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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

839 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 839
Hads: 1,697
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 337
Gots: 383 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 839 | Hads: 1,697
Photo of Finatic
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerisheaven for this gem in one of our weekly trades. Didn't think I'd get to try this one until it hit the States in regular fashion; glad to get a preview.

This beer has a smell like nothing else. Big chocolate but something else, wildly different, that I can't quite put my finger on. Belgian yeast? Candy? Lawn gnomes?

Taste is similarly divergent from the norm. Deep, dark, elegant roastiness, a bit of tartness (hops?) on the tongue with a cool, sweet finish. Wow. Creamy as a good square of Ghiradelli, no hint of alcohol at all.

This is really good. The only strike might be the drinkability, it's just too thick & full to have more than (if I could get another, or afford one, so never mind...). Excellent beer. Hope it arrives on the shores of the U.S.A. soon, I'd make space for it in the fridge.

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Photo of crowellr
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of alyankus
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
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

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Photo of CMW
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.79/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.79/5  rDev +13%
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!

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Photo of soupyman10
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of sk8man121
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of STEG
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this Batch 0 on tap at ebenezer's now lets try it bottled.

Batch 0 Bottle

Room Temp. Pours pitch black into a tulip. Fine bubbled sand colored head rises to the top of the glass leaving sticky sand dune looking blobs of head laced to the side of the glass as it recedes.

Smell is huge, you get sweet burnt sugar smells, some coffee cinnamon and chocolate, and the slightest hint of soy sauce.

As the taste begins you get milk and dark chocolate fighting for dominance with light coffee and malt. Then as the beer goes down you get this humidor like warming effect and aftertaste that is earthy and has some light chocolate and coffee notes.

Mouthfeel is smooth as hell, and very creamy, fine prickly carbonation adds a nice touch as does the ending warming alcohol.

At 13% the alcohol is deadly hidden and when combined with all of the other outstanding characteristics makes this extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Pigs fly. 10oz pour.

A- What beer is blacker than this? The answer is none. None more black. Thin mocha head. Killer lacing.

S- Tons of coffee and chocolate. Slight booze. Malts and hops galore.

T- coffee, chocolate, booze, hops. So well balanced.

M- thick and clean, but too vicous. Slight booze warmth.

O- one of the best RIS I've had.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of asabreed
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. I think this bottle was around $10, but at the time I didn't know if and / or when I'd see it again, so I figured I'd snag one. Also, I'm moving to NY in about 10 days, and I'm certainly not traveling with this for fear of obvious breakage, so here we go.

Appearance: Pretty much opaque on all accounts. Hugely billowing mocha-colored head, with a dense, rock candy-like dissipating, slowly leaving some sheets of lacing on the glass. Not the best rounds of lacing ever-clinging, but it takes a ton of time for the head to dissipate, releasing some pretty heady aromas.

Smell: This is a wild and beautiful anomaly, and you can immediately tell the quality of this brew. Rich ripe strawberries backed by cocoa powder, dark mocha, burnt chocolate and charred roasted malts, tar, a bit of wood, and what I like to think of as an almost wild yeast strain, adding an amazingly heady sense of funk to the whole thing. More barnyard and earth than medicinal. Yet I also get more fruit as it warms, some ripe citrus and cherries, and a rich caramel-vanilla combination, almost like caramel-drizzled apple cake, with some sour apple skin, maybe granny smith, going on.

Taste: First off: the balance between the sweetness and sourness and bitterness here at the finish is wonderful and rich and complex and one of the best I've ever found in a brew. Though that's just the start, I suppose it, even though technically it's the end. And the balance between the sweetness of the ripe fruit and somehow juicy citrus is complimented by the nuanced, and somehow subtle, charred assault of tar, blackened malts, black coffee, and dark chocolate. Just absolutely incredible, and probably, as far as taste goes for a beer, in my top 10. Tons of luscious 2-cream-and-2-sugar coffee, while maintaining the bitterness, with the juiciness of orange and strawberry in there, and again, somehow everything mingles so well. Rather than an over-the-top-RIS like many American versions, this one puts the stamp on quality, because there's a wealth of riches going on, all of it somewhat unbelievable as I keep drinking, since I've never really had a brew like this in my entire life in some ways.

Mouthfeel: Rich and viscous and heavy and not cloying at all. Nuance nuance nuance. Thick and rich as all hell, but there maintains a litheness to the carbonation that for a 13% ABV brew is astounding. Velvety and fantastic.

