Seven Sharks A-Circling by Karl Strauss

15369113_10103803570630930_8118013602060836694_oRating: 5/5

Seven Sharks A-Circling by Karl Strauss is a 9% ABV Holiday Imperial Smoked Porter

Label:
Each year, leopard sharks flock to the warm waters of San Diego. But these little guys aren’t out for blood; they much prefer the taste of the newest local brew. (Yep, leopard sharks love craft beer. It’s science.) Introducing Seven Sharks A-Circling, the 7th installment in our “Twelve Days” holiday series. This Imperial Smoked Porter is brewed with a blend of caramel and smoked malts for bold flavors of chocolate, coffee, and a subtle beach-bonfire-like smokiness. It finishes sweet and smooth. You’re gonna need a bigger glass.

==Introduction==

The 7th release of the 12 Christmas beers of San Diego was released this year now available in time for the Holidays. As the 7th installment in the series, each year, Karl Strauss has been releasing awesome hit after awesome hit. Ever since I tried the Fruit cake forward Mouette à Trois, I was hooked on this series. After completing the review with Two Tortugas, it was about time I finally got to the next one in the series. This is themed with sharks. Instead of Swans swimming, it’s sharks swimming but circling around their prey. I am not sure how a smoked Imperial porter would work as a Christmas beer other than sitting toasty by the fire around Christmas time which would make sense. Either way, let’s have a look at another amazing installment in the series. Cheers!

Aromas:
Smokey notes, campfire oak, vanilla, caramel, mocha, fruit cake, ginger bread, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, whiskey oak hints, marshmallows, hazelnut nectar, molasses, licorice, anise, tobacco and dark fruits.

Flavors:
Rich caramel, rye bread, smoked malts, coffee, espresso, burnt candy sugar, dark fruit prunes, currants, cinnamon, toasted fruit cake, dark chocolate, BBQ sauce hints, brown sugar, campfire oak, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, mocha, fig pudding, molasses, licorice, anise, tobacco, soy sauce hints, maple syrup, whiskey notes, pecans, hazelnut nectar and marshmallow smores.

Aftertaste:
Finishes with rich dark fruits, smoked oak, rye bread, tobacco, earthy notes, licorice, anise, fruit cake, marshmallow smores and dark chocolate. No alcohol in the taste. Dark crimson full body, smooth, creamy and velvety mouthfeel and a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
A perfect smoked brew. I haven’t a smoked porter in a very long time and the way this was made definitely brings in some subtle notes of Christmas. I really would love to know what part of it has the subtle holiday spices since they do seem to be there but the smokiness tends to balance things out for this one. So you still get the Christmas aspect of the beer along with some smoky goodness. If you love smokey brews, give this one a shot!

Anime Corner:
7 Girls from the RWBY series, 3 are antagonist (Cinder Fall [center], Emerald Sustrai [left standing] and Neopolitan [left sitting]) 1 questionable (Raven Branwen on the most left) and 3 supporting protagonist characters (Penny Polendina [Right side next to Cinder], Velvet Scarlatina [laying down on the right] and Coco Adel [Right]) They were all used in this pairing to go with the 7 sharks a circling. Now, the fact that they are on the beach also goes with the theme. Some of these sharks are evil and some are good. So the fact that there is a balance in the characters, the shark species and the balance in this brew was the perfect harmonious pairing.

Sources:
http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/rwby/images/0/04/Commission_rwby_bikini_2_by_jadenkaiba-d9aicw6.png/revision/latest?cb=20150922193310

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2016 Two Tortugas by Karl Strauss

14556807_10103605761941130_456535289678432797_oRating: 6/6

2016 Two Tortugas by Karl Strauss is an 11.1% ABV Belgian Quadrupel ale.

Label:
It was 2011 when we first released Two Tortugas Belgian Quad as our holiday ale. It was supposed to be a one-time release for the holidays, but your feedback demanded otherwise. Six batches and numerous medals later, our Belgian Quad is back in all its original glory. Two Tortugas has aromas of dark fruit and caramel, with a slight hint of bubblegum from the Belgian Abbey yeast. This beer is robust and full-bodied with rich malty flavors of toffee, plums, and dates. Drink it now or lay it down – Two Tortugas’ journey is just getting started.

Original 2011 Label:
San Diego may not top the list for birdwatchers but it certainly tops the list for beer-drinkers. And while you’re more likely to spot a Sea Turtle than a Turtle Dove, tracking down a world class beer is easy. Two Tortugas is the 2nd addition to our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. This Belgian-inspired Quadruple Ale has a delicate union of toffee, dark fruits, and warming spices that will continue to develop with age. Raise a glass to 2011 or save a bottle for 2021, this turtle’s got legs.

