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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

838 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 838
Hads: 1,693
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 9.2%
Wants: 339
Gots: 382 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 838 | Hads: 1,693
Photo of Laxadaisical
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked up a bottle at Johnny's Off License in Rome.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep brown to black, completely opaque. This is a dark beast, capped with a nice, fluffy mocha head. The head actually sticks around quite well, and really sticks to the glass.

Aroma: Leads with bold roast flavors, definitely some dark chocolate and maybe a bit of coffee. There is some spice in there, as well as dark fruit, like a BSDA. Nose somehow balances the roast and the Belgian dark flavors.

Taste: Hot damn. This is a bold, ambitious beer. It actually leads with a real BSDA type taste, heavy on the dark fruits, but also some more tart flavors like cherry. Some molasses, Belgian candy and yeast type sweetness, even some vanilla and light spice. This transitions flawlessly into the roastier characters, with some dark roasted notes, dark chocolate, coffee, and even some smokiness, reminiscent slightly of a bacony Schlenkerla, but not quite as strong. There's no distinct difference between these sets of flavors, they come in at slightly different times, but the styles blend together flawlessly. I could really only taste a little booze when it warmed up, but even then it was hardly noticeable at all, quite a feat for 13%.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, rich mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. This thing fills your mouth and coats it, but the carbonation keeps it moving around the palate a bit.

Overall: This beer is the lovechild of an imperial stout and a BSDA, and it is beautiful. Manages to be powerful, complex, and assertive in its flavors, but absolutely balanced at the same time. This beer is so damn near perfect in my mind. It's a well executed work of art, not to mention a combination of two of my favorite styles. I must say this is one of my favorite beers of all time, and I'd drink it again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep black, one finger brown head.

S-Very chocolately, coffee, roasted malt with a tad bit of vanilla.

T-Very coffee heavy, roasted malt and chocolate. Some burnt notes. Darker fruits as well and nice bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated and a tad creamy.

O-The burnt malt and the dark fruits were nice and subtle. The alcohol was hidden well.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Piggly Wiggly tulip. Date code of 25 08 GG, so 8/2012, so 14 mos old at this point. Bought at Hi Times Liquor in Costa Mesa for $9.00.

A - Pitch black. Mocha head leaves decent lacing.

S - Dark rye and pumpernickel bread smell. Dried cherries and blueberries. Baker's chocolate and faint bacony, smokiness.

T - Dried cherries and blueberries. A little fig. Sweetness up front. Quickly fades to bitter baker's chocolate, roast, bacony smokiness. Dries out on the finish. No sign of the 13% ABV. Complex.

M - Very rich and full. Medium, soft carbonation adds to the enjoyment.

O - Very nice beer that is surprisingly easy to drink for 13%. Lots of different flavors going on. Not worth the price, but a guilty treat. Let this one warm up a bit.

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Photo of razorsdescent
3.33/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have wanted to try this beer for a long time. After finding a place that had this and Alesmith's Speedway stout, I was overjoyed.

I chilled the bottle in my fridge until I deemed it to be at the right temperature

Appearance: When poured into my Green Jack goblet, It looks like an imperial stout should. Black and dark leaving lacing and with a light brown head.

Smell: This is where things started to go awry. It merely smells malty, and slightly boozy.

Taste: Meh, tastes of malt and booze, so, true to the nose. There is nothing new here, and it doesn't even pull the roasty malts off well enough to be an excellent one trick pony.

Mouthfeel: Standard fare here, tight and carbonated. Certainly pleasant and close to what was expected.

Overall: This beer is a disappointment and proof that scarcity and rave reviews are often times misleading. It is by no means terrible, however, I wouldn't seek it out again, much less pay the exorbitant price.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. Happily purchased this at High Spirits in North Providence, RI, thank you shelton brothers for distributing this!

A- Pours a deep brown, opaque body with a light brown, fluffy, thick head that just doesn't reduce! It sticks around for a while so that it's consumer can take in it's beauty. Very nice.

S- Lots of liquorice, cherry, bubblegum, toffee, vanilla, figs, dark fruit, and chocolate. On the fruity side. Very unique.

T- Woah! How unique. This is like a gueuze blended with a stout. The first flavor to hit the tongue is a tart, berry character which includes cherry, raspberry, and strawberry notes. Next up is toffee, dark fruits, figs, sweet candi sugar, and raisins, notes typically found in dark belgian ales. The finish carries notes of a world class imperial stout, including cappucino and fresh toasted malt, which leave a nice, savory, roasty flavor on the tongue. Wow.

M- Medium-heavy body, medium-low carbonation. Let this one warm up a bit. I would never be able to tell that this was 13% alcohol.

