Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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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

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Ratings: 1,783 |  Reviews: 857
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a chalice

A: Pours a beautiful deep dark color. Opaque. The head is very small, bubbled and beige. practically no lacings left

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. A bit fruity. Belgian yeasts

T: Strong on roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. Belgian yeasts. Quite bitter

M: Heavy body. Low carbonation. High ABV. Roasted bitter end

O: Simply excellent

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Photo of claspada
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased back in 2008. Not sure how old it was then, anyway...

Pours dark as night with no highlights along the edges of the snifter. There is a nice huge head of cappuccino colored froth. It's whipped creamy and is beginning to leave a beautiful array of delicate lace.

The aromas begin with a lot of dark fruit; black cherries and raisins dominate. There must have been a lot of Special B malt used here (for you homebrewers out there) As it warms you get some dark chocolate liquor, blackstrap molasses and earthy dark fruit. Dark roasted malt smells borderline, burnt they smell so roasted.

The flavors begin with the dark roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, dark cherry fruitiness and a touch of baker's cocoa. As it warms the dark fruits slowly begin to take a beackseat to the roasted bitter espresso, borderline acrid malt flavors. Alcohol peaks it's ugly head as well as this continues to warm, but it's hard to mask when your in this huge ABV range.

The 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.

Overall this was a slight miss for me, but I think it could be a batch issue. I had one of these the other day where the roasted bitter maltiness was tamed by the dark fruits, but the burnt, acrid flavors dominated my palate and the entire beer here, not even the dark fruitiness from the Belgian yeast/malts can save this over-the-top RIS monster.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle from Bruisin Ales for $10. Batch 14.

Appearance: Black, opaque in the glass, but more like a dark brown as it pours. Good looking dark brown head with OK retention. Spots of lacing.

Smell: Melted chocolate, raisins, fresh tart plums. Not a lot of heavy roast aromas. A somewhat strange, but not unpleasant combination of Belgian yeast and some RIS traits. Not great for an RIS or a Belgian dark.

Taste: A little more roasty flavor than smell, but the slightly sour, raisiny/cherry taste is weird. There are some nice chocolate malt notes. Its OK. Surprised its 13%-- alcohol barely detectable.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is soft and imparts a creaminess. The tartness seems to thin the overall feel a bit.

Overall: This is quite a letdown. A sourish, not very roasty RIS with Belgian yeat notes.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a brown-ish head. In the aroma, chocolate and alcohol. In the taste, chocolate, dark fruit and a small alcohol burn at the end. A small bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry alcohol and hint of coffee in the aftertaste. What a great stout!

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Photo of BigB415
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black into my Stone RIS snifter. Little head with little retention.

S: Tons of chocolate and coffee. Faint hops too.

T: More coffee and chocolate. Very little heat which is surprising for a 13% beer.

MF: A little thin which I'm disappointed by but the chocolate and coffee notes make up for it.

O: A flavorful stout with surprising drinkability for such high ABV. If you love chocolate and coffee in your stouts than you'll love this.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch '0' - I rarely give a beer a 5 for appearance but this beer is nuts. Black, but the head looks like a well frothed cappucinno. Some lacing. The aroma is complex and layered, coffee, cacao, dried fruit - raisin, plum and prune, + some licorice. Alot of interesting Belgian yeast driven flavors are happening here. Dried fruit, plum, and figgy jam flavors. These come coupled with your typical chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and bitterness. A strange marriage that works with harmony. Brialliant blending of flavors.
Amazingly full body and somehow dry. No presence of the high alcohol content, not hot just perfect. Really such an exceptional beer = period.

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Photo of jdense
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle, 2008 (?) vintage, shared with S.K. for pre-GABF toast, 9.23.11.

Dark brown/black body, opaque, no visible carbonation. Dark brown head, medium dissipation with minimal lacing. Some chocolate in the nose, dark, balanced by faint vanilla notes and assertive candi sugar notes, and surprisingly very little hop aroma which evidently faded after aging. Taste is pretty complex, chocolate, a wee bit of chocolate, burnt sugar/caramelish sweetness, if anything the hops are fairly floral at this point. The resiny hops became noticeable once the beer got close to room temperature. Mouthfeel is well on the full side of medium, like chomping down on a good brownie, slick, pretty sticky finish. Wow. Whether it was the De Struise yeast or the barrel aging, this was a very nice, tres complex beer. Dope.

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

11.2oz bottle (bottled 2007; code B 6 BB) poured into a snifter. Tan foam starts peeking out from the mouth of the bottle before I can even get my glass.

Head is thick, rich and gorgeous - 2 fingers of dense mocha foam on top of a pitch black brew. This is the most carbed stout I've ever seen. Can't get over how beautiful this beer looks in my glass.

