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Big Barrel Double IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Barrel Double IPABig Barrel Double IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

210 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.36%
Wants: 46
Gots: 17 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: LongBeachHopHead on 11-15-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Barrel Double IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 210 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So A growler of this one shows up on my porch last week and I could not have been happier. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 05/15/2010.

Nice pour, rich amber in color with a nice level of carbonation that could be seen streaming up toward the top of the glass. A smallish head of maybe an inch or so capped the top of the glass and settled down slowly with a light lacing all down the sides.

Deep citrus aroma, pineapple, mango, grapefruit are all represented quite well. Warming brings out some nice mellow and well balanced malt notes sprinkled in throughout now as well. Really again very nicely done. Crisp and biting hops are right up front, piercing the palate with tons of clean and bitter fruit notes. Each sips seems to get better and better as the medium feel really lets the flavor coat the palate and soak in. Final sips are long and drawn out and full of citrus spikes.

Overall this is one of the better doubles out there. You really should give this one a try if you can.

mikesgroove, May 19, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a nice looking golden color with a bit of orange to it and a finger's worth of white head.

S: Quite a bit of sweet caramel maltiness with some slightly grassy and citrusy hops. A little maltier/sweeter than I like, but not too bad.

T: The hops have really died out from the flavor. A bit of grass and citrus with only a mild pine on the finish. Quite sweet and malty, lots of caramel.

M: The body is nice and a bit on the full side for an IPA. Moderately carbonated.

D: As I noted in the aroma, this is a bit on the sweet side for my tastes. Still not bad, but I would prefer a bigger, more pungent hop character.

womencantsail, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -1.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, May 31, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

SocalKicks, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

largadeer, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber.

Chunky sea foam head, excellent retention ... Sticks all over the glass. Hazed amber orange color. Big aroma of spearmint, grapefruit, lime zest, and wild flowers from the hops ... Hint of bready caramel malt and esters in the back. Smooth bitty medium body. Hops are here to play, to take over, to show their strength and they do. Alcohol settles in quick, warming and a hint of fruity esters. Bready and yeasty edge within. Hoppy after taste with a fume of alcohol.

This beer has a full on grasp of the style, a great beer all around.

Jason, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear hue deep copper with a big off white cream colored head chunky textured billows above the rim of my nonic imperial pint glass. Fine speckled lacing around the sides of the glass. Aroma hints of juicy ripened fruit with citrus/herbal hops in the backend. A bit of maltiness and diacetyl popcorn butter tones. Just a hint of that ,with caramel malt tones earthiness balances as well. Flavor this one is in the mix between a light barleywine and a heavy DIPA it has alot of juicy malt caramelized sugars flowing back and forth. Sugary malt layers is really off putting with a bit of hot alcohol tones this is not refined nice and easy going big West Coast hoppy ales this is a diefferent direction. Mouthfeel is a bit cloying resinous but heavy on the palate residual sugars eliminate the clean drinking experience carbonation does live up to the bigger body. Drinkability has to get better for this style, no more heavy set women taking up arms unless you know somebody is getting to you, and want if you want me to get involved again, then maybe someday we will get a more refined version of what we're looking for.

WVbeergeek, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Toronado (San Diego, CA) on 11/10/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, topped with a thin layer of brite-white creamy foam. This stays VERY rich when swirled, leaving a nice frothy cascade of lacing back, which quickly slides down the sides of the glass. The aroma here is totally West Coast smelling, with just at TON of floral hops, spice, and pine cones. This mixes in beautifully, with a thick underlying layer of grapefruit juice and bready caramel, which is still able to boldly show itself under all of that crazy hop activity. This just has a fresh and fierce pop to it, that I'm really digging.

The taste pretty much matches the aroma, with a strong and assertive hop presence, including monstrous notes of resins and spice, barely being balanced by a softer feeling backbone of sweet toasted caramel malts and tropical fruit character. Man, this is all about the hops though, with a bitter finish of peppery spice, resinous pine, and citrus rind, that just STICKS in the mouth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe even a bit fuller, with a big prickly creaminess to it that goes well with the huge hop profile. This is actually going down pretty readily considering the big bitterness and alcohol content here.

