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 mntlover
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black deep black with no light showing through. A finger size head falls to a ring, no real lace left behind.

Aroma is wonderful roasted malts, black liquorish, coffee and chocolate covered cherries with a nice alcohol note that just adds to the aroma. Nice sweet inviting smooth even though alcohol notes are present.

Taste is roasted malts noted alcohol that seems to lighten it all a bit. Candy sugars, coffee, liquorish notes chocolate cherries raisins. Finishes with herbal minty and a touch of grassy hops.

Mouthfeel is not as big as you would imagine only medium with carbonation but it is still tingly.

Drinkability is a different but enjoyable stout with a Belgian influence, want to think merlin48 for sharing this one with me.

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, active pour. Almost got away from me. The head is the color of cocoa powder. Maybe a shade or two darker. The beer itself is black, and I see some light colored floaters just inside the glass. They are there, but not very easy to spot. Head has dropped to nothing, more or less. Some activity on top looks sort of like a poured cola soft drink. Really active.

Nose is dark chocolate, kind of chalky smelling. Whatever that means. Malted milk balls? Rich fruit aroma too. Plums, and I'm picking up a strong cherry facet. Sweet. I wonder if any of this beer has been soured, I'm picking up a bit. Hope it's not just my sample.

Seems a little muted at first, and I'm sampling it rather warm. Apparently it needed to warm up just a bit more though. Some interesting flavors here. Apples, tobacco, pepper in small doses. A bit of coffee, and chocolate too. A bit of that big ABV is there as well. This is probably good for a warning, as this beer doesn't feel anywhere in the neighborhood of 13%. I could get into trouble if I had more than 1 of these. Velvet smooth mouthfeel. Low carbonation, which I didn't expect from the active appearance.

My opinion: This beer has more twists and turns than Chinatown. But unlike that great movie, this doesn't deliver. Well above average in appearance and smell, and to an extent, mouthfeel and drinkability. Where this beer falls short, is the taste, and that's a bit of a drawback.

I was impressed by Pannepot, but this just didn't do it for me. I'll have to try more from these guys. Cheers.

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

11.2 oz. bottle via trade. Thanks to Javi. Poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Black liquid and a tan head that is vast. Huge thick head was unexpected from a giant 13% ABV stout, I was caught off guard. I reckon this is due to the Belgian yeast, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make one hell of a gorgeous stout. Geneorus lacing.

S: Pears, chocolate, pleasant and mild Belgian yeast, candi sugar. Much more fruity and light than most enormous roasty, bourbony imperial stouts.

T: Bursting with pears, dark fruits, maybe even hints of currants. Warming with a crazy fruity Belgian yeast. Bittering hops mix with a sweetness that is almost cloying but actually very pleasant. Rich roasty malt finish to the sweetness. Rich, fruity, and sweet. Unique.

M: Smooth and medium-thick in the world of imperial stouts. Carbonated but not prickly, goes well with the sweetness.

D: Considering it comes in an 11.2 oz. bottle, this is very easy drinking. No problem drinking an entire bottle, though I did share some with my bro. Very sweet but matched by a great fruitiness and roasty finish smooths it out. I would not object to changing this into bomber format. Very big flavors, but basically no alcohol essence.

Unique, enjoyable, sweet and fruity but balanced with a roast and incredibly smooth for such a big beer.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks mrkrispy! Pours dark brown (almost black) into my snifter, with dark crimson highlights. The light brown head is creamy and about 2 fingers with good retention.

The aroma is pretty muted, and the beer is at least 55 degrees. Nondescript, muddled malt with some sugar. There's a little chocolate and coffee. There are some pretty noticeable metallic notes.

The flavor...hmmm. Herbal hop notes with some milk chocolate, and a little sourness. Once again the metallic notes are present.

The beer is medium full bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is thin and watery.

This is the second time I've had this beer. I don't get it.

