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Cuvee Delphine | De Struise Brouwers

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
220 Reviews
THE BROS
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Cuvee DelphineCuvee Delphine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium | website

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
Reviews:
220
Ratings:
645
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
10.26%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
161
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 220 | Ratings: 645
Photo of crnipeter
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Old" 250 ml bottle (now being sold in 330 ml ones), BBE 03 2014 into 180 ml Chimay chalice. This vintage is based on the original "zero" batch of Black Albert.
Abundant deep tan head scattered with bubbles gradually collapses to form thick solid cloth atop of opaque black fluid with reddish-brown hue while swirls wave thick firm laces on the walls.
Fruity esters of plum, prune and raisins dominate the aroma profile with light notes of bourbon making its way through the thick layers of dark fruits.
Roasted malt adds slightly burnt sensation to the fruity flavors of plum, prune and raisins spiced with light non-aggressive alcohol burning. Roasty bitter aftertaste with fruity tartness and oily film on the palate. Although burnt character is noticeable the beer lacks any coffee and dark chocolate sensations from roasted malts as the flavors are somehow subdued and mellowed due to aging in barrels. Viscous, slightly tarry and oily although not as much as might be expected from a stout. The beer is surprisingly tart and quite different from its predecessor, the Black Albert.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An extra from Peter at the De Struise beer shop.

BA NO. 14, Lot BR26.230.610 Best by July 15, 2015.

It pours a pitch black, has a huge 2 finger head of tan foam. The foam is very slow to shrink...

It smells roasty, slightly fruity, a bit of smoke, very light suggestion of the bourbon. It doesn't have a big aroma but what's there is nice.

The taste...is another story. Not shy with the flavours at all. I get light coffee, chocolate, some roast, good fruity notes(that bring some sweet but mostly tart), and they're all overseen or guided by a very nicely done presence of bourbon. Yes...this is very delicious!

Medium bodied with the carbonation on the light side of medium. Good mouth feel.

Drinkability? For a monster sitting at 13%abv, this is *way* too easy to drink for one bottle at a sitting. Definitely a RIS that is different than I'm used to but it works very well for me. Here's an example of the style where a fruit tartness is very welcome and fits right in!

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for this gem! Poured from a 25cl bottled marked Best Before March 2014 into a small snifter.

A: No light is gettin' through this baby - remember this is a "Royal" stout and is highly protected, especially by the foamy head that forms when this beer is poured.

S: Boozy in the nose with some cocoa powder and dark fruits.

T: Dark fruits and brown sugar are followed quickly by roasted coffee. Unfortunately the coffee takes over a bit too much and the bitterness blocks out any chocolate flavors one might expect. I also don't get much bourbon in this.

M: Well carbonated and a little viscous.

D: The best feature of this beer. I would have no clue this was 13% if it weren't stamped on the label.

Overall, a pretty cool beer to try. I haven't had a Belgian-style RIS before. I personally think this one could age a little longer - that way the carbonation will die down a little bit and the coffee flavor will fade out making way to the chocolate and oak flavors from the bourbon barrels.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle -- 2009 vintage -- served into a tulip glass

Pours a solid dark color. It's dark. Black, sure. Black. What more do you want? Howabout two entire fingers worth of dark-khaki head with solid retention? It's a lovely looking stout.

So Cuvee Delphine is Batch 0 Black Albert aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels. The important part here is that its 100% Black Albert...this accounts for the deep complexity in the nose. Baker's chocolate, plum, horehound candy -- there's a lot going on thanks to the Belgian yeast strain. There's also a sweet fruit note that I can't quite nail down...it's something akin to lychee or an Asian pear. There really isn't much evidence of barrel aging here, though. There's basically no oak or vanilla. No booze. So while it's a deep aroma, I'm knocking it a half-point for not living up to the barrel promise.

