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Fullsuit Belgian-Style Brown Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fullsuit Belgian-Style Brown AleFullsuit Belgian-Style Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

34 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 34
Hads: 95
Avg: 3.59
pDev: 21.73%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hopdog on 12-10-2008

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fullsuit Belgian-Style Brown Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 95
Photo of crvcac
4.42/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer yesterday at the la beer week festival.
Appearance: nice dark brown color with highlights. Solid head, nice lacing

Smell: wonderful spice and clove flavors from the beligian yeast. Nice malty character

Taste: a rich bouquet of sweet malty spice and clove.

Mouthfeel: a very nice and mellow tasting winter warmer. Alcohol is nicely subdued by the spiciness of the Belgian yeast.

Overall: great beer. Quite possibly one of my top 10s..

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.14/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You might say this purchase was on an "educated whim." After Parrot in a Palm Tree, I'm beginning to trust Karl Strauss a little more, and a Belgian Dark Ale in a 6-pack for 8 bucks is (could be) quite the deal. Luckily, I may have struck gold.

A gentle pour reveals a gentle beer. Active but wimpy head sits atop a rather beautiful shade of burgundy red. I don't know if I've seen this color much before; definitely not in brown ales.

I didn't know Karl Strauss was a surfer brand, but apparently that's the insp behind the Full Suit moniker, kind of appealing in a nostalgic sort of way.
Smell is quite magical, an initial roastiness gives way to fruity Belgian esters... I can't quite unravel this one. It's great though.
Taste is similarly attractive. Quite dry but with an awesome fullness that gets the most out of its 6.3% abv - perhaps the perfect content for this beer.

I would love to see this in a blind tasting. I have a feeling its "big brand" label would throw many to a bias, but peel that off and expect a lot of "Dude what the heck am I drinking?" Well dude, maybe it's a:
1. Brown Ale. Then shit, this is crazy kick ass good.
2. Belgian Dark Ale. Really? Kind of light... Which Brasserie?
3. Karl Strauss. Pfft yeah right.

Well done Mr. Strauss. I think you're on the right path here.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Quick Take(s): (2012) Nicely malt forward with an earthy, rosemary taste to it. (2013) Balanced in a not very malt forward way. More of a British style. (2014) Nicely malt forward as its flavor and aroma is like oolong tea. Also has banana to compliment it.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a draft into a pint glass at Bully’s East in San Diego, Calif. Color was mahogany, reddish brown. Maybe an inch of head. Circular lacing on the top. Good amount of film on the sides.

Smelled of roasty malts. Also some caramel malts in there as well. Hints of citrus in there, too.

Tasted cloves up front, followed by caramel, roasty malts. Banana and chocolate in there as well. Very smooth.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Smooth finish.

I liked this beer a lot. This could’ve been a few spots higher or lower with the ratings, but I ended up with this rating. Good beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this on tap in a country club in Carlsbad. Random.

A: Deep mahogany color with a 1/2 inch tan head.

S: There's a rich sweetness from the belgian yeast alongside some brown sugar, roasted malts and a pretty big nuttiness.

T: Definitely a lot more complex than I was expecting. Roasted malt and some dark fruit hit first, followed by some hazelnut and brown sugar. I had two and enjoyed both of them a lot.

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Photo of ely2000k
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think a pretty great seasonal beer. Dark brown pour, and you can see the carbonation rush to the surface but it mellows out after being left to warm for a bit. Smell of dark fruit, oaky, and cherry. Rich taste, way more complex that I expected. Love the way the oakiness cuts through at the end of each sip. I feel like the taste is a good blend of things that I didn't really picture being together, and although I am not always the biggest fan of sweeter stuff, I think the flavors work really well together. There is a slight warmth of alcohol, and the mouthfeel is full and well carbonated. Definitely would buy this again. A pleasant surprise.

