Strawberry Letter 23
DuClaw Brewing Company

Strawberry Letter 23Strawberry Letter 23
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Style:
IPA - American
Ranked #4,978
ABV:
7.1%
Score:
86
Ranked #30,376
Avg:
3.79 | pDev: 12.14%
Reviews:
12
Ratings:
37
From:
DuClaw Brewing Company
 
Maryland, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  2
Gots
  7
SCORE
86
Very Good
Strawberry Letter 23Strawberry Letter 23
Notes: Named after the popular hit, ‘Strawberry Letter 23,’ this brew blurs the lines between IPA, Sour Ale, and Fruited Ale. Brewed with Lactose, London Ale III yeast, Mosaic Lupilin Powder, soured with Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, and fermented on top of ripe Strawberries: This brew is super unique and you won’t want to miss it!
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Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 37 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PathofChaos
PathofChaos from Maryland

3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:
Hazy, honeybee yellow with a tall, white top hat. Retains about as well as most of your high school friends did and yields slippery, broken lacing.

Bouquet:
Big, burly buckwheat barrels up your nostrils and clocks your cranium. The collision leaves echoes of fruity sours. As your olfactum reels from its wheaty concussion, bits of strawberry jelly spin about peripherally.

Feel:
A sweet, feather-light ale with carbonation that’s outspoken but remembers to use an indoor voice.

Taste:
Ripe strawberry jam on slim wheat toast sidles up close while, conveniently, the hops and fruit sours inattentively chaperone at a distance.

May 17, 2021
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Anyone else listening to Shuggie Otis while drinking this? I had to put it on because of the name of this beer but because it finally got cold and dark out here and I need something to brighten me up. I thought that this beer would remind me of spring and in an odd way, it kinda did. What it didn't remind me of was an IPA as this was a Fruit / Field beer more than anything else!

Nice, golden pour to this as it was topped off by a thick head and was full of lots of little bubbles. Almost no lacing was left behind as there were just a bit of bubbles behind along the lower half of my pint glass. Lots of strawberries, outdoor funk, and yeast in the nose, the taste was just as natural, juicy, and sour as the subtle aroma led me to believe. Not too tart and not too sour, the fruit barely stands out above everything else going on here as the Mosaic was subdued enough to not be bitter or biting, although that would have made this much more of an IPA than what I felt on the palate.

Hard to pick out the booze here and there was enough body in this that this didn't feel weak or overly slick and watery. Nothing was written on the bottom of the can as I had no idea how fresh this was, although it looked and felt now as there wasn't anything floating in it. Maybe this was a Sour IPA but this straddled so many lines that it was just worth kicking back and relaxing to as the song I had queued up ran over and over again. Loved the label as a bit of lemon and spice stuck around once this was gone, like a guitar riff that fully refused to fade away...

Nov 17, 2020
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I was not kidding, during New DelMarVa (+ DC) DuClaw Sunday ( Week 778), when I said that my diving into my DuClaw backlog would be like diving into the depths of the Marianas Trench! I am going to be with them for a while to come, all in support of The CANQuest (tm). This is simply CANother in this ongoing madness.

From the CAN: "Tart Strawberry IPA"; "Strawberry Love Affair"; "The love bug for sour ales got us good! ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ sour IPA with fresh strawberries is our love-professing stamp on the style with an interesting twist. With just enough hop bite and strawberry sweetness to shine through its tart undertones, this limited release is something to write home about. [Heart symbol]."; "Sealed With A Kiss"; "Liquid Love"; "Crafted in Maryland"; "Craft Be Cherished. Rules Be Damned."

Jeebzus! Where did my review go?!? First, ResizeYourImage.com has been CANtankerous (thanks, @mickyge) & now, my verbiage has mysteriously disappeared! No matter - plenty left in my glass.

I beCAN with a Crack! of the vent, followed by a slow, gentle C-Line Glug into the awaiting glass. It foamed up beautifully to form just under three fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, bone-white head with very good retention, leaving great lacing in its wake. Color was Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity, prompting The Gelt Gang of Croesus, Midas & Mammon to get off of my couch & ramble into the kitchen for a taste. They are pregaming, as am I, for tonight's televised Penguins/Flyers game. Nose was lightly tart & redolent with strawberries. Mmm. Mouthfeel was light & thin, not watery, but certainly weak for an AIPA. Therein lies the rub - their calling it an AIPA is going to hurt when reviewing & rating to style. It becomes CANother insCANce of 21st Amendment's Blah, blah, blah IPA. The taste was only lightly tart, but between the strawberries & the crackery malts, I was reminded of the strawberry Pop-Tart that a student shared with me last week. Mmm. It was a tasty beer, but where were the hops? This would be a great Summertime beer on a hot, hazy humid day, but it was doing nothing to alleviate my hops jones. Finish was tart, semi-dry & highly refreshing, but it was not an AIPA. YMMV.

Jan 21, 2020
Photo of Lucular
Lucular from Maryland

3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12 oz can poured into a tulip pint glass. Appearance is effervescent yellow with perhaps a slight pinkish hue. Smell is tart strawberry. Taste is surprisingly good - genuine strawberry flavor, moderate tartness, with a nice citrusy hop bite. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated. Overall this comes across like a fruited sour, not an IPA. I have to guess that DuClaw slapped the IPA label on there because they figured it would sell better that way?

Nov 13, 2019
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popcontest from New York

2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Such a strange brew.

