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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

1,609 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,609
Reviews: 824
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 328
Gots: 382 | 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: 1,609 | Reviews: 824
Photo of kspongeworthy
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of madcal
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jeonseh
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled poured into a CBS snifter. First beer of baller and its components tasting

A - Deep, brown color with a light mocha swirl of foam sitting on top. Looks to have a medium body

S - Smells of deep cocoa with a light teriyaki smell as well. There is a light lemon peel in the nose

T - Cocoa with a hint of lemon. There is a bit of salty teriyaki on the backend. This is interesting for a stout. Not the typical flavor profile and a bit lemony for my taste

MF - Light and creamy with very light carbonation. Leaves a thick, creamy feeling that lingers on the tongue

O - an interesting beer that is a bit different for the style. Definitely not as Belgian as I expected. It does have an interesting lemon aspect that you don't expect for a stout. Worth a try because it's different but not world class.

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

Picked up a couple bottles of Black Albert at a bar down the road from where Urbain brews his Struise beers in Oostvleteren, Belgium. That was a memorable trip..

Poured appropriately into my De Struise cervoise glass (which I also got from that bar).

Appearance: an unrestrained, straight down the middle pour was unable to generate much of a head; just some large dark brown bubbles that formed a ring around the inner edge of the glass. The bottle describes Black Albert as being "black as hell" so I'll stick with that description.

Smell: not a whole lot going on in this department.. some roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of that unmistakably "Belgian" aroma.

Taste: man this beer tastes good.. I'm getting tons of chocolaty flavors (milk and dark). Somewhat surprisingly, there's not a lot of hop bitterness for a beer that supposedly packs 100 IBUs (which is fine by me).

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied and as smooth as silk; tough to beat.

Overall: I might actually prefer Black Albert to Cuvee Delphine; though I haven't done a proper side by side and have only drank the latter in the wrong context. Either way, this one will not disappoint.

Photo of theminutemen
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Devi0us
4.25/5  rDev 0%

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

2007 bottle (B-6-BB)

A dark, chocolaty brown colored beer; not completely opaque, as light penetrates the edges of the glass somewhat. Small foamy brown head that settles slowly; pretty much no lacing at all.

The nose has prominent fudgy chocolate, booze, prunes and other dark fruit, and some faint yeasty, spicy esters. The taste also packs a fair amount of complexity, with more of that dense fudgy chocolate, fruit, boozy warmth (but not heat), as well as caramel and subtle Belgian yeast notes. Roasty but no longer very bitter, semi-dry finish.

Moderately full-bodied but not viscous or particularly chewy; medium-low carbonation. Overall very creamy and smooth. I really enjoyed this flavorful stout, it’s a bit of a change of pace with its reserved Belgian influence. Very easy to drink considering its very high ABV. Definitely wish I had a few more bottles.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.64/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Ultimate Wine Shop in NJ
No bottled on date. "Lot B-6-BB," whatever.
(supposedly from June 2007)
Poured into a standard US pint glass

If a fresh Black Albert is at all like my aged variety, then this is a dried plum and grape-forward RIS with some noticeable ethanol characters. Despite the fairly high rating to this beer, it does not live up to the hype of being particularly noteworthy, aside from its cost and limited availability. Some reviewers seem to pick up characters that I cannot find at all in the beer, a testament to either individual wishing or poor quality control. I would be curious to try a fresh bottle of this out, but considering there is no easy way to tell on the bottle when it was brewed, I will refrain.

The pour produces a 2cm head of dense, small, dark tan to light brown bubbles. This fades, in a few minutes, to a 0.5cm cap atop the beer throughout the drinking session. As the head descends, it leaves some pleasant washes of lacing along the sides of the glass. Body is dark brown to black in color, totally opaque, only the slightest of hints of amber-brown highlights. Carbonation is not even visible through this. An excellent looking RIS.

Aroma is of sweet, syrupy raisins and prunes, as if cooked into a compote. The back of the sweetness is roasted malt, slight rum, even more sparse vanilla, and a bit of ethanol is hiding in the nooks between these two. I don't know where people are citing chocolate and coffee in this beer: I know what both smell like, and this has neither. Scents are kind of one-dimensional, disappointing, this comes across as a stronger Samuel Smith's or Big Eddy RIS in terms of dried fruit sweetness.

Taste is equally dominated by syrupy raisin and prune flavors in the front of the tongue. Rum arises mid-palate with continued dried fruit sweetness. Back of palate picks up a flash of sharpness from ethanol and not much else. Char, roasted malt, and some chocolate are only noticeable in the aftertaste. For a stout, it seems strange that the most desirable part of its flavor is in the ghost of its main taste.

