Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,638 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,638
Reviews: 828
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 333
Gots: 377 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007

Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,638 | Reviews: 828
Photo of organicbrewer
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of marksto
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of schroederm
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of waltersrj
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of TK5150
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of sprat1960
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
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!

Photo of BgThang
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of Martin2D
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
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!

Photo of BlastBeats
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
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

Photo of Brewfan
4.25/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of jpaltan
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
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%.

Photo of gatorbreath
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of Pabs311
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alot of espresso on the palate but suprisingly clean.

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

Photo of mmapes
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of ohmybock
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of Chincino
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer the other night and was happy to have it after having it originally at a beer festival in Belgium.

The beer poured to be black with dark mocha colored head that left lacing on the glass.

The aroma is strong of fruit-cherries and other dark fruits, chocolate, malts, and brown sugar. Full-bodied, good carbonation, leaves you feeling full. Great taste. This beer is definitely a slow-sipper.

I'm a big fan of De Struisse beers and the Black Albert is no exception to this.

Cheers!

Photo of BrewMonkey
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rayjay for the bottle!

Pours dark chocolate brown to nearly black with oodles and oodles of bubbles forming a dense thick rich looking tan head that recedes slowly leaving not so much lacing, as a continuou layer of bubbles on the side of the glass.

Aroma starts with a strong but pleasant alcohol aroma, toasted malt, bitter chocolate, and hints of sweetness behind the alcohol.

Aroma is very roasty, almost smoky. No, definately smoky. Bitter chocolate follows, with lots of nutty character, walnuts and almonds come to mind. Suprisingly unsweet to be honest, though there is enough sweetness to counteract the rest of the flavor profile. Alcohol is certainly present, but not overbearing. More nutty a leathery characters come out as it warms.

Mouthfeel is slick and rich, with decent carbonation keeping it from cloying. Alcohol is fairly warming.

Obviously this is a sipping beer, and a big one at that. But the flavor is very pleasant, and seems like it would be fantastic paired with a rich dessert.

Photo of Adamdc
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch B6BB poured into DFH pint

A: Pitch black pour that produced over 2 inches of dense tan foam. Had to pour slowly to avoid overflow.

S: Malty coffee and chocolate but with a strong raisin/date presence. About 80% RIS with 20% of quad thrown in.

T: Chocolate and coffee are the main focus here. The dark fruits are there but in the background. Very nice flavor.

M: Not very thick, about medium but very smooth and silky.

D: Amazingly, at 13.00% I'm getting no booze whatsoever. It's going down VERY smoothly! This is really nice---not a big, syrupy RIS but the dark fruit presence melds nicely with the coffee/chocolate.

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14

A - Pours black with a medium tan head (about 1 in) that recedes rather slowly to a sturdy and even microfilm

S - Lots of berries, licorice, and dark fruits, with even a bit of a tart twang (but obviously not infected). Some light chocolate notes. Alot like a nice quad

T - Lots of licorice, dark bruits and berries (blackberries, raisins, dates?). Even a hint of wood.

M - Very light and frothy, over-carbonated for the style, which hurts the appreciation of its flavor profile.

D - A good quad, but thats apparently NOT what this beer is trying to be. Would give it a 3.5, but it claims to be a Belgian Royal stout on the side, not a RIS as listed here. Hmmm...

would not seek out again

Photo of BigB415
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black into my Stone RIS snifter. Little head with little retention.

S: Tons of chocolate and coffee. Faint hops too.

T: More coffee and chocolate. Very little heat which is surprising for a 13% beer.

MF: A little thin which I'm disappointed by but the chocolate and coffee notes make up for it.

O: A flavorful stout with surprising drinkability for such high ABV. If you love chocolate and coffee in your stouts than you'll love this.

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.

Photo of larsee01
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz glass bottle poured into Chimay chalice

A--Dark dark dark. Light doesn't escape it. Thin, creamy, brown head. Brownest I've seen. Thick.

S--Coffee. Fruity booze. Heavy molasses.

T--Nutty and boozy. Fruity warmth balanced by rich coffee that's mildly bitter. Yeah, I've mentioned booze twice, but this would definitely pass for less than 13%! I see this beer weighs in at 100 IBU, but it's so balanced on the heavy malt side that this finishes sweet.

M--A little on the thick side, but not sticky or heavy. Creamy. Full bodied and lingers on the palate, but not in an offensive way.

D--HOO boy. 1 and done. Not that it's the beer's fault. It's a KO and you know it.

Photo of sherm1016
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, Batch "0", ordered from the Struise Yeast Shop. Pours a jet black with a huge tan head that recedes after a few minutes. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and a little alcohol. A bit heavy on the palate with average carbonation. Flavor is roasted malt, chocolate, and a little bit of hops. The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer. This bottle is pretty fresh, but I think it would be better with a bit of age on it.

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