Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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851 Reviews
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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
851
Ratings:
1,752
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
13.21%
 
 
Wants:
342
Gots:
393
For Trade:
28
User Reviews
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Reviews: 851 | Ratings: 1,752
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 Yetiman420
3.39/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.

Massive three-finger head that spilled over. At $11 a bottle, I lost a good $1's worth.

I've had this twice before. Once at a blind RIS tasting where it scored very low in my book (underwhelming against Stone). Keeping an open mind this time around and reviewing it on stand alone credentials.

Aroma is absent. Nothing except a little sweetness and alcohol. I'm not sure if "Belgian Royal Stout" places less emphasis on aroma, but I have to go with the BA category here of RIS which typically has roasted malt aroma with complexity. Black Albert is underwhelming in this respect.

Taste comes across as mild sweetness and slight alcohol sharpness.

The most impressive characteristic is the thick mouthfeel. Really leaves an impression, but I'd prefer impressions to be made with aroma and flavor.

I did my best to regress the blind tasting experience, but even on it's own, this one does not deliver for me. The remaining three will age in my cellar in hopes that time will treat this one well.

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Photo of aleigator
3.41/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Struise Black Albert '14 vintage

Pours a viscous motor oil color, with a very small head, immediately falling to pieces. Reveals thick alcohol legs after swirling, wandering to the edge of the glass, showing the beers immense viscosity.

Smells of cinnamon and earth infused dried fruits, together with caramel and molasses. Coffee beans and aridly wood contrast the upcoming sweet alcohol bite, showcasing a convincing balance on the nose. Dried plums, cinnamon and booze build the foundation of this complex smelling beer.

Has a low carbonation, featuring a creamy mouthfeel and a medium body, resulting in a varying taste.

Cinnamon is weaker on the palate than on the nose, which gets replaced by smoky malts and a huge amount of charred coals. The beers sweetness gets provided by molasses, rock sugar and dried plums, balanced by bitter chocolate and dry coffee, directly blending into sweet, hot booze. Finishes with alcohol and its burning aftermath, coated up by earth, coals and caramel.

Very heavy on the booze, once it becomes visible, tamed only by the malts during the very end. Before that, spices and coffee build up a very interesting mixture, which gets lost in most parts, due to the hot burn. The beer creates a different taste then, which still relies heavily on the booze bite, countered by a profound sweetness, but missing its initial, wooden bitterness.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a Troegs pint glass.

A: Vigorous pour yields a 1 finger fine creamy-chocolate head with excellent retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is spotty with waves coming out of the brew at points.

S: Dark fruit, plum, faint chocolate, roasted malts, lactose, slight coffee and booze sourness.

T: Ripe plum is apparent upfront and lingers throughout. Chocolate and coffee comes in towards the middle with a weird Belgian spiciness. Finish is more of the same but booziness peaks its nasty head and stays as the aftertaste which is a bit unpleasant.

M: Medium bodied and very very coarse and highly carbonated. Mouth is very lively and quite watery. Finish is slightly sticky and messy. Lingers a bit long.

D: Overhyped, overspiced, and overcarbonated. I understand that this is a Belgian imperial stout but the flavor carbonation and body don't work for me. I won't be having this again. I expect and like coffee and heavy chocolate in my stouts. This one delivers that, but cancels it out with other flavors that don't meld quite right.

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Photo of aqsprint
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very dark brown/amber. 3 fingers of foam. Great lacing all the way through.

S- Roast, chocolate, and that Belgian aroma.

T- A little fruity, chocolate, figs. Alcohol burn down the throat. Disappointing considering its the 31 spot in the top 100. Over all I think its over rated.

M- A little thin, but not bad.

D- Drinkable beer, but I will not be having another any time soon.

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Photo of pepsican
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

black pour with a thick khaki head. Aroma has strong grapes, green apple, and sugar. Flavor is very complex. I got chocolate, tofee, tannins/white grapes, green apple, light hops, tobacco, and cherries. Finishes lightly sweet, oily. A bit of alcohol bite rounds it out. I was expecting a bit more, but it was a pretty good try.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ryan for this one. Batch No. 14, according to the label.

A: The pour is certainly fitting for the style. Nearly black in color with an initially formbidable tan head that eventually settles down to a thin cap.

S: A heavy aroma of dark fruits, particularly prunes, figs, and plums. A touch of alcohol but no real roast, chocolate, or coffee. Almost cloying, to be honest.

