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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,776 |  Reviews: 856
Photo of garbercury
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to CaptnRedBeard for the generous extra, you da man Corey! Poured into my favorite St Bernardus Goblet...

A--Good lacing and black opaque color. Retention is all along the goblet...

S--Ripe dark fruits in the nose, you can also get a dark chocolate deal in the nose...

T--Very complex in the nose, no different on the palate. I love the combination of fruits like plum combined with the chocolate and coffee in this one. Really a true Belgian style RIS. Excellent.

M--Silk. Great mouthfeel.

D--This is pretty fresh, it could use some aging. I really enjoy this beer, Highly recommended, though the price tag tends to make this a rare treat. Great brew!

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Photo of oreo
3.18/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shared by drewba.

Pours a super deep black with 2 fingers of dark brown head.

Tons of dark fruit. Everywhere. A pretty big boozy smell as well.

Just like the smell. Dark fruit and booze. Sweet almost. Very thin for an RIS, almost red wine like. Nothing too complex, some roasty malts make themselves known towards the end.

Not very drinkable. 13% and sweet. Does not make for a drinkable beer.

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Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark brown color, kind of like a concentrated mud puddle. There is a short dense light brown head that settled into a light cap.

The aroma is of roasted malt, cocoa powder, and red wine. There is some subtle chocolate notes and alcohol vapor. Nice aroma, interesting.

The taste is big on the vinous notes. Red wine hits right off the bat followed by strong soy notes. Bitter chocolate and cocoa poweder are some secondary flavors. Some herbal spice and hops try of offset the big malt flavors but have trouble doing so. There is a bit of a sour punch as well like it was oak aged. The flavor is not quite what I look for in a stout but its good.

The feel is not as thick as it looks, has a moderate body. There is some tingley carbonation that helps break up the malt. Pretty dry and roasty bitter on the palate. Perhaps a touch sticky. The ABV is noticable but not harsh.

A good flavorful stout. Not exactly what I look for in a stout but its well made.

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Photo of silentjay
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pitch black pour with a dark mocha colored head that is extremely dense, sticks around forever and leaves good lacing behind.

aroma is boozy, with raisins and other dark fruits, dark molasses, maybe some lactic acid or something that makes it tart, some dark chocolate and licorice.

mmm. taste differs a bit from what I picked up in the aroma. less booze and raisins, but more cocoa and dark malts take center stage. a bit tart and with some hop bitterness that balances the hugeness of the malts. very nice and complex.

not heavy bodied, but with significant weight and subtle carbonation makes for a decent velvety feel.

drinks pretty well. definitely boozy, though not terribly harsh, with a plethora of flavors that keep me sipping and the 330ml just does not seem enough.

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

Picked this up at City Beer in San Francisco. Pours an opaque dark brown, as close to black as you can get. Very thick brown head, great head retention. Lots of lacing on the glass. Smells of huge roasted malt, with caramel and some faint chocolate. Lots of bitterness in the taste, still sweet though because of the huge malt. Alcohol doesn't seem to be in the taste, which is surprising. Smooth mouthfeel. Amazing stout.

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Photo of calir1
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought @ Beer Planet in Brussels Belgium. For 6 euro this was a great steal. No shipping, no nothing, just walk next door from my hotel, buy, cool, crack open and enjoy. Deep black and what is expected. I am not a huge stout guy, but I had to drink this when I was there and it was fantastic. I actually drank 3 of these and should have brought back some extras, but oh well. A stout lover would really enjoy, and since nobody is going to read my post and either buy or not buy, I am through....

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

Black Albert poured pitch black into my snifter glass. A big, thick, creamy brown head quickly formed on the beer. It slowly dissolved to a thick sheet on the surface while leaving behind a sheet of lace on the glass.

