Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,581 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,581
Reviews: 822
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 318
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: 1,581 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopasaurusRex
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on draft at Ebenezer's Pub:

Dark brown, approaching black in color. Opaque. Off-white head of tiny bubbles recedes quickly into darkness.

Nose of Belgian dark chocolate, vanilla, and toasted almonds. Some woodiness and oaklike tannins present. It smells almost bourbony although I know it is not barrel-aged.

The first sip is smooth and chocolatey just as suggested in the aroma. Vanilla, coconut, and roasted barley meld together nicely. Some fusels due to presence of high alcohol. Vinuous legs. Nice notes of oxidation and dried fruit. Dry roasted espresso beans in the finish.

A subtle, complex, and refined Imperial Stout. The only thing Belgian about it is the brewers. No phenols or funkiness.

Cheers to Ebenezer's and De Struise for this fantastic and delicious collaboration! The only complaint I have is that I wish I had a bottle to take home and savor by a crackling fire.

Photo of ToasterChef
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my Uprising Chalice at Novare Res' First Anniversary Party. The beer lives up to its name, it is black as night. There is a tan head that settled to a thin coating that lasted until all the beer was gone. It has a roasted malt smell that I rather enjoyed. The first thing that I noticed about the taste was a chocolaty sweetness, followed by roasted malts (of course, this could be more from the aroma than the taste) and a bit of caramel. The beer is 13% alcohol and you can taste it and feel it's warmth, but it isn't overpowering or distracting; in fact, it's quite nice. The beer has a heavy body, but is very drinkable. You don't want to consume this one too quickly, even though it is tempting. This exceptional beer should be enjoyed slowly. Seek out a bottle as soon as possible, or just head to Ebenezer's Pub and get it on tap.

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cracked this open for my best friend's (belated) birthday.

Darker than dark. Probably the darkest beer I've had since my '07 Dark Lord. Very little lacing, and about a 3-4mm chocolate head.

Upon cracking the bottle the aroma hits me hard. Little bit of booze, lots of dark fruits, some chocolate hidden in there.

Taste mimicks smell. Lots of dark fruits, raisins, hint of roasted malts, plus some nice chocolate at the end. Oh, and some booze as well.

Smooth as silk. Hell of a lot of mouthfeel, but what do you expect from a 13% Belgian Royal Stout?

Overall fantastic. Definitely a top 5 all-timer, and probably top 2 for the "style" whatever that is. This honestly tastes nothing like most american "russian" imperial stouts. Fruity in the way that a quad is fruity (must be the belgian yeast strain). At any rate, seek this beer out. IMO De Struise makes better beers than Westvleteren, and they're actually relatively accessible.

Photo of sk8man121
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into goblet. Batch #14; I don't see a vintage but I'm guessing 2009.

A: Pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Looks exactly how I'd expected.

S: Nose is of bitter chocolate, alcohol and astringent herbs. Very fruity w/ hints of black cherry & raspberry.

T: Quite possibly the fruitiest imperial stout I've ever tasted, and I mean that in as good a way as possible. Alcohol is pleasantly warming, chocolate/cocoa is evident but far from overpowering. Bitterness is high, almost like a fine espresso. Absolutely perfect.

M: Silky and mouth-coating. Carbonation is very low and for good reason; any more would be distracting.

D: I went to the liquor store tonight for a Chimay Blue and almost fell off my feet when I saw this beer on the shelf, and for only $10.49. Rarely do I agree that a beer truly lives up to the hype, but this is absolutely perfect and beautiful.

One of the best beers on the planet.

Photo of bobv
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another stout from Thanksgiving '09

From notes:

Appearance:
Very dark, slight head

Smell:
Dark chocolate, cherry, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, at 13% its ABV is fairly well hidden.

Taste:
Both dark and bittersweet chocolates, currants, and there is the alcohol tap dancing on my temples.

Mouthfeel:
Very nice.

Drinkability:
I could drink this 'til I dropped!

