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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

1,575 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,575
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: 1,575 | Reviews: 821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brewski
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of RKing44
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of MeowMixz
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of El_Brewchacho
3.52/5  rDev -17.2%

Photo of datamike
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great aroma with some fruity esters and a bit or roastiness. No Belgian phenolics though.

The taste is good; complex, raisiny, fruity, moderate roast level, bitter chocolate. Definitely some aspects of age here - sherry-like notes of oxidation. Nothing special here though. Either of Southern Tiers Imperial stouts (choklat, oatmeal) is superior in every way.

The real problem here is that there is nothing "Belgian" about this beer.

A decent beer, but severely over-hyped and overrated in my opinion....

Photo of jkendrick
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: P ours a one finger head that jhangs around longer than you'd expect. Leaves some good lace. Solid black color.

S: All the usual suspects

MF: Medium carbonation and medium bodied, almost too thin.

T: All the normal imp stout flavors are here, but there is more of a burnt taste than I like and it is on the dry side. The bitterness is intentional I suppose, but it didn't sit well with me, particularly in the aftertaste. The high ABV is very noticeable and I think it should cellar a lot longer.

Overall: It's just a bit too bitter and too hot for me, especially given the relatively thin body for an Imperial stout.

Photo of Murchmac
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PHawk for this beer in a trade. You da man Parker.

(Sung to the tune of Fat Albert)

Hey Hey Hey, it's Black Albert.
And Im gonna pour a dark cola highlighted beer for you.

And you're going to smell alcohol, coffee, and dark fruits too.

You'll taste bitter chocolate now with figs, tobacco and candy can, It's not too heavy, it's got that Belgian thang.

NaNaNa, gonna be a good beer, With some alcohol too. NaNaNa gonna be a thin beer.

This is Murchmac coming at you with an intersting belgian RIS, and if you're not careful, you might believe the hype before it's done.

NaNaNa, thought an RIS with a belgian yeast was interesting, Hey Hey Hey. NaNaNa, that was the only thing. Hey Hey Hey

Photo of russwbeck
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The scores are from Batch 0, if I counted my scores from Black Albert, they would be much lower.

Black Albert Batch A4BB

I was going to try this side by side with Black Albert Batch 0, but when I opened this it exploded with head out of the top before I could even get the cap off. Not a good sign. After pouring ever so slightly to avoid the ridiculously fast growing head, the first smell definitely leads me to believe this is infected. It smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin to be honest. The taste is light and while not sour, it certainly isn't what I'd expect from a RIS. I don't think I'm going to review it anymore than that. Pretty disappointed here, let's see what happens with Batch 0...

Batch 0 Lot D

A: The head on this is huge. You really have to be careful when pouring to avoid a Duvel type 6 inch brown head. Black pour.

S: The smell is distinctly Belgian, very sweet. A bit of roastiness is mixed in as well giving it that stout feeling to it. It does smell more like a Quad than a RIS though.

T: This is the taste I was expecting. It really is hard to believe that this is an older version of the infected mess I opened first. The Belgian yeast and funky taste is there, along with a bit of dark fruits, but it also has a nice roasty character. The Belgian tastes seem to start the beer, and stout characteristics end it.

MF: Thankfully this has a medium body and was not light and watery like Black Albert. A bit boozy, with a dry aftertaste.

O: This was ok. It isn't great and overall sort of weird, but there isn't anything wrong with it. Is it worth the price it goes for? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got to enjoy half a bottle of this rare one. Split it with my brother.

Pours out black with a pretty decent brown head. The bubbles stay around, there is not much lacing, but the bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Smells a bit sweet and roasted, and you get a bit of alcohol smell. The taste is a bit sweet, not much fruit like some others in the style, but you get a nice bit of bitter roastedness, which I love. Then there's a hint of the black malt and chocolate sweetness. The tastes are all sort of muddled, maybe from the yeast. I kind of wish it were more bold and assertive -not harsh - but I think the yeast made it hard to really distinguisg flavors. But I enjoyed it, if not for the rarity. For the style and the ABV, this one was surprisingly drinkable. Maybe I only wanted more because I only got half of a 11.2 oz bottle. The cost may limit me buying it, but if I ever get a shot to have it on tap from the source, I'll take it.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to CVfish for this bottle