Aroma is rich and complex: chocolate, toffee, vanilla, rum.

Taste is rich and delicious as well. This is a dessert beer, tastes like about 2,000 calories. Bitter chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and booze. Nice bitter dry finish with an aftertaste that stays with you.

Overall, this was an outstanding beer. I was lucky to find this bottle locally, I don't think Shelton Bros. distributes in Washington anymore. Hopefully that will change soon.

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Photo of Mar02x
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle straight from the Deca brewery.

A - Pours pitch black, absolutely black, no light getting through what so ever. Incredibly beautiful light brown head, about two fingers thick that slowly retracts.

S - Thin molasses with a touch of booze. Oak wood and some vanilla. A chemical kind of smell comes along with it.

T - It tastes a bit chemical, coffee, smoked malts, spices, no alchol and sweet but not to much. The substance is syrupy.

M - Nice carbonation and taste evolution. Almost syrupy.

O- Very complex RIS and appealing to all senses. This is what I was looking for in Belgium or the Netherlands. But I must say it needs some aging because I bought it straight from the brewery. It felt like it was still to young.

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Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Magnums on 7-4-10 for $11.49.

Beer poured black as night with a nice brown head upon initial pour.

Nose is slightly boozy, some dark fruit, and mocha.

Taste is quite interesting, dark fruits, big hint of licorice on the first sip, roasted malts, some chocolate, well balanced by the hops.

Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped but pretty smooth.

Overall this is a very interesting beer, i like the belgian style spin. Alcohol is very well hidden. Definitely an artisinal beer, glad i had the opportunity to try it!

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Photo of andrenaline
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black, finger of dark mocha head with little retention and no lacing.

S - Very rich with dark cocoa dominating, though comes across a tad musty.

T - The chocolate notes dominate, and comes across very sweet. Rich would be an understatement. The ABV is pretty well hidden, though it's tough to mask 13%.

M - Medium bodied, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness. not overly sticky either which is nice.

O - A bold brew and certainly not for the faint of heart. A great tasting brew and glad I picked up a bottle before I left Alberta.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cola black with a fine coffee ice cream colored head. Impeccable retention leaves a few lacey fingers stuck to the glass. Foamy for 13%.

Deep and complex aroma that one could spend an hour pulling out nostalgia. My few minutes yields dried dark fruit with cabernet-ish sophistication, chocolate and damp rotting wood.

Rich and roasty with a few of those 100 IBUs still kickin' around for balance. Dried dark fruit, licorice and semi-sweet cocoa. Mouthfeel feels alive on the tongue due to a velvety soft body buoyed by hop oil and lively carbonation.

I've had the pleasure of this beer a few times at Ebenezer's and I'm glad that my girlfriend bought out Nikki's of their BA stock. Hooray GF.

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Photo of bum732
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: Dark, rum soaked dark bread with solid dark fruit notes, slight anise, milk chocolate as it warms.

L: Thick, viscous black with a creamy tan head that dissipates slightly.

T: Dark fruits up front, dried cherries, figs followed by chocolate sweetness. Herbal, medium bitterness, with some dark chocolate. A prominent roasty, charred note in the finish. Fairly dry finish with lingering roastiness and some fruitiness.

M: Medium low carbonation, medium full bodied for style.

Quite bitter with dark fruits galore. Pretty good, but fairly overated, IMHO.

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

Review from notes: 9/3/2011. Somehow found this bottle at a local shop near Polaris. I have never heard of this one being around, so I was pumped to try it. Thanks to the owner for throwing it on the shelf.

A - Black, oh yea, real black. A huge 2 inch tower of dark mocha foam clings to the glass as it slowly fades. This one looks real nice, like a 13% RIS should.

S - This one doesn't smell like your normal RIS, at least not one I'm used to. Very fruity to begin, lots of tart cherries and plums, probably due to the yeast. You can tell it's Belgian. Roasted malt undertones with some dark chocolate mixed in. Smells a little bit like some nice cordial cherries. Not much hops, then again I think this bottle has been aging. Pretty nice overall.

T - Nicely mimics the nose, but without as much chocolate. Roasty to start with with a blast of tart cherry and other dark fruits. A touch of bitter chocolate lingers. This may be fresher than I suspected. The hops mesh nicely to balance the sweetness of the malts and the acidity of the fruits (guessing this comes from the yeast), while adding a slight dryness to the finish. What's amazing is I can't really trace alcohol until it goes down. This is one of the more complex stouts I've tasted. I'm very impressed with this.

M - A little bit sweet and syrupy, but smooth and creamy at the same time. This has a big feel in the mouth but with low to moderate carbonation. Warm in the tummy.

