Cuvee Delphine | De Struise Brouwers

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Cuvee DelphineCuvee Delphine
BA SCORE
4.24/5
Exceptional
675 Ratings
Cuvee DelphineCuvee Delphine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium
struise.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer takes its name from Delphine Boël, the unlawful daughter of King Albert II. She has struggled for acknowledgment in both her professional and private lives, so we decided she deserves a tribute fit for a princess. Cuvée Delphine is our Black Albert, carefully matured on Four Roses bourbon barrels for 12 months. Mrs. Boël has kindly allowed us to use her artwork for its label, which speaks for itself.

In a sea of sickly sweet and heavy bourbon aged stouts, we wanted Cuvée Delphine to shine brightly as a pinnacle of balance and restraint. Only with a base beer as potent as Black Albert could we manage to make the aging process shine. Notes of oak and slight vanilla pair extraordinarily well with the familiar coffee and brown sugar notes from the Black Albert. The subdued alcohol ties it all together in a lush, mellow experience. Cuvée Delphine will set you free.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 01-07-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,027
Reviews:
231
Ratings:
675
pDev:
9.91%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
230
Gots:
163
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 675 |  Reviews: 231
Photo of Sammy
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black Albert barrel aged. Pours perfectly black body with a design of brown head and lace. Aromas of rich Belgian chocolate, booziness, sherry, and funk. Initial sips, and it is a sipper, is funk and stout, leaving a residue of chocolate aftertaste, and roasted malt. Substantially above average mouthfeel, the yeast and caramel are synthesized and seem to cradle you.

 368 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -5.7%

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

this is a crazy beer, maybe the driest of the bourbon barrel stouts going. although the nose is sweet like vanilla and corn sugar, its not like that in the flavor. i have to imagine this didnt spent a ton of time in the four roses barrels, as thats a rather sweet spirit in its own right, depending which one on the degree. tiny bottle poured four ways, pretty murky in my glass, but heady though, spiderweb lacing and a tan color to it. after the bourbon nose, i get a lot of dusty dark dry bakers cocoa powder in this, and the wood underneath it. rich and earthy, but it does a good job of being stout before bourbon, and the malt layers are pleasing. not as bitter and heavy and thick as others, i was surprised to learn this is as strong as it is, it drinks far lighter, and warms up with the best of them, releasing more vanilla and chocolate into the fold, but never showing its booze. not the biggest four roses guy, even their single barrel stuff, but i like what it does to this beer, its almost like it was made for that barrel. took me awhile to get into this one, but glad i finally did. worth the high praise it is receiving in the market in my opinion, but we need more beer from these guys here period.

 1,217 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to nakalakaboom for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

2009 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, dark fruit, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I prefer the smell over the taste.

 560 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.69/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

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

Malted milk, semi-dark chocolates, nutty coffees, and chocolate covered cherries hit the high notes of this crazy Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Stout. But it's sturdy demeanor and unwaivering character gives a ruggedness that Stout lovers can appreciate.

Extremely dark brown with complete opaqueness, the beer builds a dense head of mocha stained foam, tightly knit and very structural, even after several minutes, the beer seems to form a barrier between the beverage and the drinker- I have a feeling I'm goin'a win this battle. Thick striations of lace lingers after the beer falls.

Dense semi-sweet chocolate, medium bourbon, and cherry-like tartness fill the early nose along with mild acidic mustiness and mild coffee.

Creamy, smokey chocolate flavors hit first, with a quick follow up of columbian coffee (somewhere between chocolate covered cherries and espresso beans). Sharp Belgiany tartness of cherries, under-ripe berries and grapes take the beer from its savory lucious start and into a sharper, more acidic coffee finish. Impressions of Imperial Stouts, Belgian Strong Dark Ales, and background bourbon create a three-headed attack on the taste buds.

Rich and lucious textures also fit the bill. Very froathy, creamy and full at the onset, the beer processes through a smooth and even fade past a velvety and smooth mid palate and into a warming and dryish finish. The malt character never disipates into the finish, only allowing for a tepid dryness, but this beer is meant as a digestive or desert.

Belgian Stouts generally leave me with a struggle between the balance of roast bitterness and Belgiany tartness. I generally find that these flavors and texture to combat eachother and confuse the palate. But this one does much better than most because of its lucious maltiness and malty-dry toast character.

