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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

95 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 95
Hads: 236
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 4.84%
Wants: 44
Gots: 33 | 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: 95 | Hads: 236
Photo of Sammy
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (455 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (810 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (841 characters)

Photo of beagle75
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (1,332 characters)

Photo of gfthree7
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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 (443 characters)

Photo of kmatlack
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into my Stone "Hoppy Fathers Day" pint glass. No best by date on the bottle

A- An attractive, clear, orange yellow pour yields a small white head that sticks around for a little bit and clings to the sides of the glass for dear life.

S- Fresh tropical fruits on the nose followed by sweet malty notes. Grains, bread, cirtus, pine, fresh grassy aromas. Awesome

T- Sweet malts up front, bready grain flavors give way to fresh, bitter, hops. Tropical fruits mixed with delicious resiny pine on the back end that fades into candy sweetness and no residual bitterness. Spectacular.

M- Slick mouthfeel, good carbonation, perfect for the style.

O- It really takes an amazing beer to "wow" me. This was impressive, really wish i had more. Seek this out! (770 characters)

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darker amber color with finger of white head.

S - Caramel, brown sugar, Pine, and tropical fruit.

T - Tastes of Caramel, Toffee, apple, and apricot.

M - Mouthfeel is above average with good carbonation and nicely balanced.

D - Very drinkable especially considering the 9% ABV.

I will be going out to buy another is a week or so. (338 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (1,022 characters)

Photo of mikedashg
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a slightly hazy yellowish golden color with a good sized light tan fluffy head.

S - Piney hops, orange citrus

T - Piny earthy bitter hops hit you first, a little citrus, tangerine, grapefruit passion fruit, with a great malt backbone

M - Moderate carbonation, kind of creamy

D - Really drinkable, especially for the ABV, glad Karl Strauss is stepping it up! (372 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (976 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent deep honey orange color with a nice white foamy, soapy head that leaves some nice sticky lacing.

Aromas begin with a boat ton of pineapple, not pine, but fruity pineapple juice almost. The you get some orange, light grapefruit and a tiny bit of floral hops are present as well. As it warms I can detect the nice caramel and bready malt sweetness. The almost acidic vinous/earthy white wine-like Nelson hops are stealing the show here and dominating my olfactory senses.

The tastes begin with the light caramel and sweet bready malts, then you get a ton of pineapple and orange hop flavors. The bready sweet malts are present throughout helping to balance the bitter hop flavors. Nice tropical mango flavors join the party and complement the pineapple and the other candied/sweet hop flavors. There is a nice light spiciness mixed in there as well that I can't quite identify.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation; exactly what I would want in this style of beer. The finish borderlines being crisp and clean but the ample hops make it lean ever so slightly to the typical DIPA "sticky" feeling. Not a drop of alcohol is present which is a great complement/accomplishment for any beer of this style/magnitude.

Overall this is a great extremely dangerously drinkable DIPA. The sweet caramel and bready malts are perfectly balanced with the hop bitterness and hop flavors. I can't stress enough how balanced this is with all the flavors which is why this beer is such a winner. It's not mind-blowing in any category, just really really well made beer that highlights a great new hop variety (Nelson Sauvin); not as awesome as Alpine Nelson does, but still a great, highly recommended beer that is worth seeking out. (1,762 characters)

Photo of Sideswipe
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. The beer is a hazy orange, amber color with three fingers of off white foam. The head stays on this one, dissipating to one finger that remains as I drink. The hop aroma is instantly apparent, strong citrus notes, grapefruit, orange, very nice. Pine is largely absent, but that's ok, this beer smells great as is! The malt makes it's presence known at first sip. Sweet caramel, followed by a tounge punch of bittering hops. This beer gets better with every drink. Hops hang around making the finish dry and bitter. Mouthfeel is right on for the style, carbonation is not overpowering. ABV is well masked, making this a very drinkable beer for me. An excellent DIPA offering from Karl Strauss. Reccommended! (746 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (557 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (1,237 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (1,060 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (1,851 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
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... (632 characters)

Photo of vic21234
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A- Looks like a beautiful DIPA. Pours a cloudy orange with a finger or two worth of head that sticks to the side of the glass.

