Nov 18, 2009

Karl Strauss Big Barrel Double IPA

I was lucky enough to get a sample of Big Barrel Double IPA, Karl Strauss’ first foray into big bottles, the other week. This double IPA uses New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops which are supposed to give it an “…intense tropical fruit and white wine-like flavor and aroma.” And oddly enough, for once, I was actually able to pick up what they were putting down.

Normally, when I read marketing or press sheets describing a beer, I rarely if ever come away sensing the things I’m supposed to in the brew’s nose or taste. I usually pick up the basic characteristics of the beer, but rarely do I pickup all the nuances and tidbits — until now.

Karl Strauss Big Barrel Double IPA


Bid Barrel pours a light golden amber in color with a large fluffy head that faded nice and slowly.


Much like the press sheet, this one is very aromatic with a large citrus presence and a wonderful hop resinous character. There’s also a light spice in there, but no real hint of the 9% ABV.


This double IPA is quite hoppy and bitter as you would expect. The hops carry a strong piny nature with an awesome dry, tart finish — not unlike the white wine notes marketed. There’s a bit of the alcohol warmth lingering in the finish, but it’s well masked by the hoppiness of the brew.


This is a very upfront brew. You know after the first sip exactly what’s in store for your palate. The hops dominate, but aren’t overly or brutally bitter. They carry a wonderful and natural pininess mingling with light citrus fruits. Now all I have to do is wait for it to make its way to the East coast and I’ll be snagging several bottles.

Rating: 4/5

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