Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
1,797 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,797 |  Reviews: 859
Photo of csais75
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you like bitter chocolate, coffee (the real one) and beer, this one is for you. A masterpiece from the Struise brothers. A Strong but drinkable one, with unforgettable flavor. An ocean of coffee with bitter chocolate islands on it. A powerful taste hits you. It remains on your mouth like a dark kiss.

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Photo of drumrboy22
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.5oz bottle into a Gouden Carolous chalice. Beer was pitch black, with a one-finger brown head. Slow carbonation and very little lacing around the glass.

Aroma was dark, dark fruit, raisins, chocolate, malt and yeast.

Taste was bitter hops up front, followed by chocolate, coffee, cherries and a touch of licorice.

Very tasty beer. Not as complex as I expected, but still delicious and very enjoyable.

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Photo of bobv
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another stout from Thanksgiving '09

From notes:

Very dark, slight head

Dark chocolate, cherry, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, at 13% its ABV is fairly well hidden.

Both dark and bittersweet chocolates, currants, and there is the alcohol tap dancing on my temples.

Very nice.

I could drink this 'til I dropped!

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Photo of cameraman
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pitch black color, with a deep beige colored head, that is quarter inch thick high. The head has tremendous sustainability and clings to the glass. The first scent is the strong fragrance of alcohol hits the nose that is followed by a rich chocolaty fragrance. There is the light spicy scent of Belgian yeast and fruity esters. The taste of dark bread, malt, and chocolate come out at the front. Then a dried fruit flavor comes out, mostly of raisons. That is followed by the yeast spiciness and finishing with a mild grassy bitterness. The texture is thinner at the front than one would expect, the expectation was one of a more syrupy feel. It gains weight as it crosses the palate to have a heavier feel. A unique take on a style with a Belgian twist, the color and aroma are strong and inviting. Each taste brings robust and complex flavors, the only let down would be the mouthfeel. The feel was thinner than I expected, it but takes nothing from this beer. This I must try beer, not because of its limited availability, but its unique and fantastic characteristics.

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

Acquired via a trade with tprokop
Tasted side-by-side with Nogne Imperial Stout

A: Pours a nice obsidian colour with a very large brown head which is reminiscent of rye bread. Looks nice and creamy. Sits there as if it no other place to be, or reason to move...

S: With the first smell, it becomes apparent that this is a completely different animal than the Nogne Impy Stout--The dark malt (and chocolate?) combines very well with the alcohol to produce a wonderful aroma of chocolate covered fruit (sweet cherries). At the same time, it has some bready characteristics that actually work really well with it, creating caramel scents as well.

T: Woah...big letdown. The flavour is toned down times ten from the smell. Kind of flat and flavourless in the beginning, then coming to life leading into some dark chocolate cake bread, and a great finish as if you had just had a piece of high quality dark chocolate. Alcohol is apparent but by no means the dominant aspect.

Even though it was served at ~50, the flavours don't really start to emerge until around room temp. Sugar cookie becomes the dominant smell after it has thoroughly warmed, with some roastiness and vanilla definitely present as well. Much more flavour at this temp, while still impressively managing to keep the alcohol in check.

M: Creamy, yet not thick or cloyingly sweet.

D:Hides the alcohol very well for a 13% ABV beer.

While cool, it actually reminds me a little of the fresh Expedition I had recently with more body and less flavour/alcohol burn. If I have this in the future, I will be sure to serve it substantially warmer from the get-go, probably around the 55-60 degree range as that's where the flavours seem to start to peek out.

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Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that lasts. The aroma is awesome. It has a powerful black malt bitterness as well as a complex aroma of roasted and chocolate malts. It's warm with a Belgian yeast character. I suppose that there are a shitload of hop present also, considering it's rated at 100 IBU's. The black malts and alcohol warmth go a long way in hiding it well. The taste is sublime! It's incredibly smooth with a fantastic malt character; warm and toasty. The black and chocolate malts work in harmony to create a true masterpiece. The hops are more obvious in the taste. It's quite a bitter brew which only adds to it's complexity. Lastly is the yeast character. What a tremendous finish. Warmth, malts, hops, and a killer yeast character to boot. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. I love the concept here; a Belgianized Russian imperial stout. This one is in a class all it's own.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black and somewhat viscuos looking. Very nice dark tan head that lasts and lasts. Nice roasted aroma-somewhat licorice and wine like. Outstanding roasted flavor mixed with a deep licorice like flavor. Black treacle/molasses tinge to it. Has a heavy dried fruit flavor. Good solid hop bite to it though not overly done. Slight, lingering sweetness. Very well balanced between all the flavors. Extremely solid mouthfeel-somewhat syrupy and slick. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Lives up to the hype for sure though quite pricey.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 11 oz bottle into a Rochefort glass.

