Cuvee Delphine - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Cuvee DelphineCuvee Delphine

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

557 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 209
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 224
Gots: 145 | 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: 557 | Reviews: 209
Photo of billshmeinke
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Affligem goblet. 2009. HUGE thanks to Rudylaw

A: Impenetrable black one finger light beige head. Dies down to a slim layer of foam on top which is quite impressive for a barrel aged beer poured into a goblet.

S: Smells of powdery cocoa, dark chocolate, some tart dark fruits. Sherry and pecan pie. It basically smells the same as Black Albert.

T: Taste is again similar to Black Albert. Maybe a touch more sweetness in the form of maple syrup, a hint of spicy oak, and peat is the only real difference. Bourbon Barrels don't rub off much.

M: Mouthfeel is belgian like for a RIS. Well carbonated fairly heavy body. Thick and complex.

D: A really interesting sipper, but only adds a few more layers of complexity to regular black albert. In fact, I rated them the same because they seemed so similar to me.

Photo of jpmclaug
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Stone IRS snifter. This is the batch 0 base recently made available on the Struise Yeast Shop.

A - Black body with a big brown head resting on top. The head on this sucker is huge!

S - Roast mixed with dried fruits. Not picking up any of the barrel aging in the nose.

T - Nice roasty stout, dark malts with hints of chocolate and a faint note of coffee. A hint of alcohol but not much. Is this beer really barrel aged? I'm not picking up on it.

M - medium to heavy body with more carbonation than I'd like.

D - A decent beer for sure but not the greatest. This stout has some really nice roasted malt flavors which I love. However this really doesn't taste like it spent very long in a barrel if any time at all. A good beer but not worthy of the price point.

Photo of BARFLYB
2.26/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Davod's avatar beneath me describes my reaction to this very anticipated beer in that Delphine was not what I was expected. Tasted alongside a Black Albert and a Black Damnation with Oglmcdgl.

Delphine had a big hiss once the cap was popped and the liquid was jet black coming out of the bottle settling in black as can be. What was surprising was the Enormous head that came from it. At least three fingaz of dark tan semi brownish head and minimal stick.

The four roses barrels used did not impart much bourbon character in the nose but that probably has to do with this bottle becoming infected, it's quite apparent. Dark plums and other rotting fruits mesh with a somewhat chocolate and vanilla scent. The main attraction though is that damn infection with a coca cola vibe coming off. Reminds me of infected SFTO.

I again ask, where is the bourbon, it hardly makes a dent, almost like albert had a short stay in the barrels. Either way that stay in the wood has created a infection along the line and rotten dark fruit is the result with some stout flavor suck as brownie batter, vanilla and a bready Belgian yeast strain underneasth the nastiness.

The feel is not as thick as most stouts out there. Albert does not have that big of a body to begin with so there is that. I wonder why a base beer with a not over thickness did not catch more bourbon when inside the wood. Mediumish body with a carbed up feel and a infection to die for. In all fairness the infection is starting and will only become larger.

With all that said, I still drank the beer and it did not make me throw up or die. I still tasted some quality stout under all of the old fruit but I did not pick up much bourbon if any at all, so In my mind this experiment needs to be conducted again

My score will stand until I find another bottle of this, but Im not going through the trouble or cost of getting it again. If de struise wants to send me another bottle that's good, I will gladly revise this review. Beer Mail me Urbain.

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 paco1029384756
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with one and a half fingers of smooth tan head with some serious retention time.

Scent of sweet chocolate, some dark fruit, sugar, dry oak and a strange sourness. The sourness is strange and not entirely pleasant; it is still a good scent.

Taste of chocolate, dark fruit, yeast, wood, ash and a hint of sour dark fruit. The finish is dry and ashy, a little strange. The sourness is less prevalent in the taste and is not unpleasant as in the scent.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and very oily with fairly strong carbonation for the style.

Photo of craytonic
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Enormous head, about an inch of beer and 4-5 inches oef head in my Tripel Karmeliet glass. Great deal of sticky lacing remains behind.

Smell: Oddly a bit tart, at least initially. Big chocolate, licorice, and dark fruits. Perhaps tart cherries?

