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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,466 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,466
Reviews: 808
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 317
Gots: 358 | FT: 18
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: 1,466 | Reviews: 808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SQNfan
SQNfan

Illinois

4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured black in color with a thick fluffy brown head that dissipated away. The nose has tart vinous aromas of plum, fig and cassis along with bittersweet chocolate, expresso roast and cotton candy. In the mouth it is full-bodied with nice mid-palate concentration and plenty of carbonation that keeps this from coming off as heavy. This is not as heavy as I expected rather it is very well-balanced. Like the nose the flavors are dark and vinous with a lingering finish that does show off some of the alcohol. This looks to have the balance, power, acidity and carbonation to age well.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 00:00:54 | More by SQNfan
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep flat coal black with a nice foamy tan head. The rentention was okay and spotty lace was noted.

S: Hints of bitter chocolate and some. Tinges of dark fruit and caramel. All of this is very muted though. Not big and bold like you would expect for a 13% brew.

T: Wow I got 12 of these to drink and trade, and after finally trying it I am not real impressed. Like the nose the taste is somewhat muted for the ABV. There are hints of dark fruits, chocolate and smoke for sure. Touches of coffee and a splash of tartness in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth somewhat creamy. Really drinkable for the ABV.

D: Fairly drinkable. I expected alot out of this beer and was let down. I have several more bottles set back, I guess I will let them age a bit so see how that goes.

Update, my first review I rated this beer a B- it was the quad version and I was less than impressed. While at the Oldsmar Taphouse today Tony the owner brought a bottle out of his personal stash. This is most defiently the RIS version and it was quite tasty. Now on to the proper review.

A: Pours a nice dark black hue with a nice 1/2 finger head. The retention was okay with some streaking lace noted.

S: Nice and roasty. Hints of chocolate dipped dark fruit and licorice.

T: Wonderful flavors. Bold roasted malt with chocolate pushing thru. Wonderful sweet figs and raisins. Anise and a bit of sour. Quite complex very wonderful.

M: Medium in body, as smooth as crushed velvet.

D: When I shipped this beer in from Belgium this is what I expected, instead I got the quad. Had I got 12 of these I would have traded quite a few less.

Thanks Tony for sharing.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2008 18:18:18 | More by tpd975
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to Bgramer for giving me the chance to try this brew.

Pours an attractive black with a bubbling dark brown head. Smells like ... not much actually. Very mild aroma. A whiff of chocolate ... some dark fruits (plums?), and that's about it. No roastiness, no coffee, very strange.

Taste is more robust, with chocolate, dark fruits, and an almost Belgian Dark/Dubbel sweetness. Not like any stout I've ever had. There is a very, very strange acid twang running through the brew. Again: not encountered previously.

It's hard to believe this was 13%, it was so drinkable. Mouthfeel was too thin, but maybe not for the style, as I have no idea what a Belgian Royal Stout is.

All in all, disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2008 07:02:51 | More by Overlord
Photo of ghostwalker
ghostwalker

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed and reviewed as part of cburian's RIS showdown. Thanks for chance to try some great brews.

Deep ruby body, light brown head.

Light malt mose, a little wimpy for me.

Deep, dark chocolate flavor with an acidic bitterness. Very unexpected and really different.

Smooth mouthfeel with no noticeable acohol. Medium body, medium carb.

Drinkability is tops! A brew that is really easy to drink and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 23:26:24 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This pours from 11.2oz bottle a pitch black with a 3 finger and growing head of foa. "suce me while I knock down the foam some....Hmmm, that tan foam sure is tasty. ;^) Awesome head retention here and the lacing is very good.

The smell is loaded with dark fruit, caramel, and did somebody mention grapes?? You darn tootin there is a grape aroma here. wow.

The taste is pretty darned sweet with a good caramel presence and some figs, some plum, gee wiz grapes, some dark chocolate, slight coffee note, but...I just can't get over that grape. Who'd have thunk that it would work so well in beer?? Anyhow, I digress.

Wonderfully full bodied and silky smooth, light in carbonation, it finishes with a nice dash of chocolate and I'm going to say milk chocolate because it's on the sweet side. Still, as sweet as it is, it's very drinkable because it's not cloying at all. And the alcohol, which is quite substantial, has no presence in either the smell or the taste. It only shows up some time after the swallow. Very unusual example of the style and one that I favour a lot.

