Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

Black AlbertBlack Albert
Liked This Beer
4.26 w/ 1,786 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,786 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of Kendo
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Albert. My son's middle name. My confirmation name. My father's name. My grandfather's name. My great-grandfather's name. My 700th review here on BA. . . .

Bottle purchased on 12/30/10 at Nejaime's in MA. Cellared until 3/10/11, stuck it in the fridge overnight, then consumed on 3/11/11. Label is notched "B" & "6" & "BB. . . .

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is black with a tight-bubbled 1+ finger light brown head. Some "legs" but no real lacing. Some chunks of sediment in the bottom of the glass.

S: First impression: Something's a little odd; tough to put my finger on it. Roasted barley and roasted coffee beans. Some charcoal. Becoming chocolatey as it warms - that initial "oddness" seems to dissipate.

T: Nice - roasty malt. Good dose of milk-chocolatey malt. Touch of char is in there too. Finishes with drying alcohol heat and a lingering bitterness. Alcohol heat is felt down the gulley and in the belly. Lingering bitterness - roasted coffee beans come to mind - but also with nice chocolatey sweetness. Dark fruits make an appearance as it warms up a bit.

M: Smooth, real smooth. Good creaminess. Medium-to-heavy in heft.

D: Very drinkable, especially for a beer of 13%. Personally, I think it could pass for 9%. Glad I have another bottle in the cellar.

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Photo of Chaney
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A special shout out to my friend and regular drinking buddy Dreadnaught33 for giving me this one last summer... I'm finally getting around to drinking it.

A: I poured this one pretty hard to generate some head and got about 1.5 finger or so thick... but I was probably cheating though. Nevertheless, the mocha color stayed afloat throughout the session... and then some!

S: I could literally smell this from a few feet away after I popped the bottle. Potency aplenty! Wonderful medley of dark fruit (first and foremost), molasses, soy sauce, and cocoa.

T: It was like a dark fruit and dark chocolate milkshake. Great stuff! A little bit of dessert-like saltiness in the middle, and EXTREMELY smooth (considering the ABV) on the finish.

M: About as thick as it gets. The carbonation was low, which was appropriate for this style, and the brew foam coated the glass ten-fold!

D: I would love to try this back-to-back with some of the most coveted RISs in the biz for a taste comparison. On this particular occasion, I felt that this was the bomb diggity!

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Photo of IKR
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 0

A: Black with huge brown head. Nothing I can think of to add or change as far as appearance.

S: Raisin y fruity aroma hits my nose first and most prominent. I pick up some roasty notes as an afterthought.

T: Dark fruit taste and roasty notes come through in the taste. I pick up some alcohol but it's not obtrusive. The roasty notes figure most prominently in the aftertaste. I pick up a slight hint of hops.

M: Medium body with a high level of carbonation.

D: Nice flavors, high carbonation and subdued alcohol notes, especially in light that it's 13%. In the 33 cl size I sampled multiple bottles would not be a problem.

The hassle and anxiety of hoping my order makes it from the Struise online website was worth it for me. I'll have to save up and do a larger Order next time to really make it worthwhile.

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

Batch 14, lot B-6-BB, 11.2 oz bottle poured into a large wine glass.

Almost black, with an inch of dense tan head that leaves plenty of finely textured lace.

Nice stouty aroma of dark caramel and roasty coffee.

Tastes surprisingly fruity, like berries, which works well with the coffee, caramel, and chocolate flavors. Full flavored, tasty, smooth, well balanced. Long slightly bittersweet finish of coffee and fruit.

Medium bodied, with smooth tiny-bubbled carbonation. Nicely balanced, easy to drink.

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Photo of kbanks13
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 0, poured at right around cellar temp into a snifter. Poured an impenetrable black body with a HUGE milk chocolate colored frothy head after a semi-vigorous pour. Just like a good Belgian ale, the retention was superior and lacing was great. Smells like dried plums and raisins with molasses and vanilla. Burnt caramel, bitter chocolate, and earthy aromas round out the nose. The taste is largely the sweet sugary fruits at first, followed by the acidic cocoa and coffee flavors expected in a stout like this. Interesting characteristics from the Belgian yeast strain used, somewhat spicy. Very clean and balanced flavor profile, but rich and complex with bold flavors. Feel is about as thick and heavy as I'd expect in a RIS, but carbonated like a dubbel or tripel, which lightened the body a bit. An all around exceptional beer, and it lives up to every bit of hype it gets. Now I'm really curious to see how Cuvee Delphine compares.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this one from the hulmeville inn. The lot: states A-4-BB. Poured into a snifter. Pitch black with a darker brown heading that settles to a thin edging.Little lacing but very alive looking for such a heavy loaded treat.