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

06/19/09- Aquired in a trade with ygtbsm94.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

Appearance- Pretty black in color with a mocha color large bubbled and three fingered head. Leaves some minor spotting of lace behind.

Smell- Nice combo of semi-dark chocolate, light coffee aroma and a small dusting of hops.

Taste- Extremely well balanced beer with a nice bittersweet chocolate base followed by a pinch of espresso and a slight added hop punch. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel- Nice lower carbonation level. Very light hop bitterness in the aftertaste, mostly a light chocolate dusting.

Drinkability- Can't even detect the 13% alcohol level. Very drinkable and quite balanced and flavorful. Not the best RIS I have ever had, but among the best.

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

Thank you so much to johnmichaelsen for sharing this fabled brew with me.

A - Poured from a small bottle. Black as a stout on a moonless night, big light brown head ever so slowly dissipates.

S - Jarring, intense roasted smell with Belgian characterisitcs that I can't quite put my finger on.

T - Simply amazing. It seems as if every characteristic of a great stout is in here, and then some. My palate is not sophisticated to pick out each subtle flavors, but there are a lot of them in this brew. Simply the most complex stout I've ever tasted that hides the high alcohol very well.

M - Thick, sticky, robust, very chewy.

D - The high level of tastes and alcohol make this is areal sipping beer, so I can't give it super-high drinkability marks. However, it is superb.

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

Pours ultra dark with a HUGE stiff dark brown head that resists fading like an ice cream sundae. Sheets of 3D Belgian lacing left behind every mouthful. The really good; licorice, molasses and a hint of chocolate...a supporting role as opposed to the star attraction. The mouth feel is nicely carbonated, somewhat oily with a tang of alcohol. Full flavored, the nose is repeated in the taste. A nicely balanced licorice/molasses blend. Coats the tongue well and adding a mild roast malt note behind. The 13% ABV warms some but is not distracting. A really fine beverage...highly recommended!

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

Appearance: Complete Black, can't see through - two fingers of tan head retention.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel, Little hint of bittersweet Chocolate, hint of mokah, black raspberry, dark cherry.

Taste: Tobacco, Vanilla bean, Molasses, Caramel, roasted nut

Mouthfeel: my favorite part - creamy - can't even taste the 13.00% alcohol.

Drinkability: Highly Drinkable - not heavy. I highly recommend - it is unbelievable. Quite possibly my favorite beer I've ever had.

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

Been looking forward to trying this for awhile. Pours a pitch black with dark tan head, more carbonation than I was expecting on the pour. Gorgeous lacing clings to the snifter.

Nose has modest aroma of coffee, sweet chocolate and some alcohol. Mouthfeel adds so much to this beer. Big and balanced, surprisingly creamy, nicely carbonated.

Taste is dry up front with baking chocolate, burnt caramel in the middle, warming alcohol on the finish. Bitter aftertaste detracts somewhat from the overall performance. The balance of the IBUs and malt hides the 13% remarkably well but is still a sipper due to the size. Enjoy this for it is a rockstar and knows it.

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

Most beers don't live up to the hype, I've gotten used to this. So as I purchased my 10 dollar, 330cl bottle, I was not expecting anything that revolutionized beer to me. It happened anyway. The big kicker on this beer is the thick and creamy mouth, it really brings together all facets of this wonderful brew into an orgasmic package. Dangerously drinkable, the chocolate and belgianesque funkiness really play like best friends here. My words do no justice, believe the hype.

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Photo of Risser09
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge - Lot A, Best Before April 2013

Appearance: Pours a jet black that makes no room for light at all. The head is tan and an enormous 2.5". Tremendous retention and lots of thick, foamy lace. Awesome for a RIS.

Smell: Sweet barley, licorice, cereal grain, and surprisingly, some deep cherry flavors. Wildly different than what I expected. Nice.

Taste: Sweet burnt barley malt, licorice, leather and booze. A bomb of a beer. The booze is the finisher that provides all the warmth you should need.

