Cuvee Delphine - De Struise Brouwers
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Ratings: 402 | Reviews: 185 | Display Reviews Only:
4.15/5 rDev -1%
Reviewing the Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. According to the label:
Black Albert was used in a new barrel aging project. More than a year ago, Carlo was able to get his hands on a stock of Four Roses Bourbon barrels, and we happily filled them up with Batch 0. This unique creation was originally to be named "4 Black Roses" in honour of its heritage, but our friends in Kentucky strongly advised us not to do so! What to do? As the disowned offspring of Black Albert, the name Cuvée Delphine imposed itself. Savouring the Belgian irony, we are most honoured to have artwork by Delphine Boël shining on this label. You will not find this ale all over the globe. There is no export program, but we will try to provide stock through our web shop and some specialty beer pubs.
2009 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 09/02/12. Big thanks to Matt Hope for hooking me up with this bottle.
Appearance: Pours a jet black color, completely opaque, with three full fingers of thick, styrofoamy mocha head that formed a beautiful meniscus atop the glass without ever pouring over. The head slowly recedes to a thin layer atop the glass. The lacing and retention on this beer is absolutely unreal; even sixty seconds after tilting the glass once the head settled down some, a thick lacing was still coating the entire side of glass. This is one beautiful Russian imperial stout, and at 13% ABV, the amount of lacing and retention present here is an unexpected prize. 5/5
Smell: Plum, sweet raisin, cherry, roasted malt, and bakers chocolate. A touch of lemon peel, a little sweet red wine and some faint boozy alcohol as it warms too. The nose is a little sugary sweet, but in a good way that works with the aroma components -- particularly the accent of lemon zest. Some vanilla also comes through as the beer warms up. 4.25/5
Taste: Molasses and sweet dark fruit flavor upfront with a creamy "melted nestle bittersweet morsels" flavored backbone that reminds me of fresh chocolate chip cookies. The dark fruit flavors seem to get sweeter as the beer warms, and while it never really gets to the level of a diabetes-inducing cloying sugar bomb, it really reduces the drinkability of the beer. There's a hint of caramel and a hint of cherry as well, though the cherry flavor is hardly as prominent on the tongue as it is in the nose. The alcohol presence on the palate is also much more subtle and smooth than it was in the aroma. I am not really detecting a whole lot of "barrel-aged characteristics" in the flavor; there is even an absence of the vanilla I got in the nose. As the beer hits room temperature, the flavors seem to get "creamier," and a little burnt roast flavor, which nicely counter balances the sweetness a little bit, comes out. I frankly enjoyed this beer best once it was warm and sitting out of a little while. 4/5
Mouthfeel: This is a viscous, full bodied beer with a low amount of carbonation. Sticky, sweet and syrupy mouthfeel that turns a bit creamy at room temp. 4/5
Overall: A well-crafted beer that is just a little too sweet for my tastes. I enjoyed Black Albert more, but this one was certainly still tasty enough to be worth the cost of a tick. I would definitely have another glass of this, but it's not going to be the first beer I seek out a second bottle of if I am going to be "repeating" past ticks down the line.
Recommendation: Well worth a tick, but haters of sweet stouts should be forewarned.
Pairings: Ricotta & zucchini bread with raspberries, honey and mint (a dish the Publican currently serves for their Sunday brunch).
Cost: $15 for an 11.2 oz bottle.
09-03-2012 03:50:28 | More by jegross2
4.1/5 rDev -2.1%
5oz pour at Eb's
Comes to the table a solid black color with a decent tan head that shows moderate retention. Smells of roast, burnt sugar, smoke, caramel. light toasted oak, a hint of booze and a bit of vanilla. Its definitely got that burnt and smokey aroma flavor that I remember from the Albert. Sweet thick roasty oaky smokey burnt flavor just like the nose promised. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet burnt sugary mouthfeel. I'm surprised I got to try this, but thankful for the opportunity its a really nice
08-26-2012 01:00:58 | More by johnnnniee
4.18/5 rDev -0.2%
11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. Best Before: 15-07-2015. Making this a 7/15/2009 vintage. Comparing this side by side with a Black Albert Batch 0.