T: The flavor is somewhat complex. Certainly the fruits noted in the aroma are well represented, but there is an underlying flavor of roasted malt and some light bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a fairly substantial level of carbonation, which I am unsure of at this point in time--even after drinking a fair amount of my glass.

D: As this one comes to temperature, the alcohol becomes more noticeable and the bitterness becomes more of an astringency. Not my favorite, but certainly worth trying.

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Photo of davedahl
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good - but not up to my expectations based on the hype surrounding it. I had a 8oz pour in a sherry glass for $10 at Binny's in Chicago's south loop.

The pour was far too cold but produced a completely black brew with a creamy chocolate-milk type head of tight tiny bubbles. Slight lacing.

Taste was chocolate malt, roasted malt at the front; dark fruit (dark sweet cherries plums) in the middle; and little hop balance and alcohol burn in the finish.

Nose - nothing. Seriously partially because how cold this beer was there was zero aromatics. After I warmed it a bit in my hands I detected rich dark malt and sweet cherries - but you really have to search for them.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, alcohol bite, viscous. The 13% alcohol is hidden well.

So hmm. This was good, but not great. I had this only once previously, about a year ago with BA member bgramer and I recall getting a lot more out of it at that time. I think this is probably better bottled and aged than on tap.

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Photo of bbeane
3.45/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Poured into a DFH snifter... starts with a small light brown head that disappears quickly leaving minimal lacing. Beer is pitch black in color with no light showing through when held to the ceiling

S- First nose is kind of weak... some mild dark fruit aroma with a hint of wood. As it warms, the dark fruit aroma becomes more evident along with some booziness

T- Starts out with some dark fruit sweetness mixed with a hop presence and some heat. As it warms the malty sweetness starts to overpower the hops and surprisingly the boozy heat seems less evident

M- Has nice body... bit chewy with light carbonation

D- Honestly... total disappointment. The appearance, aroma, and taste were average at best for the style and especially for the price

CHEERS!!

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Photo of jaasen64
3.46/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lot C purchased through Etre about 10 months ago and cellared since. Best before date of July, 2015. Not sure how old this is, but assuming it's got a little bit of age on it, at least a year. 11.2oz bottle poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a very dark jet black with a half finger of creamy mocha brown head that has decent retention and slowly fades to a flat top. At the end of the glass there is a couple brown sedimentation specs, but other then that it looks awesome for the style.

S- Some dark fruits, chalky chocolate, a lot of booze that almost makes it smell like you are drinking whiskey, not overly aromatic.

T- Chalky cocoa, roasted malts, fairly boozey, finishes with a light lingering aftertaste of cocoa. Not overly flavorful with a lot of chalkiness to it.

M- Fairly on palate but a somewhat smooth finish, medium bodied, low carbonation.

O- At first I thought this might be a bad bottle, but the other bottles of Cuvee Delphine/Kabert all had the same chalkiness and weren't overly flavorful. Overall I wasn't that impressed and there are a lot of better stouts out there. Perhaps drinking Kate the Great right before kind of ruined it a little bit. I'd like to try it a little bit fresher and see if that makes a difference.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle at Bier Temple in Brussels. I'm immediately impressed by the huge boozy dark fruit nose. This is very comparable to a Baltic Porter. In fact, after tasting it I would have certainly assumed as much. As the beer warms chocolate and molasses shine through in the scent but the beer remains dominated by sweet/sour prunes, dried apricots, and currants. The flavor follows - booze soaked plums and raison served over espresso. This one is hot, full bodied, and at times syrupy. Very good beer but not as interesting as I would have guess from the hype. Not particularly drinkable. Too boozy and syrupy.

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Photo of MsRif
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had from a bottle purchased from Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA. Poured an oily black color with a viscous consistency. Chocolate head that quickly receded, leaving some spotty lacing. Had an aroma of BOOZE, roasty malts, dark chocolate, sweet malts and a bit of earthiness. Taste is of roasted/sweet malts, BOOZE, hoppy bitterness/earthiness, dark chocolate and coffee. The booze is VERY forward in this beer...there is no hiding of that 13% ABV. I almost found it undrinkable. I don't mind a high alcohol brew but I felt the booze overwhelmed the rest of the flavors/complexity of this beer. As it came up in temp, it actually tasted more booze forward to me.

