Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

Black AlbertBlack Albert
BA SCORE
92.6%
Liked This Beer
4.26 w/ 1,786 ratings
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
Ranking:
#731
Reviews:
858
Ratings:
1,786
Liked:
1,654
Avg:
4.26/5
pDev:
9.15%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
338
Gots:
400
Trade:
27
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,786 |  Reviews: 858
Photo of dwoolley1
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of HollyHops
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of scootny
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 33 cl bottle. Unlike the picture. I'd like to know where the 750 ml bottle is as no one I know has seen it. A four finger head in my Corsendonk glass. It sits majestically and recedes at a glacier pace. The brown head flows into a black brown beer that lets no light through. The sides of my glass are covered in lace, it continues as I drink.

Smell is light chocolate and coffee. There is roasted grain and sweet alcohol. A light Belgian yeast ester completes the package.

Taste is a fight between coffee and mocha. Coffee up front blending into mocha and back to coffee latte. A good roasted grain component balances the sweetness before the hops. A sweet and faint alcohol taste makes you think YooHoo for a second as you swallow. Belgian yeast esters mix in and add complexity and body. Finish is clean and dry with a firm hop presence to cut the sweet and roasted malt backbone that underpins the coffee and mocha. Faint fusel alcohol lingers with graham crackers.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and clean. Stouty thickness gives way to effervescent liveliness and makes this brew dance in your mouth.

Drinkability is beyond belief for a stout of this weight. I have been reviewing all night and I can't bring myself to slow down on this exceptional beer.

 1,263 characters

Photo of M1A2
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of MastaShonuf
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of asabreed
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. I think this bottle was around $10, but at the time I didn't know if and / or when I'd see it again, so I figured I'd snag one. Also, I'm moving to NY in about 10 days, and I'm certainly not traveling with this for fear of obvious breakage, so here we go.

Appearance: Pretty much opaque on all accounts. Hugely billowing mocha-colored head, with a dense, rock candy-like dissipating, slowly leaving some sheets of lacing on the glass. Not the best rounds of lacing ever-clinging, but it takes a ton of time for the head to dissipate, releasing some pretty heady aromas.

Smell: This is a wild and beautiful anomaly, and you can immediately tell the quality of this brew. Rich ripe strawberries backed by cocoa powder, dark mocha, burnt chocolate and charred roasted malts, tar, a bit of wood, and what I like to think of as an almost wild yeast strain, adding an amazingly heady sense of funk to the whole thing. More barnyard and earth than medicinal. Yet I also get more fruit as it warms, some ripe citrus and cherries, and a rich caramel-vanilla combination, almost like caramel-drizzled apple cake, with some sour apple skin, maybe granny smith, going on.

Taste: First off: the balance between the sweetness and sourness and bitterness here at the finish is wonderful and rich and complex and one of the best I've ever found in a brew. Though that's just the start, I suppose it, even though technically it's the end. And the balance between the sweetness of the ripe fruit and somehow juicy citrus is complimented by the nuanced, and somehow subtle, charred assault of tar, blackened malts, black coffee, and dark chocolate. Just absolutely incredible, and probably, as far as taste goes for a beer, in my top 10. Tons of luscious 2-cream-and-2-sugar coffee, while maintaining the bitterness, with the juiciness of orange and strawberry in there, and again, somehow everything mingles so well. Rather than an over-the-top-RIS like many American versions, this one puts the stamp on quality, because there's a wealth of riches going on, all of it somewhat unbelievable as I keep drinking, since I've never really had a brew like this in my entire life in some ways.

Mouthfeel: Rich and viscous and heavy and not cloying at all. Nuance nuance nuance. Thick and rich as all hell, but there maintains a litheness to the carbonation that for a 13% ABV brew is astounding. Velvety and fantastic.

Drinkability: This was tough for me, because it's one of the most expensive beers for the amount in the bottle that I've ever purchased, but it's been one of the best experiences I've ever had with a beer, through and through. Huge alcohol, almost indiscernible at every angle, balance with the subtleties of flavor and complexity that seem almost unparalleled to me in most other beers. This is definitely worth the $10-ish price tag, especially if you're looking for something worth that price, because more and more often I'm finding I'm not displeased as much as maybe very slightly disappointed with the price to quality ratio these days. Here? Not at all.

 3,105 characters

Photo of TexIndy
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330cl bottle into a snifter. Bottle had a lot code but no way to convert that to a date so no idea on the age of this one. It was pitch black in color. Had a large brown head that quickly settled into a thick collar and thin film covering. Good slow sliding lace with minimal stickage.

The aroma was espresso, dark fruits, roasted and toasted malts, dry chocolate malts and alcohol. The taste followed the aroma with the coffee and fruit flavors dominating. Alcohol is prominent in aroma and taste. Somewhat sweet from the fruits. Good but not great for the style. Medium mouthfeel with acidic after-taste.

Overall, a good but not great RIS. I waited till the hype died down on this one before getting it and glad I did. It's good and worth trying but doesn't make the top portion of my RIS list. Recommend if you can easily get and not overpay. Rotation - not avail here in TX so got from ummagum. If here, I'd not get another as there are better RIS out there [1x-taste;BOT]

 993 characters

Photo of Janeinma
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of nataku00
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. Very dark beer that only shows tinges of brown when the glass is held up to the light. A small amount of brown head that clings actively to the glass. Looks very syrupy and thick while pouring, with minimal carbonation.

At 40°F out of the fridge, smells of dark brown sugar and dried plum and a bit of roasted malt. Not quite what I was expecting from a stout, but definitely some Belgian strong dark ale influence.

Good level of bitterness, with dark roasted coffee upfront, then some of the alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Very thick beer that really coats the inside of your mouth and tongue. As it warms, the beer sweetens up as the dark brown sugar softens the harsh bitterness, and gives you a little dark chocolate in the finish.

