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Columbia Street Amber | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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Columbia Street AmberColumbia Street Amber
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
karlstrauss.com

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Karl Strauss Amber

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-26-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
68
Ratings:
188
Avg:
3.31
pDev:
15.41%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
26
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 188
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.

 363 characters

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

 306 characters

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!

Cheers!

 436 characters

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.

 718 characters

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.

 362 characters

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

 775 characters

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.

 372 characters

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.

 258 characters

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.

 300 characters

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.

 915 characters

Photo of cmaloy
2.86/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - The beer had a nice amber/orange look to it. The head didn't last.

Aroma - What shocked me the most for this beer was there was not much to say about the aroma. It had a very slight slight buttery toffee smell, but nothing to brag about here.

Taste - It had a malty sweetness with some floral hoppy bitterness. Almost no aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very easy to drink. The carbonation was a bit high for me I felt like I was filling up on air. Even despite the CO2 I enjoyed the smoothness and easiness of this beer.

Drinkability- I liked the beer. It was an average beer but easily one I could drink a lot of.

 623 characters

Photo of teejay76
3.77/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Golden honey amber color.

Smell - Sweet hops smell.

Taste - I'm not one who typically likes sweet beers but this one might change my mind.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth but finishes slightly heavier than the start.

Drinkability - Again, normally not a sweet fan but this had such a great taste. It also helps that this was custom served in a gallon jug and the two of us finished it off in one night. It was nice.

I would recommend this to friends and I'd drink this again.

 487 characters

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

Huge creamy head with amazingly consistent bubble size. Head dissipates quickly.

Floral aroma, some prune aroma? Dark fruit aroma. Caramel for sure. Slight hop aroma.

Brillant orange color.

Slight bitter finish, very little, if any? aftertaste.

Slight sweetness kick in the beginning, followed by light mouthfeel and a medium carbonation.

A tasty lager that won't wow you with flavor but will be a hit with most palates. Can I order a pitcher?

 449 characters

Photo of Foxtrot
3.03/5  rDev -8.5%
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 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.

 351 characters

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.

 398 characters

Photo of dippy
2.53/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Also tried at LAX.

Golden color with a slim white head. Head left quickly.

Not much scent. Maybe I was stuffed up, but nothing really came through.

Tasted like puffed rice cereal. This is the second beer of theirs that I have equated to cereal. makes me think that Seinfeld is running the brewery. It was fairly sweet as well.

Medium carbonation. A decent session beer, but not true to style.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.66/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at LAX. I don't think this is really an American amber, it tastes to me more like a Vienna lager -- like a thinner Sam Adams with more diacetyl (sweet butteriness).

Poured into a weizen glass -- clear, amber color with a thin white head that quickly fades to a ring. Spots of retention, but they don't last long. Smells too sweet, with caramel malt dominating. Tastes better, with a touch of hop spice and dark bready flavors. The finish is dominated by the diacetyl, which I think is okay for the style, but it's not syrupy like most beers with high diacetyl. The lagering leaves it fairly light bodied for its malty flavor. I think this is one of the most sessionable malty beers I've had of late, and if I lived out here, I could see buying a sixer of this for some sweet summertime suds.

 799 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
2.97/5  rDev -10.3%
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 TheMistler
3.03/5  rDev -8.5%
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 barleywinefiend
2.6/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a medium gold color, small white foamy head. Looked more like an IPA or Pale. 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.

 292 characters

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.

 867 characters

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.

 418 characters

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Columbia Street Amber from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.31 out of 5 based on 188 ratings.
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