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Black Damnation I - Black Berry Albert - De Struise Brouwers

Black Damnation I - Black Berry AlbertBlack Damnation I - Black Berry Albert

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

135 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 135
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%


Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 06-18-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 20 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On-tap last night at Armsby Abbey for Stoutfest. The fourth time I have had this brew and finally getting around to entering a review.

A- Pitch black body to the brew poured from the tap to a goblet. The motor oil thick body has a dark mocha tan head that builds up to about a half a finger with a frothy texture. Head retention is decent and the ring that results leaves spotty lace.

S- Much, much more blackberry in this batch than I have experienced in the past. Right when received the glass it reminded me of getting a fresh tray of berries out of the fridge for breakfast. Beyond that is the usual massive dark cocoa and burnt roast grains that BA brings to the table. Something slightly funky reminding me of a fruit lambic, maybe some Brett or something.

T- The blackberries are a bit more subdued here but still quite strong, they just blend into the other beer elements and balance out more than the smell. Dark bitter cocoa powder, port/strong wines, blackened roasted grains, Belgian yeast spice and dark fruits, dark grapes and some sweets all come in big time.

MF- Thick bodied with a frothy texture and some chewiness. Carbonation on the lower side but it is pretty similar to Black Albert bottles and other times I have had it on draft. 13% leaves some warmth but overall is very smooth on the palate.

Very happy I decided to order this as my last drink of the night. The blackberry aspect came out much more this time around and resulted in a great stout experience. All of the flavors combine to form a decadent, dessert-wine-esque massive stout.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2014 01:43:35 | More by cbutova
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Received with less than a finger's worth of head which has very little retention. The head is a medium but mostly dark beige while the body is an opaque, dark chocolate black. Some lacing but not much.

Nose- The nose is pretty nondescript but if I remember correctly, the nose on the regular Black Albert was also fairly subdued. I get a bit of a subtle but mild and sweet chocolate. Swirling shows slight berry notes that quickly translate into cherry and raisins, but lighter. Berry starts to assert itself more as it opens up.

Taste- Starts off with big but well rounded chocolate that definitely shows the berry notes. They aren't specifically blackberry but they do tend toward them. I wish there was more indication of the port barrel aging but perhaps that will come in time. Light bitterness that hangs around the edges that gives this beer a little bit more definition. At the moment, it's slightly more complex than I remember Black Albert being but doesn't show itself to be that much more interesting. However, this is opening up quickly and I get a much wider fruit profile on the second taste. Not anything that I would classify as port inspired but definitely a jamminess that results from an overall berry character. Light port notes start to appear- seemingly tawny ones but they are constrained which I think this is for the best. Really starts to show a flavor profile that combines that trifecta of good presence, complexity, and balance. Not necessarily amazing but competent in each area. Shows slight edges of alcohol (a little bit sherry, a little bit port- this lighter) that smooths with chocolate on the end. It's a little hard to judge this beer because subtlety doesn't necessarily impress especially when dealing with a big style. That is not to say it doesn't have presence, it's just that the more interesting elements don't. At the moment, this is a really good beer to great beer with suggestions of the latter.

Mouthfeel- Pretty much heavy bodied- this is a beer that sits in your mouth and meditates even if you don't want it to. Some what syrupy, some cream and smoothness. Very little carbonation. An exquisite mouthfeel that propels this beer a notch higher.

Drinkability- Extremely drinkable and easygoing. No hint of the 13% even appears. There is the price though. 11 bucks is the most I've ever paid for a glass (I mean 250 mL of beer), surpassing my old record of 10 bucks for regular Black Albert. I only paid it because I don't expect to ever see this stateside.

