Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium
struise.com

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
Ratings:
1,782
Reviews:
857
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
9.2%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
400
For Trade:
28
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,782 |  Reviews: 857
Photo of Gavage
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a short 1/2" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: big roasted malts sweetness, alcohol, brown sugar, and a nice floral bitterness provides a great aroma.

Taste: huge roasted malt profile with some hearty chocolates, lighter coffee tones, prunes, alcohol, and a big bitterness make a truely flavorful big beer experience.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth to start, smooth and almost syrupy late. Aftertaste is long as the flavors last in the mouth for a long time.

Drinkability: huge alcohol levels knock this category down a notch as this is a true slow sipping beer. But it goes down smoothly and a must have for every BA.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Ebenezer's on Chris' Birthday.

Without question one of the top beers I've ever had.

Drawn with a two finger head, the appearence was black as night.

Smell was dark chocolate, green piney hops, sweet roasted malt and expresso.

Taste was otherworldly. A perfect balance of fresh, green hops and roasted malt. Notes of toffee, chocolate, malted milk balls and vanilla.

Mouthfeel was exceptional. Plenty of viscosity but the 13 percent alcohol remained at bay.

I could easily drink two or three of these in a sitting.

A very unique beer that, to me, comes across as a blend of a fresh hop IPA and an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
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 Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bit surprised to see this one show up at the local shop, and I quickly grabbed it.

Pours dark. Black, almost pitch, with very faint reddish edge. Pillow head of light brown/tan foam. Soft, fluffy, looks good and cozy.

Dark soft fruits fill the nose, with some burnt caramel and dark chocolate. Figs and dark toast. Quite yummy smelling.

Great taste, and I don't give a 5 just b/c of the style designation here, although it probably should warrant it. The dark fruit and malt are there, but the chocolate wanes a bit. Great job hiding the alcohol, this is a very easy drinking beer. Short bitterness gives the flavors a jolt of freshness. Nice beer

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Photo of liamt07
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of korguy123, 37cl into a couple of snifters. Split with Steve. June 2007 vintage. Thanks guys.

Pours black, creamy tan head with great retention, legs but not a lot of lacing. Nose of dark fruits, some raisin, port qualities, vanilla, chocolate and brown sugar. Taste has a complex interplay of dark chocolate and this dark fruit/port character, that suddenly takes on a roasted and coffee like flavour about 2/3 of the way through the mouth. Dark fruit returns as it finishes and lingers. Dry finish. Solid and full feel to it. Well constructed and very nice overall. My first from De Struise.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my Dad for brining this back from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Like the label suggested, I listened to La Brabançonne (the Belgian national song), you can too at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Low3ByYigQ

Pours pitch black with a thick tan head and lacing. Right away I'm struck by the long bitter roast aftertaste. The aroma is pure dark chocolate bar. The flavor takes off on the chocolate then hits a bitter, pepper and citrus hop note before diving into dark espresso and coffee roast that lasts and lasts. As the beer warms, the hops come forward with a lot of grapefruit and lemon flavors. And for 13% this beer is recently drinkable. I split the bottle with a friend, but could keep going.

 712 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to alpineclimber for this one.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark black with one finger of light brown head. Looks thick and creamy.

S - Dark roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee and a nice hop bitterness. Some noticeable alcohol, but not surprising for a 13% ABV beer.

T - Chocolate, licorice, some coffee. A noticeable alcohol bite.

M - Medium body, thick and sikly. Lightly carbonated.

D - A touch boozy, but overall a nice beer.

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Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that lasts. The aroma is awesome. It has a powerful black malt bitterness as well as a complex aroma of roasted and chocolate malts. It's warm with a Belgian yeast character. I suppose that there are a shitload of hop present also, considering it's rated at 100 IBU's. The black malts and alcohol warmth go a long way in hiding it well. The taste is sublime! It's incredibly smooth with a fantastic malt character; warm and toasty. The black and chocolate malts work in harmony to create a true masterpiece. The hops are more obvious in the taste. It's quite a bitter brew which only adds to it's complexity. Lastly is the yeast character. What a tremendous finish. Warmth, malts, hops, and a killer yeast character to boot. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. I love the concept here; a Belgianized Russian imperial stout. This one is in a class all it's own.

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Photo of a77cj7
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of DoubleJ
3.6/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of Halcyondays' buddies brought this to Beachwood BBQ for the three of us to sample. Sometimes, one of the beer's you've been wanting to taste happens sooner than you think. On to the beer:

Obsidian black color shows no sign of giving way for any light. White head on top create a good contrast of colors. I was taken by surprise by the aroma. Yes, I could smell some roasted malt and chocolate flavors, but also some dark fruits and plums that you'd find in a more traditional dark Belgian.

