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Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
1,791 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: 1,791 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of domtronzero
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle. Batch #14. Poured into a Duvel Green tulip glass.

Dark black, near opaque with a large, lingering tan head. A little lacing left on the sides of the glass.

Smells of chocolate, cherries, and a little alcohol. Faint roast similar to coffee. Estery with a little bit of fruity aromas. This batch isn't nearly as strong as the previous batches that I've had.

Dark chocolate malt flavors along with a nice fruity bouquet flavors up front. Dried stone fruits, raisins. Yeasty esters of pears and a little bit of apple. Hop bitterness is right on allowing a very pleasant finish. The dark malts accentuate this, but don't have the acrid, burnt flavor that typically associates itself with these types of beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. No astringency and the finish is dry, with a lingering aftertaste of dark malts.

Overall an excellent beer, but a little less spectacular than previous batches; however, this is still an excellent Belgian-influenced RIS. Very good drinkability for such a big beer.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bgramer for the opportunity to try this one. 330ml bottle served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a one inch, tight, tan colored head with lots of tiny ringlets embedded in the cap. As the fluid receded into a fairly consistent layer of foam it left behind thick bands of sticky lacing. Scents of dark fruit dominate the nose (plum, black cherries and currants). Taste reveals cocoa and a slightly sour character to the fruit expressed in the nose. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, without being viscous, with a kiss of effervescence. Excellent drinkability and exceptional balance; I can't believe this is a 13% abv.

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

Thanks to champ103 for hooking this up in a trade and to ccrida for giving me an idea how old this bottle is since my bottle is from the same batch and I've had my bottle for at least six months.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off chocolate scents theres also some dark fruit scents and mild alcohol

T - Follows the nose roasted malt with chocolate flavors some dark fruit and quit a bit of alcohol warmth

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - As far as Imperial Stouts and 13% beers are concerned this is pretty easy to drink it is a little warm but the taste is very good and makes up for that this is a beer that if you have the chance to get some you need to get it

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

Batch No 14.
Ever since seeing Urbain Coutteau at the t'Brugge Beartje the other week, can't get Struise off my mind. Had the impeccable Pannepot a few nights ago, heres to the mighty Albert.
A loud hiss results in dark espresso-tan foam rushing out of my bottle, fresh for sure. Pours a beautiful espresso-pitch black tone. Head is gorgeous, thick rich creamy. A Belgian-esque amount of foam for sure.Really impressive for a 13% stout for sure.
Aromatically ...wow! Liqorice, coffee, chocolate,fig,spiced prunes, rum, raisins, malt,dark bread, deeply roasted coffee.Vanilla, sour-oaky molasses like sourness is appreciated as well. Star anise, pepper and clove come into the mix as well.
After several minutes black grape, and a really nice black-cherry like sourness, adding a distinctive Belgian not come into play, offsetting the rich IRS profile nicely
..as a side note I thought this was in its own category as a Belgian Royal Stout?
Flavor is amazingly smooth, and the alcohol is buried. Cocoa, grape, raisin, cherry, fig, tobacco, bitter cocoa, oak, molasses, pepper, star anise, clove, all mix, but end with a light vinegar-like touch of sourness, Lambic meets RIS finish, that is very nice for my taste. Not cloying in the least, well balanced and conveys a new concept of RIS.
Rather high carbonated for a RIS, and with a sour twist, the mouthfeel is lighter than normal..but I like it. It's a different concept, as Ten-Fidy is a hoppy stout, this is a Belgian-sour-stout if you well.
A critique point is that the flavor is not immensely complex as anticipated, but good nonetheless.

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: as others have said, its an opaque black; the head is tan, and leaves a very slight lacing along the glass

S: coffee, dark chocolate, spices, and alcohol; only wish the smell was a bit stronger

T: the flavor is intense with chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits followed by a spiced aftertaste; it is only slightly bitter and there is no alcohol apparent in the taste

M: carbonation is perfect; definately does not feel watered down

D: at 13% alcohol any more than two drinks is excessive, and one may be the perfect number

Overall, its a great beer. I would definately buy again and will once I start making the money to afford it more often.

