Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,638 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,638
Reviews: 828
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 333
Gots: 377 | FT: 25
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: 1,638 | Reviews: 828
Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
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 BeerShirts
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
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 Mora2000
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My brother picked this one up for me at Phillipe's in Lafayette. Great find.

Pours dark brown to black with a dark tan head. The head stays around throughout the entire drinking process. Aroma is strong on the dark fruits along with some coffee and chocolate as the beer warms. Very complex. The flavor is heavy on the roasted malt, almost burnt in flavor. You also get some more dark fruit and coffee and the beer finishes with some alcohol and sweetness. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of csais75
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you like bitter chocolate, coffee (the real one) and beer, this one is for you. A masterpiece from the Struise brothers. A Strong but drinkable one, with unforgettable flavor. An ocean of coffee with bitter chocolate islands on it. A powerful taste hits you. It remains on your mouth like a dark kiss.

Photo of Sixpoint
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of kwakhead
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I feel very fortunate to be sitting along side the folks from De Struise Brouwers,Chris and Jen for the official unveiling of this long anticipated brew. Chris and I sampled a few glasses before the Official unvieling and I couldn't wait for the next one I could get my hands on.Served in an Ebenezers 3rd Annual goblet this stout is very dark in appearance with a slight head,smells just as good as it tastes,chocolate,mollasses,leather?and hops.Ithas an almost syrupy mouth feel which is maybe why it goes down so well.At 13 percent and being very drinkable this is a dangerous concoction,Ican't wait to try the 3 liter bottle Chris has been carrying around like a baby the past three nights.

Photo of LilMatrix
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Really dark pour with no light penetration. Rich dark tan head; beer looks wonderfully lively.

S - Chocolate, coffee, rich with slight soy sauce undertones.

T - Pleasant sweetness/caramel, chocolate, coffee, Ends slightly bready and has an interesting umame taste. Very well balanced and sooo smooth.

M - Great creaminess and carbonation that acts like a cloud, the liquid never really touches the tongue on the way down.

D - 13% ABV? No way... this is way too smooth. Not boozy at all... this is the best 13% i've ever experienced. Way way too smooth. This is an amazing beer. All the sudden... i'm kinda lightheaded and warm =) oooohhh yeeeeaaaahhh.

Photo of Sesmu
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Notes from 07/04/2009
A: Dirty-snow head, 3/4 of an inch. Black color that reveals some brown when brought to light.

S: immediately after pouring the smell is very week, but gradually it unfolds first into roasted coffee and then into sweet chocolaty presence, some distant floral notes.

T/M: definitely chocolate, sweet and bitter at the same time, roasted coffee, perhaps molasses, bitterness is very subtle - how do you hide 100 IBU so well? - it's there, but sort of comes from a distance.

Maybe a bottle version differs from a tapped one, but I wouldn't say the beer is very thick. It's not thin by any means, full bodied, but I wouldn't say that thickness is one of its stand-out features. Balanced really nicely and 13% abv? - I would never guess, so well hidden. Definitely needs some time in the glass to open up completely; the longer it sits in the glass the more complex and pleasant it becomes. And the alcohol starts to show with its warm... or maybe it's just because I'm nearing the end of the bottle and 13% abv start to make its presence noticeable.

It's my second sampling of De Struise's brew (Tjesuus being the other one) and what can I say, seems like this brewery can't miss. Highly recommended.

Photo of Floydster
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with brianj555, he originally spent 33 dollars on this beer which is extremely steep but I had to try it, decided to open this bottle for my 800th review a week ago, reviewed from notes, poured into my Flying Dog imperial pint glass

A-Deep dark black with minimal light going through which makes it a little red, 3/4 inch creamy light brown head, stuck around for close to ten minutes, great retention, fantastic lacing
S-Coffee, dark chocolate, dark sugar, burned malts, plums, figs, smoky accents, Belgian yeast, raspberries, ether, black cherries and currants, earthiness, and blueberries
T-Starts off with lots of dark chocolate and milky texture, roasted malt in the middle, finish has a hint of booze that is not very noticeable, gets a little dry at times, later on gets a little sweeter and the cocoa comes to the surface more, creamier at the end as well, warms up nicely and its aroma is also evident in its flavor, great brew
M-Rich, roasted, dry, creamy, and bitter mouthfeel all at the same time, full thick body, perfect level of carbonation, taste lingers
D-Alcohol is hidden incredibly well, ABV is high but barely there in the taste, complex and inviting, smooth as can be, goes down surprisingly easy

One of the best stouts I have had, way different than a Russian Imperial Stout, I have said it once and it will say many more times, De Struise is a phenomenal brewery, crazy that this worked out to be three dollars per ounce but it was great to try it once, probably would not drink it again since I had such a good taste this time because I have heard about bad bottles from a few different people now and do not want to damper my experience, highly recommended

Photo of kbnooshay
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black as fuck with a super huge brown frothmaster of a head. Aroma is of dark fruits and apples. Tastes like a mix of a strong dark belgian ale and a russian imperial stout. Taste is chocolatly and malty as fuck. Just hoppy enough and super yeasty. Feel is smooth and stickey. For 13% alcohol this goes down easy.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very fortunate to be able to enjoy this on tap at Pizzaria Paradiso in Georgetown last night.

