Black Albert
De Struise Brouwers

Black AlbertBlack Albert
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #54
ABV:
13%
Score:
95
Ranked #1,028
Avg:
4.28 | pDev: 9.11%
Reviews:
876
Ratings:
1,833
From:
De Struise Brouwers
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  332
Gots
  403
SCORE
95
World-Class
Black AlbertBlack Albert
Notes: This is not as much a beer as it is an experience. Originally brewed for Ebenezer’s Pub in Lovell, Maine (USA), this beer is a tribute to Albert II, sixth king of the Belgians. Nicknamed ‘laughing king’, it is only fitting that the beer named after him should put a big smile on your face. And we can safely say it does. This big mother of a Russian Imperial Stout is often considered one of our true classics.

Despite the 13% ABV, you’ll find Black Albert to be dangerously drinkable. With its thick, tar-like body, it’s definitely a sipper, but the alcohol is very well-hidden. It pours pitch black and retains a strong caramel-colored head, despite the ABV. Every sip bombards you with roasty bitterness and the unique sweetness of real Belgian candy sugar. Black Albert: get tattoo’ed from the inside.
Reviews: 876 | Ratings: 1,833 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of kitch
kitch from Hong Kong

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 330ml bottle, 2020 vintage, bottled on 18th March 2021, with a best before date of bottled date +5 years. Poured into a De Struise tulip glass.

Appearance: Black in colour with a nice big three finger brown head that had decent retention while leaving some lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, cola, with notes of licorice, berries, and caramel.

Taste: Lightly bitter, roasty coffee, dark chocolate, candi sugar sweetness, dark stone fruit, plum, prunes, with notes of berries and maybe licorice.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, full bodied, with soft carbonation.

Overall: An excellent sipper with alcohol well hidden. Good bitter and sweet balance.

Jun 16, 2021
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

#1696 - Blind-tasted except for the beer's name and brewery/country, zero reviews below read (yet!)...
L- Jet-black to the eye, pours with brief 2mm dark tan head, soon a scattered patch, unsurprising given the ABV%
S- Like cold Brit Xmas pudding condensed into a liquid, deeply fruity and pungent, plus molasses notes.
T- Wow, a deep brewed fruity thickness and pungency. Then a blazing shaft of lightly sour + mega-ABV% that makes me involuntarily physically shudder, thankfully briefly. Jeez gawds this thing is intense. I'm getting like ultra-deep concentrated prune juice notes -> back to the molasses in the smell.
F- It's mega deep, rich/complex, yet also notably has a sour aspect too.
O- Good grief, what is this thing!? The ABV isn't *that* high but this THING is an absolute beast. Yes it's interesting, and a heck of a statement, but I don't think I really need 330ml of it - it would be a lot more interesting if I had a couple of buddies over and could share, 110ml each, pre a session of other less slaying brews. Interesting to try, but to me it's one of those huge one off statements you experience but wouldn't buy again; this is simply not a 'normal beer'. Oh and for context, it is 1000% the complete antithesis of a session beer. The ABV% isn't even *that* high, as any Icelandic beer-head will attest...
It's one of those beers that is so different and really hard to know how to rate. Mega flavour/mega naked and shouty ABV%, complete blaster on the palate. Quite probably the most intense beer I've ever had (that is not, of course, a clear compliment). Is this aged in wine casks? That might be the sour note...
Review/scoring all done, now the reveal, I get to read the bottle lables to see what I missed! ==> Unfilt, unpast. Bot-Con. That's all.
Does it in fact taste like beer? as I get to the lower 1/4 glass it strikes me more like a noxious dry fortified wine. I'm laching stout notes and certainly more usual Russian Imp Stout notes....
330ml bottle BB: '02/10/2020+5yrs' £5.95 Bought from BeautifulBeers, UK as part of a large pick-your own consignment to London.

Mar 19, 2021
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bminor7 from New York

4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Lot B6BB - June 2007
From Premier Gourmet in Pittsfield, MA

Flat as a brick. Chocolate, pepper, tobacco on the nose. Unique, almost herbal flavor. Nice!

Jan 17, 2021
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icecreamcake from Korea (South)

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, without much head. Does not at all feel like a 13% ABV. Creamy and smooth mouthfeel, nice body, and a very pleasant cocoa aftertaste. One of the best, not only from De Struise, but also in its class.

Nov 14, 2020
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last RIS in the cellar until fall. Totally black with a small tan head that had a crimson edge. Lacing was sparse. Vinous aroma of ripe fruit, dark chocolate, anise and molasses. Complex flavors of dark fruit, strong coffee and semi-sweet chocolate mingle with licorice, smoke and toffee. Hops stay hidden in the background; carbonation stays low; alcohol stays approachable. Like a fortified wine, best sipped instead of gulped.

