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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

1,504 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,504
Reviews: 815
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.65%
Wants: 319
Gots: 363 | FT: 21
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: 1,504 | Reviews: 815 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerisheaven
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%

Sampled last Saturday prior to the Penn State Michigan State football game as part of a "Big Beer" tasting.

Poured with love from a bottle into my snifter glass.

A - Dark black pour with a nice head that pulled back over time.

S - Luxury in a glass. Nose was everything you could want in a beer as chocolate, fruit, and licorice all danced across the nose.

T - Follows the nose and is about as perfect as you can get. Rich flavors with taste of chocolate, raisons, dark cherry, and licorice all are evident. Slight warming but you would never know that this baby packs such a strong punch. You want to savor each and every drop of this experience.

M- Perfect carbonation level for this sipper.

D - Very high for the ABV @ 13%. You could drink this one easily but you would pay the price.

No doubt a treat that is worth repeating. You should try this one at least once and then probably more. Pick it up as it now appears to be more available in the US. A GREAT, GREAT beer.

Beerisheaven, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of cvfish
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%

A - Pours a thick black color with a tan head that stays throughout, few small, slowly rising bubbles

S - Scents of dark chocolae, freshly ground coffee beans, and alcohol

T - The taste is complex, with hints of a dark chocolate expresso followed by hints of fruit, probably raisins or dates with a smokey hint.

M - Silky smooth medium bodied, with only a hint of carbonation, the way I like beer

D - Very Dangerous! A wonderful beer that masks it's 13% abv with a very smooth taste. Other than the high alcohol content (great for me, but others might not like), one of the best beers and certainly worth it

cvfish, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of stumac
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%

This was tasted at Feces Fest '08 with Onslow and my girl Melani.

this brew pours up black with a huge frothy dark tan head. great lacing. the nose is a little boozy (the only negative about this beer), big dark roasty malts, dark chocolate, kind of nutty. the taste is very alive due to the 100 IBUs. I taste big roasted malts, a lil nutty, chocolate, a blend of floral and piney hops. Tons of hops and tons of malt! A fairly equal amount of the two but in great amounts! This was my BLACK ALBERT experience...

stumac, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%

Black Albert batch 0 is a much different beast than the original bottles of BA that were sent to the US. First off, this was purchased from the yeast store for less than $10/330ml bottle. All I can say is this is closer to Dark Lord of Bells Batch 7000 than the other Black Albert. For a review of the lesser vintage, see below.

This stout pours a black soil color and has a very nice espresso brown head. Excellent lacing and retention. The nose is a bit light. It has subtle malts and hops along with dark chocolate, bitter molasses and sweet fruit. The taste more impressive than the nose. There are roasty malts, bitter hops, cocoa, and molasses with subtle ripe fruits. Similar to De Dolle export stout in the sense that the Belgian yeasts have a strong presence. Well balanced for such a big beer. Full body is well carbonated. A nice brew, quite unique. This vintage gets a 4.0-4.2 score.

rye726, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of OlieIPA
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%

Poured into a Bruery tulip glass at 55 degrees F...

A: A bold black colored body that supported a dark tan head.

S: A very distinct caramel and espresso followed by hints of alcohol and dark chocolate.

T: A real complex mix of dark fruits, coffee, and cocoa with an intense alcoholic finish. The dark fruit could either be some sort of raisin or licorice quality, but it's hard to determine.

M: A tad bit lighter then what I expected, but a good medium-body RIS.

D: Even though the finish is strong in the ABV category, this beer possess a variety of well-balanced flavors that makes it very enjoyable.

Overall: The flavor reminded me of a combination of Older Viscosity and perhaps a light coffee stout that was exceptionally balanced. Not what I expected at all, but still a very pleasant experience.

OlieIPA, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%

Got this one from Jw347, cheers Jonathan!

