Black Albert - De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,581 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,581
Reviews: 822
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 318
Gots: 373 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.

(Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-23-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,581 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to say thanks to my man Drunkmonk for hooking me up with this one.
Poured a deep black with a cocoa colored head, little carbonation. Nose is cocoa, figs, tobacco. Taste is cocoa, dried fruit up front with a sharp alochol bite on the end. The 13ABV is well hidden leaving this a hidden bruiser. Good RIS!

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours extremely dark black with a one finger tan head that fades slowly. Some nice lacing down the glass.

S: Lots going on here, some dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, belgian yeast, and some roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is some nice roasted malt and chocolate with a little bit of brown sugar. As the beer warms the dark fruit flavors develop and take hold. I was surprised at how much the dark fruit came through with cherry, plum, and fig.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Slight touch of alcohol, but not much at all for being 13%.

O: A dangerously tasty beer at 13%! Not overly heavy, but has a great flavor profile. Could drink this one all the time.

Photo of wl0307
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml slim brown bottle, with a BB date beyond comprehension; served lightly-chilled in Hapkin's bulb-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a near-black hue, coming with an unknown level of carbonation and a super thick dark tan froth to last throughout the drink, leaving uneven lacing as it patiently retreats. Simply elegant.
S: the aroma is as "deep" as a dark ale can get, not extremely roasty or bold, but rather like a well-aged English RIS - vanilla and chocolates abound, but not really sweet, while sour black-prunes, marinated berries, faint staleness of old wood barrels, and aromatic tobacco manifest themselves in a truly elegant way. At the second layer of the aroma goes yeasty saltiness with a touch of chilli, while roasted/dark malts have almost dissolved amidst the fruitiness and sour elements.
T: a decently sour foretaste consisting of high-quality prunes and dark fruits precedes a clean palate of sweet roastiness of black/tarred malts, light cocoa, bitter-chocolate-flavoured toffee, and licorice-like herbal notes; the hop bitterness gradually chimes in along with bitter nuts and sweet coffee, resulting in a truly soothing and lightly chewy palate in the finish. But the quoted "100 IBU" is almost overly camouflaged indeed, if not printed wrong on the beer label ...?!
M&D: the mouthfeel is really really good, showing very little intervention of carbonation but still healthy & soothing in terms of fizziness. The 13%abv. alc. is definitely nowhere to be found, not even in the form of a belated kickback... In many ways, this RIS rings a bell of a young vintage English RIS that shows a good level of staleness and a settled profile of roastiness, albeit with a little bit more yeast presence, while the texture is still "young" and not quite to the level of being oily or lubricant. All in all, I find it a truly remarkable and well-crafted strong imperial stout that might NOT be so appealing to those hopheads who crave for their excessive hops even in this rather traditional beer style.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of Halcyondays' buddies brought this to Beachwood BBQ for the three of us to sample. Sometimes, one of the beer's you've been wanting to taste happens sooner than you think. On to the beer:

Obsidian black color shows no sign of giving way for any light. White head on top create a good contrast of colors. I was taken by surprise by the aroma. Yes, I could smell some roasted malt and chocolate flavors, but also some dark fruits and plums that you'd find in a more traditional dark Belgian.

Yet as much of a surprise the aroma was, the taste was a bigger surprise. It was strange, but still enjoyable in a weird way. A dash of cocoa, a part of dark fruits, some milk/lactose sweetness, and add in some lactic and sour qualities, and you got Black Albert. The lactic and lactose threw my palate off quite a bit....drink a little more and my palate becomes a little adapted to this. The best quality of the beer was how well the 13% ABV was hidden....where's the heat? Seemed closer to being medium bodied than full bodied.

Black Albert is strange. Ok, it's really different from your everyday Imperial Stout. If you're looking for something REALLY different in the style, Black Albert could be the cure, but the price and lack of availability aren't going to encourage me to seek a bottle for myself.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14

A: Black, but not quite opaque. Great head, with some nice lacing.

S: Phenomenal aroma. Wow! There is an incredible wild yeast sourness in the nose. Every time I smell the beer, searching for additional scents, I become completely distracted by the incredible sour aroma.

T: Unique for sure. This beer smells better than it tastes. I don't get a lot of stout characteristics (I know this batch is more quad-like). The 13% ABV is disguised extremely well. The beer lacks the complexity I expected from the intriguing scents. The sourness is more present in the aroma, but still very evident in the taste. Again, unique, enjoyable, and impossible to categorize.

M: Dare I say a little thin?

D: A truly unique beer that I will always look forward to.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a glass alongside another bottle of black albert, cuvee delphine and black damnation.

Albert pours out a brownish black color out the bottle, settling into a black sea once all is said and done. A nice build of mocha colored foam on top with not much lacing. This is not the thickest looking stout i've seen, but thick enough.

Smells don't really explode out alot but with some significant warming the stout in albert comes out. Roasted malt is at the top with chocolate and minimal coffee. A big fruity plum and others with a nice vanilla creaminess. A small hop build ala light storm king in the fresh bottle of albert.

