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Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
853 Reviews
THE BROS
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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium
noordhoek.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
Reviews:
853
Ratings:
1,768
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
9.2%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
396
For Trade:
28
User Reviews
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Reviews: 853 | Ratings: 1,768
Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Voonder for sending this one my way in a recent trade. 12 oz bottle.

Pours a cloudy and murky dark black, some red in the edges, thick tan head forms, drops some solid lace spots on the glass, and settles to a thick layer and ring, looks good. Smell is wacky, red wine, chocolate, yeast, molasses, wood and earth, figs, dark fruit, sour fruit, rye bread, sourdough, intense roast, interesting stuff. Taste is similar, very dry roastiness, chocolate, figs, wood, kind of astringent, red wine and fruit, brown sugar, yeast, very fruity, nice bitter roast finish, very dry. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, alcohol is very well hidden, pretty smooth and easy to drink. Hyped up for me but still a really nice beer. Thanks Alex!

 759 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This black bodied beer has a fluffy brown head with great retention and substantial lace properties. Nice aroma of anise oil, cocoa powder, rummy alcohol and oily black malt. The flavor and mouthfeel are letdowns right from the get go. Body is medium at best. And gaseous and over carbonated. Oily feel to it, which is not bad in and of itself, but there's not much substance to it in the mouthfeel or flavor. Roasted chocolate malt flavors with some black licorice and winey characteristics. Tannic astringency is noted as well. I was expecting more out of this.

 563 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

100th review!
11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Deep dark brown with a thick brown head. Mild lacing left on the glass.

S - Chocolate, but very mild. Some carmel and sugar.

T - Carmel, Brown sugar, malts, chocolate.

D - Nice carbonation.

O - Nice and smoth. I ate a brownie with this and they paired perfectly.

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Photo of drummermattie02
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330mL Batch 0 poured into a Duvel tulip. Dark, obviously, and a big tan head forms almost like a nitro pour. Just a beautiful beer.

Smells of roasted malts, metallic chocolate and a hint of coffee. Probably one of the best smelling imperial stouts I have had. Nothing stands out as being too sharp.

Taste is bitter and viscous, with a hint of tartness and coffee like flavors. Beautifully carbonated, particularly for a beer of this ABV, the finish has a bit more of the roasted malt acidity. This is an outstanding beer, one that I wish was more readily available in these parts.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another bottle drank during the epic March Madness '11 week.

Poured out a Saturday morning I believe, while many were still hungover, I pretty much drank this one to myself, black ass beer, deep tan head, mocha like in appearance. Aroma was heavy on the coffee and strong roast, but nothing too special going on, nothing offputting.

Taste is quite good at hiding the high abv. Obvious shout outs to dark chocolate and deep roasted malts (coffee). Stays bitter, but not to where it becomes a challenge or a negative. Belgian yeast seems to round the beer out nicely without detracting from the sturdy malt viscosity. I didn't really catch much in the way of dark fruit stuff that other reviewers did.

Enjoyable, but at almost $1 an ounce, this one has many more options of comparable quality at a much better price, which takes its overall score down a smidge.

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

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

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 lot, 330ml bottle

jet black, good looking dark brown colored head, but it fades. aroma is a little boozy, with a combo of roast, fruity, and some black licorice. the taste is smoother, still complex with the same flavors. medium bodied, lower carbonation, slick mouthfeel.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
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 cbutova
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not what I expected at all. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pitch black with a dark tan cloud and ring. Sticky suds and spotty lace stay around on the glass. The cloud is very nice and re-appears after each sip.

S- Grape juice, very surprising but it was so up front and strong. The dark roasty malt is there but the grape aroma keeps reminding me of wine. Some alcohol as well. Easily the weirdest aroma of any RIS I have had.

T- Not very Stout like at all. Like a quad filled with some cocoa and grapes. Slight dark roast malt, spice and yeast flavors remind me of a Quad, as well as some dark raisin/fruit notes. Hops are in the background and are earthy and grassy, 100IBU?! The grapes and wine notes persist but aren't nearly as strong as they were in the nose, crazy take on a stout but I don't mind it. Alcohol is VERY well hidden.

MF- Thick body, nice and creamy. Pretty warm from the alcohol but it suits the flavors. A coat of dark fruit, vine and cocoa stay on the palate.

DB- Very pricey and very unexpected. I dont even know what to say. It is a good tasting beer but feels like someone mixed a Quad and a RIS with wine. It is drinkable for 13% and I will probably try future batches at some point. Surprising...

 1,222 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 11 oz bottle into a Rochefort glass.

This beer pours black showing light brown edges in the light. The head is disappointing as it is only light tan in color, rises less than a finger and is gone within a minute. The lacing is there but gone fast as well.

The aroma is really nice. The malts show wonderfully with lots of sweetness shown as chocolate, cherries, and at the end lightly roasted coffee.

The taste is very light and smooth allowing for great drinkablilty. The taste is sweet chocolate and cherries to start and finishes with some coffee. The mouthfeel is heavy and the taste is lasting.

