Black Albert | De Struise Brouwers

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Black AlbertBlack Albert
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

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:
851
Ratings:
1,745
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
13.21%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
391
For Trade:
27
User Reviews
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Reviews: 851 | Ratings: 1,745
Photo of humanawho
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - very deep black color with a strong head of brown cream

S - nice sweet aroma with some candied figs and some slight spicyness some hints of vanilla extract

T - very smooth with some nice chocolate flavors and deep roasty notes there are some vanilla and fig flavors

M - great it is very think but crazy smooth with nice carbonation

D - extreamly drinkable nice and smooth

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Photo of wd40
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown/black appearance. Aroma has raisins, figs, and caramel. There's definitely some alcohol present in the nose. The taste is sweet and very malty. It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Hardy ale or a J.W. Lee's in that sense. Some of the high alcohol content becomes apparent in the taste especially as it warms up. It's a good beer and I might try one again with some age on it to see if that calms the alcohol down, but only if I can get a good price on it.

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Photo of davedahl
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good - but not up to my expectations based on the hype surrounding it. I had a 8oz pour in a sherry glass for $10 at Binny's in Chicago's south loop.

The pour was far too cold but produced a completely black brew with a creamy chocolate-milk type head of tight tiny bubbles. Slight lacing.

Taste was chocolate malt, roasted malt at the front; dark fruit (dark sweet cherries plums) in the middle; and little hop balance and alcohol burn in the finish.

Nose - nothing. Seriously partially because how cold this beer was there was zero aromatics. After I warmed it a bit in my hands I detected rich dark malt and sweet cherries - but you really have to search for them.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, alcohol bite, viscous. The 13% alcohol is hidden well.

So hmm. This was good, but not great. I had this only once previously, about a year ago with BA member bgramer and I recall getting a lot more out of it at that time. I think this is probably better bottled and aged than on tap.

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Photo of mrkrispy
3.27/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been wanting to try this for quite a while, thanks to the very generous trader!

Poured a very dark but not jet black. Nice head, stuck around for a decent amount of the glass. Lots of lace all over the place.

A very dull aroma, and what there is isn't pleasing. A bit smokey, and burnt malt?

Immediately notice the lighter body than I was expecting. Dark malts, bit of chocoloate and coffee bean. Roubust burnt malt again, not a fan of that taste. Intentional? A bit of sourness, reminiscent of a Baltic Porter. Not surprising coming from Belgium, I like it. Some sort of metallic off flavor in the finish. Burnt sweetness lingers on the tongue.

Well, I didn't know what to expect and this certainly wasn't what I was hoping for. Complex, had some good flavors, but also several unlikable characteristics. A bit too light on the body. Nice to try it but I wouldn't make an effort to get it again.

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

Pours black with a brown head that is very thin on the top.

Smell is chocolaty and sweet. Seems to be a little bit of a floral smell coming through.

Taste is milk chocolate with a hint of roastiness to balance out the sweetness. Mouthfeel is creamy and silky smooth as it goes down. Very drinkable as this is incredibly smooth. No sign of 13% ABV here.

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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 gtn80
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance is a jet black with a couple fingers of fluffy mocha head of tiny bubbles and great lacing.

Aroma is of cocoa and coffee with cream.

Taste is amazingly velvety, surprisingly little roast for such a big stout. Chocolate and coffee abound, bit of alcohol heat in the finish.

Mouthfeel is amazing, thick, viscous, almost like a milkshake. Best mouthfeel I have had in a beer.

Drinkability is surprising for such a big stout. Even with the alcohol burn the abv sneaks up on you.

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

This is a very good dark beer. It pours black. There is chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol in the nose. It tastes as it smells, a balanced mix of coffee-like bitterness with chocolate and alcohol, yet very drinkable. This beer has a solid mouthfeel, but it is not extremely thick. Very good, and I am looking foward to drinking the other bottle I brought home.

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Photo of tkarsies
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lot B6BB. Served near room temp in my Westy chalice. A special Valentine's Day treat.

Near black with dark brown head. Vigorous carbonation after the pour. Leaves beige lacing. Nice

Smells of roasted goodness. Some hints of coffee and fruits. Maybe a hint of sourness

Rich and complex. Initially the primary flavor is roasted malt. Then there is the dark fruit. There is a hint of flavor that faintly reminds me of a Belgian sour beer. With each sip, it becomes more complex. Kind of stout meets barleywine meets Belgian funky goodness. Oh, and there is a bit of hops at then end just to tease and provide some balance.

