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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 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 jminsc76
jminsc76

Texas

4.55/5  rDev +30.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 05:13:38 | More by jminsc76
Photo of p0wder2
p0wder2


4.49/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I have no idea how to review beer yet. I'm still new :-)

The best thing I can say is that this beer is sweet as opposed to being bitter. I've always disliked beer in general, but only because I apparently wasn't drinking the right beer. It wasn't until I had a glass of this, that I decided beer can be awesome!

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2013 20:57:42 | More by p0wder2
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 jjh19
jjh19

California

4.28/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the bottle a nice, rich red with a little amber-ness and clear. Impressive foamy head. This is what I like a beer to look like.

Smell: I got a slight sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and malty. Perhaps my favorite thing about this beer is the caramel notes I get later in the taste. There's a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, this is a rich ale.

Drinkability: As the temperature cools down, I find it's an even better time to enjoy a warming Red Trolley. It just works really well enjoying one or two while watching the Chargers. I tend to drink this beer slower than a lot of other beers, making the most of the malts. This is a beer I've enjoyed over the years, and I think it gets a little bit better each time I have it. Or maybe I appreciate it a little more each time?

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 19:07:56 | More by jjh19
Photo of VWBuggirl
VWBuggirl

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance this is a darker beer. It has a deep reddish color to it. The scent is fairly sweet, and you can smell caramel strongly with a hint of chocolate undertones.

It tastes as it smells, with caramel being the first taste and chocolate second. This is definitely a dessert drink for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2010 06:32:20 | More by VWBuggirl
Photo of dojobrewco
dojobrewco

Alabama

4.2/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My recent fascination with Red Ales probably gives this brew more credit than it deserves but overall I thought it was very good. A little too much on the sweet side but finishes nice and smooth. The aroma is perfect for the style and the mouthfeel is very light. I chose this particular brew over the sampler because I had just recenlty brewed my own batch of red Ale and I gotta say the Red Trolley Ale was definately better than mine.

Serving type: on-tap

05-05-2007 15:16:58 | More by dojobrewco
Photo of Bricelyn
Bricelyn

Idaho

4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. This beer is beautiful, a wonderfull combination of red and amber gold.
The first thing I smell is Tomato soup (call me crazy). The taste is slightly malty with a warm finish that sticks to the pallet. Perfectly carbonated. I would session this beer. Trying to drink all the local San Diego beers and this is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 19:10:50 | More by Bricelyn
Photo of BeerManDan
BeerManDan

California

4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 01:17:41 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2011 09:06:36 | More by GarthDanielson
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 jhutch31
jhutch31

California

4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tried this beer while watching the Niners Game last Sunday. Poured into a 16 oz pint glass.

Appearance: My favorite quality of this beer was the appearance. Absolutely polished. Poured with a perfect 2 finger head with some lacing left in the glass. Carbonation was perfect and head retention was delightful.

Smell: This beer did not have a lot of aroma as I would think an irish red shouldn't. Hop character is low so you really smell more of the malts that were used than you do the hops.

Taste: The taste was good. Typical irish red flavor. It's my personal preference that I don't like irish reds to be really sweet, but have a slight amount of malt sweetness and focus more on the body and slightly doughy/biscuity character of the malts used. This beer was a little too sweet for me and after a few drinks, I started to enjoy it less and less. However, thats my personal preference and it is still a great beer. You can definately taste the caramel and toffee notes of what I presume to be the victory and munich malts that are used in the grain bill.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was good. Smooth, well balanced and easy drinking.