A - this RIS pours a motor oil dark, with two fingers of chocolate milk colored head, too dark to note carbonation

S - a superb nose comprised of chocolate/coffee and coffee, like a quality RIS

T - chocolate dominates the taste, some roasted malts, there is an underlying peaty/earthyness to the flavor as well

M&D - smooth and complex, flavorful, well done RIS, this one is worth trying at least once

Photo of calcio360jrd
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in my duvel tulip

First time i had tried this one, been on my radar for a while, and just scored 2 through 2 trades over the last week. Aggressive pour produced a little off white head that quickly diminished. The smell had that traditional RIS smell of dark fruit, little coffee, and definite alcohol presence. Taste was a little sweeter than i like for a RIS, but in no way unpleasant. The mouthfeel was the weirdest part of this beer. I hold all RIS to CCB Zhukov standards, black albert was just very thin feeling, almost felt more like a brown ale. Just didn't blow me away this one. I'll let the other one i have sit for a year or 2 til i come back to it again.

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 daythree16
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours completely black with a very thin head that fades pretty quickly.

Smell is raisins and dark fruit. Very sweet aromas. Taste definitely follows suit. Huge dark fruity sweetness that overpowers everything else. It does have a roasted quality that tries to assert itself, but it just can't. The 13% ABV also makes itself known big time, as each sip gives way to a warm alcohol finish bordering on burn.

Mouthfeel is silky but still has nice carbonation. Drinkability is not very good. The cloying sweetness just makes it hard to put away. I'm glad I'm sharing this one, because I doubt I would even want all of the little bottle.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with this one, especially considering all the hype. Not terrible by any means, just not the stellar brew I was expecting.

Photo of claspada
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased back in 2008. Not sure how old it was then, anyway...

Pours dark as night with no highlights along the edges of the snifter. There is a nice huge head of cappuccino colored froth. It's whipped creamy and is beginning to leave a beautiful array of delicate lace.

The aromas begin with a lot of dark fruit; black cherries and raisins dominate. There must have been a lot of Special B malt used here (for you homebrewers out there) As it warms you get some dark chocolate liquor, blackstrap molasses and earthy dark fruit. Dark roasted malt smells borderline, burnt they smell so roasted.

The flavors begin with the dark roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, dark cherry fruitiness and a touch of baker's cocoa. As it warms the dark fruits slowly begin to take a beackseat to the roasted bitter espresso, borderline acrid malt flavors. Alcohol peaks it's ugly head as well as this continues to warm, but it's hard to mask when your in this huge ABV range.

The mouthfeel doesn't quite make it all the way to impressive. It falls a fraction short on fullness and the carbonation isn't as well-integrated as it could be.

Overall this was a slight miss for me, but I think it could be a batch issue. I had one of these the other day where the roasted bitter maltiness was tamed by the dark fruits, but the burnt, acrid flavors dominated my palate and the entire beer here, not even the dark fruitiness from the Belgian yeast/malts can save this over-the-top RIS monster.

Photo of nhindian
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch '0' review.

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle generously split by russwbeck, thanks Russ!

Lot D.

A - Pours a chocolate brown, with lighter brown highlights. The head is aggressive and bordering on excessive as it continuously rises, almost 3-fingers in height. Certainly can't say it doesn't look impressive, however, with its tan color and great retention. Lacing is much better than the normal version, with generous amounts of foam sticking to the glass.

S - The smell is much more up my alley than normal Black Albert. Gone are the funky sour aromas I've encountered in two separate batches that just seemed out of place, and they are replaced by a much more roasted profile. Big notes of coffee and dark chocolate from the malts, a distinct Belgian yeast smell, and some slight booze.

T - The taste is definitely more mellow and robust than typical Black Albert. A very roasty beginning paves the way for espresso and caramel malt, along with a good amount of chocolate. The Belgian yeast strain is actually a bit of a deterrent, imparting a funky flavor that just kind of seems weird given the rest of the flavors. I'm sure it has its niche, but can't say its my preference. Some dark fruits and sugar, giving the impression of rum soaked raisins. The alcohol is much more hidden here than in the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with high carbonation. Like most Belgians this too has above average carbonation, which for the style may need to be swirled out a little. Leaves a strong chocolate and roast aftertaste.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. Much better than normal Black Albert but can't say it's a favorite of mine. The flavors aren't amazing and in my opinion the yeast clashes with the typical stout flavors.

