Black Damnation III - Black Mes
De Struise Brouwers

Black Damnation III - Black MesBlack Damnation III - Black Mes
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #559
Ranked #2,077
4.2 | pDev: 11.19%
De Struise Brouwers
Black Damnation III - Black MesBlack Damnation III - Black Mes
Notes: Black Damnation III is yet another variation on Black Albert. 100% of Black Albert was used that matured for a while on Caol Ila barrels
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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 268
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

Very peaty, touch of smoke and ash, tobacco, and a return of the peaty whiskey on the finish. Not as thick as i expected, but smooth none-the-less and really shines in hiding the abv in the taste.

Bonus points in feel for abv masking, down points for a lack of major coffee presence. Good beer though.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Pitch black with a small khaki head. Peaty scotch, but it's not that intense. Molasses and dark chocolate. Boozy with a touch of soy sauce. Scotch dominates the flavor. Peaty whiskey. Then intense bitter and heavy roasted malt. Bitter chocolate. Heavy body and boozy. First taste is intense, but it's outrageously good.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Beers of the World in Henrietta, NY. '12 vintage, 750 ml.

This one pours an oily looking dark black, with no lacing or head.

This one smells like chocoalte, earthy scotch, and dark fruits.

This hides the alcohol quite well, you'd never know it was 13%. This has a very smooth sweet chocolate flavor, with some nice and not too intense peated scotch flavor. There's some slight brine, with roasted char flavors, that seem to have probably become less intense in 3 years this one has been in the bottle. There's some vanilla cream as well.

This is medium bodied, with a silky, super smooth mouthfeel, so creamy and nice. This has a fairly low level of carbonation.

This is yet another excellent BA version of Black Albert, a beer that just seems to be able to magically transform in barrels.

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Klooster. Pitch black with no head. Notes of liquor, whiskey, scotch, cherries, cocoa, chocolate. Medium to full body, soft mouthfeel. It got very nice with age.

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Photo of heygeebee
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Giving it a 4 as despite it being a 13% beer, I drank it without really thinking about how good it..... at that ABV it should scream out of the glass and be a 4.5 ++ easily.

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Photo of CptBlackBeerd
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

On tap at Craft Ale House - 5 Oz pour. As all of the De Struise offerings, this is incredibly complex. Pours an ink black with small dark brown head. Smell is of bitter chocolate, whiskey and earth. Taste is lots of dark malts, oak, peat, smoke, scotch whiskey, dark fruit and a touch of chocolate. The body is a little thin for me, but the mouthfeel is coating and nice. Overall this is fantastic and takes Black Albert to a whole new level. Well worth the price of admission.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

on tap at falling rock, i dont know how those guys get beer like this, but they do, and i am grateful. this is dark as coal, just a hint of brown to the black, nice and viscous too, with a dark brown head on it. the nose is amazing, dense russian imperial stout here. that bitter black barley malt base and a syrupy thickness that has oak notes to it, and some peat, like a smokey single malt. the flavor shows everything the nose does, with strong hints of leaf tobacco, licorice, and belgian and bakers chocolates. dark and bitter, with some sweetness on the finish probably from the barrel, which really impacts this beer. not much carbonation, but its so thick and dense i dont wish the feel was any different, i like its thickness and palate coating ability. its strong and filling, but how much of this would someone really drink in one sitting anyway? nice as it warms up, complex and enormous, on par with some of the big mikkeller stouts and others. love the scotch influence on it, and now i am super keen to try other variants. rock star quality.

