Christmas in July: 2 Turtle Doves

Christmas in July WeekEven though they’re only a couple of years old, The Bruery in Southern California is the current darling of the Brewinati (did I just make up that word?), and everyone online was raving about their 2 Turtle Doves over the holidays—the second in their ambitious “12 Days (Beers) of Christmas” series, where they’ll release a new beer based on a verse from the eponymous song each holiday season for, er, 12 years.

2 Turtle Doves sounds great in concept:

2 Turtle Doves is the second in the 12 Days/Years of Christmas Services. We decided to take our inspiration from the name and base the beer on the “turtle” candy, brewing it with cocoa nibs, toasted pecans, caramelized sugar and a lot of caramel malts. Somewhere between a Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale and an Imperial Porter, this beer is designed to take the journey through time until 12 Drummers Drumming.

In execution, though… this is where I get to be a lone voice of dissent, because I don’t feel that it lived up to the hype. It’s a big, 12% ABV beer with lots of things going on—too much, perhaps.

The Bruery 2 Turtle DovesAppearance: Cloudy brown coffee-colored with a creamy light brown head. Reminded me of chocolate milk in a way.

Smell: Cocoa with a sharply nutty note; minerally and a touch roasty. Kind of a “chocolate Belgian funk” going on, with some hard-water notes.

Taste: Semi-sweet chocolate combined with a somewhat fruity Belgian character. Yields to a dry finish at the back of the mouth—roasted malts and bittersweet cocoa and a bit of residual alcohol heat. Fruit but indistinct—a dark berry or black currant, kind of muddled. Wine-y.

Mouthfeel: A touch tart with a dry finish and well-attenuated, medium-full body.

Overall: Interesting, big and ambitious; I think it needs some aging. Notable chocolate notes and maybe a hint of nuttiness; a little sharp.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of A-. On RateBeer, it scores 3.75 out of 5, and is in their 98th overall percentile.