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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,590 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,590
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 320
Gots: 379 | 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: 1,590 | Reviews: 823 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of Buebie
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtasy of gford217

Poured from a brown bottle into a snifter. Upon opening, this thing is a real gusher. I tried to put my finger over it and let out pressure slowly so not to lose to much liquid.

a good inch of fizzy cola like, dark brown head sits atop this dark black beer. Leaving thin spotty lace.

Aroma is very sweet with lots of sweet dark chocolate and moist chocolate cake like aroma. Hints of black licorice and more sweetness mixed with a chocolate nutty character. Wiffs of a whiskey like alcahol aroma.

This is very rish and alcahol warmth rushes in, warning me to sip it a little slower. Big black licorice flavors mixing well with pungeant dark, sweet chocolate cake. This is pretty highly carbonated, reminding me its a belgian after all. Is it a RIS with a belgian yeast strain?
Some dark fruits in here with an almost red grape/ chimay like flavor.
Finishing chocolaty and becoming a bit more dry with a dark chocolate bittering roastyness.

Very delicious and quite different from any other imperial stout I've had.

Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Opaque black with dark tan head. Using a moderately hard pour I overflowed the glass with head. Be careful pouring this one. A few carbonation bubbles near the top. Awesome lacing down most of the glass.

S--Caramel, cocoa. Not intense but extremely pleasant. A few dark fruits present as well

T--First sip yields a typical stout taste, but a little bit of further exploration brings a mixed bag of dark friuits...raisins, figs, lightly roasted malts, apple peels, only a slight hop bitterness on the finish. At first I didn't understand why other reviewers were saying this is so unique but now I see. At about the 3/4 mark this beer finally hit its stride and I am really enjoying it

M--Medium to full bodied and creamy

D--Only had an 11 oz. bottle and it went down very easy, but due to the small size I'm having a tough time deciding how much of this I would want to drink. Its easier to drink than many stouts though.

I have to say, I'm really impressed by this beer. As long as you don't go into it expecting the typical RIS taste and can appreciate it for what it is, I'm sure you would agree it is deserving of its high status. Great beer.

EDIT: I'm not sure which batch my original bottle was, but both subsequent bottles I have had since then have been a huge step down in quality. My most recent batch which was bottled in March of 2010 is flat and watery and burnt and a mess. Not really good at all, I would probably give it a D. I'm going to drop my rating for this beer due to the extreme lack of consistency.

Photo of theminutemen
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of elricorico
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, big surprise. A big three finger foamy head that is tan in colour. The head seems to well at first, but falls to a thin cap once I start to drink. Little lacing.

Smells of dark malt and yeastiness. Touch of solvent (faint). Black licorice. Even just a little bit of tamarind.

Hits the tongue dry and prickly with carbonation. Flavour is something of a hybrid of a dryer RIS and a Quadruple, though more so the stout. Tries to be sweet up front, but it almost seems that the carbonation is too sharp and mutes the flavour. The middle opens up much more nicely and provides a range of sweetness, from malty to fruity. Faint cola impression at the end. Alcohol barely apparent to taste. Body is lighter than expected.

This one changes in character as I drink, carbonation seems to settle slightly, and this makes the body seem a bit fuller. That makes the flavour seem to reach further across the tongue, and gives a nicer impression of the flavours. Marks start to get higher.

This is a good beer, and quite a unique experience for me. However, this is the most expensive beer I've had if I break it down to $/mL, and I don't think it is quite worth the cost. I could actually buy a six pack of local beers for less than the cost of one 330 mL bottle. Absolutely worth trying once though.

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

Into my Duvel tulip, pours a thick black with a thick tan head, creamy and frothy and long lasting, and good lacing in arches and blots. The aroma hit me even before I picked up the glass, lots of dark fruits, prune and fig and perhaps a touch of cherry, some rum, some chocolates, but then faded fast after our of the bottle. Odd.

Taste comes out swinging, lots going on here. Up front, again dark fruits come out in figs, raisins, and prunes, a healthy splash of rum through the middle, a complex smorgasbord smashed up at the end, with chocolate and molasses entering the mix but lacking definition. It looks like this... "!?!?!?"

