Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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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: 373 | 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
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Ratings: 1,582 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally got a bottle of this. Pours black with a small tan head that fades rapidly. Aroma of molasses, alcohol, licorice, and sweet rich roasted malt. Flavor of rich roasted malt, alcohol, and a touch of bitter chocolate. A little muddled flavor-wise. Palate is a little boozy. Interesting beer but it turns out it was nothing special after all (still it was fun being one of the first to get this super-hyped beer on tap at Ebenezer's back in January).
8/4/7/4/15 (3.8/5)

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a near black with dark brownish-red edges when held up to the light. A light tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of unusual cocoa, hazelnut, astringent chocolate grain, perhaps a touch of brett clauseni, pineapple, basil, roasted nuts, caramel, and ripe, dark fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with some fermented Belgian yeast notes coming through with more cocoa, raisins, peanuts, and bitter cocoa...it sort of reminds me of a Chunky candy bar.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with raisins, nuts, and a touch of funk flowing along the palate. There is also some astringent graininess found in the swallow, along with a mild alcohol burn.
Hmmm...
Maybe it's just me but I don't get it. It's really like Dark Raisinettes(do they even still make those?). It's certainly a pretty nice beer but not the orgasmic beverage that I had been expecting based upon the hype.

"Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see." -Ben Franklin

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

Picked up a few of these from Health Spirits a while back. 33cl bottle - which is a great size for a 13% abv beer. A very pricy bottle I might add.

Pours jet-black into a snifter - decent head that quickly recedes to the edges of the glass. Swirling it around it looks to be on the light side for viscosity.

Smells like soy sauce, bitter chocolate and some dark fruits with faint hops smell. Very little to no alcohol in the nose.

The taste is really good. Nothing like I expected. Pretty light on its feet for the abv with a mix of soy, light chocolate and coffee undertones with very good carbonation letting it dance in your mouth. Again not getting any of the 13% in the taste - this could be a dangerous beer to drink. Has a dry finish is unlike other RIS's that I've had.

A very well balanced high abv stout that I could drink one too many of if it wasn't so damn expensive. Overall quite impressed and worthy of the praise but only something that I'll occasionally indulge in.

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

Deep brown with a dark mocha colored head that fades quickly into a bubbly ring around the glass leaving spotty lacing.

Full of belgian yeast and spice with hints of milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, dark fruit, caramel, and earth.

Damn tasty and complex. Lovely roasted character with much more chocolatey flavors then the nose suggests and the belgian yeast and spicey quality are subdued from the nose. A sweet fruity character balances the roast nicely. Dark fruit flavors with hint of coffee and big alcohol yet in a nice way. Nicely carbonated with plum and chewy malts. Great balance and complexity. Nice.

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Cool! A Black Albert.
12oz bottle @ Coasters Pub in Melbourne, FL.

This brew pours a dark, dark chocolate brown, but not as motor-oily as many other imperial stouts. Head is tan and somewhat minimal, one of the only drawbacks to this brew.

The smell has hints of cherry, bourbon, chocolate and alcohol. Very complex and appealing.

The taste is just super nice. Caramel, toffee, chocolate, a hint of warmth from the alcohol (which, at 13% is remarkably well-hidden)

The quality that sealed the deal is the mouthfeel. It's amazing. Smooth, light, and a billion tiny bubbles that appear on your tongue.

This is well worth seeking out. Expensive, yes, but a nice treat for yourself. Go ahead. You deserve it.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Much thanks to Daniel, for the bottle I am about to open.

Onyx cast, full on ebony, with a thick, creamy tanned head holding fort above. Excellent look for an Imperial Stout....oh, I'msorry, "Belgian Royal Stout."(So why don't stateside brewers make further leaps of logic and call their thick, viscous works 'American Republic Stouts?' Silly question...)

Aroma is rich and decandent, plump with dark rum, molasses, dark chocolate, carob, soy sauce, pitch, anise, and who knows what all...lovely stuff...

Drink it: all that above melted into one, with no one major flavor on top, except ...cola. Much milder than the nose promised, not as forceful in flavor,but still rich and dominant. Sweetness comes out on top, a little too much, I think, soy sauce taste conquers all. A little wine-like.Belgian yeast and malt is evident, if I hadn't known, I woulda guessed.

