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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:
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Ratings: 1,790 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle, Brewers Droop, Bristol - Pours dark black with a large tanned foamy head. Medium carbonation. Smell - coffee, dark stoned fruits, light alcohol. Taste - coffee, roasted malts to the fore with warm alcoholic finish. Fantastic imperial stout. One of the best I've tasted.

 284 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of Fluke828
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to this one...

11.2 FL OZ.(330 ml right?) Bottle -> CBS Snifter (about half)
Bottle Date: LOT: B 6 BB (from what I understand this is June 2007?)

A->very dark body with a tan colored head about a finger's worth, persistent lacing with tremendous legs on this beer....

S-> Immediately get some very sweet dark fruits, almost like a very dark cherry/chocolate funk. Signature Struise I suppose... Roasted malts and faint chocolate smoke upon further examination...lots of complexity here...

T->Very sweet chocolate up front, slight bitterness and the faint tartness of Struise yeast with a fruity flavor turns toward a bit of coffee flavor but can't seem to shake the black cherry taste all the ay through. Finishes fairly dry with a creamy roasted aftertaste.

M-> Felt a bit on the thin side at first but was likely still too cold despite leaving this out on the counter for about 15 minutes before opening and pouring. definitely thickened up and actually started to semi-gush right as I went to tip the bottle to begin pouring. Lots of pent up carbonation over 5.5 years I guess....I actually enjoyed the lively carbonation.

O-> A tremendous beer. I didn't even realize I had a five and a half year old beer sitting in my cellar until after I opened this. having never had a Black Albert, I am very impressed. Quite enjoyable. Perfect thickness, not syrupy and the alcohol is melded perfectly. Great example of the style with that unique Struise twist. Chalk up another "Highly recommend" from this guy....

 1,553 characters

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

A dark brown, non-transparant beer with a huge off-white head that lasts forever.

Smell is roasted with coffee, molasses and chocolate. An array of dark smells with notes of bread crust, bakers chocolate and fresh ground coffee. This is followed by a nice earthy hoppy smell which smell like European hops, noble and spicy.

Taste of strong alcohol, not the 13%, but still a strong alcohol kick. A sweet maltiness with the roasted coffee and chocolate and molasses. The dark malts give the beer a nice malt bitterness that is actually quite mild, but at the same time, giving the beer a great balance. Mouthfeel is sticky and warming. The hops are bitter and spicy and there is a good hoppy aroma in here. Body is full.

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

Big up to Phyl21ca for the trade.

Pours a beautiful thick black, can't see any highlights at all in this one. Three fingers of mocha foam that drop to about a finger -- super creamy texture to the head, looks nitrogenated almost, or like a mousse. Awesome!

Smells like stone fruits & alcohol, very rich smell. Taste is very fruity: getting a lot of apple, plum, raisin, with some deep roasted malts & just a tiny bit of smokiness.

Mouthfeel is full but not motor oil -- there's enough fluidity & action from the big bubble head to create a little tingle.

I'm getting through this one pretty fast: it's one to savor, but the flavor's so enticing I want to go back for more each time. I have a feeling the high ABV's going to hit me all at once. I like this a lot, but would never guess that it's a stout: way too much fruit flavor, not much in the way of malt/roast/coffee/chocolate character that I look to in a stout. Don't get me wrong, I really like this & can appreciate it on its own terms, but wouldn't call it a stout.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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 Cmack15
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh the famous Black Albert. Destruise is one of the top breweries in Belgium and well this is one of their fine offerings. Nice thick jet black brew that looks and smells great. Your nose is greeted with the aromas of chocolate, dark malts, dark fruits, and the yeast. A nice thick chewy mouthfeel to this beer. A session beer no, but a true decadent beverage yes. Seek this out and enjoy.

 397 characters

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

500th review!

A: Pitch black with a beautiful 1 1/2 finger mocha colored head. Great retention and some spotty lacing.

S: At first, all I smelled was raisin and some dark chocolate. But as it opens up a bit, I start to get espresso, fudge, dark fruit and hints of oak.

T: Lots of dark fruit and espresso, some rye bread, raisin, black licorice, charred malt and some hints of milk chocolate. Really complex and it only gets better as it warms. The mouthfeel is slick and velvety without being too syrupy and the beer hides the alcohol like a champ. Highly recommended.

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

Deep brown with a dark mocha colored head that fades quickly into a bubbly ring around the glass leaving spotty lacing.

Full of belgian yeast and spice with hints of milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, dark fruit, caramel, and earth.

Damn tasty and complex. Lovely roasted character with much more chocolatey flavors then the nose suggests and the belgian yeast and spicey quality are subdued from the nose. A sweet fruity character balances the roast nicely. Dark fruit flavors with hint of coffee and big alcohol yet in a nice way. Nicely carbonated with plum and chewy malts. Great balance and complexity. Nice.

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

Been looking forward to this for a while!
Since this one's only 11oz, I poured it into wine glasses.
Dark brown to black with a pretty rocky tan head. For 13%, that's pretty impressive.Not a ton of lacing as I work my way down, though.
Smells very much like an American stout. Roasted coffee and nuts, cocoa, molasses. Maybe a little booze, but not picking up Belgian yeast. I personally think that's a good thing as it can be out of place sometimes.
The taste is pretty divine. Molasses, hot cocoa, espresso, and a definite cherry brandy flavor. Not too sweet, but definitely not a dry one. There's a bit of peppery sour yeast in there, however it fits right in. If someone didn't point out it was Belgian, I doubt most people would notice.
Went down VERY quickly for 13%, but then again the small bottle plays a role in that. Very creamy texture, though.

I'd love to have more of this as it's great. Problem is, $10 for 11oz (of an uncommon beer) makes this something that isn't for every day. Hopefully a larger bottled version will be more common.

