1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Damnation XI - Special Kay - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Black Damnation XI - Special KayBlack Damnation XI - Special Kay

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

64 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 64
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.36%
Wants: 191
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  22.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
A blend of Kate The Great (10.79% ABV) and Black Albert (13% ABV), brewed by master brewer Todd Mott of the Portsmouth Brewery in USA and Urbain Coutteau of Struise. This time our beer was fractionally frozen to -15 ° C over a period of 20 days. This method allows the water which is present in beer, slowly but surely to be separated from the alcohol, and allowing the volume % to rise. Another Eisbock process but modified a la Struise, still allows the result to be called beer. "Special K" has previously been aged 10 months in Noval Port barrels before undergoing the Eisbock process.

(Beer added by: brewandbbq on 08-29-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by lanbewardin:
Photo of lanbewardin
5/5  rDev +14.2%

lanbewardin, Jan 04, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of leschkie
4.25/5  rDev -3%

leschkie, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml red wax/plastic/cement topped and then corked bottle into a couple of snifters. I probably took about an 8 oz pour or so of this. Once again, HUGE thanks go to Stakem for opening this up for us to have a go out. This wasn’t a beer, it was an EVENT!

Pours a dense black in the glass, topped with roughly a ½ finger of burnt and angry looking dark mocha head. This stays frothy around the edges of the glass, leaving back a cascade of gooey oils and spotty lacing that slowly creeps down the sides and sticks a bit. The aroma smells of oak, chocolate fudge, dark vinous fruit, roasted coffee, and spicy alcohol warmth. There is a nice depth and power here to the nose but it isn’t exactly blowing up for me like it feels like it should.

The taste just brings it, with a sticky and boozy blend of chocolate, molasses, coffee, and a strong dark fruitiness, with green tannins and burnt wood that stick to the tongue. It’s the sweetness here however that lingers the most for me, with a combination of fruit and sugars that work really well together and just coat the mouth with flavor. The more burnt and bitter aspects of this can’t be ignored however, and despite the overall smoothness of the flavor profile, there is still an intensity to this that is hard to shake. That sweetness (emboldened by the alcohol) is definitely leaving the biggest impact on me though. The mouthfeel is beyond full bodied, with a thick and chewy carbonation and a bold spicy sweetness from all of that alcohol. This may be the highest ABV beer that I’ve in this large of a quantity during a sitting and while I can feel the alcohol content slowly sapping my body of any remaining moisture, I am just astounded at how smooth and downright drinkable this is for a 22% beer, which really speaks to the depth and richness of this.

Like I mentioned above, enjoying this beer was an event, as you don’t just drink or sip something like this, you wrestle with it, as it commands that much respect. This beer is a downright beast and despite the headache the next morning, I’d tussle with it anytime. Thanks again Adam. This beer was a pleasure.

Kegatron, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

GRG1313, Jul 23, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Jeffo does it again. I was afraid he'd send BA Stella, but I got this instead.

A - Pours black with a medium dark-tan head. The head slowly turns into some nice lacing. Sticks to the glass well. Looks very appealing, head returns upon sifting.

S - Strong dark fruits, breadiness, booze. The aroma is potent and certainly provides some booziness. There is a little bit of the port barrel coming through, but I can't tell if that is mostly due to the ABV% instead of the actual barrel aging process. Faint licorice in the finish.

T - Very similar to the aroma. Strong dark fruits, then some licorice, then some mild booziness with more dark fruits. Breadiness comes through somewhere in the middle and follows to the end. Very strong, very complex. As it stands, I think this could benefit from some age. No question.

M - Not really sure how much more you could ask for. Thick, thick, just enough carbonation, thick.

O - The flavor could develop a little more. The rest is damn good. The booze needs to fall off and the time it would take for that to occur would likely provide for some of the other flavors to come together. Good as it stands, probably great in two years. I'm a little let down by the flavor. I expected perfection, but didn't find it. I guess Double Black spoiled me. Claaark13 : 1, Special Kay : 0.

claaark13, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of mtbdonn
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I originally had the Special Kay from the keg at the Kerstbier festival in Essen, Belgium.
Opened a 75cl bottle from the cellar at approx 50 degrees F and served in my Struise tulip glass.

A-The beer is pitch black, with a nice, dark brown head. Light carbonation with nice lacing.

S-Heavy roast, chocolate, vanilla(?), coffee and malts.

T-The taste is very similar to smell, bitter coffee, chocolate, warming alcohol and spices. The bottled version was much milder, less alcohol than the draft version.

M-Tingly warm, silky, smooth.

O-Definite indications of Struise brewing!
This bottled version is a fantastic beer, but at 22%, it still has that alcolol punch. A nice sipping beer that finishes with a warming that melts down your throat.

mtbdonn, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from tap at the brewery...awesome!!!
First of all, Carlos apologized for this batch only being like 18% ... (how will I sleep?!)
This pours a thick oily black with thin tan head. Amazing chocolate malt, dried fruit, vanilla, and booze aromas. Taste is truly amazing. Chocolate, dried fruit and I suppose its port I taste...its fantastic!! I so wished to take a whole barrel home with me. Just an amazing brew.

DrinkSlurm, Sep 13, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. Poured into a tasting tulip.

Appearance: This beer is black as night with a half finger of creamy tan head and nice retention.

Smell: Sweet and roasty with a strong dark fruit and port presence. I'm getting some chocolate and brown sugar. Roast and some alcohol as well.

