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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Reviews: 856 | Ratings: 1,774
Photo of BeerTruth
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks tpd975 for this special brew. You're the best man!

330 ml. bottle poured into a snifter. The small picture of the pregnant woman drinking a beer crossed out is priceless.

Pours a beautiful thick black with a full two finger mocha colored head that takes a while to die down to a creamy layer that lasts. Decent wall of stick left on the sides of the glass, nice looking brew for sure. Damn this is a strong smelling beer. Lots of dark fruits; fig, cherries, blueberries, dates, raisins, and blackberries just to name a few. Along with the dark fruits is a huge boozy aroma, almost medicinal. Underneath all that is a bit of dark chocolate, yeast, and freshly roasted coffee. Taste starts off pretty smokey and roasted with a good amount of black coffee and bitter chocolate. The dark fruits come through midway with sweet molasses and hearty wheat bread. An interesting sting left in the mouth towards the end lingering into the toasted marshmallow aftertaste. Very silky soft feel with a medium to full body. Carbonation is steady and noticable, but doesn't take away from the beer. The bite it leaves in the mouth though is something I've never really experienced, unique for sure. For the 13% this is pretty drinkable, still a sipper, but the abv is quite hidden. After all the recognition this beer received, I'm a bit let down. One of a kind beer, but there are plenty out there I prefer over Black Albert. Maybe it's better on tap, I dunno? I'm just not that impressed.

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Photo of larsee01
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz glass bottle poured into Chimay chalice

A--Dark dark dark. Light doesn't escape it. Thin, creamy, brown head. Brownest I've seen. Thick.

S--Coffee. Fruity booze. Heavy molasses.

T--Nutty and boozy. Fruity warmth balanced by rich coffee that's mildly bitter. Yeah, I've mentioned booze twice, but this would definitely pass for less than 13%! I see this beer weighs in at 100 IBU, but it's so balanced on the heavy malt side that this finishes sweet.

M--A little on the thick side, but not sticky or heavy. Creamy. Full bodied and lingers on the palate, but not in an offensive way.

D--HOO boy. 1 and done. Not that it's the beer's fault. It's a KO and you know it.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a thick black color with a very minimal light brown caramel colored head. Almost no glass lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, spice, sugary sweetness and alcohol.

T: Very bitter with flavors of dark bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee, licorice, dried fruit and tar. In the middle you get the belgian yeast spice flavor and the finish comes up with the sugar candy sweetness. Lingering is a roasted flavor with bitterness and sweetness. Lots of flavors show up once the beer warms, so make sure you give it time.

M: Thick, dense and alcoholic. I can feel the 13% and the beer just lingers in the mouth.

D: Medium at best. This is a sipper and one tiny bottle is enough.

Overall a very good beer, but not really my bag. A bit too big for me with the alcohol and the super roasty flavors. Still I'm really glad I tried it.

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Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.6 oz. Deep black/brown pour with a lingering dark tan head. Roasty aroma, malt, light coffee. Chocolates and dark fruits also very apparent. Carbonation makes the mouthfeel a bit foamy, but not nearly as bad as some other Belgian Stouts, which frankly I have not cared for. This one thankfully, is much better. Flavor is very vinuous, chocolate covered fruits everywhere. Thick and slick, something to drink slowly. A slightly fruitier take in my opinion. Would not make it a regular, but worth trying.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Teresa's, Paoli, PA

They didn't have it in stock when we visited Ebenezer's, but I finally broke down and purchased the bottle from Teresa's fridge. Split between myself and the wife, I poured my half into an Ebenezer's snifter, and her half into a Pinocchio's tulip glass. The beer poured out a thick, oily black, with a pinky finger of chocolatey brown head that receded to a mere ringlet, leaving a few trails of lacing behind. Smell was booze-heavy, with notes of cocoa and dark fruits. Taste improved as the temperature rose, with a blend of dark roasted malts, molasses, rum-soaked dark fruits, charcoal, and hints of dark chocolate. Pretty complex, but still a bit more thin than I'd expect overall, so I felt the full range of flavors didn't completely come out like it should have. Medium body, and pretty drinkable, but not as good as say, a DFH World Wide Stout...not that many things are.