O - This was a stellar stout in my opinion. One of the top Belgian beers I have had, and that says a lot. This is definitely more than I was expecting from a Belgian RIS. If Black Albert were more readily available to me (and somewhat affordable), I could see myself frequently drinking it. Definitely want to have it again, and would recommend to snag one if you see it.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot A-4-BB. not sure how old this is, but definitely has a year or two on it.

A-Pours black with burgundy highlights and a thin, milky coffee colored head. Thin sheet-like lacing.

S-Smells like a cross between a quad and an American imperial stout. Big candied fruit notes, especially fig and plum, with some dry leathery aromas and a hint of Belgian yeast.

T/M-Very unusual. Not in a bad way. Tastes like a quad up front, and an imperial stout on the back end. Starts out fruity and estery and ends up roasty, with big chocolate/coffee notes. The hops come through in the finish, effectively drying out the sweet malts.Full bodied with low/moderate carbonation.

O-Unique to say the least. A great beer that everyone should try once, though I don't think I would cellar it more than 5 years or so. There's a hint of tart oxidation mid-palate that suggests this might start falling apart over the next year or so.

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

Rich and long stout with a complex meaty and lightly sour dash.

Presentation: 33 ml brown capped bottle. Upside down label with a gradient royal design framed in red. Back narrative offers an overview of intent, history, and description noting 100 IBU, 160 EBC, and.. BA # 14?Shows 13% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with thin dark brown edges, generous creamy head, good retention, fair surface memory with nice lacing.

S - Long roasted nose, complex dark fruits, sour notes, some smoked touches… Settling with licorice, dash of coffee, and chocolate.

T - Great expansion of the nose with unfolding complexity. Roasted profile with long sourness, not too hefty but it is a big part of the profile. It weaves a strange and rich kind of fruitiness, plums, raisins over the notes of coffee with a hint of licorice and chocolate. Interesting meaty smoked touches in the background, lingering longer as the brew progresses.

M - Full to medium-full body with medium-full carbonation, creamy and lightly sticky finish.

O - Quite a long complex sipper, very enticing.

Notes: Over-hyped? Maybe… But not to the point of making it detrimental. This is a great complex stout worth enjoying if one is into this range.

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Photo of dfclav
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch "0"

A - a few months ago I opened mother earth silent night, and I honestly believed without a doubt that it would be the best looking stout that I would be able to try this year. Boy was I wrong. This is perfection in appearance. Half a pour leaves a towering 4 finger pillow in my snifter. The beer is jet black, and lacing is excellent when the head finally dies down.

S - deep roasted malts and a small element of smoke. Brown sugar plays a big part in the nose. Very nice chocolate presence as well.

T - very well hidden given the ABV, and pretty complex, this beer is huge on dark fruits and roasty malts. The sweetness doesn't play a big part at all like the brown sugar nose would suggest, it's actually one of the least sweet stouts I have ever tried.

M - medium body with a nice bittersweet finish, carbonation well integrated but surprisingly just a touch thin. A slow sipper, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

O - I'm glad I ordered this, but I was surprised to see I traded all of my bottles away except for this one when I dug into my cellar. This beer will be a good memory not for just being a good stout, but inspiring me to keep a cellar inventory.

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Photo of smchenry75
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try my first Struise. Thanks to aasher for the hookup! A big thick stout just seemed to fit the bill for sitting in the driveway on this humid 89 degree Indiana evening.

Pours a very viscous, dark impenetrable black with a nice fluffy 3 finger mocha color head. Drinking out of "old faithful" my New Belgium snifter. Head dissipates very slowly. Can't wait to take my first sip as I watch the large bubbles pop in this
sea of chocolate lava.

I shoo away the small spider that trying to climb up my glass as I get ready for my first taste.... sorry buddy, this stuff's a tad
too pricey to share. First taste is of rich chocolate with a bit of a sour cherry twang. Tastes a tad bit like a cold chocolate covered cherry... creamy and velvety.

The little spider goes for it again and is equalized. Okay, now the cherry twang is coming through a tad stronger. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing. I'm now entering the second half of this what is so far a great experience. Crap, interrupted by the neighbor... listen to long, drawn out story. On the bright side, gives beer a chance to warm a bit. There's still a bit of mocha head floating around like some chocolatey pond funk and the lacing is really solid. By the way, no detectable alchol taste in this 13% velvety drink at all.

As I enter the final 3rd of the journey, the alcohol is starting to kick a bit I'm considering simply inhaling this beer. Need to check and see if this beer is barrel aged as I'm detecting slight notes of bourbon. Reminds me a tad of the barrel aged total eclipse I had from Foothills a while back.

In the final sips, the chocolate is getting darker and more intense and a hint of earthy bitterness is creeping in but I would not consider this to be a hoppy stout by any stretch.
Overall, I have to say this is a very solid and well balanced beer. Not sure I should have made it my first of the night though in
terms of the 13% ABV and the fact that it's going to be hard for anything else I open tonight to live up to this.