As with a lot of imperial stouts, this Belgian 'royal stout' is very much a sipping beer. I can only imagine this getting better if aged as the alcohol harshness was very present.

 968 characters

Photo of ari32
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of artoolemomo
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of alpinebryant
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a healthy foamy tan head into a brandy Snifter with dark black color and completely opaque.

Smells of sweet berries, dark roast coffee, bitter hops, Plum chocolate - and this hasnt even warmed up yet.

Tastes very sweet for a stout - delicious dark complex chocolate, strong caramel roasted sugars, plum, red berries, coffee, with a strongly astringent finish. Lots of hop presence, reminds me of Flying Dog Gonzo with the dark complexities, but slightly sweeter and less of a malt backbone. Amazingly, I do not sense any boozy presence which is very surprising at 13% abv.

This is a very drinkable 13% abv for the style that comes in an 11.2 oz glass - no doubt because of the amount of hops in this, this is a very drinkable great RIS> I had to restrain myself with sips due to its high drinkability and small botle size.

 837 characters

Photo of Washuffizi98
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sukwonee
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Yeti1979
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a dense, creamy tan head that hangs around awhile.

Aroma is dominated by rum soaked dark fruit, and woody oak notes.

Taste is rich charred dark grain and an intensely dry woody quality. Rum soaked dark fruit - notably date and raisin come on strong. Finishes with more of the oak and vanilla woody character. Lingering alcohol astringency.

Mouthfeel is medium-full.

Overall a pleasant beer, but it doesn't really fit within the RIS category. I would consider this a strong ale. Still definitely worth a try.

 535 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown in color. Plenty of viscosity on the pour. A beautiful khaki tan head of about half an inch is perched atop.
Smell is roasted coffee and malts. Some belgian yeast can be found if you dig a bit. Taste is more the same, but the belgian yeast is much more apparent in the flavor. Very huge, and super creamy in the mouthfeel. Truly velvety on the tongue. It makes it way too drinkable for the ABV. The mouthfeel is second to none, it's that good. Starting to get a little bit of a lacto smell in the beer now that it has started to warm up a bit. Plenty of carbonation. More carbonation than I'm used to in my imperial stouts. There's a little bit of warmth coming from the ABV, but that is expected, and it's not that bad. The pillowy head is staying around for the entirety of the session.
This is a very good stout. Is it one of the best that I've ever had, I don't know. It's the best of the style that I've had. I'll be interesting to see what some time will do to this beer.

 1,002 characters

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

Pours a huge head with insane retention and a nice dark brown color.

Candy sugar is predominant on the nose with some black malt underneath. There is a touch of plumb, apple, and a little mint.

Alcohol is covered up pretty well in this one. Candy sugar dominates and is followed by some caramel and chocolate sweetness. The flavors are round about and there is a lot of body in this one, but the taste is very sweet of candy sugar. Pretty decent belgian take on a stout.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel. It's decadent.

This beer has exceptional body and hides it's 13% abv. It is a bit sweet of candy sugar, but it still maintains a good overall profile with great body.

I believe deepsouth provided me with this sample. Thanks.

 725 characters

Photo of TonyTalon
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of Domingo
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been looking forward to this for a while!
Since this one's only 11oz, I poured it into wine glasses.
Dark brown to black with a pretty rocky tan head. For 13%, that's pretty impressive.Not a ton of lacing as I work my way down, though.
Smells very much like an American stout. Roasted coffee and nuts, cocoa, molasses. Maybe a little booze, but not picking up Belgian yeast. I personally think that's a good thing as it can be out of place sometimes.
The taste is pretty divine. Molasses, hot cocoa, espresso, and a definite cherry brandy flavor. Not too sweet, but definitely not a dry one. There's a bit of peppery sour yeast in there, however it fits right in. If someone didn't point out it was Belgian, I doubt most people would notice.
Went down VERY quickly for 13%, but then again the small bottle plays a role in that. Very creamy texture, though.

I'd love to have more of this as it's great. Problem is, $10 for 11oz (of an uncommon beer) makes this something that isn't for every day. Hopefully a larger bottled version will be more common.

 1,052 characters

Photo of jkball01
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of RKing44
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Beerbom
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 0. Lot A4BB.
$13 for the 11.2oz bottle. Poured to tulip.
Sampled 24MAR13

[A] A smooth yet swift pour produces a half finger high head of medium dark brown-caramel color. Slow to rise and slow to disappear, leaving a thick foamy collar comprised of large bubbles. The body is pitch black and visibly thick. Minimal lacing. There is a thick layer of yeast caked to the bottom of the bottle.

[S] Dark chocolate with a surprising berry-like fruitiness immediately noticeable. I suppose the fruity notes could be derived from the Belgian yeast - but it isn't wholly unlike the onset of infection either. Background notes of earth, hay, and wet tobacco leaf. Some sharp, but very clean alcohol are present.

[T] Semisweet dark chocolate, almost no bitterness at all and no roasted character. (How in the world is this 100 IBUs?) The fruity quality is confounding. Not entirely unwelcomed. but I don't think that it was intentional either. The flavor is very soft and refined...and is way more subtle than any other 13% RIS that I've ever had before. The alcohol is BARELY noticeable

[M] This is my favorite aspect of Black Albert. The smoothness cannot be overstated. Carbonation is low. The texture is suppleness defined. Full bodied on the front end and thinner on the back, which again makes me wonder if there is any type of infection going on.

[O] Good beer. Not great. But this beer has been aged for awhile - and time may not have been too kind. My next Black Albert will most definitely be consumed fresh.

 1,518 characters

Photo of kingmaker
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 92.6% out of 100 with 1,786 ratings
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