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Photo of exodus1369
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the tap, Nice color, it is a Brown Ale for sure. Picked up a lot of flavors form the smell, a lot of dark fruit sweetness. Has a but of creaminess nice a smooth, finishes with a nice roasted malt taste. A slight bit sweeter then I usually go for but very good over all. Takes a few drinks to really pick out all of the flavors but it just goes to show that they are blended together very seamlessly

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Photo of mactrail
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great rich flavor, just right for sipping, and not too alcoholic. Tastes stronger than it is. Coffee and chocolate for some reason see to describe the roasted, dark flavors. Hops are not too evident, which is fine in this context. Rich and malty with a distinctive roast malt flavor, maybe it's chocolate malt. No hint of sour burned malt. Oh, Belgian? Maybe it's the candi sugar but only the low hops say Belgian to me.

It would be a super Oktoberfest beer, if the Germans had a sense of humor. One of my favorite San Diego beers and a good one for winter.

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Photo of charlzm
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed February 10, 2012 at Karl Strauss, Universal City.

Clear brown ale with almost no head; just a scant, splotchy sheet of off-white on the surface.

Aroma is interesting; this seems like it's a brown ale (ala Newcastle) fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. Bubblegum and toffee in the nose with hints of banana and powdery yeast.

Flavor could be described as a blend of brown ale, Bavarian style hefeweizen with a dash of Belgian yeast. Nutty with traces of toffee and caramel malts, some banana and wheat flavors and a dash of the powdery floral flavor associated with some Belgian yeasts.

Slightly dry on the finish but otherwise unremarkable mouthfeel.

An interesting take on the style. Good work, KS!

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Photo of hopdog
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Karl Strauss Brew Pub located in La Jolla, CA. I stopped by here while the wife took the kids to Starbucks...

Poured a darker brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of chocolate, woody, vanilla, and somewhat earthy. Tastes of vanilla, chocolate, lighter woodiness, and caramel.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

322nd review on BA
bottle to pint
12 oz.

App- Very light in the glass with some shimmery highlights. A soft 1/2 finger head with no real cling.

Smell- You can tell its light and not a heavy brown. Was looking for bigger smells in this one. Very crispy belgian notes with a little malt.

Taste- Very light and crisp. I expected to be somewhat let down was pleasantly suprised. The yeast really added that dryness to it.

Mouth- The dryness was a welcome addition. A nice light to medium body with an almost high carb level IMO.

Drink- Good $ point, will have to grab again next year after finding out about it too late.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a hazy auburn brown with a khaki finger width head. Fair retention gives way to a broken layer of suds across the surface.

Smell - Aroma hits on notes of bread and your typical brown ale nuttiness, along with some sugary sweetness. Also a fair amount of fruity character, vaguely reminiscent of strawberry-rhubarb pie. A light spice tingles the nose.

Taste - A light roasty character with nutty undertones met by the characteristics produced by belgian yeast; touches of clove spice and banana. Finish comes full circle and offers up the faintest touch of coffee, but is overshadowed by a moderate sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium-boded with fair carbonation. Very smooth delivery on the finish.

Overall - A good offering from Karl Strauss. The flavor doesn't punch you in the mouth, but there's enough complexity there to keep your interest. The smooth, drinkable quality is this beer's strong point. It's no 'wow' beer, but something I think a vast majority will find at least somewhat enjoyable.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber-copper color. Minimal head, unfortunately. Slight lacing. No visible carbonation.

Smell: Nice malty aroma with some spices like cinnamon.

Taste: Nice flavor with some aromatic spices like cinnamon and such. A bit of spicyness, brown sugar, and some more spice in the finish. There's a slight bit of the Karl Strauss butteryness in the aftertaste, but it is really minimized here.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very smooth. Minimal carbonation.

Drinkability: Tasty and session-worthy.

Karl Strauss has recently put out a couple of their best beers in bottles; this and 'To The 9s'. They've done an excellent job and it is really promising for the future. I've always had mixed feelings about their beers... besides the generally solid amber ale, most of their beers have had something off in the flavor that irritated me. I'm glad to enjoy their new beers both on tap and from the bottle, and I look forward to more of them.

