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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

301 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 301
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 15.23%


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)
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Ratings: 301 | Reviews: 116 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.13/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Australia

3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice clear caramel ruby red tone without a head, just a ring with some very short lived lacing.

S - Fruity and sweet, toffee and a hint of booze, quite a British aroma.

T - Raspberry, toffee, grainy malts. Mild and tasty.

M - Moderately carbonated, dry and light in body.

O - Not a bad beer this one. Nice accompaniment to a winter meal.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 10:52:20 | More by dansmcd
Photo of BucBasil
BucBasil

South Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 08:26:14 | More by rawfish
Photo of donniecuffs
donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 18 February 2002. I am writing this review form my notes. Boring. There is nothing outstanding or bad about this beer. Like all Karl Strauss offerings, in my opinion, it is sufficiently benign not to offend the mass market. There are many better beers available

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 18:44:23 | More by jcalabre
Photo of TheQuietMan22
TheQuietMan22

Iowa

3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 07:33:59 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of malcontent
malcontent

Illinois

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, bright amber body with a decent finger of head. Retention is OK and the resulting lacing is competent.

Musty, almost mealy aroma. Hints of sweetness peek through occasionally.

Ugh. Flavors are all over the place. Plastic-like aftertaste surfaces after a rather flat malt body.

A tad slick on the finish although the body is thick enough to be passable. Reading other reviews of this beer I'm wondering if my bottle wasn't a bit off. Still, in a beer landscape with a glut of amber ales I'd like to see brewers a) do something more interesting with the style or b) refrain from including it in their roster altogether.

Thanks to HoppyBen for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2007 13:24:31 | More by malcontent
Photo of csmiley
csmiley

Ohio

3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a crystal clear amber with a thin tan head. Looks like this is going to refreshing. Head fades after a few minutes leaving behind a moderate dosing of lace.

S - The nose is mild overall. Caramel is mostly what comes through. Some raw bread dough quickly follows. Alcohol is barely noticeable at the end.

T - The flavor doesn't quite follow the aroma which is somewhat of a relief. Starts out with some sweet bread followed by a cracker flavor. Caramel comes and goes throughout but stays mild overall. Alcohol is very hard to pick up.

M - Light bodied with just enough carbonation to pull it through. Finish is sweet and doesn't hang on for very long. Very smooth.

D - Drinkability is good. The smoothness really helps out alot. This one comes across as a run of the mill amber for the most part. Not bad but not too remarkable either.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2009 13:23:08 | More by csmiley
Photo of SmashPants
SmashPants

Australia

3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: decent 355mL brown bottle. Nicely styled label - kind of old-school cute.

Appearance: quite a nice dark mahogany colour. Unfortunately the head never really comes to more than a half-finger, and dissolves to a thin film with no lacing.

Aroma: a fair amount of sweetness from caramel and toffee malts - not a lot of hops coming through.

Taste: the caramel and toffee malts are accompanied by some nut flavours, and a pinch of berries or underripe fruits. An odd - and to be honest, quite awkward - doughy quality on the undertone does nothing for this ale.

Aftertaste: fortunately the awkwardness disappears, to be replaced solely by the lovely caramel and fruits flavours.

Mouth feel: medium body, and a fairly low carbonation. I would say it is quite sessional other than that awful doughy quality that makes you almost have to pinch your nose if you want to down it.

Overall: really not a brilliant beer. If you want a good caramel-malt-and-nut-based beer, try James Squire's Amber Ale. Much better built, and cheaper by the case.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 23:56:36 | More by SmashPants
Photo of BrewerB
BrewerB

Florida

4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring into a small Firestone Walker nonic pint glass. Clear copper body with a large off-white foam that collapsed down thin. Excellent retention.

Sweet caramel maltiness, wintergreen mint. Milk chocolate. Orange marmalade.

Medium-toasted malts up front. Earthy/herbal. Touch of caramel sweetness. Medium bitter. Finishing medium malty sweet.

Medium-light in body with a soft carbonation.

