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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 womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour from bottle to pint glass is a clear, amber color with a fluffy off-white foam.

S: Caramel, sweet malt, and a slight bit of roasted malt. Not all that much going on in the nose.

T: This is a very sweet beer. Too sweet for my taste. The flavor is very caramelly, with a fair amount of malt flavor coming through as well. Little to no hops, unfortunately, as this beer could really use it.

M: The beer doesn't feel too terrible on the tongue. A light-medium body and moderate carbonation.

D: The beer itself is not terrible. It is a bit too sweet for me, but other than that, it's not awful. The flavors that are there aren't bad, it's just not necessarily my cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 09:36:17 | More by womencantsail
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 neeld
neeld

Oregon

2.68/5  rDev -23%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 04:10:04 | More by neeld
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red Trolley pours a clear light copper amber with a thin and hard fought head of less than half an inch. Retention is virtually nonexistent, resulting in a flat beverage with no visible carbonation in short order.

Light caramel malts on the nose share the stage with some roasted notes. Rather sweet but not very complex on the nose and with just a hint of hops. More candied after a swirl, and showing muddled woody hops.

Sweet caramel malts dominate the flavor of the beer but aren't supported by any carbonation, yielding a rather viscous feel. Some toffee and dried fruit on the swallow are pleasant but short lived, improving later and adding some winter spice notes. Feel and finish of an Oktoberfest beer yet still suffering from carbonation issues. The beer improved in texture and complexity after letting it warm and allowing for some swirling action. Better carbonation would likely bump this beer a full letter grade.

5.8%

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 02:53:50 | More by HalfFull
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed amber color with a decent head.

Smells malty, bready, tea like, and a little caramel too.

Taste is clean and crisp. Mostly malts up front, caramel sweetness, crisp nutty breads, and some brewed tea. Finish has that crispness, with some mineral like hops.

Mouthfeel is ok, a touch thin, with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is a pretty solid amber ale. Definitely malt forward, but that's certainly not a bad thing. After this one, I think I'll have another...

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 03:29:11 | More by flexabull
Photo of TheQuietMan22
TheQuietMan22

Iowa

3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this last week at the Dodgers game and wanted to try it in a real glass (not a plastic cup). I didn't trust my taste buds or nose at the stadium; it was a lot more chocolately than your average amber.

Appearance: Poured a clear, beautiful deep copper with a tint of orange. A half finger of head developed on my first glass due to drinker's error, but my second glass produced a finger and a half of tan foam that reduced to a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: My first impression was of chocolate. Maybe my review at the stadium wasn't so bad after all. It's a little surprising from an amber. There is also a very deep and rich caramel aroma. Reminds me of a caramel filled piece of chocolate from a heart shaped box. As it warms a scent of plumbs and bread dough enters.

Taste: The chocolate is subdued and overtaken by hops, which are well-balanced with the malts. There is a plumb quality that blends perfectly with the caramel notes. There is a slight citrus flavor of sour grapefruit, but it is very subtle.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable brew, even at a baseball game in a plastic cup.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 07:33:59 | More by TheQuietMan22
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 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
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 surfer4life
surfer4life

California

3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 03:39:34 | More by surfer4life
Photo of Foxtrot
Foxtrot

California

3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Poured a nice dark amber hue with a small ivory head and decent lacing.

Not a whole lot going on in the nose. Just faintly picked up some malts with a touch of sweetness. Nothing really pronounced at all with the aroma.

Taste was decent at best. Definitely big on the malts but no hop bitterness to balance it out. I found this particular beer to be slightly too sweet for me. Just a bit much on the caramel and toffee flavors.

The mouthfeel was good. It seemed a little light to me.

Drinkability is certainly good, but the flavor and lack of hop presence makes this beer less desirable.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 07:37:45 | More by Foxtrot
Photo of noknife83
noknife83

California

3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2008 23:34:37 | More by noknife83
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

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

Here's a Karl Strauss offering which you can find in a handful of bars here in Southern Califronia. Let's see...widesh distribution = better than their other offerings, right? So we find out. On to the beer:

It pours a medium amber color into my glass with a small head. The smell is sweet and fruity, almost like candied fruit. There's a trickle of malt in the nose too. Well, so far it's off to a good start. But good starts only last for so long. More sugary fruits in the taste without much balance from the hops, and the malt runs around on the palate. The beer is made to be sweet according to the bottle label, but it's a little cloying in my opinion. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 05:49:21 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 04:03:06 | More by Zorro
Photo of rxdrewthejew
rxdrewthejew

California

3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 07:29:29 | More by rxdrewthejew
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2007 04:33:37 | More by Overlord
Photo of ctdfalconer
ctdfalconer

California

3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss is a decent organization that I think suffers from trying to please too many people. Being a brewpub, they aim at appealing to beer nuts, but at the same time, they position themselves as a kind of beer-themed family restaurant. This is a tricky balance to acheive, and there is some overlap in those two schemes, but beer-wise, it guides them to aim for the middle. This beer (along with most of their lineup) exemplifies that. The beer is clean and crisp and easy to drink, but largely unremarkable. It has some pleasant malty-toffee notes with a hint of toastyness, but given a decent hoppy zing, it would have been considerably more interesting. I'm not saying they should remake Arrogant Bastard, I'm just saying that I would like this beer more if it had a little hoppy dryness in the finish and just a frisson of hop perfume in the nose. Aiming for accessibility is one thing, and this beer is quite accessible, but even so, when I was in the K.S. in Universal Citywalk, the people at the next table displayed their preconceptions when they picked out the "Endless Summer Light Lager" as their fave, saying of the red, "We don't like those dark beers". The problem is, you can't please everybody. It looks like they are pleasing enough to stay in business, at any rate.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2007 20:11:26 | More by ctdfalconer
Photo of malcontent
malcontent

Illinois

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2007 13:24:31 | More by malcontent
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

2.25/5  rDev -35.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 04:05:33 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2006 21:18:51 | More by granger10
Photo of swid
swid

Missouri

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
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! :-)

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2005 23:35:22 | More by swid
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2004 10:51:52 | More by Dmann
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

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

Medium amber color. Medium head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. A medium bodied amber. Malts are nutty and a touch sweet. Hops are slightly spicy. There is a slightly harsh feel to the taste in this beer. Kind of a typical amber. Drinkable, but typical. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is harsh. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2003 00:57:28 | More by beerguy101
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 18:44:23 | More by jcalabre
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner

Missouri

3.55/5  rDev +2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2014 01:07:49 | More by Franziskaner
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.