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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

132 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 481
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 28.65%
Wants: 21
Gots: 106 | 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.
View: Beers (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 132 | Hads: 481
Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong head forming beer. A clear red colored beer that is nearing the color of brown. Tall tan colored head that you could almost call light brown.

The smell is sweet and decidedly herbal smelling. A little malty and a little woody smelling there isn't much C type hops in the scent.

The taste starts out malty and bready in the mouth with a buttery aftertaste. A little woody and malty this is very much what you are talking about when you say "middle of the road ale." Mild bitterness in the aftertaste but not very bitter certainly easy to drink.

The mouthfeel is OK.

Super easy on the taste buds ale. Nothing is particularly outstanding here this is simply a mild all purpose ale that just wants to be a beer. Pretty much this would work with just about any meal.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Karl Strauss

A: Reddish amber with a small beige head.

S: Aromatic toffee and caramel with a firm and insistent bready malt presence. I get some earth and a little prune.

T: Rich caramel malt accompanies baked bread and biscuit. The beer brings raisin to mind and maybe a touch of prune. Bitterness is low.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A pretty nice Irish Red Ale.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.9/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at an airport bar in LAX. Poured a medium amber color with some red tint. Medium head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. A medium bodied amber. Malts are nutty and a touch sweet. Hops are slightly spicy. There is a slightly harsh feel to the taste in this beer. Kind of a typical amber. Drinkable, but typical. Not very complex at all.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light red, standard clarity, 1/2" head on it, white in color. Aroma was uneventful.

Taste, a little bit of caramel, toffee, sweet and bready. Not really any bitterness or hops to speak of here. Relatively light on the palate. For a second, I thought I should be giving this beer a higher rating, it doesn't do anything poorly, it is true to style, but its just so run of the mill for me, but I realize that's how I feel about most red ales. Just one of those, don't hate it, don't love it.

Its a beer that has a place in the world, but its not exactly teeming with flavor country either.

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Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at a random bar in Mission Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with a good dose of caramel malt sweetness. As the beer warms hints of milk chocolate aromas waft out as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Grainy caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Midway through the sip the flavor sweetens a bit, allowing milk chocolate flavors to work their way out. Very mild amounts of leafy hops enter into things before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I wasn't a huge fan of this beer but it's certainly not a terrible decision if this is your best option. Not worth seeking out but also not worth avoiding.

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Photo of ccrida
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearence is rich mahogeny with a small off-white collar leaving very light lace.

Smell isvery sweet malt, carmel, some gingerbread.

Taste is also real sweet and malty, but there is a husky bite too it as well, a touch metallic.

Mouthfeel is off dry and sharp.

Drinkability is ok if you like a really sweet, malty ale. I'd not have a 2nd if it wasn't the only craft brew in the san diego airport where I have a painful 4 hour layover. I was really hoping for some good IPA!

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Photo of Durge
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from tjensen3618, gracias! Pours a brilliantly clear light copper color with a loud and fizzy cap of light tan foam. Fades rapidly and leaves a hint of lace.

To say the nose is malty would be an understatement. Caramel, toffee and even some chocolate come through big. Buttered popcorn and peanut butter crackers also make an appearance.

Taste is malty sweet and not a whole lot else...caramel being the most prevalent. Some toast and some more of that mild chocolate/peanut butter is there in the background, kind of like mexican mole sauce. This brew is incredibly easy to drink, but not overly interesting...although I cant deny a quick malt bomb fix is nice every now and again.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on draught at the Uva Cafe in Downtown Disney, after pretty much giving up on finding any decent beer in the Disney parks. Pretty amber color with a medium beige head. Nice malty aroma balanced with a faint whiff of hops. Flavor is nicely balanced sweet malt and hops with a light hoppy finish. Worth seeking out if you are at Disney and are sick of only finding Bud.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Dated 1774. Too lazy to do the Julian conversion right now. But clearly halfway through the year. Poured into a stemless glass 12/15/14.

A- Dark, slightly hazy, caramel-red body, half finger white head that retains decently well. No lacing. Thin collar persists throughout.

S- This beer is very malty, but in a decent way. Straight up toffee and tapioca, kind of like a hoppy tootsie roll. A bit of earth and floral hop notes. Really not my thing, but certainly there are no off-flavours here.