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Photo of beagle75
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a 0.5-liter mug.

A: Clear, dark brown color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Heavy lacing, fine but continuous, remains on the glass.

S: Strongly earthy and nutty, with faint but appealing fresh coffee and nuanced acidic dark fruit.

T: Begins off-dry, with nutty malt contrasted and diminished somewhat by citrusy acidity that builds into the middle, while also briefly becoming more sweet. The finish comes quickly, reasserting the nutty qualities and allowing them to linger on the palate, unfettered by very little bitterness.

M: Medium viscosity, acidic on the palate early but turning creamy by the end, with moderate carbonation.

D: A good brown ale with a remarkably enjoyable finish. There doesn't seem to be much that is Belgian about the sensory profile of this beer. The yeast does not stand out on its own, instead complementing the malt to bring out satisfying nutty character. Nor is it sour, with the acidity detected being carbonic in nature. Whether the yeast strain used was from Belgium or somewhere else, it is safe to say that it was the right yeast for the job, helping to yield a finished product that is better than expected.

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Photo of SDbeerbum
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/deep red. Very nice to look at, I'm hoping it tastes as good as it looks.

Smell: Interesting, mostly I'm mostly getting a toasted malt smell, but there is something else, maybe from the belgian yeast. This isn't the best smelling beer.

Taste: Very nice. Toasted maltiness upfront followed by a spicy/peppery finish. Lived up to the nice appearance and suprised after the let down on smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium body

Drinkability: Very drinkable. At 6.3% ABV it is still very smooth and sessionable. I'll continue throwing a few of these back.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Beachwood BBQ, Karl Strauss Winter Ale brewed with malt balls,

A: Pours a murky brown with a solid off-white/tan head, good lacing off the cask.

S: Smell is mild, but I do get some malt and fermented sugar notes.

T: Taste is certainly malt oriented, with a Whopper (the candy) note which is expected by the name of the beer. Not overly sweet the beer shows restraint and balances its sweetness with a firm hop base, not bitter, just enough to allow the beer not to get out of whack. A concentrated, earthy note, but allows the tastiness of the sugar to shine.

M: Very mild carbonation, smooth and easy to drink, alcohol is well hidden. I don't know the ABV of this brew, but I guess it's in the 7%+ range as it really caught up with me over the Imperial pint.

D: Another nice cask beer from Karl Strauss after having the IPA back in August '08. While I haven't been that impressed with their bottled offerings, these cask brews are quite good, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Karl Strauss Brewery and Restaurant in La Jolla; served on tap in a tulip.

Appearance: A light chocolate and amber color. It arrived with a small head, which stays around and leaves a light lacing on the glass. Suspiciously somewhat transparent.

Smell: A pleasant blend of oak, smokey malt, and chocolate.

Taste: The smokey, roasted malt taste is the first thing I notice, with with vanilla and coffee flavors coming in afterward. There is a slight hoppy kick at the end.

Mouthfeel: This has a medium level of carbonation, with a nice creaminess to it. At the same time, it is almost too light.

Drinkability: This is a very smooth beer, which I enjoyed, but I don't know how many more I would want to drink. There are definitely better Belgian Browns out there.

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Photo of rawfish
3.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light mahogany, good clarity with a frothy two finger head. Retention is very good with some really stellar lacing left on the glass, quite unexpected.

Bready with a bit of roasted nuts, hop aroma is musty but paired with some Belgian yeast it adds a complex note of leather, tobacco, oak and some bandaid, probably not the aroma you want in a beer brewed without Brett but still interesting.

Balanced doughy and caramel malts, a bit of nuttiness and finishes with tobacco leaves and herbaceous hops. Mild bitterness, very balanced the Belgian yeast strain is very reserved.