Cuvee Delphine has a lot going on for it on the tongue. It's very much like the nose, but more concentrated in its approach. The first thing that I notice is how vinous it is. There's significant red wine flavor here, spiked with black cherries and dark fruits. Some black pepper, too. Dark chocolate is a flavor that goes well with many red wines, and the dark chocolate malt flavor here works to accentuate the yeast flavors. Like the nose, the barrel presence here is slight. This beer isn't getting this vinous without barrel aging, but you can't tell that this beer was aged in a bourbon barrel (as opposed to a wine barrel or even just plan ol' new oak).

The mouthfeel is a slight disappointment. It is incredibly smooth, but at the expense of body. It's a thin beer for the style. But the smoothness has a certain pleasurable quality to it.

Overall, this is a very tasty beer. The barrel aging of Black Albert seems to have concentrated its vinous side, but at the expense of that beer's complexity. It's a good sipper, but I very much prefer regular Black Albert.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured nearly black with minimal head that dissapeared quickly and did not lace. Scent was roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Flavor was roasted malt, oak, chocolate, subtle coffee and even subtler bourbon and vanilla. I would have liked a greater bourbon and vanilla presence. Mouthfeel was pretty thin with limited carbonation. Overall, very good beer, though not world class.

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Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Popping this open to bring in the new year.

The bottle opens with a large hiss which has me a bit worried. Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger frothy mocha head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap. Chunks of mocha colored lacing left behind.

The aroma is dominated by the four roses bourbon but there is also a prominent oak and vanilla presence. I'm also picking up some dark fruit notes and licorice as well as some slightly toasted malt. It's refreshing to find a barrel aged beer that smells this complex and isn't just a booze bomb.

Slightly oxidized with a bit too much carbonation for my liking. Underneath this there is some nice creamy chocolate malt, earthy oak, vanilla, dark fruit and bourbon notes. Well balanced but the bourbon is more aggressive than the aroma suggests. This results in some heat and warmth in the finish but at 13% the ABV is still well masked. As it warms the body feels fuller and the rich, silky malt notes become more prominent and counter the tasty bourbon flavor quite nicely.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With as much De Struise beer I'm drinking I should really go out and get a Struise glass. I wish they were more available. Beer poured into my Bruery tulip.

Beer is black with a thick brown head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate. Looks really good.

Aroma is sweet and has a liquor quality to it, roast is minimal, this smells like a bourbon barrel aged RIS.

Well...first thing is first, 13%...really? Are you sure? No alcohol bite in this one at all. Lots of bitterness late to after with the beer from the roasted grains. Beer is pretty sweet but the majority of the flavor is in the back of this one, lots of coffee, roast, mild smoke, liquor is a little lost in there but it is up front. Pretty nice.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Globe glass. 2009 vintage

A. Pours 3 finger frothing dark tan head. Great retention. Thick, thick lacing. Almost permanent collar of that dark tan head. Color is all black.

S. Molasses, dark fruit, vanilla, oak, coffee. Has some belgian yeast aroma too it. Not very bitter and not very coffee forward. Both good things in my book.

T. Has an earthy taste up front followed by coffee, molasses, oak, vanilla, dark fruit, and some bitterness on the back of the tongue. Drinks super smooth for 13%. Barrel aging doesnt add a lot of flavors, but you can definitely pick up some oak and vanilla.

M. Could be thicker. Feels too thin to me. Could be another product of the Belgian RIS style. Medium carbonation.

O. Interesting aroma. Nice taste. Lacks some traditional RIS flavor complexity, but makes up for it with additional Belgian flavors. Too thin of a mouthfeel for my personal preference. Drinks incredibly easy for 13%. Hard to judge the beer strictly along style alone, which is tends to swerve towards a more Belgianesque beer. However when you note that the swerve away from style makes it a tasty beer I can not help but give it a higher overall score. Probably the best Belgian RIS that I have had.

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Photo of Mikecap
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Avenue Pub, 10 oz pour.

