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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 852 | Ratings: 1,759
Photo of cleeze
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been hunting this brew for a quick minute now, deffinatly worth the hype (don't know about he price though).

Poured a pitch engine oil black with a huge cocoa colored tan head. Looks yummmy, Head stuck around for a few to show some bad ass lacing.

Most of all I got a boozy smell out of this. I definitely could smell the 13%. Also I picked up on some chocolate and coffee notes up in there as well.

Taste was exetremely smooth. The 13% is well masked, doesn't taste nearly as boozy as it smelled. Most of all I loved the hop character this has. Meshes very well indeed. Dark malts with chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and slick.

This was so dangerously tasty I feel I could have put back atleast a few before that 13% comes back to bite you in the ass... AMAZING BREW

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Photo of sk8man121
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into goblet. Batch #14; I don't see a vintage but I'm guessing 2009.

A: Pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Looks exactly how I'd expected.

S: Nose is of bitter chocolate, alcohol and astringent herbs. Very fruity w/ hints of black cherry & raspberry.

T: Quite possibly the fruitiest imperial stout I've ever tasted, and I mean that in as good a way as possible. Alcohol is pleasantly warming, chocolate/cocoa is evident but far from overpowering. Bitterness is high, almost like a fine espresso. Absolutely perfect.

M: Silky and mouth-coating. Carbonation is very low and for good reason; any more would be distracting.

D: I went to the liquor store tonight for a Chimay Blue and almost fell off my feet when I saw this beer on the shelf, and for only $10.49. Rarely do I agree that a beer truly lives up to the hype, but this is absolutely perfect and beautiful.

One of the best beers on the planet.

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Photo of ikantspel
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz into a hangar 24 snifter

pours a motor oil black with an almost burgundy thin foamy head

dark fruits, belgian yeast, cocoa, and burnt sugar in the nose

heavy taste of oaky malts, molasses, dark fruits. finishes slightly dry with only a slight hint of alcohol

overall a solid stout. no complaints love its simplicity

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very deep brown color with a very nice fluffy chocolate milk colored head. Retains the head exceedingly well. Leaves good lacing as well.

S: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder with a nice malty sweetness underneath. Slight alcohol burn.

T: Cocoa and chocolate are big upfront with a bit of alcohol burn going down.

M: Full bodied and silky smooth. Minimal carbonation.
D: Despite the ABV this is very drinkable. I could only imagine how much smoother it could get with age.

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - jet black with a tiny ruby halo at the base of the beer, a massive 3.5cm light brown head formed. beautiful. perfect.

S - raisins, prunes, roasted barley, chocolate, nuts, a slight funky-ness that's distinctly belgian. I don't know whether it's my nose reaction to all of the new allergens in the air due to the weather or whether everything just didn't seem as strong as your normal RIS because the aroma was kind of weak. I'm going to err on the side of caution and give it a 4.0.

T - roastedy barley, charred barley, lots of fruit (raisins, prunes, figs), chocolate. It has a fairly bitter finish with notes of vanilla and cherry. It's also slightly sour. The predominant flavor is dark fruit and sour with hints of your normal RIS flavors. I don't quite know what to give this beer as I try to be as objective as possible while reviewing. It tastes very, very good, but it's not at all a typical RIS. The sourness and the funkiness seem slightly out of place (not quite as much as in Jolly Pumpkins Madrugada Obscura), but it's still a very good beer. If I was rating this solely on how it tastes (non-objectively), it'd be a 5.0, but again, it's not quite your normal RIS, so I'm going to drop the score slightly.

M - thick and oily, almost syrupy.

D - the ABV is incredibly well hidden. I've had 7% ABV beers that didn't go down quite as smooth as this beer. I could drink this all day if it wasn't for how filling one of these is.

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Photo of kasper
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown, huge three finger cargo tan-colored foamy head even on a cold pour. Some rings of laces recede.

S: Hints of cocoa, raisin, and cream on this cold pour. Underlying aromas of some once-was bitterness. Weak aromas overall.

T: On the better end of belgian imperial stouts, with a wicked twist at the end. Dark, syrupy fruity malts, strong licorice and alcohol slip down the throat when suddenly a bitter, jagermeister-like roasted finish floods the senses, lingering in an aftertaste of burnt licorice.

M: Full-bodied, yet thin feeling (but heavy hitting). Moderate carbonation, but it's noticeable.

D: This 12oz bottle was aged at least a year, no hoppy aromas, lots of alcohol-soaked fruits without the candy belgian/yeast flavors. Similar to a DFH WWS in some ways. Nice to try, not sure it's something I'll ever crave.

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Photo of teamizm
3.33/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Part of my Westy 12 box.

Batch 0 poured from a bottle

A - Pours like a deep black coffee with a nice mocha head that recedes somewhat quickly.

S - Roasted malts, chocolates, and a slight metallic smell (this is why I'm not a huge fan of imports)

T - Upfront metallic taste. Very sweet, Belgian candy sugars with a molasses and chocolaty twinged.

M - very one dimensional. For a 13% RIS, it lacks a lot of complexity. 50/50 Eclipse has about 4-5% less ABV and has 200% more complexity in the mouth feel.