A: Almost two fingers of mocha colored head and jet black color. Looks great, great lacing, just seems like a little aggressive head for a big stout but hey man I like aggressive beer!

S: Lots of roasted malt, chesnut, dark fruit, oak, chocolate, charred marshmellow you name it for what a stout smells like and its probably there in this one.

T: So many layers to this beer. Sweet chocolate and coffee roast up front, charred malt, dark chocolate and vanilla middle, roasty and bitter finish. Sweet and Savory, a little tart almost, and a nice bite in the finish as well. Thats really good.

M: Creamy and coating, juicy, a little on the high side of carbonation but mostly just awesome.

D: What a treat to have this on tap. Very tasty and highly recommended. It is 13%.

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 yemenmocha
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with ruby red observable in direct light. Nose is incredible with Black Forest Cake - chocolate, dark fruits, and breadiness. Palate offers a nice correspondence with the nose - chocolate, dark fruit, bready, and some light vinegar/sourness. Finish is slightly chalky, in a good way.

Photo of imagineiii
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This landed in VT for the first time today...

Pours with a decent dark brown head. DARK color, hard to find brown colors around the edges. plus lace.

Coffee notes, dark chocolate, maybe some wheat notes? smells a little sour?

Silky smooth, lingering sweetness. Belgian tartness is awesome at the beginning and again at the end. Dark chocolate is at the end too.

"royally" creamy. Alot going on on the palate. a little lighter than i would like.

Alot of espresso on the palate but suprisingly clean.

EDIT: After reading some reviews of this beer I see "overcarbonated" listed as a detraction from this beer. The bottle I enjoyed had been opened and left on ice for several hours. After I warmed it up, overcarbonation was certainly no longer a problem. In fact I think undercarbonation contributed in a positive way to this beer. If you have the patience, this may be the way to enjoy this brew.

Photo of theghost3
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black with noticable chunkcs of sediment & carbonated bubbles clinging to the class. 1-finger cafe au lait head that stays throughout. Just beautiful. Significant lacing.

The smell is strong of dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, and roasted coffee-like malts. The taste is strong of coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, honey, vanilla, and alcohol. No aftertaste. Mouthfeel is buttery with a crisp carbonation at the end.

This is a drinkable RIS--rich but so delicious.

Photo of Laxadaisical
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of humanawho
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - very deep black color with a strong head of brown cream

S - nice sweet aroma with some candied figs and some slight spicyness some hints of vanilla extract

T - very smooth with some nice chocolate flavors and deep roasty notes there are some vanilla and fig flavors

M - great it is very think but crazy smooth with nice carbonation

D - extreamly drinkable nice and smooth

Photo of bfields4
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours motor oil black. Beautiful mocha head nice lace.

Cocoa vanilla strong dark malt aroma. A little bit of fig and belgian quad aroma as Well.

Rich chocolate vanilla tobacco all hit one after another. That lingering belgian dark fruit complements the other flavors nicely.

Velvity smooth and suprisingly light. Amazing complex flavors. Just an all around amazing beer.

Photo of rye726
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black Albert batch 0 is a much different beast than the original bottles of BA that were sent to the US. First off, this was purchased from the yeast store for less than $10/330ml bottle. All I can say is this is closer to Dark Lord of Bells Batch 7000 than the other Black Albert. For a review of the lesser vintage, see below.

This stout pours a black soil color and has a very nice espresso brown head. Excellent lacing and retention. The nose is a bit light. It has subtle malts and hops along with dark chocolate, bitter molasses and sweet fruit. The taste more impressive than the nose. There are roasty malts, bitter hops, cocoa, and molasses with subtle ripe fruits. Similar to De Dolle export stout in the sense that the Belgian yeasts have a strong presence. Well balanced for such a big beer. Full body is well carbonated. A nice brew, quite unique. This vintage gets a 4.0-4.2 score.