Mouth is thick throughout, enough light carbonation to keep it from being overbearing, quite smooth throughout. In all, a fine RIS, but I'm not sure what all the hype was about.

Photo of drseamus
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: NOT jet black like it should be, but still pretty dark. When held to the light a significant part of it lets a brown/tan light penetrate. I'd rather see nothing from an RIS personally. There was a nice bit of lighter mocha head on the top. A pretty good looking beer unless held to the light really.

S: Nice caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruit aromas. There is also a nice brandy character but without the alcoholic aroma. A touch of yeast ester tops it off. It could have been stronger although once it coats the glass it is a bit more robust.

T: It is certainly a damn good beer. The intial flavor is a blast of rich coffee and dark chocolate with that brandy fruitiness popping up again. Great dark roasty notes throughout and finishing with a great clean, slightly bitter dark cocoa powder note. Full flavored from the time it touches my tongue through the aftertaste.

M: Nice and thick with great creaminess. Incredibly smooth and not a whisper of the ABV coming to say hi. Perfect body.

D: Very excellent all around. World class but still slightly over-hyped.

Photo of zac16125
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter
Lot: B 6 BB; not sure what year this is from

A: Pours a thick viscous, very dark brown, with just under 1 fingers width of espresso colored head that dissipates down almost immediately. There is all kinds of sedimentation floating around in the glass. Leaves affectively no lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruit, sour plums and raisin in particular. Roasted, chocolate and coffee aromas. A subtle smoky scent, and a noticeable alcohol character as well. Wonderful aromas, and they are strong!

T: There is a flavor explosion from the first sip. Dark fruits, roasted malt, some hop bitterness, all followed by a big backers chocolate character on the backend. Some specific flavors that are noted throughout the drink are cherry, dark chocolate, raisin, some funky Belgium yeast, roasted coffee, an earthy/grassy character and alcohol to balance it all out. A complex and delicious beer. The amount of different flavors that this brew contains, all harmoniously mixed, is plain impressive.

M/D: Chewy mouth feel. It has a noticeable alcohol burn. The fact that it comes off a little hot is probably the only real negative with this beer, but I guess it’s to be expected with a 13% ABV. This does keep it from being particularly smooth, but at least the alcohol doesn’t distract much from the wonderful flavor profile. Medium to full bodied, with a low level of carbonation.

O: Overall, quite a damn good brew. Right up there, and maybe even passing up Beer Geek Brunch Weasel as my all time favorite RIS. Awesome aroma, and a complex and delicious flavor profile. The one drawback is the price, running $10.50 for an 11.2oz bottle. That, combined with its limited availability will make it something I don’t drink often, but when I do I’ll be sure to enjoy it. A must try.

Photo of leroybrown10
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%

Photo of Reaper16
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle - Batch #14 - served into a tulip glass

Pours really, really black. It sits heavy in the glass and looks every bit the Platonic form of the Imperial Stout. The head? Surprisingly large at two fingers of frothy, dark tan foam. But I guess the Belgian yeast has something to do with that. Lacing is nice and tight. Imperial Stouts in my experience have only looked better in two instances, both times a Boulevard Smokestack Series beer (the masterclass lineup in all of beerdom for appearance). You can't ask for anything more than this. NOTE: Black Albert bottles tend to have a LOT of sediment at the bottom. If that sediment gets into the glass then it won't look nearly as pretty The only reason I'm not scoring Black Albert a 5.0 is because of this.

Some people have said that this batch of Black Albert displays more prominent Quadrupel characteristics than it does RIS characteristics. I'm not sure if the balance is that skewed but you definitely get Quad aromas. This beer smells like the strange evolutionary link between Rochefort 10 and Ten FIDY. Blackberry or black currant fruits hit the nose first, with a nice char smell backing it up. Dark chocolate is undercut by acrid, grassy hops. Deep malt smells that turn to dark fruit on some whiffs, vinous notes on others. This is a lot like Boulevard's Dark Truth Stout, only way more astringent from hops.