Overall- Almost worth its 11 bucks. Not quite though. I'll suck it up because this is a really good beer. It's almost a great beer. As far as bigger, badder beers, this is a touch below Block 15 Super Nebula. Still has an exquisite and delicate nature you don't expect from this style. Worth a try and if you are a fan of these types of beers, don't balk at the 11 bucks as you might not see it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2014 04:41:43 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a tulip. Pours an inky black with a dense, three-inch, mocha-colored head that exhibits excellent retention. Textured swaths of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses berries, char and rich chocolate malt. Taste consistent with nose - char is a bit ashy and berries come off a bit more tart and vinous. Mouthfeel is medium in body with an even carbonation that leaves a residual prickle at the back. There's also a trace of acidity. Overall, a solid beer with a nice blend of tart and robust characteristics. I wouldn't recommend extended cellaring unless you want to enhance the sour stout qualities of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 17:32:40 | More by Jwale73
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KYGunner

Kentucky

4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The color was deeply hued black but it had layers of creamy froth swirling about the body. This was poured with little to no head as the beertender felt obligated to fill the small snifter to the top.

The aroma is mostly a vinous BlackBerry wine with an underlay of chocolate. There are hints of coffee with touches of dried fruit.

The flavor is very sweet from the blackberries and vinous. The wine like qualities become more apparent mid palate. I catch chocolate covered cherries and roasted coffee near the end.

The feel is velvety smooth, very full with a nice creaminess about it. The blackberry fruitiness does leave a tangy feel about the tongue.

I really enjoyed this as Black Albert is amongst my favorite beers. This is not as good as BA but the blackberry does create a new overall experience.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2014 15:20:00 | More by KYGunner
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BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Just when you thought that all creativity had expired... Just when you thought that the apex was Imperial Stout with the vinous fruit, with all the yeasty spice... with all the alcohol complexity- there simply seems no new layer to apply. But then there's fruit!

But without any influence from that fruit, the massive stout pours like any well-constructed one would. Built upon an ominous black body, the beer pours with complete inky opaqueness. As its head builds, it reluctantly gives up a dainty espresso-like creme, even thought its exuberent Belgian-esque character suggests more. But a blanketed trail of lace sings the beer's praises of a quality pour.

Its deep and dark aromas are savory, rich and robust as its high malt concentration squarely focuses on espresso, dark chocolate, burnt bread and seared toffee. Its already-present fruitienss invites the fruit additions by delivering true blackberry earthiness, sweet scents and acidity. A follow of natural spices are lightly peppery and elevate the vinous character of the ale and of the fruit.

But to taste, the ale really opens up! Its fresh ground coffee flavor is of French pressed style even as the taste of cocoa-rich chocolate meld into its taste. That balance weaves in walnuts, toast, smoldering embers and a peppery bite that aids in its balance. Even though the fruit additions collect upon the tongue, the simply stem from the ester complex and grow into its own sense of savory to close as the ale takes on port, sherry and brandy-like taste. Finishing strongly coffee-like, the beer's alcohols are spicy, sweet and oh so succulent.

Undoubtedly full, the beer is mouth-coating, rich and viscous to the palate sensations, the ale's fruit acidity and slight glimpse into a drier and more peppery tone facilitates just enough dryness to give that beer a Belgian-type of dryness that assists its drinkability. Its strong malty-warmth closes with savoriness of sherry but a chalky dryness of cocoa powder but yet a succulence that's rarely matched.

As I'm obviously a big fan of the beer- I particularly love the notion that the beer is an Imperial Stout first and foremost, but folds in the complexities of Belgian fruit and spice, and even then adds blackberry flavor in its most authentic form for even greater variation. Its a masterful ale from sip to finish.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2014 08:16:16 | More by BEERchitect
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barczar

Kentucky

4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a modest milk chocolate head that holds on fairly well as a thin foam layer.

Roast malt, chocolate, and blackberry are evident initially. There's a hint of tar. Booze emerges as it warms, along with a hint of soy.

Huge chocolate notes form the base of the flavor profile, with a light acrid malt character interacting mid palate with blackberry tartness. Roast malt notes surface late, carrying into a slightly charred, dry finish. Malted milk balls are present in the aftertaste.

