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: 1,773
Photo of IronDjinn
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

No. 14 it says on the side of the label. Candy is an ingredient as listed on the label. Pours a deep pitch black in appearance, impermeable to light with a tight creamy beige head.

Different layers and waves on the nose, but it smells more reminiscent of a strong dark Belgian than an Imperial Stout. Robust dark dried fruits like figs and dates, roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, treacle, grapes, chicory, and orange gum drops.

Intense dry bitter malt and alcohol sucker punches you in the palate right from the start, although smooths out from there. Cocoa, chicory and creamy cafe au lait in the middle, dates and raisins, brandy-soaked cherries, a hint of grape, and indiscernable sweetness. Creamy chocolate, fig and hints of licorice in the finish. Dry dusty coffee ground aftertaste.

My lips and teeth are sticky from a sugary sweetness, that must be the candy. Light creamy and silky smooth mouthfeel, hard to believe such a high abv% and flavour profile can be delivered by such a light mouthfeel.

Impressive for what it is, except for the hefty price tag that is. Worth the hype but I'll save this for special occassions.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One review off being #93! That reviewer is from Alberta, though, so all is forgiven :p ... shared by dkachur in return for Pisgah Valdez. A nice pairing, they were.

A: Black as night. A huge, creamy light khaki that sticks around for ages. Beautiful.

S: Soft toffee, Belgian yeast esters are there giving their unique aroma and a soft hint of dark fruits. A little bit of a smokiness and a light breadiness.

T: A bit of tartness, with a nice gentle sweetness like ripe plum. Yeastiness, and a hint of spicy alcohol in there. Chocolate hints, and a caramel.

M + D: Nice and creamy, though not as full a body as some I have had. A great drinker, hiding that huge alcohol incredibly well. Nice stuff, and I'd like to have it again.

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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 peabody
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a really really dark black with two fingers of tan suds. No light will penetrate this motor oil.
Smell is dark chocolate and charred malts with some sugar like caramel. As it warms it has more of a bitter aroma like oak or something.
Taste is sour at first like an oaky flavor along with a very mild malt and some bitter coffee. The belgian yeast comes in just after and leaves the tounge dry and ready for another bitter drink.
Mouthfeel is a little dirty but still leaves an alcohol feel that is mellow. The tounge feels the bubbles and the sour at the same time. Nice!
Drinkability is high here too despite the high ABV. REally a great RIS.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

P: 4.5 - 12oz brown glass bottle. Black Albert. Royal Belgian Stout. Gold Crown. Imported by Horizon Wines of Canada.

A: Dark cola black/brown with big starbucks frap foam head. Good legs, lace, and sheets.

S: Vinous, and big with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, and more.

T: Big and bolshy with big dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and more.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a beer of this level, but honestly it makes the drinkability that much better.

D: SUPER drinkable for the 13%ABV that this one yields....A real achievement in the brewing arts.

O: I'm thinking 4.7 material here. Big bolshy Belgian Imperial Stout....NIIICCCCEEEE

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Photo of pwoods
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikesgroove for the brew :)

33cl brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours just about solid motor oil black but just a glimpse of light gets through on the edge of the snifter. A large 2+ finger light khaki head forms and goes nowhere for quite some time. Very nice lacing.

S: Some Belgian yeasty notes as well as a complex alcohol aroma. Tons of juicy alcohol soaked dark fruits. Alochol has a touch of that aged feeling like in Old Ales. Light notes of hop oils and molasses.

T/M: Wow, very complex. Very very rich. Molasses and other very dark sugars add a rich sweetness(not overly sweet at all... just very rich). Some bittersweet Euro/Russian super dark chocolate. The alcohol is big and complex, some of the malt bill as well as dark and fiberous fruits. The alcohol matches the nose on the Old Ale qualities and actually emphasizes on them. Lightly spicy Belgian yeast along with subtle notes of candi sugar(maybe.... some lighter, 'brighter' sweetness is barely noticeable) and a soft Belgian carbonation to liven things up just a touch. Not heavily carbonation at all but a great smooth, 'million tiny bubbles' thing going on. Carbonation actually feels on the weaker side but I don't think that's the case... just a constant softer carbonation... if that makes sense. Sooo damn smooth... feels like silk in your mouth. Finishes just a touch dry from the alcohol.