Bottom of can says it was bottle on 9/26/19 09:43:14. Purchased in New York, NY (Jubilee Market).

The first blast of flavor is really excellent and exciting. The combination of tart strawberries and hops almost feels perfect. And then, a second later, an awful wash of plasticy/vinyl flavor overtakes your mouth. From a big high to a big low in two seconds.

I wonder if this aftertaste is somehow specific to this brewing, because no other reviews mention this. The initial taste is so good that I'd still be willing to give it another shot sometime in the future.

Oct 19, 2019
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a weird one, but i was pretty stoked on this. hard to even call something like this an ipa anymore, i mean with this much stuff going on, its not the ipa elements that stand out, but it also doesnt drink like a gimmick, and i actually think they did a nice job with it. a few key things stand out to me. the first is the strawberries, for how forward and persistent they are in here, they also appear very natural to me, a little jammy sweetness, but thats what ripe strawberries taste like. i also like the choice to use mosaic lupulin, its distinct and obviously mosaic, but it also keeps a lot of vegetal matter out of the beer that might muck up the fruit with that green harsh overhopped bitterness so many of these have. the choice to sour it is a curious one, its not way tart, and almost has a strawberry dessert aspect because of it, but i think this would be just as good without the lacto. the milk sugar doesnt sweeten it up too much, and i like the creaminess it adds to this, a cool fluffy texture in this really sets it apart, so ill take the sugar with that. this reminds me of something omnipollo might do, you know, a little bit of everything in one beer. its better than expected, not over the top for what it is, and really pretty enjoyable on a hot summer afternoon!

Aug 02, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Canned 1/22/19; drank 5/11/19 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy orange appearance.

A violent pour yielded a big, noisy white head; frothy lace.

Strawberry, mild sea salt & faint honeyed wheat notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Tart strawberry & honeyed wheat flavors up front; sea salt notes on the finish.

Fruity & a tart; interesting but a bit too harsh.

May 12, 2019
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has some bits of reddish hues along with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that quickly settled down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of mangos and strawberries are present in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of strawberries along with hints of mangos and other tropical fruits. Neither bitterness nor sourness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied, a little tart, and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is very easy to drink.
O: This IPA does a very nice job at showcasing the aromas and flavors of strawberries, although it's not bitter at all.

Serving type: can

Mar 16, 2019
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz can - I presume that this is named after that R&B song from the 1970s.

This beer pours a pink-tinged, pale golden yellow colour, with three fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some random streaky and sudsy lace around the glass as it evenly dissipates.

It smells of boiled strawberries, grainy and crackery cereal malt, lightly soured milk, diluted lemon juice, and quite faint earthy, musty, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is tart red berries, sour cream, gritty and bready pale malt, lemon peel, and more well-understated floral, leafy, and dead grassy hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate in its palate-mollifying frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and generally smooth, with nothing really a cause for concern at this particular juncture. It finishes off-dry, the gently soured frooty essences exhibiting some lingering chutzpah.

Overall - this comes across as more sour than anything IPA-like, but essentially just fruity. It's easy enough to drink, with zero sign of the extra 2 points and change of ABV. I shall enjoy the rest of this while basking in the sunshine coming through the windows on the first February day where the mercury at least approaches the freezing mark.

Feb 27, 2019
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can from the Wall of Beer (Clemson, SC; $1.89) with a 23 January 2019 canning date stamp on the bottom.
Pours clear, pale amber with a touch of rose and a bit of haze, topped with a moderate size, semi durable, white head that leaves sticky lacing.
Aroma: nice fresh strawberries with grassy-herbal hops and a hint of bread.
Flavor: lightly tart and mildly bitter. Interesting mashup of fruity, tart, hoppy flavors.
Feel: medium body with near medium carbonation and a dry finish.
Overall: a successful "tart strawberry IPA" that you probably need to try to see how well this works.

Feb 26, 2019
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WickedBeer from Alabama

3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Canned 01/22/19.

Pours a somewhat hazy deep orange color, flecked with a peachy hue of pink. Theres a thin amount of thin, bubbly head, but it quickly fizzles out into nothing.

The nose is mildly tart, bursting with a light strawberry sweetness and tart lemon and wild berries. As it opens up a little further, it really develops into just a nice albeit slightly artificial strawberry aroma. The addition of lactose gives a really good strawberry yogurt essence as well.

Very tart out of the gate, moreso than I expected. Even after it settles I hardly get any hop flavors, just an abundance of bright, tart lemon and fresh, underripe strawberries. On the back of my palate there's a hint of subtly floral hops, but it only serves to compliment the overall tartness of the flavors.

Light, seltzery carbonation with a tart, mildly acidic finish. Very refreshing and super crushable. A really solid beer, but I would have preferred if they just went ahead and called it a smoothie sour or just a sour ale instead of trying to hit the Sour IPA spectrum. Got the sour, but not the IPA.

Feb 26, 2019
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mynie from Maryland

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with a wispy white head.

Smells of genuine strawberries and contemporary hops. A little tart, a little juicy, a little spicy.

Tastes nice and straightfoward: a contemporary (but lightly hopped) IPA blended with sweet, gentle strawberries. The tartness is minimal, and they do a great job of showcasing the gentle roundedness of the strawberries. Very solidly crafted.

Feb 03, 2019
Strawberry Letter 23 from DuClaw Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 37 ratings