Dec 7, 2010

Karl Strauss Parrot in a Palm Tree

This is a review of a promotional sample received from the brewery.

A Baltic Porter aged in Port wine barrels? Sign me up!

Parrot in a Palm Tree is the latest little creation from Karl Strauss Brewing Company — one of the more inventive group of brewers I’ve had the opportunity to work with. This brew is a blend of a Baltic Porter that has been aged for several months in tawny port barrels which has then been mixed with a fresh batch of the same recipe. I’m not sure of the percentage of each portion of the blend, but the port influence on the beer is subtle and refined, enhancing the porter’s already fruity characteristics instead of dominating it.

As the brewery has done with several of their more recent experiments in brewing they have managed to create a well balanced beer that is quite easy to drink and full flavored. The company’s 21st Anniversary Ale is probably my favorite of the two wine barrel-aged beers I’ve enjoyed from them, but Parrot in a Palm Tree is still a damn tasty combination of flavors.

Karl Strauss Parrot in a Palm TreeKarl Strauss Parrot in a Palm Tree


As noted in the photo above, Parrot in a Palm Tree pours with a pretty darn large head that was tan in color. The beer was a dark brown that revealed a garnet hue when held up to the light.


The nose on the brew was pretty subtle with hints of roasted coffee, chocolate, raisin and plum mingling together. There’s also a touch of pepper and a little woodiness in the mix.


The flavors within this brew started out a bit too subtle, but as the beer warmed in the glass, more and more characteristics began to reveal themselves — no single component becoming too dominating. Roasted coffee, chocolates, raisin, plum, a little oak and a touch of warming alcohol (8.5% ABV) in the finish all come together in this well balanced brew. It’s a little thin on the mouthfeel (I’d like to see it a touch fuller), but that shouldn’t affect your overall enjoyment.


Parrot in a Palm Tree is a smooth drinking porter that has that little something extra added with the port barrel aging. I’m curious to know how the beer tasted prior to the blending with the non-barrel influenced portion. At any rate, it’s a unique take on the Baltic Porter that fans of the style should check out.

Rating: 3.5/5

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