Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed exclusively for Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME.

Added by brewandbbq on 08-23-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
851
Ratings:
1,746
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
13.21%
 
 
Wants:
340
Gots:
391
For Trade:
27
User Reviews
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Reviews: 851 | Ratings: 1,746
Photo of Pencible
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque black with tan head. It smelled like dark chocolate and prunes, with some creamy vanilla and grape and a hint of coffee. It tasted like bitter dark chocolate and sweet prunes, with some roasted coffee with cream. It was somewhat thick with mild carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had an interesting smell and flavor. It tasted very clean and masked the alcohol disturbingly well. It had good body too, but not as full as desired. The prune/grape character really threw me off and kept me from loving this, and there wasn't much depth or complexity beyond that. Definitely an enjoyable stout, but it didn't quite seem to live up to the hype.

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Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle sample from Adil. Thanks friend! Midnight black in colour with a creamy, dark beige head that quickly subsides to a thin cap. No lace on this pour. Smell and taste are strong vinous aromas, Belgian yeast, herbal and fruity American hops, dark grapes, red wine, and a burnt grain chalkiness to end. Quite a bit of alcohol in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is viscous, velvety, somewhat chewy, dryly parched finish. A unique take on the style, not as roasted, smoky, or bitter as US versions. My least favourite of the four stouts that we tasted, though still a great beer.

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Photo of gatorbreath
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gonna give this a rap on this empty stomach...

App. is ink black witha mocha head that reeks of alcohol. Some notable lacing. Nose is alcohol, malt, dark frutas. Taste is very malty/roasty lots of dark fruit and caramel/syrups. This stuff is BOLD. Mouthfeel is kind of dry and dissipating but the fluid is big bodied. Overall, just one for me please. Lots of ABV screams through this presentation.

Probably leaving this heavy one for you real connoisseurs.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.79/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black Albert is a phenomenal looking beer. It pours almost pitch black with a couple fingers of mocha colored head, even with a careful pour. Retention is very nice and lacing is great. One of the best looking imperial stouts out there.

Smell: Right off a big Belgian characteristic comes out, and as well as dark fruits. It takes a bit of digging to get down to the roasted malts and chocolate. Overall this is a pretty nice scent once you get down into it.

Taste: Roasted malts and chocolate show right up front on the palate. A bit of hoppy character actually shows up on the back end, as well as that yeast characteristic and dark fruits. Aftertaste is slightly leathery, but not in a bad way.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The body is slightly over medium with quite a bit of carbonation. It seems like a lot of De Struise beers have this feel, but I'm not sure it works perfectly with imperial stouts. Still, not bad. This is a pretty drinkable beer. It's a different take on an imperial stout, but that's not a bad thing.

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Photo of erz316
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 floz bottle into la chouffe snifter.

A - pitch black body with a good sized two finger head, made of medium sized bubbles. the size of the bubbles inhibits some of the creaminess of the head but overall the head is pretty creamy. the head takes a good while to dwindle down to a thin, but completely full layer across the top.the colour of the foam is a light brown, maybe a dark tan. I cant find any major wrongs with it aside from the lack of creaminess in the head and the lack of lacing.

S - it might be that the brew is cold, but I'm not getting that much of an aroma from it. The most I can get out is a light coffe/choco combination and a medium roasted malt backbone. some very dry alcohol int he midground, smell almost a big like chlorine. upon tasting the beer the sour aspect becomes apparent. as the brew warms up the coffee becomes the dominant flavour

T - thats quite a peculiar combination of flavours. the initial taste has a big roasty malt body, some of the coffee/choco flavour, and a tangy sourness. I guess that's what makes it a belgian royal stout. there is a general bitterness, which seems to be a combination of a chocolate like bitterness (sans the choco flavour) and a general hop bitterness. the finish is an interesting combination of sour, bitter, and light sweetness. the hops are clearly identifiable and compose the majority of the bitterness in the finish. the aftertaste is more like a RIS than any other part of the process; big roasted dark malts, chocolate bitterness, and a slight sweetness embrace the palate.