D: Definitely a sipper. An amazing brew. I actually came into this with a little prejudice against this beer. After everything that happened after the last release on this site and the other one and how the brewers handled everything. I was sure it'd be good but certainly overhyped. Really not the case. It's a fantastic brew and brings a very welcomed 'Belgian Imperial Stout'(or Belgian Royal Stout or w/e) style into more prominence. Make more and have Shelton make it more widely available.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rayjay for the bottle!

Pours dark chocolate brown to nearly black with oodles and oodles of bubbles forming a dense thick rich looking tan head that recedes slowly leaving not so much lacing, as a continuou layer of bubbles on the side of the glass.

Aroma starts with a strong but pleasant alcohol aroma, toasted malt, bitter chocolate, and hints of sweetness behind the alcohol.

Aroma is very roasty, almost smoky. No, definately smoky. Bitter chocolate follows, with lots of nutty character, walnuts and almonds come to mind. Suprisingly unsweet to be honest, though there is enough sweetness to counteract the rest of the flavor profile. Alcohol is certainly present, but not overbearing. More nutty a leathery characters come out as it warms.

Mouthfeel is slick and rich, with decent carbonation keeping it from cloying. Alcohol is fairly warming.

Obviously this is a sipping beer, and a big one at that. But the flavor is very pleasant, and seems like it would be fantastic paired with a rich dessert.

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Photo of baggio
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

[email protected] Cafe, Stockholm

A: Black as night with a nice creamy head.

S: Fruit, Cream, Chocolate, Roasted malt.

T: Milk chocolate, Ripe fruit, Licorice, Spices, Brown sugar.

M: Supersmooth with a little bite from the alcohol and just enough hops at the end to balance it out.

This is one damn fine belgian-style stout that hides it 13% extremely well. More please!

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Photo of ygtbsm94
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had the pleasure of tasting this brew during several different occasions from the tap and from the bottle and I must say this is by far one of the best Imperial Stouts brewed; bar none! First, I don't even know if this should be in the same class with other Imperial Stouts; it has its own distinctive style. The appearance of this brew has to be one of the darkest stouts I have ever seen. The head was so thick and velvety brown head that it looked like a shot of espresso...superb! It had a magnificent scent of sweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee beans and molasses along with roasted malt. The taste is just out of this world. Started off with a blitz of dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted malts; followed by light vanilla hoppy presence and fruit flavors with a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel wasn't too thick along with soft carbonation keeping the brew from tasting too syrupy. The complexity of this brew is such that 13% ABV is totally absent until the glass is almost empty and then you begin to say Wow, this is one hell of a beer! For me this was like drinking a fine Port that I could have sipped all night. I can't say enough about the brews that are being produced at the Struise camp, but I do know that the rating of number one brewer in the world is without doubt; justified! This brew has taken Stouts to a whole new level!!!

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to a very generous BA for this brew!

Pours a very dark sludge with a head that quickly went away. It looks very ominous and sludgey. I cant wait to taste this brew!

Its very sweet in the nose with a syrupy note with hints of booze. I have a feeling it will be a little hot at 13%. Lets find out!

Wow, the taste is creamy. It's VERY enjoyable and surprisingly not boozy. Very nice on the tongue. This is a beautiful beer! It has a slight raisin taste and is still very sweet! I wish I had more of this.

Overall, this is beautiful! Its sweet, complex, and very drinkable!!! WOW WOW WOW!!!

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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 TKempe
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark in colour, almost black. A thick, brown head leaves plenty of lace.

