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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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

838 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 838
Hads: 1,694
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 338
Gots: 382 | 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: 838 | Hads: 1,694
Photo of firkinhophead
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle in a snifter at nearly room temperature. Thanks to Rusty Diamond for the hookup!

Pours a dark purplish-brown that allows some light to come through around the edges. A loose, active head settles to a ring that revives nicely with a swirl to form a tight foam that is clingy but not particularly sticky.

aroma of earthy malts, alcohol, char, wet coffee grounds, some pruney, over-ripe fruit.

tastes of roasted malts, sweet alcohol, coffee, and herbs. Medicinal astringency in the finish. Quite dry, with only a flash of dark fruit. Belgian yeast lends a funky tang.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than anticipated, but this is a highly attenuated stout. Hot alcohol on the breath. Carbonation is a tad prickly, adding to the medicinal character.

An interesting take on the style and worth a try, but to me it lacks complexity to match its big alcohol bite and bitter finish. Would certainly improve with age.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Complete Black, can't see through - two fingers of tan head retention.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel, Little hint of bittersweet Chocolate, hint of mokah, black raspberry, dark cherry.

Taste: Tobacco, Vanilla bean, Molasses, Caramel, roasted nut

Mouthfeel: my favorite part - creamy - can't even taste the 13.00% alcohol.

Drinkability: Highly Drinkable - not heavy. I highly recommend - it is unbelievable. Quite possibly my favorite beer I've ever had.

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Photo of COBeerBuff
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A successful evening of softball means it's time to crack open my first BA...

Appearance: Before I even have a chance to let the bottle warm, off-white heads seeps out of the top of the bottle. Pours a very dark brown-black with about a quarter inch of mocha colored head. Lots of big bubbles interspersed among the more tightly packed small bubbles. The head recedes quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass and lots of great lacing. No light seeps around the edges. This is the definition of an opaque beer.

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, some hops, and maybe even a little malty sweetness. There are also notes of caramel and lots more cocoa.

Taste: This is one of the best tasting RIS's (or RIB's) that I've had in a long time. The coffee and the chocolate hit you right out of the gate. The hop bitterness is there, but it's not overdone. The malty sweetness comes roaring through, but caramel and toffee flavors serve to round out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly crisp. This one poured, and tasted for that matter, like it was going to be one big chocolate/coffee sticky mess. It is quite the opposite. The carbonation is spot-on, and the beer glides over the tongue, enveloping it in goodness without being overwhelming or overpowering.

Drinkability: This is an absolutely delightful RIS. It's so well done that there is almost no alcohol taste. Some might see that as a bad thing since it's 13% ABV. I, on the other hand, love the craftsmanship that makes just such an instance possible. This could quickly become a staple brew in my cellar. Can't wait to try an aged one in 6-12 months.

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Photo of mpetersen
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of tendermorsel
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to get this off the tap at Ebanezer's Belgian beer fest.

Great jet black color. The head looked like the crema on a good shot of espresso.... a thin layer of brownish foam. It had a wonderful oder of sweet chocolate

There is so much going on with this beer. Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate notes. The finish was superb. Unlike some of the other high powered stouts this one did not stick in your mouth. In fact I had no problem transitioning to a Lou Pepe as my next glass. Truly a hand crafted beer. Very drinkable also as despite it's 13% alcohol content went down real smooth. A sipping beer for sure.

Definitely recommended.... If you can get it. I wish I could get a bottle or two to age or maybe a barrel aged version would be nice. I have a hunch that this gem would be even better with age.

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Photo of davod23
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 0. This arrived from Struise just yesterday. Poured into my Bruery tulip.

Pour is beautiful. Almost pitch black, chunky, long lasting tan head. Nice lacing. About as good as it gets.

The aroma is strangely muted, subdued. The most recognizable component is a mixed berry compote. Raisins. Slight roast, dark chocolate, and a wisp of smoke round it out. But this is surprisingly fruity.