Overall this is an excellent stout, that I would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of claspada
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased back in 2008. Not sure how old it was then, anyway...

Pours dark as night with no highlights along the edges of the snifter. There is a nice huge head of cappuccino colored froth. It's whipped creamy and is beginning to leave a beautiful array of delicate lace.

The aromas begin with a lot of dark fruit; black cherries and raisins dominate. There must have been a lot of Special B malt used here (for you homebrewers out there) As it warms you get some dark chocolate liquor, blackstrap molasses and earthy dark fruit. Dark roasted malt smells borderline, burnt they smell so roasted.

The flavors begin with the dark roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, dark cherry fruitiness and a touch of baker's cocoa. As it warms the dark fruits slowly begin to take a beackseat to the roasted bitter espresso, borderline acrid malt flavors. Alcohol peaks it's ugly head as well as this continues to warm, but it's hard to mask when your in this huge ABV range.

The mouthfeel doesn't quite make it all the way to impressive. It falls a fraction short on fullness and the carbonation isn't as well-integrated as it could be.

Overall this was a slight miss for me, but I think it could be a batch issue. I had one of these the other day where the roasted bitter maltiness was tamed by the dark fruits, but the burnt, acrid flavors dominated my palate and the entire beer here, not even the dark fruitiness from the Belgian yeast/malts can save this over-the-top RIS monster.

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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.

 1,341 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerisheaven for this gem in one of our weekly trades. Didn't think I'd get to try this one until it hit the States in regular fashion; glad to get a preview.

This beer has a smell like nothing else. Big chocolate but something else, wildly different, that I can't quite put my finger on. Belgian yeast? Candy? Lawn gnomes?

Taste is similarly divergent from the norm. Deep, dark, elegant roastiness, a bit of tartness (hops?) on the tongue with a cool, sweet finish. Wow. Creamy as a good square of Ghiradelli, no hint of alcohol at all.

This is really good. The only strike might be the drinkability, it's just too thick & full to have more than (if I could get another, or afford one, so never mind...). Excellent beer. Hope it arrives on the shores of the U.S.A. soon, I'd make space for it in the fridge.

 824 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep black, one finger brown head.

S-Very chocolately, coffee, roasted malt with a tad bit of vanilla.

T-Very coffee heavy, roasted malt and chocolate. Some burnt notes. Darker fruits as well and nice bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated and a tad creamy.

O-The burnt malt and the dark fruits were nice and subtle. The alcohol was hidden well.

 359 characters

Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one of these at Bruisin Ales in Asheville.

Pours completely black with a one-finger light brown head. The head sticks around for the life of the beer, eventually settling into a thin pancake of bubbles on top. Lacing is decent.

Smells of vanilla and dark fruits with a hint of roasted malt. The alcohol makes an appearance every now and then, but doesn't overpower anything by a long shot.

Tastes great. Sweet dark fruits fill the palate for a split second, then the roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate come through. It's a very bitter ending, but with just enough to not go into overkill. The flavors linger for quite a while. Alcohol is noticeable, but mostly as a warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is great. As someone else said, this is probably the best part of this beer, along with the aftertaste. Not really very thick, but the carbonation is small but plentiful and makes this go down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. Actually, probably a little too good for 13%. I could have a few too many of these.

Overall I was a bit let down after the first few sips, but this one definitely grew on me. The smoothness is what sets this beer apart from others. Definitely worth a shot if you see it around.

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

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

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

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Photo of Rutager
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thank you to alpineclimber for this '07 bottle. Lot A, BB April 2013.

Appearance. Pours a very deep brown from the bottle, black in the glass with almost half a finger of tan head that fades to a skim.

Smell. Woody tobacco, dark fruits and dark malts with a small amount of black licorice and a little dark chocolate.

Taste. Baker's chocolate and Red Man tobacco, some molasses and raisins, and a little fresh cut wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with smooth low carbonation.

Overall. A somewhat lighter bodied, but fantastic ris. Lots of nice tasting tobacco, fruit and roasty malts combining in a very smooth and tasty way. Adam, you fucking kill it with the extras. Cheers!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After all the hype, I finally got to try this beer. It lived up to its reputation. Served in a tulip, the beer was an impenetrable black with a medium tan head. It had a coffee and chocolate aroma, like most RIS, but to my usually impaired nose, was fairly pronounced. A coffee/espresso and chocolate taste, very well balanced. If not for the high ABV, could drink a lot of these.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Lot: 250613062012. Bottle Lot: 25|08|GG. I am going to hazard a parsing of 13 June 2012 as a bottling date?

A: Dark brown head is tight and luxurious. Black and opaque.

S: Mmmm. Just what I wanted. Dark chocolate, licorice, alcohol (carrying a strange grapey note), flat-bready malts.