This one really blew me away. Honestly, this is one of the most complex beers I've ever tasted. It's a belgian masterpiece on steroids. So deliciously bold while maintaining a drinkibility that I've never experienced in any 13% beer before.

In a nutshell: Chocolate covered berries soaked in a world-class belgian quad.

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Photo of kevanb
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle poured into a De Struise Brouwers short cervoise.

The beer pours a deep, beautiful jet black color, lovely thick texture as it pours, with a thick, khaki head that has great retention and leaves some nice spots of sticky lace behind. The aroma is wonderfully complex, rich, smooth grain, pitted stone fruit, lightly roasted coffee, bitter dark chocolate, some char is present as well with some strong alcohol presence at the back end. The flavors are rich and decadent, lots of bitter dark chocolate, smooth toasted grain, raisin, fig, pitted stone fruit, lightly roasted coffee with some light charring with some assertive alcohol at the end that is both abrasive, yet warm and soothing. The body is silk, massive, coats the mouth incredibly well, carbonation is slightly higher than I anticipated, a bit crisp, and the finish is impeccably smooth, creamy and rich.

Verdict: Delicious, bold and downright impressive. The high ABV is a bit of a detractor for me as it gets hot and abrasive and overshadows the complexity that this beer has achieved. That being said, this is a great work of brewing art.

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Photo of endovelico
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Thick dark brown - almost black - liquid with small brown head, unperceived effervescence and no lacing.

S: So unbelievably gorgeous! Notes of pastry, yeast, chocolate, coffee, fresh leafs, dark fruit, caramel, toffee, almonds and just a touch of hash tray. The complexity in this is just awe inspiring.

T: Again, so intense and rich! In broad strokes it kind of tastes like mead meets Irish coffee. It's hard to give an accurate, sophisticated organoleptic description since this beer carries just about everything from dark fruit to pastry notes .

P: Liquorish, heavy, sweet, full bodied but amazingly it's really not that cloying. Another big surprise is how well the ABV works into the whole thing, ie, even though theres a lot of it, it does not feel boozy AT ALL.

O: To style and taste this scores phenomenally across the board. It ranks as one of the - if not the - best sippers I've ever had, rivaling the best Port or Sherry anyone can bring to the table [ I apologize for the overly enthusiastic soap boxing]. Furthermore, this beer is unquestionably unique - which is something I give much importance to - and also surprisingly drinkable! Have i mentioned it's also insanely complex?

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this is actually a black albert "batch 0" .. not sure what the difference is between them, but here goes:

pours a dep brown/black, with a finger+ of dark tan head which diminished slowly, and left behind some nice creamy looking lacing.

smells like this was aged in oak barrels, notes of vanilla, wood, chocolate, a hint of bready belgian yeast, a nice overall charred aroma.

oh my, this is a delicious treat.. lots of sweetness up front, light cocoa notes leading into a hint of oxidation and then BAM - TONS OF DARK ROASTED GRAINS. .. oh wait, it just keeps getting more bitter and bitter like tobacco, dirt, coffee beans.. the roasted bitterness lingers for a little bit and then the sweetness comes back to leave your palate the way it was originally. a very in your face agressive, yet well balanced stout.

full body with a tiny bit of carbonation, very creamy mouthfeel. the abv is well hidden behind the beer's full flavor.

definitely pick this up if you can, it is outstanding.

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Photo of ADZA
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as tar with a three finger head chocolate laced head and some leggy lacing,the smell is booze,rum,currants and dark chocolate,the mouthfeel is big,full and lush with big tastes of rich dark chocolate,molasses,dark fruits and finished with a dry boozy roastiness and overall what a big beer and perfect for today's grey outlook cheers.

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Photo of tsauce2
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P: 11.2 fl oz bottle poured in to a 3Floyds Teku

A: SRM is dark brown/black. Almost opaque. Head is light tan, 1/2 in, dissipates to line outsides of glass. Light carbonation. Medium lacing.

S: Dark roasted malt, slightly hoppy, coffee, carmel/toffee.

T: Fresh this is very balanced with nice dark roastiness and coffee but also mild hops. Aftertaste is mostly dark roast malt and coffee, with a touch of hop.

M: Medium body. Ingredients linger on the palate in a balance that mirrors the taste. Dry finish.

O: World class. Nice having this fresh as I have only had it with age on it. $10/bottle is a bit stiff, but I bought it anyway. Wish this was an every day beer for me...

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Photo of impending
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-

33cl Pours just shy of black, coffee ice cream colored froth, great lacing.

The aroma is undoubtedly of a belgian stout, the wonderful yeast that adds a complication - roasty bittersweet chocolate.

A quadish note comes on strong in the flavor.
anise clover molasses
bittersweet dark chocolate
A nice bitter fades along with the flavor. Nearly full bodied appropriate mouthfeel.
warms wonderfully
cheers
jd

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Photo of KYGunner
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It said dark brown in the managers note but it seemed all black in body. The edges gave a brownish hue and the head was stout, thick and just a little brown.