The strong aroma has strong Belgian characteristics. Coriander and orange peel along with dark cherry and chocolate are present. Hints of alcohol are also detected.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is very soft and creamy with a dry finish. Lots of effervescent carbonation. The flavor begins with spicy notes of clove and orange peel. In the middle are flavors of chocolate, cherry and hints of smoke. It finishes sour. Once gone the sour notes and chocolate flavor lingers on the palate.

This beer has a ton of flavor and aroma. It hides it's 13% abv very well and is quite drinkable. However, each sip should be savored. It deserves to be drunk out of your best snifter glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at an awesome beer store outside Ghent, Dranken Geers. Deep, dark brown, almost black pour with a slight reddish tinge. Gorgeous three finger coffee colored head and excellent lacing. Earthy, roasty malt and booze dominate the nose. I'm also getting some coffee, chocolate and a hint of dark fruit. The taste is much the same. The roasted malt and alcohol are dominant again, with lots of cocoa and dark fruit. The hops are overpowered by the sweetness of the malt, which hurts the balance for me and imparts too little bitterness. The mouthfeel is decent, but leans towards being a little syrupy. The sweetness hurts the drinkability for me. That coupled with the booziness makes this just an average beer. I have to admit that it did get better as it warmed, but I don't really understand all the hoopla with this one. I'm a big De Struise fan, but this was disappointing...

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Photo of corby112
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Pours a beautiful deep, dark brown, almost black color with a 2.5 finger frothy coffee-colored head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that streaks the glass with soapy lacing. The appearance alone of this beer leaves me salivating.

Huge roasted malt aroma with hints of roasted coffee bean, chocolate, toffee, burnt toast caramel and sweet alcohol.

Huge roasted malt flavor balanced out by subtle dark fruit notes, spice and alcohol warmth. Hints of chocolate and caramel along with toffee, espresso bean, licorice and oatmeal. Subtle hints of dark fruit along with sweet alcohol heat that creates a nice warm finish. This beer is dangerously drinkable considering the high ABV. Very well balanced with a dry hot finish. Excellent but definitely a sipper. I know a lot of people aren't into this beer but I think it definitely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of microwavabledish
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a Tulip, its black as pitch, even when held up to light. Poured nicely with a rocky/fluffy two finger high, mocha colored head. Looks delicious.

The nose is a boozy, roasty smell with a hint of coffee and dark molasses and some dark dark cherry.

The taste is slightly fruity, with some major roast character. As it warms it gets nice and sweet, with a lingering alcohol in the back of the throat.

The mouthfeel, while thinner than other RIS's is still substantial enough to be in style. The carbonation is low and it goes down quite easily.

Notes: Really good on a cold night with some hearty food and a light sweet dessert. Drinkability is a 3 because while one of these goes down quite handily over an hour, having a second one is just about out of the question considering that its 13% abv.

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Photo of jampics2
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #666. Not an evil beer per say, but certainly something the devil would enjoy!

This is Black Albert Batch 0 ordered from Struise, and a purple marker indicates the "0" on the cap. I carefully poured this 11.2oz bottle into 2 snifters and shared with Paul. Cheers to great beers!!

Black Albert looks great in the glass. It is an opauqe black - a very solid color without any signs of variation around the edges. A ring of tan foam exists on top, but this could have better head retention. Still, it is very appealing and I need to put my nose in it now!

The smell is amazing. The nose is full of black strap molasses sweetness and roasted malt. There's some deep, bitter dark Belgian chocolate and a touch of dark roasted coffee. Some fruitiness compliments the sweetness and avoids this being too polarized in scents - the figs, ripe raisin and plum notes serve as a bridge.

The taste is up there with some of the best RIS's in the world. It's sweeter than expected, but the nice roastiness balances it and it never approaches cloying territory. The dark roast is almost burned, but there are heavy notes of chocolate and coffee. The dark fruits noted in the nose are all present. Some Belgian Candy sugar sweetness peaks then the roast rounds things out. Some char and bitter hops round out a fantastic drinking experience. Batch 0 is the shit - way more of an RIS than Batch 14 that was available stateside and had more yeast and less roast. A touch of booze is noticeable but at 13% is masked better than just about any big beer I've had.