Bottom line: Yeah, it's a superhyped brew and I couldn't resist seeking some out(Belgian Shop) and I *did* pay a few bucks to have 6 bottles delivered but, if I didn't like it as much as I did, I would say so and follow up with "never again" In this case, I think what I got for my money is a very special brew and I'm glad for it.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2008 22:54:51 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
BattleRoadBrewer

Massachusetts

2.85/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served at cellar temp into a small taster.

Dark brown color, far from black.

Nose is very subtle, nothing interesting here, just some caramel and yeast. And a bit boozy and a slight bit of horse blanket.

This one's got a huge, huge cola flavor. Is this a stout? Any roasted malt in there?

Thin mouthfeel but with a lingering finish coating the tongue.

Drinkability is pretty poor, heavy sweetness makes it a sipper, but doesn't actually taste good. Judged in a blind tasting, beer wasn't revealed until notes were done on all eight RIS's, but this one was an easy guess.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2008 05:10:15 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

330mL bottle courtesy of brianj555 poured into a tulip. Big, big thanks Brian for the opportunity to try this one.

A: Pours black as night with no light penetrating. The huge three-finger mocha head fade to a thin, dense layer that stays the whole session and leaves an extraordinary amount of lacing. This is a damn fine looking beer.

S: The smell is a where things start to get interesting. It's much sweeter than I expected with a big dose of raisin, figs, and red grapes up front. Theres some caramel sweetness as well as a bit of dark chocolate as well.

T: If the smell was where things started to get interesting, the taste is where it gets truly unique. Massively complex, the taste starts with the dark fruits as in the taste but quickly goes into a chocolate and coffee bitterness that extends into the finish. There's also the oft-mentioned grape flavor in the background.

M: The mouthfeel is super full-bodied, unbelievably smooth and silky with good carbonation and sugary sweet on the palate but dry in the finish.

D: This is an exceptionally complex beer and truly unique. Drinkability isn't extremely high, but one of these is a rewarding enough experience that two would probably be too much for my poor palate to take. Wonderful beer and looking forward to getting some more.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2008 02:17:11 | More by gford217
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DrDogbeer

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the 1/3L bottle into a goblet. Absolutely beautiful beer- jet black with a perfect tan head. Smellso of dark chocolate and alcohol. Strong alcohol. Taste is very different than expected. I taste the chocolate and some espresso notes, but get a thin biting flavor of alcohol and maybe hops? Very thin mouthfeel for a RIS. Effervescent mouthfeel. Lots of fizziness, but plenty of flavor. Very well crafted beer, and different, which is always nice.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2008 00:48:59 | More by DrDogbeer
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So I finally got a hold of some of the elusive Black Albert. I have been looking to try this overly hyped beer since last year, so I naturally jumped at the chance to get some when I finally could. I let this twelve ounce bottle settle for a couple days after I received it and then pulled it out of the fridge, letting it warm up to the cellar temp before decanting into my famous terrapin snifter. It poured black as night, with a nice two inch rise of tan foam which came over the top. Very nice retention left behind even an inch of foam after about 5 minutes. Very impressive lacing on this one as well now, with a rich, and silky looking layer swirling around in the glass. This was a very impressive looking beer from the first look of it.

So I go in for the smell, deep chocolate aroma just whaffing off of this one. Very sweet with hints of vanilla and unroasted coffee. A touch of molasses as well. The Belgian yeast is very noticeable now with lots of underlying dark fruit notes and touches of figs playing around in there. The flavor was very good, though I have to admit not great. It was a different kind of flavor then what I was expecting. Very creamy and frothy, and nowhere near as heavy as any of the big stouts. Lots of carbonation here as it literally is silky smooth on the palate. Lots cocoa and coffee, with hints again of vanilla and figs, prunes and several other light touches of fruit. No alcohol in this at all. Very surprising. There is just no way that this is anywhere near 13% ABV, it's just not even close. This thing is drinking like it's a 7% stout, really very interesting. It was ridiculously smooth with an almost dessert like quality to it. Nice and sweet, but I cannot help but adding that my final thoughts on the flavor were ones of a muted nature. I just kept wanting it to be bigger then it was, and this is where hype attributes negatively.

