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Karl Strauss Amber - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Karl Strauss AmberKarl Strauss Amber

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BA SCORE
77
okay

68 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 68
Hads: 176
rAvg: 3.32
pDev: 14.76%
Wants: 5
Gots: 22 | 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: 68 | Hads: 176
Photo of swid
2.9/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Karl Strauss Amber Lager pours (not surprisingly) a clear amber color into my pilsner glass. Head is cream colorer, and nearly nonexistant. Very little carbonation. No lacing. The aroma, overall, is very weak; it's a generalized malty sweetness, but that's about it (with perhaps a bit of floral hoppiness).

The taste of this beer is, well, painfully average. It's reasonably balanced between the malt and hops, leaning more towards a malty sweetness, but other than that, it's quite unremarkable. The mouthfeel is surprisingly full for its ABV, and like the Woodie Gold, it feels quite syrupy. Finishes with a decent mix of sweetness and bitterness.

After drinking this beer, I now know why all the other reviews for Amber Lager were so short; there's just nothing remarkable one way or another about this beer. It'd be a good beer to have around for non-BA friends, and as an all-malt lager, it's certainly several steps above the macro lagers...but other than that, there's no real reason to ever try one. (1,014 characters)

Photo of jackndan
2.95/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Karl Strauss Amber lager: Deep brown beer (no head no lace, but that was solely due to the publican’s giving me every drop for $$’s). Strong malt aroma, reminds me of Milwaukee as a kid. Initial taste was very sweet, almost unpleasant. Improved significantly as it warmed, with a very pronounced bread/cracker malt sweetness, barely balanced by mild hops. Not bad. (380 characters)

Photo of IBUnit63
2.97/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

At the Karl Strauss beer garden at SAN waiting for a red-eye flight home...

Poured into a tall 20 oz. glass. Truly amber in color with not much head to speak of.

Smell of earthy malt with a faint hope of piney hops, maybe grassy. Doesn't smell too bad - not spectacular but not too bad.

Taste is more of the same - malt forward with faint speck of grass/piune hops and a whole lot of earth - I don't go for the earthy taste of anything - especially beer.

Mouthfeel is a little clammy - finishes heavier than it started.

None for me thank you - my beer gut can't afford to drink something that feels this heavy and tastes this light. (637 characters)

Photo of rarbring
2.97/5  rDev -10.5%
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. (372 characters)

Photo of scottoale
2.98/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a good beer on tap...out of the 12oz.bottle, not the same stuff. Pours a nice deep, slightly dark amber with half inch of off-white head. As the head disappears rather quickly, a trace of lacing is left behind.

Smells ok, a sweet pale malty aroma is about all thats going on here, no distinguishable hop scent emited, just lightly floral malt, not very exciting.

Taste is rather sweet and rich in the malt dept. with no hop balance per se. There is a green leafiness in the taste, but it's not hoppy and the malts are running the show. Alcohol seems low as well. This taste is reminding of MGD which I really don't care for...too sweet.

The mouthfeel is a fizzy on the tongue with a fairly medium body. Plenty of carbonation, tons of microscopic bubbles emerging from start to finish.

Pretty easy to drink if you don't mind the sweetness, too many other beers I'd much rather drink. The Amber Lager fresh at the brewery is another story. (958 characters)

Photo of Offa
2.99/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (388 characters)

Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draught @ San Diego Airport
As I was at the airport waiting on my flight back to Phoenix after two wonderful days of “Strong Ale”, and meeting up with a bunch of great “BA’s” and also meeting some great friends from “Ratebeer”, I truly needed something to get my arse up from around my ankles.

The beer as it sat in my $6.00 plastic cup at the airport was a translucent deep amber color with a rather thin off white head that was bubbly in texture, and the lace a micro thin sheet to not quite seal the glass. Nose was mostly malt with a hint of citrus, start sweet and nicely malted with the top light to middling in feel. Finish was stingingly acidic, the hops apropos to the style and the aftertaste dry and long lasting, a drinkable beer, but certainly nothing to get excited about. (797 characters)

Photo of Beeeeeerman
3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been drinking from this San Diego brewery for almost 20 years now. Great restaurant also. I still come here often but less often since Stone brewery opened. (163 characters)

Photo of Armand
3.03/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (516 characters)

Photo of TheMistler
3.03/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on draft at the San Diego airport... so my "pint glass" was plastic. Hey, I wanna support the local breweries whenever I can, and I still had a few minutes before my flight.

The beer settled to an brownish amber, opaque but a bit bright. Foamy just-barely-off-white head, clingy. A thin sheet consistently sticks around on top of the beer.

An indistinct malty sweet nose, maybe notes of toffee.

There is a sweet nuttiness to the taste, like glazed and roasted nuts. Hops moderate and crisp things up a tad. Grains left on the palate.

Drinkable. It didn't really stand out. (580 characters)

Photo of Foxtrot
3.03/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this with a mixed sixer

Poured a nice amber tan clear color with a little off white head and very little lacing around the rim.

Not alot of aromas, some caramel malt and a dash of hops.

Taste wasn't too bad, but it wasn't too good either. Good malt character with hints of caramel and toffee. Also had a earthy flavors, but nothing to comment about and a nice smooth finish.

Mouthfeel was typical of the style with good carbonation on the tongue. It didn't seem to have any carbonation when I poured the thing, took me by surprise.

Its a decent beer, not too bad and not too great. This would be a good beer for non BA's. (631 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.08/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (513 characters)

Photo of surfmeister
3.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very ho-hum brew IMHO, nice copper look but a weak head which dissipated quickly, smell was quite faint(although I did drink it in a restaurant, which impedes the nose), the taste profile was true to type but had a definite "watered down" taste and most noticably, mouthfeel, cannot stand head to head with SA, which unfortunately for Strauss is it's direct competitor. Easy guzzler on a hot day though. (405 characters)

Photo of popery
3.13/5  rDev -5.7%
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. (737 characters)

Photo of Redrover
3.15/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (418 characters)

Photo of mithrascruor
3.15/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (851 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.19/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (828 characters)

Photo of jeffthecheff
3.19/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (363 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.2/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (629 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.23/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (492 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
3.24/5  rDev -2.4%
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! (1,934 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
3.26/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (250 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.33/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (915 characters)

Photo of Dmann
3.36/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.37/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (674 characters)

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Karl Strauss Amber from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.