Black Damnation XI - Special Kay - De Struise Brouwers

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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

68 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 68
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.38%
Wants: 199
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
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Ratings: 68 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stakem:
Photo of stakem
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dear Struise, can you please explain the easiest way to open this bottle? Knife, saw, chisel, blow torch, hammer, saber? When the wax finally gives up the fight of keeping the brew away from you, it gets the last laugh by shattering into a dozen pieces. The cap pries off and displays a synthetic cork still getting in the way. When the last line of defense is finally broken, the 750ml bottle pops with a warning.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears black. Just very black with the faintest line of dark brown around the edges. A finger of dark mocha brown head appears and quickly fades. A swirl revives a half finger of froth back to the surface which again fades fairly quick. Spotty lace sticks to the glass and as its tilted to the light, you can see some faint ruby coloration.

The smell is thick and boozy. Vinous port quality mixes with a strong scent of cocoa batter. Raw oak provides a bit of tannic harshness to the nose with a contrasting deeply sweet smell of vanilla. A bit of coconut, licorice, oak and grape comes out as the brew warms up. Despite smelling bold with alcohol, it displays a very cruel sweetness that deceives you into making false assumptions about what thinks going to taste like.

The taste is super strong and boozy with a bold array of bitter charred grain. Tobacco and burnt sugar is suggested mixed with port wine, vinous tang and a bit of grapes sweetness. The derived sweetness gets completely crushed by the bitterness of the roast and bold alcohol impact. Across the back are notes of raw oak and more alcohol that gets a bit fusel.

This is a full bodied brute of a beer. It is thick and viscous but displays a moderate amount of carbonation. There is lots of character to take in this brew. There is no hiding that Kabert is running all through this brew. The 22% alcohol is not hiding at all, it seemingly stains the glass. Very aggressive brew that I can't describe any better than Kegatron stated while drinking this with me. "This tastes like it was made with testosterone." It seemingly rips the moisture right out of your mouth. Putting this in a 750ml bottle is cruel. It's something I'd love to open ad sip on but at this format, you need to call in friends to help with this beast unless you want to get wasted.

More User Reviews:
Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of leschkie
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of claaark13
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of mtbdonn
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Photo of oline73
4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Photo of ejyoung
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Etan
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of 77black_ships
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of erg
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of digita7693
3/5  rDev -31.4%

Photo of LynnHomeBrewer
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of phingdong
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of lanbewardin
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of AgentZero
3.7/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Shaggy9356
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of cadaugherty
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

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Black Damnation XI - Special Kay from De Struise Brouwers
95 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.