Cuvee Delphine - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Cuvee DelphineCuvee Delphine

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

556 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 556
Reviews: 209
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 224
Gots: 144 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-07-2009

This beer takes its name from Delphine Boël, the unlawful daughter of King Albert II. She has struggled for acknowledgment in both her professional and private lives, so we decided she deserves a tribute fit for a princess. Cuvée Delphine is our Black Albert, carefully matured on Four Roses bourbon barrels for 12 months. Mrs. Boël has kindly allowed us to use her artwork for its label, which speaks for itself.

In a sea of sickly sweet and heavy bourbon aged stouts, we wanted Cuvée Delphine to shine brightly as a pinnacle of balance and restraint. Only with a base beer as potent as Black Albert could we manage to make the aging process shine. Notes of oak and slight vanilla pair extraordinarily well with the familiar coffee and brown sugar notes from the Black Albert. The subdued alcohol ties it all together in a lush, mellow experience. Cuvée Delphine will set you free.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 556 | Reviews: 209
Reviews by BuzzLitebier:
More User Reviews:
Photo of ricke
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost black with a small pale beige head that leaves a thin lid of lacings.

S: Mellow roasted malts and chocolate blend nicely with tart fruity aromas and a somewhat funky oak character. The oak is subtle, but still very noticeable. Not a lot of bourbon though.

T: Very good. Surprisingly tart with a prominent barrel character. Roasted and sweet malts, cherry-like fruits and chocolate. A mild funky note. Not a whole lot of bourbon in the taste either, except for in the finish where it comes through as sweetish and somewhat fruity alcohol. The finish is somewhat bitter with notes of iron, wood and licorice.

M: Full bodied, quite a lot of carbonation, much more than most beers of this strength.

D: I really liked this one. The fruity tartness adds a beautiful edge to it and the barrel character has that slightly odd Belgian feel over it. To me, putting Black Albert in barrels turned out to be a great idea.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25cl bottle. Pours into my glass dark as night black with a two finger head of creamy tan foam. Lots of chocolate on the nose with wood and some subtle, mellow bourbon accents. There is a quiet and unassuming balance here. Lots of tannins with a touch of caramel as well.

First sip brings smooth dark malts augmented by a big wash of chocolate flavors. Woody tannins meet with a creamy caramel accents. Smooth bourbon weaves in and brings a touch of sweetness and vanilla. The smoothness of the Four Roses barrel really shines through here. Deceptively smooth and mellow.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly on the lighter side with mellow carbonation. Akin to the Black Albert this is a tricky beer as it's powerful but not heavy like a normal bourbon aged stout. This one will creep up on you with a left hook and leave you on the mat. Happy to be able to share this bottle with autumnaldave as it packs quite a punch. Cheers to De Struise for this one.

Photo of deebo
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2011 Lot 27151506201

Picked up a couple 33 cl bottles at the De Struise bottle shop in Bruges. Pricey at $5.50 Euro.

A-Poured into a snifter this beer comes out of the bottle thick with lots of yeast. A thin dark beige head that breaks down into a skim layer and a ringing around the glass. You can see a lot of the suspended yeast in this brew. Otherwise very black and opaque.

S-Cold the aroma is big roasted malt with some hints of Belgian yeast. Some alcohol aroma. As it warms more roasted aroma and more alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Some fruity yeast notes as well.

T-First sip is big roasted dark malts upfront with a warming finish. Notes of dark chocolate, coffee and a bit fruity. A bit like booze soaked chocolate covered cherries if such a thing existed.

M-A bit sticky and full bodied yet very smooth and easy to drink. Moderate carbonation for the style.

O-Not as bourbon boozy forward as a lot of the American BB RIS-which is nice. Real easy to drink for a BB RIS @ 13% ABV. I like the fruity character the yeast brings into the equation which blends well with the big roasted malt bill. Perfect dessert beer.

Photo of ehammond1
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009)

Thanks for opening this with me, nakalakaboom!