This beer pours black showing light brown edges in the light. The head is disappointing as it is only light tan in color, rises less than a finger and is gone within a minute. The lacing is there but gone fast as well.

The aroma is really nice. The malts show wonderfully with lots of sweetness shown as chocolate, cherries, and at the end lightly roasted coffee.

The taste is very light and smooth allowing for great drinkablilty. The taste is sweet chocolate and cherries to start and finishes with some coffee. The mouthfeel is heavy and the taste is lasting.

Overall this is an excellent stout, that I would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.48/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle at Bier Temple in Brussels. I'm immediately impressed by the huge boozy dark fruit nose. This is very comparable to a Baltic Porter. In fact, after tasting it I would have certainly assumed as much. As the beer warms chocolate and molasses shine through in the scent but the beer remains dominated by sweet/sour prunes, dried apricots, and currants. The flavor follows - booze soaked plums and raison served over espresso. This one is hot, full bodied, and at times syrupy. Very good beer but not as interesting as I would have guess from the hype. Not particularly drinkable. Too boozy and syrupy.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.28/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark, dank, black. Didn't hold it to light, but I imagine it wouldn't have shown through. Bold caramal head, very rich and thick. This is exactly what it should look like. The smell was fairly good, all your stout staples are there: chocolate, coffee, lots of malts. But the taste didn't impress. The IBUs were kicking for sure, not that it was too much, but its just that it wasn't balanced out well enough with sweetness. The bitterness wasn't from the coffee, thats for sure. The feel was really good, it was thick and chewy. Fullbodied, and pretty smooth.

Like most anything thats not horrible, I am glad I tryed it...but its not worth what I paid for it ($10) and I will not be getting it again...

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Photo of craytonic
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Near perfect pour, huge cappuccino head, but no quality lacing. Near opaque with some brown/mahogany mixed in.

Smell: Fudge, roast coffee, dark rum, dark malts, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits

Taste: Doesn't taste like your typical RIS, has a major tangy fruit element to it. Also fudge, chocolate, molasses, dark malts, roast coffee, licorice. Perhaps Kaluah and dijorno. Perhaps a bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel: A bit thiner than I expected; a bit to sweet, somewhat brandy like

Drinkability: Thankful for the smaller bottle

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Photo of mothman
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into darkness snifter.

Pours 2 fingers of mocha tan head. Fades to a thin layer only leaving some thin splattered lace. Color is a oil black.

Aroma: Tons of rich milk chocolate, very sweet. A lot of dark dried fruit dominate the nose. It is very complex and everything blends well together. Earthy hops balance it out. Molasses at the end.

Taste: Very syrupy. It is very thick. Some roasted malts. A lot of dark milk chocolate. Earthy hops balance this monster out a lot. A very small amount of heat. This thing is filling.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, but namely smooth and creamy. Incredibly huge body with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends with a very dry sweet malty taste.

Overall, this is a really good beer, but it is just so massive and dry. It is filling me up rather quickly. A big time sipper. Very good, but not something I would normally like to drop over $10 on a small bottle. Worth a try though.

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Photo of Cresant
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. brown bottle into a Duvel glass. Lot: B 6 B. The body was rich dark brown with over two fingers of creamy tan head. This faded to nothing fairly soon.

Smell was creamy chocolate. Hints of sassafras. Very well hidden alcohol.

Taste was bitter cocoa. Dark cherries. Powdery. Balanced like I like them, tipping toward the dry and bitter, but with some rich sweetness. Hints of licorice. Very well hidden alcohol!

Mouthfeel was full bodied and silky smooth. A nice amount of carbonation. Spot on.

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Photo of UA8
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a big opaque black body with a huge actually overflowed my tulip creamy brown head.

S- Funky yeast notes, red wine scents, roasted malts, a bit of smoke.

T- Leads with roasted malts and a touch of funky yeast twang, mid palate and I would swear this was aged in wine barrels has hints tannin and red wine grape notes. Finishes late and long with sweet charred malt flavors. Wow the complexity on this one is impressive.

M- Rich and thick with a carbonation that is silky smooth and stay out of the way of the flavors.

D- Wow I wasn't expecting much out of this one since I've read so many conflicting reviews of this beer but this is outstanding. Not sure which variation or year I have but this has one of the highest levels of complexity and most interesting flavor profiles of any stout I've ever had.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An 11.2 ounce bottle purchased at State Line in MD. Uncapped and poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. The stout appears a dark brown color with a good two inches of fizzy, creamy tan foam. Nose and flavors consist of fruity gumballs, molasses, bakers chocolate, dates, figs, slightly sour, prunes, alcohol is hidden quite well here. Somewhere between medium and full bodied with adequate carbonation levels. This is a tasty beer, but I find Weyerbachers XIII to be far superior. Good but certainly not worth the price.