S- Lots of citrus- grapefruit and mango.

T- A strong and bitter hop profile combines with a malty finish in the end. Citrusy as well as a bit of pine notes.

M- Medium, nice carbonation. Heavy bitterness lingers for awhile.

I like this one. Too bad I can't get it regularly in IL. (454 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to turboedtwo for this bottle.

It's a gorgeous pour with a deep clear amber body with a steady stream of bubbles feeding a rocky off-white head that shows excellent retention and lacing.

The aroma is a combination of citrus fruits, pine and white grapes. There is some sweet malty aromas and a hint of earthy spices as well.

The taste has an even spicier character up front with some pine resin and the distinctive Nelson Sauvin chardonnay-type thing going on. The finish is sticky with pine resin hops.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky with moderate carbonation.

I don't have much experience with this brewery but I really enjoy this one. It's a great DIPA with a distinctive spicy character that makes it fairly unique. (746 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really quite excellent DIPA with a rich citrus nose that seems to drop a hint of vanilla in there for good measure. Interesting appearance, rather opaque, but not demonstrating the sort of filling yeast/trubbiness you might expect. Throw this in a four pack or something, Karl Strauss! (285 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rare good DIPA from Karl. Poured hazy orange with a frothy white head and good lacing. Very nice orange and grapefruit aroma with equal parts piney goodness. Some caramel malt that fades in the background. Hearty mouthfeel without being sticky. Solid hop bomb of citrus and herbal/resiny hops. Leans on the sour citrus rather than the tropical sweetness. Enough malt to keep in balanced, in terms of DIPA's. Really, really liked this. (436 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
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! (464 characters)

Photo of hoptrip619
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first experience with Big Barrel IIPA was during SDBW at the Brewer's Guild Festival. At the time, I was in no shape to be taking notes but do remember it being quite enjoyable. During a recent trip to KnB Cellars, I decided to reevaluate this beer by purchasing a bomber. Adam, the manager, spoke very highly of Karl's first entry into the 22oz category so I was excited to see what they had put together.

I cracked this sucker open to cope with Saturday's rain and have to say this IIPA was a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dismal afternoon.

A- Poured a dark golden hue with good carbonation and a frothy/sticky off-white head.

S- BAM! This brew is ripe with vibrant floral and resinous hopiness. The most prominent aromas were ruby red grapefruit zest, some floral tropical notes from the nelson sauvin hops and a slight malt sweetness.

T- If I had a nickle for every time I buckled under a beers hoppiness, I would have 5 nickles. The hop flavors were complex and refreshing with the malts playing just enough of a part to provide an excellent balance. Notes of passionfruit, grapefruit, and pine mingled nicely with a soft malt backbone.

M/D -At 9.0% ABV, this medium-bodied IIPA is deceptively smooth and easy to drink. I swear to Pete, San Diego has a way of making high-octane beers sessionable. I would definitely go back for another one of these and I'm excited to see Karl putting their best foot forward! (1,430 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Glowing orange with a thick off-white head and lots of stick left all over the glass. Gorgeous.

Incredibly pungent and tropical aroma. The distinct Nelson hops really shine here. The aromas are of strong, smashed pineapples and grapefruits, along with a strong floral note, and some dank, sticky marijuana. Love it! One of the best aromas I've ever experienced from any DIPA.

Medium to high bitterness, but loads of grapefruit and pineapple flavors balance things out. Again, the Nelson hops shine through tremendously.

Medium to thick body with a dry finish.

An absolutely wonderful DIPA. I need to have this one again (and again and again and again). Honestly, I never expected a DIPA this good to come from Karl Strauss--count me in as very pleasantly surprised. (820 characters)

Big Barrel Double IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.