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Photo of mverity
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Valentine's Day gift from EM, bottle from Proof. Pours the blackest of blacks with creamy chocolate colored head that started at an inch, then settled into a very thick collar and a thin layer of foam across the surface. Good legs and light lacing. Aroma is very odd: smells earthy and funky, like a farmhouse style funk. I get some black raspberry and black currant. Taste is rich dark malt, light smoke, a touch of coffee with all of that dark fruit at the tail end and aftertaste. There's a faint briny flavor, maybe from the scotch, and some woodiness present as well. Silty and rich thick mouthfeel, full bodied and low-medium carbonation.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like it's time for another Black Damnation - in spite of the fact that I STILL haven't had any Black Albert to date. I'll eventually change that, but why bother when all these fun variants are hanging around? 12oz bottle purchased at Provisions, and poured into a tulip glass. Split with Todd, who apparently hates most Scotch whisky, but particularly hates peated ones such as Caol Ila. I don't mind them, though, so I was looking forward to this one.

Pours like most of your beers in this series - blackened as all hell, thick, and slightly syrupy, with a minimal head and gigantic alcohol legs with each swirl. This time around, the head in question is mahogany tinged, with some enormous, intimidating bubbles that rise to the top as it slowly recedes. Each swirl also pastes light dark residue against the glass's edges, which may mean that of all the regular ABV variants, this may be the most intense one yet that I've come across.

Smells rich and intense, but just like the others, never too sweet. Huge notes of dark chocolate, fudge, and coffee collide with dark fruits, ranging from prunes to raisins to blackcurrant, as well as a touch of molasses. The oak is definitely there, although it's not as predominant as I'd want it to be. It doesn't smell peated either, which is probably a good thing. It *does* however retain some herbal properties such as black tea, tobacco, and leather, and at the finish seems a bit "dusty" (my favorite oak aroma), topped with caramel, vanilla, and baking soda. This doesn't smell boozy at all, however, and it's fascinating just how complex and action-packed of an aroma as this one remains so simultaneously pleasant.

The flavor is equally approachable and pleasant, but don't kid yourself - this is a massive, massive beer. Huge notes of prunes, raisins, and figs meet strong, rich roasted notes of toffee filled dark chocolate, some coffee, and molasses. Light licorice, and maybe a bit of a burnt vanilla consistency, but it's otherwise ALL about the dark fruit and roasted malt components here with the unique oak profile this time around. And, how it is unique - still no noticeable peat or smoke, but rather a woody, lightly sweet oak finish that brings out more tobacco, leather, tamarind, cinnamon, as well as a toasted almond nuttiness at the finish. Continues a little bit more earthy and tannic (quite tobacco forward here), but the roasted notes remain the longest, in a manner that prepares you for the next sip. Carbonation is JUST right here, with enough gas to elevate the roasted flavors, and at the same time it's quite thick and hedonistic overall. Really delicious stuff - could be my favorite of the series so far.

It's really impressive how good Black Albert is as a base beer. You can throw it into any type of barrel or screw around with it in any way and it ends up producing a legion of world class imperial stouts. This one is great because of the hugely woody, earthy properties from the oak that accentuate the dark fruit and dark chocolate base that makes BA a pretty good beer (from what I can gather). Great stuff - a little pricey, but worth splitting with a friend over.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured motor oil black as some say with a good dark tan head that left lace down the glass. The aroma struck me as a mix of port wine and bourbon as it's boozy and there's wood and vanilla as well as touches of cherry from somewhere. The beer is thick, chewy, bready, all characteristics associated with "heavy" beers, it's even a little sticky, but it goes down real easy and there's a coffee edge to it that mixes well with some sweet malts like toffee and chocolate (and vanilla) and I swear a hint of molasses.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My night cap on 31st Jan 2014: a shared 0.75 litre bottle at the end of the Belgian Beer Board website bottle exchange.

Good beer to finish on.

Black, oily and flavoursome. My taste buds were shot by now and my notes are difficult to decipher in the cold light of day. I liked it, that's for sure: don't really know why though!

Alcoholic, coffee and oaky in flavour and smell, according to my scribble, with a full, rich depth of body. That will have to do.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Incredible power, grace and aritistry is performed on such a dark and ominous base- the Black Damnation recipe is just that- black and damning. Its sophisticated scotch influence plays upon a dry and roasted character in a balance that's unrivaled.