Warm,this. Tasty, too, but not the greatest beer on Earth, nor that special of an Imperial, oh, I'm so sorry, Belgian Royal ...nice enough, but I can't see what's so special about it.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice black in which no light escapes. One finger head slowly rises giving way to a crown and thick lacing around the edges.

Smells of chocolate up front, alcohol second. Hints of caramel and toffee abound.

In the taste, the high ABV is well hidden. This is clearly a well made beer, with hints of belgian yeast and your chocolate and cream aftertaste. Very easy to drink considering it's high ABV, with the sole detractor for me being the rather high carbonation for this heavy a stout.

All things equal (price being a big part of that) I would absolutely order this again, but as of now it's scarcity would probably send me to offerings of this style that while may not be as high quality are worth it after the price/rarity differential.

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

a: into a small snifter, pours pitch black with a caramel colored head showing decent retention, looks nice

s: creamy semisweet chocolate is the centerpiece, mild roasts, lightly hopped, perhaps just a hint of Belgian yeast

m: low carbonation composed of tiny bubbles and a creamy medium-full body create a smooth mouthfeel

t: creamy black malts and semisweet chocolate dominant, gracefully flavored - fitting of its Belgian heritage, the mildest roast astringency after swallowing, moderately boozy

d: exceptionally drinkable for a 13% beer

single bottle from Riley's Madison, split with the feller of filth

Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ah yes, the hype of black albert...330ml bottle from Riley's with a high price-tag...split with black bart

apppearance: poured into a snifter, robust ebony body, light mahogany cream lace...chocolate hues

smell: roasty, licorice, layers of dark chocolate, a touch of espresso

taste: seems like a product of the hype to me - high quality RIS with a limited enough availability and high price tag to make it infamous...this is a powerful powerful stout - drinks like rocket fuel. layers upon layers of dark chocolate are the focal point, with hints of oatmeal, espresso, and dark roasted malts below. alcohol is a bit heavy but bitterness is quite low. kind of reminds me of a jacked up storm king stout

mouthfeel: full and coating, high booze, light bitterness, robust

drinkability: 165ml is a good serving size for me

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

This beer definitely lived up to expectation and its high praise.

It is an absolutely gorgeous beer in a glass- once the head calms down a bit. Deep opaque brown with a dark, medium lacey head.

The smell is alcohol up front (13%? No wonder...) but with sweetness and coffee-like roasted malt aromas.

This is not a beer to drink down with gusto- you have to sip it and appreciate every one of them. Mine was left at room temperature for about an hour and the warmness definitely brought out the strengths of the flavours. Coffe again, chocolate, and roasted grains. Yummy!

It felt very different (but nice) in the mouth compared to other stouts. This was thicker and syrupy without being too sweet.

Outstanding!

Photo of scootny
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 33 cl bottle. Unlike the picture. I'd like to know where the 750 ml bottle is as no one I know has seen it. A four finger head in my Corsendonk glass. It sits majestically and recedes at a glacier pace. The brown head flows into a black brown beer that lets no light through. The sides of my glass are covered in lace, it continues as I drink.

Smell is light chocolate and coffee. There is roasted grain and sweet alcohol. A light Belgian yeast ester completes the package.

Taste is a fight between coffee and mocha. Coffee up front blending into mocha and back to coffee latte. A good roasted grain component balances the sweetness before the hops. A sweet and faint alcohol taste makes you think YooHoo for a second as you swallow. Belgian yeast esters mix in and add complexity and body. Finish is clean and dry with a firm hop presence to cut the sweet and roasted malt backbone that underpins the coffee and mocha. Faint fusel alcohol lingers with graham crackers.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and clean. Stouty thickness gives way to effervescent liveliness and makes this brew dance in your mouth.

Drinkability is beyond belief for a stout of this weight. I have been reviewing all night and I can't bring myself to slow down on this exceptional beer.

Photo of gameface23
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ebenezer's, poured into a tulip glass with a bulbous bottom. Pours black with a caramel head.

The smell is very sweet. Chocolate and slight coffee. Certain spices and dark fruits.

The taste was similar to the smell, with a thick and creamy mouthfeel.

I actually had no idea that this was 13% alcohol until I looked it up to review it. The alcohol is VERY well hidden. Drinkability was great.