 1,052 characters

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

Imbibed a delicious snifter full the day after the epic Paxton dinner at Eb's. Goliath thickness and nice tight head profile. Aromas of stewed prunes, old tobacco, dates, raisins, sweet dark malts eminate. Nice viscosity, foretelling of a huge mouthfeel. The alcohol is hidden well, lots of flavors going on...Belgium notes abound, playing off the aromas. Smooth, without the killer finish of many RIS'. A superbly crafted brew that completes the 12 hour horizontal tasting of Albert, kabert and lord kabert.

 508 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nearly opaque dark brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head never quite reaches the anticipated Belgian standards and descends rather quickly, leaving some dots and dashes of lace

Smell: Coffee, dark chocolate, charcoal, tobacco and dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a blend of dark fruit (figs and prunes) and coffee, with a bit of dark chocolate thrown in for good measure; by mid-palate, the fruity hops start to assert themselves but, after the swallow, they seem an afterthought, taking a back stage to the roasty charcoal malt flavors; lots of tobacco on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation; a bit thinner than I expected, but that is the Belgian character

Drinkability: With all the hype around this beer, I was truly expecting something different; I would say that this is still quite a good beer, though it should not be judged head to head against the best US-brewed Russian Imperial Stouts - it has some subtle, Belgian elements that add a nice twist

 1,027 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 330ml bottle in a DFH snifter. Started at 50 degrees.

A deep, dark black with a moderate beige head that clings nicely to the glass. Aroma is oak and bourbon with some raisin. Flavor follows with oak and bourbon in the lead though not over the top. A variety of other supporting flavors (chocolate, fig, etc.) add a complexity and balance. A very creamy and silky feel with a moderate carbonation of very fine bubbles.

An outstanding beer with lots of complexity and fantastic flavor.

 501 characters

Photo of WormGod
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

A: Deep black/brown body... massive tan head... super retention and good lacing..

S: Chocolate and coffee... Distinctly belgian notes of figs, raisins and cherries... not detecting too much of the booze here in the nose

T: Much like the nose, coffee (and to a lesser extent chocolate) dominate the experience... nice highlights of dark fruits... again the booze, which I know is there, isn't shining through!!!

M: Somewhat viscous... flavor lingers for quite some time...

D: The 13% ABV, while relatively undetectable in the nose and flavor, made itself known as I tried to finish this guy off!

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

I picked up a few of these at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

A-Black as night; opaque with an off-white collar of foam. Nice head retention.

S-Initial aroma of dark, dried figs with a tinge of alcohol. No roast in the nose and no hops.

T-Starts sweet with a slight roast character. Fruit flavors of green apple, pear, raisins, and plum. Some earthy and coffee-like flavors in the background. The lack of roast, which is predictable in the RIS style leads me to believe that they are probably using a de-husked black malt such as carafa, or possibly even Sinimar. No hop flavor, but tons of bitterness. Finishes dry.

M-High carbonation. Medium bodied, with some alcohol warming.

D-Very drinkable for the gravity on this one. This beer is different. One cannot jump into this one thinking of it as an RIS...it's definitely not.

 827 characters

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

A special shout out to my friend and regular drinking buddy Dreadnaught33 for giving me this one last summer... I'm finally getting around to drinking it.

A: I poured this one pretty hard to generate some head and got about 1.5 finger or so thick... but I was probably cheating though. Nevertheless, the mocha color stayed afloat throughout the session... and then some!

S: I could literally smell this from a few feet away after I popped the bottle. Potency aplenty! Wonderful medley of dark fruit (first and foremost), molasses, soy sauce, and cocoa.

T: It was like a dark fruit and dark chocolate milkshake. Great stuff! A little bit of dessert-like saltiness in the middle, and EXTREMELY smooth (considering the ABV) on the finish.

M: About as thick as it gets. The carbonation was low, which was appropriate for this style, and the brew foam coated the glass ten-fold!

D: I would love to try this back-to-back with some of the most coveted RISs in the biz for a taste comparison. On this particular occasion, I felt that this was the bomb diggity!

 1,057 characters

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

I had been eying this beer for quite a while. It became one of my most sought after beers in my wants. MMAJYK pulled through big time with this kick ass extra in the Blind Beers BIF. Thanks again Marc!

A- To my surprise this beer really tries to sustain a head. There are many factors mounting against this, and they eventually win, but the huge abv, thick body and low carbonation really just compromise on a really wide collar and wide film of wispy bubbles. A little bit of the dark tan collar gets stuck to the glass. The beer is obviously fat and black.

S- After reading the label and learning a little bit about this beer, one would be foolish to assume this beer is an every day stout. Since "Belgian Royal Stout" is not a real classification it settles for Russian Imperial Stout. I feel Belgian Royal better suits this because it is nothing like an RIS.

I initially thought this might be infected until I read some reviews. The nose is tart and berry like at times. The yeast does crazy stuff, even bringing in some funk in the form of a wet hay smell. Lots of dark fruits, cherries and stuff, grassy hops and a crazy acidic character.

T- The taste is the same. A crazy acidic nature to it that rides over chocolate malts and some roast. It adds a tartness that borders on sour. I had to read some reviews to check the validity of this. Its very interesting. Its bitter, but actually fairly balanced. Alcohol obviously plays a part here.

Not your average big stout at all. Its very interesting. Ill leave this on my wants list. I would welcome another bottle.

 1,576 characters

Photo of sisuspeed
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 1,045 characters

Photo of Ginger-tipple
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A top quality example of a Belgian stout, officially a Imperial Russian Stout. Great hoppy flavor. The head disappeared a bit quickly. Had a full body which cleverly masked the high alcohol content.
Add a shot of Cassis and it is a winning cocktail.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 854 characters

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