Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Big Barrel Double IPA | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
97 Reviews
Big Barrel Double IPABig Barrel Double IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
karlstrauss.com

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by LongBeachHopHead on 11-15-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
97
Ratings:
264
Avg:
4.11
pDev:
16.79%
 
 
Wants:
50
Gots:
49
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 264
Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
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 biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big Barrel Double IPA looks like a big beer - and at 9% alcohol and 90 IBU that comes as no surprise. Despite a light peachy-golden complexion and modest highlights, the beer is thick and cloudy as split pea soup and, it would seem, every bit as hearty. The clunky mass of white foam only adds to that notion.

There's an aggressive amount of hoppiness in the aroma but also a disarming level of biscuity, doughy maltiness. IPAs are characterized by hops, true, but they also contain a higher-than-average amount of malt too. And that's doubly true for Double IPAs which by default start out with even more grain. So I'm alright having a little bread mixed this profile of tree bark, musty herbals, and fruit rinds.

Not putting 'bottled on' dates on IPAs makes for an unfair guessing game and cruel surprises. I have no way of knowing how fresh this bottle of Big Barrel is but, judging by the clouded complexion and slightly yeasty aroma, I suspect it wasn't just pulled off the truck (despite what the shop staff assured me).

Believe or not, right or wrong, there are some folks out there that enjoy aging DIPAs. I don't count myself among them but I can appreciate the enhanced maltiness that becomes almost cookie dough-like as well as the more subdued hoppiness that goes from fresh-squeezed citrus juice to candied rinds and marmalade-like preserves. Just don't always expect the alcohol to fade...

Not exactly the 'everyday is sunny' kind of San Diego hop-bomb I was expecting, Big Barrel Double IPA has a bit of a 'don't mess with me' attitude. Mind you, that's not inherently a bad thing considering the style in question. I didn't think this was great but Karl Strauss does tend to be good.

 1,709 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, picked up at Mr. Kegs for $5,

A: Pours amber with an long lasting thick white head, full of lacing.

S: Standard DIPA - bitter melon, cantaloupe, white grapefruit. Mango and banana are secondary, but come out a lot more when the beer warms.

T: Sweet candy malt/toffee initially with a lot of orange action. More bitter pine and citrus flavours come in on the back end with mango (which I remember as a distinct note in the Nelson Sauvin Mikkeller IPA). At 6 months or so, we're starting to get a barleywine.

M: Resiny, sticky, chewy, long and full aftertaste. Soft carbonation which I liked.

D: A sipper and an interesting one at that. A unique DIPA, I wish I could have tried it on release, but I can't go back in time.

 739 characters

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.

 507 characters

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

6/3/2010

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.

 655 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber purchased somewhere in Northern California. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a deep golden colour with a full weight to the body. Mildly hazed, but mostly pretty clear. Head is pocked, filmy and white, leaving some fairly fine specks of lace. Pretty full. Carbonation is also pretty fine. Looks very good all up.

Nose is pleasant enough. Resiny characters come through above a bright but light barley sugar character. Some soapy lemon comes through, leaving a slight rusty twang in the nostrils. Peppery spice is also noticeable, while the barley sugar character turns a bit doughy as it warms up.

Light and sweet on the front palate, more of that sugar note, before a little greenery comes through the mid-palate, along with a touch of herbs and a faint citrus bite. Clean finish, which is actually something of a shame, because it could really use more bite. Just a slight soda tingle on the back. ABV is well hidden at least.

Overall, this isn't bad. There's certainly things to like in it. It could use a bit more complexity: specifically, some more integrated complexity. Still, this is a solid brew, clearly well-made. I'd love to try it super-fresh as well.

 1,211 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear light amber gold with a 1 finger head of foam. I see a lot of lacing when I tilt my glass from side to side.

This boasts 90 IBUs and when I take a few whiffs, I can't see myself disagreeing! It has a tropical fruit hop smell...plenty of grapefruit and mangoes, some light pine, and behind them, a good caramel malt sweetness. When I say good, it's not in your face but it is there and that suggest some balance in the taste...me hopes.

Yep, it's in the taste as well. A nice caramel malt sweetness guides you to the very flavourful hoppy goodness of the grapefruit and mangoe and some assertive piney notes. Man, the hopheads should give this one a firm thumbs up when they get a hold of this and those seeking an example of the style that has a good malty backbone should also be pleased. Delicious.

Medium bodied with the carbonation on the lighter side of medium. Oh and, head retention is awesome!

