Nov 3, 2011

Karl Strauss Two Tortugas

Karl Strauss Two Tortugas photo

As part of the brewery’s “12 Days of Christmas” holiday series, Karl Strauss Brewing recently announced (in August) the arrival of Two Tortugas, an 11.1% ABV Belgian-style Quadruple brewed with Pale, White Wheat, CaraBelge, Cara Munich II malts, as well as, Bravo and Willamette hops. After reading the initial press material and having sampled a few of the company’s other limited releases, I knew that this was going to be a special beer.

What I didn’t know at the time, however, was that the brewery was planning on submitting it to the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival in the Belgian-style Abbey Ale category. Of all the entries, it was the only Quadruple to be submitted, eventually beating out 73 contestants for the honor of third place and a bronze medal.

That’s pretty damn awesome, yet not at all surprising for a brewery that continues to impress.


A quickly falling, toffee colored head rests upon the brandy colored brew. The photo above certainly doesn’t do this beer justice.


One sniff of this beer and you know you’re going to be in for a treat. Belgian candi, figs, raisins, a healthy dose of booze and light spices all come together wonderfully.


The first thing I noticed was just how smooth this beer is, especially considering how big and complex it is. The higher alcohol content is certainly present throughout the experience, but doesn’t dominate the palate, opting instead to remain as a glowing warmth in the chest after each swallow. The medium body and slightly slick mouthfeel coat the tongue with a blend of dark fruits, subtle spices, Belgian yeast and a suitable level of sweetness. The beer is complex and has a great depth of flavor, but won’t confuse your taste buds.


I’ve said it many times before and, if this Belgian Quad is any indication, I’ll probably be saying it for quite some time to come. Karl Strauss Brewing continues to produce some of the tastiest beer I’ve had the opportunity to sample. Two Tortugas is no exception as one of the better Belgian-style ales I’ve had from an American brewery. It’s also a beer that I can see improving with a little cellaring to mellow out the alcohol presence a bit, allowing the flavors to mature and come into their own.

Rating: 4.5/5

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

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