Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
852 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Black AlbertBlack Albert

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 852 | Ratings: 1,759
Photo of womencantsail
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ryan for this one. Batch No. 14, according to the label.

A: The pour is certainly fitting for the style. Nearly black in color with an initially formbidable tan head that eventually settles down to a thin cap.

S: A heavy aroma of dark fruits, particularly prunes, figs, and plums. A touch of alcohol but no real roast, chocolate, or coffee. Almost cloying, to be honest.

T: The flavor is somewhat complex. Certainly the fruits noted in the aroma are well represented, but there is an underlying flavor of roasted malt and some light bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a fairly substantial level of carbonation, which I am unsure of at this point in time--even after drinking a fair amount of my glass.

D: As this one comes to temperature, the alcohol becomes more noticeable and the bitterness becomes more of an astringency. Not my favorite, but certainly worth trying.

 889 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from Jw347, cheers Jonathan!

Pours mahogany/black with 2+ fingers of brown /mocha head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Oakyness, dark fruit & port, plus minty hops once warm

T: Madeira, figs, leafy hops & leafy hops, plus a kiss of booze up front. Raisins, plums, much dryness & dark chocolate as this warms, plus more leafy hops. Finishes dry with much chocolate, more dark fruit, leafy hops & a bit of booze, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Pretty smooth, medium bodied, sticky, just not quite rich enough to pull a 5.0

Wow, the ABV is well masked, dangerously drinkable. Pretty good, barely cracks my top 10 for the style, but it would be nice to have this as a regular in the cellar. Great RIS, not the best but damn close

 739 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BA No. 14 (Brewed in June 2007 according to Lot No./Bottle Code)

A: Pours an opaque very dark black (almost jet black) in color with some dark amber notes when held up to the light. The beer has a quarter finger tall dark beige head that fairly quickly reduces to a small patch of larger bubbles, a small to medium amount of extremely thin film, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruit (plums and prunes) with some moderate amounts of sweetness. Maybe just a hint of anise.

T: The flavor of this beer is very similar to the smell, lots of dark fruit (plums and prunes) followed by lighter hints of roasted malts and anise.

M: Just shy of full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Silky smooth.

O: I am surprised, the high (13%) ABV is extremely well hidden making this beer much easier to drink than one might have expected form the ABV on the bottle. Almost feels like a hybrid between a Russian Imperial Stout and a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Complexity increases as the beer warms up.

 1,053 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Been lookin' forward to this guy for some time now. It pours a deeply opaque bit o' black soup topped by a half-finger of dark tan foam. Once this has faded, a nice halo lingers at the surface. The nose comprises raisins, figs, molasses, chocolate syrup, sugar cane, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Pretty nice so far. The taste holds a stark combination of bitterness and fruitiness up front and dark sugar, coffee, and bitter chocolate in back. I've gotta say, the whole taste experience here did not go well. The bitterness and fruit up front knocked what could have been a very dark and tasty stout down a peg. It seems as though a stout was blended with a BSDA, resulting in a genetically inferior bastard child. It wasn't entirely objectionable, but not great, either. The body is a heavy medium, with an active carbonation and a surprisingly dry finish. Overall, the odd flavor combination and bubbly nature hold down what could have been something special. A bit of a let-down here.

 1,029 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours extremely dark black with a one finger tan head that fades slowly. Some nice lacing down the glass.

S: Lots going on here, some dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, belgian yeast, and some roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is some nice roasted malt and chocolate with a little bit of brown sugar. As the beer warms the dark fruit flavors develop and take hold. I was surprised at how much the dark fruit came through with cherry, plum, and fig.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Slight touch of alcohol, but not much at all for being 13%.

O: A dangerously tasty beer at 13%! Not overly heavy, but has a great flavor profile. Could drink this one all the time.

 707 characters

Photo of billab914
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. It poured thick and black in color with a very dense and thick tan head to it. It kept a nice covering on the top of the beer as I drank it and left some great lacing as well.

The aroma shows a lot of chocolate and roasted malts to it. It has a nice sweetness to it but also stays very smooth and balanced. It almost has the smooth aroma of say an oatmeal stout.