(Aged for 2+ years)

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, but with dark ruby and crimson edges. There's a low amount of visible carbonation that leaves the glass slightly oily and shiny with stick.

Typical aromas of big, imperial stouts, with roast, dark fruits, and baker's chocolate, along with a sharp note of yeast, and just a hint of wood. There's not a lot of barrel character, as the yeast and the stout itself seem dominant.

The flavor is also quite nice, deceptively complex, with the Belgian yeast straight complementing the dark fruit and roast notes. The alcohol is well hidden.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Good, but I was hoping for more, as is the case with most De Struise stouts.

Photo of rudylaw
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25cl bottle courtesy of eyebrews! I love Black Albert, so this bottle has been long awaited.

Pours a delicate black with foamy, white head that yields into a thin rim. Picture perfect!

Big time chocolate with smoothing bourbon. There is slight toffee here as well. A very inviting aroma that is so complex, my words do this no justice.

Chocolate malt with warming bourbon sip upon glorious sip. Nice and smooth with parts vanilla and tannins. Like Albert, this is so unique, I'm having a hard time describing everything I taste. Amazing!

The mouthfeel is a little light with excellent carbonation. The alcohol is making its presence known, but by all means, I'm glad to have this bottle all to myself. Just outstanding!

Photo of weonfire
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Sergio's World of Beers in Louisville, KY. poured into a 10oz tulip glass.

A - Jet black. no light shines thru. none. zero head.

S - served cold. so as temp warms up the flavors starts coming in. roast, chocolate. alcohol aromas.

T - phenomenal roasted chocolate. taste is MUCH better than scent. slight alcohol taste. 13ABUs are hidden superbly. wow, this is smooth.

M- nice and thick. velvety. viscosity is very low. great feel.

O - excellent brew. loved the smoothness. $8 brew? ya. ill get this again.

Photo of ggaughan
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samples tasted during the Pre-ZBF festival at Alvinne. Beer poured a deep, dark black colored body with a thick tan head. The nose had strong notes of roasted malt, coffee, cocoa. Taste provides some further wood character along with nice coffee and cocoa notes and there is a bit of sweetness as well. The higher abv is present but not overly boozy. Full body and full of taste. Worth seeking out.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 ounce bottle, 9/14 bottled on date. Served into a porter/stout glass.

Marvelously chewy, compact, and lace-laden head dark-khaki and cappuccino in color with a pitch-black body beneath. This beer looks like a pour of coffee with cocoa-laced steamed milk atop it. Beautiful.

Dark chocolate and cocoa combine forces with earthy hops and a syrupy sweet vanilla aroma. So much damn chocolate. Something reminds me of a dark liqueur. Mellow coffee lurks beneath.

Sweet chocolate, almost bordering on syrup, meets a floral yeasty profile immediately recognizable as Belgian. A boozy caramel malt middle with some oaken and almost wine-like notes slides in and evens the flavor out before this becomes a sweet mess, and then the finish lingers with a touch of floral hop flavor and coffee. It's a nice combination going on and this beer really touches on numerous different flavors.

Where in the hell is the 13%? No way in hell. This thing feels like half of that. It's big bodied, rich and has a nice mid-palate carbonation which all only serve to encourage drinking this more quickly, rather than sipping it slow like that ABV suggests. 4.25

I was a bit more enamored to this when I had it on tap at Churchkey in DC, but it's a great beer and I think I've discovered the inspiration for Duel Brewing's (local NM brewery) Goya Imperial Stout.

Also, this gets better and better with warmth, so don't drink it so quickly as to miss out on the experience.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009, 11.2oz bottle.

A: Pours black with a really nice mocha colored head on top, amazing retention lasting for most of the time it took to drink the beer. Lacing all around the glass.

S: Some dark fruit, mostly cherries with a little bit of plum. There is some chocolate and faint bourbon along with a little roast.

T: More cherry and chocolate, nice creamy/roast flavor. Not much bourbon, but a little bit of brown sugar and a hint of molasses. The Belgian yeast shines through and just a bit of oak.