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Photo of kbeals
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
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 Sideswipe
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

A- Pitch black color, light doesn't penetrate. Two inches of mocha colored head recedes leaving a thick coaster.

S- Chocolate, dark fruit and roasted malt. Slightly sweet.

T- Chocolate and roast up front followed by sweet malt and dark fruit. Raisins, figs, plums.

M- Thick and chewy feel with a very creamy texture. Carbonation is nicely done. Slight alcohol presence in the finish, but considering the ABV it's remarkably well hidden.

O- I find Black Albert to be a very tasty RIS. It goes down easily and tastes better and better as it warms. Alcohol is masterfully disguised by the complex tapestry of flavors woven into this offering from De Struise.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A RIS? Huh, struck more as a Belgian quad than anything else. Obviously, like everyone else, I'd heard a ton about this beer before actually trying it. In fact, I'd even looked for this beer during a trip to Belgium a few months ago, albeit unsuccessfully.

This beer struck me as distinctly quad-like. Color was dark, head was minimal, aroma was faint (which I would blame on it being served far to cold at The Terminal), and flavor started with a touch of roastiness, but to me offered a lot of dried fruit, like raisins and dates, with maybe a touch of cognac flavor. Mouthfeel was pretty good.

I thought this beer was good, but not exactly up to the hype. I really enjoyed it, but I thought it honestly inferior to some more widely distributed Belgian beers such as Rochefort 10 or Achel 8 Brune. I would recommend, but I also wouldn't recommend driving for hours or paying huge quantities of money to obtain it.

I had this on-tap, and served far too cold, at The Terminal, near the airport in Milwaukee.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.86/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours onyx black with a dense medium brown head. Robust aroma. I get some chocolate, coffee and creamer, some dark berries, and a bit of smoke. The flavor is a bit different. Kind of a fruity mocha with plenty of bitterness and alcohol. Silky, milky mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation. The finish is a bit bitter and hot. Still, this is a fine beer and is recommended.

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Photo of waltonc
3.86/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, not black, with tan head.

S: Coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and cherries.

T: See above under smell. Somewhat sweet, and fruitier than some RIS I have had. This reminds me a bit of both Darkness and Expedition Stout for that reason.

M: Medium to thick body. Not super thick by any means. Carbonation is medium and just right.

D: At 13% ABV, this isn't crazy drinkable, but give credit to De Struise for putting this in the right bottle size. Not necessary to force people to buy bombers of it.

Overall a good stout, but too expensive for me to buy again when I can buy equally good and similar stouts for much cheaper.

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Photo of DanielRP
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden. "Batch '0'". Not cellared after picking it up from the store. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: A good fizz when the bottle was opened, indicating lots of carbonation. Dark as night. A big pillar of light brown foam rises upon the beer hitting the glass.

Smell: Noticed it from half a meter after opening the bottle. Strange, not a "typical" stout, but one shouldn't expect it either. I'd say that I find a classic Belgian yeast smell, but I don't know if I'd picked it up as such if it hadn't had "Belgian" written all over it. A faint sour touch, nice. Also the familiar "dark fruit" smell.

Taste: Where did the sourness go? Where did the Belgian style go? Very lightly hopped. Coffee is noticeable. It is very polite at first, and doesn't really fade or strengthen, but lingers for a long time. A bit of spiky alcohol can be found directly when it goes down, after that it disappears and the musty dark and roasted sensation takes over.

Mouthfeel: Not robust creamy like some of the "killer" examples in the class, but OK. Carbonated aptly. A bit of the before promised sourness can be forced through, but I would gladly take a lot more.

Drinkability: Easily downed, which is impressive, but for a 13% abv beer, that's not really what I'm looking for. Maybe the American style hop monsters have deafened me, but this is a bit too bland for me to add to my list of regulars, especially with the high alcohol trade-off.

I went in to this beer with the highest of expectations. "Belgian Royal Stout" - sounds great, I imagine a tough, dark stout with the classic Belgian sweet&sour blend. I didn't get that, instead I'm sitting with a very decent stout, towards the coffee style. Not bad, but not what I hoped for, and, for me at least, not really up to the price of the bottle. Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer, but price and expectation factors disappoint me.