The taste has a rich, sweet milk chocolaty flavor to it at first. It develops more of a roasty, bitter, coffee flavor towards the finish. it also has some smoky and molasses flavors going on that just add to the complexity. It's very balanced for such a big beer and has such a great range of flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good, it's a fantastic imperial stout. It had such a range of flavors to it but managed to be very balanced overall. I also really liked the smokiness that came through in it. Excellent beer overall.

 1,023 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip. Batch #14.

a - Pours a dark black color with one finger of brown head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of dark fruits, primarily grapes and cherries. Also hints of chocolate, roasted malts, and vanilla.

t - Tastes of chocolate, dark fruits, and alcohol.

m - Full body and low carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink for 13% ABV.

d - I thought this was a great RIS. I thought it had a great dark fruits smell and the alcohol was very well hidden for 13% ABV. Would love to try it again.

 539 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14

A: Black, but not quite opaque. Great head, with some nice lacing.

S: Phenomenal aroma. Wow! There is an incredible wild yeast sourness in the nose. Every time I smell the beer, searching for additional scents, I become completely distracted by the incredible sour aroma.

T: Unique for sure. This beer smells better than it tastes. I don't get a lot of stout characteristics (I know this batch is more quad-like). The 13% ABV is disguised extremely well. The beer lacks the complexity I expected from the intriguing scents. The sourness is more present in the aroma, but still very evident in the taste. Again, unique, enjoyable, and impossible to categorize.

M: Dare I say a little thin?

D: A truly unique beer that I will always look forward to.

 762 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh yes indeed. Got some interesting news tonight and will begin my celebration with this fine brew. Let's see how this works.

Pours black with a thick brown head that doesn't go anywhere. Thick molasses nose. I mean distinct as all get out. Flavor is intense malty molasses with slight coffee tones as well. Robust and hearty. Nice thick flavor that gets even better as it warms. Feel is thick on liquid and carbonation is lower. Very easy to drink, even though it is quite hearty. Could go for way more than 11.2 ounces of this.

 531 characters

Photo of stakem
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken on 11/12/10.

Batch "0" poured into a mini snifter appears pretty much black in color with a lighter brownness around the edges. A very dark brown head appears and slowly fades. As it recedes, patches of lace cling to the glass with smaller spots in-between. Swirls revive the head showing a bit of clarity when the brew is thinned out during the swirl.

The nose is dark roasted grains reminiscent almost of a bitter baker's chocolate. A slight vinous twang is present along with a bit of citrus hops. Other smells suggest some deep dark roasted coffee.

The taste is seemingly dry but that is mostly a feeling imparted by the heavily roasted grain which makes itself known straight out the gate with a wallop of alcohol. The flavor of the alcohol opens up some dark fruity flavors of plum, raisin and some more vinous quality. Once warm there is minor indication of a liquorice type of taste.

For such a bold brew this brew is ridiculously smooth and drinkable. The grain is heavily kilned and leaves a lasting roasted dark flavor residing in the mouth with each sip. There is a moderate bitterness that equally matches the solid alcohol presence. Full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. If I haven't said it enough already, this is a very drinkable beer. Despite any hesitations about infection issues or variance from batch to batch, you gotta give this one a try.

 1,404 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a De Struise chalice. Bottled June 2007.

Appearance - Pours a dark black (redundant?) with lots of murky sediment as I pour it. Pours with a nice mocha head. Settles to a thick collar.

Smell - Belgian characteristics all over. Cherries most predominant. Raisins and chocolate behind it. Boozy, too.

Taste - The dark chocolate is pervasive, but it's all combined with a great cherry flavor. Chocolate covered cherries. Mmm. Very hoppy in the back end. Loses its roastiness and becomes more of a BSDA in the end.

Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy. Definitely boozy, but well carbonated. No signs of age, even at over 5 years.

Overall - A really great hybrid of BSDA and stout. The fruit flavors blends extraordinarily well with the deep chocolate roast. The booze is forgiven for this quality of flavor.

 826 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bitterbill for this one!

Pours black with a than head that descends to a thin, lasting cover. Very nice head retention for the style. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of plums/dark fruits, sour and tart notes with some smokiness.

The taste is of plums/dates - sweet, tart, sourish notes in the back. As it progresses, licorice/anise, some acidity and a hint of chocolate come through, adding to the already big complexity. A touch of woody smokiness adds to the mix in the finish. Very complex and well-balanced.