Mouthfeel: Pretty medium bodied, lots of burnt flavor and some carbonation. Lots of booze that soaks into your skin.

Drinkability: Pretty good overall. Probably way overrated when you consider the onslaught of fives that it originally got. A great beer though.

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Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 bottle pours a pitch black body with a small tan head that quickly falls into some sheet lacing.

Complex aroma has fusel alcohol, cherries and prunes, Vienna coffee, dark chocolate, and a herbal hops note.

Mouthfeel is medium full bodied with subdued carbonation.

Taste opens with a nutty dark chocolate note, followed by roasty coffee, powdered cocoa, and dried dark fruits. Alcohol is noticed, but is concealed pretty well considering the strength. A serious hop presence makes itself known, with a herbal hop element. Candy sugars are also easy to identify. Finishes with a dark roasty bitterness.

Seems to have influences of a Belgian tripel with the candy sugars, and of a Belgian IPA with the hopping. Very interesting and complex, but not one of my top ten stouts.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip glass. Only got about 2-3oz, as I was sharing with a few friends. Body is a deep dark black with garnet highlights, topped by a dark tan head. Aroma of chocolate malt, a light hoppy bitterness, and some sweet dark fruit. Palate has a strong raisin component up front, along with bittersweet chocolate, dark malt, and a whiff of bittering hops. Lingering raisin sweetness lasts for a while on the finish. Body is thick, rich, and creamy, but not oily. A thoroughly enjoyable offering from a consistently great brewery.

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

330 ml. bottle poured into my Dogfish goblet. Let sit open about 20 minutes before pouring.

Initial appearance tells me this is a very dark beer. Dark, almost black chocolate, but definite tinges of brown when held up to the light. Very frothy dark tan head of millions (I counted) of teeny-tiny bubbles. Decent retention. Ring of head stayed nicely. Tight lacing breaks up rather quickly and disipates in a minute or two.
Big malty chocolate nose with minimal alchohol coming through. At least initially. Dark ripe fruits, raisins, anise, bitter and sweet.
Tastewise, not as strong as I had imagined it would be. A level of sourness comes through the bitter chocolate bite. Makes this not as strong tasting as other Russian Imperial Stouts. Also makes it a little more drinkable. Not a huge mouthfeel. Not necissarily thin, but doesn't stick to the palate either.
Very nice RIS. 13% never makes itself known. Very smooth for a beer of this strength. Maybe expected a bit more body. I traded a Dark Lord for this. Would I again? No. But I'd definitely drink it again.

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Photo of firkinhophead
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle in a snifter at nearly room temperature. Thanks to Rusty Diamond for the hookup!

Pours a dark purplish-brown that allows some light to come through around the edges. A loose, active head settles to a ring that revives nicely with a swirl to form a tight foam that is clingy but not particularly sticky.

aroma of earthy malts, alcohol, char, wet coffee grounds, some pruney, over-ripe fruit.

tastes of roasted malts, sweet alcohol, coffee, and herbs. Medicinal astringency in the finish. Quite dry, with only a flash of dark fruit. Belgian yeast lends a funky tang.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than anticipated, but this is a highly attenuated stout. Hot alcohol on the breath. Carbonation is a tad prickly, adding to the medicinal character.

An interesting take on the style and worth a try, but to me it lacks complexity to match its big alcohol bite and bitter finish. Would certainly improve with age.

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Photo of Derek
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Produced by the Deca Brewery, best before April 2013. Imported by Horizon Wines, Inc. Canada.

A: Black with a tan head, great retention & lacing. Very impressive for its strength.

S: Burnt espresso, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, tar, pine, pleasant fruitiness (plums, dates, cherries) & certainly some sherry-like alcohol in the nose.

T: Black strap molasses, espresso, great fruitiness (plums, figs & pear), burnt toffee, with hints of a pleasant roasted sourness, soy-sauce, tar-like resin & tobacco; plenty of bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Very full, thick, creamy body with a slight roasted acidity. Incredible body for something this strong, with very little residual sweetness. Carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of moderate.

D: Amazingly drinkable for its strength.

I'm often not a fan of stouts over 10% abv, as they start to loose their stoutness. This is by far the best high alcohol stout I've had. Blows away Dark Lord & the Abyss, IMHO. I'm guessing it's not actually anywhere near 13% though.

Big thanks the Wildone for this CanBIF5 treat!

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Photo of everetends
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle I only have rhinos00 to thank for. This was one of the many amazing beers I found in the BIF box he sent me. Serving this one up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours pretty much what I am looking for in a Russian Imperial Stout. Nice dark and flat black color. This beer is not letting any light through whatsoever. The beer produced about three quarters of a finger of head. THe head is a nice mocha brown and has the lasting retention I am expecting. Falls to about a half finger but it throws up some nice and serious lace on the glass. Just has that classic RIS look.

S: The nose is just a bit of a let down to be honest. Getting first thing out of the gate being some serious booze presence. This just screams some serious alcohol in here. Then there is a decent amount of earthy grains coming out. Maybe a little bit of some dark fruit and chocolate. With that said, thats about all that is happening here. This is really booze dominant and I should have probably waited a little while to drink this one.

T: Gotta admit that the taste is much better. I was really worried with the nose. Getting some pretty dark and nicely roasted malts. Some chocolate and caramel for sure. There is a nice touch of vanilla pushing its way out as well. Then a touch of espresso coffee mingles with those dark fruit (cherry, plum and raspberry) flavors you expect from a belgian brewed beer. The belgian qualities are nice in the yeast category as well. There is a decent fruity candied presence here as well. The hops come out in the end with some of that booze I got from the nose, but the booze is no where as dominant here. In the back there is a touch of burning wood as well. Much better.

M: Full bodied brew that is on the lighter side. Still has a nice wieght and creaminess to it. Carbonation is kept in check but still adds a touch of crispness. ABV is totally there and has a good amount of heat in the palate, throat and absolutely warms you up in the ole tum tum. Aftertaste is some dark fruit with some chocolate.

D: This is actually a pretty easy drinking 13% brew. I am constantly reminded it is 13% when I take a whiff, but otherwise its not that bad in the other categories. It goes down pretty easily and the warmth is rather comforting. If I had a 750ml bottle, I would be more than happy to tackle it. The flavors are nice and just a touch different from your typical RIS, which is always nice. Good brew.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from a bottle into my snifter.

The appearance is black with a thick tan head that is a little lighter than other imperial stouts. As the head fades there is a decent amount of lacing that is very slow moving down the sides of the glass.

The smell is not very impressive. There is definitely some caramel and coffee present, but it's not very strong. The end of the smell has a light roastiness.

The taste is much better than the smell thankfully. The caramel and roasted coffee flavor really pop at the beginning of the taste. There is also some vanilla and the taste finishes with some roasty goodness and a nice amount of hop flavor.

The mouthfeel is superb, smooth, not too heavy and very well carbonated. The beer is surprisingly light and crisp for a stout with this kind of appearance and there is no alcohol present in the taste. This is a very drinkable beer and I wish I had more than one.

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Photo of John_M
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Ebenezer's the other day.

The beer pours the expected rich, dark black color with very impressive head retention and lacing. Unlike the bottled version, I get a considerable aroma of chocolate, cherry and coffee. On tap this beer smells pretty nice. On the palate this beer is flat out deliciuos, and really doesnt' taste all that much different from the bottled version. While there is a goodly amount of rich chocolate and some coffee aroma, I also get quite a bit of cherry and plum flavor. The intermix of flavors is just lovely, and I really am impressed by how light, soft and creamy on the palate this beer is. Given the 13% abv, drinkability truly is amazing. While you can tell the alcohol is up there, there is nothing hot, heavy or tiring about this beer, though perhaps it wasn't the best idea to order a second glass (but how often does one get to have this beer on tap at Ebenezer's).