The fruit component comes into play in taste a bit more than I was expecting. I heard that some albert's have some quad tastes and I concur, sort of like a split in between the two styles. Plums are between alot of malt with chocolate and a somewhat spicy belgian yeast in the end.

Not the thickest stout out there but I won't dock points for that. I will however give mad points and props to De Struise for masking that damn 13%, it really is nowhere to be found. Not hot and no alcohol detected, amazing! The body is a above medium build with light but noticable carb pop.

I cant drink a ton of this stuff and Im not quite sure it's worth the price of admission but it's a well crafted stout that strays a bit from the 'sameness' of most rizzes out there. The belgian yeast and slight quad aspects will throw you for a loop.

Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle courtesy of upsjeff.

A: The stout opened with a fizz and slowly foamed up, leaving a coffee-and-cream colored head slowly creeping out of the glass. In my snifter, the stout is dark, appropriately black for an imperial offering. Spots of lace result from the head.

S: The nose is interesting, dark and malty on one hand but fruity/spicy on the other. There is even a dry Irish stout aroma floating in there.

T: An interesting stout, continuing from the unique aspects of the nose. Dry malts, dark and roasted, lend a Guinness-like flavor, followed by a Belgian yeast profile of dark alefruits. A lactic creaminess is strong, adding a mildly sour, stale taste to the stout. The 13% pricetag is well hidden but this imperial stout seems more like an imperial Irish stout.

M: I'm not sold yet. The sweet lactic body is a little too sour, a little too loosey goosey. I like the fruit flavors that follow the lactose but they don't last long enough.

D: A tough drink with a heavy pricetag. It is certainly imperial, an ale that isn't afraid to shatter boundaries. Based on that, I kinda like it.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a inky jet black body with a tin tan ring of foam on top. The body is too dense to see any carbonation.

S- The soft musty smell gives way to a smooth dark almost malty aroma and a note of figs finish the aroma.

T- The bitter inky taste of big black malt give way to a mellow but big black roasted malt flavor. There are some soft cherry hints and a faint tartness that helps finish this beer with a soft inky bitterness that lingers for a brief moment.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a soft fizz hint and no real alcohol heat but a smooth texture on the tongue.

D- The tartness is pretty bright which is interesting compared with the dark roasted malt. The big roasted notes were up front but the malt flavors seemed to be in the background. This beer was served a bit colder than I like and I wonder if that hid some of the complexity? There just wasn't much complexity but nice contrast of flavors.

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of jdhilt
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving traces lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and heavy bodied. Molasses and chocolate nose. Flavor is sweet and bitter molasses. Dry chocolate finish. Tastes better than the first tap at Ebenezers Pub in Aug 2007. High ABV is completely hidden. Way overpriced at $10.99 for a 330ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Churchkey into a snifter. From notes.

A real dark mocha head is presented, with a walnut brown body and very thin bubbles in the head. Manages a real long lasting puck while drinking. Real nice looking brew.

On the nose there is a sense of mild brown sugar, and molasses. An interesting light syrup/floral stick angle? It's quite unique hard to describe. Long lasting roasty char, with a hint that something silky might be coming on the palate.

Palate hits with a good roast body and depth. Almost silky, but just relatively solid. Finishes with a warm malt charring feel, some tight little carbonation bounces a bit, and a crackling finish strangely. There's some depth to this which is kind of interesting, and an interesting take on the flavor profile.

Overall it's pretty solid and enjoyable. And the finish and aftertaste is very long and lasting. Quite impressed.

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bit surprised to see this one show up at the local shop, and I quickly grabbed it.

Pours dark. Black, almost pitch, with very faint reddish edge. Pillow head of light brown/tan foam. Soft, fluffy, looks good and cozy.

Dark soft fruits fill the nose, with some burnt caramel and dark chocolate. Figs and dark toast. Quite yummy smelling.

Great taste, and I don't give a 5 just b/c of the style designation here, although it probably should warrant it. The dark fruit and malt are there, but the chocolate wanes a bit. Great job hiding the alcohol, this is a very easy drinking beer. Short bitterness gives the flavors a jolt of freshness. Nice beer

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to warriorsoul for this brew.

Reviewed: 15 Dec 2010

Batch: 0
Lot: D
Best Before: Sep 2015

Been about 2.5 years since I last had this brew. This bottle looks totally different than the other bottles I had.

Poured into a chalice a nice black color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy two-finger tan head, which leaves a HUGE oil slick in the middle of the glass, also has some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with lots of chocolate/toffee notes, slight licorice, caramel. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, lots of dark stuff, licorice, vanilla. Full body, again the ABV is hidden very well. Very Drinkable, really enjoying this brew, Thanks Tom.

Thanks goes out to deepsouth and Bitterbill for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a very nice dark black color, very nice carbonation, a very nice two-finger creamy tannish head, which leaves some very nice thick sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, slightly sour, with some toffee/chocolate/caramel. The taste is malty, slightly sweet/sour, nice touch of dark chocolate. Full-Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well with a brew this high in ABV. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, a nice little twist on the other RISs, but very nice for what it is. Highly recommended. Thanks Jason and Bill.

