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Black Damnation III - Black Mes | De Struise Brouwers

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Black Damnation III - Black MesBlack Damnation III - Black Mes

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by alcstradamus on 03-14-2010

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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 260
Photo of Arbitrator
1.55/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

On tap at The Trappist in Oakland. From memory a few hours ago. Sipped a bit out of t0rin0's glass.

A: Pours a pitch black body with dark mocha head. No retention.

S: Burnt rubber, stale coffee, charred oak, vanilla. It's not as harsh as the Mikkeller Black Hole, but the burning tire / electrical fire comparison was the first thing that came to mind. Unpleasant and off-putting. Some booze.

T: Same as the nose; it's not as much of a clashing, painful trainwreck as the Scotch Black Hole was, but the burning-tire peat contribution is hardly shy. Stale coffee shines through, as does smoke. With the oak it makes for a pretty charred effect in general. Immediate dislike.

M: Less smooth than the IV; it has a rubbery booze component that I don't care for. Otherwise fine.

D: Black Mess is aptly named. I honestly don't get why people think this beer is great. I thought it was awful. But then, I tend not to like peaty, burning-tire whiskeys, so maybe I was never the target market.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.54/5  rDev -38%
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 mothman
2.76/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into darkness snifter.

Pours a finger of thick tan head. Decent retention with some splattered. Color is pretty black.

Aroma: It almost reminds me of the BA Black Hole series, but not as toxic. It must be the barrels I am smelling, because they give off a huge profile. Bit scotch whiskey flavor with some peat and char. Some oak and vanilla, and a touch of honey. I am having a hard time determining if I like it or not.

Tastes: Yep, this is pretty close to the BA Black Hole series, just not as extreme. Tons of peat, char, smoke, and ash. The scotch whiskey barrels show a lot with a significant amount of oak and alcohol. I get a touch of honey and vanilla, but too much gross covers it up. It has a lot of chocolate and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: One of the better aspect of this beer. Smooth and creamy with a nice bubbly feel to it. A medium to full body with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends warm and boozy.

Overall, this isn't what I was expecting. Reminded me a lot of the BA Black Hole series (worth mentioning 3 times). It just isn't very drinkable. Big letdown.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.81/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at The Trappist

A: The pour seems to live up to the name of the beer and looks black in the glass with a small mocha colored head.

S: There's quite a bit of smoke and peat on the nose with plenty of roast to go with it. I don't get too much in terms of chocolate or coffee. Maybe some vanilla, but certainly whiskey and booze are evident. There's some rubber in there too.

T: Things don't change much on the palate. Lots of smoke and peat along with a slight rubber flavor. Pretty roasty with the whiskey being strong. There's a really distinct soap flavor to the beer which I don't find very appealing.

M: The body is medium, nothing really special for an imperial stout, with a low, smooth carbonation.

D: Not as good as the other beers in the Black Damnation series, not by a long shot.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.01/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at Farmers Cabinet, Philly, PA

Hmm. Looked fine enough: opaque black with a large, creamy, tan head that retained well and left some soapy lacing on the glass. Aroma was strangely faint, with distant scents of smokey malts and booze. Taste was unusually light, flavors of roasty malts, grainy alcohol, an underlying caramel sweetness, and an almost rubbery character like I was drinking out of a water balloon. Kind of lacking in the flavor department. Mouthfeel was a bit thin as well, almost watered down. Not too impressed by this one at all.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 ML bottle

Thanks to Baggio for the bottle

A-- Poured black, no light penetrating the body. Big, massive dark brown head with tints of cinnamon on the sides. Three finger height at start that worked it's way to one finger and slowly to film. Good head retention and body shape. Very clean and left no lacing through drinking. Just quick running alcohol legs on the sides of the glass.

S-- Lots of soft notes. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, peat, and wood.

T-- Odd sour fruitiness to the start of this. thought a chocolate covered cherry soaked in brandy. Lots of fruitiness in the taste that quickly dripped off to chocolate, licorice, peat and wood.