Mouthfeel is huge and creamy. I thought this was going to be flat given that the head was underwhelming, but it's thick and has the perfect amount of carb. What a beer - this is easily the best stout from outside of America I've ever had and probably the best dark beer from Belgium I've ever had. Killer stuff, buy on sight when it's up at Struise Webshop!

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

I'm not a huge stout guy typically (especially non-barrel aged stouts), but this beer really stands out as a fine example of the style.

Beer is almost black in color with a foamy tan head. Smells of sweet malts and hints of alcohol. The taste is dark chocolate with a little bit of sweetness up front and some roasted malts in the finish. It's really not very bitter for a stout, something that typically turns me off in the style. Instead it has a little bit of dark fruit flavor, almost along the lines of a quad. It's very carbonated, a bit creamy and almost light-feeling, though definitely not thin-bodied. It's extremely drinkable for a beer at 13% ABV. It's actually pretty incredible how well this beer hides the alcohol flavor without resorting to being overly sweet. Very well-balanced.

Overall this is a pretty impressive beer that can be enjoyed by both stout lovers and those who aren't as fond of the style.

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Photo of getgetgettleman
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed form notes 11/24/10.

A= Dark chocolate color/Black velvet look with a hint of deep red. Tight creamy head with velvet lacing.

S= Carmel sweet to bitter chocolate.

T= Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate malt malt malt!

M= Velvet smooth and full body. Finish is dry and smokey. Lovely.

D= Very drinkable if enjoyed like a fine scotch. Sipping gingerly the 13% was noticed quickly.

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

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip. A thin, creamy, dark-tan head rests upon an opaque black body. Lots of silky lacing.

Figs, grapes, chocolate and a touch of alcohol great the nose. Sweet sugared malts and a hint of candied apple. A great blend between a Belgian quad and an RIS. Has some biscuity/bready malts as well.

Tipping back the glass reveals a rush of dark fruits and chocolate across the tongue. Malty, vinous and somewhat bready. Much fruitier than I was expecting. I'm guessing this is the more quad-like rendition, compared to some of the batches that were more stout-like. Bits of honey, fig and chocolate alcohol linger.

Mouthfeel is creamy, soft and malty. Carbonation is a little lower than I'd like, but not bad. Could use a little more body, but I do enjoy the creaminess. Slight warming alcohol.

Drinkability is pretty good. I can't believe this is 13%. I would have put it more in the 8-9% range. I really like the quad-like qualities that come out in this stout. A bit pricey, but I may pick up another one down the road.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, revealing opaque black body under a finger of thick crema head. Some lacing. Nice and pretty for an RIS. Smells absolutely delicious: sweet and malty with a lot of vanilla caramel and milk chocolate on the nose along with bourbon-soaked dates. Mostly sweet smells with just a hint of roastiness. So excited to try this.
Tastes very sweet and much lighter than expected with a fierce but palatable alcohol presence. Some Belgian-esque spiciness and a rounded roasty bitterness. Less of the dark fruits but they're still present. Carbonation is small-sized and very tingly, adding volume to the already heavy body and creamy mouthfeel. More of a sipper than a good drinker, but the intriguing blend of spice and rich roasted flavors keep me sipping.

Overall I am pretty pleased with this offering. The mouthfeel is a little overbearing for me but otherwise it's very good.

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

A: Poured into my pint glass, this stout really does pour black as hell with a rich chocolate colored head that leaves some very nice lacing for 13%.

S: The aroma is similar to Parabola, rich mouth-watering chocolate. Lots of roasted notes, and some liquorice notes.

T: The flavor is heavy in liquorice and chocolate. A little boozy, but very well hidden. Very small notes of coffee and dark fruit.