Drinkability: This was tough for me, because it's one of the most expensive beers for the amount in the bottle that I've ever purchased, but it's been one of the best experiences I've ever had with a beer, through and through. Huge alcohol, almost indiscernible at every angle, balance with the subtleties of flavor and complexity that seem almost unparalleled to me in most other beers. This is definitely worth the $10-ish price tag, especially if you're looking for something worth that price, because more and more often I'm finding I'm not displeased as much as maybe very slightly disappointed with the price to quality ratio these days. Here? Not at all.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick black beer with some tan hues. Large fizzy brown colored head. Lot's of carbonation. The bottled spewed all over my floor when I opened it. Smells of dark chocolate, coffee, and bananna. The combination smells much better than it sounds. The flavor is very rich and complex without being too strong. In fact it's the smoothness of the beer that impresses me the most. Dark chocolate, black coffee, Belgian yeast flavors with some tropical fruit like hoppiness. The mouthfeel is thick yet velvety smooth with lot's of carbonation. Great beer. Worth the price imo.

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Photo of shwami
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This Black Albert was cellared for over 4 years, bought in Brugge, Belgium at the De Struise Shop in town.

L: Oil color, with a very dark brown head that quickly dissipated. Very fine bubbles of carbonation rapidly rose from the center of the brew in its appropriate DSB ostrich glass.
S: Slightly alcohol laden aroma, with heavy ripe fruity overtones.
T: Burnt malt and slight hop flavors smack you in the tongue and perfectly balance the sweetness as this Belgian Royal Stout slides over the tongue. Complex as all get out.
F: Slick, smooth and oily...powerful alcohol pricks on the back of the tongue as it is quaffed.
O: It is an over the top, perfectly enjoyable, world-class example of a Russian Imperial Stout. 4 years in the bottle made this as good as it can get.

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Photo of HopasaurusRex
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of bobv
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
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!

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Photo of kaos14
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Edit: This review ONLY applies to Black Albert had on tap. Out of the bottle it is entirely different and not deserving of the lofty numbers in this review.
---

What can I say that hasn't already been said...

First off this is most definitely NOT a Russian Imperial Stout that someone just decided to call a Belgian stout just cause it is brewed in Belgium. It is clearly a different breed of beer with it's own individual characteristics. The most similar beer that I have had (and I am by no means an authority on the subject) is the Russian River Salvation. They have an extremely similar flavor while each provides a different presentation.

Appearance: midnight black with .75" of dark tan head, a crimson intermingling of the beer and the head shows as the beer sloshes around the glass

Smell: I enjoyed the smell, I found it to be earthy with hints of what I would expect from a belgian strong dark. I have a terrible sense of smell and this is my least reliable rating category.

Taste: Just fantastic. Honesty, I enjoyed the taste too much to sit there breaking down the deferent aspects. It was complex and dark, a little boozy and warming, but WITHOUT the bitter coffee and sugary molasses you would expect in other "Imperial" stouts.

Mouthfeel: Pleasant carbonation with a lovely full stout body that steered clear of being cloyingly thick

Drinkability: Impressive for a beer with that kind of ABV to go down so smoothly. I have had a lot of beers that were astonishingly smooth for their ABV but I think this one is right up there with the very best of them.

All in all I am already looking forward to my next trip to Maine and another taste of this fine beer.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Westvleteren Chalice

A - Pours a beautiful thick black oily appearance with a tight bubbled tanned head that does not reduce at all/

S - So many different aromas of roastyness vanilla, coffee etc

T - Immense flavours of chocolate, coffee, bread , yeast, smokey roast (Just a little)

M - Fuller than full body with pewrfect carbonation.

D - Every now and then you come across a beer that is hard to fault ... This is one of those. We need a Belgian Royal Stout Category as well because this beer is in a league of it's own.

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Photo of goethean
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Autumnaldave and I were drinking this on tap at the Lisle Bavarian Lodge. We decided that it had the elegant body of a tripel. The guy next to us detected some cellar notes, but I drank mine too quickly to pick it up. It combines a complex flavor profile with shocking drinkability.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

P: 4.5 - 12oz brown glass bottle. Black Albert. Royal Belgian Stout. Gold Crown. Imported by Horizon Wines of Canada.

A: Dark cola black/brown with big starbucks frap foam head. Good legs, lace, and sheets.

S: Vinous, and big with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, and more.

T: Big and bolshy with big dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and more.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a beer of this level, but honestly it makes the drinkability that much better.

D: SUPER drinkable for the 13%ABV that this one yields....A real achievement in the brewing arts.

O: I'm thinking 4.7 material here. Big bolshy Belgian Imperial Stout....NIIICCCCEEEE

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 839 ratings.