M-- Very thin. Lots of brandy or rum soaked fruits. Ah, fruitcake and spice, with hints of char and ash. Low carbonation and medium feel with a lot of char, ash and stewed cherry finish to this.

O-- Easy to drink and well hidden alcohol but not sold on the brandy or rum covered cherry aspect of this. Loved one and II but this is different. I think my issue is more towards the Islay scotch than the beer.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consumed in my small tasting tulip in small amounts. Thanks to Shogo for this one.

A- Dark black with a deep cocoa colored foamy head. The head thins out, but retains a bit.

S- Smells sweet and chocolaty, with a touch of booze. Whiskey/Bourbon and oak notes. Slighly off though, and nothing special.

T- Chocolate and coffee mostly, some bourbon and malt. Slighly bitter and acidic, with a notes of peaty/oak. Not what I expected.

M- The bitterness is a bit off putting. It's has some good flavor, but the acidic coffee aspect of it is a bit much for me. The bitterness lingers in my mouth for minutes after taking a sip.

D- More of a sipper, doesn't taste like 13% but is just too acidic to drink quickly. This is one of the beers that just missed the mark for me. Black Albert did not take well to these additions.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to jrallen34 for this. Poured a thick black with a nice, fairly tall black head. Smells of roasted malt, smoke, and some peat. The taste has the same components, but for me the peat really stood out and completely dominated the other flavors, creating a one-dimensional beer. A bit overwhelming. Moderate body; somewhat dry. Not nearly as good as the other things I've had from De Struise. A bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into the classic Darkness tulip glass. Pours a really dark brown/black with a slight tan head. Pretty carbonated. Holy barrels Batman! This thing is just loaded with the whiskey barrel aroma, so much so, that it almost wipes out all other smells. Some tobacco and leather makes its way know in the nose as well. Earthy/woody as well. Sweeter than I thought it would be to start which then transitions to a leather and bitter aftertaste. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Some coffee notes as well. The booze definitely makes itself known as it warms slightly. Dark fruit notes as well in almost a cloying way. It's a sipper for sure and not the best really at that.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 08/26/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting, thanks a lot Gene!

a - Pours a dark black color with no head or carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, peat, coffee, and chocolate. Smells a little like turpentine.

t - Tastes of alcohol, coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and peat again.

m - Smooth and creamy. Medium to full body and low carbonation.

d - Not a huge fan of this one. Had it side by side with Black Damnation IV and preferred that one a lot more. Probably wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of ridglens
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Hayesez for this taste, actually had the same bottle as rhodeska:

1/3 of the bottle poured into a portsmouth snifter, sipped from pretty chilly to room temp. keep in mind this was after a BCBS and a Parabola (for whatever that's worth). i'll keep this one short.

A- very pretty beer, black with thin dark head that leaves quickly. no lacing

S- weird, but kind of a skunky, scotchy, PEAT smell (yeah that's what i thought too). all smells intensified as it warmed, which was good and bad. some typical roastiness came through as well, which was great

T- scotch (which i don't really enjoy). Very roasted and good, but still with that weird, not all pleasant funk...

M- pretty damn creamy, could be a little thicker.

D- the flavor kind of stopped my mouth from begging for another sip...

not the worst beer i've ever had, but definitely not my tastes (weird, i usually like funky beers!) an interesting try, but i wonder if we got a less-than-great bottle, as none of us really loved it....

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Photo of kscaldef
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oily black pour with a thick mocha head. No lacing, but lots of legs. A roasty, nutty aroma, with a slight fruitiness. Whisky in the nose is quite restrained. Overall, the aroma is a bit sedate. The taste is predominantly burnt coffee and dark chocolate. Again, there's less whisky influence than I'd like. Picks up a strangely acidic note as it warms further. Despite the large head on the pour, there's very little carbonation in this, but it still avoids being cloying although it's definitely heavy. Overall, this is a bit of a letdown for me, as Caol Ila is one of my favorite whiskeys and it doesn't seem to have really shown up here to any significant degree.