Photo of John_M
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Ebenezer's the other day.

The beer pours the expected rich, dark black color with very impressive head retention and lacing. Unlike the bottled version, I get a considerable aroma of chocolate, cherry and coffee. On tap this beer smells pretty nice. On the palate this beer is flat out deliciuos, and really doesnt' taste all that much different from the bottled version. While there is a goodly amount of rich chocolate and some coffee aroma, I also get quite a bit of cherry and plum flavor. The intermix of flavors is just lovely, and I really am impressed by how light, soft and creamy on the palate this beer is. Given the 13% abv, drinkability truly is amazing. While you can tell the alcohol is up there, there is nothing hot, heavy or tiring about this beer, though perhaps it wasn't the best idea to order a second glass (but how often does one get to have this beer on tap at Ebenezer's).

The more I get to have this beer, the more impressed I've become. This is delicious stuff.

Photo of biegaman
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black graphite that even against the afternoon backdrop won't afford the slightest highlight. Opaqueness is obviously of utmost concern for this dark, shadowed character. Little, tightly packed bubbles posses a movement like molecular cells splitting and dividing within a culture. Despite their tiny form they've amassed into an enormous sized colony. The pale brown froth looks only a natural fit for the obsidian-like mass beneath it.

Both Russian Imperial Stout type beers and antiquated Belgian yeast strains offer complexity - scientifically we're speaking of enzymatic machinery that produces literally hundreds of identified long-chained alcohols, compounds and esters - so it's no wonder a combination of the two would be so intricate. It's a potent mosaic of entwined spices and fruits with a heavy involvement of roast and caramelized malts.

This knotted multiplex of flavours continues in the taste where notes of heavily sweetened coffee, blackstrap molasses, charred oak barrel and unrefined cocoa powder start to arise. Notes of black currants and red-wine grapes are minimal but present nonetheless. As are flavours of black licorice, toasted grains, anise, nutmeg and cinnamon spices and the impending caramel centered dark chocolate.

The brewer seems to have matched the increase in alcohol with a proportional increase in silkiness. Each sip is like a finely conched chocolate of ultimate smoothness. The stated 100 IBU's are curiously absent (as is the claimed 13% alcohol) although there is a small similarity to coffee, specifically a freshly brewed authentic Italian espresso. That said, a cultured yeast appropriates the beer to an elegant, refined style typical of Belgian ales.

De Struise classify this as a "Belgian Royal Stout"; a style they've opted to take credit for patenting that is adopted, no doubt, from the Russian Imperial Stout. The idea is, I believe, to combine the bold, rich decadence of an RIS with the complexity of traditional Belgian ales. To my knowledge, stouts are relatively new in the extensive cannon of Belgian beers but I've already enjoyed similar examples (see: De Regenboog Catherine the Great).

Black Albert, however, undeniably takes the cake. When you're drinking a beer this powerful and unique (not to mention rare and expensive) it should offer you a strong sense that the experience you're having is distinctive rather than mundane. Certainly, the fine people at De Struise accord us just that. Find a special occasion - birthday, holiday, the unfolding of a paper clip, whatever - and treat yourself like royalty. Thanks MasterSki!

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of rab53
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle obtained in trade with Grbdg. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Pillowy head is going nowhere fast, with a thick coating of froth lacing throughout. Aroma is dark malt, anise, and alcohol. Taste is unexpectedly restrained. Dark malt sweetness upfront, light lactic tartness in the middle, creamy roasted close with alcohol wamrth lingering. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is way too easy for 13%abv. Possibly even worth the hype, if anything can be worth this beer's hype.

Photo of Kelp
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to BeerisHeaven for this one.

Poured from a bottle nice and dark and inky. Head was amazing at least 3 fingers tall, and dissipated at a good rate. Smells like a typical RIS coffee, chocolate, malts and fruit. The taste is balanced and no alcohol make it odd. I can taste the chocolate, malts, and coffee. It actually is rather watery considering the ABV. Had a velvety smoothness to it though. I could drink these all night and not care. Mainly cause if I did that I wouldn't remember the next day anyways.

Photo of billab914
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. It poured thick and black in color with a very dense and thick tan head to it. It kept a nice covering on the top of the beer as I drank it and left some great lacing as well.

The aroma shows a lot of chocolate and roasted malts to it. It has a nice sweetness to it but also stays very smooth and balanced. It almost has the smooth aroma of say an oatmeal stout.

The taste has a rich, sweet milk chocolaty flavor to it at first. It develops more of a roasty, bitter, coffee flavor towards the finish. it also has some smoky and molasses flavors going on that just add to the complexity. It's very balanced for such a big beer and has such a great range of flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good, it's a fantastic imperial stout. It had such a range of flavors to it but managed to be very balanced overall. I also really liked the smokiness that came through in it. Excellent beer overall.

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 1,581 ratings.