Thanks aficionado!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into trappistenbier goblet in Ghent, Belgium. Reviewed live.

A: One finger head of nice lovely cream, decent thickness, and fair retention. Dark black colour.

Sm: Chocolate, toffee, caramel, and caramelized malt. A moderate strength scent.

T: Chocolate, toffee, and a hint of coffee. Cream and vanilla, but more towards the climax. Cocao. Complex layering of hops. Brilliant. No roast. I love it. Subtle and balanced. Very well built for the style. Jaysus, lads, this is class.

Mf: Coarse enough, quite wet, and very complementary of the flavour. Maybe a bit too thick and perchance syrupy.

Dr: High ABV, very drinkable, and very high quality. Worth a go for any beeradvocate. I don't know the price point as I acquired it from a friend. I suspect it's rather high based on the quality.

B+ / VERY GOOD

***
09/16/17 impression from a 2012 vintage bottle:

11% ABV.

APPEARANCE: Decadently dark. Body is an opaque black. Head is creamy and thick, promising a thick full-bodied beer. Head colour is a gorgeous tan...could shine more/have a better complexion, but it's enticing. In spite of the beer's 11% ABV, the head retention is excellent...easily 10+ minutes.

AROMA: Fudge, molasses, chocolate, cacao nibs, dark malt sweetness, specialty chocolate malt, hints of subtle dark fruit, chocolate covered espresso bean, buried roast, and subtle/faint bourbon barrel character...subdued vanillin, caramel, and white oak. Suggests a gooey brew with plenty of complexity but also good balance. Never betrays its high ABV, but I'd figure it for 8-9% ABV if I experienced this aroma in a blind tasting.

Aromatic intensity is below average for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Fudgy, thick, and full-bodied without being sickly sweet, syrupy, or obnoxiously heavy on the palate. Bursts with complexity, boasting chocolate malt, cacao nibs, Belgian chocolate, dark malt sweetness, buried roast (though the roast would be better more expressive), creaminess, caramel, subtle bourbon barrel vanillin, gooey molten malt sweetness, and a hint of milk duds.

Well-balanced with no harshness or off-flavours; it's nice to have a beast of a bourbon barrel stout that isn't too heavy or cloying; it's a sipper but I'll enjoy working my way through the entire bottle alone (and I can't say that about many expressions of the style).

To nitpick, I have had barrel aged stouts with even more intricacy, and it could be more vivid in terms of each constituent note (the roast in particular is disappointingly subdued). Some drinkers will find the bourbon barrel too reticent, and more vanilla or even some toasted coconut would certainly be welcome, but I think the subtlety of the bourbon barrel plays better in terms of accentuating the flavours of the base beer.

It's gooey, smooth, wet, and actually somewhat soft and creamy, but never overbearingly heavy, syrupy, or chewy. Not dry, coarse, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or scratchy. Very well built.

OVERALL: This Belgian take on a style usually dominated by the Danish, Americans, Canadians, and English bests most of those I've tried, bringing subtlety and balance to a style more often characterized by needlessly loud bold flavours and obvious booziness. Many other 11ish% bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts are a chore to take down even 1 bottle of; I'll not only finish this with ease...I'll want more immediately. More evidence De Struise is one of Belgium's finest breweries in spite of (or maybe even because of) its brewers' nontraditional leanings. Really incredible stuff any discerning beer drinker owes it to herself to try.

High B+ (4.00) / VERY GOOD

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a super large dirty beige foamy head with great retention and some perfect lacing. Aroma of bourbon and vanilla is quite straightforward but well enough balance with the malt to provide some good enjoyment. Taste is a well balanced mix between some light roasted malt with light note of liquorice and vanilla and a creamy finish full of bourbon. Body is quite full with usual creamy texture from the bourbon with some great carbonation and alcohol is never to apparent. Very well done and a great variation from the original.

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Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2009 vintage

Poured into Founders snifter.

Pours 1.5 fingers of creamy tan head. Fades to a thinner layer. Leaves some lacing. Color pours caramel brown but settles black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, sharp bourbon, cream, oak, vanilla, chocolate. It seems to have a sourness or funk to it. Nothing to impressive here.

Taste: Creamy and roasted. Cocoa powder and chocolate with some roasted malts. Maybe a touch of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. The bourbon is very subtle, but it is fairly oaky. Again, it has an off flavor in the taste. Fairly mediocre.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky, and creamy. Probably the best aspect about this beer. Medium to full bodied with a medium to high amount of carbonation. Ends overly dry and roasted.

