1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

398 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 398
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 15
Gots: 53 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 398 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RadicalEdward
3/5  rDev -15%

RadicalEdward, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of mhaugo
4/5  rDev +13.3%

mhaugo, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of iSrALE
3/5  rDev -15%

iSrALE, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of BrewerB
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

BrewerB, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of Snellgg5
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Snellgg5, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of rinhaak
3/5  rDev -15%
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.

rinhaak, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +13.3%

ejimhof, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of drno904
4/5  rDev +13.3%

drno904, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of ineva
4/5  rDev +13.3%

ineva, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -15%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of AlexM
4/5  rDev +13.3%

AlexM, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of StArnoldFest2010
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

StArnoldFest2010, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear amber with a 1 inch fizzy beige head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random dots of lace drip back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruit, and a slight metallic aroma. Taste is malty, fruity, caramel, and there is a slight metallic flavor just like the smell. The carbonation on this beer is fairly high and paired with a somewhat thin body the mouthfeel is not that impressive. Overall, this is a pretty average beer all around. Nothing too horrible but not something I would probably try again.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of DM1293
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Award winning huh? I'll put that to the test.

Bottle, clear cup.

Appearance - ...its a light red coloration. Interesting, seeing as the other reds I've tried have been a darker shade of red. The head foams up a little but dissipates after a couple minutes.

Smell - Light, unimposing; caramelly sweet notes. Gives way just enough for a bit of maltiness to shine through.

Taste - Interesting. It tastes like a red, no doubt. A slightly sweet, malty taste. Nothing too imposing, not too sweet or bitter (and what it is doesn't go over the top), not too bold or weak. I can see why its got an award on it. Its very well-balanced, doing everything it should but being exactly what a basic red ale should be. I could almost call this a benchmark for what a red should be.

Mouthfeel - Bold but dissipates quick. A light thickness that dissipates fast.

Overall - ...Pretty much iconic of what a red should be while making nothing too stand-out. Karl Strauss, I may have been unimpressed by your wheat (circumstances may have caused that), but your red is nothing to scoff at in my opinion. A great drink with the right meal.

DM1293, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

ehammond1, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Nugganooch
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Freebie from the In-Laws house figure why not give er a review.

Notes from 09/12/11
12oz to pint glass

A: Red Trolley pours a deep hazy amber color with a thin one finger sandy colored head. No stay power. No lace really.

S: Smells malty sweet with toffee notes and a slight orange tartness to it.

T: Tastes of warm toasty sweet toffee and caramel notes. A bit more classic to the style. Still some slight hop bitterness. Orange and pine in there. Dash of alcohol. Sweet dry finish.

M: Light-med. body with a dry finish. Nice carbonation levels. Keeps the chewy caramel malts at bay.

D: I found myself enjoying this brew after having at so many restaurants and parties/events etc. I would say this brew has mass appeal and would be a good "gateway" craft recommendation.

You get a caramel flav distinct to the style with a lighter less-filling body and actual decent hop bitterness.

Nugganooch, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

BucannonXC5, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of Bendurgin
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Randy. Thanks! Poured into a pint glass. Pours a clear dark amber with a biege head with a finger of bubbly head. A little bit of soapy lace.

Very malty on the aroma. Brown sugar comes to mind with a little bit of toffee and rich dark fruit. Smells pretty good. This is a malt bomb. Huge grainy malts on the pallet with a little bit of brown sugar and a bit of a caramel flavor. Ends with a little bit of a bitter flavor.

Medium to full body but the carbonation is a little bit coarse. Pretty good brew here. Malt bombs like this don't tend to be my thing but I'm really enjoying this one.

Bendurgin, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of kflorence
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

kflorence, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of Klym
2.73/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

Klym, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of Armand
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Good reddish color. Some carbination.
S: A little too dampness. May have been from the glass that it was served it. Glass was too chilled, but that flavor came out in the end.
T: Too flat. Tart, and mild.
M: Light bodied beer.
O: Karl used to be on my top favorite beers, but have gone on to bolder beers. I won't knock 'em down for what they do. It's just my opinion, but I hope they continue to make different ones for us to try.

Armand, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of Cavery
2.63/5  rDev -25.5%
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.

Cavery, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of SundaySour
2.9/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with Cavery.

A: A misty reddish-orange beer with a massive cream colored head. Like a nuclear sunset.

S: There's something rotten in Denmark. I smell...dare I say, bile. There are other smells, maybe a bit of burnt caramel. But it's like someone ate something delicious before ralphing all over the place.

T: Fearing the worst after sniffing my way into a panic attack, this beer is surprisingly light. Truly, it is the Miller Light of red ales. I get a light flavor of sourdough bread, but mostly just water. If this were clear and in a Perrier bottle, I'd shrug and chug.

M: Fizzy, but not fizzy enough. Leaves a vague stale bread taste in the mouth.

O: This is like a very hunky man with rippling muscles and a fabulous car turning out to be a big yawn fest. I loved the appearance, but the flavor is nothing to cheer about. It's the kind of beer you wash something down with, not enjoy on it's own.

SundaySour, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the San Diego airport at 6:45 am.

Red and clear with a nice head and decent lacing.

Caramel and bready malts dominate both the aroma and taste. There's a hint of hops, but not much. Still, it's quite tasty on tap, and damn fine early in the morning before a long flight.

Relatively light bodied, ample carbonation, leaving a nice sweet malty aftertaste.

Truly a pleasant and likeable offering. I'd be happy to try more from this brewery.

AlCaponeJunior, Jun 25, 2011
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 398 ratings.