The scent is absolutely tremendous! I catch strong vanilla tones, whipped cream, chocolate in abundance, caramel, praline an even a little coffee.

The taste runs just as spectacular as the vanilla rushes through. Whipped cream, praline, caramel malt, coconut, light chocolate and touches of coffee make me wonder how this is not barrel aged. True taste complexity comes out in a smooth slightly viscous package. 13 percent ABV? Absolutely lost in a creamy, tasty, wonderful beer!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a thick motor oil black color with a ½ inch brown head that bears great retention time before eventually becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Very resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind on the glass.

S- Fumey alcohol in the nose with dark roasted malt beneath. It's hard to derive any other scents beside the overpowering booze. Maybe a bit of vanilla struggles to make itself known.

T- Sweet at first, then things turn to a heavy malt bitterness but it's a neat balance. Much smoother than the aroma as the alcohol is not nearly as strong. Very straightforward in its delivery of dark chocolate, roast and slight char. Lingering bitterness and a bit of oaky astringency.

M- Creamy, silky, very nice. Medium carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- While the aroma is incredibly too full of booze, the taste and mouthfeel are just about spot on.

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Photo of mscudder
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Lot 25|08|GG (2012).

A - Poured strongly. Opaque hue with an immense mocha head. Excellent retention with fair lacing.

S - Dark Chocolate, roasted coffee, light caramel, dark fruits and faint smoked wood.

T - The term "Royal Stout" is necessary due to this varying strongly from what I would deem a traditional RIS. The Belgian influence is noticeable throughout: dark fruits are infused in the more traditional composition, yielding a sourness which I cannot particularly appreciate. Flavors are balanced well and the hop bitterness aids in weighing down the fruits and subduing the alcohol.

M - Silky smooth and lacking the fullness I desire and except in a stout this large. It resembles more of a fudge-like milk stout at 6-8%. Does not ruin the beer, although it is the weakest aspect.

O - Being a huge fan of Quads and Russian Imperial Stouts, this was not a fusion I adore. That said, I have high standards for Struise. It simply does not compete with the top-notch Quads or Russian Imperials I have sampled. Certainly not a bad beer, for I will keep a few for a cool evening.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured deep thick black with a big dark brown head. Aroma of roasted grains, some spice, bitter chocolate, and hints of licorice. Big full mouthfeel. Bitter chocolate and roast with some slight spiciness to it. First time I have tasted definite charred tobacco. Lingering bitter chocolate and dark dried fruit mixture left on the palate. A nice impy that reminds me of Pt5.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a near pitch black color with a massive 3-4 fingers of tan head that slowly recedes over the course of about 10 minutes

S: Huge notes of roasted malts, a hint of dark fruits, dark chocolate, and a very light hint of alcohol

T: Starts off with the huge roasty maltiness and slowly goes into a nice dark fruitiness and dark chocolate. These all linger into the finish, with a hint of alcohol which is impressive given the 13%. Quite bitter in the finish as well

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. A little thin

O: Not sure of the age on this bottle, but it's not hot AT ALL. Quite impressive. A very good mix of roasted malts and dark fruits, with a good balance of the two. Definitely a sipper, but it's difficult with the flavors and lack of alcohol heat. Highly recommended

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On-tap @ Library Alehouse.

A: Pours black as black can be with a thin (1/16") tan head which leaves trace lace.

N: Roast, some coffee, caramel, and toffee.

T: On warming the raisins, dark chocolate, molasses, sherry and oxidized notes become dominant.

M: Full body and fair carbonation. Rich, decadent, brownie frosting, dessert finish.

O: A treat. Let this warm to enjoy the multi-layered complexity.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

4 oz. served into a tasting snifter at ChurchKey. From notes.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is about one fingers of tan shading, retaining quite well for 13%.

S: Really evocative. Chocolate fudge, currants, plums, licorice, smoke, and charred malts all come together on the nose. As a whole, it's cohesive yet balanced.

T: I love the flavor progression here. It starts with a combination of fudge and mildly tart (not sour) dark fruits, followed by a licorice middle and a charred, roasted finish. The licorice notes don't bother me here nearly as much as they do in other imperial stouts - a testament to this beer's balance. I can taste a bit of booze, but it's still hidden masterfully for 13%.

M: The finish is damn near bone dry, without exposing the alcohol significantly. As a result, it's not very viscous or sticky, rather it's drinkable and almost freakin' refreshing. Seriously. A 13% imperial stout is refreshing. Not to mention devastatingly dangerous. I could use a touch more carbonation, though.

