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: 1,784 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of oregonskibum
3.29/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

A: Color is black. Pours with a thin tan head that disappears quickly, leaving some spotty lacing and a thin film on top of the beer. Edit: poured the second half of the bottle after completing the review and there was a substantial amount (I mean a lot) of particulates floating in the beer. I would say once settled that there was a good tablespoon of material floating in the beer. Dropped appearance score accordingly.

S: Some faint cocoa, dark fruits, and molasses. There's also a spicy note that I can't quite place. Relatively muted and needed to re-swirl several times to get much out of the smell.

T: First impression is that this is a rather simple RIS. Taste follows smell, with faint cocoa, dark fruits, and some light roasted flavors. Getting some decent heat towards the end that gradually builds. Finish leaves an odd metalic taste towards the back of the tongue that really isn't that welcome.

M: Medium to big body, low carbonation. Fairly smooth and easy to drink for a big (13%) beer.

D: Generally, disappointed. The flavors were simply too muted and the it didn't finish well. My last big stout was Parabola, which absolutely blows this away.

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Photo of DenverLogan
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite dark with swirling head, aroma of dark malt crossed with rubber tires and licorice. Flavor is a bit rough, with some burnt caramel malts. Decent but not as I remember it from a big bottle years ago that Chris Q determined was not perfect and I deleted my review from Ratebeer, but I thought it was very respectable. This bottle is decent, but not stellar like a Alesmith Speedway Stout or even a Yeti or Left Hand Imp Stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ryan for this one. Batch No. 14, according to the label.

A: The pour is certainly fitting for the style. Nearly black in color with an initially formbidable tan head that eventually settles down to a thin cap.

S: A heavy aroma of dark fruits, particularly prunes, figs, and plums. A touch of alcohol but no real roast, chocolate, or coffee. Almost cloying, to be honest.

T: The flavor is somewhat complex. Certainly the fruits noted in the aroma are well represented, but there is an underlying flavor of roasted malt and some light bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a fairly substantial level of carbonation, which I am unsure of at this point in time--even after drinking a fair amount of my glass.

D: As this one comes to temperature, the alcohol becomes more noticeable and the bitterness becomes more of an astringency. Not my favorite, but certainly worth trying.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle tried 12 May 2010. Lot B/6/BB is marked on the side. Acquired this in trade last year, but don't remember who from.

Served in a 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large brown head. Well carbonated. Pours an oily black, a few red highlights. Serious aroma, dark fruit, burnt sugar, molasses, fruity sour, ethanol. Flavor delivers on the promises made by aroma. Deep sweet molasses, dark figs, burnt sugar. Some vanilla, maybe oak. 100 IBUs keeps the edge off it being cloying but still a sweet beer. Finish and aftertaste is warm and boozy. Alcohol noticeable throughout. Bourbon and dark sugar linger in the mouth. Medium body.


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Photo of axeman9182
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours black into my Duvel tulip, not the darkest I've seen but pretty close. A 1.5 finger milk chocolate cap quickly forms and briefly lingers before fading without leaving much in the way of lace. Not particularly impressive, but for the style/ABV I can't complain too much. The nose is of dark chocolate, dark fruits, and a definitely perceptible alcohol hotness that has me a little bit concerned. The first sip catches me off guard, as Black Albert leads off with a shotgun blast of hop bitterness, with some appreciable citrus notes at the end. This is followed by the dark chocolate and fruits from the nose, but thankfully no alcohol, and the result is a very tasty beer. The mouthfeel could be said to be a little thin, but it's not a big issue, but the beer is definitely too carbonated for the style. Lackluster mouthfeel aside, this beer drinks nowhere near 13%. It's quite remarkable that each sip brings no alcohol flavors whatsoever (which makes me noticing some in the nose even more odd). Black Albert is a solid beer, quite good in some regards

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

< 12oz bottle, not sure where I obtained it from. It's been aging in my cellar for 1-2 years so we'll see what time does for this one.