I have another bottle that I will let sit for a while. Can't really see that it will go to a personally more enjoyable place beer-wise, but I'll take my chances.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330cl bottle into a snifter. Bottle had a lot code but no way to convert that to a date so no idea on the age of this one. It was pitch black in color. Had a large brown head that quickly settled into a thick collar and thin film covering. Good slow sliding lace with minimal stickage.

The aroma was espresso, dark fruits, roasted and toasted malts, dry chocolate malts and alcohol. The taste followed the aroma with the coffee and fruit flavors dominating. Alcohol is prominent in aroma and taste. Somewhat sweet from the fruits. Good but not great for the style. Medium mouthfeel with acidic after-taste.

Overall, a good but not great RIS. I waited till the hype died down on this one before getting it and glad I did. It's good and worth trying but doesn't make the top portion of my RIS list. Recommend if you can easily get and not overpay. Rotation - not avail here in TX so got from ummagum. If here, I'd not get another as there are better RIS out there [1x-taste;BOT]

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Photo of CWiggins
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fellow BA has been seeking out this brew for quite some time. This week it arrived in Durham at Sam's Quik Stop. 11.2 ounce bottles at $10.89 each. Purchased two bottles: one for him and one for me.

Very thick and dark pour, although not extremely so. (Not like motor oil, which so many in this style can be.) A short head of beige foam developed, but quickly dissipated. Aromas of rich, dark fruit and roasted malts are very noticeable with every sniff. There's no hiding what this is about! Sweet, roasted malts approach the taste buds first, followed by notes of espresso, dark chocolate and dark fruits. Big, full flavor with a little more sweetness than usual for this style. It's not as boozy as I expected; the alcohol is a bit subdued, although at 13% I suspect one should take it easy! I sipped on this for nearly an hour while reading. The mouthfeel is a tad lighter than most RIS's., which accounts for the higher-than-usual drinkability. Enjoy one of these when you can afford it. I suspect this may be the only one I sample.

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Photo of champ103
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours pitch black. No light get through at all. A huge tightly packed tan head forms. Great retention. Some sticky lace clings to the glass in patches.
S: At first molasses and liquorish dominate the nose. Though as this breaths, a much more complex aroma comes out. Roasted malt with coffee and chocolate brownies. Baked bread. MM, very inviting.
T: Almost a cloying sweetness. Lots of molasses, liquorish, and brown sugar. The alcohol is a bit much as well, and over powers some of the subtleties.
M/D: A full body that is well carbonated. Rich and creamy. Not hard to sip on, but the alcohol is front and center. A one bottle sipper.

This is a monster of a beer. One I think would benefit greatly with some age. Though it is stll a very enjoyable beer. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured from the bottle with a nice creamy textured, light brown head, which slowly receded to a collar with some nice lacing. The body was a completely opaque dark brown- almost black.

S- Thick booziness, roasted and caramel malts dominate the nose. Peppery overall with the ethanol on the nose, and it seemed to perhaps even showcase some fusel alcohol as the beer warmed.

T- Incredibly rich candy and roasted malts, laced with some heavy booze, a touch or sourness, and some unanticipated yeast esters that come through as rum-soaked dark fruits. Very intense.

M- A thick, heavily textured and syrupy body with some nice soft carbonation. Gorgeous.

D- A bit too big and too boozy for me to quaff. A small bottle is best split with a friend IMO.

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Photo of charlesw
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and dark. Beautiful, tallish, creamy dark head that sticks around, oh, does it ever. Tastes weird. Creamy smooth chocolate but strong coffee and dark, smoked bitterness with a slight tinge of sour (a blend in of another beer?). It's OK but I won't seek it out again.

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3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 0. Lot A4BB.
$13 for the 11.2oz bottle. Poured to tulip.
Sampled 24MAR13

[A] A smooth yet swift pour produces a half finger high head of medium dark brown-caramel color. Slow to rise and slow to disappear, leaving a thick foamy collar comprised of large bubbles. The body is pitch black and visibly thick. Minimal lacing. There is a thick layer of yeast caked to the bottom of the bottle.