O: Seriously one of the best imperial stouts I've ever had - yet for different reasons than most of the really great ones out there. This aims to be more drinkable, more subtle, and more approachable than others, while retaining its bigness and complexity. One to seek out, plain and simple.

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Photo of barczar
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque jet black with a modest mocha head that dissipates into a ring around the rim.

Coffee, dark chocolate, roast malt, and tar form the initial aroma. Hints of dark fruit and pepper are present.

Flavor echoes the roast notes, slightly charred, adding in soy and smoky phenols. Slightly sweet to open, a tart, cherry note turns the experience smoky, nutty, and a bit burnt at the finish. Tar and chocolate surface in the aftertaste.

Body is syrupy, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Roast dominant, with enough dark fruit and tar character to keep things interesting. Good balance of sweetness and roast. Fairly complex. Would love to see how this ages. The char was a little much for me.

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

One of the best breweries in the beer country of Belgium.
This strong dark beer is excellent.
Coffee, nuts, chocolate, some fresh and dried fruits too. Berries and fig fruit. Very dark brown, with a thin brown head.
Taste and aftertaste are very powerfull. The roasty character and the high abv make this a beer to sip. I had it with some chocolate and strawberries on the side, and I really enjoyed myself.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served at Avenue Pub in New Orleans. Served in snifter.

Pours dark brown-black with light tan head that lingers well. Lots of lacing along sides of glass.

Smell is heavy with banana and sweet malts. Other ripe fruits are in the background.

Taste is smokey malt. Chocolate and caramel blend with a mild smokey bitterness late.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Very full bodied. Average carbonation for the style.

Overall this was excellent. Very rich. A little goes a long way with this beer.

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Photo of pants678
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big fluffy Belgian head with a black body.

Sweet and sugary with dark, roasted malts.

Rich chocolate and complimentary, creamy vanilla, possibly from the yeast. Candied sugar, as you'd guess. Not a lot going on here but there doesn't need to be, it's a dessert that doesn't complicate itself. There's an alcohol burn, tobacco-y, and some bitter from the hops or the natural end of cocoa. Just what you'd want from the style and where it's from.

smooth. It's Belgian, of course it's smooth.

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Photo of BBP
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours somewhat standard for a stout of its calibre, but a little thinner in appearance. Carbonation was as expected.

The aroma is sweet, with subtle booze, and some slight chocolate.

The taste is quite strong, and appealing at first. There's quite a balance to this stout, and the IBUs are quite far from obvious (although not something I'd prefer), and it really comes across perhaps too smooth. For 13%, this is very easy drinking, and the booze is there, yet works with the drink rather than against it. Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla are all here; A bit of sweetness as well. Perhaps raisin and vanilla. Sweeter than most imperials, but not by a long shot.

The body is full, and the carbonation plays its role without bringing attention to itself, which is all I could ask from a stout.

Overall, this was quite a tasty stout, and perhaps one of the best stouts I've tasted outside of North America. It's really nice to see a Belgian brewery strive to branch out beyond the typical styles that they're known for and this was a big success.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Lot: 250613062012. Bottle Lot: 25|08|GG. I am going to hazard a parsing of 13 June 2012 as a bottling date?

A: Dark brown head is tight and luxurious. Black and opaque.

S: Mmmm. Just what I wanted. Dark chocolate, licorice, alcohol (carrying a strange grapey note), flat-bready malts.

T: Molasses; huge fruits (sticky candy-covered Luxardo maraschino cherries, peaches, honeycrisp apples, raisins); cocoa powder; and perhaps a touch of coffee. The listed 100+ IBU seems a bit high, but the aftertaste *is* quite bitter...and lasting. A minute later and I could almost think I'd been sipping on coffee (except for the strongly sweet fruit).

M: The least impressive part, and it influences the taste, unfortunately. It started out real nice, but became progressively thinner and more lackluster. Still, enough of a body to stand on its own.

O: I really, really liked this beer. Maybe not $10 a lot, but I'm glad I tried it. Recommended, and confirms my good experiences with Belgian imperial stouts.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch '0'. Jet black, with a nice dark espresso tan like foam that holds nicely. It definitely looks tasty. Lots of dark fruit in the aroma, especially cherry. There's a very dry, dark chocolate character too, and a fine note of alcohol, but otherwise the smell could stand to be a bit more robust.

The taste has a nice boozy mix of ripe cherries and bitter chocolate. There is a subtle roasted bitterness at the back end, and it actually doesn't finish very hot. I like the flavor mostly, but somehow the dark fruit character gets a bit tangy and is the more dominant taste vs. the chocolate/burnt malt. I do appreciate that it is not too sweet, but there is still the proper balance missing a bit. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, not overly chewy, well done.

A fine beer but a bit too pricey for what you get. This is something I would enjoy once in awhile perhaps.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.