Aroma is of roasted malt, sugar, dark fruits and hops, and gives off whiffs of coffee, chocolate, molasses and liquorice.

The taste starts off sweet and sticky, is followed by a slippery, both sour and salty phase, and ends with a dry and bitter taste (as if you are drinking espresso with a touch of hops). The after-taste is intensely bitter and very convincing. The blast of alcohol that follows could have been a little less though (or: learn to drink this beer patiently).

Body is full and supple with a sticky mouthfeel. Carbonation can't keep me from saying that this beer is actually too syrupy.

Black Albert finds itself somewhere in-between a quadrupel (like Pannepot) and a stout. Its malt-profile pleases me a lot, but its high content of sugar does not. And when the beer has warmed up, the two styles seem to fall out of their initial unity. A very impressive (and bold) piece of work nonetheless.

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4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As I prepare to drink this beer the phrase "The one that would be King" comes to mind.

Even a mild pour gets a monsterous three fingers of rocky carmel colored head. Body is like living black symbiote, evil and soulless. Nose is actually on the softer side with some black anise, burnt molases and zesty carmalized malt, very unique even for a stout. Layers of dark cherries, molases, bitter chocolate, black licorice and burnt malt really paint the mouth. Some dark soured fruit comes through on the back of the palate. This is a very deeply complex beer. Mouthfeel is amazingly smooth and creamy and the more you drink the more you love and get out of it. I could drink this beer all night but at some point I would be thankful it is only 330ml. Delecious. I know that many of the hardcore beer geeks will be disapointed that it is getting more distributed. I hope that doesnt affect it scores but I know it probably will.

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Photo of HiAIPA
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Prototypic, this bottle is very appreciated. I poured it into a Westvleteren chalice and gave it my full attention. The beer is dark brown, not quite black, a hint of red, with a thick tan head that lasted for about 5 minutes before receding to a thin film. The aroma has a lot going on, possibly this is the best attribute of the beer. First off there are sweet malts and hints of chocolate, but there's a mix of dark fruits (plums, maybe raisins) and lighter fruits (grapes) making a distinctive smell. I probably wouldn't have detected the grapes if I hadn't been searching for them based on previous reviews. The taste isn't as complex as the smell but is very good, mainly it's sweet malts up front and a little bitterness in the after-taste. In the middle I can imagine some of the fruits, I'm sure there are some esters adding bits of fruit flavor. The mouthfeel is thickish, about the same body as Expedition Stout or Old Rasputin, and drinkability is as good as it can be for such a massive beer (13%).

After finally trying it I think this beer is over-hyped but very good (but not the second coming of DL that I'd hoped for). It proved itself to be a very good RIS, but nothing's worth the $20-33 that this is now commanding in the marketplace. Too similar to Expedition Stout to demand that kind of coin.

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Photo of julian
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a deep jet black color, medium viscosity, actually less than I thought, but with a great mocha/creme colored head of about 1 finger's worth.

S: as it's pouring out the bottle, the strong scent of sweet dark and tropical fruits hits the nose. Very intense! As you bring your nose closer in, the high 13% alcohol is definitely noticeable, but has a more brandy/wine like aroma to it.

T&M: Wow, surprisingly smooth and easily drinkable! The alcohol content is very well masked. It's noticeable, but you gotta work to find it! Taste is of smooth and somewhat creamy roasted coffee and dark fruits. slightly bitter aftertaste. Warms ever so slightly as it's swallowed. probably one of the best RIS' I've tried so far, even if it's not really a RIS but a "Royal Stout".

D: despite being such a MONSTER, this beer drinks incredibly easily, almost too easily. The fruits definitely come out in the aroma and are not masked by the alcohol at all. Taste is also top notch. It's a great beer and one that I would definitely drink again and highly recommend!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Albert

Thanks to CharlesW(Charles) for this!

