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Karl Strauss Amber - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Karl Strauss AmberKarl Strauss Amber

Educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 177
Avg: 3.31
pDev: 25.38%
Wants: 5
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  4.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-26-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 177
Photo of HopHead84
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at Karl Strauss. From where I'm sitting I don't have an ideal view of the coy pond, but I grabbed the closest seat I could find. I can see the water, but very few coy. Perhaps I'll try to find a better seat as people head back to work after lunch.

A: Aptly named, the beer appears transparent amber with an inch of white froth.

S: Pronounced bread and grain with lesser notes of biscuit and just a dash of caramel.

T: Bread, biscuit, and grainy malt with almost no hop influence (a shadow of noble hop character). The finish is simple, very grainy, and clean.

M: Light in body with lower high carbonation.

Overall: A very simple amber lager with simplicity being its only flaw. All things considered, this is pretty enjoyable. A man could drink a lot of this.

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Photo of VWBuggirl
3.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a very light, clear amber color, but with a thick head. It smells more on the sweet side, I am thinking caramel or toffee. Otherwise there wasn't much to it.

The taste was quite malty and sweet. I was disappointed with the aftertaste as there wasn't much to it, but it went very well with my bbq.

I did like the carbonation and it was easy to drink.

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Photo of rawfish
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a amber honey hue with a nice frothy off white 2 finger head. Poor retention and doesn't leave alot of lacing on the glass.

Picking up alot of processed clover honey, mild nuttiness and some pale malt and adjunct grain. Lager yeast and a hint of hay and lemon.

Honey and pale malt dominant perhaps a bit sweet but nothing offensive no adjunct grains or anything. Hop profile is lemon zest, hay and mildly spicy. Quite different in a good way. Finishes rather crisp and drying. Could use more flavor overall.

Light body for the color as well and active carbonation which I enjoyed. Slick on the palate and dries well.

Pretty decent, I think that it's on par with a Boston Lager, flavor is a bit on the lighter side and the honey sweetness is probably what drops down the score for alot of ppl but the hop profile is refreshing and different in a lager. For what it is, it's very nice.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Large off white head dies leaving a decent lacing over a clear golden-copper colored beer.

Aroma of light caramel hops comes through quite nicely.

Caramel grain malts taste that seems quite light, smooth and easy drinking.

This medium bodied beer has a very light dryish aftertaste that brings with it some of the caramel malt tastes.

A decent easy drinking amber.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a nice dark amber, small off-white head.

Smell & Taste - pretty much your standard (light) amber lager, although on the first few sips there was sort of a harshness to it, a semi off-flavored finish, maybe slightly metallic. These characteristics seemed to disappear after the first 1/4 of the glass.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - well carbonated, maybe a tad rough at the start but mellowed nicely there after (maybe due to increasing temp?) Not a bad amber.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid lager that has a good look and good taste. The amber color is joined by a decent off-white head that comes up full and lingers a short while. The lacing is OK if not impressive. Malty caramel nose also gives slight hints of hops for the balance that results. Full bodied and tasty palate. Mild aftertaste that leaves a bit of a bready sense. Smooth and even feel. Very drinkable lager.

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Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear amber (surprise!) color with a marshmallow fluff head; OK retention and a smattering of lace

Smell: Doughy malts and toffee

Taste: The taste follows the aroma, with the doughy malts being complemented by the toffee through mid-palate, where a grainy, nutskin bitterness arrives; after the swallow, the sweeter elements tend to dominate, though the lager twang lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: After a while, the sweetness really gets overbearing, rendering this beer a bit tough to drink in any quantity

Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss beers usually aren't widely distributed, but I can find many of the varieties at a local store of mine. How about an amber lager for tongiht? Sure. On to the beer:

Twist off the top and pour in into a stange and you get, well, a clear amber colored beer and a decent sized head. Light bready notes and fruit in the aroma, just enough to tease the nose. Good malt flavor in the taste, which is biscuity and bready. Light on the sweetness/fruit and lighter hops, which are enough to balance out the beer. It's light enough to quaff, but full enough to keep you going with a good flavor and pretty good mouthfeel.

The neck label displays "it is Karl's favorite beer!" in small print. Good choice Karl. Or is it? I have two other of his beers in my fridge which I will sample sometime, so I hope this, while quite good indeed, isn't the brand's high tide.

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Photo of mactrail
3.47/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nutty, roasty, and caramel flavors are the good points. Makes a good first impression and ends up being inoffensive. Very fragrant nose of flowers and malt. This one could have better carbonation to qualify for the big gulp award. IBU in the teens so it's shy on bitterness.