Appearance: Jet black with no apparent head, brownish lace evident as I swirl the beer around in my glass.

Smell: Deep rich chocolate and cocoa come to the nose first with roasty notes and a bit of wood and some booze.

Taste: Just like the aroma, lots of chocolate up front and some vanilla, oak and roasted flavors come through. There is a hint of alcohol but less than you'd expect.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation and a smooth, silky texture. Very little alcohol burn but still a nice pleasant sipper.

Overall: Very good BA RIS here which is quite easy drinking for its size. Far from the best of the style I've tried, but absolutely worth a try if you can get it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of vacax
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was quite excited to try this one. Pours black with a towering dark head. Just like Black Albert, the head on this is every bit a monster. Aromas of Flintstones vitamins, pineapple, chalk, surprisingly free of barrel qualities. Tastes vinous with licorice, oak, bitter fruit, roast, and rock salt. Feels pretty full with a moderate level of carbonation. I was a bit let down by this one. The barrel didn't really contribute any wonderful boozy or coconut flavors, not really an improvement over the original, sadly. I do love the label though.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tasting glass, revealing two finger tall tanned thick head over a deeply brown opaque body. Good lacing. Pretty thing. Smells a little sour/funky. Hmm. Some dark fruit and roasted-ness underneath but mostly there's a nice spicy funk going on. A little vanilla. Not what's I'd expect from an RIS.

Tastes just slightly soured as well with a nice roasted flavor up front and a surprisingly clean finish. Some creamy lactic tang folds into fruity molasses and a gentle but noticeable spice. I think this bottle may be infected, but I am either wrong or it got infected very nicely. Mouthfeel is creamy and an assertive but round carbonation adds volume to the almost syrupy heavy body. For the strength and the style it's very drinkable. I just don't know about the tangy-ness.

Overall it's very interesting. I wish I could say for sure that it's infected but if not it deviates considerably from your standard RIS. Still very good, though.

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Photo of alpineclimber
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled this one from the cellar, from which it was placed on October 2010.

A good pour produces a perfect tan head on an impenetrable black brew.

A nose of dark fruit, very typical of a Belgian imperial stout.

Flavours are dark cherry, vanilla and tobacco.

This a great stout, very Belgian. Really not too much different from Black Albert, the cask conditioning has imparted some good and delicate flavours on this brew.

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Photo of craytonic
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Enormous head, about an inch of beer and 4-5 inches oef head in my Tripel Karmeliet glass. Great deal of sticky lacing remains behind.

Smell: Oddly a bit tart, at least initially. Big chocolate, licorice, and dark fruits. Perhaps tart cherries?

Taste: Again chocolate, coffee and licorice, perhaps some dark rum punch fruits as well. Very Intriguing. This one really surprised me, I was expecting nasty black albert. If there is bourbon I didn't really notice it.

Mouthfeel: Creamy but a bit too carbonated.

Drinkability: Tiny little bottle! Disappeared fast enough I suppose. Certainly didn't taste like 13%

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Photo of DaveJanssen
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25 cL in De Struise glass at Kulminator. Batch 14, best by March 2014. Reviewed10 June 2011.

Ar: raisin, chocolate, sweet dried fruit, wood, strong raisin and prune in alcohol, earthy fruit

Ap: Thick dark tan head, fine, epic retention, jet black

T: dried fruit, raisin, plum, very earthy, roast, licorice, molasses, raisin in alcohol, light tartness, woody, tart fruit, the tartness does not mix well with the stout, grape, strong figs, dark mild fruit, mild chocolate, light vanilla, the eathyness is very pronounced

M: medium body, lightly viscous, high carbonation, warming alcohol at the end

O: Unique, lacking in stout richness, interesting tartness, like and earthy dark strong ale, mild bourbon, it is a lot better when i don't think of it as a stout.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for sharing. Batch #4, best by March 2014 notched on the label. Pours one shade shy of black with a quarter inch, frothy, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets. Head is refreshed with a swirl of the glass. Nose is very subdued - sour dark fruit and perhaps a hint of coca. Taste is malty, cocoa, sour fruit (cherries?) with some booze coming out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, perhaps a little light for the style, with an even carbonation, but maybe a little too assertive for the style. This is a very interesting beer with a lot of character and an extremely well-hidden abv at 13%. A top notch beer from De Struise.