Black Albert hits the tongue with immediately perceptible complexity. Dark-ass chocolate, black licorice, blackberry preserves, chocolate malted milkshake, alcohol sweetness, plums, the roast character of coffee but not the coffee bean taste, plastic, damp leaves - the flavors come in a long, steady stream. Lots of different kinds of sweetness but bolstered by the astringency and bitterness from its generous hop presence. This is balanced, yes - and incredibly complex.

The mouthfeel is very effective. It has a satisfying thickness to the body but it is not so thick that it clogs up the Belgian yeast fruitiness from carrying to all points of the tongue. This beer is 13% ABV; it doesn't really taste like it but it will get to you. The complexity makes for a beer that might be a little too much, even in the bottle size of 11.2oz. A Rogue XS series 7oz. bottle would be perfect for this beer.

Black Albert stands as one of the finest acheivements in beer that I've been able to try. Though I might just have a natural affinity for Belgian yeast in Imperial Stouts, judging by my review of Boulevard's Dark Truth Stout in relation to the rDev here on BeerAdvocate. Whatever the case may be, Black Albert is a beer that I will marvel at now and in the future. I see myself buying quite a few more of these. This is a treasure that you must seek out for yourself.

Photo of beveritt
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured from an 11/2 oz brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. Label is black, with a picture that is a strange mix of paisley and tribal pattern. Back describes the development of this beer and recommends listening to The Brabançonne while drinking. There is notching for lot number, but no clear indication of production date.

Appearance: Pours with just over three fingers of dark brown head. This settles very slowly, essentially just slowly compacting. Eventually it drops to a still substantial coating and a more robust island of foam above the nucleation point. Decent lacing. The beer itself is black and opaque. Some sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Chocolate and soy sauce upfront with alcohol sweetness. Hints of cherry and vanilla.

Taste: Buttery chocolate upfront, incredibly smooth. Hints of cherry and strawberry follow. Roasted barley and hop bitterness in the finish, but extremely mellow. Warming alcohol sensation, but otherwise, the 13% is extremely well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is amazing; seems to stay in solution, giving this a creamy, milkshake-like mouthfeel. Great, thick body.

Drinkability: I must admit, I went in to this one wondering how much would be hype, but am now a believer. A great beer, in all respects. I wish I could get this in Ohio. Or maybe I don't because I would be on my way to buy several cases right now.

Photo of stealth
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of nataku00
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. Very dark beer that only shows tinges of brown when the glass is held up to the light. A small amount of brown head that clings actively to the glass. Looks very syrupy and thick while pouring, with minimal carbonation.

At 40°F out of the fridge, smells of dark brown sugar and dried plum and a bit of roasted malt. Not quite what I was expecting from a stout, but definitely some Belgian strong dark ale influence.

Good level of bitterness, with dark roasted coffee upfront, then some of the alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Very thick beer that really coats the inside of your mouth and tongue. As it warms, the beer sweetens up as the dark brown sugar softens the harsh bitterness, and gives you a little dark chocolate in the finish.

As with a lot of imperial stouts, this Belgian 'royal stout' is very much a sipping beer. I can only imagine this getting better if aged as the alcohol harshness was very present.

Photo of wiltznucs
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of hero27
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.
13% abv (says "VERY STRONG BEER" on the label, haha, nice..)

Thanks go out to Jw347 for the trade!

Apparently this is a Belgian Royal Stout (again, according to the label)..so I guess this would be my first ever Royal Stout.

Chilled for a few minutes, then let this warm up to room temp while drinking..
Pours a dark, stained chestnut color..solid, frothy tan head.
Delicate aroma of plums, bananas, burnt chocolate, & Belgian yeast.
Flavor is a combination of candied fruits, rich dark chocolate, and roasted barley malt.. everything blends together really well, but this doesn't have the complexity that you'd expect in a "high-end" imperial stout. Sweetness is a little over-the-top and leaves a residual sugary aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is chewy, and the carbonation is done to near perfection..extremely soft & at the same time it stays pretty lively in the mouth.