Jun 02, 2020
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

an extraordinary brew, one of the best of its kind, 2015 vintage here, patiently cellared, something special! the level of refinement here is off the charts, and this was even better than expected. a strong stout with a little belgian flair and a ton of well matured complexity. its matte black in the glass, leggy and holding over half an inch of deep mocha froth, really pretty brew, soft looking for its obvious enormity. aroma of burnt coffee, sweeter caramel and toffee in the center, licorice, sweet chocolate, tobacco, and anise, a little alcohol warmth too, a light yeast ester interestingly enough, and a concentrated character, just a dab of flattering oxidation. the flavor is incredibly complex, with a really well layered malt base happening, charcoal and earthy minerals, coal and iron and things of that nature to me, raisin and espresso, baking chocolate, fresh cigar, pipe tobacco, molasses, and again a cool yeast thats both english and bready and kind of belgian to me, lightly peppery even, and really does a nice job of drying this out. the alcohol isnt as intense as it smells, and this drinks almost dangerously smooth and mellow for how big it is, im sure the age helps with that. just wonderful depth to this, smooth and round in feel, weighty but not tiring, and just really unique to me. an incredible beer from a brewery i love, i wish more of their beers came around. this is stunning, as good as it gets!

Jan 03, 2020
Photo of FLima
FLima from Brazil

4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2016.
Petroleum black color with a thin head with a caramel head.
Intense aroma with notes of black fruits, coffee, umami, grapefruit, cocoa, plums and molasses.
Flavor with notes of cocoa, roasted coffee beans, plums, oak, local hops, grapefruit, molasses, tons of spices, licorice, sour cherries and a bit of charcoal. Dry aftertaste with a decent bitterness.
Full body with perfect carbonation. Alcohol of 13% is superbly disguised.
What a superb beer. Intense notes of spices, dark fruits, local hops and with a roasted character mingle perfect together.

Oct 09, 2019
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch-black coloration with a small, creamy head. Smells of roasted, caramel malt and notes of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, licorice and hints of tobacco. Taste is a an excellent balance of quite roasted, caramel malt, brown sugar, chocolate and dark fruits, with notes of raisin and fig, lighter coffee, licorice, tobacco and leather, as well as just a hint of vanilla and clove also coming through. Finishes bittersweet, with a light/medium bitterness and some roasted malt, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit and licorice lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a rich body and medium carbonation.

This makes for quite a rich and complex Imperial Stout with a great balance of sweet, fruity and roasted, spicy notes, with the caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruit being rather distinct here, but being balanced by equally distinct roasted malt, licorice and spice, while the tobacco, leather and hints of bitter, earthy hops really add to the richness of character here. Very nice, full mouthfeel as well, while the ABV really is hardly noticeably here, indeed making this dangerously drinkable for 13%. Comparing this rather fresh bottle to a much older bottle I had a while ago, I'm not sure how well this ages, as I've enjoyed this one a lot more than my older review would suggest, although external factors may be at play here.

Mar 08, 2019
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clayrock81 from Florida

4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with minimal tan head and lace ring down glass. Aroma has notes of mildly roasted coffee along with something like dark, bitter fudge chocolate. Smooth, creamy, hides the booze well, more of a warming bitter chocolate sweetness then overtly dry or roasted; easy to sip and dangerous too.

Feb 22, 2019
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No. 14 - 2015 vintage. Bottle appears a bit worse for wear - yellowing paper, a bit torn. Carbonation is very mild even poured hard. Decidedly Belgian yeast presence. A bit of a chocolate, light hoppiness still, bitter coffee roast. Some vanilla peeking through as well. Mildly ashy and dry in the finish. Occasionally and unpredictably boozy. Reasonably thick body, but taste thins significantly as it warms.

Unique and memorable. Not a favorite, but this is a terrific beer all the same.

Jan 13, 2019
Photo of gearinches
gearinches from Massachusetts

4.86/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I've had this on tap in Belgium, in a bottle I bought there and brought home and from a bottle purchased in the States. On tap it's the best food product I've ever had, unbelievable texture, depth, mouthfeel, and richness. Inefable, really, so trying to describe it can only fail.

Out of a bottle you've handled with care it's almost as startling. A bottle you buy in a retail store is a toss up, might be a magical experience and might be so-so, depending on the conditions it's been subject to, and its age. However, if you see it buy it! Even somewhat mishandled it's at 4.0+. A reasonably fresh bottle that's had a good trip is 4.8+.

