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Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black AlbertBlack Albert

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

829 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 829
Hads: 1,651
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 335
Gots: 376 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 829 | Hads: 1,651
Photo of sherm1016
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (441 characters)

Photo of JWD
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks from monkeyknife for this one!!!

A- Lookin good, very dark but active like DFH WWS high carbonation and a great tan head here!

S- Good, your basic RIS with a belgian twist here, little breadiness going one.

T- Very good, Belgian RIS i am liking so far so roasty some coffee and some bread. ABV is hidden very well. lot of similarities to the Abyss

M- Thiner than expected but the high carb has a lot to do with that.

D- Supreme, the hidden ABV and the smooth flavors here make you wish you had a bigger bottle.

Great brew with a very interesting twist.. (567 characters)

Photo of rawthar
4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. This is NOT one of the two batch zeroes I picked up from the DeStruise schoolhouse brewery in Oostvleteren, but a bottle picked up from TJ's in Paoli a few months ago, aged in my cellar in the meantime. No datestamp, but I assume this is from a more recent batch, and has a slightly different label.

A- Cherry red light filters through the pour stream, but once settled a deep void of blackness forms in the glass, with an espresso-colored, nitrogen-like body of carbonation spontaneously combusting from the abyss to form a hearty, thick head, much more intense, stubborn, and lacy than one would expect from the high abv, which is what pushes this from the 4.5 default appearance that we all give to a RIS to a 5.0.

S- Sweet, sharp tsunami of a megamalty, boozy, spirit-like onslaught. I can tell that this is going to be the good stuff, even if the aroma calms a bit over time.

T- Uber boozy at first, but this mellows surprisingly quickly, nonetheless, this is a sipping brew with the intensity of an Avery Mephistopheles. No doubt this is an extreme beer. Lots of roasted black cocoa, sharp sweetness on the tongue is immediately overcome by burnt firewood bitterness. Pairs very well with Belgian chocolates from Neuhaus on the Grand Place in Brussels.

M- Thick and oily and enough alcohol sting to let you know you're drinking it.

D- As mentioned above, a true sipper, and yet this glass seems to be more and more empty every time I look at it, at a very surprising rate. I think my wife is sneaking sips as I watch Always Sunny and write this review.

Lives up to the hype, not that this is the most hyped beer, but it has its followers for sure. And if Batch zero is even better, I'm really looking for the right day to crack one. I also have extremely high hopes for my Cuvee Delphine. (1,841 characters)

Photo of chalsk
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting to grab a bottle of this. Pours a black color with a tan foam head. Has an aroma of dark fruit and chocolate with hints of citrus. Sweet and creamy from the dark fruit, then the gentle carbonation kicks in with some nice roasty maltiness. Finish citrusy sweet. Some chocolate notes on the finish. Very excellent brew. (330 characters)

Photo of goethean
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (282 characters)

Photo of humanawho
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - very deep black color with a strong head of brown cream

S - nice sweet aroma with some candied figs and some slight spicyness some hints of vanilla extract

T - very smooth with some nice chocolate flavors and deep roasty notes there are some vanilla and fig flavors

M - great it is very think but crazy smooth with nice carbonation

D - extreamly drinkable nice and smooth (379 characters)

Photo of wd40
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown/black appearance. Aroma has raisins, figs, and caramel. There's definitely some alcohol present in the nose. The taste is sweet and very malty. It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Hardy ale or a J.W. Lee's in that sense. Some of the high alcohol content becomes apparent in the taste especially as it warms up. It's a good beer and I might try one again with some age on it to see if that calms the alcohol down, but only if I can get a good price on it. (468 characters)

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a few of these from Health Spirits a while back. 33cl bottle - which is a great size for a 13% abv beer. A very pricy bottle I might add.

Pours jet-black into a snifter - decent head that quickly recedes to the edges of the glass. Swirling it around it looks to be on the light side for viscosity.

Smells like soy sauce, bitter chocolate and some dark fruits with faint hops smell. Very little to no alcohol in the nose.

The taste is really good. Nothing like I expected. Pretty light on its feet for the abv with a mix of soy, light chocolate and coffee undertones with very good carbonation letting it dance in your mouth. Again not getting any of the 13% in the taste - this could be a dangerous beer to drink. Has a dry finish is unlike other RIS's that I've had.

A very well balanced high abv stout that I could drink one too many of if it wasn't so damn expensive. Overall quite impressed and worthy of the praise but only something that I'll occasionally indulge in. (991 characters)

Photo of davedahl
3.44/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good - but not up to my expectations based on the hype surrounding it. I had a 8oz pour in a sherry glass for $10 at Binny's in Chicago's south loop.

The pour was far too cold but produced a completely black brew with a creamy chocolate-milk type head of tight tiny bubbles. Slight lacing.

Taste was chocolate malt, roasted malt at the front; dark fruit (dark sweet cherries plums) in the middle; and little hop balance and alcohol burn in the finish.

Nose - nothing. Seriously partially because how cold this beer was there was zero aromatics. After I warmed it a bit in my hands I detected rich dark malt and sweet cherries - but you really have to search for them.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, alcohol bite, viscous. The 13% alcohol is hidden well.