A - Pitch black body. One finger high lasting mocha head. Excellent lacing and retention with some alcoholic legs.
S - Very similar to Batch 0 BA. Red wine integrated into stout like notes of charred malts, coffee, and chocolate. The finish comes off with a warming alcohol presence and some light oak and vanilla. The bourbon presence is very faint though.
T - An improvement overt B0BA. Light cherries and raisins, bittersweet chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla beans, and a sharp and acrid sweetness that I also found in darklord. Mouth feel is sticky and syrupy and medium bodied. Still plenty of carbonation. Alcohol is more noticeable than the base beer but still in check.
O - This is quite the beer. The base beer is...just a very interesting and unique RIS that has some quad like tendencies. This beer smoothes out the edges with a subtle and pleasing bourbon presence. Very tasty stuff!
08-22-2012 02:52:40 | More by davey101
4/5 rDev -4.5%
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.
07-06-2012 20:51:13 | More by ehammond1
4.05/5 rDev -3.3%
Thanks to nakalakaboom for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.
Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, dark fruit, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I prefer the smell over the taste.
07-02-2012 02:28:39 | More by UCLABrewN84
4.08/5 rDev -2.6%
11.2oz. bottle -- 2009 vintage -- served into a tulip glass
Pours a solid dark color. It's dark. Black, sure. Black. What more do you want? Howabout two entire fingers worth of dark-khaki head with solid retention? It's a lovely looking stout.
So Cuvee Delphine is Batch 0 Black Albert aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels. The important part here is that its 100% Black Albert...this accounts for the deep complexity in the nose. Baker's chocolate, plum, horehound candy -- there's a lot going on thanks to the Belgian yeast strain. There's also a sweet fruit note that I can't quite nail down...it's something akin to lychee or an Asian pear. There really isn't much evidence of barrel aging here, though. There's basically no oak or vanilla. No booze. So while it's a deep aroma, I'm knocking it a half-point for not living up to the barrel promise.
Cuvee Delphine has a lot going on for it on the tongue. It's very much like the nose, but more concentrated in its approach. The first thing that I notice is how vinous it is. There's significant red wine flavor here, spiked with black cherries and dark fruits. Some black pepper, too. Dark chocolate is a flavor that goes well with many red wines, and the dark chocolate malt flavor here works to accentuate the yeast flavors. Like the nose, the barrel presence here is slight. This beer isn't getting this vinous without barrel aging, but you can't tell that this beer was aged in a bourbon barrel (as opposed to a wine barrel or even just plan ol' new oak).
The mouthfeel is a slight disappointment. It is incredibly smooth, but at the expense of body. It's a thin beer for the style. But the smoothness has a certain pleasurable quality to it.
Overall, this is a very tasty beer. The barrel aging of Black Albert seems to have concentrated its vinous side, but at the expense of that beer's complexity. It's a good sipper, but I very much prefer regular Black Albert.
07-01-2012 02:47:44 | More by Reaper16
3.93/5 rDev -6.2%
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.
06-29-2012 01:46:13 | More by mdaschaf
3.68/5 rDev -12.2%
This is Black Albert, aged for a while in some Four Roses bourbon barrels. Poured from a bottle shared by ejyoung, into a tulip.
Deep, impenetrable black with a quarter-inch of sand-colored head. The bubbles eventually become a thin, silky top layer and ring.
Heavily fruity nose — it stings the nostrils. Prunes mixed with booze, some dark chocolate, a little roast, some oak and vanilla. Not a ton of bourbon, though.
If this is barrel-aged, I can barely tell. There’s a lot of the Belgian yeast character, raisins, tangy grapes, even a little pear. I get a good amount of oak as well, just not much bourbon. Smooth blend of flavors, though.
Medium, creamy body with very soft carbonation and just a hint of fizz. The booze on the tongue is a little tongue-numbing, but I don’t get anything near 13 percent.
Delphine is decent, but I wish there was more barrel character. It’s better than the regular Albert, at least.
06-14-2012 21:54:21 | More by Phelps
3.63/5 rDev -13.4%
11.2 oz bottle, allowed to warm some before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.
