Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 482
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 132 | Hads: 482
Photo of IBUnit63
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a diluted root beer with no head

Slight malt scent-very mellow

Roasted malt character - rather clean actually with a little faint coffee and cinnamon note

Light for a darker mini-macro with solid malt backbone

Drinks well for chain restaurant offering

 261 characters

Photo of NickRivers
3.61/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

 753 characters

Photo of granger10
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium amber red color with a medium white head and moderate lacing. Not much aroma here. A bit of fruityness and caramel. Taste is quite sweet but I like it. Lots of toffee with a caramelized strawberry flavor on top. Not much in the hop dept. A bit of a creamy body. Slight sour notes from the yeast. Finish is a bit sticky and this could definitely be cloying after a few. I only had one and it went fast but I am satisfied and want some more hops.

 451 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 892 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 454 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 274 characters

Photo of surfer4life
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pint glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Holds true to the red/amber color, perfect hue with a small 1/4 inch head that recedes to small film in a few minutes.

S - Smells of hops, cherry and strawberry candy. Perhaps a bit of syrup smell that make the beer almost smell like a soda.

T - Very sweet, but not syrup like the smell would incline. Hops can be detected although not to strong. Raisins, caramel and some hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Tasty.

M - Medium carbonation, seems to go dull very quickly though, so all the good taste is in the front.

D - I think I could drink this for a session beer. It certainly beats the bud/coors/miller available at the corner store.

 689 characters

Photo of csmiley
3.56/5  rDev +2%
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.

 850 characters

Photo of Dmann
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

 545 characters

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.

 376 characters

Photo of noknife83
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good beer, but nothing to write home about. If it were just a little more hoppy I'd like it a lot more. There is practically no aroma that comes of this beer, which is a big disappointment. It has a decent mouthfeel to it, but a slight bit less malt would be my taste.

 270 characters

Photo of swid
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red Trolley Ale pours a slighly opaque and a dead-on amber color into my pilsner glass. A 1/8", white head forms and disappears nearly instantly. Low carbonation. No lacing. The aroma is quite malty, with a noticeable caramel smell present. A faint floral aroma is also present.

Tastewise, this beer can best be described as "Fat Tire, but sweeter and not as biscuity". Red Trolley Ale shares a base malty sweetness with the other two Karl Strauss beers I've tried; a noticeable caramel flavor is apparent, along with a faint biscuit flavor, and only a trace of bitterness. The syrupy mouthfeel apparently is another KS hallmark; it works pretty well here. Red Trolley goes down with a sweet caramel flavor, and finishes with a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall, this is a decent, if mostly average, amber ale. If I lived near the San Diego area, I'd probably drink this every once in a while. Finally...thanks, Mom, for bringing back a mixed six-pack from California for your favorite beer geek! :-)

 1,018 characters

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.

 774 characters

Photo of MadCat
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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

 367 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft pint, while in California, another local offering.
Pours clear amber with a beige head, foam quickly faded to a film, thin lace lines.
Smell is malt, caramel, some fruitiness.
Taste has a good malt base, some fruit like in the smell.
Higher than expected carbonation, thin body.
Overall, a pretty average beer. Nothing too terrible, but nothing memorable either.

 371 characters

Photo of Overlord
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd like this beer more (not that I'd rate it higher, but I'd subjectively like it more) if it wasn't always priced as a premium.

Nice little red ale that's mostly malty sweetness with some fruit tones, no real hops to speak of, and certainly not a complex beer by any means. I find it goes perfectly with bar food and football. Also works well at California Disney.

Best of the Karl Strauss offerings I've had, though I haven't seen the Stout offered anywhere yet.

 467 characters

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.

 697 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 562 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 435 characters

Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 791 characters

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.

 383 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.

 500 characters

Photo of HawkFalco
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served cold from the fridge into a stemless glass. Poured a cloudy, caramel color; tiny cream-colored head disappeared fast.

Smell: Nice yeasty bread

Tastes: Very balanced sweet and bitter, yeasty. Smooth. Nice level of carbonation. Not complex or challenging. An unobtrusive easy choice for a refreshing cold one.

Feels: smooth, not much body, watery.

While this beer is not complex I like the balanced flavors because I don’t much care for forward hop bitterness. Very easy to drink. Pretty color in the glass. This could be a pleasing introduction to craft beer for your friends still stuck drinking the mass produced American lagers.

 646 characters

Photo of Armand
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

 434 characters

Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lovely reddish-brown with a frothy tannish head that leaves a small layer of film, and some lacing on the glass.

S: Sweet and syrupy with a hint of roasted malt.

T: Sweet beginning with some bitterness coming out after the initial burst. Fairly mild flavor overall.

MF: Not too heavy, some warming, surprising considering the relatively low alcohol content. Maybe a little too bubbly for this style, but goes down smooth.

O: This beer is almost a nut-brown/mild on steroids. Fairly mild and well balanced flavor, and it has a nice little hop kick. A drinkable beer, but the flavor is pretty basic. Good, not great.

 631 characters

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