Full-bodied and creamy, the alcohol is reasonably well-covered, making the drinkability very high for the abv level.

This is an impressive brew that combines a traditional RIS with a Belgian touch/influence. Very interesting. Very enjoyable.

Thanks again for this gem, Bill!

 810 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Ebenezer's, Thanks for the opportunity Chris!

Pours a dark brown/black with a tan head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma is amazing. Chocolates, vanilla, dried fruit, spicy citrusy hops, a bit of alcohol too. Taste is smooth chocolate, followed by some roasted grains, then a lingering coffee and hoppy aftertaste. Does have a bit of an alcohol hotness, but that melds into the whole experience quite well. Very Creamy mouthfeel. Ample carbonation, thick bodied. Excellent brew all around, makes me want to pay eBay prices for some bottles.

 561 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Much thanks to Daniel, for the bottle I am about to open.

Onyx cast, full on ebony, with a thick, creamy tanned head holding fort above. Excellent look for an Imperial Stout....oh, I'msorry, "Belgian Royal Stout."(So why don't stateside brewers make further leaps of logic and call their thick, viscous works 'American Republic Stouts?' Silly question...)

Aroma is rich and decandent, plump with dark rum, molasses, dark chocolate, carob, soy sauce, pitch, anise, and who knows what all...lovely stuff...

Drink it: all that above melted into one, with no one major flavor on top, except ...cola. Much milder than the nose promised, not as forceful in flavor,but still rich and dominant. Sweetness comes out on top, a little too much, I think, soy sauce taste conquers all. A little wine-like.Belgian yeast and malt is evident, if I hadn't known, I woulda guessed.

Warm,this. Tasty, too, but not the greatest beer on Earth, nor that special of an Imperial, oh, I'm so sorry, Belgian Royal ...nice enough, but I can't see what's so special about it.

 1,053 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Churchkey into a snifter. From notes.

A real dark mocha head is presented, with a walnut brown body and very thin bubbles in the head. Manages a real long lasting puck while drinking. Real nice looking brew.

On the nose there is a sense of mild brown sugar, and molasses. An interesting light syrup/floral stick angle? It's quite unique hard to describe. Long lasting roasty char, with a hint that something silky might be coming on the palate.

Palate hits with a good roast body and depth. Almost silky, but just relatively solid. Finishes with a warm malt charring feel, some tight little carbonation bounces a bit, and a crackling finish strangely. There's some depth to this which is kind of interesting, and an interesting take on the flavor profile.

Overall it's pretty solid and enjoyable. And the finish and aftertaste is very long and lasting. Quite impressed.

 890 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this in a trade from rudylaw - thanks a bunch dude! Seems to have been imported into Canada - where are you Shelton Brothers? Poured into my Darkness goblet. Best by August 2013.

A - Pours an opaque near-black with a hint of dark, dark brown. Two fingered mocha head that dissipates slowly to a beautiful lace. The slightest bit of carbonation is visible. This is what a RIS should like like!

S - Lots of stuff going on here - coffee, black currant, cherry, burnt malt, dark chocolate, hazelnut, and a touch of alcohol. Pretty terrific!

T - Coffee, licorice, roasted malt, dark fruits are all pretty apparent. There's a hint of hop bitterness in the back end. Amusingly the ingredients list contains "candy". This isn't the best RIS I've had, but it's in the top tier.

M - Creamy and smooth. Perfect density and amount of carbonation. This is probably the best aspect of this beer.

D - I could actually drink two bottles in a sitting (if I could both find and afford it). I can't think of many other 13% beers that can say the same.

Worth seeking out - I'm glad I grabbed those extra bottles at Discount Liquors.

 1,134 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.62/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Creamy mocha head. Poor retention and lace. Midnight brown with murky brown highlights.

S - Red grapes, kiss of booze, chocolate covered raisins, black cherries.

T - Sweet black cherry opening. Molasses, caramel and malt center. Milk chocolate and booze finish. Balanced a shade too sweet.

M - Medium/light, especially for the style.

O - Sweet with a porter-like body.

