it hits cellar temperature.

M: Feels creamy and full with a good amount of carbonation.

D: Drinkability only suffers here from the slight alcohol flavor in the finish. Otherwise the flavor is solid.

dukedevil0, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of alovesupreme
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extremely dark brown color with a light brown head that sticks around. Good lacing and legs.
Coffee with spiced rum poured in. Chocolate and vanilla with many spices, Nutmeg Cinnamon and Allspice add character to the beer.Prune and a hint of brown sugar are also present.
Chocolate and coffee with some very subtle spice. Slight rum character but alcohol is almost undetectable. Dark fruit contribute to the body and the beer finishes with a clean slightly hoppy roasted character.
A full body but not in the exact since of an RIS. Not extremely thick just very full. Carbonation was good as well.
A extremely drinkable RIS, an 11 ounce bottle is just not enough.

alovesupreme, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of organicbrewer
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a De Dolle tulip.

A- Jet Black. No light may pass. One finger Dark Tan head with large bubbles. This doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

S- Rum soaked brown bannanas. Definetly belgian yeast in this. Slightly metalic. Old coffee grounds.

T- Toasty Chocolate milk. Like when you put to much ovaltine in a glass of milk (which i like). More of that funky bannana. Burnt roast comes in at the end. Very Pleasant. Much better then the smell.

M- This isn't one of those super thick motor oil like Impy stouts. Much drier like the other belgian stouts i've had, which is pleasant.

D-This thing is 13%? No way! No alcohol heat. Not crazy boozy or anything. If it wasn't for the aroma this thing would've been near perfect.

organicbrewer, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle obtained in trade with Grbdg. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Pillowy head is going nowhere fast, with a thick coating of froth lacing throughout. Aroma is dark malt, anise, and alcohol. Taste is unexpectedly restrained. Dark malt sweetness upfront, light lactic tartness in the middle, creamy roasted close with alcohol wamrth lingering. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is way too easy for 13%abv. Possibly even worth the hype, if anything can be worth this beer's hype.

ppoitras, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Opaque black with dark tan head. Using a moderately hard pour I overflowed the glass with head. Be careful pouring this one. A few carbonation bubbles near the top. Awesome lacing down most of the glass.

S--Caramel, cocoa. Not intense but extremely pleasant. A few dark fruits present as well

T--First sip yields a typical stout taste, but a little bit of further exploration brings a mixed bag of dark friuits...raisins, figs, lightly roasted malts, apple peels, only a slight hop bitterness on the finish. At first I didn't understand why other reviewers were saying this is so unique but now I see. At about the 3/4 mark this beer finally hit its stride and I am really enjoying it

M--Medium to full bodied and creamy

D--Only had an 11 oz. bottle and it went down very easy, but due to the small size I'm having a tough time deciding how much of this I would want to drink. Its easier to drink than many stouts though.

I have to say, I'm really impressed by this beer. As long as you don't go into it expecting the typical RIS taste and can appreciate it for what it is, I'm sure you would agree it is deserving of its high status. Great beer.

EDIT: I'm not sure which batch my original bottle was, but both subsequent bottles I have had since then have been a huge step down in quality. My most recent batch which was bottled in March of 2010 is flat and watery and burnt and a mess. Not really good at all, I would probably give it a D. I'm going to drop my rating for this beer due to the extreme lack of consistency.

alcstradamus, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of Traquairlover
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2-oz bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to brandoneast for this bottle.

A = Deep mahogany, rich dark reddish tan head of foam.

S = Treacle, Chinese candy, dried plums, baker's cocoa.

T = Molasses, treacle, cocoa nibs, rose buds, spun sugar.

M = Heavy body, excellent mouthcoating, frothy feel with slight alcohol burn.

D = A sipper, but one to come back to time and again.

Traquairlover, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of saintwarrick
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is opaque brown/black with a solid-sized tan head. Aroma is cocoa and chocolate mixed with a Belgian yeast, the chocolatey aromas aren't as strong as most American versions. Taste is at first bitter chocolate then smooth, sweet and velvety as it should be. Then an understated sour taste kicks in with some dark fruitiness that reminds me of a burnt, dark Belgian brew; raisins and figs mixed in and a little coffee for good measure.

