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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 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 jj139
jj139

California

3.61/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Very nice rusty/amber color with an off white, one finger head. Medium lacing

S - Very appealing nose of toasty malt, caramel, and hints of dried fruit.

T - Malt and caramel dominate with a hint of sweetness.

M - Medium body with a nice malty, smooth finish.

O - While I do love my IPAs I found this to be a nice change of pace brew. Very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 01:10:20 | More by jj139
Photo of Curtis
Curtis

Utah

3.11/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a beautiful clear reddish copper. Ungortunately, no head to speak of. No lacing, none, zilch. Aroma is malty, no hops. Mouthfeel is ok. Taste is seeet, malty, no hops, not bitter in the least. Little aftertaste. The whole thing is kind of bland. Other than the great color, this beer has little going for it.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 06:43:47 | More by Curtis
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 joshstillskates
joshstillskates

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is very drinkable, not very bitter, but not too weak. To me, it actually has a very distinct malty flavor and leaves behind a sweet aftertaste. I randomly selected this brew and honestly, I wasn't the least disappointed. My only criticism is, I could use a bit more carbonation. All in all, will drink again.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 03:09:59 | More by joshstillskates
Photo of PolarBear3
PolarBear3

Australia

2.96/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - Pours a bronze, red amber colour with an off white head that dissipates quickly leaving no lace.

S - Sweet bready malt, almost toffee/candy apple like with some caramel.

T - Sweet malts and mainly caramel/toffee with a slightly mild bitter finish.

M - Light to medium bodied with very little carbonatio

O - A little sweet for my liking and seemed a little flat. Not recommended

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 08:58:46 | More by PolarBear3
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 magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.13/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Color is a slightly hearty reddish-amber, filled with mild carbonation and ascending bubbles that coat it with a decent 1-finger large head. This head descends down to next to nothing, leaving slight whitish streams of foam at the top after everything settles down. Eventually, not even a ring lasts, even with aggressive swirling. Looks a little murky overall, which is bizarre, as this relatively unfiltered in appearance.

The nose encounters huge cereal grainy notes at the front, followed by slight roasted rye aromas and lightly spiced malts. It smells like fresh, pure barley, which is undeniably soothing yet perhaps a bit distracting as it covers up everything else that should be going on this beer, such as any potential zestiness from the hops, or fruitiness from the yeast. No alcohol on the nose, yet no sweetness for that matter. Toasty, but limited.

The flavor is shock loaded with malted roasted barley flavors, followed with a hint of caramel notes and dried out hop zest. While not bad, it's not too complex and definitely the excessive graininess makes it out to be a tad too one-dimensional. Very, very biscuit-y in nature here. The body is slightly syrupy and sweet, and carbonated enough, but I couldn't imagine waiting for this to warm up, as it would probably get progressively thinned and the malty notes perhaps too oppressive in the long run.

I admit I had no idea this was supposed to be in an Irish red ale style - it definitely tasted like a less bittered up English bitter to me. For a SD beer, this is pretty mild on the hop side, but I unfortunately cannot vouch whether or not it's authentic to style, as I have little experience with Irish beer in general. This is definitely one of those for casual beer drinkers, and for the rest of us, there are definitely other amber ales that are more worthwhile to revisit.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 02:25:38 | More by magictacosinus
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 arfenhouse
arfenhouse

California

3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber with white head. Almost no lacing.

S: Smells like toasted bread and caramel.

T: Has a slight caramel-like sweetness and nuttiness to it. Hop flavor seems to be a bit muddled and undefined but present. Finishes off with a very slight bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Wet. Good feel in my opinion.

O: Decent beer, doesn't seem to be a prize-winning beer as stated on the label though. Feels like an improved and slightly more complex version of Newcastle. Probably would be a good candidate to get people into the craft scene.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 10:18:03 | More by arfenhouse
Photo of rawfish
rawfish

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 08:26:14 | More by rawfish
Photo of Drinkerofales
Drinkerofales

California

3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear copper with golden highlights. A medium sized tan head settled quickly to a ring that barely leaves some lacing.

Smells of toasted malts, a note of burnt sugar, musty.