M: Medium to full bodied, surprisingly smooth and creamy. The alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O: Pretty good with a nice flavor profile and mouthfeel, but would have liked the bourbon to come through a bit more..or really at all.

Photo of Mar02x
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this beer at the Deca brewery itself.

A - This beer is black as heel. A oily substance with a beige brownish head. The head starts with a finger thick cream, but after a minute or so its retracted to a thin layer.

S - There are many flavors in the smell, unbelievable! Flavors like; dark chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, peat, alcohol, brown sugar and some vanilla.

T - Its black sweet tar that is going down my throat. A complex taste consisting of dark cherries, brown sugar or molasses, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, spices like cardamom and coriander, caramel and hints of wood. There is absolutely no alcohol to be discovered in this beer, for a thirteen pro-cent!!??

M - A thick creamy molasses is going down my throat, a beer syrup if you like. There is some alcohol warmth in the finish together with some bitterness, but I am not sure this is from the hops or the coffee, maybe its both.

O - What a great beer. Worth trying. If you do not like it you can always throw in your car. I am sure the engine will run on it.

Photo of Sammy
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black Albert barrel aged. Pours perfectly black body with a design of brown head and lace. Aromas of rich Belgian chocolate, booziness, sherry, and funk. Initial sips, and it is a sipper, is funk and stout, leaving a residue of chocolate aftertaste, and roasted malt. Substantially above average mouthfeel, the yeast and caramel are synthesized and seem to cradle you.

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

Immense thanks to ShogoKawada for this bottle. Vintage 2009, batch 14; poured from a 330mL bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque dark liquid, a charcoal stained seal brown topped by a persistent fawn/earth yellow half finger of dense cream. Thick yet sandy lacing, dragged down by a wave of clear rippling tears.

Four Roses makes a wide variety of bourbon blends, but most are typified by a refined floral/fruity element, and that comes forward in the aromatics here as well. The base is a faintly smokey mix of specialty and roast malt along with a mass of candi sugar. Molasses, coffee, and tobacco come out as well in the nose, all the while backed by distinctive bourbon notes.

Humongous chocolate and gargantuan roast malt notes on the palate - grainy, bitter, and spicy (cloves, black pepper). A faintly tart/herbal note comes with the moderately bitter hops, though they can't overcome the immense base of yeasty roast. Charred white oak, tobacco, vanillin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and deep leather and loam flavors in the finish. Alcohol is fairly high, but contributes to the bourbon elements and adds additional estery complexity without becoming fusel-forward.

Chewy, nearly effervescent, velvety, and heavy mouthfeel. Very warming, but not hot - perfect for a rainy day.

Tames and refines Black Albert, one of the better examples of barrel aging I've tried.

Would pair very well with a nutty cave aged gruyere...

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Matt (mtunnell) for this one. Super generous extra! Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter. 2009 vintage.

A: Standard pour yields a 1.5 finger robust, mocha head with excellent retention. Beer is expectedly opaque black. Lacing is stringy and spotty with poor stick.

S: Nose is boozy, with notes of cocoa, coffee, chocolate, toffee, and roasted malt. Alcohol presence is a bit too dominant here, to the point whereall the other aromas drop quickly into the background.

T: Beer opens sweet. Raisins, prunes, dates, and a slight coffee sourness. Background of soft booze and chocolate, almost like liquified fudge. Ends robust bitter chocolate with just a hint of caramel. Finish is sweet with a brownie aftertate.

M: Medium to full bodied and lightly carbonated. Very oily in the mouth and smooth going down. Really coats every surface of the palate. Finish is accented and aftertaste is messy and lingers.

D: This one definitely does not drink like a 13% beer. Goes down dangerously easily and is tasty as hell. Feel and look is pretty much spot on too. Hyped at one time, this beer is well worth the praise. An awesome representation of the style. Seek it out!!