Whoa. This is awesome. It opens with a berry sweetness, but almost immediately plunges into the deepest, darkest dark chocolate imaginable. This is like a melted gourmet bittersweet chocolate bar. Alcohol is warming but generally well hidden. This one lingers for a while on the back of the tongue - it's been a couple minutes since my last sip and I can still taste this. Fantastic, and after the aroma a huge and welcome surprise.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both superb. Thick, viscous, but with an appropriate amount of low-level carbonation.

I've had Black Albert only once before, but this is much, much better than that bottle. Less of the quad characteristics, more of the stout. Worth seeking out. If Struise releases more Batch 0, I will be all over it. Highly recommended.

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Photo of calcio360jrd
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of Cmack15
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh the famous Black Albert. Destruise is one of the top breweries in Belgium and well this is one of their fine offerings. Nice thick jet black brew that looks and smells great. Your nose is greeted with the aromas of chocolate, dark malts, dark fruits, and the yeast. A nice thick chewy mouthfeel to this beer. A session beer no, but a true decadent beverage yes. Seek this out and enjoy.
Cheers

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Photo of brc
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle, lot A best April 2013. Poured into Cantillon flute.

Jet black thick looking liquid. Dense dark brown head with great staying power.

Smell roasted barley, woodchips, plums, hint of whiskey. Rich aromas, but inviting instead of overpowering.

Layers of taste to this one. Roasted barley up front, molasses, dark fruits, dark chocolate. Later there is the taste of cream and alcohol mixing in with the roasted malt flavor. Overall it's super rich, like the most intense dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, milkshake like. Slight alcohol burn in the finish.

Very drinkable, though the alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a De Dolle tulip.

A- Jet Black. No light may pass. One finger Dark Tan head with large bubbles. This doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

S- Rum soaked brown bannanas. Definetly belgian yeast in this. Slightly metalic. Old coffee grounds.

T- Toasty Chocolate milk. Like when you put to much ovaltine in a glass of milk (which i like). More of that funky bannana. Burnt roast comes in at the end. Very Pleasant. Much better then the smell.

M- This isn't one of those super thick motor oil like Impy stouts. Much drier like the other belgian stouts i've had, which is pleasant.

D-This thing is 13%? No way! No alcohol heat. Not crazy boozy or anything. If it wasn't for the aroma this thing would've been near perfect.

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Photo of marksto
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Crown Liquors in Carmel, IN - thanks to Mike for putting it in my hands.

Pours opaque with a carmel-colored head with good retention. Aroma has nice complexity, with dark cherry, chocolate, and alcohol all evident. These elements all come out in the taste as well, along with carmel, licorice, and some roast. The mouthfeel is quite dry and the alcohol well hidden- doesn't taste like 13%.
Not sure I'd classify this as a RIS - the dryness and complexity mark it as one with a definite Belgian character. Also, you must let it warm up to let out all the complexity

Overall, an interesting and pleasant drinking beer - worth trying if you have the chance, but IMO perhaps a bit underwhelming considering the hype it gets.

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Photo of schroederm
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a snifter:

Absolutely no head at first... Then poof! Think blanket of chocolaty goodness that sticks around and resurfaes with agitation. Lacing is big a broad but fades. Very very dark brown body, almost no light gets through. Aroma is very very unique. Brown sugar and cinnamon aromas with some spiced rum; clove, nutmeg. Coffee and dark chocolate whispers. For all of this, however, its very subtle. Not overpowering, and
extremely enticing. The taste is impressive. Tons of chocolate, where did this come from? Coffee in there too, with a variety of spices and dark fruit. Strongly malty, finishes with just a hint of bitter. Warm, but not hot. Viscous. Feels veltety on the tongue. Excellently carbonated, so as to bring out a ton of flavor. Highly drinkable. Good to the palate, and wow is it good.

This brew is exceedingly unique, and absolutely delicious. I want more. De Struise rules.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14.

Pour: Dark black with a big, creamy, dark tan head that lasts for the entirety of this drinks' life.

