Thursday, 5 April 2012

De Struise Brouwers Black Albert

Good evening all. Last night I carried out my nocturnal ritual of perusing my cellar for a brief moment, questioning which libation I felt like contemplating that evening. I say for a moment, because in the end the choice was fairly obvious- Black Albert, an Imperial Stout from De Struise Brouwers in Belgium. I had this beer on draft at the Cask Pub & Kitchen a couple of weeks ago and loved it, so I felt like comparing my memories of that beer to the bottled offering. I was having a very good day when I visited the Cask, so I was also hoping it wasn't simply due to circumstance that I liked the beer so much. Review after the pic....

Black Albert (13.0% ABV) pours a deep black colour with a thick off-white head that retains itself on the surface of the beer throughout drinking. The aroma is more subdued than what I was expecting, with blackcurrants, raisins, candy sugar, chocolate, coffee, licorice and a sweetness similar to lactose sugar. The coffee and chocolate hit the olfactories first, with the dark fruits becoming apparent soon after. The taste is  quite boozy/alcoholic and is composed of chocolate, coffee, blackcurrants, cream and roasted malt, with a piquancy during drinking that leads to a dark chocolate bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste is quite sweet, reminiscent of candy floss. The mouthfeel is thick and the beer is well carbonated. Overall, a very good imperial stout with plenty of roasted malt character, an underlying fruitiness and a smooth, slightly bitter finish. On draft the sweetness came across a lot more, so either a bit of time behind it seems to take this aspect down to allow the fruity flavours and aromas to become more detectable, or the extra carbonation amplifies the sweetness more. Who knows, but in the end both are just as good as each other, just slightly different beasts. Highly recommended in either format.

Until next time....

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