Photo of mikey711
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black, but not syrupy with a very big fluffy mocha head, that lingers a little. Outstaning lace

S: Some belgian esters, bits of roastiness, nice tannin wood notes. Nice bourobon aromas. Also a bit of a vinous, wine quality to it.

T: The roast is much more pronounced in the taste. Burnt coffee, bitter chocolate, wood, and a mellow warming bourbon note in the finish. The flavors blend very well together. The bourbon adds a but of a smokey quality to it as well. SOme dark fruit notes, and hints of pepper as well.

M: Very creamy and no heat on it at all. The body is a little thin.

D: Probably the easiest and most deceptive 13% beer I have ever enjoy.

Photo of cjacobsen
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Again, thanks to sweemzander for sharing this one.

Black with a thick brown head that levels off to a thin head with great retention.

Smell is of cocoa, coffee, roasted caramel and some raisin. The coffee and raisin became stronger as the beer warmed.

This beer is straight up on flavor, which makes it an awesome tasting beer. It's simple. There was some plum but big on the roasted malt and dark chocolate. Almost a dry, bittering chocolate.

There was some dryness from the dark chocolate, but it was smooth. It had a fullness to it and was very well balanced.

From what I heard of how this beer was made and what was used to make it, it makes it a very interesting drink. Not one to have multiple bottles of in a close time period as it was pretty big.

Photo of nickd717
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade thanks to PALMEJ1. Another bottle shared by alfrantzell, since these things are damn small and we wanted to have enough to go around.

Pours black with a medium-sized, well-retained tan head. Looks excellent.

Aroma is mildly vinous and tart, surprisingly. Also roast and wood.

Flavor is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, red wine, oak, and brett. Probably not infected, but definitely tart. Just a little bit of bourbon.

Medium body with mild acidity (but smooth otherwise) with fairly high carbonation, which is a little strange for the style. A little boozy as well.

Solid drinkability. This beer is very good overall, but fell a bit short of expectations, sort of like Black Damnation.

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

330 mL bottle poured into a De Struise chalice. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Black with less of a head than Black Albert. Similar thick mocha collar.

Smell - Light bourbon with a touch of barrel character. Chocolate and cherry comes through, similar to Black Albert. Strangely, not as boozy smelling as the 5-year-old bottle of Black Albert I had.

Taste - Vanilla and bourbon up front, but subtle. Much more of the cherry flavor followed by rich chocolate. The bourbon is back in the end along with a bitterness that I find strange. Falls a little short of the base beer here.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Pretty chewy aside from feeling a bit too overcarbonated at points.

Overall - I prefer Black Albert to this, although this is quite good on its own. Just seems that some of the characteristics that make Black Albert great have been pushed aside by the barrel, which isn't strong enough to be the centerpoint of the flavor.

Photo of davod23
2.06/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Damn. Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

This pour is beautiful. Near-black with a large tan head that just refuses to quit. As pretty as it gets.

What the hell, man? This smells like grape Jolly Ranchers. Searching around, you can make out some roasted coffee notes in the background, but the dominant aroma is grape candy. Clearly infected. Damn it.

Very tart cherry and grape flavors. Not much else there. Long sticky sour fruit finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin.

Drinkability isn't terrible, all things considered. I'll finish this beer, even though it's infected. Agh.

I have a few more bottles coming to me from the Struise beershop. I will re-review if I can actually get a decent bottle of this.

***Edit: I just read through a bunch of reviews, and it seems like a TON of people have reported the odd sourness/grape candy kind of aromas and flavors. How could this beer still possibly have such good overall marks? This is supposed to be a barrel-aged imperial stout, right? Freaking weird. I refuse to believe that the sourness was intended. Terrible idea, if I got a bottle as it's truly intended to be.

Photo of thagr81us
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive thanks goes out to cmrillo who shared this one with the group at the "Evening Wood" tasting graciously hosted by cmrillo as well! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured pitch black with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, spices, and smoke. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, spices, wood, sweet alcohol, and smoke. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice brew. I really enjoyed the smoke aspect going on in this one. The flavor was pretty complex as well compare to the Black Damnations we were sampling before this. A definite must try without any doubt!