Full bodied. Syrupy with light carbonation. Not creamy...sticky and thick.

Yes, it was good. Not "great." Hardly at the top of my favorites list. I'll pass on it in the future.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.49/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re reviewed since 12.08.08 as my last reviewed was disappointing.

A - Pours nice black and huge heavy sticky head.

S - Chocolate and coffee.

T- Nice, burnt coffee, black licorice, but ends with burnt taste in mouth.

M - Medium to heavy, good carb, not great balance.

D - Overwhelming after one.

Better than I thought, but it is still not one of my favorites.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.49/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

#14
Poured with nice head that kept it nearly all the way to the finish.
Sharp roasted malt with pronounced bitter finish.
Still some heat after several years aging. Surprisingly thin for EtOH.
Not impressed at all with the beer.

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Photo of microwavabledish
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a Tulip, its black as pitch, even when held up to light. Poured nicely with a rocky/fluffy two finger high, mocha colored head. Looks delicious.

The nose is a boozy, roasty smell with a hint of coffee and dark molasses and some dark dark cherry.

The taste is slightly fruity, with some major roast character. As it warms it gets nice and sweet, with a lingering alcohol in the back of the throat.

The mouthfeel, while thinner than other RIS's is still substantial enough to be in style. The carbonation is low and it goes down quite easily.

Notes: Really good on a cold night with some hearty food and a light sweet dessert. Drinkability is a 3 because while one of these goes down quite handily over an hour, having a second one is just about out of the question considering that its 13% abv.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got to enjoy half a bottle of this rare one. Split it with my brother.

Pours out black with a pretty decent brown head. The bubbles stay around, there is not much lacing, but the bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Smells a bit sweet and roasted, and you get a bit of alcohol smell. The taste is a bit sweet, not much fruit like some others in the style, but you get a nice bit of bitter roastedness, which I love. Then there's a hint of the black malt and chocolate sweetness. The tastes are all sort of muddled, maybe from the yeast. I kind of wish it were more bold and assertive -not harsh - but I think the yeast made it hard to really distinguisg flavors. But I enjoyed it, if not for the rarity. For the style and the ABV, this one was surprisingly drinkable. Maybe I only wanted more because I only got half of a 11.2 oz bottle. The cost may limit me buying it, but if I ever get a shot to have it on tap from the source, I'll take it.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to CVfish for this bottle

A - this RIS pours a motor oil dark, with two fingers of chocolate milk colored head, too dark to note carbonation

S - a superb nose comprised of chocolate/coffee and coffee, like a quality RIS

T - chocolate dominates the taste, some roasted malts, there is an underlying peaty/earthyness to the flavor as well

M&D - smooth and complex, flavorful, well done RIS, this one is worth trying at least once

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Photo of Murchmac
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PHawk for this beer in a trade. You da man Parker.

(Sung to the tune of Fat Albert)

Hey Hey Hey, it's Black Albert.
And Im gonna pour a dark cola highlighted beer for you.

And you're going to smell alcohol, coffee, and dark fruits too.

You'll taste bitter chocolate now with figs, tobacco and candy can, It's not too heavy, it's got that Belgian thang.

NaNaNa, gonna be a good beer, With some alcohol too. NaNaNa gonna be a thin beer.

This is Murchmac coming at you with an intersting belgian RIS, and if you're not careful, you might believe the hype before it's done.

NaNaNa, thought an RIS with a belgian yeast was interesting, Hey Hey Hey. NaNaNa, that was the only thing. Hey Hey Hey

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Photo of russwbeck
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The scores are from Batch 0, if I counted my scores from Black Albert, they would be much lower.

Black Albert Batch A4BB

I was going to try this side by side with Black Albert Batch 0, but when I opened this it exploded with head out of the top before I could even get the cap off. Not a good sign. After pouring ever so slightly to avoid the ridiculously fast growing head, the first smell definitely leads me to believe this is infected. It smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin to be honest. The taste is light and while not sour, it certainly isn't what I'd expect from a RIS. I don't think I'm going to review it anymore than that. Pretty disappointed here, let's see what happens with Batch 0...

Batch 0 Lot D

A: The head on this is huge. You really have to be careful when pouring to avoid a Duvel type 6 inch brown head. Black pour.

S: The smell is distinctly Belgian, very sweet. A bit of roastiness is mixed in as well giving it that stout feeling to it. It does smell more like a Quad than a RIS though.