MF: Mouthfeel is light for the style, especially coming from Belgium.

D: Drinkability is good. Hey, 13% is hard to make drinkable, but Black Albert definitely hit the mark.

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

This is one of those funky reviews because it's for Black Albert and Black Albert Batch 0. Part of a Struise tasting that also included Cuvee Delphine.

The Black Albert was a 2010 11.2 oz. bottle obtained in the U.S. Poured into a brandy snifter. Not much head but killer aroma and some decent lacing. The roasted malt notes hit you with the first sip, but they mellow out over time. The mouthfeel is good, and the chocolaty notes make this a very enjoyable royal stout.

The Black Albert Batch 0 was a 2010 11.2 oz. bottle obtained in Belgium. Poured into a brandy snifter. Even though this is Black Albert, my sources tell me this is technically a quad, and the same recipe as the batch sent to Ebenezer's Pub for their 1st Belgian Beer Fest. Everything about this beer is perfect. I love Pannepot, and it puts that quad to shame (ok not to shame, but Batch 0 is just "better"). Smooth, silky, subtle dark fruit notes, everything in balance. One of my all-time favorites.

So let's say A- for the Black Albert and A+ for the Batch 0.

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

Been waiting to grab a bottle of this. Pours a black color with a tan foam head. Has an aroma of dark fruit and chocolate with hints of citrus. Sweet and creamy from the dark fruit, then the gentle carbonation kicks in with some nice roasty maltiness. Finish citrusy sweet. Some chocolate notes on the finish. Very excellent brew.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A= The pour is a pitch black color with a nice two finger head rising out of it that holds some nice retention and has steady lacing for such a big beer. The heads color is a nice mocha color.

S= Big booze comes from the nose. That's the first thing I notice. There's a lot of roast to it as well as some odd estery sweetness to it. The esters are true to any Belgian beer I suppose. The only problem is that it smells a lot of alcohol. Almost reminds me of WWS in a way only less sweet in the nose.

T= The taste tops the smell anyday! Wow this is a smooth easy drinking stout. There is plenty of roast to it as well as sweetness to balance it out a little. The alcohol never comes through in the taste at all and the Belgian yeast leaves a little fruityness to it that I've never had in a Impy stout.

M= This unfortunatly is a little weak. It is so thin however that you never really notice your drinking such a huge beer.

D= The thin mouth on this leads to huge drinkability. This is such an up and down beer as far as the rating categories go but it is still amazing. One of a kind beer that I have never and possibly will never have anything like again. I'm happy I found a spot that carries these because I'll be going back for more that for sure.

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

A - Pours completely black with a light brown head. Opaque. Booze coats the glass throughout.

S - Big espresso, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt character complimented by a little bit of booze and molasses. Very explosive aroma to it.

T - Everything from the aroma comes out here and mingle together in the mouth quite well. The finish is quite bitter as well.

M - Full bodied, sort of thick with not alot of carbonation, velvetty in a way.

D - How could you turn down another one of these? Packed with flavour and the alcohol doesn't make itself all that apparent but still shows up to class.

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

Black Albert Batch '0'
330 ml bottle 13,0% Abv
Poured into a snifter.

Black Albert has been on my wants list for ages, thanks to Thijs for getting this limited version to us.

Appearance: Batch '0' pours the blackest of blacks, even when held up to a light bulb, not even a hint of light is visible along the edges.
A huge tan brown head towers above the beer, lasting extremely well and leaving great lace for a beer of this strength.

Smell: Hmmm, I think I poured this one a little too cold as the smell seems fairly muted to start. A little warming makes a massive difference. Medium roast coffee, bitter sweet dark chocolate and slightly charcoal like roasted malt are present in equal quantities. As the beer warms vanilla, toasted whole-wheat bread, dark candi sugar, molasses and dark fruit are well noted. There is just a hint of bitter hops towards the end of the nose.