Photo of Brez07
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I previously reviewed the standard version of this, however was able to land a Batch 0. This version is much better in my opinion. Poured a 11.7oz bottle into a snifter. Reviewed on 9/22/10

A: Right away I can this is different from the standard. Pour is a much darker brown color and looks creamy. Left a 1/2 finger mocha head which great retention. Got a bit of lacing towards the end of the glass

S: Small nose, but what I get is roasted malt, some chocolate and dark fruit notes. Someone described this as mixed berries compote, which I'd say is pretty close. As it warmed, I picked up some traces of alcohol and toffee

T: Starts with a touch of sweetness, followed by dark chocolate. Kinda like flavored chocolate I guess. This is joined by a big roasted flavor. Every few sips I get a hint of smokiness as well. The fruity sweetness lingers on the palate, but the finish is definitely a good roasty bitterness

M: Definitely full bodied. Wonderfully smooth and creamy. Finishes with a fair amount of bitterness. Just a hint of carbonation that tingles the tongue

D: Fantastic beer overall. I barely put the glass down as each sip left me wanting more. The first bottle of Black Albert I had was more like a quad, but now I see why this beer was hyped in the first place

---
Reviewed from last weeks notes. 11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Brownish colored pour with 1+ finger sandy head. No lacing to report

S: Dark fruit (raisin/fig), hint of roasted malt, candied sugar and a slight whiff of alcohol

T: Big smokey flavor to start, which was not really expected from the smell. Some fruit flavors come out and it finishes with the alcohol kick, but nothing too off putting

M: Fairly large carbonation presence causes a light mouthfeel. There is a slight bitterness in the finish

D: Well, this might be the version that is more quad-like opposed to stout-like. Maybe best described as a mix, starting as a quad and finishing as a stout. Happy to try, but the price tag will probably stop me from buying again. Do have one to age, so we'll see how that goes

4/4/4/4/4 - B+

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a chalice

A: Pours a beautiful deep dark color. Opaque. The head is very small, bubbled and beige. practically no lacings left

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. A bit fruity. Belgian yeasts

T: Strong on roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. Belgian yeasts. Quite bitter

M: Heavy body. Low carbonation. High ABV. Roasted bitter end

O: Simply excellent

Photo of aerozeppl
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to drseamus for the opportunity.

A: Just short of black. Quite a bit of brown on the edges of the glass. One half finger of mocha head.

S: Molasses sweetness. Brandy. Not the burn but the pleasant smell.

T: Sweetness caramel, smoke, roasted grain, coffee, chocolate and a slight hint of fruit. Incredibly complex.

M: Lighter body than you would think. My only real complaint about this beer. Would have liked the body a tad bit thicker.

D:Damn. This is up there with choklat in terms of dumb amounts of drinkability. No hint of the 13% at all. This really is a great beer that in most ways lived up to the hype. Other members of the group compared this to Dark Lord. haven't had the pleasure yet but that is good company. Would definitely have again if it didn't involve selling organs.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After all the hype, I finally got to try this beer. It lived up to its reputation. Served in a tulip, the beer was an impenetrable black with a medium tan head. It had a coffee and chocolate aroma, like most RIS, but to my usually impaired nose, was fairly pronounced. A coffee/espresso and chocolate taste, very well balanced. If not for the high ABV, could drink a lot of these.

Photo of twelvsies
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a piece of work. This is a delicious beer, and proof that brewing is art. It's not the best beer I've had, certainly in that ballpark though, but I am just amazed that this beer even exists, because it seems to contradict style while transcending it altogether. At a glance, this is just a real handsome stout. Robust blackness and a healthy brown head of foam. But the norms end there... The aromas coming from this beer are pretty out of this world, roasty, ripe, delicious. And something reminiscent of a can of paint. Some common stouty flavors of licorice, dark roasted chocolate malt, and coffee, combine with a ripe tangy pungency of the Belgian yeast. It sounds like almost too many flavors, too complex, but it all blends together in quite a sophisticated way. It is amazing how light on the palate this beer is considering the intense flavor achieved. If I did not know it to be true, you would have a damned hard time convincing me that this beer is even close to 13% ABV. Every sip I am saying in my head, "how did they do that?" ... An enigma of a beer. Belgian Royal Stout indeed.

Photo of ejquin
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Deeply black with two finger brown head. Fades after a bit and leaves decent lacing

S: Nicely phenolic like a nice belgian quad, but with much more espresso and dark choclate. Some figginess and a nice fruitty sweetness as well with some candy sugar

T/M: Mouthfeel is medium, perhaps would have liked it heavier. More carbonated than an average stout, but I suppsoe that's the "Belgian" part of the Royal Stout description. Amazingly clean for a 13% abv beer. I get some anise up front, which fades to a figgy coffee flavor, and then a crisp hop bite, then I get even more figs and a grape and rasiin taste. Going on over all of this is a white pepper spice and a malty sweetness. It's not unitl you've sat there for a good four or five seconds after the finish that alcohol becomes apparent.

D: Pretty damn good considering the alochol.

Ovr: In a year that has brought me Dark Lord, Darkness, Abyss, and now Black Albert, I'd have to say this is right up there. Much more drinkable than the heavier stouts, but as complex. If you forced me, I'd go Dark Lord, Darkness, Black Albert, Abyss

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,638 ratings.