Easy-drinking beer with a malt-focused flavor. Light caramel sweetness and hints of mint and chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2011 22:39:10 | More by BrewerB
Photo of Drinkerofales
Drinkerofales

California

3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 21:47:41 | More by Drinkerofales
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent offering from Karl Strauss and will definantly appeal to the MaltHeads out there. The beer poures a deep amber/red color with a nice frothy white head that left nice lace down my glass. The smell was interesting and made up of a very light doppelbock type scent. The taste was nothing as intriguing as the scent, but quite plesent. The beer had a nice malt flavor to it and was quite sweet with a definant caramel aftertaste. Like I said, lovers of malt will go for this beer but the taste is a little too one dimentonal for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2004 10:51:52 | More by Dmann
Photo of SteveO1231
SteveO1231

Connecticut

3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one was ok.

Got one on tap, served too cold.

Looked pretty good.
Poured a deep red color, no head, moderate carbonation.

This one was rather smooth but uneventfull on the old palate. Nothing to rave about here. If your at a Karl Strauss resteraunt check it out. One of Karl's better beers.

Drinkable, pretty smooth, a little too sweet.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2005 07:10:33 | More by SteveO1231
Photo of MadCat
MadCat

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

Appearance: Beautiful amber red color, very clear, good white head

Smell: Caramel and fruit on the nose

Taste: Caramel, fruit, biscuity malts Good flavor for the style

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, good carbonation

Overall: A good example of the style, and good mainstay at Karl Strauss, but not the most exciting beer. Still, no complaints

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2013 02:35:20 | More by MadCat
Photo of oggg
oggg

California

3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a 6 beer sampler

Seemingly yet another amber ale. Same amber color. Minimal head due to sample size. Nice spicy and fruity aroma, quite surprising. Taste was mostly hop bitterness with some spiciness and generic fruit. Not too impressive. Low on malt character. Medium body. Tasted against the Del Marzen lager, you can clearly tell this is an ale that isn't perfectly clean, but has some character to it.

---
2/3/05 at Outback
I'll stick with my previous rating. This beer has a good amount of biscuity malt, so this is a big big step up from macroswill. Hop bite is mild, and there's a decent amount of fruitiness between the hops and esters -- sweet raisins....

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2004 05:47:55 | More by oggg
Photo of Eriktheipaman
Eriktheipaman

California

4.6/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a red/ amber color but only about half a finger head. I think partially because it wasnt that aggresive of a pour and the beer was very cold.

Smells of chocolate, carmel, and raisins.

The taste is very light going in, slight carmel in the middle, and an amazingggg fresh warm toffee on the finish.

I've always loved this beer and am suprised to see it only have a B. It is the perfect winter beer in my eyes.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2010 04:28:13 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner

Missouri

3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber to reddish in color. A light bit of white foam covers a small bit of the top of the beer. Light aroma of caramel and amber malt. There's a taste of amber malt with very little play from the hops. There's not much in the fade. The body is a bit light for my taste.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2014 01:07:49 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of Klym
Klym

California

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Stone nonic.

A: Pours a dark amber with a plentiful white head that leaves porous but otherwise killer lacing. Not bad lookin'.

S: Malt bomb with grain and wheat notes. Smells like a mediocre lager.

T: The nose. Grain, malts, wheat, mediocrity.

M: Despite the head there's very little carbonation in the body. Pretty watery. Not pleasant but I've had worse.

O: Karl Strauss somehow has the place in my mind of a brewery that makes macro beers but holds the self-image of a microbrewery. They've been digging me out of this perception with some beers, such as Parrot In a Palm Tree which was actually a very superior brew, or their most recent anniversary stout which had some flare. With their classic selections like Red Trolley Ale, though, there's just not much room for anything other than boredom and disappointment. I'm not sure I've ever had an Irisih Red Ale so I can't make much of an in-style comparison but I can tell you I'd probably take some generic lagers over this. Unless you're new to craft beer and want to make baby steps from coors light, I'd avoid this.

