Karl Strauss Off The Rails Review

Karl Strauss Brewing Company Off The Rails

Doubling beer recipes is becoming a real trend in the craft beer world but in the case of Karl Strauss’s Off The Rails (a double version of Red Trolley), it’s a welcome addition to an already stellar lineup of beers. Off the Rails is an Imperial Red by style, which means a lot of malt (more malt = more sugar for the yeast = more alcohol) and a double IPA’s worth of hops.

Originally meant to be a one-off seasonal release last May, they’ve since begun bottling it again and it can usually be found at their restaurants or at a good bottle shop. This specific bottle was from that release but I didn’t drink until about two months after it was bottled so that’s something to keep in mind while reading the review (hoppy beers tend to lose their bitterness over time).

Look: Dark red with an off white head. Lots of legs that stick to the side of the glass reminding you that this is NOT  a session beer (8.5% abv).

Smell: Malty caramel aroma without much hop presence but it has been sitting around for a couple of months. Any hop aroma there isn’t the fruity type either but instead is really earthy.

Taste: Roasty with loads of caramel and toffee. Real soul warming flavors that make you feel like you’re around a fire with family during the holidays. It’s definitely on the sweeter side which mellows out any heat from the ABV and makes this high gravity beer really smooth. After a few seconds the earthiness comes through from the Willamette hops and really rounds out the flavor.

Feel: The light carbonation typical of these bigger beers gives it a thick lingering mouthfeel that lets you really taste the roasty/burnt caramel and toffee flavors. It also allows those flavors to meld and evolve on the palate as it sticks around making for a really full flavor.

Overall, this is a great beer and I’m glad they’ve started bottling it again. Off The Rails is going to be amazing as the days get darker and the weather gets cooler (which arguably doesn’t really happen here in Southern California). It should also be a perfect companion to Karl Strauss’s other tasty holiday release, Two Tortugas Belgian Quad.

Cheers and enjoy craft beer!

– Philippe

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Leave a comment