You don't so much as pour the beer, the tap opens and the ale simply crawls out on its own. As it settles cozily in the snifter, it releases an arid mocha-stained head that looks quite light on top of its inky-black body. Its opaque appearance gives the ale a onyx-like sheen. While the ale's foam character eventually succumbs to the beer's alcohol, the beer quickly prefers brandy-like legging and oily coat to more beer-like foam offerings.

Aromas are heavily charred. Burnt molasses and charcoal all weave into highly robust and powerfully carbonized scent. Complementing burnt toast, espresso, walnuts and cocoa are all of the darker and deviant attitude as the barrel character silently builds. What is first sweet booze of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch soon develops into a full-blown earthy, smoky sweet bit that can only be captured by heavily peated whisky.

To taste, its exemplary roast character is front and center. Approaching ash from time to time, its heavy campfire taste is slightly of mesquite but more of the cocoa powder, toast char, burnt toffee and scorched coffee is a damaging to the palate as it is rewarding. Without a more malty-rich body- all that burnt sweetness turns dry and relies on the sweet whisky and barrel flavors to show some semblance of balance in its finish. That's where the thin caramel, honey, vanillin and butterscotch character from scotch whisky comes forth with its peppery bite and spicy, smoky earthiness. It finishes like burnt dirt!

What should be full in body seems so much lighter because of the beer's charred textures that plague the mouthfeel early and often. The ale simply can't avoid its ashy texture as its powdery feel pangs away at the tongue and palate and prevents a proper balance from its roast-derived acidity, barrel-astringency and its alcohol heat. Yet, the ale's dry sweetness remains alluring.

All in all, Black Mes' balance and procession of char and whisky is sublime. But its sheer burnt character limits its drinkability and its enjoyment. But built on unimaginable complexity, high scores are a must.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured with a bright iridescent black onyx and a deep opaque fullness. The head was tight and thick with a thin layer of bubbly foam.

The aroma was sweet with alcohol, presumably the scotch barrel. There was a smoky char scent with coffee, molasses and faint dry chocolate.

The taste is sweet with scotch like alcohols, strong smoky embers, charred or burnt coffee, molasses and bitter chocolate.

The feel is rather thin for such a complex beer but it seems to work for a beer with scotch qualities. It's almost like the feel took on the properties of the scotch.

This is a real treat as it has such complex flavor and character but remains drinkable despite the 13 pct ABV.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.54/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.25

Bottle from the local shop out of nowhere. Popped this one with Beastmaster. A huge gusher from the start. Finally stopped and poured into mini snifters. Pitch black pour with a small dark brown head and no light showing through. Aroma is a combination of sour cherries, roasty chocolate, green apple, peat and scotch whiskey. Yeah, pretty sure it’s not supposed to be like this. Flavor follows with a good amount of peat and roasty chocolate, alongside some sour black cherry and sour apple flavors. Mouthfeel is bold and thick with low carbonation. This is really disappointing. Bottle was a hefty price to begin with at $43, but now that is a travesty. Afraid to pop my Damnation II now. Still drinkable I guess but not a big rich BA stout like one would expect.

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Photo of danieelol
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to [email protected], purveyor of fine liquor and liquor-related products.

Pours black as night, great head and lacing.

Smell is a big sweet malty imperial stout, scotch barrels, an interesting orangey-presence that is almost Grand-Marnier like. A bit of vanilla, almost like a flan with a dominant almost artificial fruitiness (this is not meant as a detraction, merely a description of the complex flavour). A bit crayon/waxy, a bit of oxidation.

Taste is a complex meld of roast and scotch barrels. Nice, drying flavours. Roast is still present in the backend in a delicious way.

This is a great beer and the barrel has really improved this beer. Having had Black Albert and Cuvee Delphine recently this was substantially better than either, the barrel seems to emphasise the roast elements of the beer while adding its own smokiness as one would expect. Probably oxidised so it loses marks for smell, but was still very enjoyable and reserved and far more imperial stout-ish than some other iterations like the base and cuvee delphine. Second only to Double Black (by a long way) of the variations I've tried, which admittedly are few.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle, lot A, best before March 2015, poured into a Struise pokal glass at Kulminator in Antwerp.