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Photo of gtn80
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance is a jet black with a couple fingers of fluffy mocha head of tiny bubbles and great lacing.

Aroma is of cocoa and coffee with cream.

Taste is amazingly velvety, surprisingly little roast for such a big stout. Chocolate and coffee abound, bit of alcohol heat in the finish.

Mouthfeel is amazing, thick, viscous, almost like a milkshake. Best mouthfeel I have had in a beer.

Drinkability is surprising for such a big stout. Even with the alcohol burn the abv sneaks up on you.

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Photo of kodt
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Out of a bottle this beer was an opaque, jet black color. The head was two fingers of mocha-foam brown and retained nicely as a thin layer. The lacing was pretty good, nothing spectacular, but consistent and thorough. The aroma was of roasted malt, wood, nuts, light alcohol (similar to dark rum), and some malty sweetness. The flavors were complex and rich, hiding the 13% surprisingly well. I tasted lots of roasted and toasted malt with some hints of smoke (almost like smoked meat in its depth) along with some spiciness (black pepper in particular), wood, black walnuts, molasses, coffee and espresso, baking cocoa, tobacco and hints of yeast. Complex and concentrated. As it warmed up the dry, malty finish became more clear, and rather clean. An impressive and challenging offering, and deceptive in its finesse. The mouthfeel was smooth, the body medium/full but not too heavy actually and the carbonation spot-on. I admit it, I'm impressed.

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

Reviewed from notes:
6oz pour at the Armsby Abbey

A: Pitch black, no light is getting through this. I probably got close to a 2 finger mocha brown head, very tight bubbles.

S: Orange rind (yeah, really), dark fruits, tart cherry, chocolate, alcohol.

T: Chocolate and coffee upfront with a heavy does of roasted malts coming through in the middle. Lots of dark fruits and tart cherries develop from the middle to finish. Candy sugar/caramel sweetness that is just present enough to give a little balance to an otherwise dry profile. Extremely dry and slightly bitter finish with just a ton of cherry and dark fruits, almost a port-like finish, but more Belgian. Quite impressive. It's like someone mixed a quad in with my RIS. I like it.

M: Pretty darned thick and oily, medium carbonation, a little alcohol burn on the finish. Extremely dry.

O: This was my second try of the Royal Albert and it definitely lived up to it's name sake. Though some might not dig the tart cherry and belgian flavors, I think it's a welcome change. I'd definitely try to get a couple bottles if the opportunity presented itself.

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

A - Black with a reddish-tan head and sticky lacing.

S - Very complex... Oak, alcohol, cocoa powder, and a lot of candied fruits... with a tad bit of liquorice at the end.

T - It's not as big of a flavor bomb, or alcohol bomb, as I was expecting. It's more subtle. It fallows the nose, but there is a lot of more of a roast flavor, however, it does not remind me of coffee. There is a pleasant burn at the end.

M - Fairly light in body for such a big brew. It's not very heavy at all. Low to medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - The alcohol is too well hidden, which is made more apparent by my inability to type. I have wanted to try this for a long time, and I was lucky enough to stumble onto two bottles at my local store. They're a bit pricey, but I'm glad I found them. I had this one "fresh" and I'm going to age the other one for a year or two.

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Photo of jshusc
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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.

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Photo of Altenor
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, almost totally black with a chocolately head that dissipates fairly quick. No signs of lacing on the sides of the glass but good looking RIS nontheless.

S: Black cherries, chocolate powder, raisins, some gooey dates, light booze and a touch of funk. Enjoyed the smell quite a lot. It was sweet smelling and welcoming. Couldn't wait to try my first sip.

T: Lots of sweet dark fruits, molasses, a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. Very round and a long, long chocolate milkshake finish. I don't know why but I get a little of a marshmallow taste as well. So yes, it's sweet. A touch of roasted malt and caramel is present too. I just have one question, where's the 13% ABV? It goes down so easy, a little too easy for 13% which makes it dangerous.

M: Good carbonation in the palate gives it a creamy, silky mouthfeel. I wouldn't say it's full bodied, more medium that moves quite nicely and full of flavor.