A- Pours medium black with a dark cherry/brown head. Ruby/brown highlights at the edges, some floaties as I get down to the bottom. Poor retention and average (at best) lacing.
S- Muted. I'm trying really hard to pull anything from it, but I can only get some faint sweetness and vague dark fruits. Raisins in particular.
T- Intriguing... There's almost a sour note right at the beginning, followed by roasted malt tones in the finish. Fruity; figs, plums, raisins. Not sure cellaring has been kind to this one though.
M - Medium to full body. Smooth, creamy with a bite at the end.
D- Small bottle, so finishing wasn't an issue. Not sure I'd want another one afterwards, but I'll still finish the other three in the cellar.

Overall - I was a much bigger fan of this beer fresh. I remember it being smooth, mellow, with a nice coffee finish. Now I get muted dark fruits (figs, raisins) with a sour bite at the front. Again, recommended fresh but not with a few years on it.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a very small brownish head. Not to much retention but a b few bubbles and hardly any lacing.

S- There are light fruits, brown sugar, some nice spiciness, hints of roasty malts, bitter chocolate.

T- The taste followed the nose in about every aspect possible except that the flavours were very mild and muted. There is a unique taste to this one compared to other RIS, but I just can't quite put my fingers on it.

M- Maybe the fuller side of medium but just barely. Carbonation is also pretty light. An odd dry feeling to this one too.

D- Not bad to drink just not my favorite. Not sure how often I'll seek this one out. There's just something different about this one.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a flat, thick liquid which has a delayed dense and creamy mocha colored head that stays throughout the beers time in my glass. Imperial stouts are always beautiful dark beers and this one is no exception.
Black Albert gives off a strong roasty aroma of cocoa, coffee, sherry, oak, and dark fruit notes of dried fig, however no raisin notes as I expect from many Imperial stouts.
The velvety smooth liquid pours over your taste buds and coats them with sweet chocolate followed by a maltiness that fades to a bitter coffee kick on the back. Very complex flavors throughout, most notably oak, sherry, powdered cocoa, fig and maybe dark sweet cherries although I am not well enough versed in horticulture or cherry varieties to pinpoint it.
The mouthfeel is creamy initially and then becomes oily and slick with some stick from residual sweetness.
It's decadent rich qualities, with the sweet and creamy flavors lend to the drinkability as a dessert beer. At 13% it is deceivingly easy to drink.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A very dark brown, bordering on black with a bit of light coming through the edges. The creamy brown head is a little on the thin side but has some great retention for the alcohol content.

S- Black chocolate, cherries, malted milk powder... Sweet and tame. Very enjoyable once it warms up and opens up.

T- Dark chocolate, coffee, black cherries, and alcohol. Very well blended and intriguing. Stands up with some of the best stouts I have had.

M- Creamy smooth with a good body that has some long lasting flavors. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

D- Unbeliavably tasty and intriguing. One of the best. I wish this was cheaper (I paid $12 for 11.2 oz) and available in Michigan.

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

Thanks to champ103 for hooking this up in a trade and to ccrida for giving me an idea how old this bottle is since my bottle is from the same batch and I've had my bottle for at least six months.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate scents theres also some dark fruit scents and mild alcohol

T - Follows the nose roasted malt with chocolate flavors some dark fruit and quit a bit of alcohol warmth

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - As far as Imperial Stouts and 13% beers are concerned this is pretty easy to drink it is a little warm but the taste is very good and makes up for that this is a beer that if you have the chance to get some you need to get it

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Photo of ccrida
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle (BA No. 14, Lot B-6-BB) that I bought 1.5 years ago and cellared since. Poured into my Delirium snifter, Black Albert is black with a very dark tan, creamy head leaving scattered, foamy lace.

Smell is rich but not overbearing, nicely integrated, chocolate, berry liqueur, very elegant. The heat is only evident on the deepest of snifts - clean but singeing.

