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Parrot in a Palm Tree: Two Years Later

If you’re hoarding a private stash of our 2010 holiday offering, Parrot in a Palm Tree, there’s no doubt you’re wondering how well it’s aged – and to be perfectly honest, we were pretty curious ourselves. So, like any self-respecting craft brewery, we took matters into our own hands and recruited a few seasoned craft beer professionals to evaluate the first installment in our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales.

An honest and snob-free evaluation of Parrot in a Palm Tree by Ryan Ross and Randy Clemens:

Parrot in a Palm Tree – Holiday Baltic Porter 2010
8.5% ABV – 50 SRM – 35IBU
Original Description: Aged three months in San Pasqual Tawny Portbarrels, 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.

2010 Parrot in a Palm Tree – Holiday Baltic Porter

Appearance – 22 oz bottle poured into two 10.5 oz snifters
Ross:  Parrot pours exactly the same as it always has –  a deep brown with ruby highlights.
Clemens:  Pretty good head-retention after two years.
Ross: <comment censored for our readers>

Clemens:  Indonesian currants, Blue Mountain coffee, cherry cordials…
Ross: Are you being serious?
Clemens: No, I was feigning beer snobbery.
Ross: In that case, I expected more from you. Though, you’re pretty spot-on with cherry cordial; there’s definitely a mix of cherry and chocolate going on here.

Clemens:I’m getting a lot of chocolate, and it almost seems like there’s a sweet sherry-like fruit flavor coming though.
Ross: It’s interesting how the port wine notes from the barrels have since evolved into a fuller, more sherry-like flavor. Plus, there’s a lot less espresso than I remember.
Clemens: I’m digging the mix of chocolate and dark fruit; it’s almost like a cherry tootsie pop.
Ross: Random comparison, but I can see it.

Ross: Still a full-bodied Baltic Porter, but the warming finish has mellowed a bit.
Clemens: Totally. It’s a very easy sipping beer, especially for this time of year.

Consensus: Two years of proper cellaring have definitely added additional layers of complexity to Parrot. If you have a few bottles saved, consider opening one to celebrate the end of 2012. Heck, if the Mayans are right, you may want to open them all!  

Ryan Ross is a Certified Cicerone® and the lucky guy that gets to manage Karl’s Blog. When he’s not writing about himself in the third person, Ryan keeps busy as Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s Marketing Communications Manager.

Randy Clemens is Los Angeles Magazine’s Associate Digest Editor and Author of the cult-favorite Sriracha Cookbook. Prior to his current gig, Randy served as Communications Linchpin for Stone Brewing Company in Escondido.