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

< 12oz bottle, not sure where I obtained it from. It's been aging in my cellar for 1-2 years so we'll see what time does for this one.

A- Pours medium black with a dark cherry/brown head. Ruby/brown highlights at the edges, some floaties as I get down to the bottom. Poor retention and average (at best) lacing.
S- Muted. I'm trying really hard to pull anything from it, but I can only get some faint sweetness and vague dark fruits. Raisins in particular.
T- Intriguing... There's almost a sour note right at the beginning, followed by roasted malt tones in the finish. Fruity; figs, plums, raisins. Not sure cellaring has been kind to this one though.
M - Medium to full body. Smooth, creamy with a bite at the end.
D- Small bottle, so finishing wasn't an issue. Not sure I'd want another one afterwards, but I'll still finish the other three in the cellar.

Overall - I was a much bigger fan of this beer fresh. I remember it being smooth, mellow, with a nice coffee finish. Now I get muted dark fruits (figs, raisins) with a sour bite at the front. Again, recommended fresh but not with a few years on it.

Photo of craytonic
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Near perfect pour, huge cappuccino head, but no quality lacing. Near opaque with some brown/mahogany mixed in.

Smell: Fudge, roast coffee, dark rum, dark malts, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits

Taste: Doesn't taste like your typical RIS, has a major tangy fruit element to it. Also fudge, chocolate, molasses, dark malts, roast coffee, licorice. Perhaps Kaluah and dijorno. Perhaps a bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel: A bit thiner than I expected; a bit to sweet, somewhat brandy like

Drinkability: Thankful for the smaller bottle

Photo of Beaver13
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle. Pours an opaque black with a medium creamy brown head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is chocolate malts, some sharp tart vinous fruits, black licorice and a little vanilla and roast.

The flavor is smooth lactic chocolate malts and vanilla with a bit of slightly tart fruit leading to a bitter roasty finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with creamy carbonation and a bit of a watery texture.

Overall, a pretty well balanced big beer with a lot of complexity. The tart fruitiness seemed a bit out of place to me and was very distracting.

Photo of mdvatab
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found multiple bottles at Lukas Liquors in Ellisville, MO. "Rare Find" tag accompanies $9.99/bottle price on shelf. (pretty steep!)
Curiously, the bottle label is upside-down.
Poured from 11.2oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Vanilla comes through intially, black cherry fruity sweetness (and surprising tartness), more vanilla, and some dark, malty cocoa.

Appearance: Thick, dark tan, 1-finger head. Decent lacing (for style) clings to inside of the glass. Body is, well, "Black"...

Flavor: Molasses, some dark cherry and grape fruitiness, some toasted oak barrel, somewhat bitter tannins (which are balanced by alcohol). It seems that one sip is fruity, and the next one is more malty. There is notably an underlying tartness, of which I'm not a huge fan. At the end of each sip is a light smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, and a medium-full, smooth body.

Overall: Overall, this one's not bad. Lots of complexity here, which one will not find in a run-of-the-mill imperial stout. As I mentioned above, though, there is a lightly tart component, which I didn't really appreciate. If this one were ~$5 a bottle, I'd recommend trying it. Definitely a great beer, but the $10 price tag prevents me from purchasing again.

Photo of Phelps
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks: impenetrably black. A tightly-packed head the color of ginger sticks around for an impressive amount of time. Spattered layers of lace are left when it finally does go.

Smells: interesting. A lot of medium-roast coffee and vanilla creamer, with some burnt sugar, hazelnut and some tangy old cocoa nibs.

Tastes: dusky. Dark chocolate, tangy figs. Lots of sweet dark fruits. An acrid roastiness is only barely noticeable as it builds on the back of the tongue. I'd love some more roast, as this is a bit too sweet for me.

Feels: filling. Medium carbonation, medium body and almost creamy. Very nice.

Drinks: too sweet. I need more roast! If only there was more black and less Albert.

--

Batch 0, bottle shared by ejyoung. Into a tulip.

