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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

400 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 400
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 14.77%
Wants: 16
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
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Ratings: 400 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Aztecs50
1/5  rDev -71.6%

Aztecs50, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of mattmarka1
1.5/5  rDev -57.4%

mattmarka1, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of Tupperwolf
1.7/5  rDev -51.7%
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.

Tupperwolf, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of somalley26
2/5  rDev -43.2%

somalley26, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of Mark_Eck
2.25/5  rDev -36.1%

Mark_Eck, Jan 21, 2014
Photo of mithrascruor
2.25/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear, somewhat dark red color. Head has a nice light reddish-tan hue, and is fairly creamy/foamy, and about 1/2 in.

Smell: Mostly notice a lot of roasted malts. Fairly sweet with a bit of caramel, and maybe a hint of hops beneath.

Taste: Very (i.e. too) sweet. Lots of caramel and malts, but then it has this flavor of hops and some grains beneath. Seems very skewed, but I can't tell in which direction or how. It's like pouring sugar in a very hoppy beer. Hideous.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied and smooth, very little carbonation. On occasion has as a somewhat cold and clammy feel, even if it's not too cold.

Drinkability: As long as you can handle the odd flavor, it's quite a drinkable beer. Otherwise, ... ugh. Alcohol, though at 5.6%, is not very noticable.

While it looks nice, after drinking it for just a short while you realize that it's no good. The taste is the main problem -- there's a horribly sweet taste and a somewhat bitter taste all at once, and it turns out less than good. In fact, it tastes quite bad. I might be willing to try this on tap (there's a Karl Strauss across from my office), but I certainly won't get this again at the store.

mithrascruor, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of dertyd
2.5/5  rDev -29%

dertyd, Sep 08, 2013
Photo of jcalabre
2.5/5  rDev -29%
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

jcalabre, Jun 21, 2003
Photo of Birmz
2.5/5  rDev -29%

Birmz, May 29, 2014
Photo of Therisse
2.5/5  rDev -29%

Therisse, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of hnandez
2.5/5  rDev -29%

hnandez, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of rawfish
2.5/5  rDev -29%
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.

rawfish, Sep 07, 2012
Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -29%

jophish17, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of sbanacho
2.5/5  rDev -29%

sbanacho, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of hawkmage
2.5/5  rDev -29%

hawkmage, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of GatorCoop
2.5/5  rDev -29%

GatorCoop, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of hopdog
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint on tap inside Disneyland.

Poured a deeper amber color with a small sized off white head. I had this side x side with a pint of their Oktoberfest, and honestly, other than this being a little deeper in color, I would have a hard time telling the difference. Some caramel, toastiness, and some light citrus.

hopdog, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of Cavery
2.63/5  rDev -25.3%
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 neeld
2.68/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed. This beer comes on too sweet and malty for my tastes and IMO for the style. Carbonation is also too low.

If I didn't read the label, I might guess this was an Oktoberfest. In fact, if they upped the carbonation 50% it might make a good one. As is, it's flat on both counts.

neeld, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of Klym
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
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 malcontent
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

malcontent, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of Trappissed
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at some bar:

Way too sweet. Cloying. Thick mouthfeel for the style as well. Nothing really positive to say, other than the fact that I'm probably being too generous with my ratings on this one. Sorry Mister Strauss, you have yet to impress me.

Trappissed, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of freshflesh
2.75/5  rDev -21.9%

freshflesh, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of MikeDre
2.75/5  rDev -21.9%

MikeDre, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of thebeeler
2.75/5  rDev -21.9%

thebeeler, Mar 01, 2014
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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 400 ratings.