MF&D - the feel is kind of off by a long shot. the belgian candi sugar doesn't do this brew any good, it makes too much small scale carbonation. the is necessary, however, because the body of the beer is light, and in order to bump it up to a medium the excess carbonation is needed. a pretty good beer, but not one for which I would again pay a ten spot.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an snifter. Batch 14. 11.2 oz bottle.

4.0 A: Black color. Two+ fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and a decent amount of lacing.

4.5 S: Wonderful mixture of sweet and roasty. Deep sweet chocolate backbone with enough roasted barley to give a good balance. Behind all this, there is a vinous fruitiness concentrating on plum, black currants, and grapes. Candi sugar and a light booziness. Complex with complementary flavors.

3.5 T: Taste is a bit of a strange departure from the nose. The chocolate and roastiness is thrust into the backseat to allow the dark fruitiness to take the show. Again the vinous fruitiness as if it were wine barrel aged. Plum, raisin, tobacco, prune, and black currants. There's also a significant hoppy fruitiness and herbalness in there as well. The strange part is that there is also a strong lactose like sourness to it. Chocolate and roasted barley come in behind these flavors. Soft bitterness to round out the beer.

3.5 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation is active on tongue Fairly smooth except for a slight mouth drying on finish.

3.5 D: Pretty good beer. Interesting taste with a great smell. Average mouthfeel. However, I doubt I'll have this again because the $10 price was nowhere near worth the size and quality of the beer.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black body, faint trace of tan head.

Nose mostly contains some funk... not much else.

Taste is interesting, tart, complicated body, thick and rich with some malt character, dark cocoa. Can't taste the alcohol at all. Some blueberry in there, maybe tart cherry in the aftertaste.

Full, rich, and thick. Light milkshake thick.

Interesting stout with a very well-integrated tart component.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at an awesome beer store outside Ghent, Dranken Geers. Deep, dark brown, almost black pour with a slight reddish tinge. Gorgeous three finger coffee colored head and excellent lacing. Earthy, roasty malt and booze dominate the nose. I'm also getting some coffee, chocolate and a hint of dark fruit. The taste is much the same. The roasted malt and alcohol are dominant again, with lots of cocoa and dark fruit. The hops are overpowered by the sweetness of the malt, which hurts the balance for me and imparts too little bitterness. The mouthfeel is decent, but leans towards being a little syrupy. The sweetness hurts the drinkability for me. That coupled with the booziness makes this just an average beer. I have to admit that it did get better as it warmed, but I don't really understand all the hoopla with this one. I'm a big De Struise fan, but this was disappointing...

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared courtesy of Bobsy - thanks for taking this one off the wants list!

Pours a dark brown with minimal head and not much lacing.

There are light fruits in the nose, brown sugar, some nice spiciness, hints of roasty malts - the promise of nice things to come.

The taste and mouthfeel were disappointing though. All the qualities of the nose came through with a hint of chocolate but all in mild quantities. I would have loved for them to be big and bold but they were muted and a little dull. It was smooth and sexy no doubt but just not a knock-out.

For all the hype (it is Top 100 after all!) I was certainly expecting a little more. It hides the alcohol well and certainly drinkable but all in all - a little bit of a let down (especially for the price!)

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Photo of nrbw23
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a very small brownish head. Not to much retention but a b few bubbles and hardly any lacing.

S- There are light fruits, brown sugar, some nice spiciness, hints of roasty malts, bitter chocolate.

T- The taste followed the nose in about every aspect possible except that the flavours were very mild and muted. There is a unique taste to this one compared to other RIS, but I just can't quite put my fingers on it.

M- Maybe the fuller side of medium but just barely. Carbonation is also pretty light. An odd dry feeling to this one too.

