Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

Black AlbertBlack Albert
BA SCORE
4.26/5
1,786 Ratings
Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium
struise.com

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
Ranking:
#736
Reviews:
858
Ratings:
1,786
pDev:
9.15%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
338
Gots:
401
Trade:
27
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,786 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of nhindian
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch '0' review.

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle generously split by russwbeck, thanks Russ!

Lot D.

A - Pours a chocolate brown, with lighter brown highlights. The head is aggressive and bordering on excessive as it continuously rises, almost 3-fingers in height. Certainly can't say it doesn't look impressive, however, with its tan color and great retention. Lacing is much better than the normal version, with generous amounts of foam sticking to the glass.

S - The smell is much more up my alley than normal Black Albert. Gone are the funky sour aromas I've encountered in two separate batches that just seemed out of place, and they are replaced by a much more roasted profile. Big notes of coffee and dark chocolate from the malts, a distinct Belgian yeast smell, and some slight booze.

T - The taste is definitely more mellow and robust than typical Black Albert. A very roasty beginning paves the way for espresso and caramel malt, along with a good amount of chocolate. The Belgian yeast strain is actually a bit of a deterrent, imparting a funky flavor that just kind of seems weird given the rest of the flavors. I'm sure it has its niche, but can't say its my preference. Some dark fruits and sugar, giving the impression of rum soaked raisins. The alcohol is much more hidden here than in the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with high carbonation. Like most Belgians this too has above average carbonation, which for the style may need to be swirled out a little. Leaves a strong chocolate and roast aftertaste.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. Much better than normal Black Albert but can't say it's a favorite of mine. The flavors aren't amazing and in my opinion the yeast clashes with the typical stout flavors.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The scores are from Batch 0, if I counted my scores from Black Albert, they would be much lower.

Black Albert Batch A4BB

I was going to try this side by side with Black Albert Batch 0, but when I opened this it exploded with head out of the top before I could even get the cap off. Not a good sign. After pouring ever so slightly to avoid the ridiculously fast growing head, the first smell definitely leads me to believe this is infected. It smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin to be honest. The taste is light and while not sour, it certainly isn't what I'd expect from a RIS. I don't think I'm going to review it anymore than that. Pretty disappointed here, let's see what happens with Batch 0...

Batch 0 Lot D

A: The head on this is huge. You really have to be careful when pouring to avoid a Duvel type 6 inch brown head. Black pour.

S: The smell is distinctly Belgian, very sweet. A bit of roastiness is mixed in as well giving it that stout feeling to it. It does smell more like a Quad than a RIS though.

T: This is the taste I was expecting. It really is hard to believe that this is an older version of the infected mess I opened first. The Belgian yeast and funky taste is there, along with a bit of dark fruits, but it also has a nice roasty character. The Belgian tastes seem to start the beer, and stout characteristics end it.

MF: Thankfully this has a medium body and was not light and watery like Black Albert. A bit boozy, with a dry aftertaste.

O: This was ok. It isn't great and overall sort of weird, but there isn't anything wrong with it. Is it worth the price it goes for? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cracked this open for my best friend's (belated) birthday.

Darker than dark. Probably the darkest beer I've had since my '07 Dark Lord. Very little lacing, and about a 3-4mm chocolate head.

Upon cracking the bottle the aroma hits me hard. Little bit of booze, lots of dark fruits, some chocolate hidden in there.

Taste mimicks smell. Lots of dark fruits, raisins, hint of roasted malts, plus some nice chocolate at the end. Oh, and some booze as well.

Smooth as silk. Hell of a lot of mouthfeel, but what do you expect from a 13% Belgian Royal Stout?

Overall fantastic. Definitely a top 5 all-timer, and probably top 2 for the "style" whatever that is. This honestly tastes nothing like most american "russian" imperial stouts. Fruity in the way that a quad is fruity (must be the belgian yeast strain). At any rate, seek this beer out. IMO De Struise makes better beers than Westvleteren, and they're actually relatively accessible.