Taste: Great flavour, far more balanced than the BDII that I had last night. As in the nose top quality coffee, roasted malt and chocolate are dominant, but molasses and the dark fruit play much more than a supporting role. Bitter hops are well noted in the finish. Hints of smoke, caramel and toasted bread are also present.
I just realised that this is the strongest beer I have ever had; I never would have guessed that - the alcohol is totally hidden in both the flavour and smell.

Mouthfeel: Sublime, full, thick, sticky body. The carbonation is understated and super smooth. This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink.

Drinkability: Superb beer, massive and complex flavour. Great beer to sip on, I could well start drinking beers like this instead of whiskey on cold evenings after dinner.

I am surprised, Black Albert actually lived up to my expectations, superb beer and one I'd love to have again.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 0. As good as anything else available to celebrate with.

As with other incarnations, this is perfect. Jet black with a dense, dark brown, creamy head with exceptional retention and lacing.

Unlike other batches, this is a lot fruitier with an almost tart berry character. Definitely not infected, this has raisins, dark fruits and a little cherry. Dry unsweetened cocoa, grainy roasted malts and a mild ashy character are present. Unlike other beers I've had recently, there's very little caramel and brown sugar sweetness present, probably indicative of a lack of specialty grains? A little licorice and some alcohol round out the nose. As it breathes, the tartness reduces, and a sandalwood aroma appears and grows.

Big, thick and chewy, this beer opens with a blend of grainy bitterness and moderate fruit. There's an undercurrent of almost a horse blanket funk that's present, a very low level. While I won't call this infected,I will say that this is a little different from what I expected. For fruit, there's plums, figs and a little bit of raisin, and they pair quite beautifully with the grainy, roasted malt. A moderate cocoa flavor is present on the mid-palate, lending a mild acidity to the beer, like cocoa sometimes does. The sensation of funk (which I confess I could be imagining) is heightened by the acidity on the finish. Grain, mild fruit (cherries), and some cocoa all lend to the acidity that lingers, along with a little licorice. Hops are pretty much absent, and this beer is unique among stouts in that it isn't particularly roasty or sweet while still recognizably a big, big stout. And unlike other batches, this doesn't strike me as particularly quad-like either. Spices are fairly low, and the sandalwood that's present on the nose reappears on the palate. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, with a whisper appearing on the finish. Full in body with soft carbonation, this beer is a monster on the palate. The finish is excellent, I really love the finish here. As for drinkability - 11oz over an hour is proving to be too easy, and for a 13% beer, that's an excellent thing.

Ultimately, I don't get the hoopla behind this beer (or this batch). While focused and well-structured, it's ultimately not that interesting. Cuvee Delphine, OTOH, is where it's at.

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Photo of dubinsky
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 14 poured into a snifter.

A - Pours pitch black with a two finger mocha, creamy head. Excellent retention that ultimately leaves a very dense lacing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, dark malt, dark stone fruit, cherry coke. This smells wonderful.

T - WOW!!!! This is one of the coolest, best tasting beers i have ever had. There is so much awesomeness going on here. Dark cherries, prunes, chocolate and espresso. Whats unique about this one is that it has a distinctive Belgian yeast flavor to it which is different from the other imperial stouts i have come to love. Almost like a quad. Oh yeah, it reminds me of a flat cherry coke as well, really unique.

M - Ridiculous mouth feel. Very full bodied, yet smooth as silk. It's thick and chewy but something about it, perhaps the gentle carbonation and the fluffy/creamy head make this beer truly amazing. Luxurious.

D - This is definitely drinkable, but i don't want to "drink" it, i want to sip and savor it for as long as possible. For a 13% high abv, it doesn't burn at all. Has a slight warming effect, but again is extremely smooth. Someone else said it well, this beer blurs the line between Quad and Russian Imperial Stout. The cost is a bit prohibitive, but really, who cares with so much awesomeness going on.

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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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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,776 ratings.
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