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a heavy brown that is basically black and opaque when held to the light. A 1/8 inch mocha colored head forms and reduces to a nice lacing.

The aroma is good with a nice grouping of alcohol, coffee, and dark chocolate. Some dark fruits are present, as is a vanilla component.

The taste is very good to me. Coffee, dark chocolate, with a very nice hoppy bitterness make the taste complex but good. Dark fruits and yeast round out the taste with a tick of alcohol.

The mouthfeel is also very good. It comes across medium bodied with a little more carbonation than I expected. However, this leaves a clean, crisp, and dry finish, particularly when combined with the bitter and sour notes.

This beer is quite drinkable. It has a high ABV that seems reasonably enough hidden and the flavor is intense but it is smoothed out by a nice mouthfeel and dose of carbonation.

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

This beer pours a very dark brown color, with a brown head. the head fades slowly, leaving a pretty good lacing.

This beer has a malty sweet aroma. I can detect some chocolate as well. I can also detect some figs and raisins. The alcohol content is not very well hidden in the aroma.

This beer pretty much tastes like it smells. Malty caramel sweetness. Alcohol also. Dark fruits make an apperance. Also, a slight chocolatey flavor is present.

This beer is low in carbonation, fitting the style. It warms on the way down. It leaves a malty sweet aftertaste.

This beer wouldnt be the greatest session beer. At 13% ABV, I dont know many beers that would be.

Overall: I had this beer while at the Trappist in Oakland CA. I have wanted to try it for some time, and was pretty happy to get the chance. This beer was pretty good. It was cool to try a beer from Belgium that is not typically available.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/4/2009 (Bottle LOT B6BB):

Pours an extremely dark brown colored body, with a huge foamy tan-brown colored head, lastingish. Aroma of dark fruit, dark grape, fig, and floral, somewhat sweet. Not much roasted notes, but the floral is definitely muted by something. Dark fruit taste, immediately followed by roasted and chocolate flavors. Roasted aftertaste. Dark grape. Like a combo Belgian ale and an imperial stout. Tasty.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Bottled poured into my Short's pint glass.

A: Very dark brown with a small mahogony tint around the edges. The pour produced almost 3 fingers of tan head that receeds and leaves nice lace.

A: Sour dark fruit and a Belgian yeast influence. I get nice chocolate, molasses, dried fruit, and smoke.

T: Good amounts of chocolate and dried fruit. The belgian aspect is a little offputting to me in a RIS. Also get smoke and maybe a little vanilla. The beer finishes dry from the hops.

M: A little thin for the style. Aggressive carbonation gives it a tingle at the back of the throat.

D and overall impression: I'll give this just above average marks on drinkability, the dried fruit and belgian influence is just a little much for me. I'm glad I shared the small bottle with two other guys. Overall, this is a good beer, but nothing to write home about. Would have again, but won't go out of my way for it. Skal.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7ways is to thank for this one, thanks buddy.

The appearance is dark black with dark ebony edges. The bottles pops aggressively once opened, I thought it was going to come out of the bottle it was so aggressive. A pour reveals an easy two finger tan head. Crisp CO2 carbonation that sounds like coca-cola.

The smell is sour. There are Belgian yeast notes as well. Oh no, this is not what I thought it was going to be. Hints of chocolate malts and some alcohol.

Oh thank God it tastes really good. The smell was worrying me. Chocolate malt and a Belgian brewers yeast are the first tastes. It has a bit of sour taste that goes with the smell, really adds a complex flavor to it. Its like just a small percentage of it was spoiled and then added back in to the entire batch, much like Guinness. The ABV comes through at the end as well and cleans the palate a bit. Sourness is really unique though because it comes in at different times. Love the complexity.

The mouthfeel is great because it is just a bit over carbonated and really lets some of the flavors stand out. Brings up the chocolate malts really nicely while the mouthfeel also lets the ABV bounce around as well. Enjoyable.

The drinkability was good considering it was such a small bottle. Would drink this again for sure.


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Photo of kbeals
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to masterchiefMD for this one!

A- Pours jet black with two fingers of dark brown head. Head retention on this beer was excellent along with the lacing.

S- Smells of dark fruits and chocolates. A bit of a medicinal smell also, perhaps from the alcohol.

T- I wasn't real impressed by this one. It tastes as though someone mixed a tripel with an RIS. Hints of dark fruits and a bit of chocolate and roasted flavors come through. The flavors just seem to clash too much in this one.

M- Lots of carbonation, seems to be a bit much for an RIS. Pretty smooth however.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for 13% ABV. I had no idea it was this high until I just looked at it online.

Overall, a decent brew. Definitely not my favorite RIS but it was interesting. Thanks again Chris!