For all the fizzing when poured, this actually is not very carbonated. Smooth. Not quite as thick as the typical RIS I have had. A little stickiness in the mouth as well.

Drinkability is quite good, especially for a 13% brew. Alcohol is felt but not noticed in the flavor profile. A treat for sipping, especially as the temperature is dropping outside. Don't really At $10 for a bottle, I can't afford to drink this often, but it is definitely worth having again.

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Photo of bgramer
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get a case through a friend out in Belgium.

This beer pours black, but I swear that with the aroma smelling sweet, and like raisins and grapes, that this would be a dark dark purple color like a grape soda but darker. There's some head retention but that quickly goes away leaving a tan ring that leaves a carbonated sticky lacing around the glass as you swirl it.

Tastes sweet like candy - dark fruits, some coffee, a little caramel. It's borderline to an RIS style but could be compared to a quad too, or even an American Stout. It's uniqueness and complexity prevents it from falling completely into one category or another, instead it reaches out into all these at one time or another. Amazingly complex.

The alcohol is slightly noticable but not in a bad way because of it's freshness. Imagine how amazing this could be when aged over the years.

This is a world class beer which deserves to be in the Top 5.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle. Split with a friend.

A- Black. Poured a little thinner than I would expect. All the alcohol?

S- Lots going on. Bitter Chocolate, cabaret, Brett,

T- Caught off guard by the slight tart/fruitiness from the yeast. Some dark cherries and other stone fruits. Ultra dark chocolate, tobacco and roast, but not out front like you would expect.

MF- Definitely some carbonation. More than I would expect for a RIS. Not necessarily bad with the beer, but think its a little high for the style. Must be hard to control at 13%

D- Completely ridiculous. At 13% this should be illegal. No heat at all. Very enjoyable. With the other flavors you don't have to be sitting in front of fire to enjoy this one.

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Photo of Fluke828
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to this one...

11.2 FL OZ.(330 ml right?) Bottle -> CBS Snifter (about half)
Bottle Date: LOT: B 6 BB (from what I understand this is June 2007?)

A->very dark body with a tan colored head about a finger's worth, persistent lacing with tremendous legs on this beer....

S-> Immediately get some very sweet dark fruits, almost like a very dark cherry/chocolate funk. Signature Struise I suppose... Roasted malts and faint chocolate smoke upon further examination...lots of complexity here...

T->Very sweet chocolate up front, slight bitterness and the faint tartness of Struise yeast with a fruity flavor turns toward a bit of coffee flavor but can't seem to shake the black cherry taste all the ay through. Finishes fairly dry with a creamy roasted aftertaste.

M-> Felt a bit on the thin side at first but was likely still too cold despite leaving this out on the counter for about 15 minutes before opening and pouring. definitely thickened up and actually started to semi-gush right as I went to tip the bottle to begin pouring. Lots of pent up carbonation over 5.5 years I guess....I actually enjoyed the lively carbonation.

O-> A tremendous beer. I didn't even realize I had a five and a half year old beer sitting in my cellar until after I opened this. having never had a Black Albert, I am very impressed. Quite enjoyable. Perfect thickness, not syrupy and the alcohol is melded perfectly. Great example of the style with that unique Struise twist. Chalk up another "Highly recommend" from this guy....

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

This poured black in color with a thick fluffy brown head that dissipated away. The nose has tart vinous aromas of plum, fig and cassis along with bittersweet chocolate, expresso roast and cotton candy. In the mouth it is full-bodied with nice mid-palate concentration and plenty of carbonation that keeps this from coming off as heavy. This is not as heavy as I expected rather it is very well-balanced. Like the nose the flavors are dark and vinous with a lingering finish that does show off some of the alcohol. This looks to have the balance, power, acidity and carbonation to age well.

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Photo of jkendrick
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: P ours a one finger head that jhangs around longer than you'd expect. Leaves some good lace. Solid black color.

S: All the usual suspects

MF: Medium carbonation and medium bodied, almost too thin.

T: All the normal imp stout flavors are here, but there is more of a burnt taste than I like and it is on the dry side. The bitterness is intentional I suppose, but it didn't sit well with me, particularly in the aftertaste. The high ABV is very noticeable and I think it should cellar a lot longer.

Overall: It's just a bit too bitter and too hot for me, especially given the relatively thin body for an Imperial stout.

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Photo of mj001jk
4.61/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and viscous as motor oil with a thick and creamy hazel-colored foam.