Quite unassuming but a good example of how much flavor can be packed into a low-alcohol, low-hop beer. It manages to be quite drinkable with a warm flavor and just a touch of tartness.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

4.5 abv. 25 years anniversary cap.
Pours clear amber, very tiny white head, quickly to a lasting sticky lacing.
Smell of biscuit, caramel, light sweet citrus and some nuttiness.
Dense maltiness in the taste, with slightly toasted white bread and caramel covered biscuits. Some mild sweet cake spices and faint cooked apples. The bit of sweetness is cut off by some earthy chestnuts. Mild hop finish, a bit citrusy but mostly grassy.
Buttery feel, low carbonation, pretty thick for its style.
Very tasty, but a bit too oily and not so easy to drink.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not an excellent beer in this category, though I may be over-generous as it is a hometown brew. Good color, pours bright amber with a short off-whtie head. Sweet, caramel and bread nose. Very easy to drink with a smooth mouthfeel. Sweet caramel maltbase, but light citrus hops are detectable. Won't blow anyone away, but a very good beer, nonetheless.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.4/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I recently had this on tap at LAX, and I've also had it at the brewpub in Downtown San Diego. I think it's a mighty fine amber. Pours a cloudy tan color with a thin head, and not a lot of lacing of the glass. Not much of an aroma, but I like the rich, caramel malt flavor that has an almost buttery character as the brew warms. Went well with the turkey sandwich I ate it with last time I had this.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Carlsbad, CA

Dark red and amber with a thin khaki colored head. Lines of lacing left down the glass.

Very bready aroma with some mild caramel sweetness as well. Simple.

This tastes like toasted bread with a bit of caramel and toffee sweetness. Moderate bitterness. Simple.

Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

An extremely bready amber ale, and flavorful enough per the style.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.37/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12-oz. bottle into a pint glass at my house on Oct. 5, 2012 (purchased at BevMo in La Mesa (San Diego, Calif.) for $1.29 (with card) on Oct. 5, 2012). Less than a finger of head. Light honey caramel with iced tea head. Bad retention all-around.

Smelled caramel, toffee, nutty and a very slight whiff of chocolate. Malty.

Tasted a bit different than I was expecting. Got caramel and toffee up front with a decent amount of malts. Reminded me a bit of an Oktoberfest. Lots of carbonation on the tongue late, giving way to a slightly nutty finish.

Light body. Thinner texture. Above average carbonation. Abrupt finish.

I was hoping for a bit more, but an OK amber overall.

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Photo of Dmann
3.36/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a decent beer, but not what I expected. It poured a nice amber color with a small head that fizzled away quickly. The smell kind of reminded me of Coors, which did not get me too excited about taking a drink. But lo and behold the taste was not that bad at all. This beer had kind of a strange carlmel-y flavor to it that was pretty drinkable, along with a kind of floral taste that went down very easy. Although this is not a beer that I would buy instead of, say, Stone Pale Ale or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as a session beer, these would go down pretty well if it came down to it. A very respectable brew.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a new locally produced bottle into a pint glass. Pours a clear and bright golden orange in color with a half inch of just off white head. This reduces to a surface film in a few minutes, yielding some temporary lacing.

Light roasted caramel malts, touch of hazelnut and some lager yeast on the nose. Decent but thin. Some sweet citric hops after a bit of warming and exposure.

Taste is light and smooth with a sweet caramel malt flavor that fades to a slight smokiness on the finish, though not as toasted in flavor as the nose would lead one to believe. Decent feel and drink with a well balanced carbonation given the malt structure.

Not having had this beer in some time I was curious about the new bottling line. This beer tastes fresher, cleaner and a bit lighter/more balanced in malts than I recall. I'll have to reserve one to try side by side with a out of state bottle to better ascertain.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.26/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium gold color, small white foamy head. Aroma is malty and slightly sweet. Mild malts and hops. Mild flavor, good balance of hops and malts. Slight taste of roasted malts, very subtle. Finish is smooth. Aftertaste is slightly malty, no bitterness.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Not sure if there's a freshness date on the bottle, as the only stamped looking info is smudged. All things considered, this beer should be consumed fresh.

Pours a decent, yet not too showy clear amber color with an initial burst of tons of carbonation and a half finger of head, only to slowly die down into a thinnish ring that seems to last for quite some time at the top of the glass. A half hour later, there's still lots of bubbles rising up. However, just like Red Trolley Ale, the nice little foam eventually disappears. Pretty simple, but on style as well.

The aroma is a combination of biscuit-infused mals with light caramel notes and little bit of citrusy zest. I'm glad those hops come out here, because otherwise the grainy backdrop would really overpower the flavor here. Everything is lightly toasted and not too showy, but I do get the impression that the flavor is going to be the highlight here.

