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Big Barrel Double IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Barrel Double IPABig Barrel Double IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

94 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 94
Hads: 242
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 16.3%
Wants: 47
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: LongBeachHopHead on 11-15-2009

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 Big Barrel Double IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 94 | Hads: 242
Photo of SeaOfShells
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into Duvel Tulip

A: Beautiful golden hazy color with about a fingers worth of creamy white head. Left behind some nice lacing. This beer really looked special. Amazing.

S: Lots of citrus, grapefruit pineapple. A nice malty backbone. Typical west coast IPA smell

T: Really well balanced. Sweet citrus up front and a nice bitter finish. A nice malty, bready character. 9% alcohol is well disguised. A really delicious, refreshing drink.

M: Medium bodied, with a nice amount of carbonation. Not too heavy. Very smooth as it goes down.

D: I took down the entire bomber, and that is the perfect amount. I got through it easily. A nice drinker.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a lot to Tim for sharing this and Dr. B for bringing it back from
San Diego - cheers.

Enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color is rosy amber with good clarity and golden hues with thick white head. The smell is floral with pleasant hop aroma -nice hint of light citrus and subtle sweet malt with mild caramel nose. The feel is balanced with malt and light spice with moderate sweet elements and mild alcohol w/ semi-dry finish.

The taste has mild citrus flavor with light vegetal elements and subtle tinge of malt in the middle with a gentle spice and grapefruit note from the hops with caramel malt providing a nice backbone to the bitterness the hops provide. Overall I think this is a decent if not above average example of the style, not aggressively hopped to the extreme as others but a very nice flavor and balance and one I could drink frequently -not a bad beer in any sense.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, picked up at Mr. Kegs for $5,

A: Pours amber with an long lasting thick white head, full of lacing.

S: Standard DIPA - bitter melon, cantaloupe, white grapefruit. Mango and banana are secondary, but come out a lot more when the beer warms.

T: Sweet candy malt/toffee initially with a lot of orange action. More bitter pine and citrus flavours come in on the back end with mango (which I remember as a distinct note in the Nelson Sauvin Mikkeller IPA). At 6 months or so, we're starting to get a barleywine.

M: Resiny, sticky, chewy, long and full aftertaste. Soft carbonation which I liked.

D: A sipper and an interesting one at that. A unique DIPA, I wish I could have tried it on release, but I can't go back in time.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy orange with small head that dissapates rather dast. Bit of lacing left. Smell of sweet malt, sugar, orange zest, and a bit of grapefruit. Smells super sweet. Bitter up front with a lemony pine finish. Some serious malt backbone and lots of sweet caramel malts. Very solid and on the malt side of the spectrum for the style. Makes for a relaxing Friday night.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 3 fingers tightly packed white foam on a deep golden liquid.

S - honeysuckle. Mint. Black pepper. Wild flowers. Grapefruit rind.

T - honeycomb sweetness up front with a hint of grainy cereal. Sweet pineapple fruit character and grapefruit rind in the center. Soft floral ad well. Hints of alcohol on the backend.

M - full bodied creamy texture. High carb with full round bubbles.

O - nice beer. A bit sweet for me but it was still enjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Attractive sudsy pour in the tall Saxo tulip. Aromas of flowers and overripe fruit.

Quite sweet, but a malty rather than a sugary sweetness. It goes well with the huge fruit flavors. Mango, apricot nectar. Rather tart after some sipping. A textbook example of the Nelson Sauvin flavor, but more bittering hops lurk in the background. However, the bitterness is way less than most big hop beers. It allows the spice and alcohol to give it a livelier taste.

One of the more drinkable DIPAs for my taste. Cheerful and fruity. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Ibis Market in San Diego.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours hazy copper with a one inch head of bone froth. Moderate retention with a solid skim coat for the duration and some smeary lacework.

Aromatics are subdued for the style. Biscuity malt with hints of tangerine, grapefruit, and pine. Traces of honey and spruce bark can be found as well.

Medium bodied with a crisp, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Carbonation is right on.

Plumpish malt with toasted biscuits lead off the palate with some crushed pine and citrus. Grapefruit with minerally undertones.

Finishes with some lingering sugars with pine resin and grapefruit.

Pretty middle of the road flavor-wise, but the nose is seriously lacking for IIPA. Drinkable for sure, but so many other superior examples on the shelves in So Cal to choose from.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. From notes

A - Slightly hazy, apricot orange, small, slightly off-white head

S - A musty orange smell with grassy hops. Not overwhelmingly bitter nose but the sweet malt is picked up

T - Very grassy and also very orange tasting. A bit sweet toffee and caramel sugars. A little booziness flavour to it

M - Juicy and actually pretty smooth (probably those Warrior hops doing their thing)

D - A good drinker, interesting blend of hops. Wouldn't say it's in the 'upper class' of DIPAs but good on its own.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to robL for the sweet extra. Tasted 12 March 2013.

Pours a clear medium orange, drifting to amber. One finger of whitish head, good retention and impressive lacing. Thick ring of foam, reaching up with rings of lacing. A few stray bubbles are the only visible carbonation.