The aromas are subtle with dried raisins, blackstrap molasses and fresh yeast. There is only a hint of roasted aromas, more so of chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy but not cloying. Considering the whopping 100 IBU, the hops are considerably restrained, mostly accentuating the intense cocoa nibs, vanilla and toffee flavors.

This is really a dessert in the glass, displaying a perfect balance between sweetness, hops and roasted barley. The finish is long, tenderly bitter and delicious.

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

A- Deep dark body, small head that disappears to trace. Unique lacing, when swirling the beer in a glass a very fine uniform tracer of bubbles shows where the liquid has been.

S- Typical dark Belgian smell, yeasty and some malt backbone

T- Dark roast malt, yeast, nutty flavor and slight hop tinge

M- Thick and viscous with good carbonation

D- Would drink it again but wouldn't have two back-to-back due to %13 ABV

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Photo of kbanks13
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 0, poured at right around cellar temp into a snifter. Poured an impenetrable black body with a HUGE milk chocolate colored frothy head after a semi-vigorous pour. Just like a good Belgian ale, the retention was superior and lacing was great. Smells like dried plums and raisins with molasses and vanilla. Burnt caramel, bitter chocolate, and earthy aromas round out the nose. The taste is largely the sweet sugary fruits at first, followed by the acidic cocoa and coffee flavors expected in a stout like this. Interesting characteristics from the Belgian yeast strain used, somewhat spicy. Very clean and balanced flavor profile, but rich and complex with bold flavors. Feel is about as thick and heavy as I'd expect in a RIS, but carbonated like a dubbel or tripel, which lightened the body a bit. An all around exceptional beer, and it lives up to every bit of hype it gets. Now I'm really curious to see how Cuvee Delphine compares.

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

Beer looks fabulous, nearly black with a brown head. Aroma of candy sugar, coffee, fruit. In the taste this is combined with dark chocolat, spices, plums. The alcohol adds to the taste, but you'll never guess that it has a 13% ABV. Very good stout.

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Photo of BenZ
4.87/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a Batch 0 bottle fresh from De Struise. Perhaps this should be a separate beer from normal Black Albert?

A: Dark, dark brown. Tiny milk chocolate head that lingers.

S: Not at all what I was expecting. There some mixed herbs, a tiny bit of coffee/roastiness, and lots of mixed berrries (?). There was just the tiniest bit of booziness as it warmed.

T: Terrific balance of roasty, sweet, a small amount of tartness, and just plain awesomeness. The berries were not in the taste like they were in the smell - this is just fine, though.

M: Creamy and just plain perfect.

D: At first this was going to be a 5, but after about half way my senses were pretty much shot.

Surprisingly, this isn't exactly what I'd call an "intense" RIS; it's just "full" of everything. I'm pretty sure this is the best RIS I've ever had - no exageration and I've had quite a few.

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Photo of dfclav
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch "0"

A - a few months ago I opened mother earth silent night, and I honestly believed without a doubt that it would be the best looking stout that I would be able to try this year. Boy was I wrong. This is perfection in appearance. Half a pour leaves a towering 4 finger pillow in my snifter. The beer is jet black, and lacing is excellent when the head finally dies down.

S - deep roasted malts and a small element of smoke. Brown sugar plays a big part in the nose. Very nice chocolate presence as well.

T - very well hidden given the ABV, and pretty complex, this beer is huge on dark fruits and roasty malts. The sweetness doesn't play a big part at all like the brown sugar nose would suggest, it's actually one of the least sweet stouts I have ever tried.

M - medium body with a nice bittersweet finish, carbonation well integrated but surprisingly just a touch thin. A slow sipper, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

O - I'm glad I ordered this, but I was surprised to see I traded all of my bottles away except for this one when I dug into my cellar. This beer will be a good memory not for just being a good stout, but inspiring me to keep a cellar inventory.

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Photo of wolffman17
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Timbro81.

Black Albert pours almost black with dark red highlights. Dark brown, espresso head tops the beer.

Mostly vanilla in the aroma. It's sweet and inviting. The alcohol is prevalent.

Chocolate and vanilla dominate the palate. It's bittersweet with a heavy roastiness. Alcohol is not nearly as obvious as it is in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is where the Belgian characteristics really come out. Fine carbonation fills the mouth. A pleasant dry aftertaste lingers for minutes.

Highly drinkable...you'd never think it's 13%.

This is one outstanding RIS, and I hope it crosses my path again sometime.