D- Not bad to drink just not my favorite. Not sure how often I'll seek this one out. There's just something different about this one.

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Photo of TKempe
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark in colour, almost black. A thick, brown head leaves plenty of lace.

Aroma is of roasted malt, sugar, dark fruits and hops, and gives off whiffs of coffee, chocolate, molasses and liquorice.

The taste starts off sweet and sticky, is followed by a slippery, both sour and salty phase, and ends with a dry and bitter taste (as if you are drinking espresso with a touch of hops). The after-taste is intensely bitter and very convincing. The blast of alcohol that follows could have been a little less though (or: learn to drink this beer patiently).

Body is full and supple with a sticky mouthfeel. Carbonation can't keep me from saying that this beer is actually too syrupy.

Black Albert finds itself somewhere in-between a quadrupel (like Pannepot) and a stout. Its malt-profile pleases me a lot, but its high content of sugar does not. And when the beer has warmed up, the two styles seem to fall out of their initial unity. A very impressive (and bold) piece of work nonetheless.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Brooklyn snifter yesterday. Dark, dark brown blackish pour with a nice mocha brown creamy froth. Milky way wavy bubbly head- tiny bubbles in the middle with bigger ones out by the rim.
Very noticeable whiffs of coffee with a little bit of vanilla, 13% vapor, touch of blackberry.
Like the aroma, huge coffee flavor and really little else. A little malted chocolate and sweet candy in the middle. Heat in the back with nice carbonation. Somewhat of a dry, over-roasted coffee mouthfeel. Alcohol hidden well, but overall too coffee dominated for my tastes.

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Photo of Monsone
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an deep black with a big dark brown head. Leaves a bit of lacing.

S - Sweet malt, soy, coffee, alcohol, dark roasted barley and slightest dark fruit. Not what I was expecting out of this beer. Quite muted.

T - Starts with sweet malt, with a bitter middle and a alcohol finish. A some hops and coffee in there too. Not as intense of flavors as the other RIS I have had. Kinda different with Belgian qualities (think Quad or Strong Dark). Just not what I expected.

M - Medium bodied and a lot lighter than I thought it would be. Just doesn't have that thick viscous feel that the other top RIS's have. More carbo than I expect out of a RIS too.

D - This is probably the most drinkable RIS I can think of. It is expensive though as 1 bottle cost the same as a 6 pack of Expedition Stout.

Overall, I am glad I tried this beer. It quite good and is a different take on the RIS with Belgian qualities. But ultimately there are quite a few other RIS that would pick up before this one.

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Photo of rudzud
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for atleast one year. Poured into a snifter. Thought this would be nice and fitting for my 100th review.

A - Pours a dark, oily black with absolutely no light penitrating the pour. There was a nice dark milk chocolate half a finger head that quickly faded into a thin halo.

S - I can see where some people are getting quad with this aroma. Theres some nice chocolate notes up front along with some roasty malt but for the most part this is rather awkwardly dominated by dark fruits.

T - Much like the nose there is a delicious chocolate and roasty malts but there is just too much dark fruit flavours. It overpowers the mouth and washes out more subtle flavors of vanilla. Still delicious though.

M - Low carbonation, which is expected with this high of ABV. Surprisingly dry though.

D - Overall, this stuff is good but I really dont think its worth the price point. Now that I've tried it, I dont really think its worth all the hype, either.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Sept 2015. Batch 0, lot D. Purchased from a Belgian webshop quite a while back, and stored in my garage. 'Belgian Royal Stout' - indeed.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Black as night; utterly inpenetrable. Large chunks of yeast can be seen floating around at the bottom of the glass. Produces a massive head of creamy brown foam with excellent retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of dark, fruity malt with notes of brown sugar, molasses, marzipan, dried fruit and yeast esters. A warming whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of rich, fruity malt with a spicy, alcoholic finish. Notes of dried fruit, molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, yeast and stewed hops. Very boozy; an astringent, almost solventy alcoholic character. Mild bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with tingly carbonation and great body. The booze lends it a spicy quality. Dries the palate, and leaves an aftertaste of fruity malt.