This was one of the big surprise beers from our recent San Diego trip, that was one of the more complete West Coast IPAs that we've had from there lately. Just big juicy hop flavors here, with just enough of a sweet backbone to keep this balanced and drinkable. It's great to see bold new beers like this coming out from Karl Strauss.

Kegatron, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Slatetank, Sep 24, 2012
Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this interesting looking guy thanks to imperialbeachbrw.

A: Fluffy white 1 finger head fades slowly over a mostly clear dark amber orange color with a touch of haze.

N: Lots of chewy hops, some fresh musty citrus, little wet hop resin, touch of pine, some malts, sweet malts, with a bit of aged hops gives it that slight nougat aroma, a touch of barrel aroma. I'm really enjoying this nose.

T: Pretty bitter with some chewy hops, dry taste and mouth, touch of tingly booze. Some heavy sweet malts. A little fresh hop resin, touch of citrus, but overall mostly just bittering hops that give quite a bit of bitterness.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Mostly dry mouth that accentuates the heavy bitterness that hits. My mouth is bombareded with hops and bitterness. A little tingly booze and lingering malty sweetness (just the taste of it not the actual sweetness). A little hop resin also lingers. A bit more hop character rather than just bitterness would have bumped this one up a bit. Also drinks really well for 90 IBUs and 9% abv.

jlindros, May 21, 2010
Photo of russpowell
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Bitterbill, cheers Bill! Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent honey/apricot with 2+ fingers of tan head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Piney & citrus hops in copious quantities

T: Breadyness then grapefruit & pine up front, along with a bit of booze. Pineapple & cakeyness surface as this warms along with a slight smack of pine & grapefruit as this warms, along with toffee. Finishes cakey with leafy & grapefruitty hops

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation & fair balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style, another stellar DIPA from Cali & a damn good showing from this brewery...

russpowell, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Hophead84 for sending a bottle of this my way. There's no date on the bottle, but I'm guessing it's from November based on the other reviews. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip glass.

A - This is pretty much the perfect DIPA pour. Three fingers of soapy white foam that dissipates slowly and leaves glass-coating lace and a thick cap. Slightly hazed golden-copper body with a fiery glow and a stream of bubbles rising up the middle of the glass. This is reference quality for DIPA appearance.

S - The hop character has obviously faded since this was fresh, but there's still a nice amount of tropical fruit and grape hop character. There's not a ton of citrus or pine, but that's not surprising with a hop bill heavy in Nelson Sauvin, Warrior and Ahtanum. At this stage the malt backbone has moved to the forefront, with spicy caramel and rum-soaked cake flavors. I wish I got to try this fresh, but as it stands its still pretty interesting.

T - Again, the caramel malt is starting to take over, but there's some fierce bitterness mixed in. Reminds me a little of fruit punch actually, with the mix of grape, tropical fruit, and sugary malt backbone. The taste has aged better than the smell, although it's approaching a heavily hopped barleywine. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden, and the finish and aftertaste are filled with strong residual bitterness. Probably more of a 4.25, so I'll be generous in other areas.

M - Great enamel-melting sensations. Very soft, creamy texture, with only a bit of mild carbonation tingle. Medium body that's appropriate for the ABV. Not much heat at all. Pretty much what I want from a DIPA.

D - A pleasant surprise form a somewhat under-the-radar beer. I had no problem downing the bomber on my own. I hope I get to try this one again when the make a fresh batch. Best Karl Strauss beer I've tried so far.

MasterSki, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Beer is reddish and slightly hazy. Forms a thin white head of small bubbles. Head falls away and break into a diffuse thin layer. Head leaves a lot of lacing behind. Looks good.

Aroma is really weak and disappointing. Its a snifter, it should help the aroma. There is some hops and a little malt.

Beer is medium bodied and has a really odd almost cannabis flavor to it. Its the hops I'm sure but its really pot like. There isn't a lot of sweetness and its surprisingly drinkable. Not my favorite (I don't like the flavor of cannabis) but its pretty good. There are some good citrus flavors.

drabmuh, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

mactrail, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle. This is beer number 2500 for me.