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Photo of Tom8Analise
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A- Extremely dark with a thick carbonated tan head.

S- Has a very strong alcohol smell with some notes of dark fruits and some chocolate.

T- The first sip was OK, but then after taking a second sip the flavors burst!! Lots of coffee, fig, caramel, chocolate and some smokiness. A very excellent taste indeed!

M- Very light and very carbonated.. This was our lowest rating.

D- Drinkability is good! If this beer wasn't so rare I would like one as offten as possible! Goes down nice and smooth and leaves a nice warm feeling in your chest!


Tom and Analise

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

Opaque, black pour into a DFH Snifter. Dark tan head sticks around for a long time with a persistent collar on the beer.
I thought the alcohol was going to dominate the aromas, but chocolate accents emerge along with some booziness. Dark fruits soaked in some kind of liquor weigh in too.
Slightly bitter chocolate dominates the flavor. Boozy alcohol is part of the flavor as well. Roasted malt flavors and increasing hop bitterness emerge as the beer warms up.
Decent mouthfeel with a touch of warming from the alcohol, but I have to admit that it is well masked for it's strength.
Not my favorite RIS, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a viscose engine oil coloring with a 1 finger creamy cinnamon tinted head that was flat and smooth as it leveled off. Retention was good with a mostly lasting coating that remained for the remainder of the drink. A small sheet lacing that slides down the glass as the drink recedes finishes things off here.

S: The nose had a strong display of dark fruit (prunes, dates, and raisins) with a earthy moss and mineral notes. Some syrup and scorched wort add sweetness while a booziness of rum raisin was smooth and light. Hints of dry semi-sweet chocolate rounds things out. Overall the aroma was very polished and refined with a smooth delivery, but ultimately was boozy and full of dark fruit.

T: The flavor was dark burnt molasses with a earthy moss and fresh minerality The initial flavor was strongly bittered and full of dark fruit (prunes, dates, and raisins). A boozy rum raisine and milky creamer with wet lemons also add into the mix. A semi-sweet dry chocolate and a scorched sweet worty flavor adds sweetness as well. There is an apparent booziness from the 13%abv but not as much as one might think, it is really hidden here behind a very smooth flavor that goes down effortlessly. Bitter roasted barley, with dry milky creamer and a touch of charred wet woodiness also is well noted here. Overall the flavor was boozy but well mannered and with flashes of scorched malt sweetness and full of dark fruit well suited per style.

M: a good deal of carbonation with a edgy feel and texture. A fresh wet burnt earthy woodiness and roasted barley laces the tongue after the swallow leaving a dark and earthy bitter feel. The consistency was medium full slick with a warming of alcohol and a light chalkiness. This was perhaps the drinks best feature.

D: Very smooth drinkability especially considering the 13%abv which went down like a 7-8%. Well toned and you never feel the alcohol coming. Amazing drinkabilty considering its relatively high abv. Overall this was a good drink but probably not worth the price of admission $10 for a 12oz bottle. Good but ultimately not that good.

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Photo of wl0307
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml slim brown bottle, with a BB date beyond comprehension; served lightly-chilled in Hapkin's bulb-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a near-black hue, coming with an unknown level of carbonation and a super thick dark tan froth to last throughout the drink, leaving uneven lacing as it patiently retreats. Simply elegant.
S: the aroma is as "deep" as a dark ale can get, not extremely roasty or bold, but rather like a well-aged English RIS - vanilla and chocolates abound, but not really sweet, while sour black-prunes, marinated berries, faint staleness of old wood barrels, and aromatic tobacco manifest themselves in a truly elegant way. At the second layer of the aroma goes yeasty saltiness with a touch of chilli, while roasted/dark malts have almost dissolved amidst the fruitiness and sour elements.
T: a decently sour foretaste consisting of high-quality prunes and dark fruits precedes a clean palate of sweet roastiness of black/tarred malts, light cocoa, bitter-chocolate-flavoured toffee, and licorice-like herbal notes; the hop bitterness gradually chimes in along with bitter nuts and sweet coffee, resulting in a truly soothing and lightly chewy palate in the finish. But the quoted "100 IBU" is almost overly camouflaged indeed, if not printed wrong on the beer label ...?!
M&D: the mouthfeel is really really good, showing very little intervention of carbonation but still healthy & soothing in terms of fizziness. The 13%abv. alc. is definitely nowhere to be found, not even in the form of a belated kickback... In many ways, this RIS rings a bell of a young vintage English RIS that shows a good level of staleness and a settled profile of roastiness, albeit with a little bit more yeast presence, while the texture is still "young" and not quite to the level of being oily or lubricant. All in all, I find it a truly remarkable and well-crafted strong imperial stout that might NOT be so appealing to those hopheads who crave for their excessive hops even in this rather traditional beer style.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 1,797 ratings