Decent, though not as good as the hype led me to imagine. Fruity and boozy - a daunting concoction. I was expecting there to be a more obvious roasted malt character with a defining bitterness, rather than the sweet fruitiness that is actually present. Both the aroma and flavour lacked something undefinable; the result was a well-constructed but sub-par RIS. Worth trying, just lower your expectations a little.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish snifter. Bottled April 2007.

A- pours jet black with a half finger tan head that quickly fades. There was a nice pop when I opened it, and there's clearly carbonation...just not a lot. Disappointing

S- not a whole lot going on here. A little bit of chocolate, and a little bit of Belgian funk

T- lots of sweet chocolate, and a little bit of sweetness from the yeast as well. Very decadent

M- extremely thick-bodied. You can cut this sucker with a knife

O- I think this one sat for a little too long in the cellar...still a solid beer, but not overwhelming like I expected

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Photo of kasper
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown, huge three finger cargo tan-colored foamy head even on a cold pour. Some rings of laces recede.

S: Hints of cocoa, raisin, and cream on this cold pour. Underlying aromas of some once-was bitterness. Weak aromas overall.

T: On the better end of belgian imperial stouts, with a wicked twist at the end. Dark, syrupy fruity malts, strong licorice and alcohol slip down the throat when suddenly a bitter, jagermeister-like roasted finish floods the senses, lingering in an aftertaste of burnt licorice.

M: Full-bodied, yet thin feeling (but heavy hitting). Moderate carbonation, but it's noticeable.

D: This 12oz bottle was aged at least a year, no hoppy aromas, lots of alcohol-soaked fruits without the candy belgian/yeast flavors. Similar to a DFH WWS in some ways. Nice to try, not sure it's something I'll ever crave.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Bottled poured into my Short's pint glass.

A: Very dark brown with a small mahogony tint around the edges. The pour produced almost 3 fingers of tan head that receeds and leaves nice lace.

A: Sour dark fruit and a Belgian yeast influence. I get nice chocolate, molasses, dried fruit, and smoke.

T: Good amounts of chocolate and dried fruit. The belgian aspect is a little offputting to me in a RIS. Also get smoke and maybe a little vanilla. The beer finishes dry from the hops.

M: A little thin for the style. Aggressive carbonation gives it a tingle at the back of the throat.

D and overall impression: I'll give this just above average marks on drinkability, the dried fruit and belgian influence is just a little much for me. I'm glad I shared the small bottle with two other guys. Overall, this is a good beer, but nothing to write home about. Would have again, but won't go out of my way for it. Skal.

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Photo of ikantspel
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz into a hangar 24 snifter

pours a motor oil black with an almost burgundy thin foamy head

dark fruits, belgian yeast, cocoa, and burnt sugar in the nose

heavy taste of oaky malts, molasses, dark fruits. finishes slightly dry with only a slight hint of alcohol

overall a solid stout. no complaints love its simplicity

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally got a bottle of this. Pours black with a small tan head that fades rapidly. Aroma of molasses, alcohol, licorice, and sweet rich roasted malt. Flavor of rich roasted malt, alcohol, and a touch of bitter chocolate. A little muddled flavor-wise. Palate is a little boozy. Interesting beer but it turns out it was nothing special after all (still it was fun being one of the first to get this super-hyped beer on tap at Ebenezer's back in January).
8/4/7/4/15 (3.8/5)

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Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle courtesy of upsjeff.

A: The stout opened with a fizz and slowly foamed up, leaving a coffee-and-cream colored head slowly creeping out of the glass. In my snifter, the stout is dark, appropriately black for an imperial offering. Spots of lace result from the head.

S: The nose is interesting, dark and malty on one hand but fruity/spicy on the other. There is even a dry Irish stout aroma floating in there.