==Introduction==
14556733_10103605761831350_4342871500978724923_o
The 2nd release of the 12 Christmas beers of San Diego was re-released this year now available in time for the Holidays. This was the only beer I missed out on since the release of the first brew. I have spent a lot of time looking for this one. I once tried it at Uncle Henry’s Deli in Downey California but this was something I really wanted to bring to the site for years. Thanks to everyone who asked and begged Karl Strauss for a re-release. It is because of you, the awesome fans that I was able to bring this one to the site at last! As for the lore of the holiday theme which is similar to the Bruery, the 12 Christmas beers of San Diego is Karl Strauss take on the song but with gifts in relation to San Diego. Also, for this one being in my favorite style of beer, let’s have a look, cheers!

Aromas:
Piloncillo sugar cone, fruit cake, ginger bread, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, clove spice, dark fruit prunes, raisins, dates, raspberries, dark cherry, figs, currants, black berries, clove spice, vanilla, capirotada Mexican raisin bread pudding, Stone fruit peach, apricot, plums, banana cream pie, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, rock candy, Sweetened condensed milk, flan, fruit cake, cinnamon, nutmeg and toffee.

Flavors:
Super rich Dulce De Leche caramel covered grilled bananas, clove spice, vanilla, capirotada Mexican raisin bread pudding, Rich dark fruit prunes, raisins, dates, raspberries, dark cherry, figs, currants, black berries, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate cherry cordials, pan dulce, Belgian dark candi sugar, rock candy, marshmallows, waffle cone, Sweetened condensed milk, flan, fruit cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee, piloncillo sugar cone, brown sugar, Stone fruit peach, apricot, plums, banana cream pie, pecan pie, hazelnut nectar, walnut truffle and chocolate truffle turtles.

Aftertaste:
Finishes rich in dark fruit, dulce de leche and bananas, piloncillo sugar cone, fruit cake, chocolate, pecan pie, marshmallows and sweetened condensed milk. No alcohol in the taste despite the ABV. Amber to Dark Honey colored clear body, smooth, velvety and chewy mouth feel along with a moderate to sipping drinkability.
14560218_10103605761856300_8446614182646847870_o
Overall:
Super Bananas and Dulce de Leche! What an exceptional brew. It has really been a long time coming and now that I carefully analyzed this one, I can say It was worth the wait. For a Quadrupel, the bananas and caramels were the winner in this one followed by dark fruit and complex goodness. The other part is that for some reason it is easier to drink than what the ABV would have you believe. Yes, it is not a chugger at all but still feels good and not harsh at all. I highly recommend you pick this one up especially for those that missed the 2011 version.
14524486_10103605761821370_3014326874742613448_o
Anime Corner:
Joy and Sadness from Inside Out were used in this pairing as I wanted to not only pair with the colors of the label but also the aspect of the number 2. 2 characters for 2 turtles. Seems easy enough. Since the beer showcases a lot of Banana and Dark fruit flavors, them being together in the artwork is a mashup of the flavors. Yes, much more complex but I think you may kind of get the idea.
14556653_10103605761931150_6225805432099119507_o
Sources:
http://img.komicolle.org/2015-08-13/src/14394707028812.jpg
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GqPw78lIh_0/VucgVTxcW2I/AAAAAAAAOnU/MlvSAc8ow9M/w512-h512/ipad_sketch___inside_out_joy_and_sadness_by_mbyuri-d98b7sl.jpg
http://orig01.deviantart.net/4f0a/f/2015/236/c/a/lalla2_by_daefny-d96yqqb.png
http://orig09.deviantart.net/ed2b/f/2015/234/b/f/fa___inside_out_by_whitmoon-d96pbv7.png

Five Wee Heavy Bells by Karl Strauss

10837990_10102260899002240_4064620618864496925_oRating: 5/5

Five Wee Heavy Bells by Karl Strauss is a 9.5% ABV Holiday Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale.

Label:
The next pioneering release in our “Twelve days” series gets its name from the five famous bells of Mission San Diego de Alcala; whose “golden rings” can only be heard in unison once a year. Five Wee Heavy Bells is a smooth, malty scotch ale with rich caramel flavors and a warming finish. The beer’s malt sweetness is balanced by pronounced scotch characteristics; carefully developed by aging the beer on scotch-soaked American oak chips. Whether you enjoy your bottle now or let it age for celebrations to come, Five Wee Heavy Bells is perfect for the holidays.

==Introduction==

The 5th release if the 12 Christmas beers of San Diego is now available in time for the Holidays. I have finally had a chance to bring the 5th one forward while all the other ones have been awesome indeed. I have yet to find a bottle of Dos Tortugas Quadrupel but that is okay as I have had it on draft. This makes me wonder if I should ever find a pairing for that one. Oh well, one of these days I am sure. Anyways, they decided to bring forth a Wee Heavy Style. This is an awesome style that does not get enough praise due to it being an uncommon style. Still, I have tried many Wee Heavy Ales in the past but this one intrigues me as it says it is a Holiday spiced one. We shall see then. Join me this holiday to take a look at this one and see what we find. Cheers!