Overall, meh. It is alright, but there are much better beers around at a fraction of the price. Nothing special or worth seeking out again. Slightly above average. Somewhat drinkable. 3.11
_________
2013 vintage - 4 roses
A bit better than the previous batch. Very typical Belgian stout. Roasted feel. Has a spice/yeast characteristic. Burnt flavor. Dark fruits, molasses. Lots of barrel flavors. Oak and whiskey. Better than I remember it being. 3.75

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

Nick3 shared this one a while back. Thanks, Nick.

Pours black with a massive tan head. Amazing retention and lacing, this is downright impressive to look at. Smoke, cherries and subtle bourbon are the first things I pick up on the nose. There's a tart fruity character, and a touch of alcohol. Tastes of chocolate-covered cherries, smoke, anise and roasted malt. Medium-full body, but the effervescence gives it a light mouthfeel. Smoke is surprisingly prominent mid-palate with an undercurrent of bourbon, and the finish exhibits some light roasty bitterness and lingering fruit flavors. I'm not always impressed with De Struise beers, but this is very good.

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Photo of jlindros
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Somehow never got around to reviewing this beer. Also been sitting in my beer fridge for years and finally took my randomizer (5 year old son) to pick it for me. GOod time to drink this too, beginning of a big snow storm, very cold single digit temps outside.

2009 Vintage.

Still makes a nice pssstttt sound as I pop the cap, good sign, then pours a nice black mocha colored fizzy head that hits a 1/4 of a finger or so but seems to stick around nicely, nice lacing on the glass and legs like the Patriot cheerleaders, as I pour nice little balls of delicious looking liquid dance around the top, like they are just partying themselves with the beer underneath, like little sprites inviting me to delve in deeper. The head eventually settles to a nice foamy island like froth over the super pitch black light absorbing beer.

Nose is like pure black, almost as if the black hole is pulling aromas from my own nose rather than the reverse, but when I get aromas it's black malt city, lots of black malt, with roast up the wazoo, but thankfully not acrid anymore, seems like it was at one point but the various aging process seems to have taken that edge off. Roast with some earthy coffee, into dark chocolate and cocoooa so dark it has a few extra 'o's on it, which seems to mingle with a nice fudge and even fluffy nougat. Rounding all that is a nice somewhat subtle but definite character of barrel, a little vanilla character from the barrel, hint of char as well, and nice bourbon sweetness. It also seems to have an inherent earthiness to it.

Taste starts with, well hard to say what actually starts, like a myriad of different great flavors bombarding my tongue and flooding every nook and cranny of my mouth. Thick and luscious, little creamy and velvety even, with some warming booze, a little booze tingle even, very slightly fusel but not that much. Malts are the key flavor again, black malt and more black malts. Some roast again, with a touch of an acrid flavor but again seems like most of that edge has long been mellowed. Then into more cocoa, super dark bitter baker's chocolate, a mild creamy flavor brings more of a semi sweet cocoa, and some mild coffee with the roast. Again rounding off all that is a mild vanilla barrel character, less than i expected, with just a hint of bourbon. The chocolate gets almost explosive and rich the longer it sits on my tongue, as it seems to find more and more ways to get through the layers of my tongue into the lower taste buds that are usually left in the dust. Finish is drier with a little sticky feel, but not nearly as syrupy or sticky as I expected, with a bit more bitterness on the finish, lots of dark chocolate and cocoa again, a little roast and coffee as well, and mild Kahlua like flavor with some lingering booze.

Mouth is super rich, heavy bodied, little creamy and velvety, slightly syrupy, with some warming slightly tingly alcohol but not really 13% like.

Overall fantastic, a great beer with awesome dark malts, chocolate and cocoa, and mild barrel characters, the roast edge has been rounded between thebarrel and many years of aging, and the alcohol has been quite tamed. Very drinkable and glad I can cellar a few of them.

 3,208 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown color with mocha head. Aroma has some mellow whiskey notes, like an Irish, not really scotch but neither bourbon. Also dark chocolate and some liquor. Taste has wood flavor with its specific astringent notes, quite boozy, bitter and roasty on the finish. Medium plus body, medium carbonation. It has nice flavors but it's a bit boozy.

 345 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -5.7%

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Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 675 ratings