T: An interesting stout, continuing from the unique aspects of the nose. Dry malts, dark and roasted, lend a Guinness-like flavor, followed by a Belgian yeast profile of dark alefruits. A lactic creaminess is strong, adding a mildly sour, stale taste to the stout. The 13% pricetag is well hidden but this imperial stout seems more like an imperial Irish stout.

M: I'm not sold yet. The sweet lactic body is a little too sour, a little too loosey goosey. I like the fruit flavors that follow the lactose but they don't last long enough.

D: A tough drink with a heavy pricetag. It is certainly imperial, an ale that isn't afraid to shatter boundaries. Based on that, I kinda like it.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excited to try this beer! Big thanks to ICCULUS for this beer! Thanks Jim!

Lot number: B 6 BB (vintage 2007)

poured into snifter.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a 2 fingers worth of mocha brown head. Spotty lacing on the glass. Head fades to a thick ring around the side of the glass.

Smell: roasty and malty. Little bit vinuous smelling similiar to wine. Dark fruits that smell mostly of raisins and prunes.

Taste: This beer is roasty and moderately bitter upfront. Strong notes of molasses, raisins, figs, anise, and black licorice at mid palate that completely covers up the roasty qualities found at the beginning of this beer, but they compliment the bitterness of the beer with a mild sweetness. In the aftertaste I get some earthiness and unfortunately I taste do sour cherries. Its unmistakeable and the cherries tend to linger for quite a while after each sip of the beer. I think that this beer must have a minor infection going on or it could be oxidation since this beer is vintage 2007.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. This beer is smooth and a just a little bit thin. Carbonation is a little bit prickly, but close to where it needs to be.

Overall: This beer is better than your average stout. It just seems a little bit off though. Nice beer. I should give this beer a try when its a fresh batch.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/4/2009 (Bottle LOT B6BB):

Pours an extremely dark brown colored body, with a huge foamy tan-brown colored head, lastingish. Aroma of dark fruit, dark grape, fig, and floral, somewhat sweet. Not much roasted notes, but the floral is definitely muted by something. Dark fruit taste, immediately followed by roasted and chocolate flavors. Roasted aftertaste. Dark grape. Like a combo Belgian ale and an imperial stout. Tasty.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Annual Woodshop tasting. Special thanks to Ebenezer's for supplying the 3L bottle.

The beer poured a deep jet black with a minimal off-white head.

The aroma was of black roasted malts and dark dried fruits. Some notes of tobacco. Also in the aroma were some faint hints of acetylaldehyde - not good. For a 13% beer, the alcohol didn't really pop out in the nose.

The flavor of the beer had an intense roasted malt flavor with notes of bittersweet chocolate and some malty sweetness. The hop profile was neutral, but assertive. The flavor of the beer went somewhat flat in the finish - not terribly dynamic. It just didn't seem as complex as the others we sampled that night such as KtG and DL.

The carbonation was dialed in well and the mouthfeel was somewhat creamy although the beer finished reasonably dry for the style, which aided its drinkability.

Overall a bit disappointing. It just lacked the complexity that I personally needed for it to have been great.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.66/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The huge hype surrounding this one has died down considerably now and made this one quite a bit more acccessible..

11.2 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet...

Pours beautifully here... Pitch black with a very impressive mocha colored head... Very dark and foreboding looking brew...

Very rich dark aromas of burnt roasted malts, cocoa nibs, a little yeast, and a surprising amount of hops.... Not getting quite as much of the fruity aspects of this as others but there might be a little there....

Tastes much like the smell... Burnt roasted malts, chocolate, a little vinousness... And a kick of hops at the end that really has me surprised.. Big does of hoppy bitter finish.... Weird...

Overall a nice beer but the downfall of this one is its consistency... Its way way too thin and watery... It tastes plenty rich enough but this has almost a pilsner like thinness to it that's quite off-putting...

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.
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