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

330 mL bottle poured into a De Struise chalice. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Black with less of a head than Black Albert. Similar thick mocha collar.

Smell - Light bourbon with a touch of barrel character. Chocolate and cherry comes through, similar to Black Albert. Strangely, not as boozy smelling as the 5-year-old bottle of Black Albert I had.

Taste - Vanilla and bourbon up front, but subtle. Much more of the cherry flavor followed by rich chocolate. The bourbon is back in the end along with a bitterness that I find strange. Falls a little short of the base beer here.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Pretty chewy aside from feeling a bit too overcarbonated at points.

Overall - I prefer Black Albert to this, although this is quite good on its own. Just seems that some of the characteristics that make Black Albert great have been pushed aside by the barrel, which isn't strong enough to be the centerpoint of the flavor.

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

Sure glad to have gotten my hands on this rare bottle. Poured from .33cl bottle into snifter glass. Pours opaque black like all the other Black Damnation / Black Albert beers along with a healthy medium brown head that lasts well throughout. Smells of liquorice, oak, roasted barley and coffee. Dry sweet earthy chocolate taste with interesting alcoholic notes. Medium and soft smooth mouthfeel. There is a herbal earthy chocolate aftertaste with some vanilla notes. Nice oily palate, but compared to the original, Black Albert, this is a bit thinner. This was a bit of a let down, but overall a decent beer!

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Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Schera’s in Elkader, IA. Poured into a Zwanze 2014 glass 9/20/2014.

A- Dark black body, not particularly oily, but fairly viscous. Half finger brown head that sticks around for a short time, but not a whole lot of lacing. As expected. [3.5]

S- Milk chocolate, bourbon, licorice, espresso. This smells great. Not as complex as some of the other stouts I’ve had, but it’s definitely very pleasing. [4]

F- Milk chocolate and licorice up front, espresso and dark fruits in the middle, an oaky, slightly tart and funky transition to a bourbon-forward finish on the end.[4]

M- Thick bodied, substantial with the finish being a milk chocolate mixed in with a sweet bourbon aftertaste. Very solid, very substantial. [4.25]

O- Solid take on Black Albert. Exactly what I expected. [4]

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/21/11 notes. Shared by BigSexy410 at a small tasting; thanks man, another huge want!

a - Pours a very black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of lactic, roasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla. Also quite a bit of sour fruit; afraid this one might be infected as well.

t - Tastes of sour fruit, chocolate, and roasted malts. Sour cherries and dark fruits.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - Afraid this one was a bit infected. Enjoyable still, but much different than expected and I assume intended. Hoping to get another chance to try this.
4/3.5/3.5/4/3.5
___
EDIT: Had a 2009 vintage bottle the other night on 12/3/11, and it was not infected at all.

Appearance and body were similiar, but no sour fruit or lactic ntoes whatsoever. Tons of roasted malts and chocolate, as well as alcohol. Definitely better than the infected bottle I had last January, however the alcohol was still quite strong. While this is a very good RIS, I personally don't find this to be an improvement on the normal Black Albert, and considering I can buy that off the shelf year round, would rather have that beer. Worth trying but I prefer Black Albert.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Darkness snifter, bottle sharred with a fellow BA.