Aromas:
Rich fruit cake notes, dark fruit raisins, sugar plums, figgy pudding, red velvet cake, cinnamon, Stotch hints, butterscotch, dulce de leche caramel, maple, flan hints, smoked peat, malty cereal, marshmallow smotes, graham crackers, all spice, nutmeg, bananas, hazelnut, coffee cake, mocha and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Rich Dark Fruit raisins, sugar plums, dark cherry, Rich Fruit cake, Red Velvet cake, pecan pie, figgy pudding, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, caramel, maple, biscuit bread, malty cereal, Scotch, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, bananas, smoked peat, anise, dulce de leche caramel, flan hints, marshmallow smores, mocha hints, hazelnut, mocha, peaches and cream, coffee cake and brown sugar.

Aftertaste:
Rich toffee, butterscotch, rye bread, leather, maple, fruit cake, dark fruits raisins, dark cherries, biscuit bread, and coffee cake. No alcohol in the taste, creamy, silky and smooth mouthfeel, crimson amber clear body with a drinkability that is definitely moderate.

Overall:
Damn perfect Wee Heavy. It is like they took a Wee Heavy and pretty much added the holiday spices too it making like a Wee Heavy Winter Warmer, or so I think. The beer is great just like their other holiday beers. I enjoyed this one especially for the style. I will definitely recommend this one if you like nice holiday ales and especially Wee Heavy Scotch Ales.

Anime Corner:
All 5 Sailor Scouts from Sailor Moon were used in this pairing to pair with the 5 Wee Heavy Bells as each wears a pendant like wearing a bell. Their transformations depend on it. The different colors are the different variety of flavors but also the whole color aspect is primarily what makes Christmas. This beer is almost magical on its own.

Sources:
http://anime-pictures.net/pictures/get_image/390164-1920×1200-bishoujo+senshi+sailor+moon-toei+animation-tsukino+usagi-sailor+moon-aino+minako-sailor+venus.jpg

Parrot in a Palm Tree by Karl Strauss

484752_10101494937505220_223810333_n 1468748_10101494937719790_1711247771_nRating: 5.45/5

Parrot in a Palm Tree by Karl Strauss is an 8.5% ABV Holiday Baltic Porter aged in Port Wine Barrels

Label: 
In San Diego, we’re not known for our partridges or pears but we can all relate to those noisy parrots and their relentless “caroling”. Parrot in a Palm Tree is a robust Baltic Porter brewed especially for the Holidays. Aged two months in San Pasqual Tawny Port barrels, the resulting brew isn’t for the birds. This winter warmer boasts a complex bouquet of dark fruits, espresso and chocolate, with hints of oak in its warming finish. Raise a glass to 2010 or save a bottle as this limited release will age with the best of them.
___

A rare beer that I was only able to find online. This beer is the first in the Twelve Days of San Diego Christmas beers. Aged 3 years so far as the beer came out in 2010. Just the fact that it is aged in port wine gives me that reminiscence of Troise Pistoles. I have been looking for the previous versions of the Karl Strauss Christmas beers. Last year I had the third installment, Mouette à Trois (Three Seagulls) which I reviewed and though the world of that beer. The fact that it aged since 2010 and in Port Wine? I can only think the world of this beer. 

Aromas:
Just like the Bruery’s Partridge in a Pear tree, very rich dark fruit raisins, figs, plukms, dark cherries, raspberries, sweet port wine, grapes, chocolate, pecan pie, brown sugar, fruit cake, light coffee, caramel, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, toffee, strawberry marmalade and raisin bread pudding 

Flavors:
Good amount of rich port wine but nothing that burns, pleasant raisins, chocolate, mocha, coffee, java, hazelnut, pecan pie, fruit cake, molasses, Blackberries, currant marmalade, vanilla, dulce de leche, raisin bread pudding, rich figs, coconut, and brownies.

Aftertaste:
The aftertaste leaves off rich as well, with nice figs, raisins, port wine, chocolate, coffee and fruit cake breadiness. Hard to detect the alcohol in the taste, but if anything it brings a great splash of flavors. Easy to moderate drinkability with hardly any harshness. Kinda smooth really

Overall:
Freaking great and very delicious. Exceeding expectation but expected from a beer that is aged in port wine barrels and tasting like Trios pistoles, but also close to the initial flavors of the Bruery’s Partridge in a Pear Tree (except the pear). That and I love parrots. Sue me, I just do. Each flavor I had mentioned earlier is not only notes, but actual nice rich flavors coming through Highly recommended if you can find it. It is aging very well and hopefully by the 12th Christmas of San Diego release will be just at peak.

Anime Corner:
Dizzy is one of the characters from the Guilty Gear series. In the Art work, it matches the beer label as she is with the parrots. The colors are representative of the label as well. In terms of the complex flavors, it brings forth one of her ultimate features, which is complexity of power and emotions. The sweetness of this beer and complexity only shows you part of her true potential. If this beer is mean to age until the 12th release of the Christmas of San Diego beers, her true potential will reach its peak. 

Vocaloid Hatsune Miku in the second picture represents the same color as the parrot thus complimenting the label. That is about it for my visual comparison. She is also sweet like this beer.