Taste is not as integrated, there are distinct notes of fruity Belgian esters, a nice roast, and very strong ethanol. The phenols are strong too. I like the grape esters with the roasted grains, but unless this really cleans up or changes drastically over the LONG haul, the gratuitous ABV is clearly a detriment. Nevertheless, it really grows on me, aided by it's warming from cellar temp.

Mouthfeel very nice, velvety carbonation and malt, but again, the high ABV is unduly drying. It also impressively retains a high level of digestibility.

Drinkability is surprisingly high. I guess I quickly adjusted the the high ABV (which, honestly, is quite clean), and got to enjoying the rich qualities of this Belgian Royal Stout. Suddenly this bottle seemed way to small, even though I was carefully savoring each sip. The price of course is prohibitive, and not something I'll be buying on a regular basis, but it's definitely yet another great beer from De Struise. Really impressed by this beer, especially how it evolved as it opened, or at least my palate adjusted.

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

12 oz. bottle (cap not cage and cork) poured into a la fin du monde tulip.

Semi hard pour produces a 3 finger head. Beer is pitch black with some brown yeasty bits floating around. Takes awhile to die down to a thick layer of foam on top. Some chunks of lacing left behind.

Smells of sherry and pecan pie. A bit of chocolate in there as well. Some doughy yeast.

Tastes follows smell. There is pecan pie, sherry, chocolate fudge cake, doughy yeast, and some vague dark fruits. A smoky roasted coffee and sherry flavor lingers. Really interesting and different. Not very much like anything else I have ever tried.

Mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. Nothing too surprising here. Pretty much what you would expect from an RIS.

The alcohol is well hidden. This is a really interesting and tasty beer that works really well as an after dinner drink.

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

Poured into a wine glass. Beer is brown to black and forms a thin broken off white head that gravitates toward the walls of the glass but does not leave any lacing on the sides. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice, subtle and sweet. Some estery notes in there. Really nice and subdued.

I'm not sure what I expected, beer is smooth, finishes clean. Not too dry not too sweet. Nicely balanced and easy drinking. Some carbonation in the mouth, not roasty at all. Like a smooth quad of sorts. I'm really enjoying this beer. Very very smooth. For 13% you don't notice at all. Very drinkable.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before date: April 2013

Purchased through Kracked Kettle, Netherlands.

Price - $17.37 US

Appearance: Pours with a two inch lite tan head. Black in color as the name suggests. As the beer warms some lacing appears on the glass but doesn't stick around long. sediment present in the snifter as the bottle comes to an end.

Smell: Chocolate upfront with raisins. A bit of roastiness and a fair amount of alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate and fruit sweetness first followed by a dry taste. Finishes with a mild bitter taste. Alcohol noticeable but not a surprise at 13%.

Mouthfeel: Creamy feel and silky smooth.

Drinkability: This beer is best served on the warmer side. If served too cold it tastes infected to me. Let this one warm up a bit and enjoy what it has to offer. Personally I like the draft version much better, but that can be said for many beers.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to tytoanderso for this ridiculous extra. 2008 vintage.

A - An absolutely picture-perfect Stout. Black, tan froth, lots of lace

S - Chocolate covered raisins, so perfectly expressed. Intensely mouth-watering aroma. This is an amazing stylistic fusion; it is the best of both worlds, fully melded.

T - Exceptionally tasty. Dark fruitiness, heavy roast, suggestions of coffee and chocolate, vinous flourishes, woody tones. Finishes with notes of oxidation, cocoa, fig compote, and fabulous deliciousness. I also occasionally pick up on a fleeting fruitiness normally found in Oud Bruin. This is the ultimate in Belgian-American style re-interpretation; everything is simultaneously so decadently American, but is also so sublimely Belgian. Definitely the best of both worlds, and so mutually complementary. My only caveat is that this brew does not benefit from 'airing out', it is best served quite cold.