 376 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small bottle, no feshness/vintage info, except for more marks on the side of the label which are of no help. Purchased at Julio's in Mass. all I remember about about the price was it was a lot! Over $5 for the 11.2 ounce bottle at least. Cool art on the label. Pours BLACK. Creamy, rich/dense dark mocha head, unrelenting retention and plenty of sheeting/lace. The nose is intensly and impresivly of dark chocolate, and double expesso. Thick and luxorious, loads of more bitter dark chocolate, expresso, nuts, brnt grains and everything doubly stouty and boldly delicious. World class stuff, go get some and enjoy.

 614 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass. Beer is brown to black and forms a thin broken off white head that gravitates toward the walls of the glass but does not leave any lacing on the sides. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice, subtle and sweet. Some estery notes in there. Really nice and subdued.

I'm not sure what I expected, beer is smooth, finishes clean. Not too dry not too sweet. Nicely balanced and easy drinking. Some carbonation in the mouth, not roasty at all. Like a smooth quad of sorts. I'm really enjoying this beer. Very very smooth. For 13% you don't notice at all. Very drinkable.

 592 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/19/09- Aquired in a trade with ygtbsm94.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

Appearance- Pretty black in color with a mocha color large bubbled and three fingered head. Leaves some minor spotting of lace behind.

Smell- Nice combo of semi-dark chocolate, light coffee aroma and a small dusting of hops.

Taste- Extremely well balanced beer with a nice bittersweet chocolate base followed by a pinch of espresso and a slight added hop punch. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel- Nice lower carbonation level. Very light hop bitterness in the aftertaste, mostly a light chocolate dusting.

Drinkability- Can't even detect the 13% alcohol level. Very drinkable and quite balanced and flavorful. Not the best RIS I have ever had, but among the best.

 787 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Ebenezer's on Chris' Birthday.

Without question one of the top beers I've ever had.

Drawn with a two finger head, the appearence was black as night.

Smell was dark chocolate, green piney hops, sweet roasted malt and expresso.

Taste was otherworldly. A perfect balance of fresh, green hops and roasted malt. Notes of toffee, chocolate, malted milk balls and vanilla.

Mouthfeel was exceptional. Plenty of viscosity but the 13 percent alcohol remained at bay.

I could easily drink two or three of these in a sitting.

A very unique beer that, to me, comes across as a blend of a fresh hop IPA and an Imperial Stout.

 652 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to alpineclimber for this one.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark black with one finger of light brown head. Looks thick and creamy.

S - Dark roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee and a nice hop bitterness. Some noticeable alcohol, but not surprising for a 13% ABV beer.

T - Chocolate, licorice, some coffee. A noticeable alcohol bite.

M - Medium body, thick and sikly. Lightly carbonated.

D - A touch boozy, but overall a nice beer.

 451 characters

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my Dad for brining this back from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Like the label suggested, I listened to La Brabançonne (the Belgian national song), you can too at

Pours pitch black with a thick tan head and lacing. Right away I'm struck by the long bitter roast aftertaste. The aroma is pure dark chocolate bar. The flavor takes off on the chocolate then hits a bitter, pepper and citrus hop note before diving into dark espresso and coffee roast that lasts and lasts. As the beer warms, the hops come forward with a lot of grapefruit and lemon flavors. And for 13% this beer is recently drinkable. I split the bottle with a friend, but could keep going.

 712 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown with marron highlights that had a half finger of brown head and left nice blotchy lacing sticking to the glass. The nose was quite nice consisting of chocolate malts, roastiness, lacto notes, dark fruits, slight spice, and underlying coffe notes as well. Upfront the chocolate and lacto characteristics jump out first alongside roastiness, dark fruits, slight coffee, and spice accents, the brew was full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, and creamy finish. It drank really good considering the ABV but its not one of the beast RIS that I've had either. Overall it a good beer and worth trying for sure.

 666 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bit surprised to see this one show up at the local shop, and I quickly grabbed it.

Pours dark. Black, almost pitch, with very faint reddish edge. Pillow head of light brown/tan foam. Soft, fluffy, looks good and cozy.

Dark soft fruits fill the nose, with some burnt caramel and dark chocolate. Figs and dark toast. Quite yummy smelling.

Great taste, and I don't give a 5 just b/c of the style designation here, although it probably should warrant it. The dark fruit and malt are there, but the chocolate wanes a bit. Great job hiding the alcohol, this is a very easy drinking beer. Short bitterness gives the flavors a jolt of freshness. Nice beer

 652 characters

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,759 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!