Yet as much of a surprise the aroma was, the taste was a bigger surprise. It was strange, but still enjoyable in a weird way. A dash of cocoa, a part of dark fruits, some milk/lactose sweetness, and add in some lactic and sour qualities, and you got Black Albert. The lactic and lactose threw my palate off quite a bit....drink a little more and my palate becomes a little adapted to this. The best quality of the beer was how well the 13% ABV was hidden....where's the heat? Seemed closer to being medium bodied than full bodied.

Black Albert is strange. Ok, it's really different from your everyday Imperial Stout. If you're looking for something REALLY different in the style, Black Albert could be the cure, but the price and lack of availability aren't going to encourage me to seek a bottle for myself.

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

2007 bottle (B-6-BB)

A dark, chocolaty brown colored beer; not completely opaque, as light penetrates the edges of the glass somewhat. Small foamy brown head that settles slowly; pretty much no lacing at all.

The nose has prominent fudgy chocolate, booze, prunes and other dark fruit, and some faint yeasty, spicy esters. The taste also packs a fair amount of complexity, with more of that dense fudgy chocolate, fruit, boozy warmth (but not heat), as well as caramel and subtle Belgian yeast notes. Roasty but no longer very bitter, semi-dry finish.

Moderately full-bodied but not viscous or particularly chewy; medium-low carbonation. Overall very creamy and smooth. I really enjoyed this flavorful stout, it’s a bit of a change of pace with its reserved Belgian influence. Very easy to drink considering its very high ABV. Definitely wish I had a few more bottles.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My brother picked this one up for me at Phillipe's in Lafayette. Great find.

Pours dark brown to black with a dark tan head. The head stays around throughout the entire drinking process. Aroma is strong on the dark fruits along with some coffee and chocolate as the beer warms. Very complex. The flavor is heavy on the roasted malt, almost burnt in flavor. You also get some more dark fruit and coffee and the beer finishes with some alcohol and sweetness. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 497 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a fairly thick viscosity and a head that is tightly beaded and light brown and lingers quite awhile. Smells like a fairly typical Belgian stout, but with quite a bit more licorice notes, and some marzipan as well. beyond that, its got the typical subtle roastiness and spicy/sweet Belgian yeast notes. Rich, and with the same notes found in the nose. There is licorice, cocoa, some light roastiness, some Belgian yeast notes, and a touch of grainy sourness. It all comes together very well. The mouthfeel mis a bit dusty, and then opens up and becomes more vinous. Smooth and slightly viscous. I enjoyed this, but probably not quite as much as the hype machine would have me do so.

 720 characters

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of enelson
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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.

 1,480 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black graphite that even against the afternoon backdrop won't afford the slightest highlight. Opaqueness is obviously of utmost concern for this dark, shadowed character. Little, tightly packed bubbles posses a movement like molecular cells splitting and dividing within a culture. Despite their tiny form they've amassed into an enormous sized colony. The pale brown froth looks only a natural fit for the obsidian-like mass beneath it.

Both Russian Imperial Stout type beers and antiquated Belgian yeast strains offer complexity - scientifically we're speaking of enzymatic machinery that produces literally hundreds of identified long-chained alcohols, compounds and esters - so it's no wonder a combination of the two would be so intricate. It's a potent mosaic of entwined spices and fruits with a heavy involvement of roast and caramelized malts.

This knotted multiplex of flavours continues in the taste where notes of heavily sweetened coffee, blackstrap molasses, charred oak barrel and unrefined cocoa powder start to arise. Notes of black currants and red-wine grapes are minimal but present nonetheless. As are flavours of black licorice, toasted grains, anise, nutmeg and cinnamon spices and the impending caramel centered dark chocolate.

The brewer seems to have matched the increase in alcohol with a proportional increase in silkiness. Each sip is like a finely conched chocolate of ultimate smoothness. The stated 100 IBU's are curiously absent (as is the claimed 13% alcohol) although there is a small similarity to coffee, specifically a freshly brewed authentic Italian espresso. That said, a cultured yeast appropriates the beer to an elegant, refined style typical of Belgian ales.

De Struise classify this as a "Belgian Royal Stout"; a style they've opted to take credit for patenting that is adopted, no doubt, from the Russian Imperial Stout. The idea is, I believe, to combine the bold, rich decadence of an RIS with the complexity of traditional Belgian ales. To my knowledge, stouts are relatively new in the extensive cannon of Belgian beers but I've already enjoyed similar examples (see: De Regenboog Catherine the Great).

