The Brew Site

Press Release: A Holiday Beer with a Malt Ball Center

It is tradition at Karl Strauss that each winter a different Karl Strauss brewer gets to try their hand at the Holiday Beer. This year the opportunity fell to our very own Ian Young. Ian knew he wanted to brew a Stout, but he had visions of malt balls dancing in his head. Our friends at Briess Malting had kicked off the holiday season for us with a sack of Briess malt balls and that’s when inspiration hit – Ian wanted to use the malt balls in his holiday beer. Some thought he was crazy, others were intrigued, but no one expected the end result to taste so good.

This beer is rich and full-bodied and based off of a recipe for a classic Russian Imperial Stout. But we used large amounts of chocolate malt and dark caramel malt for a less roasty version of the classic style. Rolled oats introduced during the four-step mash helped create a smooth and full mouthfeel. A blend of Willamette and Chinook hops were added solely for balance, and then came the fun part. The equivalent of 5,000 malt ball centers was tossed directly into the boil. “I wanted the four-step mash to create a dryer taste from the barley and then have a lingering sweetness from the non-fermentable malt ball sugars added during the boil. I love malt balls, but now I think they taste even better in beer!” said Ian.

Karl Strauss Imperial Malt Ball Stout is a rich, full-bodied stout with loads of chocolate flavor and a subtle sweetness imparted from the malt balls. This is the perfect winter warmer on a cold night, and at 8.5% ABV, you won’t need a fire to warm you up. The hint of chocolaty sweetness makes it an excellent match with heartier fare such as holiday roasts and of course chocolate desserts.

You can enjoy the Imperial Malt Ball Stout at all six Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant locations and select bars across Southern California during the month of December.

Karl Strauss Imperial Malt Ball Stout
8.5% ABV
85 SRM
30 IBU

About Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Two college grads, a 75-year-old master brewer, and a passion for beer… when Karl Strauss Brewing Company started brewing full-flavored, quality handcrafted beer in 1989, it was the first craft brewery to open in San Diego since Prohibition. Today, you can enjoy our flagship beers, special releases, and seasonals at any of our six brewery restaurants or other fine drinking establishments throughout Southern California. For more information visit or call the brewery at (858) 273-2739.