Really, this is the ne plus ultra of beer, and you don't have to be a Belgium beer fan.

Oct 18, 2018
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle from Struise Bottleshop, Bruges (€5):
Strong & thick, this one was a beer I really had to take my time with given the alcohol content & how boozy & warming it was at times. It opened with some nice chocolate & bitter coffee flavours that were complimented by a vanilla sweetness & some sugars further on but it definitely wasn't a beer to rush. It seemed a little too strong at times, particularly early on but it was complex & rich with some pleasant dark malts & dark fruits showing too.

Jul 02, 2018
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick jet black with some fluffy, light brown foam.

Smell is a bit sweet, with big notes of brown sugar, cocoa and plums, with some raisins in the back.

Taste starts off with a hint of salt, then adds roasted coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar and just a hint of ham. Some booze and a nice bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium, well carbonated.

Overall, a terrific stout, that would have been even better if it was just a little bit thicker.

Jun 23, 2018
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an oily black with a very small tan head that quickly forms a thin crown.

Big chocolatey aroma with hints of plum, cherry and bourbon. The taste follows the nose with a flipped script: bourbon like vanilla, cherry and alcohol; more plum and touch of raisin; and some chocolate and even molasses that prevents it from being overly sweet.

Thick bodied, creamy with strong carbonation.

This is indeed a treat. Lot No 230/2015.

Aug 05, 2017
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. 2015 edition, lot no. 230, had 2/13/17.

Pours an oily looking dark brown, opaque, with only a smattering of a head and no real lacing. Seems thick. The smell is rich, roasted malts, Belgian yeast, coffee, some chocolate, molasses, smoke, raisins, prunes, a hint of vanilla. Really smells good. The taste generally follows the nose- roasted malts, more chocolate, cocoa, coffee, raisins, caramel, molasses, prunes, some yeast. A light level of bitterness, a sweet note on the finish. Smooth, fairly creamy, a great, full body, carbonated appropriately.

Big aromas and flavors, so much stands out. The heavy malt covers up some of the Belgian aspects, but still mostly retains the Belgian Stout identity. A bit pricey, but well worth a purchase when your see it.

Jun 25, 2017
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Bottle dated late 2015; unknown storage, but purchased from a cooler. Pours pitch black with a half finger brown head that dissipates to a thin film and thick ring around the glass leaving ligh lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, cocoa, fresh and dried plums. Flavor is similar, with dark toasted malt with a little char, milk and dark chocolate, plum and black cherry juice, mild fruit esters from the Belgian yeast. Finishes with dark malt, plum and cherry juice with slight tartness on the end. Medium bodied with moderate creaminess and nice mouth feel. A dark, rich imperial stout with great malt depth and pleasant light fruit notes from the yeast, almost a hybrid of Belgian and Russian imperial stouts. The light cherry tartness in the finish would stop me from cellaring this, but the level right now is perfect, adding a light, sharp note to the dark malt. Very nice stout and one I've been wanting to try for a long time. Finally found this bottle in Southern California. Recommended.

Mar 25, 2017
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unlikelyspiderperson from California

4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful dark cocoa color, rich chocolaty smell that supports a thinner than expected mouthfeel and a delicious though simple chocolate malty bitterness. A great stout that doesn't disguise it's 11+% fully but it very drinkable big beer.

Jan 30, 2017
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours opaque, dark black in color with minimal head. Taste is cocoa, dark chocolate,vanilla, dark fruit--prunes, and Belgian spices. This is way toooo smooth for a beer this big. This is the best RIS I have ever had by a long shot. Struise rarely misses and this beer is amazing...Everything you could want in a malty monster...Just get this one and be amazed.

Jan 01, 2017
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Ginger-tipple from Belgium

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A top quality example of a Belgian stout, officially a Imperial Russian Stout. Great hoppy flavor. The head disappeared a bit quickly. Had a full body which cleverly masked the high alcohol content.
Add a shot of Cassis and it is a winning cocktail.

Dec 14, 2016
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 2012; drank 2/25/14.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Black liquid.

Dark khaki head; minimal lace.

Cognac, oak & chocolate nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Roasted coffee, milk chocolate, smoke, dark cherry & oak flavors. Somehow, all that is balanced & very palatable. Incredible!

Dec 01, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at SF's City Beer store, I was surprised by the pleasant qualities of this RIS after the odd herbals in this brewer's Pannepot. While Black Albert is perhaps a bit hoppy for malt-heads like me, it was not a distraction. The viscous, almost chewy Feel replaced lunch. (Although I admit to a small snack prior, just to absorb the alcohol to come.)

