Black Damnation III - Black Mes - De Struise Brouwers
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Ratings: 205 | Reviews: 104 | Display Reviews Only:
4.41/5 rDev +6.3%
Looks like it's time for another Black Damnation - in spite of the fact that I STILL haven't had any Black Albert to date. I'll eventually change that, but why bother when all these fun variants are hanging around? 12oz bottle purchased at Provisions, and poured into a tulip glass. Split with Todd, who apparently hates most Scotch whisky, but particularly hates peated ones such as Caol Ila. I don't mind them, though, so I was looking forward to this one.
Pours like most of your beers in this series - blackened as all hell, thick, and slightly syrupy, with a minimal head and gigantic alcohol legs with each swirl. This time around, the head in question is mahogany tinged, with some enormous, intimidating bubbles that rise to the top as it slowly recedes. Each swirl also pastes light dark residue against the glass's edges, which may mean that of all the regular ABV variants, this may be the most intense one yet that I've come across.
Smells rich and intense, but just like the others, never too sweet. Huge notes of dark chocolate, fudge, and coffee collide with dark fruits, ranging from prunes to raisins to blackcurrant, as well as a touch of molasses. The oak is definitely there, although it's not as predominant as I'd want it to be. It doesn't smell peated either, which is probably a good thing. It *does* however retain some herbal properties such as black tea, tobacco, and leather, and at the finish seems a bit "dusty" (my favorite oak aroma), topped with caramel, vanilla, and baking soda. This doesn't smell boozy at all, however, and it's fascinating just how complex and action-packed of an aroma as this one remains so simultaneously pleasant.
The flavor is equally approachable and pleasant, but don't kid yourself - this is a massive, massive beer. Huge notes of prunes, raisins, and figs meet strong, rich roasted notes of toffee filled dark chocolate, some coffee, and molasses. Light licorice, and maybe a bit of a burnt vanilla consistency, but it's otherwise ALL about the dark fruit and roasted malt components here with the unique oak profile this time around. And, how it is unique - still no noticeable peat or smoke, but rather a woody, lightly sweet oak finish that brings out more tobacco, leather, tamarind, cinnamon, as well as a toasted almond nuttiness at the finish. Continues a little bit more earthy and tannic (quite tobacco forward here), but the roasted notes remain the longest, in a manner that prepares you for the next sip. Carbonation is JUST right here, with enough gas to elevate the roasted flavors, and at the same time it's quite thick and hedonistic overall. Really delicious stuff - could be my favorite of the series so far.
It's really impressive how good Black Albert is as a base beer. You can throw it into any type of barrel or screw around with it in any way and it ends up producing a legion of world class imperial stouts. This one is great because of the hugely woody, earthy properties from the oak that accentuate the dark fruit and dark chocolate base that makes BA a pretty good beer (from what I can gather). Great stuff - a little pricey, but worth splitting with a friend over.
03-06-2014 19:18:59 | More by magictacosinus
4.14/5 rDev -0.2%
Poured motor oil black as some say with a good dark tan head that left lace down the glass. The aroma struck me as a mix of port wine and bourbon as it's boozy and there's wood and vanilla as well as touches of cherry from somewhere. The beer is thick, chewy, bready, all characteristics associated with "heavy" beers, it's even a little sticky, but it goes down real easy and there's a coffee edge to it that mixes well with some sweet malts like toffee and chocolate (and vanilla) and I swear a hint of molasses.
02-24-2014 23:06:54 | More by clayrock81
United Kingdom (England)
3.93/5 rDev -5.3%
My night cap on 31st Jan 2014: a shared 0.75 litre bottle at the end of the Belgian Beer Board website bottle exchange.
Good beer to finish on.
Black, oily and flavoursome. My taste buds were shot by now and my notes are difficult to decipher in the cold light of day. I liked it, that's for sure: don't really know why though!
Alcoholic, coffee and oaky in flavour and smell, according to my scribble, with a full, rich depth of body. That will have to do.
02-24-2014 09:10:49 | More by BlackHaddock
4.28/5 rDev +3.1%
Incredible power, grace and aritistry is performed on such a dark and ominous base- the Black Damnation recipe is just that- black and damning. Its sophisticated scotch influence plays upon a dry and roasted character in a balance that's unrivaled.
You don't so much as pour the beer, the tap opens and the ale simply crawls out on its own. As it settles cozily in the snifter, it releases an arid mocha-stained head that looks quite light on top of its inky-black body. Its opaque appearance gives the ale a onyx-like sheen. While the ale's foam character eventually succumbs to the beer's alcohol, the beer quickly prefers brandy-like legging and oily coat to more beer-like foam offerings.
Aromas are heavily charred. Burnt molasses and charcoal all weave into highly robust and powerfully carbonized scent. Complementing burnt toast, espresso, walnuts and cocoa are all of the darker and deviant attitude as the barrel character silently builds. What is first sweet booze of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch soon develops into a full-blown earthy, smoky sweet bit that can only be captured by heavily peated whisky.
To taste, its exemplary roast character is front and center. Approaching ash from time to time, its heavy campfire taste is slightly of mesquite but more of the cocoa powder, toast char, burnt toffee and scorched coffee is a damaging to the palate as it is rewarding. Without a more malty-rich body- all that burnt sweetness turns dry and relies on the sweet whisky and barrel flavors to show some semblance of balance in its finish. That's where the thin caramel, honey, vanillin and butterscotch character from scotch whisky comes forth with its peppery bite and spicy, smoky earthiness. It finishes like burnt dirt!
What should be full in body seems so much lighter because of the beer's charred textures that plague the mouthfeel early and often. The ale simply can't avoid its ashy texture as its powdery feel pangs away at the tongue and palate and prevents a proper balance from its roast-derived acidity, barrel-astringency and its alcohol heat. Yet, the ale's dry sweetness remains alluring.
All in all, Black Mes' balance and procession of char and whisky is sublime. But its sheer burnt character limits its drinkability and its enjoyment. But built on unimaginable complexity, high scores are a must.
01-28-2014 18:58:00 | More by BEERchitect
4.26/5 rDev +2.7%
This poured with a bright iridescent black onyx and a deep opaque fullness. The head was tight and thick with a thin layer of bubbly foam.
The aroma was sweet with alcohol, presumably the scotch barrel. There was a smoky char scent with coffee, molasses and faint dry chocolate.
The taste is sweet with scotch like alcohols, strong smoky embers, charred or burnt coffee, molasses and bitter chocolate.
The feel is rather thin for such a complex beer but it seems to work for a beer with scotch qualities. It's almost like the feel took on the properties of the scotch.
This is a real treat as it has such complex flavor and character but remains drinkable despite the 13 pct ABV.
01-27-2014 02:07:16 | More by KYGunner
2.51/5 rDev -39.5%
Bottle from the local shop out of nowhere. Popped this one with Beastmaster. A huge gusher from the start. Finally stopped and poured into mini snifters. Pitch black pour with a small dark brown head and no light showing through. Aroma is a combination of sour cherries, roasty chocolate, green apple, peat and scotch whiskey. Yeah, pretty sure it’s not supposed to be like this. Flavor follows with a good amount of peat and roasty chocolate, alongside some sour black cherry and sour apple flavors. Mouthfeel is bold and thick with low carbonation. This is really disappointing. Bottle was a hefty price to begin with at $43, but now that is a travesty. Afraid to pop my Damnation II now. Still drinkable I guess but not a big rich BA stout like one would expect.
01-26-2014 04:06:43 | More by BMMillsy
Black Damnation III - Black Mes from De Struise Brouwers
92 out of 100 based on 205 ratings.