Photo of sprat1960
4.81/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Extremely dark brown with a slight reddish tint; virtually black in color in the glass with no light seen through the beer. A rich 1-2 finger deep tan head formed when poured that dies down leaving a thick smooth layer of foam on the surface of the beer. Nice looking.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, slightly boozy. Rich and delicious; made me want to drink the beer.

Taste: Rich and delicious. Coffee, chocolate, slightly sweet and slight grain flavor. Loved the rich, full stout flavor.

Feel: Medium to heavy; somewhat thick. Low carbonation; smooth. Just right for the type of beer; perfect.

Overall: A wonderful, rich, delicious Russian imperial stout. I loved this beer and want more. Definitely a beer to drink slowly and savor the flavor. I also liked that it comes in small bottles.
A new favorite in terms of stouts!

Photo of crowellr
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I usually don't like darker beers, however this one definitely broke the mold. Me and a friend were at Eb's looking for different beers to try. Talking to Chris he recommended a few and then had us taste this.

Like I said, I do not like darker beers, as most are coffee flavored, and I'm not a coffee drinker. So my thoughts when trying it were not that great. The taste was perfect, lil bit of chocolate, definitely hops and just a smooth finish.

I wish I could of bought an entire bottle or even a glass, but I only got a small sample. It was however, simply the best overall beer I had ever had. I am young, not as experienced beer drinker as most, but I do live 5 miles from Eb's, so I can safetly say I have had my share of beer.

Photo of stumac
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was tasted at Feces Fest '08 with Onslow and my girl Melani.

this brew pours up black with a huge frothy dark tan head. great lacing. the nose is a little boozy (the only negative about this beer), big dark roasty malts, dark chocolate, kind of nutty. the taste is very alive due to the 100 IBUs. I taste big roasted malts, a lil nutty, chocolate, a blend of floral and piney hops. Tons of hops and tons of malt! A fairly equal amount of the two but in great amounts! This was my BLACK ALBERT experience...

Photo of gueuzer
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Split with a friend.

A- Black. Poured a little thinner than I would expect. All the alcohol?

S- Lots going on. Bitter Chocolate, cabaret, Brett,

T- Caught off guard by the slight tart/fruitiness from the yeast. Some dark cherries and other stone fruits. Ultra dark chocolate, tobacco and roast, but not out front like you would expect.

MF- Definitely some carbonation. More than I would expect for a RIS. Not necessarily bad with the beer, but think its a little high for the style. Must be hard to control at 13%

D- Completely ridiculous. At 13% this should be illegal. No heat at all. Very enjoyable. With the other flavors you don't have to be sitting in front of fire to enjoy this one.

Photo of mpetersen
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Trying to hold off on doing many reviews until I learn more, but this is so good I can't help myself.

A: Pitch black with a beautiful, short mocha head.

S: Not much smell at all. Traces of dark fruit, milk chocolate and booze.

T: Taste is amazing. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Mild sweetness, Belgian yeast, dark malts, hops and chocolate. Pleasant bitter finish.

M: WOW! Rich and creamy, full bodied. Worth the experience in and by itself.

D: Extremely drinkable. Never would have guessed 13% ABV if I hadn't read it off the bottle myself. Without a doubt a truly exceptional beer.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to tytoanderso for this ridiculous extra. 2008 vintage.

A - An absolutely picture-perfect Stout. Black, tan froth, lots of lace

S - Chocolate covered raisins, so perfectly expressed. Intensely mouth-watering aroma. This is an amazing stylistic fusion; it is the best of both worlds, fully melded.

T - Exceptionally tasty. Dark fruitiness, heavy roast, suggestions of coffee and chocolate, vinous flourishes, woody tones. Finishes with notes of oxidation, cocoa, fig compote, and fabulous deliciousness. I also occasionally pick up on a fleeting fruitiness normally found in Oud Bruin. This is the ultimate in Belgian-American style re-interpretation; everything is simultaneously so decadently American, but is also so sublimely Belgian. Definitely the best of both worlds, and so mutually complementary. My only caveat is that this brew does not benefit from 'airing out', it is best served quite cold.

