Big Barrel Double IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 94 | Hads: 240
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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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a light frothy head.

Smells like roasted malts, kinda sweet and a hint of hops underneath.

Tastes exactly like it smells, a sweetish malty flavor, with a hint of hops hidden in there.

Great texture, feels luxurious, with a lot of boldness.

A great beer, but not if you are looking for the hops. Malt is key player here, doesn't make it bad, just not as much of an IPA as I prefer.


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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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Photo of drabmuh
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Appearance - Hazy orange/amber colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There appears to be a fairly high amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, oranges, pineapples

Taste & Mouth - There is a slightly below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and a decent amount of hops. As well, there is a quite a bit of tropical fruit/pineapple flavour and some orange zest and juice. It finishes with a malty sweet aftertaste with a medium amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - I couldn't find a date on my bottle, so I'm not really sure how fresh it was. It had a decent amount of hop taste but It's not a hop bomb by any means. I enjoyed the beer more as it warmed up in my glass. If you're a fan of tropical fruit flavours in your DIPA's, give this one a try.

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

Poured from a 22oz...
Appearance: Amber/orange, good head
Smell: Piney, grapefruit, pleasant
Taste: Bitter, citrus, hoppy, refreshing, slight malt undertone, pleasant piny aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, nice
Drinkability: Very nice. Really enjoyed this beer and will buy it again.

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev +1%
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.

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

Well, Karl Strauss really stepped their game up with this one!

Pours a bright glowing orange. Big four or five inch white foam head. Long lasting foam and bubbles. Nice juicy yet appropriately carbonated mouthfeel.

Smells like funky grapefruit-y ... ganga-ness ... and some tropical juices. Surprising amount of caramel in the flavor.

Well, it's certainly not a hop-forward DIPA, but rather a balanced, pleasantly drinking one. Juicy tropical notes, some grapefruit, a bit of pine, but not much (it ain't very bitter), and a grain-y caramel malt backbone. Interesting. Unexpected.

I'd recommend.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a amberish copper into my tulip with a good finger head that had pretty good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lovely hop aromas right away on the first whiff but not over bareing that also allow the some sweet malts to come thru.

T: nice hoppy bang with good bitterness and again not too sweet which had a pretty good balance between the hops.

M: meduim to full body with some good carbonation.

D: will definitely be drinking this one again and glad that I can go to the local liquor and pick some up.

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Photo of Sammy
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Nelson Sauvin hop was really interesting in the Mikkeller single hop, and it is masterfully used here. First comes the "white wine" taste (and the aromas are lovely grapes) and a good one at that, then in the finish, other hops put the beer into 90 IBU territory, so hops in your face. Nebver harsh, this was an absolute delight and worth seeking out. Above average mouthfeel, a great smooth drinker.
Kudos to my southern neighbour that sent this one.

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