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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

131 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 131
Hads: 470
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 14.7%
Wants: 21
Gots: 98 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 131 | Hads: 470
Photo of BMMillsy
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bad a bottle at our hotel in San Diego. Pours a bright deep red, clear, with very small white head. Aroma of cherries, caramel, sweet sugars, plums, some other fruits. Flavor follows with big sweet cherries and fruits, sweet sweet caramel. Body is medium, with low medium carbonation, and extremely smooth going down. Nice sweet finish lingers on the palate. Thought this was a really good beer and went down incredibly easy. On the sweet side for the style but very pleasant. (476 characters)

Photo of WallyBoag
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Disneylnad's California park this was a very attractive looking beer with a darker color and a smallish head. Laced pretty well. Smell was a very enjoyable sweet and tangy blend. Easy to drink. The taste could have used a little bit of improvement. It didn't taste bad, but at the same time there really wasn't too much to remember it buy. If only it tasted as good as it looked and smelled, this would be a truly great beer! (436 characters)

Photo of OleJohnnieAle
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Kansas City BBQ in San Diego

A: Nice rich amber red color, minimal head that left thin lacing behind.

S: Malts with a biscuit note, nice sweet caramel notes.

T: Nice malts up front with some sweetness coming through from the caramel and toffee.

M: Medium body, minimal carbonation. Well balanced.

O: Nice red, well balanced, nothing too special but a drinkable good showing of a irish red. (409 characters)

Photo of Decko
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice deep copper clear colour in the glass. Head disappeared pretty quickly and then no lacing. Good carbonation and slightly sweet and caramel like in the mouth. Very drinkable with a palatable level of sweetness and I found a slight drying finish like iced tea. No strong flavours but I found this to be a good ale that went down very easily and left me wanting another one straight away. I'd buy this one again but will probably buy a couple of other red ales to do a comparison. (482 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having tried a couple of Karl Strauss special release brews in California, I thought I'd check out some of their regular range that are now making their way to Australia. Purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.

Pours a lovely deep, slightly bronzed red colour, which matches the colour on the label rather nicely. Head forms a solid fine crest of beige, and settles out to a decent persistent ring. Carbonation is fine, and there's some weight behind the body. It's nice.

Nose is quite grainy, with a thin toffee sweetness backing it up. Some leafy-sweet and slightly earthy hops behind it, especially when the beer is swirled, and a marmalade sweet-citrus note. I'm actually liking it more as it goes along, and it makes a pleasant departure from the hopped up red I was expecting.

Taste is similarly less hoppy than expected, with more grainy notes and a light body. But there's subtle complexities here. The grain has a wholesome character to it, digestive biscuits and whole grains, mingling with some marzipan, a little honeyed sweetness and some pleasantly biting ester characters on the back: it might just be the hint of extra booze, but it provides a bit of a cut on the finish which is nice.

Feel is light, but solid enough.

Overall, this is pretty drinkable stuff. Once I got over the lack of hops, and realised that this was a very determined choice, it was clear that this was a pretty well-crafted brew. Though the flavours might be subtle, they're there to be explored. I enjoyed it. (1,506 characters)

Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first started drinking Red Trolley in college and at the time viewed it as a solid alternative to the MGD's and Coors Lights. Today it's not one of my favorites but it was definitely a solid gateway beer into more interesting craft styles. I saw over the weekend that it won a gold at GABF and then heard it also took at gold at the WBC earlier this year- for that, I figured it was time to give it another try and write a review.

A: Dark copper/rust with good clarity and decent head

S: Big caramel, burnt sugar, and toffee malt aroma with undertones of dark fruity esters.

T: Chewy caramel malts flavors with a very sweet fruity character. Minimal and I mean MINIMAL hop character - no noticeable off flavors.

M: Medium-full on body, lots of residual sugars that boarder on cloying. Still, very drinkable.

D: Red Trolley is and always has been what it is. A malty red ale with lots of flavor. While I prefer a dryer and hoppier beer, RT is solid for the style and definitely a favorite for those that don't like bitter beers. ( i.e most broads.) (1,058 characters)

Photo of HopfenUndMalz2015
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good solid Irish Red Ale. Nothing in this beer is going to blow your mind, but, sometimes a nice carmel and malty Red Ale is perfect with dinner at the brewery. (160 characters)

Photo of Psilo707
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to review Red Trolley officially since it has been one of my favorite and most consistent San Diego brews since I have moved here.

It pours a deep crimson color into the mug and leaves an intricate lacing along the sides as it dissipates down. The scent is one of cocoa and butter, and doesn't let up on the nose even minutes after taking a whiff. The taste is extremely chocolately for a red ale and the aftertaste of piney nuts and almonds shines through.