Pours mahogany/black with 2+ fingers of brown /mocha head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Oakyness, dark fruit & port, plus minty hops once warm

T: Madeira, figs, leafy hops & leafy hops, plus a kiss of booze up front. Raisins, plums, much dryness & dark chocolate as this warms, plus more leafy hops. Finishes dry with much chocolate, more dark fruit, leafy hops & a bit of booze, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Pretty smooth, medium bodied, sticky, just not quite rich enough to pull a 5.0

Wow, the ABV is well masked, dangerously drinkable. Pretty good, barely cracks my top 10 for the style, but it would be nice to have this as a regular in the cellar. Great RIS, not the best but damn close

russpowell, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%

Pours a very dark brown almost pitch black with a huge 1.5 inch caramel colored head. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts, with some alcohol notes bleeding through. Intense thick lacing lovingly clings to the glass. First sip is surprisingly smooth with a beautiful bitterness that is coffee and chocolate with a mellow yeast note very present. The body is fairly light and the 13% ABV is very well hidden. Damn this is good. Very sweet and then quickly bitter. Wow. This beer lives up to its hype.

ATLbeerDog, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of egajdzis
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%

Poured an opaque black color with a medium sized, tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, light sherry, dried fruits, chocolate, some smoke, spices, and a bit of alcohol. Taste of roasted malts, some dark chocolate, light anise, smoke, and dark fruits, with a warming alcohol presence. Thanks to Chris from Ebenezer's for sharing this bottle!

egajdzis, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of falcon1
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%

Black Albert is an outstanding Russian Imperial Stout brewed by De Struise Brouwers. The taste and aroma is truly remarkable. It is an exceptional example of Belgian brewing at its finest. Black Albert has become one of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts and one to enjoy greatly during the Fall and Winter months.

falcon1, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%

BA No. 14 330ml bottle poured into my Mad Elf chalice. Thanks to Elric73 for this one in a trade!

A- Body is a foggy very dark brown, nearly black hue. Pours with a large 3 finger foamy, frothy mocha colored head. Head slowly fades to a thick collar and some lacing is left behind in the glass. When held up to the light some murky brown and red tones can be seen.

S-A balance of dark fruit, phenols (which are very strong when the bottle is first opened but taper off soon after), Belgian candy sugar, and and rich roasted chocolate malt.

T-dark fruits like plum and raisin and Belgian candy sugar mix upfront with a deep chocolate roasted malt and oak flavors in the background. A bit of candy sugar comes through for the finish as the oak and roasted malt flavors intensify. What lingers is rich roasted chocolate malt wrapped in a warm alcohol blanket. Gives the lingering impression of Belgian chocolate syrup.

M- Mouthfeel is thick and full of yeast and chocolate malt with a touch of phenolic presence and low to medium carbonation. Goes down very smooth nonetheless.

D- This is a great Belgian stout...definitely the best I have had. This may be 13% but it drinks like it has 1/2 the ABV. Great, complex brew that I will revisit sometime but a bit too pricey to have again for awhile.

PittBeerGirl, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of Mauerhan
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%

a HUGE thank you to patronwizard for giving me this.
decided to bring this to the oc rare beer meet and greet. so hopefully people enjoyed this as much as i did.

pours a dark rich black into my snifter (i might have given myself a slightly bigger pour than others at the party :/ ) has a nice one finger mocha colored head that stays for a minute or so and fades to a nice ring

smell is great. rich cocoa with subtle spice. some yeasty hints as well.

taste is practically sinful. smooth rich chocolate hits me like a hammer. then cuddles up to me with some kind of dark fruits. it has a nice pop to the flavor. hands down the most refreshing Russian Imperial Stout i have ever had.

mouth is creamy and smooth. this beer is incredibly easy to drink. and i now am in the market for some more.

Mauerhan, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of bluejacket74
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is good and strong, it smells like dark fruit (figs, raisins), Belgian yeast, apples, roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and candy sugar. There's also a couple other things in the aroma I can't recognize. Very nice. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like roasted malt, yeast, candy sugar, brandy, rum, licorice and chocolate. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's rich, creamy, a bit slick and also has soft carbonation. Drinkability is excellent, it's very easy to drink considering the 13% ABV. The alcohol isn't too noticable at all. It's a fine example of an RIS with a Belgian twist to it. Because of the price it's not something I'd have around all the time, but I do like this beer a lot and I definitely recommend this.

bluejacket74, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of coldmeat23
5/5  rDev +17.6%

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

When poured, slowly, this black liquid still manages to be the bottom third of the glass with a massive tan head filling the other two thirds. Wow. Minimal lacing but great head retention.

Dark fruits and sweet roasted malts. Slight yeastiness mixes with apples and pears. Mild vanilla notes. It actually hints at the smell of a nice top-shelf Rum.

