GarrettB (988) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 6, 2013
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
February 12th, 2012 - The draw with Karl Strauss’ Big Barrel Double IPA is the strange and exotic hops that the brewers brought to bear on this tall hop bomb. It’s a clear and bronze brew, like so many other hoppy beers, but a study of the carbonation is a little disquieting. Too few bubbles suggests a heavier, murkier palate and too little shielding from the wave of IBUs about to crash into my palate. The aroma is strikingly fruity and piney, with juicy touches of mango and, strangely, even some cacao nibs. The folks at Karl Strauss weren’t kidding when they said the addition of New Zealand hops would give the Big Barrel a tropical air. A lot of this South Pacific bliss disappears in the flavor, where the Big Barrel takes on a milder, slightly sweet yeasty and bread profile, more like a saffron roll than a drinkable hop cone. Still, that aroma is something I’ll remember for a long time to come, and a mild IPA is always welcome on my beer shelf.
hapjydeuce (924) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 21, 2008
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap at Karl Strauss Beer Gardens in the Mira Mesa area. Dark amber color. Big, thick and lacy beige head formation. Kind of a subdued aroma of caramelized sugars, crystal malt and a medium hops spicyness. Flavor is a lot less bitter than I expected for a double. Notes of cinnamon and caramel. Hops stand out more in the finish. Not bad.
daleharshman (882) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 1, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bomber from Beverages 4 Less ($6.99). I had heard about this and saw the pretty good reviews here. I had to try it and see if Karl is finally ready to join its fine San Diego brethren and make some real beer. Pours a clear amber with two fingers of frothy white foam. The head has quite good retention and leaves some nice lacing. Nose is mellow and lightly sweet with citrus (tangerine, lime) and grass aromas. Flavor is initially more bitter than I would have thought considering the nose but it mellows out with a nice bit of sweetness near the end. Hop flavors abound (tropical fruits, pine) with a sufficient amount of malt to take the edge off. The 9% is well concealed. This brew really ups Karl’s ante in terms of both ABV and IBU. It will be interesting to see if this starts an overall move for Karl toward bigger and better beers. (226, 48)
DocJitsu (826) - Florida, USA - MAY 4, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a shade darker than a classic golden color. The liquid is crystal clear. An eggshell colored, fat, clumpy head forms quickly. Butterscotch, lemon esters, and somewhat earthy bouquet. Mouthfeel is full, cottony, slick, and maybe a bit oily. Some mild butterscotch (not diacetyl) and some sweeter citrus esters in the flavor. The alcohol appears by itself after the finish, which tends to taint the experience a bit.
Thisis12ptfont (810) - Los Angeles, CA, California, USA - NOV 27, 2011
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Aroma contains citrus, vanilla, malts, caramel. Appearance is a dark gold with a cream colored foam top. Taste is incredibly creamy, big vanilla taste with nice hops and malts accompanying. There is a big caramel finish with a light bitterness. Overall, this is an interesting one. I like how thick and creamy it is with a light hop taste. Could use a little more balanced flavoring but besides that, it’s an enjoyable cold one. I’d give this a B rating.
BucannonXC5 (796) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 28, 2012
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Color was honey orange. About a finger width of head. Dusty white lacing on the top with some bubbles in the middle. Sporadic film on the sides, but not as much as I thought there would be.
Smelled huge hops right in the beginning. Citrus hops as expected with grapefruit seeming to be the leader. Also tangerine in there, too.
Tasted a bit stronger on the alcohol side than I expected. Tons of citrus hops. Seemed to be more tangerine than grapefruit, but it was tough to tell. Bitter on the tongue after.
Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Bitter abrupt finish.
I had high hopes for this beer, but it didn’t quite live up to my billing. I’d probably try it again though.
Getbetter (794) - East Palo Alto, California, USA - JAN 4, 2010
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Brought this with a under $7 limit and after a pliny the elder.Aroma is good,the hoppy taste is satisfactory but could be more ,not as crisp.Karl Strauss is a Tumor on San Diego brewery community yet this beer prevails as a savior for the damage.
BrotherGrendel (787) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 1, 2009
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a bright orange hue with a modest layer of frothy white head and super sticky lacing on the glass. Nose is amazing hop aromas, fresh pine and grass with grapefruit and sweet citrus tones. Flavor follows with high hop bitterness and piney-grassy-citrus hop flavors apparent from the onset, bready sweet malts provide appropriate balance, hints of tea leaves in the bitter drying finish. Medium body, oily texture, soft carbonation. A great DIPA from a traditionally underwhelming brewery, I hope this is a sign of good things to come from another SD brewery, big hops and drinkability even at 9%, kudos for using NZ hops here....
Nik925 (745) - California, USA - AUG 30, 2013
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Huge battle between grapefruit flavors (mostly) and reallly, reallllly off flavors. Hop abuse. This coming from the hop capital of the world (?) SoCal. Just funky, off, odd, hops. Rather hard to drink. Karl knows how to make great beer, but it looks like overusing hops alludes him.
J_man (685) - Tustin, California, USA - MAR 21, 2010
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Nice pale amber/copper color with an off-white head. The aroma reminds you that hops are related to another wonderful plant called cannabis sativa. Seriously, I’m getting some definite stankiness off this. Nice, big piney, grassy, herbaceous hop bitterness with a really well balanced malt body.