Mouthfeel is creamy but the prolonged taste when sitting in the mouth leaves a bit to be desired. Drinkability is high and is possibly one of the highest ratings of any Red Ale i've ever had.

Overall, Red Trolley is a fine example of what the microbreweries of San Diego have to offer! (761 characters)

Photo of T100Mark
3.79/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Nice copper color. Amazing clarity. Big tan hear that fades quickly. Minimal stickage. A fine looking brew.

Smell - Faint malt nose. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Not overwhelming.

Taste - Malty. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Walnuts? The hops are almost nonexistent.

Mouth - Syrupy.

Overall - A malty, sweet, smooth amber ale with just a touch of nuttiness. Simple and honest. I appreciate the fact that this beer is a a true amber ale (so many California amber ales are loaded with hops). Your Coors Light chugging buddies might be able to appreciate this beer. (645 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the hotel in S.D., reviewed on the lobby wireless hook up, ah technology...
A - Pours a rich shade of medium mahogony, clear, with an eggshell head, show retentive powers and leaving nice ringed and scattered lacing.
S - malty goodness.
T - This is tasty, malty brew, light on the hops, but some are preent in the rear and the finish, notes of honey, caramel, wafer cookies
M - Smooth , medium bodied, easy and pleasant on the tastebuds.
D - This is not my favorite style, kind of dull, especially after a week of seeking out and consuming SD style 2xIPA hop bombs, this is a pleasant, drinkable brew, nothing more, nothing else. (644 characters)

Photo of readbaron
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear burnt red/orange with plentiful off white head that fades into a tiny ring. No lacing.

Smells strongly of malts - biscuits/cereal, with a ton of caramel sweetness and some faint hops and decent spice (cloves?)

Tastes a lot like it smells - tons of strong malty flavors, lots of sweetness and a bit of hops and spice on the finish. Pleasant aftertaste.

Feel is thin and prickly.

Overall - very good. Not sure it tastes like an ale, but I'm a fan of this one. (477 characters)

Photo of treehugginslug
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

FIRST REVIEW

A - Nice amber color

S - Smell was very attractive. Nice malted caramel, Really liked the smell.

T - Taste was similar to smell, not much on hops.

M - Mouth was very weak. Not a lot of carbonation and flavor had too much caramel, but there was something I really liked about it. Similar to a stout.

D - Drinkability is high.

Whould I buy it again: Yes
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Absolutely
Overall: Very Good

SECOND REVIEW

A - Nice amber color

S - Smell is nice, but similar to package malt extract.

T - Taste was way too sweet. Not enough hops to balance out the malt. Thought there was a little too much acidic taste to it.

M - Weak, not a lot of carbonation.

D - This time I had a 22 oz. and couldn't drink anyomore.

Whould I buy it again: No
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes, but just to try.
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Maybe
Overall: Fair, but not going to be added to my rotation. (995 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The color is a ruddy mixture of crimson and copper, similar to rooibos tea. Minimal head formation/retention. Aromatics are rich but fleeting and are not notably different than the flavors on the palate. The caramelized malts come through with a persistent toasty/nutty presence. This is balanced by a unique flavor that is difficult to identify (candy / dates / figs?) but is quite pleasant. Karl Strauss attributes this quality to the warm fermentation process. While not a malt-heavy beer, the yeast seems to be doing more of the balancing work than the hops. A slightly drying finish that leads you back for another sip.

While not as powerful in comparison to other seasonal red ales (e.g. Santa's Private Reserve Ale brewed by Rogue Ales), Red Trolley Ale deserves praise for its drinkability. It almost seems like in a failed attempt at crafting a winter-warmer Karl Strauss lucked on to something with more universal appeal. (978 characters)

Photo of Tonedef
3.74/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is red as expected the smell has a nice malty sweetness to it a little toffee and a sugary smell...taste is the same..
Malty and smooth, no surprise going on in this beer it is what it is..a solid red ale that on occasion I'm in the mood for and enjoy when I want something other then a hop bomb.. (308 characters)

Photo of StArnoldFest2010
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Medium carbonation and dime head that dissapers quickly. Amber color
N: Roasted malt & barley with light yeast smell
T: This is what a red ale should taste like. Caramel malt and barley blended with nutty & slightly sweet aftertaste
M: Surprisingly thin compared to the taste. From the taste, you'd expect a medium thick palate coating residual effect, but it goes down pretty easy. Price wise, if I saw 22oz bottles for $3.99 or 12oz 6 packs for $8.49, I'd pick some up from time to time. (492 characters)

Photo of itfitz
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

With hints of resin, herbs, caramel, cereal, nuts, and roasty undertones, this easily-consumed beer has lively carbonation which gives it a light, pleasant finish.