[S] Dark chocolate with a surprising berry-like fruitiness immediately noticeable. I suppose the fruity notes could be derived from the Belgian yeast - but it isn't wholly unlike the onset of infection either. Background notes of earth, hay, and wet tobacco leaf. Some sharp, but very clean alcohol are present.

[T] Semisweet dark chocolate, almost no bitterness at all and no roasted character. (How in the world is this 100 IBUs?) The fruity quality is confounding. Not entirely unwelcomed. but I don't think that it was intentional either. The flavor is very soft and refined...and is way more subtle than any other 13% RIS that I've ever had before. The alcohol is BARELY noticeable

[M] This is my favorite aspect of Black Albert. The smoothness cannot be overstated. Carbonation is low. The texture is suppleness defined. Full bodied on the front end and thinner on the back, which again makes me wonder if there is any type of infection going on.

[O] Good beer. Not great. But this beer has been aged for awhile - and time may not have been too kind. My next Black Albert will most definitely be consumed fresh.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a glass alongside another bottle of black albert, cuvee delphine and black damnation.

Albert pours out a brownish black color out the bottle, settling into a black sea once all is said and done. A nice build of mocha colored foam on top with not much lacing. This is not the thickest looking stout i've seen, but thick enough.

Smells don't really explode out alot but with some significant warming the stout in albert comes out. Roasted malt is at the top with chocolate and minimal coffee. A big fruity plum and others with a nice vanilla creaminess. A small hop build ala light storm king in the fresh bottle of albert.

The fruit component comes into play in taste a bit more than I was expecting. I heard that some albert's have some quad tastes and I concur, sort of like a split in between the two styles. Plums are between alot of malt with chocolate and a somewhat spicy belgian yeast in the end.

Not the thickest stout out there but I won't dock points for that. I will however give mad points and props to De Struise for masking that damn 13%, it really is nowhere to be found. Not hot and no alcohol detected, amazing! The body is a above medium build with light but noticable carb pop.

I cant drink a ton of this stuff and Im not quite sure it's worth the price of admission but it's a well crafted stout that strays a bit from the 'sameness' of most rizzes out there. The belgian yeast and slight quad aspects will throw you for a loop.

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Photo of TomGavin
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle.

A: Pours a midnight, no-moon-black with a chocolate milkshake/tan head that hits slightly over an inch before rolling back into a 1/4 of an inch. Extremely tight bubbling save for a few.

S: Serious milk chocolate, whipped cream, vanilla, roasted malt, sour fruit--actually more like sour patch kids--black currant, caramel and licorice.

M: Very soft, not velvety, but quite soft. A bit oily. Lighter carbonation heavily concentrated at the front of the tongue.

T: Bitter chocolate, port infused raison, dark berry fruit--raspberry, blackberry, and then, a metallic bitterness, which blows the entire score. The 100 IBUs are perhaps, overkill.

D: For 13% this beer drinks extremely well. The tongue isn't bogged down with body.

Comment: This beer is interesting--if I could use italics, I would, for "interesting." The hype surrounding this beer is intense and I would suggest trying it, but it doesn't hold a candle to the majority of stouts it shares company with as far as rankings go.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this twelve ounce bottle came from Jonmich, thanks for the opportunity. Cool looking label with 4-14-09 written in black marker. Pour reveals a totally black beer, with a huge, billowing, frothing brown heading. Smell is of light cocoa, char and smoke, and a bit of dark fruit. Taste is of dark malt, chocolate truffles, dry grains. Body is much lighter than one would expect considering the high ABV of 13%. The best way I would describe the body is as velvety and smooth. Drinkability is good, though this is one to sip and savor. Worthy of the hype? No, but certainly a good stout that I would purchase again. I would imagine the blend between this and Kate the Great that was planned would be very interesting and damn tasty. Cheers

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Photo of Spica66
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in trade #3 with randomdanger. Thanks, Will!

A: Jet black pour with good head formation and retention. Lots of lacing and tiny carbonation bubbles.