Black Albert, however, undeniably takes the cake. When you're drinking a beer this powerful and unique (not to mention rare and expensive) it should offer you a strong sense that the experience you're having is distinctive rather than mundane. Certainly, the fine people at De Struise accord us just that. Find a special occasion - birthday, holiday, the unfolding of a paper clip, whatever - and treat yourself like royalty. Thanks MasterSki!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canadian Import Label, Best By Date April 2013; Sampled October 2008
A solid pour easily produces a four finger thick, creamy consistency, nicely browned, dark tan colored head in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass. Lots of lacing sticks to the sides of my glass as the head, fairly uniformly, slowly recedes. The beer is a dark, opaque, deeply concentrated brown, really near black color that is opaque when held up directly to the light, but showed a clear, dark chocolate brown color as I was pouring it. The aroma has an up front fruitiness to it that smells of prunes and fig. A deeper inspection shows the same fruit, but with the alcohol produces notes of brandy and rum. Towards the middle / end notes of cocoa, lightly roasted nuts and toasted whole grain notes. As my nose gets used to it a faint, funky, musty notes starts to become noticeable; light notes of ripe cheese, decaying wood and a touch of dried, musky sweat contribute, what seems to be recurring, a signature Struis character. The alcohol can be a bit too prominent in the nose at times, making this a bit hot, but it is just about complex enough that I don't really care. I wasn't really expecting much roast character here, and at first I didn't notice a whole lot, but now that I have dug around a bit there is definitely a sharp, a bit acrid, at times substantially toasted, roast / burnt grain note towards the finish.

Soft and creamy at first, then some prickly carbonation sets in and the beer gets a sharpness from the roast malt that also tends to add some thinning effect; never enough to keep this beer from being chewy and a definite sipping brew though. Substantial chocolate notes up front are tempered by darkly roasted, coffee-like notes towards the finish that add both a roast bitterness and some burnt acidity to the finish. This hides its alcohol fairly well in the flavor with just a touch of warming as it runs down my throat. A substantial, rich, concentrated fruit character becomes much more noticeable as my palate gets used to the dark grain notes; flavors of tart / sweet prunes, moist dried figs and some definite brandy-like fruit / alcohol notes. As the beer warms up it picks up more sweetness, which helps to balance the roast malt and alcohol notes a bit more. At times, in the finish, there is a substantial, toasty nutty note that reminds me of chestnuts and perhaps a touch of roasted pepita (pumpkin nut). Towards the end of my glass it starts to pick up a bit of chalky dark malt character.

Definitely a good beer, it is lacking the finesse that I was hoping for though. The complexity is there in the nose, but, while tasty, it doesn't seem to fully follow through in the flavor.

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

On tap at Ebenezer's the other day.

The beer pours the expected rich, dark black color with very impressive head retention and lacing. Unlike the bottled version, I get a considerable aroma of chocolate, cherry and coffee. On tap this beer smells pretty nice. On the palate this beer is flat out deliciuos, and really doesnt' taste all that much different from the bottled version. While there is a goodly amount of rich chocolate and some coffee aroma, I also get quite a bit of cherry and plum flavor. The intermix of flavors is just lovely, and I really am impressed by how light, soft and creamy on the palate this beer is. Given the 13% abv, drinkability truly is amazing. While you can tell the alcohol is up there, there is nothing hot, heavy or tiring about this beer, though perhaps it wasn't the best idea to order a second glass (but how often does one get to have this beer on tap at Ebenezer's).

The more I get to have this beer, the more impressed I've become. This is delicious stuff.

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Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Eziel
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Produced by the Deca Brewery, best before April 2013. Imported by Horizon Wines, Inc. Canada.

A: Black with a tan head, great retention & lacing. Very impressive for its strength.

S: Burnt espresso, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, tar, pine, pleasant fruitiness (plums, dates, cherries) & certainly some sherry-like alcohol in the nose.

T: Black strap molasses, espresso, great fruitiness (plums, figs & pear), burnt toffee, with hints of a pleasant roasted sourness, soy-sauce, tar-like resin & tobacco; plenty of bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Very full, thick, creamy body with a slight roasted acidity. Incredible body for something this strong, with very little residual sweetness. Carbonation is pleasantly on the low side of moderate.

D: Amazingly drinkable for its strength.

I'm often not a fan of stouts over 10% abv, as they start to loose their stoutness. This is by far the best high alcohol stout I've had. Blows away Dark Lord & the Abyss, IMHO. I'm guessing it's not actually anywhere near 13% though.

Big thanks the Wildone for this CanBIF5 treat!

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,782 ratings.
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