On to a new topic...I'd like to call "Shenanigans" on the ABV of this one...seriously.
This is one of the few beers I've had where I have to actually question the listed ABV...either this is some kind of a freak of nature in the world of beer, or it's not 13% alcohol...there's no heat, no taste/perception of "high" alcohol..nothing.. I drank the entire bottle on an empty stomach and didn't even have a hint of a buzz, so this claimed "13%" number is suspect to me. The fact that they actually printed "VERY STRONG BEER" in bold print on the label only supports the idea that the strength of this beer could be a bit of a marketing gimmick.
Maybe I'm dead wrong, but after reading through other reviews that appear to say the same thing, I think they must measure alcohol content a little different across the Atlantic.

Overall, this is a solid stout for sure, but it wouldn't be in my Top 10 Imperial Stouts, let alone top beers in the world. Just one man's opinion.

Photo of emottram
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice dark head and nice lacing. Smells like a somewhat sweet, dark berry black coffee. Fair amount of sweetness in the taste. Dark fruit, cacao, and black coffee pretty early on, but not too bitter A hint of alc., but super well hidden consisdering. Can't really put my finger on everything else I'm getting; I just keep thinking berries and fruit or something. Hint of bitterness shows up on the end, and a very slight ashy roasted aftertaste pop in for a second, but disappears quickly. Awesome beer.

Photo of ScaryEd
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dense black woth a nice fluffy brown head that lingers quite a while.
Sweet dark malty smell with a decent spicy hop backbone.
Slight sweetness in the taste, acidic with clove and other spices. There's a bitter and dry finish that lingers quite a while.
Very dense with a mild carbonation level. The alcohol is pretty well hidden but there is some mild heat.
Easy enought to drink but pretty expensive stuff.

Photo of kevanb
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle poured into a De Struise Brouwers short cervoise.

The beer pours a deep, beautiful jet black color, lovely thick texture as it pours, with a thick, khaki head that has great retention and leaves some nice spots of sticky lace behind. The aroma is wonderfully complex, rich, smooth grain, pitted stone fruit, lightly roasted coffee, bitter dark chocolate, some char is present as well with some strong alcohol presence at the back end. The flavors are rich and decadent, lots of bitter dark chocolate, smooth toasted grain, raisin, fig, pitted stone fruit, lightly roasted coffee with some light charring with some assertive alcohol at the end that is both abrasive, yet warm and soothing. The body is silk, massive, coats the mouth incredibly well, carbonation is slightly higher than I anticipated, a bit crisp, and the finish is impeccably smooth, creamy and rich.

Verdict: Delicious, bold and downright impressive. The high ABV is a bit of a detractor for me as it gets hot and abrasive and overshadows the complexity that this beer has achieved. That being said, this is a great work of brewing art.

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of HopsintheSack
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of CHADMC3
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oil slick black body with a thick, dark, mocha head that gives way to a thin, yet consistent lacing around the perimeter of the beer.

Roasted malt and sweet chocolate aromas float from the glass. Hints of booze, dark breads, and yeast are also present.

The flavor is much more roasted than the aroma with a bit of coffee, a touch charred and woody like, and also offering semi sweet chocolate as it warms. Similar to the aroma, there are some earthy yeasts here that compliment some of the roasty/woody elements of the malt.

This Royal Stout is fuller in body with medium carbonation and a boozy, yet somewhat drying finish.

This is certainly a stout that errs on the roasty versus sweet side. I thoroughly enjoyed the earthy yeast and wood character that is not present in many of its counterparts. Overall, this is an impressive beer.

Photo of weonfire
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black Albert 'Batch zero' served in a 6oz sample glass at Holy Grale in Louisville, KY.

A - Black. That used oil look. Small rim of mocha colored head, very thin.

S - Originally served very cold- way too cold. After some warming...the flavor sprouted. Chocolate increases with warmth. Cocoa & Coffee with the slightest hint of smoke and alcohol. Sweetness is coming thru.

T - Roasted coffe, chocolate, and wow- the floral notes! can almost taste the flower pedals. frothy, alcohol gives ever so slight burn on the tongue initially. 13 ABUs? goodness where? hidden by a coffee/candy.

M - Frothy, think and malty. very nice.

O- Starts sweet and ends bitter. very pleasant. and that coming from someone who doesn't like coffee! It is very, very easy to drink. Truly hard to believe this was 13ABUs.

Photo of krl2112
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.