Overall this was an Excellent stout, above excellent actually, but it did not anywhere near live up to the hype surrounding it. Had I just stumbled upon it I would have thought this was great, and I still do, but it was made out to be so much better then everything else, and while I do have to admit it was one of the smoothest beers I have ever seen, it was by no means the best. Still though its one you need to try at least once as it is highly worth it.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 23:05:48 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of hero27
hero27

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.
13% abv (says "VERY STRONG BEER" on the label, haha, nice..)

Thanks go out to Jw347 for the trade!

Apparently this is a Belgian Royal Stout (again, according to the label)..so I guess this would be my first ever Royal Stout.

Chilled for a few minutes, then let this warm up to room temp while drinking..
Pours a dark, stained chestnut color..solid, frothy tan head.
Delicate aroma of plums, bananas, burnt chocolate, & Belgian yeast.
Flavor is a combination of candied fruits, rich dark chocolate, and roasted barley malt.. everything blends together really well, but this doesn't have the complexity that you'd expect in a "high-end" imperial stout. Sweetness is a little over-the-top and leaves a residual sugary aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is chewy, and the carbonation is done to near perfection..extremely soft & at the same time it stays pretty lively in the mouth.

On to a new topic...I'd like to call "Shenanigans" on the ABV of this one...seriously.
This is one of the few beers I've had where I have to actually question the listed ABV...either this is some kind of a freak of nature in the world of beer, or it's not 13% alcohol...there's no heat, no taste/perception of "high" alcohol..nothing.. I drank the entire bottle on an empty stomach and didn't even have a hint of a buzz, so this claimed "13%" number is suspect to me. The fact that they actually printed "VERY STRONG BEER" in bold print on the label only supports the idea that the strength of this beer could be a bit of a marketing gimmick.
Maybe I'm dead wrong, but after reading through other reviews that appear to say the same thing, I think they must measure alcohol content a little different across the Atlantic.

Overall, this is a solid stout for sure, but it wouldn't be in my Top 10 Imperial Stouts, let alone top beers in the world. Just one man's opinion.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 04:56:03 | More by hero27
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to hoppymeal for the opportunity. I didn't think I would get to taste this one so soon.

I put this one in the fridge for about 20min so it's around cellar temp.

Is this a RIS, Belgian Royal Stout? I don't know so I just poured it into my Duvel tulip glass.

Pours as it should, black with no opportunity for light to penetrate through and a thick, soft, 2 inch crown of milk chocolate foam. Very good retention throughout; the beer maintains a nice thin layer of foam and a quick little stir brings this one back to life.

The aroma is enticing that's for sure. There is a good amount of sweet, dark, fruits and it has a yeasty profile that is characteristic of quads. Very soft and floral on the nose, the chocolate is more like cocoa than a dark Belgian chocolate. There's also hints of vanilla, maybe some wood. I'm also picking up some dark Belgian candy sugar. Can't quite pick out all the aromas since it's quite subtle, it's a soft fragrance. After a while I detect the roasted malts, some husk, and a bit of coffee. After a few sips the beer develops some green grape skin or apple skin...no it's more like dried apricots that I smell. There's also a bit of a coca-cola aroma going on in there. As complex as it is on the nose it just doesn't have a powerful bouquet, it's just a tad shy and quiet. I'm actually a bit torn on the aroma, it's very good, and maybe it's not meant to be a pungent chocolate etc...aroma for this style, but it just didn't impress me as much as the other categories.

The first sip is like a carnival ride, it just takes the palate out for a ride. Starts out with a little sour cherry, sweet raisins, and dates; then it moves into roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of wheat, yeast, and alcohol. Again, really soft and elegant. Near the finish and aftertaste I get a tangy wheat flavor as well as some dry roasted barley. The alcohol also brings a fruitiness in the finish, not hot by any means. Near the finish of the glass there beer has more roasted malts, a little charred wood, even more dark fruits, and more dryness. Not really a 4.5 but it's a little higher than a 4 for me.

Mouthfeel, well, it has to be perfect for me. The beer is so smooth on the palate, it is sweet and airy. Drinks rather easy for 13% I could easily drink one or two more.

It's very good for what it is, but wouldn't make the list of the best beers I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 23:45:25 | More by seaoflament
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
AKBelgianBeast

Alaska

4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

thanks to Jw347 for a great trade.