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:
6oz pour at the Armsby Abbey

A: Pitch black, no light is getting through this. I probably got close to a 2 finger mocha brown head, very tight bubbles.

S: Orange rind (yeah, really), dark fruits, tart cherry, chocolate, alcohol.

T: Chocolate and coffee upfront with a heavy does of roasted malts coming through in the middle. Lots of dark fruits and tart cherries develop from the middle to finish. Candy sugar/caramel sweetness that is just present enough to give a little balance to an otherwise dry profile. Extremely dry and slightly bitter finish with just a ton of cherry and dark fruits, almost a port-like finish, but more Belgian. Quite impressive. It's like someone mixed a quad in with my RIS. I like it.

M: Pretty darned thick and oily, medium carbonation, a little alcohol burn on the finish. Extremely dry.

O: This was my second try of the Royal Albert and it definitely lived up to it's name sake. Though some might not dig the tart cherry and belgian flavors, I think it's a welcome change. I'd definitely try to get a couple bottles if the opportunity presented itself.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lot B, bottled June 2007.

Opens with a nice 'tsst'.

A. Pours a thick black with a creamy coffee colored head that rises two finger breadths above the liquid and slowly recedes to a thin cap leaving no residual lacing.

S. Dark chocolate, some sweet milk chocolate, coffee, and cocoa. Figs and some tannic red wine character really come out as it warms. You also get a nice mix of cherry and woody aromas - like macerated whole cherries with pits.

T. Bitter dark chocolate, some fruity tartness on the tail, and some espresso bitterness. Quite a bit of ethanol on the end and in the aftertaste; although the beer is 13%, I'm surprised that you still get this after nearly 4 years of cellaring. It ends on a dry tannic red wine like note.

M. Super thick and creamy. Luscious.

D. A beer clearly designed for sipping. This is certainly an interesting beer, but I don't think it diverges enough from an RIS to be considered its own style (Belgian Royal Stout).

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Photo of JayS2629
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely phenominal! Reminds me of Rochefort 10! Rich, smooth, dark chocolately velvet wrapping dark cherries, plums and currants. Roasted coffee sways through it with a tiny hint of smoke. The taste follows the nose of dark chocolate, toffee, sweet malts, and dark fruits. complex! Earthy notes, and a hint of smoke. Velvety smooth like liquid chocolate. Thick, dark, black, oily with a great pillar of head that has great retention and beautiful sea foam lace! Only beaten by the Rochefort for hiding the alcohol better.

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Photo of DanielRP
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden. "Batch '0'". Not cellared after picking it up from the store. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: A good fizz when the bottle was opened, indicating lots of carbonation. Dark as night. A big pillar of light brown foam rises upon the beer hitting the glass.

Smell: Noticed it from half a meter after opening the bottle. Strange, not a "typical" stout, but one shouldn't expect it either. I'd say that I find a classic Belgian yeast smell, but I don't know if I'd picked it up as such if it hadn't had "Belgian" written all over it. A faint sour touch, nice. Also the familiar "dark fruit" smell.

Taste: Where did the sourness go? Where did the Belgian style go? Very lightly hopped. Coffee is noticeable. It is very polite at first, and doesn't really fade or strengthen, but lingers for a long time. A bit of spiky alcohol can be found directly when it goes down, after that it disappears and the musty dark and roasted sensation takes over.

Mouthfeel: Not robust creamy like some of the "killer" examples in the class, but OK. Carbonated aptly. A bit of the before promised sourness can be forced through, but I would gladly take a lot more.

Drinkability: Easily downed, which is impressive, but for a 13% abv beer, that's not really what I'm looking for. Maybe the American style hop monsters have deafened me, but this is a bit too bland for me to add to my list of regulars, especially with the high alcohol trade-off.