M - Perhaps a bit more could be done here; it is good, but it is the only weak link.

D - This is a phenomenal brew; a paradigm of the Belgian Imperial Stout style, a style which seems currently to be ascending. Plus everything about this day sucked, except this beer. That is worth a lot in my book.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours, aptly, an opaque black with a copius tan head that lasts, leaving ample lacing on the glass.

Aromas of prunes, dark cherries, coffee, brown sugar, wet hay, and some barn funk.

Tastes of prunes, dark cherries, coffee, brown sugar. Nice dark fruit flavors dominate, with a refreshing tartness for an imperial stout. I can appreciate why the brewers claim this is a Belgian Royal Stout as opposed to the Russian Imperial Stout it is classified as.

Rich, sweet, creamy mouthfeel, like melted chocolate and cherry ice cream.

This is a night capper at 13 percent ABV. However, the alcohol is not so evident in the taste (until after you drink it), and is balanced by the delectable strong flavors.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Bob for bringing this. We compared this Batch 0 Black Albert side by side with Kabert.

Inky black with hardly any light coming through. Tan head that lasted quite a while. Huge aromas of dried fruit of the prune and currant type with lots of velvety smooth cream, chocolate, and espresso. A touch of biscuit starts off the palate and quickly becomes the aforementioned fruit and finishes with the burnt toast and espresso. Huge and rich body with subtle carbonation. When compared with Kabert, I think this beer is more expressive for sure. A lot more of the dark fruit flavor here than I expected and certainly more fruit flavor than Kabert, which was also a surprise. Delicious.

Photo of Finatic
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle served slightly chilled into a a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a dark mocha hue with a reddish tan head that sticks to the glass.

S: Heavy aromas of chocolate, coffee, and fruit. The alcohol is well hidden to the nose for a 13% stout.

T: Has a real nice blend of flavors in this one. Dark chocolate gives way to coffee which gives way to a sweet cherry, fig flavor.

M: Full bodied stout with a bitter finish that really suits the beer. As the beer warms the hops bitterness really compliments this brew perfectly.

O: One of my favorite tasting stouts. I will be searching this one out in the future.

Photo of alyankus
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black with a 1.5 finger head. Settles with nice lacing

N: Higher quality coffee and roasted cocoa nibs predominate with hints of dried black fruits.

P: More coffee, decent quality semi sweet chocolate with a prune-like character on the finish

M: Very rich and creamy the 13% is not at all noticed

D: Very drinkable. Goes down way too easily. The 2nd best stout I've had to this point next to KBS

Photo of ToddHolder
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of CMW
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with creamy tan head with good retention. There are some reddish-brown highlights present when held up to the light.

S - Strong coffee and sour cherry flavors.

T - Similar to the nose, coffee and cherry mixed with roasted malt. Extremely smooth. I detected the alcohol is the first sip but it faded shortly after. This is easily in my top 3 beers of all time.

M - Very creamy, just perfect.

D - Extremely drinkable even at 13%. That's dangerous.

Photo of Konkretek
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of jegross2
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
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 BearsOnAcid
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch Ø

Pours black with some visible carbonation. Some slight belgian phenols, heavily roasted barley and dark chocolate in the nose. Could be a little more pronounced.

This beer tastes literally like biting into a bar of 95% cocoa dark chocolate. Huge bitter chocolate flavor, roasted malt, slight sweetness and well hidden alcohol. This stout is unreal. Slightly thick, almost creamy, in the mouth feel. Not too thin but just right for this beer.

I think this might even be better than the bottles from the original release. Which potentially are the same thing, I guess.

Photo of soupyman10
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful dark brown near black color with a huge creamy brown head on top that sits around forever. Excellent lacing. A barely-there highlight of lighter brown.

