744: Black Albert

744 - Black AlbertName: Black Albert
Brewery: De Struise Brouwers
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Bruges, Belgium
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 13.00%
First Brewed: 2007
Price: $9.99

Tasting Notes
Dark beige, dense, creamy head over black beer. A concentrated hop nose suggesting U.S. hopping and drying grapes on straw. Velvety, viscous, nearly chewy in the mouth.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I landed this beer in a trade. The guy said it was really hard to get, so I figured I would send him a few extra bottles for the trouble. Then, while we were in San Diego, I saw it on store shelves all over the place. Heck, BevMo! even had it for $9.99 a bottle. At 13%, I am pumped to see what this beer tastes like. Oh, and the tasting notes called it “chewy” and I LOVE a good chewy beer. That is pretty much all I know about it, too. Cheers!

In the Glass: It looks like coffee in the glass. It is black as night with a nice thin tan head. I mean, light isn’t getting through this beer at all. I have heard so many good things about this beer. I have been in the mood for a big thick chewy stout, so I am glad we decided to review a beer tonight. Sheryl is sick, but I told her to suck it up and drink. Beer fixes everything!

Nose: That is disappointing. It doesn’t have much of an aroma at all. I mean, nothing. I hope this is a case of “it tastes better than it smells” because if not, I am going to be irate. I am going to let it heat up a little bit, but man… That doesn’t smell like much of anything.

Flavor: This better be great. Here goes nothing… Yeah, that’s pretty good. It is WAY too cold, but man. That is a good beer. I would LOVE to find a bar with a beer like this on tap and order a pitcher of it. This would make a good food beer and a good cigar beer. I don’t like cigars, but I bet this would pair well with a big cigar. I only smoke cigars when I am on vacation… And I am going on vacation soon. Too bad they don’t sell this beer in Hawaii. Or do they?

Mouthfeel: Chewy is a good word for it. Sheryl just told me she gave this a 2.5. It is better than that. Not much better, as it lacks a lot of the complexity that I was expecting for such a rare beer, but I think I will give it a higher rating than that. In regards to the mouthfeel, it is in fact thick and almost has a chocolate milk consistency. I am going to let the other half of the glass heat up a little bit to see if that brings out anything else. If I had paid $10 for this, I would be upset. I still want a pitcher of it!

Aftertaste: It leaves a nice lingering sweetness that makes me think of chocolate. The best part of this beer is the mouthfeel. Sheryl just said, “Beer should be based on flavor, not mouthfeel.” It depends. But, for a beer that is so hard to come by, I just wish it had more complexity.

I am over the bourbon barrel aging stuff, but I bet this would be a really good barrel aged beer. Toss it in a Jack barrel and see what happens. Oh, and 100 IBU? No way. I don’t believe it. I am not getting much/any hop character here. Now I want an IPA. Guess I will finish my night with an IPA. Cheers!

Black Albert – The bottle says: “This BELGIAN ROYAL STOUT comes with a bitterness of 100 IBU, 160 EBC for colour, a full bodied Belgian character, and the Struise signature. Even with all these extreme values, Black Albert stays a powerful, elegant, and well balanced ROYAL STOUT.”

Rating: 3.5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

This beer probably won’t taste exactly right to me. But Ricky wanted to review one tonight. I have been sick all week and I’m still not feeling 100%. I’ve had an upper respiratory infection. It’s been pretty gross… Fever, coughing, lots of snot. And today a headache. But we will give this a shot anyway.

The beer actually looks pretty good. It’s actually just the kind of beer I usually really like, a Russian imperial stout. It’s very dark in the glass, basically black. And it looks pretty thick, almost chewy. There wasn’t a lot of head when it was poured into the glass. It’s hard for me to get a true nose on it, since I am pretty congested right now. But what I do smell is pretty malty and boozy. Let’s see if that’s how it tastes.

It’s not bad, but honestly… It’s way too boozy, even for me. That’s saying a lot, because I like high ABV beers, and this one is 13%. But it just tastes too much like booze. I’ve had the opportunity to have a few glasses of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout lately, several varieties of it. And all are great. They are all very high ABV too, but they are all very balanced with a great flavor along with the heat from the alcohol. I’m not sure I can say the same of this beer. It has too much booze and not enough flavor, IMO. All I can really taste is the alcohol. Not sure this one is worth picking up again. It was ok to try, but there are definitely other, better Russian imperial stouts out there for sure.

Rating: 2.5/5

743 bottles of beer on the wall…

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