Never get an inkling this is a 13 percent abv beer; it's big but there's nothing boozy about it.

A very impressive and interesting brew; definitely a walk from the normal RIS.

saintwarrick, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of Billolick
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small bottle, no feshness/vintage info, except for more marks on the side of the label which are of no help. Purchased at Julio's in Mass. all I remember about about the price was it was a lot! Over $5 for the 11.2 ounce bottle at least. Cool art on the label. Pours BLACK. Creamy, rich/dense dark mocha head, unrelenting retention and plenty of sheeting/lace. The nose is intensly and impresivly of dark chocolate, and double expesso. Thick and luxorious, loads of more bitter dark chocolate, expresso, nuts, brnt grains and everything doubly stouty and boldly delicious. World class stuff, go get some and enjoy.

Billolick, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of BeefTongue
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer yielded a beautiful, frothy two-finger head with an amber/butterscotch hue; the lacing held for a while and made the sides of the glass appeared frosted and shimmery. True to its name, Black Albert remains black in appearance even when held to light, making for an appealing contrast to the colorful head. The smell was sweet with a smoky aroma and scents roasted malt and coffee that manifest also in the flavor. Tasting was a delight; not only was the mouth feel thick and velvety, but all flavors seemed to compliment each other very well. The balance was superb, and at 13% ABV the alcohol is relatively hidden amongst the other flavors. One can tell immediately that this is a big beer, but "booziness" does not permeate (not to say that this isn't sometimes enjoyable in other heavy beers) the other flavors. I could drink a lot of these; they're delicious! However, at ~nine bucks per 12oz. bottle, this beer is a bit out of my sessionable price range. I would buy again for a special occasion, hands down. A definite must-try for fans of the imperial stout or darker/heavier beers in general.

BeefTongue, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of Strix
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black with a bubbly brown head that fades to a slight ring.

Roasted malt, coffee, and alcohol show in the nose.

Flavor is delicate and dry. Coffee and roasted malts predominate, with a touch of alcohol (but not much, considering the ABV). Well balanced, but flavors are a bit muted.

Mouthfeel very nice, so smooth it's hardly present in my mouth.

This was a very nice beer. The alcohol was well hidden and it had good balance. The flavors were a bit muted though, even after it warmed up. I'd surely have it again, but not at the price I paid for this bottle (near a dollar an ounce).

Strix, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle this beer was an opaque, jet black color. The head was two fingers of mocha-foam brown and retained nicely as a thin layer. The lacing was pretty good, nothing spectacular, but consistent and thorough. The aroma was of roasted malt, wood, nuts, light alcohol (similar to dark rum), and some malty sweetness. The flavors were complex and rich, hiding the 13% surprisingly well. I tasted lots of roasted and toasted malt with some hints of smoke (almost like smoked meat in its depth) along with some spiciness (black pepper in particular), wood, black walnuts, molasses, coffee and espresso, baking cocoa, tobacco and hints of yeast. Complex and concentrated. As it warmed up the dry, malty finish became more clear, and rather clean. An impressive and challenging offering, and deceptive in its finesse. The mouthfeel was smooth, the body medium/full but not too heavy actually and the carbonation spot-on. I admit it, I'm impressed.

thekevlarkid, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of nrpellegrini
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a huge tan head that stays until the end and laces nicely. Smells of roasted malt and chocolate. Taste is faint chocolate with roasted malts up front, maybe a little too roasted. Mouthfeel was nice and smooth, creamy texture. Drinkablity was good too, it went down the hatch fast and easy.

nrpellegrini, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown in color. Plenty of viscosity on the pour. A beautiful khaki tan head of about half an inch is perched atop.
Smell is roasted coffee and malts. Some belgian yeast can be found if you dig a bit. Taste is more the same, but the belgian yeast is much more apparent in the flavor. Very huge, and super creamy in the mouthfeel. Truly velvety on the tongue. It makes it way too drinkable for the ABV. The mouthfeel is second to none, it's that good. Starting to get a little bit of a lacto smell in the beer now that it has started to warm up a bit. Plenty of carbonation. More carbonation than I'm used to in my imperial stouts. There's a little bit of warmth coming from the ABV, but that is expected, and it's not that bad. The pillowy head is staying around for the entirety of the session.
This is a very good stout. Is it one of the best that I've ever had, I don't know. It's the best of the style that I've had. I'll be interesting to see what some time will do to this beer.