Oh, yeah. That's what I'm talking about, right there. B-A-L-A-N-C-E. Man oh man.
Dark roasted malts mix with sweet candy sugars and a slight hops bite to create ambrosia. Alcohol is very well hidden. Chocolate covered dark fruit flavors. Slight hint of coffee. Toffee and vanilla sweetness. An ever so slight hint of licorice.
All through this, it retains a nice earthy/grainy quality.

Nice and velvet-like in the mouth. Just the way I like it. Very creamy and smooth. Slight touch of oily-ness.

Exceptional! This is one amazing brew. I could drink this everyday from now on out and be completely happy.
Super tasty and super easy to drink. My very first 'perfect' rating for a beer.

coldmeat23, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of elricorico
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%

Pours black, big surprise. A big three finger foamy head that is tan in colour. The head seems to well at first, but falls to a thin cap once I start to drink. Little lacing.

Smells of dark malt and yeastiness. Touch of solvent (faint). Black licorice. Even just a little bit of tamarind.

Hits the tongue dry and prickly with carbonation. Flavour is something of a hybrid of a dryer RIS and a Quadruple, though more so the stout. Tries to be sweet up front, but it almost seems that the carbonation is too sharp and mutes the flavour. The middle opens up much more nicely and provides a range of sweetness, from malty to fruity. Faint cola impression at the end. Alcohol barely apparent to taste. Body is lighter than expected.

This one changes in character as I drink, carbonation seems to settle slightly, and this makes the body seem a bit fuller. That makes the flavour seem to reach further across the tongue, and gives a nicer impression of the flavours. Marks start to get higher.

This is a good beer, and quite a unique experience for me. However, this is the most expensive beer I've had if I break it down to $/mL, and I don't think it is quite worth the cost. I could actually buy a six pack of local beers for less than the cost of one 330 mL bottle. Absolutely worth trying once though.

elricorico, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours a huge head with insane retention and a nice dark brown color.

Candy sugar is predominant on the nose with some black malt underneath. There is a touch of plumb, apple, and a little mint.

Alcohol is covered up pretty well in this one. Candy sugar dominates and is followed by some caramel and chocolate sweetness. The flavors are round about and there is a lot of body in this one, but the taste is very sweet of candy sugar. Pretty decent belgian take on a stout.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel. It's decadent.

This beer has exceptional body and hides it's 13% abv. It is a bit sweet of candy sugar, but it still maintains a good overall profile with great body.

I believe deepsouth provided me with this sample. Thanks.

jasonjlewis, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of joepais
4.93/5  rDev +16%

I finally went to Ebenezer's Pub as soon as I made it to the bar I asked Chris what I should try. I was a little overwhelmed by the tap selection and sure enough he went for the Black Albert. I ended up having two glasses before the day was thru.
Chris brought it to me in a tulip glass it was jet black in color with a finger worth of tan head that dissipated to a small sheet of lace across the glass.

The aromas that I normally associate with a RIS were there in there normal fashion. Along with them was a nice sweet note from the Belgian Yeast I can only guess

The flavors were sublime a bit earthier than I expected but in a good way again followed by your typical RIS flavors. It surprised me again by being a little dryer than expected in the finish. I really could not detect the alcohol heat wise in the flavor or nose maybe this batch is smoother or older

Like I said I did have a second glass before I left "one for the road" so to say. It was a great way to end my time at a wonderful establishment

2-12-10 Revisited in an impromptu stout tasting and have to say that time has not been good to the bottle I held onto. Drink them fresh

joepais, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Canadian Import Label, Best By Date April 2013; Sampled October 2008
A solid pour easily produces a four finger thick, creamy consistency, nicely browned, dark tan colored head in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass. Lots of lacing sticks to the sides of my glass as the head, fairly uniformly, slowly recedes. The beer is a dark, opaque, deeply concentrated brown, really near black color that is opaque when held up directly to the light, but showed a clear, dark chocolate brown color as I was pouring it. The aroma has an up front fruitiness to it that smells of prunes and fig. A deeper inspection shows the same fruit, but with the alcohol produces notes of brandy and rum. Towards the middle / end notes of cocoa, lightly roasted nuts and toasted whole grain notes. As my nose gets used to it a faint, funky, musty notes starts to become noticeable; light notes of ripe cheese, decaying wood and a touch of dried, musky sweat contribute, what seems to be recurring, a signature Struis character. The alcohol can be a bit too prominent in the nose at times, making this a bit hot, but it is just about complex enough that I don't really care. I wasn't really expecting much roast character here, and at first I didn't notice a whole lot, but now that I have dug around a bit there is definitely a sharp, a bit acrid, at times substantially toasted, roast / burnt grain note towards the finish.