M - Perhaps a bit more could be done here; it is good, but it is the only weak link.

D - This is a phenomenal brew; a paradigm of the Belgian Imperial Stout style, a style which seems currently to be ascending. Plus everything about this day sucked, except this beer. That is worth a lot in my book.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle split between myself and a friend. Poured from the bottle into two snifters.

Appearance: Dark brown to chocolate brown in color. Some yeast settling toward the bottom of my glass. Two to three finger dark mocha head, that has very good retention.

Aroma: Chocolate and coffee. Lots of fig and sugar notes in this. Smells really sweet. Not a ton of booze noticeable.

Taste: Roasted coffee notes hit the palate first. Then an explosion of sweetness, candied figs and raisins are the strongest notes. Chocolate and coffee notes in the background provide for an incredibly sweet stout. No noticable hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and relatively smooth. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: The ABV doesn't feel like 13%. The sweetness keeps you wanting more, but it does feel like a heavy hitter after half a bottle.

Overall, a really unique and sweet stout. The dark fruit flavors really come in full force and mkae this unique. Definitely worth the tasting. Certainly memorable.

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Photo of sk8man121
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into goblet. Batch #14; I don't see a vintage but I'm guessing 2009.

A: Pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Looks exactly how I'd expected.

S: Nose is of bitter chocolate, alcohol and astringent herbs. Very fruity w/ hints of black cherry & raspberry.

T: Quite possibly the fruitiest imperial stout I've ever tasted, and I mean that in as good a way as possible. Alcohol is pleasantly warming, chocolate/cocoa is evident but far from overpowering. Bitterness is high, almost like a fine espresso. Absolutely perfect.

M: Silky and mouth-coating. Carbonation is very low and for good reason; any more would be distracting.

D: I went to the liquor store tonight for a Chimay Blue and almost fell off my feet when I saw this beer on the shelf, and for only $10.49. Rarely do I agree that a beer truly lives up to the hype, but this is absolutely perfect and beautiful.

One of the best beers on the planet.

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

2007 vintage.

Pours dead black and chocolatey. Completely opaque with a gigantic chocolate brown head that absolutely will not die.

Smells like an American wild, a dry stout, and then a good dose of firm Belgian yeast. A bizarre blend, for sure, but the earthy stout actually blends pretty well with the sour and alcohol.

Tastes like a dry stout at the very beginning, moving into a middle of sweetness that's like a blend between a chocolate lambic (assuming such a thing exists) and teriyaki sauce. It's a whole hell of a lot all at once, and all of it is pleasant, but it doesn't really cohere into any singular thing. It's like a big explosion of goodness, which is mostly nice, but sometimes people don't want to explode.

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Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle sample from Adil. Thanks friend! Midnight black in colour with a creamy, dark beige head that quickly subsides to a thin cap. No lace on this pour. Smell and taste are strong vinous aromas, Belgian yeast, herbal and fruity American hops, dark grapes, red wine, and a burnt grain chalkiness to end. Quite a bit of alcohol in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is viscous, velvety, somewhat chewy, dryly parched finish. A unique take on the style, not as roasted, smoky, or bitter as US versions. My least favourite of the four stouts that we tasted, though still a great beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-pours a dark black completely opaque liquid. The head is the color of a brown paper bag, it is tight and very creamy looking. The head retention is rediculous, it lingers and doesn't move leaving a thick lace all over the glass

S-interesting, wild yeast sets in first with notes of raspberries and a touch of candied fruits. Sweet rum lies behind with a touch of roasted malts. Light notes of dark chocolate are present at the very back with more dark fruity sweetness.

T-very tasty! Much more like an imperial stout in the taste but still a hint of the belgian yeast. Roasted malts are right up front balanced by just a touch of wild yeast. Dark chocolate is quite strong, notes of toffee and a hint of coffee. Dark fruity sweetness takes over in the back, lots of cherries and plums.

