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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.

833 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 833
Hads: 1,679
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 337
Gots: 378 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their 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: 833 | Hads: 1,679
Photo of CrellMoset
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #200. 12 oz bottle in a trade from Elric73 - thanks! Served at 51 degrees, poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A thick, solid black beer with an immaculately fine and even creamy coffee-colored head with average retention. A surprising amount of carbonation - you can see the bubbles creep up along the arc of the glass and form honeycombs along the edges of the glass.

Aroma: Amazingly light! Tart citrus notes, very sweet, black cherries, raspberries, yeasty earthiness, ethereal alcohol, and only the faintest hints of dark roasted malts. Very surprising and unexpected.

Taste: Again very light. Half-roast coffee, currants, blueberries, white peaches and grapes, no alcohol taste as much as a warm alcohol finish. Slight hints of smoke, and sweet chocolate as things warm up. Very complex and unique.

Mouthfeel: Small-to-medium bubbled, velvety. Mild but active carbonation. Leaves a bit of a film on the teeth and tongue.

Drinkability: Quite possibly the strangest RIS I've ever had. Manages to taste and smell amazingly light while at the same time being amazingly alcoholic. The aroma and taste, however, are fabulously complex - light and fruity, almost a fruity, 13% abv schwartzbier or something. Not sure if it's worth what I paid for it, but if this were available in my area and a little more inexpensive, I'd definitely get another.

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

This is simply an outstanding beer, with an incredible sour cherry tart aroma, flawless flavor profile, nice and tight for a heavy beer but enough body to deliver a complex treat.

In my opinion, probably the best beer I've encountered this year...maybe I'll be blown away at the GABF, but it will be hard to top this one...

at a loss for words.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bgramer for the opportunity to try this one. 330ml bottle served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a one inch, tight, tan colored head with lots of tiny ringlets embedded in the cap. As the fluid receded into a fairly consistent layer of foam it left behind thick bands of sticky lacing. Scents of dark fruit dominate the nose (plum, black cherries and currants). Taste reveals cocoa and a slightly sour character to the fruit expressed in the nose. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, without being viscous, with a kiss of effervescence. Excellent drinkability and exceptional balance; I can't believe this is a 13% abv.

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Photo of jwc215
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bitterbill for this one!

Pours black with a than head that descends to a thin, lasting cover. Very nice head retention for the style. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of plums/dark fruits, sour and tart notes with some smokiness.

The taste is of plums/dates - sweet, tart, sourish notes in the back. As it progresses, licorice/anise, some acidity and a hint of chocolate come through, adding to the already big complexity. A touch of woody smokiness adds to the mix in the finish. Very complex and well-balanced.

Full-bodied and creamy, the alcohol is reasonably well-covered, making the drinkability very high for the abv level.

This is an impressive brew that combines a traditional RIS with a Belgian touch/influence. Very interesting. Very enjoyable.

Thanks again for this gem, Bill!

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Photo of sholland119
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a beautiful deep black with just a hint of amber at the bottom of the glass. Thin brown head and some nice lacing.

S-Bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and dark fruits with a hint of Belgian yeast.

T-Dark chocolate mixed with roasted malts and a bit of booziness but not too much. An awesome dark chocolate and raspberry finish. Excellent.

M-Rich and creamy, leaves a lingering bitterness on the tongue.

D-Very nicely drinkable. Obviously a bit high on the ABV but this beer is very enjoyable.

Trying this at the end of the hype cycle so expectations are reasonable. This beer delivers. Deliciously complex.


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Photo of BeerTruth
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks tpd975 for this special brew. You're the best man!

330 ml. bottle poured into a snifter. The small picture of the pregnant woman drinking a beer crossed out is priceless.

Pours a beautiful thick black with a full two finger mocha colored head that takes a while to die down to a creamy layer that lasts. Decent wall of stick left on the sides of the glass, nice looking brew for sure. Damn this is a strong smelling beer. Lots of dark fruits; fig, cherries, blueberries, dates, raisins, and blackberries just to name a few. Along with the dark fruits is a huge boozy aroma, almost medicinal. Underneath all that is a bit of dark chocolate, yeast, and freshly roasted coffee. Taste starts off pretty smokey and roasted with a good amount of black coffee and bitter chocolate. The dark fruits come through midway with sweet molasses and hearty wheat bread. An interesting sting left in the mouth towards the end lingering into the toasted marshmallow aftertaste. Very silky soft feel with a medium to full body. Carbonation is steady and noticable, but doesn't take away from the beer. The bite it leaves in the mouth though is something I've never really experienced, unique for sure. For the 13% this is pretty drinkable, still a sipper, but the abv is quite hidden. After all the recognition this beer received, I'm a bit let down. One of a kind beer, but there are plenty out there I prefer over Black Albert. Maybe it's better on tap, I dunno? I'm just not that impressed.