Taste: Again chocolate, coffee and licorice, perhaps some dark rum punch fruits as well. Very Intriguing. This one really surprised me, I was expecting nasty black albert. If there is bourbon I didn't really notice it.

Mouthfeel: Creamy but a bit too carbonated.

Drinkability: Tiny little bottle! Disappeared fast enough I suppose. Certainly didn't taste like 13%

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 womencantsail
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Greg for sending me this want of mine (as an extra, no less). Selfishly enjoyed by myself to commemorate the end of summer school and scoring Black Tuesday tickets.

A: The pour is viscous and black with an initially massive tan head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: The nose is pleasantly sweet with notes of chocolate, plums, figs, and tart cherries. Light oak aromas along with some vanilla and roast.

T: There is a slight tart cherry flavor that is present both on the very front and very back ends. The oak is quite noticeable and provides a slightly tannic feel. A nice roast, coffee, and chocolate flavor throughout.

M: The body is medium with a fairly lively carbonation that pricks the tongue.

D: A little tough to drink too much of at 13%, but a nice beer. I wasn't quite expecting the intense tart cherry character, but it worked well.

Photo of Jwale73
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for sharing. Batch #4, best by March 2014 notched on the label. Pours one shade shy of black with a quarter inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets. Head is refreshed with a swirl of the glass. Nose is very subdued - sour dark fruit and perhaps a hint of coca. Taste is malty, cocoa, sour fruit (cherries?) with some booze coming out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, perhaps a little light for the style, with an even carbonation, but maybe a little too assertive for the style. This is a very interesting beer with a lot of character and an extremely well-hidden abv at 13%. A top notch beer from De Struise.

Photo of STEG
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

09 Vintage, Batch 0 base room temperature, snifter.

Pours pitch black but with larger bubbles on its slightly lighter colored head than its non Barrel Aged brethren. The head's a bit rockier too.

Smell is very light on the bourbon, with some nice milk chocolate and light coffee smells, some caramel and vanilla can be found if you look hard enough. Very restrained given the strength and the style but well done.

Taste at the front has vanilla, bourbon, raisin, and dark chocolate which mellows out to bittersweet chocolate as it fades. it has some heat at the back with a nice smoky aftertaste. Alcohol Heat is present at the back.

Mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy, but not as creamy as BA but has some definite heat present at various stages.

Drinkability takes a hit from the heat but its very well restrained for its ABV and the taste/smell makes up for it

Photo of ratedz
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured into a Boulevard tulip glass.

An aggressive pour left a huge tan head that slowly faded leaving a lot of lacing on the glass. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruits, and a hint of bourbon. Hints of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits dominate the palate up front, but it finishes with some bourbon heat. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, so it is definitely a sipping beer, but with all of the amazing flavors going on here, you'll want to take your time and savor every last drop!

This was easily one of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts I've had. While the bourbon was present, it wasn't overpowering, which allowed all of the other flavors to shine through. I have four more bottles of this, so I can't wait to see how it ages.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Vintage 2009. Pours a pitch black...the way I like it...with absolutely no light what-so-ever shining through! Very murky and solid black. A massive tannish head forms providing excelent long lasting lacing. Amoungst the head retention, the appearance is super creamy looking...and I can't wait to get started!

Aroma is roasted for sure! Roasted coffee beans, burnt chocolate, mild fruit, and booze, loads of malts!

Flavor is wonderful! Tons of chocolate and malts. The barrel aging makes the booze really noticeable, yet very smooth at the same time. A nice array of fruits are present in the back, plum perhaps?? Medium to full body, medium carbonation. Big booze notes...and a decent drinker...yet thickness makes it a little bit of a slower drinker. A very tasty and great stout!!

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

Pours a thick black color with a creamy brown heady that fades slowly leaving a fair amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell is of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and maybe some brown sugar.

A very complex beer and I hope I do it justice. I'm getting a load of roasted malts, coffee, dark choclate. A boozy bourbon aftertaste, a little heat but very subdued. A lingering bitter chocolate finish. Very thick a chewy mouthfeel. I'm also getting some dried and over ripe fruit. This beer rocks!

Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with an enormous mocha head that shows some serious staying power and leaves excellent lacing.

The aroma is complex with bourbon, roasted chocolate malts, coffee, dark fruits and some Belgian yeast.

The taste is more heavily roasted than the aroma with lots of cocoa powder and espresso as well. There is an underlying fruitiness from the Belgian yeast. The finish has a slight bourbon character though it's very subtle.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and light on the barrel character. Creamy.

Another excellent stout from Struise and one that actually carries a more Belgian character than I was expecting with the bourbon just adding some texture.

Photo of Brabander
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

September 2012...i have to rewrite this review and i am glad i can do this. In august 2010 is wasn't really into these types of darker beer and this one could not make me happy at that time. In 2012 things have changed completely. This is on the best Struise has ever made and that is why i have changed my review....chapeau Urbain!

This was what i wrote in 2010:

Before i start this review i have to say that i stopped drinking coffee about ten years ago and i haven't drank it since.

That makes drinking this one very difficult to write an honest review. I picked up this one at the Struise after a very nice visit a few days ago.
The Struise is by far my most favourite brewer and when you see (and drink) the beers they have you will know what i mean. Great guys!!

Poured in the Struisse beerglass the beer looks very very very dark with an enormous chocolate head. Could not see any carbonation but it must be there. Incredible.

The smell gets an average from me and that's because i smell something funny which i can not define.

For a non coffeedrinker the taste is good. Lots of coffee and very dark chocolate. Some fruits far far away.

This is not the best Struisse i have ever drank but that really has to do with my taste for coffee.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

33cl bottle into chouffe tulip.

A- A nice aggressive pour produces a 3-finger fluffy mocha head on a very deep dark base. Great pour.

S- I let this one warm a bit before I drank it. Great aroma. Dark fruit, cohocolate, very inviting.

T- Coffee, chocolate, tobacco, sweet caramel/vanilla and bourbon. Multi-layered, keeps me wanting more. This glass is getting emptied mighty quickly...

M- Thick and chewy, delicious, damn near perfect. Warm and boozy but I'm diggin' it.

D- An instant favorite. Good stuff here. I am impressed.

Photo of FreshHawk
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Very dark mahogany with a huge, thick, creamy, frothy, cafe colored head. I've used the the description of meringue-like, but this one is closest to meringue that I've had, it is really thick. Amazing retention that finally settles into a nice creamy lace.

S - Smell is amazing. Barrel definitely imparted a good amount of aroma with vanilla, bourbon, and oak being strong. Also a good amount of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and dark malt. Some sweet candi sugar balances out the roasted aroma. Hingts of dark fruit also come out.

T - Dark fruit and anise mix with the chocolate, candi sugar and slightly roasted dark malt. Raisin, fig, date, and plum come in and out along with the chocolate malt. The bourbon, vanilla, and oak also mix in and out throughout the sip, especially on the finish.

M - Full to medium body with a good level of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

D - Very drinkable beer with a great mouthfeel that is creamy and smooth. Also a good mix of the bourbon, roasted chocolate stout, and dark fruit. Very easy and enjoyable to drink.

Notes: Best before Mar. 2014. Excellent beer that is a great mix of all the flavors I mentioned before. I wish I had more, and that this came in a bigger bottle. Highly recommend this beer. De Struise just keeps surprising me with how many good beers they make, and this one is right at the top for me.

Photo of beerpirates
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25 cl bottel poured in my struise glass

A : Retains a nice 2 finger head with small brown bubbles

S: The aroma on this beer is incredible. Sweet maple syrup, plums, chocolate, there's a bit of alcohol on the nose

T: A bit of tartness hits the tip of the tongue and explodes into an amazing array of flavor. A sweet, molasses, real mild alcohol burn that tickles the back of the throat.you can taste the oak Very Nice balanced ,

M: outstanding , lays pretty heavy at the back of the tongue. almost like a milkshake, very creamy

one of the best stouts I've ever tasted.

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.

Photo of DeaconBluez
3.54/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in White Whale 3 from xpimptastikx. Crazy package and he hit a major want on this one. Thanks Michael!

