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:
Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%

Thanks to Sean for sharing this expensive brew. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Nice tan foam that settles to a thin cap and thick collar, but minimal lacework. Black body with a glint of dark brown. Always very impressive that these high-ABV Struise beers look so good.

S - Intense aroma of green apple and vinous port is my initial impression, but as it warms more milk chocolate and vanilla emerges. Not much wood presence, and alcohol is reasonably well-hidden.

T - Taste is also quite vinous and port-forward, with some nice rich medium-dark chocolate, roasted malts, fudge, dark fruits and perhaps a bit more barrel presence. Again, alcohol is pretty well masked for 22%, although the beer is still somewhat boozy.

M - Medium-full body, melted chocolate texture, with a dry tannic finish. Carbonation is appropriately on the lower side of things. Some warming alcohol presence, but drinks more like a low teens beer.

D - The green apple in the aroma is a little off-putting - if this were aged in Calvados barrels it would make sense, but in this case it seems more like acetaldehyde. I suspect it may fade over time and this beer should age quite gracefully. The ice distillation has really emphasized the port barrel characteristics and muted the subtitles of Kabert. While the concealing of 22% ABV is a feat in its own right I find this to be inferior to Kabert. I think I prefer Double Black as well. Still, really neat to try - thanks Sean!

MasterSki, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Sean9689
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%

Bottle into tulip.

A - Pours black, looks like oil, light tan-colored head.

S - Booze, oak, dark fruits, light chocolate, some char, and roast. A bit too much booze for me, but for 22%, I guess it's pretty smooth when I think about it. Not quite as roasty as I'd prefer, and the char is a little too much.

T - Similar to the nose, but the charred bite on the finish is a little off-putting. Dark fruits, chocolate, oak, char, and big booze. Very sweet and rich, a sipper. The booze is there, but at 22%, I can't really say it's too much. Finish is dark fruits a char.

M - Full, rich and smooth (for 22%), light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I think this is a good beer, but I'd rather just drink Kabert over and over again until I pass out rather then a glass of this. Struise continues to push the boundaries on ABV and inventiveness, and I think this beer turned out pretty good. That said, it's just such a huge monster, it's hard to enjoy much in one session (see Double Black). Good, not great.

Sean9689, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

JAHMUR, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%

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 monitorpop
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

monitorpop, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of mtbdonn
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%

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 Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%

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 stakem
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%

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.

stakem, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%

thanks to stakem for this 'special' treat, enjoyed from a tulip shared with tenderbranson 69.

This is a deceptive liquid -a pfsst! from the cap as it is pryed off with a pour that collapses the liquid on top of itself looking as thick as used motor oil with no head and legs line the glass as it is swirled. The smell is immediately intense with huge malt aromas filling my nostrils and a woody element that has a sweet odor with slight soy sauce spiciness and moderate cocoa notes with light vanilla and peppery odors.


The feel is thick, warming drying and sweet without being cloying, smooth for what it is with pretty aggressive yet not harsh alcohol that is balanced by some serious malt intensity and residual sugary smacking texture with tannic and alcohol holding steady throughout. The taste is something I don't think you can imagine unless you have tasted it so concentrated with dark malt and wood it is almost salty yet still has a sweetness and fruity quality with spicy and bitter cocoa flavors alongside a serious taste of alcohol and toffee-like burnt sugar flavor. This is a truly impressive substance, not highly drinkable, but very worthy for the process has created something you will not experience the like of often! Thanks again Adam!

Slatetank, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of PapaEugene
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%

I had to give up my free evening since rvdoorn went to Brugge and came home with some special kay... and couldn't wait to open one!!! I gladly accepted!

A: Black, I mean BLACK with a nice espresso foam like head on top.

S: Espresso (or should I say Ristretto), cacao, dark fruits and peaty.

T: Yes, defenitley Ristretto, Cacao, oak, port notes and dark fruits... and some alcohol warming.

M: Thick, creamy, smooth and perfectly carbonated for this style.

O: A great new brew from Struise and my only remark is the alcohol warming. With some aging this will just become better and better.

PapaEugene, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of rvdoorn
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%

Picked up some bottles for myself and some fellow BAs in the struise shop in Brugge. Thanks again Bart for the nice customer service last week, and David for the nice talks and beers in the shop. Only between 300 and 400 bottles are made of this one. I wanted to wait a bit longer before tasting this one, but couldn’t resist the evening I came home from Brugge.
Look: the beer pours a deeep black color, with a dark espresso brown thick head.
Smell: coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits and fruity port notes.
Taste: Dark fruits, freshly roasted coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak port notes. A bit spicy, warming alcoholic aftertaste. There is incredibly much going on in this one.
Mouthfeel: Thick creamy body with low but perfect carbonation
Overall: This beer is extremely well made. Right now, still a bit sharp/spicy, however, age will do this one very well and will surely make it a true worldclass beer! Can wait to open one of my other bottles in the future!

rvdoorn, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of lanbewardin
5/5  rDev +14.2%

lanbewardin, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of fewa
5/5  rDev +14.2%

I had this one on draft at the Kerstbier festival in Essen and from a 75cl bottle. The beer is pitch black, with a dark brown head. Smell is heavy roast, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and malts. Taste is very similar. Bitter coffee, chocolate, warming alcohol and spices. Moutheel is thick and sticky. The bottled version was much milder and less boozy than the draft version. Bottled this is a fantastic beer, which is hiding the alcohol much better than the draft version. Equally brilliant to the BD5 in my opinion.

fewa, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of brewandbbq
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%

A frozen version of Kabert. Three gallons reduced to one gallon via secret method of freezing.

Served very late night by De Struise at Ebenezer's Belgian Fest.

Black tar appearance with a surprisingly dense, rocky head of brown. Ripped lacework throughout the glass.

Charred chocolate, reduced espresso, roasted malt embers, and nougat in the nose. Warming alcohol steps forward along with intensifying Port.
Bits of rich earth, vanilla, and burnt brownie ends follow though.

Massively thick, chewy body. Tongue-wrapping and approaching an almost solid state.

A dense mix of dark chocolate, char, Kona grounds, and nougat lead off the pallet. Warming alcohol steps forward with a mildly intense oaky Port essence.
Fudge batter, blackened cake bottom, and Kahlua follow though.
The alcohol warms up a bit more but the richness of the brew hides it so well.

Finishes with lingering char-infused chocolate batter, drizzled with Port.

By far, the most massive stout I've ever had. The Port from the Kate brings a great complexity through the massive profile, and the 24% abv strength is incredibly subdued.

Big props to Chris Lively, Todd Mott, and De Struise for making this gem happen.

brewandbbq, Aug 29, 2008
« 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.