A- Pours black with a finger of creamy brown head, great retention, spotty lacing.

S- Loads of chocolate, roasted grain, fruitiness, along with wood, scotch and peat. Smells pretty awesome.

T- More chocolate heavy, dark fruits and roasted grain, more scotch and peatiness towards the finish.

M- Full-bodied, creamy, just a bit of heat in the finish.

O- Didn't have any trouble finishing the bottle, a quite tasty and complex beer, although doesn't come close to my favorite from the series (of course, Double Black).

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Photo of DenMar
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick and oily and pitch Black with a small dark brown head.

S - Coffee, Chocolate and lots wood, I love the barrel nose in this one.

T - Coffee, and dark chocolate up front, Molasses and a slight peat, There's a ton of wood flavors in here. Very sweet with bitter aftertaste, no signs of alcohol whatsoever, so beware!

M - Really low Carbonation for a Struise Stout, almost flat.

O - Great Imperial Stout, highly recommended!

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Photo of jegross2
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the Black Damnation III (Black Mes) from De Struise Brouwers out of Belgium. This is Black Albert aged for two years in single malt Islay Scotch Whiskey barrels (1995 "The Distillers Edition" barrels) from the Caol Ila distillery out of Scotland.
Score: 92

Unknown vintage bottle from "Lot 4533300911." This beer is presently retired. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/04/13. Major thanks to Adam (crosamich) for hooking me up with this major want!

Appearance: Pours a coffee color with a half finger layer of mocha colored head that settles to a thin covering that coats maybe half of the top of the beer. Below average lacing, average retention. Some spotty lacing remains behind after the beer runs back down into the glass. 4/5

Smell: At first, right out of the fridge, the aroma is heavy on burnt chocolate/licorice. As it warms up, however, the "burnt" characters mellow out. Bakers chocolate, burnt brown sugar, faint smoke, and a mild amount of cherry and dark fruit. Some wood towards the back of the aroma too. Some of the elements of the nose are appealing, but the components overall do not meld together smoothly. The nose is a bit rough around the edges. 3.75/5

Taste: The aroma initially put me off, but the taste is much better incorporated. There is more cherry flavor and chocolate and substantially less "burnt" qualities on the palate. The peatiness is still pretty faint, but still more pronounced. The smokiness does not add much flavor, so much as it adds a little prickling sensation on the throat after the swallow akin to peppers in a beer. The licorice is also pretty faint, and a mere accent in the finish. Some molasses too, primarily towards the finish. Hint of oak. More chocolate flavor prevails as the beer warms up. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Slightly sweet, but miles away from cloying. Has a very dry, almost chalky, finish that accenuates the viscosity of the brew. 4.5/5

Overall: I've been told by several people that this beer was a "Black Mess," but found that I enjoyed everything about this beer except maybe the nose (at least until it warmed up). The smokiness present in this beer is about as subtle as smoke can possibly be in a beer. Although I found this variation of Black Albert inferior to the original (as I did with all of the other variants of Black Albert that I have tried), I think that this was one of my favorite barrel treatments. The mouthfeel is very viscous thanks to a dry finish, and that is how I prefer my stouts. This may be the best beer I have ever had aged in Scotch barrels.

Recommendation: Seek a bottle of this out if you want to try a good example of a well-aged beer in Scotch barrels.

Cost: $12 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down either. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, scotch, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a peaty finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is really tasty but strong.

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Photo of ADZA
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with a one finger creamy head and little lacing,the smell is whiskey,peat,cola,booze and mocha,the mouthfeel is full bodied and silky smooth with moderate carbonation and has tastes of dark rich chocolate,milky cappicino,whiskey,booze,candy and finished with a nice mocha bittersweetness and overall its nice and id buy it again cheers.

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Photo of BobZ
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a De Struise Cervoise.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with an intial 1/4" tan cap that recedes quickly to a ring.