Cuvee Delphine pours a solid black. Three plus fingers of mocha foam come together quickly and threaten to spill out of the glass. Head retention is decent, but lacing is nonexistent. The nose has a little bit of bourbon and a little bit of milk chocolate. The predominant aroma though, is vanilla soaked dark fruits. The intensity is noticeably lacking. Each sip leads off with a brief bourbon flourish. The focus of the flavor profile though is vanilla and plums A nice swirl of milk chocolate comes in to provide the finish. The body is not nearly full enough, an the carbonation is way too prominent for an imperial stout. The very Belgian nature of the base beer shines through the barrel aging for Cuvee Delphine. The result is a beer that's not bad as a beer, but pretty average as a Russian Imperial Stout
06-14-2012 06:52:17 | More by axeman9182
4/5 rDev -4.5%
2009 vintage poured from a 330ml bottle. It poured pitch black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top of the beer. The head clung to the edges of glass pretty well.
The aroma shows a god amount of sweetness to it with some cherry fruitiness and brown sugar notes. There are some booze soaked fruits and a little chocolate to it as well. I got a little more bourbon to it as it warmed, but not much overall.
The taste has a bit of a leathery and smoky flavor mixing with some sweeter cherry fruitiness. I get a little brown sugar with a hint of bourbon. Some chocolate notes are there throughout as well. Roasted malts bring some nice bitterness out in the finish. Very nice flavors to it overall.
The mouthfeel is slick and on the heavier side with lower carbonation. Overall very good beer with some very nice and rich flavors to it. Very nice range of favors to it and it comes together very well.
05-23-2012 19:52:04 | More by billab914
District of Columbia
3.7/5 rDev -11.7%
From 330mL bottle to Portsmouth glass on 5/16/12
-- Thanks to billab914 for digging this out of his cellar --
A: Lovely stuff. It's a dark and robust bootstrap brown that, when poured, you can hardly see through. A good pour yields a decent .5 finger mocha head and doesn't last long, and fades to a solid tan collar.
S: I'm getting a ton of ruby port wine here. Lots of red vine fruit. Mild cigar tobacco leaves are also in the mix.
T: Brownie batter, dark malt and again, plenty of ripe red vine fruit. I get some earth floor on the mid, and the finish is slightly smokey. This intensifies as it warms. The alcohol is masterfully hidden.
M: It's alright, yet unspectacular. Thinner then a beer like this should be, and though the carbonation is solid, the weight just isn't there.
O: Above average and approachable. The last three years have been kind to Ms. Delphine. I wish that the bourbon barrels would've shown better (or at all), but it was still a decent drinking experience. Certainly worth checking out, especially when fresh.
05-20-2012 17:08:01 | More by Rhettroactive
4.43/5 rDev +5.7%
I really liked the Cuvee Delphine as with most of Struise's beer and their crazy-ass experiments! I purchased a little less than a case straight from Carlo at the shop in Oostvleteren. Drank all the bottles by myself and with friends over the following few months.
A: Black, like all the other associated with the base that Struise uses. Nice thin brown head that quickly dissapates into a thick viscous pool.
S/T: Thick, burn with some alcohol, the distinct Struise taste (have to drink Struise beers regularly and eventually you can tell it is a Struise blindfolded!). Nice, bold, almost a sweet finish.
M: A bit harsh at first, smooths out nicely, silky, very rich.
O: Another fine Struise product...
05-13-2012 04:27:47 | More by 4thelvofbeer
4/5 rDev -4.5%
Sure glad to have gotten my hands on this rare bottle. Poured from .33cl bottle into snifter glass. Pours opaque black like all the other Black Damnation / Black Albert beers along with a healthy medium brown head that lasts well throughout. Smells of liquorice, oak, roasted barley and coffee. Dry sweet earthy chocolate taste with interesting alcoholic notes. Medium and soft smooth mouthfeel. There is a herbal earthy chocolate aftertaste with some vanilla notes. Nice oily palate, but compared to the original, Black Albert, this is a bit thinner. This was a bit of a let down, but overall a decent beer!
04-12-2012 17:41:43 | More by CuriousMonk
Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers
93 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.