Taste: Not as overpowering as I would have expected. Dark chocolate and dark fruit notes. I'm definitely getting some port here. There is a smooth roasty flavor throughout the sip and a bitter alcohol burn in the finish. I'm pretty sure I like this better than regular Kate.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish. This is a really nice feeling beer.

Overall: This beer tastes really good and feels wonderful. Incredibly drinkable given the abv. The fruit/wine undertones really make the flavor. I would love to have this again.

oline73, May 13, 2012
Photo of ejyoung
4.25/5  rDev -3%

ejyoung, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of Etan
3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally opening this. 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a reddish dark brown with a small tan head. Surprising amount of lacing and retention for a 22% beer.

S: Cherry, raisins, thick chocolate, boozy oak. Very smooth.

T: Semi-sweet port, bitter roasted malts, dark chocolate, heavy smoky character, lots of oaky tannic bitterness and a wash of noticeable but pleasant alcohol. I can definitely make out the Kabert in this.

M: Slight carbonation, almost thick-bodied, silky.

O: The beer definitely kept it under control for 22%, but it tasted a bit too smoky and astringent. A unique experience, but not as amazing as it could have been.

Etan, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of 77black_ships
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this several times draft. First time was fresh at the Kertbierfestival 2011 in Essen where I was blown away by it. Had about 6 tasting glasses of it. Many of those were from people who couldn’t manage to drink their own sample. Tried it since then again draft at the brewery and at their store in Bruges. Both times it was nice but paled in comparison to having it fresh on tap in Essen. Review is from the first time I tried it.

Appearance: Ridiculously dark, looks viscous and oily when poured. Incredibly it supports a bit chocolate mousse despite the very high ABV, courtesy of Struise’s special eisbocking technique.

Smell: Cold the booze comes through way to much, almost smells like vodka – not my thing. When warmed you get chocolate, thick roasted malts, ice coffee as thick as a milkshake but unfortunately the alcohol comes through still heavily.

Taste: Thick, very thick, thick syrup, super concentrated malt syrup, bucket of molasses squeezed into this, concentrated brown sugar, ice coffee & condensed coffee, sludgy, a roast which tries not to drown in the syrup & sweetly goodness, strong Porto (calvados?) aftertaste, warming but not really alcoholic.

Body: By far my favorite aspect of this beer, thickest RIS I have every head. Pure syrupy sludge – incredible.

Overall: The first time when I tried this, freshly made it was divine. An experience aided perhaps by the fact that this my first beer in this ABV category. Previous incarnations failed but I hear that the bottles are much better. I have never managed to convince myself to cough up the incredibly hefty price tag.

77black_ships, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of erg
5/5  rDev +14.2%

erg, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of digita7693
3/5  rDev -31.5%

digita7693, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of LynnHomeBrewer
5/5  rDev +14.2%

LynnHomeBrewer, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of phingdong
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

phingdong, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

ygtbsm94, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
3.7/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for sharing.

A - A black beer with a tan head. Had some solid retention that settled to a thick ring. Nice looking.

S - My initial thought on this one was apples, although not overly powering to make me think that something had gone wrong with it. Port influence gives way to some more traditional stout aromas including chocolate, slight roast, and vanilla.

T - Has some wine-like qualities up front. The alcohol on this is present, but at 22% is pretty mellow. Pretty rich, with dark fruits and chocolate. Good tasting beer.

M - Pretty close to full bodied, with lower carbonation.

O - Good beer. Not sure where the apple notes are coming from, but other then that there isn't anything to complain about. Glad to drink it, but would not try to acquire given how much it originally went for.

AgentZero, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Kurmaraja, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

drewone, Jun 17, 2012
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

nmann08, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of cadaugherty
4.25/5  rDev -3%

cadaugherty, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of imperiallibations
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

imperiallibations, Jan 30, 2013
Photo of cosmicevan
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

shared with one of the tasting crews on 8/15.

a - still. black. frightening.

s - BOOZE. black malts. some fruit ala kabert, port and green apples, but swallowed by the bigness of the booze.

t - really smooth. definitely a bit boozy on the flavor, but doesn't feel like the 22% that it carries. roasted malts and some port barrel. like kabert on steroids.

m - this is a BIG beer. smooth, but still big.

o - overall this is a really nice treat, but not mind blowing. mind blowing how easy it is to drink. i prefer double black and kabert to this one. a bit of a novelty. tasty on its own, but for what it is, definitely impressive to make such a tasty and drinkable beer at this ABV with a non syrupy body.

cosmicevan, Aug 21, 2012
Photo of scottfrie
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing, Nick!

A: Pours pitch black with a thin dark brown head that faded into a very long lasting collar. Spots of soapy lace were left down the glass.
S: Meaty and hearty smelling. This is a beast of a beer. For such a high ABV I’m surprised I don’t smell more alcohol. This smells pretty smooth actually. I get a few notes chocolate and fruit. Definitely boozy though.
T: Chocolate and booze. The finish is sharp and lingers forever and ever. The booze is pretty mellow, but this beer is crazy strong.
M: Super duper thick beer. This thing is like barrel aged chocolate syrup. Carbonation is low and thick.
O: For what it is this is awesome! I could only handle two or three ounces of this though. Like a chocolate milkshake with booze and fruit. Thanks a ton Nick.

scottfrie, May 19, 2012
Photo of klipper
4/5  rDev -8.7%

klipper, May 13, 2012
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Black Damnation XI - Special Kay from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.