Photo of palmer69
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

AWSOME... poured jet black with a 2in. head out of the small bottle,

Smell is of very strong alcohol, with a mini coffee smell that is almost drowned out by the alcohol.

taste is great, very chocolatey/ minimal coffee, and a warm alcohol sensation on the back of the tounge. Being as I love a stout with little to no carbination (like guinness(which is my favorite stout)) this one would have easily surpassed guinness with less carbination. But the carbination isn't over whelming. when you finish it there was a thick chocolatyness left on the bottom of the cup, like after you drink hot chocolate.

This stuff was delicious. I have six other bottles that I'm ageing in my celler I think that it will be awsome with some age behind it, but we'll see.

Photo of Kadonny
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a thick black color with a very minimal light brown caramel colored head. Almost no glass lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, spice, sugary sweetness and alcohol.

T: Very bitter with flavors of dark bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee, licorice, dried fruit and tar. In the middle you get the belgian yeast spice flavor and the finish comes up with the sugar candy sweetness. Lingering is a roasted flavor with bitterness and sweetness. Lots of flavors show up once the beer warms, so make sure you give it time.

M: Thick, dense and alcoholic. I can feel the 13% and the beer just lingers in the mouth.

D: Medium at best. This is a sipper and one tiny bottle is enough.

Overall a very good beer, but not really my bag. A bit too big for me with the alcohol and the super roasty flavors. Still I'm really glad I tried it.

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

Picked up at Crown Liquors in Carmel, IN - thanks to Mike for putting it in my hands.

Pours opaque with a carmel-colored head with good retention. Aroma has nice complexity, with dark cherry, chocolate, and alcohol all evident. These elements all come out in the taste as well, along with carmel, licorice, and some roast. The mouthfeel is quite dry and the alcohol well hidden- doesn't taste like 13%.
Not sure I'd classify this as a RIS - the dryness and complexity mark it as one with a definite Belgian character. Also, you must let it warm up to let out all the complexity

Overall, an interesting and pleasant drinking beer - worth trying if you have the chance, but IMO perhaps a bit underwhelming considering the hype it gets.

Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dense black woth a nice fluffy brown head that lingers quite a while.
Sweet dark malty smell with a decent spicy hop backbone.
Slight sweetness in the taste, acidic with clove and other spices. There's a bitter and dry finish that lingers quite a while.
Very dense with a mild carbonation level. The alcohol is pretty well hidden but there is some mild heat.
Easy enought to drink but pretty expensive stuff.

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This pours a deep brown color that is very close to black with a thin swirl of brown froth that quickly dissipated. The beer coats the glass extremely well, but left minimal lacing.
Smell: I let this beer warm for 45 minutes outside of the fridge, and the nose was still subtle with scents of chocolate and dark fruits, and it showed its Belgian roots with the unmistakable scent of yeast.
Taste: The flavor profile is heavy on the front of the tongue with coffee and dark bitter chocolate. The middle of the beer gives flavors of dark cherries, plums, and figs before ending on a bitter note.
Mouthfeel: The warming alcohol quickly catches up with you, but for a RIS this beer has a thinner mouthfeel than I would have expected and has the mouthfeel of a good Quad, but not a RIS.
Drinkability: The alcohol is well hidden for a 13% beer, but the price would keep me away from this beer.

I am certainly glad that I got to try this beer, and overall is was a pretty good beer, but not worth a dollar and ounce though is what is equates to. If this beer were in a four pack around 15-20$ I would buy it often, but 12 bucks for a bottle I was expecting something differing from this offering.

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

Very good Russian Imperial Stout with a big flavor and good alcohol heat. This beer pours black and opaque with a light brown head. It's certainly a good looking stout. The nose is a bit milder than expected, but nice toasted malt notes come through. The flavor is big and strong with some alcohol heat. It is a very malty beer with smoky chocolate and caramel flavors running roughshod all over the place. This beer might be able to garner a perfect flavor score with a bit of age on it. I envy anyone with vintage bottles. To be fair, I have no idea if Black Albert iis old or new, so that could be impossible. The feel is slightly sticky but very good. It's very drinkable given the high abv, but at 13% and relatively fresh, it's still a bit too hot. It pairs well with sweet, ripe Cornice pears.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thickish, brownish black with a dime's worth of toffee colored bubbly though just the slightest bit creamy head. Give it a few swirls and it coats almost the entire glass in a thin sheet of beery goodness.

Smell is rather subdued very rich and very dark dark fruits. Dates, rasins, caramel and candi sugar, licorice and slight coffee.