So hmm. This was good, but not great. I had this only once previously, about a year ago with BA member bgramer and I recall getting a lot more out of it at that time. I think this is probably better bottled and aged than on tap. (985 characters)

Photo of mrkrispy
3.27/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been wanting to try this for quite a while, thanks to the very generous trader!

Poured a very dark but not jet black. Nice head, stuck around for a decent amount of the glass. Lots of lace all over the place.

A very dull aroma, and what there is isn't pleasing. A bit smokey, and burnt malt?

Immediately notice the lighter body than I was expecting. Dark malts, bit of chocoloate and coffee bean. Roubust burnt malt again, not a fan of that taste. Intentional? A bit of sourness, reminiscent of a Baltic Porter. Not surprising coming from Belgium, I like it. Some sort of metallic off flavor in the finish. Burnt sweetness lingers on the tongue.

Well, I didn't know what to expect and this certainly wasn't what I was hoping for. Complex, had some good flavors, but also several unlikable characteristics. A bit too light on the body. Nice to try it but I wouldn't make an effort to get it again. (901 characters)

Photo of brewintheLou
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a brown head that is very thin on the top.

Smell is chocolaty and sweet. Seems to be a little bit of a floral smell coming through.

Taste is milk chocolate with a hint of roastiness to balance out the sweetness. Mouthfeel is creamy and silky smooth as it goes down. Very drinkable as this is incredibly smooth. No sign of 13% ABV here. (355 characters)

Photo of gtn80
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance is a jet black with a couple fingers of fluffy mocha head of tiny bubbles and great lacing.

Aroma is of cocoa and coffee with cream.

Taste is amazingly velvety, surprisingly little roast for such a big stout. Chocolate and coffee abound, bit of alcohol heat in the finish.

Mouthfeel is amazing, thick, viscous, almost like a milkshake. Best mouthfeel I have had in a beer.

Drinkability is surprising for such a big stout. Even with the alcohol burn the abv sneaks up on you. (535 characters)

Photo of mentaltraveller
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good dark beer. It pours black. There is chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol in the nose. It tastes as it smells, a balanced mix of coffee-like bitterness with chocolate and alcohol, yet very drinkable. This beer has a solid mouthfeel, but it is not extremely thick. Very good, and I am looking foward to drinking the other bottle I brought home. (356 characters)

Photo of tkarsies
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot B6BB. Served near room temp in my Westy chalice. A special Valentine's Day treat.

Near black with dark brown head. Vigorous carbonation after the pour. Leaves beige lacing. Nice

Smells of roasted goodness. Some hints of coffee and fruits. Maybe a hint of sourness

Rich and complex. Initially the primary flavor is roasted malt. Then there is the dark fruit. There is a hint of flavor that faintly reminds me of a Belgian sour beer. With each sip, it becomes more complex. Kind of stout meets barleywine meets Belgian funky goodness. Oh, and there is a bit of hops at then end just to tease and provide some balance.

For all the fizzing when poured, this actually is not very carbonated. Smooth. Not quite as thick as the typical RIS I have had. A little stickiness in the mouth as well.

Drinkability is quite good, especially for a 13% brew. Alcohol is felt but not noticed in the flavor profile. A treat for sipping, especially as the temperature is dropping outside. Don't really At $10 for a bottle, I can't afford to drink this often, but it is definitely worth having again. (1,088 characters)

Photo of bgramer
4.07/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get a case through a friend out in Belgium.

This beer pours black, but I swear that with the aroma smelling sweet, and like raisins and grapes, that this would be a dark dark purple color like a grape soda but darker. There's some head retention but that quickly goes away leaving a tan ring that leaves a carbonated sticky lacing around the glass as you swirl it.

Tastes sweet like candy - dark fruits, some coffee, a little caramel. It's borderline to an RIS style but could be compared to a quad too, or even an American Stout. It's uniqueness and complexity prevents it from falling completely into one category or another, instead it reaches out into all these at one time or another. Amazingly complex.

The alcohol is slightly noticable but not in a bad way because of it's freshness. Imagine how amazing this could be when aged over the years.

This is a world class beer which deserves to be in the Top 5. (939 characters)

Photo of gueuzer
4.79/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (713 characters)

Photo of Fluke828
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to this one...

11.2 FL OZ.(330 ml right?) Bottle -> CBS Snifter (about half)
Bottle Date: LOT: B 6 BB (from what I understand this is June 2007?)

A->very dark body with a tan colored head about a finger's worth, persistent lacing with tremendous legs on this beer....

S-> Immediately get some very sweet dark fruits, almost like a very dark cherry/chocolate funk. Signature Struise I suppose... Roasted malts and faint chocolate smoke upon further examination...lots of complexity here...

T->Very sweet chocolate up front, slight bitterness and the faint tartness of Struise yeast with a fruity flavor turns toward a bit of coffee flavor but can't seem to shake the black cherry taste all the ay through. Finishes fairly dry with a creamy roasted aftertaste.