Smell is heavy with dark chocolate coffee notes. Alcohol is apparent as well kind of blending in with complex darker fruits.

Taste is highly rich malted.Quick hot alcohol touches down but is interupted by the heavy molasses bomb that coats the palate and makes the lip stick together.Some light coffee notes, and a slight funky sour note I am guessing to the higher IBU.

Mouth is full bodied slightly whimzy with the carbonation. Slightly chewy but is super smooth with a slight hotness of warm alcohol left in the mouth lingering.

Wow this one was fantastic and what an easy going drink for the high alcohol content.Superb suiting.

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Photo of Dawkfan
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- This beer pours out pitch black, no light passing through. The head is a tight and dense rich mocha color. Thick milky cap that hangs around forever. Not a lot of lace which can be expected from a beer of this strength, but above the cap is a milkshake consistency coating.

S- Intriguing, really nothing like I was expecting. Big bold aromas! Rich dark chocolate, cherries and plums. Oodles of malt in this. Fantastic underlying aromas of smoky woodiness and licorice. Earthy hop aromas and sour notes as well.

T- Holy hell that's different from anything I've ever tasted. Again, big rich flavors! The malt and dark fruits really come out at the start. Midway through the hops really start to shine and are melded together in the finish with huge chocolate flavors and a tart sourness. More chocolate left lingering.

M- Feel is very good. Unbelievable smooth, medium bodied and carbonation. Sticky and really coates the mouth the more you drink.

D- This is by far the easiest drinking beer I've had of this strength. Extremly hard to put down. A sipping beer this was not! It just kept getting better and better, had to adjust my score by the end.

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Photo of veinless
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Welcome to Cleveland Baron! All we need to do now is find a way to get Larry Hughes and Ricky Davis back.

Pours an opaque black, with no light passing through whatsoever. Two-finger dark tan head was generated easily, and dissapated at a nice rate, not to fast or slowly.

Nose is very, very deep, with tons of fruit (cherries and plums) with a twinge tropical character (sweet pineapple?) as well, perhaps from the 100 IBUs the bottle says this guy has. Boozy, with light chocolate and coffee sniffs too. Phenomenal smell.

Taste is such a great balance of all the flavors I don't know where to start - milky chocolate taste to start, blended with nice soft coffee flavor, which also has a slight fruit character behind it (wish there was more of the fruit). Alcohol then rears its head in the most docile of ways, briefly giving a premium booze taste that doesn't harm the incredible smoothness of this beer.

Bitterness comes out a bit near the end, and combined with the flavors already present, leaves you with just the right amount of mouth-sticking goodness along with enough clean bitterness to make this incredibly drinkable. Feels like melted ice cream (one of my personal favorite foods) in texture and weight, and just about every other physical characteristic. Easiest 5 I've ever given for mouthfeel. Drinkability is just as ridiculous for a beer of this high an abv - alcohol is detectable, but only in a way that is beneficial for the taste of the beer. You don't get any burn whatsoever. Considering the full 13% abv, this might be the easiest 5 I've ever given for drinkability too.

This beer has a bit of everything, and melds them together in truly spectacular fashion. I'd get this JUST to experience the exquisite texture and drinkability, but the fact that it offers up world class aromas and tastes takes the cake.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

274th review on BA
bottle to New Belgium Globe
11.2 oz

Thanks to ATPete for this one!

App- A mocha colored mixed with some dark brown. A nice one finger head that was slightly dark tan and some nice lacing.

Smell- Smells of booze, sweet malts, a little chocolate candy and some sweet cream.

Taste- A lot sweeter than I thought. Picking up some light red/purple fruit notes. Cherries mostly with the creamyness of some chocolate.

Mouth- A medium bodied with a medium carb level to me almost bordering on a high carb level. Felt a lot of movement across the palate. A nice mocha ground coffee after taste.

