Big Barrel Double IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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Big Barrel Double IPABig Barrel Double IPA

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94 Reviews

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Reviews: 94
Hads: 240
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 16.06%
Wants: 44
Gots: 37 | 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.
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Reviews: 94 | Hads: 240
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz into a Surly Darkness tulip on 3/28/11.

Pours a pretty clear golden orange with 2 fingers of slightly off white frothy head that dissipates leaving moderate lacing on the glass.

Smells of a hops and grapefruit. Sweet malt is present but only on the backside. Very nice malt hop balance one of the best I have had the pleasure of smelling.

Taste hops and grapefruit citrus that have a wonderful bitterness. Carmel and candy sweetness balances the bitterness of the hops and keeps my mouth watering. Gets a little boozy as it warms.

Mouthfeel is light to medium weight. Bitterness is present but very well balanced but the sweet notes and leaves the finish smooth and enjoyable.

Drinkability is high in my book. It gets a little boozy as it warms and the alcohol becomes more volatile but other then that this beer has few flaws. I will be looking for this one again. My first Karl Strauss brew and I am looking forward to trying others from them now.

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Photo of gfthree7
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This extremely smooth and drinkable DIPA was enjoyed out of a 22oz bomber as the last beer at the end of a DIPA session.

The appearance looks like a typical DIPA, but one taste told me that this is a big-league hoppy brew. This beer bursts with IBUs but is still one of the smoothest DIPAs I've had.

At 9%ABV its dangerously drinkable. I put it in my top 5 DIPAs with Pliny the Elder, Green Flash Imperial, Left Coast Hop Juice and Ruination

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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 RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a rich, heavy orange in color yet clear with a nice, retentive head that came up on a vigorous pour.

Smell - The pine is stiff but balanced. There's some orange in here as well along with a much larger floral hop aroma. The malts are very sweet and full of butter.

Taste - The malty butterness is wonderful here and the hop combination from the nose pairs nicely with it. The floral notes are a bit more prominent but otherwise this is rightly balanced.

Mouthfeel - This is a bit lighter than I would have liked but just does qualify as medium-bodied. The carbonation is appropriate for the style. This ale is very smooth and creamy in the mouth and the light bitter bite at the end is just stiff enough to get noticed.

Drinkability - This is a very smooth DIPA with no hint whatsoever of the 9% ABV. It is big but not overpowering and would be an excellent choice to introduce the novice drinker to the style.

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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 BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Obligatory chill haze on the orange-amber hue clears as the beer warms up a bit; solid- looking head. Smells of freshly macerated ruby red grapefruit, mint, faint pineapple and mangos. Mouthfeel pings off the palate with a sublime creamy body and smooth carbonation. Hop bitterness may have that initial sting, but the flavors really unfold with each sip; grapefruit rind, arugula and light minty tone. Some tropical fruit in the mix within the warming estery alcoholic profile here. There is enough malt to go around though, which keeps most of the bitterness in check. Stays juicy even while the hops pummel the taste buds.

Hop character is in your face--or ours, rather--fume of alcohol for good measure, and it all makes for a very good Double IPA.

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Photo of WeeObese
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle.

Appearance: Deep golden honey colored beer with a nice creamy white head that lasts.

Smell: Fruity hops followed by some grapefruit like hop aroma, (not as strong as when I had it on draft). Very nice, but a little subdued.

Taste: Great topical fruit and grapefruit hop taste that isn't overly bitter. The hops are definitely in the taste, just fruity, and delicious. The Nelson Sauvin hops have such a great fruitiness to them. The beer has a nice slightly sweet malt flavor but finishes really nice and dry.

Mouthfeel: It has some body and slight sweetness, but finishes creamy and dry.

Drinkability: For a IIPA, this is one of the easier to drink. It masks the alcohol very well. The lower bitterness and the great hop flavor coupled with the dry finishes makes this an easy drinker. Extremely well balanced, a great West Coast "San Diego" style IIPA.

Karl Strauss is really starting to pick it up. I think this beer will open a lot of beer nerds eyes to what may be coming down the line from Karl Strauss.

Side note: This beer is even better fresh and on tap.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of taylorparsons
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a - has a nice creamy golden texture to it
s - my first throught was milk on the smell but now it seems more like a yeast rsmell with a hint of rose
t - bitter sweat
m - lovely feeling in a mouth
d- pretty dern good, a little to powerful to drink the full pounder, 9% is a little to powerful for me

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to overlord for the bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Color is a moderate amber with a bit of an orangish tint. Two-finger white head falls somewhat quickly with an average amount of lacing getting left behind. Nose is very nice with a pretty hefty dose of both tropical and citrus fruits. The taste scales back and doesn't hit as hard as the nose, but there's still a bit there and a nice bitterness. Small malt presence. Drinks quite well and I was glad to be able to try this. Thanks again, Mike.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Karl Strauss Sorrento Valley.