A- Pours similar to the Black Albert, pitch black body, 2 finger dark brown head, dissipates quickly to a think ring around the glass, nice lacing.
S- The aroma is fairly mild; vanilla comes out a bit from the bourbon barrels but not enough to take over the aroma, oak is present, dark malts, dark fruits.
T- Very similar to the Black Albert, slight bourbon taste, oak characteristics, some vanilla, roasted malt, the bourbon is very mild in the taste, which was a little of a letdown for me.
M- Medium/big mouth feel, well carbonated, smooth drinking, dry finish.
O- Overall Enjoyable, well made, not as good as the black albert, I would of liked the bourbon characteristics to be more pronounced in this beer, still enjoyable.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. This is a small bottle, like really small. Split it with a friend who wanted to kill the bottle. Barrel aged Black Albert. This is a beer which I liked the base beer over the BA version.

The appearance is dark black with a dirty brown head. It has a crisp carbonation that leaves really quick. Slight legs, nothing special in the appearance other than the dark black color.

The smell has that sour twinge that I liked in Black Albert, with chocolate and dark roasted malts. It has a bit of heat in the smell and taste, which is nice and mellow.

The taste is good, but not outstanding. There is a bit of berry and chocolate paired with the barrel notes that make it pretty unique. I like the bit of sourness that Black Albert had, but in this one it makes it muddled and confusing. Too many things going on, but still enjoyable.

The mouthfeel was a crisp carbonation with a bit of heat. I thought that all around it was a solid beer, but the base is better. I cannot believe how small some of these European bottles are though.
J

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 330ml bottle. It poured pitch black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top of the beer. The head clung to the edges of glass pretty well.

The aroma shows a god amount of sweetness to it with some cherry fruitiness and brown sugar notes. There are some booze soaked fruits and a little chocolate to it as well. I got a little more bourbon to it as it warmed, but not much overall.

The taste has a bit of a leathery and smoky flavor mixing with some sweeter cherry fruitiness. I get a little brown sugar with a hint of bourbon. Some chocolate notes are there throughout as well. Roasted malts bring some nice bitterness out in the finish. Very nice flavors to it overall.

The mouthfeel is slick and on the heavier side with lower carbonation. Overall very good beer with some very nice and rich flavors to it. Very nice range of favors to it and it comes together very well.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009)

Thanks for opening this with me, nakalakaboom!

(Aged for 2+ years)

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, but with dark ruby and crimson edges. There's a low amount of visible carbonation that leaves the glass slightly oily and shiny with stick.

Typical aromas of big, imperial stouts, with roast, dark fruits, and baker's chocolate, along with a sharp note of yeast, and just a hint of wood. There's not a lot of barrel character, as the yeast and the stout itself seem dominant.

The flavor is also quite nice, deceptively complex, with the Belgian yeast straight complementing the dark fruit and roast notes. The alcohol is well hidden.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Good, but I was hoping for more, as is the case with most De Struise stouts.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted blind as part of Blind Beers BIF #3. Big thanks to Scott (sholland119) for sending it my way. Shared with Mrs. Beerriot while the temperature outside plummets.

Out of the bottle, this might be one of the best looking impy stouts I've seen. Classic black with a very attractive one-inch mocha head that has a little rock to it and hangs out for a bit before fading to a thin lattice-work film on the surface. There's no color at the edges when held to the light. Altogether a very attractive beer.

The smell is also right out of central casting: dark fruit (plum and cherry) shares nostril space with some nice baker's chocolate, well-done toast, and coffee. There are not a lot of barrel notes here.

Mouthfeel is spot-on for me: on the full side with only enough carbonation to prevent it from feeling like an oil slick.

The flavors are very well-balanced: slight amounts of cherry and raisin complement the strong dark chocolate and espresso-like char. Great finish with some roasty bitterness and just enough alcohol to warm you up but not so much that it lingers on the palate. My only complaint is I'm not getting much bourbon or wood flavor. It's a well-crafted stout to be sure, but the aging process doesn't seem to have added much.

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Cuvee Delphine from De Struise Brouwers
93 out of 100 based on 220 ratings.
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