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Photo of Etan
3.46/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle.

A: Pours a glassy black with a huge tan head. Good retention.

S: Ground coffee beans, earthy cocoa and some peat, a hint of acrid smoke.

T: Scotch barrels are there in a big way, but aren't too overwhelming. Notes of chocolate, bitter coffee, some yeasty dried fruit aspects come out of a bed of woody peat.

M: Medium with a decent amount of carbonation.

O: The more Scotch barrel-aged stouts I try, the more I think stouts shouldn't be aged in Scotch barrels. This is one of the more balanced ones out there, but the flavors just don't do it for me.

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Photo of rhodeska
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer was kind of a new one for me. That peat/scotch smell was something I am not used to, but I don't think I'm a huge fan of.

The appearance was fine, nice pour, looked really good. The smell was intriguing, maybe because it was just something new to me. However, the smell didn't come through in the taste to me, I wasn't a big fan of the peat taste... Overall, I guess the smell made it an interesting beer to taste but I'm not sure I would want a full glass of this beer.

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Photo of portia99
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Armsby Abbey at Stoutfest 2011. 6oz pour in a stemmed glass - sampled side x side x side with Black Damnation 2 and 4.

A - Pours a deep, dark black with a low tan head that is just off-white.

S - Whiskey, salt/sea water, smokey, peaty, boozy.

T - Not much (surprised!), flavors are low and not that distinct. I do pick up boozy/whiskey flavors, smoked and peaty malt and some hop bitterness. Smoke is a bit over the top.

M - Low to medium carbonation with a medium thick body. Very smokey - the defining aspect of this beer.

O - OK...not crazy about the smokey aspects. A bit overdone for my tastes and definitely different from most stouts - very definite Scottish Highlands aspect here...not sure it works though - at least for me.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
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 jrallen34
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 11.2oz bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer pours dark black with about a finger of tan head. The head rises about a finger but is gone is pretty quickly. The lacing is light.

The aroma is on the lighter side. The malts come throught at first with chocolate. It finishes with a distinct scotch alcohol.

The taste is strong and overpowering with the scotch. You get a little black coffee but its just dominated by the alcohol. I'm not a big scotch person so its not for me. If you like scotch you would love this beer.

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Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Max's. That's all one needs to know.

A: Repetitive? Yes. Deep and dark, nearly black as black can be. Another off-white head along for the ride. At least the old guy didn't knock this one over.

S: Roasted malts, offset by sweet whisky and peated notes. Coffee hangs around throughout, a nice pairing. A Scotch presence is a nice balance to the stout.

T: Roasted malts, coffee and burnt toast along for the ride. The whisky barrel gives a distinct flavor to the stout, calming down the dark flavors. In their place, peated malt, salty as a sea breeze, take over. The whisky isn't sweet, rather it lends gravitas to the stout.

M: The mouthfeel, mostly stout, has enough barrel to keep me happy. The sea salt and peat are a soothing presence against the coffee stout.

D: 13%? I'll share with ksak. Even a small glass is too much within this setting.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
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 Damian
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 33cl e. bottle purchased at De Struise Brouwers, Oostvleteren, Belgium
Best before M(arch) 2015
Served in a snifter

Outstanding appearance. The beer poured pitch black. A three-finger tall crop of tight, coffee-colored foam topped the liquid. Terrific head retention. With every sip, a thick sheet of lacing coated the glass. The crown slowly dissipated to a thick, lasting ring.

The nose was fantastic as well. It was incredibly deep and dark with intense, smoky, peaty and roasty notes. Super smooth. Lots of semi-sweet chocolate and brown sugar as well. Coffee came through strong. Quite pleasant overall and nicely balanced. The nose became sweeter and boozier as the beer warmed.

