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
92
outstanding

94 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 94
Hads: 235
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 7.73%
Wants: 45
Gots: 32 | 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: 235
Photo of kmatlack
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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 ehammond1
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
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)

Photo of claspada
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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 SDtastentune
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Orange & clear yellow, Great lacing and a perfect normal small DIPA head. No sediment.

S - WOW! Floral hops! Reminds me of a tropical paradise with a ipa. Sweet apricot, some very balanced alcohol, backed with some sweet grapefruit.

T - Taste is as it smells, floral sweetness nectar of a DIPA. Bitter but very nice, goes down balanced with very apricot/grapefruit taste, taste is rich and plentiful. This has to be a hop heads dream.

M - Smooth, not to fizzy and not under-carbed, just perfect. Great floral/tasty aftertaste!

O - Overall.... um this stuff is supers! Bomb, dank... yea. Too good that I am about to get another grower. Come on now, what more can you ask out of a DIPA? HOP HEADS UP! (707 characters)

Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (608 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber

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. (907 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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 FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

412th review on BA
bottle to tulip
22oz

App- A very dark sunset orange with amber and yellow highlights. One finger head that was nicely fluffy and white. Very sticky lacing.

Smell- Smells a bit of grapefruit and malts with some fresh mint.

Taste- A bit of a creamier DIPA with some malts being forward and fruits accentuating the big alcohol feel but not boozy.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbed as was expecting but like the taste was a bit maltier and a bit creamier than most.

Drink- Pretty good DIPA, holds its own with some of the big boys but just falls a bit short. Was good but but probably wont come back to this one. (638 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
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 SeaOfShells
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
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. (672 characters)

Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.47/5  rDev +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. (973 characters)

Photo of gfthree7
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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 jzeilinger
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
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! (476 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev -1%
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. (935 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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 WeeObese
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (1,084 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (1,022 characters)

Photo of taylorparsons
4.14/5  rDev 0%
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 (299 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (523 characters)

Photo of mithrascruor
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
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! (631 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (767 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
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. (1,128 characters)

Photo of localhost
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (599 characters)

Photo of beagle75
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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)

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