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Photo of iasanlee
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a large tan head that leaves tons of lacing. Aroma is a bit subdued, but coffee/dark chocolate and a bit of a belgian yeast smell, and a touch of alcohol. Flavor is intense. Sweet molasses is the stand out. Dark fruits and huge bitterness balance. Huge viscous mouthfeel and an almost astringent aftertaste from massive bitterness. This was a treat. Like nothing I have tried for many reasons. Everyone needs to have a shot at it.

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Photo of smchenry75
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try my first Struise. Thanks to aasher for the hookup! A big thick stout just seemed to fit the bill for sitting in the driveway on this humid 89 degree Indiana evening.

Pours a very viscous, dark impenetrable black with a nice fluffy 3 finger mocha color head. Drinking out of "old faithful" my New Belgium snifter. Head dissipates very slowly. Can't wait to take my first sip as I watch the large bubbles pop in this
sea of chocolate lava.

I shoo away the small spider that trying to climb up my glass as I get ready for my first taste.... sorry buddy, this stuff's a tad
too pricey to share. First taste is of rich chocolate with a bit of a sour cherry twang. Tastes a tad bit like a cold chocolate covered cherry... creamy and velvety.

The little spider goes for it again and is equalized. Okay, now the cherry twang is coming through a tad stronger. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing. I'm now entering the second half of this what is so far a great experience. Crap, interrupted by the neighbor... listen to long, drawn out story. On the bright side, gives beer a chance to warm a bit. There's still a bit of mocha head floating around like some chocolatey pond funk and the lacing is really solid. By the way, no detectable alchol taste in this 13% velvety drink at all.

As I enter the final 3rd of the journey, the alcohol is starting to kick a bit I'm considering simply inhaling this beer. Need to check and see if this beer is barrel aged as I'm detecting slight notes of bourbon. Reminds me a tad of the barrel aged total eclipse I had from Foothills a while back.

In the final sips, the chocolate is getting darker and more intense and a hint of earthy bitterness is creeping in but I would not consider this to be a hoppy stout by any stretch.
Overall, I have to say this is a very solid and well balanced beer. Not sure I should have made it my first of the night though in
terms of the 13% ABV and the fact that it's going to be hard for anything else I open tonight to live up to this.

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

Many thanks go out to bgramer for the chance to try this beer.

I poured this into a chalice with a little too much vigor at first and I had to wait for a few minutes for the head to die down to pour the rest. The color was absolutely black with a fluffy mocha colored head. Pretty much one of the darkest beers I've seen with only a very slight hint of ruby around the edges when held up to the light.

This does indeed smell almost exactly like a mix of a quadrupel and imperial stout. Tons of prunes, raisins and dark fruits from the quad side and a bitter roasty, chocolate, coffee edge from the imperial stout side. I also get some breadiness, yeast, and a bit of brown sugar.

The smell was great but nothing can quite live up to this taste. As someone said a review or two before me it is almost too much to comprehend. If there was a bit more of the imperial stout in the smell it sort of fades to the back in the taste. It begins very quad-like with tons of ripe dark fruits and chocolate with a sweet belgian yeastiness and bread. Then in the middle of the taste I get an amazing tart-like vinous taste that just overpowers my palate. It finally ends with quite a bit of bitter roastiness and coffee along with some more dark chocolate that just lingers on my tongue for minutes after each sip.

The mouthfeel is so silky smooth and there is hardly any notice of the alcohol for a beer at 13% ABV. Silky smooth, pleasantly carbonated, tingly across my palate.

Aside from the high ABV this one is just stellar. One of the best of beers I have had and definitely not easily classified into a style. As others have said this is one that is definitely worth the hype and one that you should seek out. The first and last thing that came to mind with this beer was the just "wow." Thanks again to bgramer for the chance to try this one.

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Photo of DrewOSU
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a muddy tan with a chocolate ½ inch head on initial pour. Lacing is thick and carbonation is pretty high for a RIS./

S: Big alcohol nose, Belgium sugar and banana. Not getting a lot of hops for it being over 100 ibu.

M/T: Light medium body, a lot lighter than I thought for being a 13%, but what I expected after seeing how much carbonation there was on the pour. Also, surprisingly light for such a big alcohol beer. I get almost a grape like taste on the tongue on the initial sip. Light hop background, but not as much as expected with it being 100 ibu. With this bottle being 2008, maybe the hops faded a tad? Finishes slightly bitter and sugary.

D: If I had to describe this beer in one word it would be unexpected. There is nothing overwhelming, but very unique tasting. With its medium body, it is very drinkable, but this is definitely a nice sipper.

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Black Albert from De Struise Brouwers
94 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.
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