Inescapable black. A one-inch head the color of brown sugar sets up camp for quite a while. Some floaties are noticeable on the sides of the glass. 4

Weird nose — I can't put my finger on the odd note. Jalapeno? Burnt Cigarettes? Whatever it is, it’s very off-putting. Get past that, though, and the stuff is nice: dark chocolate, vanilla, toast. 2.5

The weird vegetal thing is in the flavor too, though it's taken on a slightly fruitier flavor. It’s almost as if grapes were blended into the beer along with their stems. Behind that I get Belgian yeast notes, dates and other fruity stuff that emerges even more if you let the beer sit in your mouth for a while. There’s just a hint of cocoa to meet the raisins, figs, strawberries and pears. 3.5

Medium body is pretty viscous, with very light, tingly carbonation. Fizz is low and alcohol is almost unnoticeable. 4

As with later versions of Black Albert, I can’t really tell if I loved or hated this. It has its good and bad qualities. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the style. 3.5

Photo of DoubleJ
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of Halcyondays' buddies brought this to Beachwood BBQ for the three of us to sample. Sometimes, one of the beer's you've been wanting to taste happens sooner than you think. On to the beer:

Obsidian black color shows no sign of giving way for any light. White head on top create a good contrast of colors. I was taken by surprise by the aroma. Yes, I could smell some roasted malt and chocolate flavors, but also some dark fruits and plums that you'd find in a more traditional dark Belgian.

Yet as much of a surprise the aroma was, the taste was a bigger surprise. It was strange, but still enjoyable in a weird way. A dash of cocoa, a part of dark fruits, some milk/lactose sweetness, and add in some lactic and sour qualities, and you got Black Albert. The lactic and lactose threw my palate off quite a bit....drink a little more and my palate becomes a little adapted to this. The best quality of the beer was how well the 13% ABV was hidden....where's the heat? Seemed closer to being medium bodied than full bodied.

Black Albert is strange. Ok, it's really different from your everyday Imperial Stout. If you're looking for something REALLY different in the style, Black Albert could be the cure, but the price and lack of availability aren't going to encourage me to seek a bottle for myself.

Photo of discovolante65
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lot b6bb, whatever.

Roopy40 and I each poured one out for enjoyment. have been waiting a while to drink this one.

Pours an absence of light blackness with a mocha/tan head of about an inch into a DFH snifter. Head recedes quickly but nice little legs the whole way down, some normal beer lacing as well.

Smells of coffee beans, wet wood and charcoal with some alcohol on the way. A little burnt chocolate and fresh soil to go along with it.

Taste is licorice, burnt malt and slight hop bitterness. I was expecting a really bold flavor, but it's really muted and bland.
Coffee and booze on the finish, but a little too hot.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin. slightly creamy, but very thin for the style and the ABV.

Drinkability - I was disappointed in this one. At a rate of $1 per ounce, I really expect more from a beer. Is it wrong of me to judge this on price? Roopy40 and I sat there naming off dozens of other RIS at great prices that kick the crap out of this one any day of the week. I would not buy it again and am sorry that I spent the cash on this one.
I guess if it were $4 or so, I might like it more and rate it higher, but honestly, didn't enjoy it and felt cheated.

Photo of rapidsequence
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle from Bruisin Ales for $10. Batch 14.

Appearance: Black, opaque in the glass, but more like a dark brown as it pours. Good looking dark brown head with OK retention. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Melted chocolate, raisins, fresh tart plums. Not a lot of heavy roast aromas. A somewhat strange, but not unpleasant combination of Belgian yeast and some RIS traits. Not great for an RIS or a Belgian dark.

Taste: A little more roasty flavor than smell, but the slightly sour, raisiny/cherry taste is weird. There are some nice chocolate malt notes. Its OK. Surprised its 13%-- alcohol barely detectable.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is soft and imparts a creaminess. The tartness seems to thin the overall feel a bit.

Overall: This is quite a letdown. A sourish, not very roasty RIS with Belgian yeat notes.

Photo of Richardberg
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very dark but not pitch black, nice size brown head for a big beer

S - deep chocolate malts, coffee, ethanol

T - big RIS flavor but with lots of unusual overtones: starts sweet then quickly adds bitterness throughout the tongue. You end up with both at once, alongside kinda offbeat flavors like orange peel, and I'm not sure it works.

M - velvety to sip and nicely sticky afterward

D - pretty good for a 13%. Strong, competing hide most of the alky from the taste, though you can smell it of course. Then again the flavors themselves make this best suited for small doses.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,575 ratings.