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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,576 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,576
Reviews: 821
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 316
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: 1,576 | Reviews: 821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DearthVader
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle provided by LSUPT a few months back. Thanks for this one Alex!

Poured to my Stone 15th Anny snifter.

Pours a deep, sludgy black with a rust color head that falls to a nice film. Spotty lacing is left behind with this one.

Smell starts with a burst of vanilla that is backed by a boozy body. Slight black licorice and some dark berries.

Taste follows almost exactly. A nice woody vanilla note at the beginning that is backed by that sweet, boozy black licorice and berries. Nice roasted bitterness at the end.

The mouthfeel is exactly what you're looking for with a big stout like this. Thick, creamy, almost chewy body. You don't get as much bitterness as the bottle describes you'll receive, but there is a quick bite of that bittering roasted malt at the end.

I liked it, didn't love it, but it is a solid brew. Thanks Alex.

Photo of DrewOSU
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a muddy tan with a chocolate ½ inch head on initial pour. Lacing is thick and carbonation is pretty high for a RIS./

S: Big alcohol nose, Belgium sugar and banana. Not getting a lot of hops for it being over 100 ibu.

M/T: Light medium body, a lot lighter than I thought for being a 13%, but what I expected after seeing how much carbonation there was on the pour. Also, surprisingly light for such a big alcohol beer. I get almost a grape like taste on the tongue on the initial sip. Light hop background, but not as much as expected with it being 100 ibu. With this bottle being 2008, maybe the hops faded a tad? Finishes slightly bitter and sugary.

D: If I had to describe this beer in one word it would be unexpected. There is nothing overwhelming, but very unique tasting. With its medium body, it is very drinkable, but this is definitely a nice sipper.

Photo of vfgccp
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Creamy mocha head. Poor retention and lace. Midnight brown with murky brown highlights.

S - Red grapes, kiss of booze, chocolate covered raisins, black cherries.

T - Sweet black cherry opening. Molasses, caramel and malt center. Milk chocolate and booze finish. Balanced a shade too sweet.

M - Medium/light, especially for the style.

O - Sweet with a porter-like body.

Photo of steve8robin
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this at a local beer store. Tried once a whole back, but looking to review it...

A: Pours a deep dark black with a nice milk chocolate head that fades at a good rate. Very good.

S: Thick bitter chocolate roast upfront with dark fruits in the middle and hints of cocao and vanilla on the backend. Decent.

T: Heavy boozy roastiness upfront with bitter chocolate in the middle and a light airy cocao on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium body with a hint too much carbonation. Good.

D: Once you get past the heavy booze and bitter roastiness, this goes down. Decent.

All in all, this is an ok brew. Not too much special here. Ok brew. Way too boozy and roasty than I would've liked. Not really worth hunting down. Many better in the style.

Photo of Squelch
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Jet black. Minimal tan head. no lacing

Smell: Roasted malts dominate. No hops here.

Taste: Very roasty. Super sweet. no bitterness. Smooth. Like cold espresso.

Mouthfeel: Extremely heavy. Slight alcohol beat at the very very end. Syrupy sweet.

Overall: I think there's too much sweetness here. Could be toned down a bit. Also could use a bit more hops to balance out the sweetness.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Been lookin' forward to this guy for some time now. It pours a deeply opaque bit o' black soup topped by a half-finger of dark tan foam. Once this has faded, a nice halo lingers at the surface. The nose comprises raisins, figs, molasses, chocolate syrup, sugar cane, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Pretty nice so far. The taste holds a stark combination of bitterness and fruitiness up front and dark sugar, coffee, and bitter chocolate in back. I've gotta say, the whole taste experience here did not go well. The bitterness and fruit up front knocked what could have been a very dark and tasty stout down a peg. It seems as though a stout was blended with a BSDA, resulting in a genetically inferior bastard child. It wasn't entirely objectionable, but not great, either. The body is a heavy medium, with an active carbonation and a surprisingly dry finish. Overall, the odd flavor combination and bubbly nature hold down what could have been something special. A bit of a let-down here.

Photo of WeedKing4
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark jet black with caramal foam forming in a brandy snifter. Tastes of dark roasted malts and chocolate, with a hint of dark fruits in there too. Honestly, its a little on the hot side with the 13% alc. I was hoping for more from this big stout. But the flavour isn't wowing me away.

