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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: 179
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.
View: Beers (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 179
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 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 megahurts4
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Karl Strauss Amber
On draft in LAX

Appearance: amber, medium head, and some good lacing.

Smell: malt grain and hop.

Taste: malts, grain, and hop.

Mouthfeel: medium-light.

Overall: this is a decent amber. It is very malty. It has a bunch of flavors that seem to only mix ok, but not perfect.

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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 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 kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are moderately low.

A: Pours a one and a half finger head - extremely thin, without cream, and of abysmal retention. Appears overcarbonated. Colour is a semitransparent copper-gold. (Certainly not amber-coloured).

Sm: Caramelized malt, barley, and light cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Stale cream over top a simple barley foundation. Some hops are present - definitely the best aspect of the beer. If they'd amp up the hop content I could see this being much better. As is, it's boring and a bit bland. But it does show promise for improvement, with effort. Simple and imbalanced, but still somewhat refreshing.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but overcarbonated, making it a bit sharp and too thick. Doesn't suit the flavours.

Dr: Drinkable but very mundane. I wouldn't have it again. It needs more complexity, more smoothness, and some serious flavour profile to be worthy of consumption.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.82/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

Clear amber color. Two fingers of off white head, dies down to a ring of foam and some decent lacing left behind.

Smells lightly of caramel, toffee, and most prominently of biscuity yeast.

Taste follows smell light smack of caramel/toffee, biscuit, some yeast.

Medium bodied, could be more carbonated though.

Solid vienna lager.

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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 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 UCLABrewN84
3.08/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear orange color with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a thin film. Random splotches of lace form here and there on the glass on the drink down. Smells of toasted malt and slight hay/grass. Taste is pretty watered down malt with some grass/hop flavors coming in on the end. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a a pretty average beer all around. Nothing too great but nothing too offensive. A good choice if there is nothing else worthwhile.

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Photo of Armand
3.03/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not that bad for a 'just to chill' beer, but it is too average. Nothing to talk good about here. You can actually put this in a catogory of common craft beers and it would fit in. Not awful, but...
A: Light brown.
S: Bland. Serving it in chilled mugs is stupid. And that's what most bars do. At least the ones who don't know anything about beer do.
T: Light brown...???
M: Again, it just goes down as a common beer. Dapness almost.
O: I'd order it maybe if I needed a beer, but I don't really need a beer most times.

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Photo of Offa
2.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Amber with med pale tan head steadily shrinking to nothing, no lace.

Aroma is toasty bread & barley, hint of caramelized toast, hint of spicy earthiness and bark.

Taste is light caramelized-toast sweetness up front, then dryer with same light flavour and light zesty, vague bittrness – faintly citrusy & grassy. It is pretty good, pleasant, but simple, a bit thin and slightly watery.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.82/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a light one finger white head, fizzy carbonation. Below average retention, no lace.

S: Toasty malt with a note of caramel sweetness. Light hints of apple peel.

T: Biscuity toasty malt with a mild noble hop backing. Some minor grassiness. Red apple bits are nice, I just wish there was something more to the malt flavour.

M: Light-bodied, thin watery finish. Crisp and clean, refreshing.

D: This is basically in the Dos Equis Amber realm of Vienna lager. Not bad tasting, just not interesting at all. Boston Lager and Negra Modelo completely outshine this effort in the same category.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.3/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured on-tap in downtown San Diego at the Columbia Street brewpub. There isn't a whole lot of good to say about this, so I will keep this short and sweet. The beer was poured into a pint glass. It was extremely light colored, especially for the style. The beer had no real outstanding flavors. Basic malt backbone, with little to offer past that. It has a very disappointing aftertate, although typical of a lager; musty and a bit sour. Sour aftertaste, as well.

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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 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 crvcac
4.03/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer on tap at ale house.
Appearance: pours a nice golden amber, moderate head. Alight lace

Smell: smells of toffee and rich caramel malt.

Taste: caramel malt, very fait subtle hops.

Mouthfeel: sits nice on the palate. Nice crisp finish

Drinkability: solid session beer. Would seek out again

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Photo of chickenandrice
3.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A - Clear amber with finger width of head. The head dies quickly. Modest amounts of lacing.

S - Rich malts and sweetness like butterscotch candy. No real hops to speak of.

T - Very sweet from the malts, sweet candy and caramel dominate.

M - Light body and average carbonation.

D - Wife's favorite, so can say anything bad about it! I would have anything bad to say anyways!


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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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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is caramel with a tint of amber or ruby. Two fingers of buttery, off-white head developed and left a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Sweet caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch. Another reviewer mentioned it smelling like Werther's Originals, and I have to agree.

Taste: Follows the smell, but it thankfully tastes more like beer. The caramel is mostly sweet, but has a slightly toasted edge to it. The vanilla is also detectable, but the butterscotch is not as prominent. Floral hops provide a touch of balanced bitterness, which lingers after each sip.

Drinkability: Very tasty and smooth drinking. It is the most flavorful lager I've ever had.

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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 Kaiser81
3.73/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the first beers that got me into craft beers. I'm finally reviewing it.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A - Pours a very clear amber with less than a finger width of head. The head dies down fairly quickly. Modest amounts of lacing left on the glass

S - Rich malts and sweetness like butterscotch candy...or those Werther's originals. No real hops to speak of.

T - Very sweet from the malts. It pretty much follows the nose, sweet candy and caramel kind of dominate. There is the aftertaste of a lager, but not a bitter...unsatisfying aftertaste left by BMC lagers.

M - Light body with medium carbonation.

D - It has a special place in my heart, so I can always drink these at a party, though there are a lot of other beers I prefer

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Photo of rarbring
2.97/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer is amber colored but very clear, an off-white/yellow head that settles quickly, no lacing.

The smell is sweet and malty, toffee and butterscotch.

The taste is also mostly in the sweet corner, caramel and sweet biscuits. A faint bitterness at the end.

Rather low carbonation, a medium light body.

Nothing really stands out, but not really bad - a bit to sweet.

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Photo of DennisD
4.27/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice bronze/amber color with a decent lacy head.

Great toasty bread smell. Excellent balanced malty flavor. Caramel undertones. Medium bodied and finished clean.

This was a great beer. I had it at their location in Carlsbad. I would have it again.

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Photo of froghop
2.12/5  rDev -36%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pours a clear orange-amber with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, and not much lacing.

smell is of caramel, nuts, and malt in the back.

taste is watery, malt, and corn grain, ends flat.

overall not impressive at all, bland and tasteless.

first one from karl strauss and i am not impressed.

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