D - Kind of a boring RIS. The variable in reviewing a RIS from across the pond is that conditions make a huge impact on the beer. This beer may be great in Belgium, but it doesn't hold up well in travel.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a pure black, with a tight, but small, head. Smells a bit funky, in a good way, there is a hint of fruit and spice.

Wow! That is one serious beer. Ive been reading the label as I wait for it to warm. 100 IBUs, seems like a lot, but you barely notice it in this beast. Royal Belgian Stout. I like that, I'm going to have to brew one of these.

There is a hint of coco, some coffee, with an underlying sweetness tempered with a yeasty spiciness, its a very intriguing brew, I wish I had more than 33cl.

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of madtrixter787
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my DFH tulip from a bottle I picked up in maine a year or two ago (can't remember, I have two bottles from two different trips!). After deciding it's about time to drink down my cellar I figured I'd start with this. Pours a jet back with little to no head (though I poured slow because of the sludge at the bottom of the bottle). Smells like belgian candied sugars with a hint of booze, very nice. Very good taste, quite bitter from the 100 IBUs and not as much of an overpowering booze aftertaste as I anticipated, just a very well balanced imperial stout. Another great beer from de struise, just wish I could get them here in VA!

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Photo of pigc
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Decided to crack this one tonight after about 3 years in the cellar.

Poured into Eclipse snifter.

A - Pitch black with brown cola colored head. Lots of lacing and carbonation.

S - Black licorice, coffee, toffee, molasses.

T - Dark roasted coffee, licorice, with just a hint of bitterness to keep things in check.

M - Thick and chewy.

O - Very pleased with Belgian stout. I think a few years of age has rounded things out nicely. At 13% abv, this is still a beast of a beer. Nice slightly bitter finish. Well done.

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Photo of Bartleby91
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks and pours like oil. So dark it appears to stain the glass. Aromas are wonderful with roasted coffee, chocolate, some floral hop and a bit of sugary sweetness. Tastes are big chocolate, coffee, and some earthy and floral hops coming through at the end. Some unexpected spritz on the palate with good carbonation for being so strong. Flavors linger well with a medium body on the palate. Dangerously smooth with a barely perceptible alcohol burn despite being 13%. Overall it is an amazing beer and one that I would love to age to see how it evolves.

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

Black pour with light brown edges. Mocha head rises with an inch of head, but dissipates quickly. Lacing is modest.

Nose is dominated by dark fruits, sweet and deep, with a good bit of roasted back ground. Alcohol is present, but is not overly dominating.

Palate is very rich, starting with an earthy malt beginning. Mid-body is dominated by dark fruits, a bit of spice which leads into a very smooth and mellowed roasted finish. Alcohol is present, but adds more to the beer than takes away. Comes off as port wine in essence and character.

Silky smooth mouthfeel with a great resonance of flavor. An exceptional beer that would age gracefully for years. Absolutely divine.

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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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Photo of firkinhophead
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle in a snifter at nearly room temperature. Thanks to Rusty Diamond for the hookup!

Pours a dark purplish-brown that allows some light to come through around the edges. A loose, active head settles to a ring that revives nicely with a swirl to form a tight foam that is clingy but not particularly sticky.

aroma of earthy malts, alcohol, char, wet coffee grounds, some pruney, over-ripe fruit.

tastes of roasted malts, sweet alcohol, coffee, and herbs. Medicinal astringency in the finish. Quite dry, with only a flash of dark fruit. Belgian yeast lends a funky tang.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than anticipated, but this is a highly attenuated stout. Hot alcohol on the breath. Carbonation is a tad prickly, adding to the medicinal character.

An interesting take on the style and worth a try, but to me it lacks complexity to match its big alcohol bite and bitter finish. Would certainly improve with age.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Complete Black, can't see through - two fingers of tan head retention.

Smell: Molasses, Caramel, Little hint of bittersweet Chocolate, hint of mokah, black raspberry, dark cherry.

Taste: Tobacco, Vanilla bean, Molasses, Caramel, roasted nut

Mouthfeel: my favorite part - creamy - can't even taste the 13.00% alcohol.

Drinkability: Highly Drinkable - not heavy. I highly recommend - it is unbelievable. Quite possibly my favorite beer I've ever had.

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Photo of COBeerBuff
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A successful evening of softball means it's time to crack open my first BA...

Appearance: Before I even have a chance to let the bottle warm, off-white heads seeps out of the top of the bottle. Pours a very dark brown-black with about a quarter inch of mocha colored head. Lots of big bubbles interspersed among the more tightly packed small bubbles. The head recedes quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass and lots of great lacing. No light seeps around the edges. This is the definition of an opaque beer.

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, some hops, and maybe even a little malty sweetness. There are also notes of caramel and lots more cocoa.

Taste: This is one of the best tasting RIS's (or RIB's) that I've had in a long time. The coffee and the chocolate hit you right out of the gate. The hop bitterness is there, but it's not overdone. The malty sweetness comes roaring through, but caramel and toffee flavors serve to round out the finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly crisp. This one poured, and tasted for that matter, like it was going to be one big chocolate/coffee sticky mess. It is quite the opposite. The carbonation is spot-on, and the beer glides over the tongue, enveloping it in goodness without being overwhelming or overpowering.