T: Molasses; huge fruits (sticky candy-covered Luxardo maraschino cherries, peaches, honeycrisp apples, raisins); cocoa powder; and perhaps a touch of coffee. The listed 100+ IBU seems a bit high, but the aftertaste *is* quite bitter...and lasting. A minute later and I could almost think I'd been sipping on coffee (except for the strongly sweet fruit).

M: The least impressive part, and it influences the taste, unfortunately. It started out real nice, but became progressively thinner and more lackluster. Still, enough of a body to stand on its own.

O: I really, really liked this beer. Maybe not $10 a lot, but I'm glad I tried it. Recommended, and confirms my good experiences with Belgian imperial stouts.

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

Reviewed from notes 2/1/2011

A: black with a 2 finger mocha head that dissipates very slowly, leaves very nice lacing

S: hints of coffee, chocolate, and a slight burnt scent, a touch of caramel as it warms up, and a very slight hint of the alcohol

T: coffee, malts, and a slight alcohol burn, but nowhere near what was expected

M: mild carbonation, very smooth, creamy, thick

D: dangerously smooth, barely any hint of the high ABV on this one

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ah yes, the hype of black albert...330ml bottle from Riley's with a high price-tag...split with black bart

apppearance: poured into a snifter, robust ebony body, light mahogany cream lace...chocolate hues

smell: roasty, licorice, layers of dark chocolate, a touch of espresso

taste: seems like a product of the hype to me - high quality RIS with a limited enough availability and high price tag to make it infamous...this is a powerful powerful stout - drinks like rocket fuel. layers upon layers of dark chocolate are the focal point, with hints of oatmeal, espresso, and dark roasted malts below. alcohol is a bit heavy but bitterness is quite low. kind of reminds me of a jacked up storm king stout

mouthfeel: full and coating, high booze, light bitterness, robust

drinkability: 165ml is a good serving size for me

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Photo of ccrida
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle (BA No. 14, Lot B-6-BB) that I bought 1.5 years ago and cellared since. Poured into my Delirium snifter, Black Albert is black with a very dark tan, creamy head leaving scattered, foamy lace.

Smell is rich but not overbearing, nicely integrated, chocolate, berry liqueur, very elegant. The heat is only evident on the deepest of snifts - clean but singeing.

Taste is not as integrated, there are distinct notes of fruity Belgian esters, a nice roast, and very strong ethanol. The phenols are strong too. I like the grape esters with the roasted grains, but unless this really cleans up or changes drastically over the LONG haul, the gratuitous ABV is clearly a detriment. Nevertheless, it really grows on me, aided by it's warming from cellar temp.

Mouthfeel very nice, velvety carbonation and malt, but again, the high ABV is unduly drying. It also impressively retains a high level of digestibility.

Drinkability is surprisingly high. I guess I quickly adjusted the the high ABV (which, honestly, is quite clean), and got to enjoying the rich qualities of this Belgian Royal Stout. Suddenly this bottle seemed way to small, even though I was carefully savoring each sip. The price of course is prohibitive, and not something I'll be buying on a regular basis, but it's definitely yet another great beer from De Struise. Really impressed by this beer, especially how it evolved as it opened, or at least my palate adjusted.

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

11.2 oz bottle split and poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip. 13% ABV, Lot: A 4 BB notched, no date.

Thanks again to Beerwolf77 for another top 100 tick!

A - Deep, dark black with no light shining through, it pours fairly viscous with a dense dark mocha head. Moderate retention with thick lace coating the glass. Some nice cascading in there too!

S - Interesting dark fruitiness on the nose; raisin is prevalent with molasses mixing with the dark, bitter chocolate and roasted malts. Notes of light floral hops on the back end balance nicely. Fairly roasted but no booze comes out. The fruitiness is a little odd though.

T - Rich roasted malts with a heavy molasses and bittersweet chocolate flavor going on, notes of coffee float in lightly with a semi-present hop finish to the beer. An interesting yeast ester fruitiness on the back end mixes it up a little better than it does in the nose.

M - Smooth as silk and viscous with a full body and semi-sweet lingering finish. Just a bit of dryness and some acrid bitterness.

D - Not a touch of the alcohol comes through in this beer but it is fairly rich making it a decently drinkable stout. Better split for sure.

 1,169 characters

Photo of stcules
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black, just a veil of evanescent foam.
Toasted, chocolately, woody smell. Nuts, green hops, a hint of almond.
Very smooth in the mouth, the 13 ABV is very well hidden.
Again, vanilla, artichoke, dried fruit. Hops and toasted notes.
It is a continuum of well amalgamated and pleasant flavour.
Good strucuture, full, but balanced. Full body.
Toasted and chocolate in the aftertaste, and a green toastiness.
Really good.

 417 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured deep thick black with a big dark brown head. Aroma of roasted grains, some spice, bitter chocolate, and hints of licorice. Big full mouthfeel. Bitter chocolate and roast with some slight spiciness to it. First time I have tasted definite charred tobacco. Lingering bitter chocolate and dark dried fruit mixture left on the palate. A nice impy that reminds me of Pt5.

 373 characters

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,768 ratings.
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