Nose: Dark chocolate, fudge brownie, cherry pits, slight banana, fruit esters, and Belgian spice.

Taste: Opposite of the nose, the Belgian characteristics or spice, clove, and banana come out but are overwhelmed with dark chocolate and brownie batter, also slight mint.

Mouthfeel: Fantastically, velvety smooth. This is near perfect here for carbonation.

Overall: Great beer. This is SN excellent RIS with a Belgian yeast strain twist.

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Photo of TK5150
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours black with a brown/light brown head. The head consists of a mingling of small and large bubbles. Great lacing as well as alcohol legs.

S- Smells of molasses, some fusels, cherry, cranberry, acetone, earthiness, coffee ice cream, and some bitter chocolate.

T- Tastes of molasses, cherry, cranberry, fusels, some alcohol, and finishes extra dry with bitter bakers chocolate. Earthiness as well. Definitely a Belgian. The alcohol shows some heat on the way down. Basically what you smell is what you taste.

M- Full medium bodied, yet creamy as it warms. Would like to see this one be thicker, especially with this being a big stout.

D- Lighter body makes this a bit easier to drink, not to mention it is a fairly tasty beer. Considering the alcohol its pretty easy to drink, actually.

Good beer. Definitely worth a try if you like Belgians and want to try a beer that's half Belgian strong dark and half stout.

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Photo of BgThang
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour leaves a big ass head on this of rusty mocha color.

After waiting for several minutes I finally took a taste of this hyped beer. The quadruple comes out at first then it finishes like everyone else says a roasty stout. Very interesting beer.

The alcohol is apparent on the nose but after the initial taste it almost completely disappears.

Although this is a unique beer (with an identity crisis as one put it) I personally was felt let down a bit.

This is a nice beer and you should at least try it.

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Photo of Martin2D
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with a dark tan head

S - Belgiany, fruity, not really a hint of stout. Extremely boozy.

T - Fruity, rich malt, liquorish aftertaste with Belgian flavors

M - Medium carbonation and medium-full in body

D - Extremely creamy and delicious. Definitely a different experience then most normal stouts. Worth the try, very good, but theres better out there!

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Photo of BlastBeats
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles of Black Albert at a bar down the road from where Urbain brews his Struise beers in Oostvleteren, Belgium. That was a memorable trip..

Poured appropriately into my De Struise cervoise glass (which I also got from that bar).

Appearance: an unrestrained, straight down the middle pour was unable to generate much of a head; just some large dark brown bubbles that formed a ring around the inner edge of the glass. The bottle describes Black Albert as being "black as hell" so I'll stick with that description.

Smell: not a whole lot going on in this department.. some roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of that unmistakably "Belgian" aroma.

Taste: man this beer tastes good.. I'm getting tons of chocolaty flavors (milk and dark). Somewhat surprisingly, there's not a lot of hop bitterness for a beer that supposedly packs 100 IBUs (which is fine by me).

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied and as smooth as silk; tough to beat.

Overall: I might actually prefer Black Albert to Cuvee Delphine; though I haven't done a proper side by side and have only drank the latter in the wrong context. Either way, this one will not disappoint.

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Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep black with thick tan head and excellent lacing throughout

S: smells sweet and of dark fruit, mild ethanol notes

T: tastes like raisin, dark fruits, sweet and syrupy, you can definitely taste the strong alcohol flavor.

M: smooth yet strong and the alcohol content makes it tougher for some to take down

O: overall a complex beer that reminds me of the Rochefort series with the sweet fruit flavors

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Photo of mmapes
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Craig for the trade. Our bottle is Lot D, best before September 2015.

Poured into two tulip glasses. It's dark opaque black. Tip the glass for color and you might see very dark brown, still opaque. Not a very thick head, but the lace sticks around.

On the nose: dried fruit, brown sugar. Smells sweet. Not much smoke.

First taste: a little sweet up front, a long, slightly smoky, woody finish. Pleasantly bitter plum on the finish long after the sip (minutes). Doesn't taste as sweet as it smelled.

