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: 109 | Ratings: 260
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Mikegroove and its very good IS. Black bodied with a good two inches of head. Some peat smoke, but understated, maybe the amount of cellaring helped. Very drinkable and medium moutheel: licorice, undertated whiskey, peat gives it an interesting edge.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
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 StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 ma 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 BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 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 largadeer
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As with all the Black Damnation beers, this is a completely opaque obsidian color with a big three-finger head that holds firm, leaving scattered lacing as it slowly descends. Big scotch whiskey aroma, peat and smoke meet baker's chocolate, green apple and dark fruit. The scent reminds me of salty chocolate chip cookies. Big dark fruit and peat flavors wash the palate first, along with layers of brownie, green apple, coffee and roasted fig. It finishes with lingering chocolate and smoke, less bitter than Black Damnation I and II and considerably more smooth and complex. The salty, earthy quality of the scotch barrel lends a unique and enjoyable character to Black Albert, this is good stuff.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a dirty brown color ale with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of warming scotch notes with light roasted malt with lingering subtle bitter notes. Taste is also dominated by a mix between some warming scotch notes with light bitter roasted malt though not as complex as I had anticipated. Body is quite full with nice creamy texture from the barrel-aging with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though I was expecting more complexity from this one.

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Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Max's Belgian Beer Festival.

Appearance: This one pours pitch black with a bit of tan head that goes away almost immediately.

Smell: Sweet coffee roast dominates along with some dark fruit notes. There is also a bit of dark chocolate and some whiskey as well.

Taste: This one is quite roasty with a lot of dark chocolate and coffee flavor coming through. There is some dark fruit in the sweet flavor as well. The finish is a bit alcoholic from the whiskey and a bit bitter from the roast.

Mouthfeel: This one is thick, but not motor oil thick or anything like that. The body is also quite smooth. There is some mild carbonation and a somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: I think this beer is quite good. The only complaint I would have is some of the other flavors might have to fight a bit much to get through the alcohol. I would try it again if I ever have the chance.

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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 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 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 TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 4/16/2011 at Armsby Abbey in Worcester served in an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, short light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted dark malts, licorice and dark fruit.

T: The taste starts out with a rich roasted malt character and flavors of dark chocolate and dark fruit. There are some flavors of smoke and licorice in the background. The hops presence is very mild but creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, decent big stout and better than the regular Black Albert but not as good as Black Damnation II.

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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 mikesgroove
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another in the seemingly endless black damnation series makes it to my glass. Served cold and allowed to warm. Served in a snifter and consumed on 06/15/2010.

Pours the darkest of darks, the pitch black inky death with a huge head of tan that caps the glass for what seems like forever. This really could not have looked any better.

Aroma of deep whiskey, dark, roasted malts, light touches of oak and hints of deep chocolate. Warming brings out more of the whiskey notes and really pushes it up to the forefront. Smooth, seductive feel as the rich and full body washes across the tongue. Really just a fantastic beer now on all levels. Smooth coffee and chocolate notes was across the palate, whiskey and oak, vanilla all coming through wonderfully. A fantastic mix of flavors here. A rich and creamy finish.

Overall a fantastic beer. One of the best ba stouts in a long time, this did not let me down.

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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 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 TMoney2591
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Call me crazy, but the label reminds me of the cover to Rammstein's "Sehnsucht". Anyway, this stuff pours a bleak black-brown (which comes off pretty much as black) topped by a finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises husky roasted malts, soft oak, cocoa, brown sugar, and a vague sense of smoke in the background. Damn, my nostrils are thrilled to be smelling this right now! The taste holds notes of roasted malts, coffee, scotch, light peat smoke, wood, and bitter dark chocolate. Things are a bit more astringent than in the smell, a bit boozier as well, but still generally pleasant. The body is a lithely stolid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, this is the best of the Albert variants I've yet had. Damn fine stuff.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

The beer is black with a beige collar that leaves a thick sheet of lacing on the glass. The scotch character emerges more in the flavor than in the nose. Roasted malt and whiskey working in harmony. Soft scotch aftertaste in the finish. Very well done. Overall, a terrific beer, especially if you appreciate single malt scotch.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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 stakem
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken on 7/16/10.

Poured into a small goblet, this brew appears black in color. A thin film of darkly tanned to brownish head forms for just a moment and quickly receeds.

The nose of this brew is dark roasty grains highlighted with a bit of woodsy character and some more potent alcohol contribution that was not included in my previous damnation experience.