Drinkability: This is an absolutely delightful RIS. It's so well done that there is almost no alcohol taste. Some might see that as a bad thing since it's 13% ABV. I, on the other hand, love the craftsmanship that makes just such an instance possible. This could quickly become a staple brew in my cellar. Can't wait to try an aged one in 6-12 months.

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Photo of mpetersen
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Trying to hold off on doing many reviews until I learn more, but this is so good I can't help myself.

A: Pitch black with a beautiful, short mocha head.

S: Not much smell at all. Traces of dark fruit, milk chocolate and booze.

T: Taste is amazing. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Mild sweetness, Belgian yeast, dark malts, hops and chocolate. Pleasant bitter finish.

M: WOW! Rich and creamy, full bodied. Worth the experience in and by itself.

D: Extremely drinkable. Never would have guessed 13% ABV if I hadn't read it off the bottle myself. Without a doubt a truly exceptional beer.

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Photo of tendermorsel
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to get this off the tap at Ebanezer's Belgian beer fest.

Great jet black color. The head looked like the crema on a good shot of espresso.... a thin layer of brownish foam. It had a wonderful oder of sweet chocolate

There is so much going on with this beer. Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate notes. The finish was superb. Unlike some of the other high powered stouts this one did not stick in your mouth. In fact I had no problem transitioning to a Lou Pepe as my next glass. Truly a hand crafted beer. Very drinkable also as despite it's 13% alcohol content went down real smooth. A sipping beer for sure.

Definitely recommended.... If you can get it. I wish I could get a bottle or two to age or maybe a barrel aged version would be nice. I have a hunch that this gem would be even better with age.

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Photo of davod23
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 0. This arrived from Struise just yesterday. Poured into my Bruery tulip.

Pour is beautiful. Almost pitch black, chunky, long lasting tan head. Nice lacing. About as good as it gets.

The aroma is strangely muted, subdued. The most recognizable component is a mixed berry compote. Raisins. Slight roast, dark chocolate, and a wisp of smoke round it out. But this is surprisingly fruity.

Whoa. This is awesome. It opens with a berry sweetness, but almost immediately plunges into the deepest, darkest dark chocolate imaginable. This is like a melted gourmet bittersweet chocolate bar. Alcohol is warming but generally well hidden. This one lingers for a while on the back of the tongue - it's been a couple minutes since my last sip and I can still taste this. Fantastic, and after the aroma a huge and welcome surprise.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both superb. Thick, viscous, but with an appropriate amount of low-level carbonation.

I've had Black Albert only once before, but this is much, much better than that bottle. Less of the quad characteristics, more of the stout. Worth seeking out. If Struise releases more Batch 0, I will be all over it. Highly recommended.

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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 Cmack15
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh the famous Black Albert. Destruise is one of the top breweries in Belgium and well this is one of their fine offerings. Nice thick jet black brew that looks and smells great. Your nose is greeted with the aromas of chocolate, dark malts, dark fruits, and the yeast. A nice thick chewy mouthfeel to this beer. A session beer no, but a true decadent beverage yes. Seek this out and enjoy.

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

33cl bottle, lot A best April 2013. Poured into Cantillon flute.

Jet black thick looking liquid. Dense dark brown head with great staying power.

Smell roasted barley, woodchips, plums, hint of whiskey. Rich aromas, but inviting instead of overpowering.

Layers of taste to this one. Roasted barley up front, molasses, dark fruits, dark chocolate. Later there is the taste of cream and alcohol mixing in with the roasted malt flavor. Overall it's super rich, like the most intense dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, milkshake like. Slight alcohol burn in the finish.

Very drinkable, though the alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a De Dolle tulip.

A- Jet Black. No light may pass. One finger Dark Tan head with large bubbles. This doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

S- Rum soaked brown bannanas. Definetly belgian yeast in this. Slightly metalic. Old coffee grounds.

T- Toasty Chocolate milk. Like when you put to much ovaltine in a glass of milk (which i like). More of that funky bannana. Burnt roast comes in at the end. Very Pleasant. Much better then the smell.

M- This isn't one of those super thick motor oil like Impy stouts. Much drier like the other belgian stouts i've had, which is pleasant.

D-This thing is 13%? No way! No alcohol heat. Not crazy boozy or anything. If it wasn't for the aroma this thing would've been near perfect.

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Photo of marksto
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Crown Liquors in Carmel, IN - thanks to Mike for putting it in my hands.

Pours opaque with a carmel-colored head with good retention. Aroma has nice complexity, with dark cherry, chocolate, and alcohol all evident. These elements all come out in the taste as well, along with carmel, licorice, and some roast. The mouthfeel is quite dry and the alcohol well hidden- doesn't taste like 13%.
Not sure I'd classify this as a RIS - the dryness and complexity mark it as one with a definite Belgian character. Also, you must let it warm up to let out all the complexity

Overall, an interesting and pleasant drinking beer - worth trying if you have the chance, but IMO perhaps a bit underwhelming considering the hype it gets.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,759 ratings.
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