Posted 2 years ago | Beer, Reviews

Karl Strauss Queen of Tarts


Last year, San Diego’s Karl Strauss won a handful of medals during the Great American Beer Festival including “Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year.” One of the beers that won last year serves as shining testament to support that award. Queen of Tarts, a limited release from the company’s small batch program, took home gold in the American-style Sour Ale category. The 5.7% ABV (35 IBU) wild ale was aged in American Oak barrels with Michigan tart cherries resulting in a refined beer that still packs a solid tart punch as only a lady of royalty can.

Queen of Tarts provides an appearance and aroma that reminds a bit of a Barley Blog favorite — Duchesse de Bourgogne. But that’s where the similarities end. Karl Strauss’ sour ale delivers a solid dark cherry flavor and surge of tartness that peaks quickly before fading slowly to a lasting finish. The level of sour tartness isn’t overly aggressive, but still packs a good pucker to accompany a wonderfully fruity flavor profile. Hints of vanilla, caramel and wood linger long after each sip.

I’ve been lucky enough through the years to be included in Karl Strauss’ extended family. I’ve tasted some excellent beers (through a wide variety of styles) from the California company that have all culminated in their being recognized with that big GABF win last year. Queen of Tarts is not only one hell of a sour ale, but it also goes to show that the company can brew just about anything they want and deliver a world-class drinking experience.

This is a review of a promotional sample.


Queen of Tarts pours a deep garnet in color with a decent amount of haziness. The dense head of beige foam fell swiftly to a thin ring around the surface.

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