Drinkability? 9%abv and I'm getting minimal warming. Touche. Very tasty and very smooth, this is an excellent Double IPA and a most excellent brew from Karl Strauss(I haven't had one of their brews in many years but it seems that they have kicked up their game a notch or 3 with this brew) that I could enjoy another bottle of at one sitting!. Well done and thanks to Joey for describing this beer so well in his news letter!

 1,350 characters

Photo of spinrsx
4.07/5  rDev -1%
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 pat61
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Has a citrus nose with some floral in the background. Pours hazy gold with a 1” white foam cap. The front of the palate is melon and tropical fruit with traces of sweet becoming increasingly bitter as it moves to the back sinishing herbal, slightly astringent and dry. Faint grains in the background become more prominent as the beer warms. It has a very creamy, moussey texture with above average carbonation and a medium to medium full body.I am drinking this at nearly 9 months old and it is still very good.

 514 characters

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!

 476 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A mixture of light orange and brown colors making this amber/auburn I'd say. 1/3" white head. Aroma kicked down those dank and funky Nelson hops. Very impressed with the aroma. Funky, piney and grapefruit like.

Taste, good bitterness quotient. Not overly done malt wise like a lot of Strauss ipas before it. Easily the hoppiest Karl Strauss beers. The Nelson hop can vary quite a bit, but the two times I've had this is was consistently good.

Wish this was not bomber format.

 487 characters

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.

 1,022 characters

Photo of claspada
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
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 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.

 976 characters

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.

 335 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy orange with small head that dissapates rather dast. Bit of lacing left. Smell of sweet malt, sugar, orange zest, and a bit of grapefruit. Smells super sweet. Bitter up front with a lemony pine finish. Some serious malt backbone and lots of sweet caramel malts. Very solid and on the malt side of the spectrum for the style. Makes for a relaxing Friday night.

 373 characters

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.

 608 characters

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.

 935 characters

Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
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 laituegonflable
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant orange colour. Bit of cloud. Head is off-white, sparse bubbling but nice uneven lace. Pleasant.

Smells extremely nutty. Caramel toffee, sweet, earthy, peanut brittle, hazelnut toffee, some citrus zest, salted caramel and marzipan. Sweet more than zesty. Is that a problem? Maybe a slight one.

Taste is a bit cardboardy. Possibly oxidised? Tastes caramel toffee, malty upfront, then gets metallic midway, some slightly old herbs, rocket, some citrus tang. Bitter, bit of freshness but has an empty stale woody flavour as well.

Bit tingly, bit of body to it. OK.

Tastes a bit old, some nice notes but a bit meek. Will attempt to re-try, if possible.

 667 characters

Photo of rawfish
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber-orange with two fingers of parchment colored head. Low retention but manages to leave some spots of lacing on the glass with a bit of stick to it.

Malty backbone of caramel, toffee and sweet breads underlying tangerine, blood oranges, tropical starburst candy and herbaceous mint. A bit faint.

Sweet breads and a touch of grain before the hops come in very sweet and juicy. Tangerines, pineapple and considerable snappy bitterness with a long lasting bitter feel. Flavor lends well to a bit of alcohol burn at the tail end. Finishes with orange rind and a parched slight acidity.

Medium bodied with a light carbonation. Accentuates the sweeter hop profile and big alcohol in this beer. Pleasant bitterness that lasts well past the flavor. Boozy and juicy.

May have caught this one on the tail end of it's life but still punchy and well built DIPA. Similar hop profile to Karl's regular DIPA Tower 20 but without the intense sweetness and more of an alpha acid focus. Will revisit.

 1,004 characters

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.

 810 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
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 dertyd
3.41/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

poured from a 22oz bomber to a tulip

A:poured a verry nice amber redish orange rusty color with a decent head that last a wile then fades to lace that clings to the glass

S;grape fruits and other tropical fruits higlight this beer with a little bit of grain and sourdough aromas

T:at first taste you get grains with bitter tropical fruits on the back end then it gets realy piney with the after taste

M:kinda wet and sticky with a piney after taste

O:overall a good beer but not great was hoping for a more grapefruity ipa I think lagunitas spoiled me with all there ipas cause not many stand up to them but this is far from
A bad beer it goes down smooth for the alch%

Live life drin beer!!!:-)

 703 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW. Something I like from Mr. Strauss.

A - Bright amber/honey, near white head. Lots of cling lace. Gummy webby goodness.

S - Caramel, hops. Repeat. Hops, caramel. Repeat. Looking forward to this one.

T - Not disappointed. Big gooey caramel center effectively surrounded by a skin of hops. Nice is too simple.

M - Medium to full, great carb and balance.

D - OH yeah, I am a hop head at times. I can play with you for awhile.

Thanks for surprising me!

 457 characters

Big Barrel Double IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 264 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe