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Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
1,790 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: 1,790 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of denimdemon
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this near Cocoa Beach in 2010.

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle, lot is A 6 BB.

Appearance: A very dense brown-black body with a good 2 fingers worth of foam.

Smell: Nose full of sweet chocolate, some coffee, figs, raisins and dark fruits.

Taste: Dates, candied fruit, and faint coffee. While good, it really lacks in complexity and depth.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth for the ABV and has a strong start but the back end doesn't hold up to the promise. Could be fuller.

Overall: Doesn't live up to the hype IMO. For the strength of the ABV, the style and the pedigree of the brewery, i expected better. Good but not great by any means.

 639 characters

Photo of LambicKing
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of kayrex
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of cvm4
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #14

A - Pours very black, just like any stout. There's some tan bubbles floating around but not much of a head.

S - I'm picking up a smell almost like a red wine. Very fruity and complex smelling.

T - Dark cherries, raisins, plums with a dark chocolate undertone. The aftertaste is when the bitter cocoa and coffee show up. There's a lot going on in here and it is melding together wonderfully.

M - Great carbonation, just heavy enough to coat your mouth.

O - A sipper of a beer. If you're not open minded and expecting something else then you won't like it. From what I gather, this beer should be aged and I could only imagine it'll get much better.

 663 characters

Photo of jegross2
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. Black Albert is probably De Struise's best known beer, and it was one of the four beers that was blended to make the Baller Stout that I reviewed a month or so ago. I have been looking forward to drinking this beer for a long time.
Score: 97

Bottle marked from Lot B-6-BB, which, according to this helpful website, means that this brew is from June of 2007. I received this as part of a trade with BeerAdvocate user readbaron back in early January 2011. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 02/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a super dark brown, almost pitch black-like, color with a finger of creamy brown/mocha colored head that quickly settles into a decently thick (maybe 1/5 finger) still-creamy layer that covers three quarters of the top of the beer. The head stays like this for a little while before ultimately settling into a ring around the glass. There is a very faint layer of dark brown highlight atop the body. Excellent lacing with solid retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Holy Moses. This one smells like a dense sweet chocolate dessert you'd have after a nice steak dinner. Tons of thick, rich and complex chocolate aromas and sweet dark fruit. There's a nice blend of fudge, bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate and roasted chocolate. Raising/fig, plum, light hops and a really faint note of dark cherry and currant too. The dark cherry aroma grows in the nose as the beer warms. A light blackberry aroma seems to come out as well as the beer warms. Complementary aromas of coffee grounds and oak in the background. There's a hint of alcohol ester towards the back of the nose as well. I could smell this beer all day. 4.5/5

Taste: Oh wow. Complex, rich and satisfying. Very flavorful and balanced. The taste largely follows the nose, but with much more than a mere hint of currant/dark cherry on the palate. My first impression is roasted chocolate, dark cherry and a hint of blackberry. A sweet raisin/plum and thick, bitter chocolate contrast really balances out the acidity and light tartness of the blackberry/cherry flavors, rendering Black Albert really smooth and creamy. Fudge, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder coat the midpalate, along with light amounts of coffee, oak and a little spice to balance out the sweeter chocolate and dark fruit flavors. There's a very mellow "alcohol" flavor present as well, but it strangely enough works really well with the flavors combinations of the beer. The chocolate and dark fruit is so rich that it is almost chewy. The more I drink this brew, the more I think the flavor comes in waves. The first wave is roasted chocolate, followed by some cherry/currant/blackberry, followed by dark fruit, coffee, oak and more chocolate. Finishes with flavors of roasted bitter chocolate, dry plum, some coffee, and light cherry. Roasted chocolate lingers on the back of the tongue. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Perfect stout mouthfeel. Medium-full bodied with light carbonation -- just enough to perk the berry/cherry flavors on the palate. Very chewy, thick and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Moderately sweet finish. 5/5

Overall: One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have ever had the pleasure to try. That says a lot considering that Russian Imperial Stout are my favorite style of beer. I need to get another bottle of this stuff.

Recommendation: Seek this one out at all costs. The flavors here should have mass-appeal. Even to sours lovers. If you like The Abyss, you need to get your hands on a bottle of this stuff.

Pairings: I feel like this beer would work really well with a warm chocolate cake because the cherry/berry flavors would contrast the chocolate elements, as they do in the beer itself, while the chocolate/coffee flavors of Black Albert would complement the chocolate cake. I could also see this one with some caramelized onions and steak or as a digestif.

Cost: $9.99 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

 3,942 characters

Photo of d4radio
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of dasmusik
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of chrispoint
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fills a Dogfish Head snifter dark brown, almost black. No light passes under a tall, dense, creamy, chestnut brown head that never dissipates, but leaves big patches of lace.

Rich roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate dominate with notes of dates, spiced rum and raisins. Black Albert warms well.

Roasted malt and chocolate are up front. Molasses, oak, cigar and charred beef follow through and the finish is short and fruity. Black Albert has amazing balance for 100 IBU beer and becomes more complex with warmth.

Creamy smooth texture and full body. Alcohol is quite present but less than others I have had at 13%. The carbonation is soft and there is a dry finish.

This makes for a great reading beer, but would also work well with long conversations, steak or ice cream.

 781 characters

Photo of Beezee
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of John11486
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4/5  rDev -6.1%

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

Batch 14.

Pour: Dark black with a big, creamy, dark tan head that lasts for the entirety of this drinks' life.

Nose: Dark chocolate, fudge brownie, cherry pits, slight banana, fruit esters, and Belgian spice.

Taste: Opposite of the nose, the Belgian characteristics or spice, clove, and banana come out but are overwhelmed with dark chocolate and brownie batter, also slight mint.

Mouthfeel: Fantastically, velvety smooth. This is near perfect here for carbonation.

Overall: Great beer. This is SN excellent RIS with a Belgian yeast strain twist.

 551 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottle says B 6 BB, which other BAs seem to say means it was bottled in 2007. Big thanks to BA mmcgrath for trading me this bottle!

Appearance: Frantic, "oh no the bottle is gushing!" pour yields a 2 inch, frothy and bubbly tan head that appears to be permanent. Pours a solid black and leaves a few light lacing streaks.

Smell: Coffee and cocoa, with molasses and some possible oxidation (I'm a bit in doubt about the oxidation aroma, since there's no trace of oxidation in the flavor). Dark chocolate and molasses are the main smells, with some Belgian yeast highlighting them. Opens up with some aromatic dark fruit and coffee with time.

Strongly leaning toward giving a 4.5 or even 5.0 for smell, due to this sort of intoxicating, deeply inviting, very potent caramel smell that emerges with time. Holding back since the beer is otherwise a bit less complex than other great Russian Imperial Stouts.

Taste: Tangy up front (herbal hops, molasses, unidentifiable "tanginess"), then--whoa--waves of beautiful flavor in the finish. Caramel, then a heavy, nutty (almost like pistachios) flavor of roasted malt that stops well short of being too bitter, with a long coffee and caramel aftertaste. Nice.

Subsequent sips follow the same pattern of slightly bland up front leading to an explosion of goodness. Great sipper of a beer. Extra points for the 13% ABV being expertly hidden... I had a 10% ABV beer last night that tasted as hot as Bacardi 151 in comparison to this.

With warmth, the flavor up front opens up as well, yielding dark fruit flavors and chocolaty coffee that highlight the herbal hops and tangy molasses well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied at first (a bit watery), then thick and creamy through the finish. Almost no alcohol heat. Not a lot of bitterness. Maybe a touch overcarbonated.

Overall: This is a very nice beer. Impressive (lots of flavor, well-hidden alcohol, well-balanced sweetness) and enjoyable. Not quite as excellent as Struise's Pannepot, but close.

 2,022 characters

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

From 330mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/3/12
*From notes

Thanks to the trader who got extra'ed me this a while back.

-- Batch 0 --

A: Dark. I mean really, really dark. A generous pour yields an epic 3.25 finger cascading and creamy head that never really fades away.

S: Straight brownie batter.

T: Quite unique. It's a bit rustic, with hints of rich earth up front. As it moves further back, the brownie batter quality of it hits the the mid in an agressive manner. The finish reveals a staunch Belgian yeast profile, with mountains of ground cocoa in the background. As it warms, black cherry skins become evident.

M: This isn't up to the jaw dropping levels of some in style, yet it holds it's own. There's a bit too much fizz, but as it sits and I swirl it in my glass, it calms a bit, and becomes a bit smoother in the mouth.

O: Black Albert is a pretty spectacular RIS. It's got layers of complexity that many American offerings just can't compete with. This is highly recommneded, and one I look forward to having again.

*Allow this to warm to room temperature for full enjoyment.

 1,100 characters

Photo of haz77
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lot C J 2015

A - Pours jet black with three fingers of thick tan head. This slowly recedes to a thin cap, but can be easily refreshed. A very nice start.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, floral hops, stewed plums, a collection of sweet dried fruit, slight plasticky phenol notes, cinnamon buried right at the back. Good, if not hugely mouth watering in the way that their quads are.

T - An initial mouthful of sweet dried fruit and a hint of apple evolves into caramel. This is joined by the acidity of red berries before a rounded coffee finish, with touches of tobacco and caramel in the aftertaste. Slightly herbal hops are also present and these flavours linger for some time. The 13% ABV doesn't make itself known anywhere in the flavour.

M - Once again with a De Stuise brew a deft hand is at work here. Rich, full, rounded, velvety feel coats the mouth without ever becoming overwhelmingly syrupy. An ever-present tingle of carbonation finally gains the upper hand right at the end and slices though. Exceptional.

D - It would be very easy to get bent out of shape on a beer that hides its alcohol so well. Finesse and a clever touch are present everywhere. They are fast becoming my favourite brewery.

 1,209 characters

Photo of Soneast
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of aflyershckyfan
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of MisledTitan
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of shagal
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of lbour
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Steggun
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 1,790 ratings
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