Overall: I would say this is a good irish red, just not my style. If you are an irish red drinker, I would recommend you try this beer as it's won some very prestigous awards for its example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 16:22:48 | More by jhutch31
Photo of DM1293
DM1293

California

4/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 01:29:47 | More by DM1293
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/23/2011

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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 22:56:58 | More by HopHead84
Photo of Bendurgin
Bendurgin

Maine

3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 02:43:14 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 06:00:36 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of WallyBoag
WallyBoag

California

3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Disneylnad's California park this was a very attractive looking beer with a darker color and a smallish head. Laced pretty well. Smell was a very enjoyable sweet and tangy blend. Easy to drink. The taste could have used a little bit of improvement. It didn't taste bad, but at the same time there really wasn't too much to remember it buy. If only it tasted as good as it looked and smelled, this would be a truly great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2003 03:33:05 | More by WallyBoag
Photo of OleJohnnieAle
OleJohnnieAle

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Kansas City BBQ in San Diego

A: Nice rich amber red color, minimal head that left thin lacing behind.

S: Malts with a biscuit note, nice sweet caramel notes.

T: Nice malts up front with some sweetness coming through from the caramel and toffee.

M: Medium body, minimal carbonation. Well balanced.

O: Nice red, well balanced, nothing too special but a drinkable good showing of a irish red.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2012 00:55:42 | More by OleJohnnieAle
Photo of hoptrip619
hoptrip619

California

3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
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.)

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2010 16:21:01 | More by hoptrip619
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

3.84/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 04:20:19 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the hotel in S.D., reviewed on the lobby wireless hook up, ah technology...
A - Pours a rich shade of medium mahogony, clear, with an eggshell head, show retentive powers and leaving nice ringed and scattered lacing.
S - malty goodness.
T - This is tasty, malty brew, light on the hops, but some are preent in the rear and the finish, notes of honey, caramel, wafer cookies
M - Smooth , medium bodied, easy and pleasant on the tastebuds.
D - This is not my favorite style, kind of dull, especially after a week of seeking out and consuming SD style 2xIPA hop bombs, this is a pleasant, drinkable brew, nothing more, nothing else.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2006 20:56:39 | More by Billolick
Photo of Psilo707
Psilo707

California

3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to review Red Trolley officially since it has been one of my favorite and most consistent San Diego brews since I have moved here.

It pours a deep crimson color into the mug and leaves an intricate lacing along the sides as it dissipates down. The scent is one of cocoa and butter, and doesn't let up on the nose even minutes after taking a whiff. The taste is extremely chocolately for a red ale and the aftertaste of piney nuts and almonds shines through.

Mouthfeel is creamy but the prolonged taste when sitting in the mouth leaves a bit to be desired. Drinkability is high and is possibly one of the highest ratings of any Red Ale i've ever had.

Overall, Red Trolley is a fine example of what the microbreweries of San Diego have to offer!

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 07:20:44 | More by Psilo707
Photo of readbaron
readbaron

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2011 02:11:54 | More by readbaron
Photo of T100Mark
T100Mark

California

3.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Nice copper color. Amazing clarity. Big tan hear that fades quickly. Minimal stickage. A fine looking brew.

Smell - Faint malt nose. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Not overwhelming.

Taste - Malty. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Walnuts? The hops are almost nonexistent.

Mouth - Syrupy.

Overall - A malty, sweet, smooth amber ale with just a touch of nuttiness. Simple and honest. I appreciate the fact that this beer is a a true amber ale (so many California amber ales are loaded with hops). Your Coors Light chugging buddies might be able to appreciate this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 02:02:59 | More by T100Mark
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The color is a ruddy mixture of crimson and copper, similar to rooibos tea. Minimal head formation/retention. Aromatics are rich but fleeting and are not notably different than the flavors on the palate. The caramelized malts come through with a persistent toasty/nutty presence. This is balanced by a unique flavor that is difficult to identify (candy / dates / figs?) but is quite pleasant. Karl Strauss attributes this quality to the warm fermentation process. While not a malt-heavy beer, the yeast seems to be doing more of the balancing work than the hops. A slightly drying finish that leads you back for another sip.

While not as powerful in comparison to other seasonal red ales (e.g. Santa's Private Reserve Ale brewed by Rogue Ales), Red Trolley Ale deserves praise for its drinkability. It almost seems like in a failed attempt at crafting a winter-warmer Karl Strauss lucked on to something with more universal appeal.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2009 15:12:39 | More by augustgarage
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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.