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

bottle and monks cafe

pour is like a RIS but would have to say that it sort of dwelling in the interesting in between of a quad and a ris that i love so much as a night cap. there is a equal part of chocolate and coffee and dry roastiness with a hop drying quality as there is complex ester of dark fruit and pollen. there is a tad meaty and a hint of sour note that are quite subtle. sour like coffee is acidic... sour like plum. nose of forest fruit and coffee. beautiful head. wonderful balance and a mix of two worlds of beer. abv totally undetectable but think in this case that could be something that is not letting out some constituent in the nose. it does open up for about a half an hour though.

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Photo of litheum94
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. Batch 14.

P: Midnight black. Big, brown head that builds up and slowly settles out, clinging to the glass as it goes.

A: Chocolate, coffee and cinnamon. Figs. Some floral hops. Slight smokiness.

T: Nice chocolate sweetness, with some dark fruits as well. Roasty malts. Mouthfeel morphs from creamy and succulent to very dry by the finish. Again, a touch of smoke, and some cured meats. Earthy Belgian yeast. Surprising lack of alcohol. Very smooth.

This hides the 13% very well. Good flavors, and my glass was empty before I realized it. Wasn't the world changing stout I was hoping for, but a very good one nonetheless.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oil slick black body with a thick, dark, mocha head that gives way to a thin, yet consistent lacing around the perimeter of the beer.

Roasted malt and sweet chocolate aromas float from the glass. Hints of booze, dark breads, and yeast are also present.

The flavor is much more roasted than the aroma with a bit of coffee, a touch charred and woody like, and also offering semi sweet chocolate as it warms. Similar to the aroma, there are some earthy yeasts here that compliment some of the roasty/woody elements of the malt.

This Royal Stout is fuller in body with medium carbonation and a boozy, yet somewhat drying finish.

This is certainly a stout that errs on the roasty versus sweet side. I thoroughly enjoyed the earthy yeast and wood character that is not present in many of its counterparts. Overall, this is an impressive beer.

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Photo of Squelch
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Jet black. Minimal tan head. no lacing

Smell: Roasted malts dominate. No hops here.

Taste: Very roasty. Super sweet. no bitterness. Smooth. Like cold espresso.

Mouthfeel: Extremely heavy. Slight alcohol beat at the very very end. Syrupy sweet.

Overall: I think there's too much sweetness here. Could be toned down a bit. Also could use a bit more hops to balance out the sweetness.

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

33cl bottle into Delirium snifter..reviewed from notes

A - Pours deep black with georgeous brown head. Some of the bubbles cant pop (specific gravity?) and moonwalk across the head. This beer looks awsome.

S - Big on Dark chocolate, roasted malt, belgian yeast for sure, bit sweet as well, booze follows with a slight singe of the nose hairs.

T - Getting alot of dark chocolate, smooth breadiness from yeast, lighter, bit sweeter finish than most RIS, which I like.

M - Dark chocolate sticks on the palate for sure. Lots of accumlation of the dark chocolate bitterness. Put me off at first but as I had more it grew on me. Lighter on the finish than other RIS, which I like for the summer.

O - Great brew, wish I had more than 33cl to enjoy. Only reason I rated this a bit lower overall is because the other versions with this base are much better IMO, Coffee Club, and especially Mocha Bomb.

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

A - A vigorous pour yields one finger of brown head. Color is typical impenetrable RIS black. Beautiful and very inviting.

S - Dark chocolate, a bit of cookie dough. Surprisingly sweet aroma. Some deep roasted malts, maybe a bit of anise. Not what I was expecting, but very interesting and good.

T - Earthy, slightly burnt undertones. Really not any sweetness in the taste. Predominately dark chocolate, especially on the finish. Also a bit of hops on the finish.

M - Surprisingly light mouthfeel, but not at all thin. A bit sticky, but pleasantly so.

O - Really enjoyed this. The strong earthy and slightly burnt flavors would prevent me from having more than one in a sitting, but this was a great RIS.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 0, shared by Jason.

A - Black colored beer with a surprising amount of carbonation and a couple fingers of rich, tan head. Decent lace and some good legs during consumption.

S - Lots of malts, chocolate, toffee, with a little bit of licorice in there. The requisit dark fruits are present with just a touch of vanilla.

T - Really goes down smoothly for 13%, not much heat at all. Pretty much char free, quite thick, good caramel and toffee with some slightly sweetened chocolate and licorice.

M - Full bodied, good carbonation.

O - Very drinkable considering how much alcohol is in here. The flavor is very full and rich, but doesn't become too sweet or too much.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,783 ratings.
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