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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,597 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,597
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 325
Gots: 383 | FT: 27
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007

Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,597 | Reviews: 823 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmalex
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
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
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
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
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
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
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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
3.86/5  rDev -9.2%
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
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
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
1.86/5  rDev -56.2%
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
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
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
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
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
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of ohmybock
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought at Bruisin' Ales for $10. I let the bottle warm up a bit before opening it. The aroma isn't that great. It's actually fairly mild for an impy stout. I get a little roastiness, but a fruity character takes the lead. I've smelled that same thing in some Belgian quads. The taste is a mix of sweetness and roastiness. To me, it tastes like what I would imagine a mixture of something like Expedition stout and Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or (Cuvée Van De Keizer) or heck...how about Expedition and Pannepot would taste. The 13% alcohol content is well hidden. It has a Belgian character, but a mild one, and not something which is sour, funky, brett-ish, etc. Again, the mild, Belgian-style, sweetish, fruitiness is the main character I'm getting in this brew. It's sort of a dark, stewed fruit character. If I had been blindfolded and had been given this beer, I doubt I would have guessed it was an imperial stout. Whatever the case, it's a nice, drinkable, dark-Belgian brew. Is it worth $10 to me? No, but it was fun to try once.

Photo of sprucetip
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Ebenezer's.

Black, of course, with thin head which fades to ring and leaves no lacing.

Complex maltiness, sweetness, roasted grains, molasses, chocolate, boozy heat.

Boozy heat, complex malty and sweet flavors, chocolate, mild roastiness, molasses. Clean finish.

Thick, full, warming, lightly carbonated, creamy, slightly dry finish.

Imminently drinkable. Though I noticed the alcohol in some sensations, had no idea it was 13% until I went to review. Damned tasty. Non-beer geek girlfriend also very impressed by this one. I was prepared for it to be just pretty good, due to the hype, but I'm saying it is exceptional.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge deep brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep dry black chocolate with an intense hoppy dry finish. Taste is also a very nice mix between some deep dry chocolate malt with some dry hops and a dry roasted malt and coffee finish. Full body with great carbonation and no alcohol was apparent. Very complex and not totally American in it approach to the style. A more creamy body would render this even better in my opinion.

Photo of jwinship83
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- this beer comes out a black color body with a huge head that reduces to a half finger that stays throughout the entire beer. Lots of rings of lace cling to the sides of the glass after each sip. What more could you ask for?

S- the first thing I notice is the scent of chocolate and a strong aroma of roasted malt. Theres some fruit in here too. Raisins mostly. Also some figs, and a hint of licorice.

T- surprisingly sweet and not as roasty as I would have liked/expected. Very fruity. Lots of the raisins/tobacco that I could smell. Only some of the chocolate though.

M- full bodied and rather thick. Slight warming as it makes its way down to my stomach

D- a great treat of a beer, this is something id love to be able to drink very often. However, its very rare and even more expensive. I cant wait to see how the others I have change over time. Ill be opening them on special occasions only. Check this one out if you get the chance.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to say thanks to my man Drunkmonk for hooking me up with this one.
Poured a deep black with a cocoa colored head, little carbonation. Nose is cocoa, figs, tobacco. Taste is cocoa, dried fruit up front with a sharp alochol bite on the end. The 13ABV is well hidden leaving this a hidden bruiser. Good RIS!

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

Thanks from monkeyknife for this one!!!

A- Lookin good, very dark but active like DFH WWS high carbonation and a great tan head here!

S- Good, your basic RIS with a belgian twist here, little breadiness going one.

T- Very good, Belgian RIS i am liking so far so roasty some coffee and some bread. ABV is hidden very well. lot of similarities to the Abyss

M- Thiner than expected but the high carb has a lot to do with that.

D- Supreme, the hidden ABV and the smooth flavors here make you wish you had a bigger bottle.

Great brew with a very interesting twist..

Photo of kasper
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown, huge three finger cargo tan-colored foamy head even on a cold pour. Some rings of laces recede.

S: Hints of cocoa, raisin, and cream on this cold pour. Underlying aromas of some once-was bitterness. Weak aromas overall.

T: On the better end of belgian imperial stouts, with a wicked twist at the end. Dark, syrupy fruity malts, strong licorice and alcohol slip down the throat when suddenly a bitter, jagermeister-like roasted finish floods the senses, lingering in an aftertaste of burnt licorice.

M: Full-bodied, yet thin feeling (but heavy hitting). Moderate carbonation, but it's noticeable.

D: This 12oz bottle was aged at least a year, no hoppy aromas, lots of alcohol-soaked fruits without the candy belgian/yeast flavors. Similar to a DFH WWS in some ways. Nice to try, not sure it's something I'll ever crave.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a pitch black with no light penetration. Rich dark tan head, small but good retention. fair lacing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, some belgian yeast qualities. a little fruity, like overly ripe berries.

T - Great balance for the ABV, lots of chocolate, coffee, etc from the roasted malts. finish is a little bready from the yeast, but a great flavor overall.

M - retardedly smooth. very creamy and assertive. carbonation keeps this beer alive, but doesn't overpower.

Photo of Buebie
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtasy of gford217

Poured from a brown bottle into a snifter. Upon opening, this thing is a real gusher. I tried to put my finger over it and let out pressure slowly so not to lose to much liquid.

a good inch of fizzy cola like, dark brown head sits atop this dark black beer. Leaving thin spotty lace.

Aroma is very sweet with lots of sweet dark chocolate and moist chocolate cake like aroma. Hints of black licorice and more sweetness mixed with a chocolate nutty character. Wiffs of a whiskey like alcahol aroma.

This is very rish and alcahol warmth rushes in, warning me to sip it a little slower. Big black licorice flavors mixing well with pungeant dark, sweet chocolate cake. This is pretty highly carbonated, reminding me its a belgian after all. Is it a RIS with a belgian yeast strain?
Some dark fruits in here with an almost red grape/ chimay like flavor.
Finishing chocolaty and becoming a bit more dry with a dark chocolate bittering roastyness.

Very delicious and quite different from any other imperial stout I've had.

Photo of LilMatrix
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Really dark pour with no light penetration. Rich dark tan head; beer looks wonderfully lively.

S - Chocolate, coffee, rich with slight soy sauce undertones.

T - Pleasant sweetness/caramel, chocolate, coffee, Ends slightly bready and has an interesting umame taste. Very well balanced and sooo smooth.

M - Great creaminess and carbonation that acts like a cloud, the liquid never really touches the tongue on the way down.

D - 13% ABV? No way... this is way too smooth. Not boozy at all... this is the best 13% i've ever experienced. Way way too smooth. This is an amazing beer. All the sudden... i'm kinda lightheaded and warm =) oooohhh yeeeeaaaahhh.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,597 ratings.