Soft and creamy at first, then some prickly carbonation sets in and the beer gets a sharpness from the roast malt that also tends to add some thinning effect; never enough to keep this beer from being chewy and a definite sipping brew though. Substantial chocolate notes up front are tempered by darkly roasted, coffee-like notes towards the finish that add both a roast bitterness and some burnt acidity to the finish. This hides its alcohol fairly well in the flavor with just a touch of warming as it runs down my throat. A substantial, rich, concentrated fruit character becomes much more noticeable as my palate gets used to the dark grain notes; flavors of tart / sweet prunes, moist dried figs and some definite brandy-like fruit / alcohol notes. As the beer warms up it picks up more sweetness, which helps to balance the roast malt and alcohol notes a bit more. At times, in the finish, there is a substantial, toasty nutty note that reminds me of chestnuts and perhaps a touch of roasted pepita (pumpkin nut). Towards the end of my glass it starts to pick up a bit of chalky dark malt character.

Definitely a good beer, it is lacking the finesse that I was hoping for though. The complexity is there in the nose, but, while tasty, it doesn't seem to fully follow through in the flavor.

Gueuzedude, Oct 23, 2008
Photo of maximum12
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%

Thanks to beerisheaven for this gem in one of our weekly trades. Didn't think I'd get to try this one until it hit the States in regular fashion; glad to get a preview.

This beer has a smell like nothing else. Big chocolate but something else, wildly different, that I can't quite put my finger on. Belgian yeast? Candy? Lawn gnomes?

Taste is similarly divergent from the norm. Deep, dark, elegant roastiness, a bit of tartness (hops?) on the tongue with a cool, sweet finish. Wow. Creamy as a good square of Ghiradelli, no hint of alcohol at all.

This is really good. The only strike might be the drinkability, it's just too thick & full to have more than (if I could get another, or afford one, so never mind...). Excellent beer. Hope it arrives on the shores of the U.S.A. soon, I'd make space for it in the fridge.

maximum12, Oct 23, 2008
Photo of NoonanDBarbarian
3.33/5  rDev -21.6%

A - pours with a slightly brown to black color with a small 1/4 inch head
S - It give off a strong yeast smell that is all i can get out of it
T - The taste seems to be really lacking something. it is a very smooth drink but has no start and a really sweet finish
M - I fee like I'm drinking a larger but wanted a stout
D - This is a very drinkable beer but just not what i was expecting especially after all of the hype

NoonanDBarbarian, Oct 22, 2008
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%

After all the hype, I finally got to try this beer. It lived up to its reputation. Served in a tulip, the beer was an impenetrable black with a medium tan head. It had a coffee and chocolate aroma, like most RIS, but to my usually impaired nose, was fairly pronounced. A coffee/espresso and chocolate taste, very well balanced. If not for the high ABV, could drink a lot of these.

lordofthewiens, Oct 22, 2008
Photo of PatronWizard
4.08/5  rDev -4%

Came home from taking the kids to the park Saturday afternoon to see a Fed Ex slip on my door. I missed a trade delivery! Called 'em up to find out my local depot would be closed Sunday and Monday. Fucking bastards! This is a small town, don't let me see that bitch on the road! Takin' MY beers to "age" for a couple days in a friggin warehouse. I'm gonna... OK sorry, got carried away. Here's what I'm gonna do: relax with something good that I've been holding on to. After little deliberation, I choose: Black Albert. This should calm the fires within. Or else someone may have to bail me out for B&E at FedEx (with disrespectful vandalism).

Black Albert is black. Spongy beige head of considerable height. Head is very impressive for the ABV.

Great yet subtle cocoa chocolate fragrance. Can't smell the alcohol at all. Time to dive in.

This is one well crafted brewski. Taste of chocolate. I can't taste the alcohol. And believe me, I know what it taste like. There is a background flavor of some dark fruit. Something I associate with a dark quad - but again it's just a small part.

