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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,786 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a thinnish, tan-colored head.

Smell: Roasty malts with chocolate, strong coffee, as well as distinct notes of dark candi sugar, tobacco, prunes, black currants, and aniseed.

Taste: Rich maltiness displayed as candi sugar sweetened chocolate and dark, roasted grains. Concentrated, vinous fruitiness, even a bit of cooked apples. Pinch of English Cavendish as well as pepper and anise. Subtle yeastiness. Exceedingly minor hop flavor and bitterness. Flavor of spiced fruit compote on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Somewhat chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Well, for starters, it was good! The love child of a Belgian Quad and Imperial Stout. The drinkability is suspiciously high for a purported 13% ABV brew. I certainly recommend it if you can manage to procure yourself a bottle or two.

 869 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ebony with no highlights along the edges of the snifter. After the loud escape of CO2 on crown cracking, the huge head of cappuccino colored froth was no surprise. It's whipped creamy and is beginning to leave a beautiful array of delicate lace. Given the ABV, glass coverage is fairly extensive.

The aroma is as concentrated as expected and is gaining complexity as room temperature approaches. Each sniff delivers dark chocolate liquor, blackstrap molasses and earthy dark fruit. Maybe a bit of licorice as well. If the flavor is this good, then the hype is well-earned.

Black Albert doesn't taste like an RIS because of the sourness. De Struisse Brouwers calls it a Belgian Royal Stout, so maybe beer of that sub-style is supposed to be this tangy fruity. Other first impressions include less malt than expected and a relatively light mouthfeel for the ABV.

The name is an appropriate one because this big stout definitely tastes *black*, or at least significantly dark. Flavors match aromas for the most part: plums and raisins macerated in a mixture of espresso, molasses, dark chocolate sauce and Sambuca... along with a tendril of wood smoke.

The sourness is more easily tolerated over time. It's also nicely offset by a fair amount of both sweetness and hop bitterness. Room temperature is the only way to go. A fantastic job of alcohol masking gives me no choice but to bump the taste score. This really is a lip-smackingly good brew.

The body/mouthfeel doesn't quite make it all the way to impressive. It falls a fraction short on fullness and the carbonation isn't as well-integrated as it could be. On the other hand, the slick stickiness makes sipping a pleasure.

Even though Black Albert doesn't make my 'Top Beers on Planet Earth' list, I'm fine with the fact that it's on the BA list (near the bottom, where it belongs). Yeah, it's overhyped. Yeah, it's overpriced... but I got quite a bit of pleasure out of this little 330 ml bottle.

 1,957 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
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 mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +4%
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.

 2,349 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

 1,085 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
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 Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of womencantsail
3.44/5  rDev -19.2%
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 MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
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 Huhzubendah
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
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 dfhhead25
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of johnnnniee
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
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 BMart
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of stakem
4.43/5  rDev +4%
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 BEER88
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -29.6%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of imbibehour
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
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

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