Karl Strauss Brewery continued their holiday series with Four Scowling Owls last winter, and this Holiday Belgian Tripel is true to the Belgian style but showing a hint of citrus in this 9% abv. beer. This is from what they call their "Twelve Days" series, and this is a positive sign for their future Holiday beers, allowing the beer enthusiast to be on the lookout for next season. See last year's offering here.
In the mean time, the current Anniversary beer is the 25th Anniversary Doppelbock, and is still easily available. All those in this series are barrel-aged, oak bourbon barrel in this case, and this 9.5% abv. lager is excellent. There is a moderately high oak aroma with chocolate and date notes. There is also a bourbon/alcohol aroma, and a full body to go with the rich malt flavors. There is a depth of toasty rich malt and bourbon in the flavor, and the woody flavor takes over in the mid-taste, but smooths out in the finish. This is sweet and rich like the base style of Doppelbock.
Last year's anniversary beer was the Flanders-style Ale, and this is a sour beer aged in oak. This is a 7.5% abv. beer with a hint of tartness (not overwhelming like some sour beers), and has some fruitiness, similar to cherry. This has a light body with slightly lingering wood. The oak shows off a little, and there is a tannic astringency, not dissimilar to a wine. There is a touch of leathery character, and a dry finish with moderate carbonation. This one also rates highly and makes future specialty releases from Karl Strauss being highly anticipated. The strength in alcohol and flavors also helps with aging of these beers, so get some extra and store them away to sample with the others of the same series. You know there will be more creative beers to go along with what has been released so far.