Mouthfeel is wonderful. This is truly good shit. I know it's a stout, but I want to think of it as a cross between a quad and a stout. Mostly becuase of the flavor. Yeah, it's a quout. OK, that was really bad. Hope they use that as an official style.

Overall: awesome

PatronWizard, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of slowhead
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%

I picked up a few of these at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

A-Black as night; opaque with an off-white collar of foam. Nice head retention.

S-Initial aroma of dark, dried figs with a tinge of alcohol. No roast in the nose and no hops.

T-Starts sweet with a slight roast character. Fruit flavors of green apple, pear, raisins, and plum. Some earthy and coffee-like flavors in the background. The lack of roast, which is predictable in the RIS style leads me to believe that they are probably using a de-husked black malt such as carafa, or possibly even Sinimar. No hop flavor, but tons of bitterness. Finishes dry.

M-High carbonation. Medium bodied, with some alcohol warming.

D-Very drinkable for the gravity on this one. This beer is different. One cannot jump into this one thinking of it as an RIS...it's definitely not.

slowhead, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
3.03/5  rDev -28.7%

"Royal Stout" on the side.

A - Into a Trois Pistoles goblet. I figured it'd be appropriate. It pours quite dark brown with a topping of light brown foam. 2 fingers, to be exact, that's not receding at all. Beautiful lacing. Couldn't be better. Belgian stout allll the way.

S - The first thing that jumps out is Amber Kasturi incense. Call me crazy, that's what I smell. Hints of quadruple, chocolatey malts, plastic, paint marker, alcohol, dark fruits. All of this is pretty well muted tho, and this is served at cellar temp.

T - Quite a let down. I'm sure there's a few excuses... "That's not how it's supposed to taste," or "That batch was off." Then why was it released? It tastes like someone accidently poured a BSDA into a RIS, shook it up, added water, some rubbing alcohol, and then tried bottle conditioning it. It's just off. I don't care what they were trying to do, it's just wrong on so many levels. I'll try another from the new batch to be sure, but this is NOT good... not even for trying to develop a "new" new style.

M - Creamy, a little too carbonated, a little too thin.

D - I'm gonna fight this one.

Notes: I pooped on this... but I don't feel bad. It's not good, and it fights to be even mediocre. This is a true case of a beer being completely overhyped by a few, and running amok all over the trade scene. I'm sure some people like it, hell, it's obvious they do. I just don't see it.

I wish this was good. I really, really do.

SaucyA, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of IronDjinn
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%

No. 14 it says on the side of the label. Candy is an ingredient as listed on the label. Pours a deep pitch black in appearance, impermeable to light with a tight creamy beige head.

Different layers and waves on the nose, but it smells more reminiscent of a strong dark Belgian than an Imperial Stout. Robust dark dried fruits like figs and dates, roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, treacle, grapes, chicory, and orange gum drops.

Intense dry bitter malt and alcohol sucker punches you in the palate right from the start, although smooths out from there. Cocoa, chicory and creamy cafe au lait in the middle, dates and raisins, brandy-soaked cherries, a hint of grape, and indiscernable sweetness. Creamy chocolate, fig and hints of licorice in the finish. Dry dusty coffee ground aftertaste.

My lips and teeth are sticky from a sugary sweetness, that must be the candy. Light creamy and silky smooth mouthfeel, hard to believe such a high abv% and flavour profile can be delivered by such a light mouthfeel.

Impressive for what it is, except for the hefty price tag that is. Worth the hype but I'll save this for special occassions.

IronDjinn, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%

One review off being #93! That reviewer is from Alberta, though, so all is forgiven :p ... shared by dkachur in return for Pisgah Valdez. A nice pairing, they were.

A: Black as night. A huge, creamy light khaki that sticks around for ages. Beautiful.

S: Soft toffee, Belgian yeast esters are there giving their unique aroma and a soft hint of dark fruits. A little bit of a smokiness and a light breadiness.

T: A bit of tartness, with a nice gentle sweetness like ripe plum. Yeastiness, and a hint of spicy alcohol in there. Chocolate hints, and a caramel.

M + D: Nice and creamy, though not as full a body as some I have had. A great drinker, hiding that huge alcohol incredibly well. Nice stuff, and I'd like to have it again.

Proteus93, Oct 11, 2008
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.