Photo of sfreshnock
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I am very susceptible to beer hype. Just have to know what the big stink is about. Black Albert, my latest buy in, is indeed worth the endless praise. Poured nice and slow into a tulip style glass, the head was immense for a 13% ABV beer and it stuck around for some time. Fantastic looking beer, period. The smell on the other hand was dull and acrid, not overly phenolic, more like like flat pepsi. Flip Flop again. Taste is full of flavors that easily come to life. "Caramel Sundae Syrup" at the tip and back of my tongue intertwined with sour cherries and raisins. Aftertaste is much like a Flanders Red. Black Albert does noy give his ABV away in the mouth. Mouthfeel is sticky and leaves my teeth wet with an oily film. Very drinkable for a high ABV beer. I could drink another if it was cost effective.

Photo of Onenote81
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle received from funkydelic in a recent trade. Thanks!

Poured this one into my snifter. Pours a thick viscous deep black with a good inch and a half of dark tan head on top. Retention is fair, and it leaves a nice sticky coat of lace on the side of the glass. Right off the bat, this beer smells of freshly shaved cocoa, big coffee notes, and a slight twang of soy sauce. Maybe I'm getting used to it, but this characteristic fades quickly.

This is a very creamy, smooth beer. A soft silky creaminess just coats the mouth with each and every sip. This is how I like my big stouts to feel. Well done. Where cocoa and coffee are big in the nose, they lack a little depth in the flavor dept. This beer is a little too tart for my liking. There's definitely some dark chocolate bitterness present, but the predominant flavor I'm getting is a slightly sour fruity flavor. I'm not sure about this one. I can sense the alcohol definitively. This is a slow sipper for sure, and one at that.

Some characteristics on this brew were spot on in my opinion, but lacking in others. Still, this was a pleasure to quaff. Thanks, Cameron, for the opportunity.

Photo of dtmets84
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unsure of the bottle date but the notched lot is B-6-BB.

Black body, plenty of dark brown head.

The nose smells off almost a bit of a funk to it and the taste follows the nose. Warms up and becomes a bit more enjoyable

Body is thick and heavy, as it should be.

First time cracking a bottle, would not seek this out agaim.

Photo of ptykozoon
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*batch 14* Pours a mysterious dark color, maybe black, or is it deep brown, do I see dark purple? In any event when a beer is this color it's bound to be good. A small head rises that is the typical caramel color. Retention & lacing are decent.

I smell booze, apples, dark fruits, and a touch of chocolate.

Interesting flavor, it tastes very much belgian with flavors that are complex and not as easy to spot as say - chocolate or bourbon. There are floral hints in this brew, malty dessert flavors and a finely tuned bitterness; almost a dryness. All in all not bad but not too tasty either, it leaves something to be desired. I think they could have cut out some of the alcohol and it would have been much more inviting and better balanced.

Mouthfeel is thick thick thick and slightly abrasive. This Russian is a man's drink; powerful sums it up best. It's hard on the throat but I still can't believe its 13 bloody percent alcohol.

Drinkability is a horrible factor to rate but I doubt I would, or could drink another.

Photo of Overlord
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
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 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excited to try this beer! Big thanks to ICCULUS for this beer! Thanks Jim!

Lot number: B 6 BB (vintage 2007)

poured into snifter.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a 2 fingers worth of mocha brown head. Spotty lacing on the glass. Head fades to a thick ring around the side of the glass.

Smell: roasty and malty. Little bit vinuous smelling similiar to wine. Dark fruits that smell mostly of raisins and prunes.

Taste: This beer is roasty and moderately bitter upfront. Strong notes of molasses, raisins, figs, anise, and black licorice at mid palate that completely covers up the roasty qualities found at the beginning of this beer, but they compliment the bitterness of the beer with a mild sweetness. In the aftertaste I get some earthiness and unfortunately I taste do sour cherries. Its unmistakeable and the cherries tend to linger for quite a while after each sip of the beer. I think that this beer must have a minor infection going on or it could be oxidation since this beer is vintage 2007.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. This beer is smooth and a just a little bit thin. Carbonation is a little bit prickly, but close to where it needs to be.

Overall: This beer is better than your average stout. It just seems a little bit off though. Nice beer. I should give this beer a try when its a fresh batch.