Smell is juicy, full of apricots, with a bit of citrus peaking through. Definitely malt-forward, without the hop zip I expect from a DIPA. I like balanced IPAs, but this one's leaning more towards barleywine territory, IMO.

Taste is similarly big and fruity. Lots of stone fruit, peaches and apricots, with honey layered on top. Minimal hop bitterness in the back end. And even that quickly gives way to

Mouthfeel is good. Medium-heavy body, fizzy buzzy zippy carbonation, gently zinging on my tongue. Sticky and persistent.

I'm torn about this beer. It doesn't strike me as a DIPA. Tasting it blind, I would definitely peg it as a barleywine. And not even that hoppy of a barleywine. But it's a pretty tasty, malt-forward barleywine. As a DIPA, I'm not sold. But as a beer, I really like it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy honey orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a sweet honey flavor on the finish. There is a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Color was honey orange. About a finger width of head. Dusty white lacing on the top with some bubbles in the middle. Sporadic film on the sides, but not as much as I thought there would be.

Smelled huge hops right in the beginning. Citrus hops as expected with grapefruit seeming to be the leader. Also tangerine in there, too.

Tasted a bit stronger on the alcohol side than I expected. Tons of citrus hops. Seemed to be more tangerine than grapefruit, but it was tough to tell. Bitter on the tongue after.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Bitter abrupt finish.

I had high hopes for this beer, but it didn’t quite live up to my billing. I’d probably try it again though.

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Photo of localhost
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours fairly clear, amber color, not very much head. Good smell, very fragrant, primarily smells of hops (always a welcome smell). Taste was a lot better than i expected, though i would barely call this a double IPA based on taste. Very well balanced between the hop flavors and overall bitterness. Leaves your mouth a little dry and has a little bit of a funk that lingers (though nothing bad). Drinkability is very good, i could easily have a few of these in a row. The alcohol content is masked quite well. Overall a good beer, nowhere near other DIPAs like Pliny the Elder but still pretty good.

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Photo of emagana
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this one at BevMo in simi valley. Pours a copper orange with about a finger worth of head.
the aromas really take hold after the pour and the pinny citrus really calles you in. the aroma as you near is subtle and not over powering. hints of great fruit and citrus.
starts off smooth and not harsh which is a plus . follows with a subtle hop resin bitterness. well balanced and a definite plus. cant beleive this is in the 9 percentile abv.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap; into a snifter.
Appearance - sunset orange; nothing breathtaking, but nothing to turn away from.
Smell- I'm not hooked, but there has to be something here.
Taste- there it it is. A distinct, out of the box, oak, vanilla twist to a DiPA. Nothing grand, but leaves it's mark.
Feel - easy drinking DIPA; nicely done!
Overall - there's potential here, but not next level...yet!

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber bought at LaBodega in Riverside, CA., for $5.99 in January 2010.

Pours a golden-copper color, slightly hazy, with an initial burst of carbonation, which quickly dies off.

Aroma is definitely a DIPA hop profile, but generally thinner and lighter than the typcial West Coast variety- more IPA like in its intensity.

But when tasted, the full flavored DIPA profile is there- rich bready malts, and grapefruity bitter hops. For me, with DIPAs, I often look for balance amongst the hops, rather than balance of the overall beer. By that I mean a mix of sweet, fruity, oily, and piney notes in the hops. This one leans to the more sour/bitter fruits (grapefruit over orange), with the other elements well represented. Maybe it's me, but I miss the sweeter orange notes. But I can't be too critical, this is still a well made DIPA.

Not my favorite, for which I have lowered my overall score, but still quite good regardless. You won't go wrong with this one, especially at this price point- a good value for a very good beer.


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Photo of jzeilinger
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a medium orange color with a thin cream layer across the top with large bubbled lacing and mild carbonation.

S - Smells very bready with very mild citrus, a little earthy, mildly peaty, and a little fruity.

T - Slightly biscuity, booze forward, and with a perfect citrus and pine balance. The booze is definitely present right at the end with some warming and there's a surprisingly clean finish and no lingering bitterness.

M - Medium body.

D - Awesome balance!

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Photo of mjl21
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. Comes in at 9%. No bottling info is given.

A-Pours a semi opaque amber with lots of orange when held up to the light. It has a two finger off white head that rests at half its starting level. It leaves some decent patterns of lace.

S-Lots of juicy citrus, particularly grapefruit and orange, along with some dried grass. There is some caramel sweetness. Deserves a 4.25 score.

T-Like the nose, it has lots of juicy citrus flavor upfront along with some grassy flavor. The fruit/grass flavor gives it a unique flavor as compared to other WC DIPAs. There is some lingering peppery spiciness. The caramel malt is noticeable and contains the advertised 90 IBUs. I found it to have a nice bitterness level that was not over the top.

M-It falls on the low end of the medium spectrum and is a touch watery. It is smooth and well carbonated.

