Dec 19, 2012

Karl Strauss Mouette a Trois Fruitcake Ale

It all started with a Parrot in a Palm Tree, an intriguing baltic porter aged in port barrels. Then came the wonderfully tasty Two Tortugas, a GABF bronze medal winner in 2011. And now we have the latest addition in Karl Strauss’ annual 12 Days of Christmas holiday release, Mouette à Trois (French for “Three Seagulls”).

This 8.5% ABV Belgian Dubbel is brewed “…with fresh apricots, cherries and a blend of spices.” This combination of additional ingredients, along with the malty backbone and estery yeast of the brew actually does give the impression of fruitcake on the palate. It’s a flavor profile that certainly is festive and, despite the yearly jokes of re-gifting that brick of fruitcake your second-removed aunt may have made for you, this particular fruitcake is worth keeping.


Mouette à Trois pours deep, reddish amber with a light tan head that fell noisily and quickly to a very thin ring.


Cherries, fruit, Belgian yeast, light caramel, subtle spices, bready malt and a touch of booze greet you immediately upon first sniff. The combination is quite reminiscent of fruitcake.


I haven’t had that much fruitcake in my life, but based on the small amount that I’ve consumed the only thing missing from this beer would be a fuller mouthfeel. The flavors are just about spot on with a great blend of spices, bready malt, cherrie and yeast. There’s a bit of alcohol in the mix, as well, that warms the chest softly. The beer certainly has a festive character about it and is deceptively drinkable for its higher alcohol content.


This is one fruitcake you shouldn’t be scared of. It’s got a balanced blend of fruit, spice and malt, with just enough alcohol in the mix to keep you warm on a cold Holiday night. Now, when compared to the first two installments of this limited release of beers, I’s place this one right in the middle — it’s better than Parrot in a Palm Tree, but doesn’t hold a candle to Two Tortugas. Still, it’s an excellent beer with which to celebrate the season.

Rating: 3.75/5

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

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