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Beer – #489 – Karl Strauss – Big Barrel Double IPA

Big names, Big Music, Big Numbers, and a Big call.

Imported New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops provide a vibrant tropical aroma that raises eyebrows and expectations

I am pushing the boat out, with a new to me brewer, and at random this, the – Karl Strauss Big Barrel Double IPA

This is brewed by the Karl Strauss Brewing Company in the style that is  Imperial/Double IPA and the are based in San DiegoCalifornia  USA

650ml bottle that is 9%ABV, and a matching 90 IBU things, 270 calories a serve, and that would be 4.6 standard drink units in the one bottle

When we kicked-off this series of intense hoppy beers, we wanted to go big.

Big Grin

Big Grin

Imported New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops provide a vibrant tropical aroma that raises eyebrows and expectations.

Aggressive amounts of Warrior and Ahtanum hops produce an assertive bitterness that stands out against a firm malt backbone.

Balanced even at 90 IBUs, Big Barrel leaves a considerable first impression that serves as a prelude of things to come.

Note to self: Point beer away from keyboard and in general the laptop when opening, you know that the last beer cost me around NZ$300 to fix, the good thing though, if anything is that it’s a Mac and therefore same day repair

Anyway, what could possibly go wrong this time?

Loud sweet hop grassy aroma on opening, like it already just for that.

Big Barrel Double IPAMuch more golden orange that I was somehow in philipland expecting, and it pours with a a lovely finger of white fluffy and persistent head, it looks the part!

You get this massive burst of bitter followed at a rush but the biggest burst of warm sweet malt and it’s really really something!

Grassy hoppy dominates and it has a great finish that is somewhat towards to dry but not rasping and overwhelming.

It has lovely pine and citrus (lemon) and that great softness in the middle, I really wanted a good IPA, took a punt and won! Go me!

Despite it’s 9% ABV which will see you in bed early if you’re not paying attention, and despite that there is no real indication that it is a reasonably high ABV beer, this is one of the easiest drinking dIPA’s that I’ve had for ages, and it brought a smile to my dial, made the world a better place, and restored my sense of balance. It’s that good

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 10 a of its things from the thing. I’m usually a bit shy on elevation to the 10’s as that really does leave you open to question and ridicule, but this really hit my sweet spot, and today in this light and at this moment, this is as perfect as it gets. And I drank it before the curry arrived.

The double dip review

  1. Am I enjoying it? Yes, this is outstanding! 
  2. Would I have another? Yes, I’m thinking of sending a messenger to get me one.
  3. Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? If I won lotto, at a significant level, I would buy you a pint, at the brewery, perhaps two. Otherwise I’ll be round to tell tall stories about how good I was when I was younger, and why Association Football beats another type of football ever. 

Musics? Well I was whipping up a couple curry meals, a Butter chicken for the others and a Jalfrezi style for me, and  I stumbled over  a band called “The Coral” and a track  “The Curse of Love” from the Album of the same name. The Coral are an English band formed in 1996 in Hoylake on the Wirral Peninsula in England.

Light Indie Pop type but with some good lyrics and nicely produced, It’s very good listening to and music to cook by 🙂 oh and have a beer to!


Imperial IPA, Double IPA or DIPA is a strong, often sweet, intensely hoppy version of the traditional India Pale Ale. Bitterness units range upward of 100 IBUs and alcohol begins at 7.5% but is more commonly in the 8.5-10% range. The flavour profile is intense all-round. Unlike barley wines, the balance is heavily towards the hops, with crystal and other malts providing support.


8 comments on “Beer – #489 – Karl Strauss – Big Barrel Double IPA

  1. kingmidget
    October 24, 2014

    Hey, a California beer got a 10!!!!! That brewery has been around for some time. If I ever get to San Diego, I hope to stop by.

    In other beer news … last week I ate at a pizza place where they have a “pour your own” system. They have about fifteen beers. Taps in the walls and customers pour their own beer in 6 oz. amounts. There were two problems — the beers were all overcarbonated so a lot of the 6 ounces turned into foam. And, the beers were almost all of the highly hopped IPA, Pale Ale variety. There was very little variety, even with 15 beers. It was somewhat disappointing.


    • Philip Walter
      October 24, 2014

      That would be annoying as no matter your skill level at the pour, the angle and deftness you’ll get foam-a-rama. Seems like bad planning to have a lopsided tap line-up, seems logical to have a range or pisners/lagers, a wheat, pale and IPA. I still think that the hop heavy beers are the easiest and more go-to beers for brewers which would explain their over-availaibilty.

      Nothing worse though than either a nice beer poorly poured, or a poor beer poured poorly to spoil a night out, as even average beer can be great with the right food.

      It really was a good beer, one day when I win big on the lottery it’s a pint at the bar….


      • kingmidget
        October 25, 2014

        I could have lived with the narrow selection. The foam was the worst. And I’m pretty sure I know how to pour a beer. Very disappointing.


      • Philip Walter
        October 25, 2014

        Given my beer pouring efforts the last few days I’m pretty sure I need a lot more practice at it.


  2. Pats Pints
    October 24, 2014

    I find IPAs and DIPAs with Nelson Sauvin hops to be a bit hit or miss, some have too many challenging flavors (dank, pungent, catty, you name it) while sometimes they can be delicious. Like you I found that the Karl Strauss Big Barrel DIPA comes down in the latter camp.

    I did a tasting of 8 pretty acclaimed DIPAs and this one came in runner up, http://patspints.com/2014/04/07/imperial-ipa-bracket-challenge/

    Unfortunately I can’t buy it in Ohio.


    • Philip Walter
      October 24, 2014

      Oh, I’ve had the Knee Deep Simtra and really enjoyed it too, But the Big Barrel was an amazing drink, I’ll be piking up another later.

      Difficult knock out tournament you had there, IPA is a very crowded market and getting truly good ones is always a good thing, there are also a bunch that are average.

      so I’m 4 down on your list, The Stone, Simtra, palate wrecker and Big Barrel, which you all have on the same side of the draw, and on reading my past review I would have the same finalist. I doubt that the others will ever make it to NZ, and I live for the day a Russian River beer ever appears……


      • Pats Pints
        October 24, 2014

        The other side of the draw were all beers from Ohio and Michigan, so you are right they are not likely to make it to NZ. Chillwave is all about the mosaic hops, which are becoming more common so it may be possible to find something similar in NZ.

        You are right about IPAs. There are so many that on the one hand its hard to get excited about another IPA, but when you find a really good one it’s a treat.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Beer – #501 – Liberty – C!tra – A redux | A life just as ordinary

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