M-full bodied and extremely smooth and creamy. Low carbonation but holds up throughout and doesn't fall off. So soft on the palate, wow this is tasty.

D-this is a delicious brew. I was thrown off a little by the nose with all of the sweetness and yeast. However, the taste was beautifully done and brought a fantastic variety of flavors. Great feel and so smooth!

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Photo of clvand0
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark black with a tall head that hangs around and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very sweet with a strong blend of molasses and roast. The flavor was a much stronger than the aroma foretold. Licorice and molasses sweetness upfront. Also notes of dark fruits and a hint of spice that is probably from the yeast, some coffee, dark malts, alcohol. The huge sweetness makes it very heavy on the tongue. The alcohol is huge and the mouthfeel is very thick. The drinkability is ok, but I don't think I could have more than one in a day.

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Photo of jera1350
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pure black color with a lovely head of fluffy light brown foam.

The nose is very subtle. There is a subtle malt and cream scent, but there is a larger scent of alcohol.

Quite boozy, it shows it's 13% abv well. Deep roasted dark malt with lots of bittersweet chocolate, some lactose sweetness and a bit of coffee. Moderate hop bitterness. Not extremely complex, but fairly so.

Mostly smooth with a touch of prickly carbonation and some creaminess. Finishes dry with a full body.

Very much a sipper. A nice RIS. Definitely more European than American for the style. Glad to have tried, but wouldn't need it again.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Val Dieu chalice. Pours a wonderful looking dark black liquid...filling the glass completely midnight black with an incredible tan head with amzing retention. Head litterally lasts minutes upon minutes...and therefore leaves great lacing! This beer already looks fantastic!!

Aroma is light, surprisingly! Very mild Belgian yeasts, malty, and mild booze. Other than that, perhaps a little bit of chocolate and some fruits.

Tastes like a Belgian style Stout. Lot's of great strong flavored fruits up front. The fruits really take the bulk of the flavor, followed by a completely thick, viscous, and boozy mouthfeel. The carbonation is slightly high, surprisingly...but definitely not overkill! Big malty characteristics. Sweet and medium to full body. A great and tasty beer from De Struise!

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Photo of SirSketch
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A mountain of light brown head forms, about 1 1/2 inch, when poured. Black and completely opaque.

S - Sweet maple syrup, raisins, creamy milk chocolate and caramel aroma. All combine to make a great smelling beer.

T - Surprisingly, it has a very roasty, almost burnt coffee flavor that the nose doesn't lead on about. Bitterness really pulls through and there is even a tiny bit of hop flavor underneath. Does not come off as strong as other 13% stouts.

M/D - Rich and creamy mouth that leaves a sugary stickiness on the top of the mouth and tongue. Overall, an enjoyable beer and I'm glad I had the chance to try it!

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.6/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of Halcyondays' buddies brought this to Beachwood BBQ for the three of us to sample. Sometimes, one of the beer's you've been wanting to taste happens sooner than you think. On to the beer:

Obsidian black color shows no sign of giving way for any light. White head on top create a good contrast of colors. I was taken by surprise by the aroma. Yes, I could smell some roasted malt and chocolate flavors, but also some dark fruits and plums that you'd find in a more traditional dark Belgian.

Yet as much of a surprise the aroma was, the taste was a bigger surprise. It was strange, but still enjoyable in a weird way. A dash of cocoa, a part of dark fruits, some milk/lactose sweetness, and add in some lactic and sour qualities, and you got Black Albert. The lactic and lactose threw my palate off quite a bit....drink a little more and my palate becomes a little adapted to this. The best quality of the beer was how well the 13% ABV was hidden....where's the heat? Seemed closer to being medium bodied than full bodied.

Black Albert is strange. Ok, it's really different from your everyday Imperial Stout. If you're looking for something REALLY different in the style, Black Albert could be the cure, but the price and lack of availability aren't going to encourage me to seek a bottle for myself.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,784 ratings.
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