I went in to this beer with the highest of expectations. "Belgian Royal Stout" - sounds great, I imagine a tough, dark stout with the classic Belgian sweet&sour blend. I didn't get that, instead I'm sitting with a very decent stout, towards the coffee style. Not bad, but not what I hoped for, and, for me at least, not really up to the price of the bottle. Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer, but price and expectation factors disappoint me.

I have another bottle that I will let sit for a while. Can't really see that it will go to a personally more enjoyable place beer-wise, but I'll take my chances.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey.

A: Pours a deep black color with a massive dark tan/mocha colored had that takes a good couple minutes to dissipate. Leaves some serious lacing.

S: The scent consists of sweet chocolates, dark fruits (strong aroma) with a slight roasted scent and a bit of alcohol. The beer has a very sweet aroma to it.

T: The taste is much like the smell, there is a rich chocolate flavor up front with dark fruits and sweet malts. There is a roasted flavor with a bit of alcohol as well. The finish is creamy.

M: Full bodied with not much carbonation. The feel is creamy throughout and sweet as well.

D: This is a very good beer, it is very smooth (for 13% ABV) and well balanced, between the sweet and roasted malts. As mentioned above, the 13% is not unnoticed, but it is only slight.

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Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep black with thick tan head and excellent lacing throughout

S: smells sweet and of dark fruit, mild ethanol notes

T: tastes like raisin, dark fruits, sweet and syrupy, you can definitely taste the strong alcohol flavor.

M: smooth yet strong and the alcohol content makes it tougher for some to take down

O: overall a complex beer that reminds me of the Rochefort series with the sweet fruit flavors

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Photo of liamt07
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of korguy123, 37cl into a couple of snifters. Split with Steve. June 2007 vintage. Thanks guys.

Pours black, creamy tan head with great retention, legs but not a lot of lacing. Nose of dark fruits, some raisin, port qualities, vanilla, chocolate and brown sugar. Taste has a complex interplay of dark chocolate and this dark fruit/port character, that suddenly takes on a roasted and coffee like flavour about 2/3 of the way through the mouth. Dark fruit returns as it finishes and lingers. Dry finish. Solid and full feel to it. Well constructed and very nice overall. My first from De Struise.

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Photo of drtth
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass from a bottle from Lot C with a best by date of July 2015. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is an oily dark brown, almost black, and opaque. The ¼” head doesn’t persist for long nor does it leave behind much in the way of lacing. Sipping does leave a partial ring of irregular speckles made up with very fine bubbles.

Smell: The aromas are, as the label says, “filthy rich in the nose.” There is a lot of subtle complexity here and it is the complexity not the nose which is almost overwhelming. This is a complex interweaving with some dark semi-sweet chocolate, traces of coffee, a wee bit of alcohol, some dark roasted malt and even a trace of charcoal. But none of them dominates and so it is hard to sort them out.

Taste: As the label describes it the flavor is “massive.” The complex mélange of flavors include bittersweet dark chocolate, traces of coffee and, at first, a slight bit of burnt bitterness from the roasted malt. There’s also some alcohol sweetness but not a trace of heat or burn from the alcohol. As the beer warms the bit of burnt character recedes into the background and hides behind the slight sweetness from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full-bodied and almost oily in its smoothness. The carbonation is quite gentle but persistent. The finish is relatively long. It begins with the malt and the alcohol sweetness. Both fade leaving a distinct, dry bitter after taste that goes on and on and tells you you’ve just had a sip of a rich stout with a massive flavor.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: This is so rich in flavors that the only way to drink it is slowly and in small sips. Taken on those grounds its very drinkable and I’d not hesitate to have another, but on another night. The richness is almost too much. My overall impression is of a nicely made beer that pushes the extremes of what a stout is. So I’m glad to have tried it but it is definitely a beer for a once in a while treat.

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Photo of Spider889
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to J2Brew2 for this bottle.

Live review into my new Cigar City snifter; again, thanks Joe!

Lot: B, bottled June 2007 - nice age on this one!