F- Lots of toffee and tapioca, more of the tapioca here. Mild earthy bitterness on the finish. Not complex or interesting, but again, nothing that is "bad" about it.

M- Medium bodied, crisp and leaves a earthy sting to the palate on the finish. Decent beer, drinkable.

O- Nothing special about this beer; it's constructed well enough but it tastes quite malty and to be honest, it's quite boring.

Final score: 3.08

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of head on a clear dark colored body.
The aroma is rich with caramel malt notes. Pretty good.
The taste is toffee sweetness with a touch of bitterness to balance it out.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It's a nice and malty ale.

 259 characters

Photo of ADZA
3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi see through copper hue which leaves a fast vanishing two finger head and a rim of lacing,the smell is raisins,toffee,caramel and fruit cake very malt orientated which you expect for the style and the mouthfeel is light bodied and a little light for me with tastes of caramel candy,toffee malts,raisin bread,fruit cake and finished with a butterscotch swseetness and overall it doesnt look the greatest but isnt the worst Irish Red out there and if fresher could be something i try again.

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Photo of hopdog
2.58/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint on tap inside Disneyland.

Poured a deeper amber color with a small sized off white head. I had this side x side with a pint of their Oktoberfest, and honestly, other than this being a little deeper in color, I would have a hard time telling the difference. Some caramel, toastiness, and some light citrus.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: More of an amber color than red with a tan head that holds up pretty well.

S: Some caramel malts and a slight hint of faded hops.

T: Similar to the smell. A little caramel malt sweetness followed by a faded hop flavor. As the beer warms, the malts stand out a bit more and take on a more bready character. It's one of the better Karl Strauss beers I've had, but still not great.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of harrymel
3.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to jbtice0315 for the extra.
Poured to SA sig glass.

A: single finger peanut head falls quickly and reveals a red ale. Very standard look. No visual evidence of carbonation.

S: Malts, biscuits, slight creamy dryness I like in ESB's in there. Light, earthy hop characters.

T: This tastes like a Irish Red. Good example. malty, with earthy hops.

M: Medium body, nearly flat. Just as I would expect.

D: Drinkable, simple. Not the best, but standard.

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Photo of flexabull
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
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...

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.27/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I sampled this brew on draft at kilt lifter bar near Petco Park.
Arrived in a 20 oz pint glass. The beer is a rich mahogany hue with some garnet highlights. No head whatsoever.
Aroma is all malt with caramel, toffee and some grainy malt. I don't get any hops and I find the nose to be just a bit too sweet.
First sip reveals an average body with gentle rolling carboantion. Texture is a bit sticky and leaves some residue on my lips.
Flavor is rich malt toffee and some grain again not really any hop profile.

The beer is very straightforward malty brew and easy to drink. Good when out with friends if you'll not really wanting to think too much about your beer. But could be more interesting with a little more hop balance.

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Photo of GbVDave
3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of Floydster
3.04/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint from Chili's Restaraunt in Manhattan Beach

Poured was a golden brown with an inch thick white head

Smell was lots of yeast

Taste was crisp and smooth, full of hops

More like an APA than an amber to me

This brewery's beer all has the same hoppy aftertaste to it, cannot figure it out

Could drink good amount of this brew

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Photo of rawfish
2.56/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark amber, rusty colored under the light, mild chill haze. One finger high head of tight off white bubbles. Average retention with many solid lines of lacing. Kinda attractive for a session beer.

Caramel malts with a slight bit of dark berries, very dank and musty hop aroma. Little bit on honey and toasted almond on the finish.

Very raw and grainy malt bill, some mixed nuts and caramel in the flavor. Notes of burnt sugar and subtle fall fruits. Hops don't really push back any as they are small and dank, shriveled up with some pine and lettuce leaves. Husky grains and raw bread dough finish off the drink and really accelerates on the finish.

Well carbonated with an average body. Drying that accentuates the awful grainy taste in the finishing malt.

This beer is everywhere in SD but I don't see how it's gotten so popular or how it deserves a gold medal of any kind. Flavorful malt bill and sessionable but an absolute adjunct and raw mess on the finish, you need to keep quaffing this thing to keep the aftertaste out of your mouth. Karl's seasonal offerings and one shots are so much better, I'll pass on this.

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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.