Taste does not at first seem to match with the complexity of the aroma. Very sweet, licorice, cherries rolled in rum, slight herbal hop bitterness mixed with bakers chocolate and closes with a very pronounced alcoholic finish. Feel is pretty lively, shows a lot of carbonation for a beer its size and is not nearly as coating as other beers of similar size, so in this respect it does not seem too much like a RIS and more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, still good but seems to be a bit misplaced.

The drinkability suffers because the flavors seem a bit muddled and the finish is just a bit too hot for my liking, but I'm guessing this would be an excellent candiate for cellaring for many a year.

Photo of roadhouse
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance is pitch black as expected with a one inch creamy tan head. Retains very well, especially for a snifter and leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma is full of dark fruits - plum, black cherries, and figs. Smells like more Quad than stout. Roastiness is not present, surprising for a stout.

The taste begins with the dark fruit character from the aroma but it is quickly blended with some dark chocolate flavors. In the finish some roastier coffee flavors come out along with a pretty heavy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium in body with an extremely creamy texture that is surprisingly soft on the palate. While it's not as thick and viscous as many of the RIS are that I love, this makes up for it in that aspect.

Overall, this was disappointing, mostly because it was not what I was expecting. I would take many American RIS over this one but it's still an interesting beer. I'm not gonna say it's worth the hype, or the cost, but it's certainly good.

Photo of inhoc00
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black Albert on tap at Binny's South Loop

A- pours a dark black with minimal head and good lacing.

S- Nice roasted malts, chocolate.

T- Really delicious and simple. Good stout taste without being too much ,,,,anything.

M- Not too thick. Decent carbonation.

D- Unbelievable that this stuff is 13%. Almost no alc. detected. This stuff is not overly done which makes it so nice. Drank this stuff really too quick and really felt it afterward. Excellent stuff but a bit too expensive to try again.

Photo of waltonc
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, not black, with tan head.

S: Coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and cherries.

T: See above under smell. Somewhat sweet, and fruitier than some RIS I have had. This reminds me a bit of both Darkness and Expedition Stout for that reason.

M: Medium to thick body. Not super thick by any means. Carbonation is medium and just right.

D: At 13% ABV, this isn't crazy drinkable, but give credit to De Struise for putting this in the right bottle size. Not necessary to force people to buy bombers of it.

Overall a good stout, but too expensive for me to buy again when I can buy equally good and similar stouts for much cheaper.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got to enjoy half a bottle of this rare one. Split it with my brother.

Pours out black with a pretty decent brown head. The bubbles stay around, there is not much lacing, but the bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Smells a bit sweet and roasted, and you get a bit of alcohol smell. The taste is a bit sweet, not much fruit like some others in the style, but you get a nice bit of bitter roastedness, which I love. Then there's a hint of the black malt and chocolate sweetness. The tastes are all sort of muddled, maybe from the yeast. I kind of wish it were more bold and assertive -not harsh - but I think the yeast made it hard to really distinguisg flavors. But I enjoyed it, if not for the rarity. For the style and the ABV, this one was surprisingly drinkable. Maybe I only wanted more because I only got half of a 11.2 oz bottle. The cost may limit me buying it, but if I ever get a shot to have it on tap from the source, I'll take it.

Photo of theboozecruise
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass as recommended by BA. The appearance is dark... lives up to the name 'Black' Albert for sure. There is a hint of crimson perhaps, and a brownish head that didn't linger too long. Just a hint of lace on the rim of the glass.

Smells like a stout... dark chocolate with a hint of spice as accompaniment. The taste is more rich than the smell... the chocolate taste is still dominant but it's like a mixture of coffees and chocolates. This tastes like what I'd imagine the storeroom in a chocalatier's shop would smell like.

The taste stays with you for a while after each sip. The alcohol is definitely present as you go.

All in all, a very tasty beer, certainly not a session beer, and I don't feel that it lives up to the $10 per small bottle price tag. That's not to say it's not delicious, just a little underwhelming.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid black with ruby highlights when held to the light, 2 finger mocha head that dissipates immediately to a thin ring.

S - Light aroma except for dark chocolate. Spicy Belgian yeast, burnt malts and a slight touch of dark fruits.

T - Mixture of dark and milk chocolate, intense roast and burnt coffee, figs and plums, some bitter hops with some lingering alcohol.

M - Rich with lower carbonation and warming from the alcohol. Slightly slick.

D - Nice Belgian twist on the style. A very nice beer but not sure it is worth the price/hype.

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