Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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

1,582 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,582
Reviews: 822
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 317
Gots: 374 | 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: 1,582 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wery0001
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

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

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

Photo of Fatduck
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of Brad007
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of imagineiii
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of TK5150
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of paytoplay
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of jmalex
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of CMW
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of jpaltan
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%.

Photo of eberkman
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jp62099
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!!

Photo of rhinos00
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of adamette
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black into a La Chouffe tulip. Thick tan colored head that leaves thick lacing on the glass. Aroma is of sweet cocoa and roasted malt.

Taste is very roasted with an espresso like bitterness. Some of the sweet chocolate noted in the aroma. Also some dark fruit is in here. This beer kind of reminds me of Peche Mortel minus the coffee. Mouthfeel is silky smooth, full-bodied, with a perfect carbonation level. The alcohol is almost unnoticeable, making this 13% monster dangerously drinkable. This is a damn goood beer, if I have the opportunity to purchase this again I will.

Photo of tjthresh
3.83/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours onyx black with a dense medium brown head. Robust aroma. I get some chocolate, coffee and creamer, some dark berries, and a bit of smoke. The flavor is a bit different. Kind of a fruity mocha with plenty of bitterness and alcohol. Silky, milky mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation. The finish is a bit bitter and hot. Still, this is a fine beer and is recommended.

Photo of pdxwhisky
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont Station.

Looks great in a (correct) chimay tulip glass. Nice nose, good lacing. But then the taste - wow, much thinner than I anticipated. Very little aftertaste, and thin mouthfeel.

For 8.50 for 30cl, my expectations were not met.

Not a true RIS, but a "Belgian Imperial Stout".

Won't pay that much for this again.

Photo of CoalCellar
1.83/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into my goblet...

A: Standard black, with a remarkably white head despite the 13% alcohol...
S: Nothing going on...some alcohol...perhaps some grain?
T: Nothing but a belgian finish. No coffee, no grain, no chocolate, perhaps the most unremarkable R.I.S. I've ever had...
M: Watery, thin...not impressive
D: Terrible, wouldn't waste my money on this one again. Don't believe the hype...you get more character out of a bud light....

Photo of younger35
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Generously received this brew from hoppymeal as an extra! and mikesgroove in the Black Booty BIF '09. This has been on tap all around me for the past couple months yet somehow eluded me. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Best consumed by April 2013. Batch #14.

Appearance- Pours a thick super dark black with a huge two finger dark tan head that recedes very slowly. Quite a bit of thick tan lacing is left on the glass from the fairly prominent collar and thin cap.
Smell- The slightest bit of roast starts with nose with a light coffee character this isn't really chocolaty but somewhat raw and earthy. The slightest bit of sour is sorta musty and dirty from the yeast. Some dark fruitiness comes through a bit more as it warms adding some smoky raisin and prune like character. The alcohol is easily detectable when the beer hits room temperature though at 13% I wouldn't expect less.
Taste- Starts with a somewhat acrid roastiness that is semi bitter and slightly cocoa like. Some notes of carob and espresso show early but are quickly overpower by the fruitiness. This brew is really heavy on the dark fruits including rum soaked cherries, figs, prunes and ridiculously plumped raisins. The beer seems to sweeten a bit as it warms but fades again and leaves a lingering fruity bitterness. A slight bit of alcohol and smoke show on the finish.
Mouthfeel- Actually my favorite part of the beer. The carbonation manages to be fairly intense yet the body is full and creamy.
Drinkability- Overall this is a fairly tasty brew. Not worth the all the hype it's received (or the price) but definitely worth a try. I can't really think of anything that I've tried that I could compare it too. Think a sort of dry Irish Stout mixed with a Rochefort 10 or something. Big thanks again to Derek and Mike!

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

A-Deep opaque brownish-black w/beige head, excellent retention, and beautiful lacing.
S-Deeply roasted malt, dark chocolate, tobacco, roast coffee, dark fruit, licorice, raisins.
T-Palate closely matches aroma w/a bitter burnt sensation that is very pleasant, and the alcohol is surprisingly faint in the finish.
M-Rich velvety body w/light residual sweetness that balances out a deep bitterness and burnt sensation and contributes to excellent harmony.
D-This one was rather hyped, but it was really very good and measured up.

Photo of Pauly2X
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer to celebrate the birth of my 2nd daugther!

A- Opaque black, one finger dark tan head.

S- Roasted grain, dark fruit and caramel aromas.

T- Mellow burnt grain hits right away. An intense caramel malt flavor follows only to transition into fruity alcohol esters. The finish is extremly clean.

M- Smooth rich and relativly mellow slight carbonic tang.

D- Restraint must be shown.

Excellent take on the style. I'd describe it as Old Rasputin meets Rochefort 8. Although, I wouldn't drop $12 a bottle unless you really like Imperial Stouts and Strong Belgian ales.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,582 ratings.