The alcohol character plays a pretty signifcant role in the flavor of this brew. It comes across with a bit of a whiskey kick but a bit of dark sugary sweetness attempts to tame it and mellow it out. An interesting mix of whiskey warmth fills the mouth along with a bitterness contributed from the level of dark roast that the grain has gone through.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate level of carbonation. This brew coats the inside of the mouth with a combination of sugary sweetness, whiskey burn and grainy bitterness. All thrown together it is an interesting and enjoyable mix.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a FoBAB mini-pint glass. Lot B, best before May 2015.

A - Pours with three fingers of slow-dissipating dark mocha foam that settles to a thin cap and leaves plenty of chunky lacing. Body is hard black - no trace of color here. Like most de Struise stouts it's a looker.

S - Intense dark roast, chocolate, baker's chocolate, meaty smoke, peat and salt, scotch whisky, dark fruits. The only knock is that the booze is a little in-your-face.

T - Taste is a little less complex, with lots of sweet chocolate and fruit notes up front, and then a fierce whisky finish full of smoke, whisky, and light bitterness. There's a bit of tart green apple going on as well. Probably a 4.25 here, but I was a touch generous elsewhere.

M - Carbonation is a little harsher than I prefer, but otherwise this is big, viscous, and oily, with lots of residual lip-smacking stickiness. Surprisingly little heat.

D - Split a 33cl bottle with my wife, and gladly would have had more. Glad I have a couple more bottles of this one, as I don't know how easy it will be for Urbain to acquire a Caol Ila barrel again.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer served in a small wine glass. Beer is black with a dark brown big head, small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation, looks nice I like the head on this one.

Aroma is weaker than the Black Damnation 1, some oak, some roast, some liquor. Interesting.

For being 13%, this beer hides it so well. It is smooth but thinner than expected, finishes with a nice but odd bitterness and some oak notes, the scotch is kind of a subtle flavor to me but overall a very nice beer. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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 Gueuzedude
4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Het Oude Schooltje; July 2010
A vigorous pour by Carlo produces a bit more foam than expected and I have to take a quick mouthful of foam; it has such a smoky, peat-like and rich flavor to it, yet is quite smooth tasting. This black beer is topped by a dense, creamy, long lasting, dark brown head that leaves all sorts of lacing on the sides of my glass. As the beer was being opened I got a quick aroma of smooth, rich coffee. The aroma has a salty, rich-chocolate character to it that is backed by a touch of whiskey like heat. The peat / smoke character is always noticeable in the nose but other aromatic notes join this character at various times. A nice note of Mocha adds a really interesting touch and is at times quite potent. I spent a long time enjoying the aroma of this beer as it was really quite interesting and even satiating all on its own.

As the beer first hits my tongue it tastes rich and somewhat sweet (though not overly so). There is a touch of bitterness and alcohol heat to it, both of which add a bit that helps to balance the up front sweetness. This has a huge Mocha like flavor to it that combines a rich dark chocolate and coffee character. The texture of this beer is just so fantastic; so smooth, somewhat creamy feeling with a fine bubbly texture, yet it is still light enough that it is not cloying. The smoke is more subtle than it was in the nose, but forms a rich, smoky, umami like note that forms a solid foundation for all the other complex flavors. Layers of dark fruit, chocolate, peat, salt, smoky smooth coffee and even some plum and concentrated apple like fruit notes are noticeable.

This is an extremely complex, tasty and consummate sipping brew. It is really just an awesome mix of barrel character and base beer; this is so often not the case with Whiskey / Bourbon barrel aged beers that I almost don't like chasing them down; this is most definitely worth looking for though. This caps off a perfect visit and experience at Het Oude Schooltje; friendly beer-geek conversation, a great eclectic, personality full atmosphere all experienced on a hot, lazy Belgian day spent running around the countryside chasing beer; all of which gets the experience inching towards perfection.

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Photo of John_M
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received recently in a trade from jgasparine. Thanks John!

Black mes pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. This beer looks impressive, but I was still surprised by what I smelled and tasted.

The nose is very peaty and smokey, which only adds to the interesting complexity of this beer. Otherwise, I get a considerable aroma of coffee, butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla. As good as this beer smells, it tasted even better. The beer is very creamy on the palate, showing flavors of coffee, smoke, vanilla, chocolate and cherry liquer. All of this comes in a wonderful soft, creamy and long flavor package. Drinkability is quite good for the abv., though there's a hint of alcohol/heat in the finish that detracts just a bit from the beer's drinkability.

Just a luscious beer. Hopefully we'll eventually see this here in the states. Delicious stuff.

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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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