De Struise Brouwers Black Albert

De Struise Black AlbertDe Struise Brouwers‘ Black Albert is inspired by the classic British Russian Imperial Stout but brewed in the vein of the American craft interpretation of the style.  To put a further twist on it, De Struise uses only Belgian ingredients and calls it a Royal Stout.  The beer is named after King Albert II who was Belgium’s king from 1993-2013 when he abdicated his throne for health reasons.

In case you didn’t know, Belgium is a Constitutional Monarchy.  When the country was formed in 1831, a king was installed to allay fears of more democratic revolution which had spawned the Napoleonic Wars.  The Belgian royal family actually started as a German Dukes until Leopold I, a younger son, was selected to be Belgium’s king.  He’d previously been offered the title of King of Greece but turned that down, probably a good choice with a 180 years worth of hind sight.

Appearance: Deep black, dark brown head, great retention.

Aroma: Bitter chocolate, tobacco, espresso, old leather, baker’s cocoa, burnt sugar, soy sauce undercurrents.

Taste: Rich chocolate, burnt malt, black strap molasses, tar.  Slight alcoholic warmth.

Overall Impression:  This is a THICK and viscous beer.  It almost chugs out of the bottle like motor oil.  It would be described as FULL bodied, smooth, and rich.  It has a super long and enjoyable finish.  Despite the extremely high alcohol, this beer doesn’t taste boozy.  It has a nice balance between the malt and hop bitterness and the sweetness that it takes to generate that much alcohol.  If you like BIG stouts, find some of this.  This is another winner from De Struise.

Availability: Limited in small batches at better beer shops.  Imported by Shelton Brothers.

13% ABV

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