T: This is the taste I was expecting. It really is hard to believe that this is an older version of the infected mess I opened first. The Belgian yeast and funky taste is there, along with a bit of dark fruits, but it also has a nice roasty character. The Belgian tastes seem to start the beer, and stout characteristics end it.

MF: Thankfully this has a medium body and was not light and watery like Black Albert. A bit boozy, with a dry aftertaste.

O: This was ok. It isn't great and overall sort of weird, but there isn't anything wrong with it. Is it worth the price it goes for? Probably not, but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of pdxwhisky
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont Station.

Looks great in a (correct) chimay tulip glass. Nice nose, good lacing. But then the taste - wow, much thinner than I anticipated. Very little aftertaste, and thin mouthfeel.

For 8.50 for 30cl, my expectations were not met.

Not a true RIS, but a "Belgian Imperial Stout".

Won't pay that much for this again.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled poured into a CBS snifter. First beer of baller and its components tasting

A - Deep, brown color with a light mocha swirl of foam sitting on top. Looks to have a medium body

S - Smells of deep cocoa with a light teriyaki smell as well. There is a light lemon peel in the nose

T - Cocoa with a hint of lemon. There is a bit of salty teriyaki on the backend. This is interesting for a stout. Not the typical flavor profile and a bit lemony for my taste

MF - Light and creamy with very light carbonation. Leaves a thick, creamy feeling that lingers on the tongue

O - an interesting beer that is a bit different for the style. Definitely not as Belgian as I expected. It does have an interesting lemon aspect that you don't expect for a stout. Worth a try because it's different but not world class.

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Photo of jkendrick
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: P ours a one finger head that jhangs around longer than you'd expect. Leaves some good lace. Solid black color.

S: All the usual suspects

MF: Medium carbonation and medium bodied, almost too thin.

T: All the normal imp stout flavors are here, but there is more of a burnt taste than I like and it is on the dry side. The bitterness is intentional I suppose, but it didn't sit well with me, particularly in the aftertaste. The high ABV is very noticeable and I think it should cellar a lot longer.

Overall: It's just a bit too bitter and too hot for me, especially given the relatively thin body for an Imperial stout.

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Photo of calcio360jrd
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in my duvel tulip

First time i had tried this one, been on my radar for a while, and just scored 2 through 2 trades over the last week. Aggressive pour produced a little off white head that quickly diminished. The smell had that traditional RIS smell of dark fruit, little coffee, and definite alcohol presence. Taste was a little sweeter than i like for a RIS, but in no way unpleasant. The mouthfeel was the weirdest part of this beer. I hold all RIS to CCB Zhukov standards, black albert was just very thin feeling, almost felt more like a brown ale. Just didn't blow me away this one. I'll let the other one i have sit for a year or 2 til i come back to it again.

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

< 12oz bottle, not sure where I obtained it from. It's been aging in my cellar for 1-2 years so we'll see what time does for this one.

A- Pours medium black with a dark cherry/brown head. Ruby/brown highlights at the edges, some floaties as I get down to the bottom. Poor retention and average (at best) lacing.
S- Muted. I'm trying really hard to pull anything from it, but I can only get some faint sweetness and vague dark fruits. Raisins in particular.
T- Intriguing... There's almost a sour note right at the beginning, followed by roasted malt tones in the finish. Fruity; figs, plums, raisins. Not sure cellaring has been kind to this one though.
M - Medium to full body. Smooth, creamy with a bite at the end.
D- Small bottle, so finishing wasn't an issue. Not sure I'd want another one afterwards, but I'll still finish the other three in the cellar.

Overall - I was a much bigger fan of this beer fresh. I remember it being smooth, mellow, with a nice coffee finish. Now I get muted dark fruits (figs, raisins) with a sour bite at the front. Again, recommended fresh but not with a few years on it.

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Photo of datamike
3.56/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great aroma with some fruity esters and a bit or roastiness. No Belgian phenolics though.

The taste is good; complex, raisiny, fruity, moderate roast level, bitter chocolate. Definitely some aspects of age here - sherry-like notes of oxidation. Nothing special here though. Either of Southern Tiers Imperial stouts (choklat, oatmeal) is superior in every way.

The real problem here is that there is nothing "Belgian" about this beer.

A decent beer, but severely over-hyped and overrated in my opinion....

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,752 ratings.
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