Drink- Very good indeed. A belgian sweet treat that was highly drinkable with a huge ABV. A very good beer.

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

Lot B6BB. Served near room temp in my Westy chalice. A special Valentine's Day treat.

Near black with dark brown head. Vigorous carbonation after the pour. Leaves beige lacing. Nice

Smells of roasted goodness. Some hints of coffee and fruits. Maybe a hint of sourness

Rich and complex. Initially the primary flavor is roasted malt. Then there is the dark fruit. There is a hint of flavor that faintly reminds me of a Belgian sour beer. With each sip, it becomes more complex. Kind of stout meets barleywine meets Belgian funky goodness. Oh, and there is a bit of hops at then end just to tease and provide some balance.

For all the fizzing when poured, this actually is not very carbonated. Smooth. Not quite as thick as the typical RIS I have had. A little stickiness in the mouth as well.

Drinkability is quite good, especially for a 13% brew. Alcohol is felt but not noticed in the flavor profile. A treat for sipping, especially as the temperature is dropping outside. Don't really At $10 for a bottle, I can't afford to drink this often, but it is definitely worth having again.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the Struise webshop. Marked as Lot D. Best before September 2015. Batch "0".

A - Pitch black, zero light to be seen through it. Huge creamy, brown head that just lingers. Cascading sticky lacing.

S - Deep and rich coffee, dark fruits with a nice sweet mocha mixed in leading to just a bit of sweetness in the nose. Nice alcohol smell that makes me recall bourbon.

T - Roasty malts. Chocolate with hint of dark fruits like figs. Has a vanilla and caramel taste effect. Molasses as well. Just a faint bitterness. Finishes with a great boozy warming feel.

M - Damn smooth. Wonderful creaminess. Medium bodied. Light carbonation.

D - 13% ABV is big but don't let that stop you from grabbing a couple. This is a great brew and very drinkable.

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Photo of dasenebler
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11oz. bottle received as gift last year. No date to be found.

Pours thick and unctuous into a wide tulip glass. Inky black. One of the best heads I've ever seen on a stout or a beer in general. The craggy, towering dark tan head is on par with the best belgians out there, especially when you consider the alcohol content on this guy.

Nose is of ripe fruit and Struise yeastiness, plus a hint of roasted malt.

Flavor is excellent. Loads of acidic, roasty malts coupled with a tangy, sour component. Loads of bittersweet chocolate as well. Probably the ripest and fruitiest imperial stout I've ever had, and completely unlike most American versions of the style. Dry, somewhat hoppy finish. This beer definitely has that Struise flair, that signature yeast strain. Mouthfeel was one of the weak spots: though it was full, I expected even more weight. I knew this one would be very carbonated, but the bubbles ended up being a bit much for me, especially in a complex stout such as this. Alcohol is apparent, but much less noticeable than expected. One of the easiest drinking 13 percent beers I've ever had.

Truly a one of a kind stout and worth a try at least once.

*EDIT, 2/13/2011*
Recently got a few bottles of "Batch 0" and I must say, this is one hell of a stout. The mouthfeel is much improved, with a silky, weighty texture and fine carbonation. Noticing more hops too, odd for a beer this old. It's amazingly drinkable for a 13 percent impy. Easily the best Belgian-made stout out there. Bumping this one up from a 4.25 to a 4.5.

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

batch '0', meaning already aged for almost 6 years now,can't wait to try.... Pours and extremely black colour with nice dark brown head. Smell is dark chocolate,roasted malts and some dark fruits.taste is very much chocolate,malts,some dark fruits and some coffee bitterness in the end. Medium carbonation,very smooth. This one is even better than the fresh one!

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Photo of sherm1016
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, Batch "0", ordered from the Struise Yeast Shop. Pours a jet black with a huge tan head that recedes after a few minutes. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and a little alcohol. A bit heavy on the palate with average carbonation. Flavor is roasted malt, chocolate, and a little bit of hops. The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer. This bottle is pretty fresh, but I think it would be better with a bit of age on it.