A- Deep cola brown/ black with a huge foamy tan head. Excellent head retention and lacing.
S- Good deep dried fruits like cherries, raisins, and figs come out. deep chocolate and A touch of solvent alcohol present.
T- Sweet cherries/ raspberries come through up front with a good dose of smooth dark chocolate with raisins and figs (sorta like a chunky bar?)
M- Thick and sweet with a good tangy finish. Alc. is present in the end but not obtrusive.

Overall- Very smooth! At 13%, the alc isn't as present as you'd think. Delicious nightcap!
(Thanks Charles!)

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Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black body with khaki foam. A deep chestnut brown on the pour, with dense foam and spotty bits of lace. Thin cap of foam settles to a small head.

Aroma of chocolate covered cherry, cocoa, dried black cherry, and plum. Some chocolate syrup character too.

Rich chocolate flavor, cocoa powder and earthy bittersweet chocolate. Light char and dried cherry, earthy dry root or tobacco leaf in the aftertaste. Mild bitterness, but no hop character.

Full bodied, lactic/milky mouthfeel. Not as heavy or alcoholic as you might expect for 13%. Fairly light feeling for the style. One bottle would be plenty.

Thanks to Jay23 for sharing the spoils of his trade with Hoppymeal...

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle labeled for Canadian import.

..A primer for Ebenezer's fourth annual Belgian fest.. Bring it!

Pours opaque black with barely translucent mahogany edging. A massive, four inch head of mocha foam rose up quickly to the rim. A lethargic retreat revealed thick ropes of tan foam and a dome of dense froth on the surface.

Aromatics are a complex mix of raisins, espresso, rum, dark chocolate, and grape jam.
Some fruity vineousity struggles forward, and a breath of bourbony booze comes after.

Full bodied with a thick, creamy mouthfeel. Sticky, chewy and lucious.

Dark chocolate, espresso, ripe fruit, rum, dried figs, and raisins lead off the pallet. Grape jam, boozy phenols, and a hint of Kahlua follow through.

Finishes warming on the throat, with lingering rum-spiked marmalade and fading chocolate.

A very different beer from the draft-only batch that was on tap at Ebenezer's.
This one is almost a Quad/Royal stout hybrid.
Thinner in body, lighter in viscosity, and missing the massive underlying hop presense.
In place there is the classic Quad profile that steps up. Grape jam, rum-soaked raisins, and plenty of phenols.
It's almost as if there was a different yeast strain used and the beer fermented at a higher temperature.
Nontheless, an incredible beer in it's own right, and quite complex.

Big props to ma main man Delerium for the sample. Thanks bro!

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Photo of Goliath
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black and completely opaque. A large 2 inch mocha colored head forms and lingers on top with nice retention, leaving some creamy lacing behind.

Aroma is quite nice. I'm struck immediately with a bit of fruit, namely raisins. Make that alcohol soaked raisins, it's kind of boozy. Definitely some sweet dark malt characteristics, but it's not as dominant as I had hoped. But some chocolate can be found in there as well.

The taste is quite good. A blast of fruit up front, very "Belgianesque" with some nice bitter chocolate with a touch of coffee on the finish. I know a lot of people don't believe it's 13%, but I get some definite alcohol warmth and I think it might be close.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, pretty creamy, and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate to high. Flavor is great, feels like a RIS made love to quad and popped this bad boy out. Alcohol is definitely there, but pretty well hidden. After all of the negativity, I'm really diggin it. It lives up to the hype for me and I'd spend every penny on it again.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a trade with deepsouth. Poured this 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A half inch dark tan frothy head. Decent head retention. Good lacing. Darkest brown - more close to black in color. Seems to be light to moderate in carbonation.

Smell is rather modest for a RIS. Toasted and slightly smoky malts. Alcohol detectable but very well masked for a 13% ABV.