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This pours a deep brown color that is very close to black with a thin swirl of brown froth that quickly dissipated. The beer coats the glass extremely well, but left minimal lacing.
Smell: I let this beer warm for 45 minutes outside of the fridge, and the nose was still subtle with scents of chocolate and dark fruits, and it showed its Belgian roots with the unmistakable scent of yeast.
Taste: The flavor profile is heavy on the front of the tongue with coffee and dark bitter chocolate. The middle of the beer gives flavors of dark cherries, plums, and figs before ending on a bitter note.
Mouthfeel: The warming alcohol quickly catches up with you, but for a RIS this beer has a thinner mouthfeel than I would have expected and has the mouthfeel of a good Quad, but not a RIS.
Drinkability: The alcohol is well hidden for a 13% beer, but the price would keep me away from this beer.

I am certainly glad that I got to try this beer, and overall is was a pretty good beer, but not worth a dollar and ounce though is what is equates to. If this beer were in a four pack around 15-20$ I would buy it often, but 12 bucks for a bottle I was expecting something differing from this offering.

Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle courtesy of upsjeff.

A: The stout opened with a fizz and slowly foamed up, leaving a coffee-and-cream colored head slowly creeping out of the glass. In my snifter, the stout is dark, appropriately black for an imperial offering. Spots of lace result from the head.

S: The nose is interesting, dark and malty on one hand but fruity/spicy on the other. There is even a dry Irish stout aroma floating in there.

T: An interesting stout, continuing from the unique aspects of the nose. Dry malts, dark and roasted, lend a Guinness-like flavor, followed by a Belgian yeast profile of dark alefruits. A lactic creaminess is strong, adding a mildly sour, stale taste to the stout. The 13% pricetag is well hidden but this imperial stout seems more like an imperial Irish stout.

M: I'm not sold yet. The sweet lactic body is a little too sour, a little too loosey goosey. I like the fruit flavors that follow the lactose but they don't last long enough.

D: A tough drink with a heavy pricetag. It is certainly imperial, an ale that isn't afraid to shatter boundaries. Based on that, I kinda like it.

Photo of SacoDeToro
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Annual Woodshop tasting. Special thanks to Ebenezer's for supplying the 3L bottle.

The beer poured a deep jet black with a minimal off-white head.

The aroma was of black roasted malts and dark dried fruits. Some notes of tobacco. Also in the aroma were some faint hints of acetylaldehyde - not good. For a 13% beer, the alcohol didn't really pop out in the nose.

The flavor of the beer had an intense roasted malt flavor with notes of bittersweet chocolate and some malty sweetness. The hop profile was neutral, but assertive. The flavor of the beer went somewhat flat in the finish - not terribly dynamic. It just didn't seem as complex as the others we sampled that night such as KtG and DL.

The carbonation was dialed in well and the mouthfeel was somewhat creamy although the beer finished reasonably dry for the style, which aided its drinkability.

Overall a bit disappointing. It just lacked the complexity that I personally needed for it to have been great.

Photo of Tilley4
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The huge hype surrounding this one has died down considerably now and made this one quite a bit more acccessible..

11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet...

Pours beautifully here... Pitch black with a very impressive mocha colored head... Very dark and foreboding looking brew...

Very rich dark aromas of burnt roasted malts, cocoa nibs, a little yeast, and a surprising amount of hops.... Not getting quite as much of the fruity aspects of this as others but there might be a little there....

Tastes much like the smell... Burnt roasted malts, chocolate, a little vinousness... And a kick of hops at the end that really has me surprised.. Big does of hoppy bitter finish.... Weird...

Overall a nice beer but the downfall of this one is its consistency... Its way way too thin and watery... It tastes plenty rich enough but this has almost a pilsner like thinness to it that's quite off-putting...

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally got a bottle of this. Pours black with a small tan head that fades rapidly. Aroma of molasses, alcohol, licorice, and sweet rich roasted malt. Flavor of rich roasted malt, alcohol, and a touch of bitter chocolate. A little muddled flavor-wise. Palate is a little boozy. Interesting beer but it turns out it was nothing special after all (still it was fun being one of the first to get this super-hyped beer on tap at Ebenezer's back in January).
8/4/7/4/15 (3.8/5)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Sept 2015. Batch 0, lot D. Purchased from a Belgian webshop quite a while back, and stored in my garage. 'Belgian Royal Stout' - indeed.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Black as night; utterly inpenetrable. Large chunks of yeast can be seen floating around at the bottom of the glass. Produces a massive head of creamy brown foam with excellent retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of dark, fruity malt with notes of brown sugar, molasses, marzipan, dried fruit and yeast esters. A warming whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of rich, fruity malt with a spicy, alcoholic finish. Notes of dried fruit, molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, yeast and stewed hops. Very boozy; an astringent, almost solventy alcoholic character. Mild bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with tingly carbonation and great body. The booze lends it a spicy quality. Dries the palate, and leaves an aftertaste of fruity malt.