Pours a clear amber/copper color with a nice, fairly dense, white head. The aroma is hoppy, and fully of mildly bitter citrus. The same citrus flavors (predominantly grapefruit and lemon) continue into the taste, again bitter, with some hop spice and a bit of yeast at the finish. The yeast lingers into the aftertaste, but there's also some hop bitterness there too. Medium-bodied and smooth, with light carbonation. A pretty tasty double IPA, and another good new offering from Karl Strauss. Strong ABV-wise, but it isn't present at all in the taste. I'll be getting this again, for sure!

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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 WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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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 beagle75
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask service via hand-pump into a long-stemmed tulip glass at the Costa Mesa Karl Strauss pub.

A: Clear, medium amber color with orange highlights and one finger of persistent white foam head. Slight lacing remains on the glass.

S: Sweet tropical fruit is foremost, alongside lesser grapefruit citrus notes, in a smell that is luscious but not particularly complex. No alcohol is present in the smell.

T: All that is promised in the smell is delivered here as the taste begins with abundant, sweet tropical fruit. A hint of graininess emerges in the middle but is never featured over the tropical fruit qualities. As the finish approaches the fruit flavors turn vinous and are joined by moderate bitterness. Some booziness is detected as the finish sets in.

M: Medium viscosity is slightly sticky on the palate, but without the syrupy quality suggested by the other senses. Carbonation is light and does not distract from the overall sensory experience.

D: Cask service enhances this already-worthy beer. Its high alcohol content is mid-range for the style, but still extreme enough to limit enjoyment. Hop cultivars featured here may stray from the west-coast norms, with the end result being similar in some respects to Oskar Blues Gubna. This beer may arguably be Karl Strauss' most important contribution to the beer world.

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Photo of Jason
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.57/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours from the bomber a somewhat hazy orange color, with a finger or so of tight white head. Big hoppy aromas here, mostly citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, orange rind) and a little malt. On the palate, this one is very hop dominated, with a little caramel malt and a long bitter finish. I find it harder and harder to get through these hop bomb bombers alone.

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Photo of david131
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- A cloudy, luminescent, orange liquid with a creamy slightly off-white head that has good retention. Very nice.

S- Lots of pine and caramel with a touch of smoke. Fragrant and someone of a standout.

T- Sweet caramel malt, and I mean serious caramel, combines nicely with the pine hop flavors. Very flavorful, but a touch on the simple side.

M- Silky smooth liquid with a light lasting bitterness and dryness. Probably the smoothest DIPA that has touched my lips.

D- The alcohol is hidden well. Overall, this is very smooth, but not as complex as some other beers of the style. Enjoyable and worth trying.

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Photo of BMoney575
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 8-17-10

Pours a pleasant clear amber/orange color, with a fizzy white head that gives way to just a filmy layer. A few finger of lacing quickly settle.

Smell is huge and thick piney hops, lots of citrus down low and big, buttery malt to back it up. The booze and bitterness are there, kicking it up at the end.

Taste is very tart, lots of citrus hops right up front. Deep hop flavors and malt come in next, adding a complex caramel quality that's very enjoyable. The finish is smooth and sweet, with a nice bitterness that accents the unending sweet hop flavors. Very good.

Mouthfeel is good, thick and creamy to go with the super hop resin and malty edge.

Drinkability is surprisingly good, the booze is well-handled and the hops add only good thing to the mix.

Overall, a very good DIPA that I would easily seek out again.

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Photo of crvcac
4.92/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First and foremost, this is a great beer. Utilizing imported Nelson Sauvin hops was the first step in the right direction. Where to start, Pours nicely with a great head. Rich golden color with good effervescence. Smells rich with varietals of fruits and citrus esters. Tastes even better than it smells. Overall, im impressed.

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Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss is rather easy to overlook in the San Diego beer scene - there are just so many great brewers at work in the area. I enjoy their sessionable ales once in a while, but here we have an attempt to make a BIG beer on par with some of the offerings from their more renown neighbors.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Deep tangerine colored body toppd by a thick, lasting, soapy beige foam finger. Ropy lacing and faint glassy legs.

Nelson hops are readily apparent in the nose, adding a candy/berry like fruit note with a hint of guava and grapefruit as well (from the Ahtanum I suppose). Malts are present with a vague sweet/spicy/smokey element too.

Big citrus (grapefruit) flavors up front with a pungent pine-like element, but smoother than most C-hops. Hay-bale like backbone, sweet and grassy, but rather bitter, probably from a mixture of malt and (Warrior) hops. Smooth, almost cocoa or even oat-like finish once the bitterness finally recedes, though the fruit persists as well.

Medium-bodied, well carbonated, and very lightly astringent - alcohol is well disguised/integrated.

Unique, subtle, and very tasty - I'll be picking up the rest of this series of "big" beers over time.

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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 womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


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.

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