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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

360 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 360
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 13
Gots: 36 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 360 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Offa


3.1/5  rDev -11.9%

Lightly hazy red amber with medium Tan head soon thinning to ring and no lace.

Aroma is nice toasty whole wheat bread, barley with some fruity-piney floweriness and a clear butterscotch element.

Taste is sweet-spicy, definite toasty character, very light pepper-spicy bitterness with hint of citrus, and a faint hint of earth near the finish. It’s a bit boozy/alcoholic in character for the ABV and what appears to be intended as an easy going, session beer. All is a bit vague and somewhat flat in character, so, although decent with some character, it ends up being neither interesting nor particularly drinkable, being rather bland, flat and heavy for what it is. For my own reference, it’s slightly better than Napa Smith amber, but not much, being somewhat flatter and weaker in character but also being cleaner and less off-putting in aroma or the like.

04-27-2011 21:06:43 | More by Offa
Photo of Curtis


3.11/5  rDev -11.6%

Poured a beautiful clear reddish copper. Ungortunately, no head to speak of. No lacing, none, zilch. Aroma is malty, no hops. Mouthfeel is ok. Taste is seeet, malty, no hops, not bitter in the least. Little aftertaste. The whole thing is kind of bland. Other than the great color, this beer has little going for it.

12-12-2013 06:43:47 | More by Curtis
Photo of froghop


3.13/5  rDev -11.1%

pours a clear copper with a small light beige head, and good lacing.

smell is of sweet malt, some hops in back, and some caramel.

taste is of malt, caramel, a little sweetness, and a touch of spice.

overall drinkable if you are having only one, after that it becomes bland and tasteless.

01-10-2010 00:06:38 | More by froghop
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -11.1%

Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large mug.

A: The beer is a brownish red amber/caramel sort of color - expected out of an Irish Red. Head is 2 fingers offwhite to very light tan and has ok retention.

S: Caramel and toffee notes dominating. Light toasted character with fruity twinges underneath. Buttery note in there as well, which gets in the way a bit.

T: Very much a malt bomb - this seems much more like a doppelbock or something to me. Butterscotch and toffee up front. Toasted bread throughout as well as a touch of brown sugar. Some berry notes hidden way underneath. Not much hop character here. Super sweet and gets a bit cloying at times. On the plus side, very smooth.

This is a good beer in smaller doses, but is very sweet. Not too bad overall, but I don't think I'll pick this one up again.

02-14-2011 02:54:22 | More by BucBasil
Photo of DoubleJ


3.13/5  rDev -11.1%

Here's a Karl Strauss offering which you can find in a handful of bars here in Southern Califronia. Let's see...widesh distribution = better than their other offerings, right? So we find out. On to the beer:

It pours a medium amber color into my glass with a small head. The smell is sweet and fruity, almost like candied fruit. There's a trickle of malt in the nose too. Well, so far it's off to a good start. But good starts only last for so long. More sugary fruits in the taste without much balance from the hops, and the malt runs around on the palate. The beer is made to be sweet according to the bottle label, but it's a little cloying in my opinion. Worth a try.

01-17-2008 05:49:21 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of magictacosinus


3.13/5  rDev -11.1%

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Color is a slightly hearty reddish-amber, filled with mild carbonation and ascending bubbles that coat it with a decent 1-finger large head. This head descends down to next to nothing, leaving slight whitish streams of foam at the top after everything settles down. Eventually, not even a ring lasts, even with aggressive swirling. Looks a little murky overall, which is bizarre, as this relatively unfiltered in appearance.

The nose encounters huge cereal grainy notes at the front, followed by slight roasted rye aromas and lightly spiced malts. It smells like fresh, pure barley, which is undeniably soothing yet perhaps a bit distracting as it covers up everything else that should be going on this beer, such as any potential zestiness from the hops, or fruitiness from the yeast. No alcohol on the nose, yet no sweetness for that matter. Toasty, but limited.

The flavor is shock loaded with malted roasted barley flavors, followed with a hint of caramel notes and dried out hop zest. While not bad, it's not too complex and definitely the excessive graininess makes it out to be a tad too one-dimensional. Very, very biscuit-y in nature here. The body is slightly syrupy and sweet, and carbonated enough, but I couldn't imagine waiting for this to warm up, as it would probably get progressively thinned and the malty notes perhaps too oppressive in the long run.