While the caramel malts are definitely more prominent here, combined with slight yeasty notes and lightly tinged hops, there's a rather unpleasant grainy finish, loaded with little astringent notes that really could have made this more pleasant to drink. Syrupy, sweetened texture overall. However, despite the slightly unbalanced finish, it is pretty drinkable, and surprisingly not too watery overall by amber lager standards.

The flavor is pretty simple, and while there's not too much to write about here, this goes pretty well with food, especially greasy bar food, which I gladly paired this with tonight. On it's own, it doesn't ask for much, which is why whoever drinks it wouldn't have to as well. After being a fan of Karl Strauss's Tower 10 IPA, and being spoiled with Anchor Steam beer, this slightly underwhelms overall - especially if this is their flagship beer. Easy to drink, but it definitely is simple. At $1.30 a bottle, can't really complain though!

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Photo of Suds
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

During a recent visit to San Diego, I had this brew on tap in a Gaslamp area restaurant. I found it to be an enjoyable, flavorful, if ordinary brew. It’s a deep golden color, with only a shadow of amber, and a modest white head. The aroma is a well proportioned mix of malt and hop, of medium intensity. There’s a little grain and notable caramel. The taste is mildly sweet, with a slant toward maltiness. It’s certainly not outstanding, but it went well with dinner and left me satisfied.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.2/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a smidge darker than amber, but still looks nice with just a wisp of white head on it. Roasty, nutty, slightly warmed malt sensation in the aroma.

More nuttiness, oktoberfest like sweetness, a beer that drinks heavier than you would think from looking at the abv. Its not exactly complex, but it is a substantial step up above fizzy yellow stuff, this is a good gateway beer. Reminiscient of Sprecher's Vienna Lager if you're into that. Use this beer to warm people up to the idea of getting into drinking the heavier and crazier stuff with you someday. Its decent and flavorful without being out there or too adventurous.

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Photo of Zorro
3.19/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I last tasted this stuff at their little brew pub stand in LAX I wonder if the correct glass and the bottled version are better?

This certainly looks good in the glass an ultra clear bronze colored all with a tall tan head with a reddish tinge to it.

The smell is very sweet and heavy on the malt. Hops are limited to a vague soapy herbal scent in the background but you can tell that it is Nobel hops.

The taste starts out sweet and very grainy with a dark bread flavor. Not as sweet as I remember but this is certainly malty. Good hop bitterness here it does a lot to tame the malt. Flavors of fig and raisin are present with a nutty after taste.

The mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is much improved with the malt tamed I have to suspect they altered the recipe. A beer that seems to be better in the bottle than the tap.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.19/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber color with virtually no head into a weizen glass.

Aroma is unimpressive. Faint toasty malt with very little intensity. Boring, but no obvious flaws.

There is a very light caramel flavor as well as a light bitterness. Flavor is clean overall, but the high carbonation masks the body and flavor. Nothing impresses me here, but it's tolerable.

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Photo of Redrover
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint, the beer is a light reddish copper with just a skim of off-white head.

Nose of caramel and biscuits.

The taste tracks close to the nose. It is sweet with some grainy notes. Not much in the way of hoping. Fresh bagel comes to mind. A bit of apple late.

The mouth is slick and perhaps a bit over carbonated. While this is an easy enough drinker, I think it serves best as a crossover beer.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear medium amber color with creamy off-white head (about 1in.), which becomes a lacing.

Smell: The beer has an aroma of some malts, hops, and cirtus. Overall a semi-sweet hint to the smell.

Taste: Sweet malts, followed by some florals, followed by a tiny bit of hoppy bitterness. It's ok, but hardly exciting. Unlike some other Karl Strauss beers, at least the sweetness isn't disgusting.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, medium bodied beer with a tad bit of carbonation. Almost a bit too slick.

Drinkability: Alcohol low and the flavor isn't bothersome, but the sweetness (and generally boring flavor) can get a bit overwhelming

Overall an average beer. Nothing special here, and it can be a bit too sweet. There's enough good beers out there so that I won't have to try this again.

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Photo of popery
3.13/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A rather average beer, but, for the style, it's certainly not terrible. It's funny that the reviews are sort of all over the place (kinda sounds like the LAX bar needs to clean their tap lines). This is a clean, somewhat sweet lager. It's a nice, clear amber with a dissipating white head that manages to hang on with a very tight white cap after a minute. The aroma is mostly doughy malt sweetness. There's a faint hint of herbal hops, but it's just a low abv amber lager with its roots in German brewing. It lacks any real depth of malt flavor. The flavor is vaguely sweet and fairly clean. It's nice to have a <4.5% abv beer, but this one wants for flavor. Mouthfeel is inoffensive, though the carbonation seems oddly low. Ok beer.

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Karl Strauss Amber from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.