O: A great beer. I was expecting a lot from it and don't know if it really lived up to the hype, but it is well made and full of flavor. Definetly would recommend, especially if you prefer sweeter stouts.

 1,121 characters

Photo of Neffbeer
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

bottle marked B 6 BB, which is a 2007 batch from June.

A: Jet black with a good size tan head. The head retention is very good with bits of sticky lacing left behind on the sides of the glass. After the head fades a fluffy tan cloud remains floating on the surface of the beer.

S: Initially I am greeted by the familiar smell of the Struise house yeast. It is pleasantly fruity and spicy. My next breathe reveals an intense wave of roasted malts with some deep dark chocolate undertones. Some caramel and toffee are detectable as it warms some more with a bit of the booze pushing through as well.

T: The yeast bite is upfront but extremely short lived. A wave of charred malt and bitter chocolate swiftly shrugs the fruit aside and leaves some ash in its' wake. There is a biscuity sweetness mid palate that is really interesting. It finishes nice and bitter with a small amount of heat from the alcohol.

M: Full bodied with lush carbonation. The bitter finish paints an illusion of a really dry beer, but the body is so viscous that I find that hard to believe.

O: A world class beer by any standard. Truly original in character, a brew that I eagerly look forward to drinking again.

 1,190 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep dark black with a sustained film of creamy tan.

I kinda wanna curse when I smell this. = ) There's an amazingly deep concord grape, pomegranate and candy sugar that's rounded off by a silky chocolate and delicate smoke. The Belgian edge way off in the distance is fantastic. Amazing!

The flavor is a bit muddled, as if there is far too much going on for its own good. The fruitiness comes across a little over-ripe and is overcome with sour coffee and a charcoal-like toasty malt. I'm also getting a touch of the dreaded "cough syrup." It's nice and all, but waaay to busy.

Feels velvety, soft, clean and dense.

A tasty beer for sure, but perhaps a little much.

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Photo of grub
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

330ml bottle. sampled dec 14/08.

pours very dark brown, a shade away from black and pretty much opaque. a small brown head forms, dropping slowly and leaving spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. dark and milk chocolate. bit of coffee. toasted white bread. bit of cracker. light alcohol. earthy. touch of belgian yeasty character in there too. raisin and date.

taste is great. just over medium bitterness level. bit of alcohol. dark and milk chocolate. bit of coffee. loads of caramel. date, raisin, bit of fig. earthy and a bit woody. lots of sweetness in the caramel and fruit. bit of toasty white bread. cracker. little biscuit. bit of anise. not much of the roast i'd expect, leaning more towards the belgian fruit and yeasty character. the bitterness comes across mostly as coffee/chocolate and doesn't come on too strong.

mouthfeel is good. nice big body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. fairly balanced, leaning a little on the sweet side. definitely a belgian twist on the style, but it works. i'm curious to see how this one would change with some time in the cellar, but happy with it now too.

 1,200 characters

Photo of zeledonia
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not really sure when this is from, as the code is a challenge to translate. Tasted 15 November 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours black, as it should. Thick and deep. Medium tan head, fluffing up to two fingers or so. Good retention, nice lacing. I'm intrigued.

Smell is fantastic, IMO. Rich and roasty, with a strong Belgian twist. If I didn't know it was brewed with Belgian yeast, I might think it were infected. But infection sometimes works out nicely, as this does. It adds a light fruity layer on top of the deep figs and plums. Delightful. Certainly smells like a Belgian Royal Stout.

Taste is nice, but not on the same level as the smell. Rich and deeply fruity, but it fades out pretty quickly. A lot of buts. Good, but not that good. One thing I give it, though - that 13% is darn well hidden.

Mouthfeel is lovely. Rich and creamy. Carbonation is low, but foamy and stirring. I like this.

A very good beer - pretty darn tasty. Rich and fruity, with a lovely Belgian twist, especially in the nose.

 1,010 characters

Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep black with thick tan head and excellent lacing throughout

S: smells sweet and of dark fruit, mild ethanol notes

T: tastes like raisin, dark fruits, sweet and syrupy, you can definitely taste the strong alcohol flavor.