I admit I had no idea this was supposed to be in an Irish red ale style - it definitely tasted like a less bittered up English bitter to me. For a SD beer, this is pretty mild on the hop side, but I unfortunately cannot vouch whether or not it's authentic to style, as I have little experience with Irish beer in general. This is definitely one of those for casual beer drinkers, and for the rest of us, there are definitely other amber ales that are more worthwhile to revisit.

01-31-2013 02:25:38 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of GbVDave


3.15/5  rDev -10.5%

Served in a pilsner glass at the Top of the Hyatt bar in San Diego.

A: Served a reddish light brown with a thin creamy layer of just off-white head on top. Retention was pretty good with small clusters of lace left behind.

S: Really had to strain to get much aroma out of this. It was pretty cold when first served so it began to release a tiny nose after it warmed. Caramel, toasty bread, lemon-y hops. Meh.

T: See above.

M: Enjoyable. Slick with a definite toasty dryness.

O: Really pretty boring. It's saviors are how it looks and how it feels. Pass.

01-08-2012 16:39:05 | More by GbVDave
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.15/5  rDev -10.5%

Poured from a tap into a 20-oz. pilsner glass at the San Diego Tap Room in the airport. Color was reddish brown. Had about ¾-inches of head. Slight lacing in the beginning, but more throughout.

Smelled malty with hints of caramel, but nothing too special.

Good first taste. Malty, red, somewhat nutty. Aftertaste was a bit more bitter.

It never really got better or even stayed as good as it started. Tastes wore out. Average carbonation.

Taste got old quicker than I hoped, but will give the benefit of the doubt for 24 ounces and the plastic cup. Mid-to-high carbonation.

I’m sure this would have been much better out of a pint glass or bottle, but sometimes you have to go with what you have. Will give it another try and check the ratings then.

08-11-2011 04:55:34 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of Durge


3.18/5  rDev -9.7%

Tried this one on tap at the Fish Market Restaurant in San Diego where it poured nice and cold, a dark brown, thick and hazy color with a fizzy whimpy off-white head that disappears with some minor lacing. The aroma suggests malty brown sugar and grassy wheat. The taste is consistent with the smell. Somewhat thin, with minor sweetness and a pretty forgetable wheat bitterness. Fairly drinkable and well carbonated for a refreshing feel, but not something you really feel compelled to drink many of in my opinion. Not the best of what I have tried from this brewer but not regrettable either.

10-12-2008 05:52:37 | More by Durge
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.23/5  rDev -8.2%

Pours ruby/copper with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows caramel, bready malt, faint cocoa and a misplaced doughy note.
Better flavours, with strong nutty, bready and caramel notes throughout, followed by a mild bitterness.
Body seems pretty watery. Too much carbonation.

06-19-2012 03:53:01 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -8.2%

Poured amber/copper into a 5oz sampling glass, with a finger of white head, and decent carbonation. Smelled overwhelmingly of malt, with some caramel, biscuit, and a tiny hint of chocolate. The taste however was very one-dimensionally geared toward maltiness, from start to finish, with a little bit of caramel sprinkled in. Full-bodied and nicely carbonated, but not a session beer for me.

01-29-2010 05:37:03 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of srandycarter


3.23/5  rDev -8.2%

A - Fairly clear brownish red, close to white, small head, leaves to ring fast. Some cling lace.

S - Not much there. Best I get get is earthy, dusty. Very light malt undercurrent.

T - Simple light red. Nice enough.

M - Good carb, light to med body, balance ok.

D- Nice sessionability. Easy enough to drink.

03-27-2011 20:16:33 | More by srandycarter
Photo of standardcherry


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

06-15-2012 18:38:58 | More by standardcherry
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

08-24-2013 03:52:39 | More by RBassSFHOPit2ME
Photo of seavercm


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

08-23-2013 13:14:25 | More by seavercm
Photo of Booner818


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

11-17-2013 21:47:05 | More by Booner818
Photo of Beerbuddy21


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

03-17-2014 00:37:49 | More by Beerbuddy21
Photo of BWH999


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

01-04-2014 06:41:13 | More by BWH999
Photo of wolf_switzer


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

06-19-2014 08:01:38 | More by wolf_switzer
Photo of Modernrickk


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

07-07-2014 14:25:35 | More by Modernrickk
Photo of Braz


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

04-24-2013 19:06:56 | More by Braz
Photo of chadski


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

11-11-2013 22:16:57 | More by chadski
Photo of jesus808


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

02-14-2013 07:58:37 | More by jesus808
Photo of ralphw56


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

12-04-2012 00:18:25 | More by ralphw56
Photo of jklecko2


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

11-22-2013 23:14:51 | More by jklecko2
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.