As a final note, I hope the people at Karl Strauss keep taking risks as they have been trying to recently. They've been creative before, they just have to keep trying. I look forward to future efforts from them but I won't bother trying their classic selection anymore.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 03:47:57 | More by Klym
Photo of kflorence
kflorence

California

3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Imported from my ratebeer.com profile - JUN 14, 2007

While it doesn’t blow me away, it is highly drinkable, has a great red-like amber color and smells of toasty hops with a tiny hint of vanilla/caramel. I think it’s one of the better Strauss beers, but it’s not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 06:17:33 | More by kflorence
Photo of Douglas14
Douglas14

California

3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Has a deep tawny/copper color with a nice beige head. The aroma is heavily of roasted malt, toffee, and caramel. The taste is of caramel and some dark fruits...like raisins or dates. Pretty sweet...wish it were hoppier. It has a medium body and finishes pretty smooth and sweet.

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2008 16:21:47 | More by Douglas14
Photo of rinhaak
rinhaak

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at LAX.

Pours a slightly pale red copper. A good-sized head that left behind a mild lace.

Not a very interesting nose, with aromas of mild rust, copper, and bubblegum.

Very light in body, though a tad syrupy.

Mild flavors, the beer has a fruity character with a hints of the rustiness I expect in an Irish Red. No finish to speak of, nearly no bitterness, it's pretty simple and one-dimensional.

Overall, I was quite disappointed. I've had both their Tower 10 IPA and Full Suit Brown, and was very impressed with both. This really wasn't up to that standard and was really rather ordinary. Not worth having.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2011 03:17:07 | More by rinhaak
Photo of JayTheFinn
JayTheFinn

California

4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was lucky enough to have this one at the Santa Barbara beer festival.

A - Slightly reddish brown body.
S - Light roasty malt scent.
T - Perfect hop/malt balance. Starts with a little sharpness that smooths out quickly into rich malts. It has a slightly sweet flavor that I just love.
M - Full mouthfeel. It rolls around the tongue hitting all the right tastebuds.
D - Completely and absolutely drinkable. To me, this is a session beer of dream-like proportions.

Serving type: on-tap

07-23-2006 02:25:44 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of Tupperwolf
Tupperwolf

Washington

1.7/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Red, dark-brown 22oz Brewer's Pint of Red Trolley Ale on draft; Almost no head, left a few tiny dabs of lacing.

Saccharine, brown-sugar, sugar, sweet-n-low.. this thing defied the boundaries of sweetness. Like sniffing a bowl of sugar.

Sickly, sickly, disgustingly sweet. I could only drink 1/4 of a glass. It got worse as it warmed up. No hop balance, no toasty flavors, nothing - just heavy, mouth-filling, gut-churning sweetness. I hated every second of my 1/4 pint.

Yuck.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2006 07:49:37 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of Cavery
Cavery

California

2.63/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Shared with SundaySour on a Sunday afternoon

750ml split into two Stone Nonics.

A: Beer poured a strong three fingers atop a ruby red body. The foam is slightly off white with modest lacing. Shots of light give the beer a more promising mahogany look.

S: Sea salt on carmel, a really strong toffee richness. The smell isn't that deep, and the sweetness of bready malts almost goes into mold. It's just a sweet and sour nose that just doesn't quite seem right. It's not so unpleasant, I just struggle to find sources for the overt sweetness, and it's odd mold-like finish. The bottle is most certainly suspect.

T: A very mild taste of semi-sweet malts, and not much else. The middle goes into a funky sawdust that seems to linger like memories of wood-shop class in highschool. Someone took a power sander to the malt. The malt needed solid roasting in order to make this work, and really the malt has this slightly mushy/warm flavor, like they were microwaved instead. Another point in favor of this bottle not being right.

M: The mouth really is very weak. I think this is my least favorite aspect of the beer. The flatness is so unwarranted, and I can't help but believe it contributes to that very base (as in anti-acidic) mold flavor. just a poor mouth. I would have a hard time believing this is as intended.

O: I think that there is a strong case for poor handling on part of the seller. For that reason I can't really rule out that this isn't the intended state of this beer. I will reserve my final say of this beer until I can confirm/debunk the authenticity of this tasting. Karl Strauss has consistently made decent beers, and I wouldn't be shocked if revisiting this beer would provide a completely different tasting experience.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 22:27:53 | More by Cavery
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.