Pours thick and viscous, solid black, darker than the age-old motor oil comparison. Despite the fact that I thought this was going to gush out of the bottle, the head wasn't nearly as tall as predicted. Instead, with an average pour, I got just under a finger of super dense foam. It reminded me of a frothy chocolate shake, color and all. Some tapioca-like bubbles stuck around as well as a nice ring of that dark head around the edges.

The smell took me aback at first. I almost believed that this was barrel aged, but no other reviews, nor the bottle, mention it. Very boozy, but sweet. Lots of vanilla and oaky notes, and a ton of acidic dark fruit - figs and red grapes. The malt aromas are muted in relation, but light coffee can be found here.

The taste is very bold and unique. The fruit flavors are really prominent. I can only assume that this is largely the doing of the yeast. Soft black malts are in contention with sweet vanilla and raisinets. I think it can best be compared to BCS in many ways.

Smooth and sticky, this is a sensationally silky sipper.

If alliteration isn't your style, I also feel a dry tannic finish. The booziness is both apparent in the aroma and taste, but it is also decently well-hidden.

After figuring out the date code (I felt like I was in the OSS deciphering an enemy communique) I realized that this was almost 4 years old. I then began comparing this to the 2007 GLBC Blackout Stout I tasted last October. I have found that big stouts like this get super sweet with considerable age. It's nice and a great way to sample the beer. However, Black Albert claims an impressive 100 IBUs, and I got nearly none of it. I'm now very curious to try a really fresh bottle of this to compare.

Overall a very well-done stout. I'm not sold that this, as a "BELGIAN ROYAL STOUT," as the bottle screams at you numerous times, is in actuality a new and unique style of beer... but I also wouldn't mind differentiating the normal RIS from the Belgo versions.

From my limited experience I have thus far surmised that Struise is a brewer of truly world-class beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BA No. 14 with a best before date of April 2013, acquired via trade from brdc, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, chocolate, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, dark roasted malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with flavors of brown sugar, dark fruit and chocolate. There is a hearty roasted malt character and a strong Belgian yeast backbone. The hops presence is very mild as it should be in this type of beer. The balance is decent considering the added sweetness. The alcohol sting is also mild for a 13.00% ABV beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, good variation of style, this is a nice beer to sip on for a long time if you’re in the mood for a high-octane Belgian stout.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pure black body from which a big and beautiful tan head rises to fill most of the glass.

Aroma is not as roasted as some stouts, but instead filled with plenty raisins and fig fruitiness mixed in with some rum and a slight hing of chocolate.

Taste is noticeably sweeter than a lot of stouts, with a strong fruity ester flavor form the Belgian yeast and a bit of chocolatey aspect too. Finishes with a light touch of hops.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and creamy but not as heavy as expected. Overall, Black Albert is a top notch beer, which I really appreciate having a Belgian twist on the style.

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Photo of stageseven
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter with Mal Reever.

Ap - very dark brown, very nearly black. Tan head, with just a ring of bubbles around the outside of the glass.

Ar - interesting smell. A mix of roast and alcohol. Pretty boozy. Maybe a bit of vanilla as well.

T - tons of roast up front and a smooth creamy quality. A bit of vanilla as well. A bit of alcohol but not much. Not a ton of bitterness to it either.

M - a bit warming. Medium body, fairly low carbonation. Leaves a slick feel in the mouth.

D - excellent RIS. Easily drinkable, extremely flavorful. The surprise in this beer for me was the lack of extreme bitterness that you often find in a RIS. It's not cloying at all though, without all that much sweetness up front. I'd call this one a "roast bomb".

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Photo of wedge
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot: B6BB

Impenetrable black under three fingers of dense, persistent tan foam. Initial aromas of jam-like fruit coated with a nice layer of chocolate. Sticky toffee, hazelnut, and whiffs of licorice and wood...any roasted maltiness has really smoothed out to a bittersweet, fruity dessert. Tastes of fig, raisins, and plums alongside dark chocolate and berries. There's a good amount of roastiness before the smack of a somewhat acidic sourness in the finish. Very easy to forget this one is 13%. Creamy, rich, lightly tart mouthfeel. A very interesting RIS.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with light brown edges. Mocha head rises with an inch of head, but dissipates quickly. Lacing is modest.