Decent, though not as good as the hype led me to imagine. Fruity and boozy - a daunting concoction. I was expecting there to be a more obvious roasted malt character with a defining bitterness, rather than the sweet fruitiness that is actually present. Both the aroma and flavour lacked something undefinable; the result was a well-constructed but sub-par RIS. Worth trying, just lower your expectations a little.

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Brooklyn snifter yesterday. Dark, dark brown blackish pour with a nice mocha brown creamy froth. Milky way wavy bubbly head- tiny bubbles in the middle with bigger ones out by the rim.
Very noticeable whiffs of coffee with a little bit of vanilla, 13% vapor, touch of blackberry.
Like the aroma, huge coffee flavor and really little else. A little malted chocolate and sweet candy in the middle. Heat in the back with nice carbonation. Somewhat of a dry, over-roasted coffee mouthfeel. Alcohol hidden well, but overall too coffee dominated for my tastes.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/4/2009 (Bottle LOT B6BB):

Pours an extremely dark brown colored body, with a huge foamy tan-brown colored head, lastingish. Aroma of dark fruit, dark grape, fig, and floral, somewhat sweet. Not much roasted notes, but the floral is definitely muted by something. Dark fruit taste, immediately followed by roasted and chocolate flavors. Roasted aftertaste. Dark grape. Like a combo Belgian ale and an imperial stout. Tasty.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared courtesy of Bobsy - thanks for taking this one off the wants list!

Pours a dark brown with minimal head and not much lacing.

There are light fruits in the nose, brown sugar, some nice spiciness, hints of roasty malts - the promise of nice things to come.

The taste and mouthfeel were disappointing though. All the qualities of the nose came through with a hint of chocolate but all in mild quantities. I would have loved for them to be big and bold but they were muted and a little dull. It was smooth and sexy no doubt but just not a knock-out.

For all the hype (it is Top 100 after all!) I was certainly expecting a little more. It hides the alcohol well and certainly drinkable but all in all - a little bit of a let down (especially for the price!)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an snifter. Batch 14. 11.2 oz bottle.

4.0 A: Black color. Two+ fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and a decent amount of lacing.

4.5 S: Wonderful mixture of sweet and roasty. Deep sweet chocolate backbone with enough roasted barley to give a good balance. Behind all this, there is a vinous fruitiness concentrating on plum, black currants, and grapes. Candi sugar and a light booziness. Complex with complementary flavors.

3.5 T: Taste is a bit of a strange departure from the nose. The chocolate and roastiness is thrust into the backseat to allow the dark fruitiness to take the show. Again the vinous fruitiness as if it were wine barrel aged. Plum, raisin, tobacco, prune, and black currants. There's also a significant hoppy fruitiness and herbalness in there as well. The strange part is that there is also a strong lactose like sourness to it. Chocolate and roasted barley come in behind these flavors. Soft bitterness to round out the beer.

3.5 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation is active on tongue Fairly smooth except for a slight mouth drying on finish.

3.5 D: Pretty good beer. Interesting taste with a great smell. Average mouthfeel. However, I doubt I'll have this again because the $10 price was nowhere near worth the size and quality of the beer.

Photo of Monsone
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an deep black with a big dark brown head. Leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Sweet malt, soy, coffee, alcohol, dark roasted barley and slightest dark fruit. Not what I was expecting out of this beer. Quite muted.

T - Starts with sweet malt, with a bitter middle and a alcohol finish. A some hops and coffee in there too. Not as intense of flavors as the other RIS I have had. Kinda different with Belgian qualities (think Quad or Strong Dark). Just not what I expected.

M - Medium bodied and a lot lighter than I thought it would be. Just doesn't have that thick viscous feel that the other top RIS's have. More carbo than I expect out of a RIS too.

D - This is probably the most drinkable RIS I can think of. It is expensive though as 1 bottle cost the same as a 6 pack of Expedition Stout.

Overall, I am glad I tried this beer. It quite good and is a different take on the RIS with Belgian qualities. But ultimately there are quite a few other RIS that would pick up before this one.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,576 ratings.