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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 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
Photo of kflorence
kflorence

California

3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Imported from my ratebeer.com profile - JUN 14, 2007

While it doesn’t blow me away, it is highly drinkable, has a great red-like amber color and smells of toasty hops with a tiny hint of vanilla/caramel. I think it’s one of the better Strauss beers, but it’s not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 06:17:33 | More by kflorence
Photo of Klym
Klym

California

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 03:47:57 | More by Klym
Photo of Cavery
Cavery

California

2.63/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 22:27:53 | More by Cavery
Photo of SundaySour
SundaySour

California

2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with Cavery.

A: A misty reddish-orange beer with a massive cream colored head. Like a nuclear sunset.

S: There's something rotten in Denmark. I smell...dare I say, bile. There are other smells, maybe a bit of burnt caramel. But it's like someone ate something delicious before ralphing all over the place.

T: Fearing the worst after sniffing my way into a panic attack, this beer is surprisingly light. Truly, it is the Miller Light of red ales. I get a light flavor of sourdough bread, but mostly just water. If this were clear and in a Perrier bottle, I'd shrug and chug.

M: Fizzy, but not fizzy enough. Leaves a vague stale bread taste in the mouth.

O: This is like a very hunky man with rippling muscles and a fabulous car turning out to be a big yawn fest. I loved the appearance, but the flavor is nothing to cheer about. It's the kind of beer you wash something down with, not enjoy on it's own.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 22:21:44 | More by SundaySour
Photo of NickRivers
NickRivers

California

3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2011 23:33:58 | More by NickRivers
Photo of Seanibus
Seanibus

California

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

Pours, well, red. Mostly red. Not much head, with a smooth, malty aroma, with some caramel. The flavor enhances that caramel vibe, with a sweet, smooth malt and a little indefinable hop edge. It finished with some cherry and smoke, though just a little. The mouthfeel is thick and a little creamy, though dead flat from a carbonation perspective.

Not bad. Not great. A perfectly competent Irish Red.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2011 23:56:25 | More by Seanibus
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 Offa
Offa

California

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

Lightly hazy red amber with medium Tan head soon thinning to ring and no lace.

Aroma is nice toasty whole wheat bread, barley with some fruity-piney floweriness and a clear butterscotch element.

Taste is sweet-spicy, definite toasty character, very light pepper-spicy bitterness with hint of citrus, and a faint hint of earth near the finish. It’s a bit boozy/alcoholic in character for the ABV and what appears to be intended as an easy going, session beer. All is a bit vague and somewhat flat in character, so, although decent with some character, it ends up being neither interesting nor particularly drinkable, being rather bland, flat and heavy for what it is. For my own reference, it’s slightly better than Napa Smith amber, but not much, being somewhat flatter and weaker in character but also being cleaner and less off-putting in aroma or the like.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 21:06:43 | More by Offa
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.