At first I thought that I had not cleaned the glass well enough and that I was smelling the last old ale that was aged in oak apple brandy barrels that I had before. Then after reading the label, I did confirm that the candy sweetness I detected in the nose and then the taste is legit; it is listed in the ingredients. There is some bready malts and yeast that I did not detect in the nose in addition to the smoky and toasted malts.. Alcohol is very well masked. This is a very well balanced RIS which dismisses one of the downfalls of this style in my personal opinion.

Mouthfeel is different than your average stout. Not as thick and creamy, more carbonated. Still full bodied. A welcomed variety to this style.

Drinkability is great for this being a RIS at 13% ABV.


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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you for sending Absumaster the RIS original formula version. Absolutely black, with a bit of creamy head, it looks rich and thick. Aroma of maltiness and a little coffee roast. The flavour is chocolate,roast, malt, a little coffee, mid-sip bitterness. The real feature of this beer is its balance. Its not too sweet, not too chocolate. Just eminently drinkable. A fine RIS.

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Photo of Floydster
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with brianj555, he originally spent 33 dollars on this beer which is extremely steep but I had to try it, decided to open this bottle for my 800th review a week ago, reviewed from notes, poured into my Flying Dog imperial pint glass

A-Deep dark black with minimal light going through which makes it a little red, 3/4 inch creamy light brown head, stuck around for close to ten minutes, great retention, fantastic lacing
S-Coffee, dark chocolate, dark sugar, burned malts, plums, figs, smoky accents, Belgian yeast, raspberries, ether, black cherries and currants, earthiness, and blueberries
T-Starts off with lots of dark chocolate and milky texture, roasted malt in the middle, finish has a hint of booze that is not very noticeable, gets a little dry at times, later on gets a little sweeter and the cocoa comes to the surface more, creamier at the end as well, warms up nicely and its aroma is also evident in its flavor, great brew
M-Rich, roasted, dry, creamy, and bitter mouthfeel all at the same time, full thick body, perfect level of carbonation, taste lingers
D-Alcohol is hidden incredibly well, ABV is high but barely there in the taste, complex and inviting, smooth as can be, goes down surprisingly easy

One of the best stouts I have had, way different than a Russian Imperial Stout, I have said it once and it will say many more times, De Struise is a phenomenal brewery, crazy that this worked out to be three dollars per ounce but it was great to try it once, probably would not drink it again since I had such a good taste this time because I have heard about bad bottles from a few different people now and do not want to damper my experience, highly recommended

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #200. 12 oz bottle in a trade from Elric73 - thanks! Served at 51 degrees, poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A thick, solid black beer with an immaculately fine and even creamy coffee-colored head with average retention. A surprising amount of carbonation - you can see the bubbles creep up along the arc of the glass and form honeycombs along the edges of the glass.

Aroma: Amazingly light! Tart citrus notes, very sweet, black cherries, raspberries, yeasty earthiness, ethereal alcohol, and only the faintest hints of dark roasted malts. Very surprising and unexpected.

Taste: Again very light. Half-roast coffee, currants, blueberries, white peaches and grapes, no alcohol taste as much as a warm alcohol finish. Slight hints of smoke, and sweet chocolate as things warm up. Very complex and unique.

Mouthfeel: Small-to-medium bubbled, velvety. Mild but active carbonation. Leaves a bit of a film on the teeth and tongue.

Drinkability: Quite possibly the strangest RIS I've ever had. Manages to taste and smell amazingly light while at the same time being amazingly alcoholic. The aroma and taste, however, are fabulously complex - light and fruity, almost a fruity, 13% abv schwartzbier or something. Not sure if it's worth what I paid for it, but if this were available in my area and a little more inexpensive, I'd definitely get another.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is simply an outstanding beer, with an incredible sour cherry tart aroma, flawless flavor profile, nice and tight for a heavy beer but enough body to deliver a complex treat.

In my opinion, probably the best beer I've encountered this year...maybe I'll be blown away at the GABF, but it will be hard to top this one...

at a loss for words.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,773 ratings.
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