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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,598 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,598
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 325
Gots: 384 | 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: 1,598 | Reviews: 823 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MAB
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
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
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
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
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
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
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
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
3.61/5  rDev -15.1%
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
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
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
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
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
3.86/5  rDev -9.2%
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
3.51/5  rDev -17.4%
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
4/5  rDev -5.9%
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
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of Atron67
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle from steve's on university.

anyway comes out of the bottle with a quickly built and fading brown head and a deep dark body. head quickly falls but thats pretty much a given for a beer of this abv. strong roasted characteristics, not much 'belgian yeast spicyiness on the nose as i might have expected. can already begin to smell the tartness resulting from the compelx sugars. lighter in body than i would have expected, nice strong roasted and stout characteristics. definitely tastes like an RIS, however its interestingly lighter body allows for it to go down smoother.

pretty interesting, its main 'uniqueness' factor being that it maintains the complexity and flavor of the top RIS's however with a much lighter body. not different enough to creat a new style, but a definite great beer.

Photo of Monsone
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an deep black with a big dark brown head. Leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Sweet malt, soy, coffee, alcohol, dark roasted barley and slightest dark fruit. Not what I was expecting out of this beer. Quite muted.

T - Starts with sweet malt, with a bitter middle and a alcohol finish. A some hops and coffee in there too. Not as intense of flavors as the other RIS I have had. Kinda different with Belgian qualities (think Quad or Strong Dark). Just not what I expected.

M - Medium bodied and a lot lighter than I thought it would be. Just doesn't have that thick viscous feel that the other top RIS's have. More carbo than I expect out of a RIS too.

D - This is probably the most drinkable RIS I can think of. It is expensive though as 1 bottle cost the same as a 6 pack of Expedition Stout.

Overall, I am glad I tried this beer. It quite good and is a different take on the RIS with Belgian qualities. But ultimately there are quite a few other RIS that would pick up before this one.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A RIS? Huh, struck more as a Belgian quad than anything else. Obviously, like everyone else, I'd heard a ton about this beer before actually trying it. In fact, I'd even looked for this beer during a trip to Belgium a few months ago, albeit unsuccessfully.

This beer struck me as distinctly quad-like. Color was dark, head was minimal, aroma was faint (which I would blame on it being served far to cold at The Terminal), and flavor started with a touch of roastiness, but to me offered a lot of dried fruit, like raisins and dates, with maybe a touch of cognac flavor. Mouthfeel was pretty good.

I thought this beer was good, but not exactly up to the hype. I really enjoyed it, but I thought it honestly inferior to some more widely distributed Belgian beers such as Rochefort 10 or Achel 8 Brune. I would recommend, but I also wouldn't recommend driving for hours or paying huge quantities of money to obtain it.

I had this on-tap, and served far too cold, at The Terminal, near the airport in Milwaukee.

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

Pours a molassses brown topped by a thin and dense tan head. Aroma is medium sweet with star anise, roast, some cocoa, cinnamon and light alcohol. Flavor is cocoa, herb, vanilla and alcohol . Medium to full full body, smooth texture. Very dry finish.

Photo of sfreshnock
3.57/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I am very susceptible to beer hype. Just have to know what the big stink is about. Black Albert, my latest buy in, is indeed worth the endless praise. Poured nice and slow into a tulip style glass, the head was immense for a 13% ABV beer and it stuck around for some time. Fantastic looking beer, period. The smell on the other hand was dull and acrid, not overly phenolic, more like like flat pepsi. Flip Flop again. Taste is full of flavors that easily come to life. "Caramel Sundae Syrup" at the tip and back of my tongue intertwined with sour cherries and raisins. Aftertaste is much like a Flanders Red. Black Albert does noy give his ABV away in the mouth. Mouthfeel is sticky and leaves my teeth wet with an oily film. Very drinkable for a high ABV beer. I could drink another if it was cost effective.

Photo of Jablonski
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: as others have said, its an opaque black; the head is tan, and leaves a very slight lacing along the glass

S: coffee, dark chocolate, spices, and alcohol; only wish the smell was a bit stronger

T: the flavor is intense with chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits followed by a spiced aftertaste; it is only slightly bitter and there is no alcohol apparent in the taste

M: carbonation is perfect; definately does not feel watered down

D: at 13% alcohol any more than two drinks is excessive, and one may be the perfect number

Overall, its a great beer. I would definately buy again and will once I start making the money to afford it more often.

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

Thanks to corby112 for the trade.

Poured into a tulip/snifter.

A - Pours black with a huge head that quickly subsided to a thin layer. Has some lacing.

S - Dark Fruits and a bit of alcohol.

T - Roasted up front, with dark fruits in the middle. Slightly bitter finish with some alcohol warmth.

M - Medium body with high carbonation.

D - A good beer. The alcohol is well hidden.

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

From the De Struise webshop.

From a bottle into a snifter.

On the label: "One out of a dozen ales that is as black as hell, filthy rich in the nose and with a massive spoiled taste."

Let's see how spoiled this one tastes.

APPEARANCE: Pours out black, almost sludgy, and produces a larger, three finger, medium-looking, tan head with good retention. Black, thick body and zero carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp, leaving some immediate clingy lacing. A ring and splotchy wisp remain, leaving some touches of lace down the sides.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and lots of dark fruits up front, including raisins and prunes. A good dose of cocoa powder and pure chocolate in there, with some alcohol notes in the back. Medium strength and very nice.

TASTE: Roasted malts, and some dark fruits in there, including raisins and dates again. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate show up again through the middle into the finish. A bold and lingering aftertaste is full of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and spicy yeast notes. Some alcohol is present the whole way through as well. Complex and interesting for sure.

PALATE: Full body with medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and has a little alcohol bite on the end, but well controlled for the ABV. Finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: If this one has a "spoiled taste," then spoil the heck out of me. I've had this brew many times and it never ceases to impress. Definitely some Belgian in this Imperial Stout, with the spicier yeast notes involved, but I wouldn't hesitate to call this the best non-barrel aged stout in the low countries. Very good brew. De Struise makes some great stuff, and this is one that ranks right up there. Thanks again gents.

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly opaque dark brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head never quite reaches the anticipated Belgian standards and descends rather quickly, leaving some dots and dashes of lace

Smell: Coffee, dark chocolate, charcoal, tobacco and dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a blend of dark fruit (figs and prunes) and coffee, with a bit of dark chocolate thrown in for good measure; by mid-palate, the fruity hops start to assert themselves but, after the swallow, they seem an afterthought, taking a back stage to the roasty charcoal malt flavors; lots of tobacco on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation; a bit thinner than I expected, but that is the Belgian character

Drinkability: With all the hype around this beer, I was truly expecting something different; I would say that this is still quite a good beer, though it should not be judged head to head against the best US-brewed Russian Imperial Stouts - it has some subtle, Belgian elements that add a nice twist

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,598 ratings.