M-> Felt a bit on the thin side at first but was likely still too cold despite leaving this out on the counter for about 15 minutes before opening and pouring. definitely thickened up and actually started to semi-gush right as I went to tip the bottle to begin pouring. Lots of pent up carbonation over 5.5 years I guess....I actually enjoyed the lively carbonation.

O-> A tremendous beer. I didn't even realize I had a five and a half year old beer sitting in my cellar until after I opened this. having never had a Black Albert, I am very impressed. Quite enjoyable. Perfect thickness, not syrupy and the alcohol is melded perfectly. Great example of the style with that unique Struise twist. Chalk up another "Highly recommend" from this guy.... (1,553 characters)

Photo of SQNfan
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured black in color with a thick fluffy brown head that dissipated away. The nose has tart vinous aromas of plum, fig and cassis along with bittersweet chocolate, expresso roast and cotton candy. In the mouth it is full-bodied with nice mid-palate concentration and plenty of carbonation that keeps this from coming off as heavy. This is not as heavy as I expected rather it is very well-balanced. Like the nose the flavors are dark and vinous with a lingering finish that does show off some of the alcohol. This looks to have the balance, power, acidity and carbonation to age well. (590 characters)

Photo of jkendrick
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
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. (625 characters)

Photo of mj001jk
4.61/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and viscous as motor oil with a thick and creamy hazel-colored foam.

The aromas are subtle with dried raisins, blackstrap molasses and fresh yeast. There is only a hint of roasted aromas, more so of chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy but not cloying. Considering the whopping 100 IBU, the hops are considerably restrained, mostly accentuating the intense cocoa nibs, vanilla and toffee flavors.

This is really a dessert in the glass, displaying a perfect balance between sweetness, hops and roasted barley. The finish is long, tenderly bitter and delicious. (591 characters)

Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep dark body, small head that disappears to trace. Unique lacing, when swirling the beer in a glass a very fine uniform tracer of bubbles shows where the liquid has been.

S- Typical dark Belgian smell, yeasty and some malt backbone

T- Dark roast malt, yeast, nutty flavor and slight hop tinge

M- Thick and viscous with good carbonation

D- Would drink it again but wouldn't have two back-to-back due to %13 ABV (418 characters)

Photo of kbanks13
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 0, poured at right around cellar temp into a snifter. Poured an impenetrable black body with a HUGE milk chocolate colored frothy head after a semi-vigorous pour. Just like a good Belgian ale, the retention was superior and lacing was great. Smells like dried plums and raisins with molasses and vanilla. Burnt caramel, bitter chocolate, and earthy aromas round out the nose. The taste is largely the sweet sugary fruits at first, followed by the acidic cocoa and coffee flavors expected in a stout like this. Interesting characteristics from the Belgian yeast strain used, somewhat spicy. Very clean and balanced flavor profile, but rich and complex with bold flavors. Feel is about as thick and heavy as I'd expect in a RIS, but carbonated like a dubbel or tripel, which lightened the body a bit. An all around exceptional beer, and it lives up to every bit of hype it gets. Now I'm really curious to see how Cuvee Delphine compares. (941 characters)

Photo of Wanne
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer looks fabulous, nearly black with a brown head. Aroma of candy sugar, coffee, fruit. In the taste this is combined with dark chocolat, spices, plums. The alcohol adds to the taste, but you'll never guess that it has a 13% ABV. Very good stout. (248 characters)

Photo of BenZ
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a Batch 0 bottle fresh from De Struise. Perhaps this should be a separate beer from normal Black Albert?

A: Dark, dark brown. Tiny milk chocolate head that lingers.

S: Not at all what I was expecting. There some mixed herbs, a tiny bit of coffee/roastiness, and lots of mixed berrries (?). There was just the tiniest bit of booziness as it warmed.

T: Terrific balance of roasty, sweet, a small amount of tartness, and just plain awesomeness. The berries were not in the taste like they were in the smell - this is just fine, though.

M: Creamy and just plain perfect.

D: At first this was going to be a 5, but after about half way my senses were pretty much shot.

Surprisingly, this isn't exactly what I'd call an "intense" RIS; it's just "full" of everything. I'm pretty sure this is the best RIS I've ever had - no exageration and I've had quite a few. (867 characters)

Photo of dfclav
3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch "0"

A - a few months ago I opened mother earth silent night, and I honestly believed without a doubt that it would be the best looking stout that I would be able to try this year. Boy was I wrong. This is perfection in appearance. Half a pour leaves a towering 4 finger pillow in my snifter. The beer is jet black, and lacing is excellent when the head finally dies down.

S - deep roasted malts and a small element of smoke. Brown sugar plays a big part in the nose. Very nice chocolate presence as well.

T - very well hidden given the ABV, and pretty complex, this beer is huge on dark fruits and roasty malts. The sweetness doesn't play a big part at all like the brown sugar nose would suggest, it's actually one of the least sweet stouts I have ever tried.

M - medium body with a nice bittersweet finish, carbonation well integrated but surprisingly just a touch thin. A slow sipper, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

O - I'm glad I ordered this, but I was surprised to see I traded all of my bottles away except for this one when I dug into my cellar. This beer will be a good memory not for just being a good stout, but inspiring me to keep a cellar inventory. (1,180 characters)

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 829 ratings.