Photo of Kinsman
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this shortly after enjoying a bottle of Black Albert

Appearance was similar to Albert, with a nice pure black body and a frothy dark tan head.

Aroma was similarly sweet, but in a different way. The bourbon barrels added a vanilla-like quality but without being too boozy.

Taste was a mix of dark chocolate and rum soaked raising mixed in with bourbon oak-wood character typical of many barrel aged beers.

Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and carried a bit of weight with it too. Overall, Cuvee Delphine presents a wonderful barrel aged version of Black Albert for two great beers.

Photo of trappistlover
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(12 oz bottle courtesy of zestar!). Pours midnight black with a healthy chocolate colored head. Aroma of coffee, dark chocolate, dark pit fruit and some light bourbon. Taste is sweet with some roasty bitterness. There is a touch of oxidation, but the flavors are still there. The bourbon is very much in the background and adds some depth without overpowering the beer itself. Full bodied with a slick/sticky texture. Finish is roasty bitter. This is a really well balanced beer. Excellent!

Photo of claaark13
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, the 25cl bottle, Lot:B-M-2014, was infected as could be. The 33cl bottle, BR26.230.610 bottled 2009 and I believe brought home from Belgium, is the non-infected bottle being reviewed. Poured into a Bell's snifter.

A - Pours black with a nice tan head that coats the surface. There isn't much sticking to the glass, but aside from that it looks really nice. Pretty good retention.

S - Dark fruits, little bit of malts. Hint of alcohol. Nothing dominant here.

T - Dark fruits, woodiness and a slightly dry finish with a little bit of toffee or vanilla. The oak finish is really what differentiates this from Black Albert. No burn, but there is a slight amount of alcohol floating within the oak flavors.

M - Creamy, medium body. Good enough for a RIS.

O - Not entirely sure about this one. It tastes a lot like Black Albert in the beginning with the barrel coming in mildly towards the end and through the finish. I wouldn't really say that one is necessarily better than the other.

Photo of gillagorilla
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Max's (from notes 6/21/13)

A: Pitch black with a nice mocha head.

S: Sweet smelling malt with a bit of a roast on it. Also, some surprising floral notes.

T: Sweet and at one time I got an almost medicine taste to it (not really the sweetness but a combination with the other flavors, but not bad). Almost no aftertaste for me. Balanced with something I can't quite place but pushes the flavors well. No alcohol burn or even hints at it, well masked for 13%.

M: Only a bit of carbonation but overall quite smooth.

O: This was quite good and I got it because someone else was excited to try it here on BA, glad I did. Great stout with good flavor.

Photo of Neffbeer
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2009 variation marked best before 7-15-2015, poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A: It pours a deep dark menacing black that is completely opaque. There is a hefty two finger tan head that hangs on for a long time and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: The nose is full of oak, whiskey and dark fruits. A tinge of apples cuts through as well with a tip of the hat to the house yeast.

T: A menacingly full bodied profile that just makes a man weep. There is a perfect balance between the barrels and booze. The yeast supplies a brief respite from the heavy flavors with a tinge of fruitiness, amazing to say the least. It finishes on a bitter sweet chocolate note rather dry.

M: Big, tough, and sticky. One of the best mouth feels I have come across.

O: I would rate this one of the better stouts I have tasted. Luckily I dodged infection, and I have some extras to cellar. Seek this one out.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a super large dirty beige foamy head with great retention and some perfect lacing. Aroma of bourbon and vanilla is quite straightforward but well enough balance with the malt to provide some good enjoyment. Taste is a well balanced mix between some light roasted malt with light note of liquorice and vanilla and a creamy finish full of bourbon. Body is quite full with usual creamy texture from the bourbon with some great carbonation and alcohol is never to apparent. Very well done and a great variation from the original.

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Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 556 ratings.