When poured, it has a great-looking red hue which doesn't really prepare you for the hoppy overnotes.

Served cold and fresh, Red Trolley Ale works well as a session beer. (337 characters)

Photo of Jemonster
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Caramel red color with large bubble carbonation. No head.

S: Root beer barrel candy, malt, and butter.

T: Root beer candy and malt dominate. There is some vanilla also. Almost too sweet.

M: A little too carbonated for me. The sweetness makes it almost slimy.

D: Not bad overall, I like it and it goes well with food. A not too challenging, smooth, and easy drinking beer. (378 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed amber color with a decent head.

Smells malty, bready, tea like, and a little caramel too.

Taste is clean and crisp. Mostly malts up front, caramel sweetness, crisp nutty breads, and some brewed tea. Finish has that crispness, with some mineral like hops.

Mouthfeel is ok, a touch thin, with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is a pretty solid amber ale. Definitely malt forward, but that's certainly not a bad thing. After this one, I think I'll have another... (508 characters)

Photo of jpa01
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a dark red and amber looking beer, thinly foamed at the top.

Smell: It has a pleasant grainy, toffe-like aroma.

Taste: It has a malty, caramel taste with a mild bit of sweetness and fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: It feels like a medium-bodied beer, having moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: It seems sightly watered down, but is fairly smooth and easy to drink with or without food.

Overall: I'd say it's a solid red ale. (437 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear amber, small head, that goes quickly to a nice lacing.
Smell of caramel, apple pie, bit of toffee, not bad.
Taste starts with big tasty carameland some toffee, mixed malt mash (a bit biscuity) and a mild nuttiness. Fruitiness also, with a bit of red apple and pear acidity, and a touch of dried figs and raisin. Some woody spices, pinch of vanilla, pinch of butterscotch. Hop presence in the finish, a tiny bit "green", not on the same level with the rest of the brew, but faint enough not to disturb.
Medium body, a bit buttery, medium carbonation. Not as creamy as the usual red ales of Albion, but ok.
More than decent, enjoyable, packs almost enough flavor, but lacks any interesting characteristics. (716 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear copper with golden highlights. A medium sized tan head settled quickly to a ring that barely leaves some lacing.

Smells of toasted malts, a note of burnt sugar, musty.

Taste is a big bigger, toasted malts, a hint of chocolate and hint of vanilla sweet on the finish.

Smooth and drinkable, but thin, with a medium dry finish.

It's ok, but needs a little more hop to balance it out.

DOA (401 characters)

Photo of Aiptasia
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is getting panned a lot as a "meh" beer, but when I was at a convention last week at the SD convention center, it was a welcome alternative to BMC beers. I didn't pour it into glass, but it appeared to be clean inside of the bottle with a nice neck head. It smelled of citrus hops, biscuit malt and nuttiness. Similar taste, with a great malt nutty backbone and finished dry. Average carbonation and drinkability, makes a great summer beer when you're looking for just a little depth in your beer.

Overall, it's a solid beer. It's inexpensive and worth drinking. (573 characters)

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this last week at the Dodgers game and wanted to try it in a real glass (not a plastic cup). I didn't trust my taste buds or nose at the stadium; it was a lot more chocolately than your average amber.

Appearance: Poured a clear, beautiful deep copper with a tint of orange. A half finger of head developed on my first glass due to drinker's error, but my second glass produced a finger and a half of tan foam that reduced to a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: My first impression was of chocolate. Maybe my review at the stadium wasn't so bad after all. It's a little surprising from an amber. There is also a very deep and rich caramel aroma. Reminds me of a caramel filled piece of chocolate from a heart shaped box. As it warms a scent of plumbs and bread dough enters.

Taste: The chocolate is subdued and overtaken by hops, which are well-balanced with the malts. There is a plumb quality that blends perfectly with the caramel notes. There is a slight citrus flavor of sour grapefruit, but it is very subtle.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable brew, even at a baseball game in a plastic cup. (1,127 characters)

Photo of joshstillskates
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is very drinkable, not very bitter, but not too weak. To me, it actually has a very distinct malty flavor and leaves behind a sweet aftertaste. I randomly selected this brew and honestly, I wasn't the least disappointed. My only criticism is, I could use a bit more carbonation. All in all, will drink again. (318 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

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 significant caramel sweetness as well. Simple, pleasant enough, and very bready.

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

Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

An extremely bready red ale, and flavorful enough per the style. (481 characters)

Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.