Nose is dominated by dark fruits, sweet and deep, with a good bit of roasted back ground. Alcohol is present, but is not overly dominating.

Palate is very rich, starting with an earthy malt beginning. Mid-body is dominated by dark fruits, a bit of spice which leads into a very smooth and mellowed roasted finish. Alcohol is present, but adds more to the beer than takes away. Comes off as port wine in essence and character.

Silky smooth mouthfeel with a great resonance of flavor. An exceptional beer that would age gracefully for years. Absolutely divine.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick black beer with some tan hues. Large fizzy brown colored head. Lot's of carbonation. The bottled spewed all over my floor when I opened it. Smells of dark chocolate, coffee, and bananna. The combination smells much better than it sounds. The flavor is very rich and complex without being too strong. In fact it's the smoothness of the beer that impresses me the most. Dark chocolate, black coffee, Belgian yeast flavors with some tropical fruit like hoppiness. The mouthfeel is thick yet velvety smooth with lot's of carbonation. Great beer. Worth the price imo.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a tan thick head. A skim of head that turns to a tan ring. No lace.

Coffee and dark chocolate, with fruit such as cherry and cassis. Nice dark roasted maltiness.

Dark chocolate and booze up front, with some creamy tart maltiness, then coffee, some dark fruit, maybe anise. Dries out a bit, to long lingering bitterness. Fantastic.

Full bodied, with some prickly carbonation.

13%? could have fooled me. Easy to drink, incredibly complex. $11 for 12 oz bottle. Won't pass my lips again, sadly, but loved every drop.

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Photo of ZiggyStarbuck
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle bought over thanksgiving break while on vacation to South Carolina. Thanks to numerous BA's for steering me toward the Charleston Beer Exchange.

Appearance: Almost black, with a dark brown head that dissipated quickly leaving little to no lacing. A normal looking stout.

Smell: Whoa, this is intense. First thing I noticed was the intense Chocolate/Anise/Licorice aroma mixed with the fruitiness usually associated with strong belgian beers, but no surprise there, as it is exactly what I was expecting.

Taste: Fairly similar to the nose, though not quite as intense as the aroma would lead you to believe. This is a good stout.

Mouthfeel: Thin for a stout with low carbonation. Not bad and it doesn't detract from the flavor, but It leaves more to be desired.

Drinkability: As expected from a 13% stout this is not a beer to be drank in mass quantity. That being said it goes down smooth.

Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who loves Imperial Stouts and Belgian beers.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a deep dark black with a deep dark brown head into my southampton RIS snifter. There is an almost purple tint to the beer. Lacing leaves sparse trails when I swirl the glass and the thin head is easily rebuilt.

s - Yowza. Chocolate dessert...some dark fruit undertones that are almost grape juice like. Candied sugars and chocolate syrup.

t - the booze jumps out at first followed by chocolate covered fruit...settles as a chocolate sangria. once warmed the chocolate flavor is just fantastic.

m/d - as smooth as humphrey bogart but heavy handed on the booziness. Leaves a soft tingle, but the chocolate coats my mouth so it is almost like eating one of those booze filled chocolates. The chocolate richness is fantastic, but this is a sipper. As with all of these huge beers...once the alcohol warms you, you don't notice it as much and the flavor really comes out without distraction. this is a great beer...just hot as hell (although the label says black as hell).

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with tons of sediment, so don't pour it all in your glass. Inky black, a wonderful creamy dark tan to brown head. $6.99/11.2oz bottle and a WHOPPING 13% ABV....excellent lacing too...

Huge, sweet robust aromas. Smells like a milk stout. Lots of chocolate malt roasted up for this. I get some vanilla and some sryup notes, too, but mostly milky chocolate....