Beer is medium-bodied with gentle carbonation that creates a foaming, but rolling effect that makes this very pleasant on the palate initially. Ethanol heat felt from mid-palate through close, in nostrils and throat. Closes with a spicy ethanol burn on the back of the throat. Finish is expectedly dry, but a bit sticky from the sweetness contained in the beer.

Photo of MarkFy
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of seancake
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of kevgod
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Riggsy
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of mikereaser
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of cosmonick
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of bmur112
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of jacobb
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of denimdemon
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this near Cocoa Beach in 2010.

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle, lot is A 6 BB.

Appearance: A very dense brown-black body with a good 2 fingers worth of foam.

Smell: Nose full of sweet chocolate, some coffee, figs, raisins and dark fruits.

Taste: Dates, candied fruit, and faint coffee. While good, it really lacks in complexity and depth.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth for the ABV and has a strong start but the back end doesn't hold up to the promise. Could be fuller.

Overall: Doesn't live up to the hype IMO. For the strength of the ABV, the style and the pedigree of the brewery, i expected better. Good but not great by any means.

Photo of LambicKing
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of kayrex
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of cvm4
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #14

A - Pours very black, just like any stout. There's some tan bubbles floating around but not much of a head.

S - I'm picking up a smell almost like a red wine. Very fruity and complex smelling.

T - Dark cherries, raisins, plums with a dark chocolate undertone. The aftertaste is when the bitter cocoa and coffee show up. There's a lot going on in here and it is melding together wonderfully.

M - Great carbonation, just heavy enough to coat your mouth.

O - A sipper of a beer. If you're not open minded and expecting something else then you won't like it. From what I gather, this beer should be aged and I could only imagine it'll get much better.

Photo of jegross2
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. Black Albert is probably De Struise's best known beer, and it was one of the four beers that was blended to make the Baller Stout that I reviewed a month or so ago. I have been looking forward to drinking this beer for a long time.
Score: 97

Bottle marked from Lot B-6-BB, which, according to this helpful website, means that this brew is from June of 2007. I received this as part of a trade with BeerAdvocate user readbaron back in early January 2011. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 02/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a super dark brown, almost pitch black-like, color with a finger of creamy brown/mocha colored head that quickly settles into a decently thick (maybe 1/5 finger) still-creamy layer that covers three quarters of the top of the beer. The head stays like this for a little while before ultimately settling into a ring around the glass. There is a very faint layer of dark brown highlight atop the body. Excellent lacing with solid retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Holy Moses. This one smells like a dense sweet chocolate dessert you'd have after a nice steak dinner. Tons of thick, rich and complex chocolate aromas and sweet dark fruit. There's a nice blend of fudge, bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate and roasted chocolate. Raising/fig, plum, light hops and a really faint note of dark cherry and currant too. The dark cherry aroma grows in the nose as the beer warms. A light blackberry aroma seems to come out as well as the beer warms. Complementary aromas of coffee grounds and oak in the background. There's a hint of alcohol ester towards the back of the nose as well. I could smell this beer all day. 4.5/5

Taste: Oh wow. Complex, rich and satisfying. Very flavorful and balanced. The taste largely follows the nose, but with much more than a mere hint of currant/dark cherry on the palate. My first impression is roasted chocolate, dark cherry and a hint of blackberry. A sweet raisin/plum and thick, bitter chocolate contrast really balances out the acidity and light tartness of the blackberry/cherry flavors, rendering Black Albert really smooth and creamy. Fudge, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder coat the midpalate, along with light amounts of coffee, oak and a little spice to balance out the sweeter chocolate and dark fruit flavors. There's a very mellow "alcohol" flavor present as well, but it strangely enough works really well with the flavors combinations of the beer. The chocolate and dark fruit is so rich that it is almost chewy. The more I drink this brew, the more I think the flavor comes in waves. The first wave is roasted chocolate, followed by some cherry/currant/blackberry, followed by dark fruit, coffee, oak and more chocolate. Finishes with flavors of roasted bitter chocolate, dry plum, some coffee, and light cherry. Roasted chocolate lingers on the back of the tongue. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Perfect stout mouthfeel. Medium-full bodied with light carbonation -- just enough to perk the berry/cherry flavors on the palate. Very chewy, thick and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Moderately sweet finish. 5/5

Overall: One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have ever had the pleasure to try. That says a lot considering that Russian Imperial Stout are my favorite style of beer. I need to get another bottle of this stuff.

Recommendation: Seek this one out at all costs. The flavors here should have mass-appeal. Even to sours lovers. If you like The Abyss, you need to get your hands on a bottle of this stuff.

Pairings: I feel like this beer would work really well with a warm chocolate cake because the cherry/berry flavors would contrast the chocolate elements, as they do in the beer itself, while the chocolate/coffee flavors of Black Albert would complement the chocolate cake. I could also see this one with some caramelized onions and steak or as a digestif.

Cost: $9.99 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

Photo of d4radio
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,609 ratings.