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

Review adapted from notes taken 2/6/11

Appearance: Very black - looks and pours like motor oil, not much of a head but very appealing

Smell: Malt sweetness, burnt malts, dark fruits and some alcohol

Taste: The first word that comes to my mind is "interesting" - malts take center stage and are definitely on the sweet side - molasses, burnt malts, chocolate, hints of spices, a little dark fruit funkiness that kind of reminds me of a quad, booze - very rich and pretty well-balanced

Mouthfeel: Perhaps not as heavy as an American RIS, but it works very well for the beer - extremely smooth, too

Overall: The alcohol is definitely up there, and it is rather drinkable considering

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this beer. It is an interesting take on the RIS style. Not mind-blowing, but this is definitely worth a try. On another note, it definitely seems like it would mix well with Kate the Great, but I doubt I will ever encounter Kabert.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Albert, bottled version, purchased at Walker's in Lambertville, New Jersey.

Appearance: Pours thick, with a glug and a gurgle. Looks deeply black and opaque, with an exuberant two-finger head that recedes into one, then a rim around the glass. Good retention and carbonation, but no lacing.

Smell: Out of control and not very pleasant. Aromas of dirty barnyard, stale goat piss, expired raw milk and a funky bitterness.

Taste: Coffee, chocolate. Sugar. Liquorice. Hops on the back and booze at the end of the sip. Some wood and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: The bitterness is not overwhelming in the mouth, making for a creamy, smooth sip. Alcohol is under control too, despite the hefty ABV. Well balanced. Easily the best part of this beer.

Drinkability: Pretty remarkable for a beer this huge. Smooth, easy, pleasant. Never boozy. Well played all around.

Not my favorite imperial stout, and that nose is "wowful", but worth trying, and definitely interesting/different.

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Photo of Cmack15
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh the famous Black Albert. Destruise is one of the top breweries in Belgium and well this is one of their fine offerings. Nice thick jet black brew that looks and smells great. Your nose is greeted with the aromas of chocolate, dark malts, dark fruits, and the yeast. A nice thick chewy mouthfeel to this beer. A session beer no, but a true decadent beverage yes. Seek this out and enjoy.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. This little guy has been in the cellar far too long and it is now time to try it. Lot B6BB, whatever that means. Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown/black color with a very large, fluffy tan head that is rather slow to dwindle down. As the head settles out enough for me to stick my nose in it, I get whiffs of dark fruit, dark bitter chocolate, and in the end some notes of booze. The head finally dies down, leaving an abundance of sticky lace on the glass. The one concern I have with this is that both in the nose and the taste there is an almost mild sour apple smell and taste, but really no other indication of infection so I think this is how it is suppose to be (?). The flavors are really blended quite well though and this is pretty smooth for a 13% beer. Starts of with dark fruit and slightly sour apple flavor that smoothly transition to a mild roasty flavor. Ends with some lingering bitterness. Overall, this is rather enjoyable even with the strange apple smell/taste. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of Bmcg266
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Perhaps my palate has been dulled from drinking simpler times all night, but this is a fantastic Imperial Stout, nd the best Belgian Imperial Stout I've ever had.

Appearance: Black, Black, Black. Even Held up to the light all you can see is black. Head is a light mocha color, a bit lighter than most Imperial Stouts.

Smell: Dark fruits and alcohol. Raisins, figs, etc. etc. A slight alcohol burn to the smell, yet the sweetness of the raisin smell overshadows it nicely.

Taste: Amazing. Smokey Roastiness first hits the palate, then the dark fruits, from sugar sweetness, and a bit of an alcohol bite, yet nothing compared to what I'd expect from a 13% abv. beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, Velvety, delicious. A lot like an oatmeal stout, yet a little less "creamy". A little bit too thin for my preference in Imperial Stouts, yet smooth and delicious regardless.

Drinkability: Fantastic. Never before have I had a beer with such a high abv. to drinkability ratio. Absolutely amazing. If it weren't so damn expensive I'd drink this all the time.

Overall: Perfect, except for the mouthfeel. Seeing as this is the only "Royal" belgian stout i've had/heard of this is purely amazing. Highly reccomended. If you see this, pick it up. It's worth a try, even at 10.95 a 12 oz.

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Photo of biglite351
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - slight Ted around the edges. Tall tight light brown head.

S - dark dried fruits. Roasted malts. Some caramel and possibility dark chocolate. A touch of bock in the finish.

T - almost raspberry-chocolate like up front. Malts and raisins in the finish. A touch of alcohol flavor as well.