Pours a deep impenetrable black with a nice fluffy light tan ice cream head, ok lacing. Smell is an interesting mix of deep dark malts and belgian yeast. Alcohol is aparent in the nose and a touch of spice. Taste is deep dark malts with some very belgian like qualities. slight coffee and a little hint of cocao like sugar. A nice sweetness, but there is a plasticy hint I dont like alot that was also in the nose (slightly), but it doesn't ruin it. Mouthfeel is dissapiointingly thin, but still good. Drinkability is extremely high for a 13% brew. Overall I like this one alot, but I defenitey do not think it lives up to the hype. A very good beer, and a fine imperial stout I would visit again, but a tad expensive. Highly recommended, but to quote jim carrey "I've had better"

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 23:35:22 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.18/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle received from bgramer - thanks for this one! This is a beer I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to try without traveling to Maine.

Appearance: Dark opaque brown with two fingers of thick mocha-colored foam. Very impressive; if I saw someone drinking this in a bar I'd probably wonder what it was.

Smell: A pleasant mix of dried fruit, chocolate, toasted cereal grains and cream. Nice, but it doesn't really jump out of the glass.

Taste & mouthfeel: Chocolate covered fruit comes to mind immediately; strawberries and raspberries primarily. Roasty, charred stout flavors become more prevalent toward the finish though bitterness remains fairly low. An odd cardboard-like off-flavor lingers in the background and never completely leaves the palate. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, moreso than most Belgian beers, but so was Pannepot - Struise must be influenced by American brewers in that regard. The finish brings out notes of molasses and dark roasted coffee, though it's not quite as dry as I'd like. Still, I had no problems drinking this one - it goes down easy for 13%. This would be a great beer if it were a bit cleaner.

Notes: Tried this again and found it even more riddled with off-flavors. I'm really not impressed with this one, mediocre at best.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 02:07:33 | More by largadeer
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BgThang

Texas

4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour leaves a big ass head on this of rusty mocha color.

After waiting for several minutes I finally took a taste of this hyped beer. The quadruple comes out at first then it finishes like everyone else says a roasty stout. Very interesting beer.

The alcohol is apparent on the nose but after the initial taste it almost completely disappears.

Although this is a unique beer (with an identity crisis as one put it) I personally was felt let down a bit.

This is a nice beer and you should at least try it.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2008 22:58:31 | More by BgThang
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Ebenezer's, Thanks for the opportunity Chris!

Pours a dark brown/black with a tan head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma is amazing. Chocolates, vanilla, dried fruit, spicy citrusy hops, a bit of alcohol too. Taste is smooth chocolate, followed by some roasted grains, then a lingering coffee and hoppy aftertaste. Does have a bit of an alcohol hotness, but that melds into the whole experience quite well. Very Creamy mouthfeel. Ample carbonation, thick bodied. Excellent brew all around, makes me want to pay eBay prices for some bottles.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2008 13:45:37 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of aerozeppl
aerozeppl

New York

4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to drseamus for the opportunity.

A: Just short of black. Quite a bit of brown on the edges of the glass. One half finger of mocha head.

S: Molasses sweetness. Brandy. Not the burn but the pleasant smell.

T: Sweetness caramel, smoke, roasted grain, coffee, chocolate and a slight hint of fruit. Incredibly complex.

M: Lighter body than you would think. My only real complaint about this beer. Would have liked the body a tad bit thicker.

D:Damn. This is up there with choklat in terms of dumb amounts of drinkability. No hint of the 13% at all. This really is a great beer that in most ways lived up to the hype. Other members of the group compared this to Dark Lord. haven't had the pleasure yet but that is good company. Would definitely have again if it didn't involve selling organs.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 00:56:12 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of apearce
apearce

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My wife and I split a bottle of this fantastic beer and we both loved it, although we both tasted different things in it. I tasted smoke right away, which immediately gave way to chocolate. She tasted coffee at first and then chocolate and candy.

As it warmed up it got even better. I could really taste the candy and the flavor of dark cherries. My wife commented she could taste some kind of liquor and thought maybe it was barrel aged.

I am curious how well this will age. It did not have a strong alcohol flavor at all and it seemed very well rounded already. I think it's perfect now.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 19:48:01 | More by apearce
Photo of drseamus
drseamus

New York

4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: NOT jet black like it should be, but still pretty dark. When held to the light a significant part of it lets a brown/tan light penetrate. I'd rather see nothing from an RIS personally. There was a nice bit of lighter mocha head on the top. A pretty good looking beer unless held to the light really.