Oh wow, the flavor is outta sight!!! A little bit too much alcohol, and it's well hidden, but a little "burny"....Immediately, you get a swath of roasted chocolate malt with a nice sweetness. Mothfeel is super smooth. Early middle, the sweetness starts to shelve off and you get a raosty bitterness - partly malt, partly yeast and partly hops, I reckon. There is also a barrel-aging-like component, but not like bourbon...more like aquavit...It's slightly astringent near the late middle, but never harsh. Finish is long and roasty. Albeit pricey, this is a nice take on the big milk stout...Worth tracking down.

What I like most: The awesome robust flavor profile.

What I like least, the price and sediment, and the alcholo burn.

Verdict: With minor flaws and a hefty price tag, this is a tad below top tier, but its wonderful and worth finding.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. batch number 14, LOT A 4 BB notched on the side indicates it was bottled in april of 2007 (been in the bottle for almost 4 years)

pours out a thick opaque black with a big 2 1/2 fingers of creamy light brown/ mocha colored head that slowly faded to a thick creamy retentive layer. lots of sticky lace as well as some nice legs on the glass. small bits of sediment visible in the bottom of the glass. looks delicious!

the initial aroma holds some strong solvent alcohols. as it settles a bit, heavily roasted malt, dark raisony like fruits, chocolate, and some roasted coffee beans. something else is in there i dont quite have words for. as it warms, the alcohol sort of becomes the main player.

very nice taste. solvent alcohol is there, but its not as prevalaint as i might have expected. it seems to blend with the other flavors nicely. milk chocolate in the begining and some bitter dark chocolate in the finish, heavily roasted malt, an array of fruits, ripe to dark fruits, almost similar to a quad in this aspect. slightly smokey. finishes rich and only slightly bitter.

quite smooth and soft over the tongue, rich and creamy with a big heavy body, chewy towards the finish. carbonation is on the lighter, finer side as it should be. starts out heavy and after the sip ends up lighter than you would expect.

goes down too easy, i would have never guessed 13%.

overall: this is definatly an interesting beer. lots of classic RIS qualities with something else thats hard to find words for. a good try for sure, i would recommend it.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle from Stein's Deli in New Orleans. Awesome selection. Poured into a Great Divide balloon glass.

This beer pours a dark, sinister black. Looks quite thick. Nice creamy tan head. Good lacing and retention. Can't really argue with the presentation here.

The nose is sweet and chocolatey. Maybe milk chocolate and plums? Vanilla and fruity Brett funk? The sweet RIS homebrew I currently have on tap has a lot of the same characteristics. The booze is definitely hiding out there. Very interesting.

The taste is along those same lines. Sweet and stouty. Dark fruits dominate. Fruity sour notes. It all blends quite well and the mouthfeel is perfect to deliver those tastes. I could sip on is after dinner every night. An excellent beer that makes me appreciate my current homebrew... and at the same time wish it was more.

EDIT: this is 13% ABV? Damn. +1 on the drinkability. It had me fooled. I was guessing around 10.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste- cookies, bittersweet chocolate, sweet malt, toast, biscuits, coffee, dark fruit

color- deep reddish brown

clarity- pours clear but opaque in the glass

smell- appetizing aromas associated with baked goods, cookie dough, sweet dark floral fruit

body- active carbonation in the mouth, bitterness tightens the front of the mouth, dry finish with a bitter aftertaste

appearance- one finger cocoa colored head with red hues, carbonation disipates quickly although when agitated the carbonation comes to life, light lace retention

overall impression- great aroma. the after-taste is well balanced

notes and comments- bottle poured with yeast, beware. hop flavors are well integrated. tastes like i've had this beer before...similar profile to other imperials

beer spy- monument wines and spirits, concord ca, 3/12/11, $9.99, 11.2oz

glassware: trois pistoles goblet

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 1,786 ratings
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