M - heavy coating, you can feel it. Mild tingle all over tongue and some in throat.

D - if it were cheaper I would have one every night out.

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

Reviewed from notes 2/1/2011

A: black with a 2 finger mocha head that dissipates very slowly, leaves very nice lacing

S: hints of coffee, chocolate, and a slight burnt scent, a touch of caramel as it warms up, and a very slight hint of the alcohol

T: coffee, malts, and a slight alcohol burn, but nowhere near what was expected

M: mild carbonation, very smooth, creamy, thick

D: dangerously smooth, barely any hint of the high ABV on this one


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Photo of CwrwAmByth
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an exciting moment for me, as this is the 'Batch 0' I am drinking, which is the first lot ever brewed, and also my first Black Albert or indeed first continental stout!

The pour is just amazing, the beer looks incredibly thick and a lovely white/brown head forms, which lasts about 5 minutes, leaving a thin layer on top.

The smell is utter heaven. Burnt coffee, toffee and some sort of fruit is coming through, maybe burnt nuts as well. This is laced with alcohol and a sweetness.

The taste surpassed the smell, and as I drink I get a very rich taste as well as the burntness which comes through with the smell. Rich fruits come through in the middle, as does a bitterness, which balances out towards the end of the mouthful as you swallow.

The mouthfeel is thick, akin to a milkshake, in fact this could almost be rich, dark, well developed milkshake. This makes it go down easily but also means you are left thirstier than when you started due to the sickliness of it. This is natural though as the crisp bitterness comes through here.

Overall an excellent drink, my all time favourite beer by far (so far, out of about 30 beers. edit: after 325 beers, this is still true) however I could not drink alot of it which is perhaps a bonus due to the price tag! Yes, definitely I will purchase again when I have some money to spare and want something decadent.

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Photo of HopNuggets
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured 11.2oz bottle at cellar temp into my Spiegelau glass. Bottle stamped Lot: B | 6 | BB. No idea what this lot means but it's one hell of a beer!

A - Poured a deep dark black that is so dark that even held up to the light no light even thinks about coming through on any part of the glass, not even the edges or bottom. Solid 1 finger coffee color head that dissipated to a 1/8" coating leaving a nice lacing down the glass.

S - Very sweet smelling, almost similar to maraschino cherries. Pick up some roasted coffee and sweet toffee almost bisquity as well. A belgian inspired nose.

T - Sweet dark fruits up front with a burnt coffee finish. A bitterness that is amazinly balanced by the thick malt body.

M - Thick, thick, thick body, frothy head is like drinking a frappe (or milkshake for you other non New Englanders... ha-ha). A bit of heat hits the throat as you swallow but fades quick.

D - 13%... whoa... no freakin' way... very well hidden and I could see myself having no issue what so ever finishing this one and if I had another it would be hard to hold me back.

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Photo of larryi86
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle Batch 14 poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger brown head.

S- There is a lot going on here. I am getting caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, yeast, and a hint of alcohol.

T- Roasted malts, hint of caramel and dark fruits, and a touch of alcohol. I was think that is would be more complex. Even with the hint of alcohol I still feel that the 13% ABV is well hidden.

M- Medium body, smooth, creamy.

D- For 13% ABV it goes down really easy. I won't even call it a sipper. This is a great and really worth trying. The only thing is was disappointed by was the complexity, I was really thinking this would be very complex being a RIS and Belgian.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330ml bottle (batch #14) into tulip glass. The enormous light brown head makes this beer hard to pour. Underneath this mattress, a fully sedimented almost black liquid. Its aroma strikes as immediately vinous, fruity and sugary with its molasses, fig, licorace, anise, vanilla and sharp alcohol tones. So, fruity and vinous. While there's a fair dose of hops, they mostly serve a balancing purpose, never really becoming major in the global character. Instead, its dark malts impart a powdery chocolate feel that reminds of mocha and the malts are sweet to boot. Its vinous side includes a fair bit of acidity, but the roastiness remains restrained enough for any clash to be encountered. Beautiful lacing. A complex, very sweet, medium-full bodied, heady offering that is a sipper indeed, but to me not quite a top offering even among Struise's product line.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 92.6% out of 100 with 1,786 ratings
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