Beer Review: Karl Strauss Brewing Company Mouette à Trois Holiday Fruitcake Ale

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Brewery: Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Beer: Mouette à Trois Holiday Fruitcake Ale
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Character: Brewed with fresh apricots, cherries and a blend of spices, the resulting strong ale is Belgian Dubbel meets fruitcake. Aged on brandy-cured French oak.
Metal Connection: EPICA – Trois Vierges

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FruitcakeAleWith the Holidays quickly approaching, I thought I ‘d put up this review of this amazing beer that I was lucky enough to have tried. Karl Strauss Brewing Company is not available here in TX, but I am lucky to have a good friend in Cali who helped me get this beer. A huge thanks to Jorge Espinoza of Brewerianimelogs! Mouette à Trois, or Three Seagulls is from the Karl Strauss is their 3rd installment in their less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. This collection offers high alcohol, cellar-friendly beers  that celebrate the season  with a nice San Diego twist to the names. Each year, they release a new part of the series. This particular one was brewed in 2012, and was recently cracked open. It aged beautifully!

A Holiday fruitcake is either something you love or you hate, and most of the time, it’s hate. I actually enjoy a good fruitcake, so when I saw this beer, I knew I had to get my hands on it. This is a seasonal beer that is brewed with apricots, cherries, and a blend of spices to give it that fruitcake flavor. Then it is aged on Brandy-cured French oak for even more added flavor.  Aging this beer also added a nice touch, letting all the flavors settle.

 Using a Brouwerij Ter Dolen stemmed wine glass for this session. Mouette à Trois poured a hazy, dark caramel brown color with a nice ruby red tint to it. It was crowned with a very thin tan colored layer of bubbles, but it did not last long, in fact, there was no head retention at all. No lacing left at all on glass.  I wasn’t expecting much on that aspect anyway, since this is a 2 year old beer.

The aroma was amazing. A great mix of smells hit my nose. Some fruit cake spices showed up, a little cinnamon, nutmeg, possibly some allspice. There was a good fruit presence from the added apricots, and a strong sour cherry smell. There were traces of dark fruits as well, some raisin, or even a prune-like aroma. A hint of vanilla also makes an appearance. I can faintly pick up an aroma of wood, and nuts. The booze definitely shines through, which is the strongest smell along side the sour cherry, and the Belgian yeast characters.

The taste follows the nose, as the complexity really does a number on the palate! A mild sour funk hits the palate first, followed closely by a body chock full of holiday fruit cake spices, like cinnamon, and nutmeg. The spices are not overwhelming, either, so don’t get the wrong idea here. They are subtle, and gentle on the taste buds, but definitely show up. There is a good presence of fruits like, apricots, cherries, dark fruits, raisins, prunes, and a hint of banana from the Belgian yeast.

Mouette à Trois had a slightly under medium body. The texture was smooth and oily, with a moderately spicy finish from the spice flavors. Mild carbonation, actually almost non-existent.

Overall, this beer received a 5 skull rating from me for it’s creativity, and it’s amazing aroma and taste. I really enjoyed this beer a lot, and my fellow co-workers, who I shared this bottle with all agreed that the flavor was outstanding. I mean, who really likes fruit cake, right? Well, I do! So when I first heard about this beer, I was on a mission to get it in my hands. I really do owe a lot to my fellow Beer Blogger and friend, Jorge Espinoza of brewerianimelogs. Without his help, some of these awesome beers that grace the site would not be possible!  When I was able to get this bottle, I was also able to get the 2013 edition, the 4th in this series, Four Scowling Owls (Belgian Tripel). That review will be posted later. I know I’d be going backwards, but it would be great if I could get my hands on the first two bottles in this series, Two Tortugas (Quadruple Ale, 2011) and Parrot in a Palm Tree (Baltic Porter, 2010). I am really looking forward to this year’s edition, whatever it may be (Info on the 5th edition is not released at the time of this review).

epica-consign-to-oblivionMetal Connection: The Symphonic/Power Metal band, Epica released a song called “Trois Vierges”, which I thought was most fitting for this beer since it shares the French language in it’s title. So the beer is translated to Three Seagulls, and the song translates to Three Virgins. Fuck it, it looks similar, at least! Epica is from The Netherlands and has been around since 2003, releasing 7 full length albums, and some live albums. Their sound is very epic, and fantasy-like. This song is not a typical song for me to put on BeerMetalDude.com, but I don’t just enjoy a good metal face melter. Sometimes I like to hear a good mellow tune like this one. The combination of vocal styles from their front woman, Simone Simons, and guitarist/vocalist, Mark Jansen works wonders on this epic tale of love, and passion. Imagine sitting in a candle lit room, listening to this tune, while enjoying a good beer such as Mouette à Trois, and you will understand the connection here.

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