The beer pours a golden-yellow color with a white head. The aroma is very fruity. I get a lot of grapefruit, pineapple and papaya notes. The tropical fruit notes in the beer really stand out, with very little else coming through.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a little biscuit malt, but I also get a ton of pineapple and papaya. The beer is full of hop flavor but the bitterness is fairly low. Overall, the beer is very drinkable,

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -1.5%

InspectorBob, Oct 30, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Halcyondays, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber purchased somewhere in Northern California. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a deep golden colour with a full weight to the body. Mildly hazed, but mostly pretty clear. Head is pocked, filmy and white, leaving some fairly fine specks of lace. Pretty full. Carbonation is also pretty fine. Looks very good all up.

Nose is pleasant enough. Resiny characters come through above a bright but light barley sugar character. Some soapy lemon comes through, leaving a slight rusty twang in the nostrils. Peppery spice is also noticeable, while the barley sugar character turns a bit doughy as it warms up.

Light and sweet on the front palate, more of that sugar note, before a little greenery comes through the mid-palate, along with a touch of herbs and a faint citrus bite. Clean finish, which is actually something of a shame, because it could really use more bite. Just a slight soda tingle on the back. ABV is well hidden at least.

Overall, this isn't bad. There's certainly things to like in it. It could use a bit more complexity: specifically, some more integrated complexity. Still, this is a solid brew, clearly well-made. I'd love to try it super-fresh as well.

lacqueredmouse, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of DoubleJ
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

DoubleJ, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of Zorro
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear orange colored ale with a puffy off-white colored head.

Smell is strongly of citrus. Abundant grapefruit with strong tea and malt sugar. Smells woody and slightly smoky.

Starts out sweet with a woody citrus flavor. Abundant citrus flavor like the smell. Little bit of butter and burnt sugar with a slight onion flavor. Tasty yet very smooth with not the slightest hint of how strong it is.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a tasty and easy to drink double IPA. Not the best but it is nice for the price.

Zorro, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden orange color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy one-finger plus off-white head, with some very nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malt notes, very nice citrus/pine notes. The taste is also very nice, hoppy, slight malt note, nice kick of citrus/pine. Medium body. Very drinkable, this one really surprised me, very tasty. Thanks Bill!

Wasatch, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -1.5%

tdm168, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

6/3/2010

On tap at Churchill's during game 1 of the NBA Finals. The beer is dark golden with a big white head and scattered lacing.

The nose is mostly Nelson hops, with notes of grape, grapefruit rind and flesh, and a little pine. There's a solid caramel malt foundation beneath the hops. Nice aroma.

The flavor is also strongly off Nelson hops, with a moderate bitterness, a little alcohol, and a near balancing caramel malt base. The hop flavor is of grapefruit, grape, orange, and a touch of pine. The finish is dry with lingering bitterness, grape, and grapefruit. A nice Nelson hop Double IPA and a noble effort from a normally lackluster brewery.

HopHead84, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good light orange and light brown appearance. Amazing musty Nelson aroma, lots of dry pine to it, followed by a heartier, thicker grapefruit contingent.

Taste, hoppy, ample bitterness, doesn't weigh heavy in the mouthfeel. A little upbeat with ever so slight mint feel to it. The most complex and best Karl Strauss I've ever had I'm thinking at this point. . . by far. Melds dryness with stickiness and a great reperesentation of the Nelson hop. Kinda strange, I've had this and the Nelson for the first time within the last month, and the results are completely surprising, as I like the KS more than the Alpine (for once).

A great amount of drinkability for a beer this strong, very easy going down. I would recommend you drink this earlier in your night (order wise with other beers) as the Nelson hop is delicate, but here, it is strong, but I just think the Nelson hop needs to really shine a little warmer and earlier in the evening.

$6 a bomber and well worth it. Easily the best thing ever from Karl Strauss.

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of a combination of pale and moderately dry caramel malts with large amounts of citrus and tropical fruit hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although the hops aren't quite as robust as in the nose. Equal amounts of pale and caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by large amounts of citrus, tropical fruit, and lightly herbal hop flavors. The flavor profile sweetens a bit midway through the sip before ending with a solid amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this beer after not really enjoying any of the previous beers I'd had from Karl Strauss. This one's well worth a shot.

glid02, Aug 01, 2010
Big Barrel Double IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.