Smell: Some roasted malt, coffee and chocolate aromas, with a touch of a peaty smokey aroma from the Islay malt. Like most variants of Black Albert as the beer warms the aroma deepens and broadens..

Taste: Same as the nose, again the flavor of Black Albert, Belgian yeast, roasted malt and chocolate this time with overtones of a smokey scotch. Not to say this beer is smokey but if you've had an Islay whisky you know what I'm talking about. Exceptional take on Black Albert.

Mouthfeel: As usual a very nice creamy mouth feel, very smooth with it's abv very well masked.

Overall: Yet another incredible version of Black Albert/Black damnation from Urbain & Carlo!

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Photo of blakelive784
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a non translucent black color with 2.5 fingers of dark chocolate, creamy head. Retention is outstanding. Incredibly inviting.

S - Bitter chocolates and cream are evident. A good amount of alcohol on the nose. Restrained roasted malt. No caramel. Seems bitter based on the nose.

T - Opens creamy to a roasted and chocolate malt body. Not as bitter as I'd thought based on the nose. Well balanced. Heavy chocolate notes. Alcohol is prevalent, though not obtrusive.

M - Full bodied, thick and creamy. About right.

D - A nice stout, but really nothing special. Well balanced and well built. High quality and drinkable but largely unremarkable.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired from Belgum and served into a bubble nonic glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof; I loved Black Damnation II. Cost was about $10.00.

Served after a warming period from the fridge and allowed to warm futher over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger rich tan colour head of beautiful cream and thickness, and downright amazing retention for the wine-esque 13% ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Cream, caramel, dark malts, subtle java/coffee with some accompanying roast, hints of chocolate, and roasted barley. I get some slight alcohol. No real yeast character. A pretty strong aroma.

T: Rich coffee and accompanying roast, with subtle dark and chocolate malts comprising the unobtrusive rich foundation. Caramel, cream,and even a hint of subtle spice (as in hot spice, not kitchen cabinet spice). The coffee is great, but there's not enough of it. Real well balanced, though some alcohol does trickle in. It's not as complex as I expected, but it's tasty.

Mf: Smooth, wet, rich, and nicely thick. Carbonation is near perfect. Complements the flavour profile quite well.

Dr: Drinkable for its high ABV, but some booze does enter in unfortunately. Still, for 13% it's quite well concealed. I do like it, and it's another good offering from De Struise, but I arrogantly hoped for more. It's a solid beer within the style, but it's not amazing. Mocha Bomb was better. Certainly worth a try, and I'd like to see how it ages. I wouldn't want to kill a bottle by myself; it's certainly a sipper.

High B

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like roasted malt, Scotch whisky, smoke, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and some wood. It tastes like roasted malt, chocolate, Scotch whisky, dark fruit, coffee, wood, smoke, and some caramel and molasses. It's sweeter than I was expecting it to be, not that I'm complaining. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit slick and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Drinks way too easy for being 13% ABV. I think this is a good overall brew, definitely worth trying!

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours an absolutely black oil color forming a medium thick creamy brown head. Good retention and some spotty lacings left. A thin bubbled brown layer remains forever on the top

S: Delicious smell of roasted malts, dark chocolate, oak and liquor. Notes of vanilla, caramel, yeasts and flowery hops. Light alcohol can be felt on the end despite of the considerable ABV

T: Damn roasted and bitter. Dark chocolate. Notes of coffee. Evident Black Albert backbone: thanks god! Strong notes of oak and Scotch. Absolutely tasteful beer. Upfront is slightly sweet but it quickly changes to a deep roasted and bitter taste. A beer to beer geeks

M: Thick and creamy body. Slightly molasses too. Medium carbonation (not bad to such high ABV). Aftertaste is a intense roasted bitterness

O: A masterpiece., simply. As good as a Black Albert. Very intense experience. Not an easy beer, but who cares about the easy ones?! :p

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Black Damnation III - Black Mes from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 268 ratings