Body is full and rich, fairly smooth, but with a surprising fizzy carbonation character, which may just be accentuated by the tangy berry character.

Very well balanced between chocolate and roasty malt. As with the original, the finish is a bit too charred for my liking, but the somewhat subtle blackberry keeps me interested.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2014 19:48:53 | More by barczar
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.66/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on-tap, brouwers

VARIANTS!

Ebony body, creamy mocha head - aroma, much like the base beer, is a hammering of bitter malt. Charred malt, dirt, dark fruit. The blackberry just doesn't play well here because Black Albert is so dense and bitter, making the delicate berry difficult to pinpoint I think all of these black albert variants are a bit overrated.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2013 23:11:45 | More by dirtylou
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Ebenezer's leading up to the Night of the Great Thirst; reviewed from notes.

A: Midnight black body under an inch of lusciously dense brown head that settles slowly into a ring. Lovely.

S: Berries are up front, with bitter coffee and dark chocolate behind. Anise and black cherry. Moderate booze. Great.

T: Sweet fruit at first, with huge coffee roast and char finishing things out. Long, bitter, warming finish. Tasty.

M: Thick, sticky, and lightly carbonated. Good.

O: Not my favorite Black Damnation variant, but an excellent stout all the same.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2013 23:54:42 | More by woosterbill
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Zwanze 2013. Served the provided Cantillon tulip.

A - Big tan foam settles to a thick cap, with lingering sticky lacework. Very dark body with some transparency at the fringes of the glass.

S - Smells a lot like the base beer to be honest. Black Albert already has a pretty hefty dark fruit quality to it, some I'm not surprised the port and blackberries are largely absorbed into the flavor profile. Without virtue of an A/B comparison, I'm feeling this is a bit more jammy, but I don't detect of a ton of oak in the nose. As per Black Albert, it's pretty heavy on anise, Belgian yeast, dark fruits, and a touch of roast.

T - The taste shows significantly more barrel influence, with definite oak presence. That being said, the port seems obscured by the base beer. Less sweetness, with more anise and roasty bitterness. There's perhaps a faint tart, vinous note; not sure if it's from the berries or the barrels. Alcohol is well-hidden, although I'm never sure how accurate these Struise ABVs are.

M - Sweet, creamy, medium body that seems a tad undersized for the ABV, although there isn't any obvious alcohol presence, so who knows? Pleasant, soft carbonation, with light residual stickiness.

D - Doesn't seem overly different from Black Albert, and what wowed me in 2008 is merely a solid Belgian Imperial Stout in 2013. I had no problems finishing my pour, and I'll eventually get to the bottle in my cellar, but if you don't track this one down, just crack a regular Black Albert; you're not missing much.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 03:18:58 | More by MasterSki
Photo of tsauce2
tsauce2

Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at La Margarita, Fountain Square, Indianapolis on 11/01/2013.

P: On tap in to a 10 fl oz snifter.

A: SRM is black. Opaque. Head is tan, 1/2 in, dissipates to outsides of glass. Medium carbonation. Medium/heavy lacing.

S: Blackberry is noticeable on nose. Dark roast malt.

T: Dark roast malt, blackberry, coffee. Fantastic blend of flavors.

M: Medium/full bodied stout. Blk Albert is not a heavy stout imo, and addition of blackberry lightens feel just a bit. Still has a great feel; way too easy to drink.

O: One of my favorite variants of Black Albert. A real treat to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2013 16:15:20 | More by tsauce2
Photo of gillagorilla
gillagorilla

Maryland

3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had at Max's (from notes)

A: Pitch black

S: Sweet with blackberry and malt.

T: Nice smooth sweetness. Not too strong. Whiskey on finish/aftertaste. Good/mild stout flavor. A bit minty with chocolate and a tiny burnt coffee taste.

M: Slightly coarse.