Taste is a big bigger, toasted malts, a hint of chocolate and hint of vanilla sweet on the finish.

Smooth and drinkable, but thin, with a medium dry finish.

It's ok, but needs a little more hop to balance it out.

DOA

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 21:47:41 | More by Drinkerofales
Photo of SmashPants
SmashPants

Australia

3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: decent 355mL brown bottle. Nicely styled label - kind of old-school cute.

Appearance: quite a nice dark mahogany colour. Unfortunately the head never really comes to more than a half-finger, and dissolves to a thin film with no lacing.

Aroma: a fair amount of sweetness from caramel and toffee malts - not a lot of hops coming through.

Taste: the caramel and toffee malts are accompanied by some nut flavours, and a pinch of berries or underripe fruits. An odd - and to be honest, quite awkward - doughy quality on the undertone does nothing for this ale.

Aftertaste: fortunately the awkwardness disappears, to be replaced solely by the lovely caramel and fruits flavours.

Mouth feel: medium body, and a fairly low carbonation. I would say it is quite sessional other than that awful doughy quality that makes you almost have to pinch your nose if you want to down it.

Overall: really not a brilliant beer. If you want a good caramel-malt-and-nut-based beer, try James Squire's Amber Ale. Much better built, and cheaper by the case.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 23:56:36 | More by SmashPants
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 13:05:11 | More by ADZA
Photo of dansmcd
dansmcd

Australia

3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice clear caramel ruby red tone without a head, just a ring with some very short lived lacing.

S - Fruity and sweet, toffee and a hint of booze, quite a British aroma.

T - Raspberry, toffee, grainy malts. Mild and tasty.

M - Moderately carbonated, dry and light in body.

O - Not a bad beer this one. Nice accompaniment to a winter meal.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 10:52:20 | More by dansmcd
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros

Australia

3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby/copper with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows caramel, bready malt, faint cocoa and a misplaced doughy note.
Better flavours, with strong nutty, bready and caramel notes throughout, followed by a mild bitterness.
Body seems pretty watery. Too much carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 03:53:01 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of Aiptasia
Aiptasia

Florida

3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is getting panned a lot as a "meh" beer, but when I was at a convention last week at the SD convention center, it was a welcome alternative to BMC beers. I didn't pour it into glass, but it appeared to be clean inside of the bottle with a nice neck head. It smelled of citrus hops, biscuit malt and nuttiness. Similar taste, with a great malt nutty backbone and finished dry. Average carbonation and drinkability, makes a great summer beer when you're looking for just a little depth in your beer.

Overall, it's a solid beer. It's inexpensive and worth drinking.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 17:14:38 | More by Aiptasia
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

3.15/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a pilsner glass at the Top of the Hyatt bar in San Diego.

A: Served a reddish light brown with a thin creamy layer of just off-white head on top. Retention was pretty good with small clusters of lace left behind.

S: Really had to strain to get much aroma out of this. It was pretty cold when first served so it began to release a tiny nose after it warmed. Caramel, toasty bread, lemon-y hops. Meh.

T: See above.

M: Enjoyable. Slick with a definite toasty dryness.

O: Really pretty boring. It's saviors are how it looks and how it feels. Pass.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 16:39:05 | More by GbVDave
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light red, standard clarity, 1/2" head on it, white in color. Aroma was uneventful.

Taste, a little bit of caramel, toffee, sweet and bready. Not really any bitterness or hops to speak of here. Relatively light on the palate. For a second, I thought I should be giving this beer a higher rating, it doesn't do anything poorly, it is true to style, but its just so run of the mill for me, but I realize that's how I feel about most red ales. Just one of those, don't hate it, don't love it.

Its a beer that has a place in the world, but its not exactly teeming with flavor country either.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 07:42:54 | More by Beerandraiderfan
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 StArnoldFest2010
StArnoldFest2010

Florida

3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 21:43:15 | More by StArnoldFest2010
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 04:46:58 | More by UCLABrewN84
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 Nugganooch
Nugganooch

California

3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 22:31:39 | More by Nugganooch
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
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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.