The flavor profile was initially dominated by peaty, smoky, salty and dry, scotch-like notes. There was also a fair amount of oxidation. A characteristic "wet paper" flavor was apparent. Tons of dark malts came through up front. Coffee and roast appeared in the center. Lots of brown sugar sweetness as well. Somewhat woody and oaky. The peaty saltiness was really noticeable on the dry, tannic and alcohol-rich finish. Quite whiskey-like. Some bitter espresso came through as well. A touch acrid. The beer really seemed to mellow out as it warmed. Both the oxidation and the acridness settled down. The booziness was still quite prevalent however.

The mouthfeel was certainly the most disappointing aspect of this beer. It was surprisingly thin and watery, especially when considering that this is a 13% ABV imperial stout. Also, because the carbonation was so subtle, the beer felt nearly flat. The residual sugars in the liquid were quite noticeable, and they left a sticky coating on my lips.

Although this beer may not be for everyone, I found it to be quite interesting. Because of the not-so-subtle influence of the Caol Ila barrels on the beer, spirit lovers should take particular note of this offering. If you have an affinity for the peaty, salty, smoky stuff, you will likely enjoy this beer too.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another variation on Black Albert, I'll give it a go for sure. This beer looks much like the regular Albert, black and viscous, though has less of an impressive head, but it is there, smallish and brown tiny bubbles, probably due to the time spent in the barrel. Aroma of deep char and heavily roasted malt, plus peaty Scotch depth, real nice, a little boozy. After the initial impression of roasted barley and a nice char, the smoky Scotch peat flavor makes an appearance. I like it, but it seems to have thinned the beer out a little bit. This is an interesting take - having had most of the other variations, this one is probably my least favorite. Seems that instead of the flavors melding and becoming more complex with the barrel aging, they've just become too contrasting and it seems to have separated things. Still an excellent flavor and a great beer, but doesn't hold together as well as some of the other Black Albert hybrids out there (Delphine, Mocha Bomb, etc). If you are really into Scotch (I could go either way) you will probably really appreciate this beer - if you have an aversion, best stay away. All in all a great beer, but falls apart a bit towards the end. Probably would be best in a bottle with some age on it.

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Photo of nickd717
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from De Struise.

Pours black with a nicely formed tan head leaving swirls.

Aroma is nice and almost peaty, like a scotch ale. The peat is backed up by smoke, roast, and chocolate.

Flavor is good and slightly sweet. Rich chocolate, coffee, earth, and peat.

Very smooth and creamy on the palate with medium-full body.

Pretty solid beer, but a little below expectations.

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Stoutfest.

Pours essentially pitch black color, a lighter darker creamy head.

Nose has smoky cheese, tons of peat smoke, bit harsh.

Taste is chewy, dry, little booze, bitter earthy malts and hops, lingering bitterness, light oats, spicy, light oak and vanilla, some roast and black patent malt.

Mouth is med to slightly heavier body, decent carbonation.

Overall pretty good, nice malt flavors, a bit overkill on the smoke though, not much booze.

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Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerisheaven for this cute bottle from across the pond. Base of Black Albert? Something about barrels? How can this not be good? 330 cl. bottle. Dumped into one of the unbranded, heavy, quality glasses my wife bought me years ago when the beer madness first infected us.

Pours with a big damn head for such a big beer; my only complaint is there's so much damn yeast that I only get about 10 ounces of legit beer. I swig the bottom stuff, not so good, too many yeasties. I always regret doing that. Another six or ten years & I might stop. Smell is subtle but touching, deep, deep sweet malts & that distinctly British lick of barrel. Islay. I'm going to have to try that stuff.

Black Mes brings a smoke-infused whiskey shot to the Black Albert franchise. Full of peat & malts, with an earthiness that fits hand-and-glove with the heavily roasted malts. As the beer warms, the whiskey comes out, but with a dignified reserve. It melds so well with the base beer that it's bizarre they weren't created together. I can almost hear the bagpipes. Scary drinky for such a big beer. Glad they only put it in kiddee bottles.

Very good beer. This certainly brings a new twist to Black Albert, but I still prefer the original. Hopefully I'll get to sample all the others in this series, too!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
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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Black Damnation III - Black Mes from De Struise Brouwers
4.1 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
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