O: Delicious. Another great stout from De Struise.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2013 19:34:37 | More by gillagorilla
Photo of 77black_ships
77black_ships

Belgium

4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

33 cl. draft @ ‘t Antwaerps bierhuiske. Pours black with a huge, very creamy mocha head towering over the glass. Nose is incredible, real blackberries, not additives or fake or anything but real pure of blackberries, like smelling the fruit itself with some mocha, chocolate, sweetish jam and some booze. Smell beats taste here, taste is clearly different and influenced by the berries but less defined taste of the actual berries, bit boozy, chocolate fudge with some blackberry jam, thick malts and caramel, sweet, boozy, very thick coffee, liquorice,… Very thick body – lovely although I preferred the whisky BA version honestly. Still doesn’t top my fond memories of the base beer which doesn’t make this a great beer in it own right, a bit too harsh almost for me.

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2013 14:02:19 | More by 77black_ships
Photo of Brabander
Brabander

Netherlands

4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Again a top notch beer from our friends of the Struise. Drank it on tap on the first day of the Borefts beerfestival in Bodegraven, the Netherlands. Poured in a festival tasting glass this beer looks like any other Struise beer....nice and thick. There is some cherry which gets in the nose bot not much. Smooth and soft to drink with the 13 abv hidden like a treasure. Great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

09-28-2013 14:11:41 | More by Brabander
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at When Pigs Fly. In a snifter the beer was black with a dark cocoa-colored head. The head dissipated rather quickly.

Chocolate aroma, some fruit. Booze.

Great taste. Dark mocha chocolate, brown sugar. Berry taste, maybe not as much as I thought would be there, but still a great addition. Boozy taste, but in a positive way.

A very rich beer. A lot of alcohol, sip it slowly.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2013 22:17:03 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Trappist Provisions, in their effort to hopefully tap all of the Black Damnations ever made. Poured into a 6oz tumbler - and quite frankly, it's all I really needed concerning something this hedonistic.

Pours a magnificent color of opaque blackness with a brownish, highly concentrated frothy head about one finger high above the glass. Considering the ABV, this is an ever astonishing feat. Bubbles cascade upwards in an intense manner, and head retention lasts a good long while, leaving streaks of lacing all around. Extremely viscous - like your basic Black Albert but somehow thicker thanks to the aged Port wine barrels. De Struise never fails to deliver a world class stout in terms of appearance, and this is no exception.

Smells extremely rich and complex, with roasted notes from the base beer melded with the tannins and fruitiness from the Port barrels. I'm not quite sure which Port maker they obtained the barrels from, but it's definitely not overpowering by any means. At first there's the trademark dark, sweet chocolate-y flavor melded with charred coffee beans, as well as vanilla, toffee, and molasses. Then, the Port texture seeps through, providing vinous qualities, as well as slightly spicy barrel tannins and notes of sweetened brandy, leather, and oak. Can't make out too much of the blackberries here, which is a disappointment, but it's otherwise a pretty amped up beer without being too showy about it.

The flavor is equally excellent, but the only thing that seems to be lacking are the blackberries advertised in the recipe. The power of suggestion made me WANT to search for them... And I sort of did, in the sense where each sip left behind a dry aftertaste reminiscent of the blackberry seeds that are left behind from chewing the actual fruit itself. Still, this does impart other fruity notes, ranging from prunes to candied blueberries, but it really is the chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and Port/brandy sweet combo that dominate the palate here. Very well integrated stuff, and the finish is super velvety and clean without any alcohol burn to speak of or thinness for that matter. The sweetness from the Port must is immediately cut with a nice bitterness and spice from the oak that makes this fantastically easy to drink, if only a sipper, at that.

De Struise delivers again! I'm convinced at this point that there's no way that anyone in the planet can beat their stout/quad program that they have in place. They absolutely make boozy, aged imperial stouts the right way, and this is a perfect example on how they do it. While I wish there was more of a blackberry presence here, it's still an excellent quality stout that demands everyone's attention to those seeking an enlightenment of sorts in all things beer related.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2013 07:48:25 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.54/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at mrbubbler's tasting.