S: Nice caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruit aromas. There is also a nice brandy character but without the alcoholic aroma. A touch of yeast ester tops it off. It could have been stronger although once it coats the glass it is a bit more robust.

T: It is certainly a damn good beer. The intial flavor is a blast of rich coffee and dark chocolate with that brandy fruitiness popping up again. Great dark roasty notes throughout and finishing with a great clean, slightly bitter dark cocoa powder note. Full flavored from the time it touches my tongue through the aftertaste.

M: Nice and thick with great creaminess. Incredibly smooth and not a whisper of the ABV coming to say hi. Perfect body.

D: Very excellent all around. World class but still slightly over-hyped.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 01:10:32 | More by drseamus
Photo of thickerfreakness
thickerfreakness

Texas

4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks go out to bgramer for the chance to try this beer.

I poured this into a chalice with a little too much vigor at first and I had to wait for a few minutes for the head to die down to pour the rest. The color was absolutely black with a fluffy mocha colored head. Pretty much one of the darkest beers I've seen with only a very slight hint of ruby around the edges when held up to the light.

This does indeed smell almost exactly like a mix of a quadrupel and imperial stout. Tons of prunes, raisins and dark fruits from the quad side and a bitter roasty, chocolate, coffee edge from the imperial stout side. I also get some breadiness, yeast, and a bit of brown sugar.

The smell was great but nothing can quite live up to this taste. As someone said a review or two before me it is almost too much to comprehend. If there was a bit more of the imperial stout in the smell it sort of fades to the back in the taste. It begins very quad-like with tons of ripe dark fruits and chocolate with a sweet belgian yeastiness and bread. Then in the middle of the taste I get an amazing tart-like vinous taste that just overpowers my palate. It finally ends with quite a bit of bitter roastiness and coffee along with some more dark chocolate that just lingers on my tongue for minutes after each sip.

The mouthfeel is so silky smooth and there is hardly any notice of the alcohol for a beer at 13% ABV. Silky smooth, pleasantly carbonated, tingly across my palate.

Aside from the high ABV this one is just stellar. One of the best of beers I have had and definitely not easily classified into a style. As others have said this is one that is definitely worth the hype and one that you should seek out. The first and last thing that came to mind with this beer was the just "wow." Thanks again to bgramer for the chance to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 19:43:22 | More by thickerfreakness
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark cola brown to black in color with an average sized medium tan head that fades to a ring. Sweet and fruity aroma, grapes and aged pruniness. Chocolate, a strong belgian yeast, tangy alcohol, and a breadiness in the aroma as well. Taste follows with the chocolate and fruity sweet maltiness mixing together very nicely, grapiness comes thru well, a decent tanginess leads into a slightly dry finish that shows a little of the alcohol. Mouthfeel is fairly full and sugary, a hint of pepper on the tongue, a bit of drying and warmth in the finish. A very tasty beer, definitely does not fit into the ris category. I had read some of the belgian stout posts before trying this so expected it to fall outside those lines and it definitely does. Would fit better in the belgian strong dark imo. Alcohol is very well balanced for its strength and it seems that this is a great candidate for some longer cellaring, look forward to trying it again after a year or two.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 19:06:06 | More by hoppymeal
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Habanero58

United Kingdom (England)

4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

And so to the beer that shares its acronym with Beer Advocate!

I was initially a little cynical about this new beer on the block when it arrived sweeping all before it, and doubted I'd ever get to try it for myself unless I made the journey from Kent to Ebenezer's in Maine, but thanks to a well known auction site 6 x 330ml of Black albert arrived on my doorstep earlier this week.

I can understand why many other reviewers have been unable to really nail Black Albert into a definite category as you can't really. It proclaims itself as a Royal Belgian Stout on the bottle and it's appearance would certainly support this with midnight hour blackness and a rusty tanned head.

It's the taste where BA becomes hard to place
It has a complexity that matches Westy 12 (no mean feat) whereby one sip just amplifies in the mouth and cascades into such a myriad of flavours that your brain (well, my brain) just loses the plot and says "this is pure heaven in a glass"
I would agree with those who have mentioned it tipping into quad territory as my main thought afterwards was that was like drinking a botte of Westy 12 that had had an identity crisis and had decided it wanted to be a Russian Imperial Stout. The stout flavour is strongly apparent but with the rich chocolatey fruit cake qualities of a good quad there as well.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Very creamy with just the hint of an exciting fizzz. This beer is a valuable addition to Planet Earth and long may it buzz!! It should end up cementing a place in the top five at the very least.