Nose is enormous and delicious. Huge chocolate and roasted malt in there, as well as coffee. Sweet molasses and Belgian candy. Some cherries and maybe raspberries in there.

Flavor is incredible as well. I'm a huge RIS fan, and this one hits in all regards. Let me see...coffee, licorice, cookies, dark chocolate, raisins. Huge roasted malt and hops leave it lightly dry towards the end and show up more as the brew warms, along with some dried fruit (flavor's a whole heck of a lot hoppier than the nose). Not a hint of booze.

Body is huge, full and creamy, coating the mouth and leaving a fantastic roasty and hoppy aftertaste. Thick and chewable, in an excellent way.

Man this is an incredible beer. All-around fantastic, one of the best brews I've ever tasted. An experience.

Photo of Bmcg266
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Perhaps my palate has been dulled from drinking simpler times all night, but this is a fantastic Imperial Stout, nd the best Belgian Imperial Stout I've ever had.

Appearance: Black, Black, Black. Even Held up to the light all you can see is black. Head is a light mocha color, a bit lighter than most Imperial Stouts.

Smell: Dark fruits and alcohol. Raisins, figs, etc. etc. A slight alcohol burn to the smell, yet the sweetness of the raisin smell overshadows it nicely.

Taste: Amazing. Smokey Roastiness first hits the palate, then the dark fruits, from sugar sweetness, and a bit of an alcohol bite, yet nothing compared to what I'd expect from a 13% abv. beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, Velvety, delicious. A lot like an oatmeal stout, yet a little less "creamy". A little bit too thin for my preference in Imperial Stouts, yet smooth and delicious regardless.

Drinkability: Fantastic. Never before have I had a beer with such a high abv. to drinkability ratio. Absolutely amazing. If it weren't so damn expensive I'd drink this all the time.

Overall: Perfect, except for the mouthfeel. Seeing as this is the only "Royal" belgian stout i've had/heard of this is purely amazing. Highly reccomended. If you see this, pick it up. It's worth a try, even at 10.95 a 12 oz.

Photo of BeerShirts
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- No light will break through this beer. The head was small but retained well

S- Rich roasted/burnt smell and underlining of alcohol.

T- like others have said WOW. No taste of alcohol. The dark fruit and raisins taste really seemed to come through a lot to me, almost a quick splash of sour but fades just as fast as it hits you, has a nice lingering taste from the roasted malt

M- Smooth, very little carbonation

D- Would drink this beer every day if I could. It goes down probably to easy for the ABV.

Photo of david131
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A very dark brown, bordering on black with a bit of light coming through the edges. The creamy brown head is a little on the thin side but has some great retention for the alcohol content.

S- Black chocolate, cherries, malted milk powder... Sweet and tame. Very enjoyable once it warms up and opens up.

T- Dark chocolate, coffee, black cherries, and alcohol. Very well blended and intriguing. Stands up with some of the best stouts I have had.

M- Creamy smooth with a good body that has some long lasting flavors. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

D- Unbeliavably tasty and intriguing. One of the best. I wish this was cheaper (I paid $12 for 11.2 oz) and available in Michigan.

Photo of trbergman
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330mL bottle poured into a cervoise.

A - Pours very dark brown with ruby highlights and a half inch of dense, mocha-colored head.

S - Aromatic, with cocoa, raisin, fig, and a whiff of alcohol.

T - Taste mostly follows the nose, with rich chocolate flavor and dark fruits - raisin, fig - and sour cherry. Hints of hazelnut, clove and cardamom, as well as some minor oxidation. Hop bitterness doesn't leap out of the glass, but it's quite assertive. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

M - Absolutely perfect, although what else would you expect for a bottle conditioned Belgian imperial stout?

D - A fantastic beer, although I don't think it has the same revisit value as other top imperial stouts. Nevertheless, a must try for fans of both stouts and Belgian beers.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,581 ratings.