Best before 5/25/2018.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and blackberry aromas. Taste is much the same with char and berry flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a high level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but fairly disappointing as part of the Black Damnation series.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 14:47:56 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BobZ
BobZ

Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle poured into a De Struise Cervoise. Thanks to team LNBA for the gift.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a nice 1/2" creamy tan cap, that recedes to a nice cap and leaves excellent lacing.

Smell: Some roasted malt, coffee and chocolate aromas as the beer warms the sweeter dark fruit aromas emerge, raisin, plumb, and (of-course) berry as well as a noticeable port barrel presence.

Taste: The wonderful flavor of Black Albert, Belgian yeast, roasted malt and chocolate all with overtones of dark fruit sweetness & port. The warmer the better as the dark fruit and port barrel flavors move more forward. One of best Belgian stouts I have ever had.

Mouthfeel: As usual a very nice creamy mouth feel, very smooth with it's abv very, very well masked.

Overall: Yet another incredible version of Black Albert/Black damnation from Urbain & Carlo!

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 16:05:30 | More by BobZ
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Almost black. Huge mocha head. Excellent retention.

Smell - Belgiany. Roasty chocolate. A bit of fruitiness. It's a little more fruity than regular Black Albert.

Taste - Great blend of caramel, chocolate, and fruitiness. Chocolate most predominant, coming out as a dark chocolate in the back. Slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel - Heavy, but not boozy. High carbonation.

Overall - It's less subtle than regular, but still very good. Where is the port?

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 02:00:02 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprise bachelor party brew provided by the Belgian crew. You guys rule!

From a 750 into a snifter
Beggar's version

APPEARANCE: Looks just like Black Albert. Pours out black with a medium tan head and good retention. Thick black body and zero carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp, leaving some immediate clingy lacing. A ring and splotchy wisp remain, leaving some touches of lace down the sides.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and some fruit notes, like raisins and prunes. A good dose of cocoa powder and pure chocolate in there, with some alcohol notes in the back. A hint of berries as well perhaps. Port barrel is pretty non-existent. Basically Black Albert and a bit of berries if you close your eyes.

TASTE: Same as the nose basically. Roasted malts, and some dark fruits in there, including raisins and dates again. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate show up again through the middle into the finish. A bold and lingering aftertaste is full of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and spicy yeast notes. A hint of blackberry in the finish as well, but very little, if any port barrel flavors. Some alcohol is present the whole way through as well.

PALATE: Full body with medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and has a little alcohol bite on the end, but well controlled for the ABV. Finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: Black Albert is a great beer that itselt is good enough as it is. This variant didn't add too much to that at all, meaning, for me, it's a bit of a failure. Scores are lower because it didn't do what it set out to do, but still pretty high because Black Ablert can never disappoint. Gents, this was awesome, and the whole shabang was more than memorable! Forget the fact that it was Pink Saturday...

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 18:17:27 | More by Jeffo
Photo of ZombiesAteMyDog
ZombiesAteMyDog

Indiana

4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***So, this is Black Albert aged for a full year in port barrels with black berries added.

A - Black with very little tan head. It slightly coats he side of the glass rather than create lacing.

S - port wine, dark fruits with a slightly berry background. The overall is quite restrained... The berry is definitely in the background.

T - sweet, but not cloyingly sweet. There is a lot of port barrel going on, and even more as it warm up. The best part about this beer IMOis the finish/lingering taste, which is slightly tart and acidic.

M - Low carbonation and very creamy/smooth in texture. Quite velvety in mouthfeel.

O - My first port barrel aged beer. Overall, it's a nice variant on Black Albert... I wish I had a side-by-side to compare. I wouldn't necessarily say I like it more than the original, but it is playing off the already fruity note of the original.

Serving type: on-tap

06-27-2013 23:04:29 | More by ZombiesAteMyDog
Black Damnation I - Black Berry Albert from De Struise Brouwers
91 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.