A final word for the label. A design award surely with regard to matching the external bottle presentation to the quality of the beer within.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 11:38:05 | More by Habanero58
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks stoutsNipas for this one, small capped bottle poured into a snifter. Best before 2013.

I will admit there was a strong bias before trying this one, but I can also see perfection, even through all my preconceived notions.
Pitch black, but shiny, with an amazingly thick, fluffy and long lasting head for a beer with this amount of alcohol.
Like some that reviewed before me, it is hard to classify. The delicious aroma starts closer to an oatmeal stout, evolves into something a bit closer to a quadrupel or strong dark ale, and eventually shows notes of an imperial stout (which this one is certainly not). Chocolate, coffee, candy, fruits, caramel, molasses, yeast, bread and a few other notes can be picked up.
It comes across the tongue and throat as smooth as possible, and I am still having a hard time believing the ABV stated on the label; there is no heat whatsoever in the beginning, with some showinhg at the end as it produces a somewhat dry finish. It actually goes down quite easy considering it is 75 F tonight (there is no way I could have waited for the autumn).
The complex flavors also run the gamut suggested from the palate.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 04:18:57 | More by brdc
Photo of rudylaw
rudylaw

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottles straight from Belgium... delivered this morning.

OK, first off I'm having a very hard time classifying this beer. It looks like a Russian Imperial Stout, smells like an RIS but tastes lighter than a stout... similar to Stone IRS for me. I would say this is halfway between an RIS and a Quad. Does that even make sense? Jesus, get to the review already!

It pours very dark... perhaps quarter to midnight dark. I've seen darker, but not by much. When I look at the pour out of the bottle, it looks almost like blood. Creepy cool! I wish I had a gold chalice for the occasion. There's a very nice tan head that forms and some of it stays the entire time... and we definitely have lacing. Not very sticky, but it's there.

My first sip is pure heaven. This beer is refreshing (a little light up front like Stone IRS, but the alcohol kicks in later), complex (sweet & strong) and flat out delicious. I am picking up chocolate, figs, nuts, grapes/plums and it all has a candy-like coating -- candy that comes from the scoops and not a wrapper. I get a grape soda taste immediately. I just read the reviews below and they both mention the same thing. It's a subdued grape soda from a fountain, with all these other flavors competing for your attention. The mouthfeel is silky and baby's butt smooth. I've never had a beer that glides down so easy as this. It smells and tastes like no other beer I've ever had. If this is what a Belgian Stout is, than god dammit, people need to start making Belgian Stouts!

When I finished this beer, my tongue threw up the white flag. It's done tasting anything until breakfast. I'm not even brushing my teeth tonight.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2008 02:20:58 | More by rudylaw
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bgramer

Washington

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get a case through a friend out in Belgium.

This beer pours black, but I swear that with the aroma smelling sweet, and like raisins and grapes, that this would be a dark dark purple color like a grape soda but darker. There's some head retention but that quickly goes away leaving a tan ring that leaves a carbonated sticky lacing around the glass as you swirl it.

Tastes sweet like candy - dark fruits, some coffee, a little caramel. It's borderline to an RIS style but could be compared to a quad too, or even an American Stout. It's uniqueness and complexity prevents it from falling completely into one category or another, instead it reaches out into all these at one time or another. Amazingly complex.

The alcohol is slightly noticable but not in a bad way because of it's freshness. Imagine how amazing this could be when aged over the years.

This is a world class beer which deserves to be in the Top 5.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 15:44:12 | More by bgramer
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milwaukeeclassic

Wisconsin

4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this one a while ago, on tap at Erasmus in Brugge in early March 2008. I agree with some earlier reviewers that this is not as heavy as some imperial stouts I've had. I remember that there was tremendous head retention. Coffee notes in the aroma and the taste. Great satin mouthfeel. The alcohol level was not overly (negatively) noticeable. I can't wait until I can get more of this back at home.

Serving type: on-tap

06-04-2008 02:46:27 | More by milwaukeeclassic
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 1,466 ratings.