FtownThrowDown, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of brewintheLou
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a brown head that is very thin on the top.

Smell is chocolaty and sweet. Seems to be a little bit of a floral smell coming through.

Taste is milk chocolate with a hint of roastiness to balance out the sweetness. Mouthfeel is creamy and silky smooth as it goes down. Very drinkable as this is incredibly smooth. No sign of 13% ABV here.

brewintheLou, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of theghost3
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black with noticable chunkcs of sediment & carbonated bubbles clinging to the class. 1-finger cafe au lait head that stays throughout. Just beautiful. Significant lacing.

The smell is strong of dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, and roasted coffee-like malts. The taste is strong of coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, honey, vanilla, and alcohol. No aftertaste. Mouthfeel is buttery with a crisp carbonation at the end.

This is a drinkable RIS--rich but so delicious.

theghost3, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of KeefD
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Lot B-6-BB

Dark brown as it's pouring, but black as night when it's in the New Belgium globe, an inch of brown foam, but not the darkest foam I've seen, good retention and nice lacing. Aroma is a lovely mixture between Belgian yeast, dark fruits, chocolate, dark honey, light coffee, rum, booze, and molasses. The chocolate aroma from this beer is amazingly good smelling. Alcohol really comes out as it warms. Taste is very interesting, and not quite what a normal RIS tastes like, as this is a "Belgian Royal Stout." Chocolate covered roasted beans makes up a bulk of the flavor profile, followed by a light cocoa sweetness, a bit of sourness and funky yeast, and dry baker's chocolate on the finish. Alcohol is definitely noticeable, but it's pretty well integrated as a whole for being 13%. I think this brew can benefit from a few years of aging to really round out the flavors. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy , viscous, chewy, all the good things I look for in a big stout. This is a very interesting beer. I like the mix of roasted barley and Belgian yeast. It's a combo that works for me, and I enjoyed sipping on this brew over the course of an hour. Good stuff. I'll definitely being buying a few more to cellar.

KeefD, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - jet black with a tiny ruby halo at the base of the beer, a massive 3.5cm light brown head formed. beautiful. perfect.

S - raisins, prunes, roasted barley, chocolate, nuts, a slight funky-ness that's distinctly belgian. I don't know whether it's my nose reaction to all of the new allergens in the air due to the weather or whether everything just didn't seem as strong as your normal RIS because the aroma was kind of weak. I'm going to err on the side of caution and give it a 4.0.

T - roastedy barley, charred barley, lots of fruit (raisins, prunes, figs), chocolate. It has a fairly bitter finish with notes of vanilla and cherry. It's also slightly sour. The predominant flavor is dark fruit and sour with hints of your normal RIS flavors. I don't quite know what to give this beer as I try to be as objective as possible while reviewing. It tastes very, very good, but it's not at all a typical RIS. The sourness and the funkiness seem slightly out of place (not quite as much as in Jolly Pumpkins Madrugada Obscura), but it's still a very good beer. If I was rating this solely on how it tastes (non-objectively), it'd be a 5.0, but again, it's not quite your normal RIS, so I'm going to drop the score slightly.

M - thick and oily, almost syrupy.

D - the ABV is incredibly well hidden. I've had 7% ABV beers that didn't go down quite as smooth as this beer. I could drink this all day if it wasn't for how filling one of these is.

bowersdm, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

brokenleadedcask, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of Yesac
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Yesac, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of humanawho
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

humanawho, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of Crosling
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Crosling, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of prototypic
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

prototypic, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of CWiggins
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

CWiggins, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

biboergosum, Mar 15, 2009
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,532 ratings.