Light medium body despite the color, carbonation is appropriate. Malts are a touch sticky. Alcohol and bitterness are non factors, very drinkable.

The weird musty aroma of this beer kept me engaged, tobacco, roasted nuts, burning wood, reminds me of a nice fireside story. Equals a pretty good winter warmer, this beer would be quirky any other time of the year though.

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Photo of Jason
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Proper lacing for the style dresses the glass, dark mahogany hue still shows a good amount of light through it. Peppercorns, unripened mangoes, cinnamon, faint chicory and strawberry make for a pretty complex aroma. Snappy crispness meets a smooth medium body, a little creamy as well. Esters kick in right away, lots of over ripened dark fruit and medicinal phenols push hard against the toasty and slightly roasty dry maltiness. Slightly warming, dare I say there is a little beefy Belgian action here from some overactive yeast? There is a kiss of sweetness, brown sugary and wants to linger but battles with the phenols and a modest hop bitterness.

Rich and complex, I think it was a bigger beer it would be harder to put down as the phenols and alcohol would have taken over but being it is a mid-sized beer it holds on to some drinkability. Good stuff all around.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Karl Strauss 

A: Reddish brown with a big frothy off-white head and okay retention. Nice color.

S: Big white pepper and clove notes. Oak is restrained. Malt imparts notes of bread and biscuit. Dark fruit is redolent of raisin and plum.

T: Bready malt with pronounced Belgian yeast character that's reminiscent of clove and banana. I get a little raisin as well. The beer is slightly nutty and lightly sweet. There's a little oak in the finish.

M: Medium in body with upper medium carbonation.

Overall: A strange combination of flavors that works pretty well together. 

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Photo of dcmchew
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours hazy brown, one finger tan head that recedes slowly to a thin cap and leaves nice tracing on the glass.
Smells like a brown ale with Belgian yeasts. So nuttiness, bread crust, caramel, clove, cinnamon and dark fruit esters.
Taste starts with chocolatey cake dough, with brown sugar, caramel and nuts. Nice fruity character with a bit of banana, some raisin, oranges and faint cherries. Dark spices and clove. Woody feel towards the finish, a bit of tobacco and mildly bitter earthy hops.
Smooth body, soft carbonation. Nutty, bready aftertaste, with a bit of dry cocoa powder, a bit dusty.
Nice blend, tasty American brown with a twist.

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Photo of neilgavigan
3.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured dark copper red with tan head that dissappeared quickly

S - Chocolate, cherries, waffles, sweet malt, fruity esters and a little belgian funk

T - Upfront its sweet with some hop bitterness giving way quickly to a flash of belgian malt and yeasty funk tastes with a dry alcohol finish with some notes of roast mal and chocolate and cherries again.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. The alcohol lends a heat to this brew which also seems to make it very dry and light on the tongue.

O - Good as an American-Belgian dark. Doesnt really hold up against anything from the namesake country but its a great all-around and I could drink a few. As it heated up more great flavor came out so give it some time out of the fridge.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours a hazy dark brown. The 1/2 inch khaki head fades to a thin ring on top and leaves spots of lace.

The smell is of raisins, plums, dark grain and vague spices.

The taste is a raisins and an unspecified spice presence.

The texture is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Definitely influenced by Belgian dark ales, this is a solid offering that features a strong dark fruit flavor profile.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark copper brown with a 1 inch foamy beige head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, chocolate, and some Belgian yeast aromas. Taste is pretty malty and a bit nutty with a subdued yeast flavor. A subtle chocolate flavor comes out in the aftertaste. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good take on a Belgian ale but it could be developed more.

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Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Bevmo

A - Poured a brown color with ruby highlights a tan head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt with some spices

T - Follows the nose with roasted malt upfront then the spices round things out

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Im enjoying this beer quite a bit it's pretty easy drinking I like how the Belgian yeast adds to the flavor of the brown ale base this is worth picking up if you see it around

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Fullsuit Belgian-Style Brown Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.