Later sips reinforce what was there up front. Mild sweetness balanced with toasted malts that give a dried-fruit flavor.

The finish is outstanding on this one. It's very long-lasting and complex.

Would buy again if I could find it.

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Photo of Brewfan
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml. bottle poured into my Dogfish goblet. Let sit open about 20 minutes before pouring.

Initial appearance tells me this is a very dark beer. Dark, almost black chocolate, but definite tinges of brown when held up to the light. Very frothy dark tan head of millions (I counted) of teeny-tiny bubbles. Decent retention. Ring of head stayed nicely. Tight lacing breaks up rather quickly and disipates in a minute or two.
Big malty chocolate nose with minimal alchohol coming through. At least initially. Dark ripe fruits, raisins, anise, bitter and sweet.
Tastewise, not as strong as I had imagined it would be. A level of sourness comes through the bitter chocolate bite. Makes this not as strong tasting as other Russian Imperial Stouts. Also makes it a little more drinkable. Not a huge mouthfeel. Not necissarily thin, but doesn't stick to the palate either.
Very nice RIS. 13% never makes itself known. Very smooth for a beer of this strength. Maybe expected a bit more body. I traded a Dark Lord for this. Would I again? No. But I'd definitely drink it again.

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Photo of jpaltan
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2.9.09. Black - deep, deep black, almost purple. cappuccino colored head that is big and pillowy that sticks and stays for quite some time. Lacing is plentiful. Hints of booze and figs and cherries in the nose. A bit of coffee and espresso. Taste is burnt coffee. Rich, bitter with hops. Cherries are up front. The booze is so well hidden it is ridiculous. Plenty of carbonation, but was missing a bit creaminess. Deceptively easy to go down despite 13%.

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Photo of gatorbreath
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gonna give this a rap on this empty stomach...

App. is ink black witha mocha head that reeks of alcohol. Some notable lacing. Nose is alcohol, malt, dark frutas. Taste is very malty/roasty lots of dark fruit and caramel/syrups. This stuff is BOLD. Mouthfeel is kind of dry and dissipating but the fluid is big bodied. Overall, just one for me please. Lots of ABV screams through this presentation.

Probably leaving this heavy one for you real connoisseurs.

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Photo of Pabs311
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours very dark black, not light passing through. a nice looking mocha colored head tops this beer, slowly settling to leave some good looking lacing.

S- Aroma is a bit different from most RISs i've had. Some coffee and chocolate notes as expected but also a good amount of dark fruit, molasses and some licorice or soy pokes through as well.

T- equally as complex as the nose, but more intense. malty sweetness, mingles with some bitterness. flavors come off with coffee, some chocolate, dark sweet fruit and that same soy or licorice (can't nail it down).

M/D- Full bodied and chewy just the way i like my RISs. low carbonation. very nice moutfeel, almost silky smooth. good drinkability as well. gonan cellar the other one i have and check it out in a few months.

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Photo of imagineiii
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of ohmybock
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought at Bruisin' Ales for $10. I let the bottle warm up a bit before opening it. The aroma isn't that great. It's actually fairly mild for an impy stout. I get a little roastiness, but a fruity character takes the lead. I've smelled that same thing in some Belgian quads. The taste is a mix of sweetness and roastiness. To me, it tastes like what I would imagine a mixture of something like Expedition stout and Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or (Cuvée Van De Keizer) or heck...how about Expedition and Pannepot would taste. The 13% alcohol content is well hidden. It has a Belgian character, but a mild one, and not something which is sour, funky, brett-ish, etc. Again, the mild, Belgian-style, sweetish, fruitiness is the main character I'm getting in this brew. It's sort of a dark, stewed fruit character. If I had been blindfolded and had been given this beer, I doubt I would have guessed it was an imperial stout. Whatever the case, it's a nice, drinkable, dark-Belgian brew. Is it worth $10 to me? No, but it was fun to try once.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.