The more I get to have this beer, the more impressed I've become. This is delicious stuff.

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

Appearance - Pitch black, 1 finger tan head with some splotchy lacing.
Smell - Caramel and chocolate.
Taste - Roasted and caramel malts, rich chocolate with a smooth transition to bitter black coffee.
Mouthfeel - Silky with a thick, medium-body (there was an unexpected, but pleasant lightness to this beer) and light carbonation.
Drinkability - A little bit of heat and rather rich, but still very drinkable.

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Photo of colts9016
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this PhylCA21, thank you for the bottle.

Poured into a pint glass at 52 degrees.

Appearance: A very dark black color in the beer. There is a 2 finger head that is massive. The head is a medium brown color that creamy and foamy. There is a lot of bubbles on the side of the glass. The clarity of the beer is non existent.

Nose: A very nice dark roasted with chocolate, espresso, molasses, raisins and caramel and black malt. There is a very nice hint of floral, and citrus and wood. I also could smell phenols and alcohol. There is also the burnt characteristics. .

Taste: A very heavy roasted dark malt, black malts, chocolate, espresso, a touch of molasses, raisins, toffee, phenols, and a touch of alcohol. There is an aggressive hops that give is some floral, burnt, and wood characteristics.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is carbonated, heavy, thick and chewy. The body of the beer is heavy and thick. The finish on the beer is full and pleasant. I have been waiting to try this beer and I am very pleased with. I really enjoyed this beer a lot.

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

Served in my Uprising Chalice at Novare Res' First Anniversary Party. The beer lives up to its name, it is black as night. There is a tan head that settled to a thin coating that lasted until all the beer was gone. It has a roasted malt smell that I rather enjoyed. The first thing that I noticed about the taste was a chocolaty sweetness, followed by roasted malts (of course, this could be more from the aroma than the taste) and a bit of caramel. The beer is 13% alcohol and you can taste it and feel it's warmth, but it isn't overpowering or distracting; in fact, it's quite nice. The beer has a heavy body, but is very drinkable. You don't want to consume this one too quickly, even though it is tempting. This exceptional beer should be enjoyed slowly. Seek out a bottle as soon as possible, or just head to Ebenezer's Pub and get it on tap.

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

This poured a nearly opaque black with tan head. It smelled like dark chocolate and prunes, with some creamy vanilla and grape and a hint of coffee. It tasted like bitter dark chocolate and sweet prunes, with some roasted coffee with cream. It was somewhat thick with mild carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had an interesting smell and flavor. It tasted very clean and masked the alcohol disturbingly well. It had good body too, but not as full as desired. The prune/grape character really threw me off and kept me from loving this, and there wasn't much depth or complexity beyond that. Definitely an enjoyable stout, but it didn't quite seem to live up to the hype.

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Photo of BZero007
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recived in a trade from bmanning Thanks!

Poured in to my Portsmouth Tulip glass. The apperance was very surprising as I expected more of a dark belgium look and taste to it. The beer poured a very thick and black color with a serious amount of Head. The head was a light brown color and helped releas allot of the aroma. The aroma was mainly a sweet chocolate and dark fruits. The thickness of the brew was actually decernable from the aroma. The taste was a very thick stout that was a welcome surprise. Again I expected something totally different and was pleasantly surprised. The taste came threw with allot of chocolate and dark fruits in the background. The carbonation level was a perfect level and helped lift allot of flavor in the brew. The only down side was this was not a larger bottle that I had....Will be getting more later in the future. Must have stout.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma - Sweet cherries

Appearance - Poured a dark black with a dark tan head with plenty of carbonation.

Taste - Malty roast chocolate coffee with unmistakable bitterness. A good amount of sweetness. Not what I would consider a complex beer but definitely a big one.

Mouthfeel - Thick but with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability - Not too bad but at $9.99 for an 11.2 oz beer maybe just once a year. . . maybe.

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