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
80
good

374 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 374
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 15.06%
Wants: 13
Gots: 44 | 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: 374 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
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
Photo of NickRivers
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A&S - Pours a clear red with two fingers of dirty white, foamy head. Very sweet and bready on the nose with lots of caramel and spices but no hop presence.

T&M - Light and crisp caramel turns to a thick sticky bready alcohol flavor with a small hop bite, maybe even a nibble of hops, nothing too big. Mouthfeel is nice and pleasant, very well balanced beer.

O - Overall an excellent beer, most Brewery/Restaurants beers can't compare to this.

Nice beer with a lot of malt flavor, something you don't see to much in California flagships. Not much to say on this one, its nice and drinkable but nothing stands out. For those who love that heavy, bready, alcohol flavor, go out and pick it up. Can't wait to try KS' other brews. Stay thirsty my friends.

NickRivers, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of Seanibus
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours, well, red. Mostly red. Not much head, with a smooth, malty aroma, with some caramel. The flavor enhances that caramel vibe, with a sweet, smooth malt and a little indefinable hop edge. It finished with some cherry and smoke, though just a little. The mouthfeel is thick and a little creamy, though dead flat from a carbonation perspective.

Not bad. Not great. A perfectly competent Irish Red.

Seanibus, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chestnut brown beer without much head in the pint glass.

Malty with a hint of caramel. Hops are enough to give it a zing. Not a favorite hop for me, it's the hint of the ashtray aftertaste along with what starts as a pleasant bitterness. Each new sip reminds me how sweet this is. Not much mouthfeel except a syrupy touch. Carbonation essentially evaporates as it sits.

Maybe this fills a need in the marketing scheme, since I like most of the other Strauss beers much better than this. But the other choice was Dos Equis at Guadalajara in Old Town, San Diego.

mactrail, May 20, 2011
Photo of readbaron
3.8/5  rDev +8%
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.

readbaron, May 06, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
3.45/5  rDev -2%
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.

notchucknorris, May 01, 2011
Photo of Offa
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Offa, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

srandycarter, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of Jemonster
3.73/5  rDev +6%
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.

Jemonster, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of BucBasil
3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

BucBasil, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of harrymel
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

harrymel, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of jminsc76
4.55/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Into a pint glass, forms a red-meets-beige head atop a rich and vibrant amber body.

Aromas of biscuit-y malts and caramel as well as sweet and floral hops. So much going on here, though medium in intensity.

Flavors are similar to the aromas, with an excellent balance between the malts and hops. I've had this beer before repeatedly, and the flavor profile always varies, something I admire. The biscuit-y caramel malts are always present (yay!), but something just a little different comes through per each serving.

Mouthfeel is thin and light.

Overall, barring the mouthfeel, Red Trolley is pretty much perfect. So much complexity, balance, and flavors while being perfectly fit for a session beer, it's small wonder it's won the accolades it has.

jminsc76, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap in downtown San Diego at the Columbia Street brewpub. The beer was poured into a pint glass, presenting with a deep amber-red color and a good, thick white head. There is a spicy-malt nose to the beer. The beer has a good, full-bodied flavor that is well balanced malt and toffee, with fruity undertones. The beer is very full and robust in mouth, with a smooth, malty finish. Very easy to drink.

GarthDanielson, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of BeerManDan
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color was an amber when poured. The aromoa was of a mild roasted malts and hop's, with a hint of sweet spices and candy. The taste of lightly roasted malts and hops along with a hint of caramel was evident on the palate. Nicely balanced and a pleasant surprise. Not tart, but, a nice long pleaant finish.

BeerManDan, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.6/5  rDev +30.7%
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.

Eriktheipaman, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
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.)

hoptrip619, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of EagleTalon
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a moderate beige head and moderate lacing. Color is brilliant red-amber. Aroma is a disappointingly weak caramel malt. Flavors consist of a mild mix of graininess, crystal malts, pale malt and a balancing hop bitterness and weak hop flavor. Mouthfeel is thin and a bit too flat Pepsi-like. Overall it is a decent, predictable drinking experience.

EagleTalon, Jul 25, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle at Petco,

A: Pours a dark red with a finger of creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing.

S: Heavy caramel, distinct sugary brewpub red smell.

T: Again heavy on the biscuity crystal malt, sugary, light hopping.

M: Can get to be so sugary it's cloying, smooth, medium-bodied overall.

D: A solid red ale, but the almost over the top malt character stops it from being really drinkable, needs a bit more balance.

Halcyondays, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of treehugginslug
3.73/5  rDev +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.

treehugginslug, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I decided to crack one of these brews out of my gifted "Craft Brew 10 Pack" from BevMo and I hoped to god it was decent. And it is!

Appearance - Pours wooden brown with an orange glow in the light. Not too much head on my pour.

Smell- Heavy malt smell, a dark sweet aroma that was a welcome surprise compared to what I was expecting.

Taste - A smooth, burnt carmel taste that gets sweater on the palate with every sip. A bit too sweet at the end though.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated, a bit heavier than I'd hoped, and the sweetness lingers at the finish.

Drinkability- I really didn't know what to expect from this bottle, at worst I dreaded another thin flavorless American brew; but I was surprised by it's thickness. Not too heavy, but I wouldn't have too many of these in a night.

ManuelHerrera, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  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.

twiggamortis420, Jun 01, 2010
Photo of itfitz
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

itfitz, May 27, 2010
Photo of Roeters
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from bottle in to a pint glass, reddish copper color with a finger and half of off white foam
S: Quite malty, little caramel slight breadiness
T: All malt, no real bitterness present, mostly just sweetness
M: lighter body, little too thin/watery
D: very easy drinking, personally I think it needs more bitterness to offset the malty base of this beer.

Roeters, May 24, 2010
Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

glid02, May 17, 2010
Photo of donniecuffs
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

donniecuffs, Jan 29, 2010
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 374 ratings.