Appearance: Pours a nice black liquid with a huge amount of dark brown head. I thought the head was due to my pour or something with my glass but after reading the other reviews, I see that this is just one of the features of this beer.

Smell: Almost a sourness to it. Strange. Wasn't expecting that. The alcohol is in there as well.

Taste: Some sourness as well. Almost a nutmeg and cinnamon taste in there too. Burnt malts. Dark fruits. I get light coffee and chocolate notes but not very strong. Oaky and vinous.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated and a tad thin

Drinkability: The high ABV is very well hidden on this beer. Not sure I would drink two of these in a row even if the ABV was lower.

Definitely a beer I'd like to see what would happen with a few years on it.

Photo of Overlord
2.79/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to JERZ!

Pours black. Surprisingly robust inch and a half of light brown foam.

Smells like ... uhhh.... sour fruit? Really? Some vinous/grapeskin notes. Not expected.

Tastes like some vinous souriness, a bit of pungent, stale chocolate and crackers, and an interesting tobacco-y aftertaste.

So ... what's up with Cuvee Delphine? Thicker than I thought it would not be, but not RIS thick.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for this gem! Poured from a 25cl bottled marked Best Before March 2014 into a small snifter.

A: No light is gettin' through this baby - remember this is a "Royal" stout and is highly protected, especially by the foamy head that forms when this beer is poured.

S: Boozy in the nose with some cocoa powder and dark fruits.

T: Dark fruits and brown sugar are followed quickly by roasted coffee. Unfortunately the coffee takes over a bit too much and the bitterness blocks out any chocolate flavors one might expect. I also don't get much bourbon in this.

M: Well carbonated and a little viscous.

D: The best feature of this beer. I would have no clue this was 13% if it weren't stamped on the label.

Overall, a pretty cool beer to try. I haven't had a Belgian-style RIS before. I personally think this one could age a little longer - that way the carbonation will die down a little bit and the coffee flavor will fade out making way to the chocolate and oak flavors from the bourbon barrels.

Photo of ccrida
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

33 cl bottle (huge thx MacDomer!) best before March 2014, poured into my Delirium snifter, Cuvee Delphine is black with a huge creamy head, perhaps the densest, tightest head I've seen, leaving lots of foamy lace.

Smell is amazing, huge fruity esters, wow! Massive grape and tropical citrus, as well as a hint of bourbon. Something about the esters actually reminds me of a saison, which is my favorite.

Taste is great, massive roast really provides an abrupt distinction from the nose, dominating the taste, making this seem more like a pure stout, with the esters proving a nice punch of depth in the background. The alcohol is super smooth, and overall it's well integrated. Excellent, although I can't say I'm getting much from the bourbon barrel.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very viscous. Nice digestibility.

Drinkability damn good. I just had Black Albert for the first time 2 nights ago, and as much as I enjoyed it, this is the better of the two. I don't think it's as old as the Black Albert, which was 1.5 years in my cellar alone. Cuvee Delphine is truly exceptional.

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

Wow, totally unexpected!! I'm really going to enjoy this one but it's not what I typically think of as a RIS. It comes across much more as a Belgian Strong Dark to me. Pours opaque with a HUGE stiff light tan head of tiny bubbles that fades slowly leaving stringy sheets of Belgian lacing. The smell is big on raisins and Belgian yeast. The mouth feel is highly effervescent; the tiny bubbles adding a smoothness to the texture. Full flavored, the raisin, yeast and chocolate tastes are intense and reveal more roasted malt as it warms. The 13% ABV is really well integrated... there's some warmth there, but wouldn't have guessed it to be that high. Many thanks to koopa for the opportunity to consider this one!

Photo of vacax
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was quite excited to try this one. Pours black with a towering dark head. Just like Black Albert, the head on this is every bit a monster. Aromas of Flintstones vitamins, pineapple, chalk, surprisingly free of barrel qualities. Tastes vinous with licorice, oak, bitter fruit, roast, and rock salt. Feels pretty full with a moderate level of carbonation. I was a bit let down by this one. The barrel didn't really contribute any wonderful boozy or coconut flavors, not really an improvement over the original, sadly. I do love the label though.

Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.