S: Slightly sweet. Belgian yeast is definitely in there. Not much in the way of chocolate or coffee aroma.

T: Very strange. Not quite stout, not quite Quad. There is no alcohol burn, which surprised me at 13%. I did get some coffee and chocolate, but very subtle (almost flat, really). I have a hard time calling this an RIS. It is unlike any beer I have ever had before.

M: Very light and carbonated. Maybe that is why there is no alcohol burn. Again, unlike any beer I have had before.

D: The taste is flat. Carbonation and mouthfeel team up to hide the 13% almost completely. If you like the taste, then drinkability will be good for you.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. the edge of the label is marked in three places: "Lot B", "6" and "BB". i am assuming this is the latest batch to make it to the US, with the shelton bros label. tasted in late march/early april 2009. poured into tulip.

nearly pitch black, with just a slight red tint under direct light. huge tan/coffee color head, takes forever to fade. eventually ends up as a thin but constant and foamy layer. very nice curtain-like lacing.

fruity aroma. plums? prunes? moves into milder dark malts and roast with coffee hints. fruitiness meets and alcoholic and faintly phenolic backend. trace of vanilla? the reason this isn't a 4.5 is because everything was hard to pin down, plus it didn't entirely "meld" together.

more fruity flavors. plum. cherry? but also fruity acidity. maltiness is sweet and roasty, but it all just seems a bit watered down. roasted malt and earthy hop meet for a moderate to bold bitterness. more fruity acidity into the finish, with coffee note.

medium body, lightly creamy and vaguely viscous, with acidic and astringent texture. moderate carbonation has fluffy creaminess.

good, but not great. oh well. lightning can't strike the same place twice?

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Photo of bobsy
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one in a trade with Wildone, so huge thanks to Dave for sending this highly regarded brew to Toronto. I really enjoyed this stout, but wasn't as blown away as I thought I'd be. Everything was really solid, but nothing really pushed it over the top. I understand that some bottles are phenomenal, whereas other are merely very good, perhaps this batch belongs to the latter.

The appearance, though, is great A midnight black on a moonless night with a large mocha head that leaves a lot of lace on the way down. Its how a big stout should look. The nose is quite sweet, with toffee and treacle upfront, with the roast underneath. Flavours are full and satisfying, with cocoa, treacle, anise, and vanilla dominating, and the roast being far more subtle than I expected. The alcohol is still evident in the finish, but not to the detriment of the beer. Moderate body and restrained carbonation. Decent, but perhaps not the greatest I've come across.

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Photo of CreamAle128
3.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is amazing! Completely black. Enough said.

There is not too much aroma here, compared to the Old Rasputin, but it has many subtle roasted malts along with dark fruits, and very light citrus. The longer it sits, the more aroma comes forth

I can't taste any alcohol, despite the 13%, many nice roasted malt flavours, more dark fruits, some molassas, chocolate notes, and some very mild hop bitterness towards the end

Mouthfeel is prickly , and totally creamy when swished around in the mouth

Very drinkable for the style!

This is my first belgian imperial stout. I never knew of this style before, but tastes very similar to any other high quality imperial

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

Batch "0"

A - a few months ago I opened mother earth silent night, and I honestly believed without a doubt that it would be the best looking stout that I would be able to try this year. Boy was I wrong. This is perfection in appearance. Half a pour leaves a towering 4 finger pillow in my snifter. The beer is jet black, and lacing is excellent when the head finally dies down.

S - deep roasted malts and a small element of smoke. Brown sugar plays a big part in the nose. Very nice chocolate presence as well.

T - very well hidden given the ABV, and pretty complex, this beer is huge on dark fruits and roasty malts. The sweetness doesn't play a big part at all like the brown sugar nose would suggest, it's actually one of the least sweet stouts I have ever tried.

M - medium body with a nice bittersweet finish, carbonation well integrated but surprisingly just a touch thin. A slow sipper, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

O - I'm glad I ordered this, but I was surprised to see I traded all of my bottles away except for this one when I dug into my cellar. This beer will be a good memory not for just being a good stout, but inspiring me to keep a cellar inventory.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,774 ratings.
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