M: smooth yet strong and the alcohol content makes it tougher for some to take down

O: overall a complex beer that reminds me of the Rochefort series with the sweet fruit flavors

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served at Avenue Pub in New Orleans. Served in snifter.

Pours dark brown-black with light tan head that lingers well. Lots of lacing along sides of glass.

Smell is heavy with banana and sweet malts. Other ripe fruits are in the background.

Taste is smokey malt. Chocolate and caramel blend with a mild smokey bitterness late.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Very full bodied. Average carbonation for the style.

Overall this was excellent. Very rich. A little goes a long way with this beer.

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Photo of tkarsies
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot B6BB. Served near room temp in my Westy chalice. A special Valentine's Day treat.

Near black with dark brown head. Vigorous carbonation after the pour. Leaves beige lacing. Nice

Smells of roasted goodness. Some hints of coffee and fruits. Maybe a hint of sourness

Rich and complex. Initially the primary flavor is roasted malt. Then there is the dark fruit. There is a hint of flavor that faintly reminds me of a Belgian sour beer. With each sip, it becomes more complex. Kind of stout meets barleywine meets Belgian funky goodness. Oh, and there is a bit of hops at then end just to tease and provide some balance.

For all the fizzing when poured, this actually is not very carbonated. Smooth. Not quite as thick as the typical RIS I have had. A little stickiness in the mouth as well.

Drinkability is quite good, especially for a 13% brew. Alcohol is felt but not noticed in the flavor profile. A treat for sipping, especially as the temperature is dropping outside. Don't really At $10 for a bottle, I can't afford to drink this often, but it is definitely worth having again.

 1,088 characters

Photo of pootz
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle brought back by a dear friend:

pours a solid black viscous sultry black with a 5cm sticky tan cap that will not go away.

Smells of bitter chocolate with roasty husk and smoked toffee tones, light grassyness. Soft carbonation

In the mouth the hopping bitterness is subdued but it is there and lingers on and mixes well with warming alcohol which both sit below the thick and almost chewy malts....then this rum and coke complexity steps up... builds to the rich wet, complex exiler finish.

I've tasted imperials similar to this but I've never tasted better.

 571 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown with marron highlights that had a half finger of brown head and left nice blotchy lacing sticking to the glass. The nose was quite nice consisting of chocolate malts, roastiness, lacto notes, dark fruits, slight spice, and underlying coffe notes as well. Upfront the chocolate and lacto characteristics jump out first alongside roastiness, dark fruits, slight coffee, and spice accents, the brew was full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, and creamy finish. It drank really good considering the ABV but its not one of the beast RIS that I've had either. Overall it a good beer and worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to Stakem for bringing a bottle from batch '0' to our Epic Stout tasting. I had a current version for sampling horizontally.

An almost black color with slight brown edges and cap of light medium brown with spots of lace collecting. The smell has a lot of fruitiness be it blackberry or plum or just vinous notes in general, with a mild sweetness of malt and lot of alcohol in the nose. The smell of dark cocoa and light currant seems to sum it up. The feel is vinous and light tangy with a slight sweetness and warmth in the middle. The mild roastiness is in there with a mild carbonation and semidry finish with lots of candy sugar influence.

The taste has notes of berry, toast and slight sugar with a hint of vanilla and toffee, mild cocoa elements and slight sweet currant and bitter coffee with a mild candy sugar accent and alcohol tinge. The beer is a good drink, a 'Royal Stout' that is best in small quantities which is why the 11.2oz bottle size is perfect, I don't think it is great because the alcohol could be more hidden, but it certainly is enjoyable.

 1,085 characters

Photo of bylerteck
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours completely black with a light brown head. Opaque. Booze coats the glass throughout.

S - Big espresso, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt character complimented by a little bit of booze and molasses. Very explosive aroma to it.

T - Everything from the aroma comes out here and mingle together in the mouth quite well. The finish is quite bitter as well.

M - Full bodied, sort of thick with not alot of carbonation, velvetty in a way.

D - How could you turn down another one of these? Packed with flavour and the alcohol doesn't make itself all that apparent but still shows up to class.

 596 characters

Photo of mtomlins
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 1,791 ratings
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