Black Damnation I - Black Berry Albert - De Struise Brouwers
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Ratings: 117 | Reviews: 19 | Show All Ratings:
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4.26/5 rDev +2.4%
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
4.21/5 rDev +1.2%
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
4.21/5 rDev +1.2%
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
4.31/5 rDev +3.6%
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
4.19/5 rDev +0.7%
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
Black Damnation I - Black Berry Albert from De Struise Brouwers
92 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.