D-A pretty good DIPA that is not in the upper echelon of great SD DIPAs. I would say the hops have begun to fade a little on this bottle.

My first bottled offering from these guys. I would have loved to try this a month or so earlier as the hops have lost some of their flavor. Would love to try fresh from the tap.

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Photo of ccrida
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearence is hazy gold with a big white head leaving chunky, foamy lace.

Smell is strong, sweet hops, citrus, almonds?

Taste is also big and hoppy with an unusual candied vibe up front, some malt sugars mid-palate before a resious, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Drinkability is good, a dank, unusual, complex IPA.

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Photo of match1112
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pelican5 for sending this one my way! A nice hazy copper body with a finger and a half of head. Spotty spider web lacing is left behind. While i'm pouring this into the glass aromas of pineapple, mango and grapefruit fill the air. Taste is just as juicy as the smell. So much tropical fruit in this one. Has a medium body with a nice level of carbonation and just the right amount of hop bitterness. A little oily resin is left on the cheeks and the finish is so wet and juicy at first before turning dry. Overall I really enjoyed this beer and would love to have it again.

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Photo of Thingus
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review on empty stomach... Forgive me if spelling or grammar errors start popping up...

Picked up this bottle earlier this evening, not sure when it was bottled (no date listed) but I'm only about 40 minutes north of San Diego so I imagine it's pretty fresh...

Poured into a 16 ounce tulip;

Appearance; is a nice amber, 3 finger head that quickly faded to a thin layer of bubbles... Lacing is not terrible and what little head there is seems to be hanging around...

Smell; no standouts here for me but subtle notes of citrus and tropics... I feel like I just stepped off an airplane in Honolulu...

Taste; much like smell, nothing stands out a ton, smooth citrus, and tropics, pineapple, star fruit... Well balanced with just a touch of bitterness on the finish.. Slight hint of alcohol throughout that becomes more prevelant...

Mouthfeel; very smooth, lively carbonation

Overall; a fairly mellow DIPA, that is quite enjoyable and may be a fitting stand in to my current favorite, Unearthly (which can't be found around these parts unfortunately) and given the price is tough to beat... I recommend it!!

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Photo of armock
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a copper color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of a lot of grapefruity hops

T - Follows the nose with grapefruit hops

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

D - Its a good beer overall a little average for a DIPA from San Diego I'd get again its worth a try

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Photo of PorterPotty
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big Barrel is one of my favorite KS beers. The New Zealand hops come strong in this one.

Appearance- Golden hue with a light head

Aroma- I get a lot of Mango and Pineapple

Taste- Tropical fruitiness with light-medium malt backbone

Drinkability- An easy drinking Double IPA with my type of hops.

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Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy almost amber color with a dense tan head that leaves a lot of sticky lacing behind.

S - Primarily tropical fruit hops, mostly pineapple. Some sweet caramel malt comes through as well.

T - Massive hops up front, again mostly tasting of pineapple, with some other tropical fruits mixed in. Nice amount of malt balances this out nicely.

M - Nice, bright medium mouthfeel with a nice level of carbonation.

O - Easily the best beer I've had from Karl Strauss, though still a notch or two below the best DIPAs I've had. Still, a very drinkable DIPA with hardly any noticeable alcohol.

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Photo of goatxpower
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- nice fluffy white head, very clear amber hue

S- it's official... I can pick out Nelson Sauvin in a beer. That was the first thing I said when I took a whiff, and sure enough it was mentioned in the description. smells like Grand Marnier, almonds, marzipan, white wine. very intricate, yet one dimensional, as these are all aromas produced by the hops. The aroma is mouth watering, really.

T- There's hops in it...
For the most part, the taste mirrors the smell, but with further subtle intricacies. I get hints of pomegranate on the tail end, toasted malt, almost quinine-like bitter notes, lemongrass and ginger. This is a really layered beer

M- this beer hides its ABV remarkably well. you simply can't tell that you are drinking a 9.0 % alcohol beer. The body is thin, but the flavors linger and evolve long after each sip.

O- While I don't think that this is a groundbreaking DIPA, it is a world class example. My only gripe is the $8 price tag that I paid (at a store that is known for marking up a bit high). At a good price, I would buy this again.... but only if Pliny wasn't available.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can you have too many big IPA's from San Diego? Karl Strauss now has one. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Shines to a light, the beer features a glowing orange color to it, a darker orange hue really. The head is thick and creamy, shows little sign of going down, and is leaving lots of creamy, spotty lacing in the glass. Yep, those hops seem faded. Don't worry, there's still some good stuff. Faded tropical notes with some resin and pine. It can still taste good.

I agree with Halcyondays that by now, Big Barrel DIPA is more barleywine-like at this stage. That's not a bad thing though. The Nelson Sauvin hops are still noticable in the tasting notes, with moderate intensity. Easy resin and tropical notes. The beer isn't really bitter at all, creating a smmoth and easy drinking beer.

Being aged, this DIPA is worth a try. Being fresh, this beer must make a hophead scream with joy. I'd love to try this fresh.

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Big Barrel Double IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.