Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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94
outstanding
856 Reviews
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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium
noordhoek.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
Reviews:
856
Ratings:
1,773
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
9.2%
 
 
Wants:
337
Gots:
399
For Trade:
28
User Reviews
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Reviews: 856 | Ratings: 1,773
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

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

So I finally got a hold of some of the elusive Black Albert. I have been looking to try this overly hyped beer since last year, so I naturally jumped at the chance to get some when I finally could. I let this twelve ounce bottle settle for a couple days after I received it and then pulled it out of the fridge, letting it warm up to the cellar temp before decanting into my famous terrapin snifter. It poured black as night, with a nice two inch rise of tan foam which came over the top. Very nice retention left behind even an inch of foam after about 5 minutes. Very impressive lacing on this one as well now, with a rich, and silky looking layer swirling around in the glass. This was a very impressive looking beer from the first look of it.

So I go in for the smell, deep chocolate aroma just whaffing off of this one. Very sweet with hints of vanilla and unroasted coffee. A touch of molasses as well. The Belgian yeast is very noticeable now with lots of underlying dark fruit notes and touches of figs playing around in there. The flavor was very good, though I have to admit not great. It was a different kind of flavor then what I was expecting. Very creamy and frothy, and nowhere near as heavy as any of the big stouts. Lots of carbonation here as it literally is silky smooth on the palate. Lots cocoa and coffee, with hints again of vanilla and figs, prunes and several other light touches of fruit. No alcohol in this at all. Very surprising. There is just no way that this is anywhere near 13% ABV, it's just not even close. This thing is drinking like it's a 7% stout, really very interesting. It was ridiculously smooth with an almost dessert like quality to it. Nice and sweet, but I cannot help but adding that my final thoughts on the flavor were ones of a muted nature. I just kept wanting it to be bigger then it was, and this is where hype attributes negatively.

Overall this was an Excellent stout, above excellent actually, but it did not anywhere near live up to the hype surrounding it. Had I just stumbled upon it I would have thought this was great, and I still do, but it was made out to be so much better then everything else, and while I do have to admit it was one of the smoothest beers I have ever seen, it was by no means the best. Still though its one you need to try at least once as it is highly worth it.

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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.

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

Thanks so much to Stakem for bringing a bottle from batch '0' to our Epic Stout tasting. I had a current version for sampling horizontally.

An almost black color with slight brown edges and cap of light medium brown with spots of lace collecting. The smell has a lot of fruitiness be it blackberry or plum or just vinous notes in general, with a mild sweetness of malt and lot of alcohol in the nose. The smell of dark cocoa and light currant seems to sum it up. The feel is vinous and light tangy with a slight sweetness and warmth in the middle. The mild roastiness is in there with a mild carbonation and semidry finish with lots of candy sugar influence.

The taste has notes of berry, toast and slight sugar with a hint of vanilla and toffee, mild cocoa elements and slight sweet currant and bitter coffee with a mild candy sugar accent and alcohol tinge. The beer is a good drink, a 'Royal Stout' that is best in small quantities which is why the 11.2oz bottle size is perfect, I don't think it is great because the alcohol could be more hidden, but it certainly is enjoyable.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Duff27
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dense mocha head on a black body. Good head retention and lacing.

Faint dark candy sugar on the nose. Chocolate.

Dark fruit sweetness mixed with cocoa. Booze on the backend although wouldn't 13%abv.

Very silky smooth mouthfeel. Low but adequate carbonation. Very nice.

Talk about a well built beer. Appearance and mouthfeel are world class, and the taste isn't tht far behind (flavors meld great together). Recommended for any stout fans or strong dark Belgian ale fans who are trying to get into stouts. Thanks MaxSpang, wherever you are.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of aasher
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was very pleased to see this beer back in Indiana.

Black Abert pours a thick, viscous midnight black with a big and creamy, dark mocha colored head. The nose is rich and smooth. There is plenty of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cream, and not a hint of alcohol. Upon your first sip you noticed how full bodied this beer is, and just like it should be. The flavors are very rich and very well balanced. It features a nice, nearly perfect amount of roast without resembling coffee at all. It has a great chocolate aspect that merges the flavors of both dark and milk chocolates. While not the most inquest descriptors this beer nails them. You can tell that this beer is big but don't get any of the 13% alcohol that this beer boasts. It's really pretty remarkable, especially this bottle is fresh. I can see this one aging gracefully. Overall this is a fantastic beer and a great representation of the style.

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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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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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.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,773 ratings.
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