Listed in the "1001", Black Albert deserves to be there based on its Mouthfeel alone and the brewer's passions and personality. (I went on their website and it was under re-construction... and they seem to be pulling back from the States.... so it you are a fan of De Struise, get them while you can.) Anyway, there story is three buddies got together and brewed interesting beers. Buddies come and go.

Oct 15, 2016
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FBarber from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap.

Pours a dark shiny black color with a thick frothy tan head that dissipated slowly but left a thin film ring around the outside of the beer.

Smell has aromas of milk chocolate, intermingled with an array of dark fruits - ripe cherry, raisins and plum. Nice malt backbone is present in the aroma.

Taste follows the nose with notes of milk chocolate, ripe cherry, plum and cocoa powder. Certainly some sweetness to this beer that is good, but noticeable given the style. Sweetness taste sort of like toffee or caramel. Bit of mild bitterness on the finish with a coffee like flavor. Really a wonderful array of flavors that is so delicately balanced.

Feel had mild carbonation. Nice thick velvety feel on the beer, but it doesn't quite coat the mouth like you'd like from a Russian imperial stout. Also the finish is more sweeter than dry. Would have liked a bit more dryness on the finish again given the style.

Overall - in its own right this is a wonderful stout. Truly outstanding. Had been wanting to try this for some time and it did not disappoint!

Jun 20, 2016
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of De Struise's Black Albert for $9.48 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer for a long time and now that this it's availiable I knew I needed to give it a try, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a teku.

A- The label looks nice, it's got a unique look to it and it's just a little eye catching. It poured a dark black color that didn't let any light come through and it had just a little bit of dark brown bubbly head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left lots of nice spotty lacing behind. This is a very nice looking beer, it's just what I would expect for the style.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a nice chocolate and roasted malt aroma with some slightly charred and cocoa aromas showing up in the background. Up next comes the Belgian yeast which imparts a signature estery belgian yeast aroma that goes right into a cherry and slight dark fruit like aroma that has just a slight bit of tartness to it with more roasted and charred malts showing up towards the end. This beer has a good aroma, it's just what I would expect for the style.

T= The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of sweetness with the roasted malts being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects that they did int he aroma, but this time there's also a slightly smokey flavor and a little more charred malts with a slight caramel flavor. Up next comes the belgian yeast which impart the same aspects that it did in the aroma and it shows up just as much. Up next comes that same fruity aspect I got in the aroma with some cherry aromas coming through and it's just a little lighter than it was in the aroma. On the finish there's more sweetness with a little bit of bitterness with some chocolate and cherry flavors in the aftertaste. This is a good tasting beer, it's just what I would expect from the style, but it's a little on the sweet side.

M- A little smooth, alcohol is hidden well, a little creamy, velvety, full bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is pretty nice and it works well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and I thought it was a good example of the style, for the most part it's just what I expect from the style and it had all the key flavors, but it was a little sweeter than I would like. This beer had nice drinkability, I could drink the full bottle, but anymore than that would be too much. What I like the most about this beer is the appearance and how true to style it is, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I like the least about this beer is the sweetness, I wish it had a little less sweetness. I would buy this beer again and I would be interested to see how it ages. I would recommend this bee to anyone who lies Belgian style Imperial Stout, it's pretty close to being a text book example of the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, but I wasn't super impressed with it, I think if it had a little less sweetness and a little more complexity it would be very good. It made for a good first Impression for this brewery and it's a good example of the style. Good job guys, keep it up.

Jun 07, 2016
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burnstar from Pennsylvania

4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours extremely dark brown to black with a very dark head. Some lacing on the surface after it recedes. Smell is huge chocolate and coffee malts. Taste is sweet upfront with a big dark chocolate flavor. A little on the sweet side but nicely balanced by the bitterness from the dark malts. Kind of unbelievable that this is 13% since the booze isn't noticeable at all to me (edit- as it warms it tastes much boozier). Heavy bodied and a little on the syrupy side- could use a little more carbonation. Overall, it's a very good huge imperial stout.

May 26, 2016
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Bruno74200 from France

4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 Vintage

L - Pitch black with a small beige head

S - Boozy, grape, roasted malt

T - Very balanced between the roasted malts and the herbal hops, a light yeast character, a bit of grape and apple, cocoa powder. Very neat. Sweet but not cloying

F - Thick and almost perfect gentle carbonation

O - A great beer, not as complex as some Imperial Stout but it has a certain deepness but stays drinkable with a clear taste and not boozy in the taste even with the 13% ABV. It gets better as it warms up.

May 03, 2016
Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1833 ratings