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Photo of illidurit
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to yespr for sharing this at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Poured into my La Chouffe goblet. Darkest brown with a tan head, not much lacing. Aroma is rather weak. Cocoa powder with a bit of dark fruit. Flavor is roasty with some malted chocolate and plum. This really isn't much different from Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence but somehow this is rated world class. The one outstanding aspect of this beer is that you would never guess that it was 13 percent abv. Literally zero alcohol flavor. Drinkability is insane. Overrated.

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Photo of errantnight
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you, brdc, for making drinking this bad boy a reality.

Well, it's not really a Russian Imperial Stout... but it's a big, delicious, exceedingly drinkable stout.

Pours a deep, opaque jet black with several fingers into my Bruery tulip... It has superb sticky lacing and a lasting head. What? Big stouts that don't look like sludge?!

The aroma is a ton of chocolate, more milk than dark chocolate, with some fig and/or rich, dark, ripe fruit aromas. Surprisingly, as it warms, this really pulls back a bit... it seems a bit flat.

Even before I get to the taste, I have to mention the mouthfeel here, it's a velvety smooth texture that's practically unlike anything I've had. It feels full, but complete, without being sticky. Amazing.

The taste, like the aroma, actually seems to get flat as it warms. But what's there is a dark caramel sweetness, maybe with some mincemeat qualities, a hint of roasted coffee, and some milk chocolate around the edges. It's bitter, but it seems like a hop bitterness, not a roast bitterness, but no hop character to speak of.

Y'know, I was super impressed when I first poured this, but it seems to lose it's more exciting fringe character as it should be opening... that said, this is amazingly drinkable, with a clean flavor and a great aftertaste. If this were readily available, I'd purchase with regularity, but at a high cost, via trade or cash, I'm not sure, even if my first reaction was: this is amazing!

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Photo of philipquarles
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle. Pours black black with a creamy ochre head that recedes quickly. Very strong smells of dark roasted malts: chocolate, coffee, etc. Dark fruits as well, followed by spices. Tastes heavily of the same coffee/semi-sweet chocolate. Spices in the background. Surprising hop bitterness actually gives it a finish that's almost dry. Thick and creamy feel with quite a bit of carbonation. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, with only a slight warming at the end.

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

Big thanks to Jw347 and tpd975 for giving me chances to try (and share) this one.

Pours deep cola out of the bottle, sitting black in the glass. Huge effervescent tan head climbs on top and settles very slowly down into the depths. Thick patches of lace are left in its wake.

Nose is not overly strong, but has a lot of complexity to it. Molasses, caramel, subtle dark rich fruits, aromatic wood, and a slight burnt plastic smell that may actually be the alcohol blending with the other deeper sweet scents (better with some decanting).

Flavor comes on to the palate with a wide span of tastes, ranging from spicy hardwood and cedar, to coffee, to blackened grainy bread. Sweetness is mild, only momentarily notable in brown sugar and deep prune, then swallowed by some earthy full bitterness and dark grains. Again, mild phenolic plastic flavor is briefly noted as fumes, smoothing out into fading fruitiness and remarkably mild alcohol (re-suggesting decanting before serving to smooth everything over).

Feel is not overbearing at all, with a thicker medium body and substantial carbonation. Somewhat thick and viscous at the finish, it leaves a bitter clinging film for a short while, but never feels thick or heavy.

As for overall drinkability and character, I think it's great but not the best RIS I've tried. Nicely balanced, especially to nearly completely hide 13% abv. Aside from temperature change, it seems to really benefit from decanting to breathe momentarily and release some of the imbalanced fumes initially released. Definitely improves the longer it sits. I could sip this one for a while, only noticing the alcohol in my head and stomach, but not in mouth or nose.

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

thanks to barefootbrewer for the chance to try this very limited brew!

A - black with a ruby tinge at the edges. soft kahki head that lasts at the edge of the glass for some time.
S - chocolate, dark fruit, light roasted coffee and belgian yeasts.
T - cocoa, dark fruits, coffee, vanilla, hints of belgian yeasts.
M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, soft smooth texture.
D - shared with a friend, drinks very nice, very smooth and deceptively easy.

That was 13%??? I'd swear it was half that strength. Belgian strong dark, belgian royal imperial stout, you decide. RIS is a misnomer. Nice to drink but no idea of the costs although I'm sure it's not cheap. Definitely one to cross off the list and be happy to have had a shot.

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Photo of dnichols
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 330 ml bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: It poured a deep dark brown-black body (even when back lit)with a giant two finger head. The chocolate head was sticky and lingered long into the drink, finally setteling into a thin cover over the surface fo the beer. There was dense lacing that clinged to the side of the chalice.

S: It hit the nose with caramel, toasted brown sugar, molasses, dark chocolate and dark sweet fruits (figs, plums). It had a creamy dark bread yeasty aroma and finished iwht a sweet alcohol aroma.

T: It had a tasty sweet and tart chocolate and ripe dark fruit flavor that exhibited complex ranges of flavors (molasses, figs, plums, bakers chocolate). After the initial flavors there are flashes of espresso and alcohol.

M: It was full bodied, creamy, and finished warm and clean. There was little residual aftertaste and just enough complexity to entice the drinker to take sip after sip.

D: It was an excellent, interesting and rich beer that would be great on a cool fall night or as a night cap. Definitely not a session brew.

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Photo of charlesw
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and dark. Beautiful, tallish, creamy dark head that sticks around, oh, does it ever. Tastes weird. Creamy smooth chocolate but strong coffee and dark, smoked bitterness with a slight tinge of sour (a blend in of another beer?). It's OK but I won't seek it out again.

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

330ml bottle, best by 04/2013, courtesy deepsouth. Thanks Jason!

Pours totally opaque, with the sort of swimmy, slowly dissipating head common to big Belgian beers. Nose is mostly boozy dark fruits, with only a suggestion of roasty chocolate. Taste is more like a gigantic quadrupel than any stout I've had, definitely thinner in body than most imperial stouts. The taste is full of rich, bready malt, rum-soaked raisins and other dark fruits, very much like an English barleywine. There's some earthy Continental hop bitterness, just enough for balance, and pleasant but faint notes of chocolate, leather, espresso, and smoke in the finish. This one is big, but not heavy-handed.

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

A - Deep deep brown, almost black but not quite. 1.5" mocha head. Looks lovely.

S - The fruitiest non-fruited stout i've ever smelled. Tons of dark fruits, malt, brown sugar, chocolate, coffee, molasses. Extremely complex and bountiful. Better than flowers, didn't make me sneeze.

T - Oh this is tremendous. Finally I get the idea of "Belgian Royal Stout". Roastiness and hops with notes of espresso, burnt sugar, and even Flemish Red-style ale. There's a little bit of sourness in this, obviously, but I do believe that this sourness could be attributed to amped up coffee flavors with a hoppy compliment. I've seen some reviews that said this beer was like a quad and an RIS combined. I'll go out on a limb and say it's more like a dubbel and stout, but that's probably because I get more sourness from a dubbel than i do a quad. Either way, it's a dark Belgian mixed with a stout, and it's completely marvelous. It's milder in taste than most stouts, but something that isn't completely overwhelming is nice for a change.

F - Slightly creamy, with nice carbonation (mild, just enough), certainly doesn't feel 13% (maybe half that). Coats the mouth extremely well.

D - Another special occasion beer, of course. Something like this you're not going to want to have a 6-pack of in one night. But this beer is definitely special. It is a brew whose character changes with each sip, revealing new notes and flavors as it warms. Only the best seem to do that, and this beer is not acting.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to warriorsoul for this brew.

Reviewed: 15 Dec 2010

Batch: 0
Lot: D
Best Before: Sep 2015

Been about 2.5 years since I last had this brew. This bottle looks totally different than the other bottles I had.

Poured into a chalice a nice black color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy two-finger tan head, which leaves a HUGE oil slick in the middle of the glass, also has some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with lots of chocolate/toffee notes, slight licorice, caramel. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, lots of dark stuff, licorice, vanilla. Full body, again the ABV is hidden very well. Very Drinkable, really enjoying this brew, Thanks Tom.

Thanks goes out to deepsouth and Bitterbill for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a very nice dark black color, very nice carbonation, a very nice two-finger creamy tannish head, which leaves some very nice thick sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, slightly sour, with some toffee/chocolate/caramel. The taste is malty, slightly sweet/sour, nice touch of dark chocolate. Full-Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well with a brew this high in ABV. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, a nice little twist on the other RISs, but very nice for what it is. Highly recommended. Thanks Jason and Bill.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown, non-transparant beer with a huge off-white head that lasts forever.

Smell is roasted with coffee, molasses and chocolate. An array of dark smells with notes of bread crust, bakers chocolate and fresh ground coffee. This is followed by a nice earthy hoppy smell which smell like European hops, noble and spicy.

Taste of strong alcohol, not the 13%, but still a strong alcohol kick. A sweet maltiness with the roasted coffee and chocolate and molasses. The dark malts give the beer a nice malt bitterness that is actually quite mild, but at the same time, giving the beer a great balance. Mouthfeel is sticky and warming. The hops are bitter and spicy and there is a good hoppy aroma in here. Body is